“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”.(Ephesians 2:1-10)
“Now is the day of your Salvation, it is nearer than it was before. Forget not My benefits, says the Lord. Out of the ashes, have I not chosen you? That you may begin again?”
“We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.’” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation”.(2 Corinthians 6:1 & 2; quoted from Isaiah 49:8)
A Gospel of Power for All Who Believe
The Apostle Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
This verse tells us that:
- The Gospel has a power.
- It is the power of God, for the salvation of everyone who believes.
Faith and power go together! You cannot separate the two! These are words of grace for all mankind. The power is in the Gospel, not in the person who speaks. Therefore, we do not have to be afraid when we stand up to speak, for the Gospel has a power of its own. Its power is endued from on high toward us who believe. The very next verse goes on to say, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’” (Romans 1:17; quoted from Habakkuk 2:4).
Within the Gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed. A righteousness that must be grasped by faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). For the Gospel to be effective, we must first believe in the words that we preach. We must have faith in the effective working of that same power at work in our own lives first, before we can get up to speak. Paul said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-4).
What comforting words are these! For the Gospel of Christ is first and foremost a Gospel of peace! This same Paul also said, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15). God does not want us to feel condemned when we get up to speak. There is something beautiful about the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace. For it was at the feet of Jesus that people came and laid before Him, those who were sick, lame and blind, that they may be healed. “Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them” (Matthew 15:30). And it was at the feet of Jesus first, that the woman with the alabaster flask poured out her heart before the Lord, and He had compassion on her need.
“And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, ‘This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ So he said, ‘Teacher, say it.’ ‘There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?’ Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose the one whom he forgave more.’ And He said to him, ‘You have rightly judged.’ Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.’ Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ Then He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you. Go in peace’”.(Luke 7:37-50)
- It wasn’t just the woman’s faith in Christ’s words that brought her peace.
- She sought her peace in Christ by identifying with Him and having faith in Him (as a living person).
The Gospel is a Gospel of Action — Not Just Words
The washing of feet from Biblical times, is today now used as a symbolic act representing someone’s service of love to the Body of Christ. Jesus Himself gave this same example when he washed his disciple’s feet not long before he was about to be betrayed.
“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, are You washing my feet?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.’ Peter said to Him, ‘You shall never wash my feet!’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me’” .(John 13:1-8)
In these verses, the heart of Christ is revealed. Jesus, knowing His time had come when He would depart from the world (knowing He was about to be killed); knowing He was about to be betrayed by one that He loved – Judas Iscariot, one of His own disciples who had walked with Him as part of the twelve; still loved them to the end! But, also knowing that the Father had already given all things into His hands; that He had come from God and was going to God; He began to wash His disciple’s feet.
That is love in actions — not in words!
“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things”.(1 John 3:17-20)
When as a disciple, Peter found out that it was a pre-requisite to be washed by Jesus first, before he could have any part in Him, he not only wanted to obey His commands, but to go above and beyond His words. Peter said, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” (John 13: 9). But Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean” (John 13:10).
Being Washed by the Water of the Word
In a chapter on love, Paul speaks of Christ loving the Church. In that, before taking her as His bride, Christ must first sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her spotless (Holy and without blemish) before the throne of God. He goes on to use this same analogy, to describe how a husband should love his wife.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church”.(Ephesians 5:25-32)
This pure river, or water of life, is that same cleansing stream that flows down out of heaven and into the house of God.
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever”.(Revelation 22:1-5)
Speaking of the revelation given to him on the Isle of Patmos, the Apostle John said, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11).
- We are cleansed by the blood of the lamb!
- We are cleansed the moment we testify to the truth of His word!
Again, speaking on love, Paul says, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38 & 39).
This is How Much Christ Loves Us – Hallelujah!
The Prophet Isaiah speaks in more figurative terms, “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
That is Some Major Transformation!
The Apostle John said, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1, NIV).
The Accuser Has Been Cast Down
In another significant chapter of love, the Apostle John declares these words. “We love Him (Christ Jesus) because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Previously in the same chapter, John speaks on the discerning of spirits and of words that speak life and words that speak death.
“We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error”.(1 John 4:6)
“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him, and he in God”.(1 John 4:14-15)
When warning His disciples about wolves in sheep’s clothing, Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15 & 16).
When describing the overthrow of Satan and the end of the age, the same Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos speaks of an angel of heaven who fights for the people of God. This same Michael is here with us now. He continues to fight on our behalf and will continue to do so until the end of the age when Satan is forever cast out. “Out of My sight, says the Lord.”
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down’. ‘And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death’ .(Revelation 12:7-11)