by David D. Neal
Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
This study will focus upon one particular aspect of “following” Jesus which is to be merciful and forgiving. We are to “follow” our Lord in all things. Jesus said: John 16:28, “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” Those who “follow” Jesus in all things (thus conforming to His image as by the Spirit, Rm 8:14, 1 Cor 6:11, 2 Cor 3:18, Gal 3:3, 5:5, Eph 2:18, 3:16, 1 Pt 3:18, 1 Jn 3:24) will also go to the Father – for this is where Jesus leads – through Christ to God-ward (2 Cor 3:4). Those who seek their own way (even religiously) will actually be walking away from or opposite the Father. John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” If you do not “follow” Jesus on this narrow way, then you will not arrive (Mt 7:13-14).
We must first understand what separates us from God and then the Lord’s incredible love, mercy and forgiveness toward us. When we begin to understand the nature of God, then we can more clearly see how we are to “follow” therein. The Lord God Almighty actually came to the earth as a man and led by example. Let us follow.
The Lord God created man in His own image (Gen 1:26-27). Genesis 2:7, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. AND He created the heavens, and stretched them out; he spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein (Is 42:5). Life comes from God and is sustained by God. Man was created by God and does not have life independent from the Lord. God has life within Himself. Jesus said: John 5:26, “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” God is distinguished as being life and having need of nothing (completely independent).
God had a purpose in creating man: Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” AND For I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him (Is 43:7). Man was created to give God glory and honor – for the Lord’s pleasure.
Jesus is God! Colossians 2:9, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” The Godhead is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Mt 3:16-17, 28:19, Mk 1:10-11, Lk 3:22, Acts 2:33, Eph 2:18, created man in our image – Gen 1:26). 1 John 5:7, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” Jesus stated: “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father (Jn 14:9). AND John 10:30, “I and my Father are one (also Jn 10:38, 14:10-11, 20, 23, 17:21).” As stated above: Jesus has life within Himself (Jn 5:26). Only God has life within Himself (1 Jn 5:11-12).
Jesus created the world and man by His very Word (Ps 33:6, 9, Ps 104:30, 148:5, Is 45:12, 18, Heb 11:3, Rev 10:6). Colossians 1:16-17, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Additionally, we are told: John 1:1-4, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” – who created all things by Jesus Christ (Eph 3:9). In Jesus is “life!” Jesus is life and is the light of men and through Him shall man live (Jn 1:4, 8:12, 11:25, 14:6, 17:3, 20:31). Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last (Rev 22:13). 1 Corinthians 8:6, “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” Jesus brought life in the beginning (Alpha) and after the fall of man (discussed below), Jesus brought life in the end (Omega). We shall understand that there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus and walk by His Spirit (the Omega, Rm 8:1).
Therefore: Psalms 24:1, “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. AND Psalms 89:11, “The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.” The Lord is sovereign over His creation. The Lord gives life unto His creation and sustains that life. Apart from the Lord, the creation withers and dies – a branch taken from the vine quickly withers and dies (Jn 15:1-8). Jesus said: John 15:6, “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
The Lord placed His creation of man upon the earth for His purposes (Gen 1:26, 28-30). Psalms 8:5-8, “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.”
Genesis 2:8-9, “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Man was first given life by God and then place, purpose and authority. Genesis 2:15-17, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
Man was given one commandment (not to eat from the forbidden tree) and then warned of the penalty for violating (disobeying) the commandment. The Lord was concerned that man be faithful to his God and Creator. We are talking about allegiance, loyalty, devotion (loving, steadfast, faithful, dependable), complete trust, confidence, and reliance upon/to God. The commandment and its associated penalty revealed that man was absolutely given a free-will. This is the ability of making reasoned choice or decision and the ability to control one’s own actions. God’s test would determine man’s heart.
The penalty for disobedience was death! To disregard God is to cut off your very source of life – your very being. One thing is very clear in God’s dealings with man and that is obedience to the Lord always brings life and disobedience to the Lord always brings death. You may apply this truth anywhere in God’s Word and find it to always be valid. Proverbs 12:28, “In the way of righteousness (walking in God’s will) is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death (also Pv 14:27).” The Lord says: Proverbs 8:36, “But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” We shall determine in this writing that the Lord sets before you the way of life, and the way of death (Jer 21:8) – choose, Oh man! There are only two paths that a man can walk and this is also and undeniable and eternal fact1.
Let us understand what sin is: 1 John 3:4, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” Sin is the transgression (violation) of God’s will or commandments (laws) which is also known as unrighteousness or iniquity. Sin is committed with only one unjust act (a single occurrence). To transgress God’s will is to rebel against God (Job 24:13).
Therefore “the condemnation” is the penalty for having transgressed or violated God’s commandment which is His stated will. To “condemn” is to pass judgment and inflict a penalty upon the violater. The penalty is death! Death is the complete separation from the life of God, which is everything that is good. Those who have no regard for God’s will (the rebellious) shall be eternally removed from the Lord. The place of separation is a place of torment and weeping and gnashing of teeth where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched (Is 66:24, Mt 8:12, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30, Mk 9:44, 46, 48, Lk 13:28, 16:28).
Death must be understood as a dual process. There is the physical death of the body (due to denial of access to the tree of life, Gen 3:22-24) which releases the spirit of man to return to God for judgment. Ecclesiastes 12:7, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” AND Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” The first death (physical death of the clay vessel) places man before God to be judged for his works/actions/deeds and sets up the potential for condemnation, which is the second death (Job 34:11, Eccl 3:17, 11:9, 12:14, 1 Sam 2:3, 2 Kg 8:39, Ps 28:4, 33:15, 62:12, Pv 24:12, 29, Is 59:18, Jer 17:10, 25:14, 32:19, Ez 7:3-4, 8-9, 27, Oba 1:15, Zech 1:6, Mt 12:36-37, 16:27, Jn 5:29, Rm 2:6, 16, 14:12, 1 Cor 3:13, 4:5, 2 Cor 5:10, Col 3:24-25, 2 Tim 4:1, 1 Pt 1:17, 4:5, Jude 1:15, Rev 2:23, 20:12-13, 22:12). Proverbs 14:32, “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.” The hope of the righteous is “eternal life” which is the complete reconciliation with God – the source of all life.
The second death is the eternal separation from God into a place of torment (the lake of fire) as determined through God’s righteous judgment. Revelation 20:12-15, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” One’s faithfulness or lack of faithfulness toward God (as the Lord requires) determines one’s eternal destination.
Death has dominion over man (Rm 6:9, Heb 2:14-15). Ecclesiastes 8:8, “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.” AND Psalms 89:48, “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?” 1 Corinthians 15:56, “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.”
The Violation of God’s Commandment
God gave man a commandment and the Lord tested man with regards to the commandment. The Lord trieth the heart’s of men to establish the just (Ps 7:9, 11:5, 17:3, 1 Thess 2:4). Jeremiah 17:10, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” In the end, all things come down to the fruit which your life has produced upon the earth (2 Cor 5:10) – having been led of the flesh or God’s Spirit (Mt 7:16- 20, 12:33, Mt 13:23, Mk 4:7, 20, 29, Lk 3:9, 6:43-44, 8:14-15, Jn 15:1-8, 16, Gal 5:22-23, Eph 5:9). EITHER: Romans 7:5, “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” OR Galatians 5:16, 24, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit (God’s way), and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh (the devil’s way). And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” – have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life (Rm 6:22).
The devil (Satan, Rev 20:2) is a fallen created being (Ez 28:15) and is the tempter, deceiver and accuser of man (Mk 4:3, Jn 8:44, 1 Thess 3:5, Rev 12:10, 12:19). He entered into a serpent and tempted the woman (the weaker vessel, 1 Pt 3:7) to violate God’s commandment. Genesis 3:1-3, “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” Notice that the woman clearly understood God’s commandment and the penalty for violating the commandment.
The devil lied and said that you can disobey God (transgress His commandment) and you will not die – that is suffer the penalty (Gen 3:4). The devil then offered an incentive to break the commandment: Genesis 3:5, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. To be a god would be to walk in your own will or way, which is to be your own authority. To be a god would be to seek self-will over God’s will. To be a god would be to decide good or evil for yourself. The great temptation was to disregard God in favor of “self.”
Satan’s lie and deception produced results: Genesis 3:6, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Man (the woman and her husband) sought the lusts and desires of the flesh rather than the will of God. Man exalted “self” over God (Ps 53:1). The devil’s deception appealed to the flesh and corrupted man to transgress the will of God (1 Tim 2:14). James 1:14-15, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” The devil always appeals to the lusts of man (his flesh) in order to bring forth sin!
