Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Insights into the Blood of Jesus, Resurrection Power, and Saving the Soul

Excerpted from In the Cleft of the Rock: Insights into the Blood of Jesus, Resurrection Power, and Saving the Soul by Michael J. Webb
(Part 4)
What is the evidence that we’ve brought our soul into submission?
The author of Hebrews tells us it is entering into the rest of God and ceasing from our own works. Paul tells us that it is learning to be content in whatever state we are in. James writes that we are to count it all joy when we fall into various temptations because the trying of our faith works patience and when patience is perfected we are then mature, or perfect. And John tells us that the accuser of the brethren, Satan himself, will be cast down and overcome by “the blood of the Lamb” and by those saints who “loved not their lives (souls) unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11)
The first Adam’s disobedience, because of pride, brought a curse upon mankind—the law of sin and death. The last Adam’s obedience, through humility, redeemed us from that curse and made it possible for us to become “partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (1Peter 1:4) However, the willful choice of an individual to accept Christ as Lord and Savior is only the beginning of a process.
The Apostle Paul likens it to the running of a race and tells us that those who run terrestrial races do so in order to obtain a corruptible crown, but those who run the celestial, or spiritual race, do so to receive an incorruptible crown. Writing to the Church at Ephesus he says that the end of this process of salvation is that we will all “come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13) The Greek word translated “perfect” is “teleios.” A literal translation is “complete.” The word “perfect” here is the same Greek word translated “end” in the passage regarding the completion of our faith being the saving of our souls.
Remember the passage in Hebrews 5:9: “and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation to all that obey him.” That is the same Greek word. Teleios. Complete. It is also the same word used in the passage about the rich young ruler, and the passage in James about patience.
Christ came and lived as a man that we might have a living example of how to live a life free from the bondage of sin. He was crucified and shed His precious blood as atonement for that sin. He was resurrected so that all who confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead might be saved. Once we have accepted Him as Savior, then the process of accepting Him as Lord begins. As we learn to die daily to the demands of our soul, He increases and we decrease. It is then that we will find an increasing intimacy with our Lord.
This principle applies not only to individuals, but to the corporate Body as well. We who comprise the Body of Christ are currently corporately standing in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Church is in a time of crying out to God, “Father if it be Your will, let this cup pass from us.” We are now in a season of experiencing Matthew 26 as a corporate Body. There is much agony in the Body as we individually and corporately wrestle with our souls. The soul of the Church is “exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death.” There are many in the Body who are like the three who accompanied Christ to the garden, Peter and the two sons of Zebedee. Christ prevailed upon them to “watch and pray,” yet each time He returned from His time of travail and prayer He found them asleep. The first time, He admonished Peter, saying, “What, could you not watch with Me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40) Today, Jesus is saying to His Body, “Watch and pray that you do not enter into temptation; the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.”
We, individually, and more importantly as the corporate Bride of Christ, must say to our Lord and Savior, “O, my Father, if this cup may not pass from us except we drink of it, Your will be done.” As we yield to God’s desires, laying down our own lives (souls), we please Him. It is not an easy task, but one which God rewards. We may feel at times as if we are “sweating as it were great drops of blood,” even as Jesus did. That is why James says, “Count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience, But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
There are two different words here for perfect.
The first is the Greek word meaning “complete in moral character,” while the second means “whole in body, perfectly sound.” We are complete in Him in both moral character and soundness of body when we allow patience to “have her perfect work” in us. Thus, we see that we become complete in Christ when we, like David, wean our souls from the things of this world. This does not mean that we are perfect in the same sense that Christ is perfect because of His deity. Rather, it means that by taking up our cross daily and following after Jesus, we allow “Christ in us, the hope of glory” to bring our souls into submission to His will, His plans, His purposes for us.
Would you like to be perfect, or complete, in Christ?
     Then ask yourself this question: Have I ever truly been to Gethsemane?
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