The Greatest Promise Of All

11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him… (2 Tim. 2:11-12)

What powerful words! What an incredible promise! And right here, as an aside, let me say that I have heard both powerful and unpowerful preachers enumerate the promises that God has for us in the Bible, and I have never heard them mention this one. You wonder, What are Christians being taught in churches today? Aren’t Christians being taken for a ride by the very preachers they have entrusted their souls to? And it is a ride straight to hell.

But let us embark on our lesson today by looking at another incredibly powerful scripture.

“Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” Acts 2:24

That’s talking of our Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture here plainly states that it was not possible that death could hold Jesus.

If language is anything to go by, the words “not possible” mean something, don’t they? Another word for “not possible” is “impossible”; and other words for “impossible are, “impracticable”, “unachievable”, “out of the question”.

It is clear, therefore, that there are some things that death can achieve; and there are others that it cannot. That’s interesting, because even the Bible makes clear the power of death, for in 1 Corinthians 15:25-26, we read:

“25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”

Death is an incredibly powerful enemy. No man is free from the grip of death. Even the great partriarch David was held by death, as the Bible says in Acts 13:36,

“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption.”

But of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible states:

“But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.” (Acts 13:37)

Death had no power over Jesus simply because it was not possible for it to have power over Him!

“not possible”. What beautiful words! In the context they are in, they probably are the sweetest words in the Bible. But they are not just beautiful; they are also powerful. The power in those words is incomprehensible. And the stratospheric question here is, Why was it not possible that Jesus should be held by death?

The Bible says it is because God would not allow it.

“Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Acts 13:35)

God would not suffer, or allow Jesus to be held by the power of death. Again, that is awe-inspiring. How could that be so? Why?

You see, God is the determiner of everything. He is the I AM. All things exist in Him. All things and everything therefore is easily under the control of God. So when God says or does or even so much as wishes something (for He always does so according to His irrefutable wisdom), there is NOTHING that can rebuff Him. In fact, it is much more than that. When God was creating the universe, He just wished it, and it was so.

In the same manner, God did not wish Jesus to see corruption – and it was so.

So how come that every man since Adam has seen corruption but not Jesus? What made Jesus so special? Why would God wish and therefore not allow Jesus to be held by death? Was it on a whim?

Certainly not. The reason why God would not allow Jesus to see corruption is, simply, because Jesus obeyed God! It is that simple; and yet, again, it is not that simple. The price that Jesus paid to obey God is uncomprehendable. The Bible says in Isaiah 53:12 that

“because he hath poured out his soul unto death”.

Jesus poured out his soul unto death. The Bible is full of the sufferings and ultimate ignoble death of Jesus. Jesus lived the kind of life that we find practically impossible to live here on earth.

It is in this context therefore that the Apostle Paul makes clear the importance of our identification with Christ. He tells us that in order for us to achieve anything of value in the Spirit, we MUST identify our lives with the sufferings and death of Christ.

“11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him…” (2 Tim. 2:11-12)

Notice the sequence of events here. If we die to self as Christ died to self, we shall have the life of Christ in us here on earth. As the Apostle Paul says,

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…” (Gal. 2:20)

If we suffer with Christ here on earth, we shall reign with Him in heaven.

And pray, what, exactly, is suffering with Jesus?

The words of Jesus Himself explain this best.

“39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” (Mat. 5:39-41)

[God’s call to the church is to crucify self just as Christ did]


Peddlers of the Gospel, Enemies of the Cross – Part 3

For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. 2 Cor. 2:17

There are thousands upon thousands of songs, and an even greater number of sermons, all dealing with the subject of God’s provision for us, material provision in this world. God is involved with that, all right, but that is hardly God’s priority. It is hardly the cause for which Jesus died for. Long before Jesus died on the cross, God was still providing for mankind, the good as well as the evil.

Another scripture upon which doctrine has been built is 1 Peter 2:24: “by whose stripes ye were healed.” This scripture provides one of the most deeply-entrenched doctrines in the Church today. But, while it is true that God promises to heal our physical bodies, why should a doctrine be built out of this?  If there was anything for the Church to build a doctrine on it ought to be 1 Peter 2:21, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.”

We never seem to realize the gravity of spiritual matters. The healing that God is really concerned with is the healing of our souls. You see, the earthy man has many diseases to contend with: malaria, cancer, flu, diabetes… the list is endless. Some of these sicknesses are ordinary, and others life-threatening. But they are all physical. Not one of these diseases attacks a man’s soul. But with God there is only one disease – sin. This is the only disease that attacks the soul. And sin is such a great disease that all physical ailments combined fade into insignificance when we compare them with this one. That is what all those scriptures about leprosy in the Old Testament were about. There are scriptures upon scriptures in the Old Testament dealing with leprosy, because it was a forerunner of how God would deal with sin.

Jesus was beaten so that we would be healed – healed from sin. What needs healing is your heart. You need a total heart transplant; and I am not talking about that thing that pumps blood around your body. I am talking about the place where your desires and aspirations stay. That is the thing that needs healing and it is what God is busy trying to heal, if you will let him. That is where you have a problem.

As for physical healing, God promises to meet our material and physical needs, including healing for our bodies, and that is enough. We should simply believe that and get on with the business of seeking first the Kingdom of God.

You can become sick and you can even die of an illness. This happens all the time. But when this happens, this other gospel will tell you that you have failed to ‘claim’ your healing. In other words, it brings judgment upon you; and therefore millions of Christians live under condemnation because they are unable to attain to a certain level of faith.

The ‘earthy’ gospel that is being preached today spawns all kinds of sins because it does not deal with the inner man, wherein sin dwells. People prosper financially and materially, but they do not become holy and righteous which is the real requirement that God has for us.

God cannot be angry with you because you do not own a car, or because you have failed to recover from a sickness. But God is displeased with us when we fail to attain to the stature of Christ in the area that really matters with Him – our character. God is displeased when we fail to carry a pure heart, when we fail to forgive.

If I have faith to pray for someone to get healed but cannot forgive my wife or a brother, that ‘faith’ of mine is meaningless with God. It is a useless faith. Many men of God are known as ‘great men of faith’. Unfortunately, God knows them otherwise.

Because of a lack of the revelation of the gospel of the cross of Christ, many preachers today are fornicators, covetous, liars, bribe-takers, lovers of self, lovers of status, and every other sin. When an earthy gospel is being preached, it stokes all kinds of carnal fires within Christians. But its worst qualification is that it does not deal with sin. And sin is exactly what Christ came to die for. This is the purpose for which God revealed a peculiar gospel to the Apostle Paul – the gospel of the cross. It is through an understanding of this gospel alone that a man or woman of God can crucify their carnal natures and bear fruit in their lives of the holy, loving nature of God. It is the revelation of this gospel that the Church today needs.

The Apostle Paul says, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11)

May the Lord help us to know that!