March 19, 2018

Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die

We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 
                                                                                                                        1 Corinthians 1:23-25

When you ask most people why Jesus came to die, they usually will answer: 'so that we could be forgiven of our sins.' But what He did on the cross that day is so much more than just that.

John Piper, in his book, gives 50 reasons why Jesus came to die. Since it is only about 120 pages I thought I'd be able to read it within a day or two, but I was wrong! I found it so enriching and beautiful that I had to savor each reason slowly.

Here are a few chapter headings:

To Absorb the Wrath of God
To Show the Wealth of God's Love and Grace for Sinners
To Complete the Obedience That Becomes Our Righteousness
For the Forgiveness of Our Sins
To Bring Us to Faith and Keep Us Faithful
To Make Us Holy, Blameless, and Perfect
To Give Eternal Life to All Who Believe on Him
To Reconcile Us to God
To Become for Us the Place Where We Meet God
To Enable Us to Live by Faith in Him
To Free Us from Bondage to the Fear of Death
To Unleash the Power of God in the Gospel
To Gain His Joy and Ours
So That He Would Be Crowned with Glory and Honor
To Show That the Worst Evil Is Meant by God for Good

This is only fifteen of the fifty, but gives you a general idea of what you will find in this book.

John Piper says in the introduction:

"The central issue of Jesus' death is not the cause, but the purpose - the meaning. Human beings may have their reasons for wanting Jesus out of the way. But only God can design it for the good of the world. In fact, God's purposes for the world in the death of Jesus are unfathomable. I will try to describe fifty of them, but there will always be more to say. My aim is to let the Bible speak. This is where we hear the word of God. I hope that these pointers will set you on a quest to know more and more of God's great design in the death of His Son."

And later in the introduction:

"When all is said and done, the most crucial question is: Why? Why did Jesus come to die? Not why in the sense of cause, but why in the sense of purpose. What did Christ achieve by His death? Why did He have to suffer so much? What great thing was happening on Calvary for the world.

That's what the rest of this book is about. I have gathered from the New Testament fifty reasons why Jesus came to die. Not fifty causes, but fifty purposes. Infinitely more important than who killed Jesus is the question: What did God achieve for sinners like us in sending His Son to die?"

I thought I'd share a bit from chapter five, 'To Show the Wealth of God's Love and Grace for Sinners', which really moved me and reminded me that my worth is wholly in Christ and not of myself:

"The measure of His love for us increases still more when we consider our unworthiness. 'Perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us' (Romans 5:7-8). We deserved divine punishment, not divine sacrifice...

...There is only one explanation for God's sacrifice for us. It is not us. It is 'the riches of His grace' (Ephesians 1:7).

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him."     
                                                                                  Ephesians 1:7-10    

It is all free.

It is not a response to our worth. It is the overflow of His infinite worth. In fact, that is what divine love is in the end: a passion to enthrall undeserving sinners, at great cost, with what will make us supremely happy forever, namely, His infinite beauty."

It is all free... The folly of thinking we are worthy of salvation can be put away, and we can completely trust and rest in Him. What peace His grace brings!

I thought this photo was so beautiful. It reminds me that the Savior is no longer on the cross. All He came to accomplish is done, and we are blessed to receive all He has given us through Himself.

Jesus came with a purpose and that was to die for us. He was always in control and knew exactly what He was doing.

Jesus says here:

“I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” 
                                                                                                                                      John 10:17-18

This Easter remember to not just reflect on the love of God and why He came, but also on who He is, The risen Lamb of God. The One who willingly laid down His life for you.

I found this book rich in the theology of the Bible, and I highly recommend it. Not only for Easter reading, but for anytime, to reflect on the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Buy it HERE on Amazon

March 1, 2018

Longing for Spring

Spring has always been my favorite time of year. Everything becomes lush and green, new life starts to come up from the ground and the air feels fresh and clean.

Spring reminds me that Christ brings new life and that one day all things will be made new. Though spring doesn't begin for a few more weeks I am looking forward to it and thought I'd share a few quotes on it, as well as, some inspirational Scripture.
"And God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.' And it was so." Gen. 1:14


"To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment." Jane Austen

Cherry Blossoms in England

"For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land."  Song of Solomon 2:11-12

At the Walls of the Old City of Jerusalem in Spring

"Everything is new in the spring...Springs themselves are always so new, too. No spring is ever just like any other spring. It always has something of its own to be its own peculiar sweetness."                                                                                                                                                           L. M. Montgomery    
Prince Edward Island in Late Spring
"Truth shall spring out of the earth,
And righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Yes, the LORD will give what is good;
And our land will yield its increase.

Righteousness will go before Him,
And shall make His footsteps our pathway." Psalm 85:11-13

A Spring Path in the Woods

"Through May and June my world became softer and warmer. The cold wind dropped and the air, fresh as the sea, carried a faint breath of the thousands of wildflowers which speckled the pastures. At times it seemed unfair that I should be paid for my work; for diving out in the early morning with the fields glittering under the first pale sunshine and the wisps of mist still hanging on the high tops."
                                                                                                                                             James Herriot

A Yorkshire Field of Wildflowers

"Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3

Tulips in the Rain