Perhaps the sweetest, most mysterious, and most comforting revelation of God in Holy Scripture is the real, eternal union of God’s elect with Christ. From that union flows all our salvation, all comfort, all security, and all everlasting blessedness.
Covenant Love — Don Fortner (Tune: When I Can Read My Title Clear — #497)
1. Awake, my soul, and join the song, Sung by God’s saints above; No theme so well employs the tongue, As Jesus’ cov’nant love.
2. According to God’s purposed grace In everlasting love, The worst of Adam’s fallen race Are saved by cov’nant love!
3. My Surety’s work, my Father’s word, Forever firm shall prove; The Spirit’s graces all afford Sweet proofs of cov’nant love!
4. My life, and strength, and joy, and peace, My hope of bliss above — My union with the Prince of Peace, All flow from cov’nant love!
5. Here then I’ll rest, and live, and die (Oh, let me not be moved!) And when I sit with Christ on high, I’ll sing of cov’nant love!
“It pleased the Lord to bruise Him.” Isaiah 53:10
Contrary to popular, heretical opinion, the Son of God did not die as the helpless victim of circumstances because the Jews would not let Him be their king! His death was not a secondary plan God had on reserve and adopted because the Jews rejected Him. Their rejection of Him was part of the plan! That is what Romans chapter eleven is all about.
The Lord Jesus Christ died by the hand of God, according to the will of God, to satisfy the justice of God, for the elect of God, to the glory of God. Though He “knew no sin,” the Lord God was pleased to bruise Him in the place of sinners for sin. We recognize that our Redeemer was crucified by the hands of wicked men; but He was delivered to their hands by the will of God (Acts 2:23); and those wicked men did nothing but that which God Himself had purposed and “determined before to be done” (Acts 4:27-28).
The death of Christ was no accident, or after thought! The death of Christ was in the mind and heart of God from everlasting (Revelation 13:8). The eye of faith looks beyond the malice of the Jews, the weakness of Pilate, and the Roman cross, and traces the death of our Lord Jesus Christ back to its original source, to the heart of God himself (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10).
The Lord Jesus Christ died according to the purpose, decree, and will of God our Father (1 Peter 1:18-21; Acts 13:28-29). We do not, we dare not impute to God the sin and guilt of the crime. Wicked men did exactly what they wanted to do. God did not force them to act as they did. Yet He did absolutely govern and control their actions and used them to accomplish His own purpose of grace toward His elect. Not a single action, circumstance, or pain involved in the Savior’s death came to pass except by the decree of God.
This is a foundation truth of Holy Scripture. See that you hold it firmly: God Almighty has written a book of sovereign and absolute predestination (Revelation 5:1).
“Chained to His throne a volume lies with all the fates of men, With every angel’s form and size drawn by the eternal pen.”
Nothing escapes the will, purpose, decree, and power of God. Everything that comes to pass in time was ordained by God in eternity. You may be sure that God Almighty, Who feeds the sparrows, clothes the lilies, and numbers the hairs of our heads, left nothing to chance or circumstance regarding the life and death of His dear Son.
The death of Christ is the very core of predestination. It is the center and mainspring upon which God fashioned all His other purposes. It is the foundation upon which the structure of God’s decrees was built. Jesus Christ is “the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world” because “it pleased the LORD to bruise him.”
Long before there was a sinner, God provided a Savior. Before the sheep went astray, God made his Son our Shepherd. Before we fell in the first Adam, we stood in the last Adam. Before ever we broke God’s law, Christ was our ransom. Before we became polluted, Christ was our cleansing Fountain. Long before we incurred the debt of sin, Christ stood as our Surety to pay our debt. Before we were cursed by the law, Christ was our Redeemer. Before ever we died, Christ was our Resurrection and our Life!
“He hath put Him to grief.” Isaiah 53:10
Why did the Lord Jesus Christ die upon the cross? What was the cause of His death as our Substitute? According to the Book of God, the Son of God was sent into the world to die for us because the Lord God loved us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3; John 3:16; 13:1; 1 John 4:9-10).
The Father loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. The Son loved us and came to die in our place. — “He loved me and gave himself for me.” The Spirit loved us and formed the holy humanity of Christ in the womb of the virgin to be a sacrifice for our sins.
The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to die in order to accomplish his Father’s will. In the fullness of time God the Father took His dear Son from His bosom and freely delivered Him up for us all. — “Herein is love!” The offended Judge took His own holy Son, whom He dearly loved, and gave Him up to suffer the pains of hell to accomplish the redemption of our souls, in order to save traitors and rebels who would never love Him in return, except He create such love in us!
Our Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily laid down His life for us as our Substitute. When Isaiah says, “It pleased the LORD to bruise him,” we must not forget that He is the Lord God who did the bruising as well as the one bruised. Christ was not a forced Surety, but a willing one, a willing Servant, a willing Savior, a willing Substitute, and a willing Sacrifice (Psalm 40:6-7; Proverbs 8:23-31; Isaiah 50:5-7; John 10:17; Hebrews 10:5-10; 12:2).
Yet, the unutterable agony of Christ’s death upon the cross was inflicted upon Him by his Father’s own hand. We read of the terrible agonies He endured in Psalm 22 as He hung upon the cross suffering the wrath of God. Those woes were aggravated by the fact that it was the Father’s hand that was turned upon His dear Son in wrath, and that at the very height of His obedience! “It pleased the LORD to bruise him.”
Oh, how He bruised him! Christ died a very violent death. His death could not be by natural causes. Christ was a penal Substitute. He had to die as a slain victim, as a sacrifice. He died a terribly painful death, tormented in body and in soul, beaten, crucified, and forsaken! He was forsaken by friends and mocked by men, made to be sin, and forsaken of God His Father! — All for the satisfaction of God’s inflexible, holy justice! Our Redeemer died a horribly shameful death. He “endured the cross, despising the shame.” He died as a shameful man, and in a shameful condition: naked and cursed! The Son of God died a specifically cursed death. It is written, “Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree.” Our great Savior died a slow, lingering death. Others gradually grew weaker as they suffered. He was full of life to the end. Others were given gall and myrrh to stupefy their senses. He was given gall and vinegar to intensify His pains. In all His pains and agonies there were none to help, not even a sympathetic soul to look upon Him with pity.
Here is the cause of our Savior’s death. Christ died because of God’s great love for His elect, because of His gracious purpose to save us, because there was no way for the holy and just Lord God to save us except by the satisfaction of justice in the death of the incarnate Son of God.
THE GRACE BULLETIN
October 9, 2011
GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH of DANVILLE 2734 Old Stanford Road-Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438 Telephone (859) 236-8235 - E-Mail [email protected]
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor
Schedule of Regular Services
Sunday 10:00 A.M. Bible Classes 10:30 A.M. Morning Worship Service 6:30 P.M. Evening Worship Service