Tag Archives: one man

HOW MUCH MORE…

HOW MUCH MORE…

“But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:15-17.

And the river of grace flows on and on and on!

One man; one sin, condemnation; death – the tragic story of humanity. It took just one act of disobedience to release a Pandora’s Box of terrible consequences on the whole human race and the universe itself which God created perfect to sustain man’s earthly home. Once out of the box, those consequences could never be retrieved and stuffed back.

However, we not only have to live with those consequences; we also continue to add to them by agreeing with and perpetuating Adam’s rebellion. And so, through one trespass, condemnation and death came on the human race… but into our sorry plight stepped another man…

Paul was quick to explain that what God did to rescue man, not only rescued us from the consequence of sin but also elevated us to a position even greater than we had before the fall. That is so much like God!

Before Adam’s disobedience, the first pair, who were created in His image to share a unity with their Creator, with each other and with the world in which they lived, were the visible expression of the unity in the Godhead. But sin came in, disrupted the unity and brought chaos into the harmony of God’s creation. Not only Adam and Eve were condemned but also the whole human race because each succeeding generation was born with the nature of Adam. And the crux of it all is: we deserved it!

Now here comes the “how much more” bit!

Through the gift of God’s grace (the favour He lavished on us regardless of us), the effects of what Jesus did on the cross flow to all who receive Him and we don’t deserve it. This is the majesty of God’s grace. We deserve nothing but condemnation and death because we have confirmed God’s judgment on us by our own sinfulness. Yet God has provided, not only forgiveness but also much more – righteousness through grace, underserved favour that releases upon us a new status – children of God, and all the privileges and benefits of being God’s kids!

However, Paul said that it’s even more than that. Not only are we God’s sons and daughters, but we are also on the same level as His Son – kings, reigning in life through Him and with Him. What does that mean? Jesus showed us what it means to reign in His earthly sojourn. He was never the victim of anyone or anything. He lived in absolute submission to the Father, and carried out the Father’s will in everything He said and did.

“Reigning in life” is not about lording it over other people; it’s about being in control of ourselves by being in submission to God. Now that takes grace! Our natural bent towards selfishness and self-will is still there, wanting to be in charge but, because the Holy Spirit is now resident inside us, representing Jesus to us and giving us the power to submit to Him, we are able to overcome our natural bent and live under His authority.

As we are being set free from our fears, our inhibitions, our misunderstandings and our unbelief to embrace the truth that Jesus, not us, is Lord, so we are able to say “no” to ourselves and “yes” to Him, more and more. The “old man” is dying and the “new man” is coming alive. Circumstances no longer control or terrify us because He is in charge. His peace guards our hearts and minds; His word fills our thoughts and mouths.

Now that is reigning in life!

Acknowledgement

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

How Much More…

HOW MUCH MORE…

“But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:15-17.

And the river of grace flows on and on and on!

One man; one sin, condemnation; death – the tragic story of humanity. It took just one act of disobedience to release a Pandora’s Box of terrible consequences on the whole human race and the universe itself which God created perfect to sustain man’s earthly home. Once out of the box, those consequences could never be retrieved and stuffed back.

But we not only have to live with those consequences; we also continue to add to them by agreeing with and perpetuating Adam’s rebellion. And so through one trespass, condemnation and death came on the human race, but into our sorry plight stepped another man…

Paul was quick to explain that what God did to rescue man, not only rescued us from the consequence of sin but also elevated us to a position even greater than we had before the fall. That is so much like God!

Before Adam’s disobedience, the first pair, who were created in His image to share a unity with their Creator, with each other and with the world in which they lived, were the visible expression of the unity in the Godhead. But sin came in, disrupted the unity and brought chaos into the harmony of God’s creation. Not only Adam and Eve were condemned but also the whole human race because each succeeding generation was born with the nature of Adam. And the crux of it all is: we deserved it!

Now here comes the “how much more” bit!

Through the gift of God’s grace (the favour He lavished on us regardless of us), the effects of what Jesus did on the cross flow to all who receive Him and we don’t deserve it. That is the majesty of God’s grace. We deserve nothing but condemnation and death because we have confirmed God’s judgment on us by our own sinfulness. Yet God has provided, not only forgiveness but also much more – righteousness through grace, underserved favour that releases upon us a new status – children of God, and all the privileges and benefits of being God’s kids!

But Paul said that it’s even more than that. Not only are we God’s sons and daughters, but we are also on the same level as His Son – kings, reigning in life through Him and with Him. What does that mean? Jesus showed us what it means to reign in His earthly sojourn. He was never the victim of anyone or anything. He lived in absolute submission to the Father, and carried out the Father’s will in everything He said and did.

“Reigning in life” is not about lording it over other people; it’s about being in control of ourselves by being in submission to God. Now that takes grace! Our natural bent towards selfishness and self-will is still there, wanting to be in charge but, because the Holy Spirit is now resident inside us, representing Jesus to us and giving us the power to submit to Him, we are able to overcome our natural bent and live under His authority.

As we are being set free from our fears, our inhibitions, our misunderstandings and our unbelief to embrace the truth that Jesus, not us, is Lord, so we are able to say “no” to ourselves and “yes” to Him, more and more. The “old man” is dying and the “new man” is coming alive. Circumstances no longer control or terrify us because He is in charge. His peace guards our hearts and minds; His word fills our thoughts and mouths.

And that is reigning in life!

Acknowledgement

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

 

A Plan Gone Awry

A PLAN GONE AWRY

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned – to be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one who is to come.” Romans 5:12-14.

The Bible is an amazing book! Here is Paul, explaining something that happened some four thousand plus years before, and it all makes sense.

The evolutionists tell us that the universe came into being through a big bang. Eventually, over billions of years, life forms evolved and became what they are today. From the beginning, it seems, death was a part of life, but there is no explanation as to why creatures die, and how the earth and everything in it can be evolving upwards and at the same time running down. There is incontrovertible evidence that the earth is slowly deteriorating and cannot last forever, just as stars eventually burn out.

On the other hand, the Bible tells us exactly what happened and why, and what will happen in the end. The universe did not just “happen” – it had a Designer, a Creator and a purpose. God was both Designer and Creator, and His purpose was to create something that would show off His glory and give Him pleasure. How else could the universe function as a unit, be interdependent and be so majestic and splendid that man cannot fathom the depths of its wonders?

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will (for your pleasure) they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11.

But why is there death and decay in the world? Something must have happened to upset God’s plan and throw the entire universe off track. Once again the Bible gives us a sensible explanation. God created human beings in His image to live in harmony with Him, but He also gave them a dangerous gift – the right and freedom to make choices which could lead them off in the wrong direction.

There was already an enemy living on earth – to which he and his followers were banished because they had rebelled against God and tried to take over. God deliberately planned to put man in the middle of enemy territory, to see whether he would love and obey Him in spite of the enemy’s attempts to lure him away.

Why did He do that? He wanted human beings to choose Him in the face of testing, because only then could He prove to the rebel spirits that He was worthy to be loved and trusted. He gave them one test – leave that one tree alone; the fruit of all the other trees are freely available for you to enjoy. God said, ‘You can have them all, except one.’ The enemy said, ‘Why is God so mean to you? Why can’t you have that one as well?’ and they fell for it!

God said, ‘Death!’ The enemy said, ‘God is lying. No death.’ Who was telling the truth? And so sin death came into the world through one man’s disobedience and death through sin, just as God had warned. Although death came through Adam because of his disobedience to one law, the extent of human rebellion was revealed through the whole law given to His people through Moses at Mount Sinai.

God’s law, which was intended to show them how to live God’s way in order to enjoy His favour and blessing, became the reason for judgment because it showed them just how far they were from loving and trusting Him. Adam set the ball rolling and everyone, including those whom God had set apart to be His own people, followed suit. Man’s nature had been so corrupted that it was impossible for him to live in union with God as He intended from the beginning.

Not only human beings, but also the entire universe was corrupted because God had created it to function as a unit, man and all of creation joined together. The creatures turned on each other, killing or being killed, as we see it today. Without God’s intervention, it could only go one way, to ultimate destruction.

Acknowledgement

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

It Had To Be!

IT HAD TO BE! 

“Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in Him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. ‘What are we accomplishing?’ they asked. ‘Here is this man performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.'” John 11:45-48 NIV

Wrong! The religious leaders were really being melodramatic! In what way would Jesus’ signs cause them to “lose” their temple and their nation?

Jesus’ miracles, up to that point were in no way disturbing the Romans. What He was doing was evidence that the God who wanted them to worship Him was not the vengeful, demanding and legalistic god of the Pharisees but a loving Father who wanted them to submit to His way so that they would live in harmony with Him and with one another.

Like all the others, including Jesus’ disciples, it seems that their idea of the Messiah was one of a strong political ruler who would restore the Davidic kingdom to its former glory by getting rid of the Romans and setting up His own rule in Israel. Did they think that Jesus’ miracles were His way of getting the people on His side so that, when He made His move against Rome, they would rise up with Him?

Had they only listened without the filter of their prejudice and envy, they would have heard something different from their twisted interpretation of His words and works. Their protests covered up a much more sinister and personal reason for hating Him. Jesus was not shy of showing them up for what they were — greedy and conniving opportunists who used their position to enrich themselves at the expense of the people whom they controlled through their religious demands in the name of God!

This latest challenge, the spectacular and unassailable act of raising Lazarus who had been putrefying in the grave for four days, was the last straw. They had to exterminate Jesus because they did not know what He would do next. What they did not take into account was that nothing He had said or done up to this point, indicated that He had intentions of rising up and taking over. All they knew was that He had great power and they were afraid of Him.

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up. ‘You know nothing at all! You do not realise that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.’ He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take His life.” John 11:49-52 NIV.

Caiaphas was high priest and spokesman for the Sanhedrin. Little did he know that what he had to say, out of his puny reasoning, was actually an accurate and profound prophetic statement of the truth. Caiaphas saw Jesus as the scapegoat for themselves and the people. It was either Jesus or them. However, he unwittingly verbalised God’s redemptive purpose for sending Jesus.

John was quick to pounce on his words and explain that Jesus’ death was indeed a substitute for the Jews in Israel and all God’s people everywhere. Were the words of Isaiah which the prophet had spoken centuries before and which Caiaphas would have known so well, subconsciously emerging from his lips?

“Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we were healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:4-6 NIV.

Yes, Caiaphas, you were absolutely right! It had to be, but you were part of it and you were guilty!