Now today, I believe we will be concluding the series we have been studying entitled “In the Mirror” where we have been looking into the mirror of God’s Word and seeing what we look like from God’s perspective—which is truly the only opinion that really matters. So, if our Father says that we are loved and chosen, then that’s what we are. It doesn’t matter what others say or what our own heart says. We are who He says that we are! Also, if the Bible says that we are holy and righteous, then that is what we are. It might not look like it every day, but we must believe what God says over what we see.
And as we’ve learned, another benefit of us beholding and believing who this spiritual mirror says that we are is that it will change the things we see in the natural. Our kickoff Scripture out of Second Corinthians 3:18 teaches us this when it says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Church, we must realize that who we are in the spirit is the “same image” as the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His righteousness that we have been made. It is the same love that His Father loved Him with that has been shed abroad in our heart. It is His anointing that we have been anointed with. And as we saw last week, it is the same blessing of Abraham that we have as well.
And like we learned last week from the truth that we are blessed in Christ Jesus, this is not something we need to wait to happen before we believe it. No, you and I are blessed because of what Jesus did for us, not because we necessarily see any evidence of it yet in our lives.
We saw from Ephesians 1:3 which says that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. It might feel some days that we are not blessed because a lot of things in this natural, physical world don’t indicate it, but we have to determine whether that is true or not. And I am here to tell you that the truth is that we have received the same blessing of Abraham. And we learned that this blessing of Abraham is not to be confused with Abraham’s blessings. There is a big difference between the blessing on his life and the blessings He possessed in his life. The blessings were the physical, tangible things he possessed, but the blessing was the intangible divine empowerment that enabled him to be blessed with tangible things.
So, it boils down to us believing that all of these spiritual blessings that we possess are already ours in Christ Jesus. Are we going to look in this mirror and believe that we are blessed, anointed, redeemed, delivered, healed, etc. even though when we look at our lives, we look as broke, busted, and disgusted as Joseph did in Genesis 39:1?
But, again, notice that this mirror called him a successful, prosperous, and blessed man before anyone saw the evidence of it (including himself). That is where we need to see ourselves—as blessed before we see any evidence of it. Amen?
Church, this mirror reveals to us that we have been blessed, and it is up to us to stand up in our situations and circumstances that might not reflect that we are blessed, and say, “I am a successful man! I am a blessed woman!” We say it because that is what we see in this mirror. Amen and amen!
Now this week, in the conclusion of these teachings, I had on my heart to wind up these teachings with the victory which is ours in Christ Jesus. So, as we have been learning— “I Am Loved, I Am Righteous, I Am Holy, I Am Blessed, I Am Anointed”—today, you and I will learn this about ourselves— “I Am A Winner.”
GOD BELIEVES IN WINNING
Did you know God is all about winning? He sure is! I know we live in a society today that wants to hand out trophies to everyone, but that is not the way things work in the kingdom of God.
You see, God is not into socialism and the mentality that revolves around it. Everyone is not going to receive the same slice of the pie. No, in His kingdom, there will be winners and there will be losers. There are those who get rewarded and those who won’t. Sure, Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, but there are those who will receive His sacrifice and those who won’t. On top of that, there are those who after receiving this salvation will be rewarded more than others who are saved just like they were.
Church, we see this throughout the Scriptures—that there are rewards awaiting us in heaven. There are things like robes, crowns, and other prizes promised to us for overcoming in this life. So, God evidently is in the rewarding business. Therefore, He desires for us to win in life and receive the reward for doing so! Amen?
The apostle Paul echoed these sentiments as he aspired to win His own race of faith. We see him speak of this in many of his epistles, but a really good description is found in First Corinthians chapter 9. Let’s look at it:
First Corinthians 9:24-27 – “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
So, what do we see in these verses? Evidently, as in a race, there are multiple competitors in the kingdom of God, but only certain ones will receive the prize. And Paul calls this prize not a perishable crown, but an imperishable crown. He also goes on to speak of how one can be disqualified in this race of faith, but that is obviously not God’s will. God’s will is that we win all the time and every time! And do you know why? It is because He Himself is a Winner! Let’s look at some truths in this mirror that reflect this to us …
GOD IS A WINNER
Now we know that God only has one rival, and that is obviously Satan. Yes, the devil is the only one dumb enough to try and take God on. Well, let’s look how well that went for him …
Most of us are aware of that event that transpired before the foundation of this world, when Satan, being an angel in heaven named Lucifer, rebelled against God because his heart was lifted up in pride to be like Him. The Scriptures teach us that he was able to deceive a third of the angels in heaven to war against the Lord of hosts.
And can you imagine how that went down? Jesus told us in Luke chapter 10 exactly what happened: He told His disciples that after that old dragon did his best to overthrow God with a third of the angels of heaven, He said that He saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven (Luke 10:18).
So, this shows us that if we were to have ordered this so-called “War in the Heavenlies” on pay per view, then we wouldn’t have gotten our money’s worth. LOL! It was no match, whatsoever! Just like when He was being accused of casting out demons by Beelzebub, Jesus said that He was casting them out by the “finger of God” (Luke 11:20).
So here is what I imagine happened. Lucifer and all his angels ganged up, roaring as they came against the Most High God and the Lord just simply “flicked” him with his finger and the devil fell like lightning from heaven!
So don’t be deceived, brethren! This wasn’t like the main event at Wrestlemania, where you get a good back and forth 30-minute match! No, if you would have paid to see this, the only thing you would have been impressed by was the knock-out ability of our God! Hallelujah!
And what we need to understand about what Jesus was saying here is that it was being said in response to His disciple’s excitement over the demons obeying them when they took authority over them. So, what Jesus was doing here was explaining to them that the demons obeying us is not really that big of a deal. Jesus told us right here what happened when He said that He was there to witness Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Now as we know, when it comes to lightning, if you blink, you’ll miss it.
So, again, I believe that Jesus was attempting to communicate to His disciples that what they had experienced was not as spectacular and miraculous as they thought. Why? Because He saw Satan lose His place of authority when He was cast out of heaven some time before that. In other words, it was really no big deal that the demons were responding to His name—because their leader had already been cast out of heaven before by that same authority! Amen!
All of this to say that this original head to head matchup between Almighty God and the devil was no contest. In other words, it was severely one-sided.
CHRIST, THE CONQUEROR
But, of course, we know that the devil didn’t let that stop him. He still raged against God and decided to attack those created in God’s image and likeness. And by being successful at tempting man to sin against God, it opened God’s creation up to sin and the curse. But as we know, what the First Adam lost in the Fall, the Last Adam has regained through His Resurrection. Yes, through Jesus, God has notched another victory in the win column!
Which brings a good point: Like it was in the Fall of Adam or the crucifixion of Jesus, it might seem at times that the devil has gotten the lead in the game a time or two, but it’s not how you start that makes the difference; it’s how you finish the game. And God has never lost one game! He is the undefeated One! And the greatest victory was won on Calvary.
Let’s look at some verses which explain what Jesus did through His death, burial and resurrection:
First John 3:8 tells us one of Jesus’ purposes for coming to this world. John says, “… For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” The word used for “destroy” here literally means to “loose” or “untie.” This means that Jesus came to set us free from sin’s control and sin’s effects. That is why sin no longer has dominion over us (Romans 6:14). Yes, we have a new master and are no longer slaves to our former master!
In Hebrews 2:14 we are told how Jesus lived as a man and then died in the sins of mankind “… that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” The word “destroy” here means “to make of non-effect, to paralyze, or to render inoperative”. One translation said that Jesus made the devil an absolute “zero.” So, this verse is saying that Jesus “paralyzed” the devil through His triumph at the cross, and therefore, took away Satan’s power over our lives.
And Jesus didn’t just whoop the devil in a quiet, nice way. He literally rubbed his nose in it: We are told in Colossians 2:15 how Jesus “having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
This verse describes what Jesus did when He was resurrected on the third day. When He was made alive after spending three days and three nights in the pit of hell, Jesus plundered the enemy’s camp—totally defeating him.
Now notice the first two words in this awesome verse— “Having disarmed.” Like it is with everything we’ve been learning in this series, this isn’t something Jesus is going to do. It is something He has already done— “Having disarmed!”
The word “disarmed” describes “stripping the garments and/or armor off.” This word was used to depict the stripping of the enemy’s weaponry and artillery and leaving him without any weapons with which to respond. One scholar even noted that this word describes “stripping to the point of complete nakedness.” The King James Version translates this word as “spoiled” which would describe Jesus as taking the possessions of the principalities and powers. This means that when Jesus was resurrected, He totally whipped and stripped the enemy and left them with nothing. He took all of their armor away from them!
This gives new meaning to the Old Testament verse that says, “No weapon formed against you will prosper,” doesn’t it? Under the New Covenant, Satan has been stripped of his weapons that he used to keep us in bondage before Jesus came. Now the only effective weapon that he can form against us is the illusion that he even has an effective weapon! In other words, his only effective weapon now is deception!
So, we can gather from these first two words “having disarmed” that Jesus has already (past tense) taken away the enemy’s weapons. So, how could he ever defeat us if he doesn’t even have any weapons left? The only way he can is if he can convince us that he’s got an effective weapon against us. The only way he can win is if he can get us to give up, thinking he’s won. His only effective weapon left is deception. It is like someone who robs a bank with his pointed finger in his pocket. If that robber convinces the bank employees that what he is pointing at them is a real gun then he can cause them to give him all the money but if they know that he does not really have a weapon then they will not give him squat!
Now the words “public spectacle” came from two different Greek words: The first is deigmatidzo and it means “to display, to exhibit; to expose to public disgrace.” This Greek word was used to denote “the display of captives, weaponry, and trophies that were seized during war on foreign soil.” In those times when the war was over and the battle was won, the victorious king would return home and “display” the treasures, trophies, weaponry, and even the captives that he had seized during his conquest.
