Category Archives: Spirituality

The Nature of God: Jesus the Healer

 The Son

God has always been a healer.  It is His heart to heal.  In Exodus 15:26, He revealed one of His names to Israel: Jehovah-Raphah:  I am the LORD who heals you.  David speaks of him in Psalm 103:3 as  the God “who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases.”  

Jesus, in His life on earth as the God-man, fully demonstrated God as Healer.  We are told that “Jesus went about … healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23).  Matthew 12:15 informs us that “great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all.”

But He went further, in providing for people in the ages to come to be healed through His atonement at the cross and in His scourging before the cross.  Isaiah 53:5 prophesies, ” But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  He gave all of His followers who would come after Him the authority to heal in His Name: “And these signs shall follow them who believe: In my name they shall cast out devils; … they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover”  (Mark 16:17, 18).

There are misguided people who teach that God no longer heals today.  However, the Bible reveals God as Healer by His very nature, and when something is His nature, it does not cease to be manifested, but continues onward.  Psalm 103:3 and Isaiah 53:5 both link together God’s forgiveness of our sins and His healing of our bodies — “who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases”  and “wounded for our transgressions … with his stripes we are healed.”  If we reason that He no longer heals, logically we would have to reason that He no longer forgives either.  Thank God that He still does both, and He does them to the fullest.

The Nature of God Index   
Previous: The Son as Creator
Next: Jesus the Intercessor  

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: The Son as Creator

The Son

The Apostles’ Creed declares, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.”  In actuality, all three Persons of the Godhead were active in the creation.  God the Father is the originator of all things.  His thought, His heart-desire, His will becomes reality.  However, we see from several places in Scripture that God the Son is the One Who carried out the creating that originated in God the Father’s heart.  The Son, Who is The Word, spoke creation into being: “Let there be light … Let there be a firmament … Let the waters bring forth …” (Genesis 1) — and He did it by the power of the Holy Spirit.

How do we know it was the Son Who put creation into action?   John 1:3 says of The Word, “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”  Hebrews 1:2 says, “[God] has in these last days spoken to us by his Son … by whom he also made the worlds.”  And Colossians 1:16 declares, “For by him [the Son] were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible…. All things were created by him and for him.” 

Not only was it the Son who created through speaking the word, but the creation is continuously held together by Him.  The King James Version translates Colossians 1:17, And he is before all things, and by him all things consist,” but the majority of translations phrase that last part, “by him all things are held together.”  Hebrews 1:3 says He is “upholding all things by the word of his power.”

 Jesus is at the helm of the universe, steering it and holding it all together on a moment-by-moment basis, so that it does not collapse into utter chaos.  If He is doing all that, He can certainly be trusted to keep our lives safe from destruction as well.

The Nature of God Index
Previous: Jesus, the Word
Next: Jesus, the Healer 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: The Second Adam

The Son

In pagan mythologies, sons of the gods are often described as half human and half god.  Not so with Jesus.  He is completely God, having existed with the Father and the Holy Spirit from eternity.  He has also been fully man since His conception.

Jesus’ favorite term for Himself in the Gospels is “Son of man.”  He wants us to know that He identifies with us.  Hebrews 4:15 comments that “we do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to feel our infirmities, but one who was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin.”  What a miracle!  We have a God who knows firsthand every temptation we will ever face — because He, in human flesh, also experienced the temptations common to mankind.  He had the same emotions and dealt with the same hurts we do. Although He was the Son of God, as a man he had to learn obedience to His Father through the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).  He had to make choices to do right or wrong, just as we do — but He never once veered from doing what was right. 

How could Jesus manage to never sin?  No other person has ever been capable of leading a perfect life.  We may exclaim, “But of course Jesus never sinned.  He was God!”  Yes, but that is not the reason.  Philippians 2:7, 8 tells us that He “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself.”  In other words, He deliberately laid aside His God-glory and took on the limitations of man.

The Bible refers to Jesus as “the last Adam” or “the second Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45).  The first Adam was created a completely perfect man — flawless in body, soul, and spirit.  When he chose to disobey God, the sin that then tainted him was passed down as an inherited sin nature to all his descendants.  Romans 5:19 says, “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.”  Because of Jesus’ miraculous conception, He did not inherit from Adam the tainted bloodline, and therefore did not have a sin nature.

