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The New Covenant transcends the Old Covenant

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39 NIV)

There are many faith-building stories in the Old Testament (OT) – a redemptive narrative of God’s salvation, particularly for Abraham’s children, the Jews, had become the most perceptive to the Word of God speaking to them. Abraham was one of the first men in his era to begin to discern the presence of God, His principles, and His leading via prophetic insight. He was asked to leave the Ur of the Chaldeans and move to an entirely new land in Canaan (see Genesis 11:31;12:1; 12:1 ESV)

Those living in that time, before Christ, were recorded by the prophets in the OT narrative. They were not entirely aware that some of their major stories and symbols were revelatory of the coming cross and death of Jesus Christ. The narrative of their life did not hold a lot of value as epistemological tools (ways of knowing) for them. They did not then know about the New Covenant (NC) truth that would be unpacked from their story after the event of the cross when the redemptive ransom would be paid by Christ for the true atonement for all man’s sin.

How they knew, what they knew, why we now know, was not as evidently true for them then, because the symbols and shadows about the future reality took time and guidance by the apostles to apprehend.

The cross of Jesus Christ brought awareness to Jews and all of mankind, as the New Testament (NT) prophets compared the old narratives beyond the limits of that historic knowledge. Apostle Paul was the man chosen by the resurrected Jesus to reveal to the world, first, the importance of the cross and secondly, a new way of comprehending the past in light of the arrival of Christ. In the letter to the Ephesians he confidently wrote of his inspiration given to him from Jesus, fully aware that a new perception, not previously made known, was dawning in the kingdom of God:

“When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” (Eph. 3:4-5 ESV)

As we look at the Old Testament narrative, we find that many of the symbols are types of the progression towards a fuller understanding of principled thinking – as mankind was led by God to see life through the paradigm of love – the basis of a new inner motive operandi – a new process of reformation of the character of mankind motivated by love.

Prior to the New Testament, when Jesus came on the scene, there were many true events depicted as living symbols of Jesus Christ acted out in real life such as:

  • Abraham obeying God, ready to offer his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah replaced by a lamb caught in a bush;
  • The sacrificial lambs being killed morning and evening in the Jerusalem temple;
  • The day of Atonement once a year where bulls, goats, and sheep were slaughtered to appease the sins of the Israelite as guilt offerings.

These living symbols were revealed as Bible stories  – narratives, later to be revealed by the apostles as shadow-types designed to lead us to understand fully that the advent and mission of Jesus Christ was to redeem man. This plan was established even before the ancient narratives were enacted in life: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:3-4 ESV)

The plan to redeem man had begun before sin entered. Jesus came to fulfill the ancient symbols by offering His life, as the anti-typical atonement for sin: “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood — to be received by faith” and “He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” (Rom. 3:25 NIV; Eph. 1:9-10 NIV)

Paul made it clear that the purpose of Christ was only to be understood much later, “to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment” (vs. 10) The priesthood of the temple would bring Jesus before Pilate with the intent to have him killed. What they did not understand was that the narrative of the priesthood was coming to a climactic ending in actionable reality. The “Lamb of God”, as the Apostle John referred to Jesus, was about to be slain in the place of all sinning mankind to “take away the sin of the world” and make the final at-one-ment for man – to free man from the penalty of death – to openly reconcile him to God, His Father.

Jesus said “it is finished” on the cross just as He died. The curtain to the Most Holy place in the Jerusalem temple, into which only the High Priest could enter once a year, was torn in two. This indicated the winding down of the Old Covenant period – the closing of the educative narrative for that period that had been used as a tutor – as a guide to lead us to Christ.

The New Covenant entirely replaces the Old Covenant

The New Covenant period was instituted at the cross as Jesus noted at the last supper to his disciples: “In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Lk. 22:20 NIV) It had been prophesied by Jeremiah: “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.” (Jer. 31:31 NIV)

Paul confirmed this: “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor. 3:6; 1 Cor. 11:25 NIV)

  • The new covenant is superior to the old Christ was the antitypical ransom offering, High Priest and mediator for man before God the Father: “the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.” (Heb. 8:6 NIV)
  • The new covenant makes the old covenant obsolete: “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” (Heb. 8:13 NIV)

Christ died to ransom mankind from the sins of the ancient and prior generation and our current lives: “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” (Heb. 9:15 NIV)

The new covenant is not a mere continuation of the old covenant, “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.” (Heb. 8:7 NIV) It is “not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant.” (Heb 8:9 ESV) It all comes down to the arrival and death of Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of all the symbols of the ancient children of God from Abraham on: It is now to the new covenant – the new agreement – “to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant” (vs. 12:24)

New principles, new thoughts expressed in new action supersede historical narrative. Nobody worries that a child is ignorant of the numerous laws of physics allowing him to suspend himself vertically while happily pedaling his new bicycle.

The life of Christ and His teachings, and His unwarranted death were instrumental, moving us radically from the historic dependence on the OT narrative of living symbols into functional realities with simpler principles for mankind’s more abundant life. This requires a new motivational drive to enable us to live freely by a new maxim of love. Love informs the New Covenant between God and mankind and leads the renewed man to care for his fellow man. The child, while riding his bike does not review the laws of aerodynamics or propulsion. He just engages in life, lives joyfully, loving his new experience, and thankful for his new gift.

