Category: Jesus, Our Savior

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 397

1 completed work of Christ

June 11

A complete provision

When we speak of the completed work of The Christ we are talking about a work that is completely finished – there is nothing left to be done. Or to put it another way, everything that needed to be done, concerning our redemption and wholeness, has already been done.

Everything that was needed to bring pardon for our sins has been done. Everything that needed to be done to deliver us from our addictions has been done. Everything needed for healing our bodies and souls has been done. Everything that was needed to give us a new nature has already been done. And everything required to provide for eternal change within our spirits has already been accomplished.

It is accomplished

The amazing truth is that the work of Jesus, through His suffering, death, and resurrection, has already furnished everything that we needed to forgive us, deliver us, heal us and change us. Jesus’ work, all that He has already accomplished, is all we need to experience and live the fullness of the true Christian life. Jesus’ work completely enables us to be completely what God desires us to be.

When Jesus went through the ordeal of the cross (on our behalf) He was doing more than just providing for our forgiveness – He was also providing for our justification. Scripture declares:

death and resurrection

Two important things are the focus here: forgiveness and justification.

Forgiveness addresses our failures, and our past (what we have done and what has been done to us!). It is God’s love and mercy at work to cover all of our sins and brokenness.

Justification addresses what we need for today – and for our days to come. It is God’s power at work to empower our lives. The very word for “justification” is drawn from the Greek word for “righteousness.” The goal of all of God’s work is righteousness – true and righteous living from true and righteous lives.

Jesus’ death on the cross deals with our lives of sin.

Jesus’ resurrection from death deals with our need for a new kind of life that enables us to live righteously, and in victory over sin.

Two works of God were needed to make us the people He wanted us to be. The first work, the sacrificial death, delivered us from the guilt, penalty, and consequences of our sins. The second work, the glorious resurrection, imparted to us the capability of living our lives beyond our sins, in righteousness.

The second work brought the means of justification for our existence…

Nine – Our Purpose, pt. 2 – p. 341

1 Understanding our purpose 2 Rule of God

March 6

Jesus came to confront and conquer the kingdom of darkness (cont.)

In Acts 10:38, Peter summarized Jesus’ ministry by pointing out:

Acts 10 38

It is rather obvious, that everywhere Jesus went, He found the residue of all things that were not representative of the rule of God – and He confronted those things, with loving authority, to bring them back in line with what characterizes the rule of God. This is the simplest, and most profound, understanding of the life and ministry of Jesus. He came to confront the dominion of darkness and defeat it through His words, and through His work.

Coupled with Jesus’ life, Jesus’ death brought the battle to the usurper in the spiritual, and eternal, arena. All this is the focus of the cross. Jesus went to the cross, not only to set humanity free from sin, but also to completely liberate humanity from the reign and rule of the usurper. The results of Jesus’ atoning work is summarized in this way:

public spectacle

What Jesus secured at the cross is secured for all eternity. The work of the devil has been destroyed (Hebr. 2:14).

But wherever men’s souls are still subjugated to the devil’s rule, the usurper’s reign still presides. Jesus’ work, in His death, only applies to those who receive it by faith. It requires a submission to God’s rule in order to experience the defeat of the rule of the enemy of God.

As James was inspired to remind us of the principle at work: 

Colorful clouds on the dramatic sunset sky

Because of Jesus’ work, the devil has no legal right to rule or reign over human lives any longer. Through the liberating work of Jesus, we can be completely submitted again to the rule of our Creator-King, and restored back to our original design and purpose. Jesus came to confront the dominion of darkness and to restore the rule of God once again. He came to confront and defeat it through His life… and His death.

When our Savior came, He came to take back what was stolen, to restore what had been damaged, decimated, or destroyed. He came to reclaim life from death. All of Jesus’ work is centered in the rule of God. Jesus came to confront the kingdom of darkness and to defeat and destroy it forever. In His life, and in His death, He accomplished this purpose.

Eight – The Kingdom of God, p. 314

1 k of god ch 8

January 17

Entering and experiencing the Kingdom (cont.)…

3) What the King offers is a new kind of life – a new birth, a new creation (“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…” 2 Cor. 5:17). The new birth, or being “born again,” is a new kind of life that is centered in having a real relationship with the One true King. The marginal translation of the Greek “born again,” may be more helpful to our understanding – and more accurate to the original word.

The original word literally means, “to be born from above.” This is a birth that can only come from God, and only this new birth can produce Godly actions and benefits. For God, the King, to become more than just a noble and worthy concept within our minds, we must have divinely-imparted eyes to truly “see” Him. We must be born of, and into, the spiritual realm (where He resides). Only God can bring about this new birth – a birth that must come from above (i.e. heaven).

This is reinforced by Jesus’ own words… 

john 3 5

There are several possible interpretations of what Jesus means when He uses these words, but the most simple and probable meaning is that Jesus is focusing on the two necessary requirements for entry into the Kingdom of God. Members of the Kingdom of God (on this earth) must be alive both physically and spiritually. Kingdom members must be born naturally (“born of water”) and must be born spiritually (“born of the spirit”). They must have a connection and interaction with this physical world – and also with the spiritual world (where the King resides and rules).

Jesus’ death and resurrection have made this connection (with the spiritual realm) available to those who are connected and interacting with this physical world (those who are alive). Jesus’ ascension to the right Hand of the King has made connection and interaction available with the realm of the spirit (made us “alive” to the spiritual world). Without this vital connection to the spiritual realm, human beings can only connect and interact with this physical realm. Our unredeemed spirits are “dead” to the spiritual realm without a “birth” into the spiritual realm.

dead

This vital new birth is what Jesus provided – and what our unredeemed spirits eagerly desire. This is exactly what we perceive in Nicodemus, which compelled him to come to Jesus and speak with him. Nicodemus saw in Jesus the very thing which his inner man (his spirit) was longing. Jesus pointed him to the simple truth – and God’s reality to be found in that simple truth. To see the Kingdom of God, one must be born from above.

Here is where we must be abundantly clear. The requirement for entering the Kingdom of God is not based upon good or moral behavior. It is not based upon church attendance, or upon faithfully observing religious rituals. It is not even based upon believing in God. Nicodemus had all those things! Yet, in observing the life, flowing from Jesus, Nicodemus knew that he was profoundly lacking.

jesus-nicodemus

Jesus brought him to the true secret for experiencing what he was yearning. Jesus declared that the requirement for entering the Kingdom of God is based solely upon being “born again (from above).” This can only happen as God applies the provision of His grace to our lives, as we apply our faith to the provision made available through the Person of The Christ.

To enter the Kingdom of God we must be born again.

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 122

creation of man

May 3

Jesus, the Last Adam

One of Jesus’ main purposes was to restore Adam’s original purpose – to be the living, breathing, and active revelation of the One True God.

This thought is brought out in two portions of Scripture that compare and contrast the first man (Adam) with the second, or last, Adam (Jesus). These passages of Scripture are found in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 and in Romans 5:12-19. The portion of Scripture in 1 Corinthians says:

2nd adam

While these verses deal primarily with what occurs with believer’s bodies in the great resurrection (at Jesus’ second coming) – they find an application in our present day. The apostle’s inspired points are based on what Jesus, as the “last Adam” has done.

As the first Adam was meant to be the standard, or likeness, by which all mankind would exist; so also the new Adam would bring a new standard or likeness by which all who believe in Him will exist.

Adam

A new way of existing is possible because a new Adam (Jesus) has come from heaven and instituted this new life through His own resurrection from death. All those who have died while believing in The Christ, will be granted a new “spiritual” body, in that coming day of the great resurrection, and it will be just like the body Jesus now possesses (see 1 John 3:2; Philippians 3:21).

This is all because Jesus, as the new Adam (the last Adam), has prepared the way. He accomplished God’s purpose completely, and opened the way, for all those who believe in Him, to experience what He has accomplished and experienced Himself. Because of the work of this second Adam, there is a very real experience to be known in our present-day life.

death of Jesus 1

Three – Understanding Salvation – pg. 105

April 16

The message of God’s salvation is a glorious epic of His enduring love and mercy. “Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved… He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.” (Ephesians 2:4-5; Titus 3:5)

alive in christ

We can never earn what God has done for us. God’s love and mercy are never dependent upon “the righteous things we have done” – as if what He has done could be deserved. Scripture implores us to understand the very foundation of God’s free gift of salvation: “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us… if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!” (Romans 5:8, 10)

His love and mercy continually and perpetually extend to the very depths of our human need, and supply all that we need, by His divine favor, and in accord with His divine power. It is because He loves us so much that He sent His Own Son to make this full provision available to all who would receive it by faith. Our part is simply to bow in humble gratitude and surrender to the fullness… and live in the ongoing experience, of His immense love. As Scripture tells us: “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…” (Titus 3:5) Salvation is the love of God washing over us to cleanse and heal, to redeem and restore, and to renew us to His design and purpose. This work of salvation is at the very heart of true Christianity!

shower of love

To be “saved” simply means that we have personally received, and now experience, God’s provision of salvation in our lives. It is not a one-time event – it is a lifetime experience. A true understanding of salvation leads us to rely upon (trust in) God’s provision of salvation each and every moment of our lives.

Becoming saved is the first essential step in the life of a true Christian. But it is not the only step. True salvation is a step-by-step, walking out our faith in what Jesus has done, as we apply His work to every area of our lives, throughout our lifetimes. Salvation deals with every problem caused by sin. It provides for the eradication of the guilt and penalty of our sin. Salvation faces down the issue of the mastery, dominion, and deceptive draw of sin. It addresses the dire ramifications caused by sin. Salvation confronts, and conquers, sins’ devastating effects. And finally, salvation assuages the wrath of a Holy God against our sin. All this is because of the work of Jesus (Yeshua!), our Savior – Who came to this earth “to take away the sins of the world,” and to “save His people from their sins.”

Jesus Savior

Three – Understanding Salvation – pg. 104

April 15

Christians often tend to think and believe, that God is changing us (ever so slowly) from one manner of thing to another. Our perception is that we are like branches of poison ivy (offensive, irritating, bearing no useful fruit) and God is trying to change us into grape branches (He seems to really like grapes! [see John 15]).

poison_ivy  grape branch

We see ourselves as what we are (poison ivy), as opposed to what He wants us to be (grape branches), and conclude that this transformation is no brief, or quick, procedure. Molecules and DNA must be reformed, irritants must be removed, leaves must be reshaped, and the nature and capacity to even bear grapes must be put within us – all before the changed vine can even be useful (bear fruit) for the Master Gardener.

But God uses a different picture. He speaks of wild branches being grafted into the Vine (our Lord Jesus) and these grafted branches, immediately, do what grape branches are created and designed to do. But now, they have a new Source – and this new Source is coursing through them to bear fruit that is of the quality and the quantity of that Source.

grape-vine

These grafted branches immediately have a new identity and a new purpose, and they live to carry out that purpose from day one. There is a process involved – it is a growth process, in all that the Vine provides for the branches (health, vitality, strength…). The end result of this growth is fruit-bearing – and the fruit that comes from these new branches is fruit that reflects the very quality and character of The Vine. The process is found in growing in what has been done by the Master Gardener (grafting in) and in what is provided by the Vine – the ability and means by which the Gardener’s desired fruit is produced… to the glory and praise of the Master Gardener.

grapes

If we are always waiting for God to “change us” or “fix us” we cannot, in that state of waiting, be what God desires us to be. If we are always becoming, we can never be!

The extremely good news of the gospel is that God has done everything needed to cause us to be what He desires us to be, immediately. He calls us to see ourselves as He Himself sees us… when we come to Him to receive what He offers us within His provision of salvation.

The message of salvation teaches us that we are not becoming whole, we are whole – and every day of our lives, we are discovering, learning, and growing in what our Savior has accomplished for us through this complete provision of salvation.

2corinthians5_17timbotts

Three – Understanding Salvation – pg. 103

April 14

salvation_is_found

Sometimes we forget: New Testament Scripture tells us that we are new creations in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17) – we are not becoming new creations in Jesus. We are not waiting to become clothed with the new self (already made to gloriously reflect God’s Own nature and character) – we are able to wear the new self right now. As the apostle admonishes us all to “…put on the new self, created (past tense!) to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24; see also Colossians 3:10).

The picture we are meant to envision is that God’s work, in providing our salvation, is a work that confronts every one of our needs (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and meets those needs in a manner that is befitting of the Most High King. Salvation is God’s magnum opus, His masterpiece, His crowning achievement that blatantly bears the very essence of His righteousness, His power, and His goodness. The gospel declares that whatever we might need to “fix” our broken bodies, souls, or spirits, has already been accomplished for us through the work of The Christ. This is true salvation. This is the extent of God’s provision for His New Covenant people!

new youAs was mentioned, a couple of paragraphs ago, there is a process. But it is not a process of a slow, tedious repair of all the broken pieces of our lives. The process we should grasp is that of discovering and applying all that God has already done for us to every area of our lives. Scripture simply calls it growth (maturing). As we are saved by grace through faith, we are also renewed by grace through faith. Our faith applies what God has already done, as revealed to us by His Spirit, to our every area of need. We are not waiting in faith for God to do something for us (to heal all our failings and brokenness) – we are standing in faith, resting in the fact of what God has already done through His work of salvation. This is born out in Scripture:

standing-in-the-storm

We usually have no problem taking this “stand” when it comes to our sin. We rest in faith that God has forgiven us through the work of The Christ. But because, as we have seen, salvation also includes deliverance, freedom, wholeness, healing, etc… we also have every right to apply the same manner of faith, to “stand,” upon each area of need within our lives. Our addictions are met by the grace of deliverance that comes through salvation – and we apply our faith to God’s provision. We STAND in it!

Our shame is met by the power of God’s acceptance, as provided through His salvation – and we apply His grace to our lives (stand) through faith. Our sicknesses/diseases are met by the provision of healing, through salvation – and we apply God’s provision (stand) in faith. We begin to understand that whatever we lack is met, in full and complete supply, through what God has already provided to us in His amazing work of salvation. Our part is to live in thankfulness to God for what He has done and to stand in faith in what His salvation has granted so freely to us.

New life in Christ