by Roland W. Keith
"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel" (which means, God with us) (Matthew 1:23).
The Old Testament prophets foretold the coming of Messiah— One Who would not only deliver the Jews, but who would in fact bless the whole world. Hundreds of years after those prophecies were made the apostles proclaimed that the word of God had been fulfilled. Not only had Messiah come, but He was no ordinary man. He was the Son of God— deity incarnate. According to John: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). John would also explain that the Savior, so long awaited was in fact our Creator come to earth, writing, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
According to Paul, God’s plan of salvation required His own Son to leave His exalted place in heaven and “empty Himself” by taking human form to deliver God’s word to man, and when rejected to be obedient to the Father’s master plan even to the point of being nailed to a cross (Philippians 2:5-8). If you are a Christian, a member of Christ’s church, it is because Jesus completed His task in all points honoring His Father’s commands (Matthew 17:5; John 8:28; 12:49).
The word delivered by Jesus, and subsequently His disciples was the gospel (Matthew 24:14; Mark 1:15; 16:15). It is through these words that salvation comes to man and a new covenant between God and man was established (Matthew 26:26-28; I Corinthians 7:22; Hebrews 7:22; 8:7; 10:16). According to Luke the gospel proclaimed Christ crucified and risen from the grave, and the forgiveness of sins in His name (Luke 24:46-47; I Corinthians 2:1-2). The apostle Paul would later explain that not only was Christ the testator of the will, but having risen from the grave He is now the mediator of the new covenant, redeeming all who come to Him through his own blood which was shed to pay for their sins (Hebrews 9:15-18).
In the book of Acts, we are told, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). All hope of an eternal life with God rests with Jesus Christ.
In Jesus’ day and ever since it has been hard for many to accept what God accomplished through Him. One of those early on was a man named Saul, who wrote, “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities” (Acts 26:9-11). Later on the man who would become known as Paul would have his day of reckoning with Christ (Acts 9:1-18).
Paul would spend the rest of his life combating the enemies of Christ, giving everything he had to convert all that he could to his Savior (I Corinthians 9:22; Romans 11:4), and continuously warning both the saved and unsaved of the perils of the evil around them, all in the name of Jesus (II Corinthians 4:4-6; Romans 1:16; Ephesians 6:10-18; Philippians 2:12; II Timothy 2:10). Paul was not alone in warning of the dangers facing those who would come to Christ. Peter also cautioned his fellow Christians to stay true to the Lord while being wary of those who would draw them away (II Peter 2:1-3). In the end both the faithful and unfaithful will stand before God as Paul wrote, “for it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:11-12).
With all the warnings, however, the greater message was positive and powerful. The world might have a veil over its eyes, “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed” (II Corinthians 3:16). Those who believe in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and are willing to confess Him will be saved (Romans 10:8-10), if we are willing to come to Him in obedience to His word (Acts 2:38; I Peter 3:20-21; Matthew 25:31-46; 7:21-22; Romans 12:2; Acts 17:30). If we obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29), we will find a home in heaven, our debt of sin cancelled by Christ on the cross (Colossians 2:14).
Through the sacrifice of His Son God has qualified those who come to Him for a place in His kingdom (Colossians 1:11-14). Moreover, because of the faithful obedience of His Son, “God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11.
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.