By John Piper
When God said in verse 2, "I have loved you, says the Lord," the Israelites respond skeptically, "How hast thou loved us?"
Now test yourselves here. How would you answer that question in your own life? How would you describe God's love to you. Is your life and family in such a shambles that you feel as skeptical about it as the Israelites did? Do you want to say, "How hast thou loved me?"
I don't doubt that there is a little of that in all of us. And so it will do us all good to listen to God's answer which is almost never heard today. How hast thou loved us? Answer: "Is not Esau Jacob's brother? says the Lord. Yet I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau."
Now what sort of answer is this? The descendants of Jacob have asked, "How hast thou loved us?" How is it an answer to say, "Jacob I loved, Esau I hated"? Isn't that just a repetition of what he already said in the first part of verse 2, "I have loved you, says the Lord"?
No it's not, because of the little question, "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" What does that mean? Why did God ask that? He asked it because he knew that the answer to that question contained the key to the essence of his love.
What is the answer? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? The answer is yes. In fact as every Israelite knew, Esau was not only Jacob's brother, he was his twin brother, conceived in the womb of Rebecca by their father Isaac. Jacob and Esau were not like the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. They had different mothers and one of them wasn't even an Israelitess. But Jacob and Esau were twins. And not only were they twins, Esau was the elder, which means that by all customary rights and privileges he would be the main heir of the father's blessings.
Now what is the point of saying, "Is not Esau Jacob's brother?" The point is this: Based on what you and Esau were in yourselves I could just as easily have chosen Esau as you. Isn't he your brother? Weren't you twins? Isn't he in fact your elder? But I chose you, and passed him by.
What then is God's answer to the question, "How hast thou loved us?" His answer is, I have loved you with free, sovereign, unconditional, electing love; that is how I have loved you.
My love for you is electing love because I chose you for myself above your brother Esau.
My love for you is unconditional love because I chose you before you had done anything good or evil—before you had met any conditions—while you were still in your mother's womb (Genesis 25:24).
My love for you is sovereign love because I was under no constraint to love you; I was not forced or coerced; I was totally in charge when I set my love upon you.
And my love for you is free because it's the overflow of my infinite grace that can never be bought.
Now I ask you, if you are a Christian here today, and if you say to God, "How have you loved me?" can you answer the way God answered the Israelites? Do you look at your sister or brother living in sin and tremble that you have been chosen? And that your election is not because of anything in you? And that your faith and hope are owing wholly to God? Do you look at that childhood friend or college roommate who took a turn away from God when you stayed on the path, and tremble at the awesome thought that God chose you?
Four Aspects of God's Hatred of Esau
But what about Esau?
Probably the most striking thing about this text is that in it God chooses to highlight his love for the descendants of Jacob by contrasting it with his hatred for the descendants of Esau, the nation of Edom.
If we ask, what does God mean by saying (in verse 3), "Esau I hated," the answer is spelled out for us in some detail in verses 3 and 4:
I have hated Esau; I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert. If Edom says, We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins, the Lord of hosts says, They may build, but I will tear down, till they are called the wicked country, the people with whom the Lord is angry for ever.
Notice four aspects to God's hate of Esau.
1. God Opposes Them
First, it means that God opposes their prosperity and brings their land under judgment. "I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert."
2. God Will Continue to Oppose Them
Second, it means that God will continue to oppose them when they resist his judgment. His judgment will not suffer resistance. Verse 4: "If Edom says, We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins, the Lord of hosts says, They may build, but I will tear down."
3. They Will Be Given Up to Wickedness
Third, God's hate for Esau means that they will by and large as a nation be given up to wickedness. Verse 4b: " . . . till they are called the wicked country." This is the most devastating of the judgments and the one that makes all the others just. God does not bring judgments on an innocent people. He is just in all his dealings. When he passed over Esau and chose Jacob, there was no decree that an innocent Esau would be judged. Rather what God decreed was to pass Esau by, to withhold his electing love and to give him up to wickedness.
