Category: Our Provision

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 425

1 completed work of Christ

August 12

As followers of Jesus, we must comprehend and incorporate what God has done for us – and, in our understanding, we must act. We are called to live by faith in the completed work of Christ. We must apply everything that He has done for us to the situations and circumstances of our own lives – each and every day.

We must choose to live free from the bonds and guilt of sin – because that is exactly the forgiveness and freedom Jesus has provided.

We must live unencumbered by our weaknesses and addictions – because absolute deliverance is exactly what Jesus has provided.

freedom

We must live in unconditional love – because we have received God’s Own divine nature, and love is exactly what God does by His nature.

We must live our lives just as Jesus did – committed to God, submitted to God… because God has graciously given us everything we need to live that way.

This is the true Christian message. It is the true gospel of the Kingdom.

True Christians are here on this earth to be the living testimony of the depth and breadth of God’s handiwork. God’s desire is to display Himself, on this physical planet, through His Own people. To do this, we must be emptied of self, and selfish ways, and full of God Himself. We must be immersed in Him, and live out our lives in the fullness of all that He has provided.

The message of the New Covenant is that God has done all that needs to be done for this to be accomplished. This very thought is echoed in one of the apostle’s own prayers for God’s people:

Eph 3 16-19

Amen!

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 424

1 completed work of Christ

August 7

“It is finished…” (cont.)

The work of The Christ enables all those who believe, to emerge from the darkness and selfishness of this world, and to step out into the glorious light of Our Savior. We, who believe, are living testimonies of the new reality:

children of light

The kingdom of darkness no longer has any rightful hold over our lives, in any area of our lives. Jesus’ radiant light has utterly dispelled and disarmed every shade and nuance of that darkness. We are the children of the King and the children of His Light.

Light BG

What Jesus won, when He went to that cross and died for us, was an eternal and infinite victory. The forces of evil and darkness were utterly and completely defeated on that day. “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:15)

That glorious victory is meant to be displayed in, and through, every redeemed soul in every generation of The Church. It is the entire basis of what it truly means to be Christian. We are the living display of God’s infinite grace and Masterful handiwork.

eph 3 10-11

We are now God’s handiwork, on display for all the “rulers and authorities” to see – and to shudder, and marvel. That God could take fallen and self-consumed lumps of dirt and make them useful vessels for His noble purposes is amazing. That He could take these vessels and make them living, breathing representations of His Own character and nature is even more amazing still.

All this is exactly what God has done – it is the purpose behind everything He has accomplished for us through the work of His Son. His every desire is to display His perfection and His goodness in, to, and through those He has redeemed and restored by His Own handiwork. The remarkable truth is that we are not becoming new creations – we are new creations. His perfect power, and will, could do no less.

2-corinthians-5-17

When Jesus declared “It is finished,” He was declaring: “It is completed.” Everything that God needed to do, was done. Through the work of Jesus: We are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that (we) may declare the praises of Him who called (us) out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 423

1 completed work of Christ

August 6

“It is finished…”

Through the centuries, so much time has been squandered, seeking for God to “change us” into godly people – or to “fix us” in our state of brokenness. We have expended our energies and efforts trying to get God to do something that His Scriptures declare He has already done for us. We have so often neglected to see all that God has done on our behalf. We have adhered to brief glimpses of His immeasurable grace and comforted ourselves with thoughts of God’s limitless forgiveness… and with thoughts of leaving our struggles behind us whenever it is our time to pass from this life.

All along we have believed, and proclaimed, a gospel that has been far too small and weak – a gospel that fails to represent the fullness and majesty of a God of complete supply and perfect handiwork. We have so often struggled to see what has been right in front of us all along: Our Savior and Redeemer has already done everything necessary to completely liberate us from the snares and chains of this fallen world.

breakfree

The apostle John recorded that when Jesus died on the cross, His last declaration pierced the darkness with an eternal proclamation. Our Lord announced: “It is finished.” (John 19:30) We have so often taken this to mean that “the price is now paid, and forgiveness is now available.”