A Covenant means an Agreement

It was prophesied that a new agreement was coming in the future, “not like the agreement I made with your forefathers.” At the Cross, upon His death, the curtain was torn in two, symbolizing that the old Jerusalem with its priesthood with the daily sacrificial slain lambs (symbolic of the coming death/ransom of Christ) now had been replaced by the New Jerusalem temple of the New Covenant, now a Spirit-led temple of united minds in Christ: “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5 ESV; 2 Cor. 6:16; Rev. 3:12 ESV) This took the prophetic insight of men like the apostles Peter, Paul, and John, to see the deepest unrecognized historic epistemological value.

The kingdom is predicated on united like-minds who can fathom the love maxim Christ taught in His Royal law, which had always been latent and prophesized by a few yet misunderstood in the OC era: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts [i.e. minds], and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Heb. 8:10, 16) Further: “But now that Christ has come, we don’t need those laws any longer to guard us and lead us to him.” (Gal. 3:25)

Love is the maxim of law that guides the balance of right action, justice and mercy. Jesus taught that “on these two laws”, love for God and love for man – hang all the OT moral laws – the Decalogue (10 commandments), and the OT’s forward-looking prophetic books. Jesus taught that “all scripture” (symbolically: the Rock from which poured water for the Jews in the wilderness, Lion, Lamb, Father, Prince of Peace, Wonderful, Counselor, Life, Water of Life, Spirit as the Wind, Wisdom, Messiah, Teacher, etc.) revealed insights about Him and His coming final Atonement and the New Covenant.

God put into effect a different plan

The essence of the new agreement, which I refer to as the Manifesto of God’s Love, was to help men realize that they cannot base their lives on exterior laws and check-lists and must evolve out of this fear-based bondage to written law into a love-based covenant (the Jews had 613 laws, the 10 commandments being central). Unfortunately, the Jewish leaders added many interpretations and burdens such as “you cannot carry your mat on the Sabbath”. To avoid legalism, we must understand that we are not saved by keeping the law. We will express the Spirit-led guidance that fulfills the law of God when we agree with the Spirit to engage our will to obey; and if we come short of obeying, immediately repent of any sin. Christ our Advocate is ready to hear our confession of sin, and our turning from sin: “if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John  2:1).

And our walk with Christ will indicate that the Spirit is achieving grace within us, acknowledging that the law is holy, just and good: “the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit”. (Rom. 8:4 ESV) Any obedience to the law of God is achieved in us only if and when we submit and cooperate to obey God’s Spirit, as the Spirit does the work within – not by legalistic efforts, works or braggadocio that we keep the law. Even if you worship on the 7th-day Sabbath – the 4th commandment – give the Spirit of Jesus Christ the glory – Sabbath-keeping will not save you, only Jesus does that for you, first on the cross, and ongoingly He saves you from desiring to commit sin (if you allow Him to achieve this work within by obeying without hesitation).

“We aren’t saved from sin’s grasp by knowing the commandments of God because we can’t and don’t keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours—except that ours are sinful—and destroyed sin’s control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins” (Rom 8:3 TLB) and “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (vs. 14) The secret is to be led by God by His Spirit every moment and yield your will to obey on whatever point Jesus Christ speaks to you via your conscience.

The problem with human nature is that man wants to interpret how others should live. The Jews had prescribed additional add-on laws as to how to keep the Sabbath, for example, even though Jesus debunked these additional commandments of men, referring to Himself as “Lord of the Sabbath…made for man” (Matt. 12:8) His purpose was to create one new humanity based on love and living in peace. And this New Covenant was accomplished “by setting aside…the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity…thus making peace” (Eph. 2:15 NIV)

Jesus lived out love in the now

Jesus displayed love in action among His disciples and the people right up to the cross, precisely to show the effect of love on mankind to motivate them differently in the heart and mind and conversely, to reveal the injustice, blind sightedness, sin, scheming and gross deceit expressed in the intense hatred of those who tried to block and discount Christ’s New Covenant teachings. Why? To protect their priestly system, pontifical life, popularity, and prestige and their economic survival with large temple incomes extracted from the people.

We need to look at Jesus as a man to see His glory as our creator (Col. 1:15-19) who came as an incarnated man to this earth to express the character of the Father’s love to man plus and show His new agreement of reconciliation to man. We must look at the entire OT bible leading up to His arrival on the scene, only through NC eyes, else we see it as a gory mess, and get trapped in the old narrative.

We must transcend the tutoring narrative of the old covenant once we are led to Christ and through His life and teaching to be reconciled to God as One people united with Him via His Spirit.

Lawlessness in Paris: The gates of hell shall not prevail against, the church!

“…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18 ESV)

The world was shocked when the many faceted attacks on Paris hit the news on November 13, 2015.

The Word of God resounded in my heart: “lawlessness will be increased” prior to our Lord’s return. He told his disciples this would occur as a sign. He went on to say: “the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt. 24: 12-14 ESV)

The above scripture indicates that “lawlessness will be increased” and “love of many will grow cold” and that we as disciples of Christ must heed the fact that the “gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Thus, we are not to lose heart but to take courage – the day of our Lord is approaching. A reckoning is coming, not only for ISIS but for the entire world.

Further He taught, that at His second advent He is coming to judge the world: “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”and further, “They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matt. 24:27;30-31 ESV)

Note that Christ’s appearing will be visibly known by its brightness, audibly evident by the trumpet blasts, and angles will surround Him.

Apostle Paul added his prophecy to depict the resurrection of the faithful dead which will occur also at Christ’s coming in glory:

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-8 ESV)

Incidents of lawless violence will only get worse yet true Christianity and the good news of the kingdom of Jesus Christ will resound more and more in the world, despite persecution. And this all is leading up to the solemn climactic event of  our Lord’s second advent to judge mankind.

