Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Grasping Hope - Man's Part (Part I)

It almost goes without saying that a person has to hear about the hope of God before he/she can do anything else. In Acts 17, we find the occasion of Paul preaching to the Athenians about the "Unknown God" that they worshiped. About this God he says,
"And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring" (verses 26-28)

Paul goes on to tell them about the hope that God has extended through His Son Jesus Christ. What was the end result? Some mocked Paul and some wanted to hear more about it; but verse 33 tells us that "some men joined him and believed." How could these have believed if Paul had not preached the gospel of Christ to them . . . if they had not first heard? Indeed, Paul addresses this very thing in reference to the Jews and the gospel in Romans 10:14: "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?"

We see from the Scripture that it is the hearing of the gospel that leads to belief or faith (Romans 10:17). However, there is a crucial step that must be made before that faith can be established: self-examination. Before a person can believe in the hope of God he has to realize he NEEDS that hope. There has to be a realization that without the hope that God extends, man faces an eternity in hell. Consider what happened in Acts 2. Peter stood up with his fellow apostles and preached the gospel of Christ. Part of the preaching of that gospel was an indictment against those who were guilty of murdering the Son of God (verse 36). We are not told that the hearers examined themselves, but their reaction proves that some self-examination took place (emphasis mine): "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?'" (verse 37). It was the conviction that arose from this self-examination that led them to cry out for the means to lay hold of God's hope.

Paul tells us in Romans 3:23 that "all sin and fall short of the glory of God." It is the sin of mankind (past, present, and future) that required the death of Christ for atonement; so I am just as guilty of the blood of Christ as those who heard Peter on Pentecost. When faced with this reality, is my self-examination going to lead me react like those in Acts 2 . . . or like those in Acts 8:54-59?

When the gospel of Christ is sown in a true and honest heart, the first steps toward laying hold of the hope of God have been taken. Upon hearing the Word and realizing one's need for the hope of God, that person will believe in the hope of God. Jesus tells us in Mark 16:16 that belief or faith is a necessary component of salvation. The opposite of that is also true, as Jesus says in the same verse: "he who does not believe will be condemned."

Is simple faith, then, the crowning moment in laying hold of the hope of God? Consider what James says in reference to faith in James 2:19: "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!" James' point here is that faith in God and in the hope of God are not enough to lay hold of that hope. In the next verse, James says that "faith without works is dead, being alone." Consider the following questions:
  • Would Abel have been counted righteous if he had not sacrificed the best of his flocks?
  • Would Enoch have been "taken" by God if he had not "walked with God"?
  • Would Noah have been saved from the flood if he had not built the ark?
  • Would Abraham's family have been given the promised land if he had not "obeyed when he was called"?
  • Would Abraham have received the promises of God if he had not offered Isaac as God commanded?
  • Would the walls of Jericho have fallen if the Israelites had not walked around it as God commanded?

The answer to all of these questions can be found in one place: Hebrews 11. In that chapter the writer tells us that each of these people did what they did "by faith" or as an expression of their faith. Did they "earn" what they received by what they did? No. Was what they did a condition of receiving God's blessings? Yes. Again, consider one of the examples above. How does marching around a city's walls a certain number of times and then blowing a bunch of trumpets make the walls fall down? It doesn't unless God says that is a condition for the walls falling down. It requires a certain amount of faith in God to compel us to do things that may not always seem logical to us.

From Adam to me, God has always required not only faith, but also working faith in order to lay hold of the blessings he has promised. It is not until I exhibit this obedient faith that I can lay hold of the hope God has extended.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Extending Hope: God's Part (Part VII)

The Blood-Empowered Word
What is it about the Word of God that is able to give me such hope? It is the message of the gospel, the good news of the saving power of the blood of Jesus Christ. In Romans 5:9, Paul said, "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." The blood of Christ has the power to justify and to save. Why do I need justification? Because I have sinned and God reveals in His Word that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). There is a penalty to be paid for my sins . . . but Jesus paid that penalty for me and I can stand justified before God. If I stand justified, then I can have salvation.

In Ephesians 1:7, Paul says, "In Him [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Those who have been obedient to the gospel of Christ have been redeemed through His blood. The idea of redemption is of "buying back." All those who are lost in sin have sold themselves into slavery to sin (Romans 6:16). Through the blood of Jesus Christ, one can be "bought back" out of that slavery and receive the forgiveness of those sins.

So how does one come to know about the life-saving power of the blood of Christ? God is not going to reach down and "zap" someone with the knowledge of how to be saved from sin. It is only through the Word of God and the preaching of that Word that one can come to that knowledge.

