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The Will and Plan of Jesus

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When a man dies, he leaves behind a will that dictates his wishes concerning that which belongs to him before he died.  The words of a man spoken before his death can also become his will, that is, his legacy, for those who will survive him to follow.  Those who are appointed to ensure that the conditions set out in the will are administered are called executors, that is, they execute the will.  The term speaks of a certain non-negotiability about the whole matter, like an executioner putting to death a person.  So the executor of a will has to do things as specified with minimal latitude for change.  In the matter where a man dies without a will, then the plans that he made before his death can in a way become his will.

When Jesus died, His words that He spoke to the apostles became His will.  His instructions to them as to how they should behave, pray, interact and act all became part of His legacy for them… His will.  And they were to be the executors of His will if they held to His word and did and said things just as He had wanted them to.

Sometimes we fail to realise that Jesus was not raised from the dead as Lazarus was, but He was resurrected.  As such, His death, the death of Jesus the Man, was permanent, but He was raised, resurrected, never to die again, whereas Lazarus was raised but he died again.  As such, the resurrection of Jesus makes the words that He spoke before His death His will, and the words that He spoke after He was raised from the dead His new plans.

In reminding us of the words Jesus spoke before His death, the Holy Spirit is acting as the Lawyer who is reading the will of the deceased, so that His executors will carry them out to the letter.  Neither the Lawyer, the executors nor the beneficiaries have the right to change the will, even though in the world there are many wills that are disputed.  Therefore, the Holy Spirit, in reminding us of the words of Jesus that He spoke before His death, will never concur to changing them nor will He concur that the executors and beneficiaries of His will should be allowed to change them at all.

The teachings on the eating and drinking of His flesh and blood, as well as the declaration that all food is clean, were spoken before His death.  As such, the teachings on the eating and drinking of His flesh and blood are His will.  They cannot be changed.  James the Younger with his recommendations in Acts 15 is exactly like a relative who wants to change the will of a dead relative for his own benefit.  It is illegal and carries with it due penalties.  In fact, anyone meddling with the will of a dead person to derive some benefit for himself that was not otherwise possible is a thief.  At the very least, he brings dishonour and disgrace to the one who made the will.

So, when you so often ask what is the will of God for your life, God has already said, “Listen to Him,” [Matthew 17.5; Mark 9.7; Luke 9.35] that is, listen to Jesus.  The words of Jesus are the will of God for your life, that is, the legal dictate of how He has chosen to benefit you after His death.  And Jesus did die so that He does have a will, which must be executed.

When Jesus was raised from the dead, His resurrection meant that He Himself now has a new life, and as such, His will remains in force and can be executed even though He is alive.  The resurrection of Jesus means that He is able to have a will that has to be executed, while also being able to make new plans as one who is alive.  Understanding this allows you to understand the difference between the premorbid words of Jesus and His post-resurrection words.  His premorbid words became His will with His death, and as such, became unchangeable and non-negotiable.  However, His post-resurrection words are now His plans for His future, and as such, they are words that are waiting to be carried out, and being plans they are words that can be directive without being restrictive.

The difference between the premorbid words of Jesus and His post-crucifixion words is illustrated in the difference between John 3.16-18 and Mark 16.15-16.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the Name of God’s one and only Son,” is John 3.16-18.

“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned,” is Mark 16.15-16.

See that the salvation and condemnation spoken of in John 3 are feat accomplished, but the salvation and condemnation in Mark 16 are yet to come.  Now, how can you be saved and yet to be saved?  Or how can you be condemned and yet to be condemned?  You are one or the other.  Either you are, in which case you do not have to wait for what will be, or you are not and you will have to wait for what will be.

Jesus is not contradicting Himself here.  You are saved if you believe in Him now, and likewise you are condemned now if you do not believe in Him now.  That is the will.

However, if you only heard the news about Him, that is, the good news, but have yet to meet Him, that you may believe not the news but the Person, then you will be saved or you will be condemned, that is the plan.  And being a plan, it is subject to or is available to change and even improvement.

Also, there is no contradiction because faith in the news promises salvation and unbelief in the news promises condemnation, but it is only a promise, a prediction… some that will happen, but has not yet happened.  However, faith in the Person manifests the salvation, as disbelief of the Person manifests the condemnation.  It is not a promise; it is a happening.  There is a difference between what will happen and what is happening.  One is yet to come and therefore may be averted, but the other cannot be averted for it is already here.

He placed salvation through faith in Him as His will, but salvation through faith in the news about Him as the plan.

Therefore those who profess to work for Him, who say they are His servants, place themselves under condemnation according to their own words and actions… words and actions that show whether they believe in Him or not.  If you believe in Him, you will not contest His will, that is, you will not change His word or His legacy.  The fact that there are those who call Him, “Lord,” and yet do not uphold His will, but consider their recommendations and traditions as more important than His will, which is dictated in His word, helps you understand why He can say to them, “I never knew you.  Go away; the things you did were unauthorised.” [Matthew 7.23 NLT (1996 edition)]

When a person changes the will of a dead person, that is an unauthorised work, for it is done without the consent and therefore the authority of the dead person.  A judge’s decision does not replace the consent of the person who made the will.  As such, all who have ignorantly changed the will of Jesus according to the recommendations of those who seem to be important, like James the Younger, have placed themselves under condemnation, for they have not believed in the person of Jesus, His will and His Name.  For if what is done in His Name is not in His will, it is unauthorised and unlawful.

So, then recognise that when the Holy Spirit reminds you of what Jesus said before Jesus died on that Roman cross, He is in fact reminding you of the will of Jesus.  However, when He tells you what He has heard, He is telling you what They are planning.  The separation of the words of Jesus from that which is His will and that which He is planning allows us then to know what we must adhere to to the letter and what we may have the latitude of modification in details while still heading for the final goal.

His premorbid words being His will are not subject to any change.  For instance, since He said that we are not to call any man, “Father,” then those who claim to be His servants and yet make men call them, “Father,” are workers of unauthorised works who have demonstrated they do not believe Him and they are condemned now.

However, His post-resurrection words being His plan can be subject to modification, and though they may be ignored, disbelieved and disobeyed, as some of them were by even the eleven, it does not change the final objective of the plan at all.  That is why the failure of the disciples to go to Galilee has not changed the plan to have the Kingdom of God manifest on the Earth.  Delayed it, yes; changed it, no.  Likewise, the fishing trip of Peter in disobedience to the Lord’s command that they should wait in Jerusalem did not prevent the Holy Spirit to be poured out.  Delayed, yes; prevented, no.  For plans can be subject to change to accommodate the situations and circumstances that may arise, but a will cannot be changed, unless the dead can speak.

What this means for us, the elect of the Lord, is that we now know what to enforce without compromise –His will – and what we can put into action and adjust and modify as the circumstances dictate, so that we can still achieve our goal, the fulfilment of His plans.

The love of enemies is non-negotiable, for it is part of the will.  How the gospel is preached to creation, creatures and mankind is.  Not resisting an evil person is non-negotiable, for it is part of the will.  How we drive out demons, when we speak in tongues and heal the sick is, for they are part of the plan to manifest the Kingdom of God.

So, know for yourself what the will of Jesus is and what the plan of Jesus is, and you will know the time of your salvation, whether now or later.

Hr. Ed Kwan, manager of the Holy Spirit’s Workshop

Copyright Information:  NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION [NIV]  All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®,
NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved worldwide.  www.zondervan.com  NEW LIVING TRANSLATION [NLT]  Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004.  Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189.  All rights reserved.

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