“Words taught by the Spirit”
An Email Ministry for the Glory of God
“And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Ac.4:33)
A very short part of my personal testimony
My conversion to God was based on the issue of Christ’s death and resurrection. God guided me in such a way that my faith be based on the most basic points of Christian faith: Jesus Christ’s birth from a virgin, and His death and resurrection! My main difficulty was focused on accepting both the authenticity of the Bible and the resurrection of Christ, because it is written: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain……… And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1Cor.15:14, 17). When I was finally persuaded about the authenticity of the Bible (especially by the Messianic prophecies, but also by undeniable historic extra-biblical facts concerning Jesus’ life and the life of the people of Israel) and the resurrection of Jesus, my soul was seized with admiration, awe, fear and trembling. The historical proofs, joined with the “bona fide” of a man of a simple and good will, helped me to seize the object of faith, which is Jesus Himself. My research turned into certainties… and into works of faith! All my life was changed. Darkness was replaced by light. I realized that it took more “faith” to be a silly unbeliever and an atheist, such as I was, than to be a serious believer. Then, I fell on my knees and asked God for the forgiveness of my sins and for the salvation of my soul, on the basis of the verse: “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom.10:9).
I know for sure that God did not pay attention both to the extremely limited knowledge I had about Himself and His will and to the very limited knowledge I had about myself, but He accepted my “commitment” to Him just as I was. He knew that I had given Him, in a childish simplicity, sincerity and honesty all I was and had. I had not kept “a key” for myself “just in case when…”. He forgave me and saved me for now and for eternity! Since that day, He “organized” a lot of testing and afflictions I could never have imagined, but He also planned and accomplished such blessings, both material and spiritual, far beyond the capacity of my imagination! I was humbled not so much from my failures as from the blessings He bestowed on me in His mercy and grace! The only thing I have done since the day of my conversion was to study His Word and try wholeheartedly and sincerely to apply it in my life in the fear of God. My key words were: “John, repent truly in your heart for your failures and shortcomings”. I wish I knew how He sees me, but irrespective of this wish of mine, I try and I will continue to try my best in deep gratitude to be agreeable to Him.
Christ’s work on the cross
The central message of the Bible is Christ’s redemptive death on the cross and His resurrection. The Bible says that He “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Rom.1:4). HE died in our place so that we may be saved from God’s judgment. His resurrection is the seal of God’s approval that Christ has paid with His blood our sins. His resurrection was the proof of the justification, which was imputed to us, of our reconciliation to and of our peace with God. This is confirmed by the following verses: “… It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom.4:23-5:2).
When Jesus was on the cross, HE cried out: “IT IS FINISHED”: The work of our salvation that He had come into effect was finished, by offering Himself (Isa.53:12; Joh.10:11; Rom.5:6) according to His Father’s instructions. In this way, God’s justice and love for us were manifested: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Ps.85:10). On the cross, the severity, the justice and the love of God were manifested… Jesus Christ’s cross became the place of meeting and reconciliation of man with God. Christ’s mission was accomplished! His mission was to save those who were not worthy (the weak, the sinners and even His enemies like you and me), provided we would sincerely repent and believe in Him. The sin’s penalty was fully paid and man could be accepted by God. How regrettable it is to see men trying to “save themselves” by their good works! They try to accomplish what is already accomplished while their salvation depends on what Jesus has done! They try to open an open door! Forgiveness is granted only on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross; it constitutes the miracle of His divine grace.
Jesus Christ’s death was not a haphazard event of a common man. It was the death of a certain man in a certain period of history, decided in advance, before the world was created, for the salvation of the world and took place when the time was fulfilled! “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Php.2:8). He was “… the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev.13:8) for our salvation. The glory of such a salvation belongs “to Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev.1:5). Everything was accomplished according to the Holy Scriptures! Thus, it was proved that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2Tim.3:16).
If we have been crucified with Jesus by faith, then we are dead to the world and our dept does not exist anymore! You cannot say to a dead man: You owe or you do not owe. He has escaped from the LAW and passed into another world, where the LAW cannot follow him. God has “… blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col.2:14-15). It is a pleasant message for all those who are disappointed from themselves. The law made me to die and obliged me to take refuge in Christ. We should not, therefore, turn our eyes to ourselves, but we must set our eyes on the Beginner and Finisher of our faith, our Lord Jesus Christ! Now, being new creatures, He wants us to live for Him.
Christ’s resurrection and its eternal results
Only one person has ever defeated death… That person is Jesus Christ. He is alive and soon, one day every true believer will live with Him forever! Death has no more the final word. Satan’s defeat was predicted right from the dawn of mankind! In Genesis 3:15 it is written: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” God’s plan of mercy and grace were conceived before eternity. In spite of the difficulties, man’s enmity, the bloodshed throughout the ages, the apostasy, etc., nothing could stop God from the accomplishment of His plans. Jesus Christ’s resurrection was not a haphazard event. It was foretold by the prophets (Ps.16:10; Ac.1:22) and by Jesus Himself! (Mt.20:19; Mrk.9:9; 14:28; Joh.2:19-22). So, the Old Testament Scriptures and Jesus’ words were fulfilled (Lu.24:45-46), and constitute the proof that Jesus Christ is the Son of God! (Ps.2:7; Ac.13:33; Rom.1:4). The Bible tells us that He appeared after His resurrection to Mary Magdalene, to certain other women, to the apostles and to many other believers, even to Paul who persecuted Christ’s Church! In addition, our Lord’s resurrection was attested by angels (Mt.28:5-7; Lu.24:4-7), by the apostles (Ac.1:22; 2:32; 3:15; 4:33) and even by His enemies (Mt.28:11-15). His resurrection was followed by His exaltation (Ac.4:10-11; Rom.8:34; Eph.1:20; Php.2:9-10). He gave, in this way, many infallible proofs! “… It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Rom.8:34).
If Christ had not been crucified and raised from the dead, our sins could not have been forgiven (1Cor.15:17) and God could not have justified us (Rom.4:25; 8:34). Christ’s work on the cross and His resurrection are the basis of our lively hope and for our own resurrection (1Cor.15:19; 1Pet.1:3). So, we can preach the Good News with boldness and assurance. We should not forget that He is coming again to receive to Himself those who belong to Him! We should not, also, forget that Christ’s work has much more extended, far reaching results: “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Col.1:20).
Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ. The Easter message is one of hope and victory over death, for it recalls that Christ rose from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion. Easter symbolizes the love of God and the certainty that man’s soul is immortal. There is no Easter without Jesus! Unbelievers consider Jesus’ death and resurrection as foolishness; believers accept it as truth and receive salvation by God’s grace. And let us never forget what is written in the Bible in a very solemn way: “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God stays on him.” (Joh.3:36)
The news that He was alive should not have surprised the apostles. Many times He had foretold His crucifixion and resurrection. In fact, time and again, He told them that He would go to Jerusalem, die and rise again. Jesus “was delivered into death for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom.4:25). Through His death, the penalty was paid for our sins:
- “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…” (Gal.3:13), and
- “For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2Cor.5:21).
Through His resurrection, we are given a living hope, the proof that His promises are true (1Pe.1:3-5). Without a living Savior, there is no hope: “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain…” (1Cor.15:17). He lives! “…I am the first and the last: I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for ever more, Amen…” (Rev.1:17-18).
If this is not a victory, what then can be called victory?
Christ’s work was the product of His love for us
The work of our salvation was the product of God’s great love for us: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Joh.3:16). His Son emptied Himself from the honors and authorities in heaven (Php.2:6-11) in order to save us. We were lost and did not know what we were doing. Jesus “… who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Php.2:6-11).
We can, therefore, understand the unfathomable and unconditional love of God. If God’s justice was applied… we would have been consumed, but His compassions did not fail (Lam.3:22). Let us pay attention to a great truth: It is never said that God was reconciled with man but that man was reconciled with God! God always loved man and wanted to be his friend. He forgave us in His mercy; He saved us by His grace; He regenerated us by His Holy Spirit; He gave us power against sin and our passions; He added spiritual gifts in our life; He gave us newness of life and eternal life! Out of his love “… He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” (Rom.8:29). For the time being, “… we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1Jo.3:2). And much more: “… To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev.1:5).
Did we deserve such a compassionate treatment? No, absolutely not! God demonstrated His love: “… For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly……… while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us……… For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life (Rom.5:6-10). This is the most pleasant and encouraging message for all those who have despaired of themselves. Romans 3:23-24 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” So, let us take heart, for “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Rom.8:1).
Paul ‘sold’ everything, all his prerogatives in order to ‘buy’ that precious “pearl”, which was Jesus Christ. Paul was glorying in the cross of Christ because Christ had suffered for and substituted him on the cross; because he was reconciled with God; because He had been redeemed from the slavery of sin; because he could now live a holy life. Paul had now the power to resist sin and stand against the wiles of Satan and do all things through Christ who strengthened him (Php.4:13). Satan was defeated and judged and Paul was transferred from Satan’s dominion, from darkness, to the wonderful light of Christ and under the sweet dominion of Christ’s grace. God, in His grace, had written His law in his heart (Heb.10:16 and 8:10). He knew that he had everlasting life because his name was written in the Book of the Lamb and because he would reign with Him, etc.! Do we glory in all these things?
If we could obtain righteousness by the Law of Moses or by our good works, then Christ is crucified in vain. By faith and repentance, I have been crucified and died with Jesus and now I live with Christ and for Christ. The sacrifice on the cross, the blood of Christ, is my only hope. When we were at our worst, Jesus gave His life to save us.
Conclusion: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1Pe.1:3). If this is not a victory, what is then a true victory? His victory is also our victory! We can enjoy that victory in our personal life IF WE CONSENT to walk according to the instructions given to us in Rev.12:11: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death.” We must make ours, by faith, Jesus victory on Golgotha so that we may win. Our great enemy has been defeated. The cross is the only weapon against Satan! We must never move from our position and from our privileges in Christ.
Reconciliation and its prerequisites
God’s purpose was, first, to reconcile us to Himself and that we have peace with Him and second, to reconcile us men, among ourselves! This is the meaning of:
- 2:16: “and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity”, and of
- 4:1-3: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation with which you are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”!
If God does not have our consent, He cannot realize His purpose and work in us. For those who are lost or have lost their orientation or have become backsliders, it is indispensable to take refuge in Christ’s sacrifice. If we ever understand the importance of the Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, we cannot move away from this truth! Christ’s cross does not leave any place for our personal or for our religious or for our denominational pride. Unfortunately, the Deceiver tries to focus our attention on things which, though Biblical, are of secondary importance and make us lose from our sight the truth of the cross of Christ. The cross and our arrogance cannot coexist just like light and darkness. One cannot say that he is “holier” than his neighbor: If I deserved a cross and you deserved a cross, what is, therefore, the difference between us two? If there is no difference, that means that, in reality, there is no problem of superiority between you and me. The cross constitutes, also, the solution to all racial problems! May the Lord give us such a heart and help us to take the proper humble stand before God and men! In addition, the fact that we were redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice means that we do not belong to ourselves: “What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1Cor.6:19-20). We conclude, therefore, that there are certain prerequisites: truth, humility and commitment.
Preaching of Christ’s death and resurrection
Paul, the apostle, was asserting that Christ did not send him to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words (that is with human reflections, ideas or speculations), lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect (1Cor.1:17). Jesus told His apostles before His death and resurrection, what was going to happen… The apostles, when they understood the meaning and importance of Jesus’ death and resurrection, they never changed the theme of their preaching and teaching. Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection are not a theory, but historic facts. His death and resurrection are the central points of the Gospel and are emphasized in the Epistles of the apostles. This is the reason why “… with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus…” and that is why “… great grace was upon them all.” (Ac.4:33). Our Lord Jesus Christ had not only spoken about His resurrection, but had identified Himself with the ‘resurrection’ itself: Jesus told Martha, “… I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (Joh.11:25). Since God’s justice and love were manifested on the cross of Christ, we also, must have the cross and the resurrection as the central theme of our preaching, but in the proper way: “… to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” Eloquence should not make vain Christ’s cross. For the worldly people the cross is a paradox, I should rather say “foolishness” (1Cor.1:18) but for the Christian all the meaning of his “religion” and of his life is contained in the cross. The cross of Christ and His resurrection are the solid foundation for his joy and peace. Unfortunately, “…the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but to us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1Cor.1:18). Jesus has become our bridge of reconciliation! Someone said: “We are not diplomats, but prophets; and our message is not a compromise, but an ultimatum.”
If we forget or neglect to give the message of the cross, we risk being led into error and the deformation of the truth. Paul knew, however, that on account of the preaching of the cross, he would suffer persecution (Gal.5:11). He squarely refused to make a fair show in the flesh by accepting the circumcision in order not to suffer persecution. When he went to Athens, the Athenians mocked him (Ac.17:18, 32). Even when he was brought to be judged before kings, he spoke about the resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust (Ac.24:15). This holds good also for us whenever we speak about Jesus’ resurrection as well as about of our future resurrection…
Enemies of the cross
Paul was weeping as he was seeing that certain people were walking in a way that rendered them enemies of the cross: “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” (Php.3:18-19). Enemies of the cross? Yes, enemies of the cross because their God was their belly and their glory was in their shame, and minded earthly things… (v.19 and Rom.16:18). The various religions, Islam, Buddhism, etc. are, indeed, enemies of the cross! The worse enemies of the cross are, nevertheless, those that profess to be Christians who are afraid and ashamed of taking an open position in favor of Christ; those that give their vote in favor of Barabbas and deliver Christ to be crucified…; those that for political reasons (to fish some votes), or for an economic or social profit, put on equal footing the teaching and the mission of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Tit.2:13) with the teachings of Mohamed or Buddha etc.; those that remove the Bible from the Christian hotels in order not to… offend Islamist customers; and those that prevent the distribution of the New Testament in secondary schools, universities etc., etc. In the same way, enemies of the cross are the workers of the gospel who remove from their «gospel» the Christ’s cross, the Christ’s blood, the «rights» of God from their own life and from the life of other believers! Yes, those whose religion is just a pure and simple ritual mixed with false traditions; those who use only part of Christ’s words and avoid to speak about repentance, about hell and condemn sin; and those who mix philosophy, psychology, sociology and give false security and comfort, smooth things and deceits (Isa.30:10), to make people feel pleasantly… because they have itching ears (2Tim.4:3). May the Lord prevent us from such things in due time, before it is too late. Paul knew very well that every doctrine that was not embedded in the cross of Jesus would lead people astray. How sad it is, in our days, to see that the cross of Jesus, His resurrection and the invaluable blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins and our redemption, in general, are so rarely preached!
We understand that the enemies of the cross, about whom Paul were speaking, were “Christians”, not rejecting in words the cross of Christ, but living in a manner, which showed that they were enemies to the pure gospel, most probably, in the following ways: a) by an immoral life; b) by a heart that had never truly been regenerated by the Holy Spirit; and c) by living in the indulgence of known sin! Paul was weeping over them! Do we?
Much injury is done to the true religion because of such ‘Christians’. Nowadays, some are accused as homosexuals or immoral, some as lovers of money, some as dictators, some as behaving like worldly diplomats without sincerity, some as teachers of false doctrines, some as watering down the Word of God in order either to make it ‘more attractive’ or not to be considered as ‘fundamentalists’ but as being of a “broad mind”, some come as false prophets, etc. Because of such people, the Gospel of our Lord and Savior is blasphemed!
Who is the Victor and who is the defeated foe?
The victor is Christ and the defeated is Satan. That victory was not for HIMSELF but for us… For you and me! For you and me, so that our sins may be blotted out and that we may have everlasting life. Jesus said: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (Joh.12:32) And this was done in order to restore us to our previous position of glory and honor before the fall of the human race into sin. His victory became our victory! The resurrection day is waiting for us… Then, God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Rev.21:4). Our Lord Jesus Christ assured us that the ruler of this world, that is Satan, had nothing in Him (Joh.14:30). Peter says that the Lord Jesus Christ “did no sin” (1Pet.2:22); Paul says that He “knew no sin” (2Cor.5:21); and John says that “in Him was no sin” (1Joh.3:5). It was then, in the days of His death and resurrection that the judgment of this world took place and it was then that the ruler of this world was cast out (Joh.12:31). The Holy Spirit confirmed through the Apostle Paul, in 2Th.2:8, that when the lawless one will be revealed, “…the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”
Jesus, in order to achieve His goal, ‘partook of flesh and blood, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those, who through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage’ (Heb.2:14-15). And again, we were informed through the lips of John the Apostle that the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of Satan who has sinned from the beginning (1Jo.3:8). Again, the same apostle informed us prophetically that the Devil, who deceived men, will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone together with the beast and the false prophet. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Rev.20:10).
If what the Lord has achieved is not a great victory, then what is victory?
Our situation and His mercy and grace
The Bible says: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once” (1Cor.15:3-6).
Jesus did what He did for us while we were without strength, ungodly, sinners and even His enemies. Yea, while we were dead in trespasses and sins, God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, made us alive together with Christ and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace we have been saved through faith, and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Eph.2:1-9).
Isaiah the prophet said: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa.53:4-6). In addition, when Jesus was on the cross He prayed for His enemies: “…Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…” (Luc 23:34). If His death and resurrection as well as His forgiving spirit are not an unprecedented victory, then what is true victory?
Also, there is something else that we should never forget. And this is that “…we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb.4:14-16). Jesus was tempted in all points as we are, yet without having sinned; He gives us, poor human beings, however, the possibility to come boldly to the throne of grace “that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”.
If this is not an incomparable victory, then what is true victory?
For Jesus and on the whole world
The consequences for Jesus our Lord who obeyed to the end, was to be highly exalted and be given the name which is above every name ‘that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (Php.2:9-11). His kingdom shall never be destroyed; it shall break in pieces and consume all kingdoms, and it shall stand forever (Dan.2:44). All peoples, nations and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away (Dan.7:14).
For us believers
The consequences for us will be beyond any imagination, provided we overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony and if we do not love our lives to the death (Rev.12:11). Yes, if our repentance is genuine and our faith without hypocrisy, then God will grant us salvation and victory. Christ is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Heb.7:25). When the Bible says to the “uttermost” it means to the “uttermost”. No condemnation, victory over sin, victory over all our weaknesses, victory over the flesh and victory over the Wicked one!
But how was that triumph achieved? By the shedding of His blood! By His blood in which there was no sin circulating… His miraculous birth and His resurrection are, consequently, the two pillars of our Christian faith. Each and every true Christian must accept, by simple and sincere faith, these two great “miracles” in order to be counted as a true believer! He who believes in Jesus’ resurrection and does not believe in His birth from the Virgin Mary through the intervention of the Holy Spirit and vice versa is fatally mistaken!!! This is the reason why death and Satan could not retain Him in the grave. “Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held of it.” (Ac.2:24). He was reviled, He was bruised, He was spat upon, He was despised but He did not consider all these as a hindrance. And He went out conquering and to conquer (Rev.6:2). He partook of our flesh, He was found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Php.2:8). We, in turn, can become victors and overcomers if we make proper use of His blood, if we use properly His Holy Word, if we proclaim His Word and if we imitate Him in His decision to do God’s will, whatever the cost might be… There is no other way for us to become victors, unless we learn to resist to blood, striving against sin (Heb.12:4). Let those who have ears hear… If one has gone astray, let him come back to the first love in order to become a victor…
God has given us many and wonderful promises. One of the most precious and important promise is that we will have, as soon as we are justified by faith “…PEACE with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom.5:1). His promises will be inherited if we do not become sluggish, but imitate those who had faith and patience (Heb.6:12) and if we do not live for ourselves but for Him who died for us and rose again (2Cor.5:15), we will be given authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt us (Lu.10:19).
Nothing, absolutely nothing, will be able to separate us from the love of Christ! Whether tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword! In all these things, we will be more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom.8:35-37). We will overcome the Wicked one (1Jo.2:13) because greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world (1Jo.4:4) but also and mainly because we have believed that Jesus is truly the Son of God (1Jo.5:5). To him who overcomes Christ will give white garments, and will not blot out his name from the Book of Life. Jesus will confess his name before His Father and before His angels (Rev.3:5). He will make him a pillar in the temple of His God, and he shall go out no more. He will grant him to sit with Him on Christ’s throne (Rev.3:21). Christ confirms: “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” (Rev.21:7). It is also a promise and a guarantee of the resurrection of all true believers (Rom.8:11; 1Cor.6:14; Php.3:21 1Jo.3:2). As He lives, they will also live.
Let us examine ourselves:
- Have we received Christ as our personal Savior and as Lord of our life? Are we now children of God? “… As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (Joh.1:12).
- Have we been set free from the dominion of sin? There are many Christians who sincerely believe that their sins are forgiven, but they have great difficulty to believe that they have been set free from the power or slavery of sin. They live the experience of chapters 6 and 7 of Romans, but not of chapter 8 as overcomers. God does not only forgive our sins, but He also purifies us and delivers us from our bad habits and passions, which have become our second nature (1Jo.1:9)!!! God can save to the uttermost! An “up and down” life is not a normal Christian life!
- Do we want to be winners? If yes, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow HIM (Mark 10:21). If not, we are not worthy of HIM (Mat.10:38; Mat.16:24). Let us never forget what our Lord taught all His hearers: “… If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me……… And whoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Lu.9:23, 14:27). Have we given our all to Christ, who gave His all for us? Christ did everything for us. Now everything depends on us. Do we live in an unfailing and spontaneous repentance and do we proclaim repentance (Lu.24:47)?
- Have we received the unction of the Spirit? The Holy Spirit interprets the Word of God and gives us His unction so that we may not be in need to be taught (1Jo.2:27); He gives us power against sin and leads us in the right way and He bestows on us gifts to make us able for service. However, we should never forget that God gives the Holy Spirit and fills the heart of those who obey Him (Ac.5:32). God pours out His Spirit on man and makes His words known to him provided man pays attention at His rebukes (Pr.1:23), that is, when he accepts and obeys His reproofs (AV). The Holy Spirit guides them in all truth – THOSE WHO LOVE THE TRUTH – (2Thes.2:10-12), intercedes in their favor, comforts them and helps them when they cross difficult moments in their life.
- If we are weak and stumbling, let us look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Heb.12:2). Let us not be discouraged on account of the adversities of life. God is faithful and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that we may be able to bear it (1Cor.10:13). Let us not be discouraged when Satan tries to sift us as wheat. Our Lord has prayed for us and His prayer is always valid that our faith should not fail (Lu.22:31-32). Let us submit to God and resist the devil and he will flee from us (Jas. 4:7).
- Have we understood that the only way to face our problems and afflictions is to commit our way to the LORD, trust also in Him and wait for God to bring things to pass? (Ps.37:5). Let us pray to God that He makes us wise to that which is good, and simple concerning evil and the God of peace shall bruise Satan under our feet shortly (Rom16:19-20). Then we will see the victory of Jesus and we will live and enjoy the privileges and power of the cross and Christ’s resurrection! Then we will be able to repeat with Paul, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal.6:14). Finally, let us not forget that “… we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2Cor.5:10).
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all. Amen.