In the garden of Eden, the first Adam chose to transgress from a position of not having a sin nature to resist.  Jesus also came with a sinless nature  — but with the capability of choosing to sin, just like Adam.  Jesus, the second Adam, passed the test.  He chose at every point to resist sin, and He succeeded where the first Adam failed.  In doing so, coupled with His ultimate victory at the cross and resurrection, He gave man a second chance.

The Nature of God Index  
Previous: Jesus’ Virgin Birth
Next: Jesus, the Word 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: Jesus’ Virgin Birth

The Son

Jesus, the Son, is the second Person of the Trinity.  He has the same nature as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, and yet Jesus is different in that He is fully God and at the same time fully man.  Such a mystery, that God would choose to identify with us in this way!

From eternity, Jesus preexisted with the other two members of the Godhead.  He is not younger than the Father, for neither of them ever had a beginning.  But there came a time in human history when Jesus identified with mankind by becoming one of us.  He has a beginning as a human being — a miraculous beginning: conceived and born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We call His beginning as a human the Incarnation.  Isaiah had prophesied centuries before, “Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us](Isaiah 7:14).

Let’s talk a bit about Jesus’ conception.  It seems to be a stumbling block for many, but if we are going to believe that God is all-powerful and can do every other kind of miracle, then there should not be any question of Jesus’ ability to be conceived supernaturally, either.  We must be clear on the facts: God the Father did not have a sexual liaison with Jesus’ mother Mary.  If He had, it would not have been a virgin birth.  In pagan culture, we often find myths of gods interacting sexually with earthly women out of their own lusts, but what we must remember is that those pagan gods actually have demon entities behind them.  The stories are based on demon behaviors that have actually taken place in the earth at various times.  The True and Living God does not behave in these ways.

The angel Gabriel told Mary, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).  Joseph, Mary’s future husband, described in the Bible as “a just man,” was distraught to hear that Mary was expecting a child, and “the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘… do not fear to take Mary as your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit'” (Matthew 1:20).  The understanding, for both Mary and Joseph, was that no sexual union had taken place between God and Mary.  Jesus’ conception was a supernatural event.

What does it mean then, you might ask, that Jesus is the “only begotten Son of the Father”? 1 John 4:9 gives us a hint: “In this, the love of God was manifested toward us: that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”  Jesus, already referred to as the only begotten Son, is sent.  The begetting came before the sending.  Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father from eternity, without a beginning point — again, without any sexual union having accomplished this.  We are not able to understand how this could be, but must accept it as one of the many unfathomable mysteries of who God is.

The Nature of God Index  
Previous: Father, the Supreme Ruler
Next: The Second Adam

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: Father, the Supreme Ruler

The Father

The three persons of the Godhead each have specific roles that they fill and function in. All three persons have the exact same nature, and one is not inferior to either of the others, but their roles differ.  We saw in our last post how their different roles played out in close cooperation with each other at the birth of the universe. 

God the Father is the Ultimate One to which everything and everyone submits, including the other two persons of the Godhead.  For human beings, submission can be a grit-your-teeth-and-endure decision.  It is not so with the Godhead.  The Son and the Holy Spirit are so harmoniously of one mind with the Father that submission to Him is the highest delight.

Jesus the Son is obedient to the Father in all things.  In the garden, He prayed,  “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42), and yet if Jesus had chosen not to do as His Father wished, God the Father would have honored His decision not to go to the cross. We know this because Jesus said to Peter at the time of His arrest, “Do you think that I could not even now pray to my Father and he would immediately give me more than twelve legions of angels [to rescue me]?” (Matthew 26:53).  The Father knew He could trust Jesus completely to carry through His plan.

Jesus’ struggle in submitting to the will of His Father in the garden may at first glance seem to be a contradiction to the perfect agreement of the Godhead that I mentioned earlier.  It isn’t, really.  It was Jesus’ human nature that was exhibited in Gethsemane.  He endured as a man the same anguishes that we do, but in his triumph over His human desire to avoid the cross, He reconciled perfectly His God nature and His human nature by His complete submission to the Father.

There is coming a day when God the Father will be seen to be Ruler over all.  We are in an age when Jesus the Son reigns as King of Kings, but at the end of time, once He has returned to earth and “put down all rule and all authority and power,” Jesus will hand over the Kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24).  “And when all things are subdued to him [Jesus], then shall the Son also himself be subject to him [God the Father] who put all things under him, that God [the Father] may be all in all”(1 Corinthians 15:28).

It is the Father’s role to reign supreme.

The Nature of God Index 
Previous: Father, the Originator 
Next: Jesus’ Virgin Birth 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: Father, the Originator

The Father

“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.”  So starts out the Apostle’s Creed.  In actuality, all three Persons of the Godhead were involved in the Creation: to create the universe was the thought of Father’s heart, it was spoken into existence by the Son, Who is the Word, and the Holy Spirit carried through what the Word had spoken into material substance.

What the Apostle’s Creed tried to convey is that God the Father is the Originator of the plans of the Godhead.  His thoughts, His ideas are the beginning point.  He communes with the other two Persons of the Godhead over what shall be done (“Let us make man in our own image” — Genesis 1:26; “Let us go down and there confound their language” — Genesis 11:7), and They are in complete agreement and harmony with each other, but the Father is the Source.

We see Father as the Originator in how Jesus related to Him while on earth.  Jesus said, “He who sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him” (John 8:26), and, “I do nothing by my own choice, but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things (John 8:28), and, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but only what he sees the Father do: for whatever he sees the Father doing, those things the Son likewise does” (John 5:10).  The Father sent Jesus, He gave Jesus what to say, and He showed Jesus what He should do.  And Jesus waited for His Father to show Him.  He never moved without His Father’s say-so.

The Father is the Master Architect, and ultimately, all His plans will come to fulfillment.  Job said to Him, “I know that you can do everything, and that no thought can be withheld from you” (Job 42:1).  The NIV puts it, “No plan of yours can be thwarted.” 

Father is not only the Originator of plans for the universe as a whole.  He is also the originator of very detailed plans for each of us individually.  He designed the details of our DNA before we were conceived (Psalm 139:16), and He has wonderful destiny for each of us.  “Many, O LORD my God, are … your thoughts toward us; they cannot be reckoned up in order to you. If I would declare and speak them, they are more than can be counted” (Psalm 40:5).

We can safely trust our Father — our Source and Originator of good things for us.

The Nature of God Index
Previous: Father Loves Us 
Next: Father, the Supreme Ruler    

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: Father Loves Us

 The Father

As a child growing up in a liturgical church, I somehow absorbed the notion that God the Father was the austere, angry God of the Old Testament, while Jesus was the gentler, kinder God of the New Testament.  You may laugh, but sadly, many adult believers have the same concept of God, although they might not realize it.  In addition, in today’s culture, so many people have grown up in broken or dysfunctional homes that the concept of “father” is not a warm and fuzzy thought.

God wants to restore to His Church a true image of Who He is as Father, and in the process, also restore to the family unit an image of godly fatherhood.  He is the best of fathers, and even those who have not had a good earthly father can be healed by His love and enjoy their relationship with God as their Father.

The light bulb came on for me about God the Father’s true nature as I read Hebrews 1:3: [Jesus] being the brightness of his [God’s] glory and the express image of his person….”  That term “express image” means an exact stamp, and when I got hold of the revelation that Jesus is a carbon copy of His Father, my whole perspective on Who God the Father is changed.

Jesus said the same thing.  In John 14:8-11, Philip asked Jesus to reveal the Father to the disciples.  Jesus responded, “Have I been such a long time with you, and yet you have not known me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father. … Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak of myself, but the Father who dwells in me, he does the works.”  At an earlier time, Jesus had said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).  We have to get this somehow: everything good that we know about Jesus — His mercy, kindness, patience, love — is equally true of the Father.  He is not a vindictive God sitting up in heaven, waiting for us to do something wrong so that He can clobber us.  Father loves us.

 There are some who have a hard time with the idea that a loving heavenly Father would actually send His own dear Son to such a cruel death as the cross.  What they have missed is that Jesus willingly “for the joy set before him endured the cross”  (Hebrews 12:2).  What joy?  The joy of having us forever with Him and the joy of the greater glory such an unthinkable sacrifice would accomplish.

The plan of salvation was mutually agreed upon between Father and Son before the worlds were created (Ephesians 1:4, 5 and 1 Peter 1:19, 20).  We must understand that a higher love than we humans are capable of was demonstrated by both the Father and the Son — a love that caused Them both to make the ultimate sacrifice so that man, the undeserving creation, could be redeemed into everlasting fellowship with God once again.  John 3:16 has become so familiar that we gloss over the profound depths of what it is saying.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” 

The Father is love, beyond all that we are capable of fathoming.

The Nature of God Index
Previous: God Is Love
Next: Father, the Originator

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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