God's Gift To Us

Buried in the scene in the manger, that many of us  adore, lies your eternal future and a possibility  of an unending joy and belonging to this promise forever. The birth of Jesus had a different beginning than our birth. This  birth  did not begin with a father and a mother as is the case  with us. Mary, a virgin, was found with child of  the  Holy Ghost.  Joseph,  her husband, had nothing to do  with  it.  This conception was an act of God, a miracle that made it possible for Jesus  to  remain spotless from sin.

The conception was  not  the event  when Jesus Christ became the first only begotten Son. God connected Himself to flesh, a human male, to become the one  time offering for all the sins of the world by shedding  His  blood. God,  being  a Spirit, came in the physical body of  Jesus.  God begat Jesus Christ as the first and only begotten Son when He was identified  and baptized by John the Baptist, expecting to  begat many more sons and daughters through Jesus Christ.

"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." "John  testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, `This  was He  of whom I said, He who comes after me has surpassed me because  he was before me (John is stating: He was God before  John the Baptist came into existence).' From the fullness of his grace we  have all received one blessing after another." (John  1:14-16 NIV)

"God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children (pointing  to  Israel's fathers which now also includes  Gentiles),  in that  he  hath raised up Jesus again (after he was  crucified  to become a sign that death had been overcome and eternal life is  a reality); as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art  my Son,  this day have I begotten thee." (Acts 13:33)  

Speaking  of this  event  when Jesus began His ministry:  "No-one  takes  this honour upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron  was (the  priest from which the priesthood flowed in the  Old  Testament).  So  Christ also did not take upon himself  the glory  of becoming  a  high priest. But God said to him, `You are  my  Son; today I have become your Father.'"(Hebrews 5:4,5 NIV)

"From  the  fullness of his grace we have all received  one blessing  after  another.  For the law was  given  through  Moses (people had to perform and earn their merits from God by  trying to  live  a  sinfree life without help);  grace  and  truth  came through  Jesus Christ. No-one has ever seen God, but God the  One and  [the] Only [Son], who is at the Father's side, has made  him known." (John 1:16-18 NIV)

Grace comes from the Greek word  `Charis'  meaning joy, favor, acceptance, a kindness granted  without expectation  of return; absolute freeness of the  loving-kindness of God to men and women. `Charis' stands in direct opposition  to works  (the Old Testament Law). There is no sin in the  spiritual or `begotten son' stage is the reason for this to be a possibility.  

We are set free from our sinful nature and our past  totally when we yield to the Word . The New Testament  fulfilled the Old Testament. The joy that is  part  of this is not only produced by the fact that our sins are  forgiven but  we are looking forward and have a part in a heavenly  existence forever without tears, unhappiness and tribulation.

"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days  he has  spoken  to  us by his Son, whom he  appointed  heir  of all things,  and  through whom he made the universe.

"The Son  is  the radiance  of  God's glory and the exact  representation  of  his being,  sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he  had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand  of the  Majesty in heaven. So he became as much  superior  to  the angels  as  the  name he has inherited is superior  to  theirs." (Hebrews 1:1-4 NIV)

"But whoever (that means anyone) lives by the truth  (not  laws but the Word of God) comes into the  light,  so that  it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (John 3:21 NIV) "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (allowed His flesh, His humanity, to be crucified),  that  whoever believes in Him shall not  perish  but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)

After  his  birth,  Jesus had to be hidden  to  stay  alive, indicating that he was subject to death like us. He grew up in a family and became a carpenter. He was not revealed to the public until  He was to consecrate His life to His ministry and follow  the Holy  Spirit's leading. He received the Holy Spirit after He  was baptized  by John the Baptist who identified Him as the  Messiah.

"And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus  it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then  he  suffered  him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up  straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him,  and he  saw  the Spirit of God descending like a dove,  and  lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying,

"This is my  beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:15-17) What did Jesus mean when he said: "for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness."  The NIV states: "it is proper for us (He was  talking to John the Baptist) to do this to fulfill all righteousness."

