It Is Finished!
As some of you know, I have been writing a book. This week I experienced the joy of sending the manuscript off to the publisher. I want to thank those of you who prayed for me and often inquired how the project was progressing. Well, I can finally say, “It is finished!” While I anticipate having to do more edits and adjustments, I am pleased with the product I was able to send to the publisher.
During this process, East Point Church has been a tremendous encouragement to me. Much of the material in the book has come from our labors together in the Word of God. Having the privilege of preaching and teaching at a church that desires to know the Word, and hold those who teach accountable for it, is a blessing for which only God can be praised. So, thank you EPC. May we continue to grow and “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:9-10).
Thanks again for your prayers. For those interested in reading some of the fruit of your prayers, here is an excerpt from the chapter on the blood of Christ as our propitiation (or holy wrath-removing sacrifice for sin):
The Purpose of God’s Wrath
The wrath of God is a righteous indignation, which brings about the redemption of his people. The Bible tells us that because of the wrath of God the righteousness of God has been revealed apart from the law (Rom. 3:21). God’s wrath is for the purpose of pointing people to God’s mercy in Christ. God’s anger against sin reminds us that we are not righteous, and we stand in need of righteousness. The righteousness we need has two important aspects to it.
First, according to the Scriptures, the righteousness we need is “apart from the law (Rom. 3:21). Our keeping of the law of God will not accomplish the righteous requirement of God. In giving the law through Moses, God was revealing how unrighteous humanity is. In all honesty, we are all law-breakers. Yes, some are lesser thieves than others, but we are all thieves. We have all stolen God’s glory in some fashion (Rom. 3:23). Yes, some are lesser liars than others, but all liars are liable to eternal judgment (Rev. 21:8). The Bible clearly states that there is not one righteous person – “no not one” (Rom. 3:10). Through his law, God says do, and we don’t. God says don’t do, and we do. Who can say they have never offended any aspect of God’s holy law? The rich young ruler foolishly claimed to have kept all of the God’s commands from his childhood. Yet, Christ exposed his hypocrisy (Luke 18:18), reminding us that even what we perceive to be our most righteous deeds are marred, tainted, and worthless in the sight of God (Isa. 64:6). Our ability to keep the law is far from making us right with God. Therefore, it is necessary for us to look somewhere else – even outside of ourselves. This is the all-important second aspect to this righteousness. It is by faith.
The righteousness we need is not only “apart from the law”, but more importantly it is “by faith.” The righteousness needed to turn God’s anger to blessing is not of our own doing, but is a righteousness that comes by faith in the finished work of Christ. The blood of Christ is our propitiation – the wrath removing sacrifice. Faith is the means by which we receive that sacrifice as our righteousness. This is what the Christian rapper Shai Linne means when he tells us:
Just fall back, and with the eyes of faith
Behold the beauty of surprising grace
Because the Lamb has died, third day He had to rise
He’s magnified- God’s wrath is satisfied
Still, though faith is important, we must remember that it is not ultimate. It is not faith that turns away God’s wrath and anger against sin; it is the blood of Christ. It is not faith that saves; rather it is the finished work of Christ. Admittedly, faith is important. You can’t be saved without faith. However, it is Christ who saves, not faith. While faith brings the righteousness of Christ to us, it’s the righteousness of Christ that actually earns us God’s pleasure.