The Banner Of Truth 2014
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. (Psalm 60:4 )

"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
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It Was For The Removal of our Transgressions!
 

The Necessity for Christ’s Appearing
By Al Stoner
 Part 1
“And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin” (I Jn. 3:5).
 

Christ’s first appearing was necessary for several different reasons.  It was necessary to vindicate God for His gracious dealings with men who had sinned.  It was necessary to fulfill the words of the Prophets who had long prophesied of this One who was coming to bear our iniquities.  It was needful to bring to full light what the sacrifices and ordinances contained in the law were foreshadowing.  But from a very practical perspective,  Christ’s appearing was for the purpose of taking away sins; yea, taking away our sins.  In our hearts and minds, we must ever join together the thought of His first appearing primarily with the removal of our sin and transgression.  Christ has appeared, thus sins are gone, and God sees them no more. Let us now earnestly consider this matter as it is expounded by the Prophets and Apostles. 
 
The Certainty of which Isaiah Spoke. “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isa. 53:4).  When Isaiah speaks of griefs and sorrows, he is speaking of the effects, of which sin is the cause.  This was not merely a good man, or a righteous man that was dying there on the Cross!  And when we think of Him that hanged there on the tree, this was not just another typical case of human injustice, or of a man receiving something that He did not deserve.  There was much more that was transpiring here than what appeared.  And the prophet Isaiah seems to envision this when he, being moved by the Holy Spirit, uses the word “surely.”  The centurion stationed there at the cross, said “Certainly this was a righteous man” (Lk. 23:47).  But the prophet Isaiah, declared, “Surely He hath borne our griefs”  Both were making true affirmations.  One was affirming that which was apparent to men.  The other, from a much higher perspective, was affirming that which was not so apparent.  It was not apparent to flesh and blood that our sin-related griefs and sorrows were, at the Cross, being born away by the Savior, but this has now been made abundantly clear by God’s holy Apostles and Prophets.
 
When Isaiah speaks of griefs and sorrows, he is speaking of the effects and consequences of sins and iniquities.  “The way of transgressors is hard” (Prov. 13:15).  It is hard in this life, but unspeakably harder still in the one that is to come for men who do not recover themselves from sin and transgression through the remedy which God Himself has graciously provided.  The way of the sinner, unrepented of, will certainly lead to grief and sorrows, which are greater than hearts can comprehend in this life.
 
These griefs, spoken of here by the Prophet, were ours, but Christ bore them.  The sorrows were our portion, but the Savior carried them.  The griefs and the sorrows that He bore were much greater than the commonly experienced tribulations and afflictions of this life.  For men still have them.  He bore away from us unfathomable griefs and incomprehensible sorrows.  They are those that were associated with  our sins and with being separated from the living God.  Those men and women that have died “without Christ” (Eph. 2:12) could tell us somewhat the magnitude of genuine grief and sorrows: that is, if they were able to speak to us now.  The rich man, who ill-treated Lazarus, said that he was tormented in the flame that he was in.  Incidentally, he was not consumed in the flame, but rather tormented (contrary to the popular annihilationist teaching).
Wounded for Our Transgressions.  “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5).  Christ was wounded “in the house of His friends” (cf. Zech. 13:6), but not for His own sake.  The wounds inflicted on the Savior were for our transgressions.  The bruises received by Him were for our iniquities.  The chastisement of reference was not of His peace, but of ours.  The stripes were not for His healing, but for ours (I Pet. 2:24).  Our iniquities, like the wind, had carried us away, and, in the fullness of time—bless God!—Christ has suffered for them, and He has delivered us from them!  From the earth perspective, Jesus was wounded for uncompromisingly bearing witness to the truth to those who were in the domain of the prince of this world.  But from the heavenly perspective, Christ was wounded  for our transgressions. 
 
The Allusion to Leviticus 16. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6).  In view of these things, let us have done with this theology which says that God must yet be begged in order for Him to receive us, and the theology which imposes deeds of penance upon men in order for them to be accepted of Him.  It is God that is already on the initiative here.  It is God that laid the sins of the world upon His only begotten Son!  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  And this God did at the time when we had all gone astray.  God “laid on Him [Christ] the iniquity of us all.”  The allusion here appears to be to the two goats mentioned in Leviticus 16.  When the sins were laid upon Him Christ bore them.  But He not only bore our sins (as depicted by the goat that was slain), He also bore them away into a land that is not inhabited.
 
The Finality of God’s Dealing with Sin. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Dan. 9:24). Thus, the transgression is now finished, sins have been made an end of, reconciliation for iniquity has been made, and everlasting righteousness has indeed been brought in.  So whether men speak of transgressing specific commandments, or of missing the mark, or of coming short of the glory of God, a blessed provision has been made for men in Christ.  May all men be duly assured of this and earnestly avail themselves of it!
 
Unbelievers and doubters may say that it does not appear this way, as regarding our sins.  But this is the situation as it is in Christ.  In Him is no sin. And whoso “abideth in Him sinneth not” (I Jn. 3:6).  So our commission in the present age is to get “into Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27) by obedience to the gospel (cf. II Th. 1:8; I Pet. 4:17), and stay in Him by continuance in the faith (cf. Acts 14:22; Col. 1:23; I Jn. 2:28), until the time that He shall come again, or that we shall go unto Him.  In Christ we have a foretaste of the powers of the world to come, and in Him “we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:14).
 
The Dreadful Sword of Judgment. “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the Man that is my fellow saith the LORD of hosts: smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones” (Zech. 13:7).  A sword of judgment awoke against the Man who was God’s fellow, the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, so that it would not have to awake against us.  For four millennia of time this sword lay sheathed in the scabbard of God’s longsuffering and forbearance (cf. Acts 17:30).  But at the appointed time God unsheathed that deadly sword against His only begotten Son, as He, out of love for us, delivered up Christ “for us all” (cf. Rom. 8:32).  With this sword of vengeance against sin, God smote the Savior, and not us! 

(To be Concluded on Monday)


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"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).