The deity of Jesus …Fact or fiction #2


I am always amazed what nuggets of truth can be discovered in scripture that are more often than not passed right over, and for the most part go unnoticed. 1 Peter 1:11 is such a verse. Peter is speaking about the gospel of Jesus, the trials, joys and hope that accompanies those who trust Him, and then he talks of the prophets of ages past who prophesied concerning the suffering and glory of Christ. In verse 11 he says about those prophets “… the spirit of Christ in them was indicating the sufferings of Christ…” Centuries before a birth in Bethlehem, before the cross, before the resurrection of Jesus, He was active in revealing partially to the prophets the salvation that had been planned long before the creation of the universe. The spirit of Christ could hardly be doing anything hundreds of years before He would come in flesh had he not existed prior to His humble birth as Mary’s child.

Another example of Christ being active in Old Testament history is found in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4. Paul is warning against idolatry and he says “For I want you to know, brothers that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ”. Even a rank skeptic must agree that if the Bible is true, then Jesus lived before His birth.  

Jesus existed before His natural birth “in time”. Post # number 3 will show that Christ also existed before time began, that He is God and is eternal.

In Him,
Royce

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The Deity of Jesus…fact or fiction? #1


Many centuries before the birth of Jesus the prophet Isaiah predicted the virgin birth of Jesus (Isaiah 7:14) saying He should be called Immanuel, which means “God with us”. When an angel speaks to Joseph in a dream about the birth of Jesus he says

Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
   “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
   and they shall call his name
Immanuel.”  

   (Which means, God with us). 24When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife; 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:20-23)

This text, including the quote from Isaiah, is the first in the New Testament to establish the deity of Jesus who is the Christ.

1.    for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit”. Only God can cause a virgin to conceive a child without the sperm of a man. This fact sets this child apart from all others. With no human father, but God as his father, He must be God. Kind begets kind. Sheep have sheep, apple trees propagate more apple trees, birds more birds of their kind, reptiles follow kind and on and on, it is the result of the order of creation. The birth of Jesus is no exception, God begets God. In His humanity, and in His role in the Godhead, Jesus is the Son of God.

2.    “call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins”. Who but God can save sinners from their sins? The obvious answer is “nobody”. Only God can save a soul and of course Jesus could, did, and still is today.

3.    “and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means God with us) The word “Immanuel” is a combination of two Hebrew words “immanu” and “EL”. The first, “immanu” simply means “with us” and “EL” is one of the several holy names of God, and reserved only for God. It is this God who would be conceived in a virgin by the Holy Spirit. It is this God who would save people from their sins. It is this God, the Christ (anointed one), who would now be with the people on planet earth in a human body.

As wonderful as this narrative is, it is not the beginning of Jesus. In the next post I will talk about His eternal existence. The account of Jesus’ birth was only a description of His incarnation, not His beginning. We will see that being God He had no beginning. Only created things have beginnings, the Creator does not.

In Him,
Royce

 

Christianity is Christ


Christianity is Christ.

Christianity is not:
   . Going to church
   . Living by the Golden Rule
   . Doing acts of kindness
   . Being a member of a certain church
   . Being right about certain Bible doctrines
   . Doing certain things on Sunday
   . Living a life of piety and self denial

Christianity is Christ.

When a person becomes a Christian:
   1. His sins are forgiven
   2. He is given eternal life
   3. He becomes God’s child both by birth and adoption
   4. He becomes an heir of God’s bounty
   5. He is declared not guilty of sin
   6. He is declared just
   7. He is declared righteous
   8. He is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit
   9. He is sealed by the Holy Spirit
 10. He is gifted by the Holy Spirit
 11. He is promised resurrection
 12. He will never perish
 13. He will never die
 14. He is in Christ
 15. Christ is in Him
 16. He is hidden with Christ in God
 17. He is held in God’s hand
 18. Christ will never leave him or forsake him
 19. He has access to God in prayer
 20. He is a priest
 21. He is a partaker of God’s nature
 22. He is seated with Christ in the heavens
 23. He has been chosen by God
 24. He has been elected
 25. He has been predestined to be a son
 26. He has been called
 27. He has been glorified
 28. He has been washed
 29. He has been cleansed
 30. He has redeemed
 31. He has been added to the body of Christ
 32. He has overcome the evil one
 33. He has been counted worthy
 34. His eyes have been opened
 35. He has a new ability to love unconditionally
 36. He can say no to sin
 37. He is at rest
 38. The ordinances of the law are no longer against him
 39. He is free
 40. He is not condemned
 41. He will never be condemned
 42. He is not appointed to wrath
 43. He will be rewarded
 44. He has treasure reserved in heaven
 45. He is kept by the power of God
 46. He cannot be separated from God
 47. He has the Son of God
 48. He has the Father
 49. He has joy
 50. He has peace with God
 51. He has the peace of God
 52. He is one with God
 53. He is loved by the Father just as He loves Jesus.
 54. He has been born again
 55. He is a new creation
 56. He has God’s law written on his heart
 57. He died with Christ
 58. He was raised with Christ
 59. Christ is his life
 60. He is in the kingdom of light
 61. He has been granted repentance
 62. He has been given faith
 63. He has been given precious promises
 64. He is an ambassador of Christ
 65. He is an alien on eath
 66. He is a citizen of heaven
 67. He is a lover of good
 68. He hates sin
 69. He loves his brother
 70. He hears the apostolic teaching
 71. He abides in Christ
 72. He stands in grace
 73. The Holy Spirit assures him he is safe
 74. Christ is his life
 75. He does sin as a lifestyle
 76. He has Christ as an advocate for him in heaven when he does sin
 77. He walks in the light
 78. He knows the voice of Jesus
 79. He follows Him
 80. He will not follow another.
 81. He has victory over death, hell, and the grave 
 82. He is being made like Jesus
 83. He is created for good works
 84. His greatest good is to glorify God

