Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cross Encounter with Nathan

In my first blog entry I said that I would be sharing some of my evangelism experiences with you. I pray that by sharing these experiences you might be encouraged and reminded that time is short. Remember our Lord Jesus will soon return! Be encouraged to love GOD and glorify Him by obeying His command to love man. How?

“Go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

Lord willing, this is the first of many entries entitled, “Cross Encounter.” These entries document an experience I’ve had with taking the wooden cross out on the streets and engaging individuals in 1-2-1 conversation about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This isn’t about having material to put on this blog. These are real people who matter to me. I pray that the individual(s) I’m talking to can see/hear how much I care for them. But I also hope you too will be able to sense my love for them as you listen/watch.

I love them because my Lord Jesus Christ first loved me and gave Himself to die the death I deserve. He bore my sin and absorbed the full wrath of the Father. Though He was/is perfectly holy and without sin, He stood in my place, as my Substitute, and satisfied the demands of GOD’s perfect justice for all my law breaking. ALL the work that was required to save my soul? Jesus said, “IT IS FINISHED!” He died and three days later He arose from the dead and ascended back up into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah. Ps 24:7-10
We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

THIS IS GOOD NEWS! And it was this good news that I so wanted to deliver to a young man named Nathan. This is my Cross Encounter with Nathan.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Man of Sorrows

Recently I read a section of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology to my wife. I read from chapter twenty-seven – The Atonement.

The more I read the more I felt deep emotions of sorrow. Sorrow over my sinfulness and sorrow for over what my sin brought upon Jesus - sorrow over what my Lord Jesus willingly endured for me.

As I read and contemplated my Lord’s cross-bearing in my place, I was so overcome with this strong sense of sorrow that I began to weep bitter tears. It was difficult to read each sentence as I fought back the painful tears. But out of those bitter tears, in the morning, came a greater sense of gratitude, joy, and worship of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All praise to Him who reigns on high! SDG!

Below is the excerpt from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (pages 570-577) that I read to my wife. Christian, slow down, take some quiet time today and think deeply about what your Lord and Savior has borne for you. I pray that you too will be overcome with deep sorrow over your sin and the sufferings of your cross-bearing Savior who died in your place. I pray that the result will be that you would have a greater sense of gratitude, joy, and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Nature of the Atonement

In this section we consider two aspects of Christ’s work: (1) Christ’s obedience for us, in which he obeyed the requirements of the law in our place and was perfectly obedient to the will of God the Father as our representative, and (2) Christ’s sufferings for us, in which he took the penalty due for our sins and as a result died for our sins.

It is important to notice that in both of these categories the primary emphasis and the primary influence of Christ’s work of redemption is not on us, but on God the Father. Jesus obeyed the Father in our place and perfectly met the demands of the law. And he suffered in our place, receiving in himself the penalty that God the Father would have visited upon us. In both cases, the atonement is viewed as objective; that is, something that has primary influence directly on God himself. Only secondarily does it have application to us, and this is only because there was a definite event in the relationship between God the Father and God the Son that secured our salvation.

1. Christ’s Obedience for Us (Sometimes Called His “Active Obedience”). If Christ had only earned forgiveness for sins for us, then we would not merit heaven. Out guilt would have been removed, but we would simply be in the position of Adam and Eve before they had done anything good or bad and before they had passed a time of probation successfully. To be established in righteousness forever and to have their fellowship with God made sure forever, Adam and Eve had to obey God perfectly over a period of time. Then God would have looked on their faithful obedience with pleasure and delight, and they would have lived with him in fellowship forever.

For this reason, Christ had to live a life of perfect obedience to God in order to earn righteousness for us. He had to obey the law for his whole life on our behalf so that the positive merits of his perfect obedience would be counted for us. Sometimes this is called Christ’s “active obedience,” while the suffering and dying for our sins is called his “passive obedience.” Paul says his goal is that he may be found in Christ, “not having a righteousness of [his] own, based on the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Phil. 3:9). It is not just moral neutrality that Paul knows he needs from Christ (that is, a clean slate with sins forgiven), but a positive moral righteousness. And he know that that cannot come from himself, but must come thought faith in Christ. Similarly, Paul says that Christ has been made “our righteousness” (1 Cor. 1:30). And he quite explicitly says, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19).

2. Christ’s Sufferings for Us (Sometimes Called His “Passive Obedience”). In addition to obeying the law perfectly for his whole life on our behalf, Christ also took on himself the sufferings necessary to pay the penalty for our sins.

a. Suffering for His Whole Life: In a broad sense the penalty Christ bore in paying for our sins was suffering in both his body and soul throughout his life. Though Christ’s sufferings culminated in his death on the cross (see below), his whole life in a fallen world involved suffering. For example, Jesus endured tremendous suffering during the temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11), when he was assaulted for forty days by the attacks of Satan. He also suffered in growing to maturity, “Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered” (Heb. 5:8). He knew suffering in the intense opposition he faced from Jewish leaders throughout much of his earthly ministry (Heb. 12:3-4). We may suppose too that he experienced suffering and grief at the death of his earthly father, and certainly he experienced grief at the death of his close friend Lazarus (John 11:35). In predicting the coming of the Messiah, Isaiah said he would be “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3).

b. The Pain of the Cross: The sufferings of Jesus intensified as he drew near to the cross. He told his disciples of something of the agony he was going through when he said, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (Matt. 26:38). It was especially on the cross that Jesus’ sufferings for us reached their climax, for it was there that he bore the penalty for our sin and died in our place. Scripture teaches us that there were four different aspects of the pain that Jesus experienced:

(1) Physical Pain and Death

We do not need to hold that Jesus suffered more physical pain than any human being has ever suffered, for the Bible nowhere makes such a claim. But we still must not forget that death by crucifixion was one of the most horrible forms of execution ever devised by man.

Many readers of the Gospels in the ancient world would have witnessed crucifixions and thus would have had a painfully vivid mental picture upon reading the simple words “And they crucified him” (Mark 15:24). A criminal who was crucified was essentially forced to inflict upon himself a very slow death by suffocation. When the criminal’s arm’s were outstretched and fastened by nails to the cross, he had to support most of the weight of his body with his arms. The chest cavity would be pulled upward and outward, making it difficult to exhale in order to be able to draw a fresh breath. But when the victim’s longing for oxygen became unbearable, he would have to push himself up with his feet, thus giving more natural support to the weight of his body, releasing some of the weight from his arms, and enabling his chest cavity to contract more normally. By pushing himself upward in this way the criminal could fend off suffocation, but it was extremely painful because it required putting the body’s weight on the nails holding the feet, and bending the elbows and pulling upward on the nails driven through the wrists. The criminal’s back, which had been torn open repeatedly by a previous flogging, would scrape against the wooden cross with each breath. Thus Seneca (first century A.D.) spoke of a crucified man “drawing the breath of life amid long-drawn-out agony” (Epistle 101, to Lucilius, section 14).

A physician writing in the Journal for the American Medical Association in 1986 explained the pain that would have been experienced in death by crucifixion:
Adequate exhalation required lifting the body by pushing up on the feet and by flexing the elbows…. However, this maneuver would place the entire weight of the body on the tarsals and would produce searing pain. Furthermore, flexion of the elbows would cause rotation of the writs about the iron nails and cause fiery pain along the damaged median nerves…. Muscle cramps and paresthesias of the outstretched and uplifted arms would add to the discomfort. As a result, each respiratory effort would become agonizing and tiring and lead eventually to asphyxia.
In some cases, crucified men would survive for several days, nearly suffocating but not quite dying. This was why the executioners would sometimes break the legs of a criminal, so that death would come quickly, as we see in John 19:31-33.

Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
(2) The Pain of Bearing Sin

More awful than the pain of physical suffering that Jesus endured was the psychological pain of bearing the guilt for our sin. In our own experience as Christians we know something of the anguish we feel when we know we have sinned. The weight of guilt is heavy on our hearts, and there is a bitter sense of separation from all that is right in the universe, an awareness of something that in a very deep sense ought not to be. In fact, the more we grow in holiness as God’s children, the more intensely we feel this instinctive revulsion against evil.

