Tag Archives: Cross

Knowing God Personally

God knows everything about us since He created us.

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. (Ps.139:1-2 NLT)

We cannot know God unless He reveals Himself to us.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors many times and in many ways through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us through his Son. He is the one through whom God created the universe, the one whom God has chosen to possess all things at the end. He reflects the brightness of God’s glory and is the exact likeness of God’s own being, sustaining the universe with his powerful word. (Heb.1:1-3 GNT)

Jesus Christ came into the world to reveal God to us and to reconcile us with Him.

Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the first-born Son, superior to all created things. For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him. Christ existed before all things, and in union with him all things have their proper place. He is the head of his body, the church; he is the source of the body’s life. He is the first-born Son, who was raised from death, in order that he alone might have the first place in all things. For it was by God’s own decision that the Son has in himself the full nature of God. (Col.1:15-19 GNT)
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me” (Jn.14:6 GNT)

The Bible says that God will accept anyone as His child provided he/she acknowledges Jesus as his/her Savior and Lord.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn – not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. (Jn.1:10-13 NLT)

Jesus promises to come into your life if you invite Him. He, then, assures you of His ever abiding presence with you.

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in…” (Rev.3:20 NLT)
“…God has said, “I will never leave you or let you be alone.” (Heb.13:5 NLV)

You can accept His invitation and ask Jesus to be your Savior and Lord in the following words:

Lord Jesus, Thank you for loving me enough to die on the cross for me. I open the door of my life to you and invite you to live in me as my Saviour and Lord. Forgive my sins. Thank you for the assurance that you will never leave me. Amen.

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Knowing Christ

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him,“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. Mt. 16:13-28

Today we have millions of people who claim to know Jesus Christ or who profess faith in Him. Believing in Jesus has to be qualified in Biblical terms. Simply because someone carries a Christian name, or goes to church frequently, or prays, or reads the Bible, or involves in Christian service, he or she does not necessarily know Jesus Christ. Many are deceiving themselves by their assumption that they know Him.
The disciples of Jesus did not really know their Master almost until the end of His earthly ministry though they walked with Him more than three years.  Jesus had to confront them in many ways to clarify their understanding. Here, Jesus asked them about people’s understanding of His person. They related to Him that they thought He was a prophet, the reappearance of John the Baptist, Elijah or Jeremiah. But then He asked them about their understanding and Peter confessed the He was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

Personal dimension
Jesus reveals to the disciples that it is not by human wisdom that one can recognize the Savior, but by the revelation from God Himself. This is the only way to know Him. Otherwise one can only know ‘about’ Him. Peter spoke out his personal conviction, his faith in the person of Jesus as the Savior sent by God. This personal conviction and confession is the foundation of Christian faith. The Church of Jesus Christ is built up on this confession of individuals.

Divine intervention
The apostles had the first hand experience of knowing Jesus. They conveyed it to the church through their inspired writings, the Gospels, letters, etc. As we read it we are confronted with this same truth and the Spirit of God would open our eyes to see Jesus as He really is. No one can know the Savior Jesus Christ without the help of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 6:44). Then, as we know Him as He is, we must confess Him as our own Savior and Master.

Unfailing Communication
Peter was congratulated for the confession of his personal conviction. But in no time he received rebuke too. It shows how vulnerable we are and how cautious we must be in discerning the intuitions we get before we speak it out. Peter had the revelation from God about the Savior but he the next moment his impulsive reaction was motivated by the devil himself. So we need to set our minds constantly on God and the things of God and intently listen to His prompting and recognize it. Jesus asserted that His sheep would hear His voice (even in the midst of the noisy herd) and follow Him (Jn. 10:26-28).

Losing to gain
The Kingdom principle is opposed to the worldly principles. Jesus calls His followers to set their minds on the things of God, to lose their grip on the earthly to gain what is heavenly, to forgo the temporal to gain the eternal. All the wealth, the fame, the power, the luxury, the pleasures this world can give is momentary. Thus, they must willfully carry their voluntary cross of denying these momentary gains and follow Him daily to get the eternal reward.

 

God who relates personally

Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. Jesus sent him away, saying, “Don’t go back into the village on your way home.”
(Mark 8:25-26  NLT)

Faith Building Exercise
Some people brought a blind man to Jesus because they had heard about His power to heal and restore. They would have brought him with a genuine concern, having faith in Jesus. Or they would have done it to test Jesus. But Jesus do not go by what others say or do. He helps in strengthening the faith of those who are sincere. He interacts individually and relates personally to those who genuinely seek Him. So He takes the blind man by his hand and leads him out of the village, away from the crowd and does this faith building exercise. Jesus is asking the man whether he could see anything. Initially the man gets a partial vision and could not distinguish trees from people. This propelled his faith in Jesus. Jesus lays His hands on the man again and restores his sight fully. He was advised not to go back to the old company of people, in stead to his home.

There are times and situations when we are thrust into the presence of God. God uses such situations to build our faith in Him, step by step. He is a loving God who meets with us individually, leads us away from faith-destroying company or circumstances, and interacts personally to strengthen our faith. He will remove our blindness, rectify the partial vision and restore clear vision. Thank God for such occasions. 

Focus Losing Utterances

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.” But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
(Mark 8:29-33 NLT)

Peter was outspoken and impulsive on many issues. This could prove dangerous at times. With the same mouth we utter things that show our conviction as well as prove our being out of focus. Peter was rebuked for not catching God’s vision.

Those who have been given sight can loose their vision of God’s kingdom and behave like the faithless blind. Then God will rebuke us and correct us so that we remain focused on our mission. Thank God for such occasions in our lives.

Faith Testing Occupation
We are called to follow Jesus Christ. He made claims that no man could ever make, but He never gave false promises to His followers. He openly told that the path will be tough and demanding, even costing our very life. However, He assured us that a life sacrificed for His sake is more precious than the whole world. He will be proud to announce in the glorious presence of the Father that they are His own.

What do you boast about?

Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look good to others. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save. And even those who advocate circumcision don’t keep the whole law themselves. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast about it and claim you as their disciples.

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. (Gal.6:12-16)

Do you feel proud about being religious? Do you boast about your achievements? Do you take credit for what you possess that which you can never earn?

Religions tell us to work our way to god. Those who tirelessly follow the “to do” lists of religions often boast about their achievements. They feel they are eventually making god obligated to them. There are also those who think they are equal to god, thus making it possible for the humans to achieve practically anything or everything.

Promoting Rituals

Most people swear by rituals. Every culture is full of them. Rituals are part of religion. Christian Religion is no exception. It is our attempt to find God. Since it is human effort people will take credit for it. But the Bible says that no one can become acceptable to God by being religious or by observing rituals, however faithful they might be.

As long as you encourage others to follow some rituals you are in vogue. You earn name and fame, position and influence, money and perks. Promoting rituals is boasting in self and it will last only till we last.

Preaching the Cross

The Bible tells us that a Christian has nothing to boast about himself. The only thing he can boast about is the Cross of his Savior because he is saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, in what Jesus has accomplished on the cross.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Eph.2:8-9)

Every Christian is commanded to preach the message of the Cross, because it is the power of God unto salvation (Rom.1:16). The message of the cross excludes all rituals and human efforts and is highlighted as the only way to reach God. When you preach this way you will invite opposition, threats and persecution. That is one of the reasons why several people are content with promoting rituals.

However, the ultimate yardstick of effectiveness is the resultant transformation. The real thing is the new life that we receive from God through faith in Jesus Christ, just because of what Jesus has done on the cross. Neither religion nor rituals can do this. And all of it is a free gift from God. Aren’t you glad for the cross of Christ?

So, if at all I boast, let me boast of the cross of Christ, by which I have been transformed in my relationship with all that is temporal.

Who Can Stand Up?

“No one is righteous – not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. (Rom.3:9-20) (Psalms 14:1-3)

There are people who do not accept they are sinners. Also there are those who feel they are doing what is right. There are philosophies that tell us that if our good deeds outweigh our bad, then we stand a chance to be earn merits from God. However, deep in our hearts we know we can never attain that standard God expects-100% holiness. So, when God call for the sinless one to stand up will there be anyone?

Nobody Can Claim Sinlessness

God observes from His throne that there is no one righteous in His estimation, not even one that meets His standards. To those of us who claim righteousness in ourselves God says, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind”
(Isa.64:6).

Nobody Can Save themselves

No one can obtain salvation by the observance of the Law. Neither can anyone satisfy God’s justice by good deeds. God’s justice demands that a sinner be condemned to eternal death – permanent separation from God’s presence. Religions and philosophies may suggest ways to overcome this. But none of it is capable of satisfying the righteous demand of God’s Law. This leaves mankind in a dilemma.

Only God has the Solution

God alone can provide a solution when all human attempts fail. That is what God did on the cross of Calvary, when He allowed His Son to be the ransom for us all.

Is God Just?

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality…. (Rm.2:1-16)

God’s anger toward those who ignore His commands burnt on the cross of Calvary. Those who hide behind that cross will be spared from the heat of that wrath when it will burn for the last time.

God is the Creator and owner

God is just and fair in judging the wicked because He is the Creator and owner of the whole creation. He has absolute right and authority over all that he has made. He loved mankind, the crown of His creation, for whom everything else were made. He gave them freedom but wanted them to willingly keep His instructions. But man decided to chose otherwise and landed in the resultant disarray of wickedness and sin. He had laid down the rules of the game right in the beginning itself and only the mankind is to blame.

God the Son is the Judge and the Penalized

As the Law giver, God is the judge. He will judge everyone according to what they have done while alive. The one question around which the judgment will revolve is “What did you do with my Son Jesus?” The answer to this simple question will determine the destiny of mankind. Bible says, “If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won’t be punished” (Rom.8:1). The Bible also says that Jesus Christ is coming back as the Judge. In order to save the criminal, the righteous judge Himself paid the penalty. Now all who wish to avail the benefit can do so by believing on Jesus. Judgment is for not accepting the provision God has made through the death of His dear Son, and attempting to reach heaven through their own ways.