Tag Archive: Cross


Robber or Redeemer

wpid-cross-bridge.jpg-bridge-of-hope.jpg.jpeg

“Now at that feast the governor was accustomed to releasing unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will you that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?” Matthew 27:15-17

Pilate said, “But you have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the Passover: will you therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.” John 18:39-40

From the cereal isle at the grocery store to the food court at the mall, there’s no doubt this world is inundated with an almost endless amount of choices. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements featuring the “latest and greatest” of everything. It’s no wonder we’ve almost become completely desensitized to the daunting amount of decisions staring at us day after day. Yet, in spite of this mountainous menagerie, our choices really don’t have to be that complicated. You see, when it’s all said and done, we are left with only two simple, but absolutely crucial decisions in all that we believe, do, say, and think – the robber or the Redeemer.

When Christ was led before the people, Pilate gave them a choice, Barabbas or Jesus.  The people had arguably made hundreds of thousands of choices in their life times, yet all those decisions could all be boiled down into one of these two categories, the robber or the Redeemer.  The same can be said for all of mankind throughout time. Although material is not necessarily good or bad, our hearts, being stubbornly self-willed, tend to allow us to become completely distracted by the lusts, pleasures, and pain of this planet. In a very real sense, we are often more than willing to be robbed of the joy and peace and wonderful knowledge of Christ for what is, at best, a measly bowl of stew. (Genesis 25:29-34). When examining the presence and power of the robber and the glorious reality of the Redeemer, there are definitely some things worth carefully considering. Here are just a few.

The Robber: Destroying the Foundation
This sin-soaked world, comprised of the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, only has one goal, one aim… to steal all the glory from God!  Jesus called Satan a thief and a murderer and reminds us that he comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.  Even though he is the thief of all thieves, the devil obviously cannot actually steal the Lord. Nor can he kill the truth. And he most certainly cannot destroy the Word of God.  Some might wonder about Psalm 11:3… If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? Doesn’t this verse teach that the foundations can be destroyed?

There are two vantage points to consider when examining this verse, man’s and the Lord’s. Considering the Lord, we know there is nothing that can stand against Him, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Since this is the case, we can logically and biblically conclude that this verse is not saying that God’s Word can actually be destroyed. However, mankind’s love for and access to God’s Word can most definitely be rotted, replaced, and ruined.  I have absolutely no power to actually destroy God, but I most certainly have the capacity to infect and influence the hearts and minds of myself and others, causing a lost desire and direction for the truth, in essence, stealing away the one true foundation. So although the foundation, that is to say, God’s Word, endures forever, we do know that our appropriation, understanding, and application of that foundation can assuredly be robbed from us.

One example of this is found in the parable of the soils (Luke 8). The “birds” (the devil) snatched the Word from the hardened heart, therefore removing the only foundation that will endure forever. Did the Word actually get destroy? No. But the Word was robbed from taking root in the hardened heart.  So, it might be better to say the robber’s strategy is an attack of the heart, an attack designed to prevent us from seeking and being satisfied in the Lord and the truth of His everlasting Word. This attack often involves offering us deceptive distractions and distorted doctrines in an effort to keep our hearts calloused and “dull of hearing”. (Matthew 13:15-16, Hebrews 5:11)

The Redeemer: All Things New
So many have said that we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only Jesus can fill, and while this is true, it is not completely the case. Jesus does not come to simply fill the hole in our old, selfish hearts. No, He comes to remove the stony heart and transplant a new and living heart, His love and life, in its place.  God’s Word calls this the new birth. (John 3) Jesus does not simply fill our old, prideful, flesh-driven and glory-gleaning hearts. He does something much more amazing! He gives a total and spiritual heart transplant. God’s promise to Israel through Ezekiel is also a promise to all who desire to receive His full and free forgiveness in Jesus –  “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh” Ezekiel 36:26.

