The Very Human Jesus

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 29, 2012

“Details of His human ancestry are carefully preserved in the gospel records. He was born of the virgin Mary, and ‘was made of the seed of David according to the flesh’ (Romans 1:3; cf. Acts 13:23). The names of His brothers are given, and His genealogy on both sides of the family is given in detail.

He was normal in His human appearance. So far as the woman of Samaria was concerned, at first Jesus was only another hated Jew. She noted nothing unusual in His appearance (John 4:9). To the two dispirited disciples trudging along the Emmaus road, He was only another fellow-citizen, strangely out of touch with recent events (Luke 24:18). Even after the resurrection when Jesus appeared in His glorified body, Mary at first mistook Him for the gardener (John 20:15). His own intimate friends mistook Him for another man when they returned from their fishing expedition (John 21:4-5). These incidents all combine to underline the naturalness and humanness of His physical appearance….

Like every other man, He hungered (Mark 11:12). But God does not hunger (Psalm 50:12). After days of strenuous work He was weary (John 4:6). But God is never weary (Isaiah 40:28). He slept (Matthew 8:24). But God neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:4). He was moved by human sympathy and wept (John 11:35). He craved human sympathy Himself (Matthew 26:36-40). He was tempted (Hebrews 4:15). But God cannot be tempted (James 1:13). He died (John 19:30). But God cannot die.

Our Lord’s consenting to be subject to human limitations was part of the mystery of His great self-humiliation.”

J. Oswald Sanders

The Incomparable Christ, 64-65

~~~

The more you contemplate this incomprehensible happening by the second Person of the Trinity the more awestruck you become. To see His humility and love made vivid and real in human flesh moves ones heart to humble adoration and worship. My Lord and my God, I bow as low as I can to worship You.




The Lord’s Satisfaction

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 26, 2012

“God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).

God watched His first woman allow the serpent, Satan disguised, to deceive her into disobeying His command (Gen. 3:1-6). Then He saw His first woman tempt His first man with the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:7). When Adam disobeyed his Creator’s clear command, the entire human race, which was in his seed and would come from him, plummeted into slavery to sin. As mankind multiplied so did wickedness because every human being born was corrupt, controlled by indwelling sin and enslaved to Satan. “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to his heart” (Gen. 6:5-7, emphasis mine). The loving Creator, a Father in heart, saw the crown of His creation that had been “very good” become “only evil continually.” God’s heart went from being delightfully satisfied with what He saw as “very good” to becoming grieved because of man’s sin.

This led to the grand display of His beautiful character. His love, holiness and justice would be made visible to His angels, His enemy and demons, and to mankind. At cost beyond human comprehension God would sacrifice His own beloved Son in order to redeem individuals from sin’s grip and Satan’s tyranny. He would reconcile repentant believing sinners to Himself and recreate them into the image of His own beautiful character so He could once again see His redeemed as “very good.” The cost required His own Son to become a mere human in order to be like a slaughtered lamb bearing His Father’s infinite wrath for our sin. It was the only way. “It was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and fill him with grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin. He will have a multitude of children, many heirs…. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:10-11, NLT).

What will He see accomplished that will satisfy Him?

“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him (Col. 1:22-23, ESV). The Lord is able to “to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jude 24, ESV).

Because of His Son’s sacrificial death, the Father, who was grieved to His heart by our sin, will see His redeemed ones transformed to become holy, blameless, and above reproach in His all penetrating gaze — exactly like His beautiful Son. The beloved Son accomplished His Father’s desire, and His heart will be fully satisfied with us. Glory to God in the highest! Amen!

JRW




Posted in Cross of Christ

Give Thanks Always

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 21, 2012

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

~~~

You may be puzzled about what it means to praise continually and give thanks always, in every situation. Won’t this lead to denying your true feelings? Does it mean that when you stub your toe or hit your thumb with a hammer, your spontaneous response must be ‘Thank You, Lord’? Isn’t it dishonest to give thanks if you don’t feel thankful?

Several things have helped settle these questions for me.

One is that the Bible doesn’t command us to feel thankful in every situation. It doesn’t command us to manufacture positive feelings. Instead, it commands us to give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As Dr. John G. Mitchell, co-founder of Multnomah School of the Bible, put it: ‘to give thanks when you don’t feel like it is not hypocrisy; it’s obedience.’

