Posts from the ‘Jesus’ Category

The Finished Work of Christ Atonement!

Looking at Christianity, it seems that it is just the Reformed denomination that has a holistic view of ‘The Finished Work of Christ Atonement’. Though others Christian denominations claim to believe this too, it becomes known through discussion that this has not been revealed to them in its entirety. I was just listening to Joe Morecraft who was teaching on this same subject and he said some of the most profound things, which I would like to share with you all.

In most cases people believe that the atoning work of Jesus Christ has meaning only when you obediently follow God. This is how they put it when they want to say that we need to add to the atoning work of Jesus Christ to make it complete for us. However scripture teaches that the death of the Lord Jesus Christ purchased for His Church salvation and also everything else required with it that included obedience, which is made possible by the Holy Spirit working in the believer.

The Redemptive work of Jesus Christ encompasses the following in the life of believer
1. Propitiation
2. Reconciliation
3. Justification & Regeneration
4. Faith and Repentance
5. Adoption
6. Sanctification
7. Eternal Redemption
8. Eternal Perfection

1. Propitiation

Romans 3
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

‘Propitiation’ means the act overcoming the distrust and hostility of a person or peoples. You see, had predestination and election not existed as Biblical truth, the word ‘propitiation’ would not exist in the Bible. Yet we know that ‘the propitiation in His blood through faith’ is what is secured for the believer as the outcome of the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ.

2. Reconciliation

Romans 5
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Col 1
21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—

Jeremiah 9
23 Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.

As Romans 5:12 says that sin entered the world through one man through which death came to all men because all sinned through this one man Adam. But through the obedience of Christ many (not all) have been reconciled and made righteous. The believer is thereby given a Spirit where he no longer boasts in himself but boast/exults (Romans 5:11, Jeremiah 9:23-24) in his reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ, which as part of the believers reconciliation has been purchased though Christ redemptive work for His Church. Just as thankfulness is an expression of faith (Luke 17:15-19), which is gift of God (Eph 2:8) so also is this.

3. Justification & Regeneration

Romans 5:8-9
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

1 Cor 6
11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Titus 3
5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

Justification is a reason, fact, circumstance, or explanation that justifies a person while Regeneration is the act of effecting a complete moral reform in that person. For a God who is just, we see that a person can never be justified by faith without being regenerated. So we see that from Romans 5:8-9 that the believer’s justification and regeneration is what has been acquired by Christ through the work of the cross.

We therefore see that God declared the believer not guilty on the basis of Christ’ finished work on the cross and adopts him into His family. The Perfection of Christ atonement is in this, that not a single person for whom Christ died will go to hell. This is the uniqueness of the Reformed doctrine, as Christ death on the cross secured the presence and the work of the Holy Spirit (washing and regeneration) for those whom Christ died. Justification imputes righteousness by faith while regeneration imparts righteous as a gift of the Holy Spirit.

1 John 3
9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Note: We are all sinners (Romans 3:23), however 1 John 3:9 speaks not of committing sin but practicing sin. Just like a person may know his medication without practising medicine. In the same way a Christian is subject to sin before the grave but he is never a practicer of sin because he is born of God.

4. Faith & Repentance

Gal 3
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”–14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one.21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Acts 20
21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 2
25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,

Heb 12:17
17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

There is a lot to learn from the four scriptures mentioned above, we know that Christ was fully God and fully man. As Gal 3 puts it, He was not for one party only i.e. in Him was met the full justice of God and the full redemption of His Church. Many Non-Reformed Christian denominations read Gal 3:13 out of its context and term the Law of God as a curse; however such interpretations come through when the Bible is not used to interpret the Bible. We see from Gal 3:21-22 that the Law is in keeping with the promise of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ because the Law measured man and counted him as deserving of nothing more than the full justice of God, which was met in Jesus Christ. The Law by itself imparts no righteous to the person who practices for it deems him a sinner already and so it was that the Law’s weakness was in the person (Rom 8:3). However The Father offered His Son Jesus with the purpose to also purchase for the Christian that righteousness that was required and measured by the Law (Rom 8:4) that the believer would walk not in the flesh but in the Spirit.

