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.

Touchdown (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

John 3:16 is a verse of Scripture sometimes seen held up by fans seated behind the goalpost at football games and other sporting events, though less often in recent times, as it appears that God is slowly being kicked out of our stadiums, too. Thankfully, there is no power on earth that can maneuver a trick play and cause penalties that could expel God and His Son from our heart’s foundation or separate us from their heavenly love for us (Romans 8:37-39). “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). I titled this Bible study “Touchdown” because John 3:16 is the greatest and loveliest event that has ever happened in the world.

John 3:16:
For God so loved the world {i.e., the people in the world}, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Our goal is heaven; our final destiny is to be with God to enjoy our everlasting life in the end zone of heavenly pastures, where we will play and run on heavenly turf, as there are no losers on God’s team! God has given eternal life to us who believe in the completed work of His Son, Jesus Christ who while on the front line, down in the trenches, died for our sins, and made our reception of eternity a reality in the world’s stadium.

John 3:17:
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him {through the accomplishments and completed work of Jesus Christ} might be saved.

God in love gave His Son, and in turn, His Son by his own free will was not only willing, but indeed did give his life for you and for me. It was Jesus himself who knew that it would take the love of God within himself to accomplish the task before him to secure our salvation. When we confess and believe in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, we will score the everlasting life that God passed to us through His Son. This was not a Hail Mary pass, and not a blind, shot in the dark, but with perfect execution of the game plan of life, as God, “called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (I Peter 2:9).

Romans 10:9-10:
-9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
-10: For with the heart man believeth unto {God’s very own} righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto {your very own} salvation.

The resurrection of Jesus literally kicked off a new age wherein anyone on earth can come down from the stands as mere spectators to actually participate and enjoy the celebration of our reception of victorious salvation. When we believe in the resurrection and confess Jesus as our Lord, we become team members (on God’s team) who have received the greatest reception of all time — our salvation! Jesus Christ is the world’s hope; he is the thread who connects our hearts to our heavenly Father’s love and His offer of salvation which is a walk-on invitation for one and all to be on God’s team and score eternity.

Coming to know the prophesied (game) plan of our redemption, and learning how Jesus Christ, the Captain of our salvation, fulfilled the Scriptures for our redemption is an awesome daily adventure, as he strengthens our desires to be successful in the arena of life.

I John 4:10-12:
-10: Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation {the filled payment} for our sins.
-11: Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
-12: No man hath seen God at any time. {But} If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

From these verses, we see the depths of God’s love for us, that He always has loved us even before we ever gave Him a thought, before we were born or took our seat in the stadium of life, for God, “hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). In God’s eyes we were all first round draft picks, and scouted before the world began. We may enjoy the truth in the game plan of the ages, that God has not only — always loved us, but now He wants us to share His love by handing off His love to one another so that we may all share in the glory of His victorious love (John 17:20-26). II Thessalonians 2:13 reads “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation.” The timing of God’s unending love for us was from before the foundation of the world, and from the beginning, so He had a long wait for us to come around and accept the eternal truth that we are worthy to be so loved by His Excellency!

The absolute proof of God’s love for us was that He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. This is the basis for encouraging us with the awesome privilege to return His love to Him in the true running game of life by handing off His love to one another. Today we are in the trenches, down on the front lines, facing the offences of darkness, hopelessness, and despair, and there we are encouraged to stand our ground and advance God’s love by fending off, blocking, and taking down the darkness with the light of love in our hearts. We may become athletes of the spirit, wherein we can “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16). We may huddle up with our heavenly Father in our prayer life and receive a game plan for each day and enjoy daily victories as God protects our blindside. We have been called to be defenders of the faith with the truth and love of God in our hearts.

Colossians 3:15:
And let the peace of God rule {umpire or referee} in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

God’s peace is our arbitrator, our heavenly Father is our eternal coach, His Word is our rulebook, and His son, Jesus Christ, is our Captain who sends in the plays to “love one another” (John 13:24-25), as grace and peace is “multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.”

