As we learnt in “The Man Christ Jesus; The Message”, the whole message of the scriptures points back to Christ. And so that must mean every promise given is a picture of Christ.
We see God make promises to people in the old testament. Each promise in the old testament speaks of the promise to send the Messiah; Jesus Christ. And in turn, the fulfilment of every promise spoke of the fulfilment of even the prophecies concerning the Messiah. For example, Genesis 21:1 says:
“The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised.”
The fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah to give them a child, even in their old age, was a picture of the faithfulness of God to keep His word regardless of the hopelessness of the natural situation. (Genesis 17; 16 -21 and 18:9-15).
In the old testament, we see numerous examples of God keeping His promises to His people – and because of this they could have faith for the Messiah – even though they did not physically see Him. The whole of Hebrews 11 gives us numerous examples of faith actions in the old testament that were counted as righteousness and belief for the Messiah. And it shows that the faith which we act out – in obedience to God’s word and instructions, speaks of the faith which we have for His promises of salvation and redemption – That Christ is indeed all He promises to be.
In the new testament, Christ has come. The promise of a Saviour is fulfilled. The man Christ Jesus is THE promise of God fulfilled as well as the fulfilment of every promise. In Christ – in the fulfilment of the promise of a saviour, there are manifold promises which cascade unto all those who believe.
Ephesians 1:3 says;
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,”
These promises are all fulfilled IN CHRIST. God has blessed us IN CHRIST. In our belief that Jesus is indeed our saviour, we have access to a host of spiritual blessings which we did not previously have access to. In Christ our spirit is saved and we have access once again to the blessings God intended for us to have – the Holy Spirit, promises of peace, healing, grace upon grace, favour, righteousness before the Father, redemption from our fallen state, and so much more.
Perhaps the most important is the promise of forgiveness of sins. Jeremiah prophesied saying:
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jer. 31:34)
God was saying their sins He will remember no more! But we know that this was only a promise fulfilled in Christ Jesus. The book of Hebrews explains that before Christ’s sacrifice, there was still a remembrance of sin despite the sacrifice of bulls and goats being offered.
“But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Heb. 10: 2-3)
But talking about the sacrifice of Christ, He says:
“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified.” (Heb. 10: 12 – 14)
Hallelujah! He offered one sacrifice for sins for ever! Now, God doesn’t remember our sins because of the man Christ Jesus. Because of His sacrifice for sins.
Every promise of God is redemptive. Redeeming us to what He initially planned and predestined us to be (Ephesians 2:10).This is why Christ is the fulfilment of every promise because He is our Redeemer – the same way Boaz was a kinsman redeemer to Ruth – restoring to her what she had lost, Christ is our redeemer, restoring to us all that the devil aimed to kill, steal and destroy in our lives. Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice, paying fully for our sin which separated us from God, and allowed us to be righteous once again in the eyes of the Father. He makes us new creatures.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says;
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”
So everything that would be Christs’ – as the son of God, would be ours IN CHRIST. Every promise to the people of God would be ours IN CHRIST. Because in Him we are once again God’s people.
Jeremiah also prophesied:
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer. 31:33 ESV)
Peter, writing to the gentiles (to us), informs us that this promise has been fulfilled in Christ:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a[special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.”(1 Pet. 2:9 AMP)
“Once you were not a people [at all], but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Pet. 2:10 AMP)
In fact, we are not just His people, we are Sons of God. Glory!
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God…”(1 John 3:2 KJV)
Scripture goes further to state something that is mind-blowing;
“For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Cor. 1: 20 KJV)
The message translation of the bible states it like this:
“Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident” (2 Cor. 1: 20 – 21)
The version above calls Christ Jesus, the great Amen. Amen means so shall it be or let it be so or I strongly agree. We can look into Christ and find God saying “yes” to us who believe for all His promises. All of God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ. This should be a joy and rejoicing of heart for us! He is the Yes and Amen to all of God’s promises to us who believe. Have you looked through the Old Covenant, and seen any of God’s promise to us His people? 1 Cor. 1: 20 says we should rejoice, it is fulfilled in the Man Christ Jesus.
***Special thanks to Wuraola Fanimokun for helping out to co-write and edit this article***
THE BEAUTIFUL NAME OF JESUS
Today, I am excited to share with you about the most wonderful name recorded in human history, the name of Jesus. I am excited that you are joining me in this worthwhile journey of exploring what it means to pray to God in the name of Jesus. But before then, the title of this article THE BEAUTIFUL NAME OF JESUS happens to be the name of one of the books of E.W. Kenyon. Although this article is not directly lifted from the book, I would like to recommend (just as my mentor recommended to me) E.W. Kenyon’s books to everyone reading this. Reading E.W. Kenyon’s (The Beautiful Name of Jesus and all of his other books) will definitely give anyone reading great insights into a lot of bible truths, especially from the viewpoint of grace.
