“Jesus replied, ‘You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.’”John 13:7
“For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”– Romans 3:25-26
We see throughout the Old Testament that God shows grace and mercy to His people. He forgave the Israelites’ continual rebellion. He answered all of Gideon’s challenges with His power. He surely didn’t need to! (Judges 6:17-22, 36-40). God had a deep, unique, intimate relationship with Moses despite his past as a murderer and his continual impatience and rash behaviour.
We also read that God is holy and righteous. He is just and cannot come in contact with anything vile or profane. His standard of holiness will not allow it. Humans are evil, sinful and profane, yet we see story after story in the Old Testament of God meeting with His creation and showing them grace.
How can this be?
Romans 3:25-26 tells us! It’s because of Jesus Christ! Because of what He would do on the cross!
His blood-bought salvation is applied to all creation, even to those we read about in the Old Testament.
How is this possible? Jesus had not been born and He had not died and rose from the dead in Old Testament times?
God is outside of time! Jesus was present in creation. His death and resurrection applies to all man-kind, “through all time.”
These men and women looked forward to the day that Christ would come and redeem them from their shackles of shame, guilt and condemnation. It was this faith that activated God’s grace through Jesus Christ to the saints in the Old Testament. (Hebrews 11:13-16, 40)
There is grace and mercy through no one else but Jesus Christ!
Though it was a great mystery to those who lived before Calvary, Christ’s sacrifice still paid for their sins and showered them with His grace.
It was through Christ that Moses could hear God’s voice in the burning bush (Exodus 3) and experience the glory of God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19).
It was through Christ that Gideon could boldly ask the powerful, Holy God to show Himself true! Without grace, he would have been struck dead for his lack of faith and arrogance.
It was through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross that the Israelites were not wiped out in their entirety, when they time and time again murmured, complained and rebelled against the Living God.
Through both the Old and New testaments we see the grace and mercy of God that was purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Christ died once for all! (1 Peter 3:18)
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.
For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord.
Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
-1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. ” (v.17)
The wisdom of God is contrary to the wisdom of the world. Human minds cannot comprehend the wisdom of God apart from a revelation of the Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to reveal true wisdom to us. We will then be open to the Spirit’s revelation on all matters. Our minds will then be transformed and we will gain the mind of Christ. Our fleshly mind will fade and our spiritual mind will grow. As we gain this wisdom we will walk in tune with the will of the Father and our relationships with Christ will grow deeper.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people…”(v.18)
The Holy Spirit must lift our hearts. He must move in us as the strong wind moves the cedars among the groves.
Hope does not come from circumstances or any worldly pleasure or security. All feelings of exhilaration we experience through these are fleeting and false. Emotionalism, at best is deceptive and crippling to the soul. True abiding hope comes straight from the Holy Spirit and cannot be conjured by human will or effort. We cannot grind our teeth and force our way into His hope. He enlightens our hearts like nothing we can gain on our own.
Unlike humanistic psychology, New Age healing, the self-help industry and the like, the hope found through Jesus Christ brings true and lasting security to our lives, in our relationships. He transforms our decisions.
“…and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (v. 19-21)
This is the same power that resurrected Jesus Christ, the same power that raised Him to His rightful place on high and the same power of authority that is held by God the Father. This is the power demonstrated in the dominion of God. It is the very power that God spoke in the beginning of creation. It is the life-giving power of God the Father, which is the very power that formed the earth, that made a beginning, that is steady and strong now and will continue on. That power lives in us and is upon us through the Holy Spirit’s power.
“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”(v. 22-23)
Jesus is the head of the Church. We who believe are the Church. Not only do we have His power living through us by the indwelling Holy Spirit, but we are also a part of Christ Jesus. We are grafted into the being of Christ. As He is the head, we are His body and the Head is to lead the body.
Do we war against His will? Then we affect the body which is His Church. We do not affect the Head for He stays resolute and firm in His identity and truth. However, when we do not move as He wills, we pull away from His life-giving flow. We war against the reality of God, we war against the very power He has given us through the Holy Spirit. We then become a sickness to the Body. We effect the healthy members of the Church and keep them from their identity which is in Christ.
When someone gets a heart transplant, often times the body rejects the new heart because it fails to work in harmony with the rest of the body. It then needs to be removed and a heart which will function with the rest of the members of the body will replace it.
When we come into the family of God, we enter into the Body of Christ. We are given tremendous power. The very power-giver we worship lives in us! We, however, need to follow the Head, Christ, or we cannot live. We will become a useless organ, dead flesh, a hindrance to the very will and purpose of Christ and His Church.
In the name of Jesus