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Sunday, August 3, 2014

How Faith Overcomes - Part V

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

God's plan to overcoming the world's ignorance of right, revenge, and guilt is a Person and a relationship with Him – the Lord Jesus. Christ is more than a Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), or a go-between, He is an Advocate, ones who sympathizes with and helps in a process of adjustment. He came in the form of a human for the purpose of advocacy. “…He had to be made like His brethren in all things” Hebrew 2:17 NASU and as a result He was “…tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 NASU).

Two great proofs that His humanness was tested without sin exist. The first started in the desert when He was physically weakened by about forty days of fasting, which is about how long a human can do without eating. Much longer and the body dies. Temptation is the incitement of a natural desire to enjoy, be, or do beyond the limits set by God. He overcame the temptation to enjoy food, to be the Messiah before the Father's time, and to exercise rule over all the earth by yielding to Satan's power and worship, when in a most vulnerable state. However, his greatest temptation was to avoid the terrible suffering of paying for all mankind's sin penalty by crucifixion. His personal struggle in Gethsemane was so great that he sweat blood as he pleaded three times that another way be found to save the world, yet submitted to the Father’s will nonetheless. The Father sent angels to minister strengthen him in preparation for what he was about to undergo. Jesus did not fall short of doing God's will (Romans 3:23a).

In 1 John 1, Christ did more than set an achievable example and solution for humans. As God's supreme Prophet in the Scriptures, He solved ignorance of what's right (verses 7 and 9). As our Advocate Shepherd, He defends us so eliminating the need for revenge by mediating judgment, and, at the final judgment of those not reconciled to God (Revelations 20:10-15). By paying for our sins, He does away with our need to feel guilt (Ephesians 2:14a).

Now a true relationship with Jesus Christ is developed and sustained by a faith that overcomes all obstacles. This requires definite dedication (being a true disciple) since the world system is constantly pulling on us. Paul put it this way, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NASU). As these instructions are applied, a person can become: “…approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:16 NASU). Such a life of discipleship leads to the practice of a love for God and others that indeed overcomes the world!

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