TruthInvestigate

“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ever learning the mysteries

Babylon was the great mother of deep mysteries. “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT.” (Rev. 17:5). Deeply did the sorcerers search for new knowledge. And she trained the whole world to do the same.

“All the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.” (Acts 17:21). To them truth was an ocean that we sit before like a child playing at the beach. And it is true that the knowledge of God is like an ocean. But the library of error is also like an ocean.

If the fallen mind doesn’t love the truth of God and His ten commandments; if it doesn’t love Him, but wants to flee from His presence; if it hates to see Him in His world which is full of His glory, then the mind can ingeniously manipulate the glory from creation’s Creator that floods its soul and apply the glory to some blind force, such as the theory of Evolution. Or the mind can make creation’s beginning an imaginary event, such as the Big Bang (or the Big Boing) theory, which allegedly took place in the past, infinitely beyond the remotest possibility of human conceptualizing, or true scientific investigation. With Satan’s help, the mind can take the natural evidences of the truth and create its own theory of origins that excludes the God that it hates. Under the influence of the devil, the mind can lead itself to change “the truth of God into a lie, and [worship] and [serve] the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” (Rom. 1:25).

The rebelling mind can recreate the truth and call it truth. It can remodel the truth, and then drum up many arguments to prove its new truth. The unregenerate mind will study and study and study nature and revelation to hopefully stumble upon some evidence until it finds the missing link. Does not the Bible call us to “light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till [we] find it?” (Luke 15:8). Yes, but from the context of only true God.

This is nothing new. It is what the Gnostics were about—the search for hidden knowledge. The church had lost their simple “first love” (Rev. 2:4) for the presence of their Friend Jesus, the love for Jesus that David had, a man after God’s own heart. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Ps. 16:11). Therefore, the Christians who imbibed Gnosticism continued in a vain search for something intellectual to fill up the deep chasm of the soul caused by the lack of submission to God’s Law and by the loss of the presence of Jesus’ Spirit. What is better to the heart and soul, and healthier for the body and the mind than the simple pleasures of studying and knowing Jesus?

The flight from health of body, mind, and soul is exactly what happened at the beginning of the post-flood world, which spawned the apostasy of Ham, Cush, and Nimrod. It didn’t take much time. For any of us to leave the One who embodied the truth and the life of God, and access to God, and dive headlong into ignorance and spiritualism never takes much time; likewise the rejection of the Truth in person was a quick response by the Jews.

“Jesus had now given three years of public labor to the world. His example of self-denial and disinterested benevolence was before them. His life of purity, of suffering and devotion, was known to all. Yet this short period of three years was as long as the world could endure the presence of its Redeemer.” Desire of Ages, p. 541.

Divine truth is seen in the fruits of the Spirit as much as in the mechanics of the physical world. Spirituality, the character of God, reveals the natural world as much as science does. But, a glimpse of God’s holy character automatically implies condemnation on a sinful character. The image of God in the human conscience always recognizes its obligation to copy the beauty of holiness that it sees in its Creator. But, the soul in rebellion seeks to avoid God at all cost.

And the disdain of obedience to God and His holy Law, yet the continued drawing of the mysterious law of cause and effect seen throughout nature, leads the unregenerate soul to search nature for truth that excludes the laws of holiness and the purposes of God for making creation—that is, to always and forever keep Adam and his family learning of Him and loving Him.

That new mindset of searching nature without a yearning for divine acceptance creates an unholy curiosity which Satan encourages and develops. Hence, the godless scientific world of today in the National Academy of Sciences in the U.S. and similar organizations in other countries’ governments. They look for the “missing link”  of evolution, and have never found it. Many scientists have admitted the falsehood of evolution, but are still busy looking for another “truth” of origins while they dispense with all evidence that favors the biblical account. The unregenerate theologian can even search for an understanding of the Bible or of God. But having a mind of curiosity or an ambition to receive recognition for his scholarship or for applause from the Christian community leaves the church with a skewed truth.

“The wisdom of the divine purpose has shrouded in mystery the history of the early period of the life of Christ. Of the humble home at Nazareth, God has withheld all knowledge that would merely gratify a profitless curiosity. During the years of childhood, youth, and manhood, Jesus shared the common lot of humanity in all things except sin. For thirty years before he began his public ministry, he was unknown to the world. All this time he kept within his own heart the secret of his work and the character of his mission. His life was that of a servant, a toiler at the common duties of life; he was the least among the sons of men.  
     Jesus did not become a student in the schools of the rabbis; for this channel was corrupted with error, with false doctrines, with the maxims and traditions of men. This cost the Son of God much pain and sorrow; but by this very means he was learning the hard lessons of silence and patient waiting. His life was not one of indolence; these early years were spent in preparation for the life upon which he was to enter.
     Words cannot express the greatness of the love of God for man; but Christ has revealed it in his life in humanity. Only by himself assuming human nature, and reaching down to the very depths of human misery, could he lift the race from its darkness and despair. The cross of Calvary, the offering of himself upon the altar of sacrifice, reveals the humiliation to which the Son of God submitted.” Youth Instructor, August 5, 1897 par. 7-9.

Only the truth that springs from faith in the Creator and the self-sacrificing Redeemer will end with the truth. The unregenerate heart and mind will filter out all that convicts its conscience, and will end with a “truth” which is falsehood, a lifeless falsehood which brings a living death, a bewitching “light” which in reality is darkness.