We will all know when the Lord is coming. There will be a very bright, atomic-like radiance surrounding the glory of Jesus Christ when He comes back in His Supremacy as role of Life-giver and Judge over all the world: “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matt. 24:27) “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.” (Rev. 1:7 ESV)

Jesus came to offer a New Covenant of forgiveness, and peace with all mankind, based on love. He is our redeemer from sin and death, which has passed unto all men (see Rom 3:23; 6:23 ESV)

Jesus is also the Supreme Creator, God and Judge over the world (see Supremacy of Christ Colossians Chapter 1). The judgement will involve changing the way things we know it on earth, as He displays His glory:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3: 10-13 ESV)

I take solace in this quote of Jesus when he referred to Peter, his oft-fearful disciple, who with the apostles would spread the gospel to the entire world. I take personal ownership of this text and with confidence I say of the church – of Christ’s universal disciples: “…all the gates of hell shall not prevail against us” (Matt. 16:18 ESV)

I understand that we are increasingly becoming fragile, naïve, forgetful of our forefather’s origins in Christ, fewer read the Word of God or have family worship where they kneel to pray together. Yet we can turn to the Lord and repent of our disregard, and He will immediately forgive: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:16:31 ESV)

It is high time to renew your confidence in the Lord and seek His guidance.

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 Paris Photo, Glen Jackman

Christ achieved the unity of Man with God

Within the inner private depths of every man, there is the mysterious essence of a man’s being. Without reference to any other part of man’s complex nature – psychological categories of the subconscious mind – the ego, id, super-ego, will – whatever name has been assigned by the greatest psychologists such as Carl Jung, or Sigmund Freud, here we find the inner man – his or her significant self.

Do you know Who you are? From God’s perspective, man’s being or self-recognition is the consciousness of the man’s “I Am,” which is a gift from the great “I AM” who created him. “I AM” is the name that God told Moses to call Him when he returned to Egypt to rescue the Jewish slaves prior to the Exodus.

The sense of “I am” individually comes from God, who is underived and self-existent. The “I am” which is man is derived from God and dependent every moment upon His creative authority and sustenance for each person’s continued existence. “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him” (Col. 1:15 ESV)

The “I AM” – the initiator – the Creator, is above all, He dwells in unapproachable light. The other “I am John”, or “I am Sarah”, is the individual created man or woman – each a creature though privileged beyond all others – a creature, reliant on God’s provisional bounty of life.

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Within the depth of man – the human entity – is what the Scriptures refer to as the spirit of man. “For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (I Cor. 2:11) Man’s self-knowledge is by his own spirit. God’s self-knowledge lies in His eternal Spirit.

If we are to understand the knowledge of God, and fully comprehend who we personally  it must be by the direct impression of the Spirit of God upon the spirit of man. It is important to grasp this difference: Man is NOT a bodily creature having a spirit. Rather he is a spirit having a body. That which makes him a human being is not his body but his spirit.

Jesus gives man clarity to see that each individual is an important son or daughter of God. The image of God originally was created present within man at creation. How do we get back to this state or at least nearer to this state we had at creation? The goal of Jesus was to bring us back to our state of mind that allows us to open our viewpoint to this paradigm: “he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father”, with the result that we are “no longer strangers and aliens, but…fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” and we are “being joined together…into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:18-22 ESV)

Why is the New Covenant that important The New Testament presents a New Covenant teaching of Jesus Christ, which He taught was to begin after His death and resurrection and ascension to His Father. In fact, while sharing the wine at the last supper He said, “this is my blood of the covenant” – to use a metaphor for His blood that he would soon shed on behalf of man to achieve this new relationship agreement we can now have with God (see Matt.26:28). The cross would sift out the true followers of God, who would respond to recognize Christ’s work of redemption when He sacrificed His life for our sin to ransom us from death. They would listen to the call of the gospel to come into His kingdom to enjoy a renewed relationship with the Father via His Spirit uniting with their spirits.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him… God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23, 24 ESV)

The very nature of worship is indicated to be wholly spiritual. True religion is removed from the former legalistic methods of the Jewish race given by Moses as shadow-types – metaphors of the true union of man with God. These old rituals were tutorials meant to teach men about restoring the union with God that Jesus would come to achieve through changing the point of view and the method of the old covenant’s diet and days, garments and ceremonies, holy and most holy places, placing it where it always belonged – in the reality of the union of the spirit of man with the Spirit of God.

From man’s standpoint, the most tragic loss suffered in his falling away from God after creation (through disobedience of God’s command), was the vacating of this inner sanctum by the Spirit of God which then was in union with the spirit of man.

At the epicentre of man’s being, within his mind, is to be the dwelling place of the Triune God – the Most Holy place of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Therein is the place where God planned to dwell – to rest in unity with man from the beginning of creation – within the temple of man’s body, within its citadel – in man’s mind, in his thoughts, within the perception of his conscientious attention, feelings and intention. God desires that man seek Him as his loving Father, inquire of, and be guided in life by Him.

