The Christian Life and Character (Day 16) The Holy Spirit is eternal: But because the sacrificial death of Jesus was spiritual, it permanently took away our sins and gave life everlasting—perpetual—indefinite life to all that believe…

 

‘‘How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb. 9:14

Additional reading: Rom. 1:20; 1 Tim. 1:17

Paul in a brief description of the old system established the fact that the old order as compared to the new order was temporary and in fact did not make worshippers of God completely clean from their sins as they needed to make sacrifices daily. Even the priests also needed to offer sacrifices to atone for their sins first before attending to the needs of the people daily or yearly as the case may be.

‘‘This is how those things have been arranged. The priests go into the outer tent every day to perform their duties, but only the high priest goes into the inner tent, and he does so only once a year. He takes with him blood which he offers to God on behalf of himself and for the sins which the people have committed without knowing they were sinning.’’ (Heb. 9: 6 – 7 CEV.)

Despite all the rigours of this system, the people still did not have direct access to God: ‘‘By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.’’ (Heb. 9: 8 NLT.) Apart from the people not having direct access to God under this system, the consciences of the people and in fact their old deeds remained unchanged. ‘‘This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.’’ (Vv. 9-10 NLT.)

But when a better system came through Jesus, who did not sacrifice the blood of goats but His own blood, He entered the Most Holy Place once and for all with His own blood and redeemed man from his sins: ‘‘But [that appointed time came] when Christ (the Messiah) appeared as a High Priest of the better things that have come and are to come. [Then] through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with human hands, that is, not part of this material creation. He went once for all into the [Holy of] Holies [of heaven], not by virtue of the blood of goats and calves [by which to make reconciliation between God and man], but His own blood, having found and secured a complete redemption (an everlasting release or us.)’’ (Vv. 11 – 12 AMP.)

Though through the blood of goats and calves fellowship between God and man was made possible, reconciliation was, however, not eternal as it was only a covered sin for a while. Only the blood of Jesus Christ made a permanent reconciliation between God and man possible. And Jesus did this once for all rather than the ceremonial sacrifices, which the old system so required.

‘‘How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal [aionios … perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well):- eternal, forever, everlasting, world (began)] Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The sacrifice or death of Jesus on the cross was of the spirit—spiritual and not carnal or of the flesh as it was in the case of goats and calves, therefore, could not permanently deal with sin. But because the sacrificial death of Jesus was spiritual, it permanently took away our sins and gave life everlasting—perpetual—indefinite life to all that believe.

‘‘But Christ was sinless, and he offered himself as an eternal and spiritual sacrifice to God. That’s why his blood is much more powerful and makes our consciences clear. Now we can serve the living God and no longer do things that lead to death.’’ (CEV.) ‘‘So surely the blood sacrifice of Christ can do much more. Christ offered himself through the eternal Spirit as a perfect sacrifice to God. His blood will make us completely clean from the evil we have done. It will give us clear consciences so that we can worship the living God.’’ (ERV.) There is just no basis to compare. The Holy Spirit of God gives eternal life as He Himself is eternal.

Meditation: So life in the Spirit is eternal!

Prayer: As Jesus gave Himself up as a living sacrifice, may I also be a living sacrifice by Your Spirit that my life may be pleasing to You.

Question: Why is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross eternal?

The Christian Life and Character (Day 14) The Holy Spirit is holy: ”…anyone with the Holy Spirit indwelling in him must in like manner exhibit the true nature of the Holy Spirit…”

‘‘And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead…’’ Rom. 1:4

Additional reading: Rom. 15:16; 1 Cor. 6:19; Tit. 3:5

The Godhead has three distinct personalities with outstanding qualities. Though they all work towards a common goal, their personalities determine how each one of them operates.

In his opening words to the Church in Rome, Paul declared himself a servant of Jesus Christ called to be an apostle and one separated unto the gospel, which was promised by God long a go by the prophets. Paul made it very clear that the gospel was about Jesus Christ. In doing this, he established two things: (1.) Jesus was the Son of David according to the flesh. (2) He is the Son of God by the Holy Spirit. 

