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JESUS

What Is His Gift?

CHAPTER 6

We have all heard the statement, "Jesus saves." Many have understood this statement to mean that those who believe that Jesus came to forgive us and die for us, get to go to heaven someday. Who is it that does not want to go to heaven? Very few would turn that down. Heaven is pictured as a place where everyone would have everything they wanted and all this with freedom from pain and death. One would get to live forever in a heavenly Hawaii with his own paid-for condominium by the sea. Family and friends would have a wonderful time together forever.

Jesus had many followers in His early ministry who hoped for the same things. Jesus had proven that He could feed thousands and some had seen Him walk on water. He had healed many in the towns and villages He had visited. They wanted the heaven that men today want. They wanted to be free from the presence of their enemies. They wanted a life of bliss and ease. When Jesus actually got through to them what He was bringing them, they left off following Him and finally crucified Him.

What was His gift then and now? And why would men seek to kill Him for bringing them a gift? The answer will become evident as we carefully look at His life and teachings.

Years ago I read a story of how a young child had fallen into a well. The well was not wide and the child was wedged in the well some 60 feet below the surface. The rescuers were working diligently to save the young boy. Suppose the rescuers called down to the boy and said, "We have given you salvation from the well. You are free." Would he be free if he still found himself enslaved by the narrow walls of the well?

Suppose they called down the well and said, "We have brought you salvation. When you die you get to go to heaven." Do you suppose that these two answers would have given the boy any encouragement? If you were in a well many feet below the surface, would you get encouragement when one periodically called down to you, saying you were saved when you knew very well that you were not? Would you get any joy out of the fact that you got to go to heaven when you died?

Bad Answers

With either of these two answers, would you have received salvation from the well? No, you would not. Yet millions of people today give these two answers to millions of others in their churches and religious meeting houses. Millions today live wretched existences with no hope except that someone told them they were saved and get to go to heaven when they die. Many of these poor souls are still stuck in the well of sin, knowing they are not saved from its controlling power. They would be disappointed to know that they will not be going to heaven when they die.

The young boy in the well was finally saved. This salvation was evident when he was standing on solid ground, breathing the pure air. It could be seen that he was saved. He could see that he was saved and he felt saved. The way he was saved was that his rescuers dug a shaft next to the one that he was in until they tunnelled under him. They proceeded to draw him into the new hole, which was somewhat larger, and the boy was brought to the surface in the arms of his rescuer and in the path that the rescuer made for him.

This is not unlike the way our Savior rescues His people. First of all, He gives us the promise of His rescue, then He rescues us. He makes a new path and we are taken off the old path. It is true that we are really saved from something. We are not pretend saved. We are not given a hope of some future life apart from the hope of the present.

The Truth Will Make You Free

Jesus came to free us from this world's slavery. He came to free us while we are here and not some later time. He said, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John. 8:32) The truth is our liberation. When you know the truth, you are made free since slavery comes from the fact that men do not know the truth. This does not indicate that, after you know the truth, at some time you will be free; but, rather, knowing the truth is the fact of being free.

What is this truth that we are to know? It is the truth as it is in Jesus. It is that the life of Jesus is the truth. We can look at Him and discover exactly how we are free. One of the things that we were freed from was sin. "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." (Rom. 6:22)

When we accept the truth as it is in Jesus, we are freed from sin. That is expressed another way. "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." (Rom. 6:14) When one is under the law, he finds himself sinning. He is in bondage. When one is out from under the law and under grace, he finds himself free from sin. When temptations come, the one who is under grace does not fall under those temptations. The one who is under the law cannot help falling under the temptations.

Grace, in effect, frees us from the condemnation of the law because we no longer break the law. When I travel down the highway at 55 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour speed zone, I am not under the law. If I travel down the road at 65 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour speed zone, I am not under grace but under law. I stand condemned by the law and I know this whenever I see a police car. When one is under grace, he has lost the seed of rebellion and he desires to keep the law. In fact, he has a love for the law since in it is found order and security.

When Jesus lived His life and went to the cross, He sealed that life in an agreement with us. His life stands, and that life is now given to us. We have the promise and certain knowledge that whatever Jesus had, we have. This is what His sacrifice gave us. "Unless He met man as man, and testified by His connection with God that divine power was not given to Him in a different way to what it will be given to us, He could not be a perfect example for us." (BC 7A 925) Jesus came to show us how to live a Christian life. His death on the cross gave us that life. We not only have the life provided us, but we also have the visual manifestation of what that life looks like in the life of Jesus on this earth. Jesus was free from sin as we are made free from sin when we accept Jesus.

Power Over Opinion

Jesus was also free from the opinions of others. How often it is that men have a conviction of something only to give it up when it proves unpopular, or his family and friends do not agree with it. Have you, knowing something else was right, succumbed to the pressure of others? I am not speaking of a preference such as a room color or what kind of car to buy. I am speaking of a moral choice. I remember, as a young boy, the peer pressure was great to do something not accepted by the "squares." That something might have been smoking or drinking or some stunt to make a neighbor angry.

When I grew up, I noticed the peer pressure was equally sharp against the government of God. Even preachers encouraged the breaking of the commandments of God. When the Bible commanded that the seventh-day Sabbath should be observed, society would argue that it was not important. The scoffers would say, "The law is done away with; don't be a legalist."

Jesus would not be pressured to go against those things He knew to be right. All the Jewish authorities and most of the people finally went against Him. Even so, Jesus took His integrity to the cross. He could not be made to lie, cheat or steal. He could not be made to compromise His integrity. All those who believe in Jesus have this same trait of character. All those who have received His life cannot be made to bend their minds to meet Satan's mind. They are free to think and to be. No earthly pressure can take that from them.

Power Over Circumstances

Jesus gave us power over sin, power over opinion and power over circumstances. He said, "...If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." (Matt. 17:20) We have been given the gift of moving mountains. I have been in a den of ravenous, human lions. I have felt the power of gnashing teeth against the truth as I have known it. But all the lions of hell cannot move the Spirit of Christ. If we have identified ourselves with that Spirit, we cannot be moved. Only the ravenous lions can be moved. This is the freedom from opinion as well as the freedom from circumstances.

What would you like to achieve? Has God placed within your heart something to be accomplished? Would you like to accomplish it but lack money or opportunity? Fear not; Christ has given you freedom. If you will believe in Him and trust Him completely to keep His life in you, you may go ahead and accomplish whatever you desire from God. The believer is not afraid.

The truth is that we can move any mountain. When we know that truth, we are freed from the lie that we cannot move any mountain. This is the victory and truth as it is in Jesus. He fed five thousand people with a few loves and fishes. He walked on water. He healed the sick and all because He was free from the lie that those things were not possible to do. When He came and broke the lies' backs, we could see that we are also free from the lie that we cannot do those things.

When we take the life that Jesus had, Jesus will be the truth about us. To see us will be to see Jesus. "Christ unites in His person the fullness and perfection of the Godhead and the fullness and perfection of sinless humanity. ...Christ's life is a revelation of what fallen human beings may become through union and fellowship with the divine nature." (FILB 219)

Finally, Jesus gives us the victory over our last slavemaster, death. Yes, the Bible records that the last generation of believers will be saved from death as well as all those other things. Those who have believed previously and have died a physical death, will be raised from their place of sleep; and those who are alive will never see physical death. Jesus said, "...I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." (John 11:25-26) That's right. Those who believe in Him will never die. All generations could receive this as a promise of spiritual life, but this last generation can also claim this promise as relating to physical death. "Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep [die], but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound...and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)

How is it that believers will be raised and how is it that believers will never die? It is the gift of Christ's life. Christ has everlasting life and He has given that life to us. When we have everlasting life, we cannot die. And those who have died physically, as Jesus did, will rise again because Jesus' own life responds to the call of God. "Through faith the soul is kept from sin. He who opens his heart to the spirit of Christ becomes a partaker of that mighty power which shall bring forth his body from the grave." (DA 209-210)

As Jesus rose from the grave by the life that was in Him, so we shall rise from the grave by the life that is in us. This life is a gift to those who believe. The ones in this last generation will translate without seeing death by this same life. They will never see death.

We Only Have What Jesus Has

The gift of Christ is self-descriptive. It is the gift of CHRIST. He has given us Himself. We have Him living within. We are the temple that houses His life. All that He had, we have by faith in the promise that that is so. He had freedom from sin. So do we. He had freedom from the personal opinion of others. So do we. He had freedom from the control of adverse circumstances. So do we. He had freedom from fear and death. The grave could not hold Him and neither can it hold us that is if we have received this life. This life costs us every other consideration. This life must be the most important thing in our life. It may cost us family and friends. It may cost us our jobs or possessions. But, whoever is willing to receive this pearl of great price with all his heart, and keep it with all his heart, will have all that Jesus had. Not only that; they will have all that Jesus has. "That life in you will produce the same character and manifest the same works as it did in Him." (MB 78)

Lost man only has his own mistakes to face. Only confusion can be made manifest in his flesh. He can only cry out from the well he finds himself trapped in, and in mercy he is given death by and by. But one who receives the life of Christ no longer has confusion manifested in his flesh, but God manifested in his flesh. We are given the knowledge of God. "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." (1 John 5:18-20)

Do you have a want in your soul? Would you like to be free of want? That is His gift. "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." (Mark 11:24) Go ahead and believe that God has given all things into your hands. With humble dependence you can claim the attributes of God by faith. We take hold of it, not as a boastful claim, but as a humble obedience to what God would have us possess. To partake of God's attributes is His command to us. It is not an option of the believer but a necessary experience. Partaking of God's own life is the salvation we seek. This is the experience of being drawn out of the well and this experience costs us every earthly hope and ambition; but in return, we receive every heavenly possession.

Satan has laid claim to your inheritance. Are you satisfied to let him take the wealth of experience from you that Jesus left to you in His will and testament? When Jesus died, He left you all His wealth. Are you satisfied to let Satan steal it from you? I am not satisfied with that. I will not give my heavenly possession away. Will you be willing to stand by your inheritance? Everyone in heaven wants you to claim your inheritance. No one of an earthly mind wants you to have it. Your true friends and family are in heaven. Stand with them and make the joy of Jesus your own joy.


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