Not only do we receive a new heart, we also receive a renewed mind. The Bible calls this the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Jesus does not desire to fill a portion of our self-centered, “me, myself, and I” preoccupied mind. No, He instead gives us a renewed mind. Being born again means we receive a new heart and a new mind.  This is the truth of the new birth only made possible by the righteous Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

The Reality: Being Born Again is Just the Beginning
Jesus represented all of humanity and as that perfect representation, the Last Adam walked the walk mankind (the first Adam’s race) was always supposed to walk. Just as Jesus fully and freely laid down His life to the will of His Heavenly Father, so too are we to do the same. Jesus does not steal our old nature. He is no robber! He truly is the remarkable Redeemer! He paid our sinful price in full, offering all who are willing to come to Him. He purchased us from the slave market of sin, self, and Satan and in its place, He offers us new life in Him. Jesus freely offers His Spirit, His nature, as the great exchange for all who are willing to turn to Him, all who choose to be redeemed. But this exchange is not the end. Actually, it’s just the beginning. Just as in all births, being born again means there’s a lot of growth to come.

Even though those who have been born again have passed from death to life, having received a new heart and new mind, there is still the presence of the old man and of this broken, sinful world. That is why, for our good and His glory, the Lord requires us to bury the old man by daily turning from ourselves and this rebellious world to the True and Living God, Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever and ever, amen!

My Reasonable Responsibility: Wearing the Redeemer’s Clothes
Although the old, selfish, and rebellious man has been dethroned, he will not be completely eradicated until the rapture or in death. Oh, what a day that will be, to see without the fleshly veil, my great and glorious King! Oh, what a day that will be!!! So, in order to keep myself from being robbed by the riches and cares of this world; if I am to prevent myself from having my love of Jesus and His Word stolen through subtlety, then burying the old man daily is a must! (1 Corinthians 15:31, Colossians 3:4-11)

Great, but what are practical means necessary to keep from being robbed of the depth and beauty and glory of the Lord? “Just give me a list,” says the baby Christian. “Tell me the things of this world that Satan will use to rob me of the knowledge of Christ. Then I will be prepared.” The Bible definitely gives us some broad and sometimes even detailed lists of what we should “take off/mortify”, however it is interesting to note that God’s Word does not account for every single, specific danger we will face in the world. I’m sure there are many reasons for this, but arguably one of the main reasons has to do with our hearts.

I’m sure we’d all agree that even good, godly things have the potential of robbing the throne of the new heart, the throne only Jesus deserves to sit upon.  So, it’s not necessarily just about following a list of do’s and don’ts. It’s more about diligently guarding our hearts daily. (Proverbs 4:23) It’s about putting on the full armor of God so we can daily stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11-24) Mortify the old man, yes!  Make no provision to the flesh, yes! But we have the privilege and responsibility of putting on the new man by clothing ourselves everyday with Christ. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” Romans 13:14.

Get to know the Good Shepherd’s voice by reading His Word often, praying fervently, knowing our righteousness is in Christ, and obeying our Heavenly Father willingly and wholeheartedly.  Then, and only then, will we be able to prevent our hearts from being robbed of the amazing beauty and joy found solely in Jesus Christ, our great and glorious Redeemer!

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth.” Job 19:25

Jesus said, “All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:8-11

Advertisements

heart-in-bible“The work of Christ on the cross did not influence God to love us, did not increase that love by one degree, did not open any fount of grace or mercy in His heart. He had loved us from old eternity and needed nothing to stimulate that love.

The cross is not responsible for God’s love; rather it was His love which conceived the cross as the one method by which we could be saved. God felt no different toward us after Christ had died for us, for in the mind of God Christ had already died before the foundation of the world. God never saw us except through atonement.

The human race could not have existed one day in its fallen state had not Christ spread His mantle of atonement over it. And this He did in eternal purpose long ages before they led Him out to die on the hill above Jerusalem. All God’s dealings with man have been conditioned upon the cross.”

