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The Person and Character of the Glorified Christ as Revealed in the Epistles

The Apostles’ doctrine testifies that Jesus is the Christ. This is the foundational rock that the church is built upon. In their the epistles to the church, the apostle’s affirm that Jesus the Christ is glorified, seated at the right hand of God. Though He was once among men in weakness He is now exalted in power. From this position functions as a great High Priest who helps our infirmity that though we are weak, we may be strong. And we have been joined to this one, even seated with Him in heavenly places. We too, shall be glorified.
JESUS IS THE CHRIST

Moses and the prophets spoke about the coming Messiah though they didn’t know what person and what time the Spirit of Christ who was in them did signify (1 Pet 1:11). They didn’t know the Christ would come as Jesus of Nazareth. Likewise the faithful Jews of the time of Christ had to examine the works and manner of Jesus to see if He was the One He claimed to be and the One of whom the prophets spoke. But they did know and expect their Christ to be glorious. 

Humble Beginnings. It seems that many of them were not willing to receive the promises of His sufferings but only the glory that would follow. It was as though His manhood clouded His Godhood. But make no mistake about it, His glory would occasionally shine forth. 

From His birth onward, Jesus fulfilled all the Scripture concerning Him being the Christ, but many still not all were able to receive it. They appeared to be confused because their understanding of Christ was one of glory but when the word was made flesh He dwelt among them in a humble state. 

He had he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isa 53:2-3)

But the nation as a whole and the leaders specifically often mocked Jesus saying “How long dost Thou make us to doubt? If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly” to which Jesus replied, “I told you, and ye believed not” but “the works that I do in My Father’s name bear witness of Me” (Jn 10:24-25). Upon His crucifixion the thief hurled insults saying, “if thou be the Christ, save Thyself and us” (Lk 23:39). They perceived that He wasn’t glorious and this resulted in them denying that He was Christ. However Peter, and many other disciples, picked up on the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah to come. In fact, it was God Himself that revealed to them that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God (Mt 16:16). Peter is a sort of type of all believers in this.

Interestingly enough, after Peter had made that confession Jesus tells His disciples “how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised again the third day.” Upon hearing Jesus say that He, the Christ, would be killed Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him. Jesus then scolds Him saying, “Get behind Me, Satan” (Mt 16:23). Peter, like many in Israel was at that time reasoning with man’s interests in mind. How could the Christ possibly suffer and die? (Even though the prophets said he would.) To the two on the road to Emmaus Jesus said, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?” (Lk 24:25-26). 

Jesus was, as Peter confessed, the Christ the Son of the living God but while He was in the earth He was in a humbled state. He emptied Himself and humbled Himself. Jesus then explains that this is the manner of His kingdom, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mt 16:24). The way of the Christ is one of a willing suffering now – a weakness now – in view of glory and power, then. 

Six days later Jesus shows compassion on His wavering disciples and gives them a glimpse of what is to come, thus confirming their confession of Him being the glorious Christ. So, Peter James and John are taken up the mountain with Him and “was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light” (Mt 17:1-2). He showed them what Peter would later described as majesty, honor and glory. Then He told them not to tell anyone until…“until the Son of Man be risen from the dead” (Mt 17:7). 

Peter picks up in Acts 2 declaring this very thing. And from that point on the gospel is preached with more clarity than ever. The gospel is called “The gospel of Christ” in the epistles. What brethren, this side of the cross announce is that we have Christ! He is seated next to the Father in the heavens and our salvation is sure. He did die but that was in order to put away sin once for all but now He is risen and reigning as the glorified Christ. 

The Acts of the apostles then, and their preaching are all testifying that by the name of Jesus people are being healed, sins are being forgiven and the gospel is being preached. Paul and accompany became a prey when they declared another king than Caesar that is, Jesus. And finally the book of Acts “concludes” with an open ending where Paul is seen “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching by those things which concern the Lord Jesus CHRIST, with all confidence, no man forbidding.”

All of these experiences were preparatory and revelatory for the disciples. It was these things that would come to their remembrance and were vital to their ministry through the epistles to the churches. Peter would affirm: 

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” (2 Peter 1:16-18)

Their letters to brethren and churches the apostles continue to proclaim that Jesus of Nazareth is Christ and He is glorified. 

CHRIST IS GLORIFIED

What does it mean that Jesus is glorified? It means that He has all that He emptied of Himself, plus more. In becoming a man He was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, but now He is crowned with glory and honor and exalted far above all the heavenly host (Heb 2:9).

Jesus is at the right hand of the Majesty on high having become so much better than the angels, as He by inheritance obtained a better name than they (Heb 1:3-4). He “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven (Col 1:15-20)

Furthermore, the epistles encourage us about the implications of His glorification. We can look to Him and have hope for a good end. We too shall be glorified!

ONCE IN WEAKNESS, NOW IN POWER

For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. (2 Cor 13:4)

Jesus has been glorified. He is not now, who He was during the days of His flesh. Then, He had humbled Himself, made Himself of no reputation and emptied Himself (Php 2:7), but now He is glorified, highly exalted far above the heavens. Then, He had a body that could suffer and die, but now He has a glorious body and shall live for evermore. His time in the earth was one of temporary, voluntarily weakness, but His existence now is eternal, glorious power. 

In view of receiving His reward, He told the disciples, “I go away to Him that sent Me” and “I tell you the truth it is better for you that I go away” (Jn 16:5,7). And again He said, “greater works shall you do because I go to the Father.” Jesus’ work from the right hand of God would be greater than the miracles He performed on the earth. What He did while in the earth “manifested His glory” (Jn 2:11) but what He does now manifests greater glory. He casted out devils, raised the dead, healed all manner of diseases and preached the gospel. What He did here made known His “Godness” so that when He would be glorified and go to the Father, His disciples could be of good cheer knowing that this was a “better” thing that would result in “greater” works. Now He is able to keep men from falling and present them faultless before His glory with exceeding joy. 

The epistles declare the experience of this “better” time and urge us to lay hold of, and participate in these “greater” works. Their doctrine announces that Christ has indeed risen from the dead to sit down at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens as a glorified Savior who, from that exalted place and in that glorified state, is working salvation in the midst of the earth. 

Christ had a voluntary weakness while in the earth but now lives forevermore by the power of God. So we too are meek and voluntarily “weak” now, but we too live by the power of God and shall be glorified together with Him on that last day. All believers have been called unto God’s eternal glory by Christ Jesus “after ye have suffered a while” (1 Pet 5:10). We take up our cross and suffer now until we are glorified then. In the meantime, the One who is glorified now will be effective in bringing His brethren to glory.

A GLORIFIED HIGH PRIEST WHO HELPS OUR INFIRMITY

Jesus glorified not Himself but God glorified Him as high priest (Heb 5:5).

“We have such an high priest who is set on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle (Heb 8:1-2). If he were yet on earth and not yet glorified “he should not be a priest” (Heb 8:4). But He is. Christ entered within the veil “for us” as a forerunner and high priest forever (Heb 6:19-20). 

Jesus is our great high priest who has passed into the heavens, who can sympathize with our weaknesses and provide for us mercy and grace to help us in our time of need (Heb 4:14-16). He had to become flesh to do this AND He had to return to heaven to do this. Jesus was “made like His brethren” in order to now be a merciful and faithful high priest that is able to succor them that are tempted (Heb 2:17-18). We needed a glorified Christ who had once humbled Himself to be touch with the feeling of our infirmity.

Jesus is the “Captain of Salvation” that had to be perfected through sufferings (Heb 2:10). And now, having been perfected, He has became the Author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Heb 5:9).

Jesus is such a priest. He is made high priest forever “after the power of an endless life” (Heb 7:16). in order to bring about a new law and the perfection of the saints (Heb 7:11, 19). The glorified Christ is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him seeing that He ever liveth to make intercession for them (Heb 7:25).

“Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb 8:11-12). For Christ is entered into “heaven itself, not to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb 8:24).