When God made the gospel available to the Gentiles in Acts 10, Peter acknowledged that "God is no respecter of persons" (verse 34). In the context, he was saying that God had made the gospel available to all people. The same is true of the method by which God has chosen to disseminate that gospel. Consider:

  • Jesus told his disciples in Mark 16:15 to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every living creature."
  • In Acts 8, when the Ethiopian eunuch was searching for the truth, God did not "zap" him with knowledge, he sent him a preacher (Philip).
  • In referring to the Jews' need to hear the gospel in Romans 10:14, Paul asked, "How shall they hear without a preacher?"
  • In 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, Paul refers to the preaching of the gospel as "foolishness" to those who perish, but as "the power of God" to those who are saved.

It is abundantly clear that God has done much in extending hope to mankind. The next logical step is to examine man's part in laying hold of that hope.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Extending Hope: God's Part (Part VI)

A Power Unto Salvation
Just how powerful is the lasting record that God has given to mankind? Consider what Paul says in the beginning chapter of his letter to the Romans: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" (Romans 1:16). The word of God has the power to save my soul.

As Peter preached to the multitude of Jews on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), what was it that caused them to cry out to the apostles, "Men and brethren what shall we do?" It was the words that Peter spoke through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for it says "when they heard this, they were cut to the heart . . .". (Acts 2:37). Those were some powerful words that Peter spoke.

Later, when the doors of the kingdom were opened to the Gentiles, Cornelius was told by an angel of God that Peter would tell him "words by which you and all your household will be saved" (Acts 11:14). It was the power of the Word of God that led to their salvation.

In Acts 28, as Paul was speaking to the leaders of the Jews in Rome, he told them, "Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” (Acts 28:28). What salvation was this that they would hear? Verses 30-31 tell us: "Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him."

But is the written word as powerful as those words spoken by the apostles? Absolutely, and the Scriptures bear witness of this. In 2 Timothy 3:15, Paul told Timothy that his knowledge of the Holy Scriptures (those things that were written) were "able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Consider how Jesus responded to Satan as he was being tempted in Matthew 4. How did Jesus answer each and every temptation thrown His way? "It is written . . ." And what was the end result? "Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him" (Matthew 4:11). You see, Jesus knew the power of God's Word, whether spoken or written. If an "it is written" is powerful enough to make the devil flee, how much more is its power to save my soul from the clutches of the devil?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Extending Hope: God’s Part (Part V)

A Lasting Record:
As Jesus was praying in Gethsemane, He prayed to the Father: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21). Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to aid the apostles in preaching the Gospel to their generation and to inspire them to write it down for generations to come.

Until the Word could be provided in written form, the apostles were to preach the gospel to any who would hear it. Jesus told them in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” As the apostles preached the Gospel and people responded, these new converts would in turn spread the Gospel to others (see Acts 8:1-4). How wide did this word-of-mouth preaching of the Gospel spread? Paul tells us in Colossians 1:23 that “[the Gospel] was preached to every creature under Heaven.” This means that, at the time Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians, the Gospel had been preached in all the known world.

So what about those of us who did not have the benefit of the words directly spoken by the apostles? God made provision for us, as well, by giving us a written record of their teachings. In Ephesians 3, Paul makes reference to his having received the “mystery of Christ.” What was this mystery? He goes on to say that it was “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). I can’t speak for all who read this, but I know that applies to me since I am not a Jew. How could the Gentiles learn about this “mystery of Christ”? Paul tells us that, too, if we go back and read verses 1-4 in their entirety (emphasis mine): For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) . . .”. This same principle applies to all of the writings of the apostles since they all wrote of the same hope that is available through Jesus Christ.

How comforting it is to know that I have a lasting, God-breathed record of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even more comforting is the hope that this record gives me because of its power to save.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Extending Hope: God’s Part (Part IV)

Comfort and Truth:
I can only imagine how frightening and sad it must have been for Jesus’ disciples when Jesus revealed to them that, after His resurrection, He would be leaving them again. On the night of His betrayal, Jesus reminded the apostles over and over that He would soon be going back to the Father (John Chapters 14-16). However, Jesus also reassured them that they would not be alone. Jesus was going to send another of the Godhead to them to comfort them and to help them complete their work. Who would this be?

In John 14:15-18, Jesus refers to this Person as a “Helper” (KJV – “Comforter”) and as the “Spirit of truth.” Again, in John 14:26, Jesus says this person would be “the Helper,” and He reveals that this Person would be the “Holy Spirit.” So then, we come to understand that after Jesus’ ascension, He would send the Holy Spirit to the apostles. What would the function of the Holy Spirit be?

