There are two sides to every coin. We come to Christ “Just as we are.” But, somewhere beyond redemption, 12 changes are transacted by the ultimate price paid on Calvary. Three bodies were hung up on trees, three bodies were brought down and buried, and one body rose up out of the earth. From one side of the Cross to the other a colossal change took place in the lives of millions of followers in the 20 centuries since.
Yes, twelve changes take place in the lives of those who lift Jesus up today. From the moment we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we experience a turn-around in the elements of our spirit man. All of us have spirits; some just haven’t flipped the coins that were paid and accepted the “change.” One man threw the coins on the ground… at the feet of the judges who condemned Jesus… Judas. Another, Peter, accepted the change that would be transacted in his life and turned over the coins to a new existence. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 4, outlined a dozen of these two-sided coins Christians have turned over since redemption.
1. Hidden Things/ Things Manifested (2 Corinthians 4:2)
We exchange craftiness and deceit for truth. We walk in the truth of God’s Word.
2. Blinded Minds/ Enlightened Minds (2 Corinthians 4:4)
The lost are hid in the darkness while the Christian walks in light.
3. Proud Boasting/ Servanthood (2 Corinthians 4:5)
We no longer live our lives for ourselves, but become servants of God,
living for Him.
4. Frail Bodies/ Mighty Power (2 Corinthians 4:7)
Our spirits walk in unity with the spirit of God, though we are just human.
5. Trials/ Triumph (2 Corinthians 4:10)
We go through trials like Jesus, so we can have the victory like He did.
6. Death/ Life (2 Corinthians 4:11)
We carry the cross of Jesus, manifest His death in our lives, and receive
the rewards of eternal life with Him.
7. Past/ Future (2 Corinthians 4:14)
Jesus was raised up in the past; you and I will be raised up in the future with Him.
8. Grace/ Thanksgiving (2 Corinthians 4:15)
His grace operates through our thanksgiving.
9. Outward Man/ Inward Man (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Even if our body is failing us physically, He breathes life into us day by day.
10. Affliction/ Glory (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Our afflictions will lead us to an unimaginable glory to come.
11. Seen/ Unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18)
We know that there is more to this life than meets the eye. There are things unseen.
12. Temporal/ Eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18)
We don’t place our hope in the physical life now, but in the ethereal life in eternity.
Now, it sounds like we came just as we were, and put on the wedding garments. Matthew 22:11-14 All that remains is for us to accept the change. Allowing the spirit of God to work in our lives completes the transaction. This is the reason that we do not need to wait until we “get our lives straightened out” to come to church. We come just as we are, and Jesus will make us just like He is. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Philippians 1:6 He who began a good work… will perform it!
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament
shows his handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows
knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the
world. In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom
coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race. Its going
forth is from the end of the heaven, and its circuit unto the ends of it: and
there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of
the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening
the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: the judgments
of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be
desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey
and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned: and in keeping of
them there is great reward.
Who can understand his errors? cleanse me from
secret faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not
have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent of great
transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be
acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
God has two books: Creation and Scripture. David studied both. He often compared and contrasted the two volumes in his psalms, revealing the excellent nature of God from both. The book of Creation will never contradict the book of Genesis, nor Genesis the book of Creation, for my Father wrote both of them. This Psalm expresses with 14 verses, what I have tried to express in my blogs; that Creation shows God's glory, that the Scriptures show God's glory, and that our personal relationship and communication with God shows God's glory. Some of what I write never gets posted, of course. And, I have several unfinished blogs in the not quite ready for prime time category. I read and think about some chapters and psalms and then never get them written at all, only thinking I have written them down. In all of the showing and telling, as David was showing and telling in this Psalm, it may happen that I tell you the same thing twice. So, if I have been here and wrote that, I hope you can still see the beauty of each passage of Scripture.
Charles Spurgeon said that even the sun shines in light borrowed from the Father of Lights.
"Thou sun, of this great world both eye and soul, Acknowledge Him thy greater; sound His praise both when thou climb'st, and when high noon hast gained, and when thou fall'st.
In my personal search for meaning, for beauty, for reason, I find Jesus, who I can not see in flesh, but I see His face imprinted in Creation and Scripture. It is our interaction with and knowledge of the Words and Works of Jesus that form the foundation of our relationship with Him.
David was a shepherd boy, and spent days and nights in the field, watching the sheep, and the heavens. Psalm 18 was probably written on one of those nights, and Psalm 19 must have been penned on one of those sunny days. In the first six verses above, David is talking about Creation; the Works of God. In the middle portion he is talking about Scripture; the Words of God. The last section is David's prayer to God...communion. It is not yet possible for me to see God, yet He makes Himself visible in his Words and Works.
