The Christian’s Greatest Resource (Part Two)

DSCN0380Ephesians 6:10

The Holy Spirit presents confident expectation (hope) to us. How much we need hope! We can be strong in the Lord. To help us realize the benefit God offers to us, let us think about three factors that demand strength from the Lord. A strong enemy opposes us (6:12), our adversary, the devil (1 Peter 4:8). We have a traitor within (1 Peter 2:11). Sinful desires wage war against us. The standard for successful obedience is high, which is likeness to Jesus Christ (John 13:34; Romans 13:14; Ephesians 4:13). We can become too easily discouraged, if we consider any of these apart from our greatest resource. The Lord Christ wants us to know that his mighty power is more than adequate for us in all these.

The Lord promises himself and his strength to encourage us. Knowing the difficulties will only magnify our appreciation for the help we receive in him. However, what we must understand is that his power comes through our union and fellowship with him, not in the endless processes that Christians seem to love to develop. Christians seem to like or even prefer some kind of stern spiritual regimen to a daily walk by grace through faith with the Lord. If the routine makes them feel or seem like they are making painful personal sacrifices to get close to the Lord, so much the better. “I get up at five… I have a long prayer list… I gave up such and such for Lent… I read ten chapters a day… I serve in a ministry in my local church, and no one says ‘thank you’… etc.” But this might be only playing around with a spiritual regimen instead of sharing one’s life with the Lord and actually depending on him. Please don’t misunderstand. I do read the Scriptures and pray and meditate and fellowship with other believers and so forth. I am saying don’t confuse doing them with the practical friendship with God that is worship. Know this: the Lord wants us to draw near to him personally and joyfully. “Be strong in the Lord.”

The Lord’s mighty power is sufficient to live on (Hebrews 11:13; cf. Exodus 6:3). The Lord’s strength is a remedy in the face of fear (Isaiah 8:11-9:7; 43:2). The Lord’s strength will refresh us (Romans 8:31-32). “He that was willing to expend his Son’s blood to gain them, will not deny his power to keep them. (Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armor).” Press this hope home upon your soul until your doubts and fears in this matter are settled. The Lord’s strength will be our joy (Nehemiah 8:10), because he wants us to rejoice (Philippians 4:4).

Grace and peace, David

Follow by Email

The Christian’s Greatest Resource (Part One)

SAMSUNG
SAMSUNG

Ephesians 6:10

The Bible was not written for the Christian to sit and read in an armchair and then do nothing. Instead, God gave it to us to help us in our lives. He speaks in the word to us, because we are his dearly loved people. Both the doctrinal and the practical sections were written to help us live. In a general sense the doctrinal sections help us understand God and ourselves, and how to relate to God; the practical sections help us please God in our relationships with other people and with the world. To look at this from another angle, the Bible in a way is the Christian’s “battle plan”, because we, whether we like it or not, are part of a war. We are in a tough fight, a terrible conflict. All followers of Jesus Christ must confront enemies that totally hate us, and we are called to engage the enemy. For this reason, I thought it would be wise for us to consider this spiritual warfare and how we ought to conduct ourselves in the war.

Let’s start with the form of this verse. The Holy Spirit presents a way of life that will please the Lord. God’s commands describe how his obedient children are to act. Military commands are not options; neither is God’s word! “Be strong” is in the imperative mood. You must be strong. This command flows from the teaching of Ephesians 4:1,17, which flows from the prayer of 3:14-21, which flows from the reality of relationship with the living God presented in 1:3-2:22. (In other words, remember the context of the whole letter. Think of how you are richly blessed in Christ. Our way of life develops from who we are in Christ.)

The Holy Spirit directs us to precise activity: “be strong in the Lord”. However, we can too easily be diverted from the Spirit’s guidance. One diversion is to seek strength in our natural abilities and achievements. We wrongly suppose we can figure out “how to live a successful Christian life” and once we know that, we assume we have the capability to do it. Neither should we be diverted to seek strength in our spiritual growth, nor to seek strength in our spiritual gifts. Both are traps to those who rightly sense that they are growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18). You must not depend on your progress or gifts. You need what is much more powerful.

We must only seek strength from the Lord. Compare John 15:5. (Yes, Mission FifteenFive.) How do we receive strength? Since we are united to Christ through faith, we also receive strength from the Lord Jesus through faith—not through works, rituals, or “spiritual disciplines”. Rely on his more than sufficient resources; commit yourself to him (2 Corinthians 12:9). You might be in a very hot part of the battle at this moment. Evil desires might be alluring you, while you’re trying to focus on Christ. You might feel that you can’t cope, that it’s easier to yield to them. I understand, and so does our Lord. Yet the Spirit appeals to you through his word to “be strong in the Lord”. Go to the Ascended Jesus and draw from him by faith the strength you need.

