JESUS INHERITS THE LEGACY OF JOHN, THE BAPTIST:
It was by divine right that Jesus inherited the ministry of the Baptist. It really was a legacy, bequeathed in his own lifetime, given that there was only a short time before John would be arrested by Herod Antipas and subsequently beheaded.
John specifically pointed out the divinity of Jesus to those gathered at the Jordan where he was performing the act of immersive baptism.
Matthew 3:13 -17 “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'”
John 1:30-34 “This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.’ Then John gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.'”
The above passage citing John 1:30-34 confirms Jesus is the Messiah chosen by God and long- promised Israel. Some immediately left John and followed Jesus. John’s principal disciples became one with Jesus.
The New Testament records that as His ministry reached out (and Jesus was never still or long in one place), great crowds came from everywhere to listen, bring their sick and no doubt hoping to witness the miracles of the many healings.
Some interesting comments on this aspect of Jesus’ ministry can be found at this link. The quotes are by Rebekah Eklund, Associate Professor of Theology, Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.
Jesus was also sending His Apostles to the countryside to spread The Good News of redemption and no doubt establishing/rooting clumps of believers. I think it is fair to say that dissention at this time was mainly concentrated in the priestly order of the Sanhedrin and the groups that comprised it. This would have included those Jews to whom the orthodoxy of Judaism was virtually their life-breath, believing that nothing could or should be changed or re-interpreted. After all, they had the Mishnah, the oral tradition of Torah, and the extrapolations by the venerated Rabbinate, some of whom were considered as God-inspired sages. The latter comprised hundreds of years of work and are contained in many volumes. They are known as Talmud.
DISSENTION IN HIS OWN RANKS:
Jesus had to deal with dissention almost immediately, even amongst His apostles as they vied for precedence amongst themselves. He quickly pointed out to them that they did not realize the potion contained in the cup they were asking to drink out of. He was referring to His own future and then told them that some of them would also suffer similarly.
When Paul (their erstwhile persecutor) was called by Christ Himself on the Road to Damascus, many followers could not accept his conversion. It didn’t get much better when Paul began taking the Gospel to Gentiles. Many in town containing Jewish synagogues repudiated his message. Worse, they worked to stir up local Jews and the Gentiles living in the cities/towns Paul ministered.
The letters of Paul clearly indicate that the legacy of the Christ was doubted by many of the Jews. As well, there were constant attempts to have it banned. Wherever possible, the orthodox Judaists stirred up local sentiment against the Apostles. Paul was beaten several times, and attempts were made to stone him to death. The gospel message was manipulated, despised and usurped by both deniers and those who were ultimately to seize it!
THE LEGION OF THE LOST:
(The Two-Way Street of Deception & Denial)
The multitude (the World) has had, in the main, little or no relationship with God. Nor has it seriously attempted to seek it. Even when Christianity was established and approved by allegedly converted rulers, people paid it ‘lip service.’ Though, the latter always made sure they attended and paraded before the multitudes on the special feast/commemorative days.
And upon the other side of the street stand those who, calling themselves, ‘Christian,’ come bringing the false gospel of hopelessness. Drink from this poisoned cup and it will result in your spiritual death as you embrace it.
They are dangerous subversives. They are heretics who have actively perverted the faith. And having infiltrated it, do not teach the redeeming grace of Jesus that flows from the genuinely broken, contrite and repentant heart of a sinner.
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-20).
Then, there are those who are not/were never willing to concede the existence or the likelihood that God could/should be permitted to have any possible impact on their lives.
Eventually, such people become spiritually blind, their hope squandered as they wait, unknowingly, for eternal death instead of new life. The inner light provided of the Holy Spirit will not illuminate their souls so that they open to Him.
Yet they would ‘use’ the name of Jesus for divers purposes, including the blasphemy of using His name as an exclamation of joy when they perceive something that fills them with temporary awe and wonder.
I particularly call out unrepentant fornicators, who, in denial, continue to deliberately practice what God has decreed is unnatural concourse. The sick, fallen church has welcomed them to its own polluted bosom and they then, from a stained pulpit, preach a mantra of death.
There are those also who, during the length of their respective lives, have searched elsewhere for that which they knew (within their heart themselves) existed ‘somewhere’ but never quite found it.
