The Glorious Mystery of The Cross

Who am I?

I am not a place of rest, not a refuge to those who are righteous, or a comfort to those who are burdened. About me it was proclaimed: “Cursed is everyone who hangs on it” (Det. 21:23; Gal.3:13.) I am the means by which many suffer, bleed and die; yes, I am a means used not only to bring pain, sorrow, guilt, despising, humiliation, and DEATH; but I am a display, a place for the exhibition of all these things.

I still remember the day I was being made; with a smile on their faces, those who were building me were saying out loud: “Yeah! Everyone who breaks the law, terrible criminals, people without honor, haters of God, enemies of the state, rebels, slaves; all of them will experience the most shameful and disgraceful way of dying, hanging upon you! And they laughed” All I had ever experienced since the day I was made was — sweat, blood, tears, cursing, anger, bitterness, hurt and the heaviness of the bodies of evil men.

Everyone had to be forced to be nailed upon me; but one day it was different! What a glorious day it was. A Man was nailed to me, but He was different from all of the others.

I heard that during His life this Man said: “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.“(Mt. 26:2), “I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (Jn. 10:17-18), also said “If I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (Jn. 12:32). He was the first to willingly embrace me, He never fought against it; “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” (Isa. 53:7)

He let them nail Him. As He was hanging, He uttered words of compassion — “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”, “Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise”, “woman behold your son! To His disciple ‘behold your mother!’“ But also, the most terrifying and painful words that I have heard, He spoke in that moment: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mt. 27:46) These words carried such sorrow, as I have never witnessed before.

He was hanging upon me, but His greatest pain was not inflicted by me. Although I hurt people, and surely I was painful to Him; I knew I was not the one hurting Him the most at the moment. He was being crushed by a wrath and a judgment infinitely superior to what I am capable of bringing to anyone.

In fact, His sufferings were far greater than anyone else has ever suffered by me, even before He was nailed. I heard that before He was taken to be judged and tortured, He was already in a deep anguish and even bleeding; sweating blood as He earnestly prayed in a garden (Lk. 22:44). I believe that, at that moment the sacrifice had already started; He started to taste from the cup, which He was about to drink.

He even prayed “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Mt. 26:39) He knew that the cup He would have to drink was the righteous wrath of God, which should be justly poured upon every human being, as they rebelled and sinned against God. Also that taking sin upon Him and consequently taking wrath, meant being separated, abandoned, from the One He has been eternally in fellowship with; and that had never happened before. But He being the mediator, fully God and fully Man, took upon Himself the wrath which every individual ever born of a woman (apart from Himself) deserved.

He was bearing a burden so great, so heavy that no one apart from Him could ever dare to. I knew He was carrying something, which was not His; but He was doing that with so much love. I could feel it so strongly! He transpired love, mercy, kindness, and righteousness. Love was His motivation, I felt it being poured forth as He hanged upon me.

In that moment I finally could grasp a little bit of what was going on. It was not just about Jews and gentiles, simply rejecting God; It was the plan of God for the redemption of sins. He was not hanging upon me only because man hated Him, but because God in His infinite wisdom ordained it to happen that way. God had to provide a Holy sacrifice, to demonstrate His righteousness and His judgment; so that salvation would be made available.

“Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” (Isa. 53:10)

He who knew no sin, the pure and spotless Lamb, became sin, became a curse; bore the wrath of the Almighty God on behalf of humanity, paying the highest price one could ever pay for anything. As he hanged upon me, His Father poured out on Him the rage He has against sin. For a moment they were separated, God had to forsake His own Son, for God and sin can never relate. In that moment all that the Son felt was the wrath of God! God demonstrated His righteousness!

For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

He was crushed and finally died. I knew something had changed forever, in that very hour; and it was not by the pain that I have afflicted Him with, but by the Father Himself, as Jesus spoke these words “It is finished!” And breathed His last.