This corrupted truth and light and life is the knowledge of good and evil. And it never arrives at pure truth and light from heaven. Neither does it possess life and strength to overcome sin. Such scholars are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2Tim. 3:7). Examples af this are the doctrines of Transubstantiation and the Trinity. These were invented not to arrive at truth, but to only appear to do so. The real intent was to involve the intellect or soul in feeble pursuits that would only burn up mental or emotional vitality while trudging on to imaginary heights of wisdom and spiritual bliss.

The Lord, speaking to this sin and its wages of death coming to Babylon and her votives, said,

“Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.” (Isa. 47:12,13).

Ever learning error simply used intellectual stimulation by doctrines of devils to fill the gaping hole in the heart made by the loss of the whole-being stimulation—body, mind, and spirit—by the Spirit of truth. It was a diversion from their Creator’s whole person redemption to self-stimulating one of the three components that make up a human being. But it never ended in life, but rather unending work and exhaustion.

It is so much easier to arrive at truth when we start with truth. The only sure way to find a solution to a problem or to find the truth of a mystery is to study a resource that is proven true. When Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was approached by his contemporaries about his almost 100% success rate for his health inventions as opposed to their utter failures, he answered that he read what Ellen White had to say about the body and health and then he worked in the direction that she pointed.

Contrariwise, to attempt to remake the laws of reality will end in failure. It may give a person a long career of never-ending work, but it will never arrive at a solution. It will not create his proposed new reality, except maybe in the perverted imagination of the bender of reality, maybe in the bender’s crooked financiers, and most probably in the populace who are bewitched by listening to the financiers’ multimedia monopoly.

Babylon’s ancient alchemy of warping reality, which was later brought into the church during the Dark Ages, can no more change pagan concepts into Christianity, or error into truth, than the alchemists could change lead into gold, their rods into serpents, or coal into diamonds. Yet, they tried over and over again. But, never arriving at a conclusive answer while eluding the evidences God has provided in the natural and biblical world. But, this is all right with Babylon’s scholars and scientists, so long as it doesn’t affect their careers, or end their nice incomes and comfortable standard of living. The enslavement of the masses has always existed in order to fund the mountainous financial burden of highly paid ever-learners at the fountain of less than nothingness. Then the highly learned establishment can keep the masses ignorant of truth. This is Satan’s plan perfected over many millennia.

The unconverted mind’s conclusions never square with all that the Bible teaches or the whole evidence that nature presents. The scientific community casts out all the evidences that dispute and overthrow their erroneous deductions. If an honest scientist cries out against the Big Bang and Evolution, he loses his job. The true theologian is called a heretic and disfellowshiped. Even though a child can see the fraudulent conclusions; even though the new Christian who has set his love on Jesus recognizes the overstepping of biblical evidences; nevertheless, the miscarriage of justice continues forever in the inadequate theories that men concoct.

“Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1Cor. 2:6-10).

Whether or not individual hearts respond to the love of God is the criteria that Jesus has always used to separate honest souls from the dishonest, worthy candidates of His coming kingdom from the unworthy. Though nobodies, they are lively stones with lively hearts and minds. They are anointed by Jesus and can discern the rejection of total evidence available. The Spirit of Christ will make it known to these nobodies.

“The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in his presence.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1Cor. 1:25-31).

Jesus inspired the Bible, and He created the world as it is. His voice comes through loud and clear to the soul from these means of truth. Through nature and revelation alike He would make the children of light distinct from the children of darkness. “For the Father…hath committed all judgment unto the Son…. And hath given Him authority to execute judgment.” (John 5:22,27).

“And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice.
And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers….
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” (John 10:4,5,27,28).

“My kingdom is not of this world…. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice.” (John 18:36).

Are we following the voice of Jesus? Have we set our love on Him?

“Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My salvation.” (Ps. 91:14-16).

Do we love the truth of the Bible as the natural world reveals it? Do we love the truth of the natural world as the Bible reveals it? Do we love the principles of self-sacrifice and obedience to law that they both teach?

Or do we secretly love the pleasures of this life and trust in the teachings of men?

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Thess. 2:7-12).

All who cling to sin and war against the voice of Christ until the Spirit of conviction grows silent will ever be searching for meaning and purpose, and never be able to find it. They will never have Jesus’ Spirit of consolation or hear a word of grace from above; they will never have certainty of salvation. They will ever search for it, and never find it.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11,12).

The Lord God of the Old Testament is Jesus; and through His everlasting words, He is pleading to us today, “Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it. Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.” (Isa. 47:14,15).

Bewitching, intoxicating, mysteries of Babylon are alive a well today. But soon Babylon’s high walls of confusion and captivity will fall before the simple, clear cutting truth of our Creator and Redeemer.

“Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from Me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the LORD.
A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon, and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans:
Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered:
Because the spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the LORD God of recompences shall surely requite.
And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.” (Jer. 51:53-58). 

“Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:7-11).

While the Babylonians have opportunity to have rest by entering the school of Christ to learn the heavy subjects of Edenic simplicity and heart righteousness, and leaving their unending search for imaginary truth, most remain in Babylon. But, it is there that the mark of the Beast is given because they do not stop working enough to allow the still, small voice of the Good Shepherd to make His way into the center of their thoughts. They will ever be learning until the high schoolhouse of the mysteries ends their temporal life and they are unprepared for the eternal life that is based on simplicity and love and faith—the essence of truth, as it had been in the Garden of Eden.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The dark and the bright

“And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great.
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and [bright, margin]: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Rev. 19:5-8).