John  the Baptist had received the Holy Spirit while he was still in his mother's womb. Why was John not called  the  first begotten Son, if he had the Holy Spirit? John was to bear witness of  the Light (the eternal life, `zoe' is the Greek word,  refers to  the  principle of life in the spirit, expressing all  of  the highest blessedness He can give us).

Without John the Baptist the world would not have been able to understand it. Bearing  witness means  to confirm and testify to the truth because he  had  joint knowledge  (due  to  the Holy Spirit in his heart).  For  `us  to fulfill all righteousness' sounds like John the Baptist and Jesus Christ  were necessary to do that. To fulfill in  Greek  `pleroo' means  to fill, as a net with fish, in Matthew 3:15 it  means  to complete an image (character) of God in a human being.

Righteousness relates to the word `dikaiosune' it fulfills God's claims of a  certain standard of behavior when accepted and conformed  to, gives man certain rights which do not belong to those who do  not recognize His authority as the creator of human beings. Righteousness stands opposite lawlessness. Since God Himself is the standard for the believer, it is a God-like righteousness.

Since we cannot be God-like in our human spiritual failure  mode, we  have to take this concept to another level and go to Romans 5:17 NIV, where the apostle Paul gives us another clue: "For  if, by the trespass of the one man (Adam 's disobedience), death reigned through that one man (all  humans have  to die because of the sin factor created by Adam's disobedience), how much more will those  who receive God's abundant provision of  grace and  of the gift of righteousness reign in life through  the  one man, Jesus Christ."

To simplify this, the righteousness of God is the  right which God has upon man. In order for man to  recognize and  fully  submit  to the right of God upon his  life,  he  must receive God  who  offers Himself  or  His  righteousness  (Jesus Christ, the Word) to man as a gift. Who  are  they that are perfect? The Greek  word:  `Teleios' comes  from  the  word goal or purpose. `Perfect'  in  this  case relates to fully completed growth over time. God's perfection  is absolute;  man's  is relative, reaching the goal set for  him  by God-given ability.

It is one who has attained his moral end,  the goal  for which he was intended, namely, to be a man obedient  in Christ.  It may be true though, that having reached this  attainment,  other and higher ends will open up before him in order  to have  Christ  formed in him more and more. Perfection  is  not a static state.

What really is obedience that God is expecting? Since  Jesus Christ is the Word, also called the Holy Scriptures, it has to do with  the  Word.  Jesus said: "He who has ears,  let  him hear." (Matthew  11:15  NIV) "He who has ears, let him  hear." (Matthew 13:9  NIV)

Later in Matthew, Jesus told the  listeners  about  a farmer planting seeds and confided to them that he spoke  in  parables  because: `Though seeing, they  do  not  see; though hearing they do not hear or understand,' and warns us that the  reason  is,  their heart has become calloused.  Their  consciences  have been seared with a hot iron (see 1  Timothy  4:2).

The  Greek word for `sear' is Kauteriazo relating to the  use  of kauterizing  to  stop the bleeding. `Kauteriazo' comes  from  the Greek  word `kaio' that means to set on fire or consume or  burn. What has this kind of an effect on our hearts? Paul in 1  Timothy
4:2  touched  on it:

"Speaking lies in  hypocrisy;  having  their conscience seared with a hot iron." Hypocrites are mentioned  in the  Old Testament in Job 15:34 in KJV: "For the congregation  of hypocrites [shall be] desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles
 of bribery," and in the NIV: "Indeed, this will turn  out for  my  deliverance, for no godless man would dare  come  before him!"

In Greek the word is `hupokrites' a man under a mask impersonating  a character. A counterfeit, a man or woman who assumes and speaks or acts under a feigned (fake, fictitious, artificial, pseudo)  character. Where does that leave us when we are told to fake it, as the `power  of  positive thinking' advocates.  

"Such  teachings  come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with  a  hot  iron." (1 Timothy 4:2 NIV)  Our  hearts  become  so scarred  from  not being real with the people around us  that we cannot hear the message from the Scriptures anymore and loose out on an eternal life in happiness and end in fire instead. When  we try to understand the Word, God gives us a way to do it that  not only works but gives the blessings we seek in this world already.