II Peter 1:2-8:
-2: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
-3: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
-4: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
-5: And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
-6: And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
-7: And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
-8: For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus willingly gave himself for us, he died for us, and he was raised for us, so that we could experience the love of God in us. We currently also have the same love of God that Jesus Christ had when he gave himself for our sins so that we would be eternally worthy to enjoy the love of God. The celebration of this reception of God’s love is not only enjoyed today, but we are invited upstairs to the eternal pro-bowl as the honored guest where we will also partake in the greatest after-party of all time in the heavenlies at the right hand of God where there will be pleasures and treasures for evermore. When we apply this God-given love in our lives, we can be assured of knowing and realizing that God Himself dwells in us, causing us to personally experience the greatest touchdown of all time.

Psalms 16:11:
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Matthew 22:37-40:
-37: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
-38: This is the first and great commandment.
-39: And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
-40: On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

“Sometimes it seems like God is difficult to find and impossibly far away. We get so caught up in our small daily duties and irritations that they become the only things that we can focus on. What we forget is that God’s love and beauty are all around us, every day, if only we would take the time to look up and see them.” ~Matthias~

“For centuries now we’ve tried everything else; the power of wealth, of mighty armies and navies, and machinations (scheming) of diplomats. All have failed. Before it’s too late, and time is running out, let us turn from trust in the chain reactions of exploding atoms to faith of the chain reaction of God’s love. Love — love of God and fellow men. That is God’s formula for peace. Peace on earth to men of good will.” ~Richard Cardinal Cushing~

“John 3:16 contains the most preeminent love story ever told:

For God — the supreme Creator and our heavenly Father,
so loved the world — the loveliest act of a commitment ever made,
that He gave — the ultimate present,
His only begotten Son — the most perfect being,
that whosoever believeth in him — the greatest offering to one and all,
should not perish — the endless promise,
but have everlasting life — this is your eternal reward.” ~LMJ~

Saved By His Life

The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many- Mark 10:45. You see, the completed work of Jesus Christ accomplished our salvation for us, and because of him, his personal sacrifice, his own works, and his life’s blood offered for us, we are saved (Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 1:7, and I Peter 1:18-19). We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life– Romans 5:10.” ~LMJ~

The Epistle of Christ

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The Scriptures, especially the Epistles, are written to us and they fulfil a deep yearning that we have for spiritual wholeness and understanding. Often when people first come to the Scriptures looking for salvation and purpose in life they can sometimes overlook the Gospel (good news) written directly to them, which are the Church Epistles.

II Corinthians 3:2:
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:

If we read the New Testament Epistles without heart and the quest for righteous judgment, then all we will ever find are the Epistles of Paul. However, as we earnestly search for real glimpses of divine truth, something of a supernatural nature begins to happen in our inner souls, because astonishingly we begin to realize that the Epistles are not only written to us, but they are also written about us! Knowing this we can begin to understand that the Epistles of Paul do become transformed into the living Epistle of Christ, and they are written directly to our hearts.

II Corinthians 3:3:
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

We can study and systematically learn the history of the Bible, or we can find the true heart of the Bible by way of God Himself teaching as the eyes of our own understanding become more in tune to the heart of God’s Word. When we were saved by confessing Romans 10:9-10, God placed in our very hearts the Epistle of Christ, written “in fleshy tables of the heart,” and what is written in our hearts is revealed to us in the magnificent seven Church Epistles.

II Corinthians 3:18:
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass {a mirror} the glory of the Lord, {we} are changed into the same image from glory {the glory of the Lord} to glory {the glory of Christ within and the glory of the Epistles that are now written on fleshy tables of the heart}, even as by the Spirit of the Lord {Who accomplished this}.

If these verses above are true, and I believe they are – then God truly gave us something special, creating nothing less than a miracle deep within our very own hearts. Our lives can and will spiritually reflect what is written in our hearts to the point that we become a genuine Epistle that is “known and read of all men.” The Epistles reflect like a mirror that which is currently in you — “the glory of the Lord” for you are “manifestly declared to be the Epistle of Christ.”