Only in the Cross

“It is…only in the cross where the despairing sinner finds relief from the curse and wrath of God.  It is not by looking within but by looking outside of oneself and one’s own experience, to the sight of Christ crucified, that the trembling heart can find peace with God.” –Michael Horton, In the Face of God,  p83

“If you want health for your souls, and if you want to be the instruments of bringing health to others, do not turn your gaze forever within, as though you could find Christ there.  Nay, turn your gaze away from your own miserable experiences, away from your own sin, to the Lord Jesus Christ as he is offered to us in the gospel….It is the same old story, my friends–the same old story of the natural man.  Men are trying today, as they have always been trying, to save themselves–to save themselves by their own act of surrender, by the excellence of their own faith, by mystic experiences of their own lives.  But it is all in vain.  Not that way is peace with God to be obtained.  It is to be obtained only in the old, old way–by attention to something that was done once for all long ago, and by acceptance of the living Savior who there, once for all, brought redemption for our sin.” –J.Gresham Machen, Education, Christianity, and the State, pp21-22 (as quoted by Horton, above)

1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call o10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”  Rom.10:1-11

“Scripture declares that zeal for spiritual things can be the very thing that keeps us from eternal life.  Rather than building on the Rock of Christ, it is easy for us to build our relationship with God on the shifting sands of our own experience, effort, devotion, “surrender”, “yieldedness,” or our ideas of what God is like.  All these attempt to establish our own righteousness, instead of accepting the righteousness that is a gift from God through faith alone.” –Horton,p85

I’ve found these thoughts restorative after the emphasis lately on looking inward and examining ourselves and our sinfulness.  Self-examination in light of the law of God is important as a starting place for establishing our absolute need for a Saviour, but it is only in Christ that the burden of guilt is removed.  As believers we dare not linger in the mullygrubs of decrying our guilt and sin; It can well become a place of accusation by our enemy who knows us only too well! We must hasten to Christ Jesus, again and again with our sin.  He is our great High Priest, ‘whose name is love’.  –L.Dawn

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

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