So, what we see here is that after Jesus stripped the enemy of all their garments and weapons leaving them totally naked He exposed their pitiful condition for all the hosts of heaven to see. He forever has “exhibited them” and “put them to an open shame.” This is why God prophesied that there would come a time when we would look upon (i.e. gaze at and consider) Satan and say, “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world a wilderness and destroyed its cities” (Isaiah 14:16). It’s going to be amazing to us when we will be able to see him for who he really is. We will be so awestruck that we will gaze upon him and ponder how in the world that he ever “shook kingdoms, destroyed cities, made the earth tremble, and made the world a wilderness.” It will be very amazing and also very disappointing to realize that it was all through DECEPTION—his only weapon!
So, what we are learning through all of this is that the devil has been whipped and stripped. Jesus took the teeth of the roaring lion. And the reason it is so important to understand this is because too many times we perceive the devil as this huge juggernaut. But he’s not! Greater is He who lives in us than he who lives in the world. Period!
Now another word that the apostle Paul included in Colossians 2:15 is the word parresia which describes “boldness, confidence, openness.” By adding this word, Paul was showing us that this grand celebration was no quiet affair! On the contrary, Jesus “boldly, confidently, and loudly” exposed His disarmed and defeated foe. He completely humiliated the enemy when He exhibited him as defeated for all the world to see. Jesus rubbed his nose in it in a not-so quiet way!
When was Paul referring to this “public spectacle” happening? The word “triumphing” is the Greek word triambeuo. It referred to a “Roman triumph” which was “a glorious triumphal parade”. This was the triumphal procession (or, parade) that the conquering leader would lead back into his kingdom after defeating his enemy.
So, what we can gather from these verses is that Jesus has already totally defeated Satan and his cohorts. It is a finished work! The devil is not going to get any more defeated than he already is! Therefore, we must always approach everything in life with this mindset—that the enemy has already been defeated and we already have the victory!
MORE THAN CONQUERORS
Which leads us to: Because our God is a Winner and because the devil has been defeated by Christ Jesus, we are now winners! Yes, He Himself is a Winner, and desires for His children to win as well. And the good news is that He has done everything that needed to be done to make us victorious and triumphant.
Let’s look at some verses that clearly declare this to us, the church …
First of all, in First Corinthians 15:57, the apostle Paul said, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So, our victorious God has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! In other words, because of the victory that Jesus won on Calvary, we have the victory over every trial and tribulation that comes our way! We are victorious in Christ!
In a similar Scripture (Second Corinthians 2:14), the apostle Paul said, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
Now the word “triumph” here is the same word used for “triumphing” in Colossians 2:15 which again describes a victory parade for a conquering army and its leader. So, by saying that He is leading us in this victory parade, Paul is saying that we are the soldiers that accompany Jesus after He spoiled the principalities and powers and led them in this humiliating parade. In other words, we partake in His victory without ever having to fight the battle.
That’s why Paul said what he did in Romans 8:37— “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
What does this mean to be more than a conqueror? How can you be more than a conqueror? Let me give you a great example: There are many athletes who, week-in and week-out, train and practice to become the best at their respective sports. They work extremely hard to defeat each of their fellow competitors. But when these hardworking athletes are victorious, they are not true examples of someone who is "more than a conqueror." So, who is the one who is "more than a conqueror" in this situation? It is their spouse! Yes, their spouses are the ones that are more than conquerors because they never had to go through the countless hours of training and they never had to compete; yet they partake of the prize money from their spouse's victories. In other words, they get to spend the money their spouses worked so hard to earn. The successful athletes are conquerors, but their spouses are more than conquerors.
Here is how this applies to us: We, the bride of Christ, never had to step into the arena with the devil and earn our salvation. Our Divine Husband fought the battle for us, so that now, we can partake in the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness, and reign in life (Romans 5:17). Jesus died and rose again to purchase everything that we could never afford. He came to give us life and life more abundantly when we did not deserve it. Therefore, as the bride of Christ, we get to partake in the spoils left behind by our Glorified Husband's victory over death, hell, and the grave. Amen. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Glory to Jesus!
So, based on Second Corinthians 2:14, what is our responsibility? If our Divine Husband won the victory for us, what do we have to do? Paul said to just be thankful. Just show gratitude and appreciation to the one who “graced” you with said victory! And then just let the fragrance of that victory be with you wherever you go. In other words, allow your life to reek of victory!
Church, do you know what stinks? Losing stinks. Anyone who tells you they enjoy losing is lying to you. Now you can still have your joy when you lose, but you are not going to be happy with losing. On the contrary, winning is a pleasant aroma, and a smell that should follow our lives as children of God.
So, it is clear that God has given us the victory and He always leads us in triumph! Victory is ours and we always win in Christ! That is who we are! Glory!
Therefore, you are not a loser. The world might have told you that you’re a loser, that you’re not cool and it doesn’t accept you, but the gospel is that you and I are truly winners! We are made acceptable in the Beloved! We are more than conquerors as His beloved! Therefore, it couldn’t get any better for us! This should keep a smile plastered across our faces—to where an attitude of gratitude is the fragrance we are putting off and we are rejoicing like any fanatic does out there when their team wins the championship! I’ll tell you—we’ve won the greatest championship there ever was! Therefore, we are more than winners! Now let’s go home and eat our chicken dinners!
Today we are continuing our look at our spiritual identity through a series I’ve entitled “In the Mirror.” And what we have been doing for the past couple of months is looking into the mirror of God’s Word and seeing what we look like from God’s perspective.
How many of you know that His is the only opinion we need to pay attention to? If He says that we are loved, chosen, holy, righteous, free, etc. then that is all that matters. People will not always choose us. They will not always value us. But if God has said that we are precious to Him and has decided to indwell us, then what difference does it make how others view us?
But it does make a difference how we view ourselves—for if we do not put faith in what this mirror says we are, then we will by default seek the approval and commendations of men.
And as we’ve learned, another benefit of us beholding what we look like in this spiritual mirror is that it will change us on the outside. Our kickoff Scripture out of Second Corinthians 3:18 teaches us this when it says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
What this means is that, like Moses who radiated the glory of God when he came down from Mount Sinai from being in the presence of God, we too will reflect God’s glory when we get into the presence of God and see from His Word the glory within us! But as we have learned—it’s going to take us climbing this mount and spending time in the presence of God like Moses did, letting Him speak these truths to our hearts and revealing to us who this mirror says that we are! Glory, indeed!
So, what we have been doing in this series is beholding each week one of the things that this mirror says that we are as born-again believers. Thus far, you and I have learned that …
1.I Am Loved
2.I Am His New Creation
3.I Am Chosen
4.I Am Holy
5.I Am Righteous
6.I Am Free
7.I Am Healed
8.I Am Anointed
I AM BLESSED
So, let’s continue today by looking again at Ephesians chapter 1—because we see something else that God has made us when we look in the mirror of these powerful New Testament Scriptures.
In Ephesians 1:3, the apostle Paul begins this “love sentence” with— “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
Now the phrase “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” is just an old English way of saying that our Father God is to be praised. And how many of you know that is the truth!?! He is absolutely worthy to be praised because of all that He has done for us in Christ Jesus. Amen?
But notice what the first thing is that Paul says God deserves to be praised for— “…who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
So, the very first thing that the Holy Spirit inspires the apostle Paul to mention that Christ Jesus has done for us is that He “blessed” us.
Now, first of all, what does it mean to be “blessed?” To be blessed can be described as “divine empowerment.” It means to be favored, empowered, enabled and destined to succeed. The following are some ways that we can accurately identify God’s “blessing”: It is God’s protection, His favor, or His grace. It is a “beneficial thing” like an “advantage, benefit, or a bonus.” It can also be described as “approval or support” like when we say that someone gave a project their blessing. For example, when God called Abram to go to the Promised Land, He promised to bless him & make his name great, and through him, to bless all the families of the earth (See Genesis 12:1-3).
You see, this was God's original design in creation—for His creatures, including mankind, to experience prosperity, peace, and fulfillment. But that design was ruined when sin entered the world. Therefore, many of the things that we see in the world today are not here by “God’s blessing.” They are a product of the curse placed on this world through Adam’s transgression.
But being blessed is not a hard thing to define. However, religion has helped us in misunderstanding what is a blessing and what is not. They will call many horrible things that people experience in this life “blessings in disguise” when God actually called those same things that steal, kill, and destroy our lives, “curses.”
No, church, a blessing is a blessing and a curse is a curse. Let’s keep that straight. And if it comes to rob us and take life from us, it is not a blessing at all. Amen.
So, the first thing that we see in this awesome section of Scriptures that Paul says God has done for us is that He has blessed us! Glory to God!
HE HAS ALREADY BLESSED US
But notice that this does not say that God will bless us or even that He is blessing us; no, the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to say that He has blessed us! So, what this means is that God has already done this for us. Yes, He has already put this to our account. We already are the blessed of the Lord because our God and Father has blessed us. Amen!
Again, this is another one of those examples of God revealing to us that something spiritual is already ours to where we are going to have to look in this spiritual mirror in order to see it. And like it is with many of the other things that we have learned in this series, we might not see it by looking in the natural. Yes, we might not look blessed, we might not feel blessed, we might not see any evidence of this blessing in our lives right now. But we must believe what we see in this spiritual mirror over what we see in this physical mirror.
You see, the blessing of the Lord that is on our lives will not always be apparent. I think of the patriarchs in the Old Testament, beginning with Abraham. They didn’t always appear to be blessed. They went through wilderness seasons on their way to the Promised Land that God had for them. We see this in the life of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and perhaps the best example of this is in Joseph’s life.
Joseph was always blessed of the Lord and God even gave him a dream of how he would experience the fruits of that blessing. But before he reached the palace, he was in the pit. Yes, he appeared to be the least blessed person on the face of the earth at one point, but like that cork that always rises to the top, Joseph ascended to the second most important position on the earth.
