Covered in His Garment

“Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a `kinsmen-redeemer of our family.”

~ Ruth 3:9

Boaz was Ruth’s kinsmen redeemer. Under the Old Covenant, the male next of kin was responsible to provide for, take care of and protect a relative in need. In the Book of Ruth, it is Boaz who comes in and provides for his relative Ruth in the most personal and loving manner – by taking her as his bride. In doing this, Boaz showed himself faithful to his duty as a kinsmen by redeeming Ruth as his wife. As a result, and many years later, Ruth would become the great-grand mother to Israel’s King David.

As Boaz spread his garment over Ruth as symbol of his love and care for her, so the Lord Christ covers his bride in the robes of His righteousness (Is. 61:10). We are no longer exposed to God’s judgment because of our sins and transgressions. Rather, Jesus takes us in, and washes us clean by the Holy Spirit (Tit 3:5) and claims us for Himself (1 Cor. 6:20). Like Ruth, do you confess to be Christ’s servant? Have you asked Him to cover you in His love, mercy and grace? If so, rejoice! For Jesus has become your kinsmen-redeemer!

~ apl

Saved By Works

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

~ Matthew 5:17-18

Jesus spoke in many different ways about His divine purpose in coming to this earth. He spoke in terms of offering salvation and eternal life. He talked about gathering His people together, shepherding His sheep, tending to His flocks. But what He says right here in Matthew 5:17-18 is possibly the most important aspect of Christ’s redemptive ministry on earth – that is His perfectly fulfilling God’s Law. Because, without that, without the fulfillment of the Law, there is no redemption and therefore no salvation. So why then was it imperative that Jesus fulfill the Law of God in order to save sinners?

The reason why all are now under the curse of sin as a result of Adam’s Fall is because God did not set aside His law simply because of our failure. God did not destroy His command simply because of Adam’s inability and unwillingness to keep it. God’s holy Law abides and remains as our great moral standard. Why? Because God’s perfect Law is a reflection of His own perfect character. Therefore as through one man’s disobedience to God’s law we were all lost, it is through another man’s perfect obedience we have the way of salvation. Or to put it another way, we are most certainly saved by works, they are just not our own works, we are saved through the work of Jesus Christ in perfectly fulfilling the Law of God on our behalf.

Yet salvation, we must confess the Bible teaches is also by grace through faith too, isn’t it? And how is this? Because when you come to faith in Christ, God who is rich in mercy takes the perfect obedience of His Son to His Law and graciously imputes or accounts it as your righteousness as if as if you yourself had perfectly kept God’s Law your entire life. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t it impossible to fathom? Yet, that’s the grace God in of salvation – that the perfect unblemished work of Christ is applied to you when, by faith, you embrace Jesus Christ and His saving work.

We are saved by good works unto good works. As much as possible we are to imitate Christ. We are saved by Christ’s good work of perfect obedience to God’s Law which He came to fulfill and that He graciously imputes to us that we might in turn and with the help of the Holy Spirit, strive, however imperfectly, to do the good works of obedience ourselves. And we know we will never keep God’s law perfectly as Christ did, but God knows our heart, and He sees our motives and to Him, what the Scriptures seem to teach is that God earnestly desires from His people, not heartless cold outward conformity, but lives that are moved from a deep abiding heartfelt desire to love God and to fulfill all His Word.

~ apl

Our Salvation

“The will of the Father is the originating cause of our salvation, the worth of the Son’s redemption, its meritorious cause, and the work of the Spirit, its effectual cause.”

~ Arthur Pink (1886-1952)

Christ, The Double Cure

“God loved us… and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”

~ 1 John 4:10 (NKJV)

“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

~ John 1:29 (NKJV)

In the beautiful drama of redemption, Christ acts as the twofold Cure for the sins of His people. Biblically, there are two essential and distinct (but not separate) aspects to the redeeming characteristic and efficacy in the salvation of sinners through the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Theologically, these two aspects of salvation are known as propitiation and expiation.

In 1 John 4:10, the Bible says God’s Son, Jesus, was sent to be the propitiation of our sins. What is John telling us here? The idea behind the word propitiation means to satisfy an obligation and to turn away the wrath of a righteous God who demands that His justice be satisfied. Sin incurs the anger or wrath of God. Sin offends God’s perfect sense of right or justice. Sin needs to be propitiated that the sinner might come out from under God’s holy wrath. Jesus is our propitiation. He who knew no sin became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ bore the wrath of the Father for His people (Is. 53:4-6). Jesus propitiated our sins; that is He met the perfect requirement of justice and turned the holy wrath of God from us and took it upon Himself on the Cross.

In John 1:29 we find the second vitally important characteristic to divine mercy – the expiation of our sins. John tells us there in verse 29 of chapter 1 Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This is expiation – it is to remove the guilt, the burden and the stain of sin from the life of the sinner. Under the Old Covenant, the sins of Israel were symbolically placed on the scapegoat and then the scapegoat was sent outside the camp, out from the presence of God and His people. There was expiation of their sins (Lev. 16:20-22). Jesus was led away outside the walls of Jerusalem, outside the camp of Israel to a place called Golgotha (Jn. 19:17) where He took and bore the sins of His people on the Cross. Jesus removed the guilt and stain of our sin.

Augustus Toplady (1740-1778) understood the Scriptural significance of both the doctrine of propitiation and expiation. When he penned his well-known hymn Rock of Ages, he was sure to include a beautiful reference to both:

                                                                                        Rock of Ages, cleft for me; Let me hide myself in Thee;
                                                                            Let the water and the blood; From Thy wounded side which flowed,
                                                     Be of sin, the double cure, save from wrath (propitiation) and make me pure (expiation).

Finally, we find in the Psalms another wonderful place in God’s Word where both propitiation and expiation are magnificently portrayed in the glorious and gracious work of salvation. In Psalm 103, verses 8-12, we read;

The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities (in Christ’s propitiation of sin). For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us (in Christ’s expiation of sin).

Amen