We are the human clay that Christ Jesus is empowered to restore to God. When we freely seek to end our denial of Him and call on Jesus’ name, God justifies our faith forever.
Sadly, most people go a lifetime and never find God.
– They deny the idea of His very existence.
– Invariably, there is little room in their hearts for a God whom they believe would condemn either their choices or the lifestyle they pursue.
– Their adoration has become self-worship and is totally reserved for their own flesh.
Many who deny God suffer the extremes of hopelessness, deep depression, and, too often, a joyless existence as they blindly search for anything that might fill their spiritual emptiness. Finally, God accepts that their decision will not change, and he confirms their spiritual blindness. He gives them over to what they think they seek. Instead, they have set themselves aside to face eternal separation and torment.
A ‘Feast’ of Biblical Commentary:
I have attempted to focus a four-part commentary on:
– The nature and character of God
– Comment on the genealogy of Jesus
– God’s ‘end-times’ plan for His creation and its human population
– The work of the present king of this world, he who is commonly referred to as Satan/the Devil/Lucifer/Har-Shatan, etc.
Belief in God:
A number of religions and doctrines pay worshipful homage to a single God. This is known as monotheism. The Christian belief in God is integrally bound to the concept that our God shares a triune entity, being three persons within the one, infinitely holy being.
We Christians are simply folk who have ended our denial of God. We came to Him through Jesus, who bestowed upon us that wonderful gift of atoning grace that is God’s forgiveness of our previous denial. This special grace is only available through Jesus, the divine Son of God. Atoning Grace was purchased as Jesus was crucified. He freely gave up His humanity in a sacrificial offering for mankind, and then He rose from death and ascended to Heaven. The currency for the purchase of this ‘grace’ was the precious blood of our Lord.
A gift is a special transaction that requires both giving and receiving. Only those who freely choose to accept this gracious gift that God offers us through Jesus are eternally justified by their reconciliation with Him. Justification ends man’s separation from the Creator Who fashioned the first man, who subsequently was separated from God because of his disobedience.
The Blood of Atonement
(quote): The Old Testament saints anticipated the death of Christ for their sins by offering animal sacrifices. Jesus Christ is the substitute that has met the holy demands against the sinner. The sinner was forgiven only after the priest offered the bloody sacrifice anticipating the death of Christ for sin (Leviticus 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7; 19:22; Numbers 15:22-28). Paul said, “In Him [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us” (Ephesians 1:7-8).
By offering the sacrificial blood, the worshiper was acknowledging his own guilt and the just penalty of death. By the atonement, God was “passing over,” “overlooking,” and “covering” sins until Christ came. When Christ came and died, He did not pass over or cover it but took it away (John 1:29; 1 Peter 2:24). God’s infinite holiness was satisfied in the death of Christ (John 19:30). The sacrifices in the Old Testament anticipated the efficacious blood of the perfect Lamb of God. (end quote)
The principal tenet of Christianity is derived from our belief that God exists and, in His triune nature, He sent Himself to Earth through the humanity of His own Son, Jesus. Our faith that this is so is reinforced by what is written in the first five books of the Jewish Bible, the Jewish Torah, and then the addition of the New Testament. The N.T. records the coming of Jesus and His earthly genealogy. It comprises the saga of His short ministry, His arrest, trial, and execution, and that through God’s power, Jesus became the first man to rise from death. As Jesus rose to heaven from the death of his flesh, He was reunited within the triune godhead of God Himself.
The New Testament records the divinely inspired testimony of His Apostles. They had followed Him throughout His ministry, bearing witness to the miracles He performed and the gospel of salvation that He principally came to deliver to the Jews. And within a few short years following the ascension of Jesus to Heaven, His gospel would be carried across the known world. His discipled apostles would later witness Jesus as He, having first ascended to Heaven, appeared to them in the translation to His new eternal body. In all, John records that Jesus appeared to both His disciples and apostles ten times over an intermittent period of 40 days before His final ascension to Heaven. However, because of His translation, His humanity no longer existed even though He appeared to many as a man. Finally, some of the Apostles were to witness His final ascension to Heaven on the side of the Mount of Olives, nearest Bethany, which is about two miles from Jerusalem.
