Thursday, August 9, 2018

Heart Of God - Part 1

Question:            What is the Heart of God?
Answer:               Jesus, and everything we saw Him do for the World.

Here are the explanations:

Too much of our take on humanity in this world is an “us and them” mentality. We form factions, clicks, and groups that define who we are; and relate to whom we want to relate to. We divide people up into gender, race, color, religion, region, age, and more. We never see equality and never treat everyone the same. Yet Jesus did: treat everyone the same!

This boils down to one starting fact: we are created in His image and are always that image. From His pure creation of Adam (as male and female), we have always maintained that same image. Humanity has never evolved out from God’s image. We are and will always be His children! So even though mankind through the ages (and now) reject and deny this family-image of our Creator and Father, He never rejects us as a child of His. We cannot ever not be His children—no matter if you believe in Him or not. God is not, and cannot be, a “respecter of persons”: which means that He cannot treat anyone different from anyone else [that He shows no partiality between people].

So even though some people do reject Him and turned from Him, He united again what humanity divided. He unified us through Christ! He didn’t come to rescue and bring to Himself a select (pre-selected) group of people—He came and rescued the whole entire world to Himself…you, me, everyone. This is God’s Heart for all humanity through all of time. And we see this as a both a whole (Part 1), and in all the details (Part 2) that were demonstrated by Jesus Christ in His personal ministry on this earth.

Part 1 – The Whole Picture

I want to hammer away at something that I feel the church sometimes misunderstands or misses: “for God so Loves the WHOLE world” (John 3:16). This verse is so widely known and advertised, yet we miss the meaning of it, rejecting the notion that God really Loves all humans, regardless of who they are, what they have done, or when they exist. GOD proclaimed His Peace towards all of mankind at the heralding of Jesus’s birth. ALL OF HUMANITY IS A PEACE WITH GOD!

Luke 2:10-14
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all [EACH AND EVERY] persons. For unto you is born, this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest! And on earth: peace and goodwill toward mankind.”

Even before Christ went to the Cross, all of Heaven was proclaiming that God is at peace with every single person. He wants peace because He treasures and values us beyond comprehension—to the point that He chose to destroy (sacrifice) His Own Son in exchange for us!

Matthew 13:44-46
Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; which when a man has found it, he hides it, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he has found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

This is the exchange God did for us. He sold all He had (Jesus Christ, His Son), and exchanged His own Son for us [we are the treasure and the pearl]. This exchange is what reconciliation means (katallassō, G2644):
  • ·      to change, exchange, as coins for others of equivalent value
o   to reconcile (those who are at variance)
o   return to favour with, be reconciled to one
o   to receive one into favour

God used this exchange of His Son for the world (all humanity). Because through Jesus Christ, God was reconciling the whole world to Himself! Bringing the divide of humanity (Jew & Gentile, Slave & Free, Male & Female) to an end. Restoring what was lost through Adam, now unified once again through Christ! No longer living in the Fallen World of Adam, but living in the Redeemed World of Christ.

Romans 5:10,18
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21
For the love of Christ constrains us; because we have made this absolute declaration: that if One (Jesus Christ) died for all, then were all dead. And that since He died for all, that they which are alive should now not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them; and rose again. Insomuch, that henceforth, know we no person (no one) after the flesh. Yes, though we perceived Christ according to the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Wherefore, whoever is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are (every single thing is) of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the entire world (all people) unto himself, not imputing (not taking into consideration) their trespasses (sins and misdeeds) unto them; and hath committed unto us this word: that all are reconciled. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did encourage you by us. So, pray in Christ’s behalf, as one reconciled to God! Because He made Jesus Christ to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ.

Before we believe on Him (while we were still sinners / enemies), He has reconciled us to Himself. And He did it through Christ, even before the Cross:

Matthew 5:23-24
Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remembers that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Jesus spoke this both to others, but also as what the Lord Himself does. He will not give us instruction to do that He Himself does not do—for He doesn’t require us to be “more holy” than Him. And thus, before God the Father sacrificed His Gift of His Son, He went and reconciled the world to Himself. And at the Cross, then finalized that statement. He removed the enemy that was sin, removing the sins of the flesh from each and every human being. Remember, He Loves the WORLD so much, that He gave His only begotten Son as a once-and-for-all-time sacrifice for those sins:

Hebrews 10:12,15-18
but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts [the Law of Love], and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

1 Peter 3:18
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, but quickened by the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4
…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

1 Timothy 2:3-7
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

1 John 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God. He that loves not, knows not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Romans 5:6-19
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one-man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so, death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (for until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

We did not do anything of ourselves to gain right-standing with God, He did it out His Love for us—out of His Heart! For just as sin passed to all human through Adam, righteousness passed to all humans by Christ. We did not have to believe in Adam for his sins to pass to us; but we must believe in Christ for His Gifted righteousness to pass onto us (us taking ahold of His Righteousness)!

