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An old hymn has a stanza that asks the question posed in the title of this article. That’s a very good question, with many answers, but at least four of them are of ultimate importance in truly understanding the gospel of Christ. I recently preached a series of two sermons answering these questions, and since the lessons seemed to be received well, I was motivated to put them into article form and post them on this teaching website. Each of the parts is placed in a sequence that I believe is logical, and you will hopefully understand the reason for the sequence as the answers unfold.

Answer #1 – His Death Makes Possible the Impossible  

First, Jesus came to die for our sins. The verses that say this could be multiplied, because this is the foundation of the gospel. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” He didn’t just die for the sins of the world; he died for the specific sins that each of us has committed (and will yet commit).

The Astounding Nature of Forgiveness

Astounding is the right word when thinking of the magnitude of our individual sins, to say nothing of the combined sins of the entire human race from its beginning. The ways to sin are many, the Bible tells us.

  • Wrong actions – 2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
  • Wrong words – Matthew 12:36-37: “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
  • Wrong thoughts – Mark 7:21-23: “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.'”
  • Wrong motivations – 1 Corinthians 4:5: “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.”
  • Failure to do right – James 4:17: “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

In light of these passages, and many more like them, the sin problem of mankind is enormous. How many sins have you committed? How many sins has humanity as a whole committed? I remember reading an old restoration preacher’s writing who made a comment back in the 19th century about the number of our personal sins. Since he was a part of a very doctrinally focused group, his answer was surprising. I supposed that he thought of sin mainly as doctrinal errors, but he said that a mature sinner had surely committed at least a couple of million sins. He was far more in touch with reality than most today, I would have to say.

To even start approaching the number of sins that mankind as a whole has committed and will yet commit, I had to Google the terms by which large numbers are called. Starting with millions, it goes in this ascending order: billions, trillions, quadrillions, quintillions, nonillions, decillions, googols, centillions, googolplexes – and beyond. Astounding! Unfathomable!  Overwhelming!

How is Forgiveness Even Possible?

Then we must come to a consideration of how all of those sins could be forgiven. Hebrews 10:4 assures us that “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” In the Old Testament, there were many types of animal sacrifices prescribed by God, the main ones being the burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, guilt offerings and a number of others. The burnt offerings were sacrificed each morning and each evening, plus additional ones on the Sabbath and other special days. This means that well over 1 million animals were killed from the time of Moses to the time of Christ just in this one category of sacrifices. I recall reading of an official Roman report sent to Rome from Jerusalem during the first century, noting that 256,000 lambs had been sacrificed in Jerusalem during one Passover Feast.

All told, no doubt billions of animals were slaughtered during the Mosaic period. Keep in mind that these animals were totally innocent, they were painfully slaughtered (often by the one who brought them to be offered), and in spite of these sacrifices numbering in the billions, all of them combined simply could not take away one sin! With this realization comes the realization that our sins are far more heinous before our God that we can possibly imagine.

Our problem in grasping the awfulness of sin is that we have allowed Satan to do what he does best – deceive us into thinking that we are basically good people. Perhaps many of us are, when compared to our fellow man (the bad ones for sure). But compared to the sinless Jesus, we are anything but good. What we deserve is death and hell; by God’s grace we can escape the latter if we truly live as Jesus calls us to. When I teach the first three chapters of Romans, I give it the heading of “The best of us is a mess!” Chapter 1 shows the horrific sins of the Gentiles; chapter 2 shows the self-righteous sins of the Jews; chapter 3 sums up the problem of all mankind with these words: “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one’” (Romans 3:10). “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” Isaiah described it in even more shocking terms when he said in 64:6 that “all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”

Are you overwhelmed yet? I am. Forgiveness of the magnitude of sins we have all committed is a concept that our mortal minds simply cannot begin to grasp. Then how can God possibly forgive as freely as the Bible says he does? God had to become a man – there is no other possible answer. The Deity of Christ cannot be glossed over in any way. It is a salvation issue.

The Nature of Christ Jesus

The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus was God’s first creation and then Jesus created everything else. They believe that Jesus is an archangel, nothing more and nothing less, and specifically they view him as being Michael the archangel.

This is nothing short of heretical teaching. Mathew 4:10 says that only God can be worshipped. Revelation 19:10 shows clearly that angels cannot be worshipped by humans. Jesus accepted worship from humans during his personal ministry, and Hebrews 1:6 states clearly that Jesus was worshipped by angels. “And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’” The term “firstborn” is obviously used symbolically to mean “highest honored,” as it is used of David in Psalm 89:27. Two verses later in Hebrews 1 (verse 8), the Father says of Jesus, “But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.’”

Regarding Michael the archangel, Jude 1:9 had this to say: “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’” Jesus certainly had no hesitation in rebuking Satan personally and strongly (Matthew 4:10).

But back to the biggest issue of how forgiveness of sins is possible when considering the just nature of God! I mentioned the first three chapters of Romans in how they describe sin and the penalty due for it. A careful study of these chapters doesn’t leave you with the question of how a loving God can send people to hell; it leaves you with the question of how a just God can do anything else! Sin is deadly and a deadly serious matter. By the grace of God, Jesus came to earth and died for a magnitude of sins that our finite minds cannot begin to grasp. Hence, living as Jesus demands is no small matter, and self-denial is the only possible starting place in imitating him.

Forgiveness in the Old Testament

Some of you may be wondering about those who lived before the sacrifice of Christ – were they saved and if so, how were they saved? If the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin, what happened to those who died before the cross? The general answer is that they were saved just like we are, by grace through faith. Their faith was a seriously committed faith as ours must be, and the grace came by the cross of Christ just as ours has. The effects of the shed blood of Christ went backwards as well of forwards.

Hebrews 9:15b – “… he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

Romans 3:25-26 – “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

We tend to get confused by the time factor of when Christ’s crucifixion took place, but that is because we are time-bound creatures. Time means nothing to God. As Peter put it in 2 Peter 3:8: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Revelation 13:8 ties it all together beautifully as it states that Jesus was “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” Before God created humankind, he knew that he would ultimately be nailed to the cross for the redemption of his creatures. And that is the story that mortal mind could never have invented nor comprehended without the revelation of God.

Answer #2 – His Life Makes Known the Unknowable

A second fundamental answer to our question is that Jesus came to reveal God to us. If you try to fully understand God from just the Old Testament, you are going to find it very challenging. I sometimes feel a bit schizophrenic from my study of the OT. On the one hand, I see much about God’s grace, but even more about his judgment – a judgment that at times seems quite harsh.

On the other hand, studying the life of Jesus helps us understand God in a much better way. He made it clear that one of his primary purposes was in fact to reveal God to us. Here are some good passages addressing that purpose.

John 1:18 – “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

John 14:6-9 – “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’ 8 Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.’ 9 Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

One of the most thrilling descriptions of this purpose of Jesus is found in Colossians 2:9, which reads: “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” This means that Jesus was God in the flesh, both fully God and fully man, a truth that is still beyond our comprehension in many ways, but the revelation of this truth in the Bible is unmistakable. Jesus shows us God in a way that he could never have been known otherwise, and that was surely one of his key purposes in coming to earth.

God’s Nature Revealed

Certainly Jesus came to reveal God, and to reveal much about God. In our efforts to grasp the nature of Deity, what is one thing that we cannot afford to miss? The Apostle John expressed it quite clearly in 1 John 4:8: “God is love.” Love is the normal English translation of more than one Greek word. Phileo is the word for friendship type of love. Thus we call Philadelphia the “City of Brotherly Love.” Although it doesn’t live up to its billing too well, that is its meaning.

The greater word for love in the original language is agape. This type of love goes far beyond friendship love, for it is a love that describes much more than simply a feeling, but rather a serious commitment to the good of the object of that agape love. It is this word that is used in John’s description of God. Paul uses this same term in what is likely the most famous love passage in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. If we substitute the name of Jesus in this passage, it would look like this:

Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind. Jesus does not envy, Jesus does not boast, Jesus is not proud. 5 Jesus does not dishonor others, Jesus is not self-seeking, Jesus is not easily angered, Jesus keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 Jesus always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Jesus never fails.

How does this passage read to you if you substitute your name in each of these descriptions of what love is and is not? Doing that will give us a very good idea of the areas in which we need to grow if we are to imitate Jesus and represent him to the world. That would be a good exercise for all of us on a regular basis at some interval – perhaps once a month, and then spend the rest of the month working on the areas in which we are not like Jesus.

