by James Nelson
There are none to compare with our almighty Lord Jesus Christ — Rev 1:8, Ex 6:3, Jn 3:35
After the pattern of a never-to-be-forgotten newsboy of old, there shouts, “Jesus, Jesus, read all about him. Author declares him to be a Person who we thought we knew, but we really see only a blurred image in a mirror.”
“What is the kid clamoring about,” reacted a close-by pedestrian. “I know my Jesus. No one is going to tell me I don’t!”
The emotionally charged reaction ends shortly. But the troubled Christian picks up a copy of the paper and beholds some salient points.
- The Person(s) of the Trinity prayed to, or worshipped.
- God is good: a key tenet of the faith.
- Jesus Christ is interwoven in the Trinity.
- It is [still] Jesus’ time to shine.
- Jesus is Jehovah (and in certain instances, the Father is referred to as Jehovah. More explanation later).
- Jesus should be loved with all heart, mind, soul.
- Building on the first point: who is worshipped.
- Jesus Christ is Deity. When on Earth He was a God-man, nothing less.
- The Lord Jesus Christ has in this age the power, honor, and glory.
- Jesus’ power is so great that He is referred to as Almighty God.
- Jesus Christ has a deep love [“which surpasses knowledge”] for each of us, worthy of our best love; yet as Judge, He is to be reverenced almost to the point of fear!
- How to read the Bible: The Word of God is likened to a grand jigsaw puzzle.
1) We Christians, and Prayer
Blogging to a Christian audience, I need not explain the basics other than as groundwork to precede intermediate concepts and doctrine.
As a believer, you most likely align yourself with God the Father, especially in prayer.
But have you ever thought that to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it is advantageous to pray also to Jesus?
Not only does this make sense, it will be shown later that it is biblical to pray to our Lord Jesus.
Wait a minute, you may say. The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 makes it obvious that we are told to pray to the Father.
OK, good. That passage in Matthew makes it clear to pray to the Father. An example of the Apostle Paul praying to the Father is recorded in Ephesians 3:14 “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
But what can be garnered from Scripture about worshipping Jesus Christ? After all, we Christians desire, even yearn to associate with our Lord, our Savior, our Master as well as our dear friend. I refer you now to a small yet powerful article titled Is It Appropriate to Worship Jesus? Please click on the following link to get to the article: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/192-is-it-appropriate-to-worship-jesus The article [ published by the Christian Courier] is a pretty strong statement by Wayne Jackson for praying to Jesus, our Lord and Savior. And it ends with, I believe, a righteous conclusion that Christ clearly is worthy of worship, and those folks who are voicing objections to such are in error.
2) God is Good
As time passed, it became needful for me to investigate the Scripture and to find out if there was solid proof that God is indeed good. I came across one NT verse containing such an affirmative answer that it appeared I need not look further: “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” (3 John 1:11).
I was all but satisfied yet encouraged to find additional support for the goodness of God: In the OT, “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.” (Psalm 143:10) In another Psalm, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 107:1) Then also, “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.9 The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.10 All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.” (Psalm 145:8-10) In Jeremiah, “The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever:…” (Jer 33:11) In the Book of Amos, “Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.” (Amos 5:14) And I present three more verses, out of the Book of Psalms, “How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” (Ps 36:7) Another, “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.” (Ps 63:3) I end with, “Hear me, O Lord; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.” (Ps 69:16). So then, since the verse just given indicates a close connection between ‘lovingkindness’ and ‘good’, we can sense that these last three given psalms are virtually praising the goodness of God.
Before changing the subject re. God is good to the next subject, I want to point out that God is good quite beyond our expectations. From the Book of Luke, ” But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” (Luke 6:35). Who are the evil: many more than we realize — even we ourselves fall in this category, “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:9,12).
This is the concluding end: God is good; we are not.
3) Jesus Christ is Interwoven in the Trinity
Have you ever asked someone to explain the Trinity?
And they reply, It isn’t hard to understand. It is composed of three distinct Persons with their own set of duties. And the three Persons are One. A very good verse is 1 John 5:7, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
Now let’s examine this verse by John more closely. The baffling part is clearly “these three are one.” The actual mechanics of such phenomena are not delved into. It surely must involve very high-end physics that we would not understand even if explained.
However, in an effort to help I worked up a Venn diagram of the Trinity that provides in a snapshot the intermingling and the overlapping facets of the awesome Trinity: (Use 200% zoom level when viewing)
Because it is Jesus’ time to shine, let’s celebrate! Let’s G.O.A.L. = Glorify Our Astonishing Lord! Let’s glorify by praising Him, by prayer to and about Him, by honoring Him, by singing a song for Him, by writing a poem for/about Him and then sharing it, by teaching His greatness, by exclaiming His unsurpassing love for us, and on it goes. Included is extolling His virtues of never-failing love, goodness, compassion, patience, justice, kindness, faithfulness. Let’s share this good news of our Lord and Savior’s excellent virtues and thus further glorify Him by our efforts. We should not forget the Internet as a means to glorify our Lord. Let’s glorify Him: it is [still] Jesus’ time to shine.
You, the reader, may well be wondering why it is [still] Jesus’ time to shine. I am going to show from Scripture why this is so.
It doesn’t really take long to establish that in the current age it is Jesus’ time to shine. From Colossians 1:17-19 we can grasp how He shines:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
From verse 18 above, Christ Jesus has preeminence in all things. He shines! From John 3:35, we know that, “35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” Yes Jesus shines!
