Torchbearers for Christ
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
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Bible Cups

In the Bible we find that the word “cup” is often used figuratively to describe an experience through which a person passes; sometimes it may be a cup of joy, at other times a cup of sorrow. For example, we read of the Lord Jesus, when anticipating the Cross in the garden of Gethsemane, and knowing all that would be involved, was praying in deep agony when He said, “Oh, my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless not as I will but as You will (Matthew 26:39). The Saviour’s cup was a bitter cup. We will also be considering the saint’s cup, which is an experience of blessedness and joy for God’s children and is a picture of the full provision made for their needs. We remember King David writing in Psalm 23 said, “You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over”. Then we will learn of the sinner’s cup; a fearful experience through which the unconverted must pass. 

We shall see how these three cups, the Saviour’s cup the saint’s cup and the sinner’s cup are related to one another. Because the Lord Jesus was willing to endure the bitter cup of God’s wrath against sin, the believer can enjoy the cup of blessing. But at the Cross, God’s indignation against sin is revealed, which means that those who do not experience the mercy of God must endure His wrath.

Turning again to the Saviour’s cup, this verse from an old hymn says: “Death and the curse were in that cup, Oh, Christ ‘twas full for Thee. But thou hast drained the last dark drop, Now blessing’s draught for me”.  The Saviour’s cup was to involve unspeakable misery; the cruel scourging, the crown of thorns, the spitting, the mocking, being forsaken by His friends and, worst of all, the awful desolation when He cried, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” At the Cross He took your sins and my sins upon Himself. At the Cross, God laid upon His Son the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). This was the bitter cup that the Lord Jesus drank for us all. 

We now think of the saint’s cup, the cup of blessing. It is a cup of sweet fellowship with God, of peace, joy and satisfaction and God invites us all to “come unto Him and drink” (John 7:37) and to “drink abundantly, O beloved” (Song of Solomon 5:1). Unfortunately, many people are seeking to satisfy a spiritual thirst with worldly substitutes, only to find disappointment. God alone can satisfy the longing soul (Psalm 107:9).

But we must consider the fate that awaits those who live and die in their sins. Their cup is described in Psalm 11:6 “Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone and a horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup”. We are frequently warned in Scripture that God must surely punish the impenitent. Hebrews 10:31 remind us that “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”. The certainty of God’s judgement is seen at the Cross, where God’s wrath against sin was revealed. Surely the awful prospect of God’s indignation should cause alarm to those who are without Christ. But “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The Lord Jesus offers the cup of salvation to us all. He has paid the penalty for our sins and He lovingly offers us the cup of salvation. Let us drink freely and enjoy God’s forgiveness and eternal life.

This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  Since 1983 he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.  

 Click here for Previous Messages from Pastor Geoffrey Davies.