‘‘And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness [hagiosyne: sacredness (i.e. properly the quality):- holiness], by the resurrection from the dead…’’ You must note that the Spirit of God is not an ordinary Spirit. He is the Holy Spirit. In other words, there is the quality of holiness about Him making Him different from other spirits. Where it not for the presence of the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ, the Spirit that came upon Mary, the conception and birth of Jesus Christ might have been like any other. But the Holy Spirit in Him made Him different from conception to His birth, death and resurrection. ‘‘The Good News is about God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. As a human, he was born from the family of David, but through the Holy Spirit he was shown to be God’s powerful Son when he was raised from death.’’ (ERV). ‘‘But was marked out as Son of God in power by the Holy Spirit through the coming to life again of the dead; Jesus Christ our Lord…’’ (BBE).

We shall go a little bit further to establish the fact (as in the Scriptures) that the Spirit of God alone has the quality of holiness that Marks Him out from all other spirits. Looking again at Paul’s writing to the Church in Rome, he said: ‘‘He chose me to be a servant of Christ Jesus for the Gentiles and to do the work of a priest in the service of his good news. God did this so that the Holy Spirit could make the Gentiles into a holy offering, pleasing to him.’’ (Rom. 15:16 CEV)

Note what he said: (1) As in Romans 1, he said God chose him to be a servant of Jesus Christ. (2) He also said that he was specifically sent to the Gentiles. (3) Was sent to them to do the work of a priest. (4) That the Gentiles 

Priests in Old Testament times offered sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people so that they may have unhindered fellowship with God. In this case, he said he was sent to the Gentiles to do the work of the priest (preaching the gospel) so that the Gentiles may become holy through the unique quality of God’s Spirit deposited in them. Before the preaching of the gospel, Gentiles remained a people without God, but by the preaching of the gospel, those who believe manifest the unique quality of God’s Spirit—they become holy. 

In this same vein, Paul while writing to the Church in Corinth said: ’’Don’t you know that your body is a temple that belongs to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit, whom you received from God, lives in you. You don’t belong to yourselves.’’ (1 Cor. 6:19 GW). Paul wrote this letter to address some Greek cultural problems, which at that time was taking its toll on the Church. Some of the problems were sexual immorality, idolatry, Greek philosophies, etc. 

In this chapter, he made it known to them that now that they were in the LORD; they were to keep their bodies pure unto the LORD by keeping away from the sin of sexual immorality, which defiled the body. As unbelievers they had no relationship with God, and in fact the Spirit of God had nothing to do with them. But as children of God and with the Spirit of God indwelling in them, thus, marking them out as unique people, they were to uphold the unique character of the Holy Spirit, which was now in them. Without the Holy Spirit in them, they were like every other person. But with the Holy Spirit in them, their bodies became the temple of the Holy Spirit: ‘‘Or are you not conscious that your body is a house for the Holy Spirit which is in you, and which has been given to you by God? And you are not the owners of yourselves…? (BBE)

Just as holiness is the nature of the Holy Spirit, anyone with the Holy Spirit indwelling in him must in like manner exhibit the true nature of the Holy Spirit.

Meditation: I am God’s temple and holiness is my nature!

Prayer: As Jesus Christ was declared to be the Son of God through the Holy Spirit, let my life also reflect God by the Holy Spirit in me.

Question: Why are you different from those of the world?

The Christian Life and Character (Day 13) Jesus Christ is loving: The love of Christ towards man is so strong that the Bible makes it clear that not even the worst sin listed in Scripture can separate us from the love of Christ as this is the very reason He came…

‘‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’’ Rom. 8:35

Additional reading: Jn. 15:9; 2Cor. 5:14; 1Jn. 3:16

As God is loving, so is Jesus. In Romans Chapter Eight verse Seventeen, Paul said that we are all partakers of the inheritance in Christ; as we share in His pains here on earth, so shall we share in His glory in the new world to come: ‘‘And if we are children, we have a right to a part in the heritage; a part in the things of God, together with Christ; so that if we have a part in his pain, we will in the same way have a part in his glory.’’ (BBE). But he did not fail to point out in the next verse that our sufferings here today are nothing compared to the future glory, which we shall be sharing with Christ: ‘‘I am of the opinion that there is no comparison between the pain of this present time and the glory which we will see in the future.’’

