Friday, February 15, 2019

The Biblical revelation about the person and work of Jesus God's Anointed One?

Where the Bible is concerned, Jesus, God's anointed one is firmly in the realm of humanity, a genuine human being. We can be sure that we are on firm Scriptural ground when we affirm that Jesus is truly and certainly man. Is this to say that he is “just” a man like the rest of us? Not at all. No? But did we not say just now that he is truly human? Certainly, but which of us can be described as a “perfect man” or a “sinless man”? None of us. So it is clear that in this most important sense he is unlike us. Since he alone is a perfect man, does it not follow that he alone is perfectly human? Does it not likewise follow that in the light of Jesus’ unique perfection, all mankind must admit to being not perfectly human? Thus, human beings are not truly human in the way they were created to to be until they too are finally “made perfect” (cf. Hebrews 5:9; 7:28; 11:40; 12:23).

The great Apostle obviously did not consider this a possibility in this life when he said, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because God's anointed one Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12). This means that Jesus is the only true man who has ever existed on the earth because he is the only perfect, sinless person who has ever lived.

Where Scripture is concerned, there is therefore no question about Jesus being human and, indeed, the only truly human person. Herein is his absolute uniqueness; he is incomparable. This is precisely why he alone could be the savior of the world. For the problem with humanity is that because of its self centeredness and sin it has behaved as less than human, less than what God intends man to be. This is, sadly, something many people experience all too painfully on the personal and social levels, as also on the international level; something we are reminded of daily by simply turning on the world news reports and hearing about the interminable conflicts and wars going on in the world. But there is hope in God's anointed o ne, because in him Yehovah God will reconcile all things to Himself (Colossians 1:20).

The Biblical revelation brings us to the realization that there is only one true God and there is also only one true man. Moreover, between them, as might be expected, there exists a unique relationship of oneness, which Jesus repeatedly spoke about. This oneness or union he described in terms of a mutual “abiding” or indwelling: “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:11). Because Jesus alone was sinless, he alone was the “place” (John 2:19) where the holy God could dwell in His fullness. This divine fullness is represented by God’s Word (John 1:1) which, as words do, might be described as having welled up from the innermost depth of His being – and having come forth to dwell in the one true man, and in His anointed one to dwell among us (John 1:14).

In the early church there was a description of this oneness of God in His anointed one in terms of the picture of a piece of iron placed in the fire until it glows in the fire; thus the iron is in the fire, and the fire is in the iron, yet the fire is still fire and the iron is still iron, the one does not change into the other, but it beautifully and effectively illustrates Jesus’ words, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:11). The union is such that Yehovah could freely speak and work through His anointed one to accomplish His eternal purposes in the world, and His anointed one could speak and act for Yehovah as His fully empowered plenipotentiary. That is why there are some places in Scripture where it is not always clear whether the reference has to do with Yehovah or with His anointed one. Yet it must be remembered that the union of iron with fire does not mean that the iron becomes fire, or that the fire becomes iron; they are united but remain distinct. Likewise, the union of Yehovah with the anointed one does not mean that the anointed one is Yehovah or that Yehovah is the anointed one.

So the Biblical revelation reveals not only that Jesus is the only true man, which in itself would be marvelous enough, but just as amazingly, that Yehovah God came into the world in His anointed one to reconcile the world to Himself, that is, to save it.

Jesus, therefore, is uniquely Yehovah’s “temple” (John 2:19) in the world where atonement for sin was made through his truly human and sinless blood, and from which Yehovah God's truth is proclaimed to the ends of the earth. And because Jesus is the only true man, he is the only mediator acting on man’s behalf (1 Timothy 2:5), just as Moses mediated on Israel’s behalf. His is also the only name effective for mankind’s salvation: “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “Given” by whom? Who else but by Yehovah God Himself?

Since it pleased Yehovah God, the Father, to exalt Jesus over all other beings, such that every tongue should confess him as “lord,” that is how he is to be regarded and honored “to the glory of the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).

We are eternally grateful that he is the perfect man who “loved us and gave himself for us” in order “to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). And now we are united with God and with His anointed one in “the body of God's anointed one,” which is the called-out Assembly of God, and of which God's anointed one is the head and we are the members. In this new life we now learn to relate to Yehovah God as the center of our lives, while always gratefully remembering and honoring His anointed one, the perfect sacrifice (as at the Communion, or lord's supper) that Yehovah provided for us. God's anointed one Jesus, the only perfect man, made the salvation of mankind possible.

Written by Eric Chang... edited by Bruce Lyon

The Only True God:

Monday, February 11, 2019


The virgin birth of Jesus is recorded in Matthew and in Luke (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-38), but neither gospel explains its meaning. The lack of explanation is surprising given that the virgin birth was no ordinary event. How are we to understand it if no explanation is given for it? In Luke’s account of the virgin birth, one verse stands out, however:

Luke 1:35: And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy - the Son of God” (ESV).

