Christ Glorified That He May Give Eternal Life, #765
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him (JOH 17:2).
The songs we sing, generously bring forth the purpose of Christs condescension. They so beautifully show that it was for us that He suffered, that His whole purpose for coming into this world was to obtain salvation for His people.
As our Saviour approached the hour of His final hand to hand combat with Satan, death, hell, and the grave, He asked the Father to glorify Him, not out of selfishness, but that He should give eternal life to us. He was glorified before He left His throne. He was glorified with that same glory since eternity. He stood to gain nothing; all the gain was for us. He did not do this to attain additional glory. He only asked for the glory He had with the Father before the world began.
Unless the Father had glorified His Son with the victory over Satan, death, and the grave, He could not have accomplished the purpose of His redemptive work. 1CO 15:17-18 says, "And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." It was by this that we were purchased from death, hell and the dominion of Satan and sin.
If our Surety had not been glorified by His victory over death as His receipt of payment in full for our debt, what evidence would a sorrowing Peter have that his debt was paid? Christ came out of the grave and restored Peter to the faith. If one jot or tittle of the law had not been fulfilled, He would have remained in the grave. He would have remained under the power of death. 1CO 15:19 says, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." We would be more miserable than those who had never hoped in Christ, if our hope was only in a Christ in the flesh. If His life in the flesh is our only hope, we have no hope.
We need to rightly understand that next to His Fathers glory, Christs objective was not His own honor or profit, but our salvation. If Christ was here to gain honor for Himself or to increase His own glory, then there would have been a selfish motive in Christs coming. But it was a self-sacrificial love, to come down and take our human nature with Him back to glory as a pledge that our human nature can be restored again in glory.
These were the scope of His humble obedience unto death and rising again unto glory. He not only descended for you and me, but He ascended in our human nature. DAN 9:26a says, "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself," that is, not for His own sin, nor for His own profit.
Our Saviours life was not cut off for any fault in Himself, nor for His own benefit. He also came to set us an example of what we were created to be. Christ is the revelation of God in our human nature. He is the image of the Father, and you and I were created in that image. The life, the condescension and the self-sacrificial love of Christ were given to us as an example to teach us how we are again to assume the divine nature. ROM 15:2-3 says, "Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me." All the reproach of our sin could have fallen on us, but it fell on Him. He came to take our shame, to bear our reproach. We are to edify one another. Do you see how terrible it is for us to speak evil of our neighbor? It is ungodly for us to speak evil of any man.
Even Christs entering into eternal glory was on behalf of His dear bride. JOH 14:3 says, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." He ascended into glory to prepare a place for us, that you and I might be able to live eternally in the presence and paradise of God.
This same principle comes through in HEB 9:24, "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." He entered glory on behalf of His church. Can we even attempt to fathom the love of Christ that He did this so we can stand righteous before the Father and be acceptable in His sight?
Our blessed Redeemer went to heaven "to appear in the presence of God for us" to appear in His human nature as our Advocate, coming before the court of heaven to represent our case.
In our court system, the county attorney is the prosecutor, and he comes before the court and presents all the evidence against you and he establishes the crime that you have committed. You are entitled to counsel to present your defense.
However, as we come before the court of heaven, who can plead anything but guilty? Satan, the accuser, comes to present the case against us and show every crime we have committed in our whole lives. There we stand before the tribunal of God, and all we can say is, "Guilty, guilty, guilty." Our own consciences condemn us. Then our Advocate comes forth, and unlike attorneys today who try to prove guilty people innocent, he says, "I have paid the ransom. I have paid the penalty. Yes, they are guilty of every crime they have been accused of." Then justice demands that we be vindicated. He shows the scars of His hand and our names written there. He shows His receipt in His hands, His side, His feet, and His resurrection that He has made payment in full.
Christs work that the Father gave Him to do was humble obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, but His wages were our salvation. ISA 53:12 says, "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." The strong is the strong man, the devil, who has had dominion over Christs church. Christ bound the strong man and took His spoil. He has taken away His bride.
Christs condescension to lay down His life to save ours teaches us self-denial. It teaches us our duty to do all for Gods glory and the edification of our fellow man as we see in PHI 2:16-17, "Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all." There is no selfishness in this. The ugly monster of selfishness must be slain. Death to self, death to the world, death to everything we can try to gain for ourselves. If we have the Spirit of Christ then we start to understand that law of love, loving our neighbors as ourselves. We see how ungodly sin becomes when we have a right understanding of who Christ was and what He did.
Our Saviours highest glorification is His pledge for our glorification. JOH 17:24 says, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." He is telling His Father His greatest will and pleasure.
Our Suretys glorification is our receipt of payment in full of our debt that we could not pay. Christ could not have come out of the grave if He had left anything undone. JOH 17:4-5 says, "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now [that is, in consideration for His wages], O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."
Not one jot nor tittle of the law would remain unfinished as we read in MAT 5:17, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."
Now that the Father has accepted the atonement of Christ as payment in full for our debt, justice demands our acquittal before the tribunal of heaven. 1JO 2:1-2 says, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." No person could come before God and say that his sins have not been atoned for. No person on earth needs to stay away from God because of the false idea that the atonement is limited.
Why then will some still be lost? 2 COR 5 tells us to be reconciled to God. Those who will be lost are those whose rebellion still remains. It is because we have not become reconciled with God, because we do not come to the Light, because our deeds are evil and we do not want them revealed, and therefore we stay in condemnation. The fault lies with us, not with the atonement.
Even as Christ stands before the Father as our Advocate in our human nature, He sends His Spirit to make "us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light" as we read in COL 1:12. That is where grace enters our salvation, not by limiting the atonement but by working grace, making us willing in the day of His power, making us fit in character. We remain in rebellion because of the enmity we have against God by nature. It is only by Gods grace that that is removed. Do you think that anyone will be able to enter heaven with hatred for his brother? Do you think that anyone will be able to enter heaven who has not been made fit in character?
We read about the judgment day in MAT 25:34-36, "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me." For, that means because, because your character was renewed in your lifetime. In your lifetime you showed that Spirit of Christ. That enmity against God and our neighbor was removed. The actions mentioned in these verses are the evidence that you have been renewed in your mind. It is evidence that the Holy Spirit has worked grace in your heart. That is evidence that you have been made fit in character.
Christ had this power before His resurrection, but just as David was anointed king by Samuel, he endured banishment and sore trials until the death of Saul. So Christ was a Prince and a Saviour before His death but we read in ACT 5:31, "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and [that is, to gather with, not one without the other and] forgiveness of sins." Satan first had to be dethroned. Until then he has dominion over us. Until Satan is slain you do not enter the kingdom of Christ, even though Christ has become king long before. That ugly monster I must first be slain. There is no forgiveness of sins until we repent. When we have turned from serving sin, when we have been delivered from the power of sin and come under the kingship and dominion of Christ, we have forgiveness of sin.
Like Christ, we must become dead to sin, and that kingdom of Christ does not enter our hearts until Satan has been dethroned.
Christ was King from eternity, yet even in the midst of His deepest abasement He leaves such a blessed example as our Master. We read of this in JOH 13:13-15, "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." He is king over all flesh, but see His condescension and the example He gives you and me. Where is there any room for criticism? Where is there any room for selfishness? The King of kings came down from glory, got on His knees and washed His disciples feet. Is there room for us to stand up and resist one another?
The Lord Jesus was given power over all flesh to give eternal life to as many as God has given him. Observe how our text is also a pledge of our salvation. "To as many as thou hast given him" can also be read to mean as Thou hast promised to give.
By granting deliverance, God also becomes our debtor to grant further deliverance. 1-SA 17:37 says, "David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee." The Philistine is the old man of sin. You and I cannot live under the dominion of Goliath. Christ has slain the old man of sin, and we no longer have to live under his bondage. You and I live under the service and yoke of Christ.
When our faith begins to falter, we must take courage from former deliverances. The past times of when God delivered and blessed us are our pledge that He will do it again. When we come before the Lord now and pray for deliverance, we must plead as David did. PSA 77:10 says, "And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High." He would remember all those years when the right hand of God sustained Him.
Christs intercessory prayer sets an example for us to plead Gods promises as we see from PSA 119:49-50, "Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me." Can we not also come before the Lord in the same manner? Do we have a scripture that the Lord has given us courage from? When the Lord had withdrawn Himself and David was in affliction, this was his comfort. He remembered the times when the Lord was near and this gave him encouragement and hope.