There is more but these quickly come to mind. Not one of them is man’s own doing. Everyone of them is true and relevant and experiential because of the person, work, and resurrection life of Jesus Christ. The only basis, the only ground upon which our salvation rests is Christ.

When a sinner changes his mind about the course of his life and puts his whole trust in Jesus He does not give that person anything apart from Himself. You see, what a lost sinner needs is life, he is spiritually dead. He needs righteousness for he is unrighteous. He needs redemption, for he is a slave to sin. He needs light because he is in darkness. He needs bread from heaven because he is starving. He needs the water of life for he is thirsty. He needs to be set free because he is under control of the evil one.

Christ can give nothing more than Himself. He Himself supplies every need. He is life, He is the light of the world, He is righteousness, He is our peace, He is our assurance, He is our joy, He is our glory, He is our hope, He is the author of our faith, He is the rock upon which we stand.

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and NO MAN COMES TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME.” Religion will leave you wanting. Church membership and attendance will leave you lacking. Acts of kindness, giving to the poor, and even martyrdom will leave you dead in your sins. Only our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ is able and willing to give you life, forgiveness, righteousness, and peace.

We are only accepted by God “in the beloved“, we are only chosen “in Him“. The mystery of God that was hidden in ages past is this, “Christ in you, the hope of glory“. That’s it, Christianity is Christ and can be nothing less, and nothing more is possible.

“Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life”(1 John 5:10-12 ESV)

It is hard to imagine how anyone could misunderstand this clear message from God’s word. Sadly, many just don’t seem to get it. Like the legalists Paul addressed long ago in his letter to the churches of Galatia who insisted that Christians be circumcised, many today insist on adding to what Christ accomplished over 2000 years ago and what God planned in eternity past.

Many preach a salvation that is “God’s part and your part”. Your part is to repent (change your mind) and believe on Jesus Christ. If you have Him (A very big “IF”) what more can you possibly imagine you need? There is nothing on earth or in heaven that is a substitute or a supplement for what Christ has accomplished on behalf of sinners. Trust Him alone, He will not always wait.

By grace are you saved.

His peace,
Royce

 

How valuable is my relationship with God?


Perhaps no other question is as important for each of us to consider than this one, How valuable is my relationship to God? When I seriously consider the gravity of that question, and more importantly, how I honestly answer it, it is scary to say the least.

Many of us who claim to be followers of Jesus actually are not at all. We cannot live our lives as practical atheists and at the same time be authentic disciples of Jesus. Another way to understand the question I raise is to ask another, not of you but of myself. What is it that happens in my day to day living, my weekly and monthly routine, that could not happen if suddenly, and unknown to me, God ceased to exist?

I can read my Bible, pray, go to church twice each week, attend some devotionals with friends and in every way a man is usually measured I would be considered to be a “faithful” Christian. Another even more telling question I should ask is this one. What is happening in my life that is supernatural and the only explanation for it is the activity of God?

It is one thing to read the Bible, it is another to be taught it by the Holy Spirit. It is one thing to pray, often saying the same things from rote memory, not expecting an answer, and quite another to pray asking for something specific and having an answer that is clearly the work of God. I know we don’t always get remarkable answers to our prayers, but shouldn’t we sometimes? It is one thing to say we want to share our faith with others, but actually doing it and then seeing God change a life is another.

If I make the mistake of measuring my life against yours, or some other person’s, I have shown that I am a foolish man. (2 Cor 10:12) To quote Paul, “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends”2 Cor 10:18. I believe that in proportion to how much I value God, and my relationship and standing with Him, I will actually be a disciple. It is not enough to be committed to a cause, a church, a heritage, or even a theological ideal, to be an authentic believer in Jesus Christ He must be what I value most. He must mean more to me than my family, my house, and even my church. (Matthew 16:24)

I am becoming less concerned about how I am perceived by my faith community and more concerned about what God actually knows about me and how I should live in view of that fact.  I must admit, there have been far too many time periods in my life when Jesus was relegated to someplace less than first in my daily living. One day I (and you) will stand before Him at the judgement seat and give an accounting for how I (we) have responded day by day to God’s gracious gift of life through Jesus Christ our Lord. There will be no smoke and mirrors, no bait and switch, just raw truth staring us in the face.

My goal today and going forward is to be less a hypocrite than I have been.

Your comments are welcomed.

His peace,
Royce