― A.W. Tozer, The Radical Cross: Living the Passion of Christ

Rugged CrossThe only humility that is really ours is not that which we try to show before God in prayer, but that which we carry with us, and carry out, in our ordinary conduct; the insignficances of daily life are the importances and the tests of eternity, because they prove what really is the spirit that possesses us.”   ― Andrew Murray, Humility

To Give and to Get

imageCould life be boiled down to two simple words – giving and getting? Just think of how much of life is spent getting. How many different places throughout the day do we go to get things? We get groceries, we get gas, we get food. We get products, and etc., and etc.

Throughout each day we also give. At work, we give our time, we give our effort, and often give a product. At home we give our attention and affection. So much of life is simply spent getting and giving.

As we go to the Word of God,  may we never forget we are here to give the Lord our hearts and minds, desirous to always get more of Him! We must give ourselves away, taking up the cross daily, following hard after Him.

As we go to the Scriptures may we never forget that wisdom is the principle thing therefore we should get wisdom and with all our getting, we should also get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7) Jesus Christ has come to give us understanding so that we may get to know Him who is true and we are in Him who is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true and Living God. (1 John 5:20)

Jesus came to give Himself away, out of love for the Father and for us. We must get, that is to say we must receive Him and once we receive Him, the Holy Spirit inspires us to go and give Him away to others so they may get the truth as well.

Getting and giving, two simple words that seem to summarize each and every day. Let us be mindful of what we are spending our hearts and minds on,  knowing that our getting will effect our giving and our giving will effect our getting, all for the glory of God!

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him… ” Ephesians 1:17

“One of the most important things to realize is that the Christian life, the real Christian life, humanly speaking, is impossible. It was never intended to be lived by human beings. It was to be lived by God within the heart of the Christian, by the power of God, the presence of God, of Jesus Himself living within us in a victorious way. Sadly, most of us live the Christian life with two Christians in one body. We open our heart, we invite Jesus Christ to come in. We now say I’m a Christian, but then we have Jesus who sits there for most of our lifetime wanting to take over while we’re showing Him how to be a Christian.” 
 
“The interesting thing about the Christian life, you really don’t need two Christians in one body. One is quite adequate. When we’ve already invited the finest Christian who ever lived with our life, why do we spend time trying to impress Him with our efforts to do it?  Basically Jesus is saying, I got into your life through My death on the cross and you’ll get into victory through your death to Me, dying to self, dying to your unbelief, dying to all your carnal wickedness and corruption and nature. When you give up on that and stop making promises on how hard you’re going to try and good you’re going to do and simply start saying, Lord I’m going to look to you, then you’ll realize there’s no way humanly to do it.”  ~Don McClure  
“Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Who is the Real Enemy?

Self LoveSo often people speak of Satan as being the enemy, which he clearly is. (1 Peter 5:8) However, there is almost no mention today of the enemy that follows us around everywhere we go. It wasn’t Satan that caused Adam and Eve to sin in the Garden and it surely isn’t Satan that forces men to sin today. Yes, he is the tempter, but we are personally responsible for our decisions. “…But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” James 1:13-14

We sin because our flesh has chosen to place self, instead of God, upon the throne. Self is as much the enemy as Satan. The old man, cast in the image of his father the devil, doesn’t just vanish upon being born again. The old man, the self life, along with all its affections and desires, MUST be crucified daily by the power of Christ who lives in every born again believer. (Luke 9:23)

All the talk today from popular psychologists, authors, and preachers of self acceptance, self love, self worth, etc. is foolishness to the cross and the cross foolishness to their false teachings. Although unbiblical and destructive to the soul, sadly many professing believers have rallied around the idea of self love as if it is the saving Gospel of mankind. After all how can someone actually feel worthy to accept God’s forgiveness until they learn to love themselves?

