Looking Unto Jesus (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Hebrews 12:1-2:
-1: WHEREFORE seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, 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,
-2: 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 {now} set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The great cloud of witnesses is the Old Testament believers talked about in Hebrews chapter 11. The witness of these believers was their faith, their positive believing faith and inner hope and conviction in the coming of Jesus Christ which even today is recognized when reading the Bible. In retrospect, from the Old Testament Scriptures, we today are still compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses who left us vividly written examples about how they looked to Jesus in their time, to inspire the people of this current age of grace to reach forward to Jesus.

The race that is set before us is to look to Jesus just like the Old Testament believers practiced. Their past examples encourage us to daily look to Jesus, for in him and with him is continued access to God our heavenly Father and His merciful grace. Jesus taught that when we pray, we are to offer our prayers up to God in the name of Jesus Christ (John 14:13-14). This further helps us place him at the forefront of our daily thinking, just as we are always in his daily thoughts, and through our prayers he is in ours.

Today we can look to Jesus Christ and rely on his believing faith, knowing that he is the author and finisher of our own believing faith. The word author means princely leader, the first and foremost. The word finisher means to bring to full maturity, to the completion of where our believing faith will ultimately take us – to God – to eternity. Thus, the author and finisher of our believing faith is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the first and the last, the alpha and the omega, infusing his own believing faith to enhance our personal believing faith in him who gave his all in all for you and me. Jesus is the finisher, completing and perfecting our believing faith which enables us to believe in God, through believing His Word.

Ephesians 2:8 records, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that {faith is} not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” This verse is not referring to a man or woman’s personal faith, and is why the Epistle says, that not of yourselves, but rather it is the gift of God. Then, to what faith is God referring? He is referring to the faith of Jesus Christ; this is our gift to begin enjoying our Christian life on the Path of Righteousness.

The main difference between man’s faith and the faith of Jesus is that human faith can only rise up to believe in that which is seen. In stark contrast, the faith of Jesus Christ is given so men and women can rise all the way up to believe in that which is not physically seen, yet is spiritually real ― such as salvation.

In truth, man needs Jesus to fulfill his own faith, as we read in Hebrews 12:2 “Jesus {is} the author and finisher of our faith.” Having Jesus’ own faith, we become enabled to perceive the spiritual realities of God. Christ’s faith is given to every believer at the moment of salvation, for “God hath dealt to every man {every believer} the measure of faith (Romans 12:3).

We can genuinely and honestly receive the actual gift of God, which is our salvation, without any works on our part because of the faith salvation imparts. Another reason why Ephesians 2:8 reads, and that not of yourselves is because we did nothing whatsoever to earn salvation, nor can we do anything to lose our salvation ― that is why it is such a precious gift. Salvation is something God through Christ made available to us and is freely given. God’s grace, His divine favor of love, is manifested to us through His gift of salvation.

With Jesus’ own faith, he literally becomes our spiritual window to the Creator; that is certainly much greater than going it alone, with so-called “blind faith.” Jesus’ own faith helps us perceive God in the genuine light that His Word reflects. Rather than God remaining an unknown entity or enigma Who is out there someplace just out of our reach, Christ and his faith helps those who are trying to find their way to the Creator Who dwells through all eternity.

We all receive gifts at certain times of the year, on our birthdays, Christmas, and other special occasions. Yet of all the gifts we have ever received, nothing will be as everlasting as the gift of God. The gift of God is our salvation, given freely on account of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

A gift is never worked for, earned, or even necessarily deserved. Gifts are simply given to bless and make one happy. Many of the gifts that we have received as early as last year are already gone, used up, or spent, but the gift of God is eternal. God’s gift is given to men and women by His divine grace, which is unmerited and unearned, yet eternally present, and we can gratefully accept it and daily appreciate its fulfillment.

Ephesians 2:9:
{And this gift is given} Not of works, lest any man should boast.

In the sight of God, no one is more saved than another for we believed unto God’s own righteousness (Romans 10:9-10), which gives complete salvation along with total access into His grace and family (Romans 5:2, and Ephesians 2:19). If salvation could be obtained by works, then logic commands that one could give more or pray more or be a better citizen or Christian than his neighbor is, and he could boast on the works performed, thinking this would give him an edge toward his salvation.