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12).

“But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.” (John 11:10).

While driving one day I noticed the black cloud formation in the photo above. It looked eerie because it was so dark compared to the other white clouds around it. The phenomenon grabbed my attention as I wanted to know what made the black cloud so unique. I wondered, Was it made of smoke from a furnace? But, I saw no factories nearby or other chimneys producing smoke.

Finally, I looked to the west and higher in the sky. I noticed a larger cloud above the black cloud. It was more to the west and was blocking the sunlight from the westering Sun, so that the black cloud was actually in the shadow of the higher, larger cloud. Maybe you can see part of the blocking cloud in the upper right-hand corner of the above picture.

The more distant clouds past the black clouds were white and bright because they were situated beyond the shadow created by the large cloud in the upper right corner of the photo. So the distant clouds were receiving the full light of the Sun, while the closer clouds were receiving no sunlight. It was the Sun that made the difference between the clouds which were white and which were black.

The sunlight shone onto and through the white clouds, reflecting back to me the light of the Sun. It became obvious by the black clouds that no cloud is naturally white. If it receives no light from the Sun it is naturally black. As beautiful as they could be when they are made white by the Sun, of themselves they are full of darkness and depression. They are eerie and scary, like the darkness which came up when the bottomless pit was opened during the fifth trumpet of Revelation. “And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.” (Rev. 9:2). Clouds without light have the dark hue of “jacinth” (Rev. 9:17); and human hearts without the light from God’s word eventually are full of the blackness of “smoke, and…brimstone” (Rev. 9:20), which indicates devil possession. This prophetic description of the locust plagues during the fifth and sixth trumpets are repeated in the third angel’s message.

“If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:9-11).

The fifth trumpet locusts torment the foreheads, or consciences, of “only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.” (Rev. 9:4). And later the sixth trumpet locusts “slay” (Rev. 9:15) the same foreheads. In other words, the “fire, and…smoke, and…brimstone” (Rev. 9:20) are the symbolic effect of not having the Seal of God, which is the Son of God permanently affixed in their thoughts. Rather, they have the only other alternative, the defaulted darkness in the soul by the mark of the Beast.

“There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom. 3:10-18).

Only with the Son can we be good; with the Son we go “about doing good, and healing all that [are] oppressed of the devil; for God [is] with [us].” (Acts 10:38).

“Behold, a virgin shall be with Child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God [is] with us.” (Matt. 1:23).

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5).

“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4).

“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1Jn. 5:12).

“But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1Cor. 1:30).

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20).

“The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Prov. 4:18). But, “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” (Vs. 19).

We can be bright and pure children of God only as the glory of the Son is shining upon us and in us. None of us is inherently pure and bright. No sooner do we refuse the Son than we refuse the glory that brightens our life for others to experience, and we refuse the glorious life that shines all around us into our eyes. “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14). When we stay away from His lovingkindness we cease to be kind and loving, pure and white. A dark hue covers our heart and fills our soul with the acrid smoke of our inherently evil, hellish nature.

But, when we have the light of the Son we receive power to become sons of God. We have and do what Jesus had and did, and what He still has and does. We have life to do His bidding toward others. He, His presence, keeps us from falling into selfishness and self-sufficiency and self-indulgence. “Selfish gratifications” (Great Controversy, p. 622) flee away from our heart.

This was all Christ’s desire, “The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” (John 17:22).

And one day we will have what “we ourselves groan within ourselves” to have, that is,“the redemption of our body.” (Rom. 8:23).

In that day, “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire…from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.” (2Thess. 1:7-10). “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. 13:43). “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Dan. 12:3).

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Rev. 21:23-27).
 
“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 22:3-5).

“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:11-14).
 

Thursday, August 04, 2016

LGBT to be or not to be, that is the question

“And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” (1Pet. 3:13).

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:19-23).

There is no law against love, and there is no law against righteousness. Love works peace in the land. Righteousness works peace in the land. How can there be legislation against peace in the land? But, what happens when Satan convinces people to abrogate God’s Law? Then, there is no love in the land because all the commandments hang upon love. And love, the core of the government of God, and the cause of His peace, can no longer remain in the land because the commandments of love no longer remain in the hearts of the citizens. This isn’t rocket science or deep political science. It’s common sense. It isn’t a principle that is beyond our galaxy; it is in our mouth and intellect. Love, joy, peace are things that the littlest children understand and desire. But, we get more foolish and harder in heart as we get older.

Yesterday I was listening to YouTube as I painted a room. Pastor and attorney Ed Reid was speaking on the signs of the end. International signs, monetary signs, social signs, etc. The video must have been a year old because one of the signs he mentioned was the U.S. Supreme Court passage of same-sex marriage nationwide on Jun 26, 2015. As surprising as that decision was, what would Mr. Reid say today about the White House forcing transgender bathrooms on every public facility in America? Even the senator in charge of the military has reversed his mind against LGBT. The love-bath will result in a weakened military and the failure of “good order and discipline”.

I’m not trying to politick here against Republicans or against Democrats, nor do I desire to stand up piously and pompously preach jeremiads. Nevertheless, I am lining up behind Ed Reid with the signs of the times—the end of America, my beloved Protestant America. The country that I was born in, and that all my life I have sworn allegiance to, has turned on me and on many millions more than me. Transgender bathrooms will not free us, but enslave us. Pornography has already corrupted our Protestant hearts. Immodesty is everywhere, even hiding covertly behind respectable “art” and “advertising” and “real life” theater. “[Our] defence is departed from [us], and the LORD is [not] with us.” (Num. 14:9).

Our nation’s foundation compromised, now all that Protestant America needed to collapse the old Constitution and the moral fabric of our Law-based nation was a requirement from our commander-in-chief, our chief executive; all we needed was a decree from the highest power of our state who works for our good to ram our foundation with a dictatorial rule that opens restroom doors to pornography-ridden hearts, pernicious imaginations for bathroom rape and other mischief. What an insult to the American people from their highest voted official! Is this a civilized nation, or a nation on the brink of mass chaos and massive civil strife?

Is it opening the door to pervasive perversity? Will not minority transgender privileges put over the straight majority corrupt the last holy threads of this nation that was once blessed of Jehovah, and turn it into “the degenerate plant of a strange vine”?

“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts. For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me?” (Jer. 2:19-21)?

Prior to entering Canaan, the children of Israel were given a high standard to follow. And if they chose to depart from that high standard and to do like the Canaanites, then the Lord would vomit them out of His land just as He had vomited out the Canaanites. And this is Jehovah’s answer to the freedom from Protestantism’s transgender agenda:

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God.
After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.
Ye shall do My judgments, and keep Mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.
Ye shall therefore keep My statutes, and My judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.
None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.
The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness.
The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.
The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness.
The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman.
Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she is thy mother’s near kinswoman.
Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.
Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness.
Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness.
Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.
Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.
Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her.
And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.
Ye shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:
(For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;)
That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.
For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
Therefore shall ye keep Mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 18).

Transgender restrooms, the filth of Playboy and other like media, all of which have broken out like a public plague in America, will bring this once favored nation to be despised by heaven and earth. No doubt this apostate Reformation nation is the whore featured in Revelation 17 and the ten horn powers are the other nations of this world. “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” (Rev. 17:16-18).

But, regardless of what the sole enemy of the Reformation does against Protestantism, it cannot destroy Protestantism’s truth. All that our one earthly enemy can do is to prove the Reformation’s mission, which was that to obey the laws of God and His power to obey His laws are the way to truth and life, and that enemy that disobeys Protestantism and its Bible is self-destructive. The laws of nature are pre-programmed to uplift the moral and spiritual Law of Jehovah. The natural laws are no respecter of persons. They are all as consistent and as awarding as gravity. Jump off a building and you will have a sudden and permanent stop at the bottom. Jump out of the life of obedience into hedonistic oblivion; and disease and curses of every category will plague you forever.

“For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” (2Cor. 13:8).

Just ask any STD or substance abuse victim. Broken laws of God plague you forever, even for ever and ever. So, with all His heart our God pleads with us to not go there.

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deut. 30:15-19).

Soon this once strong nation will be weakened by every imaginable vice and self-indulgence. We will repeat history—modern history. A history that is not too old that it should have evaded us today. The Weimar Republic of Germany in the 1920’s. Was it not identical to what is happening in all the former countries of Protestantism. Identical! And what was the result of Weimar Germany? What power swept into the weakened, partying country? Totalitarian dictatorship over Protestant Europe and the revenge from their religious enemy of the Dark Ages!

“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Thess. 2:9-12).

And Protestant America was also the target of the old enemy from the Dark Ages. We would be the next victims of Vatican vengeance. And now America too is ready to tip over and smash into a jillion smoldering shards.

“Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with His anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue as a devouring fire: and His breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err…. For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the King it is prepared; He hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.” (Isa. 30:27,28,30).

“The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit.” (Isa. 19:14).

The words of Jeremiah are very befitting us:

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.…
So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon.
And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt read all these words;
Then shalt thou say, O LORD, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever.
And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates:
And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary.” (Jer. 51:58-64).

“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:11).
 
But, there will be a few Protestants left over.

“And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 12:15-17).

These wise virgins learned to dwell in the Spirit of God’s love through Christ, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:2), instead of empty, arrogant self-will from their own natural resources, “the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:2). The wise received victory over self, and over the devil and his temptation to sin. They “are without fault before the throne of God” (Rev. 14:5) because they received obedience to all the commandments of God. When the great whore, Babylon the Great fell, they feared God and gave Him glory. “And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” (Rev. 11:13).

“Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of Israel. And the LORD shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod. And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the LORD shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will He fight with it.” (Isa. 30:29-32).

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).

 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Obedience plus patience equals eternal life

“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Heb. 10:36).

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “…but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Cor. 6:11). Yet the church at Corinth had major problems with sin. Sin raised its ugly head after they were justified, and even after they had been sanctified. Isn’t our Father in heaven able to keep us from falling? “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 1:24). Yes, He is able. But, will we be patient with Him to sanctify us “wholly” (1Thess. 5:23)? Will we be patient with our slowness of heart, and with our failures?

Will we “keep” (Luke 8:15) the good word from above, “the heavenly gift, …the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come” (Heb. 6:4,5)? On the long road of sanctification, will we remain partakers of the Holy Ghost and the powers of the world to come? It’s at the end of long hard battles with self that we receive the full promise. 

When we have done all the will of God is when the great blessing comes. “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” (Heb. 3:14). But, what is the incentive for battling with self over decades? The incentive comes along with the wholehearted effort and the victories won. The first great battle was at our surrender before God through Jesus. We fell on the Stone and were broken. Then the blessing we sought from Him came. The dove of peace came to our hearts, and we knew that it could come only from our God. We joined the group “whose hearts God had touched” (1Sam. 10:26), that great cloud of witnesses that filled the Old Testament. 

“It [was] like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” (Ps. 133:2,3). Peace, health, rest, life—gifts from the heavenly King—count for more than every earthly blessing. Someone very close to me who has chronic kidney pain said, “I would give anything to have health, to be pain free.” Really, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own health? What will a man give for his health? Along with the blessing from the dove of peace comes every other blessing in its path. Because of God’s justification, we walk as “kings and priests unto God” (Rev. 1:6). We have the high privileges of the Levites. 

So, let us carry on with God’s program to sanctify us and prepare us to do literal service in His very presence. 

Will we strive to be “perfect even as [our] Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:45)? After the Father and Son have spent so much to work out our conversion, why wouldn’t They also work out our sanctification? And, knowing Their interest in our eternal happiness, why wouldn’t we cooperate with Them by striving to be like Them? We can cooperate, hand in hand, uniting our heart to Their heart, our ignorant mind with Their omniscient discernment, our weak natures with our Father and Son Saviours. But, we can only have access to Their bounties as we choose to come to Jesus over the long term, and let Him work in us and do of His good will.  

A short-term sanctification is the choice of many and happens only because they have cherished sins, and this blinds them to perceive their thoroughly wretched nature. Idols fill their heart, those idols keep their heart hardened, and the idols lead them to presumptuously take on the battle against sin without any guidance or help from their Redeemer. Impatient sanctification doesn’t work out salvation with fear and trembling, but is full of passion and emotion and presumption. Such a soul isn’t guided by the light of true faith, but loves the “leap in the dark” for the thrill and self-exaltation of it that seems to mitigate some of the “chastisement of [their] peace” (Isa. 53:5). But, Jesus condemned such look-alike, “leap in the dark” faith when Satan tempted Him to jump off the high roof of the temple. 

Like the stony ground in Christ’s parable, hurried, presumptuous sanctification flings itself into danger and difficulty, difficulties which are greatly caused by their life that lacks sanctification. “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (Matt. 13:20,21). “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” (Luke 8:13). Running into danger is a form of self-martyrdom which results from refusing to admit to weakness. Rather than distrusting self and being thoroughly melted and humbled by past failures, the heart is still stony and independent of Christ, and runs ahead of Him. Then when short-term sanctification is persecuted and humiliated and offended, the unforsaken pride and unbelief refuse to be consoled by “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9), as He draws near to comfort and bind up the wounds. 

Short-term sanctification is in a hurry to get sanctified from all the troubles it is suffering due to the consequences of its sins. It seeks to remove the consequences more than the sin. This kind of sanctification arises from a fear of continued suffering under the just wrath of God, instead of fearing God and trusting that His mercy endureth forever. Its focus is on the uncomfortable and shaming results of sin instead of on the Sin-bearer and Shame-bearer. Impatient sanctification watches the fiery vipers approaching all around that have resulted from a life of sin, instead of beholding the One who was lifted up, and was made in the image of sin and shame for our protection from the shaming curse of the Law, for our redemption, and for our healing. The short-term, impatient sanctification focus is on self-medicating, relieving self, rather than on admitting complete and total failure, and focusing on bringing Jesus happiness as He sees us coming to Him and our sins being washed away in His blood. 

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Impatient sanctification will not be honest with the one true assumption—that every human naturally is dishonest. The Bible calls us all Jacobs—supplanters, sneaky, con-artists. We all need a converted heart and a lot of sanctification. And until the impatient, presumptuous soul surrenders to the brick walls of God’s providences, he will keep hitting those divinely set brick walls, and keep suffering the consequential bruises, headaches, and heartaches. “And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:18). Everyone these days want to say they are “Blessed”. But, most do not want to be blessed in the way God blesses—through His humbling judgments. But, under His judgments, as we stew in our failures our pride is put down, and God is thereby exalted. That is what we need—for God to be exalted in our minds and hearts. Will we be patient with His humbling work, as patient as He is with us accepting His humbling? Blessed are all they who wait for His salvation. He is the Author, Architect, and Engineer of humbled faith. All we can do is accept the free gift, and fall before Him in humility and thanksgiving for His doing in us what we could not do in ourselves.

Yet, based on statistics, the longer we resists surrender—for even giving up a little mustard seed grain’s worth of surrender—the more likely he will abandon Jesus altogether. One brick wall after another, one resentment toward God after another, one missed opportunity after another to fall on the Stone and be broken, they chose fully to deceive themselves. Not one ever “came to himself” and blamed himself and said, “I will arise and go to my Father, and will say unto Him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee, and am no more worthy to be called Thy son [or daughter]: make me as one of Thy hired servants.” (Luke 15:17-19). Therefore instead of ever hearing the strong rejoicing, “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this My son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:22-24); in the end they hear the unvarnished truth, “if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye [illegitimate], and not sons.” (Heb. 12:8). In the end, all who did not budge even a smidgeon of their inbred self-sufficiency, will depart “into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matt. 25:41).

Why…this waste” (Mark 14:4)?!! Why, why, why the eternal loss, when every soul should be saved? Wasn’t it all in turning down the choice to surrender to the “God of judgment” and “mercy” (Isa. 30:18), who graciously, yet with standards, patiently and justly “wait[s]” for our ugly pride to abdicate the throne of our hearts? Why do we resist a Father whose balance and fairness have surpassed all human comprehension?

“That on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep [hold down, retain] it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15). Examining self and the honest assessments of self pay off big time. As our humbling and justification was God’s work, so is our sanctification. The fruit of the Spirit is God’s work and cannot be rushed—not by us! And God doesn’t rush it either. The elegance and wondrous construction of His fruit in us takes time to build. We must let the Architect, who knows no haste or delay, do His amazing work in our weakened, fallen natures through His divine nature. 

The souls who choose to give themselves an honest appraisal, as fearful as righteous judgment sounds to them, are the ones who cling to Jesus and to His mercy. And afterwards, the honest assessment fortifies their hearts to meet the floods of persecution that Satan sends to sweep them away from their Lord. “And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.” (Rev. 12:15). No one else will survive persecution except those who trembled before God, and fell on the Stone and were broken. Long before Satan’s floods, the honest souls trusted in the Creator to handle their natural-born wickedness. No one else was patient enough; no one other than God had seen their corruption from the day of their conception and still spent everything He had, even giving them His only begotten Son, to win them back to His holiness. It’s only those who fear they have committed the unpardonable sin that are forced again and again into the Saviour’s presence by faith to tremblingly touch His scepter. And if He must reject them, then He must rightly do so to protect His kingdom; if God deems that they must perish, they should perish. Yet, they come to Him hoping and in His help, and expectant of His mercy. They are crucified by faith, therefore God lets them live. “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?” (Heb. 12:7). 

It is the long-term, up and down, often messy, patient sanctification that gives the victory. Those with this kind of sanctification aren’t in it only for the end result, but also for the companionship from Jesus all during the ride. The door of their soul was shut tightly by the sin of Adam. Their birth 6,000 years later has only compounded their first father’s propensity to sin. Yet, God does not hold that against them if they strive to serve Him and yearn to be His faithful son. When He justifies a sinner, that person is no longer a sinner but a saint sitting “together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). And if a saint in heaven, then he was never a sinner—not a sinner in God’s eyes. The Father speaks and it is done, He calls us saints and so we have always been. We have never sinned when the great King says so. God treats us as Jesus deserves to be treated; God treats us as He treats His Son. Jesus stands strongly with us before God. And this pleases the Father. His Father declares, “Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong”! (Isa. 53:12). The justified saints must be “the great” and “the strong”. Wonder of wonders! How can it be? 

“If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.” Steps to Christ, p. 62. 

They fell on the Stone and were broken. Their pride and self-will were “broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them.” (Dan. 2:35). They were shattered and then, thusly, and thereby they were justified by God.

In God’s eyes a hardened, stony heart that is broken goes a long, long way. And for those souls, even if they fail, they can know that their first brokenness still goes a long way with God. “For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him.” (Luke 20:38). “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25). Though they failed Him, shame and guilt and repentance went deep into their hearts, and if they will but return to Him and trust in His mercy, He will immediately and happily receive them unto Himself. Even though they feel like they’ve committed the unpardonable sin, in “fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12) they must trust in the mercy of God, which endureth forever. 

Patience. “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.” (Luke 5:39). This short parable had a two-fold purpose. It was a warning to both the religious leadership and the religious followership who had drunk of the old, putrefied religion that Satan had brought in. Because they had imbibed so deeply of Satan’s filthy religion of self-exaltation, they would have greater difficulty to accept the new tonic, health-giving religion of Christ in which “the flesh profiteth nothing.” (John 6:63).

But, Jesus had another message in this parable. Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathaea, “and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7). They had drunk old wine, and they had not “straightway” or immediately desired new. They desired the new wine of the Spirit and they did obtain it, just not immediately. And if God can have loving patience with our delay to trust Him, we can be patient with Him as He fixes our slowness of faith. “Blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:18). 

I heard it called a miracle, and maybe you’ve heard a similar story. A woman had a tumor and she suffered greatly. She determined to faithfully observe all eight of the laws of health. Even law #8, her trust in divine power, was strong. She adhered to the program, not worrying about the potential life threat, even while suffering. One day, when going about her normal day’s work and health regimen, she felt a loosening of something inside, and next she knew her pain was gone and tests showed her to be healed. She was in the work of her natural healing as a lifestyle, not a quick fix. As she left all the healing in God’s hands, thinking about the tumor only enough to keep it before Jesus, and making Him her focus, she made herself susceptible to His built-in bodily systems that are designed to counteract the growth of all the body’s dangerous perpetrators. This is the way patient sanctification works. “Ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” (Mal. 4:2). The wide-eyed, blinking, long eye-lashed calf grows not out of anxiety to grow, but because it drinks its mother’s milk and love.
 
The smaller prizes come all along the way back to God, but the biggest prize waits until the full end. 

“Jesus said...whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25,26). 

“I know that [the Father’s] commandment is life everlasting.” (John 12:50). 