JOINED TO THE GLORIFIED CHRIST

We have been joined to the Lord. We have been placed “in Christ Jesus” and Christ Jesus has been exalted and glorified. In Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily and ye are complete in Him, which is head of all principality and power” (Col 2:9-10). This has great implications for our living. 

We are “risen with Christ” and exhorted to “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God…set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth…for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col 3:1-3). Our union with Christ is through faith and in the Spirit (we are one spirit with Him) and so where He is, there we are…by faith. “In Jesus.” This is WHERE we live. This is WHERE faith keeps us. Our faith is the victory that overcomes the world because our faith is what puts us in Christ and Christ in us (Eph 3:17). As a result we live above this world and quite literally “OVERcome” it. 

Wherefore, if we are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, “as though living in the world” (Col 2:20) are ye subject to ordinance? Nothing in this world can approve us to God. Only the glorified Christ can bring us the necessary provisions for salvation. And therefore, our attention and our affection must be heavenward.

Our existence here is not our primary existence – faith knows that, the flesh never will know that. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God but “When Christ who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory” (Col 3:4). Therefore mortify your members on the earth! (v 5). Therefore, forsake the lesser things and live for your eternal inheritance. “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Tim 2:11-12).
“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Tim 2:3)…“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory (2 Tim 2:10)…We are able to do this as Christ empowers us to do this. We are “strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness…Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Col 1:11, 29). 

Being Glorified. Our toil is not in vain in the Lord. As we look above the earth and look unto Jesus and set our affections above faith can, like Stephen, see the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. This is not positive thinking. This is not mere Christian philosophy or tradition. This is effectual! This understanding; this perception has an effect in the very nature of the beholder. We are changed by the Spirit as we focus on Christ. 

The apostle Paul wrote that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Liberty from a law of carnal commandment which is weak through the flesh and a liberty from the bondage of sin and death. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, believers are changed by the perception that faith enables them to see the glorified Christ. As we behold the glory of the Lord we are transformed into that same image from glory to glory even by the Holy Spirit. 

This knowledge of the true glory of God is in the face of Jesus Christ. Seeing Jesus in this way and knowing the glory of God is accomplished by men believing the gospel and receiving the light, illumination, emanating from the glorious gospel of Christ. This is a treasure and a work that happens in the heart of men, within their earthen vessel, and manifests the reality that the efficacy or power of such change is not from men but from God. (2 Cor 3).

HOPE OF GLORY

-There is More to Come-

God has made known to us the richness of this message, namely, if Christ is in you, you have the hope of glory” (Col 1:27). So, our toil and struggle in the earth is a good one. We suffer like Christ suffered in striving against sin and in enduring hardness. But we can do so joyfully knowing that at the end of the road of suffering is glory.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified” (1 Pet 4:12-14).

Now, we must experience the toil and affliction associated with being a stranger and foreigner on the earth. We must have an earthly experience that is like unto Christ’s earthly experience. One in which, as a result of His being from above, He is not received by others, even kinsman according to the flesh. But we are not in despair because we are living by hope. For as He once suffered, He is now glorified. And in the meantime, we, like Him, are empowered from our heavenly home with heavenly resources until we partake of the glory that is to come.

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Th 2:13-14)

So, do not be like those “who set their mind on earthly things.” “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Php 3:17-21)

The Former and Latter Rain

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” (James 5:7-8)

The use of this phrase “early and latter rain” or “former and latter rain” is not unfamiliar to the people of God. God has used this wording throughout the Scriptures to describe the sufficient provision and blessing He has promised to those who love Him and keep His commandments.

The idea is that God will not just provide a meager supply but an abundant one. His provision will not only moisten the dry ground but will also, afterward, bring another rain to bring forth a great crop. The first rain is in preparation for the second. God gives “grace for grace” (Jn 1:16). He transforms men from “glory to glory” (2 Cor 3:18). Those who receive the gospel are an aroma of “life unto life” to God (2 Cor 2:16). In all of these phrases there is an implication of increase and abundance. Grace for more grace; glory to great glory; life to life more abundant.