God said, “thou shalt surely die (Gen 2:17)” and the devil said, “ye shall not surely die (Gen 3:5).” These are opposite paths. In other words, the truth of God says that if you transgress God’s commandments you will surely die and the devil’s lie says that you can transgress the will of God and you will not die. The devil changed the truth of God into a lie (Rm 1:25, also Jn 8:44). The Lord says: 2 Thessalonians 2:12, “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” To reject God’s truth and find pleasure in transgressing His will (commandments) is to be damned or suffer the full effect of God’s original condemnation.
Where was the allegiance, loyalty and devotion of man – which path? Man actually “followed” the devil in his disobedience and rebellion against God. Man obeyed Satan and disobeyed God. We are told: to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey – in this case, of sin unto death (Rm 6:16). Jesus once told some men: John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” The devil is the leader and father of those who seek the lusts and desires of the flesh and thus transgress the will of God. The devil does not dwell in truth. To disobey God is to oppose God and set yourself as an enemy of God.
The devil taught man to disregard (transgress) God’s will and to seek his own will through the lusts and desires of the flesh – he taught rebellion against the LORD (Jer 28:16, 29:32). The devil taught man to walk in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts (Is 65:2) – they walk after their own devices and the imagination of their own hearts (Gen 6:5, Deut 29:19, Pv 6:18, Jer 3:17, 7:24, 9:14, 11:8, 13:10, 16:12, 18:12, 23:17, Lk 1:51, Rm 1:21) and do what is right in their own eyes (Num 15:39, Deut 12:8, Jdg 17:6, 21:25, Ps 36:2, Pv 3:7, 12:15, 16:2, 21:2, 30:12, Is 5:21). Satan told a great lie and taught man to sin and these are the “works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8).” No lie is of the truth (1 Jn 2:21). The devil labors hard to keep man in his lie and of the opinion that he can sin and not die. This lie is the darkness that man walks in. Since the truth is that obedience to the will of God is life, then disobedience to the will of God clearly puts you in the domain of death which the devil has power of (Heb 2:14). You become subjected to the devil’s bondage.
Satan told man “ye shall not surely die,” but the devil is a created being and does not have life within himself. The devil is no god and did not have the power or ability to carry out his boast/word – to put it into effect. Therefore: Death came into the world and reigned due to man’s transgression (Rm 5:14). Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” This is all encompassing: Romans 3:12, “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one (also Rm 3:23, 1 Jn 1:8).” For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one (Rm 5:17, 1 Cor 15:21). For as in Adam all die (1 Cor 15:22). Sin hath reigned unto death (Rm 5:21). For the wages of sin is death (Rm 6:23).
Every man has sinned against God and is under God’s condemnation of “thou shalt surely die (Gen 2:17).” The sentence of death is in every man (2 Cor 1:9). Man is no god and man’s dependance upon the one true God for life only proves it. The devil is no god and the certainty that his proposition (that you can sin against God and not die) was a great lie only proves it. The Lord God rules and reigns and the truth of His declaration validates and verifies (confirms, substantiates, proves) His Words.
God is life! Obedience to God procures life and life eternal. Disobedience to God produces death and death eternal (the second death). That which opposes God produces death. Sin separates one from God who is the source of all life. Isaiah 59:2, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” These are eternal truths.
Transgression of the will of God results in the condemnation which is the second death that eternally separates one from God into a place of torment. Man knowingly transgressed God’s will in Eden. Romans 5:18, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation…”
God is perfectly and justly (exercising righteous judgment, Jer 9:24, Ps 33:5) within His rights to enact the penalty and fully carry out the condemnation of “thou shalt surely die” upon any and all men at His discretion. Physical death (which looms at any moment) places you before God for eternal judgment with no more opportunity to amend. James 4:14, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Why does the Lord endure man? Man disregarded (rejected, disobeyed) and greatly dishonored his Creator. Psalms 8:4, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him (also Ps 144:3, Heb 2:6)?”
The fate of all mankind is clearly falls unto God’s discretion. For now God forbears the injuries that man has inflicted on His righteous and Holy character (Rm 3:25). Forbearance is to be patient (command of temper) and to restrain from action – to delay ultimate judgment (action). Forbearance is the intermission (cessation for a time; pause) of an act commenced. Rest assured that there is a time and a season for every purpose under the heaven (Eccl 3:1-8). We are presently in the season of God’s mercy and grace, but the time of God’s judgment and wrath is coming (near at hand). Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness (also Rm 2:5, 8-9).” 2 Thessalonians 1:8, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Judgment and condemnation can be counteracted (undo the effect with an opposing action) by mercy and forgiveness (opposites). God does all things within His established truth. Psalms 85:10, “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”
A Merciful God
For the LORD thy God (and Creator) is a merciful God (Deut 4:31). God says of Himself: Exodus 34:6-7, “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” AND Psalms 103:8, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger (command of temper), and plenteous in mercy (also Ps 103:8, 116:5, Lk 6:36).” The Lord proclaims: Hebrews 8:12, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”
God first loved us (1 Jn 4:19). The way that God defines love is the sacrifice of self for the benefit of another. Similarly, mercy would be defined as the sacrifice of self for the undeserved benefit of another. To be merciful would be to forbear the injuries of others and forgive their offenses through a prescribed manner for a stated purpose (2 Tim 1:9, Rm 3:25, Eph 1:10-12, 3:11-12). God is love (1 Jn 4:7-8)! The love of God is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rm 8:39). The Lord is also “gracious” which means that He is disposed to forgive offences and impart unmerited love. The Lord’s purpose is that He might deliver us from this present evil world, through Christ, according to the will of God and our Father (Gal 1:4). The earth is corrupted by the devil’s lie which rebels against and transgresses God’s authority and will.
The Lord God in His great love has purposed to restore man and be reconciled with man through His Son (Jesus, Rm 5:10, Eph 2:14-16) not imputing their trespasses unto them (2 Cor 5:19). Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not (Neh 9:17, also Jer 33:8). Therefore: For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him (2 Chr 30:9). For I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever (Jer 3:12). For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life (Ps 30:5).
God has purposed that all things will be restored through Jesus by which all things were made that were made (Jn 1:3). Colossians 1:19-20, “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
To be longsuffering is to bear injuries or provocation for a long time; being patient and not easily provoked. 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. AND Romans 2:4, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”
Even though God is very longsuffering for now, there will come a day of judment when God’s wrath will fall upon the wicked (proud, rebellious, sinful, unrighteous). Deuteronomy 7:9-10, “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.” To love God is to sacrifice self for His benefit; to hate God is to sacrifice (or disregard) God for your benefit. This is to seek self and be as a god, thereby transgressing God’s will (do not keep His commandments). The Lord is not remiss (slack, lax, negligent) to fulfill His Word – there is a day appointed. The Lord God will give to them who hate Him what they desire – complete separation from Him and everything the Lord represents. They will receive the opposite! – a hellish uncomprehendable nightmare.
Those that disregard God and walk in darkness (the lusts and desires of the flesh, self-centered) or Satan’s lie, thus serving the creature more than the Creator, are given over to blindness to the truth (Rm 1:25, 1 Cor 1:18, 2:14, 2 Cor 4:4). Romans 1:28-32, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge (disregarded God in seeking self), God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding (blindness to the things of God), covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful (the opposite of God): Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death (God’s original condemnation), not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (such as watching sinful acts on television).” When man is self-centered and not God-centered and seeking the lusts of his flesh, then all manner of sin manifests as a result. These are filled with transgressions against God’s will (unrighteousness). This is Satan’s bondage which produces death – Oh who shall deliver us?
Repentance is to turn around (change direction) and return (Ps 119:59). To repent is to regret your wicked actions, feel remorse for your transgressions against God, to be sorrowful and change your mind, to turn back and return – everyone turning away from his iniquities (Acts 3:26, Job 34:32, Ez 18:21-23, 27-28, 30-32, 33:11, 19). Man must forsake his way (self seeking) and return to God through the path the Lord has provided in Christ Jesus. In other words, man must stop trying to be as a god and fully submit to the one true God (Gen 3:5). We have just considered that God is abundant in mercy for those who will turn from their way (die to) and seek Him fully through His way. Repentance is God’s path or way out of the devil’s bondage.
God’s consistent message to man has been for man to repent. Isaiah 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” God is offering man a pardon from the sentence of death (condemnation) that he is under. Repentance without the forsaking of evil (the precepts of the devil’s lie) is without merit (value, worth).