We must pause at this point to ask this question: why would Jesus Christ be so desirous to share His heavenly glory and His entire heritage with mere man? The answer is so simple when viewed against the backdrop of Paul’s presentation in this chapter. Jesus is compelled by His love for us to share His entire glory and heritage with man. From verse 28 down to 30, it is clear that God from time had a redemptive purpose — a plan to make man to conform to the image — glory — of His dear Son. And this divine plan remains God’s driving force, which He must complete in time to come.

It is therefore, not surprising that the next two verses say this: ‘‘In view of all this, what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us? Certainly not God, who did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all! He gave us his Son—will he not also freely give us all things?’’ In view of what things? In view of God’s divine purpose — plan to conform man to the image of Christ; a plan, which God Himself cannot alter, no one, then, can alter it! As it is said, If God is for us — working in support of His plan and purpose for mankind, who is it that can be against it? Now, take a close note of Paul’s exclamation: ‘‘Certainly not God, who did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all! He gave us his Son—will he not also freely give us all things?’’ You see, if God did not withhold His only Son from death on account of man, what then or who can stop God from completing His cycle of redemptive plan for man? All these should be seen against the backdrop of God’s love as manifest in Christ.

Imbedded in these verses (31 – 39) are some fundamental questions that should give assurance or spiritual security to God’s children that what God has promised, He shall fulfil no matter the cost:

1. ‘‘What can we say about all of this? If God is for us, who can be against us?’’
2. ‘‘Who will accuse those whom God has chosen? God has approved of them. ‘’
3. ‘‘Who will condemn them? Christ has died, and more importantly, he was brought back to life. Christ has the highest position in heaven. Christ also intercedes for us.’’
4. ‘‘What will separate us from the love Christ has for us?
5. ‘‘Can trouble, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or violent death separate us from his love?’’ (GW).
The issue is very simple: if God did not withhold His own Son but allowed Him to suffer death on the cross; what will He not do for you or anyone? We all must be encouraged through this assurance of spiritual security as put forward by Paul.

What I will emphasize is in verse 35, which says: ‘‘Who shall separate [chorizo: to place room between, i.e. part; reflexive to go away: – depart, put asunder, separate] us from the love [agape: love, i.e. affection or benevolence] of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’’ Let me put it plainly: No one or anything can come between God and His children because of His irreversible affection towards them. ‘‘Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sin listed in Scripture…’’ (MSG).

The love of Christ towards man is so strong that the Bible makes it clear that not even the worst sin listed in Scripture can separate us from the love of Christ as this is the very reason He came. And as Paul rounded up this matter, I also say that, ‘‘I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love with Christ Jesus our Lord shows us. We can’t be separated by death or life, by angels or rulers, by anything in the present or anything in the future, by forces or powers in the world above or in the world below, or anything else in creation.’’ (Vv. 38 – 39 GW).

Meditation: So there is just nothing on earth and in heaven that can come between God and I!

Prayer: As the love of Christ ties me eternally to You, let that same love see me through all challenges I might face in this life.

Question: (1) Make a list of 5 items that may separate you from the love of Christ. (2) Why do you think so strongly that at least one of these items may separate you from the love of Christ?

 

The Christian Life and Character (Day 12) Jesus Christ is holy: He was tempted in every way as we are tempted but he never sinned…

‘‘Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.’’ Mark 1:24

Additional reading: Lk. 1: 35; 4:34; Jn. 6:69; Heb. 4:15; Rev. 3:7

Following His baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist and His eventual temptation by Satan, He went through Galilee preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God. At this point, Jesus began to call disciples. Some of those He called then were Simon and Andrew his brother, James and John, who were the sons of Zebedee.

While in Capernaum, He went into their Synagogue on a Sabbath day and there He met a man with an unclean—demonic, foul, impure spirit. On sighting Jesus Christ, the man cried out: ‘‘Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.’’

The man who had the unclean spirit recognised Jesus as the Holy One of God! See this: ‘‘Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One [hagios: (an awful thing); sacred (physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated) :- (most) holy (one, thing), saint] of God.’’ Jesus is Holy—sacred—worthy of worship, respect (religious veneration), consecrated—set apart, dedicated to a specific purpose.

During Mary’s encounter with the angel, she was told thus: ‘‘The angel answered her, ‘‘The Holy Spirit will come to you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy child developing inside you will be called the Son of God.’ ’’ (Lk. 1:35 GW).