This does not mean you should deny your negative thoughts and feelings and attitudes, sweeping them under some inner emotional rug. It doesn’t mean you should repress them into some deep cavern where, again and again, they can sneak back into your thoughts, press you into unwise choices, and filter past your defenses to pollute the emotional atmosphere around you.

Notice that David and the other Psalmists were honest about their feelings, facing them and telling God about them. They knew how to pour out their hearts before Him (Psalm 62:8). Often they praised God first, and then expressed their disturbed emotions, their perplexities, even their complaints. After this they went on to praise God again, despite their struggles. They did not deny their feelings or simply ignore them. Nor did they wallow in them until they’d all but drowned. And it doesn’t seem that they postponed their praise until they had worked through their emotions and felt better. Instead they mingled an honest pouring-out of their feelings with sincere, God-honoring praise….

What happens when we follow the example of the Psalmists—when we express our impressions and feelings, yet choose to keep praising in spite of how things seem to us? I find that sooner or later (often sooner) the Lord releases me from being a slave to my distressing emotions. He unties the tight knots within me and settles my feelings, though He may not answer my questions about how He’s handling my affairs.”

Ruth Myers

31 Days of Praise, 26-29




Posted in Thankfulness

Blessed Beyond Words

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 19, 2012

The Heavenly Father has given His children all that He could give. He has given His infinite best to those who trust His Son Jesus Christ. Nothing more can He give than what He gave. If you are His child then you are the recipient of your Father’s measureless and beautiful wealth. He has withheld nothing from you as His beloved child.

An heir can live like a pauper even though his father bestows on him riches beyond imagination. He can live in the ghetto of poverty and wish it were different. Only one act on the heir’s part would make a difference in his lifestyle. If the son would live according to the wealth given to him then he must believe his father’s word about his inheritance, gladly and thankfully accept his inheritance, and then live by its bountiful provision.

It is no different for God’s redeemed children. Each son or daughter must believe the Father’s word, joyfully accept his or her inheritance, and live by its bountiful provision. Often the way of faith is not easy to grasp. Fallen human nature wants to feel something, or experience something, or have some evidence that it is true in order to believe. This is not the way of faith. Abraham did not feel anything or experience anything or have any evidence (Romans 4:13-25). He simply believed what God said even though to his sensibilities it was impossible, and he continued believing for fifteen years. He grew strong in faith AS he gave glory to God (Romans 4:20).

God’s Word is as clear to us today as it was to Abraham. The issue for us is the same as it was for Abraham. Do we believe what God says and will we give glory to God for it? Only by this will we grow strong in faith. The way we lay hold of our unimaginable inheritance is by faith. We trust what God says, keep believing what He promised, and continue giving glory to Him for His word of grace. Growing faith causes God’s promises to be birthed as reality in our lives just like Isaac was finally born through Abraham’s faith.

God’s Word says that ALL His fullness is in Christ and you have this same fullness in Him (Col. 2:9-10). God’s Word says that with His Son He freely gives you all things (Rom. 8:32). God’s Word says that you have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3). His fullness! Given all things! Blessed with every spiritual blessing!

Meditate on these “beyond understanding” truths. Believe your Father’s Word. Thank Him with praise and worship for His infinite love-gift to you. Anticipate how the Spirit will make it profoundly real to your soul even though you do not now feel it or see any evidence of it. Steadfastly maintain this posture, and in His time God’s written Word will be etched into your soul so that no words can express your wonder. You will be in awe.

JRW




Posted in Faith

In The Lord’s Presence

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 15, 2012

“The Marquis DeRenty, to whom Christ was most precious, ordered his servants to call him from his devotions at the end of half an hour. The servant at the time saw his face through an aperture. It was marked with such holiness that he hated to arouse him. His lips were moving, but he was perfectly silent. He waited until three half hours had passed; then he called to him, when he arose from his knees, saying that the half hour was so short when he was communing with Christ.”