Prayers, have always been offered to God since the existence of humanity. Man has always prayed to God. In the Old-Testament, scriptures record powerful things achieved through prayers that even if they were to happen again today, we will definitely still acknowledge them to happen only through God’s mighty acts. One example was Elijah’s prayers, see what James says
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours [with the same physical, mental and spiritual limitations and shortcomings], and he prayed intensely for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its crops [as usual]. (James 5:17 -18 AMP)
Of course, it’s obvious that the above was a direct act of God’s sovereign power. See here Abraham also
So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. (Gen. 20:17 KJV)
And Hezekiah here;
Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus says the Lord God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. (2 kings 19:20)
And Job also;
And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)
And of course there are many more examples that space won’t allow me to share here. What thrills me most when I see all these awesome acts of God under the old covenant is 2 Corinthians 3, comparing the old covenant to the new, says this
“For if the ministry that brings condemnation [the old covenant, the Law] has glory, how much more does glory overflow in the ministry that brings righteousness [the new covenant which declares believers free of guilt and sets them apart for God’s special purpose]!” (2 Corinthians 3: 9 AMP)
I am always intrigued by this verse of scripture. Looking at all the wonderful feats achieved through prayer under the old covenant, the scriptures still say what prayers would achieve in the new is far greater than what it did in the old. What we can and will do through prayers being believers is far more than what Elijah, Abraham, Hezekiah etc. achieved through prayer in their days. Why? The beautiful name of Jesus. And Jesus gave the key here:
“Until now you have not asked [the father] for anything in my name; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete” (John 16:24 AMP)
The verse above gives one important distinction in prayers under the old covenant and the new covenant. He said before you have not been praying in my name, but now you will be praying in my name. Elisha, Abraham, Hezekiah did not pray in Jesus name, but now we can and that means a lot.
We are praying in the name of God’s most beloved son, in whom God is WELL pleased (Luke 3:22). When we pray in the name of Jesus, it is as though Jesus himself is making these prayers, and God ALWAYS hears Jesus.
“I knew that you always hear Me and listen to Me; but I have said this because of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You have sent Me [and that You have made Me Your representative].” (John 11:42)
Can you see why we as believers are promised more glorious things than Elijah, Hezekiah etc. under the new covenant? It is because we have better access. We are always welcome to the throne of God, to the most holy place through the name of Jesus. This is our confidence, when we pray in the name of Jesus, we know that if God won’t deny Jesus this request, He won’t deny us. We know He hears us always because He hears Jesus always. It’s not about what we do or don’t do, it’s about what Jesus did and it is called grace.
Let’s not make a religion out of this, praying in the name of Jesus is more than saying “In Jesus name” before or after our prayers, it’s a consciousness and an understanding of it. It’s more about a knowledge of it and not just declaring mere words religiously. The words “In Jesus name” are not just meant to open up or close our prayers they are declarations made out of an understanding of the name through which we have access to God’s throne day and night.
We see already the use of this name in the book of Acts and in the epistles. First, Peter
“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. (Acts 3:6)
Peter said above “I have the name of Jesus”. This was not a mere recitation or just religious words. It came out of an understanding of the fact that he knew he had access to God’s power in the name of Jesus. That’s how it should be when we say “in the name of Jesus” in our prayers. Do you also know you have this beautiful name of Jesus as a believer? It was given to you when you believed.
And where the name is mentioned, power follows.
“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Corinthians 5:4)
I would like to conclude by quoting one awesome verse of scripture about the beautiful name of Jesus and the power rooted therein, that has been given to you, me and all believers alike (just as Peter in Acts 3:6) and Christ even gave us authority to use this name, isn’t that amazing?
For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth. (Philippians 2: 9 – 10 AMP).
I Call You Blessed
OUR FAITH PROFESSION
Last time, I shared about forgiving and forbearing one another especially in our local assemblies. This week let’s look at something a bit different but definitely towards equipping us for the work of the ministry. Three scriptures, Heb. 3:1, Heb. 4:14, Heb. 10:23.
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; (Heb. 3:1)
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. (Heb. 4:14)
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised) (Heb. 10:23)
Notice in all the verses above, the scriptures are bringing us to keep the profession of our faith. Heb. 3:1 tells us we have a faith profession, we have a High Priest over this profession, this High Priest is Jesus Christ. Google defines the word profession as a paid occupation especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification. (Synonyms are career, occupation etc.). It also defines Profession as an act of declaring that one has a particular feeling or quality, especially when this is not the case (Synonyms are declaration, affirmation etc.)
I want us to see the use of the word profession in the above verses beyond the verbal declaration but as an occupation, as the first definition explains. Our Faith Profession. The Christian faith is a profession not a hobby or what we do to relax or feel good in the midst of our peers. No! It is a profession, our life depends on it. It is that serious. In fact it is our calling. We were called to this profession. We were called to live the faith life. Our life depends on it. It’s our major pre-occupation. Heb. 4:14 and Heb. 10:23 tell us how we handle our faith profession, it says we should HOLD FAST.