Now Jesus was perfectly holy. He hated sin with his entire being. The thought of evil, of sin, contradicted everything in his character. Far more than we do, Jesus instinctively rebelled against evil. Yet in obedience to the Father, and out of love for us, Jesus took on himself all the sins of those who would someday be saved. Taking on himself all the evil against which his soul rebelled created deep revulsion in the center of his being. All that he hated most deeply was poured out fully upon him.

Scripture frequently says that our sins were put on Christ: “the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6), and “He bore the sin of many” (Isa. 53:12). John the Baptist calls Jesus “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Paul declares that God made Christ “to be sin” (2 Cor. 5:21) and that Christ became “a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). The author of Hebrews says that Christ was “offered once to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28). And Peter says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24).

The passage from 2 Corinthians quoted above, together with the verses from Isaiah, indicate that it was God the Father who put our sins on Christ. How could that be? In the same way in which Adam’s sins were imputed to us, so God imputed our sins to Christ; that is, he thought of them as belonging to Christ, and, since God is the ultimate judge and definer of what really is in the universe, when God thought of our sins as belonging to Christ then in fact they actually did belong to Christ. This does not mean that God thought that Christ had himself committed the sins, (that is, the liability to punishment) was thought of by God as belonging to Christ rather than to us.

Some have objected that it was not fair for God to do this, to transfer the guilt of sin from us to an innocent person, Christ. Yet we must remember that Christ voluntarily took on himself the guilt for our sins, so this objection loses much of its force. Moreover, God himself (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is the ultimate standard of what is just and fair in the universe, and he decreed that the atonement would take place in this way, and that it did in fact satisfy the demands of his own righteousness and justice.

(3) Abandonment

The physical pain of crucifixion and the pain of taking on himself the absolute evil of our sins were aggravated by the fact that Jesus faced this pain alone. In the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus took with him Peter, James and John, he confided something of his agony to them: “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch” (Mark 26:56).

Here also there is a very faint analogy in our experience, for we cannot live long without tasting the inward ache of rejection, whether it be rejection by a close friend, by a parent or child, or by a wife or husband. Yet in all those cases there is at least a sense that we could have done something differently, that at least in small part we may be at fault. It was not so with Jesus and the disciples, for, “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). He had done nothing but love them; in return, they all abandoned him.

But far worse than desertion by even the closest of human friends was the fact that Jesus was deprived of the closeness to the Father that had been the deepest joy of his heart for all his earthy life. When Jesus cried, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46), he showed that he was finally cut off from the sweet fellowship with his heavenly Father that had been the unfailing source of his inward strength and the element of greatest joy in a life filled with sorrow. As Jesus bore our sins on the cross, he was abandoned by his heavenly Father, who is “of purer eyes than to behold evil” (Hab. 1:13). He faced the weight of the guilt of millions of sins alone.

(4) Bearing the Wrath of God

Yet more difficult than these three previous aspects of Jesus’ pain was the pain of bearing the wrath of God upon himself. As Jesus bore the guilt of our sins alone, God the Father, the mighty Creator, the Lord of the universe, poured out on Jesus the fury of his wrath: Jesus became the object of the intense hatred of sin and vengeance against sin which God had patiently stored up since the beginning of the world.

Romans 3:23 tells us that God put forward Christ as a “propitiation” (NASB) a word that means “a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath to the end and in so doing changes God’s wrath to favor.” Paul tells us that “That this was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:25-26). God had not simply forgiven sin and forgotten about the punishment in generations past. He had forgiven sins and stored up his righteous anger against those sins. But at the cross the fury of all that stored-up wrath against sin was unleashed against God’s own Son.

Many theologians outside the evangelical world have strongly objected to the idea that Jesus bore the wrath of God against sin. Their basic assumption is that since God is a God of love, it would be inconsistent with his character to show wrath against the human beings he has created and for whom he is a loving Father. But evangelical scholars have convincingly argued that the idea of the wrath of God is solidly rooted in both the Old and New Testaments: “the whole of the argument of the opening part of Romans is that all men, Gentiles and Jews alike, are sinners, and that they come under the wrath and the condemnation of God.”

