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.

Our Approval is by God’s Grace (And Nothing Else)

“II Timothy 2:15 encourages believers to, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Some people think that the more they study their Bibles, the more they will become approved before God, but this is wrongly dividing the word of truth, because God has already approved us in Christ. If a premise begins in error, then the conclusions will be no closer to the truth than the original error. We cannot approve ourselves by works, for we are already approved by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:410) because we are accepted in the beloved, and the beloved is Christ; To the praise of the glory of his grace {God’s grace}, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved- Ephesians 1:6. II Timothy 2:15 is saying that when we study the Scriptures we will come to know just how much approval we have before God because we are in Christ, and this is rightly dividing the word of truth.” ~LMJ~

We Have the Mind of Christ

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

I Corinthians 2:16 – For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him {Isaiah 40:13-14}? But we have the mind of Christ.

Who knows the mind of the Lord (i.e., the mind of God Himself), and who has instructed Him? Well the definitive answer is that no one has ever been His teacher or completely understood everything about Him. The word mind is the Greek word nous and means the entire mind, the whole mind of God’s mental perception is known only to God (Romans 11:33-34). Then the Scriptures say, “but {in contrast to the above} we have the mind {nous} of Christ.” This means that we can understand the mind of Christ completely and intimately, for we have the God-given right to have the thoughts of Christ in our minds, and the reason that we have this ability is that we have Christ within, and Christ’s mission has always been to reveal and explain God (John 17:25-26; Hebrews 13:8).

Romans 13:14a – But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ . . .

To put on the Lord Jesus Christ is to put the thoughts of God’s Word into our minds.  The Word of God reveals Christ (John 5:39) and Christ reveals God. Christians by virtue of receiving the gift of holy spirit have Christ within, and as we go to the Scriptures and begin understanding the words within our hearts we begin systematically putting on the mind of Christ, and enjoying the glory of the Lord.

II Corinthians 1:21-22:
-21: Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
-22: Who hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

God sealed us with holy spirit, sealing us for Him for eternity, establishing every believer by a spiritual anointing to have and to know the mind of Christ who is living within our very hearts. “Christ {is} the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (I Corinthians 1:24). So as we put on Christ in our minds via the teachings of the Scriptures we will begin to realize that “Christ who is our {real source of our spiritual} life” (Colossians 3:4), is the way to manifest the power of God. We are encouraged to put on the mind of Christ, not simply the mind that Jesus had when he walked on earth, but even more emphatically the mind that Christ currently has being eternally alive from the dead. We now have the approval of God’s healing will to know the spiritual mind of Christ and as we learn the Scriptures we will begin reflecting “the glory of the Lord.”

II Timothy 2:15 – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Many people believe that the more we study, the more we become approved before God, but this is wrongly dividing the Word because God has already approved us. This verse is saying that when we study the Scriptures we will begin realizing just how much approval we have before God in Christ, and this is rightly dividing the Word of truth. God does not shame us in the Scriptures, rather He encourages and builds us up because we have the God-given approval to have the mind of Christ – daily. In the Scriptures (especially in the Epistles) we learn about the mind of Christ who is spiritually dwelling within. With God’s love in our hearts we have a real premise to enjoy the renewed mind wherein God’s divine grace allows us to know His divine approval of us. When enjoying our access to the thoughts of Christ, we will begin knowing the mind of Christ and individually displaying the glory of the Lord, and this is the epitome of understanding God’s appraisal of us.

Blessed Are They That Believe

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

John 20:29 – Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Thomas is sometimes called “doubting Thomas” because he always wanted to see things before believing in them. Jesus was telling him that because he was so doubtful, his believing would be limited. As we know Jesus Christ ascended up into heaven (Acts 1:9-10), and he is no longer physically here, and when we believe in him we are “blessed,” for the written Scriptures do take the place of Christ (here on earth), and the requirement for understanding and seeing (perceiving) Christ is our believing.

John 20:30 – And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book {nor in any book}:

Jesus’ life was so exciting that it was next to impossible to record all that he had done for humanity. Nevertheless, we do have the four Gospels and the New Testament Epistles to glean all that we can about the life of Jesus Christ, and according to the Scriptures this is all that is required to obtain salvation and eternal life (II Corinthians 4:18).

John 21:25 – And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

Jesus certainly had a busy ministry while he was here, and not everything that he had done is written for us, but instead of focusing on what we do not have, we may focus on what we do have. When we believe the revealed Scriptures, Jesus said we would be blessed. Having this (one) wonderful little Bible of ours is an extreme blessing because God could have given to us libraries full the world round to study and figure things out about life and God. But He made things simple by showing us all we need to believe in His Word, and the more abundant life is the end result (John 10:10b).

John 20:31 – But these are written {the Scriptures}, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have {eternal} life through his name.

“Blessed are they that believe,” for in believing the sky is the limit! You are God’s best, His loved ones, His precious children, and you are the reason Christ came in the first place. He has redeemed you, and made available to you a new life that has a beginning (when you were saved) and now has no end, and this is why you are eternally blessed of God forever and ever!

Faith, Hope, and Charity (The Shorter Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

In this study, we will be taking a look at faith, hope, and charity to learn how they work together. Our goal is to acquire a further understanding of their meaning in the Scriptures, for they are the footing on which the more abundant life rests. In this byte we will briefly look at all three and concentrate on each one in particular in other Bible bytes.

I Corinthians 13:13 – And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Once, I was told by an individual that “charity was the best gift a person could receive from God,” and he got this idea from the verse above. However, the Bible doesn’t say that charity is the best gift, rather the Bible says charity is “the greatest.” Also, the Bible does not state “faith and hope are not really as good.” The reason that charity is the greatest is because it is a God-given master key for unlocking our own faith, and faith opens up to us and reveals “the hope of His calling” (Ephesians 1:18). So with charity, our faith and hope are energized.

“Faith” is the Greek word pistis, and means believing, believing faith. “Hope” is the Greek word elpis, and it means future hope, it is usually in the context of the hope men and women have for the return of Christ (still a future event). “Charity” is the Greek word agapee and means the love of God.

I Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.

“For now we see through a glass, darkly;” means that today we do not know it all, even with all the abundance that God’s Word reveals to us. This phrase is in reference to our believing faith, “for we walk by faith {believing}, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). The next words, “but then face to face” means when we meet Christ “face to face,” because of our hope in his imminent return. “Now I know in part;” is again in reference to our believing faith, to believe what we do know. “But then shall I know even as I am known” is again in reference to our hope, when we will receive all that we have hoped in because then we will have been perfected and will be enjoying our lives with God and with Jesus Christ in eternity.

Charity, the love of God we have will activate our faith, our believing faith to love as God’s Word encourages. Charity energizes our believing faith, and our believing faith will appropriate the revealed promises of God. Our believing faith energizes our anticipation in the hope of Christ’s return for us, and our hope is a necessary ingredient for living charitably. This is why all three are so wonderful and worthy of our taking the time to understanding them more clearly, and I am sure they will give you great inspiration, as well as great expectations.

The vehicle to help facilitate our believing and inspire our hope is charity, yet all three of these are important to living our lives in true godliness. “And now abideth {remains here for you} faith, hope, charity.”