Broken And Contrite

A key element of saving faith is that of repentance. It has been said that true faith is preceded by repentance. I would agree with that, as the Bible teaches that we have no confidence to approach God as long as we harbor sin within our hearts. (Psalm 66:18)

John writes this, 

Beloved, if our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God. (1 John 3:21 KJV)

So an unrepentant individual cannot excersize real faith as long as he retains sin in his life. A guilty conscience will always stand in the way. 

Brokenness is vital to repentance. Without being crushed by the guilt of sin, and grieved at offending God, an individual will never truly turn from their sin and submit to God through Christ, by faith. Many feel the guilt of sin but their remorse has more to do with the fear of punishment. Paul writes of this in his epistle to the Church in Corinth,

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Cor 7:10 KJV)

It is important to understand what godly sorrow is. Jesus calls those who mourn, blessed. They are blessed because this is the pathway to the nearness of God. We read in the Psalms, 

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be if a contrite spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

Broken and contrite hearts are hearts that are crushed. The idea is that of being ground up to powder. Such and individual is humbled. They approach God with no self justification, with no self seeking, but with sorrow filled hearts they cast themselves upon His mercy. A heart filled with sorrow in this way will turn from sin because it is against God. 

We see many accept Jesus so they can avoid hell and go to heaven, but they have dry eyes and hard hearts. They do not sorrow over their actual sin; over the fact that they are rebels fighting God, and as a result have grieved the Father’s heart. They make a confession, but it amounts to little more than self seeking. They have made God a means to their own happiness. This is the sorrow of the world that leads to death. 

The Bible tells us that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, 

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:6-10 KJV)

This passage of scripture plainly shows us the importance of real repentance. It is vital that we let godly sorrow work in us a true repentance whereby we approach God in true humility, and find reconciliation through Christ.

Obedience

And the apostles said unto the Lord, increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come in from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:5-10 KJV)

In response to Jesus’ teaching on forgiving those who offend us, the disciples were overcome with the enormity of their responsibility, and cried out, “Increase our faith.”

Jesus’ reply teaches us that it does not take enormous faith to obey, in fact if our faith is only the size of a mustard seed we can accomplish great things. 

He then goes on to teach us that as His servants obedience is our duty, it is the least we can do. A master expects this from a servant, an employer likewise expects his employees to do what their job requires. In the same way we are to obey our Lord Jesus Christ.

We often pray for strength and willingness to obey, and this is not entirely wrong, as we do need God’s help in our battle against sin in this world, and he encourages us to seek Him for grace in time of need (Heb 4:16). Yet we often substitute prayer for obedience, waiting for a sudden burst of heavenly energy, or for God to somehow make us obey. This is a subtle trap we must endeavor to avoid. 

God does not command us to do that which we are unable to do, and therefore it is only reasonable and right that we do as He commands. Often it is our own unwillingness, our selfish wills desiring to gain mastery that stands in the way of our obedience. Yet God is faithful in strengthening our hearts, and establishing us in our walk with Him. We can depend on His grace to give us all we need as we obey Him from day to day (2 Peter 1:3-8; 1 These 5:23-24).

Submission

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and he shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto  him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:30-38 KJV)

God had chosen Mary to be the one to bring Jesus into the world. This was an awesome thing, to be called of God in a manner such as this, but submission to the will of God in this matter also came with serious consequences that no doubt Mary considered. 

As an unwed mother, what would those around her think? She would be considered an adulteress. People would look down upon her, she would be treated with contempt. Perhaps even put to death, as adultery was punishable by stoning in those days.  What about her betrothal to Joseph? She was engaged to marry, but upon discovering her pregnancy would Joseph put her away? He would have every right to do so, as he would consider that she had been unfaithful to him. 

In spite of all these things we see Mary humbly submit to the will of god for her life. It is the same with us today as well. What is God calling you to do? God calls us to do things for Him, to go through things that perhaps are difficult. Obedience to the will of God is not always easy. Our comfort zones can be stretched, we may look foolish to those around us. Following Christ may cost us friends and family, or our reputations in the eyes of the world. But will you, like Mary, be faithful and submissive in spite of it all?

The Word Became Flesh

It is imperative that we have a correct understanding of Christ. To go beyond the revelation of Jesus Christ as found in the scriptures is to believe in another Jesus (2 Cor 11:4). 

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is in the world. 1 John 3:3 KJV

For many deceivers are entered into, the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in  the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 2 John 7-9 KJV

In previous posts we have looked at the scriptures that pertain to the deity of Christ. In this post I would like to explore those passages that deal with His incarnation, His becoming flesh. In John’s gospel we read a passage that reveals Christ’s divinity. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made (John 1:1-3 KJV). This is referring to Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God by whom the worlds were made (Heb 1:2). This passage also shows us the human side of Christ as well. We read on, “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 an (John 1:14 KJV). This is the mystery of the incarnation, Christ becoming flesh, entering this world as a baby, living among mankind, to someday offer himself for our sin. 

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Phil 2:5-8 KJV

Theologians have pondered and argued for centuries what it meant for Christ to empty Himself. We may not understand how it was possible for Christ to empty Himself and come into this world as a human, but it does not negate the fact that this is indeed what happened. The gospel accounts show us that He was born of the virgin Mary. We read of the shepherds and wise men, the lowly stable. This was Jesus Christ, God become flesh, dwelling among men. People stumble over the concept of Christ being both God and man, yet this is what we clearly see presented in the scriptures.

In Romans we read, “Concerning his son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:3-4 KJV). 

Paul also writes this, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Tim 3:16 KJV).

These passages clearly reveal Christ’s divinity as well as His humanity. Jesus Christ is indeed God in the flesh. Jesus often referred to Himself as the Son of Man. Numerous passages throughout the gospels plainly show this.  In Galatians 4:4 we read that when the fullness of time came, God went forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law. He came into this world to deliver us from our lives of sin. 

The writer of Hebrews has much to say about Christ’s humanity. Concerning His birth we read this, “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him” (Heb 1:5-6 KJV). 

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb 2:9 KJV). 

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil. And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Heb 2:14-18 KJV). 

It was necessary for Christ to take on flesh, so that He could set us free from sin and death.  Jesus faced the same temptations we all face, yet without sin. Therefore, He is qualified to be our faithful high priest. We can confidently approach Him to find grace and mercy in time of need (Heb 4:14-16). 

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him (Heb 5:7-9).

While divine, Jesus, the Son of Man, lived in this world in a body of flesh and blood. He faced the same situations, trials and testings, that we all face on a daily basis. Yet instead of falling, Jesus overcame. He set an example for us, and much more than that, He became the author of eternal salvation, the only one fully qualified to be our Savior. There is not one man on this earth who is qualified to reconcile us to God, but Jesus Christ. We have our own sin to pay for. How can anyone else redeem another? We read that there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time (1 Tim 2:5-6 KJV).

Again, it is vital to our faith and salvation that we have a correct concept of who Jesus is. Which Jesus are we following? Are we following one that conforms to our ideas, a Jesus who is how we would like Him to be? Or, are we following the Jesus who is revealed to us in the scriptures. Jesus warns us of false Christs (Matt 24:23-24). We would do well to make sure we know and follow the real Jesus.

The Root Of Moral Chaos

The world seems to be out of control. Common sense has been cast aside as we see society plunging deeper and deeper into gross immorality. The line separating things that were once clearly defined as right or wrong has been blurred. What has always been good is now declared evil, and what has always been evil, is now accepted as good.

Many of us mare shocked at what we are seeing in our lifetime; things we thought we would never see. However, there is a reason for this plunge into moral insanity, a root behind this problem. the answer lies within the heart of man, and what he does with the revelation of God to himself. We read in the ancient Jewish writings, 

Surely vain are all men by nature, who are ignorant of God, and could not out of the good things that are seen know him that is: neither by considering the works did they acknowledge the workmaster; but deemed either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the violent water, or the lights of heaven, to be the gods which govern the world.  (Wisdom of Solomon 13:1-2 KJV)

Indeed, The heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 18:1).  The above quote attributed to Solomon is not considered divinely inspired, yet it rings out the same truth that we read in Paul’s epistle to the Romans, namely that God has revealed Himself to mankind through that which He created, and man in his foolishness has rejected that revelation.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20 KJV)

Without ever reading a Bible, going to a Church, or listening to a sermon, we have still received sufficient knowledge of God through His creation, to be without excuse before Him. God’s invisible attributes, His power, His divinity, are all clearly seen through creation. Mankind knows deep down in the very depths of his inner being, that God exists. 

Sadly, the response to this revelation of God is one of rejection. We read further on that,

Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. (Romans 1:21-25 KJV)

  • When they knew God they did not glorify Him as God.
  • They were ungrateful.
  • They became vain in their imaginations.
  • Professing to be wise, they became fools.
  • They exchanged the glory of God into that of an idol.
  • They changed the truth of God into a lie.
  • They gave worship to the creation instead of the Creator.
  • They did not like to retain God in their knowledge (vs. 28).

All of this had its consequences however, as God allowed them to progress deeper and deeper into depravity. we read that He gave them up to the lusts of their own hearts. Jesus tells us that it is out of the heart that evil flows (Mark 7:15-23). Man rejects the knowledge of God because of his sinful heart. He does not want to acknowledge the God that he will one day face, rather choosing instead to cling to his sin, and serve a god of his own invention. This is what the atheist does, what the evolutionist does, and what those do who serve any of the countless false gods and religious systems that have existed down through history. 