So, while being blessed might have the promise of life being a bed of roses; we need to remember that there are thorns in there too. However, the beauty of the blessing is that even though there likely will be times that the enemy will try and suppress us, we are like the corks that will always rise back to the top when we embrace the blessing that is on our lives. Amen?
Church, I’m here to tell you that this same blessing that was on Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph is on our lives as well! It is a tangible thing that empowers us to experience increase, favor, prosperity, and everything else that is included in God’s best in our lives.
But someone might say, “Yeah, but doesn’t Ephesians 1:3 say that what God has blessed us with is every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places?” It sure does, and that is absolutely the most important thing we have been blessed with!
You see, this spiritual mirror clearly reveals to us that we have been blessed with all things that pertain to life and godliness (Second Peter 1:3). Therefore, we are RICH spiritually—nothing missing, broken, or lackin’ in our spiritual lives. But this does not mean that we cannot see the fruit of this blessing in our physical lives too—because when we study the lives of these patriarchs, they experienced physical, tangible blessings in their lives along with their spiritual virtues of faith, hope and love. My point is that it does not have to be one or the other. We can and should have both! Yes, the blessing that is on our lives is to be both spiritually and physically.
Isn’t this New Covenant described as a “new and better covenant” (Hebrews 8:6)? I believe what makes this covenant you and I enjoy today a better covenant is that, yes, while it now includes being born again, receiving the Holy Spirit, etc., these new blessings are not just a substitute for the promised blessings they had under the Old Covenant. No, I personally believe that what Jesus came to provide us with is these New Testament spiritual blessings and the Old Testament physical blessings! Yes, I’ll have that. Amen.
THE BLESSING OF ABRAHAM
So, with that in mind, let’s look over at Galatians chapter 3 where the apostle Paul gives us a good word on what Jesus has done for us in this respect. Let’s begin in verse 7 …
Galatians 3:7-9 says, “Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.”
You see, the Jewish community has a whole thought that because they were Abraham’s physical descendants that they were children of Abraham. John the Baptist corrected this wrong thinking by saying to the Jewish religious leaders at one point, “Don't think you can say to yourselves, 'We have father Abraham!' because I tell you that God can raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones!” (Matthew 3:9) In another instance, Jesus said that if they were Abraham’s children, they would do the works of Abraham (John 8:39). Then he went on to tell Abraham’s natural descendants that they were of their father the devil (John 8:44). So, all of this adds up to the fact that natural lineage does not make one a son of Abraham. As Paul says here, only those who of faith are sons of Abraham. Are you of faith? Then you are a son or daughter of Abraham! And guess what else you are if you are a son or daughter of Abraham? Verse 9 tells us that we are blessed with believing Abraham!
Saints, believers are blessed! As Paul says, those who are “of faith” are the blessed ones. Which brings up an important point as Paul goes on to describe in verses 10-12—it is not those who place themselves under the works of the law that are blessed. Those people are doomed to live under the curse. Why? Because the blessing does not occur in one’s life by the things they do or don’t do. The blessing comes to those who believe in what Christ has done! Friends, we don’t want to be “under the curse.” I personally want to be “under the blessing!” Hallelujah!
But as Paul says in verse 13, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law because He became the curse for us. And if you recall, we have looked at what this curse of the law entailed from Deuteronomy 28:16-68 and it was not a pretty thing. It basically describes the worst possible things that can happen to someone. It summarized everything from poverty, physical sickness, oppression, mental illness, all the way to physical death of themselves and the affliction of their children. It was horrible!
I encourage you to read through these verses, but what we must remember when reading it is that Jesus Christ has redeemed us from all of these things! So, if we find it in these verses, we know we have been redeemed from it and, therefore, the price has already been paid for us not to experience any of these curses in our lives. Amen!
So, let’s look at what it means to be “cursed” in general: The dictionary defines being “cursed” as being “damned, doomed, devoted to destruction, (We don’t want to get “D’s” in this class, amen? We want to get “A’s and B’s”- Absolutely Blessed!) afflicted or plagued.” In our modern-day terminology, we might say it is to be “jinxed or unfortunate.”
How many of you know that this should not be the testimony of a follower of Christ!?! We are not to live lives that reflect that we are jinxed, unlucky or unfortunate! In fact, the exact opposite should be true for a Christian! People should look at our lives and say, “Man, they are so blessed. Things just work out for them. They are always happy no matter what they are going through. Etc. etc. etc.”
Yes, our reality should reflect Paul’s words in Galatians 3:14— “that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
So, what Paul was saying is that not only are we redeemed from something; we are redeemed unto something! And this is such an important point when it comes to the faith: Jesus did not just come to save us from not experiencing the penalty and punishment of sin; He came to provide a more abundant life (John 10:10). Yes, He has made the way for us to experience a new, blessed, resurrection life!
And here we see what Jesus died that we might have—the blessing of Abraham.
So, what exactly is this blessing of Abraham? Many read this to say, “the blessings of Abraham”—thinking that being blessed is just having a lot of stuff. But this is something that we need to renew our minds to because there is a difference between being “blessed” and having “blessings.” Being blessed is the empowerment to prosper and obtain blessings, but the blessings are not the root of the blessing. They are simply the fruit of the blessing.
We are told in Proverbs 10:22— “The Blessing of the Lord makes one rich and adds no sorrow to it.” Notice that in this Scripture, the blessing of the Lord is separated from riches. We, likewise, need to separate the two because the blessing is not wealth; it is the power to get wealth (See Deuteronomy 8:18).
You see, the blessing of the Lord is an intangible thing. If our house were to burn down today, we are still blessed. Abraham’s blessing is not a donkey, a camel, a tent, etc. It is the root of the things he possessed. So, the blessing of the Lord is an intangible thing that affects tangible things.
To the Jews, they understood the blessing because they grew up in it. We here in the United States do not understand this as well. We like to label blessings as things, but the Jews did not see it that way. Therefore, the blessing of Abraham is not his things; the blessing of Abraham was God’s favor, grace, protection, and empowerment to prosper that was upon Abraham’s life. And now that same blessing is ours as well! Glory!
So, what I would like us to focus on now is what this blessing of Abraham that we have been blessed with looks like. In other words, I want us to look at the characteristics and qualities of the Lord’s blessing which we can see described in Deuteronomy 28:1-14.
Now someone might say, “But this is the blessing of the law in Deuteronomy chapter 28, not the blessing of Abraham.” Yes, but the blessing of the law is simply more of a thorough description of the blessing of Abraham—for it was passed on to the descendants of Abraham, showing them what their forefather’s blessings were and still are.
Now as we begin looking at the different examples that the Lord used to describe how they were to be blessed, we need to understand that He was referring to the specific things they could relate to because they were primarily farmers and shepherds.
I AM BLESSED IN THE CITY AND IN THE COUNTRY
So, with that in mind, let’s look at this first example from that perspective: What does it mean to be blessed in the city and blessed in the country? (Deuteronomy 28:3)
This basically just describes whether we are in one kind of area or another, we are to be blessed. Now by understanding who this was that He was referring to, you can tell why He said this. Why? Because these farmers and shepherds by trade might have been able to see themselves as blessed “in the country,” but they might not have been able to see themselves blessed “in the city.”
You see, some people just seem to have a hard time if they are in a particular situation and cannot see themselves successful in something that is outside of their familiarity or comfort zone. While they might do well if they are in the “city” which is where commerce, people, technology etc. surround them, they don’t do well in the “country” where things operate a little differently. On the other hand, some people just seem to be “cursed” no matter what their situation is or where they are at. They fail in the man-made places, and they fail in the God-made places.
The Bible tells us that Isaac sowed in the year of famine and reaped a hundredfold harvest (See Genesis 26:12). This was in the worst economic situation imaginable, and he didn’t just “make it,” he actually prospered and prospered greatly!
I am reminded of the story of Abraham and his nephew Lot: When the strife came up between their herdsman, Abraham gave the choice to Lot which land he would take. Of course, Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom (i.e. the city) while Abraham took the lesser land. Do you know why? First off, because Abraham loved Lot and preferred him above himself (this is the way the blessed man or woman will act), but also because Abraham knew God’s blessing was upon him and it didn’t matter who had the better land. He was going to be blessed no matter where his “lot” was (pun intended). Amen!
Friends, as the blessed of the Lord, we do not need to have the right situation to prosper. I am blessed whether I am in the place that has the most or if I am in the place that has the least. No, we are not limited by our situation; we are only limited in our unbelief of this particular truth—that we are blessed no matter what and no matter where.
Someone will say, “Well, I just have a tough time if I work out of town where I don’t know people etc.” No, don’t say that! Rather say, “I’m blessed no matter where I am! I’m redeemed from failure no matter where I am positioned! Amen!”
You see, this is why you see the strange consistencies in people who win the lottery going bankrupt within a short period of time. How is that possible? Well, it’s because prosperity is not just having more stuff; true prosperity begins on the inside, not the outside. So, until we see ourselves as blessed and act like a blessed person acts (i.e. being a wise steward, etc.), we will not keep it on the outside.
BLESSED IS THE FRUIT OF MY BODY AND THE PRODUCE OF MY GROUND
Verse 4 goes on to say, “Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.”
The “fruit of your body” is a reference to your offspring. Did you know that just as our children could be cursed simply by the failure of the parents to obey all of God’s commandments under the law, our children can be blessed simply by the obedience of Jesus to go to the Cross for us? Amen! Yes, we can expect the fruit of our body to be blessed—to increase financially, to do well physically and to love and serve God passionately!
It doesn’t matter how far gone they seem, just let your confession be that of Deuteronomy 28:4— “The fruit of my body is blessed, and I’ll have nothing less!” This is yours, saints! And don’t let the devil lie to you, telling you that they can’t succeed because you didn’t raise them right, or that you didn’t teach them in the ways of God when they were young, etc. No, this promise is just as good for someone who gets a hold of the truth at middle age as it is for anyone else. God can reverse the curse upon your children—when you begin to mix faith together with these truths! Amen!
