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Christ, the Center of God's Grace 

For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3.16

In this familiar scripture Christ is clearly set forth as the center of God's grace. It was because of God's grace (He "so loved the world") that the gift of the Son was given. And through the Son all who will believe have eternal life. Jesus the Christ, who is the Son of this scripture, is both the result of God's grace and the means by which God's grace operates.

What is God's grace? Biblical grace is "pure and unrecompensed kindness and favor." Grace cannot be bought, it does not come as a result of merit. Romans 4.4 says "Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation." Grace is the opposite of wages. The two may not be reconciled: "And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were grace would no longer be grace" (Rom. 11.6). The inevitable result of seeking to earn God's favor is the falling away from grace (Gal. 5.2-4).

In his letter to the church at Rome the apostle Paul argued that all persons are sinners and that all who sin are deserving of death (Rom. 2.9; 3.10-20; d. Rom. 3.23; 6.23). This means you and I are under the condemnation of the law. It is we who deserve death because of our sinfulness. Furthermore, we are not able to change our sinful condit'ion. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil" (Jer. 13.23). It is because of our total inability that God took theinitiative. It was He who solved the sin problem, who effected reconciliation between himself and sinful humanity by the gift of His Son. That gift is the center of His grace and His grace is for all who will accept it.

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Perhaps no clearer picture of God's grace exists in scripture than that found in Luke 18.9-14:

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:

"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself; 'God, I thank you that I am not like all 
other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not 
even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

What an amazing study in contrasts this parable presents. On the one hand is the aristocratic, wealthy, self-satisfied Pharisee. Contrasted with him is the tax collector, a renegade Jew who collected taxes for the despised Roman conquerors. Not only did this man sell his own people out to the Romans, he used extortionate methods to increase his personal wealth.

The point of this parable would be lost if we supposed the Pharisee not to be a good man or the tax collector not to be a bad one. In verse 11 the Pharisee thanks God he is not like other men. Nor was he! Pharisees were noted for their accuracy and fairness. He would not have taken even a penny which wasn't his. As for being an adulterer, anyone in town could have vouched for his moral uprightness.

In verse 12 the Pharisee enumerates his acts of zealous piety. Only one.fast per year was required of the Jews. This was on the great day of atonement (Lev. 16.29; Num. 29.7). But this man fasted twice weekly. The Law required the Jew to give a tenth of his yearly increase, in other words, what he had accumulated at the end of the year above what he 
had when the year began. This was after he had used what was needed for sustenance during the year. But this Pharisee gave a tenth of all he got. He was an upstanding character in his relationships to others, and he was zealous in his piety before God. This Pharisee was the kind of man any of us would wish to have for a neighbor.

The tax collector was as bad a character as the Pharisee was good. These tax collectors were so despised by the Jews they weren't even allowed in the temple. The Pharisee seems deliberately to have chosen to point out the things he was not (a robber, an evildoer, an adulterer) because the tax collector was those things. Thus the Pharisee says (verse 11) "or even like this tax collector." The tax collector wasn't a good man trying to be modest toward God. He was universally recognized as a wicked man.

Jesus did not tell this parable to provide commentary on the merits of the two men. It was because the two-men were exactly what they thought (and said) they were that Jesus could use them to make His point. He told this parable "to some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on [held in total contempt] everybody else" (verse 9). The Pharisee presented his own merit to God and relied upon it for acceptance. The tax collector knew he had no merit and begged God to accept him as an act of mercy. It was "this man, rather than the other, [who] went home justified before God" (verse 14). Jesus chose men who, to the Jews, represented the extremes of human righteousness in order to clearly make His point. No man is acceptable to God on the basis of his own goodness. Only those who rely on God's grace are acceptable to Him. 
The Tax Collector's Prayer

The tax collector prayed very differently from the Pharisee. Both men "stood," the English translation says (d. verse 11 and verse 13). But the Greek original has two different words. The Pharisee "struck a posture" or "took an ostentatious stand" (statheis). The tax collector was merely "standing," somewhat timidly (hestos). The Pharisee was ostentatious before God but the tax collector was so deeply aware of his own unfitness "he would not even look up to heaven." He was so deeply aware of his sinfulness he "beat his breast" in contrition and remorse.

The tax collector was desperate. There was no place for him to turn except to God. All decent men despised him. He knew he wasn't allowed in the temple and only his desperation had given him the courage to slip in. Standing as far away from others as he could, expecting any moment to be thrown out, he prayed "God have mercy on me, a sinner." More 
literally the tax collector prayed "O God, be propitiated for me [turn away your wrath from me; be reconciled with me] the sinner." He was the sinner, not merely a sinner among many.

The verb translated "have mercy" (hilaskomai) occurs only twice in the New Testament. The other occurence is in Hebrews 2.17 where it is used regarding Jesus as High Priest. The same root is used twice in its noun form (propitiation) in I John 2.2 and 4.10. In both cases it is Jesus who is the "atoning sacrifice" for our sins. In Romans 3.25 God is said to have set forth Christ as the "place of atonement" or "sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood." This same form of the word is used in Hebrews 9.5 where it means "mercy seat," the place on top of the ark of the covenant where God's presence dwelt (Ex. 40.34, 35; Num. 7.89)

While in the tax collector's prayer there is no direct reference to Christ in the use of hiloskomai, all other usage in the New Testament is clear. It is only in Christ that the atoning sacrifice, the place of mercy is found .. . the process of propitiation envisaged in the Bible is one which involves an element of substitution. In both Old and New Testaments themeans of propitiation is the offering up of a gift, the gift of a life yielded up to death by God's own appointment. The Scripture is clear that the wrath of God is visited upon sinners or else that the Son of God dies for them.'

The tax collector's prayer acknowledged both his own lack of merit and the abundance of God's grace. Knowing there was nothing in himself deserving of God's acceptance, the tax collector found acceptance in God's grace. The Pharisee could have been accepted similarly. He was blinded by his own goodness to his need for grace. In his self-righteousness he supposed himself to be acceptable and held the poor tax collector in contempt. On another occasion Jesus said:

"For Judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains." -John 9.39, 40

The Pharisee thought he could see and thus became blind. He went home empty and guilty before God.

Jesus Our Substitute 

In Exodus 32 is found the story of Israel's idolatry with the golden calf while Moses was on Mt. Sinai. Forty days earlier the people of Israel had confirmed God's covenant with them saying: "We will do every- thing the Lord has said; we will obey" (Ex. 24.7). As Moses' absence dragged on, the people began to feel they had been deserted. Thus they complained 
to Aaron and finally insisted he make a "god" to lead them. They then sacrificed to this idol -and indulged themselves in a riotous "worship" service. Their behavior was an affront to God. He said to Moses "now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation" (Ex. 32.10). Moses 
had already had an opportunity to be personally great. He had been raised as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He could have been the ruler of Egypt. But he had chosen to identify and suffer with God's people Israel, and he did not change his mind now. Thus he pleaded with God to turn away His wrath from His people. "Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened" (verse 14).

Moses was so intent upon obtaining forgiveness for Israel that he was willing to lose his own life. In verse 32 he says "But now please forgive their sin- 
but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written." God must not be seen as capricious. His wrath is real against sin and sinners for He is a holy God. When His wrath was to be expressed against Israel, Moses pleaded for mercy on their behalf. Moses substituted himself and willingly would have died in place of Israel. But it was God Who had called 
Moses to lead Israel. It was God Who had placed Moses in the place to intercede for Israel. Moses was a provision of God's grace to Israel.

Jesus, the new Moses, is God's provision of grace to His new Israel. Like Israel we are deserving of God's wrath. As God provided Moses to Israel to turn aside His wrath so He has provided Jesus, His Son. Jesus has borne God's wrath, He drank that cup to its very dregs. Jesus is the final manifestation of God's grace of whom Moses was only a shadow. Whether Pharisee, Israelite, or tax collector (and each of us is represented in all three) God's grace in Christ is sufficient. Let us be clothed with Christ, God's grace incarnate, and thus find total acceptance with God. Christ is the Center of all God's "unrecompensed kindness and favor." Amen!
(We thank Terry Taylor for TouchedbyGodchurch.com)



If That's Good News, I'll Be Damned!

A friend of mine was sitting in a Bible class trying to grasp what was being said. It was an important day in his life for, after quite some time of "doing his own thing," he wanted a better relationship with God. He was anxious to learn. The teacher began to explain what it meant to "live a Christian life" and to have a "growing Christian experience." Soon what 
he "had to do" if he wanted to be a Christian was stressed. A "Christian growth chart" was used to illustrate the steps to Christ. It was explained that at first, because he was way down at the "bottom" of the chart, he would make a lot of mistakes. If he was really doing his best God took that into account and would "make up the difference" for him. This generosity on God's part was called "grace." He learned that as he continued to "walk in the Christian path" he would "grow more and more like Christ," thus making fewer mistakes and needing less and less of God's grace to make up the difference.

As he sat there and listened, his initial interest in wanting to learn more about being a Christian waned. Joy turned to despair as he realized with this "growth chart" approach he would never really know where he stood and thus it was "good news" which damned him. There was no assurance in this message. The "good news" he anticipated had 
turned on him. If what he heard that day was the gospel, he might just as well keep on living like he was, for he knew he couldn't possibly "reach the standard" set for him. It was a day with serious consequences, for many-years passed before he heard the real Good News and responded to it.

Thinking about his experience, I have tried to relate it to my own and to that of people I have known in my ministry, How many times have I heard something "religious" which was supposed to be a"sermon" and thought: "I'll be damned if that's good news. If what is being said is the gospel, there's no hope for me; I'm damned."

Religion Is Not the Gospel ... 

It is astounding to discover how many "good Christians" really know next to nothing about the gospel. To be sure, they have things like what to eat, where to go, what to wear, etc., down pat. For many people, the gospel has become confused with religion. Religion addresses the human side and the gospel addresses God's side. Religion concerns itself 
with my response to the Good News, but it is not the Good News itself. Religion defines how I choose to worship, what kind of worship service I will participate in. In other words, religion addresses my piety. Church history would indicate that personal piety has always been expressed in differing ways. So it is today. A Baptist service would have a different 
"religious tone" than would a Pentecostal service. The religious dimension of each of these groups has nothing to do with the rightness or wrongness of what is taking place. Human worship of God is expressed in different ways by different people. It is like music. There are those who feel that "classical" music is the only type of music that qualifies for the name. To them, "Rock" or "Country and Western" music is awful. Worse, it isn't even music. Indeed, whether we all like the various kinds of music or not they do qualify as music. Religion is much like musical preference. We worship God as a result of our cultural background, our level of biblical understanding, and that to which we are accustomed. God understands that we are all different; He, in fact, created us that way. There is no problem until one's preference is advanced as the only way.

It should be stated that nobody is exempt from being religious. We all have some expression of religion. This is not bad. In fact, it is good. In the true sense of the word, being religious simply means we take the gospel seriously and have a response to it.We participate in a certain Christian fellowship, we enjoy a certain style of worship service (liturgy), we choose a certain life-style. This is all good for it brings order as we interact with each other.

Only when religion is put forth as the gospel does it become something which damns us. To attend church and hear a "sermon" on life-style, politics, diet, etc., is to hear religion in the place of the gospel. To place the emphasis upon what we should do to "be more Iike Christ ". is to have the Good News turn to- bitterness. In fact, if religion is the Good News, there 
is no Good News, and we are all damned.

Only the Gospel Is Good News 

When discussing the matter of the gospel, we come to an entirely different matter. Here we are talking about God's mighty act of redemption which He accomplished in His Son, Jesus. Regardless of whether we accept it or reject it, like it or dislike it, it stands. We have nothing to do with this infinite act of God's grace. Though we must accept it before we can 
experientially call it "good news," it would be good news apart from any decision on our part. God has concentrated His Good News in One Person, His Son. To preach Christ is the only way the gospel will ever be told.