But that was not the end; after He died, He was taken down and put in a tomb. Death had no power over Him, it couldn’t hold Him down! On the third day He resurrected. Now by Him, all of those who believe in Him are justified before the Father, and are brought into the fellowship of God. (1 Cor. 15:1-8)

Yes, I am the cross. God displayed and judged His Son on me, and from this moment on, the world was never the same.
It was all for love!

The End

Let us never doubt the love of God for us!
Let us marvel at the work of God and behold the glorious mystery of the Cross!

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Rom. 5:8-11)

 “(Jesus Christ) whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:25, 26)

 “Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:1-12)

All Things Work Together For Good To Those Who Love God

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” Rom. 8:28

Many times in our lives, we will loose control of the circumstances around us, we will feel powerless and even hopeless.

You know when you are praying for something and the exact opposite of what you are praying for, start to happen? When circumstances only get worse, and it seems like you are just wasting your time with prayers and supplications? When It seems that God is not listening, or maybe that He doesn’t really care? When maybe something that you were not expecting happens and you don’t know what is going on and what you should do in that situation? When it seems that everything is falling apart before your eyes and there is nothing you can do?

In these situations we come face to face with our powerlessness, our lack of understanding, and our incapability of keeping the things around us just like we want them to be. We are brought low in humility.

We are challenged to trust in God even when we think that He is not doing the “right thing” or that He is not doing anything at all.

We are challenged in our love towards Him. Do we love Him because of what He gives and does, according to what we think is good or right? Or we love Him simply for who He is and because He is worthy?

Life is not easy, but we have a certainty. This certainty is called love. It is the assurance of His love towards us. Knowing that He knows His own, He is our Father, our good Shepherd and everything He does is out of the abundance of His love towards us.

I believe that God allows certain things to happen in our lives contrary to what we want or expect, for many reasons. I have started to understand a few reasons in my personal journey.

  • First, God does that to work, shape, refine and prune us. So that we may be more like Him. Definitely these seasons make us grow in many aspects, like we never would if things would just run like we want all the time.
  • Just like gold is refined and purified through fire, so are we. Just like fragrance comes from the garden, when the wind is blowing upon it, so it happens with us. Just like the oil comes out of the crushing of the olives, and the wine from the pressing of the grapes, even so our lives produce glory to God during hardships.

“…we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Rom.5:3-5

  • God wants a response of love even in our pain. He loves to see our response of love towards Him even in the midst of the storm. It is that principle found in Luke 12:48 “to those that much is given, much is required”.

“Love suffers long and is kind… bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Cor. 13:4-7 

  • It takes seasons like this sometimes for us to attain greater revelation of who God is, and for us to grow in faith.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”. Heb. 11:6

If we really believe “that all things are working together for our good“, we will rest assured even in the trial, believing that God is in control of all things and that His ways are much higher than ours (Rom. 11:33) and we will find peace and joy even as we wait for Him in our pain.

There will be a day when tears, pain, death and sorrow will be no more (Rev. 21:4). So, the only time that we have to love God through these difficult seasons is now, here on earth, and we have to make the most of it. Don’t waste any moment of your life; every circumstance is a chance of loving Him in a way you will never be able to do again, even in eternity!

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:16-18

Let us rejoice in the Lord always!

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 The. 5:16-18

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phi. 4:4-7

His love is our assurance always, no matter what we are facing!

Keep trusting, keep leaning, keep believing, keep loving, for He is worth it and He is working for the good of those who love Him!

You shall see His goodness and His faithfulness in your life!

Amen

Trusting the Lord Through Trials and Tribulations

What should we do when trial comes?