Now there is great mystery here, and I do not claim to solve all the problems that our little minds can think up. There is much we are not yet ready to know. We see through a glass darkly. But this much we are surely to believe: God did not choose the descendants of Esau; rather he passed over them and withheld his electing love; as a result Esau gave rein to wickedness and deserved the indignation of God. Which leads to the fourth aspect of God's hate.
4. God Will Be Angry with Them Forever
Fourth, at the end of verse 4 it means that the Lord is angry, or indignant with them forever.
Why Does God Inspire Malachi to Open This Way?
Why does God inspire Malachi to begin his message to these worldly Israelites, and to us, with such a revelation as this? "I have loved you, says the Lord. How have you loved us? Is not Esau Jacob's brother? Yet I have loved you and hated Esau. How have I loved you? I have loved you with free, sovereign, unconditional, electing love."
That He May Be Feared
"Why do I tell you this?"
To humble you.
To take away your presumption.
To remove every ground of boasting in yourself.
To cut the nerve of pride that boasts over Esau as though your salvation were owing to anything in you.
To put to naught the cavalier sense of self-reliance that lets you dally in my presence as though you were an equal partner in this affair.
To make you tremble with tears of joy that you belong to God.
As the psalmist says, "There is forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared!" (Psalm 130:4).
That We May Know He Reigns Over the Whole World
But that is not all. God has another purpose in revealing the greatness of his electing love for Jacob and his judgment upon Esau. He tells us in verse 5:
Your own eyes shall see this [you shall see the terrible judgments on Edom] and you shall say, 'Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!'
In other words, part of what it means to be loved by God is to know that God reigns—that he is great and mighty—even beyond the people called by his name. He reigns in Edom. His purposes are not ultimately frustrated by the wickedness of any people. "Great is the Lord, beyond the border of Israel!" Yes, even in Edom—in Albania.
So let us humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. Let us give him the glory—all the glory—for our salvation. And let us never grow weary in savoring and strengthening and spreading the vision of our God, for "Great is the Lord beyond the walls of this church!"
Saturday, April 26, 2008
By John Piper
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I have really learned a lot about prayer lately...This quote has helped me so much.
"Prayer is not just an act. Prayer is a dependency...dependency on God" A.W. Tozer
Prayer is when I show my utter helplessness and my total and complete dependency upon God. Just like a little child. Just like seth is totally dependent upon Chris and me...if we don't feed him, he'll starve. If we don't take care of him, he'll perish....that's how we are to be with God...totally dependent and trusting in His care.
I read this last night in "When I Don't Desire God. How to fight for Joy" by John Piper and this chapter was on praying...I wanted to share.
Do we pray like unbelievers? Some people pray like unbelievers would pray who are convinced that God might give them what they wants: health, a better job, safe journeys, a propserous portfolio, successful children, plenty of food, a happy marriage, a car that works, a comfortable retirement,etc. None of these are evil...they're just natural. You dont have to be born again to want any of these. Desiring them, even from God, is not evidence of saving faith. (that got me!) So if these are all you pray for, there is a deep problem. Your desires have not yet been changed to put the glory of Christ at the center.
But when you have your mind saturatred with the Christ exalting Word of God and turn it into your prayer, your desires are shaped by the Holy Spirit into God centered, Christ exalting prayers. The glory of Christ and the name of God, the spiritual well being of people, and the delight you have in knowing Jesus, these become your dominant concerns and your constant requests. You will still pray for health and marriage and job and journeys, but now what you want to happen is that, in all of these, Christ will be exalted! God will be glorified! This changes the pattern and passion of your prayers. Your pray for a journey that is not merely safe, but that all along the way your joy would be in God and that he would shine through you. Your prayer for you job is not merely that it be stable and peaceful and prosperous, but that it truly serves the need of society and that in all your labor and all your relationship your joy in Christ and your love for people would make a name for Jesus!! "God, heal my realitive of this disease because I know you can, but if it brings you more glory to not heal them, then don't!" "If it's your will that I move away from my family, if that's what would bring you the most glory, then move me!" "If you get the most glory by allowing me to lose my job, then so be it!" Only, by God's grace could we ever pray like this! That's when we know we're a child of God because that's not a natural prayer...the Spirit of God produces those kinds of desires and wants in our hearts and wants what would honor Him the most...Whatever will bring HIM the most glory, whatever would make His name known, whatever would Honor Him and make much of Him! Whatever would make His name famous among the nations, that's what we should want...