“Then they gathered around him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven'” (Acts 1:6-11).
Special emphasis is placed upon the writings and letters written by Paul of Tarsus, the former persecutor of Christians. Paul was converted directly by Jesus through a vision that he experienced as he walked to Damascus in Syria to arrest the followers of Jesus. This followed the earlier translation of the flesh of Jesus to His eternal body, in which He visited a great number of His disciples before finally ascending to Heaven.
The Christian Bible concludes with the testimony of Jesus given to the Apostle John. This book entitled The Revelation of Jesus Christ informs us that Jesus knows the precise condition of the church that was established in His name and in which His Gospel was taken throughout the known world by His apostles, and also by Paul and those assisting him. Jesus had given Paul a specific ministry to the Gentiles. The Revelation of Jesus further provides the details of God’s impending wrath upon our separated world of denial and sin and unequivocally states that Jesus is returning to:
– Judge the nations of their guile and deceit
– Judge the nations for their hatred and denial of God
John1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Through faith in the atoning grace purchased by Jesus Messiah, the Christian believes that this verse of scripture is proof that God exists in spirit, form and substance and that the ‘Word’ of God is His Son, Jesus.
Who is God?
God IS, God WAS, and within the nature of His existence, God remains, ALWAYS.
God is limitless, and His existence has always remained outside the realm of understanding. God is neither confined by Earth nor the Universe, which He brought into created being. God is mathematical and scientific perfection within perfect harmony. He orders the cosmos out of the disorder and chaos of space from which, long ago, He created our tiny Solar System and this beautiful ball we call ‘Earth.’
God is the ultimate entity: God exists apart from anything else. Without faith to guide understanding, you will never grasp any of this!
God made man in His own image and a little lower than the angelic host. From Creation, He loved man, enjoying a special relationship with Him. All that was lost in shame through the sinful disobedience of the first man, who was responsible for the actions of his woman as well as his own.
Our present status before God is described as ‘fallen.’ This term is used to indicate our age-long separation from God. And as part of our punishment, our seed was genetically altered by God. Fallen mankind is born into this world without any knowledge of eternal grace. This state of being is known as ‘denial.’ Unless we ‘know’ Jesus, we have no way of repairing that which disobedience shattered.
How God Describes Himself:
Exodus 3:14 “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”
And as He revealed to the prophet Isaiah,
Isaiah 45:12 NIV “It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.
Isaiah 46:9-10 NIV “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'”
The denier finds it impossible to understand God. Both the atheist and agnostic reject His existence. They are of this world and temporarily ruled by Satan; this world is prophesied for destruction.
God Came to Earth as a Human Being:
Be assured: God still loves us, and His filial affection for humanity has never ceased. The Christian Bible displays the scope of the many blessings, rendered miracles and extended mercies that He has continuously bestowed upon those that humbly worship Him even when they didn’t seek them.
In His mercy, God had planned the redemption of man. This entailed the steps to end our separation from Him. God’s plan was perfection and magnificent in its simple elegance. However, one world would vanish and another emerge before it was initiated. All mankind should know that Almighty God, the Father Creator, watches the continuum of man’s downward spiral into evil. He is totally aware of our inability to atone for the evil that we commit as we live within our sin nature. Our sin nature was set as man was expelled from the Garden of Paradise. Therefore, in initiating redemption, He sent Himself to us in human flesh, entering this fallen world from the womb of Mary.
God planned that Jesus was born of flesh without the sin nature of man’s fallen seed. Neither His soul nor the genetic composition of His body carried the taint that continues to separate each successive human generation from God. And though fallen man is genetically predisposed to commit evil, some false teachings suggest that, at birth, human beings inherit some ‘spark of the divine.’
