Copyright © 20111
- For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
- Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
- Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;
- Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
- These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
- Titus 2:11-15
Sometimes a small word holds great meaning. Notice the little word “and” in Titus 2:13—“the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” “And” is a very simple English word, usually joining two equal things, or two equal persons, or two equal titles. But here it does not join two equal persons. We are not talking about our great God the Father and the Savior Jesus Christ. We are not joining two equal persons. We are joining two equal titles that refer to one person, the Lord Jesus. He is our great God and Savior Jesus Christ; it is the same person. If I were to translate this into more idiomatic English, I would render it “our great Savior God, Jesus Christ.” I want to share with you some conceptions of the greatness of our Savior Jesus Christ. There are too few people who have a right conception of the godhead of the Lord Jesus. If we could grasp once and for all the fact that the Lord Jesus is as truly God as the Father, then we would get some greater view, and some greater idea of His Saviorhood.
Our mental conceptions of the greatness of our God are far too limited. The Lord Jesus is the visible “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). There never has been any other manifestation of the Father but the Son. God ever has been, and is, and ever will be invisible, for “no man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18). For it is not “God is a spirit”—the “a” is not in the original—but “God is spirit” (John 4:24);2 and the only way in which God has ever manifested Himself is through His Son. That’s why we believe in the eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus, for the Father, being eternally Father, must eternally have always had a Son. So we think of the Sonship of the Lord Jesus, who was known before He came to this earth as the Logos. He assumed a human name, Jesus, and forever gloriously bears in the very central heaven’s praises a human name of Jesus.
The Lord Jesus as Creator
I want you to understand the greatness of our Savior God, the Lord Jesus. Too few Christians understand His creatorship. “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3). There is nothing that has been created or is created or will be created, but that is created by and through and for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The word is quite clear:
- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
- The same was in the beginning with God.
- All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.
- John 1:1-3
He made the principalities and the powers; He made those glorious beings known as the cherubim that God reveals in the Bible. He made those amazing angels of power and flame, the seraphim. He made the “innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22). He made human beings. He made all things. “He made the stars also” (Genesis 1:16). By having some conception of the greatness of the glory of the Lord Jesus, and by glimpsing His godhead,3 you will have a far greater knowledge and idea of the truth of the Word when it speaks about His greatness. So then I want to share with you about His greatness as Creator, and then we will come by process to see His greatness in the spiritual sphere. Seeing His handiwork in nature, you will understand that just as He is great as Creator, He is great in His spiritual blessings. If we can understand something of His greatness as Creator, then we can understand something of His greatness in being a Redeemer and a Savior, and a High Priest, and a Shepherd, and we can understand the “great love with which He loves us” (Ephesians 2:4).
God’s “Family” Principle
You know, God delights in the name of Father. Father! Everything God made is on the family principle. We live in families. We have family camps. If there is one thing God believes in, it is families. If there is one thing the devil doesn’t believe in, it is families. In our present day, when the devil has great power, he is trying to destroy the family. The idea of a sixteen-year-old is, “I ought not to live at home. I ought to live on my own, because I want to break away from the family.” Even when you do live on your own, you are still part of a family. I am not talking about what Father and Mother have done for you. You would do the same for your children. But God forbid that you should listen to the devil’s lies of breaking up the family. God believes in family. There is a lovely little word in the Bible that says “God puts the solitary into families” (Psalm 68:6). He made everything on the family principle, from the atom, to the solar system, even to the very galaxies of stars. Everything is on a family principle. Even the nucleus of the atom with its electrons, protons, and neutrons, is a family in itself. But the devil tries to destroy the family, and wants to get rid of it.
“All Things Were Made by Him”—The Heavens
Look at our solar system. It is only another family. Our earth is a tiny little family with one child, the moon, that goes around it. Our sun has more children, which we call planets. Closest to the sun is Mercury, then Venus, followed by the earth, Mars, Jupiter (which is the largest of all), then Saturn (which is the one with the ring round it), and finally Neptune and Uranus. These planets vary in their distances from the sun—thirty million miles for Mercury, ninety-three million miles for earth, and two thousand three hundred odd million miles away from the sun to the last member of the family, an unthinkable distance—but still in the family. So here is our little family, which we call the solar system. Most of the planets have their little families of “children” (Jupiter has sixty-four, at last count!) all going round them; we call them moons or satellites. And then God takes that solar system and puts it in another still bigger family, which astronomers call a galaxy. Our galaxy is called the Milky Way,4 because the hundreds of thousands of millions of stars in the center of it look just like a milky blur. And this Milky Way galaxy, that milky blur which we can see, and which runs right the way round the sky, is a gigantic family of stars, of which our sun is but one small member.
