Posts Tagged ‘Gospel’

Whoever covers an offense seeks love,

But he who repeats a matter separates close friends. 

– Proverbs 17:9

What are the 2 greatest commands in Scripture? The first would be to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second is like it; to love you neighbor as yourself. Now we are really good at loving ourselves right? I mean, everything we do, we do to make ourselves happy. Whether we eat or drink, we do all to bring ourselves joy. We need not work at loving ourselves. Daily though we struggle to live up to God’s command to love others just as we love ourselves. It’s hard right? It’s hard to love others, especially other sinners.

Our call here today in this Proverb is once again to love, and the way we love others is by covering one’s offense. So what is an offense? Simply put, an offense is any wrong done unto us. It’s something that causes a person to be hurt, angry, or upset. We often say, “I am offended that you would say such a thing”. Now obviously I think it’s safe to say that we have all been offended. And when you are offended, what is your natural tendency? What do you tend to do? Do you just cover it up? Doyou pretend that nothing happened? No, probably not. Not if you are like me. My natural tendency when someone wrongs me is to get even. To make sure justice prevails. “They will pay for this!” is my cry.

If I’m driving down the road and someone cuts in front of me, before I even know what I’m doing, I lay on the horn, speed up on their tail, and make some type of hand motion (hopefully without using any fingers). What naturally happens is that I seek revenge. Now what if this happens with one of our friends or family? Maybe one who is close to us offends us by some silly comment. We get offended and say something snarky back. What happens is that the offense is separating us, as sins of anger and bitterness creep in and take root. Before we know it the offense has separated us, fellowship is broken and God’s law is transgressed.

So the question is, “How do we cover an offense when we are full of rage?” I don’t know about you but I don’t have the magic button that I can push that just let’s me release all feeling. Well, we must look to God. We must look to Jesus Christ who became sin for us that we might become righteous in Him. We must look to the Gospel. God created us. We rebelled sinning against Him. We offended Him, yet He covered us with grace and forgiveness, with the blood of the perfect Lamb of God. If you think that the offense committed against you was big, and it very well might have been big, think again at how many miserable filthy sins you have committed against the Holy Creator God. Yet He still covers you. He still showers mercy and grace upon you! Meditate on the good news when you are filled with wrath; when you feel powerless to forgive your offender. God’s love will empower you to cover the offense and restore your relationship. “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”

I close with an exhortation from 1 Peter where the Lord’s people are surrounded by difficulty. Know that in times of trial it seems that our patience grows thin, and offenses are always on the rise.  In this situation Peter says “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” –1 Peter 4:8. Remember that it was Christ our Lord, our Savior who covered the multitude of our sins by taking the due wrath of God upon Himself. May we be filled with this love today, and may we cover those who offend us.

-J.C. Hahne

Advertisements

I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it – His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.” – R.C. Sproul

I find these words simply amazing. “He alone has the power to change lives for eternity.” Why then do we have to try to make everything so gimmicky? Why don’t we just preach the gospel. It is the gospel that brings salvation, sanctification and the hope of eternal life.

A new friend of mine recommended that I read Calvin’s “The Necessity of Reforming the Church”. So, I am slowing going through it, reading and re-reading. Honestly it’s been a while since I picked up something that is so weighty, thus I see my need to retrain my attention span (or maybe it’s just that I’m reading at 12:30 AM). Anyway, there are some great quotes, and though I haven’t gotten too far into his appeal, I have been encouraged and am delighting in the doctrines of grace; the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just thought I’d share a paragraph or two with you all… It really does produce a humble heart, thankfulness, and assurance which leads to true worship unto God.

Now, the knowledge of our salvation presents three different stages. First, we must begin with a sense of individual wretchedness, filling us with despondency as if we were spiritually dead. This effect is produced when the original and hereditary depravity of our nature is set before us as the source of all evil  a depravity which begets in us distrust, rebellion against God, pride, avarice, lust, and all kinds of evil concupiscence; and making us averse to all rectitude and justice, [it] holds us captive under the yoke of sin; and when, moreover, each individual, on the disclosure of his own sins, feeling confounded at his turpitude, is forced to be dissatisfied with himself, and to account himself and all that he has of his own as less than nothing; then, on the other hand, conscience (being cited to the bar of God) becomes sensible of the curse under which it lies, and, as if it had received a warning of eternal death, learns to tremble at the divine anger. This, I say, is the first stage in the way to salvation, when the sinner, overwhelmed and prostrated, despairs of all carnal aid, yet does not harden himself against the justice of God, or become stupidly callous, but, trembling and anxious, groans in agony, and sighs for relief.

From this he should rise to the second stage. This he does when, animated by the knowledge of Christ, he again begins to breathe. For to one humbled in the manner in which we have described, no other course remains but to turn to Christ, that through his interposition he may be delivered from misery. But the only man who thus seeks salvation in Christ is the man who is aware of the extent of his power: that is, acknowledges him as the only priest who reconciles us to the Father, and his death as the only sacrifice by which sin is expiated, the divine justice satisfied, and a true and perfect righteousness acquired; who, in fine, does not divide the work between himself and Christ, but acknowledges it to be by mere gratuitous favor that he is justified in the sight of God. From this stage also he must rise to the third, when instructed in the grace of Christ, and in the fruits of his death and resurrection, he rests in him with firm and solid confidence, feeling assured that Christ is so completely his own, that he possesses in him righteousness and life.”

Chew on that a few times. Praise be to Him who has overcome!

I’m trying to prepare a devotional that i’ll be sharing this coming week on what gives a Christian power to press on in the midst of hardship. If you know me you probably know my answer. It is the Gospel!!! Now, being that this is a gospel centered Blog, and that the gospel is the means to accomplish any good work, I thought it might be good to give a definition in my own words of what the gospel is. So here’s what I think.

The Gospel is this: That Christ came, lived, died, and rose again victoriously for His chosen people. He successfully paid the ransom for our sins in taking on His Fathers wrath upon Himself and imputing to us His righteousness. No longer does God’s anger hang over our head, rather His love and His blessing. He has transformed children of wrath into children of the Almighty God. Jesus was victorious and all authority has been given over to Him. He is the sovereign King, and He will be with us til the end of the ages! He has given us His Spirit to lead us and uphold us in our calling to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Oh how sweet is this good news. His people will fail not, for it is He who is faithful unto death. The promises are ours. His blessing is upon us! Amen!

J. C. Hahne

“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

Romans 8:33-34

 So… Who is it, that will bring a charge against us? Well, Satan will do that, the world will do that, even some among the church will do that… But that doesn’t matter, for we are God’s elect, His purchased possesion. Indeed it is God who has justified us from all the charges that could be held against us. It was Christ who died, suffered God’s hatred and judment of sin, who endured the wrath for the joy set before Him. It is Christ who sits at the Father’s right hand who pleads our case, who washed us clean and defends us in the holy court of God. O, Praise Him all you peoples, for His love has conquered sin and death! Praise Him for His sacrifice is enough! Praise Him for He has risen victoriously!

J. C. Hahne

Earlier this evening I was reading from John Piper’s book of devotions “A Godward Life II” and I came across an article that he wrote about the dark side of missions… He told the story of a former Muslim Christian that returned to Northern Africa and was arrested for smuggling in Bibles… He stood on trial and if convicted would be sentenced to death. Piper went on to quote Matthew 24:9 which says “You will be hated by all the nations because of My name.” This hatred of which Jesus spoke of is the “dark side of missions.” If they hated Jesus they will hate you too. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light…” John 3:20.  Yes, we are called to make disciples of all nations, but at the same time be prepared to be hated… not appreciated. I was touched by Piper’s words. He says,

In the face of [this] reality, may the Lord raise up real, radical Christians who are willing not only to love the nations, but also to be hated by the nations… Pray with me that thousands would embrace the call to be hated for the sake of loving others. If your driving motive in life is to be liked and loved, you will find it almost impossible to be a Christian, especially a Christian missionary. Missionaries are people who have decided that being loved by God is enough to enable love. We don’t need to be loved by others. Yes it feels good. But it is not essential. Loving, not being loved, is essential… Oh Lord, put your Spirit of love in the hearts of thousands for the sake of the nations.” (page 271-272)

Reading these words I found myself convicted. I admit that i often seek the praise of man. I expect to be loved in return. May the Gospel empower us to love when persecutions will be the sure outcome. May we have our eyes opened to the beauty of Christs redeeming sacrifice for the ones that hated Him. May God’s love be Enough!!!!

J. C. Hahne

“…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

– 1 Peter 1:18-19

Just a few things I think worthy to point out…

1. Before God’s effectual call upon our lives we lived in “aimless conduct”. This aimless conduct was inherited and passed down by our fathers, being born under sin. Indeed we were “slaves to sin” (Romans 6), and “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2).

2. We weren’t redeemed by something corruptible, but with the perfect eternal sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He was the spotless Lamb of God and was the ultimate sacrifice to appease God’s holy wrath which hung over our heads.

Oh what sweet news! We have been redeemed! Made new… able to enjoy our Creator!

J. C. Hahne