- Power and wisdom of God to those who believe -




God called me to preach the cross, and I am happy I can do it by word of mouth and in writing. It’s a grace granted to me by that God whom I did not serve for many years, whose call to repentance I put behind my back countless times saying that it was no time to repent. But thanks be to God in Christ Jesus for one day He gave me repentance and He drew me to Christ setting me free from the bondage of sin and gave me new birth into a new life. I thank God also because He revealed His will to me, that is to say, because He revealed to me that He set me apart from my childhood so that I might preach the cross, that is, the Gospel of His Grace. The day I came to know that He had called me with a holy calling, within me something like a fire lighted up, the desire to spread everywhere the Gospel of God rose within me, the same Gospel which the apostles of the Lord preached many centuries ago, and to spread it in the way the apostles did, that is, in the Holy Spirit, in much assurance and with all boldness. So, not with wisdom of words or with excellence of speech, lest the message of the cross be emptied of its power, that is to say, lest I deprive of its power the only message which can save man from sin and eternal perdition, for my desire as well as God’s desire is that men may be saved. But there is another reason for which I don’t want to preach the message of the cross with wisdom of words, because if I did that God would get angry with me and I would have no longer peace in my soul. Many wise men of this world scoff at this message, for they think it is foolishness, but they are wrong for what seems to be foolishness is nothing but the wisdom of God. On the contrary, it is their wisdom, the human wisdom, of which they are proud and about which they boast, which is foolishness, for it is written that God catches the wise in their craftiness and He knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile. God has made foolish the wisdom of this world. To some other people, the message of the cross is a scandal, but they are wrong too because they are deceived by a vain appearance, for the message of the cross is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.

Therefore, I am not ashamed of the message of the cross for I am fully persuaded that it can save anyone who believes. I have experienced the power of this message in my life. For I was a wicked person, but it sanctified me; I was a slave to sin, but it set me free from the bondage of sin; I was lost, but it saved me; I was an enemy of God but it reconciled me to God; I was heading for the fire of hell, but it saved me from that fire; I was without hope, but it gave me hope; I was sad, but it gave me eternal consolation; I was a child of wrath, but it made me a child of God; I was dead in my sins, but it quickened me. And many other people can say these same things. To God be the glory now and forever. Amen,

Men and women, I preach to you the message of the cross, which is able to save you and to reconcile you to God and to give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I preach it to you for I want you to be saved, I want you to taste the goodness of God in your life. Listen carefully, for that’s not a vain thing for you but it’s your life.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in Israel, in the days of Caesar Augustus (about two thousand years ago). After He was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan river, and after He was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, He went about all Galilee and all Judea preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom doing good and healing all those who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. However, they that dwelt at Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize He was the Christ, the Son of God that God in ancient times had promised through His prophets He would send into the world, and thus they condemned Him to death, and handed Him over to Pontius Pilate, the Governor of Judea, asking him to crucify Jesus. Pilate granted their demand and he delivered Jesus unto his soldiers to be crucified. All this happened by the determinate purpose and foreknowledge of God, that is, because God predetermined that His Son, the Righteous, should be handed over to the hands of sinners and hanged on the cross like an evildoer, thus He would be bruised for our sins and wounded for our transgressions. God had foretold those things through His prophets. Here is for instance what Isaiah had said: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken” (Isaiah 53:5-8). And so the rulers of the Jews at Jerusalem did not recognize Jesus Christ, yet in condemning Him to death they fulfilled the words of the prophets according to which things had to occur exactly in that way.

Therefore, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins in order to expiate our sins through His sacrifice. It was necessary that He, the Holy One, the One who knew no sin, should shed His blood, for without shedding of blood there is no remission. We find this principle in the Law which God gave to the people of Israel at Mount Sinai – which law had a shadow of good things to come and not the very image of the things – for when the people of Israel committed a sin against God they had to offer for their sin a sin offering (which was a young bull) and the priest had to take the blood of the bull into the tent of Meeting and to sprinkle it before the Lord seven times, and to put the blood on the horns of the altar (the altar of incense) which was before God in the tent of Meeting and to pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering which was at the door of the tent of Meeting. Here is what the law says: “And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance, and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty; When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation. And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD: and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD. And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock's blood to the tabernacle of the congregation: And the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, even before the veil. And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before the LORD, that is in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he shall take all his fat from him, and burn it upon the altar. And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them” (Leviticus 4:13-20); that’s what had to be done if the people of Israel committed a sin during any day of the year.

However, there was another occasion in which an animal had to be offered to make atonement for the sins of the people and that occasion was the Day of Atonement (in Hebrew language ‘Yom Kippur’) which was on the tenth day of the seventh month; on that particular day, the High Priest had to slaughter a bull for his own sins and a goat for the sins of the people and bring the blood inside the veil (that is, into the place called ‘the holiest of all’ or ‘the most holy place’). Here is what the law says: “And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat” (Leviticus 16:11-15).

Therefore, as the High Priest was required to shed the blood of a bull in order to make atonement for his own sins and the blood of a goat to make atonement for the sins of the people, so Jesus Christ, the High Priest of good things to come, was required to shed His own blood to make atonement for our sins. Therefore, both the blood of the bull and the blood of the goat prefigured the blood of Jesus; the blood of those animals was a shadow of the blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, now, since we have the reality itself we don’t need the shadow any longer.

After Jesus died on the cross, His body was taken down and laid in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone in which no one had yet been laid. But the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him, and also His resurrection had been foretold by God in ancient times, for David had said about the Messiah: “I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [Hades], neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance” (Acts 2:25-28). So God did not allow His Holy One to see decay, but He raised Him from the dead, that the words of David might be fulfilled.

But why was it necessary that Jesus Christ should rise again? Because, as on the day of atonement the High Priest was required to bring both the blood of the bull and the blood of the goat behind the curtain, that is, into the Holiest of all, which was a part of the earthly sanctuary Moses built at God’s command, so the High Priest of good things to come, after He gave Himself as a sin offering to make atonement for our sins, had also to enter into a sanctuary, but a sanctuary that is not man-made, that is to say, not of this creation, and He had to enter into it not by the blood of bulls and goats but by His own blood to purchase eternal redemption for us, and that sanctuary was heaven itself.

Therefore, since the High Priest of good things to come had to die in order to shed His blood for the remission of our sins, it is evident that in order to finish His work of redemption He had to rise again, in order to enter, by means of His own blood and not by means of the blood of bulls and goats, into heaven itself before God for us (that’s what Jesus did several weeks after His resurrection). Here is what the Scripture states: “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11-12 - NKJV), and also: “For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own” (Hebrews 9:24-26 - NIV). Therefore, Jesus had to rise again “for our justification” (Romans 4:25).

After Jesus rose again, He appeared to His disciples several times, He ate and drank with them, He spoke with them for forty days and then He was taken up into heaven at the right hand of God, from where – as He Himself promised – at God’s appointed time He will return in His Father’s glory with the holy angels. Let it be known unto you, therefore, that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ receives remission of sins through His name (“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” Acts 10:43), he is justified by God (“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” Romans 3:26), and he receives eternal life (“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” John 3:36), so when he dies his soul will go immediately to heaven, where God’s peace reigns. Whereas anyone who refuses to believe in Him, His sins will remain attached to his conscience and when he dies his soul will go into hell, into the fire of hell, where he will weep and gnash his teeth waiting for the judgement’s day. You have before yourself life and death, the blessing and the curse, choose life, choose the blessing, to live at peace with God and to inherit eternal glory.

Therefore, salvation is by grace, for it is obtained only through faith; to obtain it you must only repent of your sins and believe in the expiatory death of Jesus and in His resurrection: He died for our offences and rose again for our justification (Romans 4:25). And if it is by grace, it is not by works, otherwise grace is no more grace. Because if grace could be earned, what kind of grace would it be? And then, if salvation could be obtained through our own righteousness, what would it be the use of the death of Christ? It would be of no use, as it is written: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:21). And again, if salvation could be obtained through our own good works, once we have obtained it we could boast about something before God, couldn’t we? But God, in order to keep man from boasting about his works, decreed before the foundation of the world that salvation must be by grace, as it is written: “Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9). Therefore, the only thing a man can do, or rather must do, after he has been saved, is to boast in the Lord.

Therefore, do not think you can be saved in some other ways, for instance by doing meritorious works, personal expiatory sacrifices, and various acts of mortification, for it is not in that way you can be saved, I say it again, it is not in that way. Rather, you must understand that if you rely upon your good works to obtain salvation you are under the curse, for it is written: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10). These are hard words, I know, yet they are true. And you can be set free from that curse only by faith in Jesus Christ, for Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:23), that the blessing of Abraham, that is, justification that brings life, might come upon us through faith in Christ Jesus.

What shall you do now? Will you accept this message or reject it? Accept it, and you will be blessed, yes, you will be blessed.