The thing that I am getting more and more each week is what Jesus Christ did on the cross. It is profound! We fail to SEE it… but indeed everything we see around us was NOT made out of what is visible…
1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for. 3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. – Heb 11:1-3
Faith is invisible, but it creates the visible. Wow. Come with me on this journey.
What Jesus Christ did on the cross is invisible. In the visible He died a gruesome death. Bloody and mangled. But invisibly He did a work that is SO comprehensive that we cannot comprehend what He did.
I am realising that it truly is exceedingly and abundantly above all that we can possibly think or even imagine!
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, – Eph 3:18
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, – Eph 3:20
So what did He do? In one short sentence, this is it… He made all things new, He reconciled everything, He took all the curses.
No matter what the issue is, He resolved it. No matter what the opportunity is, He provided it. No matter what the need is, He met it.
But then why don’t we see it? Why is this world a mess? Ah… good question. I now understand very clearly why it looks this way.
Here is the way to think about it. Jesus Christ has reached out His hands to us from Heaven. In His hands are everything we ever need. Imagine a zillion hands reaching out with every conceivable blessing. You my friend can reach up and take anything which has been handed to you.
That is the right imagery. It is done. And what remains is for us to take it. And while we don’t take it, the old order of things remains. When we take it, the new comes from Heaven to us.
I used to be so frustrated. WHY wasn’t I being blessed? For example last year (2009) I was obediently spending a year praying for the world. SURELY God would provide during that time? But by the end I was eating baked beans on toast, and then just toast and tomatoes, and then just toast. You would have thought that if the traditional “God will provide” teaching was right, then He would have provided abundantly during such a time of obedience?! The old saying of “where He guides, He provides” clearly wasn’t working. In fact, it has never consistently worked throughout my life!
So why did I go without eating? Well… ask yourself, why was Mother Teresa suffering so terribly, considering the awesome work she was doing? Why did so many great men and women of God die with sickness? Why do missionaries live in poverty and sometimes die in the field?
Why? I read the “Come be my light” book which contained Mother Theresa’s personal letters to her superiors. God taught me something profound through that book.
Most people’s theology is one of “trust”. But that theology is from the teachings of Gen 15:6 in which Abraham believed and God counted it to him as righteousness.
But then came the law. And now something MUCH greater has come.
And the key thing in this new covenant, is to “receive”. Faith was the key in Abraham’s age. Obedience was the key under the law. Now it is a matter of receiving. And we receive by faith.
Until now, like many others, I placed the emphasis incorrectly. I thought the emphasis was on “receiving BY FAITH”… but in fact the emphasis is: “RECEIVE by faith”.
No wonder it’s a book of ACTS… we are to be active, and receive. The last sentence in the bible is Rev 22:17 (before the warnings) is this “let all who are thirsty COME AND TAKE”.
I was hungry, eating plain toast with margarine as the spread! And the Holy Spirit said to me “if you can find it in the cross, you can have it”. And since then I have looked with new eyes at the promises of the Old Testament, because in Christ Jesus EVERY promise is yes and amen. I can have ALL those promises made in the Old Testament.
And since then my financial situation has utterly changed. I am days away from being debt free. My small business is being blessed with customers. That’s quite a change from eating toast! And the word I most often want to say is HALLELUJAH! That word is frequently on my lips. I have found the pearl of great price – and it is Jesus Christ on the cross and Jesus Christ risen up!
Abraham received righteousness because of his faith. But we can receive much much more, incredibly more. When Abraham received his own righteousness by faith, it didn’t change the world. But what we can receive through our faith is a completely new world in which everything is not only healed, but everything is restored back to YHWH through Jesus Christ.
Receiving can be seen in the teaching of Jesus Christ:
We must remain on the vine if we are to do anything at all – He is the vine. That is receiving from Him.
We must eat His flesh and drink His blood. That is receiving from Him.
Abraham attained righteousness through his faith in God. God spoke, and Abraham believe God. God counted it to Abraham as righteousness. So the word “faith” is there in the OT. A quick search in the KJV for the word “faith” shows two instances (Deut 32:20 and Hab 2:4 – the just shall live by faith). The ESV uses the word faith 24 times, but it is usually used in a human context (Exo 21:8 If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her.). So that is not the kind of faith I am talking about. That is faith between people, I am talking about faith between humans and God.