The New Covenant teaches that after the cross, and after the outpouring of the gift of the Holy Spirit, which occurred after Christ’s ascension (see Acts 2), the temple of the Holy Spirit resides within the mind of man, within the fellowship of believers in allegiance to the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own” (1 Cor. 6:19 ESV)

Teaching about the Holy Spirit is central to the New Covenant Jesus taught His disciples, prior to His ascension, the following importance of the reunification of the Spirit of God with the spirit of man as the essential determinate of a true Christian within the New Covenant. The plan of the cross was to teach man about his utter rebellion and departure from the original union God had at creation with man. This rebellion would be proven by mankind’s actual crucifixion of his own creator. The text quoted above was about the supremacy of Jesus Christ from the beginning of time: “by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth” (see Colossians ch. 1). As the Son of God, in union with the Father, He assured the disciples the following:

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…you know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you… In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (John 14:16-17a; 20 ESV)

Note how instrumental Jesus is in this reunification of God the Father reaching out in the plan of redemption to offer the provision of His interactive, communicative Spirit as a gift of reunion with mankind. “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things” (John 14:26 ESV) Again we see that Jesus is sending the Spirit, though the Spirit proceeds from the Father: “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me” (John 15:26 ESV)

Here we see that the Spirit relates what Jesus has as creator to communicate with the creature: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you…he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-14 ESV) Looking at John ch. 15, in context, this communicative guidance of words – or Scripture in our perspective – is coming from Jesus via the Spirit in close relationship to the disciple abiding with Jesus, which is indicated here: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you…when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me” (John 15:7,26 ESV)

Jesus prayed this prayer for his disciples and for all who would believe the Gospel message to mankind about the impartation of the Holy Spirit reuniting man’s spirit to God’s Spirit again as one family relating together as one unit: “…that they may be one, even as we are one…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one.” (John 17:11, 20-23 ESV)

God wants to accomplish complete unity among His children on earth who accept His New Covenant arrangement. He desires to dwell with man’s spirit united individually and collectively in the church with His Spirit as one fellowship. The Christian church is the goal of the Spirit of the Father in Jesus Christ imparted also to His covenant believers who unite intelligently, allegiant to Him: “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.” (John 17:23 NIV)

The mind of man as the temple of God is so intimately private – a place that no creature can intrude; no one can enter, but Christ’s Spirit; and He will enter only by the invitation of faith. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Rev. 3:20). By the mysterious operation of the Spirit in the new birth, that which is called by Peter “the divine nature” enters the conscious core of the believer’s heart and establishes residence there. “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” for “the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Rom. 8:9, 16 NASB). Such a one is a true Christian, and only such.

Your new identity As a child of God we are directed by the Lord to “be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:23-24 ESV) Our spirits, united to and regenerated by the Spirit of God, to live holy lives, now takes on a new identity. We are now sons and daughters of God.

Replacing tradition with a relationship to Jesus Christ Baptism, confirmation, the receiving of the sacraments, church membership – these mean nothing unless the supreme act of God in regeneration also takes place – via the indwelling of the Spirit of God. Religious externals such as keeping one day per week holy may have a meaning for the God-inhabited soul; for many others they are not only useless but may actually become snares, deceiving them into a false and perilous sense of security. Therefore, it is important to understand the importance of this study, to “keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23 ESV)

 

You recieve Jesus by faith—not by works of the law

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” Acts 13:38-39 NASB)

The Gospel of John, chapter 1, verses 1-18 is referred to as the Prologue, which means the introduction to John’s particular Gospel, which was written, most scholars will agree after the Synoptics—namely after the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, and Luke—around AD 85 after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

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As we look at John 1:1-18 the introduction summarizes how the ‘Word’ which was with God in the very beginning came into the sphere of time and history—how the Son of God was sent into the world to become the Jesus of history, so that the glory and grace of God might be beautifully and most perfectly and most truly displayed. God’s self-disclosure by the Word—an acronym for Jesus—was accomplished by our Lord becoming flesh, when He dwelt among us (1:14) and thereby revealed His glory. This man Jesus, the Word continues to this day to make God known (1:18) and attract people to His Kingdom.

1. The result of Jesus — the Word becoming a man — coming to earth

“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him” (John 1:9-10) We are introduced to the result of this gracious revelation of Jesus becoming man—which enjoins John’s purpose statement in His entire Gospel—certain people, while not others, become the children of God by believing on the name of Jesus: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (v. 12)

The rest of John’s Gospel—and his letters likewise—actually articulate exactly just who are the real children of God, in contrast to warnings as to who are not the true children of God. Paul referred to these people as the true children of Abraham. Apostle Paul, the great revealer of the mysteries hidden in the Old Testament, chosen by Jesus to unpack the mystery of the Gospel, tells us that “those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Rom 8:14), and he ties it into the Israelites believing in the arrival of their Messiah: “Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham” (Gal 3:7)

The following verse indicates that these people, who have received Christ are differentiated by one thing: they are born again and have received the Holy Spirit: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (v. 12-13) They are also noted as concomitantly receiving both Jesus and His Spirit: “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”—and an inner communion begins in the heart i.e. the mind. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Rom 8: 15-16)

What is the reason that many did not become Christians in John’s day? They simply did not receive Jesus as the Messiah and chose not to follow Jesus. “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (v. 9-11)

Christ is the “life” that is the “light of men.” In him God’s purpose and power are made available to men. He is their ultimate hope. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (v 4-5) The metaphorical contrast between light and darkness represents the powers of good and evil in the world—antithetical, opposing powers battle between good and evil. Metaphorically we have a preview of the triumph of light over darkness, which is later personified in Christ’s work on the Cross. Those among His own people—the Jews—did not receive him. They ultimately had Him crucified. John said: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19)

Just as there is a contrast between darkness and light, there is also a contrast between rejection and reception. Despite the historical witness of many rejecting our Lord in John’s day, just as many reject the Gospel today, but—just as there were also some who received him then, some receive Christ today—today is the day of salvation: “all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”. The definition of “believe” equates with “receive.” When we accept a gift, we demonstrate our confidence in the generosity and trustworthiness from whom we receive it. We make Jesus our own possession—we become allegiant, loyal to Christ—we own His insignia and are marked as the book of Revelation tells us,  with His church name—a name that the Jews then could understand—the “New Jerusalem”. Augustine referred to the New Jerusalem in his masterpiece—his book “The City of God”.