Consider the promise of this kind of blessing (early and latter rain). The first is found in reference to the promised land but is a foreshadow to the provision of all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

“And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto My commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.” (Deuteronomy 11:13-14)

Later, as a result of Israel’s disobedience and stubbornness, God chastened His people by withholding the provision of the first and latter rains.

“Therefore the showers have been withholder, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.” (Jeremiah 3:3)

Yet even still, the Lord held out His hand to this obstinate people with the promise of restoration.

“Come, and let us return unto the Lord; for He hath torn and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. The shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3)

In that promise the Lord Himself is identified as the former and latter rain showing the true source and substance of blessing for man. What men really need; their greatest blessing, is not things that spring out of the earth but He which comes down from heaven. “In the light of the king’s countenance is life; and His favor is as a cloud of the latter rain” (Prov 16:15).

Again, God promises a good end to those who wait for Him:

“Be glad, then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain in the first month” (Joel 2:23).

God is good to His people and purposes to bless them. In Christ, through justification, sanctification and glorification, God has a way to abundant bless His people in righteousness. Their sins have been put away, they have been justified by faith and are being transformed into the image of Jesus. They can rejoice in this salvation and patiently wait for the first and latter rains from the Lord. Be not hasty. Do not fret. Wait for His provision and when it comes…wait for the latter blessing as well.

– brother Pat Woods

Prophecies of Christ in Isaiah – by Albert Stoner

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18)

It is imperative that the child of God reason upon the writings of Isaiah in view of the “spirit of prophecy;” that is, “the testimony of Jesus” (Rev 19:10). Not every single word of God is a direct reference to Jesus Himself, as brother Albert Stoner has pointed out, but it is a context through which the Lord is able to speak to us of His Son.

While Isaiah served his generation faithfully according to the will of God, we can see that he was not entirely ministering to them “but to us” who understand them in the light of the gospel of Christ (1 Pet 1:12). With great precision and careful articulation, brother Al sheds the light of the gospel on these precious prophecies recorded by Isaiah the prophet.

As I perceive it, brother Al has been gifted in making connections between the Apostles’ doctrine and the fulfillment of those things “which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms” concerning Jesus (Lk 24:44). He is a masterful writer who will continually call you up higher to think on things from a heavenly perspective. And let the reader be sure that brother Al’s doctrine is adorned by his manner of life.

The Prophecies of Christ in Isaiah will bless all those who have been given ears to hear the gospel. In this document, as in the book of Isaiah, you will find words of hope, a message of peace, admonitions to flee ungodliness, and exhortations to cling to Christ with purpose of heart. We commend this book and this brother to the church of God and we wait in anticipation for additional writings concerning the prophecies of Christ.

– brother Pat Woods

THE PROPHECIES OF CHRIST IN ISAIAH

The Hope of Remembrance

“And I said, my strength and my hope is perished from the Lord: Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 6:18-26)

BACKGROUND TO THE TEXT

The Lamentations of Jeremiah give us an account of a man enduring the wrath of God because of the sin of the people. It is not as though we have a great history of Jeremiah’s sins, yet he partakes of the Lord’s chastening without justifying himself or condemning God. Rather, with his lamentations he partakes of the blessedness of they “that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst” of Jerusalem (Ezek 9:4).

His lamentations are not because he feels that the people are being unjustly afflicted. He is not “blaming God” or merely complaining – as is common among those living after the flesh. He, like our Lord will years later, is mourning the state of the people in their devotion to God. Furthermore, he does not hide his sorrow but makes it known that the people too would behold their own condition and repent.

The Lord is righteous; for I have rebelled against His commandment: hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow, my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity. (Lam 1:18)

The Lamentations of Jeremiah show us just how indignant God is with sinful people. He tells of how God has become as an enemy; how His bow is bent and the people are a target for His arrow; he God has even destroyed His own sanctuary and His own people.