The Holy Spirit’s overshadowing of Mary in Luke 1:35 has a parallel in Genesis 1:2 which says that at the creation of the world, “the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters”. Many OT scholars note that in the Hebrew text, “hovering over” literally means “brooding over” (the word “brooding” refers to a bird’s sitting on eggs to hatch them).

The two parallels between Luke 1:35 and Genesis 1:2 (namely, Holy Spirit // Spirit of God, and overshadowing // hovering/brooding) bring out a vital truth:

The overshadowing of Mary by the Holy Spirit has to do with the new creation whereas in Genesis, the Spirit’s brooding over the as yet unformed earth has to do with the “old” (physical or material) creation. The overshadowing of Mary by God’s Spirit indicates that the new creation is primarily a spiritual creation brought into being by being “born of the Spirit.”

The meaning of the virgin birth is brought out not only in Jesus’ teaching of being “born of the Spirit” (John 3:5) but also in Paul’s teaching of the “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15), a term that, like the virgin birth, would be unintelligible if it were given “out of the blue” without explanation or precedent.

There is no doubt that the word “overshadow” (episkiazō) in the account of the virgin birth points back to the Spirit’s involvement in the Genesis creation (“the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters,” Genesis 1:2). Here the word “hovering” (Hebrew “rachaph”, used elsewhere only in Deuteronomy 32:11) brings out the idea of “overshadowing”.

The Spirit of God brought into being a new creation in Mary, replacing a sperm from Adam’s descendants. In this way Jesus is a descendant of Adam via Mary but also the beginning of a new creation by the creative power of the Spirit of Yahweh. This would explain Paul’s teaching of the “new creation” in God's anointed one (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; cf. Revelation 21:5) and of Jesus as “the man from heaven” or “the spiritual man” (1 Corinthians 15:45-49).

Jesus came into being by the creative power of God’s Spirit. Believers also, as a result of being in God's anointed one, are incorporated into the new creation, becoming new persons through God’s transforming power. Just as Jesus was born of the Spirit at his birth, so everyone needs to be born of the Spirit, as is stated in the well-known words to Nicodemus: “You (plural) must be born from above” (John 3:7), and “Unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3) - that is, he cannot inherit eternal life.

What God has accomplished in Jesus, He intends to reproduce in every believer, that is totally committed to Him, so that he or she becomes a new creation, by being born of the Spirit into a new life that is lived by the power of God’s indwelling Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16). God has in view that all believers grow into a “mature manhood, to the stature of the fullness of His anointed one” (Ephesians 4:13).

In the New Testament, being a Christian is not just a matter of believing in Jesus or believing that he died for us, but is crucially a matter of becoming a new person who is like Jesus in the way he lives and thinks. This is what constitutes true believing or what Paul calls “the obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5; 16:26). True faith includes an obedience to the Father that mirrors the way Jesus lived in perfect obedience to Him. In the New Testament, any claim to faith is spurious if it is not accompanied by wholehearted obedience to God.

The gospels speak of our being disciples of Jesus. But Jesus is now in heaven at the right hand of the Father, so how do we follow him now?

In this age, to follow Jesus means to live in relation to the Father as Jesus lived in relation to the Father: "as he is, so are we in this world" (1 John 4:17).

We need to realize the connection between Jesus’ being born of the Spirit at the virgin birth and our need to be born of the Spirit. We also need to realize the connection between Jesus’ being the head of the new creation and our being partakers of the new creation in him. Likewise, we need to realize the connection between Jesus’ being indwelled by the “whole fullness of God” (Colossians 1:19) and our being indwelled by the Spirit such that we are “filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). We need to understand that God intends that our spiritual lives be a reproduction of Jesus’ life, to see that the goal of the believer’s life is to be an image of the living God, as Jesus is the image of God, in order that God’s life may be manifested through us in fundamentally the same way it was and is manifested through Jesus. It is the Father’s eternal plan that we “be conformed to the image of His son” (Romans 8:29).

These are vital realities that if we don't act upon will give rise to a hollow faith that does not see the necessity of living our lives as Jesus lived his life. Today it is hard to find a wholehearted follower of Jesus who is filled with dynamic power and spirit. Yet Paul says, “This is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). And what is this sanctification but the whole process of becoming like Jesus; the biblical Jesus; by being “born of the Spirit” and then being perfected by Yahweh’s indwelling Spirit? This process involves out being wholehearted in our commitment to living according to the will of our God and our Father.

We need to take heed to the warning that Jesus gives in Revelation 2:14-16: And unto the angel of the called-out Aseembly of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the [new] creation of God; I know your works, that you are neither cold [unconverted] nor hot [totally committed]: I would thou were cold [unconverted] or hot [totally committed]. So then because you are lukewarm [not totally committed], and neither cold [unconverted] nor hot [totally committed], I will vomit you out of my mouth.

If we have not died to self and become totally committed to God and to His son Jesus, and are not doing His will, we will not have any part in the coming kingdom of God.

Jesus says: Luke 11:23: He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathers not with me scatters.

What Jesus is saying here is that if you are not with him 100 percent, totally committed to him, you are against him. There is no middle ground. Those who are not totally committed to obeying the words that God gave to Jesus to give to us will be among those whom Jesus says he will not know when they appear before him:

Matthew 7:21-23: Not every one that says unto me, lord, lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, lord, lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in you name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

Written by Eric Chang in Chapter 9 of The Only Perfect Man and edited by Bruce Lyon

You can read The Only Perfect man online:

Sunday, February 10, 2019

What does 1 Peter 2:9 mean when it refers to believers as peculiar people?

Let's see what Peter is talking about:

1 Peter 2, 2-10: As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby: If so be that you have tasted that the lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, You also, as lively stones, be you built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus the anointed one. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on him shall not be confounded.

Unto you therefore who believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a purchased people; that you should show forth the virtues of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

So first if you will notice my translation the word "peculiar" should be "purchased".... 

Also Peter quotes an O.T. verse that speaks to Israel...

Exodus 19:5-6: Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.

Indeed, this is our standing as those who have been grafted into the olive tree - Israel and have become a part of the commonwealth of Israel, who are now members of the house of God; His congregation as in the Messiah [King] of Israel; who is the representative man of Israel. We in him are the Israel of God - as Peter has referred to - "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a purchased people; that you should show forth the virtues of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light"

So as Israel of old was to be a witness for Yehovah to the Gentiles [world] and failed; and not only failed but rejected their own Messiah; and in rejecting him have been cut off from Israel.

Now, at this time, the only ones who can be a part of the Israel of God are those who believe and accept the teaching of the lord Messiah Jesus whether Jews or Gentiles, we are all on the same plane, all have sinned.

Those who believe in Jesus as the Messiah - God's anointed one are grafted into the olive tree - God's Israel - that Jesus represents. [Romans 11]

Saturday, February 2, 2019


How can I overcome resistance to Change?
I am going to answer this question directed to our self resistance to change. Most of us don't like any change to the status quo. However, as believers who have been regenerated at baptism and are now going through a renewal process change is inevitable. We don't like anything that impinges on our freedom to do what we want. However, to be involved in the renewal process we need to submit to the leading of God's Spirit that indwells us and move forward overcoming our resistance to obey and do God's will in our lives.
How do we do that?
The answer is that God never leaves us without the means to accomplish whatever He requires of us. He readily gives His Holy Spirit to all who His in order that they may continue in the renewing of their minds as new creations in the lord Jesus, God's anointed one. We are told from scripture that God will give us wisdom and more of His Spirit to all who ask. Most of the time we already have the spiritual power to overcome resistance to change, but we don't exercise it. God will never force us to do anything, as that would transgress our freedom of choice. We are however held responsible and accountable to our God and our Father Yehovah if we do not exercise the power He has give us to overcome the resistance we might have to change.

Faith involves a total commitment to obey the words our God and Father gave to His son to give to us. Even as Jesus said, the words he spoke were not his own but the words of his God and Father, whose Spirit was in him without measure! We need to utilize the Spirit of God in us to carry out and do what He wants us to do as His sons and daughters. He has given us all the means to do what He requires of us and now it is up to each one of us to obey and do HIs will. Ŧhe renewal process involves loving our God and our Father with all of our being and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is impossible without the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God and of the lord Jesus in us. To love our God with all our being and love our neighbor as ourselves we need to realize that doing so is an ongoing progressive process that will lead us to become mature men and women in the lord Jesus.

Paul says that ".... our inner man is being renewed day by day" (2 Cor:4:16). Indeed as God's workmanship He is by His indwelling presence in us renewing us day by day as we submit to Him totally committed to doing His will in our lives. We understand that the very word 'renewal," implies that the old nature still exists in us. By God's grace, the old nature is being removed progressively in the renewal process. So in reality the old nature is still present in the Christian life but it is steadily being removed as we move closer to the image of God's anointed one. Every day in the renewal process, we move one step closer to our final destination.
Paul says: "In reference to your former manner of life; you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of you mind."
Attitudes are hard to change, but we must bear in mind that the old self and new self are incompatible. God's Spirit changes the attitude of our minds. Romans 12:2 says: "Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." We have to be committed to the renewing of our mind and forsake all that has to do with our old nature. It is constant battle with our old nature that enables us to grow in strength and overcome in the new life in the lord Jesus. We are in the process of being renewed into the image of God's anointed one, thereby making us into a whole new person - a new creation in the lord Jesus. To that end the "old man" is discarded like old clothes and the "new man" is "put on" like a new garment!