Jesus receives those into His Kingdom who receive him—gives them a right to membership in the family of God as His children. From a spiritual perspective, the New Jerusalem has no need of a temple, as the people of God indwelt by the Spirit are the temple—the building blocks of the church, Christ being the chief cornerstone. (see Eph 2:20) And the church of Jesus Christ is illuminated by the Light of the Lamb—a metaphor for Jesus Christ built into the book of Revelation’s symbolism of the New Jerusalem.

2. Decisions to follow Jesus are motivated by the manifest Glory of Jesus, full of Grace and Truth

John refers to Jesus as one coming to us as a man incarnate—to Jesus as the light, as the Word. He made this possible by willingly and purposefully leaving His Sovereign reign in heaven as our Creator-God at His incarnation when born as a man to His virgin mother Mary. As he grew up and became a man, He fleshed-out the Word—made the entire scriptures of the Old testament, the writings of the prophets and the law of Moses clear, so that His grace and truth could be seen by human beings lived out in a human being: “we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14).

The glory of God manifest in the incarnate Word was full of grace and truth. John is reminding his readers of the writings of Moses in Exodus 33–34. Moses begged God, “Now show me your glory” (Ex. 33:18). The LORD replied, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Ex. 33:19). God’s glory, then, is His goodness revealed in our presence. So Moses stands on Mount Sinai—“the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Ex. 34:5–7) Note the cloud in this picture.

Now let’s look at the Gospel of Luke. During the Transfiguration we see an illustration of the glory of Jesus: “he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:28-31).

Peter and the disciples are sleeping. When they awake Peter says, “‘Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said”. He missed the point! The appearance of Jesus’ face alters, his clothes begin to glow dazzlingly white. Moses, the law-messenger is present with Jesus in glory. Elijah, the law reformer is present with Jesus in glory. What are they discussing? The cross—Jesus’ departure from this world. Peter begins to rashly talk, let’s build a shelter for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus! God says in effect, NO! “As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent” (vv. 34-36) The Father said NO—“this is my beloved son, LISTEN to HIM”. Can you say Amen? Seeing the Father in the life of Christ via the Word—the Bible—wakes us up and still moves men to follow Him, to receive Him by faith! We listen, believe and receive, only when we see Jesus.

His own people, the Jewish nation—referred to as his own “did not receive him” (1:11). Nothing blinds men from seeing the Gospel more than tradition, popularity among others who we’ve growth up with, or friends at the golf club who say Jesus, but don’t receive Him; or someone who had never read the bible becomes an expositor of the bible finding fault with it—a so-called academic genius and people believe this nonsense; or your 300 friends on Facebook, or 700 faithful followers on Twitter—some are even becoming more popular than Jesus—John Lennon started that notion. Or there’s the spouse who does not want to hear about “your Jesus”—it messes with his or her adulterous lifestyle; or the philosophical traditions of the world like theosophy—namely, The Law of Attraction, The Secret, and the like. What about multicultural shake and bake religion? Let’s meditate away our stress, or play the big drum and get entranced, and just know that the force is with you—live long and prosper. Jesus has a lot of competition with our little self-created gods—or does He?

Once you dig into the gospel of John, it is clear that people who were moved by the Holy Spirit recognized their Saviour-Messiah—the disciples eventually did. Didn’t Peter say “Where shall we go Lord, you alone have the Words of eternal Life”. This includes Pilate who said “I find no fault in Him”; Judas the betrayer who would say “I have betrayed innocent blood”; Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arithema, the centurion whose boy/servant was ill and cured from a distance—yes God is watching—the man born blind since birth; the thief on the cross; the centurion below the cross—the 120 in the upper room after the cross as tongues of fire danced across the room proclaiming Jesus as Lord in every language; the conversion of the Apostle Paul who challenged and killed Christ’s followers—Paul in a flash of atomic white light was impacted by the glory of Jesus! Men like Timothy, Barnabus, and Apollos––and converts like the Roman, Cornelius who opened their minds to the Spirit—he gathered his whole household to hear Peter. Women like Lydia, Eunice, and Priscilla all received Jesus. And what of the boy in the city of Nain, the only son of his widowed mother and Lazarus, both raised from the dead right before many eyewitnesses among the mourning people who began to praise God for sending Jesus to earth to reveal His glory?

Right now the demographic records show that this gospel has gone to the whole world—His church is now readying to meet Him is multi-millions strong worldwide! “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name”—“He gave the right to become children of God” (vv. 12-13)

3. The meaning of believing on the Name of Jesus
These people believed in his name. The name is more than Christ’s birth record in history; it is the character of His person, or even the person Himself. Faith in His name yields allegiance to the Word, frees oneself to trust the name of Jesus completely, acknowledges his claims and confess Him as Lord with gratitude. That is what it means to receive him.