In the first definition provided it explains that a profession requires PROLONGED TRAINING and A FORMAL QUALIFICATION. In the faith profession, our qualification is our salvation, that’s where we receive the calling into this noble profession, our PROLONGED TRAINING is to search scriptures. Heb. 3:1 and Heb. 4:14 tells us how we get better; by considering Christ Jesus. We search scriptures to get better.
“You search and keep on searching and examining the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and yet it is those [very Scriptures] that testify about me; (John 5:39 AMP)
We search the scriptures not because they qualify us for eternal life but to learn more about Jesus but to learn more about Jesus to be able to better testify of Him (Philemon 1:6). As we search and know more of Him, we get better at our faith profession and we can be more like Him. The church is a bible school to learn and get better at our faith profession. We need to get serious, we have a job to do.
Philemon 1:6 also says something similar. It says we will get better in professing our faith as we continue to learn of all the good things Christ has worked in us.
“That the sharing (communication) of our faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus” (Philemon 1:6)
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings to search out a matter. (Prov. 25:2)
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (Rev. 1:6)
God qualified us as a King to search out Christ in the scriptures. Our honour is in searching out Christ in scriptures. That’s the honour code of our profession. Brethren we have a job to do. We are not to be tossed around by every wind of doctrine. Let’s spend time in fellowship with the Spirit, in listening, to be taught scriptures. We as believers should take care so we do not become lazy. That’s not accepted in this profession. We search out Christ in the scriptures and follow him accordingly.
See this also;
Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life (2 Cor. 3:6)
He did not just make your pastor a minister of the new covenant, he made you and me, a minister of the new covenant. And we are to;
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:2)
The scriptures even encourage us further that the mysteries of the kingdom HAVE BEEN given to us to know. (Luke 8:10, 1 Cor. 2: 10 – 14)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written the just shall live by faith (Rom. 1: 16 – 17)
As we search the scriptures, one thing we see more and more is the righteousness of God. We keep unravelling this free gift of righteousness that we have received. We discover that God is righteous in saving the sinner as long as he comes through Christ, we see more and more that God is righteous in keeping the saint saved eternally. We see that God’s way of making people right with Him begins and ends in faith in Christ. And we move from faith to faith as we progress and get better at our profession.
Are you dutiful in your faith profession?
Written by Samson Afolabi
When the word “Saint” is mentioned, it is often attached to perfection. When someone is called a saint, we think almost immediately about someone without mistakes or faults or someone with a flawless character or behaviors. Well, maybe such people exist, but the truth is, throughout all of my life I haven’t met anyone who fits into this definition of a saint, and neither am I one. If this is the definition of who a saint is then yes, I am not a saint. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be.
Wikipedia describes the word saint to mean “A person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God.” It goes further saying “any believer who is in Christ and in whom Christ dwells”. When I read the latter part of this sentence, I agree completely with Wikipedia’s definition of who a saint is because I had seen over and over again, that this agrees with Paul’s definition of who a saint is in scriptures. He often admonishes the church as saints,
“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours;”(1 Cor. 1:2 KJV)
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:” (2 Cor. 1:1)
“All the saints salute you” (2 Cor. 13:13) KJV
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1 KJV)
“May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height (Eph. 3:18 KJV)
“Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with all the bishops and deacons: (Phil. 1:1 KJV)
*All emphasis in the verses above are mine*
There are just so many references that space and time won’t allow me to share them all. At the beginning of almost all of Paul’s letters he uses the word to describe the believers he was writing to. He called them saints. We can safely conclude that All Believers are saints. Yes, all believers are saints. We are saints not because of what we do or don’t do but because of what Jesus did. We are a people having the very nature and likeness of Christ, similar to what Wikipedia defines.
Now, it is important to note that not all of the churches Paul uses the word “Saint” to describe at the beginning of his letters were morally perfect people. In fact he wrote to settle quarrels among them, he wrote to put orderliness in their meetings. He wrote to warn them of sinful deeds, he wrote to correct adultery, and many other things that were not befitting of saints.
Oftentimes, I see people get mad because some brother or sister in their fellowship offended them. I notice they were not expecting “saints” to behave in such a way. Their expectancy of the behaviors of their church members is so high that they cannot understand why they would behave in such a manner. But the truth is these people are not perfect people rather they are people on their way to perfection. There is work ongoing in them.
“Being Confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6 KJV)
And while this work is not yet completed, we have to learn to forbear and tolerate the faults of each other in the church without seeing each other as being less than saints. Paul knew this when he encouraged us to,
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col. 3:13 NIV)
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4: 2-3 NIV)
Some words used in the scriptures give an insight into how difficult it is to love each other in our local assemblies. Words like “Bear, Make every effort”, indicate that this won’t be an easy work to live out amidst saints. Even among saints you have to forgive, you have to make every effort to stay united and you have to make every effort to forgive each other, yet regarding each other as saints because of what Christ has done for us.
One of the elders of my church once said, “If you find a perfect church don’t join them, because if you do, you will make them imperfect”. And the truth is, saints are not people without faults or errors, they are however saints because of what Christ has done. Because of what He has done, of course, I am a Saint.
Written By Samson Afolabi