This is it. Part 4 of Declarations of Encouragement takes us through the New Testament and right up to the present. The past, the Old Testament, has directed our path and interest toward the New Testament, the New Covenant. The time has come to look at the New Testament with an eye still affixed upon the concepts of “His people, His place, and His purpose. One looks on in wonder and amazement at the verse in (All Biblical Quotes are NASB) 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” The continuity of Old Testament with the New Testament as it correlates to the old man verses the new man is on full display. So let’s begin.
The New Testament provides us with the ultimate “Declaration of Encouragement.” This encouragement is given through the actual events and also in the written record of what Jesus did. He lived a sinless life doing everything God the Father asked. He was crucified on a cross, for mankind’s iniquity, erasing man’s sin problem, which had separated mankind from his righteous God. Jesus then rose from the dead, giving mankind the hope of an eternal life.
The methods and the means of God’s ultimate purpose was fulfilled with the saving act that Jesus Christ went through for us. Those who have chosen to believe in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our atonement are now God’s people. His people now have the help of the Holy Spirit to remain true to our commitment to follow Christ. God has a reserved a place in Heaven for those who believe. Jesus said in John 14: 2-3, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Adding to this, with the coming of the New Heaven and Earth as stated in 2 Peter 3: 10 & 13 we will spend eternity with our God and Savior. How great is that?!
This time nothing can separate us from the God of love who redeems his people, the days of forgetting all that God has done are over. In Part 3, there is a quote that fits what the New Testament is teaching. It said, “This explicitly shows everyone, especially His people, that God can and does redeem His people and that He can and will restore His kingdom.
God has been focusing on man’s redemption since the fall in the Garden of Eden:
- He has provided a way to create a people who love and accept Him as their God and Savior.
- He has always provided the place for the people who follow Him, which had often been ignored.
- He has revealed His purpose by providing a way to change the hearts of man.
The New Testament doesn’t stop there. The disciples of the Christ, the Acts of the Apostles, and the letters written to the early believers continue to tell the story of God interacting with His Creation. One New Testament book has a whole chapter dedicated to describing how God gives encouragement to those He calls His people. Hebrews 11 provides us with many Old Testament examples of people with faith; from Abel through Noah, from Abraham through Moses, from David to the prophets. The writer of Hebrews states he could go on and on, describing people of faith who endured hardships, imprisonment, experienced torture and even gruesome deaths.
Hebrews 12: 1-3 explains how all those examples and the example of Jesus Himself relate to those of us today stating, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
The very next section of Hebrews 12 deals with a father’s discipline. It describes how the discipline of both our earthly father and our heavenly Fathers is a good thing. It starts with verse 4 saying, “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;” and ends with verse 11 completing the thought stating, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
These are the “Declarations of Encouragement” regarding God’s People, His Place, and His Purpose. God has declared, God has encouraged, and God has delivered. Since the earliest of times in the Old Testament God had a plan. God’s purpose was ultimately fulfilled in Christ. God’s people have become righteous through the sacrifice and shed blood of Jesus, not by anything man himself could do. There will even be a New Heaven and a New Earth (Revelation 21: 1) for God’s redeemed people to spend an eternity with God.