Christ’s Finished Work: Yes and Amen

The death and resurrection of Christ was foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament. Alfred Edersheim found 456 Old Testament verses referring to the Messiah. J. Barton Payne found 574 verses describing Jesus’ coming. Conservatively Jesus coming fulfilled at least 300 prophecies about him. God keeps his promises. He is faithful. This is proven in Christ.

No wonder then that the apostle Paul could write to the Corinth church: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Since the death and resurrection of Christ confirmed, manifested, and established God’s faithfulness in keeping the promises he made in the past, we can be doubly assured that he will keep all other promises he made for our present and future. All the many promises of God are “Yes”, are guaranteed, are 100% foolproof, and we should be agreeing and rejoicing with a resounding, heartfelt “Amen!” This is indeed a great blessing springing forth from the finished work of Christ.

This means that all the promises from the lips of our dear Master about prayer, about the Holy Spirit, the abundant life, our resurrection to life, the end of this age, about our eternal home will be fulfilled because God has already proven that he keeps his promises. What a great bonus it is that by believing God’s promises, we can live our life by faith. We can enjoy peace, joy and join God in his fulfilling mission. No matter what trials, difficulties and challenges life throws at us we are up to them because God promises to us are “Yes” in Christ. To this we shout from the rooftops, “Amen!!”

This is part of a planned series of writings on the topic, “The A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work”. I am writing it alphabet by alphabet. Thus far the others that I have written can be found HERE.

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Christ’s Finished Work: X Factor

Everyone has heard of the popular X Factor programme created by Simon Cowell, where contestants with musical talents compete with each other to win over judges and TV audience who vote. The winner is the one with the x factor (an outstanding special talent or quality) and receives the prize of a record contract. 

I believe “x factor” was involved in the confrontation between the Jewish religious council and Peter and John in the wake of a remarkable healing of a man lame from birth (Acts 4). The council questioned the authority of Peter and John to perform that miracle. In their answer, Peter and John pointed out that it was not they, but Jesus, whom the leaders had crucified, that had healed the lame man. The council observed and noticed the poise, power and boldness of Peter and John. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13 ESV) The disciples resembled Jesus. They had lived with Jesus 24/7 for about three years and had observed and imbibed his teachings, absorbed his spirit, and imitated his actions. This was the “x factor” that stunned the religious council.

Today, through Christ’s death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit in our hearts, Christ lives in us. His presence, power and purpose permeate our being from one degree of glory to another. We are being transformed into his likeness and image by the Spirit who dwells in us. “And we all with unveiled face, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.“ (2 Cor 3:18 ESV) 

As we live our daily life keeping ourselves connected to him, dependent on him, open to receiving notifications from him, and communicating with and responding to him at any time of the day, we will become more and more like Jesus. It is the work of God within our soul. Ours is to abide, to stay, to remain in communion with Christ. His part is to transform and change us into his likeness. All this is made possible because of Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension and outpouring of the Spirit upon us followers. Thanks be to God!

This is part of a planned series of writings on the topic, “The A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work”. I am writing it alphabet by alphabet. Thus far the others that I have written can be found HERE.

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Christ’s Finished Work: Worship

I remember that in the days of paper dictionaries the word before and after “worship” is “worse” and “worst” respectively. Worship keeps the “worse” from getting to “worst”!

Worship of God under the old era was a tedious, costly and bloody affair. The sheep, goat or bull had to be taken to the priests for checks. Those who cannot afford can offer doves instead. Once they pass muster, they will be sacrificed and the best parts were burnt as an offering to God to atone for one’s sins. The innocent life of animal sacrifices paid for and covered the sins of the worshipper.

Under Christ’s new era, we do not worship in order to attain peace with or right standing before God through animal sacrifices. Instead, because of the finished work of Jesus in his ultimate and final sacrifice of his life, right standing and peace with God has been achieved for us who put our faith in him. Instead our worship is a grateful response to the finished work of Christ that secured our salvation. 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy (Christ’s finished work), to offer your bodies (instead of animal sacrifices) as a living sacrifice (instead of dead animal sacrifices), holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1 NIV– my comments bracketed)

True and proper worship springs from Christ’s death and resurrection. It is never to gain acceptance or favour before God, but a grateful thankfulness that Christ has already obtained, earned, and deserved these gifts for us. It is not mainly singing songs of praise to God and thanking him in prayer which is one of many expressions of gratitude to God. In essence, worship has to do with fully surrendering our whole lives to God. We do not strive to worship; we surrender to worship. We separate our lives from all sins and devote our whole selves (all that we are and have) to living for his praise and glory. When I live to do God’s will whether it be studying, serving National Service, working in the marketplace, raising a family, or serving among God’s people, I am a true worshipper.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit and his worshipers must worship in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23,24 NIV). When the good news of Jesus’ finished work is preached and people respond in faith to the message, they are born again by the Holy Spirit, and will be able to worship in the Holy Spirit as they ponder over the wonderful truths of salvation. Without the finished work of Christ, there is no true worship!

