“Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 RSV).
When it was time for the children of Israel to cross over the Jordan River to possess their inheritance, the Promised Land, God gave specific instruction to Joshua.
7 And the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
8 “You shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, saying, ‘When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in the Jordan.'” (NKJV).
According to God’s instruction, the children of Israel set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan with the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant before them.
As soon as the feet of the priests who bore the Ark of the Covenant dipped in the edge of Jordan, the waters were cut off for the people to cross over.
14 So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people,
15 and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest),
16 that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho. (NKJV).
However, for all the people to cross completely over the Jordan, the priests who bore the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD had to stand firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan.
17 Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan. (NKJV).
Apparently, it was God’s mighty presence which rested upon the Jordan that parted the Jordan River for God’s people to cross over on dry ground into their inheritance (the Promised Land).
The Psalmist reveals this truth.
1 When Israel went forth from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2 Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
3 The sea looked and fled, Jordan turned back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. (RSV).
Besides the priests bearing or carrying God’s presence (symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant) into the Jordan to divide it, the priests were also expected to stand firm in what God had already done, on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, so that all the children of Israel might cross over on dry ground to inherit their Promised Land.
This is also what is expected of God’s servants today!
If God’s priests or servants today fail to stand firm in the finished work of Jesus Christ, God’s children following them will not be able to obtain all their inheritances in Christ.
Sadly, the sermons or teachings of many servants of God today are not based on what the Lord Jesus Christ has already done, accomplished, or given to mankind by His sacrificial death on the cross and His triumphant resurrection from the dead.
Many children of God today are not enjoying and experiencing the blessings or benefits of the finished work of Jesus Christ because they have not really heard, understood, or believed the true gospel of the grace of God.
Many believers today are missing out on God’s blessings because they have embraced and imbibed the gospel of performance which is according to the works of the law, and not according to the finished work of Jesus Christ, thereby falling from grace and becoming estranged from Christ.
Apostle Paul warns the foolish Galatians of the danger of embracing another gospel.
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.
3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.
4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. (NKJV).
You cannot inherit or obtain your inheritance in Christ by standing or trusting in your own self-righteousness, performances or good works. It is only by standing firm or trusting alone in the grace of God (the person and the finished work of Jesus Christ) that you can cross over any obstacle in life to obtain what the Lord has promised and prepared for you in Christ.
We shall undoubtedly see many nations cross over the Jordan of sin to obtain the salvation God has prepared for all men if the servants of God today will clearly present to the people the truth that God has singlehandedly accomplished the work of salvation through Christ’s death on the cross and therefore does not require or expect any work from anyone in order to receive or experience His mercy, forgiveness, redemption or salvation.
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (NKJV).
1 John 4:
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (NKJV).
God having accomplished the work of our salvation all alone by Himself requires no work from us in order to be saved. All that God requires and expects of us to receive and experience His salvation is to wholly trust in the person and the finished work of Jesus Christ (Heb. 4:1-3).
Sadly, many preachers today are putting the burden of salvation on the people, thereby shifting people’s mind, attention, and faith away from the person and finished work of Jesus Christ to themselves and their works of the law.
Paul amply teaches that salvation is a gift of God, not a wages or reward of good works.
1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works. (NKJV).
6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. (NKJV).
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. (NKJV).
Beloved, if you are not constantly hearing and imbibing the true gospel of the grace of God that stresses or emphasizes the person and finished work of Jesus Christ as the only sure and solid foundation for your faith, and as the only means to having a right standing with God, to having a loving and intimate relationship with God, to receiving God’s blessings, and to living an overcoming, victorious or triumphant life; you are not hearing and imbibing the true gospel of Christ.
It takes you standing firm in the Lord, putting your faith wholly in the finished work of Jesus Christ, to enter into the divine rest that God has promised and prepared for you now in this life and hereafter in heaven.
Friend, God is asking you today to stand firm in your faith in the person of Jesus Christ and in His perfect work regardless of the tempest or storm of life, or the tribulation or persecution you are facing now. If you do, you will surely obtain God’s promise – your inheritance in Christ.
Therefore, Paul admonishes you to “Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13 RSV).
“Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.” (Philip. 4:1 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for not putting the burden of my salvation on my shoulders. My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me to always trust wholly in the person of Jesus and to stand firm in His finished work, in Jesus’ name. Amen.