Not if, but when we keep the commandments fully, as Jesus kept them, we will have life everlasting. This is not just an Old Testament requirement and reality. This is what the Father spoke to His Son, and then His Son spoke it to Moses and Israel. 

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deut. 30:15-20). 

Life and good days, death and evil days are in our hand to choose whichever we will. Keeping Jesus’ commandments, statutes, and judgments always has and always will be the only way to life. To this both Old and New Testaments attest. “…the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour immortality, [God will give] eternal life.” (Rom. 2:5-7).

“But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,  [God will give] indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish.” (Rom. 2:8,9). 

But, let’s not forget that righteousness and well doing come by patient faith. We can see the beauty of Christ’s holiness, but, only through constant communion with Him will His “Spirit of holiness” (Rom. 1:4) rub off on us. And God keeps the consequences of our sins coming at us to spur us on to learn that constant, yearning communion with His Son. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36). 

They will not see life until they trust in the Son. And while their faith is new and still wobbly, Jesus exercises their faith by giving them strong truth and grace, His truth mixed with His grace. Through both truth and grace He strengthens our love for His commandments and statutes and judgments, and solidifies our love in Him. We may stumble and fall, but He picks us up again and again. If we are His disciples, He will be our gracious Saviour and our truth-filled Prince, our merciful Messiah and our just Lord. No man can take us out of His hand, so long as we keep ourselves under His strong right hand. 

So many of us have been born with, or have learned by practice, many wrong habits and ways of thinking. They are our “thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet.” (2Cor. 12:7). Yet, even they can be overcome with patient endurance. Over time, over years of building a lifestyle with Jesus and His commandments, years and even decades under the conviction of our sinfulness and evil practices gained early in life, we open the door to the power of the Highest. We weren’t fixated on the sin that had beset us over the long haul; our fixation was on Jesus and His mercy, but the knowledge of our sin did play in the background as we struggled to live to please Jesus our Saviour and His Father, our Father. 

Gently, silently, the Spirit of God pulled and pulled at the roots of that sin. Gradually were the attractions for it dissolved; and a distaste for the sin grew. Suddenly, the temptation disappeared and the victory was won! Righteousness by faith by Jesus once again proved itself to be the only true science for righteousness. Long-term, patient, beholding Jesus and desiring to please Him gave the victory. We see this “patient, protracted process” (Desire of Ages, p. 172) played out in a larger scale with Israel. 

At first under Moses there was rank rebellion against the commandments, statutes, and judgments of the Lord Jesus. The next generation was a little better, and over five centuries and after many punishments, a generation arrived that learned the hard lessons of the past. Samuel helped make them ready for David, whose godly and holy leadership quickly brought the people of God to a holy state before Jesus his Lord.

“O Jacob”, “this is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek Thy face.” (Ps. 24:6).

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in His holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Ps. 24:3-5).

But, again they backslid, and the punishment for their serving Satan lay all around the Jews and the Roman world. Everything that Moses had warned of came upon them.

“And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law:
So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it;
And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger, and in His wrath:
Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?
Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt:
For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom He had not given unto them:
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book:
And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.” (Deut. 29:21-28). 

Israel backslid under Solomon and it took twice as long to regain what they had lost—a thousand years from David to the apostolic church instead of 500 from Moses to David. John the Baptist made the people ready for Messiah the Prince when He came. Christ did the work of David and recreated a holy state for His people among the Jews and Gentiles. The church, “the seed” that “should come to whom the promise was made” (Gal. 3:19), received a greater dispensation of the Spirit of the Lord than David’s generation had received.

But, again His people backslid when the church lost its first love for their Lord of love. And it has again taken twice as long, this time two thousand years.

“But at the end [the vision] shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Hab. 2:3). Are we the generation that again seek Him, that seek Thy face, O Jesus? Are we the next and last seed that should come to whom the promise was made? Will we see the Latter Rain and the sealing, a greater manifestation of the reconciliation of God with man than even the apostolic church saw? Will we be purified by the special dispensation of His commandments, statutes, and judgments as given in the Spirit of Prophecy counsels through Ellen White? Will the humbling, unvarnished truth from her pen give us a special repentance, which will give us a special justification, which will give us a special sanctification, that “special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth”?

“When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing. Then shall the offering of Juday and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. Malachi 3:4. Then the church which our Lord at His coming is to receive to Himself will be a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Ephesians 5:27. Then she will look forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners. Song of Solomon 6:10” (Great Controversy, p. 425) in preparation for the special glorification when we see Jesus as He is in glory.    
 
“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8), and like their Master, so do they.

Will we patiently keep ourselves before the perfect Law of liberty, that begins its work with deeply wounding and offending us and ends in deeply cleansing and comforting us? Will we keep before the God of infinite justice and infinite mercy? Will we have the strong wrestling with Jacob’s Angel, His power to soundly convert? Will we accept the change to His angelic character that will lead us to the holy life, sanctified through “His rest” (Heb. 4:1)? And will that surrender and perfection be what makes us able to stand in “the time of trouble such as never was” (Dan. 12:2)? Nothing else than the Spirit of Prophecy books will prepare us to receive the Latter Rain, and then to hold on to our faith firmly through the approaching tribulation, and finally to stand when Jesus appears.

“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” (Rev. 7:14-15).

“And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7,8).

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).

“And I gave them My statutes, and shewed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them.” (Eze. 20:11).

