Lessons Of A Lifetime


Scripture To Consider:
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan [river] to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and You are coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him.”

“When He [Jesus] had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”  Matthew 3.13-17

Something To Consider:
Though John the Baptist protested Jesus’ request to do what was fitting to fulfill all righteousness, Jesus responded by saying, “Permit it to be so now…” How many times have we heard that still small voice quietly speaking in our spirit, saying, “Permit it to be so now…” especially during difficult situations that are beyond our control? How many circumstances have we nervously faced that we were forced to cry out in desperation because we simply did not understand what it was that God was doing or allowing to be done?

It is so true and safe for us to say that God’s preparation process comes to us in many forms. And yet His preparation never comes without His assurance, support, and provision of enough grace for us to be able to cross over to the other side of whatever. If we listen intently enough, we may be able to hear Him say, “Permit it to be so now, for it is fitting to fulfill all righteousness.” And once the difficulty has come to pass, we are even further assured of God’s nearness to us even and especially in our difficulties. Who knows, it may be further training for end time events.

Quite naturally John did not feel worthy to baptize Jesus. Our not feeling worthy of God’s grace is a good first sign of humility when we find ourselves in the presence of Jesus. In His presence we should all feel a need to be humbled. And if not now due to pride or arrogance, we will in the twinkling of an eternal eye! Yet in Christ, in His righteousness we are worthy of all of God’s blessings and spiritual benefits, but only in and through what Christ has done by His fulfilling all righteousness.

The apostle Paul stated that our righteousness is as filthy rags. On the other hand, after our being clothed in Christ’s righteousness, we cannot be any more finely dressed or more divinely prepared for end time events and for all eternity.

Something Else To Consider:
And yet Christ’s righteousness came at an extremely high cost; for while we were yet sinners, still spiritual rebels, and antagonistic toward the things of God, Jesus died for our sins. This one eternal accomplishment was fulfilled that we might obtain the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Paul writing from prison in Philippians chapter 3, declared in verse 7; “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ…”

Paul in verse 9, also proclaimed; “…And be found in Him [Jesus], not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Paul, even in prison said yes to hearing Jesus proclaim, “Permit it to be so now [Paul], for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” How many of us find ourselves even now in an emotional, mental, or physical prison? Jesus’ answer to our dilemma is, “Permit it to be so now…”

On several occasions Isaiah prophetically mentioned that the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon the Coming One, speaking of Jesus. The writers of all four gospels declared this as an actual event in history that took place in the life of Jesus. In John’s gospel he recorded the words of John the Baptist as saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and remained upon Him [Jesus].”

John the Baptist was an eyewitness of this previously promised and prophesied event. If we like John, permit it to be so now, we too will be well pleasing to our heavenly Father. To be well pleasing is a good thing for any spiritual leader or leaders in training to be or to want to become!

Something More To Consider:
In John’s gospel chapter 1 and verse 29, John the apostle wrote what John the Baptist declared; “The next day John [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” Nothing would please God more than for the whole world to have its sin removed. In 2 Peter 3.9 we are told, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” But how does God through Jesus accomplish the removal of the sin of all people of the world?

John writing in his first letter declared in 1 John 1.9-10, “If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make [attempt to make] Him [God] a liar, and His Word is not in us.” The recipe for having our sins forgiven begins with repentance and our actual confessing our sins in order to obtain the forgiveness of our sins. It is not a difficult problem to solve. But how does that work on a world-wide scale?

Remember, John the Baptist declared, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Again, I ask, how does God through Jesus accomplish the removal of the sin of all people of the world? The removal of the sin of the world according to the Word of God, is accomplished one person at a time. At times in the bible God dealt with the masses, but when it comes to the subject of our sin, God deals directly with individuals.

Romans 3.10 states what the Old Testament declared concerning individual sin and righteousness when Paul wrote; “There is none righteous, no, not one…” Paul elaborated in verse 23 by stating, “For all have sinned [the whole world past, present, and future] and fall short of the glory of God…”

But Paul continued his thought process in verse 24 of Romans 3, by his affirming under the influence of the Holy Spirit; “Being justified freely by His [God’s] grace through redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who God set forth as a propitiation [an atoning sacrifice] by His [Jesus’] blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness… to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He [Jesus] might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

How then does God through Jesus accomplish the removal of the sin of the world? It is accomplished one person at a time! And each and every occurrence of this divine act of receiving righteousness in place of our sin is well pleasing to our Almighty and compassionate and long-suffering God!

A Few Final Words:
The cleansing of our sin on an individual basis is in direct response to our heeding the call of John the Baptist and Jesus, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” How near is the kingdom of heaven to us at this very moment in our lives living in this 21st century? When Jesus approached John the Baptist to be baptized, John cried out, “I need to be baptized by You, and You are coming to me?”

In our last lesson John, the Baptist declared of Jesus, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” And yet, John declared that he needed to be baptized by Jesus and to receive the Holy Spirit and the fire of God that would burn away the sin of the world if ever found within John. And the same is true in our own lives, if we are honest with ourselves.

For us to be without sin is well pleasing to God. Therefore, we too need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and the fire of God’s Word that will cleanse us by the washing of the water of the Word of God. Is that something we welcome or something we shy away from? Our correct response to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the fire of God’s Word should be as Jesus’ response to John the Baptist, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”

Spiritual leaders in training with an eye on eternity, live surrendered and obedient lives in order to become and to remain well pleasing to Him who fulfills all righteousness.

Our Father in heaven, help us to be well pleasing to You and Your Son, in everything we say, think, and do this day and every day. In Him Always, Amen!

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