We are being lied to from all directions and often cannot find our  way out  of a paper bag because of it. We have a tendency to  believe the lie because we are too lazy to seek the answers in the Bible. They are all there. The creator of this universe wrote the  book.
He would have to know the answers. Here  is an explanation of a parable Jesus told to his  listeners:

"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone  hears the message about the kingdom and does  not  understand  it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown  in his  heart.  

"This is the seed sown along the path . The one who received the seed  that fell  on rocky places is the man who hears the word and  at  once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word,  he quickly  falls  away.

"The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries  of  this life and the deceitfulness of wealth  choke  it,  making it unfruitful. But the one who  received  the seed that  fell on good soil is the man who hears the  word  and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty  or thirty  times what was sown." (Matthew 13:18-23 NIV)

One  consolation is that it is never too late to start  listening  to evangelists, who are speaking the Word of God. When lies were exposed to me, I found myself motivated to study the Bible myself. The Scripture teaches that human beings are born with a physical body and a soul.  

The soul contains  within  it intelligent substance  which  has  the `God's begotten Son' potential of regenerating a new spirit  with the  help  of the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us that  we  have  two options: we can knock on His door and He will open it up to us or we can open the door when He knocks on our door to help us become his  brother and friend.

"Ask and it will be given to  you;  seek and  you  will find; knock and the door will be opened  to  you." (Matthew  7:7 NIV) or as Jesus said: "Here I am! I stand  at  the
door  and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the  door,  I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
" (Revelation  3:20 NIV)  

The  Bible is absolute truth, verifying that  these  verses will prove to be true but it takes time and effort like anything else. This is about  getting a loving family forever. What could be greater.

Many of us, when we hear the word `obey' shriek back because we  think of a father, mother or even a boss, who had  a  stiff hand  on our rear end or threatened with a pink slip, if  we  did not obey. The word is not attractive to us. In our minds associations
with the word obedience sets up a wall between us and  God.

We assume God is going to make demands on us that we can't possibly live up to, when we could not live up to the little things in our immediate environment. There is a tendency to leave the whole God issue on the shelf.

Another influence that has tremendous effects on pushing that subject even further out of sight is what is going on in some churches, some televangelism and with  Christians  who call themselves `born again'. We are turned off so  to speak. The door is shut tight and little by little we are  desensitized to a point where we don't even listen to anyone.

When that happens we virtually sign our own death warrant forever. We missed out on a pardon from sin which can be likened to being in jail on deathrow and the judge decides to pardon us without penalty. To go a step further, wouldn't the judge be offended if we turned this offer down, especially since the judge placed his own son on deathrow in our stead. Can we blame the judge if he, in consequence of our decision, throws the book at us by condemning us to eternal hell.

The judge's son actually had to die for us and in amazing grace he didn't resent us for it, but now is still interceding for us in the presence of the judge. Not only that, he has assumed the responsibility of becoming our judge instead of his father. How can we turn this man down. He is so gracious. All he asks of us is that we love God with all our heart, soul and mind and that we love our neighbor.

As  an analytical person, I was amazed how far off I was  in my  understanding of what God is trying to get us  to  understand because I had never taken the time to read and understand it  for myself.  I listened to others who didn't comprehend the  message.
Ending  up in total shipwreck, I was forced to seek help  in  the pages of the Bible. Now I'm alarmed as to how many people are not going to make it if they don't do the same.

"Wherefore  I beseech you that ye would confirm [your]  love toward  him [a grieving Christian]. For to this end also  did  I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in  all things. To whom ye forgive any thing,  I [forgive] also: for if I forgave any thing, to  whom  I forgave  [it],  for your sakes [forgave I it] in  the  person  of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are  not ignorant  of  his  devices. ..

"Now thanks [be]  unto  God,  which always  causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour  of his knowledge by us in every place. For we  are  unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one [we are] the savour of death unto  death; and  to  the  other the savour of life unto life.  And  who  [is] sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which  corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in  the sight of God speak we in Christ." (2 Corinthians 2:8..17)


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