A good way to start our day in prayer is like this:
"O Lord, please grant that Your glory be honored, Your holiness be reverenced, Your greatness be admired, Your power be praised, Your truth be sought, Your wisdom be esteemed, Your beauty be treasured, Your goodness by savored, Your faithfulness be trusted, Your commandments be obeyed, Your promises be relied on, Your justice be respected, Your wrath be feared, Your grace be cherished, Your presence be prized, Your person be loved!"
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I have been reading through the book of 1 John and the other night, I was just overwhelmed at what God has done in saving His children...
The whole book is about seeing whether or not you are a child of God. It's like a test. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says "Examine yourselves to see if you're in the faith." 1 John is the test...along with other scripture but it just hit me what divine grace from God has done...
1 John says we are to love others and not hate
1 John says we know that we love God if we keep His commandments
1 John shows that those who deny Christ's Deity are not of God and are an antichrist
1 John shows if you sin habitually or it is your lifestyle, you're a child of the devil, no matter how much you profess to be a Christian.
1 John says we are to give to those in need
1 John says not to love the world or the things of the world..
I got to thinking about all of this and realized that apart from Divine Grace given by God, I could never love others, I could never keep God's commands, I could never know that Christ is God, I would be a child of the devil and sin habitually, I would hate my brother, I would not love God, I would not give to those in need, I would be an antichrist, apart from divine grace, I would love the world more than Christ...
All of this in 1 John is totally against our nature. We are by nature God haters, we are by nature unloving and by nature selfish, by nature rebels, by nature children of the devil and children of wrath. By nature we have no good within us and the only reason any of God's Children can produce this is because of His Grace...It's because of His life lived inside of us. The Spirit produces all the good, not us. We can't!
Anything praiseworthy in me is because of Him and His grace alone! So, who gets the glory? God!! Becuase apart from Him, I could never do any of these things. Also, in Galatians 5, the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self control, all of these are totally un natural to the human! Because as Paul says in Romans 7:18 There is nothing good that dwells within me. I cant produce any of these fruit! The Spirit is the one producing the goodness so that He may get the glory because Salvation is all of Him from start to finish!
People who are not saved may do good things for others, but only for self glory or self promotion, or to leave a good names for themselves, but the true Christian wants nothing of that, the true Christian wants to make much of God, wants Him to get ALL the glory due to His gracious name and even that desire to make much of God is a gift of grace for apart from grace, I would not have that desire for God to get glory...
Apart from divine grace, I could not even have faith in Christ to be saved. That is a gift given from God (Eph 2:8-9)
Apart from divine grace, I could not do anything! John 15:5 says "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing!" Who is the one that bears much fruit? The one that abides in Him. And how could I ever abide in Him to begin with? Divine grace! For without grace, I would not want to abide in Christ!! It's all of Him!
That's why we could never pray "I know you're proud of me God for choosing you. Maybe some day these other people will get it."
The only reason we can make a human choice for God is because there has been an eternal choice for us..all of His grace! NOT of Ourselves...Nothing!
John 15:16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you" Jesus made this very clear, the only reason you chose me is because I chose you first. Same thing in 1 John the only reason we love God is because He loved us first.
We can't even come to God unless we are drawn by Him first. It's all a gift of Grace...John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him." John 6:65 "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." That's why we could never boast! It's all a work of grace...
To God be the Glory!
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I was watching a well known show today and one of the characters had to earn badges for her sash. She had to prove her "worthiness" and earn her righteousness through her good deeds.