This, in itself, is good news for it is a built-in safety device to keep our various likes and dislikes from being proclaimed as the gospel. What the Methodist church (for example) thinks about church government is a matter of religion, not gospel. Therefore, choosing identity with this denomination is your way of saying they most closely express how you 
want to worship. The same could be said for every other denomination. But, of course, since church government is not God's infinite act of grace expressed in Jesus, it is not the gospel. It is legitimate for there to be varying forms of religious expression. But the distinction between "church" and the gospel is often not heeded by today's churches. In fact, it is getting to the point where you have to "walk a good country mile" to hear the gospel in church. Here is how the Bible states the situation:

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come. -Matt. 24_ 14

So often a given denomination feels because it has a "work" in a certain country of the world it is preaching the gospel. Not necessarily. There could be a lot of religious activity going on but, sadly, too much of it is simply an acculturation of people to Western thinking. If the "missionary" is from a certain part of America, he is apt to simply teach a religious 
perspective as seen through his culture. There is no good news in this approach. All that happens is that strife and conflict erupt as these people are taught a life-style which is totally foreign to them. Paul said:

I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. -Rom. 1.16, 17

Not everything Paul learned of religious things qualified as the gospel and he is being very specific in this verse. The power of God is the gospel, not even a well-defined religion (which he had learned very well). Jesus said:

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself. -John 12.32

Nothing else will ever draw anyone to the kingdom of God. It is not a purely logical matter. God has ordained it that His Holy Spirit is the One who draws and the Holy Spirit was given to attest to the completed work of Christ. Only when Christ is preached is His Spirit present to draw.

A Comparison:

Addresses externals; Tells us how to respond to God; 
Dictates how we express our worship; 
Outlines character growth; Tells us what to do to 
get "in"

Addresses the heart; Tells us what God has done for us; 
Lets our worship be the expression of the heart; 
Tells us Jesus is our Perfection; 
Tells us Jesus is our Entrance Requirement

So, it is true that if religion is being preached at us and passed off as the Good News we are all, indeed, damned. But it doesn't have to be that way. There is nothing better in all the world than hearing about the saving righteousness of God as expressed through Christ.

Let's hear it for the gospel which uplifts Jesus. In Him we are free--and that's Good News! Amen!
(We thank R. Patzer for TouchedebyGodchurch.com)

God Made Our Earth -- Very Special!

Our marvelous earth! We wonder … what would have happened if the world was just slightly different; if the universe was changed in the slightest way? Scientists say: no human life could exist! Do you really believe that? My goodness, there must be some variability to our planet, to our universe, to our existence. Surely if things were off just a bit, life would still go on? Well, let's see:

1) What if the distance between the earth and the sun were a bit closer or even farther? Surely it would not affect us that much--would it? Well it turns out that yes it would-- life would cease to exist. Have we found life on Venus, or Mars? None what so ever!

(2) If the magnetic forces were stronger or weaker would we be able to survive? Not at all--these forces protect us from the very harsh radiations from the sun.

(3) Do we have to revolve every 24 hours, day to day? Certainly, otherwise only half the earth would receive the life giving light of the sun, and the other half would be in constant darkness and a non-livable environment without vegetation.

4) Why does our planet have to be “tilted” on it’s own axis? Surely it would be much better if it were perpendicular? No, no! If our earth were not tilted at 23 degrees, we would not have the seasonal variations that produce an abundance of crops to feed our planet’s huge population.

(5) Why do we have to have a Moon? What really is its purpose? The Moon produces the tides that continually replenish the oceans with oxygen allowing the fish to breathe.

(6) Does the earth have to be so large,? Can’t it be smaller so we could get around it faster? Not really … If the earth were much smaller, the lessened gravity would make it incapable of holding the atmosphere that is essential for breathing.

(7) Why is it so hard for us to fly out of and back into our atmosphere? Can’t it be a bit thinner? Not so … if our atmosphere is much thinner it would not provide enough protection from 25,000 meteors that burn up over the earth every day. Also, it would be incapable of retaining the higher temperatures in order for human and animal life to exist.

(8) On the other hand, why couldn’t our planet be twice as large? We would have more space to live on, and grow more food? Not a good idea … if our planet were twice as large, the effect of the increased gravity would make everything on the planet 8 times heavier. This increased weight would destroy many forms of animal and human life.

So you see--our planet (Earth) was created specifically for us to exist. The smallest change in any of the circumstances of the natural world (says Scientists) such as the relative strength of the forces of nature, or the properties of the elementary particles, would have led to a universe in which there would be no life and no man. A decrease of a few percent here or there along the way--and there would only be “stuff” … dirt, debris … things we’ve only found on other planets, of our own Solar System. Exception: here on our planet earth: life abounds!

The ultimate conclusion of many scientists is that: it seems like we have caught the eye of a very special, powerful, intelligence that has purposely constructed our Universe, Solar System and especially our Earth within very “narrow” scientific parameters to allow human life to flourish.

And heaven knows there are much, much more evidence of who this All-Powerful, Being is … Whether scientists think of Him as merely a force in nature of supreme intelligence … we can only hope that through continuous gathering of information … that all will come to the understanding and knowledge that there is an Ultimate Creator of this: The Universe, The Solar System and the planet we live on: our Earth. Our Creator has prepared a very special place for us to exist, and live … we know that we live within a very fine line of existence; that without His constant “Presence” and continual light--life would be impossible. We give thanks to our Creator--God, through His Son, The Christ Jesus! Amen!

We thank Pastor Jess Foglesong of TouchedbyGodchurch.com)


Christ, the Meaning of Old Testament History 

The recurring rhythm of Old Testament history is perfected in the Christ event. Jesus sums up and completes that history. In the light of His death and resurrection the Old Testament becomes clear. The great acts in Old Testament history are seen as a typology of Jesus Christ.

Typology is not allegory. The Old Testament events were real events. They had historical significance for their time. What is said about them may be understood by grammatical-historical investigation. But a divine hand had arranged the pattern in the events for the sake of Jesus Christ. We should be careful not to push typology to fanciful extremes. But we are on solid ground when we follow where the New Testament leads us. In their witness to Jesus as the promised Messiah, the apostles generally do not follow a proof-text method. They present the account of Jesus' life, death and resurrection so that its correspondence with Old Testament history becomes apparent to anyone acquainted with that history. We must immerse ourselves in the Old Testament if we are to grasp the force of what the apostles say about Christ. Since Creation and the Exodus are the two great events of the Old Testament, we will see how they are recapitulated in the Christ event.

Christ, the Recapitulation of Creation

The idea that God would recapitulate Creation is not novel to the New Testament writers. This was the hope expressed by Old Testament prophets. Isaiah declared that God would act to create a new heaven and a new earth (Isa. 65.17). Daniel 7 recapitulates 
Genesis 1: 
1. The four winds blow upon the sea (Dan. 7.2). 
2. Four beasts come up out of the sea (Dan. 7.3). 
3. The Son of Man stands before God (Dan. 7.13). 
4. This Man is given dominion over the beasts and 
over the whole created order (Dan. 7.14, 27).

The rabbis believed that the "Son of Man" in Daniel's vision represented the coming Messiah or Deliverer. The apostles show that this expectation is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The New Testament recalls the Creation in a number of remarkable ways. With words clearly reminiscent of Genesis 1.1, John begins His Gospel, "In the beginning was the Word" (John 1.1). The same Word which spoke the world into existence became incarnate in Jesus Christ (John 1.1-14).

The angel announced to Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1.35). This corresponds with Genesis 1.2: "The Spirit of God was moving [hovering protectingly] over the face of the waters." Jesus is God's new creation (Eph. 4.24; Col. 3.10). The humanity of Christ is the new creation of the Holy Spirit. This Man is also the new Adam of God's new creation (Rom. 5.12-19; I Cor. 15.45). Paul says that the first Adam was a figure (Greek, tupos) of Jesus Christ (Rom. 5.14). Commenting on this, Irenaeus, the early church father, said: 
Therefore Adam was said by Paul to be tupos tou mellontos [the type of Him to come] because the Word, who made all things, had formed beforehand for himself the Economy of mankind which would centre in the Son of God; 
God predestinating the natural man to be saved by the spiritual man.

As the new Adam, Christ is the image of God (2 Cor. 4.4; Col. 1.15; Heb. 1.3; d. Gen. 1.27). He is the ideal man, the one true specimen of humanity who is all God designed man to be. He is the man in whom God is well pleased (Matt. 3.17). Man is only man in relationship to God, to others and to the world. Jesus is presented in the New Testament as the ideal man because He is in ideal relationship to God (in perfect subjection), to others (in Igving service-Mark 10.45; Acts 10.38; Phil. 2."5-7) and to the world (in exercising We see the dominion Adam had "over the fish of the sea ... and over every living thing" (Gen. 1.28) being exercised by the new Adam. The fishermen who became His disciples recognized that Jesus had authority over the fish of the sea. At His command they caught so many fish that neither their nets nor their boats could hold them-and this after the time for successful fishing had vanished with the night. In obediance to the word of Jesus, Peter took up the coin from the fish's mouth. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on an unbroken colt, yet it was perfectly submissive to Him. The angry waters were subject to Him. (In the light of 
the Old Testament waters, how full of Messianic significance is Christ's act of rebuking the sea!) As the true Adam, Christ is Lord-Lord over all creation, disease, demons and even death itself. He is the Danielic Son of Man, who receives all authority and 
dominion from the Father (Dan. 7.13, 14; Matt. 28.18).

Christ is also the new Adam, put to death so that from His pierced side the church is brought into existence. Thus Paul likens the church to Eve (II Cor. 11.2, 3), who was taken from Adam's side. In summary, we may say Jesus Christ recapitulates Creation and Adam. He becomes all Adam was meant to be. As the antitypical Adam, He transcends Adam the first. He passes over the ground 
of Adam. He not only does what Adam should have done as the covenantal partner. He undoes the results of Adam's breaking the covenant. Because of Adam's sin the earth was cursed to bring forth thorns, and mankind was cursed to death (Gen. 3.18, 19). 
But the new Head of the race bears the crown of thorns and tastes death for every man. Adam the first left us a legacy of condemnation and death. Adam the second leaves us a legacy of justification and life eternal (Rom. 5.17- 19).

Jesus Christ recapitulates Creation and Adam. He becomes all Adam was meant to be.

Christ, the Recapitulation of the Exodus Israel not only commemorated the Exodus. They looked forward to its recapitulation at the end of the age. The Old Testament is an unfinished book because the real exodus was still to come. The Old Testament is a promise. It awaits fulfillment.

Moses had said that God would raise up a prophet like himself (Deut. 18.15). Glasson shows that the rabbis of the first century expected a new Moses, another deliverer who would recapitulate the Exodus." They wondered how this new Moses would feed the people with manna and do what was done under the administration of the first Moses. The New Testament tells us that when John the Baptist and Jesus appeared, all men were in. expectation (Luke 3.15).

In presenting Jesus as the Messiah, the apostles show us that Exodus typology is gathered up in His life, death and resurrection.More is said of the Christ event as the new exodus than as the new creation. The Exodus imagery is so widely used in the New Testamentthat it merits a separate book." We will merely trace some highlights here.

Jesus Is the New Israel. The apostles show the remarkable correspondence between Christ and Israel, not by a series of proof texts, but by weaving together a pattern of the Christ event. The book of Matthew is an example. Matthew presents a replay 
of Israel's Exodus from Egypt.

1. Jesus is Mary's firstborn-and God's (Matt. 
1.25; d. Col. 1.15). 
2. Jesus is brought up out of Egypt (Matt. 2.15). 
3. He passes through the waters-His baptism 
(Matt. 3.14, 15). 
4. He is led into the wilderness and tested forty days and nights. In resisting Satan's three temptations, Jesus actually quotes the three scriptures found in the setting of Israel's testing in the wilderness (Matt. 4.4; Deut. 8.3). 
5. The final chapters of Matthew describe Jesus' second baptism of suffering and blood and His entrance into the glory of the heavenly Canaan. Jesus is therefore the new Israel of new covenant history. As the new Israel, He passes over the same ground asold Israel. Whereas they murmured against God, broke the covenant and failed miserably, He trusted God, kept the covenant and triumphed gloriously. He did what Israel should have done. And He undid the results of their failure. When Israel broke the covenantal stipulations, she stood exposed to the covenantal curses. In Leviticus and Deuteronomy 28-30 the curses come in 
handfuls. These awful threats may first appear out of all proportion to the sins committed. But sin, as a breach of the covenant, is an affront to the covenant God. It is an insult to His infinite majesty. The prophets invoked the covenantal curses against disobedient Israel. The curses included hunger and thirst (Deut. 
28.48; Isa. 65.13), desolation (Isa. 5.6; Zeph. 1. 15), poverty (Deut. 28.31), the scorn of passers-by (Jer. 19.8), darkness (Isa. 13.10; Amos 5.18-20), earthquake (Isa. 13.13; Amos 1.1), being "cut off" from among the people (Ex. 12.15, 19; 31.14; Lev. 
7.25; Jer. 44.7-11), death by hanging on a tree (Deut. 21.33), a brass heaven (Deut. 28.23) and no help when one cries for help (Deut. 28.31; Isa. 10.3).