Grace and peace, David

Follow by Email

What in the World Is God Doing? (Part Two)

Revelation 5:5-10

God presents his solution to the problem set out in Revelation 5:1-4. We see a startling appearance—the Lion who is the Lamb. Can you capture the drama of the moment? One of the elders tells John not to weep because the Lion of the tribe of Judah has triumphed. John thinks about the elder’s words. “Yes, a Lion! A noble, courageous, conquering champion! Surely he is able!” But when he looks at the throne, he does not see a Lion but a Lamb—hardly a picture of a champion!

It is exactly at this point that God breaks the back of human wisdom. People think that a grand display of power is the way to handle what is wrong in the world. “Drop the bombs! Send in the army! Conquer and evil will be gone!” But evil remains as destructive as ever. We fail to listen to God’s word, and therefore we don’t understand the necessity of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). The only hope for your life is the gospel. The only hope for the church is the gospel. The only hope for our people and the world is the gospel.

On the other hand, when you look at the Lamb, you can see that he is very special. The Lamb is slain but alive! Here we see someone with resurrection glory about him. Here is the Son of God with power (Romans 1:4). The Lamb is standing in the center of God’s throne. Who is the King of the universe? He is the one who wore the crown of thorns. The Lamb is the focal point of angels and mankind. They encircle him, looking to him for meaning, joy and life itself. The Lamb has power and wisdom (symbolized by horns and eyes). This shows his connection with the Holy Spirit of God. He sends the Spirit, doing mighty works by him and revealing himself by the Spirit.

The Father explains the Lamb’s worthiness. Its basis is his sacrificial work on the cross and what it accomplished (5:8-10). He purchased a people for God out of humanity. This is the basis of evangelism and missions. He made that purchased people a kingdom—a new nation. The Lamb also made them priests; they are able to worship God in his presence. He guaranteed their reign on earth, which will be ultimate victory.

What in the world is God doing? He is creating a new humanity in his Son to share in the glory of God. He did this in the saving work of Christ. Everything in history is the unrolling of that plan. One by one, the Spirit is putting purchased people in that new humanity. The most significant activity that you and I can get involved in is to become Christ’s coworkers in God’s plan. In other words, our mission is to make fully committed followers of Jesus Christ. Pray for the Sovereign Lord to lead you to people that you can bring to the Lord Jesus for salvation.

Grace and peace, David

Follow by Email

What in the World Is God Doing? (Part One)

SAMSUNG
SAMSUNG

Revelation 5:1-14

Even a brief consideration of what is happening in the world is enough to chill the strongest heart. What do we hear of every day, every week, every month and every year? It is the same ugly story—war, violent crime, terrorism, suicide, famine, deadly diseases, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and fatal accidents. In one sense it is not surprising that people try to escape from reality by drugs, alcohol, orgies and other forms of distracting pleasures. And it should not surprise us when those who are not fully committed followers of Christ look at the world, then listen to us talk about the God who is in control of all things, and then challenge us by saying something like, “If your God is in control, then what in the world is God doing?” Or, “what kind of God would be in charge and allow all this?” Perhaps you even ask such questions yourself.

Part of the answer is that the ruin in this world comes from human sin. God never tempts or impels anyone to sin (James 1:13). If you and I sin, that is our choice. We think it is a superior choice, prefer the pleasure it offers, and so willingly choose it. But human sin is only part of the answer, because obviously the God who is in charge could easily stop all this ruin immediately. Therefore, we must seek from the Bible the answer to this important question!

A problem was announced in heaven (5:1-4). A challenge resounds from God’s throne (5:1-2). What is the scroll? It is the message of God’s eternal plan. It reaches from eternity to eternity, proclaiming God’s purpose to reveal his glory—in judgment to his enemies and in grace to his chosen ones. So then, God issues a challenge to all creation. He asks everyone, who can open up my plans? (Think of a rolled up set of blueprints.) Who can make them known or bring them to fulfillment? Who can show my surpassing significance or worth?

The Holy Spirit tells us of the inability of creation to meet the challenge (5:3-4). A search of everything in creation revealed the complete unworthiness of all creation. No one has the capacity to disclose and develop God’s great plan. You cannot explain reality by starting from yourself. You are a created being. You are too small; you lack power; you are unworthy.

