Category Archives: Theology

Jesus, the Word of God

Who is Jesus?

John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Before there was anything, He was there.  Before the world, before time, Jesus existed as God and with God.  Nothing that we know was made without Him.  He had His hand in it all – and He still does.

The Word became flesh.  He entered into time and put skin on for our benefit.  He lived and walked among us, to complete a life lived without sin in complete righteousness.  He was God’s revelation of Himself to man, eating and drinking among them, feeling their pain, and laying down His own life, on His own accord.

The treasure of heaven, God’s best, left and entered into His creation.  He bankrupted heaven to be born a baby to a virgin mother of no wealth.  The Word became a servant and showed us what love really is.  Jesus was and is, in every way, God’s way of showing Himself – His character, His love, His example, His sacrifice, His forgiveness.  He is God.

 

The Judge is on our side

Romans 8:33-34 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

We stand accused.  As brothers and sisters of Christ we’re enemies with Satan and he seeks to condemn us for our sin.  He’d love to bring up every wrong thing we’ve ever done, every lie we’ve ever told, every mistake we’ve made.  Misery loves company and the devil would love to have some company.  His problem in this though is that Christians have been covered in the blood of Christ.  We’re justified, no longer condemned (Romans 8:1).

No matter how badly we’ve sinned, Christ covered it all and we’re immune to Satan’s accusations.  But oh how he still tries.  Until the final day he’ll hunt around like a lion, trying to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  But in the end, God wins.  And if God wins, we win.  If He who called us and justified us prevails, so shall we prevail.  How can we be condemned when the judge Himself is on our side?  When our advocate, our intercessor, is the One who bled that we might live?

No accusation brought against us sticks because we’re children of God.

———-  How would you act differently when you felt condemned if you kept in mind that Christ is interceding for you?

Justified

Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Justification belongs to those that believe on Christ Jesus for salvation.  If you’re saved, you were first called, but the thing is, not all who are called receive justification.  How is this verse reconciled in light of the fact that not everyone who receives God’s invitation to salvation responds to it?  The calling here can’t refer to the invitation, but must refer to an effective call of the Holy Spirit on the life of the one who would believe and become justified.  Those He chose from the beginning are those who received this call.  If you’re a Christ-follower, that’s you.

You’ve been chosen with a purpose and with that comes justification.  In other words, you’ve been declared “not guilty” because Jesus took on your sin when He died on the cross.  Your sin is forgiven.  With that comes a promise.

You’ll be glorified on the last day.  This is to say that you’ll receive a new body, a resurrection body.  It’ll be perfect, free from all the flaws our current bodies entail.  When God called you, He equipped you for faith and He justified you when you followed Christ.  This is not without reward.  When you get to see Jesus, you’ll be justified, sanctified, and glorified.

Conformed to His image

Romans 8:28-29 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Romans 8:28 has got to be one of the most quoted and memorized of all Scripture.  It’s important to know that God purposes all things to work together for good.  But when you pay close attention to the latter half of the verse, you see the need to read on.

Paul is stating that there are some who are called by God to fulfill His purpose.  In context we learn that those who are called are also to be conformed to the image of Christ (see also 2 Thessalonians 2:14) in order to bring about that purpose.  The work of the Holy Spirit within us brings about our sanctification which numbers us among the brothers/sisters of Christ.

So what’s our part in this?  What application do we make out of this truth?  Trust, for one thing.  Do you trust that in all things, in all areas of your life that God is active and present, working things towards His purpose?  Do you trust that He is conforming you to the image of His Son through the events and circumstances of your life?  We’ve got to trust that, even when things aren’t going as we planned, our Creator chose us from before creation (Ephesians 1:4) to be part of something bigger than ourselves.  His plan calls for the lives of HIs people to be transformed into the image of Christ and He brings that about one step at a time (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Sealed

Ephesians 1:13-14    In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, there was some point at which you heard God’s Word, felt His prompting, and responded.  This might not be an exact moment that you can pinpoint on a calendar, but the fact that there was a period of time over which this process was occurring is certain.  God was working in you and you responded to His call.  You became part of His family.  And He sealed you.

Much like the seal of royalty in times of old, a wax emblem placed on a document so it could only be opened by the rightful recipient, God has placed His seal on us with His Holy Spirit until the right time for our inheritance.  No one can snatch us from the Father’s hand (John 10:29).  He has guaranteed our inheritance as His sons and daughters.

Likewise, in the same way the seal of royalty showed the king’s approval of the document (his endorsement), God has stamped His endorsement on us from the time that we believed on Christ for our salvation.  Rest assured.  If you are a believer, you belong to the Lord and He belongs to You.