E. M. Bounds (1835-1913)

Preacher and Prayer, 41-42 (1960)

~~~

To sit before the Lord alone and know that you are in His presence—

To listen carefully to His word as you soak in its refreshing stream—

To share your heart in prayer with your Heavenly Father and listen to His—

To want His glory and pleasure above your own—

What an incredible privilege and superlative blessing!

This must be a foretaste of heaven and earthly sips of its bliss.

No wonder the Lord Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray.

In the midst of this ugly world He longed to be near His beautiful loving Father.

Nearness to Him is home.

JRW

~~~

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.

Psalm 84:1-2 (ESV)




Our Responsibility For Holiness

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 11, 2012

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14 (ESV)

~~~

“The Christian should never complain of want of ability and power. If we sin, it is because we choose to sin, not because we lack the ability to say no to temptation.

It is time for us Christians to face up to our responsibility for holiness. Too often we say we are ‘defeated’ by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated; we are simply disobedient! It might be well if we stopped using the terms ‘victory’ and ‘defeat’ to describe our progress in holiness. Rather we should use the terms ‘obedience’ and ‘disobedience.’ When I say I am defeated by some sin, I am unconsciously slipping out from under my responsibility. I am saying something outside of me has defeated me. But when I say I am disobedient, that places the responsibility for my sin squarely on me. We may, in fact, be defeated, but the reason we are defeated is because we have chosen to disobey. We have chosen to entertain lustful thoughts, or to harbor resentment, or shade the truth a little.

We need to brace ourselves up, and to realize that we are responsible for our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. We need to reckon on the fact that we died to sin’s reign, that it no longer has any dominion over us, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power, and given us the Holy Spirit to work in us. Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God’s provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness.”

Jerry Bridges

The Pursuit of Holiness, 84-85

~~~

Our desire to walk in holiness before the Lord is in direct proportion to our love and reverence for Him. We can say right things with our lips and tongues but still not love Him so that with deep passion we forsake all that grieves Him and diligently pursue all that pleases Him. So easy is it to deceive ourselves into thinking that all is well when in fact our souls are merely lukewarm. Genuine love for the Lord Jesus causes you to wage war against sin and pursue holiness in daily practice. The issue is love for Him—deep love.




Posted in Holiness

Self-control

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 8, 2012

The fruit of the Spirit is…self-control.

Galatians 5:23 (ESV)

~~~

“What is self-control? It is a governance or prudent control of one’s desires, cravings, impulses, emotions, and passions. It is saying no when we should say no. It is moderation in legitimate desires and activities, and absolute restraint in areas that are clearly sinful. It would, for example, involve moderation in watching television and absolute restraint in viewing Internet pornography.

Biblical self-control is not a product of one’s own natural willpower. We know there are plenty of unbelievers who exercise self-control in specific areas of life for the purpose of achieving some goal. But in other areas, they may live with little or no self-control. An athlete may be strict in his diet while totally lacking in control of his temper.

Biblical self-control, however, covers every area of life and requires an unceasing conflict with the passions of the flesh that wage war against our souls (see 1 Peter 2:11). This self-control is dependent on the influence and enablement of the Holy Spirit. It requires continual exposure of our mind to the words of God and continual prayer for the Holy Spirit to give us both the desire and power to exercise self-control. We might say that self-control is not control by oneself through one’s own willpower but rather control of oneself through the power of the Holy Spirit….

And because the virtue of self-control receives so little emphasis among Christians, we may find that we, at least in certain areas of life, do lack self-control. As you seek to grow in the area of self-control, remember it is a fruit of the Spirit (See Galatians 5:22-23). It is only by God’s enabling power that we can make any progress.”

Jerry Bridges

Respectable Sins, 110-111

~~~

Why would a believer want to exercise self-control in all things? Why not just please self by satisfying one’s fleshly desires? A true believer cannot be satisfied with a self-pleasing life because God’s indwelling Spirit motivates him to please and honor Christ in all things. This requires the fruit of the Spirit. This requires the fullness of the Spirit.




