What is manifestation? Manifestation is to make public something that is not generally known. For example: the manifestation of an idea is the idea that others did not have. To manifest, then, is to reveal oneself, to make oneself known, to make public. A manifest is a public writing in which a sovereign exposes a political or financial situation which was not of public knowledge.
The apostle Paul thus said: “For this cause I, Paul, am the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles, if it is so that you have heard of the administration of that grace of God which was given me toward you; how that by revelation the mystery was made known to me, as I wrote before in few words, by which, when you read, you can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ; which in other generations was not made known to the children of men, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit” (Eph. 3:1-5). The text reveals in a clear way that the ministry of Christ was not manifested to the sons of men; that is to say, Christ, in the Old Testament, was just a promise, and therefore he was not Jehovah. Jehovah rejected the gentiles: “Jehovah is King forever and ever! The nations will perish out of his land” (Ps. 10:16). The ministry of grace, manifested to Paul in the text read above, is the inclusion of gentiles in the body of the Church as participants in the promise (Eph. 3:6). This ministry was hidden in God in the past centuries, and not even the angels had any knowledge of the mystery (Eph. 3:9-10). The manifestation of Christ was necessary in order to reveal the true work of God, as well as his will.
- Christ was manifested to reveal the righteousness of God, for in the Old Testament the righteousness was the righteousness of the law. “Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness. Your law is truth” (Ps. 119:142-144,172). “Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law” (Is. 51:7). In the New Testament, though, we read that the keeping of the law does not manifest the righteousness of God, the Father of Jesus Christ. Paul says: “What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who didn’t follow after righteousness, attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith; but Israel, following after a law of righteousness, didn’t arrive at the law of righteousness. Why? Because they didn’t seek it by faith, but as it were by works of the law. They stumbled over the stumbling stone” (Rom. 9:30-32). And Paul explains why the law does not fulfill the righteousness of God, saying: “Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). The law brings knowledge of sin, but does not destroy sin. We mean the law of Jehovah. It is different with Jesus: “or else he must have suffered often since the foundation of the world. But now once at the end of the ages, he has been revealed to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. 9:26). Jesus destroyed the power of sin through his death in the place of the sinner (Gal. 1:4). And Paul closes the issue saying: “For Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom. 10:4).
- But Christ was manifested also to take our sins. When John said that Christ was manifested to take our sins (1 John 3:5), John was not saying that I have a bag of sins on my back, and every time he meets me he dumps everything in the garbage truck. John is saying that Jesus takes away the sinful nature. Jesus is not the garbage man of the heavenly Jerusalem. Paul declared: “Don’t you know that to whom you present yourselves as servants to obedience, his servants you are whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that, whereas you were bondservants of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto you were delivered. Being made free from sin, you became bondservants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:16-18). The text says that whoever is a servant of sin, in other words, a slave of sin, is not a servant of righteousness; and they only become a servant of righteousness when they are delivered from sin. One is either a servant of sin unto death, or one is delivered from sin unto eternal life: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). The evangelical tradition advocates that it is impossible for the Christian to not sin, based in 1 John 1:8-10. This text says that, if we say that we are not sinful, we are not speaking the truth; and if we say that we do not sin, we make a liar out of Jehovah, and his truth is not in us. But the same John, a little ways ahead, says: “You know that he was revealed to take away our sins, and in him is no sin. Whoever remains in him doesn’t sin. Whoever sins hasn’t seen him, neither knows him” (1 John 3:5-6). Whoever is a servant of sin adopts 1 John 1:8-10 as a doctrine; however whoever is a servant of righteousness adopts 1 John 3:5-6. No one should forget that John declares emphatically: “He who sins is of the devil” (1 John 3:8). When somebody is a child of the devil, he is not a child of God.
- But also Christ has been manifested to abolish death. It is Paul who tells us: “Therefore don’t be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but endure hardship for the Good News according to the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Good News” (2 Tim. 1:8-10). Now, if the wages of sin is death, Paul says: “Therefore, as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). In order to keep the eternal life that Jesus gives us, there is only one way, which is to stop sinning. Therefore Paul says that Christ brought to light the life and incorruptibility through the gospel. You should be one of these!!!
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira