Reflections on the Cross

The Impact of Christ’s Substitutionary Atonement on the Cross

God could not accept us as we are, sinful, rebellious, selfish, unrighteous, unholy, unloving. He could not just ignore our condition without the cross.

God does not accept us as we are, but in spite of the way we are, He…

  • declares us righteous in Christ’s cross work of redemption
  • adopts us as son with Christ
  • transforms us into the image of Christ
  • and welcomes us into an eternal relationship with the Father

Spheres of Salvation

From the prison of sin
To the courtroom justification
To the living room of adoption
To the banquet room of glorification

Sin locks us in the prison of guilt before God
—unable to do anything to free ourselves
Justification replaces our guilt in the courtroom with righteous
—undeserved, unearned and unreimbursable
Adoption welcomes us into the living room
—unconditionally accepted in the family of God
Glorification seats us at the table with the Father
—unbroken fellowship for eternity

Basic Terms of Salvation

The atonement is the cross-work of Christ in which Christ by the grace of God has taken our place and has done what we could not do for ourselves:

Aspect

Theological Term

Anchor Passages

    1. He died once for all
Sacrifice Rom 3:25; 5:9-10;
    1. in our place

Substitution

Rom 5:6-8; 1 Pet 3:18

2 Cor 5:21

    1. paying the price for our sin
Redemption

 

Rom 3:24
    1. that satisfied God’s holiness
Propitiation/ Satisfaction Rom 3:25-26; 5:9
    1. by being declared us righteous in Christ

Justification

Rom 3:21-26; Romans 5:1-11
    1. thereby providing an eternal relationship with God

Reconciliation

2 Cor 5:19; Rom 5:1, 10-11; Jn 5:24

2 Cor 5:18-21

Books I Enjoyed this Year

The Best Books I Read This Year

Some of these were read, others a combination of listening and reading. I’ve become a big fan of audiobooks (I am an auditory / visual learner.)

Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes, by E. Randolph Richards, Brandon J. O’Brian

Excellent book to remind us that not only must we read Scripture conscious of the culture into which it was first written (original audience). But we must understand are own cultural preunderstandings and the things we take for granted or assume to be universally true because we understand them to be–the things “that go without being said”.

While there was some application of the principles, particularly in a few passages, where I believe there are other explanations and applications than the ones provided, the questions they caused me to ask and concepts I had to review were helpful for my ongoing study of Scripture.

Pilgrim Theology:The Core Doctrines of Christian Discipleship, by Michael Horton

While I’m not Reformed (though I share many affinities with my Reformed brothers and sister), I thoroughly enjoyed this well written basic but not simplistic systematic theology by Michael Horton. He has a more comprehensive volume entitled, “The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way” (also now part of my digital library).

Prayer by Timothy Keller

Theologically and pastorally enjoyable.  Key reminder and challenge that the better we know God, the more purposeful and passionate our prayer life.

I also enjoyed chapter 7 on learning from three giants of the faith, Augustine, Luther and Calvin.

And the simply overview of 3 kinds of prayer:

  • Upward–God focused praise and thanksgiving
  • Inward–Encounter with God and confession
  • Outward–Supplication and intercession

You can read a short interview about Tim Keller’s book.

How Should We Then Live: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture by Francis Schaeffer

Great review of the development of cultural and the forming of the dominant philosophical world views. While the end of the book is fairly tied to the time period it was written in, most of the book is helpful in providing perspective on the world we live in today.

Honorable Mention

Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism, by Timothy Keller

Particularly chapters 11 and 12 related to “reaching the people.”

Theology: The Basics by Alister E. McGrath

What creates unity and maintains fellowship?

For the last 5 months I have been studying and teaching 1 Corinthians, Paul’s letter to a dysfunctional, divided, immature, selfish and immoral group of churches.

One general recurring question that continues to resurface as I study is, “what creates unity?” or “how do we maintain fellowship?” If a church started by Paul in a city that he spent more time than any other, except for Ephesus, could end up with so much dysfunction and disunity, how do we avoid their problems?

