Luke 23:35 (KJV) 35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
Both the people and the leaders expected Jesus to save Himself as an unambiguous proof of Him being the Christ. They were amiss. God’s chosen Messiah came not to save Himself, but to seek and to save the seemingly helpless and hopeless lost. He did it not by saving Himself from death on the cross, but by the exact opposite—not saving Himself, by giving His life—shedding His most precious blood—as a ransom payment for our sins.
God said, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). He often does things in ways that transcends our expectations and baffles our imaginations. But they always astonishingly yield the best results. It’s because of this that the saying “Let go and let God” isn’t just a good cliché to us; it’s our lifestyle.
Our only wise God and Savior, we humble ourselves before you. Please open our eyes, our hearts, and our understanding to the wonders of Your ways. Help us to never doubt You, but to always trust Who You are and how You do things. We won’t come to a point when we’ll understand all Your purposes in every turn of events, but we can always trust You in all of them. You have repeatedly shown us Your inexhaustible creativity. You have assured us of Your unquestionable and unending love. We depend on You and act on those things You’ve plainly revealed to us; we depend on You as well even in times when we don’t have a clue as to what’s going on.
Revelation 10:1 (KJV) 10And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire
An angel clothed with a cloud, rainbow over the head, face shining like the sun, feet like pillars of fire—this is definitely a different picture compared to the images of angels commonly portrayed.
We need to be ready to be pleasantly surprised by still so many things that will be revealed to us when our eyes are finally and completely opened to the supernatural world. We’ve seen angelic beings painted or drawn as babies, toddlers, warriors, some have two wings, some have six. But there have not been a lot of times when we’ve seen depictions of angels as majestic as the one we see here.
That’s an angel. When it comes to God, we’re already out of words to describe our infinite, eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, immutable, loving, holy, just God. As free as our imaginations are, they still fall short of grasping the glorious reality of our God and of the supernatural and eternal sphere. We’re already absolutely fascinated by the surface truths we know. Oh, what an indescribable and unimaginable delight it will be when we see Him face to face.
James 5:20 (KJV) 20Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
To bring back a believer who wanders from the faith is to save a soul from death. There is a possibility for Christians to err in their ways, to wander from the truth, to come to a point where their souls are in the state of death.
It’s of paramount importance that we don’t leave them without any help and any hope of restoration. They can be restored; they can be saved; their multitude of sins can again be forgiven.
We don’t give up that easily on those who turn away from God. We run after them with all our love. There are those who are obstinate for just a short time; they repent when they’re confronted about their errors. Some may take more time and effort. But we give it our best. Souls are incalculably precious to God; we won’t allow the devil to have them in his grip just like that. Each one is worth fighting for, and fight for our brothers and sisters, we will.
Joel 3:16 (KJV) 16 The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
The Day of the Lord will be an earth-shaking, heaven-altering event. To some it will be very dreadful. It will be a day of judgment and wars like no other. But to God’s people, there’s nothing to fear. As He always is, He will be His people’s hope, refuge, strength, and stronghold.
We live with no fear. We don’t fear any man, any situation, or anything. We only fear Him Who we love most and Who loves us most. Disasters are real—both man-caused and natural. They’re here and they will keep on increasing. This may not sound comforting. When face-to-face with such devastating events, it’s but natural to be shaken. But we know that our God can and will protect us. He can and will deliver us.
It’s not that we won’t share in the hardships. But the beauty of living as His children is that surroundings and situations don’t define us; they don’t dictate our joy or peace. How can wars, famines and plagues scare us when death itself no longer has dominion over us? Our Savior defeated death. Death to us is a transition—a doorway to the presence of our most Beloved—the greatest Being in existence, and to the most beautiful place there is.
We don’t look for trouble; we don’t pursue hardships; we don’t pray for disasters; if it’s at all possible, we’d rather not have any of them. But we don’t live in denial. We face reality and truth head on. And we do it humbly, gratefully, hopefully, peacefully, confidently, joyfully; knowing that the One in control of all things is our Dad Who only wills the best for us and orchestrates everything according to His will.
Romans 8:6 (KJV) 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
As God’s children, we think godly thoughts. We enjoy life and peace now, and we’re looking forward to life and peace with our Father for eternity. We understand we still have choices. We believers don’t lose our free will even after surrendering the throne of our lives to our Lord Jesus. We choose the focus of our thoughts. We’re also very much aware of the huge implications and repercussions of our choices. Our heavenly Father doesn’t spoil His children.