Our inheritance, and His

Ephesians 1:11-12 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

We have obtained an inheritance through Christ.  We have “been chosen as an inheritance” for Him.  In Christ, we receive God as our inheritance and we become His.  Our relationship with Him is reconciled in full.  Everything that is His, becomes ours, for the glory of God.

 

What are the implications here?  We’re in Christ, God is our inheritance and we are His.  What does that mean?  We get some help with this question from Moses and from Paul.  In Deuteronomy 32:9, we learn that God’s portion is His people.  This passage is speaking of His chosen people, Israel, of the Old Testament. But in Christ even the Gentiles have become God’s people[1]. We’re in God’s family now.  We belong to Him as His people.

 

Romans 8:14-17 explains that we have been given the Holy Spirit and become heirs with Christ.  All that is His will be ours as well.  The purpose of this, of course, is to bring glory to God.  He works all things – our circumstances, our talents, our relationships, our choices – to the purpose of His will.  This is what it is to be His and have Him as ours.

We are called to be the praise to God’s glory with our lives.



[1]   (Romans 11:11)

Redemption in Christ

Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

If someone asked you what it means that we have redemption in Christ through His blood, how would you answer?  Dating back to the Old Testament, the understanding of a redeemer was one who ransomed someone else, freed them from slavery or captivity.  God was the Redeemer of Israel when He led them out of captivity in Egypt.

You and  I have been redeemed too.  When we accepted Christ we were freed from the slavery and bondage of sin.  We’re no longer guilty.  Christ’s finished work of atonement on the cross through His shed blood ransomed us from sin and we are no longer under its control.

Sometimes we still sin, but it’s not because we’re under the bondage of sin.  We’ve been redeemed, we’re bought and paid for with a price.  We belong to Christ.  His blood paid our ransom.

Chosen for God’s family

Ephesians 1:5-6  In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

God predestined us for adoption. He chose, before the world even began, to make us sons and daughters.  So often we see family terminology used in the Bible to describe our relationship with God.  He is our Father, we are heirs, adopted sons. We can’t choose our own family members, but God can and did choose His.  If you’re in Christ, God chose you.  You are His and He is yours.  And He chose you with a purpose.

God’s will is that we would bring Him glory.  His main purpose is not merely our redemption but that His holy name would be praised through our redemption.  He wants to pour out His goodness and grace on us in Jesus Christ for His glory.

There is nothing quite like the knowledge that you’ve been chosen by God Almighty to be part of His family to carry out His purpose.  But what are you going to do with that knowledge?  What will you do with that feeling you get from it?  He’s equipped you, so what are you doing to act on this fact?

Chosen for holiness

Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

What am I here for?  What is this life all about?  The longer we live, the more we seek meaning in life, the more we may be caught asking these questions.  So did God create us with some intent?  Did He make each of us with our own purpose?  Yes and yes.

Even before time began, when all that existed was God, He thought of you.  The Creator chose you in Christ (that is, He chose you to belong to Him as His child) before He even made the earth where you would reside.  He made you to be uniquely you, with special talents and abilities – and purpose.

Our purpose on this earth is not to succeed financially and become rich, nor is it to make a name for ourselves and become famous (James 2:5).  God made us to be holy and blameless before Him (1 Thessalonians 4:7).  But how can we achieve this holiness?  We can’t be good enough to meet God’s standards.

The Lord planned all along that those He chose would be made holy “in Christ” (Colossians 1:22).  We are sanctified and redeemed by the Son of God, and He always intended it this way.  Those who are chosen in the Son of God become sons and heirs of God (Galatians 4:7).

To God be the glory

1 Corinthians 10:31  So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

What is the meaning of life?  It’s a question that’s been asked throughout the ages.  What am I here for?  Why did God make me?  These questions will be asked for many ages to come, yet the answers are right before us.  They aren’t hidden from us.  Within God’s Word is the meaning of life.

Many attempts have been made, many guesses at the meaning of life.  From the simple yet naïve “Happiness” to the more discerning “helping others”, we’ve tried to figure it all out.  But we need not guess.  God did not leave this question open-ended.  He spoke and we should listen.

We’re told repeatedly in the Bible that all things were made by God and for God (Colossians 1:16, Romans 11:36).  This includes us.  You and I were made by God for God’s glory.  We’re made in His image! (Genesis 1:27)  I love how Psalm 8 describes God’s creation and our relationship to it. Salvation comes from Him and Him alone.  Not one of us is worthy of one bit of the glory. We are the created but He is the Creator, the Sanctifier, the Redeemer, the Savior.

None of this is by accident, none of it coincidence.  We’re all created with a purpose and that purpose is God’s.  We’re here for Him.  So what do we do?  Live like it!  Whatever we do: when we work, when we play, when we create, when we marry…when we die…  We can do it all for the glory of our God.