Receiving Him does not come by entitlement, not by assuming you are of a Christian nation or family, not by getting married in a church in your old town, not because your grandma or uncle goes to such and such church. It does not come by being a good person, or believing philosophical ideas such as “the Secret” which has some gooey bible insinuations, which as I mentioned is the old deception of theosophy in disguise, which manifests itself in other formats even in the church: name it and claim it, brag it and bag it. No, becoming a child of God is simply by believing on His name. There is no other name under heaven whereby a man can be saved! No other. All true believers come to the Father, firstly by coming to me—by my name said Jesus.

To people who receive him, to those who display such faith, Jesus gives the right to become children of God. These people enjoy the privilege of becoming the covenant people of God, a privilege lost by the Messiah’s own people (1:11), those who had related to him by being born children of Abraham.

The grace of the old covenant was illustrated in shadow-types, given by the messenger Moses, protected by the reformers Elijah, Jeremiah and the prophets—because the law foretold of Christ and led men to Him. John, a Jew, was awaiting the coming Messiah when he was with John the Baptist at the Jordan warning the people to make straight the way of the Lord. John, a Jew, was awaiting the coming Messiah when he was with John the Baptist at the Jordan warning the people to make straight the way of the Lord—prepare for the Messiah’s arrival. Jesus told the disciples walking with Him on the road to Emmaus, that all the scriptures of the law and the prophets pointed to Him. John sees his history as a Jew laden with grace: “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses” (v 16-17)

4. The old law had symbolic messages of grace––Jesus introduces us to superseding true grace

To some, it appears that the grace and truth that came through Jesus Christ replaces the law—most believe that the law itself is understood to be an earlier display of active progressive grace when you consider that the true and final manifestation of grace did not actually come via the law given by Moses. Is John speaking of the grace of Jesus and His message as replacing the progressive grace upon grace illustrated symbolically in the law?

Paul often contrasts grace and law, as a contradistinction. Paul also told us that the law is ‘holy’ and ‘good’ (Rom. 7:12, 16). Let’s see if we can unpack law versus grace.

Looking at verse 17: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” one may think—Moses/law versus Jesus/grace. As if the two are different, opposing each other. Law versus Grace! A preferred way of viewing this may be—the covenant of law was a gracious gift from God. It is now replaced by an ever-magnified further gracious undeserved gift: ‘grace and truth’ intertwined/embodied in Jesus Christ. —v.17 mentioned the full name of Jesus Christ—His full name enjoining the man Jesus plus the anointed Word-made-flesh—”Jesus Christ” our Lord’s full name is used, meaning God incarnate in man. It was in His life that the Light of Life was displayed, where mercy and love was demonstrated, people were forgiven, healed, undeservedly honoured—at least from our perspective and the crowds were humbled, awestruck, amazed how He loved us.

The Old Testament Scriptures are understood to point forward to Jesus—prophetically anticipate Him—and thus Jesus fulfilled them. “For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John”—John the baptizer (Matt 11:13)—this timing arrived at the Jordan when John baptized Jesus—and now having come in the name of Christ, the law of the old covenant, must to a degree be displaced.

When reading your Bible, all the types that pointed to Christ such as the morning and evening sacrifices offered by the Levitical priesthood and the Day of Atonement officiated by the High Priest once per year, do not lose their historic validity as we look at the majestic scope of redemption. As Paul noted “Christ was crucified since the creation of the world”. As far as authority goes, law is bypassed by grace—that to which it announced has now arrived. The law, i.e. the law-covenant—the Old Covenant, was given by grace surely, as law anticipated the future salvation of mankind via the Creator, the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ—this prophecy and fulfillment reality underscores why the two displays of grace in time, are not precisely identical. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Mat 5:17–20) The Apostle Paul wrote of God’s grace being ‘made perfect’ in Christ (2 Cor. 12:9). Jesus accomplished what the law anticipated as our schoolmaster intended would later conclude—redemption at Calvary when He cried out “it is finished”.

Compare this with Christ’s numerous teachings of the New Covenant which He said would be realized in His blood, “after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant
in my blood” (1 Cor 11:25; cf. Luke 22:20, Matt 26:28, Mark 14:24). We simply must open our eyes to seeing all things in a new light apart from the law.

  • He turned the Jewish water used for OT ritual cleansing into wine at the wedding feast. (see John 2:9)
  • He said that new wine can not be put into old wine skins–meaning New Covenant thinking won’t be accepted if one is bound only to the Old Covenant ways. (see Matt 9:18, Mark 2:22, Luke 5:37)
  • He said that new cloth cannot be sown into an old garment. (see Matt 9:16, Mark 2:21, Luke 5:30)
  • The Alpha and Omega in Revelation is Christ and He said: “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev 21:5)

The Apostle Paul wrote of God’s grace being ‘made perfect’ in Christ (2 Cor. 12:9). Jesus accomplished what the law anticipated as our schoolmaster intended would later conclude—redemption at Calvary when He cried out “it is finished”. I like the scholar, D.A. Carson’s viewpoint:

In Judaism, the law became an end in itself, something that could be separated from Moses through whom it was given. The grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ can never be dissociated from Jesus—the law ‘was given’ (Greek edothē), grace and truth ‘came’ (Greek egeneto). We have received this new grace in Christ for all who share the same faith.

Paul supports this premise:

  • But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it (Rom 3:21)
  • For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law (Rom 3:28)
  • For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8)

“Grace and truth ‘came’; they were not ‘given’ like the law. No Giver used a human instrument and made grace and truth a gift. God did not merely tell us about grace and truth, so that he could have used another Moses or an array of prophets. Jesus himself was grace and truth” Lenski

Only the law’s symbolic sacrificial system was given to Moses in the Old Covenant. I’m driving home the idea that grace and truth “came” to actualization at the Jordan for the first time—coming into existence upon the arrival of Jesus Christ. The actual work of redemption in the thought of God was being conveyed to men by promise since Genesis 3:15—it was conveyed in the law using symbolic shadow-types of the final work of Jesus. Only Jesus himself was the reality show of grace and truth come to fruition—manifested before our eyes in word and deed! He alone came as grace and truth—He alone could present the true reality of His own redemptive work. The final lamb was slain as the old shadow system of types came to an abrupt end at the cross—behold the Lamb of God, God incarnate dying for His own creation to display the Father’s glory of forgiving man for ongoing disobedience to His laws based on love.

The contrast between law and grace as methods of God’s dealing with men is expressed here plainly in the above-noted Pauline writings. The law represented God’s standard of righteousness and reveals sin and man’s need of a propitiatory sacrifice when Christ arrived as the better sacrifice once and for all. Grace exhibited His attitude to failing, defeated human beings who found that they could not keep the law—could not save themselves so to speak. This attitude of grace was depicted in the person and life of Jesus. This contrast to law has a parallel in the argument of Hebrews 3:5–6: “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house.” Hebrews stresses the superiority of the Son to a servant––to administer the law correctly—the Son, who is the ruler of the house—He can act with ultimate authority that surpasses the authority of the servant-directed law seen so often in the scribes and Pharisees. This is seen in the Sermon on the Mount: “You have heard that it was said.… But I tell you” (Matt 5:21–22, 27–28, 22:33–34, 38–39, 43–44).

5. The Gospel of Grace actualized cannot be encumbered with the shadows of Law displaced

The principal reason that grace and truth is distinct from and trumps the Old Covenant Law is this: you must only focus on Jesus Christ—you must only see Him in the Word—you must only listen to Him if you are to comprehend the final Atonement of Jesus Christ achieved on Calvary once and for all for you. Apostle Paul was emphatic: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (Col 2:13-15) Christ disarmed the legal Pharisees and the lawyers who would leverage the Old Covenant law even trying to use it against the Law-giver—the Son of God—the rock that followed and protected the Israelites in the Sinai wilderness—Jesus disarmed the law of its wrath by taking on the wrath of God on the cross on your behalf by His grace and truth in action.

The word “grace,” so common in synoptic gospels and apostolic writings appears only here in the prologue of John four times and then disappears. Following the common understanding of the synoptic writings, John certainly was noting the generous work of God in sending his Son, which results in our salvation. Grace is found in God’s coming and working despite the hostility and rejection of the world. Grace is not merely an attribute of God. It is known when someone enjoys his goodness. It is the recipient who knows grace, not the pew-warmer or the academic who just has studied it. Thus in verse 1:16 John emphasizes our experience and reception of this grace as its chief merit. But you may reason in your mind that you are a good person and do not need a Saviour to die in your stead for legal redemption and forgiveness. Of the Jews who crucified Him, Jesus said “he who is forgiven little loves little” (Lk 7:47 NASB) You will not love Jesus Christ nor receive if you are self-righteous.

The epistle to the Galatians made this very clear, that you cannot preach law and grace out of both sides of your mouth. One must calibrate his or her teaching which affects believing and receiving Christ, so that we can joyfully proclaim Him—receive Him with gratitude for God’s supreme sacrifice of His Sonour Father’s excessive, and super-abounding love-gifting of His Son.

I recall when I first accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour, in a supernatural instant, I experienced liberation from destructive habits, fears—release from psychological and philosophical bondage. I did not process His grace logically in my mind—I was completely changed when I heard the Gospel for the first time. I experienced it in my heart! Grace offers Christ’s gift of unmerited favour—grace offered by simply believing in His love, His undeserved forgiveness, and His favor in your life, found in His name—His Sovereign God Persona. When you believe right about His grace you will believe in the name of the person—you will begin to live in the way of Christ.

In verse 17 both “grace and truth” are regarded together—the verb “came “is used in the singular. Grace and truth “came” united—grace in the truth of Jesus—one and the same thing. Grace is the truth that has the power to set you free from fear, guilt, and all addictions—Grace equals Jesus: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8: 32). It is the truth of grace—not of the law that brings you true freedom. Bondage to a curriculum of law is most discouraging within Christendom!

6. Children of God in Christ learn of a New Covenant Consciousness

Grace is not a doctrine. it is a person who has redeemed you from the curse-effect of the law. If the law is focused on too much beyond a historical typology/shadow of true grace, Satan will abuse you and those you preach to. Grace is Jesus Himself. “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1: 17).

The truth that has the power to fling wide open the prison doors of religious formalism in the knowledge of  His grace. When you taste Jesus’ love and savor His loving-kindness and tender mercies, every wrong law-bound encumberment, morphs into grace, empowered by the glory of His love, forgiveness, and joy—empowered by Jesus who is alive and ministering His Spirit to us, as he advocates for us.

When God takes this initiative, new possibilities are born. Divine power is released into the broken world and broken lives like Zacchaeus, like Mary Magdalene, like me, like you—so that new life is possible.

The theological key that the world finds so foreign lies here: Transformation and hope cannot be the fruit of some human endeavor. Only God can take the initiative, and men and women must see, receive, and believe the work he desires to do—less the side-bar of the law—administering grace upon truth and grace. And when they do, they are reborn to become God’s children.