John’s response was to weep and weep. I do not think he was weeping out of frustration of not being able to know the future, but out of a sense of loss of meaning and purpose and destiny. This is the condition of many in our world. People have been smashed by modern and postmodern ideas. Humanity is nothing. There are no morals, no destiny and no hope. Go ahead and manipulate people, or fabricate news stories in the media. You are free to satisfy your cravings for whatever you feel the urge to communicate or to do! If you understand this sad state of affairs, weep. Yes, weep for people who have no ultimate meaning or significance.

However, the living God does not tell us this in order to abandon us to despair. He speaks so that we can understand our insufficiency. Perhaps then we will desire to listen to him, not for entertainment, or not out of religious obligation, but out of desire for his perspective and plans. As you begin a new work week, listen to what God communicates to you.

Grace and peace, David

Follow by Email

Ready and Engaged

20130214_184424Romans 12:3-8

Although Sunday is Valentine’s Day, this article is not about desiring marriage and committing to marry someone. Instead, it is about us, brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, and the relationship of love that we ought to have with the Lord and each other. On Thursday of this week, Sharon and I were able to attend a public rehearsal of the Philadelphia Orchestra through the generosity of a brother in Christ. The conductor was Vladimir Jurowski, and the orchestra practiced Symphony No. 10 by Miaskovsky and Taras Bulba by Janacek. We enjoyed the performance very much, though it was only a rehearsal. The music was dynamic, stimulating, and pleasing.

As I watched the rehearsal, I noticed how intently involved the conductor and every member of the orchestra was in this run through. When they played, they played with emotion. They gave themselves to the music. Not everyone was playing at the same time, but even when they were waiting, they were emotionally involved in the music. Their eyes were on the conductor and each wave of his baton or hand, summoning louder or softer sound, guiding the tempo, and drawing forth the impact that he desired the music to have. They were not distracted. When they had opportunity, they would make notes on their copy of the score. They would ask questions of the conductor. Since this was a practice, the conductor would occasionally halt the orchestra, make a couple comments, and then start fresh. One time, someone made a glaring mistake, apparent to the conductor and everyone in the orchestra, I guess. The conductor stopped them, and the person said, “My bad.” And the conductor replied, “Yes, your bad.” But then they resumed the practice. The error was corrected, and they continued. All were working together to achieve a beautiful presentation.

This made me think of Christ’s people the church. He is the composer, the conductor, and the giver of each one’s abilities and gifts by the Holy Spirit. He is directing his church in a presentation of the gospel story of God’s glory in Jesus Christ. He wants this “symphony” to show God’s surpassing brilliance and ultimate worth to the whole universe. He sends his Spirit to breathe upon us that we might be able to let our lights shine for the glory of the Father. Christ works in and through us to make this production succeed.

But he also works “with us”. Each one is responsible and significant. The cello players in the orchestra did not become disinterested and careless when the horns took the lead. A couple times the lead violinist was the brief centerpiece, but all others kept involved. Oh that the church was also ready and engaged. Yet how often individual members wander off to please themselves, forgetting their fellow members—and worse, Christ, the head of the body! How often we all fail. We are not ready to do our part or emotionally engaged in what is happening. We want rest and personal pleasure, instead of denying ourselves to follow the Lord (Mark 8:34). We’re not into the “song”, whether it is worship, reading the word, prayer, serving one another in love, or spreading the word. We need to admit, “My bad”, receive the Lord’s rebuke, and get involved in our heavenly calling afresh.

Listen my friends, the Lord knows who and what you are; he knows everything about you! Yet his grace to you and desire for you is always new. The Lord Jesus wants to work with each and every one of us for the glory of God. My plea is that we are all ready and engaged. Read our opening text from Romans and meditate upon it. Think about how you are in Christ and so part of the body, and your resultant obligations to the Lord and to your brothers and sisters. Consider how you have gifts that are needed by all and be intent in using them. Be ready and engaged.

Grace and peace, David

Follow by Email

The Triumph of God’s Plan

SAMSUNG
SAMSUNG

Isaiah 42:9

God reminds people of what he had done already. Often we see this in the Scriptures, as in the Psalms of salvation history (Psalms 78, 105, 106, etc.) God retells his story, so that we can have confidence in him during our present trials. Since we are his people also, we can meditate on his mighty works and his purpose in them and live in our situations with a godly perspective. Whatever has happened to God’s people previously happened because of his prophetic word, precious promises, and solemn covenants.