For this cause God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as theyn did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:26-32 KJV)

It is safe to say we can look around us and see these very things permeating society as a whole. Sexual immorality is rampant, homosexual marriage was once unheard of, now it is widely accepted, even applauded by the majority of society. The debate over transgender issues is also something that seems to have suddenly gained momentum, to the surprise of many. But it goes beyond sexual sin to other issues as well. Issues such as honesty, hatred, murder, covetousness, malice, divisions,  a lack of understanding, a lack of natural affection. There are multitudes of God haters in our world today, and just as many inventors of evil. And to top it all of, their are those who look upon all of this, and give their hearty approval to it. This is the result of a people rejecting God, and in turn, being given up to depravity. It is a total breakdown of society. 

This is what lies behind the moral insanity that we are witnessing today. It is not something new, it has been like this throughout history. People have always turned their back on God, choosing to serve a god of their own making. Nations have been given over to evil, waxing worse and worse. Kingdoms have risen, and kingdoms have fallen, because they have refused God. 

Yet God in His mercy reaches out to fallen humanity. We read that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) The answer to this moral crisis is found in Jesus Christ, as we one by one repent of our sin, and surrender our lives to follow Him. Then we find victory from this bondage, as the one whom the Son sets free, is free indeed. (John 8:36)

 

 

 

The Divine Son

Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:3-4 KJV)

These verses show us the two natures of Christ; His human nature ( made of the seed of David according to the flesh), and His divine nature (declared to be the Son of God with power). Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, contained all the fullness of the Godhead in His earthly body (John 1:14; Col 2:9). The Apostle Paul writes,

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:5-11 KJV)

Continuing with the theme of Christ’s divinity, let us look at Hebrews 1, a passage that gives us ample proof of the deity of the Son of God.

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom he also made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Heb 1:1-3 KJV)

In the first three verses we read that God created the world by His Son Jesus Christ, who is the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person. Jesus Christ is indeed God in the flesh, the crucified and risen Savior who is now seated on the right hand of God; a place denoting the authority of the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Jesus Christ, the Son, is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind in these last days. If we have “seen” Christ, we have seen the Father (John 14:9).

Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again when he bringeth in the first born into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. (Heb 1:4-6 KJV)

This passage is speaking of the incarnation of Christ, His entrance into this world as a human. Born of the virgin, He is Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14). Jesus Christ is exalted far above the angels, in fact, deserving their worship, something reserved for God alone. 

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath annointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And , Thou Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thy hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they shall all wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shall thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. (Heb 1:8-12 KJV)

Here we see reference to Jesus Christ as God; Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever. This quote taken from Psalm 45:6-7, is applied to Jesus, declaring Him to be God, and looks to His reign and rule over all that He has created. All that He created is temporal; it will someday be no more, but Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God will endure forever, unchanged. 

One final passage we will examine is found in John’s gospel. The event is the feast of dedication, where the Jews confront Him about who He really is.

Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believe not; the works that I do in my Fathers name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of these works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?  If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (John 10:24-38 KJV)

Jesus, in declaring Himself as the Son of God, enraged the religious Jews, who knowing full well what that statement implied, attempted to stone Him for blasphemy. In this passage we see Jesus declare that He was one with the Father, that He was the Son of God, and that as God, He was sanctified by the Father, and sent into this world.

Many individuals view Jesus as a good man, a teacher, a prophet. Some consider that He is the Messiah, that He did die on the cross to provide redemption for mankind, but yet He was not God, but only a man. Many of those who believe this will claim He is to be obeyed, worshiped, and that we are to yield our lives over to His Lordship, yet they still claim He was not divine. They fail to understand these clear passages of scripture that attest to His divinity. They also fail to realize that either Jesus was right when He made these claims, or deranged, or else He was lying. Why would we follow a deranged man or a dishonest man, entrusting him with the salvation of our souls? If Jesus was only a mere human being, it would be idolatry to worship Him, it would be wrong to yield up our lives to His service, as these are things only God has a right to. But the scriptures are clear, and He is worthy of our worship, and right in His demands upon our lives as Lord.

Christ’s Claim To His Deity

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them? 

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

And God said moreover unto Moses, Thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. (Exodus 3:13-15 KJV)

The name of God, I AM THAT I AM, speaks volumes of God. God the self existent; He is the uncaused cause of all things. There was no one before God, no one called Him into existence. He has always been, God the eternal, with no beginning and no end. God has always existed from eternity past. There is no set moment in time when God came into existence, for He has always been, and He will continue to exist outside of time, for all eternity.

These are two concepts that the theologians would call attributes of God; His self existence, and His eternal being. No one else can make claim to these two things, they belong to God alone. There is no man, no woman, who ever have existed upon this planet, or who ever will, that can lay claim to these two divine attributes.

There was one however who we read about in John’s gospel. His name is Jesus, and listen to the statement He makes to the religious people of His day, 

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then they took up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. (John 8:56-59 KJV)

There is no mistaking the claim that Jesus was making here. He was boldly proclaiming His divinity by using the name of God, I AM. The people well understood what He meant by this, as they took up stones to stone Him for blasphemy, something they attempted on other occasions as well. Jesus was declaring His eternal, self existence, something that only God can rightfully claim. Abraham was born, lived on this earth, and then he died. Jesus has always been. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, Who is, and was, and is to come (Rev 1:8).