Then this verse says, “(Blessed shall be) the produce of your ground!” Now, again, the Lord was using the terms that the Israelites understood because they were farmers and shepherds.
Their “ground” was the place where their increase and provision came from. So, this would describe our workplace—the “ground” by which our increase comes from. Since this refers to our ground, this could also refer to our own businesses, etc. Regardless, the place where our provision comes from will be blessed! Amen!
Did you know that the place you work for is blessed simply because you work there? It sure is—whether you know it or not. We see this in the life of Jacob—how the Lord blessed Laban for the sake of Jacob. Laban himself said, “Please stay, if I have found favor in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for your sake.” (Genesis 30:27) We also see this in the life of Joseph that the Lord blessed the house of Potiphar because of Joseph. (see Genesis 39:5)
Saints, this is the kind of blessing that we should carry into our workplace! He said that He would bless us in all that we set our hand unto (Deuteronomy 28:8).
But herein lies a very important principle concerning this blessing: You need to set your hand to something! If you do not set your hand to something—God has nothing to bless. The Lord said if you do not work, you do not eat (Second Thessalonians 3:10). Now I understand that there are people out there who are physically incapable of working, but there is always something that we can set our hands to.
Let me also take this from the standpoint of seeing God’s blessing in ministry: If you do not follow the Biblical mandate to lay hands on the sick, you won’t see many people healed. Sure, we can just speak the Word, but my point is that we need to get off our hands and start putting those hands on someone. Just sitting in our home asking God to bless, use and provide for us without getting out there and making ourselves available to be blessed, used, and provided for is not God’s best.
Hard work, diligence, integrity and faithfulness—these are marks of a blessed man or woman of God. And if we want to walk in the blessing to where whatever we set our hand to, will prosper and be blessed, our hands need to be working that which is good. (Compare Ephesians 6:5-8)
You see, saints, God’s will is for our lives to reek so much of the blessing that all you are seeing is increase, after increase, after increase. This is why Deuteronomy 28:4 goes on to say that He will bless “the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.” Amen! I don’t have to tell you what your herds, cattle and flocks represent, do I? This is your stuff! Man, my house is blessed! My yard is blessed! My car is blessed! My pets are even blessed! I am blessed, blessed, blessed!
BLESSED IS MY BASKET AND KNEADING BOWL
Notice verse 5 now: It says, “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.” Now I know that these two examples don’t mean a lot to us today, but let’s look at what they represent:
The “basket” was what they used to collect their harvest from the fields (i.e. it was what they used to contain and carry their increase). Amen! So what would this be for us? How about our bank account, investments, purse or wallet? That’s where you put your increase, right?
I can’t help but think of Jesus feeding the multitudes and how, after He had given thanks and blessed the bread and the fish, he gave them to His disciples to distribute to the crowd. Now I envision that if they were feeding thousands of people, the disciples distributed the loaves and fishes in something—maybe in the baskets that they used to collect the fragments, right?
But can you see what was happening here? These five loaves and two small fish actually began multiplying as the disciples were distributing them. Now I don’t personally believe that they even physically saw how they were multiplying; but that after they took some out of the baskets to give to people, it just seemed like more was there the next time their hand went to grab some more.
Saints, this is how the blessing works, glory to God! Your basket is blessed! So, as you become this “distributing disciple”—that is, that believer who sees themselves as a sower—God will supernaturally multiply your account’s bottom line, Hallelujah!
Saints, if you are living in such a way that seems like you have holes in your basket and it disappears just as quick as it you put it in there, that’s the curse—and you are redeemed from that! Jesus paid the price for you to be redeemed from having holes in your pockets! Amen!
Now for the kneading bowl: This was the device that was used by the women of their day to knead dough for the purpose of making bread. So, our “kneading bowl” would be described as the thing that we use to make our bread. No, I am not necessarily talking about that thing you use to make natural bread; I’m talking about your money maker, or you could say our “kneading bowl” is the thing that creates our increase. Amen!
So, our basket and our kneading bowl describe the things we use to carry our increase and the things we use to create our increase.
BLESSED COMING IN AND GOING OUT
Deuteronomy 28:6 goes on to say, “Blessed shall you be when you come in and blessed shall you be when you go out.” (Compare Psalm 121:8)
This means that we are blessed when we start out, and we are blessed when we go out—from beginning to end, we are blessed!
Now, again, being blessed does not mean that we will not incur challenges—where it does not seem like we are blessed. You will have times and seasons where you will have to operate by faith and not by sight. Job did.
The Scriptures teach us that he was the greatest of all the people of the East, living in the land of Uz. And the Bible describes his “greatness” as him, first of all, being “blameless and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil.” (Job 1:1) But then it goes on to describe his possessions—7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys and a very large household. (Job 1:3) Yes, this man was super blessed coming in!
But then everyone seems to get hung up on the trials of Job and miss one of the greatest historical points of his story: Although he suffered more than any man should have to suffer—losing his family, his health and his possessions, the Bible tells us in the last chapter of the Book of Job that “the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10) Also, verse 12 said, “Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. (Sounds like He was blessed going out, huh?) He also had 7 sons and 3 daughters (Job 42:13). Lastly, we are told— “After this Job lived 140 years, and saw his children and grandchildren for 4 generations. So Job died, old and full of days.” (Job 42:16-17). This verse reminds me of Psalm 91:16— “With long life I will satisfy him, and show him my salvation.” Saints, we should become so old that even old people call us old—living out fullness of days and experiencing the fullness of His salvation all the way!
We should be blessed coming into this world and blessed going out of it too! Amen!
And there are many other blessings the Lord goes on to describe in verses 7-13—blessings which include being the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath, lending to many nations but not needing to borrow. This is what God’s blessing on His people looks like.
THE TRULY BLESSED MAN
And in conclusion, the key to all of this is seeing ourselves this way. Not basing this on our past or recent experiences, but like it is with all of these things we’ve been learning, looking in this mirror and letting it tell you what you look like. Amen?
One of my favorite examples of this is found again in the life of Joseph: In Genesis chapter 39, after Joseph was sold by his brothers, it starts off by saying, “Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there” (Genesis 39:1). Have you felt like you are “down there” too? At some point in our life, I’m sure we’ve all felt like we are lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut. But again, that is not where the blessed man or woman of God stays. Like cream, we will always rise to the top! Hallelujah!
So, picture what was happening here with Joseph: He was in his lowest state. He had just been betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery for 20 shekels of silver (Sound familiar, huh? Wasn’t Jesus sold for 30 pieces of silver by Judas?). Now Joseph, being stripped of his tunic of many colors, was standing stripped of his coat that represented his favor, being sold into slavery. So, for all intents and purposes, Joseph looked as though he had been stripped of all favor and had hit rock bottom being sold into slavery. But then in Genesis 39:2we are told that the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a “successful” man! Most translations say that he was a prosperous man, which is a more accurate translation when you look at the Hebrew word being used.
Now, mind you, this statement that Joseph was a prosperous man was on the heels of him being in the lowest place of his life. And it was before verse 3, which goes on to tell us how Potiphar saw that the Lord was with him and made all he set his hand to prosper.
But notice that this mirror called him a successful, prosperous, and blessed man before anyone saw the evidence of it. That is where we need to see ourselves—as blessed before we see any evidence of it. Amen?
Church, this mirror reveals to us that we have been blessed, and it is up to us to stand up in our situations and circumstances that might not reflect that we are blessed, and say, “I am a successful man! I am a blessed woman!” We say it because that is what we see in this mirror. Amen and amen!
This week, we are continuing our look at our spiritual identity through a series I’ve entitled “In the Mirror.” In this series, we have been looking at various things that our spiritual mirror says that we are: We have seen that we are loved, we are His workmanship, we are chosen, we are holy, we are righteous, we are free, and most recently, we are healed. All of these being things we see when we look into the mirror of God’s Word.
So, let me quickly review what we’ve learned thus far: We have seen in this series where Paul said as we behold the truths of this New and Better Covenant, that we are changed into the same image from glory to glory (Second Corinthians 3:18). That means that just as Moses was physically affected when He beheld God on Mount Sinai when He gave the law to Him, we too will be affected by the glory of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we have learned that it’s going to take us climbing this mount and spending time in the presence of God like Moses did, letting Him speak these truths to our hearts and revealing to us who this mirror says that we are! Hallelujah!
So, you and I have learned that when we climb that mountain and get into the presence of God, He will reveal to us that:
1.I Am Loved
2.I Am His New Creation
3.I Am Chosen
4.I Am Holy
5.I Am Righteous
6.I Am Free
7.I Am Healed
So, let’s move on to something else that this mirror shows us that we are:
Now you have likely heard me say that you are anointed before in one of my messages, in one of the blessings that we say on Sunday’s, or just in casual conversation, but it is true—In Christ Jesus, you and I really are anointed! Just as much as we are righteous, chosen, loved, free, healed, etc. in Christ Jesus, you and I are anointed.
So, let’s look at some verses that verify this, shall we?
WHO IS THE ANOINTING?
Now there are some squirrely ideas in the Body of Christ regarding the anointing. A common misconception is that some are anointed, and some are not. There are those who preach, prophesy, or are used to work miracles, and then there is you. They are anointed and you are not. But that is simply not true! And while it is true in regard to whether one has received the Holy Spirit or not, it is not true that some Spirit-filled people are anointed and some are not. The truth is that everyone who has had the Holy Spirit poured out on them is anointed.
Let me take you to a couple of Scriptures that verifies this:
In First John 2:20, we are told we have an anointing from the Holy One. It doesn’t say that we hope to be anointed or we will be anointed by Him someday. No, it says that we all—every born-again, Spirit-baptized believer—have an anointing from the Holy One Himself (i.e. Jesus)! And in the context of First John chapter 2, the Holy Spirit is obviously the anointing being spoken of (See verse 27).
Now do you remember when Jesus said in Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to…” This means that Jesus was anointed for service unto His Father. Therefore, since we have been anointed with the same anointing that He was anointed with, then the same Spirit that He had, we have! Amen!
