As I am writing this editorial during the Passover week, I am reflecting on the tremendous sacrifice which God the Father and Jesus Christ gave for us and, potentially, for all of mankind. As an aside, this week parallels the crucifixion week in 31 A.D.: Passover eve this year and in 31 A.D. fell on Tuesday evening; Christ was beaten and killed on a Wednesday; He was placed in the grave Wednesday evening, at sunset; and He rose three days and three nights later, on Saturday evening, at sunset.
Christ came in the flesh: He–the glorious God being who always existed, since all eternity–changed into flesh, became flesh, WAS flesh, so that He could overcome SIN in the flesh, and so that He could DIE and pay through His death the penalty for man’s sins–which is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Everyone who repents and changes; obeys Him; accepts in faith His sacrifice and obtains forgiveness, becomes baptized and receives God’s Holy Spirit; allows Christ to really live in him and to guide him; can look forward to the gift of eternal life which Christ will give him when He returns in glory and power.
God the Father and Jesus Christ brought this supreme sacrifice because they love us. In return, we are called to love God and man. Our love is proven by the fact that we keep God’s commandments–as Christ proved His love for the Father when He obeyed Him (John 14:31, Revised Standard Version).
God’s commandments show us how to love! For example, the first four of the Ten Commandments show us how to love God, and the last six of the Ten Commandments show us how to love our fellow man.
God’s love in us, shed into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5), enables us to obey God. After all, God’s love is defined as keeping God’s commandments of love (1 John 5:3; 2 John 6).
But in living that way–in overcoming sin, in obeying God, in doing what is pleasing in His sight, in manifesting God’s love in our lives–God promises us many tremendous benefits which the world cannot presently receive–and I am not even speaking of our incredible future as born-again glorified God beings in God’s Kingdom. I’m speaking of the here and now. However, we must take God at His Word–we must believe and do what He says.
Notice the following promises:
“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them'” (Mark 11:22-24).
“‘You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you” (John 15:16).
“And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22).
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
These are some of the Scriptures setting forth God’s PROMISES. How many try to solve their problems on their own, rather than turning them over to God, in faith, to let Him fight their battles for them? Of course, we must have persistent faith in His mighty power and wisdom, and since this kind of faith is also a gift of the Holy Spirit, we must continue to ask God for His Spirit on a permanent basis (Luke 11:13). But when we do our part, God WILL do His–in His due time.
Are you sick? Do you really appreciate fully that Jesus did not only DIE for us so that we can inherit ETERNAL LIFE in the future, but that He was also tortured and beaten and stricken and smitten so that we can be healed NOW from our sicknesses (Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 8:16-17; Psalm 103:1-4; but compare also 1 Corinthians 11:27-31)? Take God at His Word and turn yourself over to God and plead with Him for healing of your sicknesses–never doubting that God WILL hear your prayer. Notice James 5:14-18:
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”
Sometimes we have no answers. We feel that there IS an answer, but we don’t seem to find it. In that case, we need to ask God for His wisdom, believing and not doubting that He will answer our request (James 1:5-8). At other times, there is really nothing we CAN do. Humanly speaking, we might have reached the end of our rope. But God is not limited by our limitations, nor is He limited by natural law (Isaiah 38:8; Joshua 10:12-14). Just pray to God for His solution, and it WILL come.
God GAVE His Son to die for us so that we could LIVE. He GAVE His Son to be tortured for us so that we could be HEALED. God wants us to be prosperous and in good health (3 John 2). He has shown us the way. He offers us His help. Accept His help and take God at His Word.