Three other crucial passages in the New Testament refer to Jesus’ death as a “propitiation”: Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; and 4:10. The Greek terms (the verb hilaskomai, “to make propitiation” and the noun hilasmos, “a sacrifice of propitiation”) used in these passages have the sense of “a sacrifice that turns away the wrath of God – and thereby makes God propitious (or favorable) toward us.” This is the consistent meaning of these words outside of the Bible where they were well understood in reference to pagan Greek religions. These verses simply mean that Jesus bore the wrath of God against sin.

It is important to insist on this fact, because it is the heart of the doctrine of the atonement. It means that there is an eternal, unchangeable requirement in the holiness and justice of God that sin be paid for. Furthermore, before the atonement ever could have an effect on our subjective consciousness, it first had an effect on God and his relation to the sinners he planned to redeem. Apart from this central truth, the death of Christ really cannot be adequately understood.

Although we must be cautious in suggesting any analogies to the experience Christ went through (for his experience was and always will be without precedent or comparison), nonetheless, all our understanding of Jesus’ suffering comes in some sense by way of analogous experiences in our life – for that is how God teaches us in Scripture. Once again our human experience provides a very faint analogy that helps us understand what it means to bear the wrath of God. Perhaps as children we have faced the wrath of a human father when we have done wrong, or perhaps as adults we have known the anger of an employer because of a mistake we have made. We are inwardly shaken, disturbed by the crashing of another personality, filled with displeasure, into our very selves, and we tremble. We can hardly imagine the personal disintegration that would threaten if the outpouring of wrath came not from some finite human being but from Almighty God. If even the presence of God when he does not manifest wrath arouses fear and trembling in people (cf. Heb. 12:21, 28-29), how terrible it must be to face the presence of a wrathful God (Heb. 10:31).

With this in mind, we are now better able to understand Jesus’ cry of desolation, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46b). The question does not mean, “Why have you left me forever?” for Jesus knew that he was leaving the world, that he was going to the Father (John 14:28; 16:10, 17). Jesus knew that he would rise again (John 2:19; Luke 18:33; Mark 9:31; et al.). It was “for the joy that was set before him” that Jesus “endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:2). Jesus knew that he could still call God “my God.” This cry of desolation is not a cry of total despair. Furthermore, “Why have you forsaken me?” does not imply that Jesus wondered why he was dying. He had said, “The Son of man also cam not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Jesus knew that he was dying for our sins.

Jesus’ cry is a quotation form Psalm 22:1, a psalm in which the psalmist asks why God is so far from helping him, why God delays in rescuing him:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest. (Ps. 22:1-2).
Yet the psalmist was eventually rescued by God, and his cry of desolation turned into a hymn of praise (vv.22-31). Jesus, who knew the words for Scripture as his own, knew well the context of Psalm 22. In quoting the psalm, he is quoting a cry of desolation that also has implicit in its context an unremitting faith in the God who will ultimately deliver him. Nevertheless, it remains a very real cry of anguish because the suffering has gone on so long and no release is in sight.

With this context for the quotation it is better to understand the question, “Why have you forsaken me?” as meaning, “Why have you forsaken me for so long?” This is the sense it has in Psalm 22. Jesus, in his human nature, knew he would have to bear our sins, to suffer and to die. But, in his human consciousness, he probably did not know how long this suffering would take. Yet to bear the guilt of millions of sins even for a moment would cause the greatest anguish of soul. To face the deep and furious wrath of an infinite God even for an instant would cause the most profound fear. But Jesus’ suffering was not over in a minute – or two – or ten. When would it end? Could there be yet more weight of sin? Yet more wrath of God? Hour after hour it went on – the dark weight of sin and the deep wrath of God poured over Jesus in wave after wave. Jesus at last cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Why must suffering go on so long? Oh God, my God, will you ever bring it to an end?

Then at last Jesus knew his suffering was nearing completion. He knew he had consciously borne all the wrath of the Father against our sins, for God’s anger had abated and the awful heaviness of sin was being removed. He knew that all that remained was to yield up his spirit to his heavenly Father and die. With a shout of victory Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Then with a loud voice he once more cried out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). And then he voluntarily gave up the life that no one could take from him (John 10:17-18), and he died. As Isaiah had predicted, “he poured out his soul to death” and “bore the sin of many” (Isa. 53:12). God the Father saw “the fruit of the travail of his soul” and was “satisfied” (Isa. 53:11).

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine Wayne Grudem (Author)


Monday, February 22, 2010

Are You Ready?

When I made the decision to incorporate a cross into my evangelism endeavors, I wasn't sure how I was going to go about getting my hands on one. Many of my Brothers and Sisters in Christ posted their own versions (specifications) of the crosses that they made. In the end I chose to use the dimensions that Tony Miano provided in one of his blog entries.

I found several woodshops in my local area and sent out emails to these shops describing what I wanted. Below is part of what I emailed.

Please quote your best price and delivery of one wooden cross with the specifications as follows:

• 4' vertical beam
• 2.5' horizontal beam
• Each beam 6.5" wide and 1.5" thick
• All edges rounded with a 3/8” or 1/2" radius
• Pine or Poplar
• Dark Walnut Stain & finished with clear lacquer
I’m not really sure why but no body responded. Maybe I shouldn’t have described to them what I wanted to do with the cross. Or maybe none of the woodshops I requested quotes from appreciates the cross. Either way, I had no takers. I began to search the web for cross manufacturers. I found maybe a half dozen or so and emailed them my request for their best price and delivery of one cross meeting the specifications above.

Saturday morning I got up and checked my email, not really expecting to see any responses to my request for quotations. However, I received the simple response below:

Good morning, Thank you for your email. I can build the flat traditional pine cross according to your dimensions stained dark walnut and clear lacquer finish shipped to California for [$$$]
May the Lord bless you today


Just taking a guess, but the packaging alone probably weighs at least 3-4 lbs. So I’m estimating that this cross weighs 19-20 lbs.

In parallel with ordering the cross I still needed to figure out how I was going to get the, “Are You Ready?” question written across the crossbeam. I looked where I might get some single letters that would fit. I wanted the lettering to come about 1” from ether end and about ½” from the top edge and bottom edge of the face of the crossbeam. The other thing that I was sure that I wanted to do was to have the letters be relfelctive. Reflective letters will come in handy when it gets dark. I looked around on the web and found another really easy company to order from: Custom-Vinyl-Lettering.

They have a very simple custom label creator where you specify what you want the on the label, its size, its color, and what type of material (white reflective in my case). Watch this short video to see how the decal is applied.

Here is a snapshot of the specific label and its dimensions that I ordered.

Within 5-6 days after ordering it, I had my custom, “Are You Ready?” label. Actually, I received my custom label on the same day I received my cross.

After I unpackaged the cross, I carefully laid out my label and had it installed within 10-15 minutes.

Here’s a few pictures of the finished cross.

Kenny at Crossmember Crosses does high quality work. I highly recommend his work to anyone who is interested. Please at least give him a chance at quoting you a price. His website is:

If you want to get a custom vinyl label made, you can use:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Wooden Cross

Last year (2009) I read many blog entries, listened to audio, and watch videos of how my Brothers and Sisters in Christ have incorporated the use of a simple wooden cross in their evangelism endeavors. They use the crosses they carry as tool to start one on one spiritual conversations with people.

It’s nothing new. We’ve all seen people over the years carrying and holding up crosses. However, this group of brothers and sisters are doing something a bit different – at least I’ve never seen it.

Brother Tony Miano from The Lawman Chronicles started carrying a cross with, “Are You Ready?” written on the crossbeam. You can watch one of his videos here where he explains what inspired him.

GOD used Brother Tony to inspire many other believers to make their own crosses. As I said, I read about, listened to, and watched videos of these faithful servants of Christ out on the street, using their crosses to start spiritual conversations – leading to the communicating the Law and the Gospel to lost souls.

In December 09, I watch two videos that really encouraged me. So much so that I too decided that, in 2010, I would incorporate a cross into my evangelism endeavors. Below are the two videos from The Word Street Journal that blessed me and I pray that they will bless you too.

Here are a few more sites/blogs that inspired me to get a cross.

In my next post I'll put up a few pictures of my cross, its specifications and where I got it. Glory of GOD alone! SDG!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Cross - What It Is All About?

