At Calvary #5

Saturday, June 21, 2014

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24 KJV).

The chorus of William R. Newell’s classic 1895 hymn “At Calvary” highlights today’s Scripture.

“Mercy there was great, and grace was free,
Pardon there was multiplied to me,
There my burdened soul found liberty
At Calvary.”

“Mercy” means “pity, compassion,” God holding back what we deserve (His wrath). “Grace” is God’s unmerited favor—it is free to us (apart from our works) because Jesus Christ paid for it with His life (it is not “cheap grace!”). In Christ, we are liberated from sin’s dominion and works-religion bondage (Galatians 5:1)—the “redemption,” the purchasing of our freedom, through Jesus Christ’s shed blood. We received “redemption through [Christ’s] blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of [God’s] grace” (Ephesians 1:7; cf. Colossians 1:14). The riches of God’s grace—where our sin abounds, God’s grace abounds far, far, far, far more (Romans 5:20). God’s forgiveness, His abundant pardon, is offered to us at Calvary’s cross.

For our dear readers who are lost, who have never come to a point in their lives where they relied exclusively on Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for their sins, we urge them to do so today before it is eternally too late. No matter what you have done in your life, there is no sin so vile that Jesus Christ’s blood cannot cover it. At Calvary, the God of the Bible offers all the mercy, grace, love, and forgiveness you will ever need, but none of it can be applied to you until you trust Jesus Christ alone as your personal Saviour.

After soul salvation unto eternal life, we join our Apostle Paul in reflecting upon our former lives, and we conclude with him, “but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus(1 Timothy 1:13,14). Indeed, the mercy, grace, faith, and love of Jesus Christ are more than enough.

Saints, being mindful that our (self-) life ended at Calvary, and our (eternal) life began at Calvary, let us sing “At Calvary” with grateful hearts! 🙂

At Calvary #4

Friday, June 20, 2014

“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” (2 Corinthians 8:9 KJV).

The fourth verse of William R. Newell’s classic 1895 hymn “At Calvary” highlights today’s Scripture.

“Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary!”

God gave heaven’s best—Jesus Christ—to save earth’s worst—us, sinful mankind. God’s love for us drove Him to Calvary’s cross: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). God’s grace, His unmerited favor toward us, enabled Him to endure Calvary’s cross for us: “…Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man (Hebrews 2:9).

We could not meet God’s righteousness in our own strength: we were spiritually poor. Jesus Christ had God’s spiritual wealth—righteousness, majesty, glory, and so on. Today’s Scripture says Jesus Christ “became poor” (“he humbled himself;” Philippians 2:5-8). He became a man, to serve instead of be served (Matthew 20:28), to have our sin imputed to Him (2 Corinthians 5:21), to die as “the just for the unjust” (1 Peter 3:18). When He completely paid our sin debt, He resurrected to give us His righteousness (Romans 4:25; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Titus 3:4-6 reminds us: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;….”

The Apostle John affirmed: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: … Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins(1 John 3:16a, 4:10). Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary is now the bridge between God and us.

At Calvary #3

Thursday, June 19, 2014

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (Acts 16:25 KJV).

The third verse of William R. Newell’s classic 1895 hymn “At Calvary” highlights today’s Scripture.

“Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
Of Calvary.”

In 2 Timothy 1:11,12, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” Some 35 years earlier, Paul had entrusted his very soul to Jesus Christ. The Apostle, in prison awaiting execution, knew that, no matter what happened to his physical body, his soul was secure in Christ. Never would his Saviour disappoint him.

Once, when we were “children of pride,” Satan was our king (Job 41:34). Now, we recognize Jesus Christ as King in our lives. Paul’s doxology, 1 Timothy 1:17, reminds us: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Verse 16 says we praise Jesus Christ because of His “mercy and longsuffering” that caused Him to save us).

In Acts chapter 16, Paul and Silas, having just been beaten and whipped for preaching the Gospel of Grace, sat in a Philippian jail with their feet chained. Despite all their troubles, they sang praises to the Lord Jesus Christ—and the prisoners heard them (today’s Scripture)! Evidently, now, they were singing about the Gospel of Grace, for the Philippian jailor later asked them, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Their timeless reply was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (verse 31).

We have relied on Jesus Christ for our soul salvation. Hence, our delighted souls cannot help but remember that our eternal life began at Calvary’s cruel cross where the Son of God died. What a song we can sing, even in the midst of heartache! 🙂

At Calvary #2

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20 KJV).

The second verse of William R. Newell’s classic 1895 hymn “At Calvary” highlights today’s Scripture.

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
To Calvary.

It is by God’s Word—specifically, the Law (the Ten Commandments)—that we learn what sin is (today’s Scripture). “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression [or “overstepping”] of the law” (1 John 3:4). The Bible says in 1 Timothy 1:8-11: “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

Read today’s Scripture with the previous verse: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:19,20).

Romans 3:21,22 gives us the solution to our sin problem: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.” Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood to pay for our sins, and by faith in that alone, God’s righteousness would be given us, and our guilt and shame of disobeying God’s Law would be imputed to Christ!

At Calvary #1

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

The first verse of William R. Newell’s classic 1895 hymn “At Calvary” highlights today’s Scripture.

“Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary.”

Before we came by faith to Jesus Christ, our lives epitomized emptiness and arrogance. We may not have been murdering, stealing, committing adultery, bowing before statues, or cursing the Lord Jesus Christ’s name; yet, our lives were vain and prideful. We were “walking, in the vanity [emptiness] of [our] mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that [was] in [us], because of the blindness of [our] heart: who being past feeling [had] given [ourselves] over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19).

Romans chapter 1 explains how God gave us Gentiles up and over to our “vain imaginations” and “foolish, darkened hearts” (verse 21). In Genesis chapter 11, God relinquished us Gentiles to enjoy the spiritual ignorance—“reprobate [worthless] mind” (verse 28)—we so desired. Once He let the Gentile nations go on their way, He created the nation Israel to become His earthly people. For the next 2,000 years, Satan’s sin (pride; 1 Timothy 3:6) operated in us Gentiles; hence, the Devil himself, the ruler “over all the children of pride” (Job 41:34), was our king. While we Gentiles were “without God” and “without Christ” (Ephesians 2:12), Jesus Christ died for us (today’s Scripture). As our pagan Gentile ancestors offered their worthless sacrifices in their heathen temples, Jesus Christ offered Himself to pay for their sins.

“Calvary” (Greek, kranion; Latin, calvaria, “skull”) only appears once in our King James Bible (Luke 23:33)—modern English versions eliminate it. In Hebrew, the place is “Golgotha” (Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22; John 19:17), meaning “the place of a skull.” It was on this hill whose rocky formation resembles a human cranium, outside of Jerusalem, that Jesus Christ was crucified for us. While we were on our merry way to eternal hellfire, the eternal Son of God was put to death on Calvary’s cross that we might have eternal life!