1.26.2008

Common Words #3 - Christlike

(This is long, but it is my hope it is worth the read. This is a post that I am pretty passionate about.)

Do we know what Christ-likeness entails? Isaiah 53 paints a very clear picture of what Christ is like and this is a clear model for the Christian’s Christ-likeness. However, this is not the Christ-likeness that most of us desire.

“For He [Jesus] grew up before Him [The Father] like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground He had no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.” Isaiah 53:2

Christ-likeness entails anonymity. Are you willing to serve for the next 60 years with no recognition before men? That is Christ-like. Too often we want to be big people, with a big following, and want people to see what we have done, or even to have people see how greatly we have been used of God. However, there was nothing stately or majestic about His appearance, nothing that would make us look upon Him, nothing to attract us. How much of your life, and how many of your actions have a hidden motivation of being noticed, and looked upon. Even the greatest of your actions, if they are undergirded with self seeking motivations, will prove only to be wood hay and stubble and will burn up on that Day of Judgment.

“He was despised and rejected of men a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and like one from whom men hide there face He was despised and we did not esteem Him.” Isaiah 53:3

If you claim a desire to be like Christ, or you pray that God would make you more Christ-like then you are requesting rejection. “He was despised…” can you honestly desire that for His name’s sake? Do you want to be a man or woman of sorrows? When was the last time your faith caused you to weep, over your sins? over the lost? over the nation? Are you prepared to be a man or woman of sorrows, and to be acquainted with grief? Not only that, are you prepared to give up being esteemed? To go from respected in your line of work to disrespected because of your faith? Do you want to be like Christ? If you pray to be like Christ use much caution, God will answer it, and it might not be pretty.

“Surely our grief He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried, yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:4

Are you ready for the very people you sorrow over to reject you, even claim that God is against you? This is what you are seeking, if you truly desire Christ-likeness. Realize this, Christ-likeness is a marvelous thing, but it is a low thing, a thing that carries much shame and humiliation in this world, but much honor and glory in the next. Are you ready to be sorrowed over another, and the very one you sorrow over views your sorrow as the punishment of God? You will be that misunderstood if you become like Christ.

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, and He was crushed for our iniquities and the chastening of our well being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

Again, Christ-likeness implies pouring out your very life for those who will ultimately reject you. Do you do ministry and such with an expectation that those who you minister to will ultimately pay some respect back to you? Or are you willing to make intercession for them and bear their load with them, even for them? Christ-likeness is a hard thing, but nonetheless it is what we are called to.

“All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us to His own way, but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall upon Him.” Isaiah 53:6

We cannot pay another persons penalty, but are we willing to lay our life down our life for others, yea for our own enemies? Can we put aside our desires to meet their needs?

“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, but He did not open His mouth, like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers so He did not open His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7

Maybe this is the hardest attribute of Christ-likeness. Can we endure the hardships, the mockery, the sorrow, and such without opening our mouth? Can we pray without letting anyone know? Can we agonize over the souls of men, and only share that sorrow with God Himself. Can we endure ridicule without defending ourselves? Can we believe our book without having to make 1000 intellectual arguments to make it more believable to the world? Can we trust that the cross is and always will be foolishness to the perishing, and we who believe in its power are bound to be foolish as well? Can we silently press on?

“By oppression and judgment He was taken away, and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgressions of My people to whom the stroke was due?.” Isaiah 53:8

Christ was misunderstood by the very people He came to save, yea He was rejected by those for whom He died. Can you share in that suffering? Can you endure the rejection by the very people you seek to bring good news to? Again this Christ-likeness is a lowly thing, a broken thing.

“His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was a rich man in His death because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.” Isaiah 53:9

Can you deal with not even having a legacy? Being disrespected even after your death? Can you go to the grave knowing that people have misunderstood you even reviled you and ascribed wickedness to you? The lowliness of Christ-likeness extends even to the grave.