So the word faith is only in the OT twice. But the word law is there 287 times.
But now, in the NT, faith takes on a much large dimension. Not only is the word used far more than just two times, but it is repeatedly used in certain phrases that call us to action. For example the phrase “by faith” (something was done by faith) does not appear in the OT, but appears 42 times in the NT. “in faith” is in Isaiah once (“If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established”), but 10 times in the NT. “through faith” is not in the OT, but it is in the NT 14 times.
What’s even more remarkable is that in my Amplified bible the OT is 1000 pages long, and in my bible the NT is 500 pages long. The OT only has far fewer call-to-action phrase about faith in Isaiah, but the NT (which is much shorter) has 66 call-to-action phrases.
During Abraham’s time God was explaining that faith made people righteous. But people didn’t see our fallenness and our sin, so we didn’t see our need for righteousness.
Therefore God brought the law in… to really show up and bring into sharp contrast, our fallenness and our sinfullness. That is why the bible says the law is a tutor… it teaches us of our need for the Lamb of God to make us righteous with God.
Now… in the NT… we have had a Saviour Who has already died. He is not going to die again. He will never again suffer for our sins. He will never again bear any burdens. His work is finished 2000 years ago.
Now there is so much more to receive than what was available to Abraham. Abraham received his own righteousness. But we have the priveledge of receiving a completely renewed world. We can receive reconciliation for all humanity with YHWH. We can receive His Kingdom here on earth. We can receive His New Jerusalem, His Sanctuary, His Presence amongst us.
All of it has been prepared for us. Jesus Christ is always reaching out to us with things that we cannot even imagine, we can’t even think to ask for it… and that is why we need the Holy Spirit within us. He is our Teacher, He guides us to see with spiritual eyes what is available to us from Jesus Christ.
And it’s amazing… when you begin to see what can be received! It’s not just for other people, not only for the world, but in fact, it’s for us as individual believers.
We are in Him, He is in us. Receive it! We are seated where He is. Receive it! We are AS He is. No, it’s not that we are as He WAS when he walked the earth… it is that we are AS He IS NOW – right there in Heaven. Receive that!
But we must keep some things in mind. We are not Jesus Christ. But we are in His image. We eat and drink from Him. We remain on the vine, which is a symbol of how He feeds us and we live off Him.
We are all God’s disobedient children. It is not just Jewish people who are His kids, but all people are God’s children. But the Jewish people were His chosen. The rest of us – the gentiles – ran amok worshipping metal objects and wooden objects, things that obviously could not help us or protect us or speak to us.
And look at who He has made us to be! All of creation is suffering and waiting, longing, for the children of God to receive/take on their status as children…
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. – Rom 8:19-21
When we grasp who we are, then even this world will be set free from it’s decay and mayhem and madness.
And what is it we are to grasp? Before going into this, lets once again center ourselves on the truth. We are not the first born, that is Jesus Christ. We are not begotten, that also is Jesus Christ. But yes we are His children nevertheless. He alone is the first, but yes we are also God’s children. He is unique and we are not Him… but yes we like Him, we are a new creation in His image.
So what should we grasp? Everything we get, we must get it from Him. He is already holding out to us everything that is worth getting… and He has been doing so for over 2000 years! Receive it!
If you are suffering, it is because you are not receiving what He has done, receiving it through your faith. If you have a lack, it is because you are not receiving His blessings that He has poured out on you (receiving through your faith).
The potential is astonishing. And the evil one knows this, so he has already published a corruption. The book called “The secret” teaches us to receive from the universe, or to receive from the God within us, or from our willpower.
No. The real secret is that we are to receive from Jesus Christ, not from the universe and not from ourselves. The wonderful secret is that His hands are already outstretched towards us, holding everything that could ever be offered, everything we could ever need – even enough to set this world free from it’s bondage and corruption.
The only limit of what we can receive is… us. It is all done and it is all available, being held out to us constantly.
Until we understand who we are, the bible says we remain slaves. But when we realise who we are, we mature and we begin to be children and we know what the family business is and we begin to make decisions that benefit the family business. Slaves don’t make those kinds of decisions, but children do.