But it is so much more. The Greek for “finished” also means “accomplished, fulfilled, completed.” Jesus’ proclamation declares the accomplishment, fulfillment, and completion of God’s great plan. Jesus surrendered Himself to this great plan while He was alive and, with His last breath, He surrendered His Spirit for the Father to complete it (as was accomplished when the Father powerfully raised Him from the dead! [Romans 4:24; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 2:12; etc.] ).

it is finished

Jesus was the One Who took our place, but not just to carry our sins. He took our place as the doorway to the Father (John 10:7, 9; 14:6). That in declaring our faith in Him, we might share in everything He went through, in orchestrating and performing God’s great plan. We share in His surrender to the will of God. We share in His sufferings. We share in His crucifixion. We share in His death. We share in His burial. And when the Father raised Him from the dead, we shared in the power of His resurrection.

We who have been baptized for our declaration of faith in Jesus, have been literally immersed into Jesus Himself. What He did for us, is shared by each and every one of us. This is what it means to be “in Christ.” We have become common sharers in His Person… and in all His work.

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 421

1 completed work of Christ

August 2

Three) Put off, put on (cont.)

Throughout our lives, in our relationship with God, He is committed to revealing more and more of who we are in Him, and Who He is to us, and continually renewing us in that knowledge… and in His image. He continues to teach us what it means to live by the new nature – a nature that is fully reflective of His Own nature.

If we are understanding this correctly, an amazing truth unfolds. We begin to see that all Christ-followers are capable of living as God would have us live, from the very beginning of our relationship with Him. He has graciously provided a means to lay aside the old self (which is the source of our struggle, weakness, failure, and sin). He has also provided a new self to “put on” that is actually “created to be like God” which enables us to live in true righteousness and holiness – just as God does. Wearing the “new self” allows us to do what the “new nature” naturally does – all in accord with God’s character and nature.

old way vs new

This is an absolutely astounding revelation! The essence of Christian living is taken out of the arena of human effort, human will, and human nature – and is placed firmly in the arena of God’s efforts and God’s nature, now given to “clothe us,” and to allow Him to reside and work within us.

The godly life is no longer about expending our energies trying to do good things or good works. It is about embracing, and wearing, the new self which naturally allows us to do God-things, and God-works. The key, according to the inspired apostle, is discovered in taking off the old self, putting it away, and putting on the new self that God has so graciously given us.

off with old on with new

Only by God’s nature can we live out a godly life – and God has given us the “garment” of His Own nature to enable us to live out the godly life He would have us live. True Christians live their lives clothed with the “garment” of God’s divine nature providing everything we need for life and godliness.”

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 419

1 completed work of Christ

July 30

Scripture speaks of three specific ways in which Christ’s completed work is applied to our lives…

Three) Put off, put on.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness… Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10)

new nature
In our third way (in which Jesus’ completed work is applied to our lives), the apostle Paul is led to utilize a picture drawn from the simplicity of everyday life. In both of these passages, he refers to the “old self” and the “new self” as similar to garments that may be put on and taken off – just as we might do with our clothing.

The apostle first exhorts his readers to take off the old garment of the selfish sin nature. As we have been discussing, this is only possible because the work of Jesus has made it possible. The apostle points out that it is our responsibility to apply, by faith, what God has made possible. The tenses used here (in the original language) express the idea that this is something we are to have already done in our pledge of devotion to Jesus (i.e. when we embrace Jesus’ work and become Christians).

The intent of this “putting off” is that we would take off the old self and put it away – never to be worn again. It is set aside, and put away, so that we might adorn ourselves with a much superior and infinitely more worthy and beneficial “garment.” It is only after we have put aside the old “garment” that we may now put on the new garment, or the new self. (This word literally infers “sinking into” a garment. Or in other words, it is something so “right” to our souls as to now become a part of us.)

robed in righteousness

This new “garment” of the new self carries some amazing characteristics. It has been created (it is a finished work), and is still creating us (finishing us!) to “be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” This is an astounding and powerful provision. This confirms, once again, that God has graciously provided everything we need for life and godliness.

His gift is like a precious “garment” that reflects His Own heart and nature – and incorporates that nature into our very being. God graciously invites us to shed our old “filthy rags” (see Isaiah 64:6) and adorn ourselves with this new self – which He has provided to fully equip us to accomplish His will and purposes for our lives.

new you

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 418

1 completed work of Christ

July 26

Two) Live by faith (cont.)

…Living by faith begins with faith applied to everything that Jesus has done for us in His death, burial, and resurrection.

There is no doubt that faith does have a future component. Scripture clearly teaches that our faith is applied to the Person of God and, often, to the promises He offers to us. The inspired writer of the letter to the Hebrews teaches us:

Hebr 11 6

But the essence of faith is founded on the principle of the character and nature of God – and the ultimate expression of His character and nature was demonstrated through Jesus’ redemptive work. We can trust God for future things because He has demonstrated His faithfulness in our past, through the work of His Son.

To “live by faith” must begin at the cross of Jesus and be applied because of His death, burial, and resurrection. It is through this work that God’s faithfulness is so clearly defined. It is because He has done everything that needed to be done to secure us as His devoted people, we can be assured that He will do everything that is needed in our future circumstances.

Christ did it all

True faith, Scripturally speaking, is not just “saving” faith – it is “living” faith. It is faith in what God has done, which gives us unshakable confidence in what God is going to do, each and every day of our lives. Faith, for each of us, must begin by looking back to our Savior and to all He has accomplished on our behalf. Although this is a faith that looks back, it applies to everything we believe in the here and now.

It is also this same faith that lifts our confidence into the future. The same God who supplied everything we needed for life and godliness will also supply everything we need for every situation we face in the future. This is our bold confidence in approaching God’s throne…

hebr 4 16

The God Who has shown Himself faithful in meeting our greatest need, will also show Himself faithful in every other need of our lives. Every true Christian should echo the apostle’s words: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 417

1 completed work of Christ

July 25

Two) Live by faith.

Gal 2 20

This verse is an affirmation of our previous point – and the unveiled secret behind the apostle’s own Christian life. He declares to “have been (Greek perfect tense, meaning an action completed in the past, never needing to be repeated) crucified with Christ!” He announces that he has shared in Jesus’ death – and in The Christ’s death, the apostle has experienced his own death. This shared death now opens the doorway to a new kind of life – a life the apostle will now “live in the body… by faith.”

But as we look closely at this verse, something very powerful captures our attention. The apostle encompasses faith within the confines of the work of Jesus, accomplished on the cross. This brings out a crucial consideration.

Most of us Christians tend to see faith as centered upon something that God is going to do for us – it is the focus on a future promise. We often see the greater part of faith as something God says He will do. Somewhat surprisingly, this is the not the apostle’s focus in speaking of living his life by faith. The apostle is telling us that He is living by faith in what Jesus has already done for him. This tells us that the greater part of faith is applying our trust to what Jesus has done. The foundation of true faith is the application of our trust in what has already been accomplished for us.

nothing undone

The apostle takes us back to the crucifixion of Jesus – and to the fact that he shared in Jesus‘ crucifixion. But he also reminds us that it is not only the death of Jesus that has changed his life’s approach, it is also Jesus’ resurrection to new life. Because of The Christ’s resurrection, the apostle is now enabled to live a new kind of life “in the body… by faith.” The apostle’s current status (and the way he now lives his life) is based on his faith in what Jesus has done for him through the cross and through His resurrection.

death burial and res

Jesus’ redeeming work was motivated by love… and carried out with intense personal sacrifice – all to impart something to us that enables us to live as Jesus demonstrated while He was on this earth. This goal is accomplished when God’s people place their trust, and live their lives, by the work that Jesus completed on our behalf.

This is the essence of what the apostle intended for his readers (and us!) to understand. Living by faith begins with faith applied to everything that Jesus has done for us in His death, burial, and resurrection…