Man must first fully acknowledge his wrongs before God (Ps 51:4). Proverbs 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Psalms 32:5, “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” AND Psalms 38:18, “For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin (with godly sorrow, 2 Cor 7:10).” It was stated above that the Lord will by no means clear the guilty (Ex 34:7). The guilty are those who will not acknowledge and forsake their wrong and thus continue therein. God is plenteous in mercy and ready to forgive, but to receive the Lord’s mercy you must turn to Him with a full heart (Ps 86:5, 15, 103:8, Rm 4:7, Heb 8:12, 10:17). We must say: Psalms 51:2, “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”
Repentance can only be realized through your actions, and not your words. Are not actions the true indicators of the heart’s desire? Repentance must precede forgiveness and mercy. This can be termed, “repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18). Acts 3:19, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” Jesus gives repentance and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31). You must be “converted (born again)” from having a self seeking nature to having a God seeking nature. John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Being converted is to become a new man. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Ephesians 4:24, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Colossians 3:10, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” So, you must be renewed or re-created or born again which are all one in the same (having died to your old corrupt nature, Rm 6:6, Eph 2:3) to live as unto God. By thy Spirit they were created (Ps 104:30) and must now be re-created or “born again” (Jn 3:3, 7, 2 Cor 5:17, Col 3:10). Jesus created man with life, but man fell and succumbed to death. Jesus now re-creates man with new life (Rm 6:4). As mentioned, Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega – He is the author of eternal salvation and is our life (only for those who obey Him, Heb 5:9).
Repentance is all about turning from and forsaking the darkness and power of Satan (enticements of the flesh through seeking your lusts) and coming to the light or truth of God (Acts 26:18). Through repentance one can receive forgiveness. 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” We must turn from following the devil on his corrupt path that leads away from God too following Jesus in “The Way” back to God. Thus man must turn around and return. The Lord says: Ezekiel 33:11, “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die…(also Ez 18:32)?”
Jesus said: Luke 5:32, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” How does God feel about those who respond in an acceptable way? Luke 15:7, “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” AND Luke 15:10, “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Read the parable of the Prodigal Son, the gospel of Luke – 15:11-32.
Those who do not repent and accept God’s offer of mercy (through Christ) are known as the wicked. These ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way (Jdg 2:19). In other words, they continue in the devil’s lie of seeking self and being as a god (Gen 3:4-5). Stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry because it places your will above (ahead of) the will of God (1 Sam 15:23).
The Lord requires that man repent and then walk in faith through Jesus Christ. Faith is what God originally expected in man and this is a free-will (man freely chooses) love, surrender (submission), obedience, trust and devotion toward God. This requires man to fully renounce seeking his own way through the lusts and desires of the flesh and to abandon his presumed authority to be as a god. In other words, man must forsake that which he rebelled against God to obtain and completely come back under God’s authority. Faith is God’s mechanism to purify man’s heart (Acts 15:9). Galatians 3:22, “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” We shall later discuss that the forgiveness of sin is only the starting place for a walk of faith. Salvation is realized at the end of this walk of faith (1 Pt 1:9).
Once one sincerely repents, faith is the means for traveling the narrow way forward in following Christ. Acts 20:21, “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” The just shall live by faith (Rm 1:17). Jesus provided the way for man to be forgiven of his transgressions against God (discussed below). Once one genuinely repents and is forgiven, God’s intent and purpose (what He originally wanted in man) must then be worked (realized) in them. Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God’s work requires a yielding, application and realization or transformation (change) in you – from thence comes the fruit.
Since repentance is to change directions and return to God, there is a path that must be walked. Jesus (God Himself) leads in the path by example. We must “follow” and this will be discussed later. The path to God is traveled in faith and by Christ’s example as led by the Holy Ghost (Rm 8:14). This is a path of restoration and reconciliation with God. Forgiveness is just the start of the path (entering the strait gate, Mt 7:13-14, Lk 13:24) and is by no means the end. For by faith ye stand (2 Cor 1:25).
Man rebelled against God thus bringing about a separation and enmity with God (Is 59:2, 64:6, Jer 5:25, Rm 8:7, Eph 2:15-16). The Lord God has chosen to respond to man in love. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. AND 1 John 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Can you see how God sacrificed of Self for our benefit? Can you see how Jesus (as God) sacrificed of Self for our benefit? – our undeserved benefit! Romans 5:10, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” We are saved by His life, by His life are we saved (Col 3:3).
All of mankind is under the condemnation of death, but rather than immediately carry out (execute) the sentence, God forbears the injuries and offers mercy through Jesus Christ (Rm 3:25). Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” While man was/is in the very process of transgressing God’s will, the Lord reaches out an offers a way back. Ephesians 2:4-7, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace2 ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
Jesus did not come to Judge or Condemn Man
Jesus did not come to the earth to carry out God’s condemnation upon man, but rather to extend mercy and bring man back to God. John 3:17-18, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Those who do not “believe” or “embrace” God’s offer of mercy are already under the original condemnation of “thou shalt surely die.” The only way to receive pardon is to forsake your rebellion and come back to God through Christ. Those who do not accept God’s offer of mercy, hate God and choose death; and those that hate Jesus (who is the offer of mercy) also hate the Father (Pv 8:36, 15:10, Jn 15:23)
The Lord did not come to judge man. John 12:47-48, “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” Judging would be to condemn, pass sentence and doom to punishment. Jesus does not judge or force the will of any man at this time. Christ came to save – judgment and condemnation will come at a later date (a day appointed, Acts 17:31) for those who reject God’s mercy. We must “receive” Christ’s Words, meaning that we must apply them to our lives and live them everyday. Those who reject God’s salvation (found in Christ) will one day be judged by Christ’s Words (in relation to how their lives were lived, Deut 4:3, 18:18-19, Acts 3:22-23). We do not have to receive the truth that Christ spoke, but realize that one day you will stand or fall based upon that truth (Jn 6:63). Jesus said: Matthew 12:30, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”
The only acceptable way back to God (way to be saved, pardoned, forgiven) is found in Christ. John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Life is only found in Jesus! 1 John 5:11-13, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Jesus came in God’s love and mercy. Jesus has the authority to execute judgment: John 5:22, 27, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” Even so, Jesus tells us: John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Mercy rejoiceth against judgment (Js 2:13). God offers us the opportunity to live and not die. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them (Lk 9:56). Matthew 18:11, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost (also Lk 19:10).” The shepherd is looking for the lost sheep (Lk 15:4-6). Jesus will ultimately be your advocate or your judge unto life or unto death (Heb 7:25, Jn 5:27, 2 Cor 2:16). Christ will either say, “well done, good and faithful servant” or “depart from me, ye that work iniquity/cursed.” (Mt 7:23, 25:21, 23, 41, Lk 13:27).
To perfectly illustrate the love and mercy of the Lord, we shall consider the following event in the earthly life of Christ: John 8:3-11, “And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
The law given unto Moses was written by the finger of God. Exodus 31:18, “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God (also Deut 9:10).” Israel was to live by the law. Romans 10:5, “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them (also Gal 3:12).” There was no mercy under the law for an adulterous woman (Num 5:12-30, Deut 22:22). Hebrews 10:28, “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses.” This woman was guilty of adultery and the penalty was death (Lev 20:10). Jesus, as God, stooped down and with His finger amended the law to allow for mercy.
The religious men had no concern for this woman and were most interested in discovering a way to find fault in or accuse Jesus (Ps 56:5-6). Christ once said they ommited the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith (Mt 23:23). These men considered that they had Jesus in a no-win situation. If He told them to stone her then He would be a hypocrite in all that He said and did regarding mercy and forgiveness or said relating to not judging or condemning. If He told them to free her then He would be disregarding the law. So, Jesus simply revealed to them their own guilt before God and their own deserving of condemnation (which condemnation that He, as God, did not impose at this time). Romans 2:1-2, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things (sins deserving of God’s condemnation). But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things (also verse 3).” Please note: God’s great mercy and man’s lack of mercy in this case/situation. Jesus showed compassion, mercy and grace. Man showed hardness of heart and condemnation.
Jesus plainly told the woman that He did not condemn her – oh what mercy! Christ did not condemn one single person (and enact penalty) during His earthly walk. Now many people at this point would like to completely ignor (and do) Jesus’ statement to “go and sin no more.” Jesus (God) does not forgive you to continue in your sin (transgression). Lets repeat that: Jesus does not forgive you to continue in your transgression! The woman received undeserved mercy, but now she must sin no more. This requires an action on her part. God does not and never will condone sin (iniquity, transgression, unrighteousness). The devil told man that he could sin against God and not die (Gen 3:4). Jesus just revealed otherwise. God may offer pardon from sin, but never expect to receive license to sin. The devil has not been given approval to sin; do you think you have?