Romans 3:20-26
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 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.

Romans 10:9-13
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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, “Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed”. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

This righteousness (right-standing) was presented to us before we did anything to receive it (or means to claim it for ourselves). Christ’s act of full Faith gifted righteousness to all people for them to then believe in Christ Jesus for that Righteousness.

A “type and shadow” of this gifting before doing anything was demonstrated with Abraham:

Romans 4:7-13
Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Does this blessedness come then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

It wasn’t after his circumcision that he was made righteous, but he was given righteousness by faith (and that faith by the Word of God to Him). He was gifted the righteousness before he was the “father of all them that believe”. It was because of this gifting that he became that father. Just as through the gifted faith and righteousness of God given to and through Christ, God becomes the Father to them that believe. And although God is the Father to all humans, a person only accepts Him as a Father (Father-Figure) to them when they believe (just as those who believed for Abraham as their father).

We cannot come to God (into His throne room) until we are cleansed from all iniquity—as is signified in the Temple Sacrifices related to the Law. But this cleansing is not something we can do on our own to make ourselves right to come to Him—hence why the Temple Sacrifices never truly sufficed, because they never made the person truly clean.

Hebrews 10:1-4
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices, there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

So, in order for us to be able to come to Him, He had to make us right (clean) beforehand. And this is what Christ did, sacrificing Himself once-and-for-all-time for every person! And thus, Christ made everyone in right-standing with God so that they could come to Him; and moreso, receive every single benefit from God.

Here’s an analogy of what that looks like: For any tax-payer to be able to receive a refund on their taxes, they have to be in right-standing with the IRS (Tax Office). If you have neglected to file the necessary taxes, or have defaulted on your taxes in the past, or owe money to the IRS, you cannot receive any monies from them. But what if someone came along and resolved any missing tax filings, restored any defaults, and paid off any monies owed; then you would be able to receive monies available to you from the Tax Office. You could then go and claim that monies as your own.

This is exactly what Christ did. He resolved any and all of your errors in life, corrected all the defaults, and paid the price for all that you owed to God. He made you in right-standing (righteous) before God—before you did anything to deserve it; and before you did anything to accept it. Yet, this pre-given right-standing makes it possible for you to now go claim what is rightfully yours, and use what is fully made available for you—in this case, ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS!

This Forgiveness, Righteousness, and Reconciliation are free gifts to us—so that it is not by our own deeds or through the Law! Because we are not saved by our grace or by our faith, but by God’s Grace through Christ’s Faith—His Grace and His Faith also free gifts:

Ephesians 2:4-9
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by [God’s] grace you are saved through [Christ’s] faith; indeed, that not of yourselves, they are gifts of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.

Does that mean all humans have been saved by God through Christ? NO! But it is gifted out to everyone for their acceptance. This is the demonstration of how much God Loves us—that He gave it all to us! Yet, never violating our free will, it will always be a person’s individual choice to accept this salvation—in this life before we die on this earth (or witness His Second-Coming).

Here’s another analogy: God, through Christ, has debited to everyone all this (including healing and health). As a believer, you use this debit in thanks and gratitude, accepting where and whom it came from. As a non-believer, you still use the debit, but not in recognition of where and whom it came from—in a sense, abusing the gift of Christ!

This is the parable of the ‘prodigal son’ (Luke 15:11-32) where the father had two children who inherited their father’s fortune. One son was a believer and stayed with his father. This son stayed with the father as a believer, yet was criticized for not knowing what he fully had inherited. For the inheritance is FREE for all to use—both to the believer and the non-believer. Each son being treated the same and receiving the same.

The other son was not a believer and went off using up the gift of inheritance. Yet what that ‘prodigal son’ did do that not all do, is he came to the end of himself, changed his mind / reasoning, and returned to the father. And the father never questioned the son, never asked him of his sins, never accused him, and didn’t condemn him—the father embraced him as a son before he even made it home, never recognizing him as anything but a son (a child).

Likewise, this inheritance given by the father of both sons, is the inheritance God our Father gave—the inheritance being Christ and all Christ did. The ‘prodigal son’ (non-believer) used up all that gifted inheritance. Yet, even then, the father did not come looking for him to point the finger, or to punish him in his sins. He couldn’t, because there are no strings-attached to the inheritance.

