Birthdays: Susan Wages – June 17th – Jennifer Vanzandt – June 20th
NOT APPOINTED TO WRATH
"God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:9). It is not that the Lord’s people were undeserving of wrath for we "were by nature children of wrath, even as others," (Ephesians 2:3). But, the Lord has "delivered us from wrath to come" (1 Thessalonians 1:10). How was this salvation "obtained?" "By our Lord Jesus Christ." Salvation is in Christ and He alone had to do the work. As the elect were appointed to obtain salvation, possess it and enjoy it, so Christ was appointed to accomplish it by His justice-satisfying death and resurrection.
--- Pastor Jim Byrd
TO WHOM WAS SIN IMPUTED?
"Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:8). "Blessed" means well off, happy, to be envied. "The man" stands for every vessel of mercy, everyone chosen unto salvation, redeemed by the blood of Christ, certain to be regenerated by the Spirit and brought to faith in the Savior and destined to dwell with the Lord forever. "Impute" means to reckon, to charge to the account of. Concerning this man who is blessed, there is no doubt as to his natural depravity "for all have sinned" (Romans 3:23). But the issue before us is not the man’s sinfulness, but the non-imputation of sin to him. This raises an important question. If God declares that this man’s sin is not imputed to him, to whom then was it imputed and how was the debt removed? After all, if sin is not reckoned to this man, surely the justice of God demands it be reckoned to a suitable Substitute. The man owed a debt to God which he had no ability to pay and we know that the Lord cannot merely erase the indebtedness without satisfaction because "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). While it is true that the blessed man has been cleared of all charges and stands righteous before God, yet the issue remains - to whom was his sin imputed and how was justice satisfied? Here is the gospel answer. Unbeknown to the blessed man prior to regeneration, the Surety stood for him in the covenant of grace and became fully responsible and accountable for his sins. The Father has always looked to Christ to make satisfaction for the iniquities of His people. The sin of the man was imputed to Christ and when He died as God’s Sacrifice, He canceled the indebtedness, removed the guilt, washed sin away and brought in everlasting righteousness. As the debt was imputed to Christ and He paid it in full, so the righteousness He established has been imputed to the blessed man and he stands perpetually accepted and blameless before God. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us" (Romans 8:33-34).
--- Pastor Jim Byrd
“TERRIBLE AS AN ARMY OF BANNERS”
The blood-bought Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is pictured in scripture as a victorious army! It has been given victory over all it's enemies, over sin, over Satan and even over self. This total victory is totally in Christ and even in this wilderness of sin the Church-Bride of Christ is described in the Song of Solomon in this way: “Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.” ( Song 6:4) and “Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?” (Song 6:10) “An army with banners.” What a sight! A marching army of a multitude of redeemed sinners, that “exceeding great army” Ezekiel saw that had been raised from spiritual death. But what is a banner? A banner is an ensign. A flag which denotes which army and whose army it is. The church militant and unstoppable in this world as it brings forth the gospel of Christ! Tyrants have tried to halt its increase and advance in this world but to no avail. Why? Because Christ Himself is our Banner! After the battle in which Joshua was enabled of God to defeat Amalek, God directed Moses to write it in a book for a memorial and “And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:” (Ex 17:15) Jehovahnissi means “the Lord my Banner!” Every soldier in this army raises this banner for all to see, confessing, God is my Savior! God has in sovereign grace saved me from my sins in Christ. Christ is all my righteousness, all my salvation and I lift up all glory to Him! They lift the gospel banner of salvation in Christ alone, salvation by His blood and salvation by grace! “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” (Isa 11:10” As this army marches through this world, lifting the banner of the crucified Christ, God draws His people to the Banner Himself, to Christ. They go forward “holding forth the word of truth.” “Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth.” (Ps 60:4) This army goes forth not only in triumph but also rejoicing: “We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.” (Ps 20:5) We go forth lifting up Christ crucified to a dying world, marching with our Banner over us, praising Him alone. Looking to Him alone. Trusting Him alone. Overcoming in Him alone. When Francis Scott Key watched the bombardment of Ft. McHenry, the flashes of light “Gave proof thro the night that our flag was still there!” Come what may, no matter how severe the conflict, the light of God's truth reveals that our Flag, the Lord our Banner, is still there at the vanguard, the banner of sure victory and we shall be more than conquerors in Him!