Romans 8:3-4
3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

From Gal 3:14 we see that Christ’ sacrifice was to secure for the believer the promise of the Holy Spirit through faith. Eph 2:8 says that Salvation is by grace through faith, which is NOT OF OURSELVES but a gift of God. So faith therefore is not an exercise of man as the Arminians put it. From Act 20:21 we see that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can never be preached without first preaching repentance unto God. It is for this reason that the person John the Baptist was to make straight the way of the Lord by preaching repentance to the people (Mat 3:1-3) so that they may then receive faith (2Pe 1:1) in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:29-34). We see from 2 Timothy 2:25 that repentance too is what God gives the believer, as a matter of fact even if a person seeks after repentance with tears (Heb 12:17), it will still not be given to him unless God Himself grants it.

Mark 1:14-15
15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

John 3
36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

If all God did was to offer salvation to anyone who believes in Jesus Christ but does not enable them to believe in Christ, no one would ever believe in Christ and be saved. However scripture indicates that in this Covenant of Grace, God’s plan of Salvation not only freely offers the sinner, life and salvation in Jesus Christ but He also offers the faith He requires of the believer in Him for salvation. If this were not to happen, nobody would come; nobody would ever want to come. After all how many steps can a man dead in spirit take towards God? Not one! Faith is a gift and a person cannot believe anytime he wants to, unless it is granted to him by God. The reason God brings the Elect to repentance is because of the perfect atonement of Christ’ death on the cross, which purchased perfectly what God required of His elect.

Acts 11:18
18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

Hence everybody for whom Christ died will sooner or later believe and repent of their sins.

5. Adoption

Gal 4:4-5
4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Westminster Confession of Faith (Chapter XII – Of Adoption)
All those that are justified, God vouchsafes, in and for His only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption,[Eph 1:5, Gal 4:4-5] by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God,[Rom 8:17, John 1:12] have His name put upon them, [Jer 14:9, 2Co 6:18, Rev 3:12]” receive the spirit of adoption,[Rom 3:5] have access to the throne of grace with boldness,[Eph 3:12, Rom 5:2] are enabled to cry, Abba, Father,[Gal 4:6] are pitied,[Ps 103:13] protected,[Pro 14:26] provided for,[Mat 6:30,32, 1Pe 5:7] and chastened by Him as by a Father:[Heb 12:6] yet never cast off,[Lam 3:31] but sealed to the day of redemption;[Eph 4:30] and inherit the promises,[Heb 6:12] as heirs of everlasting salvation.[1Pe 1:3-4, Heb 1:4]

We can hence deduce from sound reasoning that everyone for whom Christ died will be adopted as sons and daughters into His family

6. Sanctification

Sanctify means to make holy, set apart as sacred, consecrate and purify from sin and this precisely is what Christ achieved for His Church on the cross.

Isaiah 53
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

A believer may go through enormous trials in his life that burn the dross in his personage, yet it is not the man but the Lord who sanctifies (Ex 31:13). Sanctification gives the Christian a matchless moral superiority (Titus 2:11-14) that is uncommon among the sons of Adam. This too Christ acquired for His bride His Church, which is beautifully metamorphosed in the Songs of Solomon.

Titus 2
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Exodus 31
13 “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

7. Eternal Redemption

Heb 9
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

When it says that he entered the tabernacle, not made with hands, it could mean that He entered the body i.e. the Church of His elect (1Cor 3:16), after all the believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:19), right?! A Church He entered having obtained Eternal Redemption for her through His own blood. Just as the Good Shepherd, who is also the owner of the sheep, He enters through door into the sheep fold, having laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:1-18).

8. Eternal Perfection

Heb 10:10-14
10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

We can deduce from the above scripture that everyone for whom Christ died shall attain sinless perfection in the presence of God, which speaks of the perfect atonement acquired by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ death accomplished what God predestined for it to accomplish that the good pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in Christ Hand because God is satisfied having seen the travail of Christ over attaining Eternal Perfection for the Christian. Christ shall see the result without fail of the anguish and agony of the cross.

Heb 12:2
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The JOY in Heb 12:2 was that of Christ knowing that His agony and death was then and there saving His dearly beloved bride, His Church from Her sins. With Love He experienced JOY in the midst of horror and shame on the cross because he was then and there rescuing from hell His own sheep i.e. those whose names were on His heart.