To Teach and Remind:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26).

The “all things” Jesus was referring to here is made clear by Peter in 2 Peter 1:3, where Peter tells us that through His divine power, God as given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” Furthermore, the Holy Spirit would remind the apostles of all things that Jesus had said. This would serve two purposes:

  • So that they could write them down for you and me
  • To serve as a foundation upon which all other Holy Spirit-revealed instruction would be based.

Note that Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be sent “in My name.” What does this mean? It means that the Holy Spirit was sent under the authority of Jesus. Therefore, the Holy Spirit could not reveal anything to the apostles that was not based upon the words of Jesus. Jesus reinforces this in John 16:13-15: “He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”

To Testify:
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15:26).

The Holy Spirit would provide further proof that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. He would do this through the miracles performed by the apostles and through the words that He would reveal to them.

To Convict:
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:7-11).

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin “because they do not believe in Me.” The words that the Holy Spirit would speak through the apostles would have the power to convict each and very individual on earth of their sin. There would be one of two responses to this:

  • Like those in Acts 2:37, their conviction would lead to repentance
  • Like those in Acts 7:54, their conviction would lead to more sin

Jesus also said the Holy Spirit would convict the world of righteousness “because I go to my Father and you see me no more.” The Holy Spirit would testify that God had raised Jesus from the dead and that He ascended into heaven where He “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High” (Hebrews 1:3). He would testify that God kept His promise to provide a means of redemption for mankind . . . that He is a righteous God.

Finally, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of judgment “because the ruler of this world is judged.” Jesus resurrection from the dead gave Him the authority to become the judge over the world: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). He was given this authority because His resurrection proves that He has overcome the power of the “ruler of this world” (Satan): “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15). Jesus death, resurrection, and ascension have given Him authority over all principalities and powers, thus giving Him the power to judge them (Colossians 2:15). The Holy Spirit would testify to all these things through the words and deeds of the apostles.

To Guide:

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth . . .” (John 16:12-13).

The apostles weren’t ready yet to handle all that would be required of them and all that needed to be revealed. Jesus would, in His time, allow all truth to be revealed. How would the Holy Spirit do this? First, by giving them the words to speak when the time was right (Mark 13:10-11, Acts 2:4). Secondly, by revealing to them the words to be written down: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

How does all this give ME hope?
How does the fact that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the apostles give me hope? Remember that Jesus said the Holy Spirit would teach them all things, remind them of His words, and guide them into all truth? He did just that and the beauty of it is that they wrote down all of those things so that I can learn all things . . . so that I can see all that Jesus said . . . and so that I can know all truth.

Jesus also said that the Holy Spirit would convict of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Through reading the words breathed by the Holy Spirit, I can be convicted of my sin and my need for the saving power of Jesus Christ. I can be convicted of the righteousness of God. I can be convicted that Jesus will return again to judge the world, rewarding the faithful and condemning the unbeliever (Matthew 25:31-46).

The Holy Spirit guided the apostles into ALL truth. This means that I don’t have to worry that God “left something out” with regard to any aspect of my life. I don’t have to worry that some “latter day revelation” will come along to lead me to question my relationship with God. I don’t have to worry about the legitimacy of the so-called “lost gospels” that have been recently discovered. I don’t have to wait for a “personal revelation” from God to tell me what to do with my life. The Holy Spirit has already revealed ALL truth in the Word of God.

THAT gives me an even greater hope!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Extending Hope: God’s Part (Part III)

The death of Jesus was indeed a victory for mankind. The perfect sacrificial lamb had been offered to save us from death. In fact, Paul refers to Jesus as “our Passover” who “was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Just as the body and blood of the Passover lamb saved the Israelites from the death of their firstborn, the body and blood of Jesus Christ can save mankind from spiritual death. Peter builds on this analogy in 1 Peter 1:18-19: “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” However, God took that victory one step further. Not only did He sacrifice His Son for the sins of mankind, He also raised Him from the dead.

What does Jesus’ resurrection mean for us?

It Further Proves that Jesus Was Who He Said He Was
What was the purpose of the miracles that Jesus performed while he was on earth? Certainly He performed miracles of healing out of compassion. Yet there is a deeper significance reason to Jesus' miracles: they confirmed that He and the words He spoke were from God. Jesus Himself tells us this in John 5:36-37: “But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me . . .”

On Pentecost, Peter referred to Jesus as “a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst” (Acts 2:22). Jesus was proven to be from God by the miracles that He performed. Also, John tells us in John 20:30-31, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

What better way for God to prove that Jesus was the Messiah than to raise Him from the dead?

It Manifests the Power of God and of His Word
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:4 that Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of God: “For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God . . . .” Just as the other miracles of Jesus were a manifestation of God’s power, so the resurrection of Jesus’ shows us how awesome and powerful is our Creator.

Additionally, Jesus’ resurrection proves the power of the Word of God and the surety of His promises. The resurrection of Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament by (among others) David (Psalm 2:7, 16:10) and Isaiah (Isaiah 55:3). Jesus Himself also prophesied His own death and resurrection in Matthew 16:21 and John 2:19. The fact of Jesus’ resurrection manifests the power and immutability of God’s Word.

It Gives Us a High Priest and Advocate Before God
Under the Old Testament Law, the High Priest was responsible for presenting the blood of the sin sacrifice to God in the Most Holy Place. Since Jesus was the perfect sin sacrifice, there had to be a High Priest to present His sacrifice to God. If the perfect sacrifice was offered, there also had to be a perfect High Priest to present it to God. The writer of Hebrews tells us that that High Priest was Jesus (emphasis mine):

For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever (Hebrews 7:26-28).

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption(Hebrews 9:11-12)

Through this we understand that without Jesus’ resurrection, there would have been no High Priest worthy to present His sacrifice to God. Without His sacrifice being presented to God, there would be no forgiveness of sins, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:16-17: “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”

Furthermore, the High Priest was the one appointed to make intercession for the people before God. Again the Scripture reveals that Jesus was raised to perform the same function for His people:

  • Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34).
  • Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).
  • My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1).

It Gives Us a Hope of Our Own Resurrection
In overcoming death, Christ became “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20); that is, Jesus was the first of those who belong to God who was raised never to experience death again. Jesus' resurrection gives us a hope of our own resurrection, never again to experience death. How will this be accomplished?

In the resurrection, our natural bodies will be replaced with an incorruptible body: “The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body . . . And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 49).

Not only will this new and incorruptible body be given to those who have died, but also to those Christians who are still living when Jesus comes again:

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory, O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:51-55)

Peter tells us that that those who receive these incorruptible bodies will receive an incorruptible inheritance in heaven. How is this made possible? It is because of the living hope we have been given through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3-4).

How wonderful to consider that this life is just a way-station before the next life . . . to realize that this life is just a blink of an eye in comparison to the eternity that awaits God’s people . . . to think that God manifested His love by overcoming death for us through the resurrection of His Son . . . to think that He has prepared an incorruptible body for me . . . to think that Jesus has gone to prepare a place in Heaven for me . . . to know that Jesus is in Heaven right now interceding for me before the Father. How could I NOT have hope?

And yet, as wonderful as God’s sacrifice and His victory over death are, He didn’t stop there in manifesting His love for me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Extending Hope: God's Part (Part II)

The greatest manifestation of God’s love for man was His sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Through his sin, man was in a state where he could not save himself . . . nothing he could do on his own would reconcile him back to his Creator.

It is true that God had commanded the Israelites to make sin sacrifices under the Old Law. However, these sacrifices served only as a reminder of sins from year to year, they could not take way the sins of the people:

“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1-4)

The other thing about the sin sacrifices is that they were part of a covenant with a specific people: the Israelites. Even if these sacrifices could take away sins, they would only do so for those who were under the covenant.

In order for man to have the forgiveness of his sins and to have the hope of an eternity with God, it would take a perfect sacrifice. It would take the sacrifice of a man, a perfectly sinless man.

Why did the forgiveness of sin require such a sacrifice? Paul tells us why in Romans 6:23, when he says “the wages of sin is death.” While it is true that we have a loving God, we tend to forget that we also have a just God. God has decreed that the penalty for sin is spiritual death. Since each and every accountable human being on earth has/does/will sin, spiritual death is what we deserve. Again, something that humbles me about God is that He is both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). This means that God not only requires that the penalty for sin be paid, but He also provided a way for it to be paid without requiring the death of every sinner on earth.

Consider several passages that sum up the beauty of God’s sacrifice:

  • For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

  • Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:
    “ Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
    But a body You have prepared for Me.
    In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
    You had no pleasure.
    Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
    In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
    To do Your will, O God.’”
    Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them ” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:5-10)

  • And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:27-28)

  • Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)

If God had stopped manifesting His love at the sacrifice of Jesus, that would have been more than enough. However, Almighty God, whom Paul refers to as “He that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20), didn’t stop there.