Christ must fulfill the stipulations of the Sinaitic covenant. He must also carry away the terrible curses pronounced in the covenantal documents. For this reason He was hungry (Matt. 4.2; 21.18). He was so poor He had nowhere to lay His head (Matt. 8.20). 
On the cross He cried, "I thirst!" (John 19.28). He was mocked and derided (Mark 15.19, 31) and deserted by His friends (Matt. 26.69-75). He was hanged on a tree as a cursed man (Gal. 3.13) and "cut off" from His people (Isa. 53.8). As He hung on the cross, the 
heavens were as brass. He was as one who cries for help and receives none (Mark 15.34). He died as the great covenant breaker and endured the unabated fury of all the covenant curses. The cosmic scope of these curses is portrayed in Matthew. As Christ bore 
the sins of the broken covenant, darkness descended over the earth (Matt. 27.45), the ground quaked, and the rocks were rent (Matt. 27.51). But by dying Jesus carried away the curses of the covenant. Amen!


Jesus Is the New Moses ...

Jesus is not only the new Israel of the new Exodus. He is also the new Moses. 
1. The prophecy of Deuteronomy 18.15- "a 
prophet like me"-is often used in the New 
Testament to apply to Jesus (Acts 3.22, 23; 7.37). 
2. Jesus too is hid from the wrath of the king who 
kills all the male children. Jesus also returns to the 
homeland after the one who sought His life is dead 
(Ex. 4.19; Matt. 2.20, 21). 
3. Both Moses and Jesus are unrecognized by 
their own people as God's elect (Acts 7.27). On 
occasion the people try to .stone them both (Ex. 17.4; 
Num. 14.10; John 10.31-33; 11.8). 
4. The close communion Moses enjoyed with God 
is surpassed by Christ (Ex. 33.20; John 1.17, 18). 
5. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount reminds us of 
another lawgiver on another mountain (Ex. 19; Matt. 5). 
4. See Glasson, Moses in the Fourth Gospel, for an excellent, 
detailed treatment of Moses and Jesus. 
6. Jesus appoints seventy elders just as Moses did 
(Num. 11.16; Luke 10.1). 
7. Both Jesus and Moses fasted forty days before 
giving the law to the people. 
8. Both were glorified on a mountain. 
9. Jesus fed the multitude in a desert place. This 
reminded the people of Moses and the bread from 
heaven (John 6). 
10. Jesus said He was the water of life. This 
declaration was made at the Feast of Tabernacles 
when the people were celebrating the water from the 
smitter. rock (John 7.37-39). 
11. Jesus declared He was the light of the world 
while the people were celebrating the pillar of fire 
which led Israel through the wilderness (John 8.12). 
12. Our Lord said to Nicodemus, "And as Moses 
lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son 
of Man be lifted up" (John 3.14). 
13. Jesus' final discourse to His disciples presents a 
remarkable parallel to Moses' farewell speech 
recorded in Deuteronomy. Some of Jesus' parting 
words are quoted directly from Deuteronomy.

Jesus, of course, not only recapitulates Moses. He supersedes Moses. This is a truth taught in biblical types and antitypes. Thus John the evangelist not only makes parallels between Christ and Moses. He contrasts them and shows the superiority of Jesus 
(John 1.17). This reveals an important argument presented by John. The Jews had absolutized Moses as he was represented in the law--the Torah. The rabbis taught that the Torah was the Logos--the divine wisdom or word (cf. Provo 8). They also said the 
Torah was the bread, water and light which leads to the life of the age to come. John denies these popular assumptions. He declares that this Logos, this bread and water and light of eternal life, are embodied in the second person of the Godhead, incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth. We too must remember that the Scriptures are only a witness to Jesus Christ. A high view of scriptural inspiration is no guarantee of life (John 5.39). Faith in an inerrant Bible is not the test of 
evangelial faith.

Jesus Is the New Temple.

The entire Levitical priesthood and temple ritual are summed up in Jesus. He is the new Aaron. And just as He supersedes Moses, He supersedes Aaron. He is a priest after the better order of Melchizedek (Heb. 7). He is also the new temple whose glory exceeds the former (Hag. 2.9; John 1.14). He is the restored temple, the temple rebuilt after being destroyed by the king of Babylon 
(Dan. 8.14; Zech. 6.13; John 2.19-21).

In short, Jesus Christ is the new exodus event. On the mount of Transfiguration Moses and Elijah "appeared in glory and spoke of His departure, which He was to accomplish at Jerusalem" (Luke9.31, RSV). The Greek word for "departure" is exodos. How 
fitting that the Moses of the first Exodus should be found communing with Christ just before the great exodus of the ages took place in His death and resurrection! The writer to the Hebrews understands 
Jesus' resurrection as the replay of Moses' coming up out of the Red Sea. This is clear from a comparison of Isaiah 63.11 with Hebrews 13.20:

Then He remembered 
the days of old, Moses, and 
His people, saying, Where 
is He that brought them up 
out of the sea with the shep- 
herd of His flock?-Isa. 
63.11, KJV.

May the God of peace, 
who through the blood of 
the eternal covenant 
brought back from the 
dead our Lord Jesus, the 
great Shepherd of the 
sheep. .-Heb. 13.20.

In the great acts of God in the Old Testament there is a recurring pattern of events. Thisrecapitulating history moves forward and reaches its summary and perfection in Jesus Christ. The events of the Old Testament exist for the sake of Jesus Christ. 
They mirror Him and therefore find their true meaning in Him. Christ is the meaning of Old Testament history. He is God's great act of creation and redemption.

We have seen that the Old Testament is a history of captivity and restoration. Man sins and is cost away into captivity by the God of the covenant. But man is rescued again by the God of the covenant. In the Babylonian Exile God cost His people out of His 
sight. But then in mercy He gathered them again. This was like a judgment of death and resurrection. Hosea could write:

"Come, let us return to the Lord· 
for He has torn, that He may'heal us; 
He has stricken, and He will bind us up. 
After two days He will revive us; 
on the third day He will raise us up, 
that we may live before Him." 
-Hosea 6.1, 2.

This and other Old Testament scriptures mirror the death and resurrection of Christ. In His death He was Adam and Israel, cast out of God's sight as the great covenant breaker. In His resurrection He was Adam (mankind) and Israel, restored to God's favor 
as the great covenant keeper. God spared Adam (mankind) and Israel from the full penalty of sin because behind all this covenantal history stood the Surety and Mediator of the covenant. The judgments which fell on Adam and Israel were tempered with mercy because the account was to be paid in full by Jesus Christ in the fullness of time.

As Old Testament history recapitulated, Jesus Christ is Old Testament history rewritten. There are two histories of man: the history of the old covenant and the history of the new. The old is a history of continual failure on the part of Adam and Israel. This 
history stands under the judgment of God. But God has rewritten this history of failure in Jesus Christ. It is now a glorious, triumphant and holy history. By His death God buries the old history--our old history. And by His resurrection He brings forth for us a new holy history. This is the gift of His righteousness to be accepted by faith alone. Here is a history--a righteousness-with which God is well pleased. When the church is satisfied with this holy history and rests on it as her only righteousness before God, when 
she stops imagining that she must write a new holy history for her justification, then this song will be sung: 

"Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him qlory! 
. His bride has made herself ready." 
-Rev. 19.7. Amen!
(We thank Robert D. Brimsmead for TouchedbyGodchurch.com)




Jesus: The Center of Christian Ethics 

In discussing Christian ethics we come to one of the most controversial areas of Bible study. Nowhere is the "Jesus is the center" principle more needed than here. Much of Christianity is bogged down with an improper, non-Biblical (though very religious) emphasis upon the human response to the gospel. To be sure, there is such a thing as a "Christian life" but this should not be pushed to such an extreme that it centers upon what we do. Again, Jesus is not so much the provider of our ability to do and be as He is the doing and the being.

Old Israel failed in obedience to the will of God. Repeatedly Israel refused to trust God's Word or to be obedient to God's will. In the New Testament Jesus is presented to us as the One who is obedient to the will of God. This is no accident; and neither is it a casual point. Without Jesus' perfect obedience the New Israel (of which all who are in Christ are a part) 
would be no better than the old. Isaiah 65.1 speaks about the old, disobedient Israel: "I said, 'Here am I, here am I, to a nation which did not call on my name." The contrast to this is not a group of people who are obedient, but One Person who was obedient. The New Testament places all obedience in that One Person--Jesus Christ. "And being found in 
appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Phil. 2.8).

The New Testament is clear that not even if we add the words "by His help" does obedience reside in us. It is in Christ. To be in Christ is to be accounted obedient. Though it is important to live to the best of our ability, our best can never be good enough. "For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a 
filthy garment" (Isa. 64.6). Were it not for the obedient One we who are part of the New Israel would be no better off than old Israel. "For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous" (Rom. 5.19). The failure of old Israel was a failure to obey. The obedience of Christ is therefore central to Scripture. Too often Christianity is advanced as an imitation of Christ's life rather than firmly placing Him as the One who is obedient. Our standing in God's family is not because we have done certain "right" things (even through His grace). Rather, it is because we are in Christ and He is the fully obedient, perfectly righteous 
One who is fully accepted by the Father. Again this point is critical though subtle. We need to be careful that we understand the Bible as Christ-centered teaching rather than teaching which adds Christ on.

Jesus: The Center of the Law It is frightening to see how much of modern Christianity is really a "Christianized Judaism." Jesus has become an add-on to an elaborate system of cultural teachings. The shallow approach is to see Biblical law as a code. This is a serious mistake. The Hebrew word for "law" means much more than this. The word "Torah" encompasses the entire revealed will of God; the teaching of God. The religious climate into which Jesus came was one which had totally reduced God's will to a set of rules.

The uniqueness of Christ was not that He came to tell us (or enable us) to keep the law, but that He took to Himself all that the law was. He Himself became law-obedience and law-fulfillment. Jesus was the Torah incarnate. One of the ways in which modern Christianity has attempted to solve the problem of a law which is presented as being "in force" on the one hand and "done away with" on the other, is to divide it into a moral portion and a ceremonial one. Nowhere in Scripture can this distinction be found. Judaism had 613 commandments in the Torah and it would be impossible to make distinctions as to which are still binding and which are not. Further, the Bible treats the Torah as a unit. The New Testament word for law (nomos) means the Torah as a whole.

The solution to the dilemma is the principle that Jesus is the Center. When Jesus was asked about the law in Mark 12.29-34 He did not multiply its restrictions or offer a new set of rules. His answer was the totally revolutionary teaching that He Himself was the full embodiment of all law. In Galatians 3.19 Paul says the law was to operate as a custodian until Jesus came. Everything Judaism ascribed to the law the New Testament ascribes to Jesus. In this way He is presented as the essence--and even the end--of the law: "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Rom. 10.4); "But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law" (GaI.5.18). Since the law had always pointed to Christ, it therefore had reached its goal in Him. In this way He upheld it and validated it; He did not abolish it. When Christ came He did not contradict or negate the law. Rather, He lived a life which not merely encompassed but far exceeded the letter of Old Testament Law.

God did not give the Torah so there could be measurable external obedience. Rather, it was so people could understand Him. Judaism reduced the law to an arbitrary rule-book instead of seeing it as a guide for a living relationship with the Covenant God. Jesus made it clear that no set of rules could ever fully define the kind of life which a holy God 
required. His life was itself the full expression of that kind of life, and therefore, the ultimate revelation of God. It is for this reason He is the fulfillment--even the embodiment--of the law. Our relationship with God does not come through the keeping of the law (even if we add "by the power of the Holy Spirit") but through Christ Who is the embodiment of God's will. God anchors our relationship with Him not in law, but in covenant fellowship. And Jesus is the fulfillment of covenant righteousness.

