Posts tagged ‘cross’

Believing, as Abraham did!

The true essence of faith is something that is known only to a believing Christian. When Jesus warned His disciples to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:6), what He may have been cautioning them against is very much what the world sees today as faith. The Bible says in Hebrew 11:6 that it is impossible to please God without faith but the spurious faith that the world has taken a grip of is a condescending joke that nobody wants to laugh at. This is precisely what the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees is all about, just as yeast makes a batch of dough rise, in the same way the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees is what works to raise and magnify: not God, but the person himself. We see so much of this in the world today, which sees the strength of a person’s belief/faith, in the person’s fasting, dietary regulations, physical mourning and rigorous praying. When the world looks at this so called faith, who exactly is exalted, it is the doer, the people doing it themselves more than the god/gods they worship. This is the yeast effect where the people are exalted and God; oh what about Him? The world thinks: He already has all the glory as God but it is not right, never was and never will be, that people use God for the convenience of exalting themselves: the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Let us take a look at faith going back as far as Abraham. The Bible refers to Abraham as the Father of many nations (Genesis17:5) and says that it was because he believed (had faith in God) that it was credited to him as righteousness (Romans 4:3). Let us look at some scripture.

Genesis 22:6-8
6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.
7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.

We see from the above, that this is a citation of the sacrifice God commanded of Abraham. Well, if you take a closer look, you will see that the faith that justified Abraham before God was the faith with which Abraham could foresee the Lord Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross. You see! The actual word in Genesis 22:8 i.e. “provide for Himself the Lamb”, the actually Hebrew word used here is “seh say”, which literally means that God would push out of Himself a Lamb. It gets more interesting here, the word “God” in Genesis 22:8 is written as the Hebrew “El-O-Heem”, which is the name of Supreme God but El-o-Heem is a name denoted in Plural taken from the Singular El-o-Ah. This not only makes you see a Triune God in the faith story of Abraham but from the term “seh say” like the Hebrew “shaw-aw” meaning to rush to wastage making desolate, you see the very essence of why Jesus cried out on the cross in Mark 15:34 “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” One can thus vividly picture the faith Abraham had in the promise of justification that would be worked out for him on the cross (Galatians 3:6).

Wait! There is even more. We know according to the Bible that Isaac was born to Abraham in his old age (Genesis 21:2-3), considering at this time that Isaac was at an age where he could talk, carry the wood and climb the mountain (Genesis 22:2) himself upon which he was to be offered as a sacrifice, we can safely assume that Isaac had the strength to resist Abraham, while he got Isaac ready for the sacrifice but we see no mention in scripture of Isaac’s resistance, with which we can only more clearly see it’s reflection of Jesus’ work on the cross, where the Bible says that Jesus was taken like a lamb to the slaughter where he did not resist to the extent that he did not say even a word (Acts 8:32).

It must be understood that “time” is also a part of God’s creation and just as God is never bound by His creation so is He never bound also with time. The difference between the Saints of the Old Testament from Saints of the New Testament is that the people of the Old Testament were justified through the faith in which they held to the promise of Salvation that God would work out for them Himself (Psalms 119:123). While the saints of the New Testament are justified through the faith of God’s handiwork carried out on the cross (Romans 5:1, 9). The deliverance a Christian has from his sin can be compared to the deliverance of the Old Testament Saints from Egypt and the reason a Christian is commanded to remember in faith the saving work of the cross (Ephesians 2:12-13) is the same reason the Old Testament saints were told to remember the handiwork of God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt (Exodus 13:3) i.e. that the people may have a fearful reverence (Exodus 14:31) in their reconciliation to God (Ephesians 2:16).

We therefore see here that trusting in God in the midst of trial not only yields carnal quietness but magnifies and exalts our God over us. This truly is the faith of His Church: the believing body of people starting right from the Spiritual father of every Christian i.e. Abraham.

Purchased by His Blood

Hello people, how are you doing today? With Resurrection Sunday (Easter) just around the corner I would like to write something appropriate for the season.

Just as Abraham was tested, Abraham’s faith spoke of things that God would bring forth, which was spiritually inherent in Isaac too.

Genesis 22:7-8 (Old Testament)
And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

Here is a small study; Isaac’s words: “is the lamb” is translated from the Hebrew “seh, say” which refers to the adjective of the lamb being pushed out. Now not only does Abraham confirm this but he adds more to that information, Abraham says “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering”, the beautiful thing about this is that the word “God”, here refers to a Hebrew plural, which is “El-O-Heem”. “Will provide” comes from the Hebrew “raw-aw’” which literally means “to see”. So Abraham’s words i.e. “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering” can be literally written as “God (plural but referred singular) sees to push out of Himself a lamb for a burnt offering (sacrifice)”. This is exactly what happened on the cross, Jesus bore (sacrifice) the reproach of His Father (push out- Eli Eli, Lama Sabactani) that the descendants of Abraham (Gal 3:7) may be accepted (Col 1:21-22) not for His peoples sake (Ezek 36:22) but for God’s Own Name sake (Isaiah 48:11) because God is Sovereign even in keeping His promises (Psalms 119:123).

Coming now to the book of Hosea, God spoke to His people Israel through the life of this prophet. Hosea’s marriage to unfaithful Gomer was an expression of God’s relationship with His people and then Gomer leaving Hosea for her lovers is reflected in the idolatry of Israel at that time. It so happens, that Gomer is finally left to sell herself as a slave that she may at least have food and shelter, her shame keeps her from going back to Hosea. As much as Gomer was soiled now, Hosea was tarnished but more than the tarnish what lay heavy on Hosea was loving an unfaithful woman. This was how God used Hosea to let His people know His anguish (Jeremiah 4:19; Luke 22:44) over them and their condition.

Hosea 3:1-5
1 And the LORD said to me (Hosea), “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love to take them offering cakes of raisins.”
2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley.
3 And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.”
4 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods.
5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.

You see Gomer was worth nothing when Hosea bought from her from the market and that is in likeness to the Church being purchased by God by His own blood (Acts 20:28). After which God decrees that there will be faithfulness in the relationship between God and His people just like Hosea said to Gomer in Hosea 3:3.

Acts 20:28
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

It is however important to understand that the term “Church” actually refers to the believing body of people in Jesus and these can be from any country of any language and race. Further if you look into Revelation 7 mentioned below, you will see the fullness of Hosea 3:3-5 of the Old Testament coming to bloom in the New Testament’s Revelation 7. You will see the people’s post-purchase faithfulness in Rev 7:10, 12, 15; you also see the goodness and faithfulness of God towards His people (Hos 3:5) blossoming in Rev 7:16-17.

Revelation 7
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?”
14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

To conclude this Good Friday Article, I would like you to remember that your belief in Jesus Christ stands exactly as how God decreed it to be for you at any given time. So if Jesus is your Lord and Savior then may you value His sacrifice and the price He paid for your salvation, may His Spirit then bring you to the fruitfulness of His Sovereign glory.

Romans 8:29-30
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.
And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

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