Alas, they searched in vain. Even resorting to the medium of the forbidden practices of the occult, spirit mediums and satanic ritual.
Their continued denial sees them, at last, denied.
How ironic is this!
All will bow before the throne of God!
The Bible clearly states that humbling your heart at judgment changes nothing.
Eternal separation from God is confirmed in this life on the basis of the choices so freely made. However, be of no doubt, at judgment, sentence is carried out.
This truth of faithfully interpreted Scripture is no longer taught in some long-established, allegedly Christian, churches.
‘For, there’s no other way,
but to trust and obey,
to be happy (in Jesus),
than to trust and obey!’
We can no longer ‘pussyfoot’ around this. And as I write these words, I know that believers are now under specific attack for declaring these things. The World now nominates and punishes us, as we are nominated as the purveyors of ‘Hate Crimes.’
This very day I read that, as a number of Bible-based churches have attempted to take the Word online to their own parishioners during the currency of the COVID-19 Lock-down.
They have immediately incurred the wrath of ‘mighty’ Google. Their new accounts are being summarily shut down.
If they dare to suggest, even remotely, that God might possibly be a ‘player’ in the pandemic and extreme ‘natural’ events now hitting the world like the blows of a cosmic hammer, Google denies them a voice. Jesus warned us it would be so toward the End.
To those who arbitrate such decision-making, I say, ‘beware’! As you judge the people of the Living God, so also are you invalidating your own future. To be specific, you have none.
Many, many have been lost, continue to be lost and will remain lost in whatever future still remains to us in this fallen world. If nothing else, the COVID-19 Pandemic has brought home to the World the fragility of our life-force.
ARE SOME EYES OPENING?
Did you know that Religious Bookshops are experiencing a Bible rush? Some have (I pray so) heard the wake-up call. Maybe the distant sound of the Shofar beginning to sound in a not quite dead soul?
VIEWING THE WORLD AS AN ENTITY: (The Ant Mound)
Ants are a completely social entity. They reproduce, feed their young by sending out workers, and maintain an army for defence against predators. It is a self-contained, self-perpetuating world in its own right. Its only ethos is the survival of the mound that gives it shelter from the elements so it may continue to reproduce. To exist and multiply is the only focus. To that extent, at least, it has purpose, a raison d’être (reason for being).
Conversely, ‘the World,’ having through the medium of personal choice, separated itself from God, no longer has (in the eye of God) a valid ‘reason for being.’
The Bible is specifically clear, from start to finish.
This unrepentant fallen World is to be swept away to eternal oblivion.
That includes most of the people, our institutions and the various nations that claim to speak for us and to whom we give our allegiance.
The brave new future the World sees for itself is a mirage. It is a sad, perversely sick dream. Mark the Word of Scripture well. The World cannot (by virtue of the Word of God) be sustained. God is the foundation of His own Creation. Remove God, and the World crumbles.
THE WORLD WILL GET WHAT IT HAS ASKED FOR:
The World is, however, to gain its utopian desire for a ‘One World Government.’ Scripture is clear that the World is to be ruled for a very short while by a figure who is the antithesis of Jesus.
He is Anti-Christ, and Satan has (given the lateness of the hour) probably already chosen him. In terms of timing – he waits in the Wings of this insane, sick drama.
His time will not be for long, though; the Earth is almost destroyed, its great oceans dried up, along with the annihilation of most of mankind during his satanic reign.
Then, the Earth itself will be restructured by God in a way that will make our existing mapping obsolete.
WHAT FUELS OUR PARTICULAR ANT MOUND?
We ‘see’ manifest in this world, the symptoms of man’s brokenness through the means he uses to optimize his life.
Increasingly, something is always missing!
As we give up on God, the ant mound he gave us in the form of the Earth is no longer sustainable in its present form. The mound is imploding, and we with it. Just as though someone poured a concoction of hot water and ant-killer down the dominant entry point to our mound.
At least ants maintain their ethos of reproduction. Their wish is to ensure their own survival.
Conversely, we murder our young and, ultimately, when the chips are down, care only for the well-being of the individual.
We have lost the group dynamic of family, and even motherhood is now seen by many as an event that glorifies not motherhood as the principal nuclei of family, but the mother herself. The child (if permitted existence) is bred to become an enhancement to feed her ego.
