Backward Glance

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced. (Psalm 105:4-5)

Today and Friday we will close out yet another year of Grace for the Race articles. I want to encourage you today to take a backward glance at this year that is coming to an end to remember and reflect on the many and multiplied wonders God has done in your life. On Friday we will stand at the starting line of another new year and discuss how to begin from a spiritually strong foundation . . . and, Lord willing, cross the finish line even stronger than when we started.

Someone wisely said, “It is difficult to climb to the summit of the mountain when you are always looking over your shoulder.” True indeed, and yet a backward glance is beneficial for believers so that we can be reminded of all that God has done on our behalf. To be sure, a “glance,” by definition, is brief, and it must be so if we are to make forward progress throughout 2021. But make no mistake, taking a backward glance is the best way to close out another year of blessings that God has bestowed upon us. 

Please understand that a backward glance is not the same as walking backward. We cannot go back, nor should we want to. God is moving us forward into His perfect plan and purpose for our lives, inasmuch as we live it out that plan imperfectly. It is vitally important to remember that we must always treat the past as a school; I often tell our congregation that we are to learn the lessons from our past but not live in our past. Far too many live in the past, dwelling on past triumphs or tragedies, which prohibits any measurable forward progress. But this is not for you!

Take some time during the next few days to reflect on the past year, and make sure that backward glance includes recalling both your successes and your storms. There is much to glean from both life experiences, because God has delivered both to us in order to conform us into the image and likeness of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Let your “backward glance” bring to mind our Lord’s . . .

  • Faithfulness and Friendship
  • Discipline and Devotion
  • Mercy and Ministry
  • Love and Leading

I will be the first to acknowlede that the year 2020, with COVID-19, all the bitter political turmoil, and even violence in our cities, has been deeply distressing and discouraging. But know that the God of grace is still in complete, sovereign control of all things; not a bird falls to the ground apart from His perfect will (Matthew 10:29). We are not to be afraid, but trust in Him with all our hearts and ackowledge Him in all our ways (Proverbs 3:5-6). If you take your brief “backward glance” from that vantage point of faith, you will be encouraged and strengthened to launch out into 2021 with Jesus sitting upon the throne of your life, guiding you and growing you through every twist and turn, every up and down, and always walking by your side every step of the way.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Almighty Affirmation

 Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). (John 1:42)                        

What a word of encouragement we have before us today! Jesus is so unlike us. Here in today’s verse, He gave Simon son of John His Almighty Affirmation – affirming not what Simon was that day, but what He would one day become: Peter, the Rock.

The name Simon meant “reed,” something that would easily be blown and tossed about by whatever wind was blowing at the time. By changing Simon’s name to Peter, Jesus was affirming him ahead of time and telling Simon what He was going to make him, by grace through faith: a rock, which is a symbol of stability.

It is very important to notice that Jesus did not withhold this name from Simon until he had gone about doing good works and proving himself. Jesus was not waiting for Simon to do more and try harder; no, Jesus simply declared that Simon’s new name would be Peter; in time, he would grow into his new name. Jesus does not merely see people exactly as we are at present (as he saw the Samaritan woman in John 4:18, for example); He also sees what we will become by trusting in Him and looking to Him for the strength to live out life.

How do you see others? Do you see their potential and their possibilities? Do you affirm them as the Almighty affirmed Peter . . . and as He affirms you? Remember, when you trusted in Christ alone for your salvation and Jesus raised you from death to life, your name was changed to Christian, which means Christ-follower. None of us will ever follow Christ perfectly on this side of the grave; Peter certainly did not, and neither will you and I. But in receiving the name Christian, we receive the promise that one day, when we cross the Jordan, we shall actually be perfect followers of Christ. May that Almighty Affirmation both comfort and challenge you this day.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Merry Christmas!