However, if works were the way to get into heaven, then God’s grace (freely given) would become totally worthless and most of us would never make it on through to heaven.

Thankfully, salvation is not based on our works, but as the Scriptures reveal, salvation is by God’s grace because Christ has already done the work and paid the full price in order that we may sincerely believe to receive. We receive our salvation on account of a friend, on our friend, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

This is the friend we read about in Proverbs “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24), and he indeed laid down his life for each and every one of us. I do believe that if you or I were the only person to believe, then this close friend would still have laid down his life so that you or I my walk on the Path of Righteousness with our Savior!

Indispensable completeness of our believing faith is what we may expect to receive by simply looking unto Jesus, rather than only looking to our own abilities (or lack thereof), or our own strength (or lack thereof), in the hopes of receiving spirituality and blessings from God. With the believing faith of Christ, men and women truly have avenues into an abundance of promises recorded in God’s Word.

When studying, for instance, the life of King David from the Books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, or from the Psalms, we find how he looked forward to the coming of his Redeemer, and we can aspire to his examples. We can read about David who was just a man, a man who tried to walk with God to the best of his abilities.

We can also see how David failed when he did not look to Jesus, but more important is that we can see him succeed whenever he was looking ahead to the Savior, the hope of his life. When and where David looked to Jesus, David had believing in God’s Word, and then he became a great recorded witness for us to still read about centuries later.

King David also wrote about the hope of Christ’s coming throughout the Book of Psalms. When teaching about the resurrection of Christ on the day of Pentecost in the Book of Acts chapter 2, the Apostle Peter refers back to David as a witness of Christ. Peter says of David that he always had Jesus Christ in the forefront of his thinking and writing as a great example for Peter and all believers.

Acts 2:25-26:
-25: For David speaketh concerning him {recorded in the 16th Psalm}, I foresaw the Lord {Jesus Christ} always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
-26: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

What gave David this inner joy, continued hope, and a glad tongue was having a personal understanding of his Lord and Savior, inspiring David to speak and write of him, being moved by God’s inspiration (II Peter 1:21).

The Old Testament Scriptures continue giving us joy, hope, and a glad tongue, the same joys that David and Peter knew when reading or speaking the Word of God because they knew Christ’s heart and had placed their allegiance, fidelity, and future hope in him. Peter uses the witness of David to introduce Christ who is our entrance into God’s family.

Acts 4:11-12:
-11: This {Jesus Christ} is the stone which was set at nought {rejected} of you builders {Peter is addressing Israel}, which {or rather who, Jesus} is become the head of the corner {of the spiritual church and family of God}.
-12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Jesus took our sins and shortcomings to his cross in order to present you and me to God as those who are now saved. When we look to Jesus with a believing heart in expectation to receive, we will find the true spiritual presence and presents that God gives.

God now sets this daily joy before us at the table of life, and all the Word requests is for us to believe to receive, and it is our joy to enjoy by looking to Jesus, our friend, the author and finisher of our faith.

His Glorious Body – Our Future Hope

“Jesus’ body on the cross shed blood profusely; his body contained the perfect redeeming blood (Hebrews 2:14, I Peter 1:18–19), as Judas said I have betrayed the innocent blood– Matthew 27:4, but something amazing happened when he was raised from the sepulcher. His followers thought that if he was ever to be raised, then he would become a spirit (as in ghostly looking) because when they first saw him, they supposed that they had seen a spirit– Luke 24:37. Things have not changed much as most people nowadays suppose that anyone raised from the dead is a ghostly spirit. Now notice what Jesus was missing as well as what he still had when he presented himself to his disciples proving that he was not simply a spirit, Behold my hands and my feet {where the spikes passed through}, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have– Luke 24:39. Yes, he was a spiritual being, but one without any blood and still having flesh and bones and in this form he was raised in the likeness and image of God. Jesus was in the express image of his {God’s} person– Hebrews 1:3, just as we will be with our new bodies. Even now in grace we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones– Ephesians 5:30, but we have no part in his blood, for he has none, his blood was shed for our eternal redemption (Ephesians 1:7, 2:13, and I Peter 1:18-19). There is a natural body, and there is {or there will be} a spiritual body {with flesh and bones}- I Corinthians 15:44, perfect – eternal – heavenly – Christ-like in every detail ― fashioned like unto his glorious body– Philippians 3:21, awakened perfectly in his likeness! As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness– Psalms 17:15.” ~LMJ~