Jesus Suffered Man’s Condemnation
Jesus did not rightly condemn or judge man, but rather assumed man’s sins and actually suffered man’s condemnation that man might be saved through Him. Is this not incredible? 2 Corinthians 9:15, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” Why was this necessary? God upholds the truth of His Word. The eternal truth is that disobedience to the will of God shall always produce death (separation from the life of the Creator). Man clearly disobeyed God and now must die that the truth of God’s Word be upheld (Rm 6:23). God’s Word is forever settled in heaven and and the truth cannot be altered (Ps 119:89). Psalms 119:160, “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever (also Jn 17:17).” However, God could pardon (forgive) man if it was/is done in a way the upholds His righteous character and truth. How was this done?…
Jesus (who is the Word/truth of God) came to this earth as a man. John 1:14, “And 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.” Jesus was/is the very embodiment of God’s truth (Alpha and Omega). He was born as a man after the seed of Abraham. Hebrews 2:16-17, “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Abraham pleased God through his faith (Gal 3:6, Js 2:23). Abraham obeyed the Lord’s voice, and kept His charge, His commandments, His statutes, and His laws (Gen 26:5, also Heb 11:17). Since Jesus was born of Abraham’s seed, being “born again” of Christ also makes you of Abraham’s seed (Gal 3:29). Galatians 3:7, 9, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”
Man was made a little lower than the angels (Heb 2:7) and Jesus also was made a little lower than the angels (Heb 2:9) – Jesus came as a man. All the things Jesus did (Words and miracles) came through the Holy Spirit within Him, yet He was as a man and did nothing of Himself (Jn 5:19, 30). The Lord is a Spirit (Jn 4:24-25, 2 Cor 3:17).
In describing or relating Jesus’ coming to earth in the flesh, we are further told: Romans 1:3-4, “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (also Jn 7:42, 2 Tim 2:8).” David was a descendant of Abraham and also loved of the Lord. Acts 13:22-23, “…I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus (also 1 Kgs 14:8, 15:5).”
As a man, Christ had no advantage over us (however, He was filled with the Holy Ghost). Philippians 2:7-8, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost and God was with Him (Acts 10:38). We will discuss later in this writing why it is crucial that Christ’s followers be the same. Jesus, as a man, absolutely obeyed the Father (Jn 15:10). Christ set the example and we must now obey Him (Jn 14:15).
Why is Jesus coming to the earth as a man important? Jesus essentially had to undo what the first man Adam had done. Adam disobeyed God and transgressed His will in seeking self and thus brought death into the world. Jesus would have to deny self to perfectly obey God in doing the Lord’s will in order to bring life. 1 Corinthians 15:47, “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” Only one individual (Adam) was responsible for corrupting all of man. Thus only one individual (Jesus) is necessary to correct and reverse the situation for those who will “follow.” Therefore: 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” AND Romans 5:19, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
Jesus came to the earth as a man and perfectly obeyed the Father’s will. Christ walked in faith (love, surrender, obedience, devotion, and trust) to the Father – as led of the Spirit (Mt 4:1, Lk 4:1, 14, Jn 3:34). Jesus clearly stated: “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me (Jn 5:30, also Heb 10:9).” AND John 6:38, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (also Jn 4:34). Hebrews 10:7, “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” In doing so, Jesus obeyed the Father in all things including what He said and the works He did (Jn 5:19-20, 30, 36, 7:16-18, 8:15, 26, 28-29, 38, 9:4, 10:25, 37-38, 12:49-50, 14:10, 15:10, 24). In perfectly following God’s will (as led by the Holy Spirit), Jesus was without sin (2 Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, 1 Jn 3:5). Christ did not transgress the Father’s will. What has just been related is that Jesus walked a perfect example of God’s will for man to follow (Heb 2:16, Mt 1:1, Jn 7:42, Rm 1:3, 2 Tim 2:8, God with us – Mt 1:23).
Jesus took His perfect life of obedience to the will of God and exchanged it for our sins and then suffered our condemnation. God laid the sin of man upon Christ and made Him to be sin for us who His own self bare our sins in His own body (Is 53:3-5, 6, 10, 2 Cor 5:21, Gal 3:13-14, 1 Pt 2:24). Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” He hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (Is 53:12). Jesus was a sacrifice (willingly laying down His perfect life, Jn 10:15-183) unto God for our benefit – perfect love. 1 John 3:16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us…” “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin…” (Is 53:10). For the transgression of my people was he stricken (Is 53:8). Psalms 69:7, “Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.” – The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me (Rm 15:3). Jesus provided the atonement for man’s transgressions against God. Atonement is reconciliation after enmity whereby reparation is made by giving an equivalent for a wrong committed.
Christ was the propitiation for man’s sins (Rm 3:25, 1 Jn 2:2). Propitiation is the act of appeasing wrath and conciliating the favor of one who is offended (Is 54:7-8). Isaiah 53:11, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Again, consider God’s love: 1 John 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Jesus’ sacrifice of self would make amends for man’s transgressions and bring about reparation (satisfaction, recompense) thereby allowing the obligation of God to punish the crime to be canceled – resulting in satisfaction for the offense. Jesus restored that which He took not away (Ps 69:4). Therefore: Jesus delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us (2 Cor 1:10).
Jesus “restores” man so that he can walk as unto God. Psalms 23:3, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” The paths of righteousness are the facets of God’s nature that make up the narrow way. In this writing, we are concerned specifically about mercy and forgiveness as just one aspect of “The Way.” Why does Christ do this? For His glory, for His pleasure, to realize what He originally intented to receive from man.
Man Judged and Condemned God
Jesus did not come to judge and condemn man to God’s sentence of death, however man did judge and condemn Jesus to death. Even so Christ was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God to complete the Lord’s purposes (Acts 2:23-24, Gal 1:4). God allowed man to enact his evil will so that the Lord’s purposes could be accomplished. Man condemned Jesus (Emmanuel, God with us, Mt 1:23) and carried out the sentence of death (But God raised Him from the dead, Acts 13:30). Acts 13:27-28, “For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.” Religious man condemned God to the sentence of death! Religious man carried out the sentence in killing Christ!
Jesus said: John 8:15, “Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.” AND John 8:16, “And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.” Christ perfectly walked God’s will doing all things well and was pronounced as “well-pleasing” by the Father (Mt 3:17, 12:18, 17:5, Mk 1:11, 7:37, Lk 3:22, 2 Pt 1:17). Jesus showed nothing but love and compassion for His fellow man. In other words, Jesus perfectly walked in God’s two great commandments (Mt 22:37-39, Mk 12:29-31, Lk 10:27) – again, this is our example. However, man found God’s own Son to be guilty of death (Mt 26:66, 27:1, 3, Jn 11:48-52) – And they all condemned him to be guilty of death (Mk 14:64). Man is not qualified to judge righteously apart from God.
Jesus once told the religious leaders: John 7:24, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Christ once healed a man of blindness. The religious leaders said: “This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day (Jn 9:16).” AND “we know that this man is a sinner (Jn 9:24).” Jesus said: Matthew 12:8, “For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day (also Mk 2:28, Lk 6:5)” – and pointed out how they on the sabbath loose their oxen or their asses from the stalls, and lead them away to watering (hypocrites, Lk 13:15).” Jesus further revealed their hypocrisy by asking: “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day (Lk 14:5)?” So, what is more important, man’s perceived religious protocol or loving one’s neighbor? Christ simply held them to their own standard and they were guilty in the same sense that they accused Him (Mt 7:2, Mk 4:24).
Christ did not come to condemn man, but to save him by leading man back to God. The Lord God Himself came to the earth in the form of man (flesh and blood, Jn 1:14, 3:17) and walked a perfect example for man to follow. However, religious man accused Jesus of misleading the people. Luke 23:2, “And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation…” To pervert is to turn from the truth or misapply it; to turn from that which is right – to corrupt. Recall that Jesus is “The Truth” and as such is “The Word” of God (Jn 14:6, Jn 1:1-14, Rev 19:13) – a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He (Deut 32:4). There was also murmuring among the people in which it was said: “he deceiveth the people (Jn 7:12).” Others said: “He stirreth up (agitated, troubled) the people, teaching throughout all Jewry (Lk 23:5).” Perhaps you now realize that rebellious man (and religious man I might add) assigned to God the nature of the devil? Satan is the deceiver; the devil perverts God’s truth; the devil is not of God and corrupts (Jn 8:44, Rev 12:9). Did man judge righteously?
