As we reread the gospels, we see that everything Jesus did on earth was for the purpose of fulfilling the terms of the covenant He had made with the Father. He went after lost sheep; opened the eyes of the blind; raised the dead; opened the prison doors; spoke words of eternal life; performed miraculous works; cast out devils; and healed all manner of infirmities. In every verse of the gospels, Jesus was fulfilling the things the Father had sent Him to do.
Through it all, Jesus appropriated His Father’s covenant promises to Him: “My God shall be My strength” (Isaiah 49:5). “I will put My trust in Him” (Hebrews 2:13). The Father’s faithful words kept Jesus through His agonizing death: “I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away. I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:5-6).
When Jesus uttered His final prayer, we see once more the open-covenant dealings between Father and Son: “Now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5). And before He returned to glory, Jesus reminded the Father of His part in the covenant: “Father, the hour is come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You. . . . I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (verses 1, 4).
What does all of this have to do with you and me? It’s a picture of God’s love for His beloved creation! He formed this covenant because He was unwilling to lose a single child to destruction. Jesus is saying here, “Father, I have fulfilled My part of the covenant. I have brought about the redemption of humankind, and I have made Your Body one. Now let’s talk about what is going to happen to My seed, all who believe in Me.”
In short, God gave His Son, the Son gave His life, and we get all the benefits. “His seed also I will make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven. . . . My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that is gone out of My lips” (Psalm 89:29, 34).
God forgave David his sin, but look at the blessings David forfeited by falling. Look at what he gave up for his affair with Bathsheba, the hidden cost he paid for detouring from the path God laid before him. “I appointed you king over Israel,” God said to David, “and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more” (2 Samuel 12: 7-8).
God was waiting in the wings with blessings that David hadn’t even imagined, blessings that He longed to shower upon His servant. Blessings that may have been greater than all the things He had ever done for David in the past. Yet because of his sin, David would live and die never knowing what they were. “And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more,” God said.
Nothing pleases God more than showering His children with wonderful blessings. Heaven is filled with glorious mercies just waiting to be released on servants who remain faithful—servants who embrace the covenant that God has created for those who stay true to the will and purpose that He sets before them. And those blessings aren’t reserved just for kings and warriors, but for you and me. For anyone who calls God “Father.”
But how and when those blessings come remains entirely up to us. It is our obedience that releases them from God’s hand and brings them into our lives. We can live in God’s will and experience His mercies each day, or we can walk our own path and forfeit them.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20).
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.
The book of Daniel gives us a prophetic look at how the war of the last days is going to end. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, and Daniel interpreted it:
"Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image . . . whose brightness was excellent . . . and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay" (Daniel 2:31-33).
The king had dreamed of a huge image in human form, bright, shining and terrible. Its entire body was made of sturdy metal. Yet its feet were made of clay. Daniel pointed out that this image represented the kingdoms of the world, and the clay signified the weakness of the last world powers. These kingdoms would become less bright and terrible as the end approached. Then Daniel continued:
"Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then . . . [the] pieces. . . became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away . . . and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth" (2:34-35).
The stone Daniel describes here is none other than Jesus Christ. He is the Rock of Ages and He is coming down out of heaven to smash all earthly empires. When the world sees this happen, our Lord's divinity will be undeniable. Every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
We are not going to bring down terrorists with our weapons, bombers or missiles. We can't rid the world of such vile wickedness by human might. God says the Kingdom of His Son will finally break and consume all evil empires. Yes, there will be justice. But it will come from the heavenly Father above.
What a day it is going to be when all the world's terrorists wake up before the Judgment Seat of Christ. They'll think, "We were promised paradise for our sacrifice. We were told we would have beautiful women, and luscious food and drink, for all eternity." But they will suddenly realize that the very name they tried to wipe out completely now stands before them as their Judge.
"I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity [the utter exclusiveness] that is in Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:3).
Paul warns us not to be corrupted away from "the simplicity that is in Christ." The Greek word for simplicity in this verse means singleness, exclusiveness. In other words, "Christ is not a complex entity. The truth about Him is very simple: Jesus is God. He is divine, born of a virgin, crucified and raised from the dead. But I'm afraid you're being corrupted away from this single, exclusive truth."
Paul then warns of ministers who preach a different Jesus: "If he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him" (11:4). Paul was telling the Corinthians, in essence, "You're listening to another gospel, not to the gospel of Christ. You're hearing about another Jesus, not the One who saved you. And I fear you're going to be corrupted by this different Jesus, who isn't the real Christ at all.
"You don't know it, but you're being led away from the divinity of Christ. And I can't believe you put up with it! You're bearing with these teachers who are corrupting you. You don't even test what they say to see if it's scriptural. Right now, you're losing your discernment. You're sitting under a demonic gospel, with another Jesus being exalted. And you don't know where it's leading you."
My message to you here boils down to this single verse: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). Jesus' statement here is absolutely exclusive. No Muslim, no Hindu, no Jew, no Gentile, nobody can come to the Father by any way except Christ.
Just as Jesus asked His twelve disciples, He asks us today: "Whom do men say that I am?" (Mark 8:27). The disciples answered, "John the Baptist: but some say, Elias [Elijah]; and others, One of the prophets" (8:28). But Jesus' real question to His followers came next: "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?" (8:29).
Our answer must be the same as Peter's: "Thou art the Christ" (8:29). May this be our confession before the whole world, now and forever.
When the devil's one-world church finally trumpets its message throughout the earth, millions of lukewarm Christians will be deceived. They'll reason, "This all-church union must be okay. Its leaders talk so much about Jesus. Anybody who speaks of Jesus this much has to have a legitimate Christian faith."
They couldn't be more wrong. The very mantra of Satan's devilish union will be, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus." Today, evangelical leaders are already asking, "Why can't all groups be one in Jesus? After all, Jews acknowledge Jesus as a prophet. Muslims see Him as a good man and a great teacher. Even Sikhs and Hindus respect Jesus."
Let me stop here to make something clear: I'm thankful for the national unity that rose from the tragedy of September 11, 2001. I'm grateful that Americans of various faiths were able to stand together as a nation united and I prayed that that unity would remain long after our grief subsided.
But the unity of religions we are about to see will involve something much different. What I foresee is contained in Jesus' prophecy, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?" (Matthew 7:22).
Almost all religions perform exorcisms. And certain churches claim great successes in exorcizing demons. But many such churches do their exorcisms, teachings and good works in a different Jesus' name. As Christ points out, these people will claim at the judgment, "Lord, we did all these things in Your name. We were Jesus people." But the Lord will answer, "Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (7:23).
Jesus will tell them, "I don't know you and you certainly don't know Me. I was the living Son of God, but you told everybody I was just a man. You tried to take away the power of My gospel. You've got the wrong Jesus. Now, depart from Me for you have no part in My Kingdom."