“Never let us reckon that our work in contending against sin, in crucifying, mortifying, and subduing of it, is at an end. The place of its habitation is unsearchable; and when we may think that we have thoroughly won the field, there is still some reserve remaining that we saw not, that we knew not of. Many conquerors have been ruined by their carelessness after a victory, and many have been spiritually wounded after great successes against this enemy. David was so; his great surprise into sin was after a long profession, manifold experiences of God, and watchful keeping himself from his iniquity. And hence, in part, has it come to pass that the profession of many has declined in their old age or riper time; which must more distinctly be spoken to afterward. They have given over the work of mortifying of sin before their work was at an end. There is no way for us to pursue sin in its unsearchable habitation but by being endless in our pursuit.”
Jonathan Edwards on 1 Corinthians 13:8, “love never fails.” He reflects on what awaits us in heaven:
Oh, what joy there will be springing up in our hearts when, after our weary pilgrimage, we are brought to a paradise like this! Here is joy unspeakable, full of glory. Here is joy that is humble, holy, captivating, and divine in its perfection!
Love is always a sweet thing, especially divine love. Even on earth, love is a spring of sweetness. But in heaven it will become a stream, a river, an ocean! All shall stand around the God of glory, who is the great fountain of love. We will open our very souls to be filled with the love that pours out from his fullness.
We will be like flowers in the bright and joyous days of spring, opening their petals to be filled with the light and warmth of the sun, flourishing in beauty and fragrance under its cheering rays. Every saint in heaven is like a flower in the garden of God. And holy love is the sweet fragrance they all send forth, filling paradise with its scent.
Every soul there is like a note in some concert of delightful music, beautifully harmonizing with every other note, so that together they blend into the most rapturous song, praising God and the Lamb forever.
And so everyone helps each other to express to their fullest capacity the love of the whole community to its glorious Father and Head. Together they pour back love into the great fountain of love from which they are supplied and filled with love, and blessing, and glory.
And so they will love, and reign in love, and share the godlike joy that is its fruit in a way that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has ever imagined. In the full sunlight of the throne, captivated with joys that are forever increasing and yet forever full, they shall live and reign with God and Christ forever and ever! [Rephrased in more contemporary English from Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, pp. 352– 353.]
“Either the resurrection happened or it did not happen. If it did happen, then it demonstrated once and for all that the power of God is greater than any other power. If ever you begin to doubt God’s ability to sort out any and every problem, look again at the resurrection.” (Peter Hicks, The Message of Evil and Suffering, p. 91)
Iain Duguid draws his commentary on Esther 6 to a close with these appropriate words:
“Indeed, if we are exalting Christ as Lord in our hearts, and are trusting firmly in God’s providence to do what is good for our souls and to bring glory to himself, why are we so troubled? Why are we so filled with doubts and fears about our own futures, or the future of our children, or the future of our churches? God will accomplish his purposes, often slowly and imperceptibly, but nonetheless certainly. Sometimes he will do it through human agents who willingly submit to him. Sometime he will will do it by directing those whose hearts are at enmity to him, so that their sinful motives accomplish his perfect purposes. Sometimes he will do it through the collaboration of a whole series of seemingly trivial circumstances. But in the light of the great and precious promises of God, this we know for sure: our God will save his people. In the light of the cross, we know that his salvation cannot be thwarted. In the light of these heavenly realities, what is left for us to do but to bow our hearts and kneees before him and sin his praises! –Iain Duguid, Esther and Ruth in the Reformed Expository Commentary, p. 84
At our Good Friday service, one of our pastors shared these reason, from the book of Hebrews, for Jesus’ death! May it help you focus on the purpose of Christ’s suffering and what it accomplished on our behalf!
To be crowned with glory and honor after tasting death for us!
“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9)
To be perfected through suffering
“For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (Hebrews 2:10)
To free us from bondage to the fear of death
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Hebrews 2:14–15)
To be a sympathetic and helpful high priest
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15–16)
To know experientially what obedience was like
“Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8)
To give us a clear conscience
“how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” (Hebrews 9:14)
To be an eternal high priest
“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Hebrews 9:24–26)
To rescue us from judgment
“so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28)
To offer a once-for-all sacrifice
“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,” (Hebrews 10:11–12)
To make us holy, blameless and perfect
“For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)
To give us access to the holies place
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,” (Hebrews 10:19)
To gain our joy and His
“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
To call us to follow His example of costly love
“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Hebrews 12:3–4)
To free us from the slavery of sin
“So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.” (Hebrews 13:12)
To set the stage for His own resurrection from the dead
“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20–21)
The great English Puritan John Owen said, “There are two things that are suited to humble the souls of men, and they are, first, a due consideration of God, and then of themselves – of God, in his greatness, glory, holiness, power, majesty, and authority; of ourselves, in our mean, abject, and sinful condition.”
The great British preacher D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote, “There is only one thing I know of that crushes me to the ground and humiliates me to the dust, and that is to look at the Son of God, and especially contemplate the cross … Nothing else can do it. When I see that I am a sinner … that nothing but the Son of God on the cross can save me, I’m humbled to the dust … Nothing but the cross can give us this spirit of humility.”
Jesus Christ is the beam of his Father’s love and through him the Father’s love reaches down and touches us. It is God’s will that he should always be seen as gentle, kind, tender, loving and unchangeable.
It is his will that we see him as the Father, and the great fountain and reservoir of all grace and love. . . Believers learn that it was God’s will and purpose to love them from everlasting to everlasting in Christ, and that all reason for God to be angry with us and treat us as his enemies has been taken away. The believer, being brought by Christ into the bosom of the Father, rests in the full assurance of God’s love and of never being separated from that love. Many saints have no greater burden in their lives than that their hearts do not constantly delight and rejoice in God. There is still in them a resistance to walking close with God … So do this: set your thoughts on the eternal love of the Father and see if your heart is not aroused to delight in him. Sit down for a while at this delightful spring of living water and you will soon find its streams sweet and delightful. You who used to run from God will not now be able, even for a second, to keep at any distance from him.
Many saints have no greater burden in their lives than that their hearts do not constantly delight and rejoice in God. There is still in them a resistance to walking close with God. . .So do this: set your thoughts on the eternal love of the Father and see if your heart is not aroused to delight in him. Sit down for a while at this delightful spring of living water and you will soon find its streams sweet and delightful. You who used to run from God will not now be able, even for a second, to keep at any distance from him.
John Owen, Communion with God, abridged by R. J. K. Law, Banner of Truth, 1991, pp. 16, 17, 32– 33.