Thursday, June 28, 2007

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?

The prophet Isaiah asked the question every enlightened child of God wonders at. "Who hath believed our report?" When those that know the Truth consider what men believe ( and what they once believed ), they stand amazed at the lunacy of the human race. Men will believe a lie before they will believe the truth.

Their darkened minds will embrace nonsense with such conviction as to rest the salvation of their eternal soul on it. Men will believe in Aliens from outer space before they will believe in the need of an alien righteousness imputed to their account.

Men will believe in reincarnation to a cow before they will believe in the resurrection of the Suffering Servant to the Successful Sovereign Savior.

They will believe in the hocus-pocus, smoke and mirrors of religious ceremony before they will worship Christ in spirit and in truth.

Worse yet, they will put the hope of their salvation in a god so small that he can be bribed by their works, outwitted by their wisdom, or overpowered by their will. They will not see their works as filthy rags, their wisdom as foolishness, or their will in bondage to sin.

One need not look far to find sufficient and convincing evidence that the entire human race has fallen headlong into utter darkness. When the believer in Christ Jesus the Lord considers what natural men believe to be true, and when they observe the quick and complete rejection of what really is true, they are made to feel like the only sane person in an insane asylum.

They truly are not of this world.

How can one convinced of nonsense be made to believe the truth?

The answer is found in the same passage of scripture. "To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" Truth comes only by Divine revelation. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit. Oh, to fellowship with those that have a love of the truth. We are bound to give thanks to God for you brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

Greg Elmquist

ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

Do you believe, with one hundred percent certainty that you are saved?

Now before we cause more unbelief and lack of assurance than already exist, let us considers the premise of that question. I hope you are saying; ‘Well I thought I was until you ask that question.’ The truth is, it is a bad question. The honest soul will have nothing but doubts trying to answer it.

Knowing their own capacity to deceive themselves, they will be caused to say with the disciples; ‘Lord is it I.’ This unscriptural question can only lead us to look within ourselves for assurance.

We know that any confidence that comes from the flesh is deceitful and evil. Only the religious find comfort in this question, because it takes them back to the very thing they are trusting in for their salvation. Those things are in truth, nothing more than a teetering wall, a broken cistern, and a false faith.

God’s means of comforting and assuring His children are found in a completely different question.

Do you believe that Jesus (God does all the saving), is The Christ (sent of the Father to successfully accomplish His purpose), The Son of The Living God (sovereign over the armies of heaven and all the inhabitants of the earth)?

Are you persuaded that He is able to keep that which you have committed unto Him against that day?

Do you believe what the Scriptures clearly set forth about the glorious person and completed work of Christ?


“These are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through His name”

True assurance of salvation is found only in the True Christ to whom sinners are always coming.

Greg Elmquist

Monday, June 04, 2007

THE BELIEVER & GOD'S LAW

The believer's relationship to the law of God has been a long debated subject and a point of division among those who claim to believe the Gospel. Some claim that God's law is the believer's rule of conduct and obedience. Their opponents accuse them of being legalists. Others deny that God's law is the believer's rule of conduct and obedience. Their opponents accuse them of being antinomians (without law). Some claim that New Testament believers are still under the Ten Commandments as a rule of conduct while others claim that New Testament believers are not under the Ten Commandments. Some say that Christ, not the law, is the believer's rule of conduct and obedience.

The controversy could be settled by right definitions of the law and the Gospel. God's Gospel is the preaching of the particulars concerning God's promise of salvation conditioned on Christ alone, based upon Christ's righteousness imputed to sinners. Everyone who truly believes this promise knows the God who made the promise and therefore should expect God to fulfill it.

We know that the Holy Spirit of promise would never promote a legal or mercenary spirit of bondage in the heirs of the promise. This demands that the believer's obedience and worship be motivated by the certainty of salvation based on the imputed righteousness of Christ. The law of God which is the believer's rule of conduct now is the Gospel Economy. In the New Covenant or Gospel Economy God has clearly established the believer's rule of conduct in the precepts of the Gospel as declared by Christ and His apostles. There is not a single part of the believer's walk and conduct before God or man which is not clearly revealed in the New Testament.

The believer's obedience, guided by these Gospel precepts, is neither the cause nor the ground of salvation. The only cause of salvation is God's love, and the only ground of salvation is Christ's righteousness imputed. The believer's obedience to God's law only evidences salvation.


When referring to God's law, many restrict their meaning to the Old Covenant and Mount Sinai, or the Ten Commandments, as given and imposed by God to the nation Israel. Others simply mean God's revealed will by way of commandment in any generation. When God speaks, it is by way of revelation and/or commandment. Just as there were specific precepts expressed by God for which believers in the Old Testament were responsible, there are specific precepts expressed by God for which believers in the New Testament are responsible. Compare the Ten Commandments as recorded in Exodus 20 with many of the commandments recorded in the New Testament epistles. For example: 1 John 5:21; Colossians 3:8; Ephesians 6:1; 1 Corinthians 10:8; Ephesians 4:28; Colossians 3:9; Hebrews 13:5.


All of these are direct commands from God to His people.

How are we to view these things?

Are we to conclude that the Old Testament laws were binding upon those people while the New Testament precepts are mere suggestions and good advice?

We know better than this.

Does this mean then that believers in the New Testament are under the rule of the Ten Commandments?

No. Believers in the New Covenant are not under the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are not our rule of conduct. As God's people under the Old Covenant had specific rules binding upon them whereby they were to express their love, gratitude, and reverence to God, believers under the New Covenant have specific rules binding upon them whereby they are to express their love, gratitude, and reverence to God. All that is binding upon believers in the New Covenant is revealed in the New Testament just as all that was binding upon God's people in the Old Covenant was revealed.


Does this mean that we are commanded to obey God's commands in order to be saved, or to become holy, or to be recommended unto God?

Of course not! That would be legalism which is opposed to grace! This brings us to the next issue.


What Is Legalism?


Before we label anyone a legalist or in bondage we must understand what legalism is and what spiritual bondage is. Many claim that anyone who says the law of God, in whatever capacity or however defined, is his rule of life is a legalist or under bondage. Some imply that even the presence of law is legalism or bondage. Some say that anyone who claims any commitment to the law of God is a legalist or under bondage. This is not so. Consider the New Testament Scriptures listed previously. This is God's Word and God's Word is law. It is His revealed will by way of commandment. These are not mere suggestions. A true believer who looks upon such Scriptures as commandments from God and therefore his rule of conduct and obedience, is not a legalist nor is he under bondage. It does not mean that he is trying to reinstate or put people under the Old Covenant or, as many suggests, "flee to Mount Sinai" for life and assurance.


We affirm that God's holy law revealed in the Gospel Economy is the saved sinner's rule of conduct and obedience. This does not make any of God's saints legalists, nor does it put any of them under bondage. One of the best proofs that this is possible is believers who lived under the Old Covenant law. For example, Moses, David, Isaiah, and all other Old Testament saints who lived during the Mosaic Economy were diligent and careful to participate in the Old Covenant laws and ordinances established and ordained by God. These laws and ordinances were their rule of conduct and obedience at that time. None of these believers however were legalists or under spiritual bondage. In contrast to believers under the Old Covenant, unbelievers (the majority of Israel who lived under and participated in the same laws and ordinances) were legalists and under bondage. This should give us a Biblical definition of legalism. Read Romans 9:31—10:3.


A legalist is a person who vainly imagines that righteousness and holiness is obtained, improved, or conditioned upon personal obedience to the law of God. He believes that salvation, final glory, or some part of this, is conditioned on what he does or what he may think he is enabled to do. A legalist is not one who simply seeks to live by the rule of the Ten Commandments but one who makes his obedience to the law of God the basis of justification, sanctification, and reward in Heaven. A legalist is one who seeks to add his obedience to Christ's righteousness to gain or improve a favorable relationship with God. And in so doing he makes the blood of Christ and the grace of God of non-effect to himself (Galatians 2:21; 5:1). A legalist is one who believes that salvation is conditioned on the sinner in some way or to some degree. He is one who expects God either to save him, keep him saved, bless him, favor him, or bring him to final glory based on something other than the merits of Christ's obedience and death, His righteousness imputed and received by faith.


The believer's only righteousness before God is the righteousness of Christ imputed to him by grace alone. Christ is the Lord our Righteousness. Any sinner who has not submitted to the imputed righteousness of Christ as the only ground of salvation is a legalist. This is evidenced by a refusal to repent, to confess that before justifying faith he was an active idolater, a servant of sin, living in sin, bringing forth fruit unto death, even though he was religious and appeared righteous unto men, even though he may have professed to believe in Jesus. This is spiritual bondage. So legalism and spiritual bondage is seeking salvation or any part of it based on anything other than the righteousness of Christ freely imputed and received by faith.


God's Design In Salvation


We must view all things and settle all issues, including the believer's relationship to God's law, in view of God's whole purpose in salvation. God's design in the salvation of sinners is, first, that every attribute of His redemptive character be honored. God's design in this salvation, secondly, is that Christ have the preeminence and be exalted in His mediatorial glory. These two designs are vitally connected. God's design in salvation, thirdly, is that all grounds of boasting on the part of the saved sinner be excluded.


