Today, I am excited to be able to share God’s word with you once again. Our topic here is about a well-known Man, known not just to Believers but to unbelievers alike who probably do not believe Him to be the Son of God, that He indeed is, and maybe do not believe in the redemptive work He did.
Scripture describes him as the Express Image of the Father. He is the very accurate description of God. Jesus Himself said:
“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18)
Jesus said I am in the bosom of the Father, I have a very detailed description of the Father that no man has ever given. He was saying, no matter how highly rated the description of the Father the prophets have given before this time, it is nowhere as accurate as the one I am presenting to you. And we can understand this because we see such an intimate relationship between Him and the Father. John 1 gives us an insight into the relationship between Jesus (the Word) and the Father before His incarnation.
“In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Hallelujah! The Word was God. This same Word that was God was then made flesh and dwelt among us. God was made flesh and we can see Him clearly through Christ. We can checkmate any personality of God earlier described in scriptures by if we find it in Christ. If not, it doesn’t describe the Father.
Even during His earthly sojourn, Christ (the Word made flesh) revealed even further that He was in such close union with the Father.
“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for what things soever he does, these also does the Son likewise” (John 5:19)
In-fact, simply to describe the relationship, He said We are One.
“I and my Father are one” (John 10:30)
The Writer of Hebrews tells us that God who in yester-years had been speaking to us through the prophets, is now speaking to us through His first begotten Son, Christ Jesus.
“God who at Sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person…” (Heb. 1: 1 – 3)
The word express above is defined as to “convey (a thought or feeling) in words or by gestures and conduct”. That is, Christ Jesus is God (His person) and revealed/conveyed to us (as a message) through words, gestures and conduct. That means to know who God truly is, in an accurate way, we must consider the words of Christ, His actions and conducts. The Amplified Bible magnifies verse 3 of Hebrews 1 better as:
“The Son is the radiance and only expression of the glory of [our awesome] God [reflecting God’s Shekinah glory, the Light-being, the brilliant light of the divine], and the exact representation and perfect imprint of His [Father’s] essence”
The Exact Representation! I Love that. The Message Bible says “This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature”. Now here is where we have to be careful of the representation of the Father we carry around or believe or take to be true. No matter how beautiful the description Moses, Elijah, Elisha, David presents to us, we check if it agrees with the Exact Representation, Christ (in His words, acts and conducts), why? None of them have seen God (John 1:18), but the Son has seen Him (completely) and declared Him! Glory!
I will conclude this article by giving some instances where Christ gave us a better description of the Father than the prophets did. We see Elijah calling down fire on his enemies in 2 Kings 1:9 – 15.
“And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and fifty” vs 10
Above is a representation of the Father that Elijah presented to us, as a God that kills His enemies by fire and maybe by brimstone if need be. Christ, the exact representation of the Father said NO, the father is not like that. In Luke 9: 53 – 56, some people resisted Christ from entering into a village of the Samaritans, His disciples told Him to do likewise, He said No! That’s not the accurate description of the Father.
“And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did? But he turned, and rebuked them…and they went to another village” (Luke 9: 54 – 56). That’s the accurate description. The Father is Love. Paul expatiate this for us:
“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shall heap coals of fire on his head” (Romans 12:20)
Another instance we see is 1 Kings 22: 19 – 23, where we see a picture of the Father as someone taking counsel to do evil. No! Jesus didn’t show that. Peter said,
“Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:” (1 Pet. 2:22)
No evil! He has no capacity to do evil, He wouldn’t take counsel to do evil.
In Matthew 5: 27 – 39, the express image (Christ) corrects another notion of what the Father wants from us when we are wronged. “You have heard that it was said, “An eye for eye, and a tooth for a tooth [punishment that fits the offense]” (John 5:38 AMP)
“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person [who insults you or violates your rights]; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other toward him also [simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses and do not bother to retaliate-maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise]” (John 5:39 AMP)
He was simply saying that’s not the correct image and person of the Father, and here is the better one. Now, we see the Father clearly, through Christ! The veil is removed only in Christ.
“But their minds were blinded: for until this day remains the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which is done away in Christ” (2 cor. 3:14)
Today, I encourage us to make sure that everything of the Father we believe and hold true is according to what His accurate and perfect representation declared Him to be. Every other representation that doesn’t agree with that is inaccurate and should be treated False.
