The Ultimate Finish Line

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”  Heb 12:1

Introduction

It is an undeniable fact that most races are not won by the swift but one that endures to the end.  The born again in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection should not allow anything to distract them from crossing the ultimate finish line.  Like a race, our lives have a precise beginning time and a distinct ending point.  Like it or not, we are all in a race from birth to death.  There are many Scriptures in the Bible that describe life as being like a race.  One of the biggest challenges in this life of faith in the righteousness of God is to stay focused and motivated till the end. 

The ultimate finish line for our race  in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness is our glorification in Christ. 

Let us examine this word ‘glorification’ deemed as our ultimate finish line.

 

  1. What Is Glorification?

Glorification is the completion, the consummation, the perfection and the full realization of salvation.  Rom 8:30  Glorification is about victory.  Eph 1:18-23  We shall share in this victory through our inheritance and glorification with Christ.  Rom 8:11, 15, 16-17, 29, 1 Cor 15:54-57  Glorification is about change in both physical and spiritual.  Implying our entrance  spiritually  into  the presence of the Lord at death  and our entrance physically into the presence of the Lord at His return.  1 Thess 4:13-18  In 1 Cor 15:35-57, Paul describes the process of our physical change that relates to our body that would become like Christ.  Our bodies will go from weakness to glorification.  Basically, glorification speaks about the newness of life in Christ Jesus.  Rom 8:19-22, Rev 21:1-8

 

  1. Preparing For Glorification

It is imperative for born again children of God who have received perfect remission of sin and the indwelling Holy Spirit by faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness to cultivate endurance to the end.   We ought to follow Christ and others who have gone before us and ended their race in glorification.  In the process we ourselves are able to lead others to the ultimate finish line.  Endurance is cultivated by our life of faith in the Gospel Truth of God’s Righteousness.  Our preparation for glorification is further strengthened and cultivated through our earnest anticipation of Christ’s return to take us home for eternity. 1 Cor 9:24-27

 

  1. The Hope Of Glorification

Paul in Rom 8:31-39 highlights three important factors that solidifies our hope of glorification.  Firstly, in vs 32, Paul declares that our inheritance in the saints is inevitable.  God is faithful!!  Secondly, in vs 34, Paul affirms that our Savior Jesus Christ,  Who redeemed us from the curse of the law, sin and slavery to Satan is undefeatable.  Jesus reigns!!  Finally, in vs 37, Paul confirms that our victorious redemption through Jesus’ baptism and death is inescapable.  God is love!! The hope of glorification is the fulfilment of our perfect salvation in Christ Jesus with the sealing of the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee for the ultimate finish line.

 

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Be Glorified

Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” John 12:28

 

Introduction

The word ‘glorified’ is commonly used in some of our songs today.  After all, the word ‘glory’ appears hundreds of times in the Bible.  The original Hebrew and Greek words that are translated as ‘glory’ or ‘glorified’ implies beauty, to be lifted up, to shine, pure, worship, magnify, royal splendor, majesty and perfection. No wonder it is hard to pin the word down!  It takes a word full of meaning to describe our Great God. 

Jesus glorified God through His baptism, death and resurrection.  John 12:23 

When Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified, His disciples could not have imagined the horrible event that was about to take place.  The disciples probably pictured something that could seem ‘glorious’ to them, something like Jesus being crowned king in the Temple.  How could Jesus be talking about His own death?  How could glory ever come out of death.  John 12:27-28

Jesus knew that His baptism and death would tell the world more about God than any other event. God is love. 1 John 4:16   God’s love is flashed in all its glory through the baptism of righteousness that Jesus received from John the Baptist at the River Jordan where He shouldered the sins of the world and subsequently died on the cross for all man.

 

  1. Baptism And Death Of Jesus

The baptism and death of Jesus are two indispensable components that fulfil God’s Righteousness.  When Jesus cried out, “Father, glorify Your Name!…..His Father answered audibly…..in a booming voice.  Then a voice came from Heaven, “I have glorified it and will glory it again.” John 12:28   God glorified His Name for the first time when Jesus received His baptism from John the Baptist as the Lamb of God from Heaven Who takes away the sins of the world.  Mt 3:16-17  Then God glorified His Name again when Jesus died on the cross and three days later rose from the dead to secure our justification of faith in the righteousness of God. 

 

  1. Our Baptism, Death And Resurrection In Christ Glorifies God

We have no ability to give glory to God with our sinful nature.  If we hope to  glorify  God, the  first step is to baptize ourselves into Christ by faith so that our old self can be put to death with Christ.  Jesus said, “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed but if it dies, it produces many seeds.”  The man  who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  John 12;24-25.  Jesus was telling the disciples that in the Kingdom of God a glorified new life comes only after death.  God predestined sinful man to enter into Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection by faith to attain glorified life.   God gave His glorious Son for us.  He asks us to give up our lives for Him so that He may give us a glorified life on earth  and eternity through His indwelling Spirit.  Paul describes this in Romans 6:3-5. 

 

  1. Spiritual Baptism

Baptism gives a wonderful picture of what happens when we put our faith in Christ’s baptism of righteousness when John laid his hands to pass the sins of humanity at the River Jordan.  In fact, all man were literally united with Christ in the spirit at that moment by becoming one in union so that all the sins committed from Adam to the last man can be carried by the body of Jesus to the cross for atonement.  This spiritual dynamics is foreshadowed in the sacrificial system of the OT.  Jesus experienced death for every individual person.  Heb 2:9   In a very real way, our old self dies and a new glorified self in the spirit is resurrected. 

Baptism is a burial.  Burial is for the dead.  We would not bury something that is still living.  At the same time, we would not fail to bury something that is obviously dead.  Being lowered into the water in baptism is a symbolic act that represents our old self has been put to death.  Rising up out of the water represents the resurrection from the dead to a new glorified life by faith in the Righteousness of God.  This new glorified life in the spirit begins because we are baptized with Jesus in His death and resurrection.  It is a new life that will glorify God throughout eternity.

 

Conclusion

It is unfortunate that many Christians today are trying to die on their own apart from having faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  This is why Jesus said, “You must become like a little child in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Mt 11:3   Whether we are 4 or 94, I hope we can see that spiritual baptism (union) as the key to a glorified life in Christ.  It is the most meaningful way we can respond to God’s Truth of Salvation by baptizing ourselves into Jesus’ death and resurrection.  The point is, baptism gives glory to God by showing that we have united with Him as divine  glorified children.

 

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Christ Walk, Our Example

“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”  1 John 2:6

Introduction

Christ’ whole life was lived in dependence upon the Father Who worked in Him by the Spirit.  He related every circumstances He faced to the Father’s ability to handle it through His humanity.  He could have walked any one of them of His own divine strength but for the sake of the example He wanted to leave us, He did not.

John said of Jesus, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as Jesus walked.” 1 John 2:6  Jesus Christ walked with His focus on the Father and the Father worked through Him by the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

The believers in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection ought to walk with a focus on Jesus and He will work through us by the same Holy Spirit Who indwells us. 

 

  1. How Can We Do This?

We must first know that the Holy Spirit has taken up permanent residence in us the moment we put our faith in the baptism and death of Christ.  Rom 8:9 says that not to have the Holy Spirit in us is tantamount to not being a true believer in Christ.  The Holy Spirit Who dwells us is a person Who is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son.  Secondly, we should know that sin grieves the Holy Spirit but doesn’t cause Him to leave us.  Eph 4:30   Jesus promised, “I will never desert you nor will I every forsake you.”  Heb 13:5  The third thing we should know is that it is one thing for the Holy Spirit to dwell in us but quite another thing for Him to fill or control us.  God wants us to be continually filled with the Spirit.  The only way we can have this happen is to decide who runs the show in our lives.  We need to make a once and for all decision to give the title deed of our lives to God.  This does not mean that we are always going to do what God wants us to do.  It does mean that we have come to a point in life where we have safely assessed what God has done for us through Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  We acknowledge that God has given us eternal life, put us into His forever family, given us an inheritance with His Son and made us kings and priests forever.  Now we can say with confidence, ‘I can trust a God like that.  If we give our life totally into His keeping, He will know how to handle it and do the best with it for His glory.’

 

  1. I Know Who Holds The Future

Ever since  I met the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, I have this attitude: I don’t know what the future holds but I know who holds the future.  I believe this is the  attitude that God wants of us if we are going to have a life continually filled with the Spirit.  However, we ought to mean it and  give our life to God this way because He will be serious about taking it.  We will be saying, ‘Lord, I want Your will, even though I don’t know now what it will be.’   As we get to know God in this intimate way, we will discover that we have not made a risky deal.  God’s will for our life will go far beyond our wildest dreams.  As God has been waiting for a blank cheque from us so that He could begin to fill in His marvelous plan and purpose.  God wants us to decide who is master for our life.

 

  1. Walking In The Spirit

Sometimes it gets a bit confusing as to just how we are to live the new creation life.  First we read that we are to be filled with the Spirit and that will give us the power we need.  Then someone comes along and speaks of walking in the Spirit and tells us that will keep us from sinning.  Someone else has found that walking by faith is a secret of Christian living.  Just what is the formula anyway?  Is there some point in our Christian lives where we must have a special encounter with the Holy Spirit which will alter the course of our lives and the way we live?  I strongly believe that a true believer in the baptism and death of Jesus has received the perfect remission of sins to have  the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead his life.

Let me share what I feel the Word teaches about this.  Paul’s exhortation to the believers to be filled with the Spirit  Eph 5:18, to walk in the Spirit Gal 5:16 and to walk by faith 2 Cor 5:7 all refer to the same principle of the believers coming to the conclusion that one can’t live for God.  We must trust the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life in and through us.  For many Christians the realization that the Holy Spirit wants to and is able to live the Christian life through us is such welcome news that when we begin to experience victory instead of defeat, we are literally overwhelmed.  God does not want to give us a one-shot exposure to His power, however.  He wants to give us a new pattern of living where He fills us moment by moment with new life and spiritual energy.  Any encounter with the Holy Spirit which does not produce a whole new life is not the walk in the Spirit or fully of the Spirit that the New Testament teaches. 

 

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The Guilt Trip

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;

and I will not remember your sins.”  Isa 43:25

 

Introduction

When a person becomes a true believer in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, he is born into the family of God and out of the family of Satan.  Satan does everything  he can to keep us blinded to the offer of perfect remission of sins but at NCCkl we have thrown off his shackles and gone from death to life.  This has absolutely infuriated Satan and each time someone responds to the Gospel of God’s Righteousness by faith, it is a slap on his face. 

However, after being saved, one of the most successful tactics Satan uses in neutralizing  Christians is to get them to dwell on all of their failures.  Once we begin to feel guilty about our performance in the Christian life, we are no longer any threat to Satan’s schemes.. He moves in on our blind side and steers us in the direction he wants to keep us ineffective and unproductive in the Kingdom of God.

There is nothing Satan likes better than to get us started on a guilt trip.  

 

  1. Human Frailty

The weakness of human flesh is the number one reason why Christians fail in their relationship with God.  We are always aware that in many ways we fall short of what we should be as Christians, it is only natural to assume that God must be displeased with our performance.  The more we let God down, the more we assume His anger until such alienation sets into our minds that is virtually impossible for us to enjoy fellowship with God.  The pitiful tragedy is that all this is just in our minds.  God is not mad at us!  I want to say something loud and clear, in no uncertain terms : “He has now reconciled us in His fleshly body, through death, in order to present us before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach”.  Col 1:22   Can we think of another human being, including ourselves, who views us as totally holy and blameless?  I can’t!  Yet, in God’s eyes we are already perfect, not will be but are!  This is not a status which is given on a temporary basis while we try to become worthy of it as Christians.  Once God put us into union with His Son, we become clothed with His Righteousness and God sees us as holy and blameless because that is the way He views Jesus.  Experientially we may be quite imperfect but our acceptance in God’s eyes is never based on how we perform but rather on the fact that we are in Christ and God accepts Him perfectly.  Knowing these liberating facts on a moment by moment basis is the most important factor in living a life pleasing to God.

 

  1. Sin Syndrome

First, we knowingly sin.  The inevitable result, when we fail to relate the sin to the baptism and death of Jesus, we develop guilt.  Guilt always leads to estrangement.  There is the syndrome : sin, guilt and estrangement.  Now man cannot live with guilt and he tries to deal with guilt in one of two ways, both of them wrong.  If he is a type who does not have a particularly sensitive conscience, he tries to justify himself.  He makes excuses and offers valid reason why he did something.  When we justify our actions, the result will be a feeling of lost fellowship with God because deep down inside we know that we have not been honest with ourselves or God.  Another way man deals with guilt and it is equally wrong is to condemn himself.  He sins over and over in the same area, guilt sets in and then he begins the guilt trip.  Satan just sits back and relaxes when he gets us going on a guilt trip.  A Christian caught in the guilt trip will begin to seek to do things for God in the energy of the flesh to appease God for the sense of guilt.

Saturating our minds on what Christ has accomplished through His baptism, death and resurrection is the only Gospel Truth that sets us free from this guilt trip. 