What really was this holy child to grow up to do? This is what we have: ‘‘…Joseph, son of David,’’ the angel said, ‘‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ ’’ (Matt. 1:20 – 21 NLT).

The holy child conceived by the Holy Spirit was consecrated—set apart specifically to save—redeem His people from their sins. For Jesus to win the battle of redemption of the soul of man, He had to be holy — sacred — physically pure, morally blameless and consecrated — set apart for that purpose. Have you wondered why in the genealogy of Jesus Christ as in Matthew chapter one, Joseph was not listed as the father of Jesus rather the writer simply said Joseph was the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus? The reason is simple; if Jesus was conceived through sexual intercourse between Joseph and Mary, He would have been conceived in sin and this would have disqualified Him as the redeemer of mankind. While others had earthly fathers, thus, conceived in sin, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and so took upon Himself the divinity or holiness of God from birth. So, when the demon infested man saw Jesus in the Synagogue, he had no choice but to confess the holiness of God as in Christ Jesus.

Please note that while the man in the Synagogue was said to be unclean—demonic, foul, impure spirit—ceremonially, morally lewd, i.e. indecent, Jesus is described as holy — sacred — physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated. What a contrast!

Please read this: ’’For we have not a high priest who is not able to be touched by the feelings of our feeble flesh; but we have one that has been tested in all points as we ourselves are tested, but without sin.’’ (Heb. 4:15 BBE). Though He Himself is God, He took upon Himself human form and was tempted in the flesh like you and I. In all points of life — like every human being is tempted, Jesus faced temptation, but sin—offence was not found in Him. ‘‘Jesus, our high priest, is able to understand our weaknesses. When Jesus lived on earth, he was tempted in every way. He was tempted in every way as we are tempted but he never sinned.’’ (Heb. 4:15 ERV). ‘‘He never sinned, and he never told a lie.’’ (1Pet. 2:22 ERV)

Why Jesus was able to live in human flesh like you and I yet no offence was found in Him? Think about this.

Meditation: Could anyone live on earth without committing an offence all through his life time!

Prayer: Strengthen me by the Holy Spirit to live a life pleasing to You as Your Son pleased You in all He did.

Question: Is it possible for one to live a holy life on earth? Explain.

 

The Christian Life and Character (Day 11) Jesus Christ is faithful: If Jesus is God’s express image, then, those attributes peculiar to God must be common with Him. As God is faithful so is Jesus Christ.

 

‘‘Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.’’ Heb. 3: 1 – 2

Additional reading: Heb. 2:17; Jn. 6:38 – 40; 7:18; 8:29; 15:10; 17:4

If Jesus is God’s express image, then, those attributes peculiar to God must be common with Him. Hebrews chapter two reveals Jesus as one who faithfully carried out the will of the Father as handed down to Him.

Redemption of man from bondage of sin was Jesus’ core mission on earth. And as God’s direct representative, He did well to carry this out. It is, however, expedient to highlight specifics to make points clear. Note what the writer said: (1.) ‘‘What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels. Because of God’s wonderful kindness, Jesus died for everyone. And now that Jesus has suffered and died, he is crowned with glory and honor! Everything belongs to God, and all things were created by his power. So God did the right thing when he made Jesus perfect by suffering, as Jesus led many of God’s children to be saved and to share in his glory.’’ (Vv. 9 – 10 CEV). On account of suffering and death for the salvation of man, Jesus was made lower than angels. This suffering and death of Jesus for the salvation of all is described as the right thing. By suffering also, Jesus is said to have been made perfect.

Then, the second point, ‘‘We are people of flesh and blood. That is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying. Jesus clearly did not come to help angels, but he did come to help Abraham’s descendants.’’ (Vv. 14 – 16 CEV). Jesus identified with our weaknesses as humans by becoming a human so He could die. He did this to destroy Satan who had power over death and to save man from sin. He did not die for angels but for mankind — Abraham’s descendants, whom we are.

