Last week, we ended the newsletter with the following:
What kept Jesus from falling into the traps and temptations of Satan’s snares? All we need do is review Jesus’ response to the first recorded temptation Satan threw at Him:
Matthew 4:4 (KJV)“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Emphasis Added)
Do you see that Jesus was saying that life comes from the Word of God? That’s the secret! After all, we are what we eat!
In the last two weekly blogs I presented the basis for the fact that the true disciple of Christ is NOT a sinner saved by grace – he/she is a saint who has been saved for heaven by being saved from sin!
In order to effectively proceed with our study, we must refer to the Scripture that began this discussion…
1 John 3:1 – 10 (KJV)“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
I want to remind you that John was saying that those who are truly abiding in Christ neither sin habitually/repeatedly nor abide in a sinful lifestyle. Before coming to Christ sin was our life (lifestyle) and we did by nature that which was sinful and contrary to all God is and stands for. However, after we became members of the Body of Christ through spiritual birth, we were given a new nature (that which is after the nature of Christ) and we now have the power (authority, ability) to overcome our sinful nature by submitting our will to the Will of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord Who lives in us!
Matthew 4:4 (KJV) “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Emphasis Added)
Jesus was responding to Satan’s challenge – Matthew 4:3 (KJV) “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” (Emphasis Added)
Satan was saying, “Your Father hasn’t provided for You for 40 long days and nights! Don’t wait for Him to provide – You are the Son of God, prove it by providing for Yourself!”
Jesus did not fall prey to Satan’s devices! Jesus stated a cardinal, Kingdom principle – His Father’s provision was sufficient for all His needs. He had been sent by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to face the test that His Father had orchestrated. He would not be in as much need of physical sustenance as He would spiritual. His Father’s Word and His Spirit was all He needed to sustain Him spiritually.
Jesus was also stating another Kingdom principle – it would be “out of character” to provide for Himself independent of His Father’s Will. His Father had sent Him into the wilderness to “pass the test” – to overcome Satan – NOT to provide for and/or focus on His physical needs! Through the Holy Spirit, His Father had instructed Him to fast and seek His face. His Father had NOT told Him to eat.
Jesus had come to the knowledge of Who He was – The ONLY Begotten Son of God. As Such, He was/is/will be God and His Father expected Him to act as Such although He was fully man and was clothed in fleshly garments. His humanity would never be accepted as an excuse for unrighteousness or failure!
Now, review this Scripture – Matthew 6:33 (KJV) “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Emphasis Added) Doesn’t this sound similar or paralleled to Jesus’ response as recorded in Matthew 4:4? Of course it does!!
There is a pivotal word contained in Matthew 6:33 AND 1 John 3:10. Look at 1 John 3:10 again. 1 John 3:10 (KJV) “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
Both Scriptures contain the word “righteousness.” The same Greek word is used in both Scriptures…
Righteousness = δικαιοσύνη – dikaiosunē – dik-ah-yos-oo’-nay; equity (of character or act); specifically (Christian) justification:—righteousness.
Jesus was saying to Satan, “I must be true to My Father by being true to Who He created Me to BE as man AND Who I AM!” It was all about character. Jesus’ deeds backed up the Who He is/was and vice versa. Remember what Jesus said when His character was being challenged – John 14:11 (KJV) “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”
Philip, and the other apostles, still did not comprehend that Jesus and His Father were One in harmony, essence, and character. Jesus emphasized the fact that He didn’t do anything independently of His Father’s Will. In fact, Jesus was, is, and will be (I Am) the Will of God to everyone, everywhere!
Jesus was stating that His character and His Father’s character were synonymous. God IS good all the time; and, all the time, God IS good! The Father does good deeds, because He IS Good! The Father’s character is above reproach; therefore, all He does is above reproach. You cannot distinguish between what the Father says and what He does. The same can be said of Jesus!
When Jesus was instructing His disciples, and us, as recorded in Matthew 6:33, He was emphasizing our need to pursue Kingdom principles and the King’s (the Father’s) character. We are to live according to all the principles of the Kingdom of God and exhibit our relationship as heirs of the Kingdom by living according the character of the Father that was modeled by Jesus and is placed in us by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5; Romans 8:9; Titus 3:5).
Jesus came into this world to seek and to save the lost, to destroy the works of the devil, to establish the Kingdom of God, and to make manifest the personality and presence of the Father. He became “God with skin.” The Father’s perfect will is that we, the Body of Christ, make manifest the personality and presence of Jesus Christ – thus, making manifest the Father.
Romans 8:29 – 30 (KJV)“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Emphasis Mine)
What is the “image of his Son?” It is the image of the Father!
Hebrews 1:1 – 3 (KJV)“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Emphasis Mine).
Observe the same Scriptures as presented by The Message…
Hebrews 1:1 – 3 (TMSG) “Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature. He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words! After he finished the sacrifice for sins, the Son took his honored place high in the heavens right alongside God,” (Emphasis Mine).
What truly concerns me, as I stated in Part 1, is the care-free attitude we saints have toward the exhibition of our sinful nature (Flesh) overriding the empowerment of our new nature (New Creature in Christ). We are to manifest the character of Christ to this world – every day! Jesus is NOT known for His sinfulness; but, rather the opposite! So should the Body of Christ be known! There is a direct correlation between character and works (deeds). Simply stated – “We DO what we ARE!” We’ll talk about this in the next blog.