How far we have come from the truth of Paul… “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing… O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7:18a, Romans 7:24  Even popular, professing Christian singers have begun injecting self love into their lyrics. May the day never come when we sing, “I lift me up! Oh yeah and Jesus too.”

“I lay me down and lift Jesus up!” ought always be my love song to the One who died for a sinner such as I.

magnifying-glassProphecy is THE Proof! 

Did you know the probability of Jesus fulfilling even eight prophecies would be 1 in 1017.

That’s 1 in 100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000.

If you made that many silver dollars there would be enough coins to cover the face of the entire state of Texas two feet deep. To make some sense of such huge odds, say say we marked one of those dollar coins and then blindfolded a man, sending him out of Dallas by foot in any direction.  The odds of  him being able, on his very first attempt, to pick up one specifically marked silver dollar out of 100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 is 1 in 1017.  

Now consider that Jesus didn’t fulfill only 8, but a few hundred prophecies!  We truly serve an awesome God! 

———————————-

Carefully consider the prophecies centering on Jesus’ death and resurrection with a humble heart. Set aside all your preconceived notions for a moment and think about actual proof.  Christianity is based on Jesus Christ, not a church or the traditions of men.  

———————————–

The Jews at the time of Jesus’ birth were under the domination of the repressive Romans and were looking for a Messiah to deliver them from the hands of the occupying forces. They were looking for a man of war to lead them in an uprising. They totally overlooked the prophecies in the Old Testament that the Messiah would be ‘a man of sorrows, despised and rejected of men’. Many are still waiting for their Messiah to come.

Rejected by Jews and rulers

Matthew 21:42
“Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the LORD’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

Psalm 118:22
“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’ ?”

Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver by one of his disciples

Zechariah 11:12
“Then I said to them, ‘If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.’ So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.”

Matthew 26:14-15
“Then one of the Twelve–the one called Judas Iscariot–went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty silver coins.”

Psalm 55:12-13
“For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;
Then I could bear it.
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;
Then I could hide from him.
But it was you, a man my equal,
My companion and my acquaintance.
We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng.”

Matthew 26:47-50
“And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.

Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.’

Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, why have you come?’ Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.”

Thirty pieces of silver used to buy the Potters field

Zechariah 11:13
“And the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter.”

Matthew 27:6–8
“But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.’ And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.”

Silent before His accusers

Isaiah 53:7
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.”

Matthew 27:12–14
“And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?’ But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.”

Mocked by His accusers

Psalm 22:7-8
“All those who see Me ridicule Me;
They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him;
Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”

Matthew 27:27–29
“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’”

Beaten and spat upon

Micah 5:1
“Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod.”

Isaiah 50:6
“I gave My back to those who struck Me,
And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;
I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.”

Mark 15:19
“Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.”

Matthew 27:30-31
“Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.”

Scourged

Isaiah 53:5
“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”

Matthew 27:26
“Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified.”

Piercing of His hands and feet

Psalm 22:16
“For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;”

Matthew 27:31
“And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.”

Crucified with thieves

Isaiah 53:12
“Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.”

Mark 15:27–28
“With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left. So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors’.”

Prayed for His persecutors

Isaiah 53:12
“And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.”

Psalms 109:4
“In return for my love they act as my accusers; but I am in prayer.”

Luke 23:34
“But Jesus was saying, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.”

His side was pierced

Zechariah 12:10
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”

John 19:34
“But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.”

Given gall and vinegar to drink

Psalm 69:21
“They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

John 19:28-29
“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”

Suffered no broken bones

Psalm 34:20
“He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken.”

John 19:32-33, 36
“Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, ‘Not one of His bones shall be broken’.”

Lots cast for his garments

Psalm 22:18
“They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”

John 19:23-24
“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,’ that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says:

They divided My garments among them,And for My clothing they cast lots.Therefore the soldiers did these things.”

Buried in a rich man’s tomb

Isaiah 53:9
“And they made His grave with the wicked
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.”

Matthew 27:57-60
“Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.”

