Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
I pray you know the peace and the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ this week. As we considered last Lord’s Day, the Christian life is a life of discipleship. Christ is leading all of us to a greater and clearer sight of him. But at the same time, we know that Christ will bring us all the way home. As the Apostle Paul puts is, “He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion.” We will see our Savior face to face – and until that day we are called to live and to walk by faith!
Fall is here (at least on the calendar) and there is much going on in the life of the church:
- Tonight we will meet at the Van Oudenaren’s home for prayer at 7:00. Please RSVP if you can make it. Their address is 7631 Rolling Rock St, Houston, TX 77040.
- This Friday the ladies will meet at 7:00 at the Daugherty’s home for a ladies’ fellowship. The Daugherty’s address is 1415 Robins Forest Dr., Spring, TX 77379.
- Saturday morning at 8:30 the men will meet at the Egg and I for our men’s fellowship (Hwy 6 and Little York).
- On Sunday we will celebrate both the Lord’s Supper and the baptism of Joel Castilla, and enjoy a fellowship meal.
- October 17th at 7:00 PM. Our church’s Installation and Organization service. We will have a catered dinner at 6:00. The service will be at the Holiday Inn Garden Inn Houston NW on 290.
Finally, this week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from 1 Thess on the work of Christ.
God bless and I look forward to seeing many of you later this week,
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Christ died for us”
1 Thess 1:10; 5:10, “Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come … who died for us.”
The book of Acts records three missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul. On his second missionary journey, he traveled to the city of Thessalonica where he ‘explained and proved’ the necessity of Christ’s death and resurrection (Acts 17:3). In effect, he preached the full-orbed gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And when we turn to Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, we are given a ‘snap-shot’ of the gospel Paul preached. 1 Thessalonians begins and ends with two pregnant phrases that together capture the essence of the gospel message: “Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come … who died for us” (1:10; 5:10).
According to the Apostle Paul Jesus both ‘died for us’ and ‘delivers us from the wrath to come.’ And the question we need to consider for a moment is this: how do we relate these two statements. How does Jesus’ dying for us relate to Jesus’ delivering us from the coming wrath? Is Paul saying the same thing using different terminology? Let’s consider these two phrases and then draw a conclusion.
First, in 1 Thess 5:10, Paul states that Jesus died for us. This is a clear and simple affirmation of the substitutionary atonement – the grand truth that Christ took our place on the cross. That is, Jesus died in our place – he suffered and died as a substitute for his people. Because of our sin, we are deserving of death (Rom 6:23), but Jesus took our place on the cross of Calvary (Rom 5:8; 2 Cor 5:21)! Peter says something similar, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for [or, ‘in the place of’] the unrighteous” (3:18; also see 1 Peter 2:24).
Second, in 1 Thess 1:10, Paul states that Jesus, by his death and resurrection, delivers us from the wrath to come. By nature, we are all under God’s wrath. God’s wrath is simply his holy revulsion towards sin. And apart from God’s grace, we are all children of wrath (Eph 2:3; Rom 1:18). We all stand condemned (John 3:18). And it is Jesus who delivers us from this wrath. It is Jesus who delivers us from the wrath of the Father.
Finally, how do we relate these two ideas? To put is simply, Jesus delivers us from the wrath of the Father only because he died in our place. In other words, on the cross Jesus as our substitute suffered the wrath of God that is due to us. The only death that could ever deliver us from God’s wrath was a substitutionary death. On the cross Jesus took the place of wrath-deserving sinners; thereby delivering such sinners from the wrath they deserve. God’s wrath must be poured out against sin … and it was so on his own Son … the Son whom the Father sent to live and to die as a substitute for sinners!
There are two applications we should take from the above reflections. First, the importance of sound theology. It is only the Biblical, substitutionary view of the atonement that can account for sinners’ deliverance from God’s holy wrath. Any lesser view of the cross leaves sinners standing under God’s wrath. We need a substitute – and that substitute is Christ. And finally, the proper response is worship. The Father sending his son … to die … to suffer … to bear the wrath of undeserving sinners! Why? “For God so loved the world.” True theology leads to greater doxology!!
Rev. Robert Arendale, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC), www.csopc.org