Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Introduction: A quick word on the general Epistles
Michael Harbin in his survey of the Bible entitled: "The Promise and the Blessing", notes - "As we approach the end fo the apostolic age, we note a change in the letters (That is the New Testament Epistles). Outside of James, the letters we have seen thus far were written to individual churches, that is, to all the believers in a given city. By contrast, the letters written in the sixties or later (60 A.D or later) were written either to larger geographical regions or to specific individuals." Harbin later notes: "Those letters written to larger geographical regions are often called Catholic or General Epistles because they were written to believers in general, not to a specific individual or city." Harbin's comments relate to the 8 books in our New Testaments we classify as the general epistles, namely: Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter. 1,2,3 John and Jude. These books are many times not read as often as the thirteen letters of Paul (Galatians-2 Timothy), which is to the Christian's detriment. Why? Because in exploring the general epistles, one can better understand for example the relationship of suffering to the Christian life or how the Old Testament and New Testament fit together. Today's post is about briefly considering the most important person and topic that could be pondered - Jesus Christ. What I aim to do in this post is list one text from each of the general letters of the New Testament that shows to us the greatness of Jesus Christ. My prayer is that this post edifies and encourages every reader.
1. Jesus Christ is Supreme - Book of Hebrews
Hebrews 1:1-4 "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they." The theme of "better" occurs over a dozen references in Hebrews, all pointing to how Jesus Christ is supreme above all things.
2. Jesus Christ's authority - Book of James
James 5:7-9 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door." Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 28:18 that all power and authority had been given to Him in heaven and on earth. He is the judge, having authority and Divine power.
3. Jesus Christ's comings - 1 & 2 Peter
1 Peter 3:18 "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit."
2 Peter 3:9-10 "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in whichthe heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up."
4. Jesus Christ as Savior - 1,2,3 John
1 John 5:13 "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." Jesus as Savior provides assurance of salvation for everyone who responds by grace alone through faith alone in Him alone.
2 John 1:9 "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son." It is not enough to say one believes in a Jesus, but in the right Jesus. The Jesus that saves people from their sins is the One revealed in the Bible, the Word of God.
3 John 1:7 "For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles." The term "Name" is shorthand for everything that Jesus is and accomplished and is still doing today. Acts 4:12 reminds us that no other "name" is given under heaven to people whereby they can be saved.
5. Jesus Christ is the God of mercy - Book of Jude
Jude 1:21 - "keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life." Jesus Christ is "Lord", which is a title of Deity, and He is merciful, which reminds us of the fact He is the God of mercy. Jude closes out his book and our study of the greatness of Jesus Christ in the General Epistles with these words from Jude 1:24-25 - "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen."