Thursday, May 20, 2010

"As We Confess..." Part 3

"Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20).

As we confess our sins, or literally, as we agree with God about our sins, we must increasingly hold the same view of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ as does our Heavenly Father.

"Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us... now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9:24; 26).

These verses always remind me of theatre marquees that read, "Now Appearing." The risen Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven and to the right hand of His Father to "appear... for us." That is, He exists in direct view of the Father, who beholds His beloved Son in a manner far differently than He did before the incarnation, the cross, and the resurrection.

"And one shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Thine hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends" (Zechariah 13:6).

It is a wounded Lord Jesus whom the Father sees. The prints of nails remain in the hands, feet, and side of our Savior - for us (John 20:27). They represent the power and efficacy of Christ's atoning work on the cross of Calvary, and the truth that all sin and every sin bows in the presence of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus. His appearance before God the Father thus assures our salvation in the ultimate sense, and also provides the basis for specific bestowals of forgiveness and cleansing we will need as the we navigate the temptation-lined paths of a fallen world.

By faith, the Lord Jesus must "appear" in our hearts and minds as He does in the heart and mind of our Father. He perfectly sees His Son, and estimates His redeeming work to be infinitely more than adequate to provide restoration for all who will receive the blessed benefits of grace. We cannot perfectly see our Lord, of course, but we can "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18). We can increasingly fill our understanding with the Bible's declaration of a Redeemer who is "able to save them to the uttermost who come to God by Him" (Hebrews 7:25). We can more and more avail ourselves of the rivers of mercy that flow from that throne this is so rightly declared to be "the throne of grace" (Hebrews 4:16). And as a result, we can find ourselves genuinely loving so wonderful a Father who gave so wonderful a Son, and who is now revealed to us by so wonderful a Holy Spirit and Word of God.

Sin is sadly abundant in the human race, and at times abounds even among God's trusting sons and daughters in Christ. Grace, however, does "much more abound!" How much more? A long eternity of witnessing our Savior appearing in the presence of God will not fully tell the story of such sublime glory. This day and this moment may require us to gaze into Heaven, as it were, and if so, we will see our Father's fixed attention on the wounds of His dearest and best. Let us see them also, and agree with Him that no sin can compare with the gracious mercy that flowed with the blood of the Lord Jesus as He died on Calvary. Yes, "Now Appearing In the Presence of God For Us..."

"If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."
(I John 1:7)

"There is forgiveness with Thee."
(Psalm 130:4)

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