But we’re not done with the families yet. Yes, our Milky Way galaxy is a family containing hundreds of thousands of millions of stars. Now consider that the universe is a family consisting of hundreds of thousands of millions of galaxies, each one containing hundreds of thousands of millions of stars! Who made them? Jesus did. What—the One who lives in my heart? Yes. Jesus. The One who baptizes me with the Holy Ghost? Yes, Jesus did it! Remember the testimony of Scripture: “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3).
So let me ask you a simple question. Who or what is the greatest—the thing that is made, or the person who makes it? Is the person who made the universe, or the universe itself, the greatest? Do you understand now why we say that God is not in the universe? It’s because the universe is too small to contain Him! God isn’t somewhere in this universe; the universe is in God. God, as it were, holds the universe, all those hundreds of thousands of millions of galaxies, in the hollow of His hand. You may ask, “What is the number of all those stars?” A great astronomer, Sir James Jeans, said that the number of the stars is as all the number of grains of sand on all the seashores of all the world. Now when you go down to a beach and lift up a handful of sand, can you count the grains of sand—in just one handful? Then think of all the sand on all the seashores of all the world—all the grains of sand—and that’s the number of stars that Jesus, our great Savior God, made. Don’t you see that He is very much bigger than the universe He made—much greater?
“All Things Were Made by Him”—The Microscopic Realm
Yet one of the greatest things that God ever did was to become small. As Charles Wesley describes it in his hymn, Let Earth and Heaven Combine:
Our God contracted to a span,
Incomprehensibly made man.
The greatest thing God ever did was to minimize Himself, for the God of the stars is also the God of the tiny things. Let’s look at this other extreme, the smallest things God has made. When we talk about the smallest things, we come to what we call the protozoa, which means “first life.” By that we do not mean the first life that began; we mean the first life in the ascending scale of life, for those of us who are real Christians and know the Lord Jesus know full well that things didn’t evolve just as they are. We know He made them. Wouldn’t it be a silly thought for me to believe in organic evolution, which means that all life in its present form came by evolvement and by chance? How did the angels come then? Did they come by chance, too? Did an angel come from a little blob of jelly? That would have been a spiritual “blob,” because they are spirit beings. Now isn’t that foolish? There is something God will do for you when you really go through with Him—He’ll give you a sound mind. He gives us a spirit “of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7); and in the baptism of the Holy Ghost, He gives us a really sound mind, if we go on with God. And a sound mind tells me that I am not to believe that angels came from a blob of spiritual protoplasm. God must have made them just as they are. Well, seeing He made the angels that way, why couldn’t He make human beings that way? Hasn’t He got the power and authority to do so? I believe He did; the Bible tells me He did; and it is elementary common sense to me to realize that everyone must have come from a single pair in the first place. But that’s another subject.
Among those very minute, one-celled forms of life called the protozoa, we encounter the amoeba. An amoeba is a little tiny blob of “jelly” made of protoplasm. Although it is the most minute, tiny, elementary form of life, there are some most marvelous and wonderful things about it. Let’s look at some of those marvels. How does it all keep together? Well, there’s a very wonderful skin around it, called a membrane, and this membrane lets water and salts and food in, but it doesn’t let them out. Now this is amazing, isn’t it? It will let in water that brings in the food that it feeds on, and the salt it feeds on, and the things which are necessary for its life; but that which it needs to live on, the protein and the carbohydrates and the necessary salts, it won’t let out. Why it is that? Well, it is a principle which happens in plant life and that form of animal life, which is called osmosis. God made this marvelous principle whereby a solution that is a stronger solution can always draw in a weaker solution. In other words, a strong solution of salts will always draw in the salts from a weaker solution. Now inside an amoeba is a strong solution, and outside it is a weaker solution in which it is suspended. Since the water is a weaker solution, the amoeba draws it into itself, and that’s how it goes on by the principle of osmosis.
Consider next how this wonderful little creature gets around. It doesn’t have any legs. It doesn’t have any cilia, or swimming arms. So how does it get around? It just flows out its substance. This shape of a blob of jelly flows out a “foot,” which we call a pseudopod or false foot; it will flow out its substance in one direction, and then in another. That is its irregular method of moving along. If you put something in its way, it will turn away from it. How does it know? It doesn’t have eyes, or ears, or a liver, or a heart, or a brain, or lungs. Then how does it breathe if it doesn’t have any lungs? Well, that brings us to the law of diffusion of gases, which says that a strong concentration of gas will always diffuse itself equally in a weaker diffusion of other gases. The molecules of any gas won’t cluster together; rather, they diffuse themselves equally into a surrounding diffusion of other gases. In the case of the amoeba, there is more oxygen in the water than there is within the amoeba, so the oxygen naturally diffuses itself through the amoeba, coming through that marvelous membrane I told you about. It diffuses itself into the amoeba. Then as the amoeba breathes the oxygen, it takes the oxygen it needs for its metabolism, its life force, and gives out carbon dioxide.
What, then, happens to the carbon dioxide? Well, now the process works the other way. Since there is a higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the amoeba than there is in the water, the carbon dioxide diffuses itself out into the weaker concentration. So the carbon dioxide goes out, and the oxygen comes in. Whoever invented that idea? Jesus did. Jesus did! What, for a little amoeba, a speck of jelly that is about a millionth part of an inch? Did Jesus take the trouble to do all that for an amoeba? Then will He not much more take trouble for you, “O ye of little faith” (Matthew 6:30)? He is “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ”!
The Saviorhood of the Lord Jesus
Now if the Scripture calls the Lord Jesus God, and then it says He is “our great Savior God,” then the word “great” applies as much to His Saviorhood as it does to His Godhead. That means He is as great a Savior as He is a God. So what is your temptation, and what is your trouble? What is the thing that is too hard for you? What is that thing you can’t give up? What was it that you said was too much for you? Don’t believe that any more! He is as great a Savior as He is a God. The God of those marvelous families of stars, and the God of that tiny protozoa, the amoeba, in their billions, which He takes care of—that wonderful Savior is taking care of you, planning your life. Now do you see that your real trouble is in not letting Him do that? You keep going off on your own. You keep being like an amoeba in some silly, mindless fashion, throwing out your pseudopods, your false feet, and going in an irregular fashion whichever way you like. And then when you find an obstacle in that way, you go another way. But He never made you an amoeba! He made you the highest form of living being on the earth, a human being. And He longs to direct you, and to plan your way for you, and to deliver you. He is the great Savior God. “You shall call His name Jesus” (which means Savior) “for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Can you trust Him? Isn’t He a wonderful Savior?
We preach too low a doctrine of salvation. We keep telling each other that we have all got to be sinners, and that one day we are going to leave this sinful old body behind. I want to tell you truthfully that your body isn’t sinful at all. It’s your soul that is sinful. And when you die and your body is put into the ground, it won’t be a lot of sin that’s put into the ground. A cemetery is no more sinful than a church; in fact it is less sinful. You will find more sin in a church than you will in a cemetery. This is a very serious and very real error, the old error of the Gnostics5 and the Manicheans:6 they thought matter was sinful. Yes, a body is matter, but it isn’t sinful at all. Sin lies far deeper than the body—it lies in the soul. And the Lord Jesus is the Savior of the soul! He wants to save your soul completely. And He is so great, that He is the full and complete Savior! We believe in a full gospel which produces a full salvation. He is a great Savior and He is God, able to save from sin completely, if you’ll believe Him and let Him do it.
His Love Is as Great as His Power
The Apostle Paul writes of “His great love wherewith He loved us” (Ephesians 2:4). Did you think He was going to drop you in the end? I was praying with a brother not so long ago. This dear brother longed to be baptized in the Spirit, and kept praying and asking, and having others lay hands on him and pray for him, but it never happened to him. Then I preached on the subject, and as he was taking me back in his car afterward, he said, “Would you pray for me, brother?” And as we prayed, God gave me a word of prophecy for him, such a lovely and comforting word. The Lord said to him, “And did you think that I had forgotten you? And did you think that I was going to leave you out? And did you think I was going to visit others and not you?” That is exactly what he had been thinking! He broke down completely, because the Lord just opened his heart. You see, that is what prophecy does—it reveals the heart. This was the word of knowledge which the Lord gave in prophecy, and, of course, this brother just trusted in the blessed Lord to baptize him there and then. You see, the Lord doesn’t forget us; He has a million thoughts towards us. As it says in the Book, “Your thoughts which are toward us…they are more than can be numbered” (Psalm 40:5). That is what the Lord is thinking towards you and me all the time, a million thoughts, because He is as great a Savior as He is a God. And He tells us of “His great love wherewith He loved us,” for His…
…love is as great as His power
and knows neither measure nor end.7
You see, neither His power nor His love can have measure. His love for you is as if you were the only object of His affection. Think to yourself, “He made the stars, and He made the amoeba; and He is so much greater than this. His love for me is far greater than these—His “great love wherewith He loved us.” Paul said,
- For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present,
- nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 8:38,39
That divine love which Jesus has for you cannot be measured.
Jesus is called in Hebrews a great High Priest, that is, one who intercedes for us, one who asks God about us, one who looks after us, one who appears in the presence of the Father for us. The Lord Jesus as great a High Priest as He is a God. Don’t think of Him as just a high priest—He is the great High Priest, and He is at work all the time. He is interceding to God for you, in a most lovely, sweet, beautiful and affectionate way. For every tiny detail where you come short, He’s interceding. For everything about you that isn’t very nice, He is appealing to God and putting it right. And for every sin that you have ever committed, and every wrong thought you’ve ever had, there Jesus has interceded for you and is doing so. You’ll make the grade, you’ll finish all right, you’ll come in at the end of the race, because you’ve got such a great Savior, and He’s got such great love for you. You have such a great High Priest.
“According to His Riches in Glory”
Hebrews 10:35 says, “Cast not away your confidence, which has great recompense of reward.” How great is the recompense of the reward? As great as He is a God! He tells us in the Scriptures that He is going to give us “according to His riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19). That’s not out of His riches in glory, but according to His riches in glory. You may ask, “What’s the difference?” Well, let’s say I knew a millionaire, and he said to me, “I’d like to give you a gift. Here’s fifty bucks for you.” I’d say, “Thanks. I’m very grateful to you,” and so I would be. But he would not be giving me according to his riches; he would be giving to me out of his riches. If he was a millionaire who had a million dollars, taking fifty away from that would leave quite a bit remaining, wouldn’t it? He would be giving me out of his riches. The Lord Jesus doesn’t give me “fifty dollars” out of His riches. He is unspeakably rich. He is the heir of God. If there weren’t enough gold, He would make some more. He speaks and it is done. All things were created by Him:
The silver moon, the golden sun,
The countless stars that shine,
Are His alone, yes, every one,
And He’s a Friend of mine.8
Yes, Jesus is a friend of mine. Now if that millionaire gave me according to his riches, he’d give me at least a hundred thousand dollars, and he’d still have nine hundred thousand dollars left. Then he’d be giving me according to his riches. That’s how Jesus gives to you. “Cast not away therefore your confidence which has great recompense of reward,” for God tells us in the Book that through the ages to come, God is going to show His kindness towards us for Jesus’ sake. That’s God giving to you according to His riches—a “great recompense of reward” indeed! We are told something about it in the Book of Revelation: “I beheld the new Jerusalem, that great city, coming down from God out of heaven” (Revelation 21:2). That great city will be worthy of the great God. It will be according to His greatness. For God, it says in Hebrews, “is not ashamed to be called their God: for He has prepared for them a city” (Hebrew 11:16). That new Jerusalem—fifteen hundred miles long, fifteen hundred miles wide, fifteen hundred miles high, going up in tiers, of course, not just a great big wall, but going up in tiers to a great central peak—that’s some city! With glorious gates of pearl and streets of gold. You might ask, “Do you believe it’s a real city?” I’m certain of it, for the Bible speaks of “a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). If it is some dream city, some airy-fairy city, it wouldn’t have foundations, would it? You don’t need a foundation for a city of dreams, or some high falutin’, super-spiritual place. You will find there is a very real city, and you will find there will be very real streets of gold—God is very rich—and you will find that throughout the endless ages there will be a countless succession of new experiences of God’s love and favor to you, because there is “great recompense of reward” from “our great Savior God.”
God gives us “exceeding great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4); they come from our great Savior God. They are absolutely true, and they are far bigger than you can understand. Open your heart and receive everything that God has for you. Amen.
(Many thanks to Ann Gutteridge
for the original transcription.)
- Copyright held by Finest of the Wheat Teaching Fellowship, Inc. Edited and annotated by Jim Kerwin. Co-edited by Denise Kerwin. ↩
- Pastor Gutteridge here points out a difficulty in the King James translation of John 4:24. Koine Greek, the language in which the New Testament was written, lacks an indefinite article (words like “a” and “an,” as opposed to the definite article “the”). The presence or absence of an indefinite article in a translation from the Greek is according to the context and the translator”s best sense of what the original writer was trying to communicate. In the case of John 4:24, almost every other translation omits the indefinite article, and renders the passage “God is spirit.” ↩
- As it is used here, without a capital letter, godhead is an older synonym for godhood or divinity. When capitalized—Godhead—it can mean the Trinity or the essential being of God. A simple sentence can set this in order: “Because He is a part of the Godhead, we speak of the godhead of Jesus.” ↩
- Milky Way is a translation of the Latin phrase Via Lactea, the Roman equivalent of the Greek kyklos galaktikos, or “milky circle.” Gala, the Greek word for milk, is also the root of galaxia—galaxy. ↩
- Gnosticism (from the Greek word gnosis or knowledge) is an broad term covering certain sects from the First century a.d. onwards. Adherents claimed a special enlightenment or divinely imparted “knowledge” that would ultimately liberate them from the evil, material plane of existence. ↩
- Manicheans were followers of a Third century a.d. Persian prophet named Mani (Manichaeus in Latin). Their belief system was dualistic (i.e., a belief that good and evil are evenly matched in an ongoing seesaw battle). ↩
- These words by Joseph Hart (1712-1769) come from his hymn, No Prophet or Dreamer of Dreams. The same words also appear in a 19th-century shortening of Hart's original lyrics, in a hymn titled How Good Is the God We Adore. ↩
- From John Sammis’s hymn, Jesus Is a Friend of Mine. ↩