Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 February 2021 2 Corinthians 5:21.

2 Corinthians 5:21.     ​For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Snow, snow, go away, and come back some other day! (smile) That’s what we would all like this Sunday morning my brethren, but let’s be thankful for small mercies, namely that we don’t have to journey out in it to get to church to sing praises and worship our wonderful God. Yes, this virtual and technological worshipping is a pain in the neck, but it’s certainly better than no worship at all. 

So to show our thanks let’s begin by belting out this marvelous old hymn with lyrics by Isaac Watts (1674 – 1748) and the chorus by Ralph E. Hudson (1843-1901) Yes friends, we talking about ‘At the Cross.’ What a wonderful hymn, for it speaks to our most wonderful gift; SALVATION! Glory be! 

Let’s celebrate in song, our two blessed occasions nuh; when Christ was crucified for our sake and when we found Him and made Him our Lord and Saviour. Now, in an easy rocking tempo, with joy resounding from every note and word, let’s allow our sincere sacrifice of praise to be heard all over the world, and also in high heaven.

(Refrain: At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!) ‘Alas! and did my Savior bleed And did my Sovereign die? Would He devote that sacred head For sinners such as I? (Refrain: At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!) 

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine— And bathed in its own blood— While the firm mark of wrath divine, His Soul in anguish stood. (Refrain) Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the tree? Amazing pity! grace unknown! And love beyond degree! (Refrain) Well might the sun in darkness hide And shut his glories in, When Christ, the mighty Maker died, For man the creature’s sin. 

(Refrain) Thus might I hide my blushing face While His dear cross appears, Dissolve my heart in thankfulness, And melt my eyes to tears. (Refrain) But drops of grief can ne’er repay The debt of LOVE I owe: Here, Lord, I give my self away ’Tis all that I can do. At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day! Now I am happy all the day…happy all the day…happy all the day…’ 

Oh my people, if you’re not happy all the day, then you don’t truly believe! Why you ask? Simply becauseour salvation was certainly earned at the Cross, for as the Good Book says: ‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’ (Rom. 3:23) And what’s the consequence of sin? The Good Book also spells it out quite clearly. ‘For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Rom. 6:23) 

And how is death changed into life? The Good Book also has the answer for that. ‘And almost all things are by the law purged (cleansed) with blood; and without (the) shedding of blood (there) is no remission (forgiveness). (Heb. 9:22) That means friends, that all sinners were condemned to death from the very beginning of their lives because no animal or human blood was able to pay for us to have life anew. That could only be attained by the shedding of the blood of a sinless soul, and Jesus was the ONLY One around who could lay claim to that characteristic. 

So what did Almighty God in His divine wisdom and incalculable LOVE do? ‘For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.’ (2 Cor. 5:21) Yes my people, God placed ALL of our sin on Jesus, so that He could pay the price for ALL sin for ALL time! Christ was guiltless and sinless, but the Father LOVED us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son for us. Oh my bredrin, which one of us would have given up our only son to be a sacrifice for a bunch of ingrates eh? None of us would have willingly done it, like the Father did! 

So we should just be thankful and jump for joy and just fall all over ourselves to do Jesus’ bidding! Can you imagine the ‘sufferation’ He underwent on our behalf; the flogging, the crown of thorns on his head, the nails in His hands and feet, the spear in His side, crucified naked, the mocking, the shame, the resentment and hate that was thrown His way…all on our behalf? As the hymn says about Jesus bruised and battered body ‘bathed in its own blood…His soul in anguish stood…for crimes that I had done…’ Steups! Then we get up and spout a whole lot of foolishness and don’t take the whole thing as seriously as we ought. 

And simple eyes-water is not good enough. Why? ‘But drops of grief can ne’er repay The debt of LOVE I owe. Here, Lord, I give myself away ‘Tis all that I can do.’ Yes friends, we can never repay Jesus’ sacrifice, the best that we can do is surrender our lives to Him and worship Him as our Lord and Saviour, LOVE Him with all our hearts, souls, bodies and minds, being ever so thankful for His saving grace. And John puts it thus in his first epistle. ‘And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.’ (1 John 2:2) 

That means Christ’s sacrificial death satisfied the Father’s requirement, the justice needed to pay for sin, now and for all time. What more can we ask eh? And some of us might be wondering why the Lord did all of that? Bruh Paul explained it to Timothy. ‘Who will (desires to) have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.’ (1 Tim. 2:4-6) 

Yes my fellow saints in Christ, Jesus’ sacrifice was proof that the Father wanted ALL to be converted. So he’s done His part, the rest is now up to us. Much LOVE!

…the foot of the cross…the best place to find Jesus…and lay your burdens down…  

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 October 2020 Hebrews 9:22.

Hebrews 9:22.     Without the shedding of blood there is no remission.

