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John Stott – God, Sin, and the Cross

22 Jan

All inadequate doctrines of the atonement are due to inadequate doctrines of God and humanity. If we bring God down to our level and raise ourselves to his, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it. When, on the other hand, we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely “hell-deserving sinners,” then and only then does the necessity of the cross appear so obvious that we are astonished we never saw it before.

The essential background to the cross, therefore, is a balanced understanding of the gravity of sin and the majesty of God. If we diminish either, we thereby diminish the cross. If we reinterpret sin as a lapse instead of a rebellion, and God as indulgent instead of indignant, then naturally the cross appears superfluous. But to dethrone God and enthrone ourselves not only dispenses with the cross; it also degrades both God and humans. A biblical view of God and ourselves, however–that is, of our sin and God’s wrath–honors both. It honors human beings by affirming them as responsible for their actions. It honors God by affirming him as having moral character.

~John Stott~


The Cross of Christ (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Navpress; 2011) p. 111.

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John Piper – The Breaker of Sin’s Power

28 Dec

Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God. No one sins out of duty. We sin because it holds out some promise of happiness. That promise enslaves us until we believe that God is more to be desired than life itself (Psalm 63:3). Which means that the power of sin’s promise is broken by the power of God’s. All that God promises to be for us in Jesus stands over against what sin promises to be for us without him.

~John Piper~




Future Grace (Colorado Springs, CO; Multnomah Books; 2011) p. 1.

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John Piper – The Capstone of the Glory of Jesus

19 Dec

The Christ we see and savor now and forever is the crucified and risen Christ. That is, the Son of God, whose glory will satisfy our admiring hearts for all eternity, will be forever worshiped and enjoyed as the Lamb who was slain. This is part of his great worthiness. The song will forever be: “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). Future grace always includes seeing and savoring not only God himself, and Christ himself, but Christ slain for the ransoming of all his elect. This is the capstone of the glory Jesus prayed that we would someday see face to face: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory” (John 17:24). This is the apex of future grace.

~John Piper~




Future Grace (Colorado Springs, CO; Multnomah Books; 2011) p. XIII.

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John Stott – The Two Ways of Looking at the Cross

18 Dec

Is is essential to keep together these two complementary ways of looking at the cross. On the human level, Judas gave him up to the priests, who gave him up to Pilate, who gave him up to the soldiers, who crucified him. But on the divine level, the Father gave him up, and he gave himself up, to die for us. As we face the cross, then, we can say to ourselves both, “I did it, my sins sent him there,” and “He did it, his love took him there.” The apostle Peter brought the two truths together in his remarkable statement on the Day of Pentecost, both that “this man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge” and that “you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” Peter thus attributed Jesus’ death simultaneously to the plan of God and to the wickedness of men. For the cross which, as we have particularly considered in this chapter, is an exposure of human evil, is at the same time a revelation of the divine purpose to overcome the human evil thus exposed.

~John Stott~


The Cross of Christ (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Navpress; 2011) p. 64-65.

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John Stott – The Pivot and Center of NT Thought

3 Oct

[Quoting Samuel Zwemer]

The missionary among Moslems (to whom the Cross of Christ is a stumbling-block and the atonement foolishness) is driven daily to deeper meditation on this mystery of redemption, and to a strong conviction that here is the very heart of our message and our mission…

If the Cross of Christ is anything to the mind, it is surely everything –the most profound reality and the sublimest majesty. One comes to realize that literally all the wealth and glory of the gospel centres here. The Cross is the pivot as well as the centre of New Testament thought. It is the exclusive mark of the Christian faith, the symbol of Christianity and its cynosure.

The more unbelievers deny its crucial character, the more do believers find in it the key to the mysteries of sin and suffering. We rediscover the apostolic emphasis on the Cross when we read the gospel with Moslems. We find that, although the offense of the Cross remains, its magnetic power is irresistible.

~John Stott~


The Cross of Christ (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Navpress; 2011) p. 46.

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John Stott – Suffering and Glory

1 Oct

What was shameful even odious, to the critics of Christ was in the eyes of his followers most glorious. They had learned that the servant was not greater than the master and that for them as for him suffering was the means to glory. More than that, suffering was glory, and whenever they were “insulted because of the name of Christ,” then “the Spirit of glory” rested upon them.

~John Stott~


The Cross of Christ (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Navpress; 2011) p. 45.

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D.A. Carson – The Temple and Christ Crucified

25 Sep

Under the terms of the old covenant, the temple was the great meeting place between a holy God and his sinful people. This was the place of sacrifice, the place of atonement for sin. But this side of the cross, where Jesus by his sacrifice pays for our sin, Jesus himself becomes the great meeting place between a holy God and his sinful people; thus he becomes the temple, the meeting place between God and his people. It is not as if Jesus in his incarnation adequately serves as the temple of God. That is a huge mistake. Jesus says, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” It is in Jesus’ death, in his destruction, and in his resurrection three days later, that Jesus meets our needs and reconciles us to God, becoming the temple, the supreme meeting place between God and sinners. To use Paul’s language, we do not simply preach Christ; rather, we preach Christ crucified.

~D. A. Carson~


Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2010) p. 23

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