“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The illusive love of Jesus

“May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Eph. 3:18,19).

Knowing the love of Christ is what makes a saint—the goodness of God in sending His Son on a costly embassage of love. The Son of God, the great Apostle from God, the King’s ambassador of reconciliation came here to do His Father’s business. He was sent to communicate the Father’s acceptance.

“Is Ephraim My dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore My bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 31:20).

God had brought against man just what He had forewarned them in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 and 29. Four pagan empires and six hundred years of increasingly satanic violence finally brought the world to the verge of repentance. Now God saw humanity humbled and responding to their punishment from heaven.

The 70 week prophecy came to an end and God would do for man what he finally had to admit he could not do for himself. God had provided mankind a High Priest to officiate in their conversion and sanctification. Man could now be redeemed because he was humbled and willing to be molded.

Those who would heed the gospel message proclaimed by Christ’s apostles could be brought into the knowledge of the love of Christ and be filled with all the fullness of God.

Most of the New Testament covers other aspects of Christ and His church than just His love. Church structure, church operation, the character of church leaders and people, proofs of Jesus as Messiah, explanations of conversion and redemption and descriptions of the life of holiness, prophecy, Jewish and pagan traditions exposed, exhortations to keep the commandments, et cetera all fill the pages of the New Testament.

Little is left in the New Testament to clearly paint a picture of the love of Christ. Even the gospels are full of clashes between Christ and the priests and Pharisees. Most of His merciful healing is categorically passed over in a broad, sweeping way. Look at Matthew, chapter 4. “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
And His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that hand the palsy; and He healed them.
And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.” (Matt. 4:23-25). Brother Matthew, I sure would love to have some details!

And the gospel of John is full of conflicts between Christ and the religious leaders. It’s almost like Satan did everything he could to harass Jesus and fight for center-stage. It turned out that, like he tried to do with demoniacs, the devil through his human agents in leadership positions successfully got much of the attention. We don’t see the look on Jesus’ face or the sound of His musical and kind voice. We don’t see the love pouring out of His every waking moment, like the people were able to see in His day. I’m upset about this, and I believe rightfully so.

We have lost His message of peace. Today the churches don’t teach Jesus and preach Jesus. Their focus is on everything else than the love of God. Of course, those other aspects of Christianity, listed above, have their place. They are Biblical and important. But they are ancillary. We must not let them up-stand Christ. They are not the center of focus. The sacrifice was the center of Old Testament worship, the dripping red knife and the white lamb given the dying stroke which transformed the hearts of the onlookers. The lamb’s quiet suffering for the sins of the people, and witnessed to by them, struck the whole assembly and enabled the people to hear truth and the high standard.

Only the central theme of Christ’s death because of us makes those ancillary doctrines and necessities doable. Only in the light of the cross can we rightly understand and love the ancillary requirements and information. Otherwise, without the visual loss of the world’s greatest Friend, the church instructions and doctrines lose their correct meaning, and falsehoods moves in to replace them.

The love of Christ, sent from the bosom of God, is the overall, all-encompassing theme for the church. His grace for sinners and loyalty to His Father’s Law.

“He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

“Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.
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 was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken.
And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
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.

“Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because 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. 53:2-12).

We must see the Son. “And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise Him up at the last day.” (Jn. 6:40). We must consume His life and death, contemplate over it again and again, as if we were chewing the cud.

“This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.…

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.
Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise Him up at the last day.
For My flesh is Meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.

“He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in Him.
As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.
This is that bread which came down from heaven: …He that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” (Jn. 6:50,51,53-58).

Reading about Him is not the fullness of knowing Him. Again, from the context of our opening text, verse 17 clues us in to the highest form of learning. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.” (Eph. 3:17). We can only comprehend the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of Christ’s love if Christ is dwelling in all of our thoughts and meditations, we being rooted and grounded into His love. And likewise, only if our loving one another as well is for the purpose of gaining a better comprehension of Jesus.

Since all of the Law hangs on the principles of love, then all of our obedience to His commandments must also be motivated by the Law’s intention to prepare us to marry Christ at His coming. The gospel principles—faith, virtue, knowledge, patience, temperance, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity—must also be added to one another as we develop—but for the purpose of growing a union with Jesus. “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2Pet. 1:8,11).

By meeting people in their needs, encouraging them and uplifting them, we experience Jesus in person. Our sympathies toward the needy teach us the sympathies of Christ, the spirit of Christ revealing to us His personality, His love, His humanity, His flesh.

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” (Matt. 25:40). “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, He shall in no wise lose his reward.” (Matt. 10:42). “Whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me.” (Matt. 18:5). And “He that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.” (Matt. 10:40).


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