God says that judges are to justify the righteous and condemn the wicked (Deut 25:1, also Ps 45:7). Man unjustly accused Jesus with false accusations and set false witnesses against Him (Mt 26:59-62, 27:12-14, Mk 14:55-61, 27:12-14, Jn 19:7). Psalms 35:11, “False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.” Jeremiah 11:19, “But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered.” Many put on a religious or godly façade (pretense, outward show), but walk in their own will.
When asked what to do about Jesus, the people cried, “crucify Him” (Mk 15:12-13) – but what evil hath He done? – “crucify Him” (Mk 15:14, Lk 27:20-23); Shall I release Jesus? – “Away with this man” (Lk 23:18). To say, “away with this man” was a total rejection of the man, His message and all he stood for. Psalm 69:20, “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.” Oh what the devil’s lie has wrought in man. Psalm 35:12, “They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.” Jesus had done all things well. John 15:25, “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause (also Acts 13:28).” Psalms 69:4, “They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.” This is rebellious man’s justice and judgment – man’s mercy! This is the heart and nature of corrupt man.
When a man was hung on a tree, he was considered accursed of God – for he that is hanged is accursed of God (Deut 21:23). Jesus had shown nothing but love and compassion, always pointing the way to God, but man hung Him on a tree as accursed. Even so, Jesus took upon Himself our sins and what this represented was accursed of God. Galatians 3:13-14, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
Christ’s death on the cross atoned for man’s sins and allowed for God’s mercy and forgiveness of past sins (Rm 3:25). This is the starting point or the entering in at the strait gate. Jesus is the strait gate – the door (Jn 10:7, 9). This is only the beginning of a walk of faith and not the end. Forgiveness of sins does not complete God’s purposes. You must now conform to the nature of the Lord – what He originally intended – to be in His image (Gen 1:26-27). You must freely love, surrender to, obey, trust and be devoted to the Lord your God and you must take on His nature (the many facets of righteousness and holiness). 2 Peter 1:4, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” It is at the end of such faith that we receive the salvation of our souls (1 Pt 1:9). The promise of life is through the righteousness of faith (Rm 4:13, 16).
Jesus was baptized for our example (first with water and then with the Spirit, who descended as a dove, Mt 3:16, Mk 1:10, Lk 3:22, Jn 1:32) – not that He needed baptism, but that all righteousness might be fulfilled in Him (Mt 3:15, Rev 1:8, 11, 17, 2:8, 19, 21:6, 22:13). Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased (Lk 3:21-22). Notice that Jesus was water baptized, then prayed and then received the Holy Ghost. The heavenly Father gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask him (Lk 11:13). Christ’s baptism was the start (beginning) of His earthly work/ministry. Just after His Baptism, Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness (denial of self) to be tempted (tried and tested in the flesh) of the devil (Mt 4:1, Lk 4:1-2). Jesus then walked a life of doing the will of the Father (surrender, obedience). It was only at the end of His life (death) that Christ was raised in glory (Acts 13:30-37, Rm 6:4, 9, 7:4, 8:11, 1 Pt 1:9, 21) – glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee (Jn 17:1). This same precedent (guide, model, way, path, standard) will hold true for all those who follow Jesus. So, 1 Corinthians 6:14, “And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.” First there is new birth (first water, then Spirit), then a walk of new life as led by the Spirit (surrender and obedience to Christ, dying to self – faith), complete with trials and testings (aimed at the flesh), and then glory (eternal life).
What the last sentence of the previous paragraph was revealing is: 1 Peter 1:3-9, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
How is this done and what are God’s expectations? The Lord God has abundantly provided the answers and the means in this regard. The Lord God came down to the earth as a man (as previously discussed) and actually walked the example that He would have us follow. 1 Peter 2:21, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” – that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness (1 Pt 2:24). AND Psalms 25:8, “Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.” The Lord God fulfilled the following verse as a man in the flesh: Jeremiah 42:3, “That the LORD thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do.” So, God Himself shows us what we are to do. 1 John 2:27, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
Jesus is “The Way” (Jn 14:6). This path or way must be walked by Christ’s example and by the leading and power of the Holy Spirit. God’s expectations are found in the example that Jesus set and by conforming to Christ’s “well-pleasing” image as by the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18). Colossians 1:15, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature (also Heb 1:3).” AND Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate (God’s predetermined plan for man) to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Man is to conform to the image of God, just as he was created to be – renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him (Col 3:10). Recall: Jesus created man.
Psalms 23:3, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Jesus restores by leading in the path/way of righteousness (the many facets, Ps 86:11). John 10:4, “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” Notice that Jesus goes before and the sheep follow – this is how it must be.
Jesus always said: “follow Me” (Mt 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, 19:21, Mk 2:14, 8:34, 10:21, Lk 5:27, 9:23, 59, 61, 18:22, Jn 1:43, 21:19). Jesus further stated: John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Christ also said: John 12:26, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” Recall from the opening paragraph: John 16:28, “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” Jesus leads us back to the Father along a narrow way.
How do I follow? First you sincerely repent and then: Luke 9:23, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” You must die to self (which is seeking the lusts and desires of the flesh, the devil’s lie, the darkness) and walk as Jesus walked (Col 2:6, 1 Jn 2:6). This is not an option or just for some believers. Jesus said: Matthew 10:38, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” AND Luke 14:27, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” Therefore, Jesus’ true sheep or disciples will be known by “following” Him and becoming like Him.
For example: If you want to be just like an expert fishman that you know, then you must learn to fish (Lk 6:40). You must develop a love for fishing (Mt 5:6, 1 Tim 6:11). You must observe the things he does and do the same things (Mt 16:24, Mk 8:34, Lk 9:23). You must fish all the time and apply what you have learned of the master fisherman and be constantly improving (1 Cor 15:58, Heb 3:14). You must experience the same things in order to relate to what the expert is showing you (Php 3:10, 1 Pt 4:13). Instruction is good, but practice makes perfect (Js 1:22-25). Matthew 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (also 1 Pt 1:15-16).” – prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Rm 12:2). AND James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
Forsaking the Old and Embracing the New
There are two baptisms! The baptism of repentance and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Jesus said: John 3:5, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The word “verily” means in truth, in fact, a certainty and with absolute confidence. Baptism in water (repentance) is for the forgiveness of sins (remission of sins) and the baptism of the Spirit is for following Christ’s example and being conformed to His image – walking as He walked. You must have the baptism of repentance (in heart if not deed) before you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). The essence of water baptism (repentance) is whereby one sincerely declares and commits that he is dying to the old life of transgressing God’s will (seeking self and its lusts) and is now embracing the new life of obedience to God’s will (walking in faith). The essence of being baptized by the Holy Spirit is where one denies self, takes up their cross and “follows” Jesus (Mt 16:24, Mk 8:34, 10:21, Lk 9:23). So, we are buried by baptism unto death (our old life of seeking self) and raised to walk in newness of life (walking as Jesus walked, following, conforming to Christ’s image, Rm 6:4). Death to the old and life to the new – the old is death and the new is life.
John the Baptist said: Mark 1:8, “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” AND Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” Repentance is for cleansing and forgiveness, and the Holy Ghost is for “following.” You must first die to the sin (unrighteousness) before you can follow in righteousness. The Holy Spirit is the power from on high that is absolutely necessary to complete the course (narrow way, Mt 7:13-14, Rm 5:5). The two are essential for being “born again” and entering into the kingdom of God (Jn 3:3).
When Jesus was on the earth as a man and walked among His disciples, He did not baptize anyone with the Holy Ghost, but rather He said: Luke 24:49, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” AND Acts 1:4, “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.” AND Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Why didn’t Jesus baptize with the Holy Spirit when he walked among men? The reason is because the redemptive work of the cross had not yet beed completed. For the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified (Jn 37:39, Gal 3:13-14). Jesus had not yet sacrificed Himself to atone for man’s sins. Until there is forgiveness of sins, there can be no walking in the Spirit – one must preceed the other (Acts 2:38). It was only after Christ’s death on the cross that the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Acts 2:33, “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” First repentance and then the Spirit. First a sincere commitment to forsake the darkness and turn to God (repentance) and then walking as Jesus walked by the Spirit of God – just as Jesus did. All things in necessary order.
Our sins separate us from God, and until there was an atonement, God could not dwell within us. Isaiah 59:2, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” This issue had to be settled before there could be reconciliation. After Jesus was offered as a propitiation, then God could send His Spirit to dwell within repentant man (those found in Christ). Therefore: repentance and the forgiveness of sins allows for the Holy Spirit to dwell within the believer, but only due to Christ’s atoning sacrifice – no man cometh unto the Father, but by Jesus (Jn 14:6).
