He Was Able to Bear It

– A Communion Meditation from BCC Elder, Bill Pritchett

Coming to the communion table is not a time to stop and reflect on how great you are, but instead to reflect on how merciful God is. We are not to spend this time considering the great work we have done to clean ourselves up, but to recognize that despite our efforts, apart from Christ we can do nothing. When we assume that whatever God requires of us, that we have the power in ourselves to do it, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of no effect.

As John Owen wrote:

The purpose of our holy and righteous God was to save His church, but their sin could not go unpunished. It was, therefore, necessary that the punishment for that sin be transferred from those who deserved it but could not bear it, to one who did not deserve it but was able to bear it.

The wages of sin is death, the Bible says, and someone has to pay; there is a penalty, which accompanies our transgression. Man has trespassed and therefore is the only one who should pay and yet he cannot, being himself sinful. God has demanded payment and yet is the only One who could pay. However, He certainly should not, being Himself holy. What was to be done?

God alone could pay and so pay He did, with the blood of His Son. The Son of God became sin and bore the wrath of His Father, being a curse on our behalf. He became our substitution, dying for our sins, in our place. He did not deserve to die, we did, but He willingly became obedient to the payment required that we might be reconciled to Him. We deserved to die and owed a payment, but He purchased our freedom. God has been declared both just and the justifier of the justified.

We could not clean ourselves up to the point that our debt has been paid, we cannot do enough good to no longer need Jesus and the cross. So when we come to the communion table our minds go to the fact that we are sinners…but our minds don’t have to stay there because with Jesus it doesn’t end there…We are sinners, in need of a savior and we have that savior in Jesus Christ, so our minds can then go to the fact that we have a wonderful, merciful savior. That God is so patient and gracious with us over and over and over again. That though we still struggle with sin; that our victory is in Jesus.

The gospel is that Christ died for our sins and He rose and through faith in Him we can be reconciled to the Father.

So as we consider this quote from John Owen, let’s go before God in prayer and be thankful that though He did not deserve it, he was able to bear it….on our behalf.

Lord, we pray now and say thank you! Thank You for bearing what we are unable to bear. Thank You for grace and forgiveness, that we go through this life not solely dependent on our own strength but that You give us what we need each day to face temptation as well as whatever situations come before us during each day. Help us to stop looking to ourselves or to other people or other things to be our satisfaction but help us to look only to You. Let us see You as what is fully satisfying, to see You as what is lasting, to see You as what is fulfilling and to repent of our own idolatry. We ask, God, that you would forgive us of trying to tilt the scales in our favor, but rather, God, that You would enable us, by Your Holy Spirit, to just rest in Your arms today, to just trust that You’ve done what You’ve said You’ve done, to really let go knowing that we can trust in You accomplishing what You said You accomplished in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Help us now, Lord. It is in Jesus’ name, AMEN

Behold the Glory of Christ!

(Communion meditation by Bill Pritchett)

“Oh to behold the Glory of Christ! Here in would I live, Here in would I die, here on would I dwell in my thoughts and my affections until all things here below become as dead and deformed things, and in no longer, any way, calling out for my affections” ~ John Owen

I think that many of us can at times fall into one of two categories…in one we acknowledge that we are sinners in a very general sense, but overall we think we are not too bad…or, the second one…we have sinned and we can’t seem to let it go and we allow this sin to become our identity.

In both instances we are dealing with our own pride. We focus on ourselves and those around us or on the news and we can think that since we are not that bad we only have a generic need for Jesus. Or, we can think that we are so bad so sinful so wretched that Jesus’ blood could not possibly be sufficient to cover our sin. In both cases, we have made the object of our own affection something other than Jesus.

As this quote from John Owen reminds us, if we could fully grasp and fathom the Glory of Christ we would not want to let it go. “Here in would I live, Here in would I die, Here on would I dwell in my thoughts and my affections until all things here below become as dead and deformed things, and in no longer, any way, calling out for my affections.