But notice here that we see the equivalent to being anointed is having the Spirit of the Lord upon us. Again, this quote from Isaiah 61:1 is saying that because He has anointed His Messiah, the Holy Spirit is upon Him. In other words, being anointed is having the Holy Spirit poured on us like the anointing oil was poured on the kings & priests. Thus, the reason we can see the Holy Spirit being what the anointing oil represents.
Also, do you remember when we studied the 23rd Psalm and saw how David said that “He anoints my head with oil” (See Psalm 23:5)? Well, when we looked at that, we saw that the good life that God wills for all of His children to live is the anointed life. In other words, like David, we all can declare that He anoints our heads with oil.
So, the anointing is not just some special thing bestowed upon certain individuals. No, the anointing is the person, presence, and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That is why the Bible says that we who have received the Holy Spirit from the Holy One Himself are anointed.
So, the appropriate question then is not “What is the anointing?” The correct question is— “Who is the anointing?” because the anointing is not a thing, it is a Person, namely, the Third Person of the Godhead.
You see, the Holy Spirit is the “Anointing” whom God has poured out on us in such richness and extravagance! He is Who has filled these cups up and Who flows out of our bellies like rivers of living water!
ANOINTED FOR WHAT?
Now when one studies this idea of the “anointing” in the Old Testament, they can find some very interesting things:
In the Old Testament, we see various people and things being “anointed” with oil: Originally, it was used exclusively for the anointing of the priesthood as well as the articles of the Tabernacle (Exodus 30:26) and subsequently, the Temple in Jerusalem. However, it was used later to include the anointing of kings for their role (First Samuel 10:1). So, according to the Scriptures, the oil was used to anoint the kings, priests, and the articles of the Tabernacle.
But why was this done? Well, let’s begin answering this question by looking at what the Bible says was the purpose of the oil. In Leviticus 8:30, the anointing oil is referred to as having sanctifying power. In this verse, it is described how Moses was instructed to “anoint” the priesthood: “Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar, and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments, on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him; and he consecrated Aaron, his garments, his sons, and the garments of his sons with him.” The word “consecrated” here literally means to dedicate, to set apart, and make holy. In other words, it essentially means to sanctify something or someone for some special purpose (Sounds a lot like we saw in this series about holiness, doesn’t it?). And in Exodus 29:7, we are told specifically how the oil was applied to Aaron and his sons. It says, “And you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him.”
So now we get some answers as to both how and why people were anointed with oil. It was to set them apart and consecrate them for their calling and purpose. And when it came to the Kings and High Priest, this occurred by pouring the oil on their heads—all of this being significant to the church today—because if we all have been anointed, then this is why—so we can be consecrated as His royal priesthood!
Did you know that we too have been made Kings and Priests unto our God? Revelations 1:6 says that Jesus has made us Kings and Priests to His God and Father! So, guess what that means? If we have been made kings and priests, then God must have anointed us too, right? Amen! Therefore, we are the ones anointed to be kings and priests in this new and better covenant (see First Peter 2:9)! Praise God, He has anointed us to be His heirs and His ministers!
Also, did you know that we are now the Temple and Tabernacle of God? For He does not dwell in temples made with hands, but now dwells in the temple of our bodies (see Acts 7:48 & 17:24). So again, if we are the Temple of God today, then we must be anointed by God! Therefore, we are anointed to be indwelt by Him. Glory!
But let’s look in more detail at this thing we just saw in the mirror—the truth that we are now God’s anointed kings and priests. There is a difference in both of these terms that illustrate to us what we are anointed for. We are “anointed” to be His children (those born [again] to be His kings) and we are “anointed” to serve Him (i.e. priests).
GOD’S PRIESTHOOD TODAY
Let’s first look at the fact that we are God’s anointed priesthood today:
You see, the Levitical priesthood were called to be the Lord’s ministers—those who served God for Israel. Therefore, I see this as symbolically showing us one of the purposes of the anointing—to minister on God’s behalf to the people.
More specifically, all throughout the Scriptures when we see someone being anointed with oil that is symbolic of the Holy Spirit being poured out on them to set free and deliver one from a particular bondage.
We see it used in the latter way in James 5:14-15 where the anointing with oil is seen as a method to bring healing and deliverance to the afflicted. This, of course, is not saying that there is inherent power in the oil itself to heal someone; rather, it is using oil as a contact point between the minister and the one receiving ministry. And since “oil” is symbolic of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the anointing of the sick with oil is a symbol showing how it is the power of the Holy Spirit to set the captive free.
Now here is an interesting point: Regarding the New Testament usage of the word “anointed,” it comes from the Greek word chrio. This word was a medical term describing a physician pouring oil on his hands and then rubbing it into the body of the patient until the oil was transferred from the doctor’s hands deep into the skin of the patient. So, the word chrio has to do with “the hands” of the doctor as well as the oil itself. It describes God as being the Great Physician Who has the Holy Spirit as a type of oil on His hands, and once He has the Holy Spirit on His hands, He can’t wait to get His hands on the believer. Once He does, He begins to rub and rub until the believer is totally saturated (i.e. baptized) with the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, to be anointed with the Holy Ghost means to be totally saturated with the Holy Ghost. So, saying someone is “anointed” is another way of saying “God’s got His hand on them.” Amen! In fact, we see this phrase “the hand of the Lord” being upon someone used several times in the Old Testament, and it was accompanied with that person doing something supernatural.
Church, the hand of God is upon us! We are anointed—because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit! So, guess what our responsibility is…??? It is to put our anointed hands on people: Notice that the very last sign that Jesus said would follow those who believe in Mark 16:18 is: “and they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Church, ministering God’s healing power to the sick is part of what we have been delegated the authority to do in Jesus’ name. It is a sign that is supposed to follow those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! And the truth is—if we have been called to do it, then we have been anointed to do it!
Now we know that the laying on of hands is considered one of the elementary, foundational principles of Christianity (see Hebrews 6:1-2)—which obviously includes more than just administering healing to the sick but also setting someone apart for ministry work among other things. But what is it about the laying on of hands that passes healing on to others? It is simple: it is the transference of the Holy Spirit who is upon us onto them. Amen!
But, saints, this is the lesson I want you to walk away with today: If we have been anointed to minister God’s healing through the laying on of hands, then healing is in our hands to give! Now I am making both a literal statement and a metaphorical statement—for while there is a literal transference of the healing power of God through our physical hands, we can see that healing is in our possession (i.e. hands) to give to the sick and infirmed. Amen!
We are all God’s priest’s today—not your pastor, not the evangelist, not the prophet. Every one of us who have received the Holy Spirit have been anointed to serve the Lord by doing exactly what we see in Luke 4:18-19 when Jesus proclaimed— “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Yes, although this passage of Scripture is an obvious reference to Jesus Christ and prophesied of the Anointed One’s ministry, we know that the same Spirit that was upon Him is now upon us. On top of that, First John 4:17 says that “…as He is, so are we in this world”—meaning, we already are positionally representing Him now in this life and are called to practically represent Him in our works and conduct. That echoes John 14:12 which affirmatively declares that we are called to do the same works He did and even greater works!
BORN AGAIN TO BE KINGS
But the anointing is not just what we have to demonstrate God’s power and serve Him with; it is what shows our worth and value to God. I see this as the part of us being anointed to be kings.
If you recall in Psalm 23:5, David said, “He anoints my head with oil.” Now the context of this phrase in Psalm 23:5-6 is of a gracious host honoring his or her guests, and the original Hebrew language paints this same picture in this phrase.
You see, this word “anoints” is not the common word used for the anointing of a king or a priest. It is for this reason that the Hebrew word David used here is only translated “anoints” this one time in the original King James version. And the reason why it is not translated this way any other time is because this word literally describes “to make fat, to thrive or to prosper.”
It is used this way four times in the Book of Proverbs:
1. Proverbs 11:25 - “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.”
2. Proverbs 13:4 - “The soul of a lazy man desires and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”
3. Proverbs 15:30 - “The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones healthy.”
4. Proverbs 28:25 - “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.”
Therefore, based on this choice of words of David, we can clearly see that this describes an anointing all right, but not an anointing for regal or priestly duties. Rather, he was referring to the anointing of a guest at some prestigious banquet with oils and perfumes as a way of honoring them. Yes, the allusion is to the custom of anointing the head on festive occasions, as an indication of prosperity and honor. Therefore, as a whole, it is indicative of the divine favor, of prosperity, and of joy.
So, this oil that our most gracious and honorable Host (the Lord of Hosts, that is) anoints our head with is poured out in such a “full, thriving and prosperous” manner. In other words, He pours oil on our head so abundantly--thus the expression indicates an abundance of oil.
But this is what the regal, wealthy, and prestigious enjoy, and since we are the kings that the King of kings is King of, then we are to enjoy this blessed, good life.
Now as I was studying this verse in Psalms before, I was drawn to our one, very solid biblical example of how this occurs, and it is found in the Gospels: It reminds me of Mary’s anointing Jesus found in Matthew 26, Mark 14, & John 12. For the sake of time, I would like for us to focus in on Mark’s account of this event.
In Mark 14:3-9, we are told that this event transpired when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper. Now Mark just described her as a “woman,” but we know from John’s Gospel that this was Mary, the sister of Martha & Lazarus (see John 12:2-3).
Now in verse 3, we are told that Mary came with an “alabaster flask” (some translations call it a “box”). In short, “alabaster” was a stone commonly found in Israel. It was a hard stone resembling white marble So, the container Mary used to carry the perfumed oil was made of a white, marble-like substance. Ointment, oils and perfumes used to be put in vessels made of alabaster, which kept them pure and unspoiled. The boxes were often sealed with wax, to prevent the perfume from escaping. And we are told in John 12:3 that when Mary broke open her alabaster box, “the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” Alabaster was a strong enough substance to keep the oil or perfume completely contained until the time of its use.
