Saturday, February 17, 2007

'Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity ... for ... his inheritance?'

Luke 23:32-38

The Word of Pardon

When we know who Jesus is and what it is that we have done — rather, when we know what it is that he has done — we must sue for that pardon for us that was granted through his plea and won for us by his death on the cross.

Honour to the King

Luke 23:32-38

The Word of Pardon

Since Christ is indeed the King who would not come down from the cross ought we not, in our notices of him, in our speech about him and to him and in our communion with him, to give him as much real honour as parody of honour was given him on the cross?

Christ and the Criminals, and us

Luke 23:32-38

The Word of Pardon

If Christ was seen in life and in death with criminals and sinners then we ought to conclude that he is, in life and in death, for the sinners and the criminals and so should we be, as he was.

The Word of Pardon

Luke 23:32-38

The Roman Way With Criminals
What Would Jesus Do?
Truth Writ Large in Ironic Jest

There is a pardon for sin because, although they who took Jesus with cruel hands to crucify him didn't know what they were doing (and hardly would they have crucified the Lord of Glory if they had known [1 Corinthians 2:8].) God knew what he was doing so that Christ the King was delivered up to be crucified by God's own definite plan and foreknowledge [Acts 2:23].

Truth Writ Large in Ironic Jest

Luke 23:36-38

36 • The soldiers also mocked him,
coming up and offering him sour wine

37 • and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!"

38 • There was also an inscription over him,
"This is the King of the Jews."

The soldiers took their clue as to how they should behave from the ruling classes gathered at the execution site. Back in the barracks they had already had their fun with their platted crown of thorns and their borrowed purple robe but they were ready to dish out more of the same. They didn't know how to taunt a false messiah but, whether or not they could read the sign above his head, they knew how to mock a pretend king. But they didn't know what they were doing.

What Would Jesus Do?

Luke 23:34-35

34 • And Jesus said,
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

• And they cast lots to divide his garments.
35 And the people stood by, watching,

• but the rulers scoffed at him, saying,
"He saved others;
let him save himself,
if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!"

The executioners pressed on with their old familiar routine of dividing up the possessions of those about to die but this man had not read the script. Surely he was supposed to beg for mercy but for himself and from them rather than for them from a Father God. The rulers knew what to do — but he was praying, '...
for they know not what they do.'

The Roman Way With Criminals

Luke 23:32-33

32 • Two others, who were criminals,
were led away to be put to death with him.

33 • And when they came to the place that is called The Skull,
there they crucified him,

• and the criminals,
one on his right and one on his left.

The Romans were ultimate crowd manipulators and they knew exactly what to do to make an execution an unforgettable public occasion. We don't exactly know whether the place was chosen for a name it already had or whether the name was coined to add a Gothic allusion to the use to which it was being put but staging crucifixions at a place called 'Skull Hill' was by manipulative design. By the same meticulous attention to detail, the event was garnished with the execution of real criminals, two of those being brought out to take the places of 'honour' on either side of the centre cross where Jesus was crucified.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Dying the death deserved by us

Genesis 6:1-8

The Natural State of Mankind in sin

Resistance of the devil and acknowledgement that our times are in God's hands are not enough. By grace, Noah was spared from the death deserved by all so that his descendant, Jesus Christ, might not be spared the death deserved by us.

On refusal to be a grasshopper

Genesis 6:1-8

The Natural State of Mankind in sin

We must refuse to consider ourselves as grasshoppers even in the face of overwhelming odds, unimpeachable reputations or the obliteration of every ancient landmark in our generation.

The devil at his worst

Genesis 6:1-8

The Natural State of Mankind in sin

The devil is at his worst when he appears closest to being human. We bring out the worst in him and we need grace to deal with him.

The Natural State of Mankind in sin

Genesis 6:1-8

Three Different Timescales

Three ways of seeing the end of mankind

The Third Aspect of Antediluvian Grace for Life

If unrestrained, mankind by nature will wilfully cooperate with the destruction of both the hope and the integrity of the entire race in thought, word and deed.

The Third Aspect of Antidiluvian Grace for Life

Genesis 6:7-8

6 • And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth,
and it grieved him to his heart.
7 • So the Lord said,
"I will blot out man whom I have created
from the face of the land,
and animals
and creeping things
and birds of the heavens,
for I am sorry that I have made them."
8 • But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord.

God, who in his grace translated Enoch so that he did not see death and granted release to all others looking for salvation (even down to Methuselah, who died in the year that the flood came) gave his grace to Noah, the bearer of hope, ([Genesis 5:29] '... "Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands."') to prepare him for, and bring him through, the flood that was scheduled to destroy all mankind and nature in recognition of the incorrigibility of man's sinfulness.

Three ways of seeing the end of mankind

Genesis 6:4-5

4 • The Nephilim were on the earth in those days,
and also afterward,
when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man
and they bore children to them.
• These were the mighty men who were of old,
the men of renown.
5 • The Lord saw
that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,
and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart
was only evil continually.

The 'afterward' was when giants were found in Canaan by
the spies sent out in preparation for entering the land to conquer it — ([Numbers 13:33] "And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.") — so when Moses wrote after the debacle caused by rejecting the minority report he was anticipating the sort of overwhelming defeat for the 'afterwards' giants as was wrought on their predecessors by the universal flood. Before the flood, mankind in general had not seen things that way at all, of course, and these Nephilim were renowned for all their outward glories. From the outside it must have appeared that God's threat of death (and his promise of salvation) was being nullified by the inextricable mingling of the seed of the woman with the seed of the serpent ( c.f. Genesis 3:15) but God, looking into the mind of man, saw neither great force nor great worth. He saw nothing good whatsoever.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Three Different Timescales

Genesis 6:1-3

1 • When man began to multiply on the face of the land
and daughters were born to them,
2 • the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive.
And they took as their wives any they chose.
3 • Then the Lord said,
"My Spirit shall not abide in man forever,
for he is flesh:
his days shall be 120 years."

Right from the outset, as soon as the forbidden fruit was eaten, a total ending of mankind's life on earth was in view. Mankind in general was not living with imminent death in mind because death seemed to be limited to those who 'called upon the name of the LORD.' [Genesis 4:26] (No death dates are given in Genesis 4 but they are scrupulously recorded in Genesis 5.) Just as God's patience was running to its conclusion and he was setting a date for the end of everything in 120 years time, the sons of God (angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling [Jude 6]) took the opposite view and exchanged life in heaven for the seemingly better and just as long lasting life on earth.

In fear and trepidation

I still don't see how this is any better than the old blogger but I'll know that I've got some ability back if these words appear under the title.