I am so thankful that salvation is not like this! If I had to try and earn my righteousness, I would fall woefully short. I could never weave a righteousness fit for heaven. But, because of Christ we have a perfect, beautiful, glorious, majestic righteousness and His name is Jesus Christ! Thank God for grace!! Thank God that He died for the ungodly and He justifies the ungodly....for if God only justified the good, there is no hope for me! My only hope lies with Jesus Christ and His loveliness!!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Again, I continue to ponder on this subject of justification. This comes up in almost all of my reading and I just again glory in the grace of Jesus Christ.
This are a few lines from the book "When I Don't Desire God: How to fight for Joy" by John Piper
First of all, I have to be legally absolved of guilt and credited with a righteousness that I don't have. That is, I have to be declared righteous in the courtroom of heaven, where God sits as judge, and where I stand condemned by His law. That's what the word justify means: not make just, but declare just.
I think about this and I wonder: how in the world can I, a God hating rebel, I who have broken every law of God ever be declared not guilty? Not only that, but to be righteous...Jesus Christ!
He became my performer of the law. My title in heaven is provided by Christ's obedience. (Piper)
Romans 5:19 "By one man's obedience the many will be made righteous" Not their own obedience! But by Christ's obedience, many will be made righteous!
Justification is by grace alone (not mixed with our merit), through faith alone (not mixed with our works) on the basis of Christ alone(not mingling his righteousness with ours), to the glory of God alone (not ours) (John Piper)
Even though I'm the lawbreaker, He is my righteousness! What a great God and Savior! I could never attain a righteousness fit for Heaven, but by one Man's obedience, I have been declared righteous!! Praise to His name alone!
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree (Gal 3:13) My curse has been taken care of...
My condemnation has been absolved... Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died Romans 8:33-34
The righteousness needed that I can not produce
Romans 5:19...By the one man's obedience many will be made righteous...
One of my favorite quotes is "Salvation is not so easy a caveman could do it. Salvation is so difficult that only GOD can do it." That is how we view salvation now...easy. It is very easy for God, but impossible with man.
The Power of Regeneration. Ezekiel 36:26 shows us this power. Scripture says we have a stony heart and unable to respond to God. We have the responsibilty but not the ability. We are powerless, helpless...we are dead. We have a stony heart that is unresponsive to the things of God.
We can see the awesome power of God displayed in salvation. Salvation is of the Lord! He takes out the heart of stone and gives us a heart of flesh...one that responds to Him. God does the impossible...gives us a new heart. We have no ability on our own to create within us a new heart that is responsive to God. Unless God intervenes, we are doomed!
"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will take away the stony heart of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh."
Notice who does it...It's all God. I will create the miracle within you! I will bring you from death unto life!! Praise God for His power that what is impossible with man is possible with God!
If someone were miracously raised from the dead, we would just be awe struck with that kind of power or that miracle that we have just witnessed...it's the same with salvation. If you are saved, you have been raised from the dead! God has done it! God has done a miracle in your heart and raised you from death unto life, given you a heart of flesh...He has done it with HIS POWER!! Glory to God alone!!
Examine yourselves...2 Corinthians 13:5
Monday, April 14, 2008
Grace! I have really come to understand this word more and more, and I know I will never completely understand the vastness of God's grace...
What we are in our natural state...
*Undone, Unclean (Isaiah 6:5)
*Our righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)
*We are born spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1)
*We are born with a stony heart unresponsive to God (Ezekiel 36:26)
*We are born with a wicked heart, (Jeremiah 17:9) and we drink down iniquity like it was water. (Job 15:16)
*We are God haters, (Romans 1) and enemies of God
*We love darkness rather than light (John 3:19)
*By nature, we are children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3)
*We have no goodness within us (Romans 3:10, Romans 7:18)
*No one seeks after God or wants to (Romans 3:11)
*We can do nothing to please God and we have no power to change ourselves! (Jeremiah 13:23)
*We have broken everyone of God's laws and stand guilty before Him. We could do nothing to motivate God to save us or even look our way. All we could motivate God to do is condemn us to hell because we deserve His wrath. We are the guilty ones......BUT GOD!!!
Seeing our awful condition, we can now see the gloriousness of God's grace!
I never did anything to make God love me, choose me, or save me. He has justified me without a cause. He has justified me freely by His grace and that by grace alone! It was nothing in me to make Him do it...only His mercy and grace!!
Jesus, one who is pure, holy, sinless, spotless, and no darkness in at all, God in the flesh, came to take my place. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
He came to be condemned. He came to take sinner's guilt, filth, and most of all God's wrath. Jesus, on the cross, took all of God's fierce anger against sin. God the Father killed His Son so He wouldn't have to kill those who repent and trust in His Son. Jesus was the propitiation for sin. God's anger had to be satisfied. Our crimes had to be paid for...Jesus Christ took the pain and punishment that should have fallen on me...
Also, because I could never attain a righteousness that would please God, Christ gave me His! I am now, because of Christ's merit ALONE, declared righteous in the sight of God!
The sinless Holy One was made to be sin for me and He declared me righteous.
Where is the boasting then? It's in Christ alone!!
Jesus Christ...My Punishment and My Righteousness!
There is no way I could ever be made right with God on my own. My good deeds wouldn't do it because they're filthy, but God who is rich in mercy, sent His Son to be my punishment and my righteousness. Believing in Christ means that I have no hope of ever being made right with God on my own, but God will accept me because of what Christ has done on my behalf!
That's grace! Grace = undeserved favor on those who deserve nothing but wrath...
Grace = not getting what we deserve, but getting what we don't deserve! It's all about God's love, grace, mercy!!
He justifies the ungodly. He died for the ungodly. People who don't admit their ungodly can never be saved because that's the only ones God will save. People who are trusting in themselves and their good deeds will not be made right with God...it's only for the ungodly that God shows grace to. we have to be declared righteous to go to Heaven...what are you trusting in? We can only trust in Christ alone to be declared righteous. We can only trust in His deeds, merits and righteousness. Repent and trust in Christ alone!!
Thank God for His grace!!! I will glory ONLY in the cross! I will boast Only in Christ my Lord and Savior!
A testimony to God's grace (4 minute clip)
Saturday, April 12, 2008
These are some more thoughts on Justification...this is from a sermon by Paul Washer...
Justified does not mean that men are righteous because therefore men would no longer sin, but justified means to be declared righteous. It’s a legal declaration that God declares men to be righteous FREELY, even though we did not deserve this.
Just like in Psalms 69:4 “They hated me without a cause” Jesus was hated without a cause. Did Jesus ever give anyone any reason to hate Him? No, they hated him without a cause. Same way we are justified…we are justified without a cause. Did we give God any reason to justify us or declare us righteous? The only thing a sinner could motivate a Holy God to do would be condemn him. But God, has done a great work so that a sinner might be made right with God. Irregardless of all his trespasses, sins and crimes against deity, God has justified men (declared them righteous) even though men never gave Him a cause. Some people sing songs that say, “God, what did you see in me that you saved me?” That’s the wrong question to be asking! There is nothing in us worthy to save! God only saw an object of wrath. He saw someone that had broken every one of His law and rebellion against Him. That’s what He saw.
Two reasons God saves….1) God is love and 2) to demonstrate His glory, His kindness, His great mercy, His undeserved grace to those who deserved only His wrath…Grace! Grace! God’s grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse within. Grace! Grace! God’s grace…Grace that is greater than all our sin!!
There was a reporter who was interviewing an orthodox Jew, Muslim and a true born again Christian.
The reporter asked the Orthodox Jew, if you died today where would you go?
The Orthodox Jew would probably answer either Paradise or Abraham’s bosom…
The reporter as why:
The Jew responds because I love the law of God, I honor the law of God, I am a righteous man,
He goes to the Muslim and ask, Sir if you were to die today, where would you go?