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
I remember when I had just gained admission into the University of Ibadan, I was so excited. One of the reasons why I was happy was because I was finally going to be free from having to keep the home rules and regulations of my parents. I was going to be living in the hostel without my parents having to dictate to me when I had to return home, what to eat or what to wear etc. To me, I was now mature and free to make my own decisions without any interference. Am sure a lot of people can relate with this feeling. Young people often feel wise in their own thinking, they feel they are mature enough to start making what they think is the right decisions for themselves, to them being dependent on people for guidance is being in bondage.
Our society also believes that at the age of 18, young people are now mature enough to make their own decisions. Our society believes that maturity is being independent and not having to receive instructions from anyone. That maturity is about being free, independent etc. is a belief that has sent a lot of young people on a life-long spree of making erroneous decisions. A lot of people have been thrown into a living hell, which could have been avoided If only they had wise people to instruct them. I would like to share with us, what the scriptures define as maturity. The scriptures seem to express maturity has being consciously dependent, even though you don’t have to be.
“Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go” (John 21:18 NIV)
In this scripture, I see the definition of maturity. I see that maturity is conscious dependence, not independence. A mature man, even though he is grown, he chooses to submit to receive instructions to be led. Jesus demonstrated this all through his life, at Gethsemane even though He had come to the place where he could stand against God’s will, but instead He chose to submit.
“Saying Father, If you be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42)
“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matt. 26: 53 – 54 NIV)
After this He earned Himself the position of the firstborn among many brethren, He simply became the most mature Christian ever. When riches abound, maturity is being able to be told and led on how to spend it and not being proud and arrogant. When you are in a high and mighty position, maturity is being able to submit yourself to receive counsel from those whom the Lord has placed above you.
The measure of how mature you are, is a measure of how humble you are, and humility is power under control. When it seems you are in charge that is the time you need to surround yourself more with spiritual advisers, to lead you. That is the time to depend more on the holy-spirit to lead you in making decisions. To be mature is to be able to fully depend and rely on the teachings and instructions of Wisdom.
I Call You Blessed
Today, we consider the last and final part of our series on Understanding Salvation, we consider the body. But first I would like to share a scripture;
“His glory is great in your salvation: honour and majesty have you laid upon him (Psalm 21:5)”
This scripture shows us the beauty of man at the completion of God’s salvation plan. His glory is great, honour and majesty are upon him. I believe God has this picture of Man in mind in this work of salvation. I also believe that the work of salvation is to restore Man back to God’s original plan and intent. What then should be our reaction? Appreciate Him for the salvation of our spirit, agree and work with Him on the salvation of our souls and believe what He says about the salvation of our body.
Just as we earlier established, Man is a spirit, has a soul and lives in a body. His body gives him the ability to relate and communicate with the physical world. He needs his body to relate with the earth. As such his body is an important part of him just as his soul and spirit are. As we earlier stated the salvation of the spirit is done, the salvation of the soul is ongoing, but the salvation of the body as we have it now is a promise. It’s yet to be done.
From the beginning (Gen. 1 – 3), the body was without sickness and disease. We saw that sickness and disease came after the fall of Man. I believe that sickness is a manifestation of the death we acquired from Adam. In fact, plants, where most of our drugs come from today, were initially given for food not drugs or medicine.
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food” (Gen. 1: 29 NIV)
Paul describing God’s salvation plan in 1 Cor. 15:35 – 58, says our perishable bodies will be raised as imperishable. Our mortal bodies will be given immortality. He further says, our bodies although sown in dishonour will be raised in glory, sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body but is raised a spiritual body. And then we will have fully conquered death in all three segments of Man, then the saying that has been written will come true:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15: 54 – 56)
What a glory our bodies will inherit when it is renewed. Right now, we do not have the words to describe this, but we know that when we meet Him (Jesus), we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2). Our bodies will no longer be subject to death, or be weak or be frail as it presently is. And that is why, even as a believer you can be sick. It does not imply that the salvation of the spirit is not done or that of the soul is not on going. But it is worthy of note that, God doesn’t tempt or discipline us with sickness and disease.
But, before the salvation of the soul is achieved, the Lord has redeemed us from sicknesses and diseases (death). In fact, he wants us to be in perfect health (3 John 1:2). Read my article on “What does God say about your health” here. or through the link(https://wordofaletheia.org/fellowship/what-does-god-say-about-your-health/) .Peter, through the holy-spirit writes:
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2: 24)
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5)
He bought our health with His blood. He paid for our sicknesses and weaknesses. Notice he didn’t say, we would be healed, he says we were already healed (Past tense). If you believe this, you will see the manifestation of this in your body.
What then should we do? Scriptures help us understand that our bodies are the temple of the Most High, to be kept holy and sacred for Him. (1 Cor. 6:19). It was bought with a price, when we were redeemed. I believe this includes not using our bodies for sinful purposes; fornication, adultery etc. I also believe that this includes keeping our bodies clean and healthy. Being dirty, eating unhealthy or being lackadaisical about our health is not a godly habit. God instructed the priest to keep the tabernacle clean. If God was to dwell there, it was to be kept clean and healthy, as it is often said that “Cleanliness is next to godliness”.
In Conclusion, God’s salvation plan for Man brings glory to Man. It restores Man back to God’s original intent and makes Man to be like God in spirit, soul and body.
Remember to contact me, if you have any questions about any of the Parts 1, 2 and 3.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
ULast time, we discussed the fall of man (Gen. 1 – 3), how Man’s spirit died and this in-turn corrupted his soul and transferred death to his body. This week, we consider the salvation of the soul. As we established in the previous article, Man is a spirit, he has a soul and lives in a body.
Before we begin it is important to explain what exactly the soul pertains to. The soul is the seat of Man’s intellect; the mind, it’s the place where he makes decisions. Scripture refers to the soul in a number of ways as we will explore today but it is clear that the soul is precious to God and the breath of God makes Man a “living soul”. The soul encompasses the essence of Man, i.e. it is our very being, and it can be living or dead as expressed in the state of our body. Scriptures often refer to the soul using the words heart, mind, emotions, will.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Prov. 4:23 NIV)
Everything you do, flows from it. Yes! Everything! So if the soul, or let me say the mind is sound, correct, pure the actions produced from a person, would be sound, correct and pure. And if Man needs to be saved, not only does his spirit need to be regenerated, his corrupted mind needs to be renewed. Let’s see how Man was in the beginning.
“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;” vs 21
“And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” Vs 22
“And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Vs 23
In Gen. 2:21 – 23 above, we see the state of mind of Man before the fall. He was so in tune with God that even though he was asleep when God took the rib, and formed woman, immediately he saw her, he knew. Adam had a sound mind. He didn’t take eve to be one of the animals. There was no fear, nor worry in his mind. Fast-forward to after the fall, here is scripture’s description of Man:
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5)
We can rightly conclude that at the fall Man inherited the nature of the devil, his soul – was now contrary to God’s nature. His mind was corrupted. He was no longer capable of producing godly thoughts. Even much later scripture says:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9)
The heart is desperately wicked. And yes, we see several acts of wickedness by men in scriptures, starting from Cain killing his brother, to many actions of jealousy- leading to death, greed, pride, discontentment, lies, lawlessness and several others. Even today, our society is full of crime and violence which are manifestations of the wicked and corrupt state of the heart of man.
Man became a corrupt program, behaving in the direct opposite of God’s intended purpose. There is an adage that says “the day a mad man knows he is mad, that’s the day he gets healed”. I think God applied this adage first. He introduced the Law; the Law was intended to act as a Mirror; Keeping instructions and demanding strict obedience which Man could not keep because of his weak state, so Man could see that he was sick and needed help in the coming of Christ.
Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (1 Tim. 1: 9 – 10)
Unlike the salvation of the spirit, the salvation of the soul doesn’t happen at once, it’s a continuous and deliberate activity. In-fact, I believe everything about the Christian walk is geared towards this; the restoring of the soul by the renewal of the mind.
“But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Heb. 10:39)
The use of the word “saving” indicates that the salvation of the soul is continuous. Changing us from who we were to who God wants us to be. You know, if you change the mind, you change the person.
That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph. 4: 22 – 24)
And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2)
As we engage in spiritual activities, listening to sermons, meditating on scriptures, praying (in tongues), our mind is being renewed, restored, refreshed. We become a new person. We take on the new nature of our spirit. Continuous fellowship with the spirit, makes our soul inherit the nature of the spirit. Our soul can then learn love (the nature of God). We can love the brethren, our families and most importantly love the Lord. Our soul then produces godly fruit through this fellowship manifesting in love, peace, joy, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance etc. (Eph. 5: 22 – 23). And then it can be said of us
“God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7)
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace be multiplied” (1 Pet. 1:2)
I believe the scripture above describes both the salvation of the spirit (sanctification of the spirit) and the salvation of the soul (unto obedience). We were saved unto obedience. Obedience is key to the renewal of our minds. We must be ready to obey every word of the scriptures. As we do so we strengthen our walk with the spirit. If we must renew our minds, we must study the scriptures carefully, understand it thoroughly and obey it completely.
Next time, we’ll consider the salvation of the body.
Be a doer.
I Call You Blessed