The Lord was as an enemy: he hath swallowed up Israel, he hath swallowed up all her palaces: he hath destroyed his strong holds, and hath increased in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation. And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the Lord hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest. The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the house of the Lord, as in the day of a solemn feast. The Lord hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he hath stretched out a line, he hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together. Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the Lord. The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground. (Lamentations 2:5-10)

In the Lamentations we also what it looks like to confess your sins and plea for forgiveness.

…Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens. We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned. Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through. Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people. All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction. Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission. Till the Lord look down, and behold from heaven. Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city. Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause. They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me. Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off. I called upon thy name, O Lord, out of the low dungeon. Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life. (Lamentations 3:40-58)

It is good for us to be acquainted with this kind of grief; grief over sin and it’s horrific effects. Righteous men will be broken as they behold the infirmity of their own flesh and the offensiveness of their sin toward God. This, too, is a blessed condition for the broken and contrite heart will never be refused by our merciful God. His compassions fail not!

HOPE KNOWS THERE IS A BETTER DAY COMING

In all of this affliction, hope is still able to rise up and overcome. Hope does not just look for better days, it knows that the Lord is good and will reward those who call on His name. Faith and hope both trust in the righteousness of God who brings both calamity and relief. He alone is the One with Whom men have to do. Knowing Him is critical in the time of chastening – otherwise we would despair.

Jeremiah wasn’t the only prophet who knew that of the tender mercies of God. He was not the only man living by hope. Consider these expressions:

“O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” (Hab 3:2)

“…in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.” (Isa 60:10)

“For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.” (Isa 54:6-8)

Humility Precedes Hope. The psalmist exhorted his own soul, that was cast down and disquieted, to hope in God (Ps 42:5,11). This state of being cast down is a sort of prerequisite to hope (at least initially). Hope is convinced of something better up ahead. So, of necessity the current state is inferior to the one to come. This understanding; this humility precedes the ministry of hope. Where men are proud or perceive their current state to be the echelon of their existence…to make this a bit more contemporary…if they think they are living their best life NOW, hope will have no ministry. Hope ministers to us when we are convinced that God will bring the remedy to our current state.

We are currently living in “the body of our humble state” (Php 3:21, NASB). That is, what we are now is not the final product of God’s work – and we know it. So, as a result of this and in strict accord with God’s purpose, we are saved by hope (Rom 8:24).

“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope” (Rom 8:20). 

Until we put on immortality and are caught up in the air to be forever with the Lord, we are in a state of humility. Embrace it. Now is a day of hope. For when we do put on incorruption, we will no longer hope, “for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?”

Jeremiah’s expressions were not only for his time and experience, they are for all them that believe. All those who will inherit the kingdom of God will endure their own measure of suffering as a result of sin. But they will also be able to fellowship in the full assurance of hope because God is working salvation in the midst of this corrupt earth. Therefore sayeth the leaders of God’s people, “Let Israel hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption” (Ps 130:7)

YOUR MEMORY IS A STEWARDSHIP

The memory is vital to godly living. Men must remember the promises of the Lord in order to walk by faith. They must remember the wages reaped from iniquity in order to not follow after the flesh as in times past. And they must remember the provisions of the Lord in order to hope in His faithfulness. It is right that men to “set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments” (Ps 78:7)

In Lamentations chapter 3, Jeremiah speaks of remembering his “affliction…misery…wormwood…and gall.” While this is necessary to maintain a necessary humility, it could also cause unnecessary despair if it was all that he remembered. But alas, his memory served him well. He, like all the household of faith did not only remember his frailty but was also able to “recall to…mind” that the Lord is merciful and abundant in goodness and truth. The memory of the promises of God will cause you to withstand the evil day and be hopeful for the brightness of tomorrow.

