“For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.” ~ Psalm 149:4
What a splendid thought that the Lord takes pleasure in His people! God is not some mean ogre sitting in heaven with a scowl on His face merely seeking to consume us. No indeed! He takes great joy and satisfaction in the salvation of His people. And why not? It was the glorious work of His own Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that accomplished it. Such marvelous truth and amazing love adorns and beautifies those who truly humble themselves and earnestly come before Him.
“I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from Me there is no Savior.” ~ Isaiah 43:11
Advent is a wonderful occasion to be reminded of the exclusivity of Christ as our Savior. God the Father sent His only Son into this world, to be born of a virgin, to live a perfect life, to die a perfect death and to be raised from the dead as the sole means by which mankind could be redeemed from their sins and have the curse of their iniquity lifted. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And He would go on to say no one comes to the Father but by Him (Jn. 14:6). So that what was foretold in Isaiah hundreds of years before the Messiah arrived is true… Jesus is Lord, and apart from Him there is no Savior.
“Christ is to be answerable for all those that are given to Him, at the last day, and therefore we need not doubt but that He will certainly employ all the power of His Godhead to secure and save all those that He must be accountable for. Christ’s charge and care of these that are given to Him, extends even to the very day of their resurrection, that He may not so much as lose their dust, but gather it together again, and raise it up in glory to be a proof of His fidelity; for, saith He, “I shall lose nothing, but raise it up again at the last day.””
~ Thomas Brooks (1608-1680)
“What skill doth every part of our [the preacher’s] work require! – and of how much moment is every part! To preach a sermon, I think, is not the hardest part; and yet what skill is necessary to make the truth plain; to convince the hearers, to let irresistible light in to their consciences, and to keep it there, and drive all home; to screw the truth into their minds, and work Christ into their affections; to meet every objection, and clearly to resolve it; to drive sinners to a stand, and make them see that there is no hope, but that they must unavoidably either be converted or condemned – and to do all this, as regards language and manner, as beseems our work, and yet as is most suitable to the capacities of our hearers. This, and a great deal more that should be done in every sermon, must surely require a great deal of holy skill.”
~ Richard Baxter (1615-1691)
The cross of Jesus displays the most awful exhibition of God’s hatred of sin and at the same time the most august manifestation of His readiness to pardon it. Pardon, full and free, is written out in every drop of blood that is seen, is proclaimed in every groan that is heard, and shines in the very prodigy of mercy that closes the solemn scene upon the cross. O blessed door of return, open and never shut, to the wanderer from God! How glorious, how free, how accessible! Here the sinful, the vile, the guilty, the unworthy, the poor, the penniless, may come. Here too the weary spirit may bring its burden, the broken spirit its sorrow, the guilty spirit its sin, the backsliding spirit its wandering. All are welcome here.
~ Octavius Winslow (1808-1878)
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)
“For the LORD’s portion is His people…”
~ Deuteronomy 32:9 (NKJV)
It is amazing to think of all the things God could delight in, He is abundantly pleased to delight in His people. The Creator of heaven and earth has no greater love, joy or delight than to pour out His care and affection over the people whom He has chosen for Himself. This concern is seen in no fuller glory than when God’s own beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, died that sacrificial death that allows us the high privilege, that allows us, those who come by faith, to become the Lord’s portion.