So having said all this, the question often comes to, well then why evangelize? The answer however is because just as all of the above is spoken of in scripture so is evangelism, God commands it in The Great Commission of Mat 28:16-20. Salvation accomplished in the life of a believer is nothing more that Christ’ finished redemptive work.

Rev 22
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

So we are to offer anyone who would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and repent of their sins knowing as we preach, teach and bear witness to the Gospel that God is going to cause for whom Christ shed His blood to respond to it and believe (Acts 16:31) in Jesus.

The Christ of Christianity!

Mat 16
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

From the above scripture we see a few things that are critical to the Christian faith. The most important question concerning one’s salvation is ‘who is Jesus Christ?’. With the reprobate it has always been that what the majority believe, is the right thing. For e.g. if you were to ask an unbeliever who comes from a people setting where homosexuality or abortion is so rampant that it has become the fabric of his society, if you were ask this unbeliever what he thought of the Law of God that abhorred the sin of homosexuality and abortion, this unbeliever though he may not have participated in that sin, he will discount the Law of God just because the society he comes from teaches otherwise in majority.

So it was similar when Christ asked His disciples ‘who He is?’ the disciples first rattled off what society considered Christ to be, then when they were asked to answer that question for themselves, that was when they actually made a declaration of faith. This declaration of faith is that rock on which the Church is built by Christ, which hell cannot overpower even though it is right outside its gate.

Phil 2
9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Romans 10
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

2 Peter 1
10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Many a times in an Arminian setting, the belief is that so long as one acknowledges Christ as Lord, salvation is made available to the person but the truth of matter is, all shall confess that He is Lord (Phil 2:9-11). Today the hatred of God in the reprobate puts off this confession for another time but a time will come when this confession shall be so overbearing upon them that even the consuming fires of His wrath will not deter their perfect subjection and their knees shall be like ripe fruit falling to the ground in its time. You see only the believer shall know Christ as ‘Lord and Savior’ (2Peter 1:11) but the reprobate will only know Him as ‘Lord’ in time but never as Savior.

There are many in the Arminian setting, who say that they first acknowledged Christ as Savior when they believed and then as Lord. This may be case when people consider themselves and their works as what makes them what they are. You see such a believer, feels he has taken the onus to receiving the sacrifice of Christ for his sins and later when he begins to see change in his life coming out of obedience this believer says then that he has received Christ as Lord. However, such a school of thought shows that it is the believer himself and not the Word of God which is the standard of Christian life. When the Bible teaches that salvation is the finished work of Jesus Christ, then the true believer ought to know that there is nothing left for him to do, so as complete his own salvation. His salvation stems from the promises of God, which will never move. Heaven and Earth shall pass away but never His Word (Mat 24:35). He chose, He paid for and He sanctified; and though we are to work out our salvation, our iniquity can never cast aside His promise to His elect. For He Himself is Sovereign in the working out of our salvation.

Phil 2
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

This goes to show that a person, who truly acknowledges Christ as Savior, shall just the same acknowledge Him as Lord, which is dependent on his calling as God’s elect, for only then shall he trust in God (Word) and lean not on his own understanding (Prov 3:5). For those who say that they received Christ as Savior but their lives never showed that they have received Him as Lord, on the day of their judgment, though they may call unto Him ‘Lord Lord’, He shall cast them into the darkness for their lives never obeyed His rule (Moral Law) i.e. though they called Him ‘Lord Lord’, these hypocrites never received His Lordship in His salvation and thereby turn subject to receive His Lordship in His justice.

A believer in receiving Jesus Christ is brought to terms with His authority as Prophet, Priest and King. In theology, these three are the offices He holds as God the Son.
• He is thee Prophet about whom all Spirit-breathed scripture (the Bible – the only credible Word on God) points to (Luke 24:19-27). In His office as Prophet He teaches and admonishes the people of God, as a Shepherd unto His sheep (John 10), by the working of His Spirit.
• He is thee Priest of the highest order ‘Melchizedek’ (Heb 7), the only mediator between God and men, who offers Himself as the unblemished atoning sacrifice for His people (Heb 9:14).
• He is thee ‘King’: King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 17:14), where His enemies are made His footstool (Luke 20:43, Acts 7:49) and He rules over His kingdom with righteousness (Isaiah 32:1).