Two Stories

Paul Harvey, a radio commentator of yesteryear, used to tell a fictional story every year around Christmas. As the story went, a couple lived in a part of the US where the winters were pretty brutal. The wife was a believer and the husband was not. He wasn’t opposed to her involvement in church, but he just didn’t want any part of religion himself. One particularly cold and snowy day, she left him at home in front of the fireplace while she went to a church service. As he was enjoying the cozy fire, he heard an unusual sound at his front door. Out of curiosity he went to see what was making the sound. He discovered a little flock of birds huddling in his doorway, trying to escape the cold. It appeared that they were freezing in the weather.

At first, he just shooed them away and went back to his rocking chair. In a few minutes, they were back at the doorway once again trying to find some escape from the snow. His sympathy kicked into gear at least a little, and he decided to try to move the birds along the ground and into his tool shed in order to protect them. The birds, of course, had no idea of what he was trying to do, and they scattered in all different directions.

Once again, he found his way to his warm, comfortable rocking chair, consoling himself with the fact that he had at least tried to help. A few minutes later, the birds were back and he repeated the process of trying to help them – with the same results. Finally, the thought popped into his mind that if he could have just become a bird for a short time, he could have led them into the shed. He then had a much more profound thought. He realized that this imagined process was exactly what his wife had been telling him about why Jesus became a man – to lead us otherwise lost beings into a safe place. Thus, Jesus not only leads us to safety, but became one of us in order to make it possible. The true story is much more amazing than the imagined one, is it not?

Answer #3 – His Priority Exposes Our Misunderstood Priorities  

A third primary answer about why Jesus came is found in 1 John 2:4-6. “The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:4-6).” He came to show us the path, how to live our lives on this earth.

This passage introduces at least two other questions. What does it mean to walk as Jesus did? Why is this important enough to be given to us as an absolute command? To walk as he did obviously goes far beyond simply believing in him. Because the word “faith” or “believe” is used in a number of different ways in the Bible, we can misunderstand passages like John 3:16 and think that simply believing the basics about Jesus will get us to heaven. Quite a number of passages show that this very popular view of salvation being a matter of merely believing those basics (such as the virgin birth, Jesus’ death for our sins and his resurrection from the dead) simply cannot be accurate. Read the following passages carefully and you will see what I mean.

John 12:42 – “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue.”

Luke 9:23-24 – “Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.’”

Luke 14:26-27, 33
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

Matthew 7:13-14, 21 – “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it… 21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” 

From the Gospel accounts, we know how Jesus lived in a physical body. From Paul’s inspired writing, we can also know how Jesus intends to live through us in his spiritual body, the church. Just as Jesus was the fullness of God in the flesh, demonstrating to the world what God was truly like, we as Christ’s family are to demonstrate what he is truly like. “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way (Ephesians 1:22-23).” What God is asking of us is that we represent Jesus to the world, to do what he would do if he were here in a physical body again. This truth helps us understand why the religious world’s watered-down version of what it means to be a Christian cannot possibly be acceptable. As the old saying goes, Jesus is either Lord of all in our lives, or Lord not at all.

Imitating Jesus’ Priority

If the nature of God can be defined simply as love (1 John 4:8), then we know that Jesus lived a life of love – which we are specifically called to imitate. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” How was Jesus’ life of love demonstrated in his ministry? He loved every person, and he loved the whole person – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Spiritually, we’ve already considered somewhat in depth his death for the sins of the world. It is only logical that his life on earth was focused on helping prepare people to accept his offering and receive salvation. We are not surprised to read in Luke 19:10 that he came to seek and save the lost. If that is what he did, that is what he expects his followers to do also.

Physically, we see him healing all types of illnesses and maladies, including raising the dead on several occasions. Emotionally, he wept when others wept, he was carried away with compassion for those who were hurting in any way. A great passage to sum up his love for people is Matthew 9:35-36: “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

The word found here for compassion is a long Greek word (splagchnizomai). It is never used of a human in the Bible, but only of God and Christ. We use the phrase about having our hearts go out to someone, and if you multiply this by 100, you come pretty close to the literal meaning of the word. Jesus felt deeply for people, more deeply than we have ever felt. But he is calling us to develop more and more of this divine compassion for those who are hurting, spiritually, physically or emotionally. The passage in Matthew 9 is also found in Matthew 4:23, and both passages describe what I call the gospel triad – teaching, preaching and healing.