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11 KJV)

Today is Christmas day, and one of the most oft-asked questions on this day is, “What did you get?” What would your answer be? Never forget that the most important gift you can ever receive is Christ the Lord. So my question to you is this: Has this Savior been born to you? If He has, you are born again and have eternal life. If He has not, let’s take care of that right now. You need only to place your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. He died on a cruel cross and endured God’s righteous wrath to pay the penalty for your sins, and He rose from the dead on that first Easter morning, providing proof positive that His perfect, sinless sacrifice on your behalf was acceptable to God the Father.

You can pray a simple prayer, such as the one that was uttered by the tax collector who simply cried out to God, “Be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). Confess that you are a sinner in need of a Savior and ackowledge that you cannot save yourself. Repent of your sins and surrender control of your life to Jesus this day. If that prayer reflects the desire of your heart, salvation is yours!

Now, here is a question I want to ask all of you who already have, by grace through faith, placed your trust in the Babe in a manger for eternal life: Do you look upon that Babe with astonishment? There are so many reasons that we should “stand in awe” of the Lord Jesus Christ, as as pastor and songwriter Mark Altrogge wrote in the 1980s. We shake our heads in wonder as we consider how He holds all things together by the power of His word (Hebrews 1:3). We might raise our hands in worship as we meditate on the truth that in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3), and we rejoice that He is the Author and the Perfecter of the faith that equips us to accept that truth (Hebrews 12:2). We could struggle to comprehend the compassion and love of a Savior who hung on a cruel cross, no doubt shuddering in agony every time He had to push up on the spikes driven through His feet to draw each tortured breath of air, yet looked down on those who had nailed Him there and prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

I could fill several months’ worth of blog posts with reasons why we should behold Jesus Christ with wonder and adoration and awe. But on this Christmas day, let us look at the words of one who was given a vision of the splendor and glory of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, in all His heavenly glory:

I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:11-14)

Angels and other supernatural beings stand before Jesus and offer their praise and adoration. In his great High Priestly Prayer to His Father, Jesus made mention of “the glory I had with you before the world began” (John 17:5). Consider this, Christian, if our finite minds can even begin to wrap around this truth: From all eternity, Jesus Christ has existed in inexpressible and unimaginable glory and splendor in heaven. You sometimes hear it said that a particular person “has it all.” That worldly phrase speaks to possessions and creature comforts. But Jesus Christ really did have it all! He had perfect fellowship within the Godhead — perfect love, perfect wisdom, perfect glory, perfect peace.

And that is why you and I should stand in awe of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day: He didn’t have to leave that. He was and is “in very nature God” (Philippians 2:6); He was and is all-sustaining, all-powerful, all-sufficient, and in need of absolutely nothing. He certainly doesn’t need you or me or anyone else to make Him happier or more fulfilled. But He wanted us to be with Him! He loves you and me that much!!

Is it stunning and remarkable that this great, heavenly King left the splendor of heaven to be born in the filth of a stable? Yes, it certainlly is! But there is something that I find even more incomprehensible than the King of Glory lying in a stable. It is the fact that Jesus Christ chose to take up residence in a place more dreadfully dark and filthy than any stable; He has chosen to live in my heart. And in yours.

And so I join with Mark Altrogge this Christmas morning and sing to the precious Christ child:

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above.

I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You.

From the Boland family to yours: May this day be filled with the joy and wonder and the glorious promise of Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!


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Four Names of the Cosmic Christ Child: “Prince of Peace” Part 3

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Today we will close out our month-long study on the four names given by the prophet Isaiah to this child who was to be born, this son who was given to us.

Prince of Peace – I have been saying throught this series that the four names given to the Cosmic Christ Child were intended to describe his rule, his reign, and the scope of his kingdom, but this fourth and final name bestowed on the coming King perhaps best sums up the person and the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. In a world filled with confusion and chaos, we are first to recognize Jesus as the Prince of Peace, not chaos, regardless of what we see going on in the world around us. Jesus is still on His throne, and He is in complete, sovereign, purposeful control of all things.

God is not a God of disorder but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33)

The very next thing we are to recognize in Jesus as the Prince of Peace is that, apart from Him, there is absolutely no peace available to us through anything else in this world.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Only with the Prince of Peace can we have the confident assurance that, no matter what circumstances we are facing, Jesus is with us to get us through them. With the Prince of Peace by our side, we need not fear today or tomorrow, for greater is the power that is in us than any power will ever come against us. Jesus has conquered sin, Satan, and the final enemy, death, which means that we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us (Romans 8:37).

In looking back at the words Isaiah penned for our Prince of Peace (The original Hebrew for the name is Sar Shalom) at the deepest level, we are to see our Lord Jesus as the one who will sustain us through every peace-disturbing circumstance we face in this life. So now, like Peter, we are to step out of our own little boat, regardless of the storm winds that may be howling around us, and walk upon the water with confident assurance that our Prince of Peace has called us to do so. But we also must remember to keep our eyes fixed on the Prize, so as not to be overwhelmed by the winds and the waves. If we shift our focus away from Christ and look anxiously around at our circumstances, we will sink, just as Peter did (Matthew 14:22-33).

But don’t forget the rest of the story! When Peter began to sink below the waves, he cried out to Jesus, who immediately reached out His hand and lifted Peter back to safety. Even when we look away from our Prince of Peace, He will never look away from us. Now, that is a peace worth living for, wouldn’t you agree?

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I’m going to do something a little unusual this week and post a fourlth message here for you, one that I hope will help you prepare your heart to joyfully celebrate the birth of the Child who was born, the Son of God who was given to us and for us. He truly is our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. May we lay aside the cares of this life on Christmas Day, no matter how serious and pressing they may be, and give thanks and praise to God for His indescribable gift!

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Four Names of the Cosmic Christ Child: “Prince of Peace” Part 2

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Yesterday we looked at the first half of the fourth name that the prophet Isaiah gave to the Cosmic Christ Child: “Prince of Peace.” Today we will briefly unpack the second half of this glorious name that Isaiah bestowed upon this child that was born, this son who was given to us.

Peace – Entire books have been written about the peace our Lord Jesus Christ brings to this world and His people. In today’s brief article, I will identify two points that I am sure will prove profitable in your life right now, regardless of where this message finds you.

You know that the Hebrew word for peace is shalom, but many people do not know that shalom means much more than an absence of conflict. The full sense of shalom communicates harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, and welfare. When the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:14 that Jesus is “our peace,” he was reminding us that prior to Jesus showing up in our lives, we were at war with God; we were His enemies (Romans 5:10, Colossians 1:21). This rebellion began, of course, all the way back in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve thumbed their noses at God and went their own way. God underscored this awful estrangement in His first Gospel proclamation in Genesis 3:15, but He also promised He would supply the remedy for this dreadful state of affairs.

I will put enmity between [Satan] and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

In saying He will put enmity (that is, hostility) between sinners and the serpent, God was making it clear that sinners are friends with Satan and at enmity with God. Before Jesus changes our hearts, we God’s enemies, whether we acknowledge it or not; but when Jesus enters into our lives, He becomes our peace, reconciling us back into a right, harmonious relationship with God.

But that’s not all! After the fall in the Garden, we see that we are not only alienated in our vertical relationship with God, but we are also alienated in our horizontal relationships with each other.

The man said, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it,” Then the Lord said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12-13)

After their appalling act of cosmic treason against God, we see the stranglehold that sin had on both Adam and Eve. The man blamed the woman and God for his own sin, the woman blamed the serpent for her sin, and we have been blaming each other ever since. Apart from the Prince of Peace, both our vertical and horizontal relationships are fractured and filled with blame and shame, enmity and hostility. I often tell married couples that your enemy is not the person sleeping next to you every night. No, the enemy is within you; our bitter, deadly enemy is the sin that always crouches at our door, seeking to dominate us (Genesis 4:7).

Here is what we must remember regarding peace as it is set forth in sacred Scripture. True, biblical peace is peace is the presence of Christ. He is our peace, and through our intimate, personal relationship with Him, we receive the first fruit of our justification: peace with God. That peace opens the doorway for us to begin to experience peace with others–all others–by living out the truths of the good news of the Gospel.