Finally, ‘‘He had to become one of us, so that he could serve God as our merciful and faithful high priest and sacrifice himself for the forgiveness of our sins.’’ (V. 17 CEV). Jesus is exemplary; He served God in human form as our merciful and faithful High Priest.
In this regard, we read: ‘‘Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful [pistos: objectively trustworthy; subjectively trustful:- believe, believing, believer, faithful, faithfully, sure, true] to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.’’
God sent Jesus on earth to redeem man from sin through His sacrificial death on the cross. As commissioned by God, so did Jesus effect it. To this end, He is described as our faithful—trustworthy—reliable High Priest. God trusted Him enough to commit into His hands the comprehensive blue print for the redemption of the entire human race. This could happen because Jesus is reliable — He could be trusted.
Please note the last part of verse two: ‘‘…Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.’’ Jesus is considered worthy of more glory than Moses simply because unlike Moses who was just a servant and a member of the household, Jesus is both the builder and Lord of the house.
The following scriptures reveal Jesus’ resolve to the will of the Father:
1. ‘‘For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.’’ Jn. 6: 38 – 39
2. ‘‘If I wanted to bring honor to myself, I would speak for myself. But I want to honor the one who sent me. That is why I tell the truth and not a lie.’’ Jn. 7:18 CEV
As I said in my opening paragraph, If Jesus is God’s express image, then, those attributes peculiar to God must be common with Him. As God is faithful so is Jesus Christ.

Meditation: Jesus is so reliable that God entrusted Him with the future of human race!

Prayer: May I be found reliable even in very little issues of life.

Question: (1) To what degree was Jesus committed to the command of the Father? (2) To what degree are you committed to the work of the Father?

The Christian Life and Character (Day 10) Jesus is God’s express image: ‘‘The Son shows the glory of God. He is a perfect copy of God’s nature, and he upholds everything together by his powerful command.’’

 

‘‘Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high…’’ Heb. 1:3
Additional reading: 2Cor. 4:4; Col. 1: 15 – 16
Having done a little study on the character of God, we shall be looking at the character of Jesus Christ in the next few days.
The author of the book of Hebrews (though unknown but I am persuaded is Apostle Paul) made a remarkable statement at the very beginning of Hebrews chapter three: ‘‘In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things and through whom he made the universe.’’ (Vv. 1 – 2 NIV).
Please note these points: (1.) God spoke to the forefathers of the Jews through the prophets in time past. (2.) But in these last days, God spoke to His people not through the prophets but through His Son. (3.) God appointed the Son to be heir of all things. (4.) Through the Son the universe was created.
Again, in these last days, God has spoken through His Son, whom He appointed to be heir [kleronomos: a sharer by lot, i.e. an inheritor, a possessor] of all things… An heir is a legal inheritor of something, i.e. somebody who holds the right to receive a property, position, or title of somebody else when that person dies. Jesus Christ is God’s heir, thus, He has the right to receive, have or take possession of all that belongs to God, take on God’s position and title. In the case of human life, these are possible only when the predecessor has died. But because Jesus Himself is God, He did not have to wait for God to die before taking up God’s title, position, etc. And in any case, God will never die! Against the backdrop of the definition or meaning of heir, the bible said the obvious: ‘‘…and through whom he made the universe…’’
Jesus Christ was God’s direct representative on earth, for this reason, He spoke as the Father would in fullness of authority. ‘‘Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image [charakter: a graver (the tool or the person, i.e. (by implication) engraving ([‘‘character’’], the figure stamped, i.e. an exact copy or figure [figure] representation):- express image] of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high…’’ Jesus is simply God’s exact copy possessing the fullness of God’s character.
‘‘He reflects the brightness of God’s glory and is the exact likeness of God’s own being, sustaining the universe with his powerful word.’’ (GNB). ‘‘He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.’’ (ESV). ‘‘The Son shows the glory of God. He is a perfect copy of God’s nature, and he upholds everything together by his powerful command.’’ (ERV). ‘‘Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature. He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words! (MSG).
Let’s highlight more biblical witnesses using Jesus’ words to confirm these:
1. ‘‘My Father has given me everything. No one knows the Son—only the Father knows the Son. And no one knows the Father—only the Son knows the Father. And the only people who will know about the Father are those the Son chooses to tell.’’ Matt. 11:27 ERV
2. ‘‘So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.’’ Matt. 28:19 ERV.
3. ‘‘Before the world began, the Word was there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.’’ Jn. 1:1 – 2 ERV
4. ‘‘Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is always working, and I too must work.’ ’’ Jn. 5:17 GNB
5. ‘‘So that all will honor the Son in the same as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.’’ Jn. 5:23 GNB
6. ‘‘‘I am telling you the truth,’’ Jesus replied. ‘‘Before Abraham was born, ‘I Am’‘’ Jn. 8:58 GNB
7. ‘‘…and I am one with the Father.’’ Jn. 10:30 CEV
8. ‘‘Jesus replied: Philip, I have been with you for a long time. Don’t you know who I am? If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. How can you ask me to show you the Father?’’ Jn. 14:9 CEV.
9. ‘‘Jesus replied: If anyone loves me, they will obey me. Then my Father will love them, and will come to them and live in them.’’ Jn. 14:23 CEV
10. ‘‘Everything which the Father has is mine: that is why I say, He will take of what is mine and will make it clear to you.’’ Jn. 16:15 BBE
11. ‘‘All mine are yours, and yours are mine and I have glory in them. Jn. 17:10 BBE
12. ‘‘May they all be one! Even as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, so let them be in us, so that all men may come to have faith that you sent me.’’ Jn. 17:21 BBE
With all of the above, I need not explain further that Jesus Christ is the express image of God.

Meditation: Jesus Christ and God are one and the same!
Prayer: As You are one, make me one with You.
Question: What evidence do you have that Jesus Christ is God in every way?

The Christian Life and Character (Day 9) God is loving: Apart from God, who loves you enough to die for you…?

‘‘But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’’ Rom.5:8

Additional reading: Jn. 3:16; Eph. 2:4; Tit. 3:4 – 5; Heb. 12:6; 1Jn. 4: 7 – 10
There is no gain saying that God is love, and in fact, love is God’s personality.
In Romans 4, the apostle made it very clear using the example of Abraham that faith and not observance of the law is the principle thing in our relationship with God: ‘‘…For we have quoted the scripture, ‘Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him righteous.’ When did this take place? Was it before or after Abraham was circumcised? It was before, not after.’’ (Rom. 4: 9 – 10 GNB).
He rounded chapter four thus: ‘‘They were written also for us who are accepted as righteous, who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from death. Because of our sins he was given over to die, and he was raised to life in order to put us right with God. (Vv. 24 – 25 GNB). Just as Abraham was declared right by faith and not by works we, too, have been declared right in the sight of God by faith in Jesus Christ who was put to death on our account.
Following Paul’s thoughts as established in Chapter four, one will definitely see a similarity between his argument in these two chapters (4 and 5). Please note that in verse 24 of chapter four he said: ‘‘They were written also for us who are accepted as righteous…’’ This was just to buttress what he had said earlier: ‘‘This is why Abraham, through faith, ‘was accepted as righteous by God.’ The words ‘he was accepted as righteous’ were not written for him alone…’’ (Vv. 23 – 24)
This explains why Paul opened the next chapter with this declaration: ‘‘Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’’ (Rom. 5:1 GNB). Abraham was put right with God through faith. At what point was he put right with God? Again, at what point did Jesus die on the cross to put man right with God? This is the point of convergence. Do not be surprised when Paul said: ‘‘But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’’
‘‘But God commendeth [synistao, synistano or synistemi: to set together, to introduce, to exhibit, to stand near, to constitute: – approve, commend, consist, make, stand (with)] his love [agape: love, i.e. affection or benevolence] towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’’
The sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross was a packaged expression, demonstration or show of God’s depth of affection towards man. And no better time could He have done this other than when man was still in sin.
Please read the following versions: ‘‘But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful.’’ (CEV). ‘‘But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.’’ (AMP). As said earlier, the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross was a packaged expression, demonstration or show of God’s depth of affection (love) towards man.
Therefore, do not count it a misplaced statement when John wrote in his gospel: ‘‘For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trust in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.’’ ( Jn. 3:16 – 17 AMP).
Apart from God, who loves you enough to die for you? Rom. 5:7
Meditation: If God did not withhold His ONLY Son from me, what will He withhold from me!
Prayer: Thank You for giving up Your greatly prized Son for me. Help me to also give You my life unrestrained.
Question: Who is God’s yardstick for love?