“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah
Our God is a God of salvation, and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.”
(Psalm 68:19–20, ESV)
“And now, little children, abide in him (Jesus Christ), so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” (1 John 2:28, ESV)
The most basic expression of the identity of Jesus is simply the statement “Jesus is Lord!”. In Romans 10:9 and 1 Corinthians 12:3 Paul presented that statement as the essence of the Gospel. Jesus is the Son of God, as Peter correctly stated in Matthew 16:16.
The identity of Jesus has often been misunderstood. Claims about Jesus include thinking that he had only one nature, that he was two distinct persons, or that he was fully human but not fully divine.
However, orthodox Christianity has always maintained that Jesus was one person with two distinct natures – the nature of his humanity and the nature of his divinity. It was necessary for Jesus to be human so that he could die; it was necessary that Jesus be God so that he could be the perfect once-for-all sacrifice for sins.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field,
which a man found and covered up.
Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,
who, on finding one pearl of great value,
went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
(Matthew 13:44–46, ESV)
“Do not be overawed when a man grows rich,
when the splendor of his house increases;
for he will take nothing with him when he dies,
his splendor will not descend with him.
Though while he lived he counted himself blessed—
and men praise you when you prosper—
he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life.
A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.”
(Psalm 49:16–20, NIV84)
This is Black Friday, a day that many celebrate by demonstrating unmitigated greed. The verses quoted above remind us that material possessions will not last beyond this life. “He will take nothing with him when he dies.”
The early Christians had an expression, “There’s no pockets on a shroud.” A shroud was a linen burial cloth, and that saying reminded them that you can’t take your stuff with you after death.
An updated version of that statement could be, “You never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul.”
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:
that you should avoid sexual immorality;
that each of you should learn to control his own body
in a way that is holy and honorable,
not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;
and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother
or take advantage of him.
The Lord will punish men for all such sins,
as we have already told you and warned you.
For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”
(1 Thessalonians 4:3–7, NIV84)
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!”
(Psalm 119:1–3, ESV)
“Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.”
(Psalm 119:89–91, ESV)
“I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight.
Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.”
(Psalm 119:174–176, ESV)
“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”
(Jesus Christ, as recorded in John 12:25-26, ESV)