Now, in this Servant Song, Yahweh leads them into the future, into what he will accomplish in and through his Son, who is his Servant. He tells them this before these things happen, so that they can recognize that this is the word of the Lord (Isaiah 44:6-8; 45:20-23; 46:9-10). God announces that new events will occur. These are the events of Christ and his new and better covenant that he has just declared (42:6-7). And so God’s people can expect greater things. This is what happened when Jesus Christ came, lived among people, taught us, died for sinners on the cross, was buried, was raised to life on the third day, ascended into heaven, and poured out the Holy Spirit on all who believe. The newness includes God’s ultimate triumph when he makes all things new (Revelation 21:5).

God’s announcement of these new events is intended to lift up the Lord Jesus Christ before us in our thoughts and ideas. God wants us to have a radical change of mind about the Lord Christ and to trust in him for the light and liberation of salvation. He wants us to have Christ as the center point of our relationship with him, instead of spiritual experiences, performance of rituals, activity in church programs, or obedience to commands. Christ is our covenant. For this reason the Father asserts his glory, the glory of the One who chose and sent the Servant, that we might have a higher view of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you among those who have repented and believed? How does this glorify God? He is greatly praised in the salvation of his chosen people (Ephesians 1:3-14). God is also glorified when his people live in conformity with his plan rather than human opinions. Is Christ your functional covenant in the way you relate to God? Strangely, too many seem to prefer to relate to God through rituals or rules or some other supposed path of spirituality. The Lord Jesus is our great high priest and mediator (Hebrews 4:14; 9:15) and he is our covenant, and so the Father wants us to draw near to him through his Son (Ephesians 2:18). Don’t miss God’s way, because you’re too involved with what other people tell you.

Grace and peace, David

Follow by Email

God Proclaims His Majesty

SAMSUNG
SAMSUNG

Isaiah 42:8

The name of God is God’s declaration of who and what he is. Here, God’s name asserts his solitariness and supremacy. He is Yahweh, the I AM. No one is like him (Isaiah 40:25); he does whatever he wants to (Psalm 115:3; 135:1-6; Ephesians 1:11), which is always what is wise and right. God’s name should transform our questions in the perplexities of life. For example, “the I AM has placed me in this circumstance to learn the surpassing resources of who he is. I feel utter weakness, but he is strength. I feel despair, but he is refreshing hope. I have no answers, but he is wisdom. Lord, in my instability, I will rely on the certainty of who you are.”

While it is true that the patriarchs knew God by the name Yahweh (Genesis 18:32; 28:13), it was not until the time of the Exodus that God revealed or demonstrated the meaning of the name Yahweh to his people (Exodus 6:2-8). The Lord reveals himself more fully in the events of salvation, whether in the old covenant shadows or the fulfillment of the Messiah and his new covenant. By this name (I AM) God reveals himself as the Covenant Lord and Redeemer of his chosen people. He makes himself known as our light and our salvation (Psalm 27:1; cf. Exodus 15:2).

The Lord does not share his glory with anyone. God is independent of everything else. He is Creator, while everything outside of him is created and dependent. God’s great question to Job is enough to silence everyone (Job 38:4). God lets us know his absolute independence in a number of ways; for example, he is independent in his thoughts (Isaiah 55:8; Romans 11:33-34), in his will (Romans 9:19; Ephesians 1:5; Revelation 4:11), and in his counsel (Psalm 33:11). Listen to the words of A. W. Pink. “Such a One is to be revered, worshipped, adored. He is solitary in His majesty, unique in His excellency, peerless in His perfections. He sustains all, but is Himself independent of all. He gives to all, but is enriched by none. Such a God cannot be found out by searching; He can only be known, only as He is revealed to the heart by the Holy Spirit through the Word” (The Attributes of God, p. 4).

God clearly states that he will not share his glory as God with anyone else. He is far above all that people wrongly imagine to be gods (Jeremiah 10:2-10). In this Servant Song, Yahweh exalts his Son with equal glory to himself. What the Father does, the Son does (John 5:19b). In this way, this reinforces a high evaluation of Christ, the Servant of the Lord. The “bread”, to use our illustration again, enhances the flavor and value of the “rest of the sandwich”. Today, let the glory of the Messiah flavor your way of life.

Grace and peace, David

Follow by Email

For the Glory of God

DSCN0790Isaiah 42:5, 8-9

“We need to see first and foremost that God is God—that he is perfect and complete in himself, that he is overflowingly happy in the eternal fellowship of the Trinity, and that he does not need us to complete his fullness and is not deficient without us. Rather, we are deficient without him; the all-sufficient glory of God, freely given in fellowship through his sacrificed Son, is the stream of living water that we have thirsted for all our lives” (Piper, The Pleasures of God, pp. 18-19, his emphasis). Obviously, what Dr. Piper writes—and more importantly, what the Bible teaches, is completely at odds with the so-called wisdom of mankind and all its ideas, attitudes, words, and actions. Yet only in the glorious God can defeated, debauched, and dying people find real hope. The truth revealed in these verses serves to exalt God’s Servant as Matchless Redeemer, and so this brings more glory to God. This is the best thing that can happen to people, because when we know the glory of God in Christ, then we can enjoy eternal life and all the overflow of his glory to us.

In our previous articles on this passage, we saw that verses 5-9 of Isaiah 42 are a unit, put together something like a sandwich. And we have already considered the innards of the sandwich, the great Servant of the Lord and what he does. But the outside, the “bread” of the sandwich is just as important and provides us with a clear view of the glory or value or shining brilliance of the Lord God.

God identifies himself as the Sovereign Creator (Isaiah 42:5). We hear three couplets in which God describes his creative acts. First, the Lord God talks about his creation of the heavens. In Biblical thought, God’s creation of the vast, spectacular heavens reveals his majesty in a special way (cf. Psalm 19:1-6). Anyone in their right mind who looks at the sun, moon, and stars, and ponders their immensity and the great display of light connected with them begins to wonder. A sense of awe strikes them. And when we think from a Biblical perspective that the Almighty God made them all, we are humbled and stirred to worship. Also when we think of heaven, we think of the place that speaks of God’s throne (Matthew 5:34), of his absolute rule over everything (Daniel 4:25-26). God’s throne was made by God alone. His sovereignty flows from his most excellent being.

Second, God talks about his creation of the earth. He made the earth; in poetic language, he spread it out, like he was unrolling a map. Picture it, as God spread it out. “Hmm, let’s put a large inland sea in the midst of three continents, and while we’re at it, let’s have two large continents cut off from the others by two mighty oceans. Now, where should we draw the rivers? And mountains, hills, and valleys can also show our glory!” God also made what comes out of the earth, like vegetation and animals. To use our picture again: “And we need to make fertile places from which people can get food and build their civilizations. And let’s give them animals and their environment to rule over wisely; then they can reflect our glory in the way they live. When they are wise, caring rulers of creation, they will show our surpassing glory.”

The Sovereign God talks about his creation of people. God created people, too. He made mankind, men and women, to bear his image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). This is what gives every person value and significance. This also means that we must respect everyone (James 3:9-10). This is why every word we speak must be spoken in order to build others up (Ephesians 4:29).

Someone might object, “But there is so much that is wrong with that person’s attitudes, words, and actions!” I answer, “Perhaps that is true, but we’re talking about how you must please the Lord. You please him by building others up by your words. And if you can’t think about how you can do that while you disagree with them, then clearly you ought not to get in conversations with them until you learn how to talk godly and wisely.” God gives life and breath to all people. Therefore, all are dependent on him! And it should generate a great deal of holy reverence when we realize that the God to whom we must all give account has such total control over our lives.

All this is not isolated truth; we should admire it, learn it and submit to it. Here, God tells us this in order that we might exalt God’s Servant, who is our covenant and liberator. The Sovereign Creator’s power was displayed in his Son. We are wise to submit to him by living for his glory.

Grace and peace, David

Follow by Email

Christ Our Covenant (Part 3)

SAMSUNG
SAMSUNG

Isaiah 42:7

God tells his purpose for his Servant’s mission. The Father sent his Son to give sight to the blind. One of the great needs of mankind is to be healed of spiritual blindness (2 Corinthians 4:4-6; cf. John 9:35-41). When Jesus gave sight to the blind (Mark 10:46-52; John 9:1-5), it was evidence that he was the Messiah and able to give both physical and spiritual sight (Isaiah 35:4-6; Luke 7:18-23).

The Messiah came to give liberty to those in bondage. People live in spiritual bondage, unaware of the chains of darkness that bind them (John 8:34; 2 Tm 2:26). Jesus fulfilled the prophecy and set people free (John 8:36; Galatians 5:1). All this was accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:17-21; 7:18-23; Acts 2:38; 2 Corinthians 3:17). We become part of God’s purpose to set people free (Ac 13:47; 26:18).

We must think seriously about spiritual bondage. Many people are enslaved by various things:

  • Some are in bondage to pleasure. Their life is a constant pursuit of the next high, whether from food, sex, alcohol, the sights and sounds of casinos, bars, or video games, etc.
  • Some are in bondage to the need to feel in control. What can they do to make it seem that life will go their way? Some become obsessive-compulsive, others pour their lives into politics (that is not why everyone is in politics, but it is why some are), others must watch the news endlessly, thinking that by knowing what some talking head says, they have a little better grip on their lives, etc.
  • Some are in bondage to the past. They look upon it as the time when they were happy, so they desperately try to create the illusion that the past is still present and will be their future. Those were the glory days, and they constantly hug their trophies or keepsakes. Others are in bondage to the past in another way. There is some “big sin” they committed or that was committed against them. They feel that God can never forgive them, or that they are morally filthy, because someone abused them for their evil pleasure. Everyday their past haunts them. They do not rejoice in the Lord.
  • Some are in bondage to fear. Oh, their fears might not be as extreme as the fears of some, but their lives are ruled by the desire to feel safe. Some build shelters and hoard food and water to feel safe. (I wonder if they have a tank to protect their stuff.) Some build shelters of various kinds around their children, supposing that if they can keep their children within their sphere of protection, all will always be well. Some have been hurt and never want to be hurt again, so they build walls around their hearts. Some seek protection from God, because they have never trusted him. They try to buy God off by rituals, going to church, reading their Bibles, praying, spiritual disciplines, and/or doing good works.

What kind of bondage are you in today? My friends, only the Lord Jesus Christ can set you free. This is the good news. Christ, the Son of God is able to set people free! Do you understand that Christ can be your new and better covenant with God? In Christ, you know the Lord, God becomes your God and Father, and forgives your sins (Hebrews 8:10-12). Has the Lord Jesus Christ given you spiritual sight? Do you see that he is your salvation? Has he set you free from sin and its partner, death? Today, you may have light, life and liberty in the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn from the ways of darkness and death. Trust in Christ alone for salvation, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:9-10).

Grace and peace, David

Follow by Email

Christ Our Covenant (Part 2)

E67272F0-E623-42C4-92EC-1864B7C445DDGod explains his mission for his Servant (Isaiah 42:6b). The Father called his Servant to be a covenant for the people. A Biblical covenant that God makes is a solemn agreement between God and people to provide rescue for them and/or a relationship with them. The core of the covenant varies according to the covenant made. The core of the covenants made with Noah, Abraham, and David were God’s promises to each one. The first two had signs—something that testified to the reality of the covenant. The covenant with Noah had the sign of the rainbow and the one with Abraham had the sign of circumcision. The core of the law or old covenant was the law written on tablets of stone, the Ten Commandments. Its sign was the Sabbath (Exodus 31:12-18).

The core of the new or better covenant is a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Note carefully that Christ is the covenant (cf. Isaiah 49:8) as well as its Messenger (Malachi 3:1) and Mediator (Hebrews 9:15). Messiah, the Servant of the Lord, himself is the fulfillment of all that comes before him, and so we read here that he himself is the covenant. “In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song, This Cornerstone, this solid ground Firm through the fiercest drought and storm…” (Getty and Townend). The sign or evidence that a person is in the new covenant is the reception of the Holy Spirit when he or she believes in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38).

God also called his Son to be a light for the nations (Gentiles). Notice carefully that not only does Christ bring light (Ephesians 5:13-14), but that he himself is the light (John 8:12; 9:5), as he is the covenant. Some have balked at the idea that Christ is the covenant. But that should give them no more concern than the truth that Jesus is the light for the nations. “Light” is a figurative way of saying “salvation” (Isaiah 49:6b). Matthew points this out in the ministry of Jesus (Matthew 4:16-17). Christ’s mission has a worldwide significance: “to the nations”. The people who are in covenant (“in Christ”) will include not only the believing Jews but believers from all nations (Ephesians 2:11-22; etc.) Read Jesus’ words (Luke 24:44-47).

Since Christ is our covenant and light, we have salvation in him. We have our relationship with God in him and through him. How can we be sure that we can draw near to God? Christ is our covenant relationship with God. How can we be certain of salvation? Christ is our light. If you are struggling about your relationship with God or with assurance of your salvation, refocus on Christ our covenant and light (cf. Hebrews 12:1-2).

Grace and peace, David

Follow by Email