Tomorrow, we will bring both names back together to complete our Christmas season study of these four magnificent names for our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Four Names of the Cosmic Christ Child: “Prince of Peace” Part 1

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

As we all prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ this Friday, I am going to devote three articles to the fourth and final name bestwoed upon the Cosmic Christ Child through the the prophet Isaiah. I have been saying thoughout this series that in ancient times names were bestowed upon a king to describe his rule, his reign, and the scope of his kingdom, and that is exactly what Isaiah was doing when he announced the coming of King Jesus.

The prophet’s fourth title that finds its fulfillment in our Lord Jesus Christ is “Prince of Peace.” Since Christmas falls on Friday, I am going to break the normal Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule of articles for “Grace for the Race” and post four article here this week. We will look at the first half of the name on Monday, the second half of the name on Tuesday, and both combined on Wednesday. Then on Friday I will post a special Christmas Day word of encouragement for you.

Prince – Moses was a prince for a season in Egypt, but Jesus Christ, the Greater Moses, is a Prince for all eternity. We saw this last week when we looked at the title “Everlasting.” For Isaiah’s original audience, who received this prophecy more than 700 years before the birth of the Cosmic Christ Child, the title “Prince” was easily and clearly understood. A prince was a person of great prominence and nobility who was responsible for leading his people–providing protection for them and caring for their needs. This perfectly describes the role of our Lord Jesus in the life of His people. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day understood Him to be a prince, but nothing like the one Isaiah was talking about! The Pharisees grumbled, “By the prince of demon [Jesus] is driving out demons” (Mark 3:22).

It is important to note just how intentional Isaiah was in giving the title “Prince of Peace” to the coming Messiah, rather than “King of Peace.” As we have seen throughout our study of these four magnificent titles for Jesus, Jesus is fully God, co-eternal and co-equal with the Father. Yet, it is instructive to see how a Prince submits to the authority of His Father and acts according to the Father’s will and not His own.

Our Prince was sent by His Father (1 John 4:9), and aligned His will perfectly with His Father’s will by becoming obedient through His death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). Time and again, our Lord declared His submission to His Father’s will:

  • By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (John 5:30)
  • I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. (John 12:49)
  • The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. (John 14:31)
  • I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (John 15:10)

And then, of course, there is the most remarkable example of the complete submission of the Prince of Peace to His Father’s will: As Jesus knelt in the Garden of Gesthemane, sweating blood in utter anguish as He anticipated taking on the terrible wrath of God for the sin of all of His subjects, He simply prayed:

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

One final point about the title “Prince.” As a child of nobility in the house of the current earthly king, the prince would one day rise to the position of being king Himself, but he did not yet hold that position. In the very same way, while Jesus walked this earth and lived out the ministry for which He came, He was our Prince. But on that first Easter morning, after being crucified, dead, and buried, when Jesus walked out of His tomb alive and well, He now bore the title King of kings and Lord of lords. Praise His mighty names!

Tomorrow we will look at the second half of this amazing title.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Four Names of the Cosmic Christ Child: “Everlasting Father” Part 3

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Today we will close out our study on the third name given by the prophet Isaiah to this child who was to be born to us, this son who would be given.

Everlasting Father – It should be no surprise to see Jesus described as our Everlasting Father, especially in light of the fact that He also demonstrated the qualities of a mother.  

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37).

Is it not staggering to see the depths of the love of our God as it is expressed to us in Christ Jesus? He loves us as a father and as a mother. I want to show you what I consider the most amazing picture of the Everlasting Father’s love for us, His children, which was expressed in His High Priestly Prayer, uttered just a few hours before His crucifixion. Reflecting on His care for His disciples, Jesus prayed, “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me” (John 17:12). Such is the heart of our Everlasting Father toward His children. He does not leave us to face life’s difficulties and tragedies all alone; He protects us and keeps us safe.