What Was His Priority?

Which do you think was the most important – loving people emotionally, physically or spiritually? In order to answer that question, we must understand the top priority of Jesus’ ministry. It is easy to say all three areas are equally important, which would seem to allow us to choose which we find most appealing to us and focus on that one area. However, is that really what Jesus did and now calls us to do?

Seeing the physical and emotional needs of others is far easier than grasping their spiritual needs. The latter is not simply a matter of observation, but a matter of revelation – believing what we have already read about the lostness of people. We have more ways to minister to people emotionally and physically than ever before. HOPE Worldwide has been a great channel through which to serve the poor and needy, both locally and globally. We have more Christian-oriented counselors among us than ever before, and that number continues to grow substantially. I’m grateful for all that we are doing collectively in these areas, and I’m trying to do my part individually. It is important to love the whole person.

Having said that, let’s reason together a bit. In Jesus’ ministry, what happened to those whom he healed and raised from the dead? They died or died again. I find it immensely interesting that in our current society that we are obsessed with health issues, while Jesus never said anything about how to be physically healthy and live as long as possible. Most of us moderns want to live to reach our 100th birthday. The life spans in most developed countries has continued to lengthen. At what price? More and more developing all sorts of dementia, and more and more spending their latter years drooling and in diapers. Why are we so obsessed with life on this earth if we believe in heaven? Something is surely amiss here in our value system and in our view of time and eternity. I suggest you read and meditate on passages like the following:

Hebrews 11:13-16
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Evangelism Must Be Our Bottom Line Focus

I’ve recently been speaking a lot about what drew me into the churches of which I am now a part, and the main drawing card was what could be called the practice of “One Another” Christianity. The New Testament has over 60 passages which use the phrases “one another” or “each other,” and many more that describe how God’s family should be loving each other through genuine spiritual relationships. God’s religion is decidedly not a private matter! To put it gently, we are not nearly as committed to helping each other grow spiritually after conversion as we once were.

The same can be said of us regarding our evangelistic zeal to seek and save the lost – why are we not as motivated to help people spiritually as we are physically and emotionally? When I first became a part of my present church movement, it was a fast-growing movement. That was also a strong drawing card for me, because in combination with the one another relationships, both parts of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) were being obeyed in earnestness. Prior to joining the movement, others asked me how these churches were converting so many. My answer was that pretty much all of the members had a constant focus on seeking and saving the lost, and their relationships helped them stay accountable to keep imitating Jesus by so doing.

Sadly, I see a serious deceleration in carrying out both parts of that Great Commission among us. It is commendable that we have planted churches in at least 150 different nations. But 70% of our churches have under 100 members. It now takes 85 members to baptize 1 person in a year’s time, something unthinkable back when I first became a part of things. Over half of our churches baptized 10 or less people in 2016. 111 of our churches had ZERO baptisms in 2016. Our growth rate as a movement continues to decrease – from 1.9% in 2015 to 1.2% in 2016 (about a 60% decrease if my math is correct). The number of baptisms and restorations has declined for the last four years. We cannot spin those facts in a way that makes them sound encouraging. Something is obviously missing!

What are we missing? Obviously, we are missing an understanding of the priority in Jesus’ ministry and our imitation of it. True enough, he helped people emotionally and physically, but it had as its ultimate aim the helping of them spiritually to get right with God. The help they received emotionally and physically was temporal in nature. But people were lost – and people are lost now – and this is an eternal issue.

It is Time to Get Real – and Get Serious! 

All spiritual roads don’t lead to heaven – and we can include every religion in the world outside Christianity. All approaches to Christianity don’t lead to heaven – we have the spiritual partner of the American Dream, called the American Church Dream, which means that we pursue this world’s values with a dab of religion thrown in as fire insurance! But as popular as this viewpoint is, we cannot be saved simply by claiming to be Christians! The very first step of Christianity is to deny self, take up our crosses and follow Jesus! That is the essence of imitating him. Read these passages and let them cut your heart. If Jesus and his apostles cannot be believed on these sobering points, how can we believe anything else that they said?

Matthew 7:13-14, 21 – “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it… 21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

Acts 4:12 – “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

I want to love people as Jesus loved people – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

But I cannot love as he did without having the same priority that he had, and that was clearly helping people to get right with God – above all else. And we will not do that unless we believe what he did about heaven and hell and salvation! This life goes by fast, faster than we could have imagined as young people. My 75 years have been just what the Bible said that they would be: a breath, a shadow, a flower that withers away, a passing breeze, fleeting, a vapor. Death is real; the Judgement Day is real; Heaven and Hell are real! And God is serious! It is indeed time for us to get real and get serious! 

Answer #4 – His Power Overcomes Our Weakness 

Yes, Jesus came to die for our sins; to reveal God’s nature and heart to us; and to leave us an example that we should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21). These three reasons give us a greater understanding of God, an example to follow and a solution to our sin problem. Yet, we still have one great need remaining, that of finding the power to do what we have just read that we must do – live as Jesus did.

For starters, it should be obvious that while our hearts must be set on imitating him, we will not do it perfectly. In spite of having the dedication demanded in passages like Luke 14, our performance will always be flawed. Our theme verse is translated in other versions as “walk,” thus to walk as did. Actually, the Greek term is more accurately translated as walk, although the meaning in context is live. Looking at the idea of walking with Jesus, a very important passage occurs only a few verses prior to our theme verse and uses the same Greek term.

1 John 1:5-7
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

Two walks, or ways of life, are herein described: walking in darkness and walking in the light. John is clearly describing one’s direction in life, the characteristic way in which one lives. A person living in darkness will likely turn aside from that path occasionally and do some good, but they are characterized by walking in the darkness and they will always return to it. Satan’s world is their chosen path. A person living in the light will also likely turn aside, in this case doing something not good, but then they turn back to the light, for that is the focus and intent of their heart. Christ’s world is their chosen path.

Walking (living) in the light cannot mean sinlessness, for then there would be no sins from which to be purified. It does mean serious commitment and consistency in following Jesus. Interestingly, the Greek verb translated “purifies” is a continual action word. It means that Jesus’ blood continues to cleanse our sins, as long as we are walking with him. Just as the blood in our physical bodies continually circulates and takes away the impurities in our body, Jesus’ blood does the same in his spiritual body, the family of God. Here is a related passage that should thrill our hearts:

Romans 4:7-8
Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.

Certainly we are blessed with forgiveness, but this passage goes far beyond forgiveness when we become Christians – it describes someone whose sin the Lord never counts against them. A person who is not in a saved relationship with Christ has every sin counted against them. A person who is in a saved relationship with Christ has no sins counted against them. I want to be that second person, don’t you? Grace is not a hopscotch game, in which we sin, repent and then are restored to grace. If we are in Christ, we live in grace – in our good days and our bad days.

A marriage analogy provides a great way of looking at those good and bad days. I am a good husband most of the time, if my wife’s viewpoint can be trusted. But I’m not always a good husband and there are times when I sin and hurt my wife. I should feel badly about those times and I most certainly do. Yet I don’t ever feel unmarried. On my bad days spiritually, I should feel badly about my sins and turn from them, but I don’t feel separated from my relationship with Jesus. (Or at least I shouldn’t!)

Continuing with another marriage analogy, living in the light is interchangeable with the idea of being faithful to our vows to make Jesus the Lord of our lives. Just ask my wife of 53 years if I am a perfect husband, and you already know the answer. Ask her if I am a faithful husband, and the answer will be just as quick and as certain – except it will be a yes this time! I am not a perfect follower of Christ, but I am a faithful one – faithful according to the Bible’s definition of faithful. That that is what Jesus is asking of us as we live for him and imitate him.

The Ongoing Investment Jesus Makes

We know the investment Jesus made – on the cross. But he makes continual investments as our High Priest. Listen to the writer of Hebrews:

Hebrews 4:14-16
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 7:25
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Jesus promised his apostles that he would send the Holy Spirit to them, and ultimately to all who would follow Jesus. We close with a passage about how Jesus blesses us through the Spirit. It is filled with God’s multiple promises to bless us as we live with him, for him and through him. It is arguably Paul’s high-water mark of promising victory in Christ.

Ephesians 3:14-21
For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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