God’s gift to us (Part 3)

In the previous two posts we spoke about the incredible gift God gave mankind in the sacrifice of Jesus.  He saved us entirely – body, mind and soul.  We’ve already established that faith in the sacrifice of Jesus leads to salvation of our souls and reconciliation with God.  We’ve also established that Jesus took it upon himself to carry every sickness and disease in order for us to experience health.  The third aspect of this complete salvation is the salvation of our minds.

Let’s look at Isaiah 53:5 again:

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.”

The highlighted part of the verse refers to our minds, and the fact that we can now enjoy peace.  Peace of mind means calmness, composure and freedom from worries.  It is a quiet place of contentment and joy, free from all depression, sadness and anxiety.

John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you.”

“May grace (God’s favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Pet 1:2

A gift needs to be received in order to be enjoyed.  We just need to realize God’s heart towards us, and how blessed we are the moment we are born again.  We must get to know Jesus, who is God’s gift to us.  It is knowing the Truth that will set us free, really and unquestionably free (John 8:32, 36)!

God’s gift to us (Part 1)

Jesus referred to Himself as “God’s gift” (John 4:10).  When you ask a Christian what this means, they will most probably tell you “He saved me”.  This is definitely true, and it is the first and foremost point I want to talk about.  But, we must not stop there.  Jesus’ sacrifice accomplished even more than just salvation of our souls.  God’s gift to us – Jesus – endured the worst possible torture hanging on that cross.  He carried the weight of every single sin (past, present and future) so that we could once again be reconciled to God through faith in Him.

“Yet now has [Christ, the Messiah] reconciled [you to God] in the body of His flesh through death, in order to present you holy and faultless and irreproachable in His [the Father’s] presence.” Col 1:22

Through the gift He gave us, we are now irreproachable in God’s eyes.  Irreproachable means to be blameless, faultless and innocent.  It means we are pure, as if we have never sinned.  Justified.  Righteous.

“And He [ that same Jesus Himself] is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours alone but also for [the sins of] the whole world.” 1 John 2:2

“Therefore, since we are justified ( acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).” Rom 5:1

The complete, finished work on the cross made eternal life possible for us.  It removed all our sins and now presents as as pure, faultless souls before God.

But wait…there’s more! :-)

A first revelation

I received my first ‘living’ word in 1999 – a verse I read which truly stood out and spoke to my heart.  I cherish this verse, and find it wonderful that God chose to reveal His character first and foremost.  I did not hear a message of condemnation or judgement, nor one of works or service.  It was a message of reconciliation – spoken so kindly that my heart melted.

“The Lord appeared from of old to me saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you.” Jer 31:3

In this verse He showed me His never-ending love – it is infinite and boundless.  There is nothing I can do to stop this love, I cannot mess it up or cause Him to change His mind.  This love is not dependent on holy living or works achieved – it moves through all boundaries and overcomes everything.

“For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 8:38 – 39

It is this love that will lead the world to repentance – the revelation of God’s character (Rom 2:4).

The good life

I want to cringe when people make the Christian life out to be one of sorrows, seriousness and hardships.  These people lay a burden on you, making you feel guilty if you are enjoying your walk with God.  This perception goes against my experience of God’s heart towards us. I believe He wants us to be happy in His presence, to look forward to every moment spent with Him.

There are quite a few verses to confirm this:

“…in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

“…I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10

“…For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Mat 11:30

“Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). ” Rom 5:1

So … don’t let anyone make you feel less worthy if you are loving life and enjoying a relationship with God.  There is such great joy and contentment in knowing someone loves to be in your presence – why would it be any different for God?  He is happiest when we are in His presence, loving Him.  In Luke 10:40 He commended Mary, saying she has chosen the good portion – a life of knowing Him instead of just serving Him.

How God sees you

It is not noble to think of yourself as a wretched, miserable sinner. Realizing this once is enough, until you hear the fantastic news that Jesus died for all your sins. Then, after this realization, you need to understand that your new position is one of righteousness. You are now pure, blameless and holy.

Becoming born again transfers you from darkness to light (Col 1:13), into a whole new dimension. In this dimension God sees you as He sees Christ, because of the amazing sacrifice He became. Can Christ be sinful, unholy or wretched?  No! Remember that the one sacrifice was enough, you are now forever cleansed!

Walk in this mindset, and your life will change effortlessly.  It will change from the inside out, not the other way around. It will come naturally.

“[The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,” Col 1:13

“Yet now has [Christ, the Messiah] reconciled [you to God] in the body of His flesh through death, in order to present you holy and faultless and irreproachable in His [the Father’s] presence.” Col 1:22

Judgement or kindness?

The image of God as an angry judge is incorrect.  His heart towards mankind has always been salvation and reconciliation – a plan to bring us back to Him.

“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.” John 3:17

It is not His damnation, but His goodness, that will draw people to Him.  The world won’t turn to an angry God, but their hearts will be touched by His love.  That is the real moving power of the Gospel – the love God has for us and the salvation He gave to us.

“Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forebearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change you mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? Rom 2:4

In other words – trying to scare non-believers by threatening them with God’s wrath will only do damage.  Testifying about God’s goodness and love for the world will lead to salvation.