In the Sight of God

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Jesus Christ is our Savior, and he is the spiritual head of the body of believers. Without the blessed work of Jesus Christ, we would forever be dead in trespasses and in sins, we would have no hope of eternal life, and we would be destined to a life without God, and Christ. However, Jesus Christ has made the above scenario invalid and untrue because we have been made spiritually alive, freed from all trespasses and sins, enjoying the hope of our eternal life, and living with the promises of God, for we now live with God in Christ in our hearts.

Colossians 1:18 – And he {Jesus Christ} is the head of the body, {which is} the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Jesus Christ is the spiritual head of the body, which is the Church of God and each believer is an intricate member within this Church. Jesus Christ is also the first member of the Church, and the first to be eternally resurrected from the dead.  In all things and matters concerning the Church, Jesus Christ has the preeminence and is the leader above any man, and he is indeed the inspiration of our spiritual lives with God.

Colossians 1:19-20:
-19:  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;
-20:  And {Jesus Christ}, 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 {on} earth {believers}, or things in heaven {God in Christ}.

All the fullness of God is in Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is in you, so in you rests the fullness of God, and this is most pleasing to Him. Jesus bridged the gap between God and man, for he was the missing link between God and man, and Jesus himself made peace between God and man by the blood of his cross to reconcile all of us back to God. Jesus gave his sinless life for sinful man, his perfection for our imperfection to reconcile us into God’s Church, which is the body of Christ. The “reconcile all things” is the believers complete reconciliation before the sight of God.

Colossians 1:21-22:
-21:  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.
-22:  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Jesus Christ through his death has reconciled and reunited men and women to God, and we are before Him completely presentable, being made holy and unblameable and unreproveable in the sight of God Almighty. When God looks at us, He does not see failures, losers, enemies, but beloved children, who are continuously before Him as those who are indeed holy, as those who have no blame, or guilt, and who are unreproveable in His sight. For we live our lives in the love of God, completely respected, and as the endeared to the Father of lights. Jesus Christ gave his life to this end, and now we have obtained man’s deepest innermost desire to walk with the Creator of heaven and earth, the giver of eternal life Who is now our heavenly Father.

No More Separation

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Jesus fulfilled the Law for Israel and thus he redeemed Israel from that Law, then, while upon the cross, two extremely significant things happened for Israel and for the Gentiles (i.e., the rest of the world). One – the “middle wall of partition” was broken down, and two – the “veil of the Temple” was also torn in two. What does this mean to us today living nearly two thousand years later? The Temple in Jerusalem was the place where Israel was to meet God as a nation three times each year (see: Deuteronomy 16:16). The “middle wall” or “wall of separation” was a wall built in the Temple that separated the believing children of Israel from the Gentiles, setting a distinction or barrier between the Gentiles and Israel. Israel was permitted to go inside this “middle wall” and worship God, while the Samaritans, the Gentiles, and any of Israel who were considered unclean had to stay outside.

Ephesians 2:14, 16:
– 14: For he {Jesus} is our peace, who hath made both {Israel and Gentile} one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
-16: And that he {Jesus} might reconcile both {Judean and Gentile} unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby;

On the other hand, the “veil of the Temple” also was a “wall of separation,” or rather it literally was a “curtain of separation,” separating the Priests out from Israel, setting even another distinction within the ranks of Israel. The Levitical Priests were allowed inside this inner Temple veil to an area called the Holy place, and only the high priest was allowed to go into the “Holy of Holies” (innermost sanctuary) once a year on The Day of Atonement. (The Day of Atonement was the tenth day of the seventh month named Tishri from the Old Testament Hebrew calendar which corresponds approximately to our month of September.)

The Priests went past the veil, into the Holy place, to make offerings and perform services and rigorous duties before God.

Once a year on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest went all the way into the Holy of Holies to make reconciliation for the sins of the people, Israel.