Christs dominion over all flesh is a source of great comfort to His struggling children. Whatever is done to Christs own, is done to Him. If someone has been persecuting you, he is persecuting Christ. We see this in His rebuke to Saul as he journeyed to Damascus to bring Christians bound unto Jerusalem. ACT 9:3-4 says, "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"
Christ has power over all flesh. He had power over Saul. Do not sit and murmur against the person, but flee to Christ and say, "Lord, he is persecuting me." Do you think that Christ is unable to stop this persecution? He sent Saul to preach the very gospel he was persecuting. Would it not be a blessing that our condescension to those who persecute us could be the instrument that God would use to show them that they are persecuting Christ. If we return railing for railing they have not seen anything of Christ in us. Are we the light of the world? Not one human being can pluck one hair from our head without Christ allowing it, so why not turn to Christ instead of returning railing for railing. Why even try to defend ourselves?
I have said for many years that I would fight to my lifes blood for the honor of God and for the truth, but when it comes against me personally, I will not defend myself because the Lord will defend me. What a consolation this is. What we do to others, whether good or bad, we do to Christ also.
Christs power over all flesh is exercised for the good of His church. EPH 1:19-22 says, "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church." All dominion has to bow at the dominion of Christ. The salvation of the church is the object of it all. This should give us such a humble place before God and to see the greatness of His love.
This great power is put into exercise to assure us that neither Satan, nor sin, nor death itself can separate us from Him. JOH 10:27-30 says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." Can we begin to comprehend Gods love and grace for His church? For the security of the church, He has given His Son such exceeding power.
If we were to receive our just compensation for our sins we would have eternal death as our portion, but by the power of His grace our Saviour has redeemed us from the power of sin and death as we see in ROM 6:22-23, "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." You cannot be free from sin and not be servants of God. You cannot serve sin and be free from sin. Unless you have been given the gift of repentance you are not a servant of God. If we are serving sin, we will receive our just wages. The Lord is not slack to give us what we deserve. He is not unjust.
Sin and death are related as work and wages. When you have labored all day, you have a right to your wages. If you come before God and cry to Him that you have worked all day and your employer refuses to give you your pay, the Lord promises that He will intervene. If we serve sin we will receive our wageseternal death.
Eternal life, however, is a gift as we see in EPH 2:8-10, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." How does the Lord bring salvation to your soul? By your good works? No. By the divine influence of the Holy Spirit on your hearts, and the evidence of it reveals itself in our lives. It is not of works, but it is by works. Before the fall, He ordained that we walk in good works. Now we are re-created in Christ back into the image of God.
Eternal life has its foundation laid in the regeneration of the Holy Spirit and progresses as we live in Christ and Christ lives in us. Grace is progressive. You do not go from being an absolute infidel to a saint in one breath. There is progressive sanctification. There is progressive grace. The influence of the Spirit multiplies and grows, and so good works grow. It progresses in Christ as Christ lives in us. JOH 5:24 says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is [not shall] passed from death unto life." It all begins with hearing and believing His word. Can you say you believe His word and ignore it? The evidence of your belief is in the fruit of grace seen in your works and in your attitudes. Eternal death is abolished. Eternal life is established. Eternal life begins in this life. We do not need to die and go to heaven for eternal life to begin. It begins with the work of regeneration. It begins with Christ formed in you. You are either dead or alive. There is no half-way between. You are not almost dead or almost alive. You have either passed from death to life or you are still dead.
Our natural life shall be extinguished, but that life which is born of the Spirit is eternal. That new birth, that new life, instilled by the work of the Holy Spirit, is eternal. ROM 8:10-11 says, "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." Sin is abolished and righteousness is established.
As we enter natural death, our spiritual life progresses into eternal life. In PHI 1:23 Paul says, "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better." When we depart, it is to be with Christ. Eternal life is progressive. Sanctification is progressive. The work of the Spirit is progressive. Eternal life is progressive when it is breathed into us by the Holy Spirit. There is no beginning and ending to it.
In this life we are in Christ, but when our souls are separated from these bodies, Christs dear children go to be with Him. Today we are in Christ. When we depart we will be with Him. LUK 23:42-43 says, "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
For those who are in Christ here, as their soul departs from their body there will not only be an end of all pain and misery, but also an enjoyment of glory as we see in ISA 57:1-2, "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness." That walk of righteousness begins in this life and continues eternally. That is being prepared in character in this life.
Upon the resurrection of our bodies there will be the fulfillment of all joy as we see in MAT 19:28, "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
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