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
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,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief…
Isaiah 53:1-10a

Sunday, February 7, 2010


When I survey the wondrous Cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

Forbid it Lord that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to His blood

See from His head His hands His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ere such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing so divine
Demands my soul
My life my all
When I survey the wondrous Cross - by Isaac Watts

When I contemplate the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ I’m overwhelmed by two things. The holy hatred of GOD toward sin and the deep love of GOD demonstrated toward sinners.

“My richest gain…my pride…all the vain things that charm me most…” Isaac Watts, like me, was all too familiar with his own sin – before and after his union with Christ. Before my conversion, “my richest gain,” manifest itself in all manner of sin. I not only failed to do the things I knew were good and right, but I rebelled against all of GOD’s commandments. I desired things that didn’t belong to me – covetousness/greed. I stole things that didn’t belong to me. I told many lies to save my skin. I did everything I could to “save” my life (so I could seek my pleasure) while all along my soul was lost, lame, blind – DEAD. I was spiritually dead toward GOD and under His wrath because I rebelled against Him. In all truth I was unable to respond rightly toward GOD or man.

I shook my puny little fist at Him, so to speak, by using His name in a disrespectful vile manner. Indeed, I was an enemy of GOD. The life that I lived before my union with Christ was one of self-seeking, self-exaltation, self-worship and my pride. Not only did I sin through acts of outward rebellion; violating His law at every turn, but the vain things that charmed me most was heart-sin against GOD. In my heart I committed adultery by looking with lust. I committed murder in my heart each time I harbored bitterness, anger, or hatred toward another person. I never thanked GOD for air, food, water, family and I didn’t give Him the honor, praise, and worship that are due to Him alone. I was guilty and deserved to be punished as a guilty criminal who had violated the law.

According to God’s character and nature: holiness, goodness, righteousness and justice – this guilty sinner deserved to be punished for the crimes I’d committed against this infinatly perfect Being and Judge of all of the universe. The punishment that the Creator of the universe has ascribed is punishment in Hell.

But, in spite of my sin, by His grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, GOD set me free from the power of sin and death. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life - not for His own sake but in order to merit righteousness for His people. When this perfect God-man hung on the Cross, the sins of His people were placed on Him and God the Father made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us and He punished Jesus in the place of His people. He poured out His just wrath on Jesus instead of us - as our Substitute. Jesus bore the wrath of God and died on the Cross. He was placed in a tomb and three days later He rose from the dead, proving that God the Father accepted the ransom payment that Jesus made for His people.

AMAZING LOVE! See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are!

Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ I’ve been reconciled to GOD and have a new relationship with Him. I am His child and no longer a slave to sin. However, the more I know Him the more I know myself and see in myself this falleness. Positionally God has declared me righteous in His site. Relationally I am a child of God. Transformationally the Person of the Holy Spirit is at work sanctifying me in Christlikeness - desires, habits and character. I count myself dead to sin. However, when I get a glimps of the holiness of GOD, while in this body, I still say with the prophet Isaiah, “Woe is me, for I am undone!”

In the saving of sinners GOD takes pleasure and is glorified. The death of His Son was no mistake! It was the plan and purpose of the Triune Godhead from all eternity past.

This blog, “Cross Bearing Servant” is a response to the Person and work of Jesus Christ, The Cross Bearing Servant, in my life. Out of gratitude for what He’s done and doing in me, I desire to make much of Him here and everywhere. The love of Christ compels me to love Him, His people who have been saved and those who have not yet come into the fold and all people everywhere!

There is a multitude that GOD has planned to save. It is my desire and pleasure to speak the Gospel to all people everywhere – without discrimination. Along with a local church, I'm so excited to be a witness and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Why? Because I have no doubts that GOD will save those whom Christ died for and He will be glorified in and through it all. We proclaim the gospel to all people - the outward call of the gospel. But GOD will inwardly summons those individuals who Chirst died for and they will come – all the way to glory!

By way of further explaining what exactly I believe about the atonement of Jesus Christ, please read the statements below. These are glorious truths that will make your heart glad in Christ.

I didn’t write the statements below. I took them from Bethlehem Baptist Church’s website. However, I do hold firmly to these truths. I’ve edited these statements a bit in that I’ve removed the “We believe” portion at the beginning of each statement.


God, from all eternity, in order to display the full extent of His glory for the eternal and ever-increasing enjoyment of all who love Him, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His will, freely and unchangeably ordain and foreknow whatever comes to pass.

God upholds and governs all things – from galaxies to subatomic particles, from the forces of nature to the movements of nations, and from the public plans of politicians to the secret acts of solitary persons – all in accord with His eternal, all-wise purposes to glorify Himself, yet in such a way that He never sins, nor ever condemns a person unjustly; but that His ordaining and governing all things is compatible with the moral accountability of all persons created in His image.

God‘s election is an unconditional act of free grace which was given through His Son Christ Jesus before the world began. By this act God chose, before the foundation of the world, those who would be delivered from bondage to sin and brought to repentance and saving faith in His Son Christ Jesus.

Although God created man morally upright, he was led astray from God‘s Word and wisdom by the subtlety of Satan‘s deceit, and chose to take what was forbidden, and thus declare his independence from, distrust for, and disobedience toward his all-good and gracious Creator. Thus, our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original innocence and communion with God.

As the head of the human race, Adam‘s fall became the fall of all his posterity, in such a way that corruption, guilt, death, and condemnation belong properly to every person. All persons are thus corrupt by nature, enslaved to sin, and morally unable to delight in God and overcome their own proud preference for the fleeting pleasures of self-rule.

God has subjected the creation to futility, and the entire human family is made justly liable to untold miseries of sickness, decay, calamity, and loss. Thus all the adversity and suffering in the world is an echo and a witness of the exceedingly great evil of moral depravity in the heart of mankind; and every new day of life is a God-given, merciful reprieve from imminent judgment, pointing to repentance.

In the fullness of time God sent forth His eternal Son as Jesus the Messiah, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary. When the eternal Son became flesh, He took on a fully human nature, so that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one Person, without confusion or mixture. Thus the Person, Jesus Christ, was and is truly God and truly man, yet one Christ and the only Mediator between God and man.

Jesus Christ lived without sin, though He endured the common infirmities and temptations of human life. He preached and taught with truth and authority unparalleled in human history. He worked miracles, demonstrating His divine right and power over all creation: dispatching demons, healing the sick, raising the dead, stilling the storm, walking on water, multiplying loaves, and foreknowing what would befall Him and His disciples, including the betrayal of Judas and the denial, restoration, and eventual martyrdom of Peter.

His life was governed by His Father‘s providence with a view to fulfilling all Old Testament prophecies concerning the One who was to come, such as the Seed of the woman, the Prophet like Moses, the Priest after the order of Melchizedek, the Son of David, and the Suffering Servant.

Jesus Christ suffered voluntarily in fulfillment of God‘s redemptive plan, that He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, that He died, was buried and on the third day rose from the dead to vindicate the saving work of His life and death and to take His place as the invincible, everlasting Lord of glory. During forty days after His resurrection, He gave many compelling evidences of His bodily resurrection and then ascended bodily into heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for His people on the basis of His all-sufficient sacrifice for sin, and reigning until He puts all His enemies under His feet.

By His perfect obedience to God and by His suffering and death as the immaculate Lamb of God, Jesus Christ obtained forgiveness of sins and the gift of perfect righteousness for all who trusted in God prior to the cross and all who would trust in Christ thereafter. Through living a perfect life and dying instead, the just for the unjust, Christ absorbed our punishment, appeased the wrath of God against us, vindicated the righteousness of God in our justification, and removed the condemnation of the law against us.

The atonement of Christ for sin warrants and impels a universal offering of the gospel to all persons, so that to every person it may be truly said, ―God gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life. Whosoever will may come for cleansing at this fountain, and whoever does come, Jesus will not cast out.

The death of Christ did obtain more than the bona fide offer of the gospel for all; it also obtained the omnipotent New Covenant mercy of repentance and faith for God‘s elect. Christ died for all, but not for all in the same way. In His death, Christ expressed a special covenant love to His friends, His sheep, His bride. For them He obtained the infallible and effectual working of the Spirit to triumph over their resistance and bring them to saving faith.