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Christ’s Finished Work: Victory

Sometimes in Christian funerals, we hear mourners say, “He lost the battle to cancer (or whatever other disease or condition), but he fought bravely.” While this is a fact, the truth is more like, “Though he lost his life to cancer, he won the victory over death through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Victory, in the Old Testament, is the act of defeating an enemy or opponent in battle. It is the same in the New Testament except that the enemy is not flesh and blood as it often was in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the enemy defeated is death. 

Death visited humankind with the disobedience of Adam. God the Creator had told Adam and Eve, in effect, “The day you disobey, death will be part of your life experience”. Both physical death, and spiritual death, which is separation from a loving relationship with God. Death became the hated and feared enemy of man. God too treats death as an enemy to battle with. 

It was the death and resurrection of Jesus that was the decisive battle that defeated death. Jesus became the first to be raised from the dead to live forever. When Jesus returns, all who believe in Jesus will be raised to life, and believers living during his return, will have their bodies transformed into spiritual bodies(1 Cor 15:51-52), and be taken up to meet him in the air, to join thousands of other followers who had died in Christ before his return .

1 Cor 15:54, 55 states: “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 

‘Death is swallowed up in victory. 

O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?’”

1 Cor 15:57 states: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In the Old Testament death was pictured as a huge greedy mouth swallowing the dead but the picture St Paul conjured is of death itself being swallowed up by the victory of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Because God raised Christ, he will also in time, raise all who put their trust in Jesus Christ. Death is already defeated but the consummation of this victory awaits Jesus return. Death, the enemy most feared by the human race: both rich and poor, educated and illiterate, powerful and lowly, will finally be eradicated and destroyed once for all when Jesus returns. Death will be swallowed forever never to re-appear. Thanks be to God for the finished work of Christ.

This is part of a planned series of writings on the topic, “The A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work”. I am writing it alphabet by alphabet. Thus far the others that I have written can be found HERE.

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Finitely Infinite: Exploring Infinite Meaning in a Finite World

My home church decided to do an exhibition that is seeker friendly. It is stylishly named: Finitely Infinite. The exhibition guide states that it is an invitation “to explore the majestic cosmos and the profound depths of individual consciousness,” and “to encourage contemplation of our place within the grand design of creation”. It’s a great idea: to facilitate an exploration of the meaning of our existence, after all, this is Advent, when the Meaning of Life, Jesus Christ came to show us humans the secret of existence. 

The young leaders in World Revival Prayer Fellowship were fantastic. Led by Sarah Phua, they conceived, nourished, grew, and finally, after much contraction pains, birthed and delivered this exhibition at this stunning level of excellence. It was a multi-generational effort, but the young adults owned it, worked it, prayed it, and volunteered a few thousand hours to complete and run this exhibition. I was astounded at how the worship hall had been professionally transformed beyond recognition.

I went to this exhibition in the afternoon determined to do it at a leisurely pace, to relish and contemplate about my finiteness and God’s infinity. I felt the vast greatness of God and my smallness. I delighted in the grace that stooped to love me even though I did not deserve it. I was impressed beyond words. The good news of God’s love was conveyed in a beautiful way through 6 exhibit rooms, displaying the eternal attributes of God: his majesty, beauty, power, wisdom and love. It also allowed me to respond with my reflections.

I left the exhibition celebrating this historic first in my home church’s development timeline. I pray that more seekers would come and see and experience this exploration of the true Meaning of Life that the exhibition seeks to facilitate. Here are some photos I took of the exhibition. Sadly these photos cannot convey God’s presence, nor the feelings that many who went to the exhibition experienced. You simply have to come and taste.

Exhibit 1 displays the complexity, beauty and vastness of creation (including a few remarkable photos of a church member who is a professional photographer). All exhibits are accompanied with appropriate music. My sense of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste were all engaged.

The exhibition runs from 15th Dec to 23rd December 2023. You can book your time slot HERE.

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