In 1 Corinthians Paul addresses their specific problems and questions, which address many issues that we face in our contemporary culture. So, though a difficult book to study, it covers a broad range of important issues—central is the need to for unity in the church (1 Corinthians 1:10-11).

There are many contemporary books that address the “what?” and “how?” of developing fellowship with many good recommendations and programs. But I think this quote from A. W. Tozer has the most important challenge.

Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshippers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity- conscious” and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.

A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God: Updated Edition (Kindle Edition, 2015 Kindle Locations 1002-1005, Aneko Press). (First Edition 1948, Christian Publications).

Whatever our personality (introvert or extrovert) or whatever our background, age, gender and preferences, unity—which the Lord designed the church to possess and demonstrate His Glory—is created and maintained by each individual tuning their own affections towards God. Which allows us to be other-centered not seeking our own advantage and it allows us to see people the way God, leading to loving them the way God does.

Helping others who are grieving


This morning at Calvary, as a conclusion to our Honest to God series, Pastor Beau Eckert engaged the conversation about how to walk through grief with others.Honest to God

My Dad was one of the individuals in the panel, and they recorded the panel on the fifth month anniversary of my Mother’s death.

While my sister and I and our families have grieved the loss of my Mother, it is nothing like the loss of a spouse. So, I very much appreciate the authenticity my Dad has demonstrated as he goes through the journey of loss.

At different points I recorded my own thoughts on grief, whether seeking to remind myself of the hope we as believers have even when facing loss (Grieving with Hope), the knowledge that I may not have anything “meaningful” to say (When words are shallow), or what I learned as one going through loss (What to say and what not to say to those grieving).

 

Own your own weakness

Quote by Johnny Miller, former Senior Pastor of Calvary Church Lancaster.

Own your own weakness.

My interpretation

  • If you don’t know your own weakness, you really don’t understand your strengths.
  • If you don’t know your own weakness, you can’t really appreciate the abundance of grace supplied daily by the Lord.
  • If you don’t know your own weakness, you can’t see God’s strength in your weakness.
  • If you don’t own your own weakness, you simply make excuses and never truly grow.
  • If you don’t own your own weakness, you don’t know who you need and how much you need them.

He is Risen! He is Returning!

Do I live like Christ died yesterday, arose this morning and is coming back tomorrow?

Do I feel the pain of His death on my behalf?
Do I rejoice at the reality of His resurrection vindicating His sacrifice, assuring me of life?
Do I anticipate seeing Him face to face with uncontainable excitement?

Do I live today in a way that if Jesus Christ returns today my attitude, actions, activities and affections would all honor Him?

Do those who encounter me receive the grace that I have received?
Do those who know me best receive both mercy and grace in the abundance I have received?

Do my daily interactions reveal a certain anticipation of resurrection or do I get distracted by the mundane?
Do I do all things, mandatory, mundane or meaningful, as practice of living for eternity glorifying Him?
Do I live with an intentional urgency that today may be THE day He returns?

Do I infect those in my sphere of influence with hope?
Do I inspire others toward certain hope?

May I not have a critical self-centered small perspective
May my thoughts be higher than conflicts around me

May I live by faith that saved and sustains
May my faith have eyes to daily see the truth of resurrection and return

May the gospel be true to me each day, He is my all, I had to surrender self-effort and I must continue to surrender self-sufficiency because I need His saving grace, empowering grace, sustaining grace, hope giving grace

His resurrection gives hope
His resurrection empowers living
His resurrection mandates declaration

I do believe, the best news, He is Risen and He is Returning!
Bless the Lord God for the Cross-work of Jesus Christ and for certain anticipation, for hope.

He is Risen and He is Returning!
Hallelujah! Maranatha!
Praise the LORD! O Lord, come!

Stephen C. Kilgore March 2015

 

Fluency with God's Word in life situations