Only Jesus, Christ of the Living God, is divine and was born sinless.
Begotten. Not Made:
The humanity of Jesus was ‘begotten’ (seeded), as God’s Holy Spirit, the third personage of God, covered the chosen woman.
Jesus, Christ Son of the Living God, was born as the adopted son of a Jewish carpenter named Joseph. The family lived in a pretty nondescript town named Nazareth. Jesus would later be called a ‘Nazarene,’ indicating the region of Israel that He was believed to have come from. The human lineage of Jesus is genetically Jewish.
Mary was a virgin: she was directly chosen by God to give birth to Jesus. We don’t know her age, but she had obviously entered puberty. God had long chosen Mary, as is testified by the genealogy of her male forebears (Matthew 1). Her lineage was unsullied and was exactly as the prophets foretold it. Mary’s lineage can be directly traced through King David and his son, King Solomon. (Commentary II- ‘The Genealogy of Jesus’)
Although born of the sin nature, Mary was a servant of the LORD and a devout worshiper. The angel Gabriel had been sent by God to Mary to announce what was about to happen.
Luke 1:34-35 “‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
Stop a second: just imagine the impact of this vision!
Jesus Is Called the Bread of Life:
John speaks to the incarnation of Jesus in flesh, categorically stating it was God who gestated Him and sent Him to Earth. And John further clarifies the divinity of Jesus as he describes the glory of God within Him. Those who were closest to Jesus witnessed all the miracles He performed and later recorded them and His words.
John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
In recording this statement, Jesus is clearly identified by John as the ‘Word of God.’ And those who met with Jesus during His ministry were actually seeing God in the flesh – God Incarnate: for Jesus Christ is the living Word of God.
The blog answersingenesis.org goes directly to the relevant Scripture in order to tell us who Jesus is.
(quotation shortened by my own edit): Jesus’ name (YHWH is salvation) identifies him as God, “for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21, emphasis added). Matthew is telling us that Jesus is YHWH who saves. No one else in Scripture who has such a name can save people from their sins—only Jesus can (cf. Matthew 8:25). Matthew also identifies Jesus as “God with us” (Matthew 1:23; cf. Isaiah 7:14). New Testament scholar Craig Keener notes, “In view of Matthew 18:20 and 28:20, Matthew clearly understands ‘God with us’ in Isaiah 7:14 to mean that Jesus is truly God.” (end quote)
There have been many heresies about Jesus, and some of them dispute the true deity of His divine nature as one of the three persons of God. However, when churches omit to emphasize sound doctrine (such as the deity of Christ), neither the teacher nor congregant see ‘the Jesus’ that the Bible correctly teaches.
In bringing the Word of God to life, Jesus reveals his glory to us. And, through the divinity of the holy nature God had given Him, he accomplished many physical and spiritual miracles. Both his coming and the mode of His death were foretold in Scripture by the prophet Isaiah.
God’s Word describes ‘Grace’ in terms of the very special and protected relationship that, at Creation, made us ‘one’ with God.
And in making the journey back to God, our faith in Him through Jesus is rewarded by the knowledge that Jesus, Christ Son of the Living God, is the acknowledged ‘cornerstone’ of Christian faithfulness. Together with the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus restores our previously broken relationship with God the Father because He is the holiness of God. His holiness will continue to work within us to ‘sanctify’ our new faith over the term of our life on Earth.
No one who makes the call upon the name of Jesus, irrespective of the corruption of their past sin, is ever refused.
Can Anyone Enjoy a Relationship with God?
Time to ask this burning question!
Concluding that God exists does not infer that this knowledge instantly creates a close relationship with Him. Although it certainly will establish that relationship if it is followed by a freely given call upon the name of Jesus for the gift of the blood of redemption that eternally forgives sin. By this one act of personal contrition, we end the separation caused by denial, and God immediately justifies our faith.
