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.

The Elect of God

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The Epistle of Colossians contains such wonderful truths and it is awe-inspiring for believers to read and learn as they begin or continue in their spiritual walks with God in the knowledge of Christ Jesus our resurrected Savior.  God’s wonderful Word cannot be thoroughly understood in a cursory reading, rather when the believing heart looks to God’s Word for spiritual understanding and guidance, then God begins to reveal Himself in literally byte-sized portions.

When Jesus Christ was physically here, over half of his teachings were less than a single verse of Scripture because he understood the learning process of the human mind in great detail. Yet within those short verses, a world of truth and understanding can be found. For instance: remember when Jesus touched the man with leprosy (Luke 5:12-13)? On first glance we may suspect that Jesus had a magic finger; however, the word touched meant that Jesus embraced this man with a hug (lovingly)! Can you now picture Jesus walking up to this man whose body was literally falling apart and holding him in his arms as the leprosy completely subsided? WOW, this was much more than a touching moment not only for the leper but also for the masses who were watching this demonstration of the love of God that Jesus was displaying.

Jesus’ loving embrace completely set the leper free! This indeed is a wonderful study in God’s healing Word, yet it is only a fragment of Scripture, for with byte-sized morsels of the living bread of life God literally teaches His children.  From time to time in our own lives as we look into the Scriptures we also can spiritually feel the eternal embrace that comes from our heavenly Father, and our resurrected Savior Christ Jesus!

Colossians 3:8-10:
-8: But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
-9:  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
-10:  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

In the Epistles, whenever the Word is asking us to put off something the Word always gives us something else to replace it with. In Colossians God is asking us to put off some incredible ill feelings that spill out into words that will only hurt us eventually. The words, “old man” represents who we were before salvation, and the “new man” represents the Christ within, and God is encouraging us to put this new man on in our minds. The new man can be continually renewed in knowledge after the image of God, Who created the Christ within.

Colossians 3:11-13:
-11:  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
-12:  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
-13:  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Before God’s eyes (and spiritually speaking) we have no earthly credentials because we have Christ within, and we have a heavenly standing that God recognizes. No believer is above or below another in God’s family for we are on the same par because Christ is in all believers equally. We have been elected by God Almighty to partake in the life of Christ. Before we can really forgive others we may, as the elect of God, forgive ourselves (Matthew7:3-5), for then we can genuinely reach out with the love of God and embrace others in the place of our wonderful Savior.

Please – No Condemnation – OK? (The Shorter Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Unfortunately, as well as ironically, many Christians after they become saved want to condemn themselves for either a sin committed 20 years ago, or the one they committed this morning before breakfast. In Romans chapter 7 we have an interesting verse of Scripture:

Romans 7:19 – For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Wow, does this verses sound familiar to you? This is the state of a man or woman on their own merits – they try, they fail, and they try and fail to be good again and again. The average Christian panics and tries to find and then practice works of repentance to cover up for their sins in order to feel good enough to walk with God again. Nevertheless, he or she keeps on Romans 7:19-ing, and so a cycle begins, a cycle that appears will never end, and so they continue to condemn themselves, and sometimes entire lifetimes can be consumed in this endless dilemma. All this “junk” comes about by not realizing that God not only forgives but that He also totally forgets; it is only we that choose to remember the forgiven and forgotten past.

So what can be done? Thank God for the Epistle and doctrine of Romans, for Romans covers this in great detail giving believers an out, a refreshing way to break this tedious and endless cycle of life-draining condemnation.

Romans 8:1aTHERE is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, . . .

This verse does not say “there is therefore now condemnation,” but, “NO CONDEMNATION” and this is the will of God. Condemnation also can mean judgment, for there is therefore now NO judgment, and thus no fear of (or for) judgment to anticipate either now or in our future from our loving heavenly Father. Believing this places us “in Christ Jesus” and permits him genuinely to be our Savior from condemnation and judgment. Knowing this and this alone can help set our lives free.

By no means was God wasting His time having Romans 8:1 written to us, because it cost Him everything to free our lives from condemnation.  We are currently heaven‑bound and there is no amount of sin that can prevent our entrance into the eternal graces of our Creator.  This is the truth of the Scriptures, and “thus saith the Lord!” So, Please — No Condemnation – OK!