“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore, all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
2 Corinthians 5:14-17
The Apostle Paul writing in 2 Corinthians has a long central section of the letter, from 2:14 to 7:4, in which he focuses our attention on the great central fact of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its working is in many ways unseen, requiring us to respond to it in faith rather than by sight. As Paul reflects upon it he brings us to wrestle with two central convictions that bring us to real faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is those two convictions that I want to highlight briefly as 2012 draws to a close, and as we look forward to 2013.
- The Lord Jesus Christ, as our incarnate redeemer, died on behalf of and in the place of all men and as a consequence all men have undergone death in Him. This substitutionary death has immense consequences of us. On account of it not only do we die with Christ, but we are also raised in Him. The benefit of this death and resurrection are made available to us but and they are received by us through faith which unites us with the Lord Jesus Christ.
- The consequence of our Lord’s great redeeming act is that we are given new resurrection life in Him. Paul tells us that we are made into a new creation in Him if we are in fact “in Him.”
All of this is received by faith that looks upon the Lord Jesus Christ as God in human flesh who came among us to be our mediator. What a tremendous blessing this is. It is all given to us based upon the mercy of God. Such mercy leads us to worship the Lord. There can be no other response to such great love. As this year draws to a close, and as we look ahead to a brand new year I would encourage you to focus upon a real response of worship. To lead us in this worship please prayerfully read the words of Augustus Toplady’s wonderful hymn “A Debtor to Mercy Alone.” God bless each of you in 2013.
· “ A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing,
Nor fear, with God’s righteousness on,
My person and off’rings to bring.
The terrors of law and of God
With me can have nothing to do;
My Savior’s obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view.
· The work which His goodness began,
The arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen,
And never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
Not all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forego,
Or sever my soul from His love.
· My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Imprest on His heart, it remains
In marks of indelible grace.
Yes! I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure,
When all earthly ties have been riv’n.”