For example I was walking past a house the other day and I heard a young boy shout at the dog outside because the dog was barking. I imagine that the father or mother would have shouted, but because they were not there, the child stepped in a he knew the drill, he knew how to speak with authority that the dog would listen to. So he did it. And the dog listened and stopped barking.
We must always draw our resources from Jesus Christ. He is the vine, we eat and drink from Him. Why would we go anywhere else? Can any other resource offer us anything than even remotely matches what He holds out to us?
Read Gen 49:25 that and KNOW that these promises are yes and amen TO YOU through Jesus Christ. Can any earthly source match such promises?
… the God of your father who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. – Gen 49:25
What about Deut 28:1-14. What earthly community can offer promises and blessings and resources which can match those promises? The criteria was perfect obedience… and because of the perfect obedience in Jesus Christ, these too are yes and amen in Christ Jesus for you and me to receive.
What about Ez 36:27 (and even verses 25-30)?
Time and again in the prophets the promise is that HE WILL DO IT. And yes, He DID do it… on the cross. And now we simply receive it by believing.
Remember that faith means “to agree that something is true”.
This understanding explains wonderfully why Jesus Christ taught that we should be like children… what do children do? They receive.
And right there in Ezekiel 36:37…
“Thus says the Lord GOD: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock. – Eze 36:37
In those words I feel the message is this… that people must come and ask… ask how to receive from Jesus Christ. We do not ask God to do what He has already done 2000 years ago. But if we do not know how to receive, we can ask that.
It is all already being held out to us. Everything we could ever want. Everything we ever need. And the remarkable thing is that as I have come to understand more and more of what the Holy Spirit is showing me, more and more of what He is enabling me to receive… the more I have calmed down and quieted down inside. The magnitude has caused me to become more serious, more focussed.
I have realised… wow… I’m really going to get this stuff. It’s really available and really easy to get!
He has encouraged me to drink deeply from Him, to eat my full, and not for myself, but for the people around me. He wants me to not leave anything behind, to drink it all and eat it all. To consume as much as I can.
And the implications are staggering to me. I’ve seen wonderful things already in this walk, but now I am seeing the vast potential. I see who I can be, who He says I can be. The key thing is… He is always the head, I always draw from Him, I remain on His Vine… that is always the key. Without Him I can do nothing. But by drawing from Him, eating and drinking from Him… where is the limit? IS there a limit?
What is the potential? What can I do? Greater things than He did… BECAUSE He went to the Father…. BECAUSE He went to Heaven and finished His work… BECAUSE He sat down at the right hand of the Father…. BECAUSE He seated me with Him… BECAUSE He left and then sent His Holy Spirit to reside within me…. BECAUSE all authority in Heaven and on Earth was given to Him… and BECAUSE the Holy Spirit takes from what is His and gives it to me.
How I came to be this person with this revelation is quite profound. I was not permitted to earn my own righteousness. In all my searching I could not find any way to be free and be an overcomer. I was not permitted to be strong enough to overcome my own addictions. Even spending a year in prayer did not bring provision and blessing.
But now, I see that everything has been made available, if I will simply receive it by faith from Jesus Christ. My eyes are opening and I am astonished at the scope of what is available. Every promise in the OT is yes and amen in Christ Jesus… if I will receive them. But that is the OT. In the NT something profound has occurred on the cross and not only has the world changed, but we have changed into His likeness, we are as He is – if we will receive that by faith.
Yes I am coming to see that the ultimate opportunity is to become like Him, and then to even do greater things than He did. But none of this is possible, unless I draw it all from Him. I can only do this if I eat and drink His flesh and blood which was given for us all on the cross. Nothing is possible unless He is my head. I can do nothing unless I remain connected to His vine.
Without Him, without faith in His sacrifice, with faith in His resurrection, with the faith that He has completed His work and made it available for me to receive… without that I can do nothing at all.
And with that understanding in place, I see the potential is quite simply this… to be as He is now, and to walk as He did, and to do greater things.
When you realise such a thing is possible… you will automatically serve others, not yourself…
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. – Joh 13:3-5
In that same way, knowing what Jesus Christ has offered you, the vast scope of what is available… the next step is to take the position of a servant and begin washing other people’s feet.