The Son cries out Abba, or Papa, to His beloved Father; and the Father, who is Jesus’ Papa, lovingly gives all things to His only begotten Son. Again we see how Jesus is made to shine, to shine out as a blazing beacon of hope in a dark universe.
I now present a number of verses that relate to “Jesus’ time to shine” — a subtheme of this post. And remember: celebrate Him — Glorify Our Astonishing Lord!
The condensed verses below should indeed be persuasive: it is Jesus’ time to shine!
- Matt 22:37 Love the Lord thy God with all heart, soul, mind
- John 3:35 The Father has given all things into Jesus’ hand
- Luke 1:33 There shall be no end to Jesus’ kingdom [the whole Israel of God]
- 1 Cor 15:25 Jesus’ reign continues until all enemies are conquered
- Rev 1:8 Jesus is the Almighty
- Col 3:11 Christ is all, and in all
- Heb 5:5,6 Jesus is begotten; also He is made high priest forever
- Eph 3:21 To God be the glory by Christ Jesus
- Eph 5:23 Christ is the head of the church and savior of the body
- Acts 2:36 God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ
- 2 Tim 4:1 The Lord Jesus Christ shall judge the living & the dead
- Rom 2:16 God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ
- Col 1:15 Jesus: the image of the invisible God
- Col 1:19 In Jesus should all fullness dwell
- Heb 7:3 Without beginning or end (and note Heb 5:5,6)
- Heb 5:8-10 Being made perfect, Son became author of salvation
- Eph 3:19 To know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge
- Josh 10:30 He smote with the edge of the sword
- Matt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers
The verses above are spelled out below.
Matthew 22:37 King James Version (KJV) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
John 3:35 King James Version (KJV) The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
Luke 1:33 King James Version (KJV) And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
1 Corinthians 15:25 King James Version (KJV) For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
Revelation 1:8 King James Version (KJV) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Colossians 3:11 King James Version (KJV) Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
Hebrews 5:5-6 King James Version (KJV) So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Ephesians 3:21 King James Version (KJV) Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Ephesians 3:21 Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) to Him [is] the glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus, to all the generations of the age of the ages. Amen.
Ephesians 5:23 King James Version (KJV) For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Acts 2:36 King James Version (KJV) Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
2 Timothy 4:1 King James Version (KJV) I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Timothy 4:1 Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) I do fully testify, then, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to judge living and dead at his manifestation and his reign –
Romans 2:16 King James Version (KJV) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
Colossians 1:15-29 King James Version (KJV) 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
Colossians 1:15 King James Version (KJV) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Hebrews 7:3 King James Version (KJV) Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
Hebrews 5:8-10 King James Version (KJV) 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
Ephesians 3:19 King James Version (KJV) And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Ephesians 3:19 New American Standard Bible (NASB) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Joshua 10:30 King James Version (KJV) And the Lord delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho.
Matthew 5:9 King James Version (KJV) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
*****As the song lyrics read, “Glorify our Lord. Glory to our Lord. Whether honor, praise or exalt. Whether up, down, in or out. The right direction is to glorify.”*****
5) Jehovah of the Old Test. is Jesus of the New
It must be said at the outset that the title above is truth, but not the whole truth. The complete truth includes the complication that the Father is in certain passages deemed to be Jehovah. To understand the seeming mystery here one only has to envision a situation involving a John (Jr.) and a John (Sr.) Both the father and the son share the name John. However to avoid confusion, in practice the father hails to the name John, while the son harkens to the name, e.g., Johnny. Therefore, usually the Dad is John. Similarly the usual case is that one of the Persons of the Trinity bears the name Jehovah, and it will be convincingly shown that Jehovah is the name that refers to Jesus! [The insights from this paragraph come in good part from an explanation by the 18th Century theologian John Gill.]
My personal case is that while researching Jesus Christ in a Bible dictionary, I found a statement, “Other titles ascribed to our Lord. The Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New.” At first I didn’t know exactly what to think of it, and this fostered doubt. I simply had to accumulate evidence that the name Jehovah and the name Jesus are names for the same Person: Jesus Christ. This was so important to me because I realized that Jehovah, which is represented by the term LORD (all caps with the ‘L’ a bit larger than the rest), is all over the Old Testament!
To begin amassing the proof that Jehovah, translated as LORD, is the name that refers to Jesus Christ, I turn to Charles Haden Spurgeon who treats the subject eloquently. Following is an excerpt from his sermon called “Who is Jehovah. Who is Jesus.” The excerpt begins, “Are there any such verses?
There certainly are. Psalm 23:1, for example, says, “Jehovah is my shepherd.” Jesus very clearly applied this passage to Himself in John 10:11, 14 when He said, “I am the good shepherd.” And the writer of Hebrews also applied this passage to Christ in Hebrews 13:20, when he wrote, “The God of peace . . . brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord”— Jesus our Jehovah.
In Isaiah 6:5, when Isaiah saw his vision of heaven, with the Lord high and lifted up, he said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts.” Yet the apostle John, referring to this same incident, writes that Isaiah saw Christ’s glory, “and he spoke of Him” (Jn. 12:41).
In the famous prophecy of John the Baptist found in Isaiah 40:3, Jesus is called Jehovah: “A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for [Jehovah] in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.” [End of Spurgeon excerpt]
A more exhaustive set of findings that support: Jehovah and Jesus are one and the same person.
Essentially 45 comparisons
At the left (column) are Old Test. verses containing ‘the LORD’ etc.
To the right are New Test. verses containing ‘Jesus,’ or ‘Christ’ etc.