Together with her mate, she will choose or deny conception. And if, in the nature of flesh, she falls pregnant ‘inadvertently,’ it will be her choice to have it wrested from her body. The law of man and the Godless society it represents gives her mate very little say in the matter, because (after all) ‘it’s her body – not his.’
Marriage is approached on similar terms.
We no longer see manifest, the corporate ‘us’ of a tightly integrated, self-sustaining family structure supported by God. Instead, in its place, we have installed an unsupported edifice of the singular, ‘me.’ And this soulless gout of self-satisfaction feeds not the young but only the ‘Queen’ herself.
If her young survive, their souls, in the main, will rarely be exposed to the nurture provided by Jesus. Instead, they will gain the knowledge inherent in this self-serving environment, growing up to be ‘just like Mommy’!
As for those whom the Queen will reject (on a range of spurious grounds such as, “it’s just not the right time!”), submitting herself to undergo a surgical removal: fear not; He knows them – every one! Even though the butcher destroys their tiny bodies, he cannot destroy their souls.
In the world of insects, it is not uncommon for a mother to kill her mate in order that her young may survive by feeding upon his carcase. Never, to my knowledge, does she consume her own young.
That a woman would self-actualize her being through the gift of becoming a mother is wonderful. Certainly in terms of what God meant it to entail. But today, God help us, many young women appear to self-actualize through a thought process that Freudian psychologists refer to as the consuming drives of competition between ego and super ego.
In short, coolly made personal decisions that rationalize, demoralize and thereby overcome the basic inner drives of that which Freud called ‘the id’– her uncoordinated, instinctual desires. Specifically – the desire for motherhood.
This (the natural desire of the female for motherhood and child nurture) is the hallmark of our flesh. And it is part of the ‘divine wiring’ placed into the female and her mate when God told Adam and Eve to “go forth and multiply!” And at the same time, wired in a healthy serving of mutual lust to ensure that ‘as they became one flesh’ they would continue to cleave to each other. “That which God hath joined together, let no man put asunder!”
And paying a tad of ironic lip-service to the work of evolutionists who link us to other mammals, it seems inherent in the animal world as well (except perhaps in the realms of predators where fathers often consume young that they did not seed themselves).
Super ego and ego (saith sage Freud) is a selfishly guarded sanctuary in which no rivals can enter nor will they be tolerated.
In this, her own created world, the woman is fulfilled within herself; self-nurtured, though not by her children and husband. Instead, only by what the World has convinced her she is.
Her persona is definable: ‘I am who I am…as seen through the eyes of others.’ And the world says, “Go ahead, ‘you’ deserve it!”
Truly, she fulfils the epitome of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, where the pinnacle of a human being’s aspiration is ‘self-actualization.’ In this sought-after environment, all your basic needs for food/shelter/survival having been met, you now turn to achieve and actualize all your personal dreams, directing all your effort to making them your own treasured reality.
The ‘head shrinkers’ may take great exception to my analysis. However, I would go one step further and suggest that we replace Super Ego/Ego (in locus parentis) with the Grand Master of Ceremonies Himself: Satan. The Super Ego/Ego are simply ‘stand-ins’ for he who presently pulls the puppet strings of our fallen world.
The World will say that my barbs are just too cruel.
In truth, however, you need sometimes to be cruel to show the way to reality. And it is not the true believer in Christ who lives the false reality. It is those who think this World is reality, and as such, they can work to make it better.
The rot sets in when we’re kids. We enter a race and we lose. Yet we all must win a prize so as not to be discriminatory (says the World of Socialist-inspired rubbish).
We learn very early that the World is constructed to support our every desire (or so we think), because no one ever said ‘no!’ That’s not real life. We soon learn the hard way that not all will be winners.
In making these observations, from the perspective of modern motherhood, I know I am a lonely voice ‘crying in the wilderness.’ Sadly, most of the World has come to accept and promulgate abortion of the unborn for reasons other than what one could deem an urgent medical necessity. Any contrary opinion (whether based upon God’s Law or otherwise) instantly labels you a hateful bigot.
Isn’t that the point at which we started?
