Luke 23:35               And the People Stood Beholding                      7/22/2012     

·        The Place of the Skull (1Cor 2:2, Luke 23:33-37, Matt 27:34)

 

 

 

#1.       An Callous Multitude (Luke 23:36-37,11, Matt 27:29-30)

 

 

 

·        A Hateful Multitude (Luke 23:35, Mark 15:10, 3:23-30, Gen 3:15, Isa 55:8-9)

 

 

 

#2.       An Indifferent Multitude (Luke 23:35, 11:23, 9:23, Job 19:21)

 

 

 

·        The Righteousness of God (Matt 12:36-37, Rom 6:23, Gen 2:17, Eph 2:3, Rev 21:8)

 

 

 

#3.       Where Do We Fit in? (1John 5:13, Rom 3:11, John 6:44)

 

 

 

·        God’s Unmerited Favor (2Kings 21, 2Chron 33, Eph 2:8-9, Heb 11:1-2)

 

 

 

#4.       Where Does Grace Fit in? (Eph 1:1,3-6, Psalm 25:14)

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Luke, Luke 23:33 (2X). Last week I showed you how the doctrine of the crucifixion of Christ must stand above every other doctrine that we hold. Perhaps you remember the words of 1Cor 2:2, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” Therefore today I want to dig a little deeper into the event of Christ on the cross. We read in Luke 23:33-37,

·        The Place of the Skull (1Cor 2:2, Luke 23:33-37, Matt 27:34)

 33  And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 34  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. 35  And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. 36  And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, 37  And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.”

Look again at verse 33. They were come to the place which is called “Calvary.” I want you to know that he Greek text does not say “Calvary”. Instead, the Greek text says, “Kranion” which means “Skull”. This then was translated into the Latin word “Calvaria”. The common explanation is that the shape of the hill on which the cross was erected was shaped like a skull. But when we search this out in the Bible we find no support at all that the cross of Christ was erected on a hill. This cannot be found in the Bible. The “place of a skull” could simply be a level plain, and it could have this name because it was a place where criminals were executed, and therefore it abounded in skulls. I regret that I am taking away your delight when you are singing, “On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross”, but we need to be honest when we quote Scripture; it may not have been on a hill.

We read in Matt 27:34, “They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.” He refused the drink that would have given Him some sedative against the pain of crucifixion. Why did God put this detail in the Bible? What information does this give us which is so important? You see, it tells us that the Lord Jesus was crucified in His human nature, not in His divine nature. In His divine nature He would have known what was in the cup; He would not have to taste it. But in His human nature He first tasted what was in the cup, and then He rejected it.  And so we have here another proof that the Lord Jesus atoned for our sins in His human nature, not in His divine nature, for God the Son cannot die, and God the Son cannot bleed, and God the Son cannot impute sins to His account, but since man has sinned man has to suffer the penalty for sin.

Then we read in verse 33 “There they crucified Him, with the two malefactors, one on the right and the other on the left.” It is traditionally understood that the one on the left remained unsaved and the one on the right was the “repentant thief on the cross who became saved in the nick of time.” People have this notion when they compare this event with the judgment of the whole world in Matt 25 where the Lord Jesus separated all mankind in the parable of the sheep and the goats. But this detail is not found in the Crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. It means then that the two thieves do not represent all the people in the world, but rather they represent all the people in the church. This is a point to be concerned about, for not everyone in the church is saved, contrary to public opinion.

Then we read about three groups of people standing around the cross: #1, a callous multitude, and #2, a hateful multitude, and #3, an indifferent multitude. We will now look at these three groups of people around the cross of Jesus, and we will learn something about each one of them.

#1.       A Callous Multitude (Luke 23:36-37,11, Matt 27:29-30)

Luke 23:36-37, 36  And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, 37  And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.” Yes, the cruel soldiers were one part of the enemies of Christ. They just displayed their natural enmity against God, for they were born as slaves of the Devil, and by their association with the satanic host they showed that they were enemies of Christ. They manifested all the evidences of being slaves of Satan. These were not people who carried an intense hatred against the Lord Jesus. They hate God because they were unsaved. And since they were under the control of Satan, they hated the Word of God, and they hated to obey the will of God. Therefore are they in the category of those who hate God. If they hate His Word, then they also hate the God who gave mankind His Word. Earlier we read in Luke 23:11,

Lu 23:11  “And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.”  “Herod with his men of war” refers to Herod and his soldiers, which were soldiers from Galilee. Then there are the temple servants and officers of the chief priests which refers to soldiers from Judea who served the religious establishment around the temple made of priests, and elders, and scribes, and Pharisees and Sadducees. And then there are the Roman soldiers who served the governor Pontius Pilate, and who crucified the Lord Jesus. All these soldiers were cruel beasts, having no feelings for the hurt to mankind they are causing. They just obey orders. When the king says, “Kill all the male babies in Bethlehem from two years old and under,” they simply obey those orders without any feeling toward the grief they inflict on the parents. When the king says, “Cut off the head of John the Baptist,” they simply obey those orders. And so, we can understand why they tortured the Lord Jesus; it was simply part of their routine in executing criminals. We read in Matt 27 more of the cruelties they were accustomed to. Matt 27:29-30,

Mt 27:29  And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

Mt 27:30  And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

You have to be a very cruel man to find pleasure in making a crown of thorns and push it into the head of someone who has to be crucified. You have to be a very cruel man to drive nails into the hands and feet of the Lord Jesus, and then take the cross and drop it in the hole in the ground where the cross should stand. But these men were accustomed to these cruelties. They had callous on their hearts. They were worthy soldiers of Satan. But now let us look at those who are officers of Satan.

·        A Hateful Multitude (Luke 23:35, Mark 15:10, 3:23-30, Gen 3:15, Isa 55:8-9)

Luke 23:35, “And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.” This was the multitude that shouted, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” This was the multitude that wanted Him dead for they hated Him. And why did they hate Him? They hated Him out of envy, for the Lord Jesus was more popular with the people than the scribes and Pharisees. Pilate saw this correctly, for we read in Mark 15:10, “For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.” This was the multitude who committed the murder of the Lord Jesus behind the cloak of their zeal for the law of God. This was the multitude of which the Lord Jesus said that they have committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit? It means they believed that the Lord Jesus was indwelt by Satan. We read this in Mark 3:

Mark 3:23-30  23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?  24  And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  25  And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  26  And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.  27  No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. 28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:  30  Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.”

They who believed that Jesus was indwelt by Satan will certainly have nothing to do with the Lord Jesus, and that is why their sins will never be forgiven. And so, this was a multitude with an intense hatred against the Lord Jesus. These were the crack troops of Satan. These were the special troops of Satan with which he was going to kill the Messiah, the holy One of Israel, the Son of God. But Satan had forgotten that God said to him in Gen 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Satan was going to bite the heel of Christ, and Christ was going to bruise the head of Satan. This is what God promised in the Garden of Eden, and no one would be able to annul the promise of God. But Satan had forgotten this, for it was something that occurred 11 thousand years earlier. Satan’s method of conquering the world was, and still is, through killing and using armies that are outstanding in strength and in weaponry. That is why mankind has developed weapons of mass destruction, and that is why mankind has developed ideologies where people are willing to give up themselves as suicide bombers. But man’s ways are not God’s ways. The Lord says in Isa 55:8-9,

Isa 55:8-9, “8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” This hateful multitude had only one objective in mind: to kill the Lord Jesus. But this was the moment that the prophecy of Gen 3:15 would be fulfilled. In going to the cross the Lord Jesus was going to bruise the head of Satan. In going to the cross Satan was going to be defeated, and Satan would not recognize it, because this was unfamiliar warfare to Satan.

#2.       An Indifferent Multitude (Luke 23:35, 11:23, 9:23, Job 19:21)

The third category of multitudes against Christ is also found in Luke 23:35, “And the people stood beholding.” These were not the cruel soldiers, and they were not the ones who scoffed at Christ, and they were not the ones who hated Christ; they were just bystanders. And this is the group of people I want to focus on for the remainder of this sermon. We do not want to place in this third category the women who followed the Lord, for they were faithful women, and we do not want to place in this third category the apostle John as the only one of the apostolic band who still dared to show himself in the presence of Jesus. No, this third multitude of people was only watching. It was an indifferent multitude. It seems that they were a people who were neither for Christ nor against Christ. So, why would I say that they also were against Christ? Am I just guessing this, or do I have some Biblical evidence for it? Look at an earlier chapter in this Gospel According to Luke. The Lord Jesus said in Luke 11:23 “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.” How does this apply to this present situation? The Lord Jesus is hanging on a cross, and the people are just standing there, motionless, looking at Him. What should they have been doing? Please turn to an earlier chapter in the Gospel According to Luke We read in Luke 9:23 the condition the Lord places on those who are becoming saved. I would not call this the response of Christ, for the Lord does not respond to events that He created Himself. But here are the conditions, the characteristics, that are manifested in those who follow Christ. We read in Luke 9:22-24, and watch particularly verse 23,

Luke 9:22-24, “22  Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. 23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” Look again at verse 23. We need to take up our cross daily and follow Him. What does that mean? The cross has to do with death. And notice the word “daily”. It means that we must sacrifice our life daily. It is an active sacrifice, not a passive enduring of death. That is what the Lord Jesus Christ expects from us. What might that be? Before I get to that, let me get back to the indifferent multitude. Now you understand why I called this an indifferent multitude. They were indifferent to the death of Jesus. It did not touch them in their souls. It did not infuriate them that the man who was out to do good only was now crucified at the request of the leaders of the Jews. It did not move them with compassion for the dying man on the cross. No one remembered the words of Job in Job 19:21 “Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.” O yes, it was the hand of God that was active in all these events. This entire scenario was orchestrated by the hand of God for our benefit. God arranged that the Lord Jesus Christ would have to suffer on our behalf to pay the payment that our sins required from a righteous Judge. Let us see where that comes from. We first need to see God as the Judge of all mankind.

·        The Righteousness of God (Matt 12:36-37, Rom 6:23, Gen 2:17, Eph 2:3, Rev 21:8)

Our God is a righteous Judge, or a just Judge, since the words “righteous” and “just” are the same word both in the Hebrew or the Greek. The judge who will reduce the sentence for his own family is an unrighteous judge. A just Judge will not reduce the sentence, even if his own Son stands before Him, accused of a horrible crime. Will a just Judge take vengeance on a crime committed by man? Yes He will, not immediately, but in the judgment on the last day. Please turn to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 12:36 (2X). A just Judge will not leave any crime unpunished. And so, everyone will agree that the crimes of Adolph Hitler, and of Joseph Stalin, and of Idi Amin will be avenged on the last day. Those dictators will suffer the consequences for their mass murders perpetrated on humanity. God would be an unrighteous judge if he would pass by those sins and Satan would be rejoicing, for this would encourage people to commit more of those sins. But these would not be the only sins that God would have to judge on the last day. We read more accurately in Matt 12:36-37,

Matt 12:36-37, “36  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Every sin as small as an idle word will be judged by the Judge of all the world. Where does that leave us? If God judges the sins of Adolph Hitler, and of Joseph Stalin, and of Idi Amin, then God will also judge my sins. If God judges my sins I will not get away with anything, and I will end up in the same hell where Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin, and Idi Amin are. What a horrible idea. And yet, this is what the Bible declares. God declares in Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” What death does God have in mind when He declared this? There is a physical death, which began on the day that Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There is a spiritual death, for in the Garden of Eden God promised, in Gen 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Adam and Eve did not physically die on the day when they ate from the tree, and since God does not lie it must mean that they died spiritually. This is borne out by the words of Eph 2:3 where God states that we all were dead in trespasses and sins, and that we all were by nature the children of the wrath of God, even as others. There is physical death, and there is spiritual death, and there is also the second death. What is the second death? We read in Rev 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Without going into all the details we should focus on the last category on this list: “All liars.” Is there anyone of mankind who has never told a lie? No, there is not. And so all mankind is on the way to the second death in the lake of fire. The Lord Jesus said that it is a place where the worm dieth not and where the fire is not quenched. Which of these three deaths did God have in mind when we read in Rom 6:23 that the wages of sin is death? It is clear from the historical sequence of events that the wages of sin is the second death in the lake of fire. The physical death and the spiritual death were only shadows of the real thing. This is terrible news in the ears of those who are indeed on the way to hell. But they calm their fears with the words of the second half of Rom 6:23, and there we read:

Rom 6:23, “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Most preachers would want to calm the fears of the people in the pews. But let us declare what the word of God really warns us for. Most people do not realize the meaning of “the gift of God.” Is this a gift from God that is bestowed on every individual? If that were the case, then where is God’s judgment on Adolph Hitler, and on Joseph Stalin, and on Idi Amin? And so, we realize that the gift of God of eternal life through Jesus Christ is not given to every man. And so, the crucial question is really: Where do WE fit in?

#3.       Where Do WE Fit in? (1John 5:13, Rom 3:11, John 6:44)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle of 1John, 1John 5:13 (2X). Does God want us to know where we are heading? Does God want us to know if we are heading for the lake of fire or for eternal life with Jesus Christ? Yes, God wants us to know, and that is why God stated in 1John 5:13,

1John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” In the Bible God uses the expression “the name” as a synonym for the identity of the person in question. And so, those “that believe on the name of the Son of God” are those who believe on the Person and the work of Jesus Christ. And so, who are those that believe on the Person and the work of Jesus Christ? God says in Rom 3:11, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” You cannot say that God was in a depressed mood when He dictated these words to the apostle Paul. On the contrary; God stated here the fundamental nature of man. There is NONE that seeketh after God tells us that there is NONE from among mankind that believes the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The only way that anyone would come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ is when this person receives this faith from God. The Lord Jesus said in John 6:44,

John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will

raise him up at the last day.” Only when the Father draws a certain person to the Lord Jesus Christ will this person receive a saving faith from God to indicate that he is saved. And so, to whom will the Lord give this saving knowledge of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ? He gives it to whomsoever He will. He does not give it to whoever asks for it, for there is NONE who asks for a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. No one will believe, unless they are pressured into believing on Christ by the grace of God. This is how the Father draws someone to the Lord Jesus, because the Greek word that has been translated “draw” is actually the word “drag”, like dragging a load of fish to the shore. The fish does not want to be on the dry shore, but it is being dragged there against its will. And when we have been dragged to the Lord Jesus we will now it by our faith.

Can we know from the Bible where we would fit in? Do we fit in with the callous multitude, or with the hateful multitude, or with the indifferent multitude, or with the faithful women and the apostle John who are also standing there at the cross. What goes on inside us when we watch the Lord Jesus die? You see, most people we speak to claim that they are not haters of the Lord Jesus. They resemble the indifferent multitude. It is the multitude who has not made a commitment to serve the Lord Jesus. But since they do not believe on Jesus as their Lord, and they do not believe that He has atoned for their sins, they actually have no savior, which means that they actually have to pay for their own sins in hell, and this they have to do for an eternity. This is dreadful news, and it all originated from the word “GRACE”. You see, most people do not understand the plain English language. When God uses the word grace, God uses a word that plainly means, “unmerited favor.”

·        God’s Unmerited Favor (2Kings 21, 2Chron 33, Eph 2:8-9, Heb 11:1-2)

And when we understand the meaning of “unmerited favor” we know that this kind of grace is not earned or deserved. God gives it to whomsoever He will. It is not given to people in response to good behavior. In fact, we have an example in 2Kings 21 and in 2Chron 33 of king Manasseh, king of Judah, who was a very wicked king, and he filled Jerusalem from one end to another with innocent blood. But toward the end of his life God had mercy on him and God gave him the grace to know the Lord and to repent of his evil deeds. Manasseh became saved, but it was not earned or deserved by his good behavior. It was clearly the “unmerited favor” of God that brought him to salvation. And so, when we pray for God’s grace on this project or on that project, let us remember that God’s grace is not given because we prayed, and God’s grace is not given because we think it is such a worthy goal in the overall work of God, and God’s grace is not given because we need to let our light so shine before men, and God’s grace is not given because of anything that we do, but God’s grace is given to those projects that are according to His plan. And we do not know what His plan is.

But in this earthly realm, can we know where we stand? Can we know if God’s grace has been poured out upon us, or has it not been poured out upon us? Yes, we can know, and 1John 5:13 has been written that we may know. In fact it is like the command to examine ourselves if we are in the faith. And God gives us enough evidence if we are in the faith. What then is this evidence? Let us first turn to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 2:8 (2X). The Gospel of salvation is summarized by the words of Eph 2:8-9, where God says, “8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that (faith is) not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.” How are we saved? We are saved by grace. And how did that grace come? It came through faith in the atoning work of Christ on the cross where He gave His life for us. And how did that faith come? It did not come out of ourselves, but it came as a gift from God. And so, our salvation is entirely by grace as a gift from God. It is God who decides who shall be saved and whom He shall pass by.