- Is 44:6 Jn 1:49 & Rev 22:12-13
- Ex 3:14-16 Jn 8:58
- Ps 10:16 Mt 21:5 & Jn 1:29
- Deut 10:17 Rev 17:14
- Ps 23:1 Jn 10:11, Jn 10:7, and Heb 13:20
- Is 43:3 Lk 2:11
- Is 47:4 Rev 5:8-9
- Is 44:24 Col 1:13-16
- Deut 32:36,39 Jn 11:25
- Is 63:4 & Prov 1:7a 2 Tim 4:1 ( Is 62:11-12 helpful)
- Is 63:16 & Is 9:6 Lk 2:11
- Is 6:3 Mk 1:24 (Commentary useful)
- Ps 27:1 Jn 8:12
- Ps 18:2 1 Cor 10:4
- Jer 17:13 1 Tim 1:1
- Gen 17:1 Matt 28:18 & Rev 1:7-8 (Commentary useful)
- Is 41:4 Rev 22:12-13 (Rev 3:11 and commentary helpful)
- Is 6:5 Jn 12:41-42
- Is 40:3 Jn 3:1-3 (Commentary helpful)
- Jer 23:5-6 Jn 1:41 (Commentary helpful)
- Joel 2:32 Rom 10:9-13
- Is 45:23-24 Philip 2:10-11
- Zech 12:8-11 Rev 1:7 & Mk 14:62
- Ps 19:14 Gal 3:13 Redeemer
- Is 43:14 Eph 1:7 Redeemer
- Gen 49:18 2 Tim 1:10 & Titus 1:4*
- Ps 102: 25 Heb 1:10 (Commentary helpful)
Savior — Salvation
- 1 Chron 16:23 *Same 2 verses as above (2 Tim & Titus) — Salvation
- Ps 21:1 Same verses as above — Salvation
- Ps 27:1 Same verses — Salvation
- Ps 116:13 Same verses — Salvation
- Ps 119:166 Same verses — Salvation
- Is 33:6 Same verses — Salvation
- Is 56:1 Same verses — Salvation
- Is 61:10 Same verses — Salvation
- Jer 3:23 Same verses — Salvation
- Lamen 3:26 Same verses — Salvation
- Jon 2:9 Same verses — Salvation
- Micah 7:7 Same verses — Salvation
- Hab 3:18 Same verses — Salvation
- Is 43:11 Titus 2:11-13 & Philip 3:20 Salvation, i.e., Savior
- Is 9:6 Titus 2:13 & Eph 2:13-14
- Ps 118:22-23 Mk 12:10
- Is 10:20 Acts 3:13-14
- Ps 30:2 Mt 8:13 & Mt 12:15
6) Jesus should be loved with all heart, mind, soul.
This post involves proving the truth of the post title, just given, and showing the overwhelming worth of this title.
There are several points that need to be considered on our road toward understanding the paramount merit of the assertion that Jesus is to be loved with all of the heart, mind and soul.
I draw upon the words of our Lord Jesus Himself in Matthew 22:37-40 as follows:
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Notice that Jesus establishes the sheer greatness of verse 37 by His statement in verses 38 and 40: the first commandment, and the great commandment is to love “the Lord thy God” so completely.
Of great importance: who is “the Lord thy God” of verse 37? Wesley’s Explanatory Notes reference this great commandment verse back to Deuteronomy 6:5 where it can be seen immediately that the Lord is LORD, or Jehovah, and it has been previously shown (in Post 5) that Jehovah is Jesus. The clear translation emerges: Thou shall love Jesus with all thy heart, and all thy soul,and with all thy mind!
And not to forget the second greatest New Covenant commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Upon examination I found that this commandment is essentially the same as the Golden Rule. In my song ‘Love, Love’ I condensed it down to “Love your fellow person wholeheartedly.”
7) Building on Post 1) — Who is/are to be worshipped?
I stated back in Post 1) entitled “We Christians, and Prayer” that to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ it is advantageous to pray also to Jesus. In other words: advantageous to pray to God the Father and to His Son, Jesus. I went on to express that not only does this make sense, it will be shown later that it is biblical to pray to our Lord Jesus.
Later has arrived. This is Post 7) and I am now able to proceed with a biblical foundation for prayer to Jesus Christ. I am able to proceed because it has since been established in Post 5) that Jesus is Jehovah [in most instances].
With this in mind, that Jesus and Jehovah are both names for the same Person, Christ Jesus, I now present some verses for evaluation. I have taken the liberty of placing the name [Jehovah] to the right of ‘LORD‘ to remind all of us that Jehovah is equivalent to LORD . (The translator Tyndale began the practice of substituting ‘the LORD‘ for Jehovah.)
1 Kings 9:3 3 And the Lord [Jehovah] said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
2 Chronicles 6:19 19 Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord [Jehovah] my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee:
Psalm 69:13 13 But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord [Jehovah], in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
Proverbs 15:8 8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord [Jehovah]: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
Since in a previous Post it was shown that Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New, I now take the additional liberty of placing [Jesus] to the right of [Jehovah] in the four verses to demonstrate the significant effect of giving our Lord Jesus his correct place in the Old Testament:
1 Kings 9:3 3 And the Lord [Jehovah][Jesus] said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
2 Chronicles 6:19 19 Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord [Jehovah][Jesus] my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee:
Psalm 69:13 13 But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord [Jehovah][Jesus], in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
Proverbs 15:8 8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord [Jehovah][Jesus]: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
The sample verses above, and there are many more, give us the amazing truth. And that is “The Bible is about Jesus.” And furthermore, from these sample verses we are safely assured that prayer to Jesus is appropriate.