Rose from the dead

Psalm 16:10
“For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Isaiah 53:8, 11
“By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.”

Psalms 30:3
“O LORD, Thou hast brought up my soul from Sheol; Thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.”

Psalms 49:15
“But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; for He will receive me. Selah.”

Matthew 28:2, 5-9
“And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.

But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.’

And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice!’ So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.”

Mark 16:6-7
“And he said to them, ‘Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, `He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He said to you’.”

Acts 2:31
“He, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.”

Ascended into Heaven and sits on the right hand of the Father

Psalm 68:18
“You have ascended on high,
You have led captivity captive;
You have received gifts among men,
Even from the rebellious,
That the LORD God might dwell there.”

Psalms 110:1
“The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet’.”

1 Corinthians 15:4
“And that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Ephesians 4:8
“Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men.”

Acts 1:9
”Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”

(All scriptures on this page are from the NKJ version.)”

(The actual prophecies section was originally from http://www.praise-and-worship.com/Jesus-death.html.

Note: I have not personally explored their entire site.  As always, read with biblical discernment.)

OldRuggedCross_B&W“The loss, the rejection, the shame, belong both to Christ and to all who in very truth are His. The cross that saves them also slays them, and anything short of this is a pseudo-faith and not true faith at all. But what are we to say when the great majority of our evangelical leaders walk not as crucified men but as those who accept the world at its own value—rejecting only its grosser elements? How can we face Him who was crucified and slain when we see His followers accepted and praised? Yet they preach the cross and protest loudly that they are true believers. Are there then two crosses? And did Paul mean one thing and they another? I fear that it is so, that there are two crosses, the old cross and the new.

“. . . But if I see aright, the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of self-assured and carnal Christianity whose hands are indeed the hands of Abel, but whose voice is the voice of Cain. The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter. The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before the cross it bows and toward the cross it points with carefully staged histrionics—but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross it stubbornly refuses to bear.”

A. W. Tozer, God’s Pursuit of Man (Camp Hill, PA: Wingspread, 1950), 53.

The Word Became Flesh

God-Write-the-Bible“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:1, 3, and 14

How does a word become flesh? Just think about how many words we hear, speak, read, write, and type each day! How often do teachers use words in the classroom?  How many words are used by parents to their children? But our words can by no means become something other than words. The same is true for the words in this article. None of them will someday become flesh. It is an impossibility! There is, however, a language that does become flesh.

Each of us has a very special language inside of our bodies. The Lord has designed it so that every cell should adhere to this exceptional code. This giant word is called DNA and is incredibly complex. It is truly the language that allows us to have a body to dwell within. It is because of this word (DNA) that our bodies become flesh. Although every living thing needs DNA, this is not what God’s Word is talking about in John 1:14 when the Lord says through John, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

This Word is much more that DNA. This Word is the very Word of God, Jesus Christ- the Son of God and God the Son. Just as our bodies desperately depend on DNA, so our spirits are designed to be quickened by The Word of God. Sadly the first Adam chose to listen to Satan, the Father of lies, his wife, and his own heart instead of God’s loving and perfect command. Thankfully Jesus, the Last Adam, became flesh, pointing all who would listen back to the True and Living God.

May this Christmas season serve as a great reminder of just how amazing and truly humble God is; the One who stooped down from Heaven to become a man— The Word become flesh so we might be freed from sin; freed to understand and know the One who is the Word of God!

“[Jesus] made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:7-8  

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20

Unity in the Truth Part 3

We cannot create unity, but we can enter into the unity already created.   Who has made this unity for man, you might wonder?  You might reason, and rightly so, “If man is already condemned, serving his sentence, then man surely cannot exit his ‘jail cell’ to solve the emnity between God and all of manking.”  So then who has broken down this separating wall between God and man?  The answer is clear.  There is only one who could do such a marvelous, selfless and truly loving work.  It is none other than the man, Christ Jesus.  Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: