God’s great mercy………

chesed love

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.  ~  Genesis 1:27

That has become one of my favorite verses lately.  It’s our blueprint… our original design.  No matter what mankind may look like on the outside, no matter what sins we may commit, this is truly who we were created to be and how God sees us – because He always sees us according to our potential in Him.   The very first man walked in that design, and all mankind afterward were supposed to walk in the same pattern.  But although Adam was created in that design and walked in it for at least a few days, he sinned and introduced sin and consequently death into the world.

All men born after him were born in Adam’s likeness and image instead of God’s.  Genesis 5:3 “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth”.  All mankind was born into sin. Made in Adam’s likeness and image – one of sin and death. Romans 5:19 “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners….”  Man isn’t a sinner because he sins, he is a sinner through birth.   Sin in the Greek is hamartia and means to miss the mark.  To sin is to behave out of tune with God’s original harmony.  It is to believe a lie about ourselves.  It is to miss out on sonship.  Sonship is our blueprint… our true, original, chosen design.  Ephesians 1:5 “He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…”

Even when the Law was introduced, mankind was still a sinner.  No matter how good he was morally, he could never fulfill the requirements of the law and be made righteous.  The Law simply revealed sin and made mankind aware of his lost state.  Man was unable to save himself — the Law revealed that he needed a Savior! God’s timing was absolutely perfect.

He always had a plan to redeem us.  He had found us in Christ before He lost us in Adam!  Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”  He always loved us too much to leave us in such a wretched state…. He never abandoned His creation!  Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  God’s great mercy is far reaching and ALL encompassing.  Just as it took Adam’s one act of sin to condemn all of mankind, it only took Jesus’ one act of righteousness to completely declare all mankind innocent.  Romans 5:18  “So here is the result: as one man’s sin brought about condemnation and punishment for all people, so one man’s act of faithfulness makes all of us right with God and brings us to new life.”  Freely acquitted in the sight of God.  Through Adam we were ALL declared sinners and death reigned in us BUT through Jesus we are ALL declared righteous and life reigns in us.

Jesus’ death and resurrection reconciled us back to God and to our original design of sonship.  Now we are no longer made in Adam’s image and likeness – one of sin and death.  The sin nature has been completely removed and we received a new nature.. a new spirit… His Spirit.  Ezekiel 36:26-27A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.”   

Jesus defeated sin and death ONCE and for ALL.  God did not love us more once we were reconciled.  Reconciliation simply made us free to realize how much He has always loved us and free to enjoy our redeemed original identity — made in His image and in His likeness.  To see ourselves as He sees us — IN CHRIST.  Free to enjoy sonship and all of it’s joys and privileges.  And not just to see ourselves, but our old ways of seeing others is over as well (2 Cor 5:16).  We are now to see everyone through the eyes of our Redeemer.

He has made us ambassadors or ministers of His reconciliation with the world.  Our lives are now to exhibit the urgency of God to persuade everyone to be reconciled to God because Jesus took their life to the Cross in exchange for His resurrected life in them.  He did a finished, completed work on the Cross for ALL mankind.

The language of the Old Covenant… of the old written code was “Do in order to become”.  The language of the New Covenant is “Be, because of what has been done.”  It’s simply a matter of saying yes to God through faith in the shed blood and resurrection of Jesus.  It’s simply a matter of them awakening to their righteousness… of seeing themselves as God already sees them…. IN CHRIST.  So that then they will be able to say “I once was blind, but now I see.”

God’s great mercy for mankind is seen in the riches of His goodness toward us and His absolute passionate refusal to let us go.  His Covenant love for us is because continues to hear the echo of His image and His likeness in us.

I love the Mirror Translation of Romans 3:23-26:

Humanity is in the same boat; their distorted behavior is proof of a lost blueprint. (24) Jesus Christ is proof of God’s grace gift;  He redeemed the glory of God in human life; mankind condemned is now mankind justified!  (25) Jesus exhibits God’s mercy.  In His blood conciliation God’s faith persuades mankind of His righteousness and the fact that He has brought closure to the historic record of their sins (not by demanding a sacrifice, but providing the sacrifice of Himself).  Jesus is the unveiling of the Father’s heart toward us.  (26) All along God refused to let go of mankind.  At this very moment God’s act of righteousness is pointing them to the evidence of their innocence, with Jesus as the source of their faith.

It is the revelation of God’s goodness that leads men to repentance, not our repentance that leads to God’s goodness.

~ Robin

Hebrew month of Tishrei

tishrei

We are currently in the month of Tishrei.  It is the month of the Fall feasts… Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkoth…. when we are to return to God and experience His glory.  It begins the Autumn months and a new season.  In the Bible, Tishrei is referred to as “the month of the strong” or “the month of the ancients”  It’s name means “beginning.”  It is the first month of the year on the Jewish civil calendar (Cycle of Blessing)  – this was to begin a new year of peace, health, joy, and provision in God’s presence…  and the 7th month of the year on the Jewish religious calendar (Cycle of Redemption) – He rescues us from the effects of sin and restores us to His original plan….. 7 signifies completion or fullness.  A month where things are completing and things are beginning.

These feasts of God are called God’s appointed times. They are not just rituals. They are not just holidays. But they are times that are set by God where He wants to meet with us to accomplish some specific things in our life every year.  God’s appointed times are eternal. They were not given just as temporary holidays…but the feasts of God are for all time. Leviticus 23 says “these are lasting ordinances for all generations and that they belong to the Lord.  Born again believers are not required to keep the feasts, however, knowledge of them enhances our faith…. they are revelations of Jesus.

Key New Testament events took place in the context of the feasts. Jesus could have been crucified any time of the year, but it just happened to be on Passover. And He could have been raised from the dead any time, but it just happened to be on the Feast of Firstfruits — the firstfruits of a new creation. The Spirit could have fallen any day of the year, but it just happened to be on the Feast of Pentecost.  Chuck Pierce described these appointed times this way:   “God instituted the feasts so His covenant people would always be reminded of who He was and what He had done in the past.   These feasts were also given to remember God’s great acts of salvation, deliverance and healing grace.   He knew that if we would remember His power displays of the past, we would have faith to see Him move today and in the future.   By participating in the prescribed Feasts (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles), Israel’s worship would remain fresh, vibrant, and properly aligned with their Maker.”

The Feast of Trumpets is also called Rosh Hashanah, the “Head of the Year.”   Rosh Hashanah is the “Birthday of the World,” or  the “Anniversary of Creation.”  The trumpet blast at Rosh Hashanah is the signal to shift out of the old cycle and enter the presence of God.  The Feast of Trumpets sets your feet on the path to revival!  As you listen to the trumpet blast… Let go of old forms of security! Break out of old habits! Repent of old ways of thinking!  When the trumpets sound… SHIFT!

The 10 days from Rosh Hashanah – Yom Kippur are known as the Days of Awe. They are also called days of “Teshuvah.”     Teshuvah is a Hebrew word that means “to turn” and “to return.” It means repentance.   Isaiah 44: 22 says, “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, and your sins like a heavy mist.   Return to Me, for I have redeemed you!”   During these 10 days we rejoice and stand in “awe” of Jesus (Yeshua) who made us “at-one” with God, the Father through His atoning sacrifice.   Yom Kippur is a day for us to honor the One who purchased us and redeemed us from the enemies grasp…. Col 1:13-14… He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Sukkoth or the Feast of Tabernacles is a time of rejoicing in the Lord…. of feasting on His goodness. This is a unique feast recognized by temporary shelters (sukkot, or booths) being constructed and lived in during the week of the festival. A sukkah is a reminder that our lives on earth are temporary, and our reliance and trust are not in our material possessions but in our faithful and loving Father and in the One who “tabernacled” among us – Jesus, His Son and our Messiah. Ancient wisdom has called it a “shelter of faith” – trusting God as Jehovah Jireh. Succah also means to “see through” – a season of spiritual vision-looking beyond the natural. It was also a joyful harvest festival and is prophetic of the great harvest that is to come. Sukkoth is a good time to rejoice before Him…..seek His face and experience His glory. Let’s call out to God for a fresh outpouring of His glory in this new year.  Deuteronomy 16:14-15 says, “Be joyful at your feast (Sukkoth) for the Lord your God will bless you and your joy will be complete.”

Final day of Sukkot it is known as Hoshana Raba, “the day of Great Salvation”. It was on the last day of Sukkot that Jesus stood up and cried out “if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow waters of living water”. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive….. ~ John 7:37-38.

Ephraim is the tribe associated with this month.  Ephraim was the 2nd son of Joseph but the one who received the first born blessing from Jacob.  His name means double fruitfulness… double portion.  When he was born Joseph said “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction….. this is a month to be fruitful and multiply.  Ephraim was a blessed tribe.  In Gen 48 Jacob said “Manasseh will be great but Ephraim will be greater”.  The tribe of Ephraim were described as mighty men of valor, famous in their father’s households.  The Lord calls Ephraim the helmet of His head.  They were the dominant tribe in the Kingdom of Israel when Israel and Judah split.   But in spite of all the blessings, Ephraim messed up.  Jereboam, an Ephraimite, was the king of the northern tribes.  He re-introduced the worship of the golden calf…. because he was afraid that if the people continued to go to Jerusalem to worship they might eventually reject him and reunite with Judah.  God had chosen Judah and Jerusalem was the chosen place for worship.  Unfortunately, his fear of rejection, caused him to lead those under his leadership into idolatry.  He set up 2 golden calves and told the people they had been going to Jerusalem long enough, here is your God!  Although Ephraim experienced times of repentance it was always temporary.  Ephraim couldn’t get past bitterness.  The good news is revival hit Judah and the first place it spread to was Ephraim in 2 Chronicles 34 and they tore down the altars and destroyed the idols and the last reference to Ephraim in the Old Testament is Zech 10:7 and Ephraim is fully restored to the Lord and rejoicing before Him.

In the New Testament Ephraim is Samaria. The woman at the well not only received the gospel but evangelized her entire village.   In John 11 when the Judeans are trying to kill Jesus, he finds a place of safety in Ephraim.  In Acts 8 the first church planted after Jerusalem was in Ephraim.  Ephraim joyfully received the Gospel!

Ephraim had messed up but God had not given up on Ephraim.  I love what Robert Heidler teaches… Ephraim is the story of the Fall Feasts.  Ephraim sinned, they messed up and fell away from God and lost the blessing.  But they had a wake-up call the trumpets of an attacking Assyrian army (Rosh Hashanah).  The remnant of Ephraim repented of their sins and sought God (Yom Kippur)  And they entered into a time of great rejoicing in the Lord (Sukkoth).  There is never anything you can do that would cause God to give up on you and turn His back on you….. He is not counting your sins against you!  Jesus paid the price of the penalty of sin for you, to restore you to that right relationship with God…. the place of unbroken fellowship with Him.

So in this month of Tishrei be like Ephraim… awake to righteousness, repent and return to God and be fully restored to Him….enter His Presence and experience His glory and rejoice!