I pray that this won’t be an issue of intrigue; my prayer rather is that it will be a thought to at least ponder on. Jesus has already borne the penalty of our sins on the cross. In fact He Who knew no sin was made sin for us. That Jesus has taken the death penalty for us is an absolute truth. What is this death then that results from being carnally minded? It’s easy to choose one and reject the other. In doing so, others explain away whatever they prefer to reject.
Forbid the thought that they would question the efficacy of the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice, so the trend is to deal with the death that results from carnal-mindedness. We’ve heard others interpret and teach that as death of a physical kind. And there’s no doubt, some sinful or even wrong choices can reap physical death as a consequence. But although there’s truth in it, it also misses the fact that physical death also comes even to the spiritually-minded people.
On the other hand, if the consequence of our godly thinking is life of the physical kind, what’s the necessity since we’re already physically alive? Unless it simply means continuation of our physical existence in our present condition, the other and I believe the more logical conclusion is that it also refers to life of spiritual kind. This becomes obvious when looking at the context of the passage. The entire chapter deals very much with our spirits. Without disrespect or preference of any denominational distinctive, we can safely conclude: 1. It’s absolutely and undeniably true that Jesus paid the sin-penalty of death; 2. It is also absolutely true that to be carnally minded—having our sinful nature control our mind—is or leads to death.
Whatever each of us believe; we may not all agree on one line of understanding, but the non-negotiable mandate or exhortation we can all agree and focus on is this: shun sinful nature that produces sinful thoughts, and yield to the precious Holy Spirit Who produces good, spiritual, right, and godly thoughts.
Romans 5:17 (KJV) 17For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
We look at Adam with mercy despite the fact that he ushered sin and death into the world by one wrong and sinful choice that brought devastating consequences. I personally admit, I most probably would not have done any better. This is a truth I can’t disregard, nor escape, although escaping it is farthest from my mind. I humbly admit my obvious imperfections. With that, I humbly and even more greatly praise our God for the abundance of His grace.
As in many occasions, a quick clarification is necessary. Praising the immeasurable greatness of His grace isn’t an endorsement of irresponsible and sinful Christian living. “Where sin abounds, grace abounds” is a true statement we as believers are immensely grateful for, but we don’t ever take those words as a rallying cheer for believers to increase sinning. That’s a very awful, unscriptural, and ungodly understanding of a very sacred truth.
God has so generously and freely gifted us with His abundant grace and righteousness. These same wonderful gifts empower us to “reign in life.” We live triumphantly over sin and death—all courtesy of our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s our heavenly Father’s pleasure to see us living victoriously, to see us living freely from the shackles of sin, to see us living above its rule and authority. He is our victorious Father; He lives in us through His Spirit, He has never lost once to the power of sin and Satan, and He never will; He wants us to enjoy the same. When we glean the victories His weapons of righteousness open up for us, it brings great joy to His heart, and we live well before others, blessing God and His creation all at the same time.
Psalm 49:15 (KJV) 15But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
Everyone needs redemption—physically and spiritually, except the saints who will be alive when our Lord Jesus returns. There are at least two major pernicious human conditions that Jesus alone can remedy: sin and death; one is a result of the other. God alone can forgive and erase our sins. He already paid for them through the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross. In and through Him, although we die, we will live again,
We’re not the ones without hope and assurance of forgiveness and salvation. Although it’s true that there will still be times when we sin, even as believers, even as saints, we’ve already placed the hope for out eternal salvation in Him. He’s perfect and will forever be perfect. He loves us so much that He gave us His Son Jesus Who willingly let go of His glorious existence to live a perfect life and die a sacrificial death—for us. We continue to depend on Him and Him alone.
We have peace because we know our Lord won’t fail. When the time comes, He will call us from the grave, and up from there we will rise to die no more. That’s a reality based on His dependability. Our total and absolute redemption through our bodily resurrection is more valuable than anything this world offers. Others pursue riches, fame, relationships, and even the fountain of youth. They even succeed in some. But everything here is fleeting—like a flower: no matter how pretty, they eventually wilt away.
We don’t envy them; those things may be important from the perspective of a temporal life, but we possess the greatest riches in eternity, or shall we say, the true riches.