Well faithful soldiers and saints of Christ, that big day, the day of the Lord is here again, calling us to praise and worship in whatever way we can. And this Sunday is Thanksgiving weekend here in luverly Canada, so there is no better time than this to ramp up our thanks and praise to Almighty God, our Creator and Provider, who has done so much for us, a bunch of poor, pathetic, undeserving sinners. 

And also, there’s no better song to sing today than this one which talks about our greatest gift from God; forgiveness of our sins through the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. That precious fountain of blood which flowed from Immanuel’s veins and paid for our awful debt of sin, for evermore. And the official name of the hymn was ‘Praise for the Fountain opened.’ But now it’s generally known by its first line. ‘There is a Fountain filled with blood.’ It’s based on the Old Testament verse from Zechariah 13:1, re the cleansing of Jerusalem. ‘In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness.’ 

But before we get into this beautiful old hymn, let’s get a li’l background on it and its writer, William Cowper, an English poet of great renown. (1731-1800) Born to an English clergyman father, physically frail and emotionally unstable, which the death of his mother at six further complicated. He studied law, but when called to the bar he experienced a panic attack which led to a mental breakdown and attempted suicide. That consequently led to a stay in a mental asylum. 

It’s claimed that during that time, while reading the Bible, he came across Romans 3:25 that Jesus Christ is “set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” And through reading of the Scriptures, Cowper realized his need for a Savior and the need for forgiveness of sins. Consequently, in 1764, at the age of thirty-three, he dedicated his life to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Bouts of depression, melancholia and attempted suicide apparently peppered his life, but they say that ironically some of his best hymns were written during those times. And wonder of wonders, whom do you think he linked up with later in life – the one and only John Newton, the slaver turned Anglican Pastor, and writer of ‘Amazing Grace.’ And they teamed up over the years to write ‘The Olney Hymns’ Hymnal, (349 hymns) named after the town where Cowper and Newton were then living. 

Just more amazing instances of the Lord’s mysterious movements in getting His work done, through rather unlikely people. That’s why the Good Book says: ‘But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound (put to shame) the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound (put to shame) the things which are mighty.’ (1 Cor. 1:27) 

So let’s get to it now nuh: in full, soulful and sincere voice, in a slightly rocking tempo, like the live worship video done by the band, Shane and Shane, let’s offer up our sacrificial praise. No dirge like music this Thanksgiving weekend, especially for such a wonderful gift from our Creator. 

‘There is a fountain filled with blood Drawn from Immanuel’s veins; And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains: Lose all their guilty stains, Lose all their guilty stains; And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains. The dying thief rejoiced to see That fountain in his day; And there may I, though vile as he, Wash all my sins away: Wash all my sins away, Wash all my sins away; And there may I, though vile as he, Wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood Shall never lose its pow’r, Till all the ransomed Church of God Be saved, to sin no more: Be saved, to sin no more, Be saved, to sin no more; Till all the ransomed Church of God Be saved to sin no more. E’er since by faith I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply, Redeeming LOVE has been my theme, And shall be till I die: And shall be till I die, And shall be till I die; Redeeming LOVE has been my theme, And shall be till I die. 

When this poor lisping, stamm’ring tongue Lies silent in the grave, Then in a nobler, sweeter song I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save: I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save, I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save; Then in a nobler, sweeter song I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save….I’ll sing thy pow’r to save…’ 

Oh my people, what truthful and most magnificent sentiments! The precious shed blood of Christ is the greatest thing in this world, because it is the only thing that can take away our sins, when, like the thief who died on that fateful day with Christ, we come to the cross and let that crimson blood cleanse us white as snow! Mama Mia! No other faith can match the power of Jesus, because He is the Son of the One True God Jehovah! 

And interestingly enough there’s a book titled ‘Immanuel’s Veins,’ by Ted Dekker. The author apparently says that Christ bled on the cross for us…’For the heart of man.’ And talking about ‘Immanuel, God with us – that he would leave the spiritual realm and be present in flesh and blood in such an act of humility is a staggering notion.’ And it surely is! ‘He willingly gave His blood, in the flesh, so that others might find life, for it is written: “He did not come by water only, but by blood” (1 John 5:6), and ‘Without the shedding of blood there is no remission.’ (Hebrews 9:22). 

This why blood is required for us to have life. And He didn’t give ‘just enough to satisfy the requirement, to fulfill a covenant or agreement? No. He gave it all. He gave His life. For us. Because He LOVED us.’ Yes friends, Jesus sacrificed His sinless life because He LOVED us. As Isaiah tells it: ‘But he was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us have turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’ (Is. 53:5-6) 

And He did it all for LOVE, my brethren! That just goes to show the awesome power of LOVE! And I guess it’s appropriate here to quote the most important verse in the Good Book; the raison d’etre for it all: ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16) And that’s why Jesus said the greatest commandment is to LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, body and soul, and the second is to LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. (Matt. 22:37-39) 

Consequently, if we don’t have LOVE, and show LOVE, then we are not true followers of Christ! Much LOVE!

