Posts Tagged Glory

In Adam vs. In Christ

I remember some time ago, I went through the New Testament and found every instance of the phrase “in Christ”, “in Jesus” or “in him” where applicable. It was an incredibly insightful study and I would encourage you to do the same and discover the riches we posses in Christ. So often, however, riches aren’t appreciated unless they are paired side by side with poverty. Blue Letter Bible (http://www.blueletterbible.org/ – a great resource, by the way) had a blog post pairing the contrast of who we were “in Adam” and who we are now “in Christ”. They only had the references, so I fleshed out the examples. Let this be a meditation for you as you consider the greatness of what our Savior has done for us.

In Adam

In Christ

Sin (Rom. v. 12) …

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

… Righteousness (II. Cor. v. 21).

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.

 Death (Rom. v. 17) …

For by one man’s offence death reigned by one…

… Life (I. John v. 11).

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

Banishment (Eph. ii. 13)

… ye who sometimes were far off…

… Nearness (Eph. ii. 13).

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Condemnation (Rom. v. 18)

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation…

… Justification (Rom. v. 1).

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…

Curse (Gal. iii. 10) …

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

… Blessing (Eph. i. 3).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…

Judgment (John iii. 36)

… he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

… Deliverance (II. Cor. i. 10).

Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us…

Shame (Ezekiel xvi. 5)

None eye pitied thee, … to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person…

… Glory (John xvii. 24).

Father, I will that they also, whome thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me…

Poverty (Isaiah lv. 2)

Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? Your labor for that which satisfieth not?

… Riches (II. Cor. viii. 9).

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Sickness (Isaiah i. 5, 6)

… the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it…

… Health (Psalm xxiii. 3).

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Defeat (II. Tim. ii. 26)

And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

… Victory (I. John v. 4).

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Sorrow (Gen. iii. 17) …

… cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life…

… Joy (Rom. v. 11).

And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have no received the atonement.

Weakness (Rom. v. 6)

… we were without strength…

… Power (Phil. iv. 13).

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Enmity (Rom. viii. 7)

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

… Oneness (Gal. iii. 28).

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Bondage (Heb. ii. 15)

And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage…

… Liberty (Gal. v. 1).

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Let me ask you, are you in Christ? Which column speaks of your life? Are you under the thumb of sin or is your righteousness found and fashioned in Jesus? Are you in spiritual death or have you found life abundant in Jesus? Are you far from God today or have you been made night by Christ’s shed blood? All that we had in Adam was death; and Christ died the death for us, that we might have life forevermore in Him. Where once we were condemned, the very enemies of God, we have been justified and been adopted as His son or daughter! Where once we were in bondage to the fear of death and sin, we now have liberty from sin and can face death with joy! O, that you would know the riches that are in Christ today! If you do not know Him, come to Him and humble yourself before the throne of God. As the old hymn says, “Nothing in your hand do bring; simply to the cross you must cling!” He will by no means cast you out. If you do know Him, rejoice, brother, rejoice, sister and see all that we have by the grace of God!

 

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Waxing Eloquent About My Backyard

If you were to walk a short way from my home, through the woods, and down a subtle leaf covered path, you would find me sitting upon a great stone in the bed of a creek, which we of my house have affectionately and appropriately dubbed “The Big Rock”. It would take two, or perhaps more, of me lying head to toe to make up its width and more to reach its length. Lying upon a small slope, the rock’s surface slants towards the sky, yet one may sit or walk upon it with ease, as I am now. Other boulders, smaller replications of this larger stone, rest haphazardly along the creek bed. It is with some wonder I imagine, “From whence did this great slab come?” Has it, perhaps, lain here since the great deluge of Noah’s day, when the fountains of the deep burst forth, sundering the very foundations of the earth? How many feet have trod the very spot I sit? Indeed, I am certain that, should this stone speak, it would have great things to tell (though many droll things too; I would assume a stone would have a very tiresome personality). Though it is silent, it is yet a testimony to me of the immutable grandeur of God, and I have often found refuge in Him upon this rock in times of trouble.

