Tag Archives: justification

Incarnation of Christ

We all know the various prophecies that tell of Jesus’ birth in the Old Testament. These predictions come to fulfillment in the New Testament. There are many questions of how Mary could conceive a child without a man; the conception being through the Holy Spirit. When we try to imagine God putting on flesh like the very creation He, himself fashioned – well that becomes mind blowing. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, we beheld His glory as the Only Begotten Son, full of grace and Truth.” [John 1:14] In the beginning was the Word, The Word was in the beginning with God, and the Word was God. The incarnation is the revelation to Mankind of the presence of God in visible form. Jesus told His disciples “if you have seen Me, then you have seen the Father; I and the Father are One.” [John 14]

When I think of the story line of scripture, from Genesis with God making man from the dust of the earth and breathing into him the “breath of life, and man becoming a living soul, I am overwhelmed. When I think of the Fall in the garden of Eden and the devastation as a resulted, that even Creation cries out for restoration and reconciliation – it again is overwhelming. The Law of Moses given to try and reveal to harden mankind the failure and inability to be holy and to restore ourselves to the Only God – our creator, the situation seems hopeless.

Thinking through the past four and half years of blogging, the scripture reinforces the fact that only God can restore mankind back to Jehovah. No matter how holy or righteous we are in our behavior and attitudes, we will always fall short. Even today in churches across North America the clarion call is for “disciple making” instead of sharing the Gospel through evangelism. Men must be saved, not instructed on how to live better lives.

Jesus came because the Father in Heaven so loved us. Jesus came because it was the Trinity’s plan to do so. At the end of the Law there was not the restoration of mankind. Sin had not been dealt with, and mankind had become institutionalized by religious performance. The Pharisees and Sadducees in particular revealed the hypocrisy of performance oriented religion that makes us feel good about ourselves; yet does nothing to reconcile us to God.

Jesus came to show us the Father; He came to make the invisible, visible – Col 1. Jesus is the second Adam, for the first Adam, although created holy and innocent, rebelled and believed the lie of Satan, that man could live without God. Jesus, as the second Adam, revealed what mankind “could have been” had they lived in obedience to the Father.

Jesus was subjected to temptation and sin like as we all are, yet without sin. He  [Jesus] came to be the vicarious atonement for all sin, the enmity that separated man from God would once and for all be dealt with, and the Accuser of the brethren – Father of lies would be dealt an eternal blow. Jesus came to deal with our sin, defeat Satan, and rose again for our justification – all by faith that the Father would be faithful to His own word. In the Birth of Jesus, a new era or day came. No longer would men be shackled by The Law requirements. Faith in Christ as the Anointed, Messiah to do for man, what man could never do for himself – to give life instead of death, to give hope in a hopeless situation. This Jesus born of a Virgin, lying in a cradle would change history forever, regardless of who sat on the thrones of kingdoms of earth. This Jesus would serve and be sacrificed as a Lamb before God, and God would be pleased – opening the pathway for all who would call upon Jesus as Savior and Lord to begin “New Life” being a “new Creation” having the Breath of Life breathed back into them. Oh, what a story of redemption!

Thank God for His amazing Love, Grace, Mercy and Hope – all because Yahweh acted on our behalf. The Plan of God is not complete, for this Jesus will return in like manner one day. Acts 1.  Until then let us rejoice and live out that which is now living in us – Christ in You the Hope of Glory [Col 1:27]

Merry Christmas!

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Get Right – Stay Right

Weeks reading – Romans 5-9

One summer I went to a youth camp with our kids from the church I pastored. We saw a lot of emotional response to the Youth Camping experience. However, I noticed that even though the kids dealt with sin in their lives inside the sanctuary [gym], as soon as they got outside it was back to the normal of being a youth. I do not doubt that their worship and confession were real. If fact I believe they genuinely wanted to live for God. The struggle was that they were confronted with the “real world” as soon as he music and preaching stopped. The next night they would try all over again to “really mean it” and stay committed. We adopted the phrase “get right-stay right” as a group to hold each other accountable.

Paul addresses the same problem I believe that all believers experience, the spirit is willing, but the flesh it weak. How can we live out that spirit filled life that seems to evade all of us? We find that so much has been done for us through the cross, yet that isn’t the end, the Life we are looking for is the Resurrected Life of Jesus. The blood of Jesus saves us from the wrath of our own sins, but the Resurrected Life of Jesus Christ is our new life. Romans 6:1-7; is used all the time as a New Testament instruction of what baptism is all about. We die when Jesus died, when Jesus was buried, then resurrected, we to are raised to walk in newness of Life; all is symbolic or so we say. If it is only symbolic – I am still alive and sin rules over me. Gal 2:20; repeats Paul’s words that the person of faith and trust in Jesus has died to who they were so they can be free from the Law; released from the tyrant of the Law to condemn us. But we are still alive, and cannot grasp the fact that we were, but now we are dead TO sin because of Jesus.

Because of the Law we know that we are sinners, and that God is holy. For as in Adam all died because of the transgression in Eden, but because of the obedience in Gethsemane, we are all justified through Christ. Salvation is secure for sure. But the problem isn’t salvation but Sanctification. The kids on Youth Camp understood salvation, was to free them from sin, but when they continued to sin, they came into bondage all over again. Romans 6, Paul commands us to no longer submit the members of our body to sin, but to present them to God as slaves of righteousness. [Rom 6:19]

Chapter 7, through a simple but wonderful illustration of marriage and the vows, Paul explains, that if a woman goes to another man, while still attached to husband, she is committing adultery. However, if he dies, then she is free to marry another. In our case, the Law doesn’t die, we die – when we die, we are free from serving the old master. In chapter 7:14-ff, has been a relief for me as I grew in the Lord. The frustration of not being able to do what I want to do, but actually wind up doing the very opposite; continuously gave me a guilt trip. I knew better, but still could not seem to stop myself from doing the very thing I was convicted about.  I embraced Romans 7:25 gladly, Thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord; He has delivered me from the Law! Because we are delivered, justified, and made to be sons and heirs with Christ, chapter 8 can say that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Free at last! Our salvation is not based upon our good behavior. Nor is it based on our bad behavior. It is based solely on Jesus Christ doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Sanctification is an ongoing process of growing in Christ. We don’t ever stop sinning because we are in the flesh. However, we cannot use that as an excuse to allow sin into our lives. We CANNOT live the Christian life. We were never meant too. Jesus is the Christian life. [John 15:5] Jesus has already lived the life that the Father originally intended man to live, and now wants to live in each of us. I do not live, but Christ lives in me! We get Right by Faith in Jesus, we stay Right by Faith in Jesus. He [Jesus ] is the Christian Life!


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Why the Gospel is Needed

We began this week reading from the book of Romans. This is the strongest letter by Paul. For it outlines the work of God through humanity and especially the need for salvation for all. Quickly the Apostle Paul moves from a strong greeting and salutation to the crux of his intention of writing. Since Paul had not started the church, he may have been largely unknown to the church that was in Rome. In Romans, we find a magnitude of theological and doctrinal issues addressed. Particularly, doctrines of depravity, justification, salvation, sanctification, and glorification. Sounds like a lot of $20 words, but Paul spends much of Epistle writings to correct and instruct beliefs and practices within the church. In writing to the Romans, Paul wanted some fruit from them, in order to be sent on his way to Spain. It makes logical reasoning that Paul would need to present himself and his message to the people first.

Chapter one has become of late a very volatile passage for it clearly speaks to the issue of homosexuality. It speaks first to the foundational existence of God. Although He [God] cannot be seen, He is Known through the things that exist and observed with our eyes. There are other passages that describe the created order of things through Jesus [Col. 1:15-18, Heb. 1:2-4]. Paul quickly describes the work of Jesus as the Savior of the world, and thereby affirming that He is the Son of God.  In verse 18, Paul exposes the condition of mankind and the depravity of our minds. From verse 18 to the end of the chapter, one finds that there is sufficient justification for the wrath of God in the lives of rebellious people. Many of the actions expressed by the Gentiles is being lived out in our day. There is significant accusation about the behavior of the Gentiles. At the foundation of their rebellion is their rejection of the God that has been revealed to them. Even though they KNEW God, they did not honor Him as God. I often hear in arguments against the “Jesus only” salvation, that everyone hasn’t heard of Jesus – then they try to come up with a people who live in some obscure place, where the Gospel can’t get; in hopes that there are people who will be excluded from Hell because they didn’t hear of Jesus and the Bible. This argument is shattered, for “They are without excuse,” for the invisible God is know by His visible creation.

The thrust of Paul in identifying the pagan behavior, is to show how low and how far from God people will go to pursue their rebellious behavior.  The condition of the mankind is the basis for the wrath of God. God is holy and righteous. He does not have to put up with gross immorality. Note the Flood conditions are the same as Paul writes and God destroyed all the people. Jesus speaks of the only sign we will be given, as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the end times. [Matt 24:37 -ff] Our culture has adopted am “amoral” position with regards to good and evil, specifically morality. All is acceptable, because there isn’t a standard. To adopt this position, one must eliminate God – this is exactly what Paul brings out is chapter one.

You can almost hear the Jewish believers shouting Amen to Paul’s conclusion about the Gentiles. Wait a minute, Paul isn’t done. In chapter 2, Paul takes on the Jews. The Jews had the oracles the Law; yet Paul brings out that the Law no man can’t be justified. The Old Testament salvation was one of faith [Abraham specifically, Hab 2:4], the just shall live by faith. Then Paul brings the argument that when Gentiles by nature do the Law, without the Law, they become a law unto themselves, and are pleasing to God. In other words, God has in fact created mankind with a desire to worship and governed by an innate law within them. His statement, that the Jew is not one born of Jewish stock, but one who lives by faith. So then, a Gentile who does the Law, without the Law becomes in all essence a Jew,

Chapter 3 is a huge chapter, for it quickly gets to the point that no one seeks after God, it is God who seeks after us. [Jeremiah 29:12-14] Paul, having leveled the ground by revealing the both Jew and Gentile are condemned and in subjection to the wrath of God. All have sinned, all fall short, all will be the object of God’s wrath, if faith and repentance are not accomplished. Romans becomes a great book to show how the Gospel moves from a Jewish audience to a Gentile, and hence a global Gospel. No one can claim advantage – the advantage is not in circumcision, nor,  is it in ignorance.

justification is always by faith, not works – Ephesians 2:8-10. It is God who justifies, in a forensic sort of way we are “declared” righteous, even though clearly we are not. Out justification and righteousness is in the Son Jesus – who God the Father sent. Hence salvation and acceptance is not of boasting in who we are, but praise and worship to the One and Only Way to be reconciled – Jesus!

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