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The Uniqueness of Christ

June 15th, 2017

As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Cor. 1:18-20 ESV)

Here is a jewel of scriptural insight, a principle that should guide us to understand the Scripture more fully. The entire Bible points toward Christ - either in prophecy and in examples or “types” in the Old Testament or in retrospect, experience, and anticipation in the New Testament. He is the essential Person of our redemption and of our life, and the main character of the book. He is the One through whom God works in our lives today.

The unity of the Bible: There are some who view the Bible as a collection of the random thoughts of lesser deities, superstitious tidbits for reflection of varying levels of inspiration or usefulness. But here is proclaimed a principle that clearly refutes that: “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.” Everything that God did in the Old Testament pointed to Christ - “These testify of me” said Christ of the Old Testament (John 5:39).

Christ said that He was the “Truth” (John 14:6), not that He spoke the truth but that He was in His very nature Truth itself.

The singleness of the work of God: God has only one work of redemption. It is multi-faceted in its outworking, properly called the “manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10), but the Redeemer is One and only One. All the promises of God are channeled into our lives through Christ, and through our faith in Him. God has sent only one Savior. He establishes only one Church - the Church Invisible comprised of all true believers in Christ. And though there are redeemed through the ages who were people of faith before the gospel of Christ was preached, even their salvation is mediated by Christ.

The ‘Amen’ is in Him as well: The word “Amen” meant the affirmation of the promises of God, and, for Christ, the acceptance of His role in the Father’s plan for salvation. There is solemnness in this fact. Christ called Himself “the Amen” (Rev. 3:14), meaning that He has taken on the responsibility of our redemption. It does not say that he said “Amen” to the plans of God, as though He merely agreed to them. It says He was the Amen, meaning that He Himself worked his salvation.

Looking at the sin of the world, God’s heart was burdened.

The Lord saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no one to intercede;
then his own arm brought him salvation,
and his righteousness upheld him.
He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing… (Isaiah 59:15-17 ESV, See also Isaiah 63:5)

Fullness of Redemption Is in Christ! And here is, I believe, Paul’s main point he was making to the Corinthians - that because Christ is the Amen, because all of the promises of God are fulfilled in Him, this means that Christ offers full redemption. Every believer should be thrilled with this truth! All sin is forgiven in Him. Every soul, no matter how affected we may be from sin, can find full redemption in Christ. We have fullness in Him not only of life after death but of life in the Spirit today.

The secret of living abundantly and joyfully is knowing Christ, trusting Him, submitting to Him, worshiping Him, following Him. The Phillips Translation says it this way:

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whom Silvanus, Timothy and I have preached to you, is himself no doubtful quantity, he is the divine “yes”. Every promise of God finds its affirmative in him, and through him can be said the final amen, to the glory of God.

We are helped in our understanding and spiritual growth by godly teachers of the Bible, but the basic experience of the believer is with Christ, and not with any other teacher. Simply taking His Word and listening to Him speak to our hearts, and meditating on its truth, and speaking to Him, opens for us the very doors of heaven. And God delights to bless people who trust in Christ with joy, wisdom, and abundance of life.

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A New Beginning

August 3rd, 2016

I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh … Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through our Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:18,24-25)

Authentic Christianity demands honesty. Honesty is the first step we must take to be saved - we must admit our need to our self and to God. Honesty is the first step we must take for renewal after we are saved - for when things begin to go wrong in our hearts we have begun to live in deception and not in the truth.

But honesty alone is never enough. It is one thing to be honest enough to admit that the ship one is on is sinking. It is another thing to get on the lifeboat. Honesty should lead also to faith in Christ. The apostle asked, “Who will rescue me?” and he answered affirmatively, “Christ will rescue me!”

Many efforts to come to Christ have fallen short, simply because they came to people rather than to God. Some have come only to the community of faith thinking that would be enough. I recall the testimony of a young businessman called out of the competitive world of finance into the ministry. Uprooting his family he moved them all to seminary, thinking he had found a spiritual Eden. He soon discovered that rather than finding a new way, he had simply come to the same old way in a different setting. There was as much ego and self-seeking there as in the bank where he worked earlier.

We decide to get active in a church and find that the attitudes of the world have also infiltrated the people of God. Everyone is struggling with something - and most often it is simply the fallen human nature, the “flesh” that Paul wrote about. Those who are sincere are often pulled down by others who are not sincere.

A new beginning cannot be merely the same old beginning in different clothes.

The true new beginning in life through Christ is always about coming to him personally, and surrendering our hearts and lives to him. It can never be to merely come to a community, or to a new philosophy, or to a new ethic. Christianity involves all of these things - a new outlook, a new family, a new hope - but these are the results of his work in the world, the fruit but not the root.

The new life is found in him, in coming to him like a prodigal son returning to his father, like a lost sheep letting the Good Shepherd find him and draw him close to his heart. God said to Israel, “If you return … to me you should return” (Jer. 4:1). And he says to us, If you will come to new life, then you should come to me. Paul wrote that the Spirit forms in our mind an understanding of Christ as a person.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 4:6)

Through the gospel God gives us the witness in our hearts of a specific Person, Jesus Christ who calls us and to whom we come. Come always to him, keep coming to him, speaking to him, trusting in him, for he is the one who gives true life. The new beginning is found in him.

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