This ultimately is saving faith that you know Jesus Christ (John 17:3), as a Christian.

The Parable of the Sower

All who have read the Bible are familiar with this parable in Mat 13. It principally states four different outcomes in the delivery of the Gospel. These four outcomes are as follows

1. The Gospel is not received at all by the person
2. The Gospel is received, but the man has no root in himself (v21) i.e. the word of God does not become the foundation of his life. He is not standing on the rock that is Christ and so he falls away rather than being sanctified in affliction.
3. The Gospel is received but this person attempts to serve two masters: money and the Lord. But as much as this person thinks he is in Christ, he is deceiving himself because the branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine i.e. Christ.
4. The good soil alone is the Christian example, it must be understood here that the good soil is not good by itself; you may want to consider the example of John the Baptist. It was prophesied of him to make straight the way of the Lord in John 1:23 and so John preached a Baptism of Repentance. But repentance is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer (Acts 11:18 Acts 5:31). So just as a farmer treats the soil to receive the seed. The Spirit readies the foreordained believer to receive Christ.

There are many who read the parables as plainly as the morning newspaper but for some reason these same people cannot come to terms with what Mat 13:10-15 plainly says. It seems so hard for these seemingly Bible believing Christians to understand that God hates the reprobate and loves the Church. As blasphemous as this may sound: the school of thought that says God hates sin but loves the sinner, attempts bring God to the feet of the unbeliever in believing that God’s love is subject to human volition in being reciprocated. Contrarily scripture states that we love because he loved us first i.e. had it not been for His love, we would not have the capacity to love Him beyond our flesh. 1 John 4:19 is therefore seen as matter of ‘cause and effect’ i.e. the absence of the effect means only the absence of the cause.

To oppose this many people may bring scripture showing that Jesus received and ate with sinners but it is interesting to note that Jesus detested the seemingly righteous Pharisees of his time. Since the Bible is internally consistent, an interpretation of scripture is only valid if it harmonizes with the rest of the Bible. Hence when Christ says that that He came to call sinners and not the righteous: so speaking in the light of Romans 3:23, it means to say He came to calls only those who had been prepared for Him in repentance. Take the Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, scripture ridicules the self righteousness of the Pharisee saying in Luke 18:11 that the Pharisee’s prayers were said to himself not God.

John 12
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

The response of the servant who was given one talent in the parable of talents can also be seen in the context of parable of the sower.

Mat 25
24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

Mat 13 (from the parable of the sower)
12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

From Mat 13:12 we see the Godly reproach upon the wicked servant in Mat 25. Notice the phrase: ‘whoever has’ and ‘whoever does not have’, it does not say ‘whoever has MUCH’ or ‘whoever has little’. It becomes only the question of having or not having. So when we see this in the context of the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Talents, the ‘has’ and ‘does not have’ becomes a question that is answered in Mat 13:11.

Mat 13
11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.

2 Timothy 1
9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

So we see from 2 Tim 1:9 that the calling does not materialize unless it has been granted unto us in Christ according to His own purpose. To the antinomian the call to Christ is a call to a grace separate from the Law but that is not so because it is a call to obedience unto the Moral Law of God. The Gospel actually gives the believer a new heart to walk in statutes of God and follow His Law (Ezek 36:26-27). What the antinomians refers to as the weakness of the Law, was in actual a weakness of the people not the Law (Heb 8:7-8). The Law was meant to convict transgression and so sin got it power to kill from the Law but when man is born of the Spirit as stated in John 3:5 he receives the salvation of Christ and comes to life fulfilling the requirements of the Law (Moral not Ceremonial) in obedience because he now has a new heart upon which is written the Law of God.

