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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 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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John Stott – But God Has Spoken!

26 Sep

Our minds, wonderfully effective instruments though they are when it comes to scientific investigation, cannot immediately help us here. They cannot reach up into the infinite mind of God. There is no ladder to climb, only a vast, unmeasured gulf. Job, a character in the Bible, is challenged with the question, ‘Can you find out the deep things of God?’ The only answer is ‘No’. It is impossible.

And that is how it would have stayed, had God not taken the initiative to help us. We would have remained forever agnostic, asking – just like Pontius Pilate at the trial of Jesus – ‘What is truth?’ but never staying for an answer, never daring to hope that we would receive one. We would be those who worship, for it is part of human nature to worship someone or something, but all our altars would be like the one the apostle Paul found in Athens, dedicated ‘To an unknown god’.

But God has spoken. He has taken the initiative to make himself known. The Christian concept of revelation is essentially reasonable. The idea is that God has ‘unveiled’ to our minds what would otherwise have been hidden from them.

~John Stott~


Basic Christianity (Downers Grove, IL; IVP; 2012) Ch. 1 – The Right Approach

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John Stott – Where Basic Christianity Begins

24 Sep

Basic Christianity by definition begins with the historical figure of Jesus Christ. If God has spoken, his last and greatest word to the world is Jesus Christ. If God has acted, his noblest act is the redemption of the world through Jesus Christ. God has spoken and acted in Jesus Christ. He has said something. He has done something. This means that Christianity is not just pious talk. It is neither a collection of religious ideas nor a catalogue of rules. It is a ‘gospel’ (i.e. good news) – in the apostle Paul’s words ‘the gospel of God…regarding his Son…Jesus Christ our Lord’. It is not primarily an invitation for us to do anything; it is supremely a declaration of what God has done

~John Stott~


Basic Christianity (Downers Grove, IL; IVP; 2012) Ch. 1 – The Right Approach

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John Stott – The Religion of the Bible

14 Sep

‘In the beginning God.’ The first four words of the Bible are more than a way of launching the story of creation or introducing the book of Genesis. They supply the key which opens our understanding to the Bible as a whole. They tell us that the religion of the Bible is a religion in which God takes the initiative.

~John Stott~


Basic Christianity (Downers Grove, IL; IVP; 2012) Ch. 1 – The Right Approach

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