When we begin to grasp the nature of Jesus, we will have a more clear understanding of the Trinity. There are three clear positions He holds found in the Bible; Son of man, Son of God and God the Son. If you have a basic understanding of these positions, the apparent contradictions of the Trinity go away. For example, some have asked, “If Jesus is God, why wouldn't He also know when He will return?” We will do an overview of these three positions with the hope that it will make the doctrine of the Trinity more clear and bring a greater appreciation for what Jesus did on the Cross for us.
As the Son of man, Jesus identifies with mankind and represents humanity to God.
As the Son of God, He represents God to mankind.
As God the Son, He is the cause of creation and is equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Each position carries different roles and authority. A natural example would be a man holding more than one position. He can be son, a husband and a dad. Each role is different, yet the same man carries with him all three. Each position has a different form of authority accompanying it.
Lets start with the Son of man.
When Jesus was baptized of John, prior to His baptism, John said he had need to be baptized by Jesus. What was Jesus' response? “Suffer it to be now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Prior to this scene, John was telling people, “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). As people were baptized by John, verse six tells us that they were confessing their sins. Did Jesus need to repent and confess His sins? Of course not; He had nothing to repent of, nor did He have any sins to confess. His baptism was for our sakes. To baptize does mean to immerse or submerge, but it means much more than that. It also means to identify with. For example, if you dip a white clothe in red dye, what color will it be when you take it out? Red; it identified with the dye. Our baptism is more than “An outward sign of an inward work.” It is an open confession that we identified with Jesus and belong to Him. It is also a vow to continue to follow after Him.
When Jesus was baptized, He identified with us, so He could also represent us on the Cross. That means He died on the Cross as the Son of man, and not the Son of God. God is sinless, so obviously Jesus did not need to represent Him on the Cross as the Son of God. Nonetheless, He did represent the Father's love to us (see Romans 5:8). Philippians 2:5-8Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
John chapter five sheds some light on the Son of man and the Son of God. Question, from which position will Jesus judge mankind? John 5:27And (the Father) hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man (see also Matthew 13:37-43; 16:27;24:27-51; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 2:10; 8:38; Luke 21:27-36; et al.). He will judge as our peer. Where do you think we get the concept of our juries being made up of our peers? Here's something to think about. Who kicked Satan out of heaven? It was not God; rather, it was Michael the Archangel who was his peer (see Revelation 12:7-9). In this way, no one could say God was unfair by Jesus not first taking on our nature and then judging us. He lived as a man and experienced temptation, and yet without sin (see Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:15). Keep in mind His heart is not to judge and condemn us. His heart judges and condemns sin, so He could reconcile us unto the Father. Why else would Jesus say, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 21:34)?
As the Son of man, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit. He waited on the Father before He said or did anything. Out of love, He submitted His will to the Father, giving us the example as to how we should live our lives. This also helps clear up the question posed earlier. As the Son of Man, Jesus does not know when He will return. He leaves that in the hands of the Father.
We will address His roles as the Son of God and God the Son in the next blog. Final question, Jesus identified with you, will you identify with Him?
Sometimes circumstances in which we find ourselves appear to be the opposite of the promises of God. The temptation is to reject the promises or in the case of the prophetic, assume we were given a false prophecy. This is when it pays to slow down and not try to figure things out on our own.
If we take the natural approach to reason, we could miss hidden treasure in our circumstances.
The obvious verse of Scripture that comes to mind is, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Question, do you know what God is doing behind the scenes?
There are some lessons we can learn from Jacob's son, Joseph. If you haven't read about him or you need to refresh your memory, read Genesis 37-50. You may find a number of lessons beside what we address here. Before we dive into those lessons, lets start with a very important premise. God is good and He is good all the time. If you don't filter your outlook on life through this truth, your perspective is already severely tainted. Understand our God is a loving and merciful Father. He is not cruel, and He does have our best interest at heart.
Do not confuse bad situations as the result of bad decisions with some sort of punishment from God.