This abuse and failure of recognition of all that God did through Christ is what sends a person to Hell. This is the reality: that it is not a person’s sins (plural) that send you to Hell, but the one Sin of not believing in Christ and all that He did for YOU personally! His Gift to you is so great and so final, that Hell is the most reasonable / evenhanded / justly / rightful place for that rejection of Him. You are rejecting EVERYTHING He did out of His Love and Sacrifice—rejecting His Identity as yours! We have the choice to either accept ourselves as His, or not. This is why it hurts Him so much to see people go to Hell, because of how much He did to keep people out (His own Creation). It is His Will for all to come to Christ and be Saved (1 Timothy 2:4); but not all do.

Yet, whether we believe on Him or not, He treats us the same, because Christ accomplished all He did for all the world, not just believers. No sins of the flesh are counted against either believers or non-believers. This is why Paul writes that he cannot and will not see anyone (any person) in the flesh anymore.

2 Corinthians 5:14-16
For the love of Christ constrains us; because we have made this absolute declaration: that if One (Jesus Christ) died for all, then were all dead. And that since He died for all, that they which are alive should now not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them; and rose again. Insomuch, that henceforth, know we no person (no one) after the flesh.

This too, is why the Holy Ghost cannot convict us of sins. The only Sin He convicts of (which is the world) is the Sin of not believing on Him: the only sin not covered through the Cross. All other sins are of the flesh, this only Sin being convicted of is the one of the spirit to be Born Again.

John 16:8-11
And when he is come, he will reprove (convict) the world of Sin (because they believe not on me), and of righteousness (because I go to my Father), and of judgment (because the prince of this world is judged).

The Holy Ghost was poured out to every human being on this earth to minister and bring non-believers to Christ, but to also assist believers in their walk with the Lord. At Creation, the Holy Ghost hovered over the face of the earth; and now because of Christ, came back to all the world at Pentecost (which lost Him because of sin; then previously only upon select persons in the Old Testament).

Acts 2:17
And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh.

With the removal of the sins of the flesh for every human being, and God’s reconciliation with mankind, He can now be with every human being.

Jesus here explained what the Holy Ghost does:

1.       Convicts (convinces) the whole world of the Sin of not believing on Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will testify the Truth of Christ Jesus to everyone, trying to convince every person of that Truth to believe in Jesus Christ. There are no other sins the Holy Ghost (nor Father nor Son) can convict us of—none whatsoever! And is the only sin called for us to “repent” of.

John 15:26
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me.

John 16:13
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.

1 John 5:5-11
Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

And no matter what sin a person commits, even the Sin of Not Believing, God cannot punish anyone in the here-and-now. For an unbeliever (the unjust), their punishment of only the Sin of Not Believing (not their sins of the flesh) is reserved until the day of judgment.

2 Peter 2:9

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.

2.       Convicts (convinces) the whole world of righteousness, because Jesus went to His Father. He is not saying He will convict believers of their righteousness, but convict the whole world that Christ’s righteousness is unto all (Romans 3:21-22)! This is His demonstration of Love to the whole world, speaking the Truth to every human being, that they are in right-standing with God—that God is not angry with them (Romans 5:1), and is not (as part 1 above), convicting people of their fleshly sins. That because Jesus Christ went to the Father, means He accomplished all He came to do on this earth to make amends for all human beings, now at the Right Hand of God the Father.

Hebrews 1:1-3
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Romans 4:7-8
Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Romans 10:5-10
For Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law: That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaks on this wise: Say not in thine heart, “Who shall ascend into heaven?” (that is, to bring Christ down from above); or, “Who shall descend into the deep?” (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

For us to say someone is going to Heaven or going to Hell is denying the accomplishment of Jesus—we become the choosers of who “ascends” and who “descends”; making Laws and rules for righteousness in lieu of righteousness by the Faith of Christ. But remember, righteousness is separate from salvation—just because He has gifted out righteousness unto all, does not mean everyone is automatically saved; nor does it mean everyone benefits from that righteousness. It is “unto all”, but only “upon all” that believe. And furthermore, we must believe to be saved!

3.       Convicts (convinces) the whole world of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged! The whole world is being convinced by the Holy Ghost that the devil has been found guilty and cast out from Heaven like lightning:

Luke 10:17-19
And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

And the proof the devil has been defeated and judged is our given authority over him through Christ Jesus! We do not have to succumb to his wiles, but can stand above all he can throw at us. The devil comes to destroy, but Christ came to bring us life more abundantly (John 10:10).

We get to show God’s Love by healing the sick, casting out devils, and breaking strongholds—and we can do these to/for non-believers (Just as Jesus did) to demonstrate the Father’s Power and Love; using the healing as a testimony to bring them to believe in Christ.

And this is where we get into the details of how God’s Love is demonstrated through the actions / inactions of Jesus Christ during His ministry on earth. Everything we see Jesus Christ do/not do, is the exact representation of what God does/cannot do.

To Follow at A Later Date: Part 2 – The Details