When, however, we opened this particular door an inch, we opened a Pandora’s Box of raised expectations. It was soon realized that, by ‘choice,’ people could and would go much further, seeking instead to enhance both lifestyle and the accumulation of personal treasure. Some have actually gone on record with a proud boast respecting the number of abortions they have undergone.
I likewise point the finger at men in similar aspects of their lives, where career and self-pleasuring comes first every time.
Men have come to accept that we can and should, for similar reasons, prematurely deny the propagation of our own seed through semi to permanent means of contraception. So they go get ‘snipped.’
Speaking from experience, something I personally consented to and have come to regret over many years. May God forgive me!
This is not a recipe for survival of ‘our’ ant mound. In the long run, it’s a ticket to disaster.
The result is that we no longer possess a group ethos or dynamic of ultimate survival of the race of man. Rather, we are only left with a well-emergent death wish for our species.
China has so upset the balance of her own population by the abortion of girls (and some after birth), that it will take them many years to undo the damage they have done.
In the West, our national characteristics and culture are going out the door backwards. We are barely replacing our death rate. Instead, we are victim to the unwelcome, unnatural phenomenon of rapidly aging populations, and we face a bleak future where we will have insufficient young people to support the aged.
We thought that God’s design of family and reproduction was outdated. Instead, it is we who have ‘out-dated’ our race.
We have wounded our flesh badly. And what we have unnaturally achieved has little relativity to that which God initially planned for us.
What we had, we have lost to this entity we know as ‘the World.’ And we, thus, slavishly serve its master.
What a sad irony it is that the natural fecundity of a woman to conceive and carry a child is, on the one hand, denied, while at the same time, thousands of other women struggle to conceive. And failing, line up for adoption or fostering. How grateful the latter invariably are to gain an instant family.
First man and his ‘help-meet,’ tempted by that fallen angel (who can, at will, turn into a serpent), lost more than we realize, when they first fulfilled their desire to know as much as our Creator.
So easily did our common ancestry succumb to the temptation that raised up within them that desire, that it became engrained in our race. It has bequeathed us a legacy wherein we gained the World and mostly lost ourselves as we co-jointly separated ourselves from God!
No matter how hard we work, achieve relative success or conversely, fail, man seeks not God but the sponge cake of inner self- enlightenment. A confection he then ices with the frosting of self-indulgence.
‘How can I optimize my life and relationships?’ This is the constant, barraging mantra that the advertising media harangues him with.
Go on! Do it! Buy it! Live it!
When ‘self’ is your chief focus, finding God becomes a near impossible goal. And so, we try to cope using those things we believe will aid our search.
IS THERE A REMEDY?
How easily then, the World falls victim to addictions. Substance abuse (inclusive of steroids), misuse of ‘pain killers,’ booze, and fornication (precisely as biblically described and isolated as sin) become the tools of choice. Throw into this mix the worship of both science and celebrity mixed within this casserole of self-love.
Anything that will fill the huge void of emptiness that the individual senses, lies within them.
To the simmer of this casserole of self-edification, we add a liberal lashing of the potency of pride, arrogance, vanity and finish with several pinches of personal conceit.
In the main, you are left with a meal that, upon consumption, turns to gut-churning bile within you. Nothing you perform, do or say gives meaning to your existence. Or, Indeed, validates it.
From the depths of my own experience (take it from me), it leaves you far, far worse off.
I was reading another online R/R commentary today by a very regular contributor. He made similar observations; and to me, it was obvious that he had himself in mind. God help us! So many of us have walked this long, lonely road of poor self-worth and the congruent depression that comes right alongside a soul dying from unrepentant sin. Or that which, having committed it (though forgiven), bequeaths us a legacy of shame that we continue to live with.
I sincerely submit that at some point in our lives, each man, woman or child will reach a point of such hopelessness that, querying their existence, they wonder if it’s worthwhile ‘going on.’ We call it ‘depression,’ and it is invariably the precursor to almost all unexplained suicides.
“NO WAY, JOSE; I HAVE IT ALL!”
And yet, the World chortles on. I say ‘chortles’(chuckling mirth) as I receive from relatives/friends a myriad number of those little clips and funnies that people are attempting to amuse themselves with during the great ‘Lock-In.’ I plead guilty also.
I’ve yet to receive one wishing me a blessing or a plea for the Living God to bring this annas horribilis of the virus to an end. Instead, I see folk saying that 2020 is not a ‘vintage’ year. And no one had said it might in some way be a harbinger of that to come. So blind have we become!
You may well, in the ‘eye’ of the world, have achieved beyond most.
You may have fame, celebrity or be a lion of science/technology/commerce. Wealth may lie within your grasp. You may be lauded, admired and at your ultimate death, you become revered by the World for your ‘contributions.’ And tears will be shed by many as you are solemnly eulogized.
Then, the ‘world’ moves quickly on, seeking the next fool!
I’m equally sure that most of those of whom I speak would totally deny my analogy.
Sadly, many, locked within the spirit of denial that leads to eternal death and separation from God, are, on a scale of 1-10, content with their lot.
Somehow, they have convinced themselves that they have been actually aided by the ‘crutches’ they use to ‘get-by.’ Worse, that these ‘crutches’ are absolutely necessary to bolster and sustain their existence.
Is this you?
I’m equally sure we all know someone in this sorry state.
Interestingly, at the present time, the preservation of mental health is seen as a major concern. It’s allegedly a by-product of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
People are locked-in together, suffering in many cases within relationships that were souring before the Lock-In commenced. There are no places to go to avoid each other. The sale of liquor is going through the roof, and the police are catching many drug couriers as the barons attempt to fill home orders. A recipe of madness that will, the longer the Lock-In continues, end tragically in perhaps too many cases.
God help the kids who may well be witness to the total disintegration of their parents before their very eyes.
At this point (if you fall within the word picture I have attempted to paint), you are well and truly blindsided by the World, preyed on by Satan and almost gone.
Many of us who have come to Jesus, our LORD and God, have traveled this long road of brokenness to some extent. Many seek and never find. How fortunate and blessed then are we who have, at this journey’s end, sought and been ‘found.’
AN EXAMPLE OF WORLDLY BLINDNESS:
As I write, I am reminded of the two moral ethicists who published, “In Defence of the Publication of “After-Birth Abortion”
Posted on February 28, 2012
Herein, The Journal of Medical Ethics pre-published electronically an article by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva entitled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” Core to their argument was their considered highly intellectually formed viewpoint that there is little if any difference between a foetus and a living child.
COMMENT: They were speaking to the view that the world could, in clear conscience, move toward killing babies post-birth for a number of ‘highly ethical’ reasons).
Truly, a cameo of how totally lost many human beings have become.
Worse, some pastors now endorse abortion, having adopted the position of the world. Thus, they bring themselves and their congregates into condemnation for this idolatrous, anti-life, almost cannibalistic butchery.
They totally ignore the fact that abortion has become a highly successful, commercial enterprise where babies are product and parts of their tiny carcases on-sold. No, not hundreds, nor thousands – literally tens of millions of lost kids who were conceived unto death and had, thus, no future.
I rest in the knowledge that they are not lost to God as are those who spawned them.
Several hundred years ago, grave-snatchers would creep into cemeteries at night to forcibly tear open the coffin of the freshly buried so the corpse could be on-sold to universities teaching surgical medicine. It was also a lucrative business; and, eventually, relatives had to arrange with churches to have bodies interred in special catacombs and crypts that could be locked and patrolled by watchmen to kill off this practice.
And yet, this wonderful God of ours will even forgive, through Jesus, the repentant heart of a confessing commercial abortionist who has treated the unborn as valuable product.
Friends, I chose the core sin of abortion to illustrate its impact on our World and on us individually. Do not forget, however, that unrepentant sin, whatever its nature or ilk, is still sin in the eyes of God. It all earns the same undesirable revenue – eternal separation from God.
No one who, calling upon the name of Jesus in brokenness whilst the life flows in his/her veins, is rejected. Such is the effectiveness of the victory that He won for us through His own self-sacrifice.
We must face it, though. Many will never be reached, even by the prayers of others, even if when opportuned, they, by conscious decision, refuse to seek or take what is so freely offered.
And as the out-of-control vehicle of their lost lives hurtles toward oblivion, there is little chance, if any, that the vehicle (as represented by their life-choices) will ever stop before the foot of the cross. This tree of death which, to us, is representative of the sacrifice of redemptive Grace that held upon it the body of the Christ of God, the eternal paschal lamb.
THE SINNER ON THE VERGE OF REPENTANCE, ASKS, “Dear God, is there any hope for me?”
I do believe that the Holy Spirit will, at some point in the life of every man/woman/child, open the door that they might glimpse the hope of redemptive grace. Sadly, most will deny or ignore it completely.
IF MANY WILL BE LOST, WHO IS TO BE SAVED?
Scripturally speaking, we are speaking of those who call upon the name of Jesus.
Call Him as the Christ King, Blessed Redeemer, Messiah, Lord of Lords, or the Son of God or what you will.
He will immediately hear your call!
He knows exactly why you came, and best, He knows what you bring. And that is, as to whether you bring before Him your own sacrifice, laying down your burden of sin in the humbleness of complete, utter, broken repentance.
And he calls the Muslim, the Hindu, the Sikh, the atheist and agnostic. He calls the unsaved pastors/priests and imams, popes and ayatollahs, princes, kings, emperors, the lonely, the homeless, the addict, the convicted prisoner and the beggar.
All are welcome at the banquet table of the Bridegroom whom we call King of Kings and Lord of Lords. They will not feed from the crumbs underneath His banquet table; instead, He will serve them from His own best portion. Thanks be to God!
Sad isn’t it – that so few will answer His call.
ANSWERING HIS CALL:
Having called upon the name of Jesus, it is at this point that the savoury offering of your sacrifice of repentance rises before the throne of the Living God. You have confessed who and what you are: you have sacrificed ‘self,’ gaining the redeeming grace offered by Jesus, in return.
This is the real, quid pro quo.
“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt 11: 28-29).
(Quote) One does not know whether tenderness or majesty is predominant in these wonderful words. A divine penetration into man’s true condition, and a divine pity, are expressed in them. Jesus looks with clearsighted compassion into the inmost history of all hearts, and sees the toil and the sorrow which weigh on every soul. (unquote)
(Quote) And falling at His feet, your repentance begins with the offering of your broken and contrite heart. It is accepted in that instant as your act of confession is torn from you and you cry, the cry of supplication that has echoed out of our hearts for two thousand years and beyond, “LORD, my God, forgive me!” (unquote)
It is always granted. And without question.
He who weighs every heart knows instantly if that mendacious spirit that previously ruled you is dead. In that instant, you have begun the road to rebirth. You are alive to Him, for denial has been replaced by faith. Thereby, have you avoided the inevitable death that lasts for eternity.
As Jesus died, giving up His spirit, He cried, “It is finished” (referring to the completion of His sacrifice that gained us redemptive grace). His supreme sacrifice immediately became the perpetual means through which the saving grace of redemption is conferred upon the suppliant.
The flesh gave up the ghost, He rose from death, Adam as he was meant to be, transformed, then 40 days later, finally ascended as He resumed His place within the Godhead.
HOW ARE WE REDEEMED?
The grace granted the redeemed sinner is the blessing conferred by the LORD. God sees not the sinner, only the newly shriven son who now begins the process of sanctification.
This journey, along the narrow road the shriven sinner now walks, continues as the Holy Spirit of God works within him from the inside out. It is personified by that wonderful prayer, “Make in me a new heart O thou, My God!”
(suggested reading) https://www.gotquestions.org/sanctification.html
WAS THERE A PREVIEW OF THE SACRIFICE MADE THROUGH THE BLOOD OF JESUS?
There certainly was.
It took place when God, testing the faith of Abraham, asked him to sacrifice his own, young, unblemished son as a sacrificial offering.
God then stayed the act as Abraham raised the knife, substituting a ram as the accepted sacrifice. Though it does not appear to be touched on in Scripture, Isaac (as the nominated sacrifice) appeared to obey his father without question. Can we not surmise that he also had passed the test of faith?
God blessed Abraham and his seed as descended through Isaac and Jacob. The blessing was not sought by Abraham but was freely bestowed on him by God. It demanded nothing in return and was not, therefore, an agreement or covenant between two parties containing conditions.
God already had seen in Abraham a man willing to follow Him unswervingly. And following this further test of both his faith and willingness, God saw plainly that the faith of Abraham was so strong that he would surely have slain his own son to please his God.
Next in the Series is Part VI ‘CHURCHIANITY OR CHRIST?’