In view of the ministry of remembrance consider some these things that the people of God have been called upon to “Remember”

  • “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy” (Exod 20:8)
  • “Thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for it is He that giveth thee power” (Deut 8:18)
  • “Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the Lord thy God to wrath” (Deut 9:7)
  • “Remember Lot’s wife” (Lk 17:32)
  • “He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you…” (Lk 24:6)
  • “These things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember” (Jn 16:4)
  • “Remember the poor” (Gal 2:20)
  • “Remember my bonds” (Col 4:18)
  • “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead” (2 Tim 2:8)
  • “Remember them which have the rule over you” (Heb 13:7)
  • “Remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles” (Jude 17)
  • “Remember…from whence thou art fallen and repent” (Rev 2:5)
  • “Do this in remembrance of Me”

All of these things and more are given as things to remember in order to provoke holy living. The memory serves as a tool of reasoning from the past in order to rightly navigate the present day. In the words of the Spirit, “experience works hope” (Rom 5:4)!

JEREMIAH: NOT “POSITIVE THINKING” BUT PERCEPTIVE OF REALITY

When Jeremiah is able to see that “it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed,” he is expressing the truth of the matter. The flesh is tempted to “look on the bright side” or “find something positive” in our circumstances. And while we are not opposed to this, I think this is a misrepresentation of the case. This is nothing more than the application of psychological terms and reasoning to spiritual realities.

Here is the truth: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The fact that any of us have remained on the earth long enough to receive the atonement is a product of the abundant mercies of our righteous God. Jeremiah perceived this and perceived that the Lord is good to those of a broken and contrite heart that is penitent and hopeful in this quality of God.

By way of contrast, no unbelievers see God this way. They do not see God as merciful. Instead they blame God as if He is unrighteous to allow them to feel any discomfort.

THE DAILY PROVISIONS OF MERCY

“…they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness”

Like the manna preserved in the ark of the covenant was a reminder of the provision of God in the wilderness, so the daily compassions and patience of the Lord is a reminder of His faithfulness and purpose to save. We can wake up every morning hopeful that we are alive and God is working in us both to will and do of His good pleasure.

With God, the fountain of compassion never fails; but let us be hopeful and not presumptuous. Hope, remember, is the commodity of the humble and contrite. The proud will not find a God who is willing to give grace but rather a God who is ready to cast them down. “Humble yourselves,” therefore, “under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in due time.”

The Gospel: Enemies Because of Sin – Reconciled by Christ. Remembering your affliction will bring despair while remembering God will bring hope. The gospel is a reminder not of your work but of God’s. The gospel is a message of hope. It is a message of pardon, forgiveness, and acceptance. It is the announcement that sin has been forever taken away and as a result, God is righteously pleased with believing men. The manner of the people is no longer mourning, lamentation and woe, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Where once we had the words of Jeremiah, “The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning” (Lam 5:15); David’s words are now more appropriate, “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness to the end that my glory may sing praise to the and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto Thee for ever” (Ps 30:11-12).

God is not our enemy anymore. He is not wroth with us anymore. Instead, He is our Savior and the Savior of all men, being merciful beyond comprehension. And in all of this God has not changed – rather, Jesus has taken away our sin.

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. (Romans 5:10)

THE LORD IS GOOD TO THEM…

Them That Wait for Him. Hope provokes holiness. It knows that the Lord is good to those that wait for HIm. Those who believe on the Lord do not make haste. They do not go out in their own reasoning and their own strength. They suffer with patience; trusting that the Lord’s direction will, in the end, turn out for their salvation. He is good to these people.

The Soul that Seeks Him. Many times we do not know the specific direction that God has given us or is leading us in a matter. But those who wait for Him must also seek Him; for this always promises to be beneficial.

It is good for men to seek the Lord and even to ask Him what to do. Remember, King Jehoshaphat said, “We don’t know what to do but our eyes are on you.” He was waiting and seeking the Lord.

Those that Hope and Quietly Wait for Salvation. True hope is not in future events or a change in circumstance. True hope is in God. It is a persuasion that HE will bring salvation. The hope of remembrance is the remembrance of God. When all around you seems chaotic, tumultuous and justly difficult; Remember the Lord – HE is good to those who wait for Him, seek Him and are convinced of His salvation.

“Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in Thee.” (Psalm 33:18-22)

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