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Nothing but Christ and Him Crucified

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“For I determined not to know any thing among you, except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).

God decrees the very fabric of time and He actually enters into it as part of His decree. Christ and Him crucified, is the sum and substance of the entire gospel, which is why Christians are to contend for the gospel with a force that will carry conviction to the heart and mind of every serious and candid inquirer for truth.

“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13, emphasis added).

To exhort means to urge and warn earnestly; to admonish with a force that compels; to make urgent appeals. According to Scripture, Christians must strive daily to exhort and get across airtight expositions of Scripture that cannot be biblically refuted or resisted, and this can only be done by adhering relentlessly to… the record that God has given us of His Son (1 Jn. 5:10-11).

Proclaiming nothing but Christ and Him crucified entails laboring to hold forth Jesus in all of His glory. Because humanist philosophies, such as Arminianism, severely distorts the image of Christ, for it limits the power of Jesus’ atonement, by attempting to expand the scope of it to include those who end up in Hell; blasphemously implying Jesus’ blood was not sufficient to save. Thereby making man and his almighty “freewill” the ultimate reference point, which places the would-be autonomous man on the throne, instead of Christ.

Even if one claims not to adhere to Arminianism, they are deceiving themselves if they are still retaining the two foundational pillars of Rome (autonomous freewill and universal atonement). In fact, every cult in the world will expose itself at this touchstone. This is why there must be a casting down of every such imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. And it is only by spiritually comprehending Christ and Him crucified, that true Christianity is revealed.

The solid rock of Christ, and what He actually accomplished at the cross, is the pinnacle upon which all other biblical truths culminate, converge and harmonize.  If this biblical foundation is not laid, the entire superstructure will collapse and faith will be shipwrecked. So by the grace of God, Christians are called to discern, expose and dismantle all of the false supports that the world leans so heavily upon. And this will involve suffering for Jesus’ name sake, because God has appointed Christians for this.

“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil. 1:29).

Jesus gives an intimate and deep knowledge of the heart that eminently qualifies His followers to adequately address anxious sinners, destroy their delusive hopes, detect their legality, pursue them through every refuge of lies, and to point them to a crucified Savior as their only spiritual safety. For they themselves have been humbled into the dust as a result of being given a clearer view of the divine perfections of God’s holy standard of righteousness, which is found only in Christ.

It may seem paradoxical that Jesus’ followers are so self-abased and yet so full of joy, but the closer one gets to God, the more they realize their need to come to Christ for righteousness, not by their own righteousness. This is true repentance; judging one’s self to be completely sinful, helpless and hopeless apart from Christ and Him crucified.  Once they’ve abandoned their own futile efforts and placed their total trust in Him alone, they find that He is faithful and true to all of His promises, which brings them the most inexpressible joy imaginable!

Apart from Christ and Him crucified one can do NOTHING of spiritual worth. Until God says to the heart, “Be still,” and to the will “Give up,” nothing of true, eternal worth can be accomplished (Jn. 15:5).  One can only act as they have been acted upon, by the Holy Spirit bringing one’s will into harmony with God’s will.

 “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself” (Jn. 7:17).

Until this happens the doctrine of Christ and Him crucified will be like foolishness and a stumbling block to those who refuse to submit to being completely at God’s mercy and sovereign disposal. Because the message and offense of the cross is that there is NOTHING that anyone can do to save themselves. Proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified sums up the entire gospel of the kingdom of God’s sovereign, saving grace, and absolutely annihilates every man-centered religion in the world! 

Only by spiritually discerning the deep and rich implications of Christ and Him crucified, can one truly comprehend the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus preached, which is the gospel of God’s sovereign rule and reign over sin, death and all things…including salvation. It is a serious offense against God for anyone to ignore and neglect to observe this all-encompassing truth, for God is constantly confirming it.

“Lord when Thy hand is lifted up they will not see” (Isa. 26:11).

Blatant disregard of God’s clear confirmations of the gospel of the kingdom, is a sin that He threatens with devastatingly severe judgments (Psa. 28:4-5; 66:5, Isa. 5:12-13). God makes it clear that He brings spiritual judgments upon those who refuse to acknowledge and heed His majestic ways and warnings.

“He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others; Because they turned back from Him, and would not consider any of His ways” (Job 34:26-27).

Their attempts to ignore, conceal and minimize their wickedness is futile, for there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed (Mt. 10:26). No matter how much the world tries to sugar-coat its atrocities, and no matter how hard it labors to justify the wicked and condemn those whose righteousness is of the Lord, it will never escape accountability to God. 

No matter how many “hate speech” laws are passed to persecute God’s people, we are in good company, because Jesus was crucified precisely for His scathing rebukes against sin and self-righteousness, and for exposing and speaking against the blind guides of the established religious system and their so-called “cleanliness code” that strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel (e.g. Mt. 23:23, Mk. 12:12, Lk. 20:19-20).

Ironically, those white-cloaked Pharisees were also the self-appointed “public health experts” of that day. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?!

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Mt. 23:27).

Copyright © 2021 by Lee Anne Ferguson

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Jesus Christ Really is Who He says He is!

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Jesus challenges those who are not completely convinced that He really is Who He says He is, for He confronts the skeptical with the scary truth that…

“If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (Jn. 7:17, emphasis mine).

For only by an act of God’s sovereign free grace can one will and do according to God’s good pleasure (Phil. 2:13), because only those who have been granted true, saving faith in Jesus will be able to discern truth from fiction, and only they will be able to endure faithfully in Christ to the very end.

     Jesus had even previously revealed who it is that will do His will when He said:

“This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6:40, emphasis mine).

And the immediate context (v. 39) also reveals that it is God’s will that none of those, whom He has given to the Son, will ever perish, because Jesus died on their behalf so that they will definitely be raised up with a glorified body. And only those, who have been given spiritual eyes to see, will savingly believe with the heart that Jesus is their only hope of being raised to everlasting life. Their ability to even be willing to trust in God’s merciful and divine intervention’s of saving faith, repentance and thanksgiving, comes from Him alone.

Now therefore, our God, we thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee” (2 Chron. 13-14, emphasis mine).

     But the unregenerate are willfully ignorant of the fact that it is clearly one’s duty to put complete trust in Jesus Christ no matter what, even before one knows for sure that He came specifically to save them or not. For only when one gives up their own futile attempts of trying to be chosen by God, in order to whole-heartedly be at God’s mercy and sovereign disposal, can one know for sure that Jesus is faithful in His promises to save such, and only then can one fully know that He is sovereign in salvation. 

     After Jesus challenged those who resisted putting their complete trust in Him and His righteousness alone as their only hope, they then began to falsely accuse Him, and they even began to plot sinister schemes to try to catch Him in His words so that they could twist them and turn Him in to the authorities.

Because those who refuse to renounce their own self-righteousness and self-will are those who still think they can come to God on their own terms.  And so, they will fight tooth and nail to try to retain their desperate delusion. They are those who think that God is somehow obligated to save them based on their own works, “positive confessions” and “sovereign freewill,” for they are not completely convinced….that the sovereign God of the Bible really is Who He says He is.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am” (Jn. 8:58, emphasis mine).

     Hebrews 11:6 says that, “he that cometh to God must believe that He is.” Again, the divine design of this grand truth reveals that only those who have true, God-given, saving faith will accept God’s written testimony of Himself. Those who don’t will end up worshipping a god of their own imagination, either a god that winks at sinful worldliness, and/or a god that appeals to human “freewill” and glorifies man’s natural abilities, because the natural, unregenerate man wants to believe that his own unaided will is the determining factor in salvation, rather than God’s sovereign free grace that must regenerate man’s fallen will to comply with His.

     So now we come to the fuller context of John 7:17, where in the very next verse Jesus addresses this very thing, for He says:

“He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory” (v. 18).

Self-righteous Pharisees seek their own glory and are ruled by their own emotions and their own self-will, whereas those who follow the true Jesus of the Bible seek to glorify Him and the One Who sent Him, while denying their own self-righteousness and inordinate affections (Col. 3:5).

     A parallel passage that stresses similar principles is where Jesus says:

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Mt. 6:33, emphasis mine).

Here again, He makes the point that only those who seek for a perfect righteousness outside of themselves, in the one true King of kings, Who rules and reigns in the hearts of His people, are the only ones who will find out that He is, indeed, faithful to all of His promises, and that He does, indeed,  manifest Who He really is to such people, through His Word and the witness of the Holy Spirit, evidenced in their radically changed lives that yield the fruits of righteousness, along with the persecution that inevitably follows.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).

     But these things are purposely hidden from those who would rather lean on their own understanding (Mt. 11:25). As a result, the true doctrine of Christ will anger them and will become like foolish parables to them (Lk. 8:10). For the mysteries of the kingdom are given only to God’s elect and to them only, not to those who’d rather serve a god that doesn’t really exist, a god that allows indulgence in a sinful and worldly lifestyle, a god that’s not sovereign in the salvation of a chosen people, a helpless god that waits on pins and needles to be chosen by a “sovereign people.”

     Amazingly, if it wasn’t for Jesus’ confrontations with such worldly, hypocritical Pharisees, we would have never been presented with such depths of truth. These are also in Scripture to encourage those who follow Jesus, to never back down on the truth no matter how many emotional manipulations, false accusations and cruel reproaches we receive when standing for His cause.

It is such a comfort to know that these are a true Christian’s badge of honor, for Jesus experienced the same.  And the worse the persecution gets, the heavier the weight of glory that awaits us in Heaven (2 Cor. 4:17). Truly, God works all things for good for those who love Him… those who are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).

Copyright ©2020 by Lee Anne Ferguson.