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isa. 40:27-31)

  • The nation of Israel during the times of Isaiah was going through a very tough situation. Historians say they were exiles in Babylon. The fact is that they were going through a very difficult season. Their reaction was to question God and His character in light of what they were going through. The first thing the prophet does, is to ask why they are so doubtful about the Lord.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God”? (Isaiah 40:27)

  • All of us face trials and difficult situations in our lives. The important thing when we are going through a stormy season is how we react to it. Do we get offended with God? Do we doubt His character? Or we rather lean on Him, decide to trust in His leadership and let Him work in our weakness?
  • Trials are not easy. During these stormy seasons we are actually facing our own weaknesses, our lack of power and control to move the circumstances around us. Suddenly we realize that God is the only one that can help us and bring comfort in the midst of the storm.
  • At this point is where many people instead of turning to God turn against Him. In the sense of accusing Him and doubting who He is. That is what seems to be going on here in Isaiah chapter 40.

Martha, Mary, the people of israel and us

  • The people of Israel could not understand what was going on and why they were still exiles if they were promised to return to their land. They were tired and hopeless in their affliction. This picture is similar in many ways with the story of the death of Lazarus in the Gospel of John chapter 11.
  • In the story Martha and Mary send a messenger to Jesus saying that their brother (Lazarus) whom He (Jesus) loves is sick. They ask for Him to come and see him so that he may be healed. Jesus’ reaction is very interesting; look what He does in response to their cry.

4 When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was7 Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” (John 11:3-7)

  • When Jesus hears that Lazarus is sick, He immediately says that his sickness is not unto death but to glorify God through it. But because He loves them, He decided to stay two more days and make them wait for Him. The result of this two-days delay, is the death of Lazarus. Jesus knew it would happen, He did it on purpose. But why?
  • Let us look at both Martha and Mary. And what is their reaction during this tragic moment of their journey.

20 Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.  (John 11:20-21)

28…she went her way and… called Mary… “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” 29 as soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:28-32)

  • Martha’s reaction was to arise and go after Jesus to speak to Him. She says the exact same words that Mary did and there is nothing wrong with that. It is a true statement “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” But if we keep reading the next verses (John 11:22-27) we will see how doubtful and confused she was in that situation. So Jesus had a conversation with her reminding her of who He is.
  • Mary waited for Him and when He called her she went. As she saw Jesus, she fell at His feet and then she repeated the same phrase that Martha had said to Jesus before. But there is a huge difference here. Mary bows down at His feet, she recognizes who He is and then she speaks the same words that her sister had spoken earlier. There was something special about what she did. Because Jesus was moved by the way she approached Him and recognized who he was. Even in that difficult and painful situation that she was going through.
  • Her heart posture moved so much Jesus’ heart that He cried.

33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping… He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 and He said, “Where have you laid him?”… 38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb… 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” (John 11:33-39)

  • It is amazing how Mary’s heart posture moved Jesus. By seeing her response of love and trust towards Him during hardship, He was compelled to move on Her behalf.
  • I believe Martha represents Israel in this scenario and how they were reacting in the midst of their troubles. The nation of Israel was doubtful and needed to be reminded by Isaiah who God is. That is not the heart posture we ought to have on any circumstance.
  • Mary on the other hand, I believe is a role model of how we should react when in trouble.

 Being shaped through trials and glorifying God

  • During trials our character is being shaped. Paul understood it very well. He saw trials and tribulations with a different perspective. He faced trials and tribulations with the eyes of faith and he took it as opportunities of being transformed. He loved and honoured God through many seasons of testing.

3…but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom. 5:3-6)

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:16-18)

  • We were made to glorify God in every season and on every circumstance of our lives. During seasons of pain we have the opportunity of loving God in a way, which we would not be able to if things were going well and smoothly all the time. I believe Paul understood this reality very well and Mary did too.
  • We clearly see at the end of Lazarus story, when he was brought back to life. That God was truly glorified in that situation. Also that Martha and Mary were tested and were shaped under the circumstances they were facing.

The importance of knowing God’s character

28 Have you not known? 
Have you not heard? 
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable. (Isa. 40:28)

  • Isaiah questions the people. He is calling their attention, He is saying “Don’t you remember who He is? Don’t you remember all He has done for you in the past? Sometimes circumstances around us are so difficult and “dark” that we are not able to remember and see what the LORD has done for us in the past in many different situations.
  • That is exactly what Martha was experiencing after her brother’s death. She was full of unbelief and unbelief is contrary to faith. But according to the Scriptures the just shall live by faith (Hab. 2:4) and without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).
  • So we must read the word and remind ourselves of who God truly is. Just like Isaiah reminds them about God’s character and Jesus reminds Martha. Isaiah mentions four truths or characteristics about God, which are very important.
  1. Everlasting God – The LORD – The One who has no beginning and no end. Everything that came after Him depends on Him, for He is the fountain of life. Creator of the ends of the earth. He never changes; He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
  2. Creator of the ends of the earth: By His power everything was made that was made. He has the means to create and change things and circumstances at any time as He pleases.
  3. He never faints nor is weary: His leadership is perfect. He is never late, though He tarries wait for Him for He will not tarry (Habakkuk 2:3). His timing is perfect and no circumstance is too difficult for Him to move. He possesses unending strength.
  4. His understanding is unsearchable: The depths of riches and wisdom belong to Him (Romans 11:33-36); His ways are so much higher and greater than our ways. He knows everything.
  • Those who truly know God are the ones that are able to trust in Him on any circumstance. Trust only comes with knowing, we only fully trust someone whom we are very close with and have known for a while. Out of the place of intimacy comes trust.
  • Mary knew Jesus’ character and Paul also knew God. That is why through trials they never doubted God or His character.
  • We will only be able to trust God and lean on Him if we know Him intimately. No circumstance should shake us to the point of doubting God’s character if we truly know and have experienced Him in a personal way.

The importance of waiting

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, 
and the young men shall utterly fall, 31but those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

  • We are all weak and broken. Sometimes even a small problem may come upon us and put us down, get us upset and make us feel weary and in need of help.
  • Isaiah tells us that “those who wait on the LORD” are the ones that have their strength renewed. When we wait we are actively seeking God to move on our behalf, we are constantly hoping and trusting that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
  • Waiting on the LORD means to embrace weakness and believe in His strength, knowing that His grace is sufficient for us and He will move at the right time.
  • As we choose to wait we are being challenged to live by faith, believing that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb.11:6).
  • Martha had lost hope and faith. But Mary waited on Jesus. She was sitting waiting for Him to come, with expectation and with the assurance that He would actually come and change things. And He did!

His love is our assurance

  • God does not forsake us, He is with us even when it seems like we are all alone. He never leaves, when we are weak He shows Himself strong.
  • Through every season and in all circumstance we may rest assured that He loves us and cares for us. His love will carry us when our strength is gone and our hope is about to come to an end. His love is our assurance.

6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter:6-7)

35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? …Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:35-39)

May the Lord bless you!

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Why is sola scriptura important?

To start with let me explain what sola scriptura is and then I will talk about it’s importance.

Sola scriptura is the Protestant Refomers’ slogan, which means that Scripture alone is our court of highest authority. The central development of Protestant Reformation was the return to Scripture as supreme authority. The reformers created the slogan sola Scriptura to summarize this conviction. The Scriptures judge everything else.

The importance of believing and applying it to our own lives is extremely important. We as followers of Jesus should have the same posture and approach to the Scriptures as He did and should receive the Bible alone as infallible (incapable of making mistakes), inerrant (incapable of being wrong) truth from God with Full authority in our lives. Since God always speaks the truth, it follows that the Scriptures are without error. Jesus treated them this way, even basing his point in an argument with the Pharisees on the tense of a single word (Matthew 22:31-32; see also Galatians 3:16 where Paul does this as well) and stating “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). The very words of the Bible were all God-breathed.

“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:19-20

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ JesusAll Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

The Bible is the word of God given to us in human language. We are to treasure the Word of God and let it’s truths abide in us. The Word proceeds from God and we live by every word that comes from His mouth (Matt.4:4). So, every morning we should ask God to open up His Word to us, so that we may be transformed and revived according to it. 

The Bible is the primary means which we have to know God, relate to Him and to know our future in Him.

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things from your law.” Psalm 119:18

Are We Saved, Being Saved or Yet to be Saved Completely?

The answer to the question “Are We Saved, Being Saved or Yet to be Saved Completely?”  is all of them are true. But How? The truth is salvation is a multi-stage process.

We are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christby grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith…” Ephesians 2:4-8

The moment we give our lives to Jesus, by His grace and through faith in Him we are saved from our sinful corruption and made new in the eyes of God. So from the moment we repent from our sins, turn our hearts to Jesus’ and put our faith in Him, we are now born again in Christ.

But from this moment on, is when our walk with the Lord begins. Now we are called to keep the faith, to obey His commandments and run the race with endurance. No longer we live, but Christ lives in us.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness…” 2 Tim. 4:6-8

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” Gal. 2:20

The mystery of salvation is a lifetime engagement with God. But in that day, when Jesus returns to rule and to reign on the earth, we will finally be completely and eternally saved and will receive our reward. But until then we have to obey Him, keeping His commandments and loving Him above all else.

“And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” Heb. 5:9

“and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one whoenduresto the end will be saved.” Mat. 10:22

I just want to end this post with Jesus’ promises to those who endure until the end and conquer salvation by His grace. These truths are found in the book of Revelation, let’s hold on to them and set our eyes on that day.

“To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” Rev. 2:7

“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Rev. 2:10

“The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.” Rev. 2:11

“To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” Rev. 2:17

“The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations…” Rev. 2:26

“The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.” Rev.3:5

“The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.” Rev. 3:12

“The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Rev. 3:21

What is Justification, Sanctification and Glorification?

“Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24

“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. “, “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.”

Romans 5:15-16; 18

The Scripture is very clear that we are justified by grace, through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. As the author of Romans says it is a “free gift”, we have done nothing to deserve it. We were condemned to death and that the only remedy in all the universe for this condemnation is the justification that comes by the work of Jesus Christ. For He took upon Him our sins and by faith in Him alone we are justified, there is no other way. By faith in Him, Jesus gives us the right of becoming sons of God, for we were bought with a great price (1 Cor. 6:20).

The justification is our legal righteous standing with God because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

The sanctification is the practical, progressive, moral outworking of that perfect righteousness in a changed life of holiness. Real faith leads to both.

“But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor. 6:11

In Christ we were both justified and sanctified. Sanctified means to separate or make holy for God. So Jesus has not only justified us but has set us apart and made us holy too. In Christ our spirit is completely sanctified, but we cannot dare to say that we are living holy right now, as we look into our own lives. So, are we holy or not? The answer is both, we are legally perfect (holy) but we are still living in a sinful world with our sinful bodies. We have our legal condition and our current living condition.

“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”  Romans 8:9-13

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:7

Pauls tells us that our body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit that dwells in us gives us life because of righteousness. In other words, we still have a sinful body but the Spirit of God in us empowers us to put to death the sins of our body. We have to strive for holiness, before we would not be able to win this fight, but by the Spirit we are able to say no to sin and yes to righteousness.

Now what is glorification?

The Bible exhorts us to glorify God in our bodies (1 Cor. 6:20; Phi. 1:20), and I believe our glorification starts here as we are transformed from glory to glory being renewed and transformed according to Christ by the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18).

“If we are children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Rom. 8:17

“Our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Phil. 3:20-21

But glorification will be ultimately manifest on that day when Jesus comes with the saints. And we will arise from the dead and will be transformed into the likeness of His glorious body. We will have resurrected bodies. On that day sin will no longer reign in our physical bodies and we will be perfect and holy. Our sanctification and the work of salvation will finally be complete. This is our hope and our confidence that He who began a good work in us will complete it at the day of Jesus Christ! (Phi. 1:6). No more sorrow, nor more pain, everyone will be strong and radiant with the beauty of Christ.

Why is “Fully God and Fully Man” important?

The early church considered the Incarnation to be one of the most important truths of our faith. Because of this, they formulated what has come to be called the Chalcedonean Creed, a statement which sets forth what we are to believe and what we are not to believe about the Incarnation. This creed was the fruit of a large council that took place in the city of Chalcedon as a response to certain heretical views concerning the nature of Christ, and it has been taken as the standard, orthodox definition of the biblical teaching on the person of Christ since that day by all the major branches of Christianity.

Here is the Chalcedonean Creed:

“We then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [coessential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures; inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us; and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.”

These truths about Jesus are really important.

The first truth we need to understand is that Jesus has two natures, a divine nature and a human nature, but He is one Person. Jesus is indeed both God and Man.

Jesus is divine, He is the LORD (Yahweh) it is clear in the Scriptures as we see many times in the Gospels.

Throughout the whole New Testament we see Jesus referring to Himself or others referring to Him as Kurios, which translates from the Hebrew name YHWH that in english is pronounced as Yahweh, and translated as the LORD (in all caps). Yahweh is God’s proper name in Hebrew.

The most important text in all the Bible for understanding the meaning of the name Yahweh is Exodus 3:13-15.

“If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD (that is, Yahweh!), the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”

Jesus in John chapter 8, uses the same name to speak about Himself, and that’s when the Pharisees were really offended because He called Himself YHWH basically.

“Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly! I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:56-58

Jesus is divine, there is no doubt about that. He was either really God or He was just a crazy man, for no man would have the audacity of calling Himself “I AM” like He did. It should be obvious that if Jesus is God, then He has always been God. There was a never a time when He became God, for God is eternal. How beautiful is the divinity of Jesus.

But Jesus has not always been man. The fantastic miracle is that this eternal God became man at the Incarnation. He became a Man but never stopped being God, fully divine and fully human, yet one Person.

The Word is clear that denying that Jesus is man is of the spirit of the anti-Christ (1 John 4:2; 2 John 7).

“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God”

“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.”

Jesus’ humanity is displayed in the fact that He was born as a baby from a human mother (Luke 2), that He became weary, hungry, thirsty, he had emotions, etc. He was 100% human, the difference is that He was, is and will always be a sinless Human.

Jesus is God and a sinless Man, this biblical affirmation that Jesus had absolutely no sin whatsoever, is essential to our salvation and is the basis of the efficacy of the sacrifice of the cross. He made the perfect sacrifice for us and became The Way for us to be purified and justified in the eyes of God and also He brought us back into the fellowship of God.

Knowing these truths greatly affect the way we view Christ and this understanding will deepen our devotion to Christ as we meditate on the beauty of these truths. The eternal Person of God the Son became man forever!

What is the glory of God? Is it communicable? How?

“And Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”  But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”  And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

 “Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearingthe guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 33-34

What Moses and all of the prophets in the old testament most longed to see was the glory of God. They spent their whole lives crying out to know God and see His glory.

We see that clearly in the life of David too as we read it in the Psalms:

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.

Psalm 27:4

The good news of great joy is that Christ came and revealed all of this glory to us.

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

Wow, what a great reality this is! Jesus came to reveal the glory of the Father to us, and in Christ we are able to see the fullness of God’s glory! For it pleased the Father that in the Son all the fullness should dwell (Col. 1:19), being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person (Heb. 1:3a) the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:16), for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodly (Col. 2:9).

 

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” Hebrews 1:3

In the life of Jesus as a man on the earth, through the gospels we are able to behold the glory of God in it’s fullness. When I talk about glory, I am not talking about a physical splendour or an outer beauty beyond our imagination. I am talking about the glory of the character of who God is.

Jesus revealed to us the glory of God’s love, mercy,  goodness, kindness, patience, and so on. The fullness of God’s character was manifested through Him!

If we look back at the first verses quoted in the top of this page in Exodus 33 and 34, when Moses asked to see the glory of God; we see that the way God revealed His glory to Him was by proclaiming His name to him. (Exodus 34:5-7)

The glory of God is who He is, His name, His attributes. And Jesus declared it to us plainly. What Moses, David and many others longed to see, we are able to behold as we look at the gospels of Christ and we pursue to know the beauty of this Man.

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

We have eyes opened through His Spirit dwelling inside of us, for the Spirit bears witness of the Son and the father (1 John 5:6-8); and He opens our eyes to see God’s glory in Christ.

The glory of God is so powerful that as we behold Him and abide in Him, we are transformed according to His glory, becoming more and more like Him.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

The glory of God is available to us, and we are to seek and search for it through all the days of our lives. Let us behold His glory, be fascinated by Him and be transformed from glory to glory into His likeness.

 

 

Is obeying the commandments of Jesus important to you? If so why?

This is theoretically a very simple question, but the answer is very easy to be forgotten, and we should have it imprinted in our hearts. What really motivates us to obey the word of God?

Jesus is very clear when He says that those who love Him, would keep His commandments.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.” John 14:21

So the answer is love. Love is what should drive us in the way of obedience. Not religion, not the desire to be more holy than someone else, not the attention of men, but pure and selfless love.

“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you,that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:8-11

In John 15 Jesus tells us why keeping His word is so important. He says “By this my Father is glorified”. He is saying that as we keep His words, we are bearing fruits of righteousness and we are loving God and glorifying His name through our deeds. We shine the light of Christ and glorify His name as we choose the way of obedience.

Another thing He tells us is “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.These things I have spoken to you,that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. He is saying that whoever obey His words, will know His love, will be filled with the knowledge of His love towards them and this will be the joy in their hearts.

Obedience is a response of love and as we obey we are loving God and glorifying His name here on the earth. Our prize is the joy of knowing Him, loving Him and being loved by Him. It is so worth to obey and treasure His words, for He is and will be our inheritance and our reward forever and ever!

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

Jesus has given us a commandment, but also He has given us His own example of humbleness and obedience. Now it is up to us to follow His ways.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What is the Gospel?

1 John 5:6–13

This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony men, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has borne witness to his Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne to his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life.

I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

We are living in an age where the Gospel has been distorted so much, that many believers if asked, would not be able to define what the Gospel truly is.

Many people are growing up hearing the “prosperity gospel”, the “hyper grace gospel”, and so many other “gospels” that were created to please man, and to attract people by giving them what they want to hear, and not what is actually true.

Unfortunately the true Gospel of Jesus Christ has been lost and people are living out a gospel, which does not exist.

John 6:47-58

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

The true Gospel of Christ is the message that Jesus is Yahweh, He is the Lord, the Son of God and no one has life apart from Him.

We have no life if we do not have Jesus. He is the bread, which came down from heaven, so that we could have life. We are in need of Him, and we should seek Him, love Him and glorify Him with all that we are.

The Gospel we believe should look like Paul’s as we see in Phillipians 3:8

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

If our revelation or concept of the gospel does not look like that, we are living the wrong message, and believing in something, which is not true and completely contrary to the word of God.

Jesus is the Gospel and He came so that we would be able to know the Father and the Son, which the Father has sent. (John 17:3)

Any other message that is detached from Jesus and detached from the fact that He is life and He is the greatest treasure we will ever have, is not the true gospel and is a great lie.

Jesus paid a great price so that our relationship with God would be restored and we would be saved and we would have eternal life, which ultimately means that we would be able to know Him.

So my biblical understanding of the Gospel is defined with the following sentence.

Believe in Christ, behold Christ, get to know Christ and die to yourself and to the world for the sake of Christ!