A survey of the New Testament produces the following conclusions. It is biblical to pray to the Father. That would be considered the first rule of prayer. The second would be that it is appropriate to pray to the Lord Jesus. Thirdly, we should not leave the Holy Spirit out of prayer. As part of the triune God, the Holy Spirit deserves more than a salute. But that is a subject to be dealt with in another blog.
What is true, in ending, is that Jesus is Lord! Consider the following as assurance that this is truth:
1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Philippians 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is
Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Let us come boldly to the throne of grace. Let us seek our Lord directly. It is more than reasonable that the servant approaches his lord face to face. Due to this kind of reasoning may we all be encouraged to come forward to our Lord, directly, in prayer.
And before I really end this post, let me share a verse that shows us Jesus is our Master:
The Lord Jesus Himself teaches that He is Master (John 13:13): “13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.”
Again I lean on reasonability: It is only reasonable that the servant of old visits and calls upon his master face to face, and eye to eye. It is unreasonable then to suggest that we saints who serve the Lord are directed to go to our Master’s Master in order to get the message of our prayer through.
The overall conclusion to this post, once again, is that praying to the Father is correct. Praying to our Lord and Master Jesus is appropriate. And we should not shun the Holy Spirit whom we have communion with, but rather embrace the Holy Ghost as an interwoven Person of our Triune God.
8) Jesus Christ is Deity. And when on Earth: a God-man, nothing less.
There is no doubt that Jesus Christ is deity. From Scripture we find him to be directly or indirectly identified as God or of God. Consider the following verses:
In Hebrews 1:8 the author proffers, “8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”
John 1:1-4 describes not only the Word [Christ] was God, but also his stature as the maker of all things, ” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 The same was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
In Titus 2:13 Paul declares to Titus, “13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
Phil 2:5-9 Paul states to the Philippians, “5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:”
Rev 22:13 describes the magnitude of Christ that no one but a Person of the Godhead could be accorded such enormous extent, such vastness: “13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
John 20:28-29 ” 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Notice that Christ does not rebuke Thomas for calling Him ‘God’. In fact He counts as blessed those that have never seen Him and yet have believed that He is Lord and God.
Psalm 18:2 Now that it has been shown that the LORD is Jesus, we can fully appreciate the following verse, “2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
Next, the second part of this post: when on Earth, Jesus a God-man, nothing less.
While Christ Jesus was here on Earth, He was exposed to similar experiences, hardships, joys and sorrows etc. as each of us, but He survived it all without sin: Heb 4:15 reads, ” 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus accomplished the miracle: no sin. 30+ years and without a single sin. Not even in His thoughts. Is this the stuff of man, or is this the stuff of a God-man? I believe He: a ‘God-man.’ Let’s pursue this theme. We normal humans are in fact only human. Was Jesus? Our Lord Jesus committed no sin. Does this sound like the attribute of a mere man? It sounds more and more like those attributes of a man above the level of a mere man. Sounds much more like ‘God-man.’
Even the apostle Paul who had a strong faith in Jesus, was not exempt from sin. In Rom 7:24 he exclaims, “Oh wretched man that I am!” He was only human: even Paul the apostle! In 1 John 1:8, ” If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” The opposite is and was the condition of Jesus. That is to say that if we were to think that Jesus had sin, we are only deceiving ourselves and we are not being truthful.
Yet another verse bulwarks our foundation that Jesus was more than mere man: John 2:24-25 reads, ” But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” This is perhaps the clearest evidence that Christ Jesus was no mere man. This is true because it is plain that our Lord had an attitude about man, and justifiably so. They were wretched in comparison to him.
My last argument has to do with the special connection that Jesus shared between His Heavenly Father and himself, specifically during his 30+ years here. Proceeding with John 8:28, ” Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” Add to that passage John 14:10, “ 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”
Thus for a variety of reasons I feel confident in asserting that Jesus never was a mere man. At the least He was a God-man.
Into the distant past, and on into the mysterious future I hold that Jesus Christ has been and continues to be God the Son, and God Almighty. It is appropriate to worship Him. It is accurate to hold Him to be good as a Person of the Holy Trinity. It is exclamatory to recognize Him as the present holder of the bulk of power, honor and glory as these attributes have been given Him by His beloved Father. It is genuine to acclaim Him as the maker of all that is, and to honor Him as our Lord, Savior and Master, moreover to recognize Him as Jehovah in most all instances: and bearing this name Jehovah or Yahweh, that glorifies Him to such an extent that it can truly be said He is the key Person throughout the Word: the Bible is about Jesus!
It is important to realize that with all the praise, the honor that has been accorded Him in the previous paragraph, it is high time to exalt Him with the truth that it is [still] Jesus’ time to shine. Exalt is an action verb and calls for public praise of our dear Lord Jesus. Let’s spread the word: let us G.O.A.L. meaning Glorify Our Astonishing Lord.
To commence this post concerning [among the other attributes] Christ’s unequaled power given by the Father, I would be remiss not to begin with God’s love for His Son. This love that the Father has for His dear Son Jesus is so evident, so outstanding, because it is this virtue more than anything else fathomable that caused Him to give to Jesus such treasures as the power, and the glory and honor that comes along with awesome power. That the Father gave Jesus attributes of glory and honor in an additional way comes via a statement He made on Christ’s behalf. Taking Matthew 12:18 and referring to its source: Isaiah 42:1, “Behold my servant[Jesus], whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” God’s soul is in a state of delight over His Son that He is very much pleased with. From 2 Peter 1:17, “17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” In the NIV this verse ends with: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Plainly and clearly, God delights in and loves His precious Son.