 

  1. Satan Blinds Us From The Baptism And Death Of Jesus

Satan would like to blind us from all the wonderful truth found in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that saves us by grace through faith.  In fact, he keeps trying to blind us everyday.  We may not even realize it but the number one reason the power of God is short-circuited  in our lives is that we have never learned what the baptism and death of Jesus means on a day-to-day basis.   The baptism and death is the continuing basis of God accepting and forgiving us.

 

  1. The Believer’s Defense Attorney

It is the Lord’s desire that His children live godly lives and not sin but our omniscient Father, knowing our nature, made provision for his erring children .  The Apostle John, in writing to the new believers of the day, said, “My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin.  And if one sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for those of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2   The Word ‘propitiation’ means to turn away deserved wrath by the satisfaction of justice.  What Christ did by His baptism of righteousness and death on the cross was to bear the compounded wrath of a Holy God on every sin that would ever be committed by every man who would ever live.  God poured out all His anger that He would have against our sins on to Jesus as He hung on the cross.  Now God has set Himself free on a perfectly just basis to keep on dealing with us in love, even when He disciplines us.

 

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How We Are Made Holy?

because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  1 Pet 1:16

Introduction

When God decided to make man, He picked up a handful of dust and shaped it into a man.  Then He breathed into this creation’s nose the breath of lives and man became a living soul.  Gen 2:7  Two kinds of life were born that day, soulish life which started the heart beating and blood flowing and created the soul and personality of man.  The other, spiritual life which became the human spirit in man and enabled him to communicate with God Who is spirit.  These two kinds of life found their home in the physical body of man and there was harmony in their inter workings. 

When man sinned, his capacity to communicate with God ceased and a deadness developed in man’s relationship with God.  The tragic result of this was that the soul and body of men were now left without a spiritual monitor and their whole development excluded the enlightening and restraining power of God.  Instead of being God centered, man became self centered.

 

  1. The Restoration

The restoration of our spirit begins the day we believe in Jesus’ baptism and substitutionary death for us. 

The moment we receive the perfect remission of sins by faith, our nonfunctioning human spirit is finally revived and given a new source of spiritual life, the Holy Spirit. 

The Bible pictures the unregenerate man as ‘walking in darkness.’  That is why he can’t see that all the things he tries to substitute for Jesus in his life are only delusive counterfeits.  When Adam sinned, his spirit became darkened without God’s inner illumination.

 

  1. The Light

At the heart of God’s plan to regenerate men was His intention of restoring the light to the darkened spirit of man.  Apostle John pictured Jesus as the One Who would bring the light back to man.  “In Him (Jesus) was life and the life was the light of men….He was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” John 1:4,9   Peter said the same thing of Jesus when he wrote of Him as the One Who has “called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.”  1 Pet 2:9b  The greatest authority on the subject of ‘light’ was Jesus Himself.  He called Himself as the Light of the world.  “He who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12  

 

When a person is born again by the baptism and death of Jesus, the light really goes on inside him.  For the first time he is able to understand the things of God and the spiritual realm.  He believes by faith that through the righteous act of Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, one is now sanctified and made perfect (holy) forever through the perfect offering of Christ. Heb 10:10, 14

 

  1. Walk As ‘Children Of Light’

It is because we had been given this inner light that Paul admonishes us in the way he does in Ephesians 5:1-8.  There he talks about a number of sins that unregenerate man freely participates in.  Then he says “. do not be partakers with them, for you were formerly darkness (unholy) but now are light (holy) in the Lord, walk as children of light.” Eph 5:7-8   This is a terrific description of born again believers in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  If there is anything this dark old world needs is light.  That is why Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven.” Matt 5:16

 

  1. The Sixth Sense : Faith

When a man is born again, life is restored to his spirit and there, in the ‘inner man’ he is able to understand what holiness is and how to attain it.   The things of the spiritual realm are no longer unreal and alien.  The Holy Spirit come to take up residence in our recreated spirit and reveal the works that God had accomplished to make one holy and pure by faith alone.

 

The restoration of spiritual life gives back to man what Adam lost.  It is called  the ‘sixth sense’, faith.  Faith is the eyesight of the spirit.  It causes us to reach out to God to know Him and who we are now in Christ.  Faith enables us to believe that what God says about us is true and absolute.  The body has its five senses that make the material world real and the knowledge man gains through them is called ‘human viewpoint’  of life.  The intimate knowledge of God can only be known through the sixth sense, faith and it is called the ‘divine viewpoint’ of life.  Only the person who has been born again has a sixth sense enlightened and have both these viewpoints in him.  The unregenerate person has only the human viewpoint

 

These two viewpoints of life are very often in conflict with each other.  Both the recreated human spirit (the sixth sense) and the flesh (the five senses) bombard the soul (mind) with their viewpoints and these two are almost always opposed to one another.  We ought to decide which viewpoint of life is going to dominate us in order to know how God has made us holy and experience the spiritual blessings bestowed to us in Christ. 