Understanding this principle is truly having the new wine of the gospel shatter the old wineskins of tradition; imitation theology and subjectivism. It is not a call for reckless living or a life without discipline. Rather, Jesus is given all honor and praise because everything we have with God is in and through Him. He is the Center of all. Amen! 
(We thank Pastor R. Patzer for TouchedbyGodchurch.com)


Jesus is Our Sabbath!

Nowhere in all of Scripture does a misunderstanding of the important principle that Christ is the very center have more serious ramifications than on the subject of the Sabbath. Failure to see this principle that Jesus is the very center and essence of Biblical truth will lead to the inevitable conclusion that Jesus came to teach a body of truth apart from Himself. The Sabbath, which contains so much Biblical truth, should not be seen as something Jesus came to set up as a day. Rather, the Old Testament symbol of rest finds its fulfillment in Jesus. A correct interpretation of this concept will avoid two major pitfalls: (1) that Jesus abolished the Sabbath, thereby negating His law, and (2) that it is a day to be seen apart from Jesus Himself. Jesus was a Jew, and as such, was part of that culture. His observance of Jewish regulations was not intended to convey the idea that these cultural 
ordinances are to be observed perpetually. As with all truth, Jesus focused it in Himself. Rather than setting up a Sabbath day to keep, Jesus took to Himself the true concept of the Sabbath, thus becoming the very essence of the Sabbath. To be in Christ is to be a Sabbath-keeper, for Jesus, not a day, is our rest from all works of righteousness. Mark 2.23- 28 illustrates this point:

And it came about that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. And the 
Pharisees were saying to Him, "See here, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?" And He said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he was in need and became hungry, he and his companions: how he entered into the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he gave it also to those who were with him?" And He was saying to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 
Consquently, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." -Mark 2.23-28

This passage does not speak about the preeminence and superiority of the Sabbath as a day, but about the supremacy of mankind. Because Jesus is Lord, everything in His creation is subject to Him and governed by Him. When Matthew speaks of this incident he anchors it in the supreme value of Christ.

At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath through the grainfields, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Behold, your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath." But He said to them, "Have you not read what David did, when he became hungry, he and his companions; how he entered the house of God and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath, and are innocent? But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, 'I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice.' you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." -Matt. 12.1-8

Matthew points out that the sacrifices which were to be offered by the priests on the Sabbath day were a violation of the prohibition against work. When Peter expounded the Old Testament concept of the priesthood of all believers (in I Peter 2.5) he, in essence, placed all of us within the freedom of Christ. Even as the Old Testament priest was given a 
different relationship to the Sabbath day because of his symbolic relationship with God, so all New Testament priests (those in Christ) have their relationship to the Sabbath day defined by the reality of their relationship to God, in Christ.

The Biblical principle is that every day is a day of liberty and freedom for us. Hosea understood this principle when he said "For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings" (Hos. 6.6). He is here saying that worship of God is greater than the service itself. Jesus is superior to all else. The Sabbath is not our redeemer,' Jesus is. Therefore, we must be careful that we do not elevate a day (any day) to a level which contains salvation significance. Indeed, we can and must, be so bold as to speak out against anything which is placed as a "test" of salvation alongside Jesus Himself. Jesus did not come to advance any teachings in addition to Himself. He came to call all of us to an acceptance of Him, Who was Himself the embodiment of all Biblical truth. Amen!
(We thank Pastor R. Patzer for TouchedbyGodchurch.com)


The Cross, Resurrection & Ascension: The Most Important Event in Human History! 

As a man, as a human being, I ask these questions. I think it is ultimately important that we understand how enormous this event is ... I believe is the most important event in human history!

There is a world out there that is literally unseen. It is a world teeming with celestial beings coming and going. It is a world that operates in perfect ‘harmony.’ It functions with a type of “nature” unattainable to us. As a matter of fact it is a realm inconceivable to our own.

We have been the ultimate castaways: misfits, rebels, contaminated, outcast, lost. In the Old Testament we were (symbolically) the “lepers” who were forced to live outside of the main camp. In the New Testament we are portrayed as the lost prodigal son who was eventually accepted (with open arms) by his father--who yearned for his return.

And that’s the whole point of it. The Creator, as we know as “God” desires that we return to the main camp, into his loving care. He had originally created us as perfect human beings to live in harmony with each other and all of his creations. But something happened that condemned all of us--instantly. And what was this that threw us into a tailspin, beyond the boundaries of the living?

You guessed it–SIN! Brought on by an Angel called Lucifer, an Arch Angel, who God chose as chief steward, and therefore representing our domain and world--Earth and the surrounding universe.

Angels are special beings, no doubt much higher than humans, within the spiritual realm. They are able to communicate with God directly. Some of them are assigned to certain task such as stewards of a the human race (which includes all physical matter within the universe) and are designated “Arch Angels.” These higher ranking angels report directly to the great council of heavenly angels, which God is the (so call) “Chair Being” or Chair Person in charge (an illustration here on earth: is a corporate CEO or President). And of course God counts on these meetings to keep track of all His creations and domains throughout all the “worlds” and beyond.

One might say that angels are the life line between the “Life Giver” and all that He has created. Illustrated in the millions of nerve fibers connecting our brain to all other parts of our body--messengers. No message, no function, no life! God is the Life-Giver! He projects Himself into the darkness (or Chaos) to bring forth light. He is an active being, constantly interacting and projecting; expiring and inspiring -- breathing life; constantly pushing away the darkness, the chaos. Well, The Arch-Angel Lucifer one day decided that he wanted to play God (or -- be like God) and had convinced many of his fellow angels to follow him. He surely did not dare show his face at the Council Table. He simply ignored God. And God had ask the members of the Heavenly Council, what’s going on with Lucifer? They related that they had heard from the grapevine that he was ‘setting up shop’ of his own--to challenge the authority of God Himself.

Now due to the fact that these colonies of humans were under the stewardship of Lucifer, and actually represented them at the Council Table, it follows that every condemnation imparted to him, was also bestowed upon them. Lucifer’s “SIN” (disobedience) became “SIN” for all humans.

God can only create “good” … therefore in Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth … (including mankind) it is a declaration that of His work; of His creation: The universe, mankind! But there was trouble in heaven … and therefore, all was lost. Genesis 1:2, Life simply ceased on earth. “The earth was without form and void, with darkness over the face of the abyss, and a mighty wind swept over the surface of the water.” Humans disappeared from the surface of the earth. Darkness had set in. Lucifer really had done it this time. He was a steward of an empty world void of all life.

But God did not give up on us. He could have. He gave us a second chance. He said, “Let there be light, and there was light, and it was good”--Genesis 1:3 & 4. God entered into the darkness (chaos) and the darkness was pushed aside and there was “light.” God understood that it was the mistake (the disobedience) of another that caused the separation of life ... to death. He devised a plan that would bring us, His beloved, created human beings back to the living, and into the “main camp”--back into God’s sphere. It was a long process (in earth time), re-creating and re- fashioning a world where imperfect humans could survive until such a day a new steward and a new representative could finally emerge to take His seat at the Heavenly Council Table.

The process of producing a human being through millions of years (earth time) was to say the least quite a fete. But finally humans did begin to rule the earth approximately 40,000 years ago (Homo Sapiens--one that is wise). Soon modern man emerged and the first attempt as steward of the earth was Adam (placed in the Garden of Eden). But because he became “tainted” (through lies and deception by Lucifer, who became Satan), he himself could not represent humanity in the presence of God -- he failed. The only way, and God knew it, was to interject or extend part of Him, at the proper time, into the human stream.

God chose a small group of people in the Middle East (led by Abraham) and said, “I will make you into a great nation.” Through which God promised a place of peace for all. And many generations passed until one day God sent another Arch-Angel named “Gabriel” to announce to Mary and Joseph of a Son to be born and to name Him “Jesus” (meaning Savior).

Jesus grew up as a young Jewish boy studying books of the Old Testament (the Jewish Torah). He became well versed in the duties and laws of his people. By the time he had reached his thirtieth year God had announced to him what needed to be done. Jesus became an extension of God Himself, performing many miracles and announcing that the new Kingdom was at hand, and was within their midst.

Finally after 3 1/2 years of teaching and of redefining the purpose of humanity as The Christ, Jesus was rejected by His own people and sentenced to die on a cross. Gods plan of redemption was finally (after millions of earth time years) coming to a culmination. On Friday morning, He was made to carry his own cross to Golgotha where He was crucified.

At noon the skies darkened, the sun and light had disappeared and Jesus’ body hung on the cross, abandoned. Darkness had re-entered the world. The light had receded for 3 hours. It was a recapitulation of the primal chaos: “In the beginning,” … “as the land became formless and empty, and darkness was over the surface” And from this chaos and darkness the Spirit of God hovered over the land, and projected His light. And after 3 hours the light had re- appeared. God’s re-creating power had re-entered in preparation for Jesus’ resurrection.

All along of course Lucifer had anticipated a ‘Savior’ and was very hard at work deceiving the people. His domain would certainly come to an end if Jesus succeeded. No more would he be ruler of the earth and its surrounding universe. A change of ownership would certainly take place. So, when he saw that Jesus was on the verge of death, he was pleased and wanted to celebrate.

Then the moment came when he heard Jesus cry out, “Oh my God, why hast Thou forsaken me.” He knew that he had beaten God! Time to really celebrate!

Jesus was hastily taken down and placed in a tomb (a cave). And on the third day (Sunday) the tomb was found opened--Jesus had disappeared .... And then reappeared later to the disciples.

Lucifer--now Satan--was in shock! He knew what had taken place. He couldn’t believe it. Jesus had risen from death. It was a stunning blow! He had lost his domain.
Human kind was now under the ownership and care of GOD! ....Through the expiation by His Son, The Christ. Who now is the total fulfillment of the Promise of Salvation. He is the new Steward and Representative--paying the ransom, for all of (lost) humanity. We had been bought and paid for (an Illustration of Old Testament Israel … freed by the actions of Moses--an earlier type of the true Savior).

God has allowed Satan to stay on during this interim of time until the return of The Christ to instigate the full transformation of believers and to establish the full Kingdom of God. During this interim period Satan will have a opportunity to sway us one way or another: to accept God’s gift of continuous relationship with Him--the source of life; OR, to disbelieve everything about God; to trust only in the self.

And so, why is the Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension (What we call Easter) the most important event in history? Well think about it! Do you think a benevolent God would leave us to fend for ourselves? No, He cares for all of His creations. His government is based on “Love.” Jesus (The Christ) is the full disclosure of God’s undying devotion to life and love--emphasizing to all, the importance of respect for one another. Jesus ask us (you and Me) to accept His sacrifice, His payment of the ransom, His role as God's sacrificial Lamb ... in freeing us from bondage, from the tyrannical grip of Satan (Lucifer); and assuring us (you and me) a guarantee ticket to the gates of heaven ... Where He is our "Key" ... To everlasting Life! Amen! Amen! Amen!
We thank Pastor Jess K Foglesong of TouchedbyGodchurch.com)


Matthew 14: 
The Restoration of Dominion 


The chaos of sin caused all the elements of nature to shift out of balance.. Jesus, the new Adam, entered this chaos and restored dominion. The original Adam ruled nature by the authority of God's 
Word. Then, doubting that Word, he lost all dominion. Redemption would, of necessity, restore dominion, for this is the very balance of creation. All through the Old Testament there were glimpses of God's Word at work in this sinful world to restore dominion. Moses parted the Red Sea by this Word; Elijah locked up the heavens by the Word; Elisha took dominion in the episode of the floating ax head.

Now, in Christ, this right to rule (dominion) receives fuller expression. He began to reverse the death process in the raising of Lazarus (John 11), and 'The son of the widow from Nain (Luke 7). He removed the normal span of time between two events in the turning of water into wine (John 3). He suspended..thelaws of nature by walking on the water and enabling another of the human race to do the same (Matthew 14). He thereby provided adequate evidence that the new humanity was to be gathered up in Himself so that as head of this new humanity He would restore full balance and order--including dominion. On this occasion, the storm calmed in response to His Word. Indeed, the new Adam, to whom the Father had given authority and the right to rule, had arrived. 
Nature itself was under His command just like in Genesis 1 and 2....

God did not provide a huge carrot at the end of a stick which we could never enjoy. What He purchased through His Son was made applicable to the new humanity which is created by Christ. To be 
sure, it is received and understood by us in a very limited way, and, on the experiential level, it will remain this way until the ushering in of the great and final kingdom of God. Nevertheless, God has instituted the means for all who choose to be identified with Christ to receive the blessing of His kingdom.

When Christ won the victory over Satan, it was a representative victory for everyone. Furthermore, it was a legal victory. It was such because Christ became the perfect representative man. He offered perfect obedience and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. -Phil. 2.8

Using the legal language of Scripture, it can be said that in Christ (being incorporated into Him) we are accounted perfect. This has immediate implication for my life. If God has already accepted His Son's Righteousness as perfect, and if the principle of incorporation where one acts for the many is valid, then, in Christ, I am perfect. I don't need to keep presenting Him with my feeble attempts at perfect righteousness. What I need to do is accept His perfect Gift.

Since Christ died as our representative, it is the same as if all humanity had died. His death was for our sins. Everything which had been lost through Adam has been regained in and by the second 
Adam, Jesus Christ. It all boils down to accepting what He has offered. Instead of impossible requirements, we hear from God a restful invitation: Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me ... for my yoke is easy, and my load is light. -Matt. 11.28-30

Our identification with the second Adam is no less than that which we had with the first Adam. That which Jesus came to do included the bringing of a community into existence, of which He Himself was the first-born.

It is clear that in the mind of Paul, Jesus Christ is that "one man" who by his complete identification with men in their state of sin and death has wiped out the curse against them, through the power of his death and resurrection, and has become the head of a new humanity. He is the first to appear of that great brotherhood. And those who are united with him form that community which it was his purpose as Son of man to inaugurate. Thus "the second man from heaven" is for Paul the Son-of-man-Messiah who, because of his resurrection and exaltation, has become a "life-giving Spirit," bringing new life to those who believe on Him, thus inaugurating a new race, and, as the Second Adam, becoming its head. Being thus the head of the new humanity Christ is also---the incarnation of the real or ideal man ... He is everything that God intended man to be, man in the "image of God," the revelation of the divine ideal of "human nature."

God did not leave the benefits procured by this second Adam in the abstract. This new humanity which came into existence through the redemptive work of Christ is the church itself. Christians are said to be "the true circumcision" (Phil. 3.3; d. Rom. 9.24- 27), where the reference is not to a physical rite, but to the Christian community as the new people of God. All who are "in Christ" are the ones accounted righteous because of their faith (Gal. 3.7). For Paul, the body of Christ, known as the church, is the new humanity. The church is a new race of men. The church became the fellowship of the new humanity. Under no circumstance does Paul use the term "church" in a denominational way. He is speaking of the corporate body of Christ. This means that to be "in Christ" is to be a member of the new humanity, of which Christ is the Head. Indeed, the church is the new humanity in the world.

Truly it is a marvel. Jesus Christ carried our humanity to its intended height. And because He did, it is only through Him that God is able to communicate to us.

It is indeed a radical part of the Pauline idea of the Second Adam that it is in Christ as Risen from the dead (God's plan) is fully realized. It is the Man that has passed victorious through death, and has entered on a new life clothed in a body that is the appropriate organ of a spiritual nature, who is to be regarded as having lived the life and fulfilled the destiny of man .... Paul's designation of Christ as the Second Adam means that He is to be regarded as the true type or Ideal of manhood, that He is and possesses in Himself that which constitutes him the Pattern after whom humanity is to be rernodeled.

Thus we come full cycle. Christ is the founder and head of a new race, a new humanity, the members of which will share in all He provides. When Jesus rose from the dead, the grave lost its power (I Cor. 15.54-57) and God's purpose for the first Adam was now realized in the second Adam. Moffatt's translation captures the spirit of this good news: The risen Christ is the first to be reaped. -I Cor. 15.20

This, then, is the Good News. Our history of failure has been rewritten in the Second Adam. Every page of Scripture is a statement from God that He has actively engaged Himself in our restoration. The work of restoration is His. The choice of restoration is ours. Amen!
(We thank Pastor R. Patzer for touchedbyGodchurch.com)







"The Second Adam Restores Dominion" 

Jesus Christ, as the second Adam, had a very specific mission. He came to reverse the sin process, with its chaos, deterioration and destruction, and 
restore balance, order and the dominion which God had given Adam. Therefore, He entered the stream of humanity that He might have identity with Adam, 
thus incorporating all of Adam's mistakes into Himself. His atoning death exhausted the curse of Adam's sin, enabling Him to rewrite human history. 
When we trace His life and ministry through the Gospels we need to be mindful of His purpose. We are not looking at simple stories of a good man. There 
is the conscious realization that He is the second Adam who came to unite all of humanity in Himself. In particular, those events we commonly call "miracles" 
must be seen in this focus. Too often we extract His teachings and "sign events" (miracles) from their purpose, thereby robbing the Bible of its central focus 
and distorting the work of Christ. A careful study of the Gospels will bring the "second Adam" dimension of Christ into bold relief.

Matthew 4-Christ Becomes the New Adam:

Christ enters upon the same territory as that which Adam ruled. All that was at stake for the first Adam is now at stake for the second Adam. Dominion is the 
issue! A fierce struggle will ensue, for this dominion must be regained from the master deceiver, Satan himself. Just as David fought the Philistine enemy 
(Goliath) and won a victory on behalf of all Israel, so Christ would encounter the enemy and, as covenant head, represent the human race.

Adam was placed in a paradisal place and given all God had created. The second Adam entered the domain under dramatically different circumstances, for the original paradisal domain had been lost. Thus, He was in a desolate place where there were wild beasts. He subdued them by His 
authority. In this way He restored peace and balance to nature. This act is the first sign of the eschatalogical age when there will again be peace and harmony 
between man and beast.

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together; and the lion will eat straw like the ox. And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den. -Isa. 11.6·8

The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain says the Lord. -Isa. 65.25

Even as Adam enjoyed food from the hand of God (Gen.2.9), so the second Adam was sustained by God (Matt. 4.11). This event of Jesus entering the 
wilderness and conquering its forces signaled the opening up of Paradise which the first Adam lost. Luke's account of this gives evidence he understood 
the tremendous significance of the second-Adam concept. His genealogical account ends with Adam, whereupon he immediately records the story of Jesus 
entering the wilderness to restore what the first Adam lost.

Unlike the original paradise, there was nothing in the wilderness to give external evidence of the Father's love. What had been paradise was now 
wilderness. Nothing was present for sustenance or protection. He had to rely upon His Father's word. It was in this setting that the second Adam won back the 
right to dominion.

Having won dominion, the new Adam then entered upon the full work of restoration and redemption. He covered the ground of Israel's failures and was successful. Notice the comparison:

Matthew 4.4; cf. Deuteronomy 8.3 
Matthew 4.7; cf. Deuteronomy 6.16 
Matthew 4.10; cf. Deuteronomy 6.13

Christ answered Satan in such a way that He embodied and incorporated into Himself all of Israel's failures. He thereby rewrote Israel's history, 
Himself becoming the new Israel. The fourth chapter of Matthew closes with a statement that Jesus went about healing every kind 
of disease and sickness. This is not just a statement concerning His goodness. Rather, it is a specific indication that this second Adam had begun His work 
of restoration. These who were healed Were illustrations of what life in the new humanity was like. It is the work of Christ, as the second Adam, to restore
/what God had created in Gen. 1:1 He came to banish chaos and devastation which are products of sin, and to heal and restore.all relationships. These healings were an indication that the new humanity had begun to be created in Christ.

The Second Adam Restores Broken Relationships:

God had created Adam with full capacity for relationship-both with Himself and his family. Sin caused the deterioration of this harmony. Nothing so 
graphically portrayed the alienation that comes from broken fellowship as leprosy. In fact, this disease became a symbol for being cut off from family, 
friends and society. It even carried a severance from the inheritance since one was totally alienated. Leprosy is a powerful pictture of our relationship with
God as a result of sin. In Matthew 8, this new Representative of the new humanity heals one who 
was a leper. In the healing of this leper, Christ revealed He was indeed the answer to sin and it's consequences. He was the answer because He was willing to become our curse. He touched the leper. At that moment He revealed solidarity with this leper because He was more than a good man expressing 
concern. He was, in fact, the new Adam acting as the representative of a new humanity in which the type of alienation of which leprosy was a symbol did not exist. 
Thus, He exhausted the leper's curse and restored him to fellowship. Amen!
(More on this subject later ...... we thank Pastor R. Patzer forTouchedbyGodchurch.com)


A New Humanity in Christ ...

On the sixth day of His act of re-creation God created Adam. But he became subject to the power of the great enemy of God. He submitted to Satan's 
authority, thus becoming his subject. It is in this context that God sent His son to become the new humanity-the second Adam. The work of Christ 
totally gathers up God's purpose for mankind by re-establishing the original balance and harmony. The fracture of relationships which came about 
through sin is mended in Christ's redeeming work. All nature is again brought into submission to the One who created it. In a way, it can be stated that God 
has summarized everything in Christ. The work of Christ sums up God's purposes:
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to his kind intention which He purposed in him with a view to on administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. -Eph. 1.9-10

The actual verb used to convey this gathering up means "to summarize." Rom. 13.9 uses this verb in that exact manner:... and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying ... Another way to express this verb is by our English word "recapitulation."

Throughout the New Testament we find the teaching that something dramatic happened to the human family through the work of Christ. Eph. 2.15 
represents mankind as being a "new humanity which is the creation of Christ." The emphasis is upon the word "create." Col. 3.9-11 develops the point even stronger:

Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him-a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freemen, but Christ is all, and in all. Here there is a deliberate parallel that Paul draws with the first creation in which mankind was made in the image of God.

In the new humanity of Christ the deepest religious, political and social divisions are done away. The Book of Genesis tells the story of how these divisions within the original unity of mankind grew up; a new Genesis has taken place in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word by which the new creation is called into being, and the divisions created by the sin of mankind are abolished. Even the opposition of male and female is done away in the new humanity in Christ. Paul had a good understanding of the radical nature of Christ's work:

For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a 
new creation. -Gal. 6.15

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old 
things passed away; behold, new things have come. 
-II Cor. 5.17

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed 
yourselves with Christ. -Gal. 3.27

It is here that the second Adam concept finds its significance. Everything entrusted to Adam had been gathered up in Christ. Since this earth was ravaged 
by sin, causing the total deterioration and even cessation of life, God re-created as an act of His 
grace. This means that the account we have in Genesis 1 is anchored firmly within the grace of God. He created a being (Adam) who was to be the one 
through whom sin would be destroyed in its entirety. God's purpose in Gen. 1.3ff was redemptive. Adam, from the first a monument to His grace, would 
demonstrate the value of God's government and His ways. One of the most incredible concepts is that this 
Adam, the prototype of the human race, was himself created by the second Adam, Jesus Christ. It is in this context that the force of Rev. 13.8 grips us:

And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

God's purpose was to bring redemption and restoration out of the sin which Satan had injected into His creation. To do this He would gather up all of 
nature and humanity in Adam, who was the corporate head. That Jesus became the second Adam only gives evidence of the continuation of 
God's plan and purpose. Paul says that all of humanity (including the first Adam) has been gathered up in Christ.

Because of the principle of incorporation God is able to deal with mankind in the person of Christ rather than dealing with each person individually. 
Christ has gathered up all the weaknesses of the first Adam and incorporated them into Himself. Because His life was an atonement, He was able to exhaust the 
curse of Adam's sin. Therefore, what He purchased for mankind could be imputed to each of us. The work of the second Adam is actually able to be placed to 
the account of each person who accepts Him.

Paul repeatedly underscores the tremendous value of the second Adam in many ways. He contrasts the two Adams in such a way that we are able to see how radical the work of Christ really was. Jesus Christ has gathered up in himself all of the purposes of God.

Throughout the writings of Paul there is a conscious comparison of the "one man"Adam and the "one man" Christ. This context leads to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is a corporate representative of the human family in the same sense as was Adam. This is the essence of the teaching of the new humanity in Christ. Amen!
(More on this subject later ... We thank Pastor R Patzer for touchedbyGodchurch.com)



Christ, the New Adam! (Part Three)

The creation of Adam, the progenitor of the human race, was an act of God's grace and had as its purpose the redemption of His lost creation. God had 
a very specific purpose for creating Adam and Eve. They would become the ones who would regain the dominion of this planet which was lost to Satan. Not 
only was God's grace extended to Adam after he submitted to the authority of Satan, his very creation was anchored in grace. It is this theme of grace which 
is the subject of the Bible, therefore the Bible gives details only of the Adamic history. The account of God's original creation (Gen. 1.1) is not amplified in 
any way. The record of His re-creation (Gen. 1.3ff) is given in some detail because it was an act of God's grace.