We can conclude from God's design in salvation, and from the Gospel, which is God's promise of eternal salvation and final glory conditioned on Christ alone, that any person who claims that God's law is his rule of life and who means that his obedience under the law saves him, keeps him saved, makes him holy and fit for heaven, or secures his final glorification in Heaven, is a legalist. We can also conclude that a person who claims that God's law is his rule of life and who means that God's revealed will by way of commandment is the standard and guide of his conduct is not necessarily a legalist. God's law as it has been revealed in any given generation, even in the Old Covenant, was never intended to be a way of salvation or holiness. The law of God has always been given to slay sinners from having any hope of salvation based on their best efforts at morality.

Romans 5:20
"Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound."


The Bible shows us plainly that a believer's efforts towards obedience are to be the results of justifying faith. They are to be performed from the spirit of adoption and liberty, not bondage and legalism. Where obedience is motivated by the certainty of salvation and final glory conditioned on Christ alone, legalism and bondage are excluded. This is the freedom that God's people have to serve God acceptably. This is the liberty in which we are commanded to "stand fast" (Galatians 5:1). Every exhortation given in Scripture for us to obey God's revealed will is given to justified sinners based upon the love of God in conditioning all of salvation upon Christ and sending Christ into the world to meet those conditions. When this is applied to a sinner's heart (mind, affections, and will) that sinner comes from being a "servant of sin" to being a "servant of righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18). This is not because his obedience meets the standard of God's righteousness. His obedience even as a saved sinner still falls way short of God's holy standard. In this light all believers must continue to say, "O wretched man that I am." But he is a "servant of righteousness" in that he now is enabled to serve God and obey God in the spirit of grace, love, and adoption, motivated by the love of Christ which constrains him. He is no longer an unwilling slave. He is a bondslave of Christ.


GOD REQUIRES OBEDIENCE FROM HIS PEOPLE. The obedience that God requires is summed up in the two great commandments - Love God supremely and love our neighbor as ourselves. The obedience and love that God requires is guided by His law, His revealed will by way of commandment. A believing sinner must obey God, else there is no salvation (Romans 6:13-16). Faith without works is dead. But God requires no obedience or works that are legal and mercenary. Obedience is in no way a condition sinners must meet in order to earn, merit, attain, or qualify themselves for salvation, holiness, or final glory. Character and conduct is important in salvation, but it is totally excluded as to the ground of salvation. True obedience begins with believing God's Gospel which is the greatest act of obedience a sinner can perform. Any obedience done apart from faith, apart from the certainty of final glory based on the merits of Christ's obedience and death, is fruit unto death. Acceptable obedience is the obedience performed by a justified sinner motivated by grace. It is the fruit of grace not the source. Where there is no fruit there is no life.


It is impossible for any sinner who truly hears and believes God's promise to have any legal or mercenary notions of salvation conditioned on the sinner. Those who believe the promise, who freely receive Christ's righteousness imputed as the only ground of salvation, see plainly that before justifying faith they were active idolaters and all their efforts at religion and morality were fruit unto death. Before justifying faith, when we thought that God had saved us based on conditions we had met, or had been enabled to meet, we were worshipping and serving a god of our imaginations which was no god at all.


Again, the promise itself forbids any notion of salvation conditioned on the sinner in any way. Justifying faith excludes all boasting, all notions of salvation conditioned on anything other than Christ. Saving repentance forbids any notions of salvation conditioned on the sinner. Perseverance excludes all notions of salvation, including final glory, conditioned on the sinner, because those who believe God's promise are to expect God to fulfill that promise. We see how God is glorified in the fulfilling of His promise. Christ's mediatorial glory is actively engaged in bringing us to Heaven, according to the promise, and Christ's righteousness imputed and received by faith entitles us to Heaven in such a way that is consistent with strict law and inflexible justice. All grounds of boasting are excluded in the believing of this promise (Romans 3:27).


God's Law Defined and Distinguished

What is God's law?

In Matthew 4:4 Christ said, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Keeping in mind that believers in the New Testament are guided by God's law as defined in the precepts of the Gospel Economy as declared by Christ and His apostles, we need to say a word concerning the law of God in general.

The law simply stated is God's revealed will by way of commandment given as man's rule conduct and obedience. It is sometimes referred to as God's word, God's rule, God's testimony, God's precepts, and God's doctrine. The law of God in general is that standard of conduct which is no respecter of persons. It requires perfect holiness in thought, motive, word, and deed. It was given to Adam from the very beginning. As stated before, it is summarized in "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" and "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 22:37-39). It has never been a rule by which any sinner could obtain eternal life, holiness, or acceptance with God. "By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). It has always been that perfect rule by which we should judge sin and righteousness. This is how it exposes our depravity and the impossibility of any sinner being justified based on character and conduct.


How, then, could it be said to be a believer's rule?


Again, it is not the believer's rule by which he can obtain or achieve salvation, holiness, or favor with God. But every believer is guided by this perfect law of love. It can only be viewed as a believer's rule in the following sense:


1. It slays a believer from any notions of salvation (or any part of it) conditioned on our best obedience, and, therefore, it drives a believer to Christ for all righteousness and salvation. God's holy law is the standard by which a believer can compare himself to Christ and see that his best efforts at obedience "come short of the glory of God." He sees that his obedience cannot contribute in any way to the ground of his salvation. This causes him to say, "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?" (Psalm 130:3). It causes him, then, to rest in Christ and trust Him for all righteousness. "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious" (1 Peter 2:7).


2. It is the guide of a believer's conduct, the substance of the love which God requires, and the goal of his desired conformity to Christ. Many seem to think that when God saves us, from then on obedience comes naturally, even spontaneously. They claim we no longer need rules and regulations, specific guidelines. All we need, they say, is love. This not only denies God's testimony, but it questions God's wisdom and design in giving us specific guidelines. It is also simply not true in our experience. A life of obedience involves a continual struggle between the flesh and the spirit. It is a constant process of "casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).


Due to our remaining self-love, self-righteousness, and pride, we must always labor, not to be saved or made holy, but to bow to God's revealed will when it crosses our own sinful wills. We must continue always in the task of "the renewing of (our) mind(s), that (we) may prove what that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2). The main struggle in the warfare of the flesh and the spirit is to fight self-righteous and legal notions that our obedience in some way recommends us to God or makes us holy. The law of God is the standard by which we see that our obedience cannot make us holy. But at the same time it is that standard at which we are to aim in order to be conformed to the image of Christ our Lord who kept God's law perfectly. In Christ we see that the substance of love is the law of God. We know that Christ loved the Father perfectly because He obeyed the Father perfectly.

Consider this issue. Some say, "Law is not my rule. Love is."


What do they mean by this?

We know that it is God's revealed will that we as believing sinners love God supremely and love our neighbor as ourselves. All the duties contained in God's law are but various forms and manifestations of love! Here we can plainly see the wisdom and reasonableness of God's law. Every particular contained in each command is directly related to love for God and love for our neighbor.

But what kind of love does God require?

How far should we go?

Can we determine this for ourselves?

Is the kind of love that God requires of us spontaneous in our day to day living?

A serious consideration of God's testimony and an honest evaluation of ourselves will prove to us that it is only by God's law that we see the substance of the love he requires. This kind of love is not natural to sinners, not even saved sinners who are still plagued with remaining sin and self love.


What does God's word say about this love?

Love works NO ill. Love blesses them that persecute us. Love overcomes evil with good. Love is jealous for the character of God and the pre-eminence of Christ. In every area of life love forbids evil and demands good. Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Far too many professing Christians have ruined their own souls and sealed the veil over their own hearts by believing that the Christian's rule of life is Christ's law of love when by this they mean something mystical, something intangible, some emotional feeling towards our neighbor. Love is our rule of duty, but this love has substance. Love has always been guided by God's revealed will by way of command. If this were not true then every man would be a law unto himself. By this law is the knowledge of sin. It is this law of love that cannot pronounce any sinner righteous based on our best attempts at obedience, based on the personal character and conduct of the best saint. This law requires perfect and continual love for our worst enemy and forbids the least degree of coldness of affection at any time towards those who would destroy us if they could.


The duties of love which reveal God's will are difficult for us even to attempt and impossible for us to perform perfectly in this world. No person can attempt to comply with it in a way that is pleasing to God except those who are motivated by the certainty of salvation based on Christ's righteousness alone. Based on His righteousness the sincere desires and attempts to love God and our neighbor, along with our realization that we always come so short, is well pleasing to our gracious heavenly Father. WE ARE EXHORTED TO PERFECT LOVE, WHICH HAS SUBSTANCE, WHICH MANIFESTS ITSELF IN DEEDS, WITHOUT LEGAL FEAR OF PUNISHMENT OR MERCENARY PROMISES OF REWARDS. God the Holy Spirit never encourages believers to perform any of these duties in such a way that would give us confidence in the flesh or cause us to expect any blessing from God based on anything other than the imputed righteousness of Christ.


These specific things are to be our rule of conduct. None of these things are binding upon a believer for the purpose of attaining life, maintaining life, nor for making a believer holy or certain for Heaven. All this is obtained and secured by Christ alone. But as love is our rule, these specific things are the substance of love which is guided by law. Many object to this language saying, "Christ, not law, is my rule of life;" or "Love, not law, is my rule of life." Usually when they speak of law they are referring to Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments. Let us address this issue briefly.


Are We Under The Ten Commandments?

