1 Timothy 3:1-16 The major belief that reveals whether or not a religion is true or not is the belief in the mystery of godliness Paul writes about to Timothy. He says, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (v. 16).
The dividing line between Christianity and other faiths is the belief that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. God put on an earth suit and came and lived among us. When I was a little girl one of the most popular toys was an ant farm. I remember watching for hours a colony of ants enclosed between two pieces of glass. I could watch these ants, but I could not totally identify with them. The only way I could totally identify with them was for me to become an ant, get myself inside those two panes of glass and begin to work alongside of them. This is exactly what God did when He became flesh. God is a Spirit, and for God to identify with us totally He had to become flesh and Spirit. He had to put on an earth suit and dwell among us. Jesus, the Son of man, Immanuel—God with us—was the earth suit God wore for thirty-three years on earth.
Because God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to Himself, He could identify with us completely. Jesus was touched with the feelings of our infirmities, and He experienced sorrow, grief, pain, weakness, weariness and all the feelings we experience in our bodies, because like us, He had a body. Jesus was also tempted in all points even as we are tempted, yet He was without sin. Jesus knew exactly what it felt like to be tempted by Satan because He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Jesus knew what it felt like to long to eat and fulfill His bodily needs when He was tempted to turn the stone into bread after fasting for forty days. Jesus knew what it felt like to be tempted to take a short-cut to glory when Satan tempted Him to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the temple. Jesus knew what it felt like to be tempted to possess the world (climb the ladder of success quickly by bowing down to Satan's way instead of God's way). Jesus did not give into any of these temptations, but instead He overcame by using the sword of the Spirit and saying, "It is written." He overcame so that we might overcome through Him, but this does not negate the fact that Jesus felt just as we do when we are tempted. He, however, was without lust or sin.
Because Jesus experienced all the points of temptation that we experience, He now can make perfect intercession for us. Jesus can quickly rescue us when we are tempted if we will just call on His name. Because Jesus felt every thing we feel except lust, He knows how to comfort us in our weakness. This is the mystery of godliness—Immanuel—God with us, and He still is. Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us, and He sits in His resurrected form on God's right hand. Jesus knows what you are facing today, and right now He is praying for you.
READ: Jeremiah 31:27-32:44; 1 Timothy 3:1-16; Psalm 88:1-18; Proverbs 25:20-22
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