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To The Point Of Death

While editing a new book I was trying to finish, I was led to the following Scripture I had placed within one of the chapters;

 

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross [see Luke 14:26]. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

(Philippians 2:3-11/NASU)

 

   As I read in verse 8, “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”, my heart was stirred, in particular by the words “by becoming obedient to the point of death…” I sensed the Holy Spirit’s encouragement immediately, and His desire to reveal something more to me, so I dug into it.

   The Greek for “to the point of,” or “unto” in other versions is mechri (mekh'-ree), or mechris (mekh-ris'). Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines it as “as far as, i.e. up to a certain point.” I believe that the Lord has taken me “up to a certain point,” as far as He chose to, with a sense of the possibility of death before me, to see if I would still hold onto His previous words of hope, or look to man.

   You might think that all of this is awfully cruel, but as I have come to understand, great faith can only be gained through great trials. There is no shortcut. A faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted.

   In Genesis 22 we are told that God tested Abraham in a most extreme manner. He was commanded by God to take Isaac, his son whom he loved, to a mountain He would show him in the land of Moriah, and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Can you imagine such a thing!!!

   It wasn’t until he raised the knife that the angel of the Lord stopped him. Earlier, when questioned by Isaac where the lamb for the offering was, Abraham replied; “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (Genesis 22:8/NIV). No matter what the circumstance appeared to be, Abraham clung to the revealed promise of God concerning Isaac as the promised son with whom God would “establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him” (Genesis 17:19). There would not be any descendants if Isaac was dead.

   In regards to my cancer, the two of us have also walked together up the mountain of His choosing where He has stepped in between death and me and provided the sacrifice of His life on my behalf, as the Lamb of God, in order to give me His life and physical healing. Not just any life or healing, but eternal life, eternal healing in His all-powerful name. As with Epaphroditus, Paul’s fellow worker and soldier in the Lord who was “sick to the point of death” but was restored (Philippians 2:25-30), God will, as revealed, have mercy on me.

   As I write this my heart is filled with gratitude and praise. Even though at this point I do not feel one hundred percent healed, I will cling to the living word of life that He has just revealed and thank Him for my healing. His promises are sure and are life for all who have them revealed to them, and then hold on tightly, even unto the possibility of death. Like Abraham, may we believe by faith, after hearing His word of life on our behalf, that “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering.” Of course that Lamb is none other than the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ whose substitutionary death was for whosoever is willing to surrender their life to Him.

   Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance also described mechri in the following way; “as a preposition, of extent [denoting the terminus…]” One of the definitions for “terminus” is “a final point in space or time, an end or extremity.” Merriam Webster Dictionary describes it as, “either end of a transportation line or travel route, an extreme point or element, a final goal or a finishing point, a post or stone marking a boundary.” All I can say because of this is “Hallelujah, it is finished!!!” I believe that what the Lord is saying to me is that I have reached the end of my journey, the final goal and finishing point of my testing, and will soon be able to record something of great significance for all to praise God for. It will not be just for me, but also for those who need comfort and hope in their time of suffering.

 

The Sentence Of Death

 

   In Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth he wrote the following statement;

 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort. For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead…

(2 Corinthians 1:3-9/NIV)

 

   I too have been feeling the “sentence of death” within me and am learning even more to not trust in myself, but in the Lord God Almighty who raises the dead. In reality, all of mankind has been given a sentence of death apart from Christ. It is only as we surrender our lives to Him with a repentant heart that we can experience His life.

   After Jesus was crucified, two of His disciples were walking to a village named Emmaus when Jesus joined them. Their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him at first. As they walked along together He acted as if He hadn’t heard of what had just happened concerning His crucifixion. They said to Him;

 

“Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him.”

(Luke 24:18-20/NASU)

 

   Jesus then replied to them;

 

“And He said to them, ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”

(Luke 24:25-27/NASU)

 

   Jesus said that it was “necessary” for Him to suffer before entering into His glory. He is the way (John 14:6), therefore the way of suffering is our way to glory as well. In his letter to the Romans, Paul said;

 

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

(Romans 8:16/NIV)

 

   In His letter to the church in Smyrna, Jesus encouraged them regarding the suffering they were about to go through. He said;

 

“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

(Revelation 2:10/NIV)

 

(See the section “Crowns” In The Bible in the Bible study Perpetual Priesthood for more on the crown of life.)

   I am so grateful for the Lord’s love toward me in my time of suffering. He has never abandoned me, even when I wondered at times where He was. I will soon share with all who will listen the comfort He has granted me during this difficult journey.

   Paul recorded his struggle with sin for us in Romans, chapter 7. He ended by saying;

 

“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

(Romans 7:24-25/NIV)


Praise the name of the Lord!



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