Christ’s Finished Work: Quietude

It is obvious why this post took the longest time ever. What blessing that is derived from Christ’s finished work begins with the alphabet “Q”? I was wavering between “Quenching of spiritual thirst” and “Quietude” and finally decided to write about both!

Quenching of Spiritual Thirst

We can clearly observe in society that there is an insatiable thirst in humans that cannot be satiated by material wealth, great achievement, human love, powerful control, extreme thrills, nor worldwide fame. No matter how much of these a person has, there is always a feeling of emptiness, meaninglessness, a yearning for more. It is as if there is a hole in the heart that is yet to be filled. It was St Augustine of Hippo who described this emptiness well in this prayer in his autography: “Thou has made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee”. 

Jesus recognized that human beings are not mere flesh and bones but have an eternal spiritual dimension to them. He saw that to quench that undying spiritual thirst of humans, sinful man has to be restored to right relationship with God. This is made possible by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Knowing his finished work will make available a reconciliation of separated humans with God, he told the Samaritan woman: “Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water (from the physical well) will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him (the Spirit) shall never thirst; but the water (the Spirit) that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life (italics mine).” The spiritual blessings of the Spirit’s presence in us are multi-faceted and satisfies the deepest void and hole in our life. It is so complete that one may not have any of the earthly possessions or experiences that humans mistakenly seek, and yet be able to find full satisfaction and deep contentment through a trust relationship with Christ. In another setting, Jesus gave this invitation to people: “If anyone is thirsty let him come to Me and drink.” It is by coming to Christ and believing in his finished work on the cross that we can truly find satisfaction and true contentment. Our thirst will finally be quenched.

Quietude is another blessing

The dictionary defines “quietude” as “a state of stillness, calmness and quiet in a person or place”. The picture I get is of a person with utter serenity and unruffled poise in the midst of the challenges and difficulties of life. Jesus death and resurrection proclaims God’s character to us. God is love and seeks our well-being and wholeness. God is good and intends only good, never harm. God is wise and knows the best means and plans to achieve his purposes. God is all powerful and in total control though sometimes it appears that nothing is going right. When we exercise child-like faith in this loving God, we cannot help but find our troubled soul gradually find itself stilled, and calmed, and quietened. Our prayer will be, “Father, I do not understand, but I trust Your love, Your goodness, Your wisdom, and Your power. When we do this “quietude” will be established within our soul.

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: Providence

Providence is God’s governance, care and control of the universe because he is Almighty God and Creator. God’s providence existed before the cross and the empty tomb and it moved events, people and history towards that turning point when Jesus died and rose again to defeat sin, death and the devil. Providence had always worked for the growth and the good of God’s elect, the vast family of God. It will continue to do so till the end of this age is consummated through the return of Christ to the earth to establish an eternal kingdom. For us believers, this providence that is focused on our good is one of God’s many blessings bestowed on his much beloved children. 

Providence is God’s care and control of the universe, of history and of nations, of the church and its individual believers. It is his will and power to cause things to gravitate towards the end he intended. By involving himself in human history through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God gave us an excellent model of his providential and redemptive love for humanity. 

The oft-quoted verse in Romans 8:28 refers to God’s providence. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” The “all things” is God’s ability to control all things in the universe and to cause all things to work for his good purpose for “those who love God”, that is, his children. This gives us great assurance and comfort about the past, the present and the future. We do not have to worry. Whatever happens to us, whether good or evil, all we need to do is to trust in his providential and redemptive love. He will cause all things to work for his good purposes.

Even in the face of seeming betrayal, suffering and abandonment, Joseph of the Old Testament, found God’s faithful providence in action in his life. Out of jealousy his brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt and virtually destroyed his life. However, God’s care and governance over the circumstances of his life, propelled him to the office of Prime Minister of Egypt, second in authority only to the Pharaoh. His long trial and experience of God’s intervention and control of events led him to say to his brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gen 50:20). This is God’s providence towards those he chose to covenant with.

Philip the evangelist experienced God’s providence when the Spirit transported him supernaturally to the desert road to catch sight of the Ethiopian eunuch, who while on his way back to Ethiopia, he happened to be reading a scroll of Isaiah’s prophecies, precisely when Philip approached his chariot. He explained to the eunuch the prophecy the eunuch could not understand, and he preached the good news about Jesus to him. The eunuch confessed his faith in Christ and was baptised in water. Tradition has it that he spread the gospel when he returned to his homeland.

God’s providence is often confused with God’s provision. God’s provision is God’s supply of our needs – material and spiritual. Apostle Paul confidently declared that God would supply all the needs of the church in Philippi according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phi 4:19). To the church in Corinth, he wrote: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” and “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God” (2 Cor 9:8,11). God’s provision is one of the many ways we experience God’s providence but it is “technically” distinguishable from it.

What does providence look like today? That job vacancy that opened up right after you quit your job and the interviewer was somebody who was impressed with your integrity in his past work dealings with you. You bumped into an old friend who was as keen and passionate in starting a similar business that you have been praying about. That unplanned meeting with an uncle who shared with you a verse that resolved an issue that deeply troubled you in prayer. “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives” (Ps 37:23 NLT).

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: Overcoming The World

People never change. Throughout the world people endlessly search for satisfaction and honor through the accumulation and enjoyment of all that the world offers. People accumulate the latest, biggest, desirable and most expensive of objects and they seek all kinds of pleasures, old and new. Despite feeling an emptiness in these pursuits, they assume what they need is more of the same. It all ends in futility: trying to catch the wind.

King Solomon tried everything “under the sun” so as to quench his thirst for satisfaction and honour. He did this by building a formidable armed force and impressive buildings, having a harem of hundreds of wives and concubines, trading with other countries and filling up the royal treasury, displaying his intelligence, knowledge and diplomatic skills, and having the respect of his own people and surrounding nations. Despite all his endeavors to seek fulfillment through these earthly means, instead of finding fulfillment he found a meaninglessness about these empty pursuits. His journey, described for us in Ecclesiastes, a book of the Old Testament, is one shared universally by millions around the world throughout history. Even in this century.

This emptiness of heart cannot be filled by anything but the love of God through Jesus Christ and his finished work! No one can overcome this thirst for satisfaction and honor except through faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. This is what the apostle John meant when he said in 1 John5:4,5: “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” 

“The world” is of course not creation – the earth and the sky. It is a term that describes the world system of values that spring out of human pride and rebellion against God since the fall. Values like hedonism, materialism and status seeking. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:15-16). This anti-Christ world system seek to press everyone into its mold. The only ones who can overcome this and fight the temptations of this anti-God system is the Christian who has forged a faith relationship with Christ, who by faith has found a deeper satisfaction, honour, and filling up of that emptiness in our hearts with the love of God. 

Experiencing being filled with God’s love through the Holy Spirit, takes away that desperate search for love, honour and satisfaction in all the wrong places. We find our restless hearts rest and are at peace once we dwell in Christ’s love, and in the true Christian community. The crazy pursuit of more possessions, more money, more thrills subsides greatly. Paul expressed it this way: “May I never boast except in the cross of Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and me to the world” (Gal 6:14). Paul’s opponents in Galatia boasted in keeping the Law and sought honour through their obedience to rituals and rules. Paul is saying, This sort of thing no longer satisfies or brings true honour. Rather real satisfaction and honour comes by experiencing the cross and the new life in the Spirit. He does not care for the kind of joy and honour received from external keeping of the Law.

Christians who do not abide in the love of God and instead seek satisfaction and honor outside of Christ will be unhappier than even the people of the world. They have their feet on two boats – they will lose balance, get wet and drawn away by strong currents. They will need to call out in faith on the name of the Lord, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, save me from drowning.” By faith you overcome the anti-God world system. This faith is focused on Christ, who himself overcame the world when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, and throughout his ministry. 

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: New Creation

Most Christians would have heard of the term “new creation”. They will first encounter it in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old have passed away; behold the new has come” (ESV).

When people decide to follow Christ, they will experience a spiritual transformation. Once dead in sins and trespasses (Ephesians 2:1), they will be made alive towards God. Their hearts of stone will become hearts of flesh. Their conscience will be cleansed, and renewed to a new sensitivity. This immediate and supernatural transformation is the work of the Spirit of God.

The old life of guilt, alienation from God and others have passed away and the new creation has come. They have entered into intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and this relationship is so deep and profound, it is termed “union”. They will realise that they have actually begun a life-long journey of transformation towards the likeness of Christ. 

This renewal is not merely individual, God is interested in forming a vast community of made-new people of all ethnicity, race and languages – a new society or humanity that has broken all barriers of race, gender and status, and that spans time and space. It is the church universal that is God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works so that the unbelieving world would see the grace and majesty and wisdom of God displayed in the church. A new creation indeed!

God’s new creation came to us in power through Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension. Whereas Adam failed by disobedience and his descendants suffered all the consequences, Christ the last Adam, the ideal Adam, succeeded by his perfect obedience to God, and became the first of a new humanity that will live under the abundant blessings of his finished work.  But there is still more. This humanity that will live in union with God forever will inhabit a new earth and heaven.

God also intends to redeem and renew the whole world he created, which has been “subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (Romans 8: 20- 22)”. This earth was not as God created and intended it to be. It has been corrupted and polluted by the curse and by sin. This subjection of the earth to degradation is described as a groaning in pain like in the pains of childbirth. This wait will end at the “revealing of the sons of God” (verse 19), when the kingdom of God is finally birthed or consummated, at the glorious return of Christ.

I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband.I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighbourhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate”(Revelation 21:1-5 The Message).

New creation is one of the blessings of Christ’s finished work and it gives us a wonderful hope to look forward to. Besides that it gives us a glimpse of God’s heart of love and his incredible intention for an eternal intimacy with us. This vision of hope will certainly strengthen us to weather the storms of life whether hardships, persecution, suffering, or death.

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: Ministry & Message of Reconciliation

What is the most important ministry of the church? It is the ministry of reconciliation, that God has entrusted the church with. What is the most important message of the church? It is the gospel, the message of reconciliation. What is the most important role of the church? That of being Christ’s ambassador. It is Paul who tells us this in this text 2 Corinthians 5:17-21:

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sinfor us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

These entrustments are gifts of God’s grace to the church and the world. These can only exist if Christ died and rose again to be exalted at the right hand of the Father. They are blessings of Christ’s redemptive work. Without the finished work of Christ, there is no ministry of reconciliation, because it was his redemptive work that made sinful man’s reconciliation with God possible. There is no message because the message is the message of the gospel of the finished work, of the beautiful exchange that took place on the cross of Christ (2 Cor 5:21) when Christ took our sins on his own self and bore the penalty of death that was due to us; and in exchange, he gave us his righteousness to us, so that we have right standing before God. 

All persons of the holy trinity were involved in the reconciliation process. The Father initiated the whole redemptive plan. Jesus Christ accomplished reconciliation by his death and resurrection from the dead. The Holy Spirit implements the reconciliation for without his activity and work in the world and through the church, reconciling sinful people to a holy God would be humanly impossible.

These sacred entrustments must be faithfully and diligently pursued and kept by God’s people, because the advancement of the kingdom, the health, growth and survival of the church, and the soon return of Christ are subject upon their faithful discharge.

As followers of Christ and members of the church, we can respond by committing ourselves to seek the reconciliation of sinners to God, by our exemplary lives in the home and workplaces, by our good deeds and kind acts, and by our persuasive sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ. By praying for the lost to know the Lord; by giving towards the church fund so that the church is resourced for outreach and missionary endeavours; and by getting enthusiastically involved in church programs that reaches out to the lost, we faithfully discharge these duties.

Lord Jesus, you came to earth to seek and save that which are lost. Embolden us to follow in your footsteps and engage in reconciling sinful people to God. Give us love to seek, courage to proclaim, and humility to lead people to You. 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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