In Galatians chapter 2 versus 20-21 it says: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, Christ died for no purpose.”

When we stop fixing our eyes on Christ and instead fix them on ourselves, we stop being in awe of the realities of the cross and just how great our debt is and how overwhelming it is that our debt is paid. If we are nothing more than morally neutral then we rob grace of all that it is…the better we think we are, the less we think we need it, the less amazing grace becomes. When we see grace as not sufficient enough to deal with our sin then we have decided that grace must meet us and meet our standards.

Randy Alcorn says: “Grace isn’t about God lowering His standards. It’s about God fulfilling those standards through the substitutionary suffering of the standard-setter. Christ went to the cross because He would not ignore the truths of His holiness and our sin. Grace never ignores or violates truth. Grace gave what truth demanded: the ultimate sacrifice of our sins.”

If you’re not sure you are really that bad, if you acknowledge that you are a sinner, but really only in a general and generic ways…

Romans 3:23 famously says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”

As John Piper says “Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God”

If you struggle to believe that God loves you just as you are even though you are a sinner…

Zephaniah 3:17 says “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

We desperately need to behold the Glory of Christ. We need to see ourselves as the sinful wretch that we are…and then not stay there, not leave it there, but let that direct our affections to Christ, that we might be in even more awe over the Cross, even more humbled over the Cross…that as we see the Glory of Christ as we see the sin in our hearts, as we see that this is the same Christ that died on the cross, that we see Jesus as sufficient and all that we need. That the things that once robbed our affections for Christ are now becoming dead and deformed things no longer calling out for our affections.

Father God,

We confess our tendency to be too ‘routine focused’ and not in awe enough of the realities of communion or of our relationship with You in general. I pray that our affections toward You continue to be increased. Help us to put off sin and to put on the things that are of You. Help us to be less concerned about our own comforts and more concerned with honoring You with our words and our deeds. We recognize that we are sinners in need of a savior and we thank You that in Your grace You have provided that savior. We don’t deserve Your love or Your grace and You give it freely.  It is in Jesus’ holy name that we pray, AMEN

Forgive Much: A Communion Meditation from Pastor Jim

“Forgive Our Debts, as We Forgive Our Debtors”

What kinds of things do you and I say about our sins? Do we say,

“They’re no big deal.”… “Time will erase them.”… “I didn’t really mean to do or say that.”

But, we need to realize sins are “a big deal” and “time does not eliminate them” and “sin does come out of your and my heart and mouth.” Then other questions arise, like, “Who will deliver us from this body of death and these sins? And, does it matter how we view these sins?”

Let’s go to the One who can thoroughly forgive and hear what he says to those earnestly seek his forgiveness.

In Luke 7, we hear Jesus, who understands and recognizes the seriousness of sin and the sincere repentance of a sinful woman (like you and me). He points out her humility and… says to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears (of sorrow) and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.”

Who delivered her from her body of death… from her sin? Well, Jesus does and he goes on to say,

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.  Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  (Luke 7: 47-48, 50)

Jesus can see the fruits of her (and our) great forgiveness and can see the truly repentant life by how she (and we) forgive others.

“He who is forgiven little, loves little.” The converse is true too. Jesus pointed this out by declaring, “She loved much.” Thus, “He who is forgiven much, loves much.”

Thus, one of the signs your and my sins are forgiven and we have saving faith is that we love and forgive others because of Jesus’ forgiveness.

Think on these things. 

This same Lord Jesus, who forgave this woman, on the night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and after giving thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way also Jesus took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”


Father, you see our great need and are not ashamed of us. We are crippled and afflicted by weakness and sin, but your Son rushed to rescue us. He took on the weakness of our human bodies and entered our sin infested world in order to live the life we could not live. We praise Jesus for seeing the needs of those around him, like this woman, for loving her and us in our brokenness, and serving us with pure compassion, clean hands, and a perfect heart. He forgave much and demonstrated his great love. Change our little, unloving, unforgiving hearts to forgive like His.

In the Savior’s name,