Posted in Holy Spirit

Christ As Your Fullness

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 6, 2012

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

Colossians 2:9-10 (ESV)

~~~

“Jesus Christ does not want to be our helper; He wants to be our life. He does not want us to work for Him. He wants us to let Him do His work through us, using us as we use a pencil to write with—better still, using us as one of the fingers on His hand….

The conditions of thus receiving Christ as the fullness of our life are simply two—after, of course, our personal acceptance of Christ as our Savior—through His shed blood and death as our Substitute and Sin-Bearer—from the guilt and consequences of our sin.

1. Surrender absolutely and unconditionally to Christ as Master of all that we are and all that we have, telling God that we are now ready to have his whole will done in our entire life, at every point, no matter what it costs.

2. Believe that God has set us wholly free from the law of sin—not will do this, but has done it. Upon this second step, the quiet act of faith, all now depends. Faith must believe God in entire absence of any feeling or evidence. For God’s word is safer, better, and surer than any evidence of His word. We are to say, in blind, cold faith if need be, ‘I know that my Lord Jesus is meeting all my needs now (even my need of faith), because His grace is sufficient for me.’…

We may have Christ, yielding to Him in such completeness and abandonment of self that it is no longer we that live, but Christ that liveth in us.”

Charles G. Trumbull

His Victorious Indwelling, 227-228

Nick Harrison, Editor

~~~

As God’s child you have been filled in Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:9-10). Do you believe this? It is God’s true Word. You must believe for it to become real in your life. A definite act of total surrender to Christ allows you to become an expression of His fullness through your unique personality. Was there a time when you made this total surrender?

If not, what keeps you from yielding all and believing Him so His life overflows you?




Weakness Of Your Flesh

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 4, 2012

Never underestimate the weakness of your flesh.

Jesus said to His disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). He shared His burden of soul with them and simply asked them to watch with Him in prayer—but they slept. Finding them asleep when He returned He asked Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” But they went back to sleep and ignored their Master’s request. Weak flesh!

David, a man after God’s heart, committed adultery with Bathsheba and then arranged for the murder of her husband. Samson fell because of a woman. Solomon, the wisest man, fell away from the Lord because of women. Simon Peter denied and even swore with an oath that he did not know Jesus. Demas left Paul because he loved this present world (2 Timothy 4:10).

Pastor after pastor in this generation has fallen because of immoral relationships. Christian marriages by the hundreds have failed because of disobedience to the Word of God and because of being controlled by self-centered flesh by one or both partners. Churches have become divided because of fleshly divisions. Men in ministry have become addicted to pornography, as have many other men in churches, even men who thought this would never happen to them. Professing Christian women have become attracted to other men because of unfulfilling marriages or because of secret fantasies. Internet connections have led to illicit relationships and this has led to ignoring or rejecting the claims of Christ because of emotional or physical fleshly desires that have taken over. The Lord plainly tells us, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:17, ESV). The only answer (antidote) to the flesh ruling and ruining our lives according to God’s Word is, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, ESV). It is said in another way in Romans 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” We either live in the Spirit’s fullness or our flesh takes over. Never underestimate the weakness of your flesh.

JRW




Weakness Of Your Flesh

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 1, 2012

Never underestimate the weakness of your flesh.

Jesus said to His disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). He shared His burden of soul with them and simply asked them to watch with Him in prayer—but they slept. Finding them asleep when He returned He asked Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” But they went back to sleep and ignored their Master’s request. Weak flesh!

David, a man after God’s heart, committed adultery with Bathsheba and then arranged for the murder of her husband. Samson fell because of a woman. Solomon, the wisest man, fell away from the Lord because of women. Simon Peter denied and even swore with an oath that he did not know Jesus. Demas left Paul because he loved this present world (2 Timothy 4:10).

Pastor after pastor in this generation has fallen because of immoral relationships. Christian marriages by the hundreds have failed because of disobedience to the Word of God and because of being controlled by self-centered flesh by one or both partners. Churches have become divided because of fleshly divisions. Men in ministry have become addicted to pornography, as have many other men in churches, even men who thought this would never happen to them. Professing Christian women have become attracted to other men because of unfulfilling marriages or because of secret fantasies. Internet connections have led to illicit relationships and this has led to ignoring or rejecting the claims of Christ because of emotional or physical fleshly desires that have taken over. The Lord plainly tells us, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:17, ESV). The only answer (antidote) to the flesh ruling and ruining our lives according to God’s Word is, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, ESV). It is said in another way in Romans 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” We either live in the Spirit’s fullness or our flesh takes over. Never underestimate the weakness of your flesh.

JRW




Posted in Inward Conflict