Again, the Holy Spirit could not be given until Jesus became the propitiation for man’s sins. Jesus said: John 16:7, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Until Jesus completed the course and went back to the Father, the Spirit could not come (Jn 14:16). It is expedient (for a given purpose) that man has the Spirit so as to walk the course that Christ tread. What this is telling us is that God expects you to walk in faith as by the Spirit. Christ had to die to make this happen.
Now we must consider the declaration: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27) – this is the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations (Col 1:26-27). The hope is “God in you” working to restore you by conforming you to the image of Christ (God, your Creator). So, salvation is found in 1) forgiveness of sins and 2) God working His purposes in you (Php 2:13). These two are inseparable. In other words, “Except a man be born of water (repentance) and of the Spirit (God in you), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (Jn 3:5).”
The Holy Spirit
Jesus was filled and led of the Holy Spirit to do the Father’s will. Those who follow Jesus must also be filled and led of the Spirit to “follow” in Christ’s path or way. God is not only with us (Emmanuel, Mt 1:23), but now in us. Can you comprehend how awesome this is (exceedingly great and precious)? Solomon once asked the question: 1 Kings 8:27, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” We are talking about God dwelling within you (Jn 14:17)!!! Glory halleluiah! If we walk in God’s truth (tied to obedience), then the Spirit of truth shall be in us always and will not forsake us (Rm 8:39, Heb 13:5, 2 Jn 1:2, 1 Kgs 8:57-61). The only thing that can separate you from God is you – one always has a choice, on this earth, of whom they will serve.
Jesus said that if we keep His commandments (and thus love Him, Jn 14:15) that God would dwell in us – via the Spirit. If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him (Jn 14:23, also Jn 14:21). An “abode” is a dwelling place. Jesus kept His Father’s commandments, and now we, in following, keep Christ’s commandments (which were from the Father, Jn 3:34, 7:16-17, 8:28, 38, 12:49-50, 14:10-11). John 15:10, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” Can the example be any more clear? Jesus further related this relationship that is given to those who obey (Acts 5:32): John 14:20, “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” Wow!
We are told: Romans 8:9, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The Holy Ghost is God’s sealing that we are His (Eph 1:13-14, 4:30). 2 Corinthians 1:22, “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” AND After that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise (Eph 1:13). Therefore: 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you (also Gal 4:6)?” AND 1 Corinthians 6:19, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own (also 1 Cor 3:17)?” AND For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people (2 Cor 6:16). So, Jesus was filled and led of the Spirit and those who “follow” Jesus must also be filled and led of the Spirit. Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
The Holy Spirit dwells within the believer for the purpose of leading, teaching, convicting, quickening (to make alive) and empowering. The Spirit is the power that worketh within us (Eph 3:20). John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Therefore, the Spirit and the Word (Jesus) will always be in agreement! Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one! The Spirit leads us to “do” what Christ instructed and walked. John 15:26, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” So, the Spirit = truth = the Word. Jesus and the Spirit give life (Rm 8:10-11, 2 Cor 3:6)! If you have not the Spirit, you have not life, for you are none of His (Gal 6:8, Rev 22:17).
Through the Spirit we have the mind of Christ (Eph 2:18). 1 Corinthians 2:10-13, 16, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” Recall from above – “Christ in you.”
What all this is saying and the purpose therein is that the Spirit leads us in the path of righteousness so that we may be conformed to the “well-pleasing” image of Christ which is God’s example and ideal for us. The Spirit can only work through your free-will surrender and obedience, known as faith – that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Gal 3:14). This is obedience unto righteousness (Rm 6:16). The Spirit labors to tear down all the displeasing things in your life and to instill God’s nature in their place (Rm 8:11). Romans 8:13, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Following the Spirit is our life in Christ: Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). In other words, we do not walk by the flesh. The Spirit’s work requires your cooperation so do not grieve or quench the Spirit (2 Cor 7:1). Ephesians 4:30, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” AND 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Quench not the Spirit.”
You once served the lusts and desires of the flesh in seeking your own will/way. Now you must do the opposite and the Lord’s Spirit leads you and helps you (2 Sam 22:33). You once followed the devil and now you must follow Christ. Romans 6:19, “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” Therefore: Galatians 5:25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Rm 8:14).”
To grieve and quench the Spirit is to not surrender and obey or cooperate in what the Spirit is trying to do. This means that you are not “changing” or conforming to God’s purposes (Christ’s image). For the life of God to manifest in you, self must be decreasing and dying. 2 Corinthians 4:10-11, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. AND John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” AND Colossians 3:3, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” ALSO Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ (dead to self and fleshly lusts): nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” – I die daily (1 Cor 15:31)! AND If one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them (2 Cor 5:14-15). Therefore: Romans 13:14, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
This is why Jesus said: “He that findeth/saveth/loveth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth/hateth his life (in this world) for my sake (and the gospel’s) shall find it (Mt 10:39, 16:25, Mk 8:35, Lk 9:24, 17:33, Jn 12:25).” Some seek place in this world and some seek place in Christ (His kingdom). To gain one, you lose the other – you cannot have both (Mt 6:24, Lk 16:13). These are two opposite paths, each with its own destination (death or life, Mt 7:13-14). Each of these ways produces its own distinct fruits (of the flesh or of the Spirit). In Eden, the forbidden tree produced one type of fruit and the tree of life produced another type of fruit – one resulted in death and the other life. Each of these ways has its own master (the devil, Jn 8:44 or Christ, Rm 8:14). What we are talking about here is what man has always been given (a free will) – “A CHOICE.” Choose whom ye will serve (Josh 24:15)?
You must be dying daily which means you must be “changing” and “conforming” to God’s expectations or you are not being led by the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 4:16, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Day by day, situation by situation, circumstance by circumstance, little by little, bit by bit, step by step, you must be changing and conforming to Christ’s example and nature. If not, then you must examine the true intent of your heart (2 Cor 13:5) and whom you are being led by. If you find yourself falling short, then you must find your way to the strait gate (through sincere repentance).
Our sufficiency (means, ability, having what is necessary) is of God (2 Cor 3:5, Eph 1:19, Eph 3:16). This sufficiency is found in the Holy Ghost who dwells in the sincere believer (2 Cor 9:8). The Lord does not desire your own skill, talent or ability, He desires your surrender and obedience. The Lord raises up whom He desires to do what He desires (the poor, the mourning and the meek, Mt 5:3-5). The Lord pulls down those who do what they desire (Mt 23:12, Lk 14:11, 18:14). He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou (Dan 4:35)?” Hath not the potter power over the clay (Rm 9:21)?
The opposite to conforming to the image of Christ would be to conform to the image of the world, meaning that you love the things that are in the world – the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 Jn 2:15-17). The Lord cautions us: Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The two things are quite opposite. You follow the flesh or you follow the Spirit – there are only two ways (Mt 7:13-14). Romans 8:5, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” To seek your fleshly lusts conforms you to the world and to deny and die to your fleshly lusts conforms you to Christ’s image through the Spirit.
So it can be said (after laying the necessary foundation in the text of this article): Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” To be in Christ Jesus is to be filled with and following after the Spirit, which is to be denying the lusts and desires of the flesh (Jn 8:12, 44, Rm 6:12, 13:14, Gal 5:24, Ep 2:3, 4:22, 5:8, Ti 2:12, 1 Pt 2:11, 4:2). There is a pardon from God’s original condemnation of “thou shalt surely die” for those who are in Christ Jesus and walking by His Spirit in His example. This is the way to God and eternal life – the author merely points you to it and encourages you to walk this narrow way.
The Lord delivered the children of Israel from the bondage of Pharaoh in Egypt. This was a foreshadowing of Christ delivering man from the darkness of the world and the deception/bondage of Satan. Moses, who was God’s instrument of deliverance, was very representative of Christ. Moses was faithful to God who sent him (Heb 3:2). Hebrews 3:5, “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after.” The testimony concerned Jesus Christ who/is was greater: Hebrews 3:3-4, “For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.” Moses was a shadow of Christ who was greater. Like Moses, Jesus was faithful to the Lord God who appointed Him (Heb 3:1-2). Jesus leads man out of the darkness and thus builds a house of peculiar people unto God (2 Cor 6:17-18, Eph 2:20-22, Ti 2:14, 1 Pt 2:9). Hebrews 3:6, “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”
Egypt represents the darkness, which is the fallen and corrupt world that abides in Satan’s deception and great lie. The whole world lieth in wickedness (1 Jn 5:19). John 8:12, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” AND John 12:46, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” Just as Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, Jesus leads repentant man out of the darkness. Jesus is the light, which is the truth and the darkness is the devil’s lust sustained lie. As was previously mentioned, Christ’s purposes with regards to man are: Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” In other words Jesus leads us back to God.