"Therein our fingers feel, our nostrils smell, our palates taste his virtues that excel, He shows Him to our eyes, talks to our ears, in the ordered motion of the spangled spheres." -Du Bartas
Or, as David said... the heavens are telling the glory of God, the sky showing the work of his hands; today speaks to tomorrow, tonight calls out to tomorrow night. And they are all talking about God's glory. (My paraphrase)
Job 36:3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe
righteousness to my Maker. (old KJV this time)
Isn't that what I am here for, to write about the righteousness of my Maker?
The roar of the lion is no new sound. Some of the references to Jesus roaring like a lion appeared many thousands of years before the first advent of Jesus on Earth. C. S. Lewis wrote a picturesque trilogy based on the coming of the Lion that he called the Chronicles of Narnia, Narnia being the abode of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.
Joel 3:16-18 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice
from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be
the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall you
know that I am the LORD your God... And it shall come to pass in that day, that the
mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the
rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth from the
house of the LORD..."
Of course, we all wait in hope for the return of the Lion. Jesus is the Lion and He will call His children from afar on that great and notable day.
Hosea 11:10 They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion:
when he shall roar, then the children shall come trembling from the west.
The image of the Lion fits well, because is Jesus not the King, much like the Lion is the King of Beasts? Actually that is quite a striking metaphor, seeing as how the King of the Beasts must be a beast himself. God, being the Creator of mankind, was not a man himself, until he robed Himself in flesh like clay, and took upon Himself the likeness of a man in Jesus Christ. Then He was able to call Himself the King of Men... the Son of Man... He who was first the Son of God now walked in the clay that He created. Now... the Lion could call Himself the King of all Creation, because He dwelt in our earthly realm.
Isaiah 31:4 For thus has the LORD spoken unto me, Like the lion and the
young lion roaring over his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth
against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor disturbed by the noise of
them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for its
Oddly matched battle usually, between the lion of Judah and the multitude of world leaders! (Our leaders are our shepherds, I hope we vote in the matter.)
Isaiah 42:13 The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up
jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, shout aloud; he shall prevail
against his enemies.
And on the Lion marches...coming, coming in glory! Hear the battle cry? Our Champion is leaping and charging ahead, leading the Kingdom Saints!
Jeremiah 25:30 Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and
say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his
holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a
shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the
There will come a day when all will see His face in glory. After the rapture of the church, after the havoc of the man Antichrist, the man of sin, has devastated Earth with the climax of sin's effect which began at the Fall, after the desecration of everything called holy on this earth! Then comes King Jesus, charging on a white horse, leading the saints in their glorified bodies. Then we will not only behold Him, but we will be like Him, for we will have seen Him as he is.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not
yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be
like him; for we shall see him as he is.
There is no glory for those who barricade themselves from the storms of life. If we never had a worry, a concern, a crisis, a struggle, then we would lead a rather dull existence. Ezekiel said, "And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire engulfing itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of its midst as the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire." Ezekiel 1:4 Just so, we will never see the glory of God if we turn and run from storms. Ezekiel saw the whirlwind coming toward him and his people. We always notice storms coming don't we. They are so obvious, not tactful at all. I am sure all the other slaves working along the river bank were running for cover by this point. But Ezekiel begins to stare into the whirlwind, seeing a great fire in its columns, and its burning brightness. I can imagine him surrounded by flying debris, clothes being blown about him, standing there staring at the face of this storm.
Then, incredible things began to happen. He saw four living creatures... angels... coming out of the storm cloud. Then the wheels in the middle of the wheels appeared. Then lastly, He saw the glory of God Himself on the throne. It is only when you can see God in the midst of your disaster that your storm clouds will open and the glory of God's providence will appear, and His sustaining hand will lift you off the ground, where you have been beaten beyond your ability to stand. It is when we face the storm that we find ourselves transported... "Ezekiel 3:14 So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me."... transported from our "great river" of pain. Transported outside of ourselves. Chebar, Ezekiel's river where he worked on the "chain gang" simply meant "great." Ezekiel was transported to a place where he could see the "big picture" and God's purpose, not only for his life, but for the lives of his people. Then his river became nothing in his mind, but the greater purpose of God became everything.
But, what sets Ezekiel apart from his contemporaries was the fact that he knew that the storm came from God. And, instead of running from the storm, he turned to face it, looking for God in the midst of the storm. That storm you are facing, God not only knows about the clouds of fear and doubt surrounding you, but He is in the middle of it all. Matthew 17:7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. Did you ask to see or feel God's presence? Did you ask if he was real or substantive? Did you wonder where God was? There He is.