He responds to Paradise
The reporter ask why would you get to go?
The Muslim responds I love the Koran, I have made the daily prayers, the daily pilgrimages, giving of alms, I am a righteous man.
The reporter comes to True Christian, sir where would you go if you died tonight?
The Christian responds I would go to Heaven
The reporter ask why?
The Christian responds: In sin I was conceived and in sin did my mother bring me forth. I have broken every law of God has ever given. I deserve wrath and hell and nothing good from God.
The reporter replies, “I don’t understand sir, these other men are going to heaven because they are righteous man by their own virtue, merit and deeds and it’s exactly what they deserve, but you tell me you’re going to heaven and yet you describe to me in the most horrendous way all the reasons why you should not, why sir are you going to heaven?”
The Christian cries out I am going to heaven based on the virtue and the merit of another…Jesus Christ my Lord! Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I heard an interesting message by Donald Whitney and he pointed out something about justification that I had never thought of and that is that we are saved by works...
He went on to say that it just wasn't our works we are saved by. We are saved by Christ's works. Christ is how I have a right standing with God. It is a works righteousness, but it's not my works! We are saved or declared righteous by Christ's works, Christ's merits, Christ's beauty, Christ's virtue, Christ's goodness...and Christ alone! His righteousness is the ground of our right standing before God! It truly is in Christ alone!
These are a few of my favorite preachers that I wanted to share...Good, Good stuff!
1) Paul Washer sermon Jam (4 minute video clip)
3) Jeff Noblit sermon Jam (1 minute clip)
4) John Macarthur Sermon Jam (3 minute clip)
5) John Piper
I am so excited about this new blog even though it may be only read by me! But, that's ok because it will keep me reminded of the glories of the Lord...
This past year I have studied one of the most important doctrines of the Bible and it has totally blown me away. I have always known that Jesus is the only way to heaven becuase in John 14:6 Jesus says, "I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me" So, I knew that there is only one way to God and that is through Christ, but this past year I have studied justification and what it truly means. I never really understood what it meant by trusting in Christ for salvation. I mean I knew to believe, but it's more than just a simple acknowledgement that He exists...
As God's providence would have it, my husband has been preaching through the book of Galatians and this whole book Paul is telling this church about justification by faith alone. So through this book and reading in Romans, I have been so excited about this study. Also, listening to my favorite preachers preach on this subject, (Paul Washer, John Macarthur, John Piper...)
This is the reason the title of my blog is justified by christ alone because I want to share this and encourage people to study what it truly means to trust in Christ alone.
We must be declared righteous to go to Heaven. In order to go to Heaven, we must be declared righteous by God. Well, how in the world could a sinner who has broken all of God's laws be declared righteous? How could God look at me and first say that I am not guilty of any sins and then say I am righteous? Romans is the place to start...we are declared righteous by Christ alone! He not only died for me, but He lived for me! He lived a perfect life on my behalf and trusting in Christ alone means believing that I have no other hope of ever being made right with God, but that God will accept me because of what Christ has done. His merit; His righteousness is how I can be declared righteous...Repentance and faith in Christ! Not trusting in my deeds because Romans tells us by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight. Nothing I could ever do to be made right with God...nothing in my hands do I bring, simply to the cross I cling. Simply to Christ I cling!
- Justified by faith alone
- These are a few of my favorite preachers...
- We are saved by Works!!
- More thoughts on Justification by faith alone!!
- God's Grace!
- How then shall we live?
- Examine yourselves to see if you're in the faith.....
- the POWER of God unto Salvation
- We are not declared righteous by our works
- Thoughts from a TV show...
- John Macarthur tells about the "Purpose Driven Lif...
- Apart from Divine Grace...
- How to witness honestly and truthfully...
- Do we pray like unbelievers?
- The Supremacy and Beauty of Christ!
- The TRUE Gospel presented...Paul Washer
- The Greatness of God's Electing Love
- ▼ Apr 2008 (17)