Before we close out our examination of this amazing name for our Lord Jesus Christ, “Everlasting Father,” let me say a few words to those for whom the name “Father” stirs memories that are anything but fond and happy. As a pastor I have counseled many people who had dreadful experiences with their earthly father. Some fathers were absent . . . some were aloof . . . some were angry . . . some were abusive. Most of us sustained what I call “father wounds” at some point during our upbringing, and those wounds stay with us throughout life.

To be sure, every earthly father falls woefully short of the biblical model and godly goal set before us in Scripture. I know I did; just ask our four children. I say all this to say that, regardless of our experiences with our earthly father, we must always look to our heavenly Father, who has planend from all eternity to prosper us and not to harm us, who loves us unconditionally, and who has promised never to leave or forsake us.

Regardless of where this message may find you regarding your experiences with your earthly father, keep looking to your Everlasting Father, the Lord Jesus Christ. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “Jesus is everlastingly a father to those who trust in him.” The life of Jesus lays bare the heart of His Father in heaven — a love that our Lord has experienced for all eternity, a love that He demonstrted by dying in our place and on our behalf. It is a love that He now offers to us as our Savior, our Husband, our Friend, our Brother, and our Everlasting Father.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Four Names of the Cosmic Christ Child: “Everlasting Father” Part 2

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Throughout this week we are looking at the third name that Isaiah gave to Jesus: “Everlasting Father.” On Monday we looked at “Everlasting,” the first half of the name; today we will briefly unpack the second half . . .

Father – The symbolic use of the Hebrew word Ab, translated in our English Bibles as Father, had the express meaning of “possessor of.” This child born, this son given as the Everlasting Father (or “Father of Eternity”) is the Father and possessor of both time and eternity.

We see this clearly stated in the Gospel of John, as well as in Paul’s epistle to the Colossians:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3)

By him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17)

It is important to address two common questions that arise regarding applying this title of “Father” to Jesus:

  • “Doesn’t this confuse the roles within the Trinity between the Father and the Son?”
  • “Doesn’t this mean that God the Father and God the Son are one and the same person?”

The answer to both questions is “No, not at all.” In my view, Isaiah did not have the Trinity in mind when he wrote these words, nor was he describing the roles within the Godhead. Rather, Isaiah was setting forth the character of Jesus Christ in His relationship toward His people: Father to children. This child born and this son given is to be the King of Israel, and also King of all those Gentiles who have been and will be grafted into His kingdom. And as King, Jesus will be Father to all His children.

  • Jesus will pay the penalty for the sins of all of His children.
  • Jesus will protect all of His children.
  • Jesus will provide for all of His children.

We see in Jesus’ own words how He applied the title “Father” to Himself as the One who is able to reveal the fatherly character of God to His children.

“I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)

“The Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:38)

“Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” (John 14:10)

Again, Jesus and the Father are not the same person, but they are one in both essence and nature. As we read about the life and ministry of Jesus in the gospel accounts, we are also reading about the Father, who Jesus precisely represented, just as this prophesied name reveals. The writer of Hebrews explained, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3), and the apostle John taught that “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known” (John 1:18).

One Sabbath day, Jesus healed a lame man by the pool in Jerusalem called Bethesda, and the religious leaders once again questioned Jesus’ authority. His response to these self-righteous religious leaders was as clear tot hem then as it is comforting to us today: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19). Here we see how beautifully the Son and the Father are one in their ministry toward man.

Remember, it was Jesus who said, “Let the little children come to me” (Matthew 19:14). Have you come to Jesus by grace through faith? Have you trusted in Him to pay the penalty for all your sins, to protect you, and to provide for you?

On Friday we will look at both parts of this name, “Everlasting Father,” together.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Four Names of the Cosmic Christ Child: “Everlasting Father” Part 1

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

If you are a regular reader here, you know that we are in the midst of a Christmas season study on the four names of the Cosmic Christ Child, all of which were given by the inspired pen of the prophet Isaiah. The four names bestowed by the prophet help to identify Jesus Christ’s rule, His reign, and the scope of His kingdom. This week we will focus on the prophet’s third title, which finds its fulfillment in our Lord Jesus Christ: Everlasting Father. As we did with “Wonderful Counselor” and “Mighty God,” we will focus on the first half of the name on Monday, the second half of the name on Wednesday, and both combined to close out the week on Friday.