 

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How the Spirit sanctifies?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Cor 5:17

Introduction

As a sincere believer in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, we may say, ‘well, God said I am sinless, righteous and have victory over sin and Satan because of my union with Christ but yet it doesn’t come out that way in my daily experience.’  We wonder if there is something wrong somewhere!  More than likely there is something wrong and it probably has to do with a failure to understand the difference between our new eternal position in Christ and our daily experience of living the Christian life. 

One is what we are in God’s estimation and the other is what we are in practice.  A clear distinction must be made between these two relationship which each believer has with Christ. Our new position or union with Christ is a legal status which we have with God and it becomes absolutely true of us the moment we believe in the baptism,  death and resurrection of Christ. 

Our day to day living of the Christian life here in this world is the experiential side of redemption.  It varies from moment to moment, depending on whether we walk with the Spirit of God or let our flesh dominate us.

 

1. The Flesh Is No Friend Of God

The actual substance of the flesh is not what is usually meant by the references to it in the Bible.  It generally refers to a principle of rebellion against God that is permeated all that we are in the Old Man. It is so unreformable that God did not even try to salvage it in the new creation. God simply pronounce it hopelessly rebellious and then proceeded to lay down the principles of how we could live in victory over it.

Whatever is wrapped up in the concept of the flesh, all men have it.  It is only realm that unregenerate man can operate in, since soulish life is the only kind of life they have.  The born again of the water and the Spirit has the flesh but it doesn’t have to live and operate in that realm because he is also  alive  in  the  realm  of  the  spirit  by  virtue  of his spiritual rebirth.  Eph 2:1-3 

God has a very dim view of the flesh whether it is believer or an unbeliever.  This is because the flesh has a very dim view of God.  In fact, Paul  says it is hostile to God and anyone who operates consistently in the realm  of  the   flesh   cannot   please   God.  Rom  8:7-8    A  mind  that  is  habitually controlled by the flesh is evidence that the person is still spiritually dead. Rom 8:6;Rom 7:18 It is obvious that these verses indicate that there is a ‘fallenness’ about us that is inherent in the flesh.  This rebellious streak is sometimes spoken of as ‘sin’ as in 1 John 1:8.  All men are born with this curse and it is not removed from us when we were born again, although victory over it is made available to us.

 

2. The Two Sides Of The Flesh

At the Fall,  when our spirit died, the body and soul merged together to comprise this spiritual foe we know as the flesh.  It includes the ‘attitudes of the flesh’  as well as the ‘works of the flesh.’ These two sides of the flesh continue to manifest themselves through the life of the believer to the degree that he allows his soul to dominate him rather than his spirit.

 

a. Attitude of the flesh 

The ‘attitude of the flesh’ are all the ideas, plans, schemes, imaginations and good works which proceed out of the human mind without the Holy Spirit being the source of them.  They can be either good or bad, as the world views such things but in God’s estimation they are all unacceptable because the flesh is the source of them not the spirit.  This ‘attitude of the flesh’ are sometimes hard to detect because they deal in the realm of ideas and thoughts which often times seem so noble.  However, this soulish activities always have self somewhere at the center.  Self-confidence   and self-reliance are two notable traits of the soul.  The world applauds these and they seem like such admirable qualities but God says, they indicate a reliance on the flesh rather than on the indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

b. Works of the flesh

The ‘works of the flesh’ are often referred to as the ‘lust of the flesh’ and this refer to the sins which are stimulated by the fleshly drives and passions.  These traits are easy to spot in a life because they are usually pretty gross and overt.  Paul list some of them in Gal 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness and revelries…”

 

3. The Flesh Is Tricky

Where the believers of the Gospel Truth of God’s Righteousness get tripped up is in not realizing that the flesh is not only the sin tendency but also the self tendency.  It is easier to spot the overt sins that originate out of the desires and demands of the flesh.  However, the ‘attitude’ sins of the flesh are much more subtle and it often gets undetected in the  Christian domain.  That is because ‘only the Lord knows for sure’ what the source of the attitude is.

 

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The Man That God Became

the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Introduction

It is imperative for the believers in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know the Man that God became.  One of the things that has made the OT Scriptures so enduring and always relevant is its prophetic emphasis.  It can be clearly identified that nearly 300 of the prophecies about the  Messiah actually found a literal fulfilment in the birth, baptism, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As we put together the pieces of prophecy in the OT concerning the Messiah, it becomes clear that in some way this promised Messiah would be both God and Man.

In the one Person of Jesus Christ there were two natures – undiminished deity and true humanity

Jesus Christ Who, as God, always existed in the Godhead with the Father and the Holy Spirit and two thousand years ago left the Throne to come to earth and become a Man.

Let us enumerate seven reasons why God found it necessary to take on visible form and became the Man Jesus Christ.

 

  1. God Became A Man In Order To Be Savior Of Men

Jesus Christ called the Word, took on flesh and dwelt among men.  On several occasions in the NT, Jesus is referred as ‘the second Adam.”  It is because as a Man He perfectly fulfilled all the dreams and aspirations that God had originally had for the first Adam.  The two conditions of mankind are often contrasted by what Adam brought down on man and what Jesus did to reverse it.  1 Cor 15:21-22; Rom 5:17-19  In order to qualify as a true human being who could undo sin’s damage, Jesus did not use His divine power while He was on earth.  Jesus whole life was lived in total dependence upon the Father Who worked through Him by the Holy Spirit.  This is the exact way that God intended for all men to live.  If Jesus had ever withstood one temptation or performed one miracle using His own divine power, He would not have been qualified to be the Savior of men.

 

  1. He Had To Be Someone Who Could And Would Die For Men

What is sin’s penalty?  Death.  Can God die? Obviously not.  Therefore the One Who would take the penalty of man had to be a true human  being as well as truly God. Hebrews says that by the grace of God, Jesus came so He might taste death for everyone.  Not only could Jesus die for men but He was willing to do so.  Jesus was born to die!

 

  1. God Became A Man To Be A Mediator

A mediator is one who effects a reconciliation between estranged parties. 1 Tim 2:5  This mediator had to be the sinless Son of God in order to have the quality of righteousness acceptable to a holy God in the mediation.  The mediator also had to be able to sympathize with the predicament of man and thus he had to also be a true man but a man who never sinned.

 

  1. God Had To Become A Man To Be A Priest

A priest is a man who represents humanity’s cause before God.  He has to experience all the temptations and trials of men in order to be a sympathetic and knowledgeable intercessor for men.  Heb 7:23-28   Jesus is a High Priest Who has been in our shoes and He knows what it is like to live under pressure and temptation.  Heb 4:15-16

 

  1. He Had To Become Man To Be The Revealer Of God

Man, in his spiritual death had lost all accurate concept of God.  God had to become visible in order that our soulish life could grasp and  know God through Jesus Christ. John 14:9   In a very real sense, Jesus is a living photograph of the Father.  All that God wanted revealed of Himself, He revealed in the person of His Son, Jesus.  Jesus is also the revealer of God’s plan to redeem mankind.  Heb 1:1-3

 

  1. He Had To Be A Man To Occupy King David’s Throne

Long ago God promised David he would have a greater son who would reign on his throne over Israel forever.  1 Chronicles 17:11-15  Jesus had to be born as a direct blood descendant of David in order to fulfill that prophecy.  Both Mary and Joseph were direct descendants of King David.  Through Mary,  Jesus received the blood right to the Throne.

 

  1. God Had To Become A Man In Order To Be A Kinsman Redeemer

This is a concept taught in the OT, especially in the Book of Ruth.  In the Law of Moses,  whenever a Jewish person was put into slavery, the only one who could pay the ransom price was someone ‘near of kin’ Lev 25:25  This was to establish the principle that whoever would be the one to free mankind from its slavery to Satan would have to be a ‘near of kin’  to the ones being freed,  in this case the human race.  In taking on humanity, Jesus became a kinsman redeemer as the Son of Man.

 

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Power Of Reconciliation

“that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”  2 Cor 5:19

Introduction

One of the joyous word in the English language is ‘reconciliation’ because it demonstrates the power of restoration.  It is not an exaggeration to say that relationships are the most important thing in life because the two greatest commandments in the Bible have to do with right relationship – first toward God and then toward one another.  Whenever we see broken relationships toward God or in the church, we know that it is not pleasing to God.  God is in the business of reconciling broken relationships.

 

  1. Reconciliation Produces Restoration

God demonstrated the power of reconciliation when He restored man into  fellowship with Him through a threefold work of Christ on the cross.  This power of reconciliation only has the effect upon those who have been baptized into Christ. Those who believe through faith that all their lifetime of sins had been laid by John the Baptist upon Jesus when He received the baptism of righteousness at the River Jordan.

The threefold righteous work that Jesus fulfilled are :

  • Propitiation that brings man out from the wrath of God by satisfying God’s righteousness and justice through Jesus’ baptism and death.
  • Redemption that brings man out from slavery to sin and Satan through the payment of Jesus Himself as a ransom.
  • Substitutionary Death that brings man out from the penalty of death through the baptism and death of Christ in our place. 

The above three righteous acts of Jesus has torn down the barrier that man’s sin has built up against God.  Even though with the barrier gone, the relationship between God and man must be re-established.  Reconciliation brings man out from his mental attitude of alienation from God. 

With the barrier taken out of the way through the righteous work of Christ’s baptism, death and resurrection, the power of reconciliation brings man from alienation to restoration with God.

 

  1. Reconciliation Neutralizes Hostility

True reconciliation always does away with hostility.  That is what Paul was speaking of when he said “and although you were formally alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you  in His fleshly body through death.” Col 1:21-22

If we think someone is holding something against us, then we will feel alienated and hostile toward them, simply out of self-defense.  It is even more true when it comes to God when we feel our sins are still an issue.  However, listen to this terrific good news from Paul, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them and he has committed to us the Word of reconciliation.” 2 Cor 5:19   God is not holding our sins against us anymore.  The power of reconciliation that God made available to us through the baptism and death of Jesus has neutralized His just anger at our sins.

 

  1. Reconciliation Permeates Grace

The parable about the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 is a most appropriate illustration of reconciliation.  Obviously the father in this parable dearly loved the prodigal son or he never would have given him his inheritance.  During all those long years, the father kept on loving the son and yearning for him to come home and be reconciled to him.  When the prodigal son recognized how foolish he had been,  he expected there to be stern barriers between him and his father if he wanted to come home.

However, when he got to the place of willingness on his own (repentance) to come back to his father, he found that instead of being barriers there, there was nothing but love and complete acceptance.  There was no resentment or wrath in the father toward that son, even though there was plenty of reason for him to be upset.  The father’s attitude was expressed in his statement to everyone  “This son of mine was dead and has come to life again, he was lost and has been found.”  This depicts a scenario  of unlimited grace permeated by the father towards the prodigal son. A very radical change has taken place and it is called ‘power of reconciliation.’

 

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Called Out

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”  1 Pet 2:9-10

Introduction

The word ‘Church’ in Greek is ‘Ekklesia’  which is a compound of ‘Ek’ meaning ‘out’  and ‘Kalio’ meaning ‘to call.’  As such, the Church implies to people ‘called out’ of spiritual darkness through faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. The Church is not a physical building but the spirit of those who are made alive by being baptized into Christ, buried together and brought back to life again through His resurrection. 

Simply put, the invisible Church is composed of those who are ‘called out’ by God not only outwardly but inwardly by the Holy Spirit. 

According to 1 Pet 2:9-10, the Lord spoke to us the ‘called out’ by using several term in order to help us appreciate our position in Christ.  He referred us as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people and a people who have received mercy.  We occupy a very favoured position in God’s universe by grace through faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.

 

  1. A Chosen Generation

Peter uses terminology commonly used in reference to Israel.  Deut 7:6  In the same way, Israel was called to be God’s generation on earth  and to be witnesses for Him, the Church is now God’s chosen generation to display His glory.  This choosing is not because we are better than others or because we responded to God on our own.  This choosing is a work totally by God’s grace rendered to those who believe in His Righteousness.  Eph 1:4-6  This is important for us to know because often we are deemed to be the scum of the earth.  1 Cor 4:9-13  However, this choosing as God’s generation represents our salvation obtained through our faith in Jesus’ baptism and death.

