CALLED BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN
2 Timothy 1:9 says that salvation “was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”. But in time that holy calling (v. 9) was “. . .made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (v. 10)
This plan and purpose of eternal salvation was a Divine strategy even before creation- history was yet to perceive this and receive this.
“SAVE” AND “CALL”
God has “saved” men in that He has effectively “called” them out of the world. Paul calls this “a holy calling” (1:9), therefore it is omnipotent. In the Greek, the dative case (κλήσει ἁγίΊ) would then be dative of means or instrument, and “calling” would have its usual NT meaning: God’s effective summons to salvation. Or the word “save” may signify the objective provision which God has made for the salvation of men; “call” may signify His summons to individuals to accept the salvation provided for them. No matter, the “call” for salvation is God’s and Jesus’ “love call” - we must answer it in order to be “saved”.
PERFECT THRU OBEDIENCE
This is what Hebrews 5:8 says, to be obedient to what Jesus’ Father wanted involved suffering, (see also Heb 2:10) Hebrews 4:15 goes on to state that Jesus “. . .was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”.
You see, Jesus was both “human” and “divine”. I think that one of the temptations Jesus had to deny was the temptation to prostitute His ministry, which is common to men in the ministry. Maybe a bit of “praise” for His good deeds, His miracles? Remember, Jesus was human.
Did Jesus have to “learn” obedience because at one time He did not obey His Father? No! It means that with each new trial he learned in practice- in pain- what it meant to obey. Furthermore, when our text says that Jesus was “made perfect through suffering,” it does not mean that Jesus gradually rid Himself of imperfections. No! It means that He was gradually fulfilling the “perfect” righteousness that He had to have in order to be our “perfect sacrifice”.
Jesus ENDURED His tests, His trials without sinning. Jesus asked, “which of you convicts me of sin?” -John 8:46. Well, it was not any of Israel’s religious leaders—that’s for sure. One author has written, “If the Son of God had gone from incarnation to the cross without a life temptation and pain to test His righteousness and His love, He would not be a suitable Savior for fallen man. His suffering not only absorbed that wrath of God, it also fulfilled His true humanity and made Him to call us brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:17)”. Beautifully said.
Hebrews 15:20, 21 speaks of Jesus being brought again from the dead so as to “equip you with everything good that you may do His will”. No DEATH, no RESURRECTION!
Verses 20 and 21 is a pastoral prayer. The resurrection was necessary to vindicate the Holy Character of God. Had the Son remained in the tomb, had death conquered Him who was the Son of God, the Word of God, the sacrifice of God, then all the haters of the Son would have been right, and men could only have whispered in despair, “God is dead!”
MAKE US PERFECT?
Verse 21 states: “Make you (us) perfect in every good work to do His will. . .” That word “perfect” (τελειόω / tělěiŏō) means “to complete, accomplish, finish, fulfil without wavering, until the end.” This ought to make us think upon our service—will we continue till the END or stop short?
Ponder this “equipping,” The prayer is that God will equip us with the resources, with the grace and mercy we need in every conceivable circumstance. . . .to persevere, endure as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2:3)
Remember, God will supply all we need to finish our course. Not all we want! Hebrews 12:2 gives us Jesus’ profile to follow: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Back up to verse 1: “. . .let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”. . . .then look at Jesus for the model we want to copy.
So, Jesus’ death and resurrection makes it possible to receive eternal life—by faith—but also enables us to complete our Christian mission with love for Christ and love for the lost. We are SAVED to SERVE!
The riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7) are all FREE. His love poured out on the cross was not a response to our worth, but His worth. It is said that is what divine love is in the end: a PASSION for undeserving sinners, at a great cost.
NO OTHER HUMAN
It is true; no other human being has done what Jesus Christ has done. It was Jesus that brought God’s Word to us, made His purpose clear—His love enables us to deal with the unlovable. “Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)
“Christ loved the Ekklesia and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25)
“He loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20)
The admonition “walk in love” was written in reference to “as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us...” Ephesians 5:2. And just what was this “love” Christ had, and we, his people, are suppose to imitate? It certainly was not, is not, the churchy kind of love we see and hear today. . . that winks at sin and indulges in sinful behaviors. Christ’s love was ( and is) pure—a love that corrects, even punishes, in order to see the believer make Heaven and miss Hell!
The “love” Christ had for the sinner and for the convert was a captivating love. Christ “gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20), that is, was crucified as a criminal in order to redeem us - who were but criminals (law breakers) in order to make us citizens of a new kingdom. Therefore, we should take the self-giving act of Christ Jesus personally. How do we do this? Paul gave the answer in the first part of Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God. . . .”
Christian, are you crucified to the world, the flesh, the devil? Do you live the “crucified” life? Those who have faith in Christ ought to live their lives in intimate union with the Lord Jesus. Salvation is a free gift, but fruitfulness is bought . . . . with DEATH TO SELF!
Do we see this DEATH operating in and among the Ekklesia today? Hardly!! What we see is self-exaltation (hubris) pride etc.
It is through the power of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) that the risen life of Christ is continually communicated to us—we grieve or deny the Spirit’s workings, we start dying again. This is evident in today’s Catholic Church. If we don’t love Christ, how can we love those whom Christ died for? The living by faith is connected with dying to self.
FRIEND OR ENEMY?
Ponder this: “Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 5:15). Jesus did just this. Jesus died for the ungodly, those who were enemies of God, yet, He offered His pure life for man’s impure life. In this way He was the friend of sinners, not that he condoned their sins, but died and resurrected in order to FORGIVE them. Should not we pray for the lost... the sinners of the world... the enemies of God and Christ?
ARMY ON THE MOVE!
As we see the army of Islam on the move (especially in Europe right now), cruel and demonic, demanding and commanding any and all to SUBMIT to Allah (Islam’s false god), aren’t you troubled dear Christians? We ought to be doing what they are doing. It should be God’s Army taking the field for souls, not the Muslims. (Watch our DVD series called Islamic Invasion, posted at our Youtube channel, as well as in our publications, Words of the Spirit).
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). To believe on the Lord is to give our hearts to Him, to commit ourselves to His purposes. It means turning FROM sin TO Christ through faith. It means believing that He IS the Son of God sent to redeem the sinner. It means believing that He forgives our sins as we confess them and repent of them. It means that “salvation” also includes the gift of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) that will be present with us... to help, guide, and comfort us in our journey to Heaven.
Believing upon, believing in Christ is more than believing truths about Him—it means to “be” and to “live” the Christian life.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:15). Christ is waiting. “Everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name” (Acts 10:43), “To all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God (as opposed to the children of the devil or wrath). (John 1:12); “Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
Jesus paid the highest price to give us the greatest gift—eternal life. . . .He died to secure this for you and me. Therefore, let us who have received eternal life work and war on behalf of those still bound in eternal death in order that they may be FREE!!