Joh 16:8-11 And when he comes, he will
convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;
concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Did you see those words “because the ruler of this world is judged” is also past tense? John Wesley describes the meaning of these words…
The prince of this world is judged – And in consequence thereof dethroned, deprived of he power he had so long usurped over men.
I understand full well the frustration of hearing that the enemy has been dethroned, when we see sickness and sadness every day. How do we reconcile these two things: the facts shown in the bible and the facts we see around us. Some people reconcile these two by claiming that the gifts have ceased, what is known as “cessation theology”. This is one way to believe the words of the bible and at the same time to accept what we see around us. Cessation of the gifts is not a popular approach to resolving the problem in modern days because modern churches see so many miracles and healings these days.
A more frequent way of resolving what we believe with what we see around us is to say “it is done but not yet”. And this essentially boilds down to expecting Jesus Christ to return one day and complete His work. This second coming theology undermines people’s understanding of His work on the cross and it undermines their own understanding of themselves. If He has not done what He said He has, then who are we? What I mean is, if He has not finished His work and dethroned the enemy, then even if we rise up and become His fullness, the enemy still has not been dethroned and won’t be until He comes back.
In other variations, people expect His work to be completed by the church. So in this scenario He completed His work and the outflowing (the results, the consequences) of that will be seen as the church grows more and more into the fullness of Him on the earth. This is the closest description to what I think the bible describes. Whatever your view, one thing is foundational to our faith: Jesus Christ has completed His work and it is ready to be received by those who have the faith to believe in Him.
Brothers and sisters, do not wait for Him to complete His work at some future time. Our Messiah has come and His Name is Jesus Christ, do not wait for another Messiah in the future, you are simply failing to recognize Him and as a result you can’t receive the benefits…
Luk 19:41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
Or to put it another way, we heard the message but we didn’t get the benefit.
For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it – Heb 4:2
If you don’t see the full benefit of the gospel in your life and in the world around you, don’t blame Jesus Christ for an incomplete work on the cross. Instead, take the message you have heard in the bible and mix it with your faith so that you can see the benefit.
You may have to first get to know Him before you know what to believe! Then you will come to know yourself. Then you can stand up and tell some mountains to be removed and clear a path back to Him for His children.
Throughout Paul’s writings he is clear that Jesus Christ has completed His work (past tense) and that is why we can do nothing apart from Him. He was made to be like us in order to set us free.
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— Heb 2:14
Those words are past tense. Now He is at the right hand of God, now we – His body, His fullness – can do greater things than He did because He has…
Joh 14:12-14 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
Now what remains is to read the gospels again to find our how He walked and what authority He exerted over sin and death. We need to get to know Him better, because He wants us to be His fullness here on earth. As He ruled over and had dominion over the mountains called sin and death, He wants us to do the same. These mountains which stand in the way of God’s people returning to Himself are to be removed.
It’s so true that as we behold Him more and more, we change from glory to glory and we come to understand ourselves more and more.
Instead of being captives to sin and death, it is God’s purpose that the captive becomes the ruler who rules in love and through His power. Apart from Him we can do nothing, but fortunately for us, He has done it all already.
Book: If My people (v35!) (1+MB) – A free daily devotional which is under development. 167 pages.