grace notes-pastoral letter 10.26.22

Monthly memory verse: Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps” (Ps 135:6).”

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,What a blessing to be with you to join together in the worship of our great God and Savior this past Lord’s Day!  It is always wonderful to participate in His praise together, and all the more when the central theme of our time together is the glorious salvation He has provided for us in Christ.  As we saw from our Shorter Catechism, “God having, out of His mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer” (WSC 20).  What a joy to ponder!  What a source of peace!  For all our sins against the holy God of heaven, we have One who ever lives to make intercession for us.  We have a Redeemer.  We have a Mediator.  It is something only the Lord Jesus Christ could accomplish, and that is just what He has done.No mere man could ever suffice to mediate between God and sinful man.  Think, for example, of the heart and ministry of Moses.  Here is a man whose name stands out among Old Covenant saints.  Here is a man who served the Lord faithfully for a great many years, leading His people out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, to the very edge of the promised land, and through forty years of wilderness wanderings.  In the Jewish mind, here is a man who is a cut above the rest.  And yet, though he was a little ‘m’ mediator for God’s people – bringing God’s Word to them and praying for them to the Lord – he was by no means fit to remove the barrier of sin that stood between them and the Lord.  For all of his godliness and diligence in God’s service, he wasn’t sufficient to serve as the capital ‘M’ Meditator needed for sinful people to be properly and forever reconciled to God, or to turn God’s wrath away from such people.  We see this clearly in the instance of the golden calf.  In Moses’ absence, the Israelites fashioned a golden calf, which they dubbed Yahweh – the Lord – and to which they gave praise.  For this, the Lord’s anger burned hot against them.  Yet, demonstrating both a measure of ignorance and of extraordinary Christlike love, Moses said to the Lord, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin – but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written” (Exod 32:31-32).  Here is terrific love.  As Paul writes in Romans 5:7, “one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die.”  It is rare to find someone willing to lay down his life to save another, and even then, Paul says, it is often done with a consideration of the worth of the person for whom one is dying.  But here, in astounding, Christlike love, Moses says he is ready to die for the sinful Israelites – to be blotted out of God’s book of life so that their names might be found in that book.  It is great love.  But, it is also great ignorance.  Thusthe Lord immediately refuses Moses’ offer (cf. Exod 32:33).  Moses is a great man among sinful men, but he is still a sinful man.  He can’t be the perfect sacrifice needed to take away other people’s sins, because he has his own sins to reckon with.  Moreover, even the great sacrifice of his own life wouldn’t begin to meet the worth of the sacrifice required to cover the enormous multitude of the Israelites’ sins.  Likewise, Paul later writes of the Israelites who haven’t come to know Christ by faith, “I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Rom 9:3).  He could wish it, but he couldn’t do it any more than Moses could.  Neither man could prove a sufficient mediator to bring peace between God and sinful man.  As the Psalmist says, “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit” (Ps 49:7-9).  No mere man could ever suffice to mediate between God and sinful man.But, what no mere could ever do, Jesus Christ has done and continues to do for His people.  Unlike Moses, Paul, and every other great man of God, Jesus Christ had no sin of His own for which to suffer and die.  He knew no sin (cf. 2 Cor 5:21).  “He committed no sin” (1 Pet 2:22; cf. Isa 53:9).  He is without sin (cf. Heb 4:15).  “In Him there is no sin” (1 Jn 3:5).  He is, “holy, innocent, unstained” (Heb 7:26).  Thus, Jesus Christ could do what no other man could ever do.  He could suffer and die, not for His own sins, but for the sins of others, since He had none of His own for which to pay.  He could be an acceptable, undefiled, unblemished sacrifice in the sight of God.  More than that, because He is not only truly man but also truly God, He could offer a sacrifice of infinite value – a sacrifice of sufficient worth to match the debt accrued by sinning against an infinity holy God (cf. Jn 1:1, etc.).  Thus, in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have one who is not only willing to lay down His life in the place of sinful men, in order to bring us to God, but one who is actually able to do so, indeed, who has done so.  When He stands before the throne of God to intercede for His believing people, He is never refused or turned away, as Moses was, but rather, He is warmly received, together with all who are united to Him by faith.  He is the only Mediator between God and sinful man, and His mediation is one-hundred percent effective (cf. 1 Tim 2:5).  What no mere man could ever do, Jesus Christ has done and continues to do for His people.Therefore, in all our sinfulness, let us look to Him by faith, finding and giving thanks to have peace with God.  We aren’t somehow better than the Israelites of old.  They fashioned a golden calf; we fashion a thousand idols in our hearts as we seek countless things above the Lord in our lives.  They deserved the righteous wrath of God; by nature and by deed we deserve the same.  We are no better.  But, we do have a better Mediator than Moses – One to whom we may look and be found whiter than snow in the sight of God.  Let’s not fail to recognize how glorious this is – how glorious He is.  Let’s go to Him with all of our blood-red sins and rejoice to know that, in Him, we stand before the throne of grace as white as wool.  Let’s look to Him by faith everyday and especially when our sins seem to rise up before our eyes.  Let’s lift our eyes above them all to Christ, seated at the right hand of the God the Father almighty, and give thanks that in Him, our only Mediator, we have peace with God!In Christ,Pastor Eric P.S.Join us for the prayer meeting each Wednesday in the Fellowship Hall – dinner is served at 6:00pm, followed by a brief lesson and a time of prayer at 6:30.  Or, join us for prayer each Thursday at 10:30am in the adult Sunday School room. · Daily devotions
o I continue to encourage you to daily read Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening as we seek to maintain a spirit of unity.  It is widely available – here is one link:
§ https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/morning-and-evening/today
 

‘Vision Statement’  Covenant of Grace is a loving church family that equips people to know God and His Word through serious, joyful, Christ-centered worship and service, in reliance upon the Holy Spirit.

Matt 22:37-39
37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself

Love God.  Love people.


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508 Harvey Street
Winston-Salem, NC  27103

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Covenant of Grace Presbyterian Church
PO Box 26511
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