Romans 8
3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

We therefore come to understand that in the very beginning God chose a people unto Himself and blessed them consecrating them as priest whom He would love and bring them to know Him and worship Him forever. We see that such a blessing can only come out of grace, His grace. In Eden man disobediently took a righteousness of self that is contrary to the righteousness of God. This self righteousness of man, has seen man see himself differently from the way God sees him, which has been in effect ever since the fall. Like the parable of the laborers in the vineyard who grumble against their Master concerning their wages, so too we see man grumble in regards to the doctrine of Sovereign Election because it makes no sense according to the self righteousness he has come to possess. God’s ways are not man’s ways so the Bible says and so the ‘parable of the sower’ tells us how the Sovereignty of God extends to the elect that He draws them through the Holy Spirit’s sanctification, out of the corruptions that has become of their nature and selves. This is the power of Almighty God that even angels look on (1 Peter 1:12) to see His Salvation at work in His elect.

Sovereign grace Vs Legalism and Antinomianism

There are large numbers of Christians, who have become subject to views of antinomianism or those which are legalistic. Legalism is that which says that one is saved purely by works of Law while Antinomians hold a view that the grace of God covers them to the extent that even though their carnal nature is not made subject to true repentance, they are still saved because of grace. Mat 1:21 speaks to both these extreme apostate ideas by showing the legalist that Salvation is in Christ alone, while it shows the antinomians that Christ’ deliverance is not “in our sins” but “from our sins”

Mat 1:21
21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

A preacher once said: one can only enjoy the benefits of Christ’ Cross when he bows before the claims of Christ’ Crown. What this refers to is essentially that one truly receives Christ in his life only when he receives Him as SAVIOR AND LORD. For those who try to merit Salvation it shows they have not truly received Christ as their Savior and for those whose nature shows no elements of any sanctification, they have not truly received Jesus as their Lord.

Sanctification is the work of His Spirit. To many believers, the Holy Spirit is generally associated with how much noise can be made at a spiritual gathering. The work of the Holy Spirit is very deep and for one to associate the Spirit primarily with the gift of tongues today is almost blasphemous. The gift of tongues was given only to the early Church, who did not have the compilation of the Bible, once the Bible was compiled in about the third or fourth century, the gift of tongues and prophesies ceased because the Bible is complete and sufficient to edify the Christian and cursed is that person who tries to add or take away from it. It is for this reason, that the many noise makers in spiritual gathering do not find one interpreter today for three of these people who are said to have this gift of tongues.

Quoting from the Nicene Creed, which was a faith declaration of the early Church, this is what is stated when it speaks of the Holy Spirit: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life”. We know when God created Adam from the soil, He breathed life into Him. We also know that scripture in God breathed. So though it was His Holy Spirit, that God had put into Adam to give him life, which Adam lost in his disobedience. In the same way the Word of God in the Bible, is God breathed (Holy Spirit) proceeding from Father and Son as One, given to us in scripture that we may believe and have life.

It is interesting to note that the Exodus came before Mount Sinai, what I mean to say is that God first delivered His people from Egypt and then gave them the Law at Mount Sinai. It was not the other way around. As a preacher I know once said, it took God one day to get His people out of Egypt but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of His people. We see from all of this that though a believer is saved by grace and not His own merit, lawlessness cannot be a part of his life. He is always subject to the Moral Law of God, where He puts God first and his neighbor at par with himself.

1Thes 2
13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

You see the reason, we can do the stuff that is pleasing to God, is ONLY because of the life given to us in Christ i.e. His Holy Spirit. Had we not received Christ, we would not know or have the slightest inclination to please Him. So the word of God in the scripture, is the life given to us in Christ, which His Spirit i.e. God; who is at work, in us who believe. Thus even after we have been sanctified, the only statement we shall render to God is the one in Luke 17:10.

Luke 17
10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”

Such is Sovereign grace, that he who receives it humbled not exalted in himself, for the very meaning of grace is unmerited favor i.e. when one receives (especially concerning Salvation) what he does not deserve. I need to emphasize here that sanctification is not our work but the work of God in us, it is hence seen from the parable of the master who calls people to work in the vineyard that he who is called to work even at the very last moment, receives full wages i.e. even the person who is on his death bed and repents unto Christ, he too receives the full measure of Salvation; for just as Salvation is of the Lord (Lam 3:26), Sanctification too is by Him (Lev 20:8) and so He does with what is His own as He pleases… Sovereign Grace!