The woods that encompass me are equally wondrous. As C.S. Lewis has said (and I paraphrase), enchanted forests of fairy tale lore make every real forest an enchanted one. Have you ever considered the wonders of trees? Branches, bare from Winter’s bite, await their Spring-time resurrection. Within them lies, even now, the potential of life, waiting for the proper moment when the Lord cries out, “Awaken, O sleeper! Come forth, ye buds, ye leaves, ye fruit, in all thy glory!” And so they shall, enlivening this place with viridian glory.

From winter chill and death’s foul sting
Comes life abundant, the joy of spring!

Yet even so, as I gaze upwards towards the clouds, I see the evergreen needles upon the pine trees, great and tall, reminding me that the world shall not always be so. We shall not always pass through the winters of life; one day, we shall burst forth into the Everlasting Spring, and find in Christ our Eternal Joy.

Still I sit in this grey and ashen wood, where the evidence of last year’s Autumn covers the earth. Shall some joy, some taste of that Everlasting Spring, be found even here? I find the answer, hearing a song borne upon the wings of the wind. Nay, no minstrel nor harpist plays; ‘tis musicians of our own Lord’s making, and they still obey His command written in the Psalms:

O “Flying Fowl… Praise the name of the LORD: for His name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven”

Their song, rising then falling, floats about me, more beautiful than the music of any man. It is enchanting, as these winged beasts flit about from bough to bough, singing always and ever. Our Lord so invites us to sing and join in with their praise of Him; though the woods be dim and grey, there is yet a song to be found!

If thou hast eyes to see, all Creation cries “Soli Deo Gloria – Glory to God alone!” He knows every leaf upon the trees of all the world, every bird that ever sang upon the earth, and every hair that is upon your head. Is not this God worthy of all our praise? Let us join in with that stream of praise that has been going since before time began, and shall persist when the very ages themselves come to a close! Let us obey that great command of the 150th Psalm: “Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD!”

“Doth not all nature around me praise God? If I were silent, I should be an exception to the universe. Doth not the thunder praise Him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? Do not the mountains praise Him when the woods upon their summits wave in adoration? Doth not the lightning write His name in letters of fire? Hath not the whole earth a voice? And shall I, can I, silent be?”
– Charles Spurgeon

Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.

Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.

Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.

Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that [be] above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.

He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.

Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:

Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word:

Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:

Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:

Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:

Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:

Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory [is] above the earth and heaven.

He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; [even] of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD.
– Psalm 148

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Fantastic Friday’s Feature: J.S. Bach

This post is letting out a bit of my inner nerd, but I’m all right with that, because not only do I love this man’s many compositions, I have enjoyed learning about his life as well. I hope you do as well.

J.S. Bach lived from 1685 – 1750. During his lifetime, he was most famous as a church organist, but today, we revere him practically as the “patron saint” of classical music. Most other famous composers – Beethoven being the most significant one – came after him and were influenced by his music. A few years after Bach heard a famous organist playing, he decided that his purpose in life was to create “well regulated church music to the glory of God.”

Everything Bach did was for this purpose. His orchestrations were signed “S.D.G” – Soli Deo Gloria, latin for “To the Glory of God”. In his book of the Little Organ Book, a “secular” work, he wrote in the beginning, “To God alone the praise be given for what’s herein to man’s use written.” His son once said that all of them “were in the habit of beginning all things with religion.” Everything was spiritual to Bach, even smoking. He wrote in a poem:

“On land, on sea, at home, abroad,
I smoke my pipe and worship God.”

J.S. Bach took to heart this quote from Martin Luther, who was an influence on Bach’s life: “I wish to see all arts, principally music, in the service of Him who gave and created them. Music is a fair and glorious gift of God. I would not for the world forego my humble share of music. Singers are never sorrowful, but are merry, and smile through their troubles in song. Music makes people kinder, gentler, more staid and reasonable. I am strongly persuaded that after theology there is no art that can be placed on a level with music; for besides theology, music is the only art of affording peace and joy of the heart… the devil flees before the sound of music almost as much as before the Word of God.”

And work Bach did. He accredited his genius not to any particular ability, but to practice, telling a student, “Just practice diligently, and it will go very well. You have five fingers on each hand just as healthy as mine.” He also once said, after being asked about his musical prowess, “I was made to work; if you are equally industrious you will be equally successful.” In a world where distractions are constantly vying for our attention, this thought is key. Bach did much more than the average person, but he never complained. He instead found joy in his work, and did his very best to glorify God. We say we don’t have the time; but are we being honest? Bach’s life is an example that there is far more time in our day than we could ever have imagined, if we would but search it out and “redeem” it (Eph. 5:16).

You can find an excellent album with 100 pieces of Bach’s music, and many other classical composers, for just $1.99 here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Supreme-Classical-Masterpieces-Masters/dp/B005WW94ZS/ref=sr_shvl_album_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1328318625&sr=301-3

Many of the facts and quotes came from a great book called “Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers” by Patrick Kavanaugh. It’s an amazing book, and very encouraging to read if you love classical music.

Blessings, my dear readers! S.D.G.!

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Even in Shackles

Imagine yourself in a house; not just any house, but a very small, one, maybe two, room house. Your accommodations are minimal: a bed, a table, and a couple chairs at most. You can’t leave this house, except to go to court and be tried before a judge. To ensure that you don’t attempt to escape, a police officer is bound to you with chains. Visitors come to you, but aside from that it’s just you and the officer in the house until the day of your trial. Think about it:

How would you feel? What would you be thinking? What would be the first thing you want to do?

I’ll assume, because I know my own nature, that the first thing that pops into your head wouldn’t be “preach the gospel”.

I imagine that the scene I just described is what it was like for Paul when he was under house arrest in Rome. Yet here we find a man who, though he is beaten and in shackles, his sole desire is to glorify God. In his letter to the Ephesians, we see a glimpse of that passion:

“Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (3:13-21, emphasis added)

When he asks for prayers from the Ephesians, he asks not for comfort, freedom, or aid; he says, “And [pray] for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (6:19-20, emphasis added.

Paul called himself an ambassador in bonds; he saw that, even in shackles, even in painful situations, God could be glorified, and the gospel of Christ spread. He didn’t see the Roman soldier bound to him as a burden; he saw it as an opportunity to see a lost soul saved. He didn’t waste time moping about his house; he prayed, sought the Lord, and wrote some of his greatest epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Paul saw every situation, good or evil, as a way to glorify God.

At first, he probably saw little fruit; but as he continued, faithful to the Lord, he saw God working in his midst. He tells the Philippians, “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which have happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; and many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (1:12-13, emphasis added). In a sense, the Apostle is saying that he’s glad he went to prison, because it has been used to greatly glorify God. He knew that, though he was bound, “the word of God is not bound” (2 Tim. 2:9).

Often in our lives we face situations that come to us out of the blue. It’s natural to life, that arbitrary element that we cannot control. Though we think this or that will happen, we never truly know what lies ahead. You could be travelling down the road one day, when everything is going well, and you’re rear-ended by the driver behind you. Or you might find out that you have that shift with that co-worker who isn’t a Christian and is very worldly. Or your neighbor may come over in tears, explaining how they have just run over your dog. The question is, what will you do?

Every situation, no matter how evil or silly or pointless it seems on the outside, has the ability to be used to the glory of God. I’m not saying you need to preach to the lady who rear-ended you; but the way you react to that lady can either lead her towards Christ or away from Him. C.S. Lewis said in The Weight of Glory, “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. […] There are no normal people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. […] it is immortals with whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or

 

everlasting splendors.”

Paul said he was given grace to do this work; it was not on his own willpower or strength that he relied, but God’s. In the same way, we have grace for every situation that comes our way. Know this grace, and know that God can be glorified in every moment of every day, no matter where you are right now.

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