We can be pretty darn good at shooting ourselves in the foot. Fortunately, because He is loving and merciful, full of compassion and is very kind, the Father will be with us through those times. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. He brings to the table, wisdom for course corrections and healing for our wounds.
Joseph had two prophetic dreams which reveal that he would rule over Israel (see Genesis 37:5-10). They also revealed how God would use a famine in the process of their fulfillment (his bothers' sheaves bowing to his sheaf). What happened after Joseph wisely told his brothers the dreams? Okay, maybe it wasn't a wise move, but it was bold. There some lessons tucked in there.
One is that we can be bold as a lion when God gives us a Word.
Another lesson is there's a time to share and a time to keep silent; however, even if we speak when we shouldn't, God will still validate His Word. That also means He will make the provision for our times of foolishness. This is not to say Joseph was not suppose to tell his family; in fact, it actually helped propel him into his destiny. What he said to his brothers really stirred the pot. It helped move them to envy which in turn spurred them to sell Joseph into slavery.
Fast forward: Joseph winds up in Egypt as a slave. Even though God's favor was upon him and he was faithful in his service to his master, Potiphar, he was falsely accused of attempted rape and finds himself in prison. Does this look anything like his dreams? Hmm, probably not. Even in prison, God's hand was upon Joseph and he was promoted in that place. Joseph remained faithful, even where “he was not called to be.”
Ironically, the prison was part of the promotion process.
It was from prison where he interpreted the dreams of the butler and the baker. It was the butler who told Pharaoh about Joseph, when he needed his dreams interpreted. Even though there was a significant amount of time (two full years) between his prison ministry to the butler and his position as Pharaoh's right hand man, he was promoted. We are not told how long he had to wait to even meet the baker and the butler. In all, it took more than a day to fulfill the prophetic dreams; in fact, it took 13 years just to get to this point. Interestingly, it may seem like a long time to wait, but it is already part of recorded history which was thousands of years ago. It might be a good idea to embrace the moment we're in now, so we can be better prepared for our future.
Do you feel like you are in prison with no chance of escape? Could it be that there's a butler coming your way? Are you faithful where you are right now? If not, your “prison sentence” could be extended. It is amazing what happens if we do all things as unto the Lord. When we offer up praise and thanksgiving, instead of murmuring, we will move faster into our destiny. Question, did the baker and the butler need Joseph in order to get their dreams interpreted? Has it occurred to you that the Lord wants to use you where you are now?
We will find ministry opportunities where we are, if we are faithful.
Does this imply that you will have to stay where your are now for years to come? Not at all. Nonetheless, it would be a great idea to leave the timing up to God. Do you feel like a Joseph? Remember, God is good all the time and He is faithful!
Habit is neutral which means it has the ability to be positive or negative. One definition of habit is, “An acquired manner of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.” It is a way of acting through repetition. Secondly, it implies a doing unconsciously and often compulsively. A habit is also a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. One thing to take into consideration is that it is linked to one's mental disposition. This is important in relation to repentance which we'll address later. Another critical factor to keep in mind is a habit is also an automatic reaction to a specific situation.
On the positive side, habits reduce stress levels in relation to routine. They eliminate the constant need to make decisions about certain actions in day to day living. For example, when to get up, how to dress or how to brush our teeth. Have you ever driven home from work and not remember how you got home? Habit got you there, but it also elevated the stress of having to navigate your way home. Have you ever felt stress in relation to finding a place to which you've never been? In a sense, habit reduces the fear of the unknown.
People tend to form habits around things that bring comfort or pleasure. With that comes the unconscious response or reaction to specific situations. They become the go to mode of behavior when they're stressed out. Where do you think the term “comfort food” came from. Here is a negative characteristic of habit: people rely on habits to find peace. This is a weapon the flesh uses against the Spirit. It is a major contributor to doing things you don't want to do anymore, and failing to do those things you desire for that matter.
