God’s Guarantees (part 2)

[Let’s see how God– the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–has given believers special guarantees to encourage us to fully trust in Him.]

2. God the Son has provided guarantees.

When a friend and I were seated at a local restaurant, we greeted the waitress as we looked over the menu. She then surprised us by mentioning a ride she had been on with her brother and mother–bungie jumping! Seeing my amazed curiosity, she described her technique. She dove backwards, head first off the tower! She confessed her faith in the chord; evidently it was trustworthy for them that time… I am relieved that God’s guarantees are more assured than that rubber band!

Here we consider the assurances of God’s Son. The truthfulness of Christ was unveiled from His birth through His death. When He was born of the virgin Mary, Jesus–the true Word– was clothed with a human body. John declared, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

The character of Christ verifies this divine truthfulness. Jesus could challenge His unbelieving critics, “Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? (John 8:46).

In an era of false teachers, Christ often emphasized the faithfulness of His words, saying, “truly, truly I say unto you…” (John 3:3,5,11;5:19,24,25). Jesus added the guarantee, “truly,” fifty times in the Gospel of John. His Words are uniquely dependable. The Son not only spoke and taught truth, He embodied Truth: “Jesus said…, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life…'” (John 14:6a).

At His trial before Pilate, the Roman governor got a glimpse of pure Integrity. In those dark halls of injustice, the purpose of Jesus’ mission shone forth: “Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice'” (John 18:37).

The veracity of Christ’s words are linked to their eternality: He announced, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matt. 24:35).

Testimonies to the Son’s truthfulness

In Christ’s discourse John 5:31-47, He summoned several witnesses of His truth claims. “If I [alone] bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true [legally verified by itself]” (John 5:31). Each of these testimonies renders the unbeliever morally accountable for his/her unbelief. “There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true” (John 5:32).

The testimony of John the Baptist

“You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light” (John 5:33-35). John’s testimony was so convincing to the multitude that the leaders would risk being stoned by them if they publicly rejected him (Matt. 21:25,26).

The testimony of Jesus’ good works and miracles

“But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish–the very works that I do–bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36). Note that even the hardened unbelievers admitted the reality of Jesus’ miracles (John 11:47-50). The leaders so suppressed the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1;18b) that they plotted to kill Lazarus also; too many were coming to faith through the witness of the one whom Christ restored to life on the fourth day (John 12:9-11). This demonstrates that unbelief is primarily due to a person’s heart, not a lack of evidence!

The testimony the Holy Scripture

“And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me” (John 5:37a).[3] Jesus continued, “You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form” (John 5:37b). So, here the Father’s testimony comes through the Bible’s infallible witness.

The Father had sent the prophets who repeatedly predicted the coming of the Jesus the Messiah. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus and opened their understanding of how the Scriptures prophesied the Messiah’s life, death, and resurrection (Luke 24:13-27).[4]

Christ declared, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). The Bible, as the inspired Word of God, is a comprehensive witness. Since God is its ultimate author, to reject the scriptural witness is to reject His witness (See 1 John 5:9-11; 2 Tim. 3:16).

Since the Jewish leaders revered Moses, who was the human author of the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), Jesus pointed out this inference: “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you–Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:45-47).

The testimony of Christ’s resurrection

Finally, Christ guaranteed the reliability of His words by His promised resurrection from the dead. When the religious leaders demanded proof of Jesus’ authority to cleanse Jerusalem’s temple court of the moneychangers, Christ gave this shocking reply, “‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:19,21). This symbolic prophecy was so memorable that false witnesses used it against Him at His trial (Matt. 26:61). The members of the council also acted on this prediction by getting a Roman guard to seal and protect the tomb where Jesus was buried after the Crucifixion (Matt. 27:62-66).

When Jesus rose triumphantly from the grave that famous Sunday morning, He confirmed His identity as the Messiah, the sufficiency of His sacrifice on the Cross, and the veracity of His teaching![5]

If adventure-seekers are willing to risk their lives by diving off a tower, shall we not take this step of faith for eternal security? Christ’s guarantees are infinitely stronger than any jumper’s chord!


Part 2 of 3

[3] Although God the Father spoke audibly from heaven three times during Christ’s public ministry (Matt 3:17; 17:17:5; John 12:19), not everyone in the crowd then would have heard and perceived them.

[4] Messianic prophecies fulfilled in Christ Jesus include:

His Incarnation (Isaiah 7:14)

His birthplace (Micah 5:2)

His Kingdom (Psalm 2:6; Isaiah 9:6,7))

His Priesthood (Psalm 110:4)

His Prophetic Office (Deut. 18:18)

His Rejection (Isaiah 53:3)

His Suffering (Psalm 22:11-15)

His Death (Isaiah 53; Psalm 22)

His Resurrection (Psalm 16:10).

[5] Acts 1:3 refers to the persuasive evidence of Christ’s bodily resurrection: “…He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3; See also 1 Cor. 15:1-20)

 

Copyright, John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use. Scripture quotations (unless indicated otherwise) are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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