God made the children of Israel an holy people unto the LORD thy God, a special and peculiar people unto Himself in all the world – who were not a people (Deut 7:6-8, 26:18, 28:9). Jesus says of those who follow Him: 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” AND Titus 2:14, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Those who “follow” Jesus have obtained God’s mercy!
God redeemed the children of Israel out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt (Deut 7:8). Jesus redeems His people from the world4, from the hand of the devil (Lk 1:68, Gal 3:13, 4:5, Ti 2:4, Rev 5:9). Psalms 103:2-4, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.”
Pharaoh is representative of Satan. Exodus 5:2, “And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” Pharaoh, like Satan, resists the purposes of God. The Lord God, through Moses, destroyed the works of Pharaoh; Jesus destroys the works of the devil (Jn 8:33-36, 1 Jn 3:8). Christ is our conquering King and is worthy to receive all glory (Rev 4:11, 5:12, 19:6).
Moses brought the children of Israel out of the bondage of Pharaoh and Jesus brings us out of the snare and bondage of the devil (2 Tim 2:26). The LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt (Deut 7:8). Galatians 4:3-5, “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” AND Hebrews 2:14-15, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
It was said of Pharaoh: Romans 9:17, “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” How much more could this be said about Satan? Isaiah 14:12-17, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?”
Moses brought Israel out of the bondage of Egypt to take them unto God. The way to God required a journey through the wilderness. The Lord tried and tested Israel along the way. Jesus also leads to God along a narrow way whereby we are tried and tested. The wilderness taught obedience, trust and reliance upon God. The narrow way teaches obedience, trust and reliance upon Jesus. Many of the children of Israel looked back (to Egypt) in seeking their fleshly desires and despising God’s provision. Numbers 11:5-6, “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.” Jesus tells us: “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Lk 9:62).” AND Hebrews 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” AND Luke 17:32, “Remember Lot’s wife.”
God Himself led Israel as a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire (Deut 1:33, 13:21). Nehemiah 9:19, “Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.” Now consider what Jesus did: Luke 1:79, “To give light (God’s truth) to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death (the devil’s lie), to guide (lead, direct) our feet into the way of peace (also Jn 1:4, 9, 9:5, 12:35, 46).” AND John 8:12, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (also 2 Sam 22:30).”
Pharaoh and his army pursued after Israel to bring them back into bondage and thus hinder God’s purposes. Exodus 14:19-20, “And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.” The devil (Pharaoh) and those who follow him are given over to darkness (Job 24:13). Proverbs 4:19, “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” AND Job 12:25, “They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.” AND John 11:10, “But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.” The Lord’s people are given light – they walk in God’s truth. AND John 1:4, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” AND Psalms 36:9, “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” – the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:6). AND John 8:12, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (also Jn 9:5, 12:36, 46, Pv 4:18-20).” Pharaoh and his followers were destroyed (Ex 12:26-30). Israel followed God and had life (Ex 12:30). Therefore: Luke 11:35, “Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.”
Consider God’s leading of the children of Israel in the wilderness: Numbers 9:16-21, “So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the LORD the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the LORD they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents. And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD, and journeyed not. And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the LORD they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the LORD they journeyed. And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.” Psalms 77:20, “Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” AND Psalms 78:52, “But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.”
Jesus is our sustanance (provision to keep alive) – the bread and the water. Concerning bread: John 6:31-33, “Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” Then Jesus said bluntly: John 6:48, “I am that bread of life.” Furthermore: John 6:49-50, “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.”
Concerning water: The children of Israel drank from a rock in the wilderness (Ps 78:16). 1 Corinthians 10:4, “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” Jesus said: John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” AND John 4:10, 14, “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Therefore, we can conclude that the bread and water that sustained the children of Israel in the wilderness was a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ. There was no hope of food and water in the wilderness except what God provided. In like manner, there is no hope of everlasting life in this fallen world except what God has provided. Jesus is the hope! Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Galatians 5:5, “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”
God said, through Moses, that He would raise up a prophet. Deuteronomy 18:18, “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” AND Acts 3:22-23, “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” Jesus was that prophet (and priest and King). God Himself came down to the earth as a man to lead His people. Will we hear? Will we follow?
The Final Victory
The final victory: 1 Corinthians 15:26, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” We wait for the day when the condemnation of “thou shalt surely die” shall no longer loom as a possiblity. When eternal life is achieved, then sin and transgression against the will of God shall be no more (1 Cor 15:56). The Lord will dwell among His people and all things will be restored. Revelation 21:3-4, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God (Rev 22:3). And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” 1 Corinthians 15:55, 57, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? – that mortality (the nature of man as having to eventually die) might be swallowed up of life (2 Cor 5:4). But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Man was denied access to the tree of life after the fall in Eden. Genesis 3:22, 24, “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Thanks be to Jesus Christ, the Lord and King of all, that through Him, repentant man shall be restored to the tree of life (Rev 22:7, 14). Those who follow Christ come full circle in be restored and reconciled unto God. Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city (New Jerusalem, Rev 3:12, 21:2, 22:1-4).”
Let us briefly consider sowing and reaping – what you give is what you get. He that is merciful obtains mercy (Mt 5:5). Luke 6:37-38, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (also Mt 6:14-15, Mk 11:25-26).” Notice that for every action there is a like reaction. This is an eternal principle! – for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Gal 6:7). Now, strongly consider: Galatians 6:8, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (also Job 4:8, Hos 10:12).” AND 2 Corinthians 9:6, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” God will one day reap of His labors – those men that His Holy Spirit has worked within to accomplish the Lord’s purposes (restoration, Php 2:13).
Jesus did not come judging and condemning man. He came with mercy, grace and forgiveness and led the way to God (Jn 3:17, 12:47-48). Those who follow Christ must walk as He walked and are also not to judge or condemn their fellow man (2 Cor 7:3). We are to be merciful and forgiving and always pointing others to God. Jesus said: John 12:47-48, “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” In walking as Jesus walked, we are to speak Christ’s Words to others (religious or not) and if they do not believe them then we are not to judge them – there is a day appointed (Acts 17:31). Jesus said: Mark 16:15-16, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Notice that we just preach the gospel, but every man has a choice whether or not to believe it. However, each action has a predetermined consequence. We cannot force any man’s will – even Satan is not allowed of God to force a man’s will. The devil allures, tempts and deceives, but man ultimately chooses. Please realize that the doctrine/gospel is not yours, but God’s. John 7:16, “Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.”
We are to walk in the Lord’s truth (light) and point others to God, but are not to judge and condemn them. Even so, we can warn our fellow man of the impending consequences of living ungodly. “Not judging” does not mean that we cannot decide a circumstance or discern between good and evil (knowing and articulating the truth) or contend for the truth. What we are talking about is assuming responsibilities that God has not given to man. We do not have the right to determine one’s heart before God and then condemn one based upon that determination. We also do not know what God can work within the heart of an individual within the bounds of their physical life. Man is quick to condemn, but God is longsuffering. If nothing else, we plant seeds – God that giveth the increase (1 Cor 3:7).
Only God can judge at His discretion – for He is sovereign over His creation (Acts 5:1-11, 12:20-25). 1 Samuel 2:6, “The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.” – the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth (1 Sam 2:10); whether nations, cities or individuals – immediately or in the future.
Jesus said that the standard of judgment that you use will also be the standard applied to you (Mt 7:1-2). This puts things into clearer perspective. Only God can stand to and uphold His own standard. We must preach the gospel, but cannot force one to receive the gospel (Mt 28:19, Mk 16:15-16, Lk 24:47) – Jesus didn’t force the will of man (Jn 12:47-48). God has always given man a choice to serve Him. We must be an influence for good and not evil – perhaps more inspiration on some than others. Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The only thing that you can take to heaven is another (through your love and example).
To “not judge” does not mean that we are have fellowship with unrighteousness or communion with darkness; only that we walk in truth by example. 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” AND Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Jesus said: Matthew 10:14, “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” We just present the truth and show the way to God (through Christ). Everyone ultimately stands or falls before God based upon their own merits. Romans 14:12, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” This is in God’s hands.