Everlasting is a title that is every bit as unique to this child born, this son given, as was the name “Mighty God,” which we looked into last week. Only in the mind of God can the name “Everlasting” be true. To possess the name Everlasting is to embody a profound truth, which is known as the preexistence of God.

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Psalm 90:2).

Before the creation there was the Creator – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – three separate persons with one eternal essence. As the second person of the Trinity, the Son is the preexistent Everlasting Father, who was, and is, and is to come. Jesus clearly asserted this truth in an exhange with the Jewish religious leaders, who had been challenging His message and His ministry.

Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

“You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:54-58)

The religious leaders, who knew the Scriptures quite well, understood exactly what Jesus was saying when He brought them back to the encounter between Moses and God at the burning bush. When Moses asked God for His name, God said, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). Now Jesus was claiming that name for Himself, which meant that He was claiming equality with God. We know that the Jewish religious leaders rightly interpreted what our Lord meant when He said, “Before Abraham was born, I am!” because “At this, they picked up stones to stone him” (John 8:59). They knew full well what Jesus was saying, but they flatly refused to accept it. 

Here is one final point of proof that Jesus is Everlasting. When we read Jesus saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega” (Revelation 1:8), we are to understand this as a statement of His everlasting nature. The first letter of the Greek alphabet is Alpha, and the last letter of the Greek alphabet is Omega; Jesus used these bookends to symbolize the truth that He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last, the Everlasting God of the past, the present, and our promised future.

Have you accepted His promise? “I am the resurrection and the life,” He tells us. “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26). Have you accepted this truth, by grace through faith? If so, then He is your Everlasting Father also!

On Wednesday, we will take a look at the word “Father,” the second part of this third name.  

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Four Names of the Cosmic Christ Child: “Mighty God” Part 3

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Today we will take one last look at the second name given by the prophet Isaiah to Jesus Christ, this child who was born for us, this son who was given to us.

Mighty God – We have barely scratched the surface of the Scriptures to see how Jesus is our Mighty God. He walked on water, turned water into wine, cast out demons, cured lepers, gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk, and brought the dead back to life. He calmed the wind and waves of a ferocious storm with a word, and He multiplied five loaves and two small fish into a bountiful meal for a crowd that may have been as large as 15,000 people.

Jesus created the world; He bore the sins of the world in His body nailed to a cross; and on the third day after His burial He walked out of His grave alive and well. In His humanity He took upon Himself death, which is the wages of sin, and in His divinity He conquered the grave and destroyed the last enemy: death itself. Nothing was impossible for our Mighty God, who left His glory in heaven to take on flesh and dwell among us.

But that’s not all! That same power of our Mighty God is available to all those who believe in Him. The apostle Paul wrote —

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms . . . (Ephesians 1:18-20)

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:9-12)

Are you living out your life in the power of your Mighty God? If you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ, always keep in view that the Holy Spirit–the power that raised Jesus from the dead–is the same power that is dewelling within you. Have you not experienced the forgiveness of more sins than you can number? Have you not experienced insurmountable temptations that you have overcome? Have you not experienced virtues that were once beyond your imagination rising forth from deep within you?

Why is that? Why is this your experience? It is because of this Mighty God, who loved you enough to die for you, and who is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for you moment by moment.

You have an equal share in the inheritance of all the saints of God. Within you is the power to say “YES” to what you must say “Yes” to and “NO” to what you must say “No” to. But also remember that, inasmuch as this power within you is perfect, you will not be perfect until you cross the Jordan and enter into your eternal rest. Everything you do you will do imperfectly, but fear not, Christian, you have a Mighty God who loves you unconditionally and forgives you completely.

I hope you’ll be back next week to look at the third name Isaiah gave to Jesus: Everlasting Father.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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