For some people, the reason they can go a length of time without doing their pet sin, so to speak, and then fall back into it expectantly is they fail to see the value they place on it. Their mode of thinking has not chanced, therefore, it is still their default behavior. Repentance means to change one's mind or way of thinking. Until they change the way they think, the behavior will lurk in the shadows waiting to pounce.
The Cross broke the power of sin which means those unwanted habits can be eliminated. God's grace has empowered us to walk victoriously, in fact, the victory is already won (see Romans 8:37). It is a question of deciding who or what you will follow because now you have the power to choose through Jesus Christ. Know emphatically, you already have the victory in the Lord. Now it is time to believe it.
What you believe is a game changer. If you believe you will never break or change a habit, you will keep repeating it. If you believe what God says, you will be free. Jesus said,
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36). Now lets apply that belief in some practical ways.
In the power of the Holy Spirit, decide to Whom you will yield yourself to serve. Submit yourself to the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Our way of thinking needs to change and that change requires the renewing or renovating of our mind. Yes, that does include reading your Bible. Make a decision as to where you find comfort. Are you going to receive comfort from the Holy Spirit or from the things of the flesh?
If you choose the flesh, you will find more stress and guilt as the result. It can be a vicious cycle. You know, habit. The enemy and the old nature will always uses guilt to needle you. It is the unholy counterfeit of conviction, which drives you away from God. Remember, conviction leads you to God. Using comfort food as an example, the moment a person overeats in order to relieve stress, guilt jumps all over him or her. With guilt, comes more stress because it robs you of peace.
On the other hand, if you choose the Spirit, you also choose peace. Decide to respond to stress, disappointment, grief and the like by going to the Lord. Do not center on the mountain; center on Him. Put your faith in God and command the mountain to be cast into the sea (see Mark 11:22-26). If your soul wrestles with this concept, speak to it. We find an example of this in Psalm 43:5, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Tell your soul to submit to the Holy Spirit. Ask yourself why you are fearful or cast down, then take it to the Lord. Command your soul to trust in Him. Emotions follow obedience, therefore, don't trust what your emotions tell you. Trust what God says. Decide ahead of time, how you will respond to given situations and your habits will change. In other words, do not plan to react in the negative. For example, “If such and such happens, I am going to explode.”
Finally, do not play the “what if” game. This may sound like a contradiction to the last few sentences. What this means is do not try to create imaginary scenarios that probably will not happen. You can work yourself up over nothing, which is a bad habit. Rather, just know by virtues of life, things happen. Don't waste your time trying to imagine what could happen. Remember, the Lord knows what will happen in your future and He made provision for it already. Rest in Him, for He is our Peace and ultimate Comfort.
The danger of higher learning and placing people on pedestals is that it is easy to give institutions and mentors the final say or teaching in regards to Scripture.
It leaves no room for further personal instruction from the Holy Spirit; especially, if it seems to buck the system or contradict the teacher. Keep in mind, no one has the full council of God concerning every part of the doctrine of Christ. Some may know a great deal about a number of areas, but they do not know everything.
You can limit the Holy Spirit by comparing yourself to someone else.
If you think in terms of not being as sharp as others, you are selling God short in relation to Him working in your life. You may sell yourself short, and make it difficult to receive from the Holy Spirit (i.e. "I am not smart enough to understand the Bible"). We can get it into our heads that the deeper things of God belong only to "scholars." This is why some have a difficult time studying for themselves. They believe they cannot understand it. Thus, they ask everyone else for the answers of which they are seeking. They limit themselves from bringing something to the table, so to speak. That is carnal thinking. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." Jesus said, "As your faith is, so be it unto you."
Are you saying you cannot be a scholar? By definition this is one who attends a school; one who learns of a teacher; one under the tuition of a preceptor; a pupil; adisciple; a learner; a student. It sounds like you should have no difficulty qualifying.
Do you truly believe you do not have the ability to receive instruction from the Holy Spirit?
You will be amazed at what you can learn, if you believe God.
Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
While we all have need of teachers, we all need to become teachers as well. Teachers teach others, so they can teach. A good teacher teaches others to rely on The Lord for instruction. How else do we hope to disciple others if we don't learn to teach?
