God Alone

In the restoration of communion between God and sinning humanity, the initiative lies with God’s forgiveness: Jesus ‘blasphemously’ pronounced the divine forgiveness, and the scribes’ question ‘Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ is a piece of ironic Christology (Mark 2:1-12).

—Geoffrey Wainwright, Doxology: The Praise of God in Worship, Doctrine, and Life: A Systematic Theology, 75

***Geoffrey Wainwright in memoriam (died March 17, 2020)***

Amazing Grace 3

In evil long I took delight
Unawed by shame or fear;
Till a new object struck my sight
And stopped my wild career.

I saw one hanging on atree
In agony and blood;
Who fixed his languid eyes on me
As near his cross I stood.

Sure never till my latest breath
Can I forget that look;
It seemed to change me with his death
Though not a word He spoke.

My conscience felt and owned the guilt
And plunged me in despair;
I saw my sins his blood had spilt
And helped to nail Him there.

Alas, I knew not what I did
But now my tears are vain;
Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
For I the Lord have slain.

A second look He gave which said
“I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid
I died that that thou mayest live.”

Thus while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue;
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon, too.

With pleasing grief and mournful joy
My spirit now is filled;
That I should such a life destroy
yet live by Him I killed.

–John Newton, 1779 (author of the text of “Amazing Grace”)

(See the wonderful musical setting by Bob Kauflin)

Sinners Welcome

When you have the celebration of the Lord’s Table . . . you have a congregation gathered together that all of the time is constantly being reminded: some of you in this room have paid for abortions; some of you in this room were what the world calls porn stars; some of you in this room were embezzlers and gamblers and wife abusers; some of you in this room were covetous, smug [churchgoers]; some of you in this room have violated the law of God in all of these many ways, but in Christ, the destroyer has passed over you. You are forgiven, not because God has turned in ignorance from you, but because God has placed your sins upon Jesus, and he has been through hell for you. This is a warning of judgment. It is also a magnificent proclamation of the liberating power of God.

–Russell D. Moore, “Jesus, Take the Meal: Why We’re Afraid of the Lord’s Table (Luke 22:7-30)”, 5  (link HERE)