Should a newcomer, anyone, ask what is so great about love, then consider 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity[love], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity[love], I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity[love], it profiteth me nothing.” Imagine that:
- One can speak a foreign language miraculously.
- One can utter prophecies.
- One can understand all of the Bible mysteries et al.
- One can possess all knowledge.
- One can have all saving faith.
- One can feed the poor out of all resources available.
- One can offer up his own body.
One can have all of these gifts, all these features, and yet if he or she does not live as one who loves, then all of the above counts as nothing and there is no profit in having them. That is how important love is. God surely must possess love then? Yes. “…God is love.” (1 John 4:8b). And God must surely love His only begotten Son? Yes again. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
In ending this portion of the post, I reiterate the entire verse — 2 Peter 1:17, (NIV):
17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
The Scriptural sources –
Ephesians 1:21-23 NIV
far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
1 Corinthians 15:27
For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.
John 3:35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.
John 3:31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.
Matthew 28:17-19 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” 19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,…”
Isaiah 44:24 (KJV)
24 Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;
Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:16-18 (KJV)
16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 2:6-9 (KJV)
6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him?7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Revelation 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Revelation 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
Romans 11:34-36 (KJV) 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Revelation 19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
Revelation 4:11(NASB) “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
How can it be so, that Jesus, being the Second Person of the Godhead, has in this age the bulk of the power, honor, glory? Doesn’t the Lord’s Prayer begin and end as: After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven,…..
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
I supply the following in my best effort to make everything completely sensible as well as correct:
- The Lord’s Prayer is definitely a prayer to God the Father.
- The Lord’s Prayer evidently is not intended as a ritual prayer for this age. From the ancient Aramaic language, the language that Jesus spoke, the part reading: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done…” (KJV), is translated from the Aramaic: “Your kingdom is come. Your will is done…” (Refer to the big, black box below.) But the kingdom has yet to come, and God’s will has yet to be done. If this Prayer was meant for the future, from there to or until eternity, then it all makes sense. In the future, one would be able to correctly pray, “Your kingdom is come. Your will is done.”
Concerning the sentence near the top of this post that is in bold type, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.” I cite several verses to show how this part of the Prayer should be viewed. First, “24 Then cometh the end, when he [Jesus] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he [Jesus] must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet (1 Cor 15:24-25). The passage just given, verses 24-25 demonstrate without doubt that Jesus is currently the Person who is reigning (enjoying the power and the glory) and that in the future, after He has put all enemies under His feet, He will submit all to God, His Father who will assume what the Son currently has: the power and glory, and what the Son soon is to have — the entire Kingdom. Now I state the important remarks that lead to the significant conclusion. But before I state it, let me set forth the entire Prayer for your consideration: “9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.10 Thy kingdom [is] come, Thy will [is] done in earth, as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)
Notice in the above that I have included the two “[is]” verbs (because they are included in the Aramaic translation) and I have underscored the other two “is” verbs because of their relevance in the proof that the Lord’s Prayer is a prayer meant for the future.
At this point let me further authenticate my assertion that the inclusion of the “[is]” verbs is justified. Note the 2nd line:
On the second line, the translation goes, “Your Kingdom is come. Your will is done,” Present tense: (is). The absence of the present tense in other translations (most of them read, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done…”) makes a big difference. This 2nd line as you see it in white text is essential to my argument. In other words it means: Father, your kingdom is come and your will is done. However, the Father’s Kingdom has come, and His will is done or accomplished only in the future, not now, not presently.
What then is the situation now? 35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. (John 3:35) Join this to 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 which reads, 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
In other words the above can be condensed and focused to the following effect: the Father had kingdom, power, honor, glory which He lovingly gave to His Son. The Son diligently reigned/reigns, putting down enemies into His control, one by one, triumph by triumph. (This is happening in the present era or age.) Then [in the future] when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him [God] that put all things under him such that God may be all in all. So the attributes underlined above were with God the Father, given to the Son, and in the future are to be handed back to the Father. At that point in the future it can be truly said that, “Father…Your kingdom is come. Your will is done.” And also in the future, “For yours [Father] is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory.”
Therefore, the Lord’s Prayer “can only be realized in its contextual meaning in the coming millennial kingdom. There is no doubt that this prayer…was evidently not intended as a ritual prayer for this age. Its petitions, however, are remarkably comprehensive and it has served as a vehicle of blessing for countless millions.” [The late M.F.U. — Dr. Unger, longtime Professor at the Dallas Theological Seminary.]
The preceding paragraphs on the Lord’s Prayer were necessary to include because the principle effort of this post is to present, show, prove that the post title is correct: “Jesus Christ presently has the power, honor and glory.”
10) Jesus’ power is so great He is Almighty God.
This post ties in closely with Post 9) which went about showing that Jesus Christ presently has the bulk of the power, honor and glory. To have read and acknowledged Post 9) is to have [if not already] gained the insight and the state of knowing that Jesus indeed is Almighty God in the present age.
In Revelation 1:8 Jesus actually makes the knowing claim, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.“
The Lord Jesus makes this claim in the Old Testament as well. In Genesis 17:1b the LORD [Jehovah][Jesus] appears to Abraham, saying, “…I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” [In Post 5) it was virtually proven that Jehovah and Jesus are one and the same Person.] The adverb “virtually” that I placed in my declaration just given indicates there is an element of doubt in declaring that Jehovah and Jesus are the same Person. And this small doubt is enough to create a weakness in the assertion that the LORD [Jehovah][Jesus] appears to Abraham, saying, “…I am the Almighty God…”
To amplify on this issue one might ask: How can this be true, that Jesus, the Son of God, is Almighty in face of the verse — Psalm 110:1a, “The LORD [Jehovah] said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand…” This part of the verse seems to make it clear that Jehovah is the Father. However, take a close look at Ps 110:1b: “…until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” This is plainly Jesus talking. How so? It is established in 1 Cor 15:24-25, “Then cometh the end, when he [Jesus] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he [Jesus] hath put all enemies under his feet.” The two phrases in bold type indicate that Jesus is the key figure. In other words, until I make is now understood to be “…until I [Jesus] make thine enemies thy footstool.” Putting everything together at this point, we have Psalm 110:1a reading this way: “The LORD [Jehovah][Father] said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I [Jesus] make thine enemies thy footstool.” Clearly there is discord, lack of agreement, between the beginning and ending of this verse in Psalm Chapter 110. Scholars now agree that the disagreement, the indecisiveness, is intentional. Why so? The eyes of the Jewish people are yet to be opened. Until that happens, the Scripture is to remain vague and unclear in certain key places within the Bible. A Scriptural basis for the underlined sentence is Romans 11:25b, “that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
In determining which applicable Person, whether Father or Son, is ‘the LORD‘ in any particular verse, it should be kept in mind that approximately 45 OT to NT comparisons have been found by this blogger alone, and I am sure there must be more. These comparisons, which can be reviewed in Post 5), provide more than ample proof that in the vast majority of cases, ‘the LORD‘ or Jehovah is another name for Jesus Christ.
With this in mind, the reader can go back to the third paragraph of this Post and reread Genesis 17:1b — the LORD [Jehovah][Jesus] appears to Abraham, saying, “…I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.”
It would also do well to take another look at Post 9) which begins, “To commence this post concerning [among the other attributes] Christ’s unequaled power given by the Father…” While each piece of evidence, standing alone, has limited weight of proof, the Post in its entirety is weighted strongly toward the conclusion that our Lord Jesus possesses the virtue of being the Almighty, to include the power, the glory, the honor.
Jesus knowingly claims to be the Almighty. In addition the indirect evidence is highly supportive of Christ Jesus’ almighty stature. And the fact that Jesus only possesses this ‘Almighty’ attribute for an age that is soon to end does not diminish the glory and the honor accorded with being the Almighty from Genesis through Revelation and on to the present. And importantly, to Glorify Our Astonishing Lord, we ought not to forget to give our Lord the praise and the worship that should be accorded this our amazing Lord Jesus Christ, the Almighty God.
In ending, there is nothing more rousing than a magnificent song that gives Jesus His due as the Almighty. I refer the reader to the British singer-songwriter Tim Hughes who wrote and sang “Almighty God” that can be found in His album, “Holding Nothing Back.” Tim sings, “If we did not praise, the rocks would cry out…” Luke 19:40 reads, “And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”
Tim Hughes’ song can be accessed simply by entering: Almighty God by Tim Hughes.
11) Jesus has a deep love, worthy of our best love. Yet fear enters the equation.
Addressing the three elements of this Post’s title:
First, that Jesus has a deep love: View Ephesians 3:19, “and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
Second, that Jesus is worthy of our best love: Read Matthew 22:37, “…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” The command is to love Him. Is He worthy? He is more than worthy. He makes this clear in Romans 5:8 —
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (NASB) There are several salient facts that can be pulled from this verse (along with John 2:24-25):
God knows of a certainty just how great His love is for us.
God’s beloved Son died in agony for people who He didn’t even like in general. Enoch was one of the exceptions. John 2:24-25 reads, “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men. And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”
An explanatory note to the above is that Jesus does love us. Ephesians 3:19, “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” How does Christ love us so very much in the face of John 2:24-25? Two reasons are what I can understand: First, He loves what He already knows is to be. The sinner is to be redeemed, transformed, regenerated. The sinner is to become a new creature in Christ. And so He loves. The second reason is that He loves and will always love our souls: not the intellect which is of the mind, but the seat of feeling, of sensation which does not reason, accept or reject, but is simply the host of conscious perception. The souls: the Lord loves the souls.
Third and finally, the factor of fear enters into the panorama of Jesus’ vast love. We know that Christ Jesus is the upcoming judge: “He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42 – NIV)
In addition, we know that Jesus, our judge, is to be feared:
Ephesians 6:5 – NIV: Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
Philippians 2:12 – KJV: Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
These two verses in Ephesians and Philippians lend the evidence that is irrefutable: We are to obey Christ with fear. We are to work out our salvation with fear. It is fear born of wisdom and knowledge that Jesus Christ is going to judge us in a coming day, and we are aware of the issue of hell.
In the Old Testament is to be found supportive evidence concerning fear of the LORD, whom we have found to be Jesus Christ. Refer to Post 5) that the LORD is in fact Jesus. Below are given two select verses on the fear of the LORD:
Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (KJV)
Isaiah 2:10, “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.” (KJV)
This fear [although intensified in the preceding verse] is a healthy fear that promotes a great respect for God Almighty who is the Lord Jesus Christ, and high respect for the One who is the head of Christ: the Father. Not to forget the reverent fear for the precious Holy Spirit whom we must not hurt! The fear aspect also keeps us extra diligent in the continual search for a closer walk with Jesus, an ardor to raise our knowledge of our Lord, to seek with serious attention, a thriving love of the Lord Jesus.
A fear [not greatly dissimilar] involves trainees in the military who learn to fear fast as their drill sergeant shouts down their throats. What is the purpose of the drill sergeant’s fear-inducing actions? Well, the primary goal is to create in the beginning soldier a great respect for authority and respect for what might happen if that soldier slacks off or is disobedient to his superior. Quick obedience to one’s Sergeant or superior Officer is crucial in combat.
Similarly, fear-induced respect, a fearful respect, keeps us on our toes to satisfy our Lord God and His dear cause(s).
Not to say that the factor of fear is so overwhelming that it diminishes the goal of the first great commandment: to love the Lord thy God with all heart, soul, and mind. The love called for by the first and greatest commandment absolutely must supersede fear, or else we would be liable to shrink back to destruction [see Hebrews 10:39].
Lest I leave this subject of fear unfinished, an important issue needs to be resolved, and that is the content, meaning and significance of 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
Backing up a bit, it has been mentioned about fear’s place and the necessity of fear. But of its magnitude we have not fully discussed. A little fear can go a long ways. Consider now a fear so small it resides in the realm of the subliminal. That word ‘subliminal’ needs defining: operating below the threshold of consciousness; however, designed to be intense enough to influence the mental processes of the individual. Interestingly enough, this definition can be applied as follows: exhibiting no real fear, and at the same time exhibiting fear; not present, yet present.
Making application of the ‘no real fear’ feeling to the underlined verse above, we have: “There is no real fear in love…fear, that is, no real fear hath not torment…” Now to apply this alteration that was done for the sake of reconciling verses on fear to a verse on no fear in perfect love, let me give an important example: I love the Lord Jesus; I fear the Lord Jesus. Making an alteration similar to the one just given, the verse becomes: I love the Lord Jesus; I have no real fear of the Lord Jesus, even though I fear (but don’t fear) Him. This underlined modification satisfies the verses above on appropriate and needful fear of Christ the judge, and satisfies the verse in 1 John in which he declares that there is no fear in love, or perfect love. The difficulty with this way of tackling the problem of reconciling a verse such as: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” with a verse: “but perfect love casteth out fear” is a problem similar to one of, say, proving that 1 = 0. More than a few readers of this Post may well be skeptical of the approach given above. And they certainly are skeptical about an attempt to make 1=0! And so I offer a different approach, a more palatable one.
I began the task at hand by heading straight for an expanded definition of fear and found the following explanatory remark: “Fear and love must coexist in us in order that either passion be healthy, and that we may please and rightly serve God.” Let’s for the time being accept this as a given. Then we can checkmark the following: Love the Lord, and fear the Lord. What then about: Perfect love casts out fear? It was suggested to me today that ‘fear’ may have a different definition in the underlined statement above. Fear may mean a concern. Moreover, a filial concern. The parent has an ongoing filial concern, or filial ‘fear,’ for his or her little one. This is not a fear of torment or of constantly being afraid. Instead it is a healthy parental concern that accompanies (or should accompany) real love: caring love.
Perfect love is a caring love which nurtures a caring concern. Then, although perfect love does cast out fear, it doesn’t cast out the healthy and needful caring concern.
Upon struggling with the paragraphs above in an effort to fully understand them, this blogger finds himself lacking. I wish for the reader to know this because should he also find himself without full comprehension, he then realizes he is not alone. In hindsight, this blogger might have been ahead, for himself as well as for the reader, by expressing that we must simply accept certain hard to resolve differences found in Scripture, and tie up loose ends in our thinking by reflecting on Romans 11:33 (NASB):
“ 33 Oh, the depth of the riches [a]both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” So then we respond with a trusting, resounding yes to all of the following:
- The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.
- God is love; and Christ’s love surpasses [our] knowledge.
- Love the LORD thy God with all heart, soul, mind.
- There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.
Placed together and expounded: Although it is important to fear the LORD, we ought to strive toward a perfect love that casts out the fear [although not obliterate it]. We ought to allow fear to have its place in our lives to prevent disobedience and backsliding, but also open a virtual compartment in our minds that might flourish with the love of God and man.
In pursuing the topic of love and how a person, a living soul, may enter the kingdom of God: Love is the key. One may argue that it is not love but faith. “By faith you are saved” (may enter the kingdom) is the argument made by some. Yet the more you dig into the Bible the more convinced you become that God (in Romans 12:3 and Ephesians 2:8) and God the Holy Spirit (in I Cor 12:9–read surrounding verses too) supply the faith you need to have. To see that love is the more important thing for us to foster than anything else can be understood by taking a good look at the whole Chapter 13 of I Corinthians and specifically verses 2 and 13. So love is right there at the top, but Love in general (Matthew 22:39) is not the only love God requires of us. Matthew 22:37-38 explains that it is the love of the Lord that is the first and greatest rule that you need to apply in your life experience.
How do we apply this greatest rule, this greatest commandment of the New Covenant? Fervent prayer is a very good beginning place. And on that note let me take you back to the 13th Century and Richard of Wyche, an extraordinary man of God. A well-known prayer written by him reads in part as follows:
Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits Thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly, day by day.
- Notice that this scholar, Richard of Wyche, is praying to the Lord Jesus.
- Note that he asks to love the Lord more dearly. This is an expression of affection. He already loves the Lord Jesus and prays to love Him even more.
- Notice also that the whole prayer is born from love.
This prayer opens up the whole theme of loving the Lord Jesus Christ, and principally how we arrive at a fervent love for Jesus.
The question that comes to mind is how does this love develop in the first place? I concede that I really do not understand the art and science of true love. And Joni Mitchell would side with me: “I really don’t know love at all.” But 1 John 4:19 reveals, “We love him, because he first loved us.” Or this can be read and understood as, “I love him, because he loves me.” This corresponds completely with the notion that ran through my mind a little while ago, “I love because I am loved.” Although that is not my overall guess at what love is about, it still makes a rough-around-the-edges statement on love, and it still provides a clue about what is an ingredient in the development of this mysterious and elusive emotion in the mind, and state of mind.
An indicator of true love of the Lord is delight in doing His will, and delight in keeping His law, His commandments. In Matthew Chapter 22 there are introduced the two great New Covenant commandments, condensed to:
- Love the LORD to your highest possible limit.
- Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.
As for the first great commandment, notice that the LORD is in caps, and in Post 5) it is all but completely proven that ‘the LORD‘ is Jesus. So then the first and greatest commandment is — love Jesus to your highest limit. And the second can be phrased as — love your fellow person wholeheartedly. Of importance is that one who takes real delight in loving the Lord Jesus and one’s fellow person is exhibiting a most precious love indeed. In Psalm 40:8 David declares, “8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”
Let me interject here that as New Testament, New Covenant saints we are freed by the blood of the lamb from the multitude of OT Mosaic laws. In Romans 6:14 we find, “14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Yet there are a certain number of laws and ‘warnings’ that must give us pause. John instructs us, and he is inspired of God:
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.“
King David delighted in being obedient in keeping the law, the commandments. This delight to obey the Lord Jesus was an obvious indication of love. And that passion, forming one of the ingredients that lifted David to a lively and intimate love relationship with his Lord and Master was one of the key features that explained why David was “a man after his [the LORD’S] heart.”(1 Samuel 13:14) David was a man after the LORD’S own heart, where heart may be defined as the center of emotion, especially as contrasted to the head as the center of the intellect. That underlined word emotion is a key part of passionate love.
We find in Scripture that King Saul was disobedient to the commandment given him, and so the LORD took away Saul’s kingship and gave it to the man after His own heart (whom the Lord loved): David.
What can be concluded from the above is that the LORD loved David and David loved the LORD.
There are other reasons as to why a love relationship existed between the LORD and David, based on David being a man after the LORD’S own heart:
- David had a rock-solid faith in the LORD.
- David was very thankful for his blessings.
- David was truly repentant about his sins.
- Despite all the chastisements, David always loved the LORD.
What have we learned about this brief look into aspects of love to include delight, passion, obedience to the LORD & law, identifying with Him, faith, thankfulness, true repentance, and a love that wouldn’t/doesn’t quit: these aspects are indicators not only of David’s loving mindset, but of our love relationship with God. And the greatest indicator is or should be that we love God’s Son, the LORD, with all heart, soul, mind. This commandment is an ‘absolute.’ It is a commandment that serves as a beacon which we are directed to head for. Because of family and friends, etc., our love is scattered between God and God’s three Persons, loved ones, loved activities, and the list goes on. However when these things are viewed as the various aspects that fulfill the two great Commandments which include love of Jesus and your fellow person, then we can grasp that we are not so far off-course after all, and that instead we are in the right direction.
12) The Word is likened to a grand jigsaw puzzle.
There are instances in which a Bible reader may come across a passage that seems to be at odds with some other verse(s), and the reader may not know which way to turn.
It most usually turns out that there is an explanation somewhere in Scripture that resolves the seeming differences. Or our logical processes serve to explain.
We can look at the ‘opposing’ verses as separate pieces of a jigsaw puzzle which when one attempts to fit together [which means they would be supportive, one to the other if they fit] it happens that they don’t fit. What is needed is a third verse(s) of Scripture, a third jigsaw piece, to cause all three to mesh. Thus one comes to understand the reason for the apparent discrepancy, and that there is no disagreement at all. In passing it may be said that preaching is invaluable in that it affords the preacher the opportunity to bring light to a scriptural puzzle that doesn’t seem to work out, but with expounding the text by drawing in other Scriptures or illustrations, everything works out fine. Thus the minister, pastor, evangelist et al. is worth his weight in gold in illuminating hard to understand passages, and in effect he is finding and bringing into play those jigsaw puzzle pieces that are gems of understanding.
Let us consider an example from Philippians 2:12-13. The puzzle begins when we take a good look at verse 12b, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Verse 12b forms a puzzle piece. Within the following verse we have, “For it is God which worketh in you.” This part, extracted from verse 13 certainly also is a puzzle piece. The two pieces just mentioned require another one to offer adequate explanation.
The puzzle is that verse 12b requires action on our part: work it out. However the very next verse implies action on God’s part: “For it is God which works in you.” The extra puzzle piece required to make it all sensible is briefly: both our actions and God’s are called for. We do our part and God does His.
The early 18th Century scholar Matthew Henry whose vast, highly explanatory commentary is so vital that it is currently a part of Christ Notes Bible lookup: this man of old provides us an insightful explanatory comment that unifies verses 12 and 13. He simply and correctly makes the decision to treat both verses as truth, not casting aside either one. Here is his gem of a statement: “We must be diligent in the use of all the means which lead to our salvation, persevering therein to the end. With great care, lest, with all our advantages, we should come short. Work out your salvation, for it is God who worketh in you. This encourages us to do our utmost, because our labour shall not be in vain: we must still depend on the grace of God. The working of God’s grace in us, is to quicken and engage our endeavours. God’s good-will to us, is the cause of his good work in us.”
Matthew Henry’s explanation in green and bold black above renders the core explanatory comment that unifies verses 12 and 13 of Philippians chapter 2. We can view this explanation as the needed puzzle piece, which along with verses 12 and 13 form a chunk that may be placed into the grand jigsaw puzzle at some future time: you know how jigsaw puzzles work. JN