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Posts Tagged ‘deeper life’

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.

2 Corinthians , , , ,

Resting in the Lord

July 19th, 2016

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

This psalm appears nameless in the Bible - author unknown, circumstance unknown - yet it has a timelessness that speaks to every believer’s heart.*

Faith brings spiritual rest to our hearts. Faith has a benefit all its own and is part of the mystery of our own conversion. To be a Christian means that we have been changed in our hearts, that we do not long for the things we previously longed for in our hedonistic worldliness, rather we have surrendered our lusts and pride to God. We have put aside the worship of other “gods” - our ambitions, our pet sins, our reputation, our desire for self-glory - and we have taken God as our all in all.

That faith cannot come without divine illumination by the Spirit of God is a theological fact. The one who would dwell in the shelter of the Most High, must know who this Most High God is. So our faith can never stand all by itself, or be its own origin alone. It depends on God enlightening our minds and hearts through his Word and by his Spirit. Yet if we could separate faith from the spiritual blessings of the Christian life, we would see that the person who believes has entered into a peace of sorts. He has ceased to struggle. He has decided to dwell in the shelter of God.

Faith answers the question of the human heart, “Is there a spiritual home for me?” Faith says, “Yes! It is with God.”

I remember as a child waiting for my parents to pick me up after certain events. I would wait with other children, often seeing them picked up first, and then my mother or father came. Instantly there was a recognition that this was my family, my home, my comforting reality. Faith in God is like this for our hearts, for we not only believe that he exists but that he rewards those who seek him (Heb. 11:6). In faith in God we have given up on other things, and come like the prodigal would have if the father had not met him first - stumbling across the threshold of grace in our spiritual poverty.

But we know that we have come home. The struggles have ceased, the inner fight has ended, and God has won - like the peace the prodigal must have had when he determined in his heart to go home to his father.The inner blessings of faith are described in this psalm - fearlessness and confidence, assurance in life - and these are of great benefit to our hearts. Faith in
God reinterprets every event in life, allowing us to be at peace and to rest in him no matter what the wind blows in.

Faith brings us into the spiritual rest of God. But the father did meet the prodigal before he arrived home, ran to him, embraced him, blessed him, and restored him. God blesses us with spiritual blessings which are beyond our own faith. He gives us peace and inner blessings of joy. He pours out into our hearts his love by his Spirit (Rom. 5:5).

The blessings spoken of in this psalm are not only the benefits of faith alone - they are also the grace gifts of God to our hearts. Our hearts “rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” That is, they receive the deep inner blessings of God’s Spirit working in our hearts and spirits.

Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 describe the spiritual rest of God. In the analogy of Israel’s journey into the Promised Land, we see an illustration of our spiritual life (1 Cor. 10:6). The Nation had faith in the wilderness, but God did also lead them into a new life of bountiful blessings as they left the wilderness and eventually entered into Palestine.

And the same is true for you and I spiritually. God desires us to enter into a new life of spiritual blessings in him, resting in his strength and might, fellowshiping with him daily, serving him effectively, experiencing his fullness in every way.

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*In general there are two interpretations as to its origin. Without an author named, it could be assumed to have been written by the author of the preceding psalm, in this case Moses. The images of dangers in the wilderness do lend to that interpretation.

The Jewish Targum, a collection of rabbinical interpretations, suggested that this was a conversation between David, Solomon, and God. David spoke verse 1, Solomon verse 2, David gave the promises of God to him in verses 3-13, and God spoke the final blessing in 14-16.

Daily Devotions, The Deeper Christian Life , , ,