On the day Jesus was being crucified he became the atoning sacrifice for the entire world, as divine intervention was tearing down both the “middle wall of partition” as well as the “veil” that separated the priests.

Luke 23:45 – And the sun was darkened {between noon and 3:00 PM; Matthew 27:45}, and the veil of the temple was rent {torn} in the midst {see: Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38},

The “veil” being “torn in two” and the “middle wall of partition” being destroyed or “broken down” put everybody on the same level, leaving no distinctions or barriers or classes between the Priests, Israel, Samaritans, or Gentiles (Galatians 3:27-28).

The accomplished work of Jesus on the cross totally opened the avenue to the heart of God and Jesus became man’s true “mediator between God and men,” leaving no separation or classifications between any man and God.

This completed work of Christ was presented on the day of Pentecost to all men and women who will simply believe.

Today, every believer from the youngest and newest to those who have been standing with God for years have the same privileges in God’s family!

I Timothy 2:4-6:
-4: Who {God} will have all men {without distinction or nationality} to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. {Verses like this is not found in the OT as “all men” could not be saved before Christ.}
-5: For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus;
-6: Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time {and now is that “due time”}.

Colossians 3:11 – Where {in Christ} there is neither Greek {Gentile} nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian {the lowest of the lowest barbarian}, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all {Christ is our all in all (our every reason to enjoy life), and he is in all believers}.

Hebrews 10:18-20:
-18: Now where remission of these {past sins} is, there is no more offering for sin.
-19: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest {the Holy of Holies, i.e., the right hand of God with Christ: see Ephesians 2:6,18: and Romans 5:1-2} by {way of} the blood of Jesus,
-20: By a new and living way, which he {Christ} hath consecrated for us, through the veil {of the Holy of Holies}, that is to say, his flesh {when he died on the cross for us};

Colossians 1:22 – In {and with} the body of his flesh through {Jesus’} death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his {God’s} sight;

We are now in the sight of God, and are spiritually seated with Christ, and we are also spiritually able to see eye to eye with the Creator through His Word (I Corinthians 2:9-10), and completely enjoy His fullness (Ephesians 3:19).

Christ has abolished the concepts and ideas of separation between God and man and we are now in God’s complete favor.  Amen, and again I say AMEN!

The Right to Our Reconciliation

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Reconciliation means to reunite two parties, and from God’s Word we find our reconciliation to be a right that Jesus Christ had made available. This brings us into a right relationship with God Who originally formed, made, and created men to walk with Him in peace of mind and heart.

I Corinthians 15:3 – For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

How did Christ die for our sins? He first offered himself for our sins, then he bore our sins through a humiliating torture, culminating with him being nailed to a tree. Jesus’ sinless life became for us the complete and total payment for our sins, and when the payment was fully met – he died for our sins. When he died – our sins died with him, and the significance of Christ dying upon the cross was to present humanity again with a way back to God. We were totally separated from having the true love and nature of God ever since man’s fall in Genesis, but since Christ made sanctification, redemption, and righteousness available to us, these are now eternally our legal sonship rights – and we have access to the love and nature of God – having been reconciled.

I Corinthians 1:30 – But of him {God} are ye in Christ Jesus, who of {for} God is made unto us wisdom {to understand our God-given rights}, and righteousness {because Jesus was the propitiation for our sins}, and sanctification {because Jesus bore our sins}, and redemption {because Jesus gave himself for our sins}:

Since Jesus Christ has done all this in the above verse for us, we now permanently have heavenly rights to the complete and eternal reconciliation between God and man.

Romans 5:10-11:
-10:  For if, when we were enemies {before our salvation, this is the nature of man when he is separated from God}, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being {now} reconciled, we shall be saved by his {Jesus’} life.
-11:  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement {the reconciliation}.

The experience of true joy in our God was and still is through the accomplishments of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Jesus made available to us the joys of having unity and being at peace with our God because we have the spiritual right to our very own reconciliation, for Jesus gave – paying the ultimate price on that cross – giving his life for sin, for all, for eternity!

Colossians 1:20-22:
-20:  And, having made peace {between you and God} 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 reconciled
-22:  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his {God’s} sight: