For Christ’s Sake

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments. Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
Psalms 119:130‭-‬133 ESV

Father God has opened the lines of communication through His Word to me again, Hallelujah! Bible verses jump off the page and say, “NOTICE Me!!!” With that comes a flood of emotions and hunger for revelation to understand more clearly what is being presented. A phrase in the Tecarta Bible verse a couple days ago did just that.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

If you are like me you’ve heard those words, “for Christ’s sake” hundreds of times but not in relation to that bible verse. Probably it was on the verge of being outright blasphemy. But today I desired to know what does God want me to understand about, “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven me.”

Be careful if you Google that phrase because included with a couple worthy results you will also get some very perverted ones too. I read a sermon Charles Spurgeon preached on it in 1865 that shed some light on it. Right off the bat he makes a statement that draws a line of demarcation.

It is true that God did not originally love us for Christ’s sake, for his electing love was sovereign and absolute: the Father loved us not because the Saviour died, but the Saviour died because the Father loved us from before the foundation of the world.

There was a time, you could approach God directly if you really desired to as in the Nazarite Vow but usually it was through a high priest. On the day Jesus Christ died and shed His precious blood for us that all changed. As Spurgeon says, before that time,

Beloved, see that scapegoat yonder. Israel’s sins have been confessed upon it. The high priest has laid his hand on the victim’s head, it is led away by the hand of a fit man; he sets it free, watches it—it is out of sight. He climbs a rock, looks far away to the east, the west, the north, the south—he cannot see it, he waits awhile, looks with anxious eye, it is gone! and he comes back and tells the people of Israel that the sin has been typically carried away upon the scapegoat’s head. Now, Christ is the fulfilment of the scapegoat. Our sins were laid on him: he is gone—gone where? “Ye shall seek me but ye shall not find me,” saith he: gone into the desolate regions of the dead. The scapegoat, Christ, has carried away into his own tomb the sins of all his people for ever. Now, was that a farce, or was it a reality? Did Christ take away sin, or not? If he did, then how can men be punished for sins which Jesus took away, for the sins for which Christ was punished? 

At the Temple Institute, many Orthodox Jews and so many others are looking forward to the building of the third temple in Jerusalem. Most all of the items used in the service of the temple have been recreated, even the musical instruments, menorah and burnt altar. Do you think Father God will accept any of it? I realize they haven’t accepted Jesus or His  words, “it is finish” so I guess we’ll have to see how that plays out. But for us that do believe Jesus is now our “Great High Priest” ministering in the true Tabernacle, Spurgen contiunes,

Jesus is no distinct God, separate from the Father, but, in a mysterious manner, he is one with the Father, so that the old Jewish watchword still stands true. “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord,” and yet Jesus is Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness. Besides this, he, for us men, and for our salvation, took upon himself the form and nature of man—became incarnate, as the virgin’s Son, and, as such, lived a life of perfection, never sinning, always full of love and holy service, both to God and man. There he stands: by the eye of faith ye may see him—“God over all, blessed for ever;” and yet man, of his mother, he stands to plead before the eternal throne; Almighty God, all-perfect perfect man. He wears upon his head a crown, for he is a prince of the house of David, and his dominion is an everlasting dominion. Upon his bosom glitters the bejewelled breastplate, for he is a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedek, and over his shoulders hangs the mantle of prophecy, for he is a prophet, and more than a prophet. Now, as he stands there, adored of angels, worshipped by cherubim and seraphim, having the keys of heaven, and earth, and hell at his girdle—master of winds and waves, Lord of providence, the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords; I wonder not, that such a person should prevail with the Father, and that God, for his sake, should bestow innumerable blessings upon the unworthy for whom he pleads. He is the chief among ten thousand and the altogether lovely!

Spurgeon describes how men will often lay down their lives without thought for the “sake” of a noble cause under the leadership like,

Napoleon’s presence made every man a hero. When Alexander led the van, there was not a man in all the Macedonian ranks who would have hesitated to lose his life in following him. For David’s sake the three mighties broke through the host, at imminent peril of their lives, to bring him water from the well of Bethlehem.

Spurgeon deepens the pull of what someone will do for the “sake” of relationship in just the memory of a loved one,

The mother, whose son had been many years at sea, pined for him with all a mother’s fondness. She was a widow, and her heart had but this one object left. One day there came to the cottage door a ragged sailor. He was limping on a crutch, and seeking alms. He had been asking at several houses for a widow of such-and-such -and such a name. He had now found her out. She was glad to see a sailor, for never since her son had gone to sea had she turned one away from her door, for her son’s sake. The present visitor told her that he had served in the same ship with her beloved boy; that they had been wrecked together and cast upon a barren shore; that her son had died in his arms, and that he had charged him with his dying breath to take his bible to his mother—she would know by that sign that it was her son—and to charge her to receive his comrade affectionately and kindly for her son’s sake. You may well conceive how the best of the house was set before the stranger. He was but a common sailor; there was nothing in him to recommend him. His weather-beaten cheeks told of service, but it was not service rendered to her: he had no claim on her, and yet there was bed and board, and the widow’s hearth for him. Why? Because she seemed to see in his eyes the picture of her son—and that book, the sure token of good faith, opened her heart and her house to the stranger.  Relationship will frequently do far more than the mere excellence of the person. Bethink you, brethren, Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. Our God had but one begotten Son, and that Son the darling of his bosom. Oh, how the Father loved him. It is not possible for us to measure divine love, for we have no measuring line. Human love at best is only finite even when it reaches its very highest. When we plunge into the depths of human love, there is yet a bottom; but divine love has neither shore nor bound. Little can we tell what unity of essence means. The divine persons are one in essence—one God. We cannot therefore conceive what affection must spring from this closest of all known unities. Oh, how Jehovah loves him! And yet that dear Son of his, for our sakes left the starry throne of heaven, became a man, suffered, bled, and died; and when we come to mercy’s bar, bringing with us Christ’s own promise, the eternal Father sees Jesus in our eyes, bids us welcome to mercy’s table and to mercy’s house, for the sake of him who is his only begotten Son. 

As Father’s Day just recently passed, I was reminded that an earthly father’s love, no matter how great is still evil in comparison to the Love of Father God for His Dear Son Jesus.

God was just: he punished human guilt in the person of man’s representative, Jesus of Nazareth. God is gracious: he accepts every believing sinner for the sake of Jesus Christ. Think, then, of what Christ has done, and you will see the force of the argument. He has honoured the law of God, which man had dishonoured, and has opened a way for God’s mercy, which man’s sin had fast closed up. Oh, God, thy Son has brought back what he took not away: he has taken the prey from the mighty, and the lawful captive he has delivered; like another David, he has snatched the sheep from the jaw of the lion, and delivered the lamb from the paw of the bear. Like another Samson, he has slain thine enemies, and taken the gates of their strongholds upon his shoulders, and carried them to the top of the hill. Every wound which he endured upon the cross, every stroke which he felt in Pilate’s hall, every drop of blood which he sweat in Gethsemane, strengthens the plea “for Christ’s sake.”

After we realize we are lost sinners in need of a savior and through repentance turn to Jesus Christ for salvation it’s so easy to try to work for God’s continued blessings and every prayer need. How easily we revert back to earn our way instead of just having a goal to live a life that pleases God and rest in that. How easy it is to ask Father God for something in prayer and add, “if I have been pleasing in your sight” would you …..

Spurgeon says, Every day in the year the gates of heaven are opened to sinners free. Why? For Jesus Christ’s sake. Is it not a most fitting reason? If God would glorify his Son, how could he do better than by saying, “For the sake of my dear Son, set the pearly gates of heaven wide open, and admit his chosen ones. See these myriads of spirits, they are all admitted to their throne of immortal glory for the sake of my dear Son. They are happy, but they are happy for his sake. They are holy, but they are holy for his sake.” Casting their crowns at his feet, they sing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” You perceive at once that this reason appeals to common sense, and therefore I hope, dear friends, you will lay hold of it. 

     Let me say, poor sinner, that it is a reason applicable to your case. If you can—think of any one good and solid reason why God should forgive you! Turn them all over. You cannot see one! I know the time when I could not find a half a reason why God should save me, but I could find fifty thousand reasons why he should damn me; but when I see that, “For Christ’s sake,” O that is a reason; that is a good reason—it is a reason I can get hold of. Suppose me to be the blackest sinner out of hell, how it will glorify Christ if, for Christ’s sake, the blackest sinner that ever lived should be snatched from hell and taken to heaven for his sake. Suppose I have been a blasphemer, unchaste, an adulterer, a murderer—what then? “For Christ’s sake.” The more sin I have, the more glorious will the merit of Christ seem to be, when, in opposition to all my unworthiness, it brings me pardon and eternal life, and takes me to the enjoyments of his right hand. Sinner, grasp this motive. I know where you have been: you have been raking about in that filthy dunghill of your own heart. You have been turning the filth over, to find a jewel in it. You will never find one. The jewels which once belonged to mankind, were all lost by our father Adam. I know what you have been doing. You have been trying to be better in order to deserve well of God. Thus you thought you would manufacture a reason which should move the heart of God. Leave off this foolish work: come with nothing in your hands but Christ. 

What is our part if Jesus Christ has “Done It All, Paid It All” …. RELATIONSHIP!!!

As with the Love of God for His Dear Son, the love of the mother for her sailor son, the love and admiration of a soldier for their commander and country, the main bond that ties is the relationship. Relationship with it brings understanding of a person deeper than head knowledge, it penetrates the heart with a power stronger than love of life for self. Selfishness finds no place in this kind of Love Relationship.

At one of the times Jesus rebuked the Pharisees that thought they knew and were following the “Law of God” to the letter, He told them,

Matthew 9:13 KJV “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus was quoting for Hosea 6:6 “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” God desires our love and heartfelt knowledge of Him instead of anything we “do” for Him. Out of real love, the “doing” will follow, without a record of it being kept to bring up later as a reminder of why God should grant our request. As Spurgeon explained, we have NO Greater plea when bringing a request to God’s Throne of Mercy & Grace “In Jesus’ Name” than, “For Christ’s Sake”

JESUS PAID IT ALL!!!!!

 

 

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