Intentions vs Righteousness
Dear saints, I trust that the Lord had been keeping and prospering you. All of us are familiar with the oft-quoted saying, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” (generally attributed to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux or Publius Vergilius Maro – courtesy of Wikipedia). We all know what it means and I’m certain that we’ve pondered much over it. How did the Lord Jesus Christ succeed where Adam had failed (Romans 5:11-14)? What made Jesus infinitely better than Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47-48), and why did the spiritual succeed the natural as opposed to preceding it (1 Corinthians 15:46)? We can list any number of reasons, but I’d like for us to focus on two, i.e., the origins of Christ (and us) and His spiritual discipline.
I’d like to start with a single verse, John 19:30, “……it is finished…” Theologians had been debating for centuries as to what the Lord had meant by those words. First, I’d like to believe that the work of redeeming and restoring fallen humanity into a right relationship with God Almighty was completed (Colossians 1:20). It also means that He has forever destroyed the enemy and his evil powers (Luke 10:18, John 12:31), and death that separates us from God (1 Corinthians 15:55). But what was it about Christ that made Him uniquely qualified to accomplish that which Adam failed to?
The conception of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit gave Him a Divine origin, even in the flesh (John 1:14). Unlike Adam who was made from the dust and hence prone to a carnal nature (Genesis 2:7, 1 Corinthians 2:14), the only begotten Son of God (John 1:14, 3:16) was conceived by the Holy Spirit as God Incarnate (Luke 1:35). As saints of God born of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11) we have the same heritage and lineage as the Son of God Himself. However, in many cases, the adversary would like to keep us from believing and accepting our Divine ancestry (Matthew 13:19, 2 Corinthians 5:16). Not understanding our heavenly lineage is probably worse than not repenting of our sins (Galatians 3:26, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Matthew 12:45). The Lord Jesus Christ knew exactly who He was, where He was from and where He was returning (John 10:36, John 13:3). He knew His mission and the authority that He received from God the Father (John 6:38, John 10:18). He wasn’t modest about it, He didn’t lie about it nor was He uncomfortable with His Divine origins. He was so confident that He even called all others liars, crooks and thieves (John 10:8). Are we obedient to our Divine calling and roots (Acts 26:19) like the Son of God? Are we ashamed off standing out like odd-balls (John 15:18)? Can we confidently defend our position that Christ is the ONLY way to God the Father (John 14:6)? Are we sure of our Divine origins like Jesus Himself (2 Peter 1:10).
Finally, I’d like for us to look into the spiritual discipline and tenacity of the Lord Jesus. None of us of are ever going to be spiritually conditioned like Christ Himself (Matthew 4:1-11) or the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 11:24-27). However, there’s an element of spiritual discipline that conditions the body and soul that we simply can’t ignore (Mark 9:39, 1 Corinthians 9:27). Again, none of us may have the endurance to such extreme discipline like Paul or John the Baptist (Matthew 3:4). However, it’s definitely possible for us to tack on the spiritual attributes of Christ (1 Peter 1:4-8). I doubt if any of us will ever have to face the desolation and despair that Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Jeremiah had faced (Jeremiah 45:5) but we should certainly have the moral rectitude to acknowledge our Lord (Luke 9:26) to our colleagues. Spiritual tenacity and discipline is what kept the Lord Jesus going (Luke 12:32-33) where others had failed (John 6:66). When Satan’s opposition reached a crescendo (Luke 23:21), Jesus kept going busting the spiritual barriers wide open (Matthew 27:51). While Adam easily gave into a simple innuendo (Genesis 3:17), Jesus of Nazareth withstood extreme torture (John 19:1-17) and irresistible temptation (Matthew 4:3-10, Matthew 26:39-44) and accomplished His mission victoriously (John 19:30). What a man, what a God, and what a God-Man!
His tenacity and singular vision was also replicated by the Apostle Paul (2 Timothy 4:7) who actually gave us a hint as to how keep marching heavenward (Hebrew 12:2). Are we bulking up our spiritual muscle like Moses who endured because He saw Him who was invisible (Hebrews 11:27)? Are we strengthening the feeble arms and weak knees (Hebrews 12:2) to take on Satan and his fallen angels? Our Divine origin is what gives us the pure motive (1 Peter 1:23) and the Holy Spirit gives us the staying power (Luke 24:49, Colossians 1:29, Ephesians 1:19). Our acceptance of and obedience to His Divine empowerment is what will determine if we’ll be victorious like Jesus of Nazareth or another failure like Adam. I pray and am confident in the Lord that we’re the former. Amen.
Dear friends, I’m quite certain that all of you are sanctified, Holy Ghost baptized saints. Should there be any amongst you that don’t know the Lord yet, I pray that the Lord of the Universe will set you free from sin and disobedience into His glorious light and freedom. Amen.