“But the Lord was please to crush Him, putting Him to grief. If He would render Himself a guilt offering He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.” Isaiah 53:10

It pleased the Father to crush the Son. Are we willing to be so subjected to God that He may crush us for His name’s sake if it brings Him glory? Can we count ourselves as absolutely nothing? That is the call of Christ-likeness. Notice starting in this verse though, that the benefits of Christ-likeness are starting to appear. All this rejection of men, and sorrow over men, and bearing of grief of men, earns a place of high regard with God. The promise of spiritual offspring, and prolonged days (eternity) and the good pleasure of God prospering is all apart of Christ-likeness as well. It certainly is majestic to be Christ-like, but in the eternal sense, not the temporal sense.

“As a result of the anguish of His Soul, He will see it and be satisfied, and by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:11

The Father is pleased with our partaking of Christ’s likeness and His anguish. Now this verse clearly is a direct reference to The Father seeing the Son’s sacrifice on our behalf and being satisfied with it. In other words justice has been appeased and we now have access to Him. In the light of this glorious truth are we willing to lay down our lives, endure anguish in our souls in order that the Father may be pleased, and Christ honored?

“Therefore will I allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong because He poured Himself out to death, and He was numbered with the transgressors. Yet He bore the sins of many and makes intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:12

There is great reward for Christ-likeness, but as Christ told His disciples “Count the cost…” Understand that this call to Christ-likeness is both the most rewarding, and also the most difficult endeavor. At the same time it is in this realm of Christ-likeness that we receive full power from the Holy Spirit making the burden easy, and light. We will never see how easy and light this seemingly impossible burden can be unless we put our shoulder under it and push.

That is all for tonight. As always feel free to comment or e-mail about this or any post.

1.17.2008

Common Words #2 - Salvation

This may be considered a bit of a run on from "Common Words #1 - Saved".

Common Words – Salvation

Everyone talks about salvation but very few people actually want it. All most people want is forgiveness of sins and a right standing before God, but actual salvation they do not want. Most people seem to desire justification without regeneration, reconciliation without sanctification, and redemption without repentance. People reject transformation and cling to ‘Just as I am’. People want the reward, but do not desire victory. People do not want to be in the darkness, but refuse to be exposed to the light. People want some way to say they are saved, and feel like they are saved without actually embodying salvation. The bottom line is people reject temporal salvation with all there might and desire only that salvation which will come after death, the only problem is that you cannot have one without the other.

The saddest thing is that most churches will rail against anything that appears to be teaching sinless perfection yet will consider living in continuous carnality and sin to be the normal life for a Christian. The reality is you will not be forgiven if you are not born again, and you cannot be born-again and remain the same as you were, and continuous carnality is not a part of the Christian life, period.

Let’s look at Ephesians 2 – with emphasis added.

And you WERE dead in your transgressions and sins in which you FORMERLY walked according to the course of this world according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is NOW working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all FORMERLY lived in the lusts of our flesh indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind.

It is so important that we read these scriptures as they are, and take them at face value before we try to explain them away with some theological system that allows for continuous sin. “Well I believe that in me and my flesh dwells no good thing” you may say. Nobody will disagree with you there, but when the spirit is alive the flesh is dead, D-E-A-D, dead. “If you by the spirit mortify the flesh///” You say “When we sin we have an advocate with the Father.” Where did you read that? 1 John you may say, well lets quote the verse:

1 John 2:1 “My little Children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin and IF anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

Can you see it? IF anyone sins, IF IF IF, it is not WHEN someone sins, it is IF. What does this mean? It means that sin is not normal in the Christian life. Do you want that type of salvation, the type that will cut your soul into a million pieces when you find sin in your life? Or would you rather have a false salvation that allows you to live in sin without any contrition?

Salvation is a dangerous thing, it will wreck your former unregenerate life, you will not be able to walk the way you once did, you will become strange to those who once esteemed you, and you will be altered. The question must be asked again, do you want that type of salvation, or do you want trust to a pathetic mental ascension that has produced no power over sin?

Now it must be stated that the author of this post, myself, makes no claim to have achieved some sort of sinless perfection. If you were to examine my life, and follow me around day by day and hour by hour, you would probably be pretty disappointed. I fall at times, and I fall hard, I find sin in myself that is so perverse that I hardly have enough faith to believe myself saved. Nonetheless this sin surprises me, and upon it discovery the desire of my heart is not to indulge it but to crucify it. Upon falling into sin, what is your desire? To explain it away? To justify it? To try to appease God with a few words of contrition, but no real desire for repentance? Come on, listen to your heart, does it have the desire for godliness, or does it still lust after the things of this world?

Some people will read this and find comfort in this last paragraph, and it will comfort them because upon hearing that others are sinful it somehow lets them off the hook. If another man or woman’s sinfulness brings you assurance stop. Never let yourself compare who you are to another person and then base your justification on their failure. Remember “Except your righteousness exceed the scribes and Pharisees ye shall in no case enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” The Pharisees were the most obedient people on the face of the earth, but their piety was born out of selfish desire and not a heart regenerated towards godliness. Is your religion a ploy to avoid hell, and enter an undeserved heaven? Or is it more than that, do you seek salvation from sin in the present tense? Do you seek godliness in this present age? Seek Christ, He will give you life in abundance, and He offers this salvation being spoken of here. He can work mightily in you, do you desire it. Ask Seek and Knock, you will receive.

I must close this here.
I pray the Lord give the redeemed a greater desire for Holiness, and that the lost churchmen may see there is a greater salvation than that which they profess to.

1.07.2008

Depression - The Hangover of Self-Esteem

In hindsight, knowing others believers who have suffered tremendously from depression, I do not know if I am still in agreement with this post, I hope it is worth the read anyway.

Depression, the hangover from self esteem teachings

Note: I recognize the validity of hormonally induced depression such as post partum or even some menstrual cycling, and also chemically induced depression such as recovering drug addicts, or those exposed to chemical warfare. This however is a very small percentage of the cause of the depression epidemic in our country.

From the moment our youth enter preschool they are inundated with self-esteem teachings. Even baby toys have little voices that try to boost an infants self-esteem. Kids and grown ups alike are constantly reminded that they are good enough, and they are smart enough and they need to be happy with who they are. They are told the key to resisting drugs is self-esteem, the key to getting good grades is self-esteem, the key to a happy life is self-esteem. How do you get successful in business? Well self-esteem of course. If someone seems a little bit down what should a counselor do? Build up their self-esteem. Even in the church we preach the gospel of self-esteem. “God loves you just the way you are” and “Jesus died just for you, because you are so special” and so on. Now advertisers have caught on to this self-esteem propaganda and promise there products will create this self-esteem that you have been taught your whole life to have. With all this teaching suicides still continue to rise, drug use continues to rise, depression is a pandemic and so on. The bottom line is that self-esteem is the sure path to discontentment.

Isaiah 2:22 - Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;For why should he be esteemed?
Matthew 23:12 - Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
I Timothy 3:1-5 - But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be LOVERS OF SELF, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
Philippians 2:3 - Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

There are a thousand more verses, especially in the proverbs warning us not to esteem ourselves. Self-esteem is in direct contradiction to the whole of scripture. Now obviously the worlds teaching about self-esteem is quite the opposite of the scriptures teachings, but what are the implications of this teaching? The primary result of self-esteem teaching and preaching has been depression. That deserves repetition, the primary result of self-esteem teaching has been depression.

Depression is the hangover from self-esteem teaching. At some point after being taught to rely so heavily on ourselves, and believe so much in ourselves we will come face to face with the reality of who we are. That is such a sobering reality, seeing our moral failure, vileness, and weakness, the next natural feeling is depression. We have been taught all along to believe in ourselves but then we come face to face with the fact that there is nothing within ourselves worth believing in. If you look at most cases of depression you will see that what is being said here is exactly the way it occurs. Even when grief turns to depression it is because a person turns their grief inward and somehow believes they could have done something better to fix the situation. Again this self disappointment hurts so bad and depresses a person because there entire life they have been taught to rely on self and that they had self worth and so on.

The hangover analogy can continue. Just like a drunk reaches for the bottle of booze to alleviate their hangover, so to does the depressed individual go to some counselor who attempts to counter the depression with self-esteem, when if they had never esteemed themselves so much the depression would have never started.

So how does it stop? This is going to sound really rough, but it will take preachers who are willing to expose people for what they are. It will take preachers and teachers who will press down hard upon their hearers until they come to grips with how wretched they really are. It will take a few brave men and women who are willing to crush a persons self-esteem which society has worked so hard to build, and they must do it with the Gospel truth. It is time for people to set things straight. Instead of saying you are so special Jesus died for you. It must be said that your sin is so vile that it pleased God to crush His only Son when His son took your sin upon Himself (Isaiah 53:10).

Now why would we come down that hard on someone who is already depressed? Because the reality of their depression and failure will match exactly what the scripture says about them, and seeing that the scripture is true we can them move them into the blessed hope contained in the word.

I had a real hard time articulating all of that. I hope it made sense, maybe I should have given my thoughts a few days to solidify on this subject before I wrote, nonetheless there it is.

Yesterday I wrote about exposing clich├ęs and common Christian phrases for what they really are, and I hope at some point to continue in that area. That series will pop up sporadically under the title common words #??. In this post however, I have deviated from that.

1.06.2008

Common Words #1 - Saved

Saved

Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be ‘saved.’

By grace you have been ‘saved’ through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God.

Amazing grace how sweet the sound that ‘saved’ a wretch like me.

What a wonderful word, a precious word to the believer, a word of such hope and majesty, a word of safety and shelter. ‘Saved’ is a pleasant word and maybe that is why we throw it around so much. We count it a great joy when perceive that someone ‘got saved’ and we warn people that they better ‘get saved’ but what is behind the word?

Leonard Ravenhill would often do a sarcastic mock dialog with himself that would go as follows:

“When did you get saved?”

“Oh so and so preached I got baptized and I got saved”

“Well what are you saved from?
Are you saved from hell?
Are you saved from bitterness?
Are you saved from lying to your parents?
Are you saved from lust?
Are you saved from cheating?
Are you saved from anger?
Come on what are you saved from?”

Do you see the point he tries to make? We throw around the word saved and we only look at it as meaning saved from hell. In fact we often treat salvation as though it were more like a flu shot, or some sort of hell insurance policy when it is so much more than that. Lets look quickly at the word saved and the various ways it could be used.

I have been saved from the penalty of sin. – Justification
I am being saved from power of sin. – Sanctification
I will be saved from the presence of sin – Glorification

Now there is a word that goes a long way into explaining salvation, or being saved and it is a word that is rarely used in church today it is ‘regeneration.’

Has your heart been regenerated, and have you been saved from the love of sin? Do you now hate the sin you once loved? Do you desire greater and greater holiness in your life? If so you have been saved from complacency. Notice that salvation is a much bigger thing than just getting out of hell. Salvation is something that continues on throughout your life. It is not a one time deal. Some people when you talk about salvation to them there response ends sounding something like ‘been there done that’ when it should be ‘am there, doing that.’

If there is no present tense salvation and growing in holiness in your life then you must examine yourself to see if there is any salvation at all. Now we may backslide, however in our backslidden state if we are not miserable and desiring to be back where we were then it is evidence that we do not know Him, and that our profession of faith and supposed salvation is false.

I will stop there, I suppose this post could go on awhile if I do not cut it off somewhere.

Common Words

Common Words:

The last post “Praying in Jesus Name” has generated some very encouraging response to me. Those of you who e-mail me about these posts, I know I do not always respond, please know that it is a great encouragement to me and I do appreciate it.

This hopefully is the beginning a series of posts, or at least a couple on the common things that those who profess salvation say. I want to dive into what they actually mean, so that we will either quit saying them, or say them with more caution, or say them with more joy and so on. It is a real problem when precious truths become common place and we begin to play marbles with diamonds.

Here are some of the words or phrases that, Lord willing, we will look into.

Saved
Born Again
God is good All the Time, All the time God is good
Let go and let God
Amen
Lost
God loves the sinner, and hates the sin
We are all God’s Children
God loves you so much He would have paid the price just for you

Now the odds of us getting to all of these is slim to none, I do not know that I have the attention span for that, nonetheless we will start with ‘saved’ on the next post. Hopefully yet tonight before going to bed, I am feeling ambitious.

Jay

1.03.2008

In Jesus Name

John 14:13 "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

My apologies for talking much about myself in this post.

A fairly well known preacher who is very popular on this site often opens his sermons in prayer and almost always prays these words, “Father, I come before you in the name of your Son…” and His voice almost trembles and cracks each time he does it. Knowing that this man preaches with great power and authority I sought to duplicate this in my prayer life and one day 2 years or so ago alone in prayer I began: “Father I come before you in the name of your Son…” and what was impressed on my heart immediately after that statement before I even got into any request or praise stunned me. It was like the Lord said, “Jay you are a liar, do not dare to blaspheme My Name before me like that.”

That was the day I learned how to pray. I did so many things wrong that day before God. First I went before Him with another man’s words, seeking another man’s power. Second, I did not go humbly before God, yes I even tried to duplicate the humble tone of this man’s praying but it was only a veneer, as though the Lord did not see into my heart. Third, I flippantly used words that carried so much power as though they were only a greeting to get on to what I really wanted to say. Fourthly and worst of all I took the very name of the son of God in vain.

I feel led to write of this on this blog because I am most certain that I am not alone in this, and I am willing to believe there are many who are praying themselves right out of God’s presence by taking for granted the most precious of declarations that the believer is afforded to make. Yea, many may even be praying themselves straight to hell.

The very character of God rests in His Name. When you say “In Jesus’ Name” at the beginning or end of your praying you are effectively saying “with Your very character I pray”. Do you see why a man of God must tremble when they say such a thing? I do now open most of my praying with: “Father I come before you in the Name of your Son…” But lets break down what we are actually saying, so that we do not say such things flippantly.

“FATHER…” do not dare go another word. Did Elijah ever call God “Father”? Did Abraham or Moses, what about Elisha, or David, what about Daniel or Jacob? Do we not know what we are saying when we call God Father? When Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father…” That was revolutionary, the Pharisees must have considered it blasphemy when the early Church uttered those words. With that one word “Father” you are claiming salvation, even claiming to be an heir of God. Pray no further until you grasp that.

“Father I…” do you realize what you are doing here? You realize what you are doing here. You have juxtaposed “I” with “Father” and if you did not do this humbly you ought to reconsider what you are doing. You are speaking to the most Supreme Being, the Beginning and the End, the Almighty, Jehovah. When you say “I”, what are you introducing to this prayer? Yourself, vile and wretched as you are, oh that you would tread lightly here.

“Father I COME…” from where have you come? And what gives you the right to come? You are claiming the right to come to God on the merit of the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ himself. If you are not coming humbly with gratitude for the work of God’s own Son, it would be better if you had not come before Him at all.

“Father I come BEFORE YOU..” do you dare enter that Most Holy Place, before the throne. It was one thing for Ester to go before an earthy king in hopes that he would hold out the golden scepter, but you are going before the Alpha and Omega, I hope you bring with you the merit of Christ’s atoning work. Remember that in the day of judgment every idle word will be accounted for.

“Father I come before you IN…” in denotes proximity, inside of, a part of. If you are ‘in’ a building you are enclosed by it, entirely surrounded and isolated from what is outside.

“Father I come before you in THE NAME…” be careful, to say “in the name”, ultimately means “in the character of”

“Father I come before you in the name OF YOUR SON” oh that you would be able to pray this, and that I would be able to pray this, and that we would pray this aright. We have touch the very depths of God’s heart, because the Father loves the Son more than all creation, more than anything or anyone. We bring forth the name of His Son and we have His full attention. God have mercy on us for simply letting these word roll off of our tongue without examining the impact of what we say!

I encourage you to pray in this manner, or a similar manner, but do not dare utter words without thought, because you may be blaspheming the very God you are professing to seek.

I am not sure if that was a help or not, feel free to comment on this one, I am interested to hear feedback. I guess I wonder if anyone else has been through this as well.

Warmly
Jay Miklovic

The Resurrection of Christ

If you have not read the previous post (posted about 10 hours ago) it would be helpful to read that first.

The last post addressed the cross of Christ, and this post will hopefully shed light on the resurrection of Christ. It is important when considering the resurrection to remember why and how exactly Christ died. Isaiah 53:6 “All of us have gone astray, each of us to his own way, but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall upon Him.” Christ died on the cross because of our iniquity. “He was bruised for our transgressions, and He was crushed for our iniquities.” The first a most important thing when considering the resurrection is recalling that Christ died under the penalty of our sin.

The Father loves the Son more than anything, and yet the Son died under the wrath of the Father because the Son was indwelt with our sin. That puts us in a very precarious spot. Without the death of Christ we stand naked before God with all of the weight of our sin bearing down upon us, and the wrath of God inevitably before us. However with the death of Christ we are no longer under the condemnation of our sins, but do not start the celebration yet. With Christ’s death alone we are worse off than we started. Think about it, at one point we were guilty of all of our sins, the next moment that guilt is lifted, but it is replaced with the guilt of killing the very Son of God. We no longer stand before a righteous judge guilty of all of our transgressions; we now would stand before Him guilty of murder, and murder of His very own Son at that.

There is great hope though, and one hundred percent of that hope lies in the resurrection of Christ. If a man is on trial for a murder that he obviously committed, and all the evidence is against him what is the only thing that will get him off the hook. We could say a wicked judge that lets the guilty go, or a rigged jury, other than that he is stuck. There is one other way that the penalty could be avoided, and that is if the person who was murdered would walk into the court room and present themselves to the judge and jury as an alive man. A man cannot be punished for the murder of a person that is still alive. Do you see how our hope lies in the resurrection of Christ?

Christ died under the penalty of our sin, taking our sin and enduring the punishment that it deserved. He drank down the cup of God’s wrath against our sin to the bitter last drop. If it had ended there we would have been worse off than were before hand, but instead not only did Christ pay for all our sin, He rose from the dead defeating sin, and living to intercede for us. In other words Christ took our iniquity making us guilty of His death but not guilty of our iniquity, but rose from the dead defeating even death itself leaving us with no guilt at all, but instead with right standing before the father.

I hope that makes sense.
Lord willing the next post will be about praying in Jesus’ name.

The Cross of Christ

Psalm 75:8 “For a cup is in he hand of the Lord, and the wine foams; It is well mixed, and He pours out of this; Surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs.”

Matthew 26:39 “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Isaiah 53:10 “And it pleased the Lord to crush Him...”

Matthew 27:46 “About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?””

The cross is misunderstood by the vast majority of the world, Christendom included. What really happened there? The Christian with a biblical understanding of the cross gets disturbed when they hear someone say that Jesus was weak in the Garden of Gethsemane, or that His only failure was when He said “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken Me?” The fact is that Christ was forsaken on the cross, and what He agreed to in that garden is unfathomable to the human mind. When Jesus prayed “…let this cup pass from Me, yet not as I will, but as You will” that was quite possibly His strongest moment. Do you realize that He agreed to drink the cup of God’s wrath, and drink down its dregs, or in other words to drink it down to the last drop? To think that He agreed to do that, and then along comes some ignorant Christian calling that a moment of weakness, that is foolishness. Moreover these same Christians (if they are indeed Christians) will view Jesus’ words “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me” as a moment of weakness. Do we not realize that the very grace of God is on us every single moment of our lives, whether we are a believer or not? Yet at that moment Jesus has not a gram of grace upon Him. Think of how cranky you get when you have not eaten, is not food a provision of God’s grace, or when you have not slept, is not sleep a product of grace, or how do you feel when you cannot breath, but even the air you breath is from God’s grace. The list goes on, any bit of comfort you may have, even in your most painful moments is only by God’s grace. Jesus was completely forsaken of God, pain unbearable, darkness unfathomable, loneliness unthinkable, fear unimaginable. This was not a moment of weakness, it was a moment of truth. Remember "the Lord was pleased to crush Him." Jesus was forsaken, and God the Father was pouring out His wrath upon His only begotten Son. Realize that Jesus was made to be sin, and God poured out all of His anger against sin upon His own Son. That is what happened on the cross, not just a painful torture ritual.

We will leave this right here. Those five passages in that order go a long way in beginning to explain what really happened on the cross.

This and the next post are more intended for my benefit as I try to articulate the gospel in a way that makes sense to me and is concise, and is easily comprehendible to junior high and high school youth. It always helps my faith when I attempt to articulate it. I hope to post what really occurred at the resurrection next.