God ordained it that He would redeem His lost creation through Adam and Eve. He placed them on the newly re-created earth and gave them dominion 
over everything else He had created. Lucifer was the original steward of God's creation, but he rebelled, causing sin to blight this planet:

Thus says the Lord God, "You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; 
Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; 
And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways 
From the day you were created, Until unrighteousness was found in you." -Eze. 28.12- 15

How you have fallen from heaven, 
o star of the morning, son of the dawn! 
You have been cut down to the earth, 
You who have weakened the nations! 
But you said in your heart, 
"I will ascend to heaven; 
I will raise my throne above the stars of God, 
And I will sit on the mount of assembly - 
In the recesses of the north. 
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; 
I will make myself like the Most High." 
. -Isa. 14.12-14

Thus he became Satan, the most destructive being in
he entire universe, and destroyed everythmg God 
had created so that the earth actually became a 
wasteland (Gen. 1.2).

God, through His grace, created another being (though not of the same order, Heb. 2.6-8) who was given authority and dominion. Adam became the 
new steward of this new creation for the purpose of redemption. Adam was to reverse the sin problem by demonstrating a free-will allegiance to God, thus 
exhonerating God of all the false charges Satan had brought against Him. God would use this new creation to redeem His lost creation. 
It is significant that the one who created Adam was none other than He who was to become the new humanity, Jesus, the second Adam. Right from the 
beginning of God's book we have placed before us the thought of the new humanity in Christ. God stepped in to reverse the life-destroying sway of sin 
(verse 2) and called forth a new creation through Jesus Christ, the One who would one day incorporate 
all of mankind into himself.

All things came into being by Him; and apart from Him 
nothing came into being that has come into being. 
-John 1.3 
And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold 
together. -Col. 1.17

The Bible record is that sin caused darkness to come over God's creation (Gen.1.2). It is also a matter of Biblical record that it is Christ (the new humanity) 
who dispelled the darkness:

Again therefore Jesus spoke to them saying, "I am the light of the world; who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life. -John 8.12 
And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness did not comprehend it. -John 1.5

Already we see that the work of the One who was to become the new humanity was to restore the dominion of God. The kingdom of God was already 
being actively restored by the very re-creation which was through Jesus.

This act of re-creation was an act of God's grace. The created world of Gen. 1.1 fell under judgment because of sin, causing life itself to perish and the entire planet to become a wasteland. God was under no obligation to do anything further. That He did do something about it is a measure of His grace. The world which He re-formed (the word "create" is not used in Gen. 1.3-19) was for the purpose of being the stage of redemption. During the first six days of activity God was putting some things back together. He would then create a new being (Adam) who would be the principal character in this drama. This is the tremendous significance and value of the "second Adam" concept which Paul brings into focus. The work of the second Adam was to finish the task forfeited by the first Adam. But it is still the same plan which God had in Gen. 1.3. This second Adam, whom Paul mentions specifically, and who is really the One who acted in the events of Genesis 1 and 2, is the real center of the Bible. 
Everything in Scripture cries out for this new humanity which exists only because of His work of redemption. 
We thank Pastor R. Patzer for touchedbyGodchurch.com)


Christ, the New Adam (Part Two)

The Second Adam Concept Is Found in Genesis 1: Many are familiar with this viewpoint of Scripture, but what may not be as clear is that the "last Adam" 
idea is not new to the New Testament. Its seed is found in the very first verses of Scripture. The first verse of the Bible is a statement of God's mighty act of creation where all initiative and power are His.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 
-Gen. 1.1

God has literally rewritten the history of mankind in the person of Jesus Christ.It is common, but mistaken think, that immediately connectsthe second verse with the first--giving the impression thatGod created a "formless and void" earth, from which Hecreated the events and things of the first and second chapters of Genesis.

Without trying to delve too deeply into this subject, I would like to present a perspective which harmonizes the events much more clearly and which makes even the mighty 
creation act to emanate from God's graciousness. The words "formless and void"really are better translated "a waste and emptiness" The same 
Hebrew word which is translated "formless and void" is used in the following passage:

For thus says the Lord, who created heavens (He is the 
God who formed the earth and made it. He established it and 
did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited) - 
Isa. 45:18

A comparison of this passage with that in Genesis reveals an interesting fact: Gen. 1.2 (as we have traditionally translated it) suggests that God created 
the earth tohu (the Hebrew word for "wasteland"). But Isa. 45.18 says specifically God did not create the earth tohu. The solution to this paradox lies in a 
clarification of Gen. 1.2. The verb "was" can better be translated "became." In other words, after God's mighty act of creation (in Gen. 1.1) something 
happened in an undefined event and period of time which caused the earth to become a wasteland, so that the "earth became a waste and emptiness."

And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over 
the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. -Gen.1.2

Though God did not create it this way, the earth became a vast wasteland which was plunged into darkness. Another example of the verb "was" being 
translated in a continuing action form "became" is found in Gen. 19.26 where Lot's wife is described as one who "became a pillar of salt." There is even more evidence to support that what we find in Gen. 1.3 and following is really God's re-creation, rather fhan His creation. Notice the literary evidence: The word "create" is used in Gen. 
1.1 and does not appear again until the creation of life on the fifth and sixth days of this re-creative act. God's activity upon the first through fourth days is 
described in terms such as "made," "divide" and "set." As used throughout Scripture, these verbs are used to describe work which is done using existing 
materials. For example, the word used of Noah's building of the ark in Gen. 8.6 is the same as that used in Gen. 1.7. In both cases something was made 
from existing materials. Another example is found in Gen. 37.3 where Jacob "made" Joseph's coat. In other words, God's original creation was done 
in verse 1, followed by an unspecified interval of time in verse 2 in which His creation became a wasteland. He began the work of re-creation in which He formed, 
fashioned, divided and set into motion various things. On the fifth and sixth days, He again created lifeto inhabit His re-creation.

Why Is this Theory Important? This perspective requires the least amount of manipulating and bending to integrate the Biblical record with logic 
and science. In the first place, since the interval 
between verses 1 and 2 is unspecified, there is nothing to say the "Biblical" account is irreconcilable with today's hard scientific evidence concerning the 
age of the earth. It is when verse 2 is said to be immediately connected with verse 1 that we are in difficulty, for then the roughly six thousand years of 
Biblical history are made to be the entire duration of this earth's history. This arbitrary interpretation is unnecessary when the Bible record is allowed to 
speak on its own without our after-the-fact interpretation.

Secondly, and more to the point of this article, from the very outset of the Bible we are confronted with God's grace. This is consistent with the purpose 
of Biblical history, which is to chronicle salvation-history, i.e. the history of God's redemptive grace in human life. We can see that right from the 
very foundation of this re-creative history the seeds of the new humanity which would be incorporated in Christ were present. This perspective allows for the 
idea that Gen. 1.1 contains a lot of behind-the-scenes information. In this verse is God's full and mighty act of creation which has been disrupted by sin.

Gen. 1.1 actually contains the entire creation of God. Since it is the purpose of the Bible to record salvation-history, this verse is not detailed. The Bible 
concerns itself with God's grace and therefore all details are reserved for His act of graciousness, i.e. the re-creation of this earth as described in Gen. 
1.3ff. God created this world (Gen. 1.1) because He wanted to (Rev. 4.11) and He re-created it as an act of His grace. The Adam of Genesis 1 and 2, with 
whom the Bible begins the record of life, was created after the blight of sin had ravaged God's original creation (Gen. 1.1, 2). Though Satan had virtually 
destroyed this planet in verse 2, so that it had become a wasteland, God intervened and proposed to redeem His lost creation. Amen! 
(To be Continued ...... We thank Pastor R. Patzer forTouchedbyGodchurch.com)


Christ, the New Adam!


One of the best stanzas in the Good News anthem is that in Christ an absolutely new humanity has been created. Do you realize what this means? The scope of this thought is incredible. It means that God has rewritten human history in Christ so that we no longer need to relate to God from a position of 
failure. In Christ we have a new history and a new identification with God.

We are all familiar with the creation story of Genesis 1 and 2 where we find our history through the headship of Adam. We are all familiar with the fact that God designed it so Adam would have dominion and authority over all God's creation.

Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than God, and dost crown him with glory and majesty! Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet. -Psalm 8.5, 6

And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. -Gen. 1.28

We also are all familiar with the fact that through an experiment in independent living all such position and status was forfeited. Because of the 
principle of incorporation this had serious negative consequences to the human family. The principle of incorporation, simply stated, means that all the 
human race is identified with its head. Since Adam was created as head of the human race, our natural destiny is tied to him. As our legal, corporate head, 
he represents us. This also means that God deals with us on the basis of our corporate head. Adam's sin, therefore, affected the entire human race, for he, as 
corporate head, was our representative.

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. -Rom. 5.12

For through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners. . . . -Rom. 5.19(a)

These verses clearly teach the idea of "one-for-all," another way to express the principle of 
incorporation. We did not become sinners because of something we did, but through the sin of another. We are not sinners because we have sinned; we sin 
because we are sinners. This is an important distinction.

This principle of incorporation led to a tremendous victory for Satan, since, when Adam 
sinned, his sin was imputed to (laid to the account of) the entire human race. Paul understood this and became the New Testament writer who developed 
the idea of corporate responsibility, including a corporate wrongness which belonged to the human race because of the act of sin by the one who 
represented natural humanity.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. I Cor. 15.20-22

So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the 
heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. -I Cor. 15.45-50

Again, the central point is that mankind is regarded as a corporate body which acts in the person of its representative. Adam was the head of this sinful humanity. The history of natural humanity is summed up in and explained by this thought.

God Was Not Caught 0ff Guard

Did this tremendous interruption in God's plan catch Him by surprise? There is differing opinion about this point, but most of present-day Christian 
thinking suggests that God was not caught off guard. In fact, His plan totally reversed Satan's triumph, thereby reversing Adam's condemnation. This is the 
very essence of the Good News-the gospel. God provided for the human race a new lineage by giving them a new Father who, because of the principle of 
incorporation, would act on behalf of all of humanity. The Bible actually refers to Jesus in these terms:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on his shoulders; And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. -Isa. 9.6

Jesus Christ, in becoming the second Adam, the new head of the human race, also became our Everlasting Father. The first Adam was a pre- 
figurement of another who was to come, and who would be much greater. This second Adam came and by His obedience reversed the flow of human history 
for all who would choose to identify with Him. All the cosmic disarray which came about through sin would now be corrected in Christ. All the separation, 
alienation and enmity of the world is now reversed in Christ. Christ did not come to change God's perspective toward us, but to gather up mankind into 
fellowship with the Father. God has literally rewritten the history of mankind in the person of Jesus Christ. 
This is what is meant by the "second Adam" concept. Amen! 
(To be continued .....)
We thank Pastor R. Patzer for TouchedbyGodchurch.com)


Why Jesus Had to Die?.

This may startle you but the main reason why Jesus Christ really died was not so you might be saved. Now before that sounds too heretical let's keep in 
mind that the tendency that each of us has through our own perspective is to personalize everything within the Christian realm. (Jesus died for me. Jesus is 
coming back again for me). Now, while those are indeed true statements, and part of the Christian faith, they are only part of the picture. Calvary had issues to settle which transcend any personal, subjective statements. And if we can understand that we will have an appreciation for what is going on in this great struggle for the right to rule this universe. It is when we lose this broad perspective, the cosmic perspective, and fail to see what is in this ordeal for God that we turn Christianity into an excuse for personal selfishness. It is in the narrow perspective that we ask: "why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? Why is God punishing me? let's expand our perspective. Calvary is a God issue.Jesus Christ did not primarily die that you and I might be saved. As in every war ever fought the consequences are always grave. each side has a lot at stake and it is no different in the spiritual struggle over the right to rule. The deceptive powers of the opposing force, led by Satan, were so great that 
many, even of the unfallen beings in the·angelic world, did not fully comprehend the character of Satan nor understand all the claims against the 
government of God which he brought. And the only way, excluding force (which is not an option for God) for Him to be able to set the record straight, and 
reveal the principles of His government, was to let the two ways of life exist side by side. Every day, at home, at the job, or where ever, we experience the 
interaction of these two governments. We feel the coercion of Satan's government and we hear the invitation of God's government. Good and evil are 
engaged in a bitter struggle. The entire course of history prior to the cross, written down in the form we know as the Old Testament, is Satan's attempt to 
thwart God's implementation of Genesis 3:15 - where He would provide a Redeemer for mankind.

AIl through human history Satan has attempted to block the plan of salvation. He entered the stream of human history and has created chaos, confusion, 
hatred, selfishness and a host of other ills. And then came Calvary. And like nothing before, Calvary was the turning point in salvation-history. Here was the 
full redemption for mankind. Here was the full exposition of the principles of God's government, rooted in His love. And here, at Calvary, was the full 
unmasking of the arch-deceiver. Drama like nowhere else. Nothing in all history has the impact of Calvary. It is the supreme demonstration of the love of God. It 
is the evidence of His previous promise. It is manifestation, reality, fact. It is physical evidence that God is a God of love, and justice. It guarantees 
the unchangeableness of God's character. Had God been able to change He could have re-written His law to accomodate a sinful world, thereby avoiding the 
sticky problem of death for its violation. Had it not been for Calvary we would each be assessed with our own death sentence.

All have sinned and (continue to) fall short of the glory of God. -Romans 3:23

The wages of sin is death. -Romans 6:23

More than any other thing Calvary is the vindication and exoneration of God's government. Christ died to uphold the claims of His Father's government. Christ died to uphold the claims of righteousness and justness. Christ died to secure the safety of the universe, to free it from the grasp of one who is ruthless, coercive and killing. Thank God that this process of vindication carried with it the personal salvation of the sinner. We are included in the redemption process but we are not the central figures. Perhaps the following illustration, though imperfect can help.

A nation fights a war in which thousands of people die. There are two perspectives which should be kept in mind. To the nation the primary concern is that the 
war be won - even at the expense of thousands. But in a remote village, a lonely mother's primary concern is that her only son return home safely. Her 
viewpoint is a personal one. The national perspective is broader than that, even that her only son might have to die in the service of the nation. Perspective is 

I realize that our individual salvation is most important to us. But that is not the central issue in this great struggle between good and evil, between God and Satan. The honor and vindication of God's government is most important. The vindication of divine rightousness and justness, indeed God's holiness transcends all human interests. This is why the number one reason why Christ died is not to save you from your sin but to uphold the claims of a holy law before a holy God with a holy character. And in that vindication process we are included. Now that's good news! What value would it be to us to be bought by one who did not have the right to rule? One who 
could not guarantee the safety of that salvation? Our personal salvation means something precisely because it rests upon the security of God's total 
vindication. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die that the government of God might be free from the lying accusations of Satan; and that the universe would be safe for redemption. Free from lies, free from deceit, free from murder, free from slander. God initially made this universe free from all those things and the process of redemption restores this condition. It will require the establishment of His kingdom in full to implement the full reality of this blood-bought freedom, because, though Satan is no longer the legal owner he continues to be a major factor in the daily life of each of us. Earth is, after all, the arena of war.

Before Calvary Satan was the prince of this world and he could enter into all heavenly councils, all discussions concerning the affairs of this universe. He 
showed up in the heavenly councils as the representative of earth.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, 'from 
where do you come?' Then Satan answered the Lord and said, 'from roaming about on the earth and walking around on it: -Job 1 :6,7

Calvary changed all that. This monumental occasion marked the legal transfer from Satan to Christ, stopping Satan's attendance at the heavenly council 
meetings and stopping his claim as rightful owner. Calvary absolutely shattered the very government of Satan, ripping apart its flimsy foundation and pulling off its lying mask. Satan was afraid of this Calvary event and did his best to keep it from happening. At the very outset of Christ's ministry (Matthew 4) he met Him to do spiritual battle. Since Christ was invading his territory and living on his turf Satan had the drop on Jesus and called all the shots. He made a desperate attempt to sidetrack the ministry of Christ and get Him to act in a manner outside the will of God. To no avail. In succeeding years he worked through the church leaders to instill opposition. But 
finally Calvary happened.

No doubt there was initial exuberance in the underworld as the impact of the death of Christ did not register. Theirs was the quick response of joy at 
putting Jesus to death and getting Him out of the way. Then it settled in and they realized the defeat was not God's but theirs. The words of Jesus: "It is 
finished" sank in and they absorbed the full impact of His death. Their kingdom had been crushed. Earth was no longer their legal possession. Jesus had 
bought it back. There was victory for this dying man at Calvary. There was victory for Jesus Christ. There was victory for God and His entire government. To 
make matters worse, Calvary exposed everything about Satan and his government. His character was unmasked. All cards in his hand were now laid on the 
table. There were no more tricks up his sleeve.

Everyone in the universe could now see him for what he really was - a murderer and the father of lies. It was just as God had said in the beginning only then 
they didn't understand. Now they did. There was no doubt now concerning the allegiance of this universe. All questions were answered. All the angels in 
heaven who might have had questions about Lucifer being expelled from heaven were now completely satisfied. They saw how right God, was. All the 
suffering and misery in the world for thousands of years upon this earth now had a focus to it. Satan had caused it. It was not God getting even. It was not God 
manipulating people's responses. They could see the truth behind every charge against God. Calvary left nothing to the imagination.

Calvary lifts the curtain. God does not cause cancer to teach faith. God does not create financial reverse to teach trust. God does not cause death, 
sickness, adversity sorrow, pain - or a thousand other negatives. These are instruments of Satan to create a world of chaos and cause us to lose trust in 
God's Word. Thanks to Calvary we know the truth of these matters.

Was God's government just? Yes! Calvary proved that. Was God's government based upon love? Yes! Calvary proved that. Was God who and what He 
said He was? Yes! Calvary proved that. Was Satan a liar - even the father of lies? Yes! Calvary revealed that. All the pieces of the cosmic puzzle were now 
coming together.

So why doesn't the experiment end? Because though the legal factors have all been decided there is still the matter of taking the legal verdict and giving 
the world that news so there can be free-will response. That is what preaching the gospel is all about. Not preaching church dogma or even 
beautiful religion. Preaching the gospel: the Good News about what God has done through Christ on our behalf!

And the good news today is that we are included in His purchase of this universe. It is simply a matter of us accepting His invitation to join His family. What 
about it? Amen!
(We thank Pastor R. Patzer for TouchedbyGodchurch.com)




"Precaution Against a Counterfeit Redeemer"

Did you know that one of the most laughed at concepts in Christianity today is really an absolutely ingenious plan which God devised to keep Satan from counterfeiting the coming of the redeemer for mankind? A lot of controversy rages over the concept of the virgin birth of Christ. Is it really important? Why is there no mention of a human father? Because the human mind cannot handle it except through faith in God's Word, it is played down. Even the modern church world has decided it is not that big of a deal. It is presented as something which doesn't really make that much difference.

Contrary to the view which minimizes its importance I believe the fact of the virgin birth of Christ is one of the most significant in all of Scripture. 
It is God's safe-guard to counterfeiting the Redeemer. Only God can redeem lost humanity. This means He Himself had to become one of the human 
family. A human father and a human mother makes him fully human, without any ability to redeem another human being. Human beings cannot redeem 
each other. A human father and a human mother would have removed the ability for Him to be fully God and fully man at the same time. There is no 
salvation if it is not from God. Two human parents would have prevented His divinity.

Obviously, then, this is not simply a matter of low priority which, if the skeptical human mind cannot accept, should be glossed over. To discount the virgin 
birth of Christ is to deny the possibility of human salvation. To say it doesn't matter is to view Jesus as no more than a good man, even a good man who was 
martyred - just another one of the good teachers who died for his cause. The signifiance of the fact that Jesus was born not having a human father is 
important for a couple reasons:

1. He is more than mere humanity. He is the God-man. He is One with capacity for our salvation and redemption. 
2. This method of Christ's birth totally prevents the possibility of Satan's counterfeit. Satan cannot create life and he could not, therefore duplicate the 
presence of Jesus Christ. And, the fact that Christ was here on this earth is a living memorial to the creative power of God. He was sent on a mission of love and 
justice. The very presence of Jesus on this earth bore testimony to the fact that God was the Creator of all life - not Satan. This means that the life of Christ was 
just one more card on the table which would soon reveal Satan's hand of deception and lies. Perhaps it was true that at the beginning of his rebellion there 
were many who did not understand the nature of the struggle and saw him as a good being, that he had a good cause. Now, it was becoming increasingly clear 
that he was a liar and deceiver. In fact the father of lies.

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies. -John 8:44

The Bible makes no mention of a human father for Jesus.And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you 
will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. -luke 1 :30 See, we did not simply need another guru-type 
leader who would say to us: "follow me." We needed intervention from God. Not the razzle-dazzle of some power-trip God, not even the full display of God's 
character righteousness. Rather, the Righteousness of God which became human flesh. Jesus is that God-man. The life of Jesus is a first-hand 
demonstration of God's love; to be able to know just what God was like. To see Jesus Christ is to see God. He who has seen Me has seen the Father. -John 14:8

Jesus is saying that He came to reveal the Father. In essence, we do not need to look past Jesus Christ for any expression of God. In eternity He was the logos, 
on earth He is made flesh, in time He is the written word.

Since it is the government of God that has been slandered in this rebellion which Lucifer (Satan) began it is the government of God which is revealed 
to us. By seeing the life and ministry of Christ we can see exactly what the government of God is all about. Jesus demonstrated love while He was on this earth 
-miracles, feeding, caring, but more was needed. If demonstrating love was the goal Jesus could have done that better through an endless life on this earth 
rather than one which came to an abrupt end. If it was only to demonstrate the quality of love Jesus would not have had to die.

The death of Christ is not an after-thought. It was not needless. Rather, it was an integral factor in the plan of redemption. A demonstration that God is love 
must be fused with God's righteousness. Biblically speaking love is not removed from righteousness. A violation of God's law demanded the death of the 
offending subjects. And if there was no one who could pay that penalty every violator of that law will die. Not just the passing from this life in the everyday 
experience of death, but die in permanent separation from God (the second death spoken 
about in Revelation 20:6) thus ending all relationship with Him. To be cut off from God is to be cut off from life. If there were no intervention by God mankind 
would have to pay this penalty all by himself - with a permanent removal from God being the consequence.

This is the overwhelming value of the cross. It is this point of intervention into the human stream thatChrist came. Christ dying on the cross did at least 
three things: 
1. Redeemed us from the penalty of death, , 
2. Satisfied the justice of God. 
3. Entered into and exhausted our curse.

Indeed all are very important. It is not enough for every human being to simply say he will pay his own penalty. In the first place that is not possible because 
the payment includes a perfect righteousness. No human being with a sinful nature can offer perfect righteousness and perfect obedience.

The gospel brings hope to the desperate. There is a way out for all of us. It is Calvary itself. But there is nothing cheap about the death of Christ. It is not 
something to discuss only at Easter time. It is an event in human history (and, of course, in individual human history) which can change your Iife.

Remember, the method which God employs in His vindication must also win human allegiance voluntarily and change the very nature of mankind. 
Not enough to simply say He has died for us. What then? If there were no power over sin all God would have is a human race who had a legal cancellation of 
a debt who continued to serve themselves because of their bias towards sin. The redemption that Jesus offers must do more than pay a penalty. It must bring 
within us a change in direction. Change from alienation to fellowship. Change from rebellion to voluntary obedience. And that is exactly what the 
cross of Jesus Christ has done. Calvary is a legal event. Something took place at Calvary which changed our status before God.

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. -2 Corinthians 5: 17

This is why the gospel message is to tell everyone that Jesus Christ has paid the penalty and the way is cleared for us all to come back into relationship with 
Him. The good news today is that you can come back into the family of God because of what Jesus has done. You are reconciled because of Calvary. And 
Calvary, the unique event, the God-man becoming part of us and then paying the price is so love and justice can stand together. That's what I call Good News! Amen!
(We thank Pastor Roger Patzer for touchedbyGodchurch.com)



The Awesome, Amazing Intelligence that Created our Universe!

Imagine if you could understand God’s mind. Before the beginning of time: He “thought“ … why don’t I create a race of people--in my own image--that I can love and provide for; and they in turn will worship and love me. I will create a world, a domain, a planet where they can live in total harmony--with complete freedom to think and do as they choose--with total freewill.

So in an instant! Through His divine Wisdom, He calculated the precise amount of elements and chemical reactions needed to produce an intense nuclear chain reaction: What we know as the Big Bang! An explosion that produced the initial beginnings of a starry universe!

Molecules of energy generated at precise timing--nothing out of sequence--knowing that if just a miniscule infraction, He would have to restart the entire process . So like a fine tuned watch, the process of creating a universal cocoon with the human race in mind, would take shape. Stars formed, then clusters of stars into galaxies and clusters of galaxies, building and building … until it was time to concentrate on one immense galaxy called The Milky Way, tucked away far from crashing and clashing galaxies, and clusters of galaxies. The human race was to be created within the realm of millions of stars: of one specially designed spherical shaped galaxy.

Earth--a planet that God could place His beloved humans--would have to be at just the right position, where it would have a nearly 100% chance of survival amongst the swirling, dangerous movements of celestial bodies. It had to have a main star (the sun) that was large enough, and young enough to emit life giving light for as long as was needed. The earth had to be positioned at the exact distance from the star to promote the intricate systems that could be generated for the existence of human, plant and animal life. Protection from distant nemeses, such as roving comets or lurking fragments of older planets; the earth needed to be shielded by larger planets on the outer edge of the Solar System. Menacing objects (asteroids, etc) that freely move around would be deflected by these larger planet's (Jupiter, Uranus, and Saturn) strong pull of gravity; in turn, protecting planet earth. God invariably thought of everything!

Earth itself was created, wondrously, for the sake of human beings. God formulated the seasons by tilting the earth on it’s axis at just the correct angle (23 degrees). He formed the moon as our night lamp; also to regulate the ocean’s tidal flow. He created a first line of protection from the intense rays of the sun with an electromagnetic layer shield that surrounds our planet; without this shield, life would simply cease to exist. On earth, life flourished with an abundance of flora, fauna and forest aided by the process of photosynthesis, and the instigation of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Plants and trees consume the carbon dioxide that humans and animals exhale; transforming that into the life-giving rich oxygen that we inhale.

All part of the original plan, even before the beginning of the Big Bang! God’s “wisdom,” His word has always been there …. Dynamically active!

The age of the universe is approximately 14 billion years old. Genesis describes the creation of the universe as well as the earth and all within. His purpose was to have a unique relationship with human beings. Therefore the preparation for the coming of mankind had to be exact. Adjustments had to be made along the way. Complete extinctions took place: 250,000 million years ago: The Cambrian period where 90% of all life was wiped out, paving the way for reptiles and land animals. Then 65 millions years ago, a giant asteroid struck the earth at the Yucatan Peninsula and created a toxic dust cloud that killed all large animals and reptiles; allowing mammals to flourish, leading to the eventual arrival of pre-humans (Hominids) and later, humans (Neanderthal and Homo- sapiens: Cro-Magnon Man).

The annihilation and extinction of the dinosaurs was important, in the planning stage in building the surface of the earth with plants and animals. But 65 million years ago, it all ended! God steps in, as needed, with great leaps-- programmed by His “wisdom.”

The dinosaurs perished (within just a few days), their carcasses gradually permeating the layers of earth adding to the formation of the resources (such as oil and natural gas) and nutrients that we need to survive today--gifts provided by His love and grace.

The earth was forming into a magnificent, shining, gleaming blue planet placed third from the sun. Tucked in-between Mars and Venus, each uninhabitable, due to their hostile, extreme climates.

God’s plan was put in place--through His Wisdom! And there was no stopping Him! Mankind was indeed His purpose as the planet earth was being prepared for their (our) arrival. 
Amen! (More to come on this subject ... thanks to Pastor Jess Foglesong of TouchedbyGodchurch.com)



"God's Master Plan of Redemption!"


Since it is clear that the only way justice and mercy will ever be upheld at the same time is for God to do it; the question remains: How will God accomplish this difficult task? For God to have come to this earth to redeem mankind in His full power and full character-righteousness would have been a disaster for us. We would have simply seen a tremendous demonstration of righteousness which would have slain a sinner. And even if God had veiled His righteousness so we would not have died in His presence we would not have been saved. God could have dazzled the world with a display of His righteousness but we would not have found salvation. God's character-righteousness will not save a sinner. It must be a saving righteousness. One of the apsects of salvation which is essential is the changing of a sinful nature which is bent upon itself. For this to become a reality God must adopt a plan which would identify Himself with the human race. Actually become one of us. That is exactly what He did. This is amazing. God is willing to condescend and come down to this earth as one of us.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. -Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus Christ is God's answer to the sin problem. He is at One who would become one of us for the demonstration of His Father's righteousness. His 
character righteousness. Rather, the Righteousness of God which became human flesh. Jesus is that God-man. The life of Jesus is a first-hand 
demonstration of God's love; to be able to know just what God was like. To see Jesus Christ is to see God. 
He who has seen Me has seen the Father. -John 14:8

Jesus is saying that He came to reveal the Father. In essence, we do not need to look past Jesus Christ for any expression of God. In eternity He was the logos, on earth He is made flesh, in time He is the written word.Since it is the government of God that has been slandered in this rebellion which Lucifer (Satan) began it is the government of God which is revealed to us. By seeing the life and ministry of Christ we can see exactly what the government of God is all about. Jesus demonstrated love while He was on this earth -miracles, feeding, caring, but more was needed. If demonstrating love was the goal Jesus could have 
done that better through an endless life on this earth rather than one which came to an abrupt end. If it was only to demonstrate the quality of love Jesus would not have had to die.

The death of Christ is not an after-thought. It was not needless. Rather, it was an integral factor in the plan of redemption. A demonstration that God is love must be fused with God's righteousness. Biblically speaking love is not removed from righteousness. A violation of God's law demanded the death of the offending subjects. And if there was no one who could pay that penalty every violator of that law will die. Not just the passing from this life in the everyday experience of death, but die in permanent separation from God (the second death spoken about in Revelation 20:6) thus ending all relationship with Him. To be cut off from God is to be cut off from life. If there were no intervention by God mankind would have to pay this penalty all by himself - with a permanent removal from God being the consequence. This is the overwhelming value of the cross. It is this point of intervention into the human stream that

Christ came. Christ dying on the cross did at least three things: 
1. Redeemed us from the penalty of death, , 
2. Satisfied the justice of God. ' 
3. Entered into and exhausted our curse.

Indeed all are very important. It is not enough for every human being to simply say he will pay his own penalty. In the first place that is not possible because the payment includes a perfect righteousness. No human being with a sinful nature can offer perfect righteousness and perfect obedience.

The gospel brings hope to the desperate. There is a way out for all of us. It is Calvary itself. But there is nothing cheap about the death of Christ. It is not something to discuss only at Easter time. It is an event in human history (and, of course, in individual human history) which can change your Ife. 
Remember, the method which God employs in His vindication must also win human allegiance voluntarily and change the very nature of mankind. 
Not enough to simply say He has died for us. What then? If there were no power over sin all God would have is a human race who had a legal cancellation of a debt who continued to serve themselves because of their bias towards sin. The redemption that Jesus offers must do more than pay a penalty. It must bring within us a change in direction. Change from alienation to fellowship. Change from rebellion to voluntary obedience. And that is exactly what the cross of Jesus Christ has done. Calvary is a legal event. Something took place at Calvary which changed our status before God.

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. -2 Corinthians 5: 17

This is why the gospel message is to tell everyone that Jesus Christ has paid the penalty and the way is cleared for us all to come back into relationship with Him. The good news today is that you can come back into the family of God because of what Jesus has done. You are reconciled because of Calvary. And Calvary, the unique event, the God-man becoming part of us and then paying the price is so love and justice can stand together. That's what I call Good News! Amen!


(We thank Pastor Roger Patzer ... for TouchedbyGodchurch.com)




Christmas: A Wonderful Time of the Year?

I love Christmas, and the entire Christmas Seasonal event. It is a wonderful time of the year. It is a time for all to come together and share goodwill, warmth and love in celebration of the birth of the Christ-child.

At least that is what it used to be. Sadly, times have changed. It seems though that through the years, the meaning of Christmas has been altered. Today you hear more: “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas. It is a "Holiday Tree" rather than a Christmas Tree. The emphasis is more toward commercialism than spiritualism. We have literally taken God and Jesus out of the equation. Making it more a time for who receives the highest sales, or who receives this or that; and, what am I going to get out of it.

When was the last time you experienced strolling carolers singing Christmas songs outside your front door? How often do you see a nativity scene on display at your town square? It is simply not done anymore, for fear of vandalism or reprisals. Has Christmas lost its true meaning? So what does God, the Father, think about all of this? Has He gone south? Or is He still with us. Does He tolerate the fact that in many ways, we have turned our backs to Him? Does all of this surprise Him?

Actually, our Father does understand and tolerate our indignant attitude toward the celebration of His Son’s birthday. He understands that Satan is quietly and very subtly working to influencing the people of this planet toward his ways; transforming “Christmas” (and all that it stands for) into something negative. He has certainly succeeded in twisting Jesus Christ into a negative–swear word; as well as God’s name: It is the colloquial phrases: “God Damn” or “for Christ Sakes!”

Very subtly and quietly we seem to be moving away from God. And it really shows during Christmas, although this isn’t the first time. Humanity has turned away from God many times in history. And for some crazy reason, He keeps giving us a second chance.

And so, are we moving away from Him? Well, doesn’t it seem like it to you? We are not allowed to pray in public. Certainly not in school – any school! Our government has declared that we ‘separate’ church and State; that we must not offend those who do not believe in a God. In fact, most politicians shy away from using God in their campaigns; implying that if they did, it would be their downfall.

In fact, in the 2012 Democratic Convention: God was “booed” … loud and clear! Heard by millions who watched … and I am sure heard by God (in heaven) Himself!

The only place one can hear the name God is in Church or in your own home. It is a sad commentary! Knowing that we were all formed on the virtues of a Moral Law; a belief in a Creator; A belief that mankind is endowed by someone greater then themselves.

Well ..... there seem to be a something in the air, perhaps instigated by divine providence in our leaders of today in bringing back the Christmas spirit and encouraging everyone to wish one and all a Merry Christmas. God may have heard our cry and is doing something about it.

God has a plan and has implemented it through His son, Jesus the Christ. No matter what direction we choose, God is there to re-direct you to Him. He knows your weaknesses; your frailties. He understands the human plight; the human need to always be first and in charge of the self … “why do I have to bow down to some all- supreme being!!?” That is their attitude. Unwilling to accept the fact that he himself is a created being, that all that he is, and all that is around him was created by the Father in heaven.

Mankind was lost (due to original sin) and could have been lost forever. But God chose to salvage each and every one of us, through a representative, a redeemer. It was the only way to bring us home. An illustration would be found in the New Testament story of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11- 32) who had been lost, but found his way home, and was warmly greeted (with opened arms) by his father. A type of who we are – humanity lost. But through the Father’s grace and love was welcomed home again.

Another illustration is written in the Old Testament: The nation of Israel, lost and enslaved by the Pharaoh was freed by the Father, through a type of Savior in the name of Moses. Who led his people into the wilderness for 40 years, then finally crossing the Jordan River into the Land of Milk and Honey (which symbolically is a type of heaven, or kingdom of God).

God’s plan has always been to free us from Satan’s grip; his power (which He did at the cross); and now we are in the wilderness, making our way home to His open arms; to the true heaven; to mankind’s true home.

Yes, it may seems like we are distancing ourselves from our Father–God. But in reality, we are moving, everyday, closer and closer to His loving arms and care. Our castaway status will be no more. We will be back in His main camp – safe and secure. So no matter what the atheists, agnostics, or anyone else want us to believe, they are fighting a losing battle. God is tenacious. He is relentless. He is determined to bring us home–as many of us as He can persuade.

He does see Christmas as a special event, and indeed, an acknowledgement of His one and only Son … for all of us to enjoy-- and reflect, on the immaculate birth of the Prince of Peace, Redeemer, New Born King, Emanuel … over 2000 years ago. Amen! (By Pastor Jess Foglesong:TouchedbyGodchurch.com)