 

  1. A Royal Priesthood

As chosen believers, we who are ‘called out’ from the world to become a royal priesthood for God.  In the OT, priest came from the lineage of Aaron   from   the   tribe  of  Levi.   Only   they  could   approach   God

at  the  temple   and  offer  sacrifices.  The priests  were anointed and

empowered by the Holy Spirit to minister to God and the people.  In the NT, there is no longer a priest who came from a specific tribal line.  True believers  in the righteousness of God are royal priesthood representing the fact that we have been united with Christ  through  His baptism and death. We are Christ’s body and whatever glory Christ receives we receive as well to serve His righteousness.  Rom 8:17

 

  1. A Holy Nation

Peter also says that the ‘called out’ ones are a holy nation.  This again is a terminology used of Israel.  In Exo 19:6, Israel was called a holy nation.  Israel was set apart by God for good works, to serve Him and worship Him.  In the same way, we have been called out and set apart to do good works.  This separates us from the world.  Eph 2:10   God chose us as His workmanship to display His wonderful salvation fulfilled in our lives to the rest of the world.

 

  1. A Special People

Peter declares that the Church is a people specially possessed by God.  Again this was something said about Israel in Deut 7:6   What does this mean?  It means not only we are here to serve God but more than that we are here for His pleasure.  Whatever we own, we own for our pleasure because it gives us joy.  Well,  God chose the ‘called out’ as a special people.  This knowledge of truth would drastically change our mindset when we are persecuted, mocked, abused and rejected by the world and yet, owned and treasured by God.  We are God’s treasured possession.  God gets great joy over us when we imitate, enjoy and walk like Him.

 

  1. A People Who Have Received Mercy

Peter says that the ‘called out’ ones has received mercy.  We are people whom God did not give the judgment and punishment that we deserved.  It has often been said grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve.  Mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we deserve.  At NCCkl, we were once the people under God’s wrath because of sin.  Now, because of God’s grace through faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, we have received mercy, forgiveness of sins and the indwelling Holy Spirit to become the people of God.

 

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Many Called, Few Chosen

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”.  Matt 22:14 

Introduction

Many are called but few are chosen.  Our Savior often uses this expression.  The Jews and Gentiles had been called but few of them had been chosen to life, the elect of God.  This is also true that many who are in church may prove to be without the wedding garment of righteousness and show at last that they were not the chosen of God.

The provision made for perishing souls in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection is represented by a royal feast made by a king on the marriage of his son.  Our merciful God has not only provided food but a royal feast for the perishing souls of His rebellious creatures. 

The reason why sinners come not to Christ is not because they cannot but because they will not.  They are careless.  Multitudes perish forever through mere carelessness as to their souls. 

The parable ends with this haunting words, “for many are called but few are chosen.”   What does this parable mean to us?  There is a certain amount of mystery connected with evangelism.  We go out and invite many people to come to Christ but only a few of them become true Christians.  No matter what form of evangelism we use, only a few people will be converted and added to the local church.  What makes them unqualified to be saved?  Christ gave the answer in this parable.  He tells us about 4 kinds of people who disqualify themselves from salvation in Christ.

 

  1. Those Who Will Not Come Matt 22:2-3 

God sends us out to call everyone to come to Christ but many people simply won’t come, in fact the vast majority will not come.  No matter what we do or say, these people will not come to Christ and be converted.  Many people will continue to go down the broad road that leads to Hell.  Only a few people will enter the narrow road that leads to life in Christ.  Matt 7:13-14

 

  1. Those Who Pay No Attention Matt 22:4-5

These people are not quite blunt as the first group who simply ‘would not come,’  They will often come to church to hear the Gospel a few times but they do not get converted because they have no seeking heart.  Jesus said, concerning them,  “when they have heard, go forth and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life and bring no perfection.”  Lk 8:14.  They seemed to listen to the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  They seemed to be happy  in the local church.  However, sooner or later the cares and worries of the world and its desires of money and pleasure, choke them and they fall away from the local church.

 

  1. Those Who Rebel Matt 22:6

We should not be surprised when some people get very angry with us during evangelism, particularly when we are preaching the Gospel of God’s righteousness that speaks about Jesus’ baptism and death.  Jesus said,  “I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you .  If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”  John 15:19-20.   This is part of the price we pay for taking the Gospel to the lost in evangelism.  There will always be some people  who are angry with us for sharing the love of the Gospel.  They are really in rebellion against Christ.

 

  1. Those Who Refuse Faith In God’s Righteousness Matt 22:10

The one guest without proper wedding clothes represents all those who have not truly believed in the baptism, death and resurrection of Christ to be born again and to put on the garment of righteousness. They are the bad guests mentioned in verse 10.  Even though they have come to the king’s house with all the other guests but they will be thrown out.  The wedding garment represents the righteousness of God,  signifying those who have put their faith in the baptism and death of Jesus to receive perfect remission of sin and the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

 

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