The Ministry of Jesus:
The earthly ministry of Jesus is believed to have commenced around His 33rd year, ceasing with His crucifixion some three years later.
Jesus revealed His glory to us by bringing the Word of God to life. And the divinity of His holy nature empowered Him to ignite faith in God through the many miracles He rendered. In this, He gave hope to the hopeless. His ministry concluded as He freely chose to offer Himself to God as a perfect sin offering for all mankind.
Following His crucifixion, the gospel message of the saving grace of atonement did not vanish. It was taken to the Gentiles, even as the Jewish brethren of Jesus ultimately despised and rejected it.
Many of the Gentile nations received the gospel with awe and joy.
The Plot, Arrest, ‘Trial’ & Execution of Jesus:
The leading religious Jews were fearful that if they admitted that Jesus was the Messiah and His gospel was from God, then the people might rise against the Romans. In such a rebellion, the Sanhedrin and Jewish Roman sympathizers could be overthrown, and they could lose all the privileges they had gained under the rule of the Roman Caesars.
The Sanhedrin’s many efforts to suppress the spread of the gospel and Jesus’ followers were couched in treachery: they wanted Jesus dead.
Judas Iscariot, one of Christ’s closest followers, then approached the Sanhedrin to ‘sell Jesus out.’ For thirty silver pieces, the diabolical nature of Judas enabled the Sanhedrin to complete their conspiracy, and the Temple Guards arrested Jesus. Caiaphas, the High Priest for that year, conducted a mock religious trial in the form of an ‘inquisition.’ Caiaphas then had Jesus labeled a blasphemer, a liar, and a false claimant to be the long-prophesied Jewish Messiah. As High Priest, he demanded an immediate act of judicial murder in the form of a public execution.
Neither Caiaphas nor the Sanhedrin wanted to dirty their hands. Also, because the Festival of Passover was imminent, they took the matter to Pontius Pilate, Roman Governor of Judea, demanding that Jesus be immediately executed. The Jews (having been subjugated to Rome) had no power to order executions. All punishable deaths came directly under Roman law and rule.
The Sanhedrin had arrived before Pilate with their ‘rent-a-crowd’ of vocally strident supporters. As Governor, Pilate interrogated Jesus, but He found no guilt in Him that contravened Roman Law and was inclined to order He be released. It could be argued that Pilate was probably reluctant to accede to mob justice. However, Pilate had a ‘history’ with the Sanhedrin, and they had previously sent bad reports of him before Caesar.
As the mob clamor got worse, Pilate finally bowed and acceded to the rising level of religious fanaticism, fearing that a city riot might ensue. Thereupon, Pilate displayed both complicity and cruelty as he had Jesus taken into the Antonia fortress where our Lord was humiliated and then tortured. He was lashed so badly with the Scourge that the flesh of His back was flayed to the bone. A guard then placed a ‘crown’ of thorns on His head, and the garrison soldiers who were present mocked him, spitting upon this so-called ‘King’ of the Jews. Finally, the Crucifixion detail led Him out to Golgotha.
Jesus was well aware this evil charade would end His humanity. Though both fully God AND fully human, the N.T records that Jesus had personally agonized over what He would have to suffer (Luke 22:39-46).
We of Christ spend our lives attempting to live by the example of Jesus. All too often, we fail miserably to live up to that standard. And yet, Jesus Christ, the righteous, remains with us as both our advocate and the perfect offering for our continued sin. That offering is always available through prayer and sorrow, that sin itself has temporarily separated us yet again.
Never let the sun go down on sin… take it to the Lord in prayer.
My sincere and heartfelt hope is that your spirit has understood that which I have presented to you, and you have ‘come to God through Jesus:
And if so, then, “Congratulations: you’ve become a Christian!” And, you are reconciled before God, our eternal Creator and Father.
All Praise, honor, and glory are yours, O LORD, most high.
Part I(a) Concludes:
(Next will be Part 1(b) Coming to God.