Does the fact that God's revealed will by way of commandment, God's law, mean that believers in the New Testament are under the Ten Commandments?

NO. The Ten Commandments as they were given at Mount Sinai to Israel is not the New Testament believer's rule of conduct and obedience. The Ten Commandments was part of the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Economy. The whole Mosaic Economy has been abolished by way of fulfillment by Christ. The Old Covenant was instituted by God for the nation Israel and for a limited period of time. It served its purpose, and then God removed it. To understand its purpose it must be viewed as a whole unit. Different aspects of the Old Covenant can be distinguished (moral, ceremonial, civil) for the purposes of studying its particulars. But these cannot be separated from that covenant. We cannot say that one part is abolished while another part remains.

The Bible tells us plainly that believers under the New Covenant are not come to Mount Sinai. Read Hebrews 12:18-24. We are come to Mount Zion. This is symbolic language that explains how we are not under any part of the Old Covenant as a rule of conduct and obedience. We are guided by the precepts of the Gospel Economy. The Ten Commandments as they were given at Mount Sinai to the people of the nation of Israel have been abolished along with the whole Old Covenant.

The Old Covenant (Mosaic Economy) and the New Covenant (Gospel Economy) are two separate and distinct covenants. Each distinct covenant has its own mediator, temple, priesthood, altar, sacrifice, ordinances and laws. The Old Covenant was ratified by the blood of animals. The New Covenant was ratified by the precious blood of Christ. The Old Covenant, including the Ten Commandments, has been abolished by the establishment of the New Covenant, including the precepts of the Gospel (Hebrews 7:12, 14; 8:3-4; 9:22) (Hebrews 7:18; 8:13; 9:10; 10:9; 1 Corinthians 3:7, 11).


The Ten Commandments, which included strict sabbath keeping, was a vital part of the Old Covenant as was the ceremonial law. The whole economy was instituted by God to regulate the worship and obedience of the nation Israel in the land of promise. It was to be in effect until the coming of Christ. The main purpose of the Old Covenant was to be a "schoolmaster" to lead those who were under it to Christ for salvation. The Ten Commandments and all its particulars were given to expose their guilt and defilement and discourage them from any notion of eternal salvation based on their obedience. It was to show them the impossibility of salvation or any part of it conditioned on the sinner. It proved that God could not be just and justify any sinner based on that sinner's character and conduct. The ceremonial law and all its particulars typified and foreshadowed Christ and what was to be accomplished in eternal salvation by Him alone. All of its elements taught the Gospel principles of SUBSTITUTION, SATISFACTION, and IMPUTATION, so that sinners would see and believe that all of salvation must be conditioned on Christ by whose righteousness alone God could be just to justify the ungodly.


The persons unto whom the Ten Commandments were given were the natural descendants of Abraham as a nation. It began and ended with Israel in the land given them by promise. It was God's appointed system of religion and government designed for that nation for a limited period of time to keep them separate from other nations and to point them to Christ for eternal salvation. The establishment of the Gospel Economy by Christ meant the abolishment of the Mosaic Economy (Hebrews 8:13). This meant a change in the whole law.

Hebrews 7:12
"For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a [change] also of the law."

The life of the Old Covenant was in the priesthood. The priesthood typified Christ and His eternal priesthood. When He came and fulfilled the duties of His priestly office, the Old Covenant priesthood was abolished along with the whole Mosaic Economy. When the priesthood changed, this meant a change in the whole law. Christ has made all things new. A new order, an entirely new system of ordinances and worship, is revealed and declared in the Gospel Economy, the New Covenant. All things for which believers under the New Covenant are responsible are revealed and declared in the New Testament. Laws and ordinances for which believers under the Old Covenant were responsible are not our rule of practice and conduct today.


For example, the nation Israel (including true believers) under the Old Covenant was responsible to laws of circumcision, diet, tithing, strict sabbath keeping, along with laws of sacrifice and other ceremonies prescribed by God for them. In order to remain in that nation temporally each individual, even true believers, had to comply with these rules. These laws and ordinances were their rule of conduct and obedience as long as that covenant was in force. This included the penalties also. For example, the commandment to remember the sabbath and the one for children to honor their parents both carried with them the penalty of death for offenders. Believers today are not bound by these laws as such, nor are we subject to the death penalty assigned to these laws.


All this proves that the Old Covenant has been abolished and replaced with a New Covenant. Every mention in the Old Testament of Christ's coming in time and the calling of the Gentiles was a reminder of the abolishment of the Old Covenant. Christ was not the surety, the temple, the priest, altar, or sacrifice of the Old Covenant. These were all types and pictures, but not the substance. Consider also that everyone who has ever been lost in any generation is lost based on the covenant of works God made with Adam. Everyone who has ever been saved in any generation is saved based on the covenant of grace made with Christ. No one was ever eternally lost or saved based on the Old Covenant.


The Law and The Gospel


It is a marvelous display of God's wisdom, grace, and truth that by way of the Gospel the justification of sinners based on the imputed righteousness of Christ is brought into intimate connection with the same law that condemned them based on their character and conduct. The law works wrath. The Gospel proclaims reconciliation. The two are connected by means of a redemption. The doctrine of salvation revealed in the Gospel presupposes the reality of sin revealed by God's law. Since all men are sinners, there can be no salvation based upon man's works. Sin exists wherever perfect obedience to God's law is not found. There is no perfect obedience among men.

Romans 3:10
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one."

Romans 3:23
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."

The law condemns a sinner based on character and conduct. It cannot pronounce a sinner holy and righteous based on anything he does or may be enabled to do. Yet in salvation the law of God must pronounce a sinner holy and righteous if God is to be both a just God and a Savior. We conclude then that man's works and efforts must be excluded from the ground of salvation. Man, by nature or practice, has no righteousness, and he cannot produce one. Thank God that the Gospel reveals another righteousness that men have no part in producing — the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sinners are commanded to trust Him alone for all righteousness.


One of the most glorious things about this great salvation is that the same law that pronounced a sinner condemned and unclean based on his character and conduct pronounces a sinner justified and holy based on the righteousness of Christ imputed to him (Romans 3:21-22). The Gospel reveals that Christ, as the Substitute of God's elect, having their sins imputed to Him, died under the curse of the law. He satisfied both law and justice in order to redeem His sheep. All whom Christ represented will be able to say, "I have kept God's law perfectly, not in my own person, but in the Person of Christ my Substitute." They will be able to say, "I have suffered the penalty due to all my sins, not in my own person, but in the Person of Christ my Substitute."


God's law is "holy and just and good" (Romans 7:12). The goal of the law is justification and life. This goal can be attained only by righteousness. This is what God requires. God's law is the enemy of every sinner who seeks this goal of righteousness by his works and efforts at obedience. God's law is not the enemy of any sinner who seeks this goal of righteousness by faith in Christ. "For Christ the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Romans 10:4).


True believers attain the goal of the law based on their oneness with Christ. In this sense believers are dead to the law. In this sense the law has no claim upon a believer. The law of God, having found its fulfillment of righteousness based on the merits of Christ imputed to the believer, has no claim upon the believer to keep any of its precepts or to suffer its penalty in order to be saved, made holy, or to be finally glorified.


Believers are in an unchangeable state of justification based on the imputed righteousness of Christ without the deeds of the law. All obligations to the law as far as attaining its goal of righteousness is concerned have ceased for a sinner who is united to Christ. Any attempts at obedience aimed at saving ourselves, keeping ourselves saved, making ourselves holy, or securing our final glory, are forbidden because this is legalism and bondage. All obedience is to be motivated by the fact that all these blessings have been attained by virtue of our oneness with Christ based on His righteousness imputed. But that obedience which is done from a spirit of liberty can be and is guided by God's law, God's revealed will. God's holy law has always been and will always be that fixed rule of righteousness summed up in "love God supremely," and "love our neighbors as ourselves." All who are redeemed and justified in Christ are responsible to this law. This in no way brings a justified sinner into legalism and bondage because:


1. Believers already have a righteousness and holiness that satisfies the law. God's law demands our eternal blessedness based on the righteousness of Christ freely imputed; and


2. All encouragements and commands to obedience are directed towards justified sinners and motivated by the certainty of salvation and final glory based upon the same righteousness of Christ freely imputed.



This excludes any legal, mercenary notions that our salvation is in any way conditioned on our obedience, our personal righteousness, or our perseverance. It excludes any efforts performed to be seen of men. We are to expect no blessing from God, temporal or spiritual, based on the merit of personal obedience as if we could earn something from God. We are to walk and obey expecting God to bless as He sees fit based on the merits of Christ's obedience unto death as our Substitute and Surety. We are to attribute no prosperity to our own goodness but only to the goodness of God. And especially the eternal blessings of grace, all grace here and all glory hereafter, are not to be attributed in any way to our own obedience and goodness but only to God's goodness and grace in Christ. So God does require obedience from his people, but it is the obedience of a justified sinner motivated by God's love which is revealed in His promise of eternal salvation and final glory based on the imputed righteousness of Christ.


God's law has always been the guide of a believer's obedience, conduct, and love. The obedience even of a justified sinner is not spontaneous and natural. Although we do have a holy principle of fear, love, and obedience, although we do have the law of God written on our hearts, we are still plagued with an evil principle (remaining self-love, pride, self righteousness). There is a warfare within every believer wherein he struggles daily with sin. In many areas we must be instructed and guided by God's law to know, first, how far short our obedience and love comes of what they ought to be.


This keeps us ever looking to Christ for all of salvation, while we cry, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:25).

This keeps us ever saying, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ," (Galatians 6:14).

Next, this shows us continually the standard for which we are to aim. The law for example says not only love our brethren but love our enemies. There are many times that we would seek to justify ourselves were it not for God's testimony in this area. Those who claim that this is spontaneous are denying their own sinnerhood and denying the warfare of the flesh and the spirit.


If God's law were not the justified sinner's standard of sin and righteousness, he would have no set rule by which to compare his character and conduct. He could not know how far short he comes of God's glory in Christ. He would be a law unto himself.

How do we interpret Romans 6:14 in light of this?

"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14). This does not mean that we have no written rules, regulations, and guidelines. It means that the law of God in a believer's case has been totally satisfied. Therefore the law cannot condemn a justified sinner nor can it demand any obedience to its commands in a legal way. Justified sinners are under grace, and grace reigns through the righteousness of Christ (Romans 5:21) which is perfect satisfaction to God's law and justice. Read Galatians 4:4-5:


To say that God has not given specific guidelines whereby we know the particulars of this law, whereby we see how far short we come of the perfect love, and whereby we aim to be conformed to the image of Christ, is to deny a multitude of Scripture and to question God's wisdom in revealing these things. If we say that God's law has been abolished as the believer's rule of conduct, we would have to say that there is no sin, because "where there is no law, there is no sin." From such a principle it would follow that God's law could neither be regarded as a fixed rule of righteousness and holiness nor an invariable test of sin and iniquity. We could then set our own standards of love and end up thinking highly of ourselves rather than seeing the reality of true love guided by God's law. Consider how men and women fool themselves into thinking they love their neighbor the way they ought to. Even believers can fall into such delusion until we are confronted with God's specific testimony concerning perfect love. Take some time and read of the magnitude and depth of real love in I Corinthians 13 and Romans 12. These examples not only show how far short we come in real love, but it also shows the love that is in every believer in principle by the grace of God, and that for which we should aim in deed. Every commandment God gives in the New Testament is a fixed rule that should guide our love to God and to our neighbor.


We see then that the justified sinner does not have to fear God's law. He has already sought and attained the goal of the law not by works of righteousness which he has done but by the righteousness of Christ alone. Rules and regulations are not the problem.


When God gives us specific rules by which to guide our conduct and worship, we can rest assured that none of these rules are given to promote legalism and bondage. The Old Covenant was not given to Israel to promote legalism and bondage. It was given to be their schoolmaster to lead them unto Christ. It was given to guide their whole economy according to God's providential goodness and mercy upon them. They had rules and regulations under the Old Covenant. We have rules and regulations under the New Covenant. God's goal in all this is to lead us to Christ for righteousness and eternal life and to glorify Himself through an obedient and grateful people.


One who claims that God's law (the precepts of the Gospel Economy) is not his rule of conduct is making a statement that will not stand on Scriptural testimony. We as believers can and should say that, for example, "Lie not one to another" is a rule, a law, that we should endeavor to keep, not to be saved, not to be sanctified or made holy, not for rewards in Heaven, and not to attain final glory.


We should endeavor to tell the truth because we are God's people, redeemed by Christ, and made righteous by His grace. To say that this specific command, or any command of the New Testament, is our rule of conduct and obedience is not fleeing to Mount Sinai for sanctification. The problem is not with God's law nor with a person trying to obey God's law. The problem lies in the motive. Remember, the believer's only righteousness before God is the righteousness of Christ imputed to him by grace alone. Christ is the Lord our Righteousness. Any sinner who has not submitted to the imputed righteousness of Christ as the only ground of salvation is a legalist. The righteousness of Christ alone establishes the believer's relationship to God and to God's law. It establishes the nature and the place of all means of grace, of the fruit of the Spirit, and of all acceptable obedience.

Bill Parker

THE FINAL ACT OF CHRIST OUR MEDIATOR


When we studied Christ's mediatorial office as king, we listed His duties as king. They were as follows:

A. To bring all of God's elect, all who He redeemed, into the kingdom (John 17:2; John 6:37-40; John 10:16). As our King He sovereignly brings us under the sound of the Gospel and sends the Holy Spirit to give us life and bring us to faith and repentance (John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7). He brings us out of the kingdom of darkness and brings us into (Colossians 1:12-14). He brought the thief on the cross into His kingdom (Luke 23:42-43). His lordship, His kingly office, is directly related to His bringing all of God's elect into the kingdom. If He should lose even one, it would destroy His mediatorial lordship. This is why those who believe and promote a universal atonement in which the some or most of those whom Christ redeemed will perish because they have not met certain conditions cannot receive Him as Savior or bow to Him as Lord. Their trust is in a counterfeit christ.


B. To rule over them on earth -- externally by His Word and internally by His Spirit, working in us as justified sinners so that we grow in grace and knowledge, have our hearts continually established with the absolute certainties of His grace, and continually be conformed to Him. He uses His appointed means, such as the ordinances, the continual preaching of the Gospel and study of His Word, prayer and fellowship, and causes us to use these means to accomplish His sovereign purposes in these areas.


C. To protect and preserve them and bring them to final glory (2 Timothy 4:14-18; Jude 1:24-25), by the use of the same means. It is not possible for any sinner whom Christ redeemed to perish. It is His duty as their Redeemer and their King to protect them and preserve them from all that would attempt to separate them from God (Romans 8:31-39).


D. To return for His church and glorify them with Himself (1 Timothy 6:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). The second coming of Christ is not only His return to judge the world and execute God's justice against all who rejected Him. It is also His return to gather all His people together and glorify them together with Him. As we who believe expect our Lord's return, we ought to be diligent and faithful in the things of God knowing that God's longsuffering will work to the salvation of His church (2 Peter 3:11-18).


E. To conquer His enemies (Philippians 2:5-9; Revelation. 17:14; Revelation 19:16). Christ will come again to execute God's justice against the wicked -- all who owe a debt to His law and justice because they do not have a righteousness that answers its demands. This should be an encouragement for all who hear the Gospel to believe and repent.


With these things in mind, we will conclude this study by considering the final act of Christ as Mediator to bring the mediatorial kingdom to its completion.


I. THE ULTIMATE PURPOSE OF CHRIST'S MEDIATORIAL WORK


1 Corinthians 15:21
For since by man death, by man also the resurrection of the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:22
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.


The doctrines of representation and imputation are so essential for a proper understanding of this. Since death came through a man, namely, Adam, also the resurrection of dead believers came through a man, namely, Jesus Christ. Through sin Adam, the representative of the whole human race, doomed all men unto death (Romans 5:12, Romans 5:17-19). Through righteousness Christ, the Representative of the whole election of grace, insured the resurrection of all believers (Romans 5:15,17b,18b,19b). Sin demands condemnation and death. Righteousness demands justification and eternal life (Romans 5:21). Adam's guilt is imputed to all whom he represented unto their personal condemnation and death. Christ's righteousness is imputed to all whom He represented unto their personal justification and eternal life. They shall be made alive. God the Father will save them and raise them from the dead based on the righteousness of Christ.

The phrase "in Adam" limits it to all whom Adam represented, to whom his guilt is imputed. This is evidenced mainly in two ways --

(1) making judgments (especially in the area of saved and lost) based on Satan's lie, and

(2) speaking peace where there is no peace. This is unbelief of the truth of the Gospel, refusal to repent of dead works and idolatry, and walking after and minding the things of the flesh, bringing forth fruit unto death.

The phrase "in Christ" limits this to all whom Christ represented, to whom His righteousness is imputed. This is evidenced mainly in two ways --

(1) making judgments (especially in the area of saved and lost) based on God's truth, and

(2) speaking peace only where there is peace based on God's truth. This is faith in Christ and true repentance evidenced by walking after and minding the things of the Spirit, bringing forth fruit unto God.

So, although there is universal guilt because all men by nature, even God's elect before conversion, are in Adam, it leaves no room for the God-dishonoring, Christ-denying error of universal redemption or reconciliation. All men by nature are guilty, defiled, condemned sinners. All men by nature refuse to believe God's Gospel and repent. But all men are not in Christ. All do not have justification and life. All do not believe the Gospel and repent. The ultimate purpose of Christ's mediatorial work was to procure and give eternal life to all whom He represented, all for whom He lived, obeyed, died, and rose again. His righteousness demands the fulfillment of this goal (Romans 4:23-25). Universal notions of the atonement destroy this great truth and reduce salvation ultimately to the sinner's response rather than attributing it wholly to Christ's Person and work.


II. THE FINAL RESULTS OF CHRIST'S MEDIATORIAL WORK


A. The Kingdom Delivered unto the Father.


1 Corinthians 15:23
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

1 Corinthians 15:24
Then the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.


Paul is speaking of a new resurrection in this context. This is the bodily resurrection of all who die physically in Christ. The order of successions and arrangement in which these events which will take place are: first, Christ is raised as the firstfruits, and secondly, those who belong to Christ, who are in Him by the imputation of His righteousness and by faith in Him, will be raised. This resurrection will take place at His second coming, the rapture, as recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.


The end here refers to the final act, the consummation and end of Christ's mediatorial kingdom reign. This is the accomplishment, completion, and perfection of all things. It is the end of the world as it now is; the end of all evil power, authority, and activity. It is the end of all earthly rule, authority and divisions, such as nations, families, and races. It is the end of all ecclesiastical rule, authority, and power. There will be no more prophets, apostles, bishops, pastors, elders, and teachers. But the mediatorial kingdom of Christ is the main issue here. The grand design of God the Father in creation, providence, and salvation is to have a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness, populated by a holy people perfectly conformed to the likeness of His Son.


In order to understand the language here we must go back to the very beginning. God the Father, in the eternal council and covenant, gave all authority and responsibility to accomplish the salvation of the elect to God the Son. It was God the Son incarnate who accomplished all things to be delivered unto the Father in the end. Prior to delivering up the kingdom to God the Father, Jesus Christ will have subdued, or put down, all rule, authority, and power. This does not mean that Christ will cease to reign. He will always reign as our Mediator, but it simply means that His work of saving God's elect and bringing them to final glory will be accomplished. It will all be finished according to the Father's will and purpose. Christ will then present all things unto the Father for His glory and honor (John 6:38-39; John 17:4).


B. Physical death will be conquered.


1 Corinthians 15:25
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

1 Corinthians 15:26
The last enemy shall be destroyed death.


It is necessary and imperative that Christ reign and rule over all things until every contrary creature, word, thought, and imagination be conquered (Philippians 2:8-10). The last enemy to be conquered is death. The sting of death has already been conquered and destroyed for all who are in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). Christ satisfied law and justice and totally removed the curse which is eternal death. But in 1 Corinthians 15:26 the apostle speaks of physical death. Even believers, who are not spiritually dead nor will they experience eternal death, are yet subject to physical death. But even physical death will be conquered when we are raised and united to our glorified bodies never to die again. This has to be in the case of every sinner for whom Christ lived, obeyed, died, and rose again. He arose from the dead based on the righteousness He established. His righteousness demanded His own justification and life. It also demands the justification and life of all His people. Righteousness demands life according to God's strict law and inflexible justice. Now, Christ is the firstfruits, and if the firstfruits is alive and successful, then the whole crop (all whom Christ represented in His obedience and death) must be made alive and be successful. It cannot be otherwise.


C. The essential kingdom of God will be revealed.


1 Corinthians 15:27
For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under , manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

1 Corinthians 15:28
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.


Paul quotes from Psalm 8:4-6, and according to Hebrews 2:6-9, this is Christ. God the Father has arranged and placed in official subordination all things under Christ as the Mediator of the covenant of grace. But the Son was placed in official subordination to the Father. This describes, not an inequality of Persons in the Godhead, but an official subordination of the Son to the Father for the purposes of redemption. We may properly say that the Father is glorified in the redemption of sinners as Christ, the Savior and Redeemer, is exalted and given the preeminence. The fact that Christ reigns and rules and is given the preeminence does not mean that the Father is subjected to Him. God the Father, who arranged all things under the authority of the Son, occupies a position over His Son. So, as all things are in official subordination to the Son, and as the Son is in official subordination to Father, this makes all things subordinate to the Triune Godhead. When all is accomplished, God's design in redemption is complete and all evil is cast out, then nothing shall appear but the essential kingdom of God, the power by which God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (three Persons but one God) shall reign.

By Bill Parker

CHRIST - OUR KING

The kingly office of Christ is a mediatorial kingship which is the result of His fulfilling His priestly office and duties as our Representative, Substitute and Surety. As God absolutely considered, He is and always has been king by nature. God the Son has always had right of dominion over all His creatures as He is God. This is His sovereign right of lordship as the second Person of the Triune Godhead, and He did not give this up when He became incarnate. But we are going to consider His official lordship, His kingly office as He is Mediator. The kingdom over which He rules as God absolutely considered is unlimited and belongs to Him naturally. The kingdom over which He rules as Mediator is limited to the elect, His Church, and belongs to Him as He earned it by fulfilling all conditions of their salvation.


Someone might object that even His mediatorial kingdom is unlimited because as king He rules over all things for the glory of His kingdom. Even unbelievers will finally bow to Him in their condemnation. But His rule over the wicked only has to do with them as they stand in relation to Him as Savior and to His elect as the redeemed. All who remain in unbelief will bow, but they will bow as conquered enemies of Christ and the Church. The subjects of His mediatorial kingdom are the elect of God, chosen, redeemed, and called from among men by the grace of God, and bear the name of saints. Therefore, the title and character of Christ with respect to them is "King of saints" (Revelation 15:3).


This kingdom was put into His hands to rule and administer. It is a delegated government given Him by His Father based on His having fulfilled all righteousness for His sheep. It is a kingdom He earned by redeeming God's elect (Isaiah 9:6-7; John 17:1-4). His responsibility as king is to save all whom the Father had given Him. When this is completed, He will deliver the kingdom to the Father, perfect and entire, that God may be all in all. This is the kingly office of Christ our Mediator.


I. CHRIST IS KING IN FULFILLMENT OF THE PURPOSES, TYPES, AND PROPHECIES OF GOD.


The appointed Messiah was to be a king: By God's appointment - (Psalm 2:6; 45:6; Hebrews 1:8; Luke 22:29); According to the types of the Old Testament - Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:1); David (Psalm 89:3-37); Solomon (Matthew 12:42); According to prophecy - (Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 32:1; Daniel 7:13-14; 9:24-25); In fulfillment of prophecy - The Jews expected the Messiah to be a king (Matthew 2:2; 3:2; 4:17; Luke 1:32-33). Christ claimed to be a king in fulfillment of prophecy (Matthew 25:40; 27:11,29,37).


II. HIS QUALIFICATIONS AS KING.


A. His Deity - He could not be our mediatorial KING unless He is God. The extent of His power shows that He is God (Matthew 11:27; 28:18; John 17:2). No mere man could rule over the entire universe and give salvation to whom He pleases. He is our Savior-King, our sovereign Savior. The nature of His rule shows us that He is God. His rule is an internal, spiritual rule over the minds and hearts of people as well as outward. He makes His people willing in the day of His power. He puts His law in their "inward parts." Under the Old Covenant, God ruled Israel, but it was an outward rule over rebellious people. In the mediatorial kingdom of Christ, all shall know God as Father through Christ and willingly bow to His rule (John 6:44-45; Hebrews 8:10-11).


B. His humanity - To be our mediator and king, He had to identify with us in our name and in our nature. He had to become incarnate in order to meet the conditions of our salvation and merit the kingdom. Just as our High Priest had to be taken from among men, our mediatorial king had to be taken from among men. Remember, His mediatorial lordship is founded upon His fulfilling the duties of His priestly office. He had to be our Redeemer, our Savior, in order to be our king.


C. His accomplishments - The accomplishments of His priestly duties qualified Him to be our king (Jeremiah 23:5-7; Acts 2:36; John 17:1-4). The Kingdom of Heaven is established upon His righteousness (Matthew 5:20; 6:33). His kingship (lordship) is the direct fruit and effect of His establishing the righteousness of the law for His church to enable God the be just and Justifier.


III. HIS DUTIES AS KING.


Notice His several duties as our Mediator and King:


A. To bring all of God's elect into the kingdom (John 17:2; 6:37-40; 10:16). As our King He sovereignly brings us under the sound of the Gospel and sends the Holy Spirit to give us life and bring us to faith and repentance (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7). He brings us out of the kingdom of darkness and brings us into (Colossians 1:12-14). He brought the thief on the cross into His kingdom (Luke 23:42-43). His lordship, His kingly office, is directly related to His bringing all of God's elect into the kingdom. If He should lose even one, it would destroy His lordship.


B. To rule over them on earth, externally by His Word and internally by His Spirit working in us as justified sinners so that we grow in grace and knowledge and have our hearts continually established with the absolute certainties of His grace. He uses His appointed means: the ordinances, the continual preaching of the Gospel and study of His Word, prayer and fellowship.


C. To protect and preserve them and bring them to final glory (2 Timothy 4:14-18; Jude 1:24-25), by the use of the same means.


D. To return for His church and glorify them with Himself (1 Timothy 6:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).


E. To conquer His enemies (Philippians 2:5-9; Revelation 17:14; 19:16).


IV. THE NATURE OF HIS KINGDOM.


(1) It is spiritual, not earthly (John 18:36) - This is where the Jews made a vital mistake. They were looking for an earthly kingdom. But who are the subjects of His kingdom? SPIRITUAL ISRAEL, all who believe the Gospel.


(2) It is a righteous kingdom (2 Peter 3:13). Remember, it is established upon His righteousness, and none shall enter this kingdom but those who are righteous in Him (Psalm 24).


(3) It is a peaceable kingdom in that all His subjects are at peace with God (Romans 14:17).


(4) It is an eternal kingdom (Psalm 145:13; Daniel 4:3; 2 Peter 1:11).


V. WHAT IT MEANS TO BOW TO HIS KINGSHIP, HIS LORDSHIP.


Most people think of bowing to the lordship of Christ as a matter of one who has already received Him as Savior finally getting busy for the Lord and seeking to reach great heights of personal holiness and improvements in character and conduct. They say, "He's your Savior, but is He your Lord?" This is wrong because you cannot receive Him as Savior without receiving Him as Lord and visa-versa. He cannot be one and not the other. The first saving view we have of Christ is as He is our High Priest, our Savior, and if we trust Him as our Savior, we will bow to Him as our Lord. Others claim that bowing to His lordship is a matter of bowing to God's absolute sovereign right to save or damn whom He will. They claim that a person has bowed to Christ as Lord when they admit that God is absolutely sovereign. The problem with this is that many have admitted that God is absolutely sovereign, that He saves or damns whom He will, but they have never savingly bowed to the Lordship of Christ.


How is this possible, and what is it to bow to His Lordship?


Remember, the Lordship of Christ refers not to His essential sovereignty, even though that is included, but it is first and foremost His mediatorial Lordship as He fulfilled all conditions of the salvation of His sheep and established a righteousness for them that secures their salvation and final glory. You cannot separate Christ's Person from His finished work, His righteousness. You cannot separate Christ Lordship from His righteousness. The establishment of righteousness as the only ground of salvation is the theme and ground of His Lordship!


We know that sinners must bow to the Lordship of Christ. All who hear the Gospel are commanded to bow to the Lordship of Christ.


But what does this mean?

It means to come to saving faith and true repentance from former idolatry and dead works. When we come to believe God's promise of salvation conditioned on Him alone, and to plead His righteousness as the only ground of salvation, and repent from all efforts at religion and morality aimed at the ground of salvation, and turn from the false god who accepted such dead works, then, we have bowed to the Lordship of Christ! You cannot reconcile the god whom you worshiped, the christ whom you served, before the Gospel, with the true God and His Christ. You cannot serve two masters, two Lords! Salvation requires bowing to Christ's Lordship!


We truly bow to Christ's Lordship when we see the glory of God revealed in the face of Jesus Christ. This is when we begin to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts, to fear God with that reverence and respect of His redemptive character that comes in salvation. Sinners may come great lengths in character and conduct, and they may agree that God is absolutely sovereign and can save or damn whom He will. But apart from seeing the glory of God revealed in the face of Jesus Christ, they will never savingly bow to the Lordship of Christ.


There are several aspects to bowing to Christ's Lordship:


(1) Humility where a sinner sees that God cannot save him, justify him, sanctify him, or bring him to final glory based on anything other than the imputed righteousness of Christ. It arises from Holy Spirit conviction by the preaching of the law and the Gospel. The convinced sinner sees and knows that God cannot be just to justify him based on character and conduct, and he sees and admits that all his efforts before saving faith were dead works and fruit unto death.

(2) Assurance where a sinner sees that God can and will save him, justify him, sanctify him, and bring him to final glory based on the imputed righteousness of Christ. This arises from God-given faith, where a sinner, having been convinced of sin and of righteousness, expects God to save him and bless him based on the finished work of Christ, His righteousness alone.

(3) Subjection to the judgments of the law of God. This is where a believing sinner sees that all who are either ignorant of or not submitted to the righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel are, without respect of persons, lost and their deeds are evil, and that all who are submitted to Christ's righteousness revealed in the Gospel are, without respect of persons, saved and in God's favor. This is what keeps believers from speaking peace to unbelievers and motivates believers to have fellowship with their brethren.

(4) Obedience to God's revealed will where justified sinners seek to follow Christ, obey Him, and become conformed to His image in their character and conduct as they are motivated by grace and gratitude to God for free salvation.


We see then that bowing to the Lordship of Christ is the same thing as submitting to His righteousness as the only ground of salvation (Romans 10:1-3). It is believing on His name, being convinced that He has met all conditions to secure my whole salvation, and that I do not need anything else to recommend me unto God. If Christ had not established this righteousness, He would have no kingship or kingdom. Humility, assurance, subjection, and obedience all spring from saving faith and true repentance. That is why any sinner who claims to believe God's Gospel but who refuses to admit that everything before hearing and believing this Gospel was dead works and acts of open idolatry, has not bowed to the Lordship of Christ.


Bowing to the Lordship of Christ is when we see and believe by faith that all of our salvation, including final glory, is sure and certain based on his finished work, His righteousness! This establishes the only right motive for all acceptable obedience and good works. If Christ is our Lord and our Savior, this ought to motivate everyone of us to diligence in obedience, love, worship, prayer, good works, and all things that honor Him. This is the fruit of bowing to His lordship.

Bill Parker

CHRIST - OUR INTERCESSOR AND ADVOCATE

In Hebrews 7:24-25, the Apostle Paul continues his arguments showing the vast superiority of Christ's priesthood and sacrifice over the Old Covenant priesthood and sacrifice. The Old Covenant priests were many. Their death proves the limited nature of their priesthood and of the whole Mosaic Economy. "But this (man) ..." this Priest--Christ's eternality and immutability insures the same for His Priesthood. This gives believers comfort and security as explained in verse 25. But, first, this verse raises an important question:

Did not Christ die on the cross?

Yes, but He died AS a Priest. The priest under the Old Covenant died FROM being a priest! Their death was the end of their priesthood. Christ's death was in fulfillment of His priesthood! He died as a priest because He was also the sacrifice. He continued in that office and the execution of its duties even while in a state of death! "Because He continueth ever" as our Great High Priest, we see that the same love wherewith He laid down His life for us continues to insure our blessedness! We have the same High Priest to take care of us, to assist and help us, to plead our cause, and to preserve us against every enemy!


Read verse 25 again. Here, we have a testimony to the "power" of our Great High Priest - "He is able"; the goal of that "power" - "to save"; the extent of it - "unto the uttermost"; the objects of it - "them...that come to God by Him." We also have the reason of it - His perpetual life and work. "He ever liveth to make intercession for them"! For our consolation, the apostle assures us of Christ's love and ability to save us! He is able to save us to the uttermost. Let's consider some ways in which He blesses us.


I. CHRIST OUR INTERCESSOR - In our text it says, "He ever liveth to make intercession." In Isaiah 53:12 it says "He bare the sins of many and made intercession for the transgressors." In Romans 8:34, it says, "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." To intercede for us is to undertake the business of a mediator. To intercede is to intervene and negotiate, entreat, petition, and plead on our behalf. This is what Christ continually does as our intercessor, and His work in this capacity is founded upon His fulfilling the duties of His priestly office.


Christ satisfied all the conditions of our salvation here on earth when, by the one offering of Himself, He obtained eternal redemption. His intercession in heaven is the continual application of the benefits of His priestly work to all whom He represented. The intercession of Christ on behalf of His sheep is the great evidence of His love. This is a source of comfort and assurance to all who trust Christ and His righteousness as the only ground of salvation and have no confidence in the flesh.


His continual intercession does not mean that He has to plead continually to convince the Father to keep us and bless us. It shows the value of His righteousness wrought out on our behalf. His blood continually atones for our sins. His righteousness continually demands our eternal life and well-being, and all of this is consistent with the Father's will and according to His promise. And, as we continually sin, Christ continually intercedes on our behalf presenting the merits of His obedience and death for us.


His intercession proves His love and compassion for all whom the Father had given Him. God the Father gave Christ the desires of His heart when He gave Him the responsibility of saving the "many sons" He would bring to glory. As our Intercessor, He prays for us, not for the world (John 17:9), but for His sheep. This is also proven in the three passages mentioned concerning His intercession. In each one it is Christ interceding for God's elect, justified sinners, all who come to God by Him, pleading His righteousness alone. He does intercede for God's elect even before their conversion as He prays for their conversion (John 17:20), but all for whom Christ intercedes are those who surely receive the benefits of His intercession based on His fulfilling the duties of His priesthood.


II. CHRIST OUR ADVOCATE (1 John 2:1-2).


A. What is an advocate? It is one who stands along side us and pleads our cause in the way of law and justice. Advocate is a legal office having to do with strict justice. This advocate is like a lawyer who defends his client honestly and demands that law and justice bring its exact ruling and set the accused free based on strict law and justice. Christ is the Advocate of every justified sinner as He pleads the merits of His blood atonement and righteousness imputed on behalf of His own. He demands that strict law and inflexible justice view His clients, justified sinners, and pronounce them holy and righteous based not on their character and conduct, but based on His righteousness alone.


Christ as our Advocate pleads with a just and righteous God, and so His plea must be consistent with and based upon perfect satisfaction to law and justice, wherein God is revealed as both a just God and a Savior, and, thus, covenant God and Father. Christ's office of Advocate is the fruit of His office of Priest. A Priest makes intercession by virtue of His sacrifice which rendered perfect satisfaction to law and justice. As Advocate He pleads strict law and justice based on that satisfaction made in His own sacrifice for sin.


So, when we sin, and the guilt of that sin is incurred, and Satan accuses us, Christ our Advocate calls for a just verdict based upon the satisfaction He has made to God on our behalf by establishing a righteousness which satisfies law and justice.


--Zechariah 3:1 - The charges of Satan are groundless, NOT that we have not and do not commit sin and that continually, but that we have a righteousness which demands justification and life, one which satisfies law and justice for our sin (Romans 8:1,33).

--So, whatever charges Satan brings, CHRIST ANSWERS THEM. He does not excuse our sin, ignore our sin, deny our sin, nor encourage our sin, but because of His substitutionary sacrifice for our sin, He pleads for the non-imputation of them to us and the imputation of righteousness to us.

--He pleads in our favor that these sins have been imputed to Him, and that His blood was shed for remission of these sins, and that He made full satisfaction for them, and therefore, according to justice, they cannot be charged to us.


B. Who is our Advocate? Jesus Christ, the RIGHTEOUS. This refers to Christ's Person and His righteous, holy character as Godman/Mediator which gave Him both power and fitness to be our Substitute and now to be our Advocate. "He ever liveth to make intercession"--His advocacy is part of that intercession which is the continual application of the benefits of His priestly work on behalf of His people. He "became us," i.e., Christ alone and our salvation conditioned on Him was the only way suited for our fallen and guilty condition. We who were by nature and practice, idolaters, ungodly, unrighteous, guilty and condemned, stood in need of such a High Priest as Christ, the righteous.


We needed one who could identify with us in our nature yet without sin. Here, we have the Holy Spirit's testimony concerning Christ's perfect, sinless Humanity which He took into union with His Deity in order to glorify the Father by satisfying all the conditions of our salvation. We have a worthy and loving Advocate, who stands for us, Jesus Christ, the righteous, and this is described for our benefit that we may be comforted in the absolute certainty of salvation conditioned on Him, knowing that even though we sin, our sins CANNOT incur the wrath of God. (1 John 4:17) - What law say of Him in His character and conduct, it says of us by imputation.


C. What is our Advocate to us? He is the PROPITIATION for our sins, and not for ours only but for every sinner who believes God's promise of salvation conditioned on Him alone. It is for every sinner who seeks after justification and life based on His righteousness imputed. This does not mean that Christ died for all men without exception. That would be a denial of the propitiation, of the very truth that John is giving. "Propitiation" means atonement, satisfaction, reconciliation and peace with God based on that satisfaction. (1 John 4:10; Romans 3:24-26). It means that Christ in His Person as the High Priest of the covenant, and by virtue of His obedience unto death, established and fulfilled every condition and requirement of God's holiness on behalf of His people.


His righteousness DEMANDS the justification and eternal life of every sinner for whom He died, whom He represented. And based on that righteousness, law and justice demands they go free. If any one of them went to Hell, law and justice and God Himself would be unjust, and Christ's Person and work would be worthless. This also shows us that all those for whom Christ was the propitiation for their sins, GOD WILL BE THEIR FATHER. He will be to them a just God and a Savior. Christ IS ALL IN ALL that God requires of us for salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30). This is the ground of our salvation and what He pleads on our behalf to insure our eternal blessedness.


THE GROUND OF SALVATION MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE. If our ground is Christ, His blood, His righteousness, which demands the eternal blessedness of every sinner for whom He died, then we can have this confidence, that though we sin, and that continually, and the law condemns all sin, WE ARE NOT UNDER LAW, BUT UNDER GRACE (salvation is conditioned on Christ, the righteous). And I never again have to fear the wrath of God, the punishment of sin, or fear God with that unhealthy, ungodly fear of a slave dreading punishment which results in dead works. But I can serve God acceptably in freedom with that reverential respect for the honor of His redemptive glory in Christ, my Advocate, and walk in the light in honest confession of my sinnerhood, and as an adopted son knowing that all God's wrath and just punishment that I merited and deserved was spent out totally on my Substitute.


And when sin overtakes me, even gross immorality, when I don't live up to your expectations of me, when I don't love enough (and I never do), and when I dishonor my God by something I do or say, I can lift my heart to God in true Godly sorrow over sin and say, "Father, forgive me, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE. I know that you receive me in Christ, based on His blood and righteousness which is eternal and unchangeable. You view me in my sinless Substitute who bore your wrath in my place and satisfied your law and justice, and eternally removed your wrath and gained your favor for a sinner like me."


And I can say with confidence, "I trust Christ, and because of Him, I can never come under God's wrath or disfavor again. HE IS MY INTERCESSOR AND ADVOCATE." This is the way we are to live; this is the spirit of adoption; this is the spirit of true Christianity; this is the spirit of love and the walk of faith. And this is what motivates every true believer to SIN NOT and seek to serve, worship and obey God.

Bill Parker

CHRIST - OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST

In Hebrews we are exhorted to "consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus" (Hebrews 3:1). We considered Christ our Apostle, our Prophet who reveals the wisdom and knowledge of God to His people. Now we will consider Christ our High Priest. We have studied Christ as our Representative, Substitute, Surety, Redeemer and Savior. These are all mediatorial offices He performed in fulfillment of His priesthood. The Epistle to the Hebrews is a consideration of the superiority of Christ in His Priestly office. Its theme is that in consideration of Christ as our Great High Priest, we who trust Him for all righteousness and salvation are to have our hearts established with grace. We are to come confidently to God expecting salvation, all blessings and final glory based on the merits of the blood and righteousness of Christ, our Great High Priest.


The priesthood of Christ is the beginning and essence of all salvation knowledge. By fulfilling the duties of His priesthood, Christ became our Redeemer. The first saving view we have of Christ is His priesthood. By His priesthood we have the complete forgiveness of sins. By His priesthood we have free, unhindered access into the presence of God for worship. Apart from the priesthood of Christ all acceptable fellowship with and worship of God is completely cut off. By His priesthood we are entitled to the whole inheritance of grace and glory. Because He has fulfilled His priestly duties, He is at the right hand of God, making intercession for us, ruling over all things, and we can be assured we will be glorified and reign with Him.


God's glory in salvation and the salvation of His sheep are founded upon the accomplishment of Christ's priestly duties (John 17:1-4). Salvation was conditioned on Him as our High Priest. He fulfilled all righteousness for us as our High Priest. He is our "great High Priest" because of His deity and the power of His redemptive work. Our entrance and continuance in God's kingdom are dependent on our High Priest. As we consider Him as our High Priest, we learn again how we are to hold fast our confidence in Christ and make use of all means of grace, and by our words and deeds show forth the praise and glory of Christ our High Priest.


I. CHRIST'S APPOINTMENT TO BE OUR HIGH PRIEST - This is revealed in the purposes and decrees of God as agreed upon in the everlasting covenant of grace. God chose a people out of Adam's fallen race, and He appointed Christ to be their High Priest. He conditioned all of salvation upon Christ. He was appointed and invested with this office by the Father. We will see how the Old Covenant priesthood typified and prefigured the priesthood of Christ. In the Old Covenant, or Mosaic Law, the earthly priests were appointed by God (Hebrews 5:4-5).


Christ was appointed and equipped by the Father. This reveals the subjection of the Son to the Father in the covenant of redemption. God the Son, equal with the Father, became subject to the Father to be our High Priest to save us from our sins, to be a propitiation for our sins, to make atonement and satisfaction for sin (Romans 3:25). Redemption by His blood was "foreordained before the foundation of the world" (1 Peter 1:18-20). His sufferings and death as our High Priest were all according to the "determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23).

The types and prophecies of the Old Testament show the appointment of the Messiah to be a Priest (Psalm 40:6-7; 110:4; Zechariah 6:12-13; Isaiah 53:10-12). There were several types of Christ as priest. The main one was Melchizedek, King of Salem and priest of the most high God (Hebrews 7:1-3,17). Melchizedek was a type of Christ in his person as there was no recorded genealogy of Melchizedek. Christ our High Priest is the Son of God, with no beginning and no end. Melchizedek was a king and a priest. Christ is both King and Priest. Melchizedek means "king of righteousness," and Christ is the Lord our Righteousness. King of Salem means peace, and Christ our Priest is the prince of peace who established the only ground of peace between God and sinners.


Aaron the high priest of Israel under the Mosaic Law and his descendants typified Christ. His was called the Aaronic priesthood, or the Levitical priesthood, being made up of the tribe of Levi. Under the Mosaic Law the high priest was appointed of God to represent Israel before God, to offer sacrifices in the tabernacle upon the altar, and to enter into the holy place with blood for ceremonial and temporal atonement for the sins of the people. Christ was appointed of God to represent spiritual Israel, the elect of God, to offer the sacrifice of Himself, His humanity upon the altar of His deity, and enter into the presence of God eternally for all whom He represents. Christ supercedes and excels all the types. His priesthood is eternal, and His sacrifice is sufficient to atone for all the sins of all of God's elect eternally.


II. CHRIST'S QUALIFICATIONS AS OUR HIGH PRIEST (Hebrews 5) - The Mosaic Covenant revealed the requirements of a priest and taught the duties of that office. It typified and pictured the Person, offices and mediatorial accomplishments of Christ, the Captain of eternal salvation. That whole economy was a schoolmaster to lead them to Christ that they might be justified by Him (Galatians 3:24).


A. His humanity qualified Him (Hebrews 5:1) - We have already seen how He was appointed by the Father to this office. - "ordained" to it. In that He was appointed He was qualified, but His humanity also qualified Him in that "every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men." As our High Priest He had to be our Representative and Substitute. God ordained the priest to stand in the place of sinners to represent sinners before God, and to substitute himself in their place for their benefit. The priest offered sacrifices to God to make atonement for the sins of those whom he represented. This means the priest was to do everything necessary to make the persons and duties of all whom he represented acceptable to God.

Hebrews 2:16-17
(16) For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
(17) Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

It behoved Him -- He was obligated by the covenant of promise "in all things"--all human experience. God the Son became incarnate to carry out His duties as High Priest. He became incarnate because the High Priest must be taken from among men. He must represent the people before God. He must offer a suitable sacrifice to God on behalf of the children He represents. It was according to His covenant obligations to glorify the Father in the salvation of the elect, according to God's promise. He had to come in our name and in our nature to properly represent us before God. He had to take into union with Himself a sinless humanity, body and soul, so that He could be a suitable Substitute and have our sins imputed to Him. Remember, the high priest had to come with an offering of blood. Christ, our High Priest, offered Himself, shedding His own blood and dying on the cross to satisfy law and justice for us. God cannot suffer, bleed, and die, but this Person, our High Priest, who is God did suffer, bleed and die.


God the Son was "made like unto His brethren" in all things yet without sin. This set Him apart from earthly priests, sinful men who themselves needed a substitute who could atone for their sins. Christ did no sin and knew no sin. As our High Priest, the sins of God's elect were imputed to Him (Hebrews 7:25-27). His humanity enabled Him to sympathize with us as it was required of a high priest that He have compassion for the people (Hebrews 4:15). He suffered all infirmities of the flesh, yet without sin.


B. His Deity qualified Him - Christ could not have been our Priest unless He is God. As our Savior He had to take away the sins of all for whom He is Priest. Mere man, not even perfect man, could not save the whole election of grace, because no man could produce an everlasting righteousness of infinite value to be applied to a multitude of sinners. Only God could provide a righteousness of infinite value to save the whole election of grace, so Christ had to be more than man. (Hebrews 5:2-3) - Christ is superior to Aaron. Aaron himself was a sinner who needed pardon. All imperfections belonging to the Aaronical priesthood were not to be found in Christ.

Hebrews 7:22-24
(22) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
(23) And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
(24) But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.


III. CHRIST'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS OUR HIGH PRIEST (Hebrews 5:9-10) -

This means that due to His qualifications, due to His infinite power and love for the glory of His Father and the souls of His sheep, Christ was qualified to accomplish all that was required to save His sheep and bring them to final glory. HE IS THE ETERNAL CURE! He fulfilled all conditions for our salvation. He was "made perfect," not as to His Person, but with respect to the fulfillment of His Priestly office as the Substitute for sinners (Hebrews 2:10). Christ's sacrifice of Himself perfected or fulfilled His priestly office and glorified God in the salvation of sinners. This is its foremost design. Having satisfied all the conditions of salvation on behalf of all the "many sons," "He became the Author of eternal salvation." He is both the Procurer and Bestower of all the blessedness He has merited by His work of mediation, according to the will of His Father. He has done everything necessary to make the salvation of His sheep consistent with the perfections of God's character.


The word eternal is in contrast to the temporary priesthood and sacrifices of Aaron. The blood of animals was not appointed to remove moral guilt (Hebrews 10:1-4; 9:6-14). The earthly priesthood and animal sacrifices could not secure eternal salvation. But this Priest, by His one sacrifice, became the Author of eternal salvation "unto all them that obey Him"--who believe God's testimony concerning Him and submit to be saved by Him in the way of God's appointment. We obey Him when we truly believe God is glorified in salvation conditioned on Christ alone! "All" is qualified by "obey Him," all who believe God's Gospel. No sinner who hears the Gospel is excluded from eternal salvation except by unbelief! This speaks not of all without exception but all who believe God's Gospel and repent from dead works. The only hope of salvation for ANY is the blood of Christ! Consider the following questions:


1. Who is the sacrificer? Under the Mosaic Law, the sacrificer was an earthly priest, a sinful man. Our High Priest is God the Son incarnate, the sinless Substitute. Christ is our altar, sacrifice, and priest. In order to accomplish propitiation (satisfaction to God's law and justice on our behalf), we need:


a. A PROPER PRIEST - He must be one called of God to represent the people of God's choice, and be equipped by God to fulfill His appointed duties. Christ was called from the beginning, in the everlasting covenant, to take the responsibility to save His people. He was equipped when He became incarnate and was filled with the Spirit without measure.


b. A PROPER SACRIFICE - Law and justice demand payment for sin. Without shedding of blood (death) there can be no remission of sins. Christ's human nature, without personal sin, was a proper sacrifice, having the sins of God's elect imputed to Him.


c. A PROPER ALTAR - The altar in the Old Testament set the sacrifice apart. The divine nature of Christ was His altar. It set the sacrifice of His humanity apart and gave it infinite value whereby to secure the salvation and final glory of the whole election of grace. Christ offered the sinless sacrifice of His humanity, having sin imputed to Him, upon the altar of His infinite Deity. This gave His righteousness, all the merit of His whole work of redemption, infinite value to demand the justification, eternal life, and final glory of all whom He represented.


2. What did He offer? Under the Mosaic Law the priest offered animal blood. Christ offered Himself, His human nature upon the altar of His divine nature. This was a sacrifice infinitely more valuable than all the rivers of animal blood shed for over 1500 years.


3. To whom was the sacrifice offered? Under the Mosaic Law the sacrifice of animal blood was offered to one true and living God. Christ's blood was also offered to God whose law and justice demanded satisfaction.


4. For whom was the sacrifice offered? Under the Mosaic Law the priest offered the blood for His own sins and the sins of the people of the nation Israel. The names of the twelve tribes of Israel were engraved on his breastplate. He did not offer the blood for the Gentiles but only for Israel. It was a particular atonement. Christ offered His own blood, but not for Himself. He was sinless in Himself. He offered Himself for the elect, His church, His sheep, His children, spiritual Israel. His sacrifice was a vicarious sacrifice. He was a substitute and surety. The sins of His people were imputed (legally charged) (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18)to Him and He offered Himself for them.


5. What was the nature of the sacrifice? Under the Mosaic Law animal blood was offered as a symbol or a token of God's providential, temporal goodness and mercy to the nation Israel. It was to remind them that God had redeemed, delivered, protected, and provided for them temporally as a nation, not because of their goodness and power but because of His own unconditional goodness towards them as a nation. The animal blood did accomplish ceremonial, temporal cleansing, and temporary relief from civil guilt (Hebrews 9:13). It was a type and picture of eternal salvation by the blood of Christ, but it could not accomplish spiritual, eternal cleansing and salvation. The blood of Christ was a full and sufficient sacrifice which resulted in an everlasting righteousness that enabled the Father to justify all whom Christ represented. It demands their salvation. It was a single offering that accomplished spiritual, eternal cleansing (Hebrews 9:14; 10:14).


6. What were and are the results of this sacrifice? It is important to understand, as stated, that under the Mosaic Law the blood of animals did accomplish temporal, ceremonial cleansing, not spiritual and eternal (compare Hebrews 9:13 with 10:4). But the blood of Christ, our Great High Priest, did accomplish the complete spiritual and eternal redemption of the whole election of grace (again, Hebrews 9:14; 10:14). Christ accomplished full spiritual and eternal satisfaction to God's law and justice, and secured the full spiritual and eternal pardon of all sin, full acceptance into God's eternal favor, and full entitlement to the whole inheritance of grace. The blood of Christ, our Great High Priest, resulted in a righteousness that demands the eternal salvation and final glory of every sinner for whom it was offered.


Christ did not become incarnate, suffer and die in order to make salvation possible for those who could meet a certain condition. He came to save a people, and when He established this righteousness, reconciliation was made for their sins. HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS DEMANDS THEIR JUSTIFICATION AND ETERNAL LIFE! This is an actual atonement and redemption, not a general amnesty whereby sinners could use Christ as a mere pedestal upon which to boast of their faith and free will. Salvation is by the will of God and based upon the imputed righteousness of Christ alone! To say that any for whom He stood as Priest and offered His blood could finally perish is to deny the accomplishment of His priestly office and to deny the sufficiency of His sacrifice.


Our Great High Priest and all whom He represents are eternally accepted before God based on the satisfaction made by Him as our Substitute. We are comforted by His greatness and power along with His goodness and love. He performs all of the duties of His priesthood on our behalf. If someone were to claim that Christ's love and compassion for us might turn to anger because of the greatness or frequency of our sins, let us look at the alternative. What could we do to pacify His anger and obtain His favor? All our righteousnesses are as "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). At our best state we are all unprofitable servants. Future reformation will not pay for past sins. God has excluded all atonement for sin except the precious blood of Christ (Hebrews 10:18), and that legal way of thinking can only lead to a mercenary spirit of religious pride and self-righteousness.


There is no alternative that will glorify God, exalt Christ, and remove all grounds for boasting in sinners. There is no alternative to comfort a sinner who has been slain by the law. There is nothing that will produce in us a real spirit of adoption except the truth of being unchangeably justified based upon the unchangeable righteousness of Christ which is a product of His unchangeable love and compassion for His sheep. This is the only love that begets true love. We will only love God and one another to the degree we are convinced of God's free, unmerited, unchangeable love for us in Christ. This love is consistent with holiness and justice, and it produces in us a desire to be obedient in every area of life. Sinners are encouraged to maintain a life of faith knowing that the love, compassion and pity of our Great High Priest never varies or diminishes, and that He will never cast us off (John 6:37). Even as sinners we can have boldness and confidence of salvation based on the merits of our High Priest (Hebrews 10:19-25). We fail, but Christ our Great High Priest never fails.

Bill Parker