We must look to Christ’s example in all things. Jesus primarily spoke the gospel of the kingdom of God and walked it by example. In so doing, Jesus denied self and loved His fellow man with great care, mercy and compassion. Christ also revealed great errors and hypocrisies in religious man and warned of future judgment, but condemned no one individually. Jesus also contended for the truth and on occasion was very zealous for it. Jesus never harmed anyone or forced the will of man. In all things Christ came to call sinners to repentance and lead them to God and this was the motivation for His actions. In doing so, religious man (the prideful) always confronted and attempted to stop or hinder Jesus continually. These considered themselves righteous, but Christ did not see their actions as such (Mt 5:20, 12:34-35, 15:14, 16:6, 12, 23:24, 27, 33, Lk 16:15, Jn 5:38, 42, 8:44). Therefore: Christ’s followers must reach out to the lost, the hurting, the lowly, and the humble/meek of this world, but be prepared to be confronted by the “religious.” The religious ones will attempt to discourage, pervert, stop or hinder the truth just as they did to Christ.
The zeal that Christ displayed when casting out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and when overthrowing the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves (Mt 21:12, Lk 19:45-46, Mk 11:15, Jn 2:13-17) was just a mere foreshadowing of God’s wrath that will be incurred by rebellious man at the appointed day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31, second coming, the day of the Lord). This was a strong warning of God’s displeasure with seeking the things of the world in association with godliness (love of money, profiting/selfish gain off of God, taking advantage of those who love the Lord).
The Lord (the Head, Col 1:18, Eph 1:22, 5:23) does not direct His church (the body, 1 Cor 12:27) to imprison, persecute, torture or kill other believers or even unbelievers. However, since the time of Christ, religious men (who profess Christ) have been judging and condemning their fellow man (Lk 21:12, Jn 15:20). Religious man has always demanded that their fellow man believe and observe the same things that they do (religious creeds, statements of faith, traditions, sacraments, authorities, etc.), or belong to the group that they belong to (religious denominations). You must believe what we believe! – and do this, that or the other thing. Those who did not comply were often labeled “heretics” and were cast into prisons, tortured, persecuted, mocked, driven from homes, slandered, and killed (martyred). There has never been such a vast group of Jesus professing Pharisees and Sadducees as then/now.
The once persecuted church became the persecuting church…or was it really the true church at all? Religious man has shown little love, mercy and forgiveness to their fellow man regarding issues of faith. Religious man has not been much of a peacemaker within the church or the world. They persecuted Jesus and they will persecute you (Jn 15:20, Acts 14:22, Mk 13:9, 13, Mt 10:22, 24:9). Jesus said, “be not deceived” (Mt 24:4, Mk 13:5, Lk 21:8).
Many a religious man has persecuted and killed his fellow man thinking that he has done God a favor. John 16:2, “They shall put you out of the synagogues (churches, religious institutions): yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” Perhaps having read thus far in this article you can see how completely such ones have utterly missed God’s purposes or Christ’s example? They exceedingly err, because they know not the scriptures, neither the power of God (Mk 12:24).
Those who are truly walking in faith and Christ’s Words will never persecute or harm another. These are “following” their Lord as led by the Holy Spirit (Ps 23:3, Rm 8:14). These walk in the two great commandments of love (Mt 22:37-39, Mk 12:28-31, Lk 10:27) – including the love of their enemies (those opposed to the way they walk, Lk 6:27, 35). Matthew 5:43-45, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Romans 12:14, “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not (also Rm 12:17).” Finally: Romans 13:10, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Jesus meticulously laid out the narrow way in the “blessed” statements of Matthew Chapter Five (many cited within this writing). Two of these must do statements are: Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” AND Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Just like the Pharisees and Sadducees, religious man throughout history has not demonstrated these characteristics very well. Jesus was merciful and a peacemaker. Christ said: John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Jesus always says, “follow Me.” Those who “follow” Jesus will also be merciful and peacemakers – you must have love (sacrifice of self for the benefit of another).
Come to Jesus just as you are…but do not expect to remain as you are. In an honest self evaluation, do you find that you are being led daily by the Holy Spirit and that your nature is changing to conform to the image of Christ (2 Cor 3:18, 13:5)? Perhaps this process has been extremely slow if even existent at all? Those who are truly “born again” will be “changing” and thus conforming to Christ’s image all the time. The Holy Spirit leads you to walk as Jesus walked in every way that Jesus did – even to love not your life (being faithful) unto death (Rev 2:10, 12:11). The Holy Ghost led Jesus; the Holy Ghost leads the followers of Jesus. Psalms 73:24, “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” If you are lacking, then genuine repentance is the start – followed by fruits meet for repentance (evidence of your commitment).
The concluding matter of this writing has been to be merciful and forgiving as Jesus was merciful and forgiving – to walk as Jesus walked, thus following the Lord, thus being led by the Holy Spirit (Col 2:6, 1 Jn 2:6). The antithesis would be to judge not or condemn not your fellow man – rather point them to God. Do not pass rash judgment upon another or force the will of another or harm another.
If you are sincerely seeking God’s truth and obediently applying it to your life, then you are being led of the Holy Spirit. This is the only way you will know God’s truth, by actually walking it. These are the one’s that the Lord will send to tell others. Jesus said: John 13:20, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” Remember, Jesus said: “if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not (Jn 12:47).” Therefore, if any man hear and receive not (believe not) the Words of Jesus (Christ’s gospel) that you bring, then you must not judge him either (in the sense of condemning) – you just point the way to God.
The author has attempted to point the way to God in this writing. As mentioned, the doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me (Jn 7:16). The reader will have to discern if the Lord sent the author with this message and if you will receive it. Hold fast to all that is good. Certainly mercy and forgiveness (not judging or condemning) is just one facet of the image of Christ. The author’s hope is that God’s teaching (admonishing, chastening, correction) in my life will also help you (the reader) in your walk with the Lord. The author hopes to encourage and point you to God.
We must follow Christ’s example: Luke 6:37, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven (also Mt 7:1-2). James 2:13, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” Let us show mercy unto our fellow man as God has shown mercy unto us. Remember, God reached out to man first while man was at enmity with Him and completely undeserving.
Now we must strongly consider that man transgressed God’s will and the Lord’s judgment was death. Man was justly condemned due to his actions. However, the Lord God loved man and offered mercy. Does not such mercy rejoice against judgment? The Lord God sacrificed much for man to make this happen. Now man must sacrifice much to obtain. Man must sacrifice self and love the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul and strength.
God has forgiven us and we must also forgive others. Matthew 6:14-15, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Jesus said: Luke 17:4, “And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” Consider the parable Jesus told in Matthew 18:23-35.
The Lord God Almighty is merciful, gracious, forgiving and longsuffering toward man (Ex 34:6, Num 14:18, Ps 86:15, Rm 2:4). Let us be likewise: Colossians 3:12-14, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness (also Eph 4:1-3, Js 3:17, 1 Cor 13:4-7).”
Let us take up our crosses and follow Jesus in every way that He walked and emulate with a sincere heart everything that He did. Let us conform to the Lord’s blessed image (nature) in all things. Proverbs 4:18, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” The Lord has always led and guided His people – are you being Led?
1 Someone once told the author that man doesn’t really have a choice – he can either obey God or suffer indescribably – where is the choice in that? The author maintained that the man had actually made a choice in his very reasoning. He was choosing to obey “self” rather than God. If the option of serving and obeying God was so unappealing to him, then he had actually and already chosen the opposite of obeying God, but just did not want to suffer the penalty. He did not freely desire to love and obey his Creator. I do not judge or condemn this man, and sincerely desire a change of heart in him, hoping to point him to “The Way.”
2 The author understands “grace.” The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of grace working the Lord’s will in us (Heb 10:29). Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace (God’s Spirit effecting the Lord’s purposes in you) are ye saved through faith (your surrender, obedience and trust); and that not of yourselves (fleshly ability): it is the gift of God: Not of works (doing it on your own, independent of God’s intervention), lest any man should boast (pride).” This is to be understood as follows: Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” AND Romans 5:21, “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
3 Jesus willingly laid down His life for man’s benefit: Mt 20:28, Mk 10:45, Jn 6:51, 10:11, 15, 17-18, 15:13, Gal 1:4, 2:20, 1 Tim 2:6, Ti 2:14, 1 Jn 3:16, 4:10
4 We are redeemed or bought/purchased by Christ with His very blood (1 Cor 6:20, Col 3:3, Acts 20:28, 1 Pt 1:18-19). We are no longer our own but must “follow” Him in all things (1 Cor 6:19). Redemption is to liberate or rescue from captivity or bondage; the act of procuring the deliverance (repurchase) of persons (prisoners) from the possession and power of captors by the payment of an equivalent.
The author has written five books and periodically writes other articles, tracts and books as the Lord puts them on his heart. These are offered free of charge and may be obtained by writing: 209 Cedar Pond Dr., Madison, Al. 35757
Send for the book, “Into the Wilderness,” for an in depth study of the similarities between Moses and Jesus and the similarities between the Lord’s dealings with the children of Israel and the church (Jews/Gentiles).