Please turn now in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 11:1 (2X). This is the faith-chapter in the Epistle to the Hebrews. And when we speak of faith we need to harmonize this with the God’s teaching that salvation is entirely by grace, as a gift from God, and not by anything we would choose to believe. It is not our choice, it is God’s choice, for the grace unto salvation is not a result of what we do, it is not earned or deserved by our actions, but entirely by the will of God. Heb 11:1-2,

Heb 11:1-2, “1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2  For by it the elders obtained a good report.” Why is it that by faith the elders obtained a good report? It is because the faith of the elders was the substance of things hoped for, it was the evidence of things not seen. What was hoped for? It is the hope of eternal life. Faith is the substance of the sure hope of eternal life. What was the evidence of things not seen? What was not seen? Our salvation is not seen, but the faith that God has given us is the evidence of our salvation. And so, coming back to 1John 5:13, God wants us to know that the faith He has given us is the evidence of salvation; it is the evidence that we have been the elect of God all along. Let us see where this comes from.

#4.       Where Does Grace Fit in? (Eph 1:1,3-6, Psalm 25:14)

Please turn again to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 1:3 (2X). We have here a passage which tells us who will inherit the grace of God. Only those whom God chose from before the foundation of the world will inherit the grace of God. Since grace is not merited through good behavior, or deserved through any other way, God is the one who must make the decision to whom He will give His grace.

Eph 1:3-6  3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,  6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” There you have it: God has blessed us; God has chosen us; God has predestinated us; God has made us accepted in the Beloved, which refers to Christ. And who is us? Eph 1:1 says that us refers to the saints which are in the church at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus any-where in the world. In the Bible, before we are saved we are called sinners; after we have been Born Again we are called saints. And so, this passage is addressed to any of the saints in the world.

Notice verse 6. “The glory of His grace, wherein (in His grace) He hath made us accepted.” Where does grace fit in? Grace fits in anywhere the chosen ones of God fit in. Just like God decides on whom He will bestow His salvation, so God decides on whom He will bestow His grace, for both salvation and grace are not earned or deserved. And if it is not earned or deserved then God must make the decision whom He will give it to, and God does it according to the good pleasure of His will. And so, when we speak of God’ grace, we always refer to the grace that leads to salvation. Therefore there is no common grace, for grace is uncommon. Material blessings are not really a result of grace, for at the end of time the judgment of God is more severe on those who have received much material good and yet they remain unsaved, for they have not been grateful to God for taking care of them.

All the elect of God receive His grace, and Christ has committed Himself to save each one of them by paying for each one of them the penalty for all their sins on the cross in AD 33. And since all their sins have been paid God the Holy Spirit will regenerate their soul in their lifetime and give them faith. But God will not extend His favor to anyone who is not one of God’s elect. God says in Psalm 25:14, “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” It is only to the elect that God will show them His covenant, which refers to the last will and testament of God. But He passes by all those who have not been chosen unto salvation. They are left to their own strivings for righteousness, which means that they will develop for themselves all kinds of gospels which are always works-gospels, through which no one can be saved, for they are the inventions of men. It is only the elect who will persevere in the faith and who will receive the final destiny of eternal life with Christ in the New Heaven and the New Earth. It means that only the elect will believe the whole Bible. All the rest of mankind will refuse some part of the Bible. But since the Lord Jesus is the Word of God as is shown in Rev 19:13, all those who refuse to believe some part of the Bible do worship another jesus. They pray to another god who is not the God of the Bible. For example, those who refuse to believe that the doctrine of election is in the Bible have refused the epistle to the Ephesians as the Word of God. Their concept of grace is a different one than the one the English language dictates, and their gospel is a man-made gospel, usually a self-help method of salvation. They have no Savior. Therefore, praise God that He has revealed to us His covenant. Praise God that He has revealed to us His mode of operation, which is through the free gifts of God. Praise God that He has revealed to us that our sins are infinite, and that His grace is infinite, and that His atonement is infinite, and that our reward of eternal life is also infinite. Therefore, God has to give it all away for free, for we cannot pay even a fraction of infinite.   AMEN.                        Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.