Mat 20
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.”

humiliation is the real test of HUMILITY!

In finding fruitless reason to deny Christ, many question, how can Almighty God be put through such humiliation as that of the cross. The Bible teaches that there is but one mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), and so in substance this mediator Jesus Christ was both, fully God and fully man. As God, He becomes Salvation (Ex 15:2) and as a man whom God is pleased with (Romans 8:8) He became subject (Romans 8:7) to God’s perfect Law (Psalms 19:7). It is said in the Bible that Moses was the humblest man of his time (Numbers 12:3) and Moses’ statement has been recorded saying that the One who was to come as Messiah would be like Moses (Deut 8:15). In the Atonement worked out on the cross, the whole deity of Christ is seen for only God is without blemish (Heb 2:10), which is a prime requirement for the regulated sacrificial sin offering; at the same time seeing Jesus who condescended to become man in flesh in the womb of a virgin and taking on the humiliation of the cross, that pointed not only to His humility as a Man of God (Phil 2:8) but also implied that He was the Messiah to come that was spoken off in Moses’ likeness.

The example Jesus has set for a believer, is that one’s obedience to God is prioritized even more than the believer’s sustenance or life; for better is one day to live in obedience to God than to live a thousand days in disobedience (elsewhere) with the wicked.

Psalms 84:10
10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

So if you are asking what there is to obey then it is this:

Matthew 22
35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him,
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
37 And He said to him, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38 “This is the great and foremost commandment.
39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

To concluded, I must say however that obedience to the commandments of God is only possible for those who are born of His Spirit (Romans 8:7).

1 Pet 5:6
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,

Love That Cast Out Fear

Whenever we are ignorant of what is good, we do things with a feeling that that was the best approach but looking at these so called practical approaches, one rarely observes the fallen nature of man as the reason for what teaches him what he learns. The thing is: the world is only soaking in the lies of its iniquity. This is seen so commonly in man who chooses the path of wickedness in even making a living because he has been made blind (Is 6:10) to the fact that God is a higher priority than himself.

There are essentially three things that drive man to learn, think and act the way he does. These three things (1John 2:16) are: Power, Pleasure and Pride; they may either work together or individually to make a man the way he turns out. These so called 3Ps are driven by one thing and that is ‘fear’ or you may call it ‘insecurity’. This ‘fear’ a man has should not be confused with ‘cowardice’ because cowardice does not directly stem from the lack of faith/trust. The reason man has this fear/insecurity is because he subconsciously knows that he incurs the wrath of God in his fallen state.

1John 2:16
16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

When things start going wrong in a person’s life, the person can either take the easy underhanded solution which is as broad as the road of damnation to tackle the situation or he can stick to what the Bible teaches, valuing God more than his life’s sustenance. It is fear that makes man take the faithless solution, a fear which he covers by doing things that feed his pride, give into his pleasure and craving for power.

This fear that I am referring to is not the same as the ‘fear of the Lord’, for the ‘fear of the Lord’ is good as it brings repentance that leads one to Salvation but the fear of fallen man is the sorrow of his rebellion, which he tries to cover up with the 3Ps as he is blind to repentance as the only way out.

2 Cor 7:10
10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

The Bible teaches that God is love (1John 4:8) and the Bible also teaches love cast out all fear. Consider this, a person can only be considered as truly resilient, if he does not crumble or turn corrupt in character when he is faced with a bitter situation. However if he can look into the face of his persecution with a joy that has no ulterior motives, then the only thing that drives this truly resilient person is love i.e. God. Such is taught only in the Bible: in turning the other cheek (Mat 5:39), in giving one’s cloak when his shirt is already taken (Luke 6:29), in praying for those who persecute you (Mat 5:44) etc.

1 John 4:18
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

In Luke 18:2-6, it was perfect love that made the widow patient, always trusting and always persevering against the unjust judge. You may have understood by now that the perfect love that is taught in the Bible is not the mushy love we see in the movies. This perfect love teaches us not to be self-seeking and with this I come back to my earlier statement, where a man going through his regeneration learns his priorities and puts God before himself.

Deut 8:3
3 He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you [a]understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.

Love is the key ingredient to true strength because it teaches you to overcome your biggest enemy i.e. you. If there was no such thing as love then how would we forgive? How could we ever be at peace with ourselves? How could we ever pray unto our Father: forgive us as we forgive those who sin against us (Luke 11:4)?

However a person will never understand ‘love’ until he comes to terms with the Person Jesus Christ. For as per the Biblical definition of love in 1Cor 13:4-7, the only way we can know that God loves man is when realization strikes us that it was LOVE that made the Father give unto a gruesome death/sacrifice His most precious Son (1John 4:9), that man may believe and be saved. In other words if you don’t know Christ’ sacrifice on the cross, you don’t know the love of God but if you know the love of God then you will also know His Salvation.

John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

It must be understood that perseverance comes more from love than from determination because love preservers selflessly while determination can also persevere for self gain. Love can take a hit, fall and get back up again because it has better priorities but determination though it may be hard, it is brittle like glass and when it is hit, its goal is hit and so it shatters easily but this is not the case with love.

Phil 2:12-13
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

It is therefore seen concerning those who preserve for Christ, that they do so with fear and trembling; who are afflicted but never crushed, perplexed but never despairing in the working of their sanctification through the love God has given them in Christ (1John 4:19).

2Cor 4:7-12
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

To conclude, religion exuberates three characteristics as a mark of being genuine i.e. faith, hope and love. Faith without love profits one nothing for such has failed to imitate the Zenith i.e. Christ. Hope can never be considered apart from love because hope itself comes from God’s love given by grace (2Thes 2:16) and so we see the primary element in true religion is love which cast out all fear.

Depravity and Trial!

There are many Christians who feel that having great faith is to be supercharged and praise God, something like where they increase before God. However of whom the Bible speaks of great faith, such are rarely noticed by people like these.

Matthew 8
5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him,
6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.”
7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

Matthew 15
21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”
23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”
26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

John 3
26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.”
27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.
28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’
29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

You can see from the above, the more a person recognizes his total depravity, the more he realizes his Salvation coming from Christ. There are essentially three steps in a Christian’s life, the first is Atonement- which was worked out by Christ on the Cross over 2000 years ago, the second is Justification- which is the point when Christ begins to take root in a person’s heart and the third is Regeneration/Sanctification- where the Christian is continually transformed into Christ’ likeness through trial.

Take the instance of the Parable of the Wedding Feast in Mat 22:1-14, it is seen in verse 11 and that in whom the Spirit does not work the Regeneration (Phil 2:12-13), that person has not been chosen for eternal life in union with Christ.

Now think about this, trial by fire (1Pet 1:7)– if God were to truly reprove you unto repentance (Rev 3:19), how much scope would there be for you to go through that trial with your head held high in pride? If you are able to go through the reproach of God with your head held high (Psalms 50:16-17) then the question is: was His reproach not that of a Father unto a son (2Sam 7:14)? It is therefore seen for certain that Regeneration takes place through trial, for trials call for greater obedience, which one can only adhere to by the power of His Spirit (Psalms 94:12).

Psalms 94:12
12 Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law,

The thing is, in the life of a Christian, his trials will make him small and make his God big. Throughout his life, he will know of his depravity, which in actual is him prostrating truly before his Almighty, Everlasting and Sovereign God.

There are many teachers out there, who in claiming to teach from the Bible, teach a doctrine of material blessing in obedience to God. Such teachers are well described in Mat 23:24, who teach strict obedience to certain values but have themselves given way to disobedience in submitting to their flesh when justice, mercy and faithfulness is required of them.

Mat 23:24
24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

Such is the faith taught by teachers like these. However James 2 teaches that faith goes beyond lip service, which is a call that makes the believer feel the pinch of Regeneration, where he thinks nothing of himself in serving Christ through his brother (Mat 25:40).

James 2
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

There is a good book I recommend to you, called Stonewall Jackson’s Verse, which is a true story of an old Confederate Army General, whose life even during trial had Romans 8:28 as its center.

Romans 8
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

So to close this, all I would like to say is, if you feel small before God especially during your trial then consider that as a blessing of good faith (Job 5:17). For faith can be imputed only through repentance and all a person feels in repentance is small.

%d bloggers like this: