Marriage Should Not be Secret

September 24, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Posted in Isaiah, Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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After the initial novelty of marriage wears off, it can be easy for some spouses to view our marriages as just a fact of everyday life – part of who we are and what we are allowed and not allowed to do because of the fact that we are married. Even Christian spouses, if not regularly involved in church ministry that emphasizes the importance of marriage, can forget that what is taught in the Bible must be applied not only to how we think about marriage, but how we live within our marriages. Most secular marriage counseling, and even much church-related marriage counseling and teaching, focuses on things like finances, parenting, scheduling and time management, jobs and careers, hobbies, communication, etc. If we’re not careful we’ll spend so much time and energy trying to figure those things out, that we will miss the significance of God’s true intentions for marriage, and will fail to plumb the depths of the greatest source of wisdom concerning marriage: the Word of God.

For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.

Isaiah 62:1-4

The children that God has entrusted into my care as a father have some pretty unusual names, and people have been known to occasionally give them a hard time because of it. For this reason, I’m the last person to make fun of someone’s name. However, there are some names – names that in years past were popular – that have simply gone out of style, and that you just don’t hear much anymore. Take, for example, the name “Beulah.” Do you know anyone named Beulah? It was a fairly popular name from 1890 to 1911 (which also happens to be the year that the famous hymn “Dwelling in Beulah Land” was published). In 1901 almost 4000 out of every one million baby girls were named Beulah. However, the popularity of the name plummeted rapidly after the turn of the 20th Century, and last year only ten out of every one million baby girls were named Beulah.

In Isaiah 62:4 the name Beulah means “married,” but the context is not, strictly speaking, marriage itself. Isaiah 62 is talking about how God will restore exiled Israel, and, in a greater sense, how He will regenerate, renew, and restore all His people in the New Covenant Church. However, it is a very relevant passage on the topic of literal marriage because it gives insight into how God – the Creator of marriage – expects marriage to be.

I. Marriage should not be a secret.

For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace…

Isiah 62:1

To hold our peace means to be quiet. We should not be quiet about our marriages. They are great vehicles for glorifying God. Fallen sinners do not naturally (nor should they) trust and commit to each other, but as Christians we do not wear the label of fallen sinners as our primary identity. We have been redeemed by God’s grace, and we are allowed and encouraged to advertise this reality.

… I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.

Isaiah 62:1

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16

Three groups of people immediately come to mind when I think about those who need to hear that Christian marriage is absolutely wonderful:

A. Young people who will soon be of the age to consider marriage or possibly get married

Marriage is not for everyone, but it is for most, and it is a great gift from God. It should be seen as a goal strive for and a victory to obtain, not as the end of freedom and the beginning of a life sentence of fun-denial.

B. Non-Christians

Whenever I see a pagan couple who claims to have a happy marriage, it is bittersweet. I’m thankful for the “common” grace of God that keeps them from killing each other, but I know that their marriage could be so much better.

C. People having marriage problems (whether they are Christian or not)

Every time you speak of your marriage you might be giving marriage advice or acting as a marriage counselor, whether you intend to be or not. The last thing someone struggling in his/her/their marriage needs to hear is another complaint or gripe about marriage. People need encouragement. They need to see how wonderful marriage truly can be. Is it bragging or boasting to sound off about how much we love our marriages? No! Because people are supposed to see our “good works” not so they can glorify US, but so that they may glorify OUR FATHER which is in Heaven!

For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.

Isaiah 62:1

Don’t be bashful or withdrawn about your marriage. A torch is given for the purpose of lighting up the darkness and showing off the Truth.

Next time we will see the importance of spiritual growth within our marriages.

Big Words of the Christian Life: Omniscience (Part 2)

October 19, 2017 at 11:10 am | Posted in big words of the Christian life, Isaiah | 1 Comment
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Last time, we acknowledged that God’s knowledge is comprehensive, continuous, and constant. Now we will see that it is also complete.

Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?

Isaiah 40:13-14

God does not need any assistance in getting information, or in helping Him to understand or interpret the information He has. Nor does He need anyone to counsel Him as to how to use His information or knowledge. Obviously, the same cannot be said of us. We often need assistance, help, or someone to give us advice. We need teachers, and the Bible says we are foolish if we won’t listen to someone with more experience than us. We need instruction manuals. We have to stop and ask for directions.

But not God. He doesn’t need anyone’s advice. That’s one of the many reasons that we must read and study our Bibles diligently. That’s where God has told us exactly what He wants us to know – no more and no less. Obedience to God’s Word is not bondage or drudgery; it is great freedom. He knows what’s best for us, and when He says, “thou shalt not,” we had better believe there’s a very good reason for it. His Word is not up for debate, because He has spoken it, and caused it to be written, out of His omniscience.

In addition to being complete, God’s knowledge is correct.

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Isaiah 46:9-10

Even the smartest human experts are sometimes proven wrong. There are times when we “know” something without a shadow of a doubt, and then it turns out that we were deceiving ourselves or we were forgetful.

But not God. He is perfect in all His ways, and, in His omniscience He cannot be wrong, mistaken, forgetful, or untrue. He knows everything that will happen, not because He looks ahead in time before making His predictions or prophecies, but because He is infinite and is already present in the “future” now, sovereignly causing or allowing events to occur before anyone else “gets there.” God would score a perfect A+ on any history test, not because He was the one Who wrote the test, but because history is “His story.” He is making it happen, and the future, to Him, already exists in His omniscience.

Because God’s knowledge is comprehensive, continuous, complete, and correct, it is also comforting.

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

I John 3:20

We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but (to use a well-worn but still accurate cliche’) we know Who holds tomorrow. At least I hope you know Him. He knows you – either as His child or as His enemy – either as His “son” or as a sinner. He knows where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what you’re thinking right now, and where you’re going.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Romans 8:29-32

You are going to see Him – probably much sooner than you think. The determining factor on that day will not be your baptism, your church attendance (or even your membership), or your religious affiliation. No last rites or rosaries or confessions or the record of how good a Samaritan you were will matter at that moment. Your “good” deeds will not be weighed on a scale against your bad deeds. Your parents, your skin color, your bank account, or whether you loved your country – none of that will matter. What will matter is whether you believed and received the eternal Son of the omniscient God.

A.W. Tozer Challenged Us to S.W.I.M. in God the Father

September 21, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Posted in Isaiah, Quotes | 1 Comment
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What a broad world to roam in, what a sea to swim in is this God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is eternal, which means that He antedates time and is wholly independent of it. Time began in Him and will end in Him. To it He pays no tribute and from it He suffers no change.

A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

Isaiah 40:28

Willful Waiting

March 6, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Posted in Biblical farming, Isaiah | 4 Comments
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In a comparison between the principles of farming and the principle of Biblical evangelism, we have noted the importance of planting, watering, weeding, and watching, all of which are necessary if we are to see an agricultural harvest OR a spiritual harvest of souls brought to Christ. Now we will deal with possibly the most difficult task for a farmer who is zealous and anxious to reap the fruit of his time and labor: the waiting.

For a farmer, obviously, every day is not harvest day. And, although harvest day is a day of great rejoicing and satisfaction, the experienced farmer will learn the principle of patience while he is waiting for it to arrive. In the same way, those who wait upon the Lord’s salvation, rather than getting frustrated, must learn to adopt an attitude of expectancy tempered by contentment. It is also important to remember that Biblical “waiting” is often “active waiting,” as paradoxical as that might sound. Waiting upon the Lord is more like the waiting done by a waiter in a busy restaurant than the waiting done by an exasperated patient in the waiting room of a medical office three hours after the appointment time while the doctor finishes a round of golf.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

“Waiting” upon the Lord involves walking, running, and even soaring, as we look forward with Biblical hope (a knowledge-based AND faith-based assurance that He will keep His promises in His perfect timing).

The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:25-26

Buried Treasure

August 4, 2016 at 10:34 am | Posted in Isaiah, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Isaiah 53:9

The prophecy that Christ would be buried with the rich was fulfilled by the actions of Joseph of Arimathaea. Jesus’s death and Resurrection are integral parts of the Gospel, but so is His burial.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Isaiah 53:10

The Lord Jesus bore our sin to the Cross, but it is not the weight of that sin that crushed (“bruised”) Him; it was the weight of God’s wrath. Jesus was childless in the biological sense, and, furthermore, the prophecy describes a dead man “seeing his seed.” How could this be? It was fulfilled in Jesus’s Resurrection and the spiritual children He would regenerate and adopt.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Isaiah 53:11

God the Father was not “satisfied” in the sense of taking delight in Jesus’s suffering, but His righteousness, law, holiness, and justice were satisfied by payment in full for the entire sin debt of His people.

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 53:12

Jesus on the Cross made intercession for transgressors, and He’s still doing that today.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

II Corinthians 5:17

Let us esteem Jesus Christ better today than men did when He came to die for us. Let us look at what they esteemed instead of Him, and ask ourselves if we esteem those things more than Him today. He was poor. Do we esteem wealth? He was an outcast among the religious establishment. Do we esteem popularity and acceptance? People lied about Him and said vile things. Do we fight for our good reputation with plans and schemes to get even, and with our own get-back-at-you gossip? Which do we care about more – that we look good to men, or that God looks great to men? He came to serve and to die. Do we dare to try to get ourselves in the position of being served by someone else? He suffered hardship and discomfort and a life of hard work. Will we dare to pamper ourselves?

Jesus is rejected so much today, for so many of the same reasons He was rejected back then – He represents everything that carnal men hate. He is worthy, and that’s an thing easy to sing, but do our activities and attitudes and awe prove that He’s our Treasure?

Catechism Question 16

January 26, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism, Isaiah | 6 Comments
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Question 15: What did Jesus do while He was here on earth?
Answer: He lived a perfect, sinless life.
Prove it.
John 8:29

Question 16: How was Jesus treated here on earth?
Answer: He was hated, rejected, and falsely accused.
Prove it.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53:3

Jesus of Nazareth, the most kind, loving, compassionate person Who ever walked the face of the earth, was held, at least part of the time, by at least a certain segment of the populace, in varying levels of esteem. There were even those who loved Him and honored Him to a degree. Some even worshiped and adored and learned from His teaching. Yet the overall tenor of His sojourn through this world was scorn, ridicule, abuse, and persecution. Why?

Because He was the light Who came into the world to expose the evil of human beings who loved their sin and did not want it exposed. Because He divided the true from the false, and division is seldom comfortable. Because Satan was motivating his followers to attack and oppose Christ’s ministry and mission. Because He challenged the status quo of false religion and the greed and self-righteousness of the religious leaders and system of that day.

Other verses to consider:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

But they cried out, Away with [him], away with [him], crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

John 19:15

Your Vocation

June 2, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Posted in Isaiah, Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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If you work at a “secular” job (as opposed to a paid ministry position), let me offer you a suggestion: Consider thinking about your job as not just a job, not just an occupation, not just a position, or a career, or even a profession. Consider thinking of it as your “vocation.”

What do I mean by that? I mean that “vocation” is a word derived from the Latin word vocare, which means “to call,” and from which we get words like “vocal” and “vocabulary” and even “voice.” The idea is that, in a spiritual sense, as a Christian, you are to do what God has “called” you to do.

1. Your vocation is real.

The Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostle in Ephesians 4:1 and wrote: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called…” It is very important that you do not compartmentalize your spiritual convictions away from the rest of your life, including your job.

Most secular jobs are difficult. They involve situations where problems are encountered on a regular basis, and if they were problems with easy solutions, chances are, you and your job would not be necessary to deal with them. A recognition that your calling is from God will give you determination and purpose in dealing with problems. It will also remind you to seek God’s help in dealing with these problems.

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

II Timothy 1:8-9 (emphasis added)

The first calling you ever received as a Christian was the calling to become a Christian, and it is no surprise to God that you are on the career path where you now find yourself. He has a gracious purpose in mind, just as much as if you had been called to some official religious office. In the Kingdom of God that you are a part of if you are truly a Christian, there is no “sacred” and “secular” for you! Your briefcase, your hardhat, your pens and calendar, your suit, coat, tie, or coveralls are sacred because they are used in your vocation.

2. Your vocation is relevant.

There is a great need for Christians in whatever field you are employed, but that need does not exist because the problems of this world have become too big for God, nor does he need your help sorting them out. However, He chooses to glorify Himself by expressing His attributes in a fallen world.

None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

Isaiah 59:4

The types of problems which Isaiah is describing are right in there with things like shedding innocent blood and oppression of the weak and poor, and all sorts of lying and deceitfulness – the things which God abhors and which provoke His wrath. Prophetically, Isaiah 59 speaks to the days in which we live just as much as it did to the people of Israel during Old Testament times. The entanglements and problems that you will see among your co-workers, customers, or clients are not the products of innocent happenstance. When you go to work, you are going into a dark, hostile environment, like it or not.

Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.

Isaiah 59:9

This is possibly what Jesus had in mind when He said that His followers were to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Our world does not need any more darkness. It needs salt and light, and I’m asking you to consider the possibility that God Himself has called you with a real divine calling to be that salt and that light in a place and at a time where it is very relevant and needed: on your job.

Beware the Flattened Fence

May 12, 2014 at 9:38 am | Posted in Isaiah, The Fives | 4 Comments
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God compared the kingdom of Judah to a vineyard. He had planted this vineyard Himself and given it every advantage. He had chosen the most fertile ground and the best vines. He removed the stones and built a strong tower in the midst of it. There was no legitimate reason why the vineyard should not have produced excellent grapes.

http://hilarymurdoch.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/big-grapes.jpg

But it didn’t. It produced “wild grapes:” grapes which were unfit for consumption, and which brought dishonor to the owner of the vineyard. This happened because of the disloyalty, disobedience, and egregious sin of God’s chosen people.

He had given them His promises, His prophets, His Word, His blessings, His victories, and poured out His Spirit upon several of their leaders. Yet they insisted on doing things their own way, and now there would be consequences.

And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:

Isaiah 5:5

Vineyards in those days were bordered by hedges to keep out trespassers, marauders, and thieves.

https://i0.wp.com/s0.geograph.org.uk/geophotos/01/75/05/1750503_173700e5.jpg

If the hedges fell into disrepair or were damaged, the vineyard was exposed to danger and would be destroyed. God was about to allow the hedges protecting Judah to be weakened, broken, and trampled down. The result would be severe chastening and destruction.

What has God planted in your life that is supposed to bring Him glory? Have you been given a Bible, a church, a family, a home? Food, shelter, clothes, health? If so, what has been your response to your Lord? Are you serving Him with passion, zeal, and faithfulness? Are you being a good steward over the vineyard of your life by giving Him praise, and by serving your neighbors in His name? Or is your life a cluster of “wild grapes” gathered for your own pleasure and squandered in your own vain winepress?

How often we hear Christians praying for “a hedge of protection” around our lives! We need to make sure that what we are asking God to protect is actually worth protecting according to His standards.

The New Girl Arrives

August 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Isaiah, John, Uncategorized | 12 Comments
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This has probably been the longest period of time I’ve gone without adding a new post to The Deep End. Although I’ve taken a break or two in the past, this time the occasion was very special. On August 21, 2013, God placed our fourth daughter, Lucy Nicole, into our family and into our care. It had been 13 1/2 years since the birth of our third daughter!

My wife was extremely brave throughout a difficult ordeal, and it was a little touch-and-go for a couple of days. During the night before Lucy was born, we found and claimed this promise from the Word of God:

Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut [the womb]? saith thy God.

Isaiah 66:9

I know that someone will probably say that this is out of context – that the verse is talking about the nation of Israel rather than the literal birth of a little baby girl – but we found it extremely comforting, and believe that God used it to help us through a difficult time. The Bible contains both principles and precepts, and I refuse to be disabused of the notion that God is 100% faithful and has the ability to finish absolutely everything that He starts, in a way that perfectly serves His ultimate glory. Nor do we discount the possibility that God arranged her birth on 8-21, when Romans 8:21 and 22 talk about the pain of childbirth and the deliverance of the children of God. The Lord was (as He has been throughout our marriage) amazingly gracious and loving to us, and mom and baby are home safe and sound and doing well. We thank Him and worship Him for this great gift placed into our trust and stewardship. May we, with His help and in His power, be faithful to teach her about Jesus and His Gospel, and to bring her up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

We kept the baby’s name a secret throughout the pregnancy, and my wife and her friends referred to her simply as “The New Girl,” but the main reason we like the name “Lucy” is that it is derived from the ancient word for “light,” and “Nicole” is from a word meaning “victorious people.” Certainly, Christians are victorious people of the Light!

There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe. He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of that Light. [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

John 1:6-12 (emphasis added)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:12 (emphasis added)

But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 15:57 (emphasis added)

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

I John 5:4-5 (emphasis added)

From What Were You Saved? (A and B)

July 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Posted in Isaiah, Salvation | 12 Comments
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Lord, thank You for Your great plan of salvation – offered freely to us even though it cost You so much. When we look in Your Word we see that we are so unclean, and we have no excuse – we are undone. All our reasoning, all our speculation, all our schemes and imaginings apart from Your Word must be crucified. Lord, help us to recognize that You are now, have always been, and will always be worthy of all praise, honor, and glory, and to recognize that You alone can save and sanctify. In the holy name of Christ Jesus. Amen.

Have you been “saved?” If your answer is “yes,” and if you understand the term “saved” to be synonymous with “born again” or “regenerated,” then let me ask you this: From what were you saved?

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5 (emphasis added)

The “He” in that verse is Jesus. The “our” is you and me.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:6 (emphasis added)

“The LORD” is God the Father. The “Him” is Jesus. The “us all” is you and me.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Isaiah 53:7-10 (emphasis added)

“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him” means that it pleased God to bruise Jesus. Does that surprise you? Have you heard it before? Is your understanding of salvation limited to a Gospel tract containing the “ABC”s of salvation: “A.dmit (that you are sinner); B.elieve (that Christ died for you); C.onfess (with your mouth the Lord Jesus)?” To help us have a deeper understanding of what it means to be saved – and from what we need to be saved – I want to present to you a different set of “ABC”s.

Christ’s A.gony

Most people have either seen a film called The Passion of the Christ, or have been in a church service where someone has preached about some of the graphic and violent details of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. You have probably heard about the crown of thorns, and the beatings, and the Roman whips, and the spear piercing His side, and the blood pouring down (not the discreet trickle of blood that is depicted in popular Roman Catholic art, but a veritable blood bath). If so, you may have the idea that this type of physical suffering is what Christ endured in our place, and I certainly do not believe we should try to minimize the importance of the physical suffering of Christ on the Cross. But there was much more to it than that.

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:42-44

Before His arrest and subsequent crucifixion, Christ was in agony as He prayed in the Garden of Gesthemane, and it was more than the agony of knowing that He was going to endure a painful physical death. As He sweated out great drops of blood He was thinking about more than Roman whips and punches – about worse than thorns and spears and nails and thirsting and physical torture. As Christ looked forward from the garden to the Cross, He saw the moment when He must say, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me..?” We are talking about the perfect Son of God Who had never for a fraction of a moment been out of the loving graces of His Heavenly Father. He was a Son who had never grieved His Father – had done nothing but bless Him for all eternity. When Jesus accepted the Father’s will, and agreed to drink the cup instead of letting it pass from His lips, He suffered agony that went beyond the physical. If you have been “saved,” it is true that the physical “stripes” on the back of the Lord Jesus were endured in your place, but what you have been “saved” from is so much worse than sickness and physical pains and infirmities and ailments.

Christ’s B.ruising

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him…

Isaiah 53:10

We use the word “bruising” to mean a little discoloration of the skin due to a relatively minor injury. But the word being translated as “bruise” in Isaiah 53:10 means “to crush.” It contains the idea of the way grain was placed into a millstone to be ground into bits – crushed and utterly shattered. How could it please the Lord – God the Father – to bruise – to crush – His Son?

He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.

Proverbs 17:15

If you are truly “saved,” then God has justified you, meaning that He has declared you to be righteous, even though, as a sinner, you are truly wicked. How is it that God can declare you righteous without being an abomination unto Himself? And how is it that He allowed Christ Jesus – the only truly “just” human being to ever walk the earth – to be unjustly condemned? The answer lies in understanding exactly what transpired on the Cross of Jesus Christ, which we will look at next time.

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