Mark goes on to describe this alabaster flask as containing “a very costly oil of spikenard.” Now "spikenard" was a plant that only grew in the Himalaya mountains of India and Nepal. Therefore, Mary's fragrant oil of spikenard was a rare, imported product in Israel.
Now, how expensive was this spikenard contained in the alabaster flask? Well, we don’t have to speculate because in John 12:5, Judas evaluated that it could have been sold for “three hundred denarii." Now, in their day, one denarius was the wage for one day's labor. So, if Judas' estimate of the value of Mary's spikenard is correct, then it would have been worth close to someone's annual salary, equivalent to several tens of thousands of dollars today.
Other sources tell us that “spikenard’s” great cost stemmed from the fact that it had to be transported over 6,000 miles to reach Palestine, and depending on quality, it sold for as much as 400 denarii per pound (or $750 an ounce in modern purchasing equivalent). That made this that Mary used to anoint Jesus’ body even more valuable than gold!
In fact, this ointment was worth at least 2½ times more than the 30 pieces of silver that Judas received for betraying the Lord, which is obviously why Judas got so upset about it (see Mark 14:4-5 & Compare John 12:5). So, an interesting note regarding this is: this perfume was worth 2½ times what Judas thought Jesus was worth.
Judas’ negative reaction to this act of pure honor and worship is typical of many people’s reaction toward worship today. Judas and some of the other disciples evidently thought this was a waste, but that was only because they didn’t value Jesus as highly as Mary did. Selah.
You see, something’s value is only determined by what others are willing to pay for it. So, even though Judas and some of other disciples thought this was a waste does not mean that the Lord did. Mary obviously thought blessing and honoring Jesus was worth more than a year’s worth of wages and more than silver and gold. Amen! But I believe this reveals to us how much we are worth to Him as well!
Church, we are children of God! Therefore, we are anointed to be kings and rule in His stead! This is what the Holy Spirit living within us reflects to us! Glory!
SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED, I’M YOURS!
So, if the Holy Spirit is the anointing, then when we look in this mirror, we can see that we have the Holy Spirit and are anointed of God! And the good news gets even gooder—because if we have the Holy Spirit then we’ve got some other exceedingly great and precious promises!
Let’s turn over to Ephesians chapter one where we have been seeing many wonderful “In Christ” realities in the mirror of God’s Word:
As I’ve mentioned earlier in this series, Ephesians 1:3-14 is essentially one sentence in the original Greek language. And these verses contain many “In Him” realities that reveal to us our spiritual identity. Well, in the last couple of verses of this (what I like to call) “love sentence” Paul gives us some powerful truths.
Ephesians 1:13-14 say this— “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Here we see some specific things that the apostle Paul said happened when we received the Holy Spirit in our lives. Let’s look at them:
First of all, notice how in verse 14, Paul calls the Holy Spirit our “guarantee of our inheritance.” If you are using the older King James version, you will see how the word “earnest” is used. Now when we talk about the Holy Spirit being our “earnest,” we are not talking about Ernest from TV & the movies. You know what I mean, Vern? No, this word “earnest” is not a name but is where we get the term “earnest money” from. It describes a “deposit or down payment that is a pledge of giving more.” Thus the reason, we see it translated by the New King James translators as “guarantee.”
We see this same word used in Second Corinthians 5:1-5: Now in Second Corinthians 5:1-4, the apostle Paul describes our present life in these physical bodies versus the eternal life that we will have in our resurrected bodies. He uses the examples of dwelling in a tent versus dwelling in a home, as well as being naked versus being clothed. So, understanding that, when Paul says what he does in verse 5— “Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”—we can see that it is God who has made all things ready for us to be both fully clothed with our glorified bodies and to have our permanent residence of resurrected bodies on that Great and Glorious Day. And what He did in the meantime was give us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of what lies ahead.
Ephesians 1:14 says something similar: In it, Paul describes the Holy Spirit as “the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession…” Again, this is obviously talking about our inheritance of receiving the glorification of our physical bodies which were bought with a price.
Therefore, when the Holy Spirit is described as being our “guarantee,” Paul is saying in both of these passages that He is our “down payment or deposit.” Therefore, we can clearly see that He is God’s pledge that more of the same is on the way. This would be similar to how when a buyer of a house pays the deposit, it is understood that he intends to pay the balance. Therefore, the Holy Spirit gives us a little foretaste and a guarantee of the good things to come—that is, when we experience the fullness of our salvation and are glorified. In other words, the Holy Spirit gives us a little heaven on earth—a little taste of the glory; a sample of the resurrection power that is to come! Hallelujah!
Therefore, when we experience Him in fullness, we can get a little intoxicated, a little free, and a little happy. Those experiences are just God’s pledge of the ecstasy that awaits us in heaven. Amen? So, just imagine the most you have experienced God’s glorious presence in this life. Well, that was just a small “deposit” of what we are going to experience in the kingdom of God. This is why it is called (a future) redemption: the inheritance is already ours but still needs to be “redeemed,” like a check you have already received, but is only redeemed when it is presented to the bank.
But He not only is our guarantee of the bliss of heaven, but He is also our promise of the marriage between Jesus and His Bride. In fact, the Greek word that is translated “earnest” can also be used to describe “an engagement ring.” Now what is an engagement ring? It is the pledge of the man to not only marry the woman, but to give her his life and share with her all that he possesses. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the engagement ring that the Bride of Christ has now until the marriage takes place at Jesus’ Second Coming when we will become joint-heirs of everything our Husband owns! Glory and praise to God!
Now speaking of rings, another description of the Holy Spirit is given to us by Paul in Ephesians 1:13: Alongside of the term “Earnest” is the word “Seal.” Again, Paul says that having believed, you and I were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
We see this same term used in Second Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 4:30 that when we believed the gospel of our salvation, we were “sealed” with the Holy Spirit. And notice that in all three of these passages of Scripture, this “sealing” of the Holy Spirit is spoken of as having already taken place. This is important as it pertains to what this term means.
So, what does this mean to be “sealed”? In their days, a “seal” was made by the signet ring of a king or any kind of authority figure when they had important documents or contracts. After wax was poured on the crest of the rolled-up paper, the authority would stamp the spot of wax with his signet ring to “seal” it and to leave his symbol on it.
Therefore, this “sealing” describes four important things:
Therefore, the “seal” represents our identity and security, and it also teaches us of God’s ownership and promises. This is why our hope will not disappoint—because God has poured out the Holy Spirit in our lives, thereby confirming His love for us (Romans 5:5). His Spirit’s witness in us not only lets us know we are God’s children (see Romans 8:15-16), it also gives us little tastes of our eternal inheritance—that is, the redemption of our bodies (see Ephesians 1:13-14). Glory!
So, the Holy Spirit certainly is the mark of God’s grace in our lives—for He shows us that God has set His seal on us as He did with His Beloved Son, Jesus. He is our foretaste of God’s goodness that is to come as well. Praise God, that we have been baptized in the fire of the Holy Ghost and He is here to make these golden lampstands burn bright for God’s glory! Amen.
So, in conclusion, we have already been anointed—anointed to be His kings and priests. This means that we are anointed to reign as the King’s kids and we are anointed to serve the King as His ministers. In other words, we are set apart to be who we are and do what we do. And this anointing of the Holy Spirit shows our value and worth and declares the hope of glory we have before us! Amen and amen!
This week, we are continuing our look at our spiritual identity through a series I’ve entitled “In the Mirror.” Due to the unique aspects of our recordings this week, I am teaching the following message which was aired exclusively for our online audience. So, today’s message will be entitled “I Am Healed.”
You see, we have been looking at various things that our spiritual mirror says that we are: We have seen that we are loved, we are His workmanship, we are chosen, we are holy, we are righteous, and most recently, we are free. All of these being things we see when we look into the mirror of God’s Word. But today, I want us to see that when we look into this spiritual mirror, we also see that we are HEALED.
So, let me quickly review what we’ve learned thus far: We have seen in this series where Paul said as we behold the truths of this New and Better Covenant, that we are changed into the same image from glory to glory (Second Corinthians 3:18). That means that just as Moses was physically affected when He beheld God on Mount Sinai when He gave the law to Him, we too will be affected by the glory of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we learned last week that it’s going to take us climbing this mount and spending time in the presence of God like Moses did, letting Him speak these truths to our hearts and revealing to us who this mirror says that we are! Hallelujah!
So, you and I have learned that when we climb that mountain and get into the presence of God, He will reveal to us that:
1.I Am Loved – This is the filter everything is to be viewed through – the filter of God’s love for us. I also made the point that since we are referred to as the Lord’s “Beloved” many times throughout the New Testament, then that means that not only are we loved by Him, but we “Be-Loved” by Him.
2.I Am His New Creation – Not only can we see that we are loved by God when we look in this mirror, but we can see that we are God’s own work of art, His masterpiece, and His new creation! This means that we are absolutely special, having His treasure placed in these earthen vessels!
3.I Am Chosen – This led us to another part of our spiritual identity—that we are chosen. We learned that in Christ Jesus we have actually been chosen, selected, and predestined. And one of our biggest takeaways is what we were chosen & predestined unto—and Paul says that is to be adopted.
4.I Am Holy – A couple of weeks ago, we delved into the truth that we are also “holy.” And we learned that being holy does not just describe some state of perfection; it can actually mean that we are special, precious and different to God. We saw one of the predominant ways that God sees us by looking at how He refers to us—and we saw that over 50 times in the Epistles of the New Testament, we are called “saints.” Now we learned that “saints” describes “holy ones,” and is the same word used to describe things like the “Holy” Scriptures, the “Holy” Spirit, and the “Holy One,” Jesus Christ Himself. We also made the point that there is a difference between our “who” and our “do.” Yes, we need to be holy in all our conduct! Yes, we ought to live holy lifestyles! But what we need to avoid is basing our holiness on our actions. We are not holy because of what we do; we are holy because of what Christ has done.
