It’s wonderful to contemplate the fact that the whole history of the world is concerned, not with this nation or that ruler, or this war or that political solution, but with the gathering together of the Bride of Christ. It was always in the hear of the Father to have a bride for his son. Charles Alexander speaks wonderfully of this in his book “Revelation spiritually understood.” Here’s an excerpt:
Matthew Ch 5 verse 17
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets:I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Jesus came to fulfil the words and prophesy of the prophets, because He was the one prophesied about. He made this clear when:
…………he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
He also made it clear to two of His downcast and confused disciples on the Emmaus road.
O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Then later as they were all assembled together He stood in the midst of them and said, concerning His death and resurrection:
These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
He came not to destroy the prophets but to fulfil their words completely.
He also came to fulfil the law. He didn’t come to destroy the law, but He also didn’t come to keep it on our behalf. The law justly demands righteousness from us, but we were and are by our sinful nature totally incapable of bringing forth a righteousness to present to God for acceptance. He however, brought in an everlasting righteousness for us, independent of us. Not a human legal righteousness, but a divine righteousness, even the righteousness of God.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The law itself couldn’t produce from us, or in us, the righteousness that it demanded. It was unable to do it. It was, as it were, weak because of our sinful impotent flesh. This was what the law could not do. But God sent His own Son, to condemn our failure and sin, in His flesh. Therefore by the death of Christ our unrighteousness has been judged and already condemned. Therefore we are not under condemnation any more! Now we are no longer in a relationship of condemnation and fear. We are now free to serve God on an altogether different basis, one of total acceptance in spite of who and what we are. Jesus Christ has removed every barrier and brought in a new law:
…………the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
This brings us to serve God in Love, because He first loved us and gave His Son a ransom for us. It brings in a righteousness far beyond that of the law. A righteousness that loves our enemies, and prays for them that despitefully use us and persecute us. A righteousness that turns the other cheek, that gives to those that ask of us, and we lend hoping for nothing in return. A righteousness that gives, as our heavenly Father has given to us. This is not a legal righteousness under the old covenant, but a righteousness born out of the death of Christ for us. It is faith working by love in the new covenant. We are brought to see our need: Blessed are the poor in spirit. and how every need is met in the saviour. The great moving force of our new life is the depth of the love of Christ for us. How can we, who owed so much and were freely forgiven, deal any differently toward our fellow man than how Christ has dealt toward us? The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death.
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
This is how the righteousness of the disciples far exceeds the legal self righteousness of the scribes and pharisees.
This is the more excellent way.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 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 also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. He loved me! and gave himself for me!
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.
He came not to destroy the law but to fulfil it, by love.
Love is the fulfilling of the law.
I was reading the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel today and a few things struck me. Firstly, it is rooted firmly in history and speaks of historical persons and rulers. These aren’t fables or myths! Secondly, the humble heartbroken attitude of the prophet. He wasn’t presumptuous. He didn’t read about the imminent fulfillment of God’s word and become complacent. We read, in the opening of the chapter:
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
The time of fulfillment drew near, and Daniel’s response was to pray earnestly.
And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
He justified God in His judgments. He owned and confessed that because of the sins of God’s people, including himself, all this evil had come upon them.
We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
I see a parallel in our own day, as everyone does that which is right in their own eyes and turns away from the one true God. Myself included. Iniquity abounds and the love of many waxes cold. Good is called bad and bad good. Sins that would have been unthinkable 20 or 30 years ago are now not only indulged in, but encouraged and lauded as somehow honorable and praiseworthy. God’s law is treated as irrelevant to the modern liberal ‘inclusive’ society. The biblical statements about sin and guilt are laughed at as merely leftover inhibitions from a distant and backward medieval past. The notion of a real personal adversary who is opposed to everything holy and true, has become a joke, though cinemas throughout the land parade all that is base and evil in the name of entertainment. So what are we to do? We ought to acknowledge our sin, as Daniel did, and come before the Lord with prayer and supplication. Then we will find what Daniel found:
O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
And though Daniel speaks about the professing people of God in his time, we can surely apply it to ourselves, as the professing Church of God in our time. All the confusing divisions, all the sin at the very heart of some of our great ‘Christian’ institutions. An unwarranted, unscriptural Papacy and priesthood. The ineffectual soft social clubs raised up to ‘get people in.’ The lack of real biblical teaching and preaching. The fact that many unbelieving people, with some justification, look upon the professing church as an irrelevance. A reproach. What a cause for prayer and supplication.
O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name
After outlining his previous way of life as a “blasphemer,” “Injurious” and “a persecutor” the Apostle Paul, reveals, for our encouragement, the wonderful mercy and grace of God.
He states that Jesus Christ demonstrates how longsuffering and patient he is, by the example of Paul’s own conversion, In spite of the enormity of his sins. He shows that the same grace which he had obtained would not be wanting also to those who should hereafter believe. No matter how far their sin had taken them, no matter how vile they were. There would be mercy, even to the chief of sinners.
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
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, 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 set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith.
We are to look unto Him as:
Again, Strong’s definition is one who has in his own person raised faith to its perfection and so set before us the highest example of faith.
After presenting to us a great cloud of witnesses, all of whom personified Faith, the writer to the Hebrews now exhorts us to look to the prime example of Faith. The pioneer of Faith. The head of the line of all this great company. We trace all these men and women who lived by faith, from Abel through Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses’ parents, Moses himself, Rahab, Gedeon, Barak, Samson, the Prophets, until we reach the pinnacle and peerless life of faith, the faith of Jesus Christ.
His faith is described:
Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…..
This is faith, His faith.
And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.
For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;
In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven:
In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the a arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil u with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
We are made nigh by his blood.
It’s the blood of the everlasting covenant.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
We often hear the phrase “The Righteousness of Christ is reckoned to believers.” By which is meant, if I understand the teaching aright, that Jesus vicariously kept the law for us.
It is stated that: Just as we haven’t, don’t and can’t keep the law of God, and therefore are unrighteous. He however could and did keep the law of God, and therefore His righteous keeping of the law, is what is reckoned to us, so that we are seen as having perfectly obeyed the law. Therein, in this imputed keeping of the law, stands our righteousness.
Popular as it is I must admit that I can’t find that teaching anywhere in the bible.
First of all it seems to me that this teaching is not represented in the shadows and types of the Old Testament.
The sacrificial lamb was indeed to be without spot or blemish. But doesn’t this answer, figuratively, to the perfect sinlessness of Christ as:
The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.
He was without sin. He did no sin. He knew no sin. He was perfect and absolutely righteous. Therefore he was the only suitable substitute.
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh……..
The suffering and death of Christ as the righteous one, in the place of a great multitude of unrighteous ones, is what brings us to God.
But nowhere in the Old Testament is the life of the sacrifice, before death, said to be accepted in place of the offerer.
The sacrifice, being perfect, was a suitable substitute, but it was the death of the sacrifice alone, instead of the sinner, the shedding of it’s blood, which made atonement.
A substitute is one who stands in our stead. We are condemned to die. He died in our place.
he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Secondly, the Apostle Paul insists that the reckoning of the Righteousness of God to the ungodly is totally apart from the Law, which was given by Moses.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Justification is through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus.
And if we are thereby reckoned righteous, and justified in the sight of God, what else do we need? Why is anything else required?
Our Law breaking wasn’t balanced out by Our Saviour’s Law keeping. Our Law breaking is what caused the curse of God to fall on His Son. As the Apostle Paul says:
Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
Everywhere in the Scriptures salvation is in His blood. in the above passage it doesn’t say that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by keeping it for us. It states that he redeemed us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us.
He stood as it were in the breach. Between the wrath of God and the sinner. Something deep within the very being and heart of God passed, by the eternal Spirit, between the Father and the Son. God was making an end of sin, by the sacrifice of His Son.
God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, (he who knew no sin;) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
This is the Law:
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
This is the gospel:
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Far from vicariously keeping the law for us, that was against us, which was contrary to us he:
Blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
The answer to a broken law isn’t someone to keep it for us but for someone to take our place under the curse.
The answer to a broken law is:
I am crucified with Christ.
If He ‘kept the law for me,’ then why was He cursed for my breaking it?
As I walk through the wilderness of this world, accompanied as I am by my sinful nature. Beset around with fears and distress of mind and heart. Feeling the impossibility of ever being saved. Wondering how God could love such a willful creature as I. So proud, walking in a vain show. It was good to be reminded today of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who were cast into the blazing furnace. Everything was against their survival. Not only were they thrown in, but they were bound up tight and thrown in. Escape was impossible. The flame was sure to burn them up.
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Jesus Christ The Son of God, bore all the fierceness of the flame.
For God hath made him who knew no sin, to be sin for us. That we might become the Righteousness of God in Him.
A full and perfect Righteousness.
The Righteousness of God, by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that believe.
That’s how we can walk through any circumstance and any situation, no matter our sin or our darkness or whatever it is that seems ready to totally overwhelm us:
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thanks be to God.
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month:and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse:but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light:and they shall reign for ever and ever.
And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true:and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
Behold, I come quickly:blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book And I John saw these things, and heard them.
What a glorious prospect is set before them that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. We shall see his face. That face which is above the brightness of the sun. Radiant with the glory of God. The sun will be as darkness compared to the glory that streams from his face. How it will melt our hearts when we see him who was wounded for our transgressions. Our hearts are melted even now when we are permitted to see but a faint glimpse.
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 also I am known.
No matter what we suffer here because of our own failings or because of the persecution we feel by living in this present evil age, we can say with the apostle Paul:
I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
This is absolute certainty. This will happen. This is our future. These sayings are faithful and true! There will be a new heaven and a new earth, wherin dwelleth righteousness!
Even so come Lord Jesus.