By Bishop Francis Wale Oke
Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Ibadan, Nigeria
Foundation Scripture: Psalm 68:19-20, Psalm 103:1-5
Sunday 26th June 2016
All our possession is anchored to our salvation in Christ. Psalm 68:19-20 reads: ‘Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Our God is the God of salvation; and to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death’. The subject of salvation is still being misinterpreted in the church today and not fully understood. Many Christians often pick an aspect of salvation, neglecting other elements of this complete package given to us by God. Interestingly, it is what we believe about salvation that we would experience in our daily lives.
The bible speaks of our salvation as eternal. Hebrews 5:9 reads: ‘And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him’. Christ Jesus brings us into personal relationship with God – our sins are forgiven, receiving the gift of eternal life and we become children of God. This experiencing of knowing and having a relationship with God is the foundation of our salvation. For instance, in constructing a building, the builders start from the foundation. However, the building is not complete with the foundation, albeit critical to its construction. A person who decides to live on a physical foundation will be subject to weather conditions. Sadly, this is how many Christians live today – having understood and accepted Jesus as their Saviour, they still live below the full salvation experience that belongs to them. All other benefits in Christ must be claimed in order to fully enjoy the blessings and the possession that we have in Him.
Hebrews 6:9 emphasizes this truth of things that accompany salvation: ‘But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner’. The sooner we understand this, the better we can appropriate and possess the full package we have in Christ. Healing, prosperity and dominion are all part of the blessings of salvation that as Christians God has given us to enjoy. 2 Corinthians 8:9 reads: ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich’. Every we need throughout our lifetime here on earth has been procured for us by Jesus on the cross.
In scriptures, the subject of salvation is slightly approached differently in the Old Testament than in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, there is an emphasis on the physical and the material. These blessings are anchored on a robust relationship with God. For example, Abraham enjoyed the blessings of God as a result of his relationship with God. Here is Genesis 17:2 ‘When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless”. The material blessings that Abraham enjoyed were as a result of this foundation.
In the New Testament, Jesus declared his mission in John 10:10, saying: ‘The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly’. The word ‘life’ in this verse refers to eternal life ‘zoe’, including every aspect of our needs on earth.
On the cross, when Jesus was crucified, he shed his blood from specific parts of body significant for our salvation. When the crown of thorns was placed on Jesus’ head and he bled, this eradicated curses and released the blessings of God into our lives as Christians. Here is the reason why a minister often lays hands on a person’s head to bless them. Galatians 3:13 reads: ‘Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole"(NIV). When Jesus was stripped, beaten on his back and blood flowed, this was to purchase our healing. Isaiah 53:5 put it this way: ‘But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed’. As Christians, healing is our right because Christ has already paid the price for it. I have witnessed all kinds of healing during my ministry and can unequivocally tell you that God still heals today. God doesn’t just care about our spirit, but he also cares about the totality of our soul and body. The Greek work for salvation is ‘Soteria’, including forgiveness, healing, deliverance, liberty and prosperity. In Christ, nothing is broken or missing, everything is complete. Here is how Psalm 138:8 put it: ‘The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands’.
When Jesus’ hands were pierced by the nails that held him to the cross, he was also paying a price for our economic prowess. It is with our hands that we work and become financially established. Psalm 90:17 reads: ‘May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us-- yes, establish the work of our hands’. This is more appreciated in Africa, where poverty is more pronounced. Shortly after I began to teach on the blessings of prosperity, we began to experience a change in the economic outlook at Christ Life Church. A person who is struggling financially must understand that Jesus has already made a way for our prosperity, and should begin to appropriate this blessing onwards. Jesus feet were pierced also, specifically for our dominion.
In Matthew 6:33 reads: ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you’. Again this verse speaks of the foundation of salvation, begun with our relationship with Christ. God’s promise of salvation together with all its blessings is highlighted in Romans 8:32, which read: ‘He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?’. Jesus has paid for our complete redemption, so every blessing alongside the forgiveness of our sins ought to be adopted into our lives. Here is the reason, why the prophet Obadiah wrote: “But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions".
The apostles picked up on this in Acts 3:19, which read: 'Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord’. For a long time, we’ve emphasized repentance and the forgiveness of sins in the church – it is however the partial truth and not all what Jesus procured for us on Calvary. Sadly, many Christians have transitioned to heaven, without experiencing the full salvation that Christ’s death offers us.
The salvation we’ve been offered is a complete package. 3 John 2 reads: ‘Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers’. The prosperity of our souls is the basis upon which other areas of our lives experience the blessings of Heaven. David speaks of this in the Psalms. King David is the one of all Old Testament saints, who came closest to experiencing the blessings that the New Testament Christians enjoyed. He was a king, a priest and a prophet. He lived ahead of his time because of the messianic revelation that God gave to him. Here is Psalm 103:1-5: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s’.
As the progenitors of Abraham, God’s covenant with Him is also ours. We must understand the Abrahamic covenant wasn’t part of the Old covenant enacted on Mount Sinai. Abraham enjoyed wealth and lived a full long life. (See Galatians 3:7-9)
Can I encourage you to go for everything that Christ’s crucifixion and death, procured for us on the cross – Our complete salvation!
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