5.I Am Righteous – Then the week before last, we discovered that in Christ not only are we holy; we are also righteous. We looked at several verses in the New Testament and saw that while righteousness is certainly not anything that we can acquire on our own—for there is none righteous, no not one, and all of our righteousness is as filthy rags—there is a righteousness that we can be made strictly by the grace of God. So, we looked over at Romans chapter 3 and saw how the apostle Paul beautifully explained this, and we also saw from Second Corinthians 5:21 how God accomplished this in our lives.
6.I Am Free – And last week, we learned that Jesus Christ became for us not only righteousness, and holiness, but also redemption. And we learned that redemption described the payment of a price to purchase someone from slavery or the ransom paid to set free a slave who is in bondage. We also saw that other words that are used to describe “redemption” are “to buy back, to purchase, and to release.” So, when we combine together the various little & subtle words for “redemption,” the word-picture we get is of a slave—a slave in satan’s marketplace to where they are in his possession and under his dominion. But we also learned what the price is that was necessary to secure our redemption—the blood of Jesus. No, it was not the traditional form of currency, silver or gold, that purchased our freedom; it was the precious blood of the Lamb. So then we looked at our redemptive story from Colossians 1:12-14 and saw the full picture of our redemptive story—how we have been delivered and sent away with a complete releasing from bondage to debt (i.e. forgiveness). We looked at the similarities between the word “forgiveness” and the Year of Jubilee because to be forgiven—sent away and dismissed—was not something we had to pay for! Our debt was totally cancelled and nothing else is left to be paid! Praise God, Jesus is our Jubilee—therefore, we are free indeed! So, we looked at a few New Testament verses that teach us about our freedom and learned that we have to stand fast in it (Galatians 5:1)—meaning, we will have to fight to live in it. We also learned from John 8:30-36 that whom the Son of God sets free is really free. But we learned that Jesus was saying that the key to walking in this freedom is walking in the Word—that is, abiding and continuing in the truth of His Word. This is how we will experience true freedom and liberty. Amen and amen!
So now, as promised, I want us to move into something else that we look like in Christ: In Christ, we really are healed! So, let’s begin by looking at Isaiah chapter 53.
WHO SEES WHAT IS REVEALED IN THE MIRROR?
You know, the Book of Isaiah is a unique Book of the Bible. It contains probably more Scriptures about Christ Jesus than any other Old Testament Book. In fact, some have deemed Isaiah as the Fifth Gospel. So, I believe we have a lot of awesome truths reflected in this Prophetic Book that forecasts who we are and what we have in Christ. And chapter 53 is certainly one of the chapters that reflect this best.
Isaiah 53:1 begins by saying, “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Notice these opening questions asked by Isaiah— “Who has believed our report?” and “to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
The “report” that he is referring to is the “news or tidings” (Literal Hebrew for the word “report”) of this new and better covenant. Therefore, this report is the gospel—the good news of our salvation.
So, the question is—who has believed the good news? And did you know that this is the big question—for this great salvation is only available to those who put faith in it. So, based on what we have been studying on these Sunday mornings, I would word this question this way: “Who has believed what they see when they look in this mirror?”
You see, it is all about us believing by faith what God has said is done and what has been made available. Faith in His grace is how everything works in the kingdom of God. So, as Jesus was well-known for saying, “The kingdom of God is like”—it is like this, by grace through faith. Amen.
So, in order for these awesome truths contained in the gospel to be appropriated to our lives, we need to believe them—faith which comes by hearing and hearing (Romans 10:17). Amen.
But it is not just about hearing and believing it; it is important that we have it revealed to us as well. That is why the second half of Isaiah 53:1 goes on to say, “And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
You see, one of the most important aspects of believing the gospel we hear is having it revealed to us. If you recall, I said a week or two ago that Peter had to have it revealed to him by God that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. That’s what Jesus said—that flesh and blood did not reveal this to Him, but His Father who is in heaven. So, I made the point that not only do we need to have revealed to us who Jesus is like this, but we also need to ask ourselves the following question—Who do we say that we are? And the truth is that “we are in Christ and we are sons of the living God!” But again, flesh and blood cannot reveal this to us! We need to get revelation of these truths by God! Amen?
And again, the way that we get revelation from heaven is by spending time in the presence of God, meditating on His Word day and night, and opening ourselves up to receiving this revelation from the Father—for the Lord promised us that when we search for these things with all our heart, we will find them. Amen.
But I want you to notice that Isaiah mentions something specific being revealed to us—the arm of the Lord. What is the arm of the Lord?
Well, when you study the Scriptures, you will find that the Lord repeatedly uses the description of His outstretched and mighty arm to show how He wrought salvation for His people. Here are some examples: Exodus 6:6, Deuteronomy 4:34, 7:19, Psalm 98:1, etc.
You see, God’s Word reveals to us the various times when God has used His power: The main references are to the creation of the universe around us. Psalm 8:3 tells us that when God created the stars and the whole universe that He only used His “fingers.” That’s a wonderful testimony to how strong and mighty God is if it only took the strength of His fingers to create the sun, moon, stars, etc. An even greater testimony describing how much He cares for us is found in Psalm 102:25 where the Word tells us that He used His “hands” to create the earth and the atmosphere around it. How does this show how much He cares for us? It is because when creating the place that we were going to live, He used more of His strength and effort to make sure that it was “good” and suitable for His creation. In the first chapter of Genesis we are told little about the creation of the universe, but we learn much about the making of the earth because He spent six days on the earth. And He took more time with the earth than He did with the heavens because earth was going to be the home of those that He would create in His own image and likeness. Up to this point we’ve learned the greatest amount of power God has ever used is the strength of His hands to create the earth for mankind, but the “exceeding greatness” of His power that He used, according to Ephesians 1:19, was the power that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.
And as we are seeing here in the great redemptive chapter of Isaiah that describes what Jesus accomplished through His death, burial and resurrection, it was the arm of the Lord that wrought so great a salvation for us! Therefore, the exceeding greatness of God’s power used when raising Christ from the dead was His “arm!” Which again was a far greater power than the power it took to create a planet! Glory!
Needless to say, we need to have this awesome power revealed to us—for it is far greater than the natural mind can comprehend!
REGARD NOT THE FLESH
Then, in verses 2-3, the Prophet Isaiah begins to describe the Messiah by saying, “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”
First of all, in verse 2, when we are told that Jesus would grow up before His Father like a tender plant and as a root out of dry ground, what is being described here is how Jesus would come from a relatively obscure background—out of Nazareth—and how He would even have to grow up like a man does.
Then in the rest of the second verse, we see how Jesus would not come with any “stately form” or “splendor” (i.e. form or comeliness) and that there would be nothing special about Him according to the flesh. What this means is that Jesus would not necessarily give any evidence on the outside of who He was on the inside.
And, boy, isn’t that applicable to what we are learning here today—who we are in the natural certainly does not reflect to us who we are in the spirit! That is why the apostle Paul told us what He did in Second Corinthians 5:16 when he said that we are not to regard anyone according to the flesh. Church, who we are physically is not at all a clear reflection as to who we are on the inside.
Therefore, what verse 3 goes on to say is to be expected in us: Just as He was despised and rejected by men mainly due to the fact that He did not look the part, we need to avoid disesteeming and rejecting who God has made us because we are only being carnally minded.
Then in verse 3, Isaiah describes Jesus in the following way—"a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Now as we will see when we get to verse 4, these words “sorrows” and “grief” mean more than just what they mean to us in the English language. These Hebrew words literally describe “sicknesses” and “pains.” Now this does not mean that Jesus lived a life of sickness and physical pain. No, this is referring more to Him bearing and carrying our sicknesses and pains as can be seen in verse 4.
But as He hung on that Cross—afflicted with our sin, sicknesses, etc.—mankind was said to have hid our faces from Him (i.e. to turn away in disgust and horror) all because we did not see the value He held.
But now I want us to move on to verses 4-5—because here we begin to see a beautiful description of what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross! It is awesome!
Isaiah 53:4-5 says, “Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
First of all, notice how these verses begin with the word “Surely.” This is a word that we see several times in the Word of God. Let’s look at few of them …
Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” Psalms 85:9 says, “Surely, His salvation is near to those who fear Him…” In Psalm 91:3, it says, “Surely, He shall deliver you…” Psalms 112:6 says, “Surely he (the righteous) will never be shaken…”
Now some synonyms for the word “Surely” are as follows: “assuredly, certainly, definitely; doubtless, easily, hands down; inarguably, indisputably; undeniably, undoubtedly, unquestionably, unarguably; clearly, plainly, really, truly.” Therefore, when we see the word “Surely” attached to a statement in God’s Word, this means we can take it to the bank! It is a done deal!
But do you know why we, under this new and better covenant, can particularly be so confident? It is because He already has delivered us! He already has healed us! He already has blessed us! Yes, He already has poured out His goodness and mercy on us through Christ Jesus! So, as far as God’s concerned, it has already been done! Amen! SURELY, God’s grace is in our account!
Well, here in Isaiah 53:4, we are told that “Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” So, guess what we can take the bank? That Jesus clearly, really, and surely took care of our griefs and sorrows.
Now as I alluded to earlier, in the Hebrew language, these words “griefs” and “sorrows” literally describe “sicknesses” and “pains.” In fact, in the original King James version, the word for “griefs” is translated “grief(s)” just 4 times, but it is translated “sickness or disease” 19 times. The word “sorrows,” yes, describes mental pain, but it also describes physical pain. So, it is clear that these griefs that Jesus bore and these sorrows that He carried are not just our emotional sadness and sorrows; these are our actual sicknesses and pains! Glory to God!
Now Christians love to water this down by saying that this is referring to our spiritual sicknesses and pains. But if you look at Matthew chapter 8, you will see how this exact verse from Isaiah is quoted by Matthew to refer to physical sicknesses and pains. Let’s look at it …
In Matthew 8:16-17, we are told— “When evening had come, they brought to Him (Jesus) many who were demon possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.’”