God discloses himself. God enters our world bearing truth and grace in order to transform whoever will receive him. Transformation is not an inspired human work—it is not law based obedience which is a self-deceptive tactic of trading our own “good” works for a self-reward of redemption to circumvent the divine strategy of God in the propitiatory work of Christ on the cross to save mankind from his downward spiral in sin. No—redmption is a divine work led by the Spirit of Christ in our heart.

Jesus, the father’s Son was “full of grace and truth”; that is, he proved a wonderful expression of His father running to us, like the prodigal father’s imagery—running to his world-worn son when he discerned his son coming home, who said “I have sinned against my father and heaven”. Are you ready to receive a complete, perfect expression of God’s covenant-keeping faithfulness? You are a child that He co-created with the Father. He knows you personally. Jesus redeems His own children who receive Him: Gen. 1:26, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” It was in our likeness that He came to reveal His glory as of the only begotten Son of God. As many as received Him He gives the right to become the children of God.

My Testimony: A vision of Jesus Christ

By Glen R. Jackman

In 1979, the same year my son was born, I had a seven-day vision of the Lord. The following is an account of my conversion to Jesus Christ as my Lord and my God. I had involvement in the United Church choir as a young boy, but sadly had slipped away from church-going and in retrospect was a sinner saved by Grace.

The Vision

Thousands upon thousands of people articulated in full colour in the sky (not cloudy figures), of all nations and all ages past; turbans inclusive, turning their heads, happy, then next manifesting terror as if an apocalyptic judgment was imminent; and back to joy, repeated again and again (I saw this as the righteous in Christ, versus the final fear of the unsaved facing judgement).

On the last of the successive daily visions, a bright atomic-like, pure white, penetrating light flashed all around me — a radiant universal light-force which I had never before experienced in the natural world, came towards the vision’s screen from behind and broke through the screen smashing it. I then beheld the magnificent face of the Lord Jesus Christ filling the entire sky.

During the vision, the light permeated everything around me. Jesus’ face portrayed absolute LOVE. He had long flowing white hair, radiant penetrating eyes, which I could see despite the brightness and glory of the vision. Jesus, the focal glorified Lord of the heavens and the earth was revealing His very clear directive, Sovereign Will, to me, wooing, calling this sinner, into His family, the heavenly, in-Christ, New Jerusalem church of which the apostle John wrote in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

His face expressed a character of pure love and obvious majestic God-power. I fell on my knees trembling, crying: “Lord, oh Lord, I know you are out there and alive; now teach me everything I need to know. I want to know you, and my purpose in your will”. The very next day, an invitation to an evangelistic series came in the mail. After several evenings of illuminating preaching by Gordon Pifher, along with a daily snippet from a gospel film, I was moved to the degree that I fell totally in unified love with Jesus (the person, not bound by religion) and was baptized without hesitation (along with my first wife, my mother, and sister). My vision confirms Isaiah’s reference that Paul quotes regarding how the Lord would reveal himself to the undeserving: “I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.” (Romans 10:20) Joel 2:28 reveals that visions do occur: “I will pour out my Spirit upon all people…your young men will see visions.

Since then I have witnessed this radiant light on other occasions: during miraculous healing; in one case immediate healing of a bedridden person sick with pleurisy during a private anointing (a man of God must know healing is imminent and when to act).

While leading as a Publishing Director, working with another Gospel worker in Newfoundland, he and I met a family by knocking on a door of a home built near the Atlantic Ocean. This time the Lord’s Presence came near during prayer for this group who were eager to learn more about Jesus Christ. After sharing the Biblical doctrine of the 2nd Advent of Jesus Christ their home became immediately infused with bright white light and they all began crying aloud (when the Lord’s Presence becomes known with such open immediacy, a certain respectful fear of the Lord touches your soul). The Spirit of the Lord was touching their consciences with the sacred scriptures which only He knows how to administer. Though these folks were strangers, they opened their home with eagerness to know about the Lord.

On other occasions, I have had the Lord lead me with prophetic insights, at times hearing his directives clearly in my inward mind. Strong warnings have come to me in night visions which I have delivered to the souls to be warned: on one occasion unheeded, a man close to me was killed in a car accident exactly as I had seen in a dream.

Reflecting on my earlier preparatory period (prior to conversion and baptism), beginning as a very young man, a mystical experience confirmed the Presence of the Lord — God was active in a most mysterious way. Walking in nature or in an orchard (as a boy, several orchards surrounded our property), or during my landscape photography (my father started me off with a box camera at age 10); the Great Shepherd gently led me beside green pastures. In the old Carruthers orchard, a radical vision occurred during which time inexplicably stopped, which enlarged my viewpoint about the Lord being Omnipresent everywhere.

This was not explained in the theological commentaries

I have learned that not all men of the cloth understand these occurrences and can be derisive to a young man with budding faith. However, a pastor of the United Church advised that I indeed had a mystical experience. I’ll try to explain: I saw an atomic energy field of the Lord — the creator of all nature flow pulsatingly, with bright sparklike flashes of light-energy flowing, bending like a river towards me,  around and through my physical being and consciousness. At the time of these manifestations, I knew it was the Lord enveloping me, sharing His union as my Father. My faith was growing, and I was never afraid.

Often, I am called to rise in the wee hours to seek the Lord in prayer, and receive doctrinal revelation or life applicative solutions from Him.

Praise be to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Read how the Lord led me as a Literature Evangelist.

Glen Jackman, 2015