…from the creation…to the revelation…it’s all about LOVE… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 July 2020 1 John 2:2.

1 John 2:2.     ​And he is the propitiation (atonement) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
 

Here we go again friends, it’s church time, by whatever means possible! And aren’t we a faithful group? Even with the churches physically closed, we have not faltered in our worship of Almighty God, we’ve found new and insightful ways to do it. But please let’s not get too swell-headed now, and start beating our chests with pride, for right there we fall into rough waters with the Father, for if it’s one thing He dislikes is pride, because it causes us to believe we don’t need Him, and is that ever the furthest thing from the truth! 

And we have the perfect example in the tribulation of worldwide sickness and strife we’re currently facing and can’t handle. So let’s not get too big for out britches and forget the foolish idea that we don’t need God. And I have to chuckle when I think of the multitudes of people who are praying these days who have never prayed before, or haven’t prayed for a long time. Hn! We’re all feeling the pinch and are slowly but surely coming to the realization that God is very necessary in our society. 

So as Papa James Brown would say: ‘Let’s get on the good foot and worship our great God nuh! Worship Him in Spirit and in truth!’ And we’ll begin by singing a song of praise; a li’l soulful Christian ditty titled ‘I come to the Cross,’ written by Bob Somma and Bill Batstone at the turn of the 21st century. So with the appropriate heart-felt sincerity, let’s offer up our sacrifice of praise in strong voice and soulful harmony. 

‘I come to the cross seeking mercy and grace, I come to the cross where You died in my place. Out of my weakness and into Your strength, Humbly, I come to the cross. I come to the cross seeking mercy and grace, I come to the cross where You died in my place. Out of my weakness and into Your strength, Jesus, I come to the cross. Your arms are open, You call me by name, You welcome this child that was lost. You paid the price for my guilt and my shame, Jesus, I come, Jesus I come, Jesus, I come to the cross. 

I come to the cross seeking mercy and grace, I come to the cross where You died in my place. Out of my weakness and into Your strength, Jesus, I come to the cross. Jesus, I come, Jesus I come, Jesus, I come to the cross Your arms are open, You call me by name, You welcome this child that was lost. You paid the price for my guilt and my shame, Jesus, I come, Jesus I come, Jesus, I come to the cross Jesus, I come to the cross…Jesus, I come to the cross….’ 

And that my people is the best place we can ever go for whatever ails us; right to the foot of Jesus’ cross, for it’s there that He died; died in our place to pay for our sins! Hear how John puts it: ‘My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not (may not sin). And if any man sin, we have an advocate (intercessor) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation (atonement) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.’ (1 John 2:1-2) 

Now that’s certainly telling it like it is! Jesus paid for all the sins of the world, once and for all. There’s no more atoning for sins again. And He’s also advocating for those of us who sin! Wow! I guess you’d call that a double play, or a double whammy! As the scholars explain. ‘2:2. Propitiation is here an atoning sacrifice. Jesus bore in His body the punishment due us for our sin; in so doing He ‘propitiated’ God, satisfied God’s just demand that sin be punished. Thus Jesus is both the advocate for sinners (vs.1) and the sacrifice for their sins.’ 

Yes He was the sacrificial lamb, the sinless, flawless lamb who’s shed blood paid for all of our wrongdoing. For as the author of Hebrews declares (yesss!): ‘And almost all things are by the law purged (cleansed) with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.’ (Heb. 9:22) And the scholars tell us: ‘9:22. On the basis of the preceding verses (19-21- where Moses sprinkled blood over the tabernacle and the vessels of the ministry) the author concludes two things: (1) the law seems to require that almost everything be purged with blood; and (2) there is no remission, forgiveness without the shedding of blood.’ 

Thus the unblemished body of Christ was sacrificed so that His sinless blood could be used to pay for our sins. That’s why the cross is so important in our Christian faith, for without it, our sin debts would not have been paid in full. And consequently the Good Book tells us that amongst other things, the blood of Christ washes and cleanses us and our robes (Rev. 7:14); that we overcome the enemy also by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of our testimony…’ (Rev. 12:12) That’s why we can truthfully proclaim that there is power in the blood! 

So when we are seeking mercy and grace and strength, and whatever else we need to live this life, we need to start at the cross of Jesus, for He is both our intercessor, and our sacrifice. And without the cross our faith would be nothing! And we’ll end with these marvellous words of Bruh Paul to the Roman church. 

‘But God commendeth (demonstrated) his LOVE toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now (having been) justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being (having been) reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (reconciliation.’ (Rom.5:8-11) 

So friends, I’ll tell us once again that Jesus is the answer to ALL of our problems! Much LOVE!

…wisdom decrees that the created…turn to the Creator…in times of need…