There is one doctrine of Christ which is made up of different parts. All the parts together make the whole. Likewise, the body of Christ has many parts, yet is is one body. Each make up the whole. That means each individual has a part in order to complete the entire picture. Have you ever put together a jigsaw puzzle?
It takes all the pieces to make it complete.
Even if it only has one piece missing, it obviously looks incomplete, doesn't it?
When The Lord teaches each individual his or her part, then each combines it with the rest, we begin to see the whole picture together.
God wants to fellowship with us, and part of that takes place through His instruction to us. As a whole, we make up a community, or a family that learns together. Each of us gives and receives; otherwise, we would be unhealthy. We don't have one section of givers and another section of receivers only.
We pour into each other's life and thereby, we grow together.
For those who know a great deal, remember, you do not know everything. Be prepared to receive instruction from others, including those you may be mentoring right now. Everyone has something to offer. Everyone must remain teachable.
Sometime the Father uses children to teach adults.
Think about that one.
If you believe you are teachable, you will be. With God, nothing is impossible. His grace is sufficient for you, regardless of your intellect, successes or failures. While it is appropriate to ask questions, remember to ask the Holy Spirit first. He may direct you to others, or He may show you directly, Himself. Humility is the key.
It's not humility to say He cannot teach you.
Humility knows its source.
Guess what, He is our Source,
Consider the following scriptures: Psalm 27:11; John 10:3-5; John 14:26; Ephesians 4:21; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:9.
Before the captivity of Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem, the children of Israel were repeatedly warned to get rid of their idols and return to God. If they did not, the nation would be destroyed and many of them would be dispersed into the Gentile nations. The Lord told them if they s worshipped and served Him only, they would have peace in the land. They did not heed God's warnings and as a result, Israel and Judah were destroyed. Many died by the sword, famine and disease. Some were taken captive and dispersed. Only a small remnant remained, but the land was desolate.
Scripture says that these things were written for our examples. Not only does the Word of God encourage us, it warns us by these examples. If the land in which you reside lacks peace, is it the result of idols in your heart? Are there things that have come between you and God?
Our households should be sanctuaries of peace. Places of rest. Safe havens for all who live there and those who visit. Homes are houses where contentment resides.
The moment an idol is allowed in the house, contentment flees. With it, there is no peace in the heart nor rest for the soul.
Colossians 2:9-10 For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And you are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power. When we realize we are complete in Christ Jesus alone, it will be easier to rid ourselves of idols. Without being aware of it, a person can slip into covetousness which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5) by focusing on the things of the world.
The spirit of the world always cries out, “It is not enough! Jesus is not enough!”
Perhaps, materialism is not the hangup. It might be the desire for the approval of man which can lead for an appetite for things. Meaning that a person may pursue things in order to find approval and admiration. With that can come the the quest for power because of the prestige attached to it. The world tends to gravitate to people with power.
Do you like to impress people? If so, why? Is that the same thing as the desire to be worshipped?
Sometimes the need for approval stems from a wound caused by rejection. Rejection can leave a big hole in a person's heart. Ironically, the more you try to fill that hole with anything other than God, the bigger it gets. As long as you chase after man's approval, peace will elude you. Is not the love of God enough?
The Father's love crushes rejection if you receive it. In His love is perfect peace.
Chasing approval may reveal what you don't believe. Specifically, that God loves you. You may not believe the Father loves you because you equate Him with those who rejected you. Especially, those who were supposed to love you. For those of you who have trouble in this area, it is time to believe. God is an ever loving Father, and is unlike anyone on the earth. If He did not love you, He would have never made a way for you to come into a relationship with Him by grace through faith.
The Father desires a unique relationship with you.
Mark 4:18-19 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Of course, the issue for some might be they buying into the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lust of other things. If that is you, it is time to repent. No matter how much you obtain, it will never be enough. That's the way lust operates. It will constantly cry, “You need more!” As long as you believe that lie and embrace it, you will not have peace in your land.