So here we see the healing of all who were sick on that day as a fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4. But someone will say, “See! This just means that who Jesus healed on this particular day of His ministry fulfilled those Scriptures in Isaiah 53.” No, no, no! For Isaiah chapter 53:4-5 lump the wounding and bruising for our transgressions and iniquities together with the bearing of our sicknesses, diseases and infirmities. Amen! And if we are going to take the “our” personally when Isaiah 53:5 says that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities (I doubt any of those unbelieving believers include themselves in that group of “our”) then we also have to take the “our” personally when he says that He has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains. We cannot just pick and choose which parts of the Word we are going to believe and we are not going to believe.
So, yes, Jesus’ going about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38) was certainly a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, but it was ultimately fulfilled for you and I who were not there when He physically walked on the earth by Him taking and bearing all of our sicknesses, pains and infirmities on His body at the Cross. In fact, the word “fulfilled” is oftentimes referring to “the action that extends throughout the whole church age” (The Spirit Filled Life Bible). Therefore, now we can live in a perpetual fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4! Amen!
But my point in us looking at this passage of Scripture in Matthew 8:17 is to see that when Matthew quotes from Isaiah 53:4, he is specifically referring to the sick that Jesus healed thus verifying that the things that Jesus bore and carried were, in fact, our physical sicknesses and pains! But more specifically, it was Jesus’ healing of them all that fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy—proving to us that He has provided healing in the atonement for all and for us all! Glory to God!
Therefore, these sicknesses and pains referred to in Isaiah 53:4 are absolutely referring to our physical sicknesses and pains! Praise, God! And what we see is that they were actually “borne” and “carried” by Him on the Cross.
These verbs “borne” and “carried” describe a literal taking and carrying of these things upon Himself. For example, the word “borne” described a load of sticks being laid on a horse’s back. So, we are talking about Jesus actually becoming our beast of burden and, like the scapegoat, carrying on His back certain things. And in this case, He literally did bear on His back the stripes needed to provide my healing! Glory to Jesus, He physically took my sicknesses upon His body and carried them out of my life! Hallelujah!
Then in the second half of Isaiah 53:4 we are told— “Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.” What this is basically saying is that people would view this suffering of the Christ as Him being punished, smitten and afflicted by God for something He did wrong. But no, as Isaiah 53:5 goes on to say, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities…”
So, no, He was not being punished for His own sins and sicknesses; He was actually taking our sins and sicknesses upon Himself so that we could live healed and whole lives—both spiritually and physically.
But I want you to notice how the Lord coupled together the spiritual with the physical: In one breath, Isaiah prophesies that the Messiah would bare our sicknesses and pains, and in another, he said how He would provide for our iniquities and transgressions. Time and time again, the Lord puts our spiritual provision together with our physical provision. We see this in Psalm 103:3 which talks about two of the benefits of our salvation as the Lord forgiving all our iniquities and healing all our diseases.
Now notice what Isaiah says next in verse 5— “the chastisement for our peace was upon Him…”
By referring to our peace here, we see that Jesus was chastised not only for our spiritual and physical well-being, but for every area of our life. The word “peace” describes nothing missing and nothing broken. Therefore, Jesus made provision for us so that nothing in our lives would be missing and nothing would be broken. That means that Jesus died so that our entire lives—spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially—would be blessed and whole!
WE ARE AND WERE HEALED
And now for that last statement in verse 5— “and by His stripes we are healed.”
Now, again, there are those who want to spiritualize this statement, saying that the healing spoken of here is spiritual healing. But I can assure you that we are not “healed” spiritually; we are made alive and new spiritually. In other words, our spiritual condition was not mended, healed, etc. No, we have been made completely new creations in Christ Jesus. So, healing would not be an appropriate term to describe what God did for our spiritual lives. No, this means exactly what it says—by Jesus’ stripes, we are healed (physically)!
Now Isaiah, in prophesying of what the Christ would do for us on the Cross, said here that we are healed because of what Jesus would do by bearing our sicknesses and carrying our pains, but we do well to see how the apostle Peter describes this in his first epistle …
In First Peter 2:24, Peter the rock says, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” Let’s look at this verse and learn what Jesus did for us and our new spiritual identity …
Notice how Peter first said, “who Himself.” That indicates that we had nothing to do with it! He did it Himself, Hallelujah! And that is an important point for us to understand—for none of us can do anything to add to the finished work of the Cross. Jesus Himself paid the full price for our salvation to where there is nothing left to pay. Glory!
And what He Himself did for us was He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. So, just like we just saw Him bearing our sicknesses in His own body, we see that our sins were placed upon His body as well. And when did Peter say that this occurred? “On the tree.”
To some, that might be a little confusing because the Cross that Jesus hung on wasn’t a tree as we know it. However, in the mind of God, the Cross that He hung on was made out the materials of a tree. Therefore, it could correctly be said that Jesus hung “on the tree.”
This portion of First Peter 2:24 reminds me of the words of the apostle Paul in Galatians 3:13 when he said, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’)”
So, again, who is the Redeemer? Now I know that if you asked this question to a thousand Christians, you would likely get a 100% of them responding with the obvious answer—Jesus Christ. However, if you listen to them over an extended period of time and ask them pointed questions like how do we walk in our forgiveness, righteousness, healing, deliverance, & prosperity, you will get the vast majority of them telling you all the things we must do to receive these blessings. But the truth is—The Lord Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, not me and not you. Therefore, we ought to put the full weight of our faith, hope and trust in the faithful work of our King on the Cross, not in our own works and even not in our own faith. Again, Christ “Himself” bore our sins and sicknesses.
And notice again that Paul said here that Jesus Christ has “redeemed” us—not is in the process of redeeming us or will someday redeem us. No, this is something that has already been done! Christ already has redeemed us from the curse of the law! Therefore, it’s a done deal!
But notice why Paul says that Jesus’ redemptive work is a done deal: He goes on to say that it is because Christ, “having become a curse for us…” This is how Jesus Christ redeemed us—by becoming the curse in our place. In other words, He bore the penalty and punishment of the law that we deserved, so that we could get the blessing that He deserved. Now that was a good deal, my friends!
But the apostle Paul teaches us how Jesus technically became a curse for us by saying, “for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’)” … Now this is a quote from the law found in Deuteronomy 21:22-23 stating that the man who had committed a sin deserving of death was to be hung on a tree. This does not mean that the Jews necessarily put to death malefactors by “hanging,” but after having put them to death some other way, in order to brand them with the particular sin they committed, they hung their body on a tree—which showed that such malefactors were “accursed by God.”
But in hindsight, we can see that, in the wisdom of God, He foresaw what would transpire with His Only Begotten (i.e. being crucified) and, therefore, had this written in the law in order to provide the redemption from the curse that He did for us. Oh, the depth of the riches of both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out (Romans 11:33)! He alone is wise!
You see, the Bible teaches us that if the rulers of this age would have known this, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (see First Corinthians 2:8). So, the Lord—in His infinite wisdom—made the greatest chess move the world has ever seen! This is why I believe God is able to work all things together for our good (see Romans 8:28). It is because He is just so smart and always stays miles ahead of the devil. He can take something that the devil meant to destroy us with and not only deliver us out of it but also work it together for our good in the process. Therefore, I say that God is the greatest chess player that ever lived! And what makes a good chess player? A good chess player can take the move of their opponent and beat them with their own move! And that is what God has been doing to the devil for 6000+ years! Amen!
But notice specifically what Christ has redeemed us from? Paul says that He has redeemed us from “the curse of the law.” So, if this “curse of the law” is something Christ has redeemed us from, don’t you think we need to find out what it is? Well, this “curse of the law” is thoroughly described in Deuteronomy 28:15-68, and I can assure you that it is not a pretty thing. It basically describes the worst possible things that can happen to someone. It summarized everything from poverty, physical sickness, oppression, mental illness, all the way to physical death of themselves and the affliction of their children. The curse of the law was horrible! So, I encourage you to read through these verses on your own time, but what must we remember when reading it? Jesus Christ has redeemed us from all of these things! In other words, if we find it in these verses, we know we have been redeemed from it and, therefore, the price has already been paid for us not to experience any of these curses in our lives. Amen!
So, I say all of this to say that this is why the apostle Peter added the words “on the tree.” It was the Holy Spirit reiterating to us that Jesus had to hang on a tree to legally be made the curse for us. And the curse is more than just negative spiritual things; it included every sickness and disease that was not even written in the Book of the law (Deuteronomy 28:61). Praise the Lord!
Now in First Peter 2:24, he goes on to say that the entire purpose was so “that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness…” In other words, Jesus identified with our sin & death, so that we might identify with His righteousness & life! Glory! And then Peter adds this one important thing— “by whose stripes you were healed.”
Notice that Peter doesn’t quote Isaiah exactly. Isaiah said, “by His stripes we are healed.” But Peter says, “by whose stripes you were healed.” So, Isaiah prophesying ahead of what the Christ would do for us, could say, “you are healed.” But Peter describing what Christ had already done for us could say, “you were healed.”
So, just as I believe that I already have been made righteous, holy, blessed, anointed, etc. because of what Christ did for me, we also believe that we already have been made healed, well and whole by the same redemptive work Christ did for us!
So, yes, the Cross was the moment Isaiah was referring to here and it was the point where all of our transgressions and iniquities as well as all of our sicknesses and pains were laid upon Him so that we can walk in our eternal redemption. Therefore, by His stripes we were, are, and evermore shall be healed (First Peter 2:24). Amen!
So, praise God, not only are we holy, righteous, chosen, loved, etc.; we are also healed, blessed, etc. Yes, our spiritual identity has changed, which also changes much of the way our physical life looks! Therefore, we can look in the mirror and truthfully say, “I Am Healed.” It doesn’t matter if we feel sick, if we look weak, or if we seem to be infirmed. If this Mirror says we were healed, then we are healed!