In the ultimate interpretation of Ezekiel 20:11 and John 12:20, those who are perfected and obedient in all respects are the only ones worthy of translation. They will walk right into heaven as Enoch did. They will be worthy to never see death, worthy to not die. Theirs will be glorification by faith by Jesus through their special conviction, special repentance, special justification, and special purification. This is a great incentive to strive for perfection in self-denial and self-sacrifice. It’s a great incentive to be like Jesus who made Himself of no reputation. But, the how to get there is not to say, “Now that I know what God expects I will bend all my will to make it happen.” No! The “how to”, according to the gospel, is to come to the Law of liberty, which makes us duck for cover due to its austerity and dreadful greatness (Matt. 17:5,6, cf Eze. 1:18) until Jesus comes to say, “Arise, be not afraid.” (Matt. 17:7). The “how to” is then to rest in His acceptance and His power of sanctify our will. Then we will have the “power of the highest…the Holy Ghost” (Luke 1:35) to will and to do of His good pleasure. We will regain the power to think and to do. Without the power of God through walking and talking with Christ, all our great acts of righteousness are putrid, unclean rags. But, with Jesus we can do all things. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37). “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” (2Chron. 16:9).

“Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My salvation.” (Ps. 91:14-16).
 
Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm.” (Ps. 105:15).

“Whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:26).

“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Heb. 10:36).

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “…but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Cor. 6:11). Yet the church at Corinth had major problems with sin. Sin raised its ugly head after they were justified, and even after they had been sanctified. Isn’t our Father in heaven able to keep us from falling? “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 1:24). Yes, He is able. But, will we be patient with Him to sanctify us “wholly” (1Thess. 5:23)? Will we be patient with our slowness of heart, and with our failures?

Will we “keep” (Luke 8:15) the good word from above, “the heavenly gift, …the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come” (Heb. 6:4,5)? On the long road of sanctification, will we remain partakers of the Holy Ghost and the powers of the world to come? It’s at the end of long hard battles with self that we receive the full promise. 

When we have done all the will of God is when the great blessing comes. “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” (Heb. 3:14). But, what is the incentive of battling with self over decades? The incentive comes along with the wholehearted effort and the victories won. The first great battle was at our surrender before God through Jesus. We fell on the Stone and were broken. Then the blessing we sought from Him came. The dove of peace came to our hearts, and we knew that it could come only from our God. We joined the group, all of “whose hearts God had touched” (1Sam. 10:26), that great cloud of witnesses that filled the Old Testament. 

“It [was] like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” (Ps. 133:2,3). Peace, health, rest, life—gifts from the heavenly King—count for more than every earthly blessing. Someone very close to me who has chronic kidney pain said, “I would give anything to have health, to be pain free.” Really, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own health? What will a man give for his health? With the blessing from the dove of peace comes every other blessing in its path. Because of God’s justification, we walk as “kings and priests unto God” (Rev. 1:6). We have the high privileges of the Levites. 

So, let us carry on with God’s program to sanctify us and prepare us to do literal service in His very presence. 

Will we strive to be “perfect even as [our] Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:45)? After the Father and Son have spent so much to work out our conversion, why wouldn’t They also work out our sanctification? And why wouldn’t we cooperate with Them by striving to be like Them? We can as we choose to and as we come to Jesus to let Him work in us and do of His good will.  

A short-term sanctification happens only because many have cherished sins and this blinds them to a concept of their thoroughly wretched nature. Idols fill their heart, those idols keep their hear hardened, and the idols lead them to presumptuously take on the battle of sin without any guidance or help from their Redeemer. Impatient sanctification doesn’t work out salvation with fear and trembling, but is full of passion and emotion and presumption. Such a soul isn’t guided by the light of true faith, but loves to “leap in the dark” for the thrill and self-exaltation of it that seems to mitigate the “chastisement of [their] peace” (Isa. 53:5). But, Jesus condemned such look-alike faith when Satan tempted Him to jump off the high roof of the temple. 

Like the stony ground in Christ’s parable, hurried, presumptuous sanctification flings itself into danger and difficulty, difficulties which are greatly caused by a life that lacks sanctification. “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (Matt. 13:20,21). “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” (Luke 8:13). Running into danger is a form of self-martyrdom which results from refusing to admit to weakness. Rather than distrusting self and being thoroughly melted and humbled by past failures, the heart is still stony and runs ahead of Jesus. Then when short-term sanctification is persecuted and humiliated and offended, the unforsaken pride and unbelief refuse to be consoled by “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9), as He draws near to comfort and bind up the wounds. 

Short-term sanctification is in a hurry to get sanctified from all the troubles it is suffering due to the consequences of its sins. It seeks to remove the consequences instead of the sin. This kind of sanctification arises from a fear of continued suffering under the just wrath of God instead of fearing God and trusting that His mercy endureth forever. Its focus is on the uncomfortable and shaming results of sin instead of on the Sin-bearer and Shame-bearer; impatient sanctification sees the fiery vipers that result from a life of sin instead of the One who was lifted up and made in the image of sin and shame for our protection from the shaming curse of the Law, and for our redemption and healing. The focus of short-term, impatient sanctification is on self-medicating, relieving self, rather than on admitting complete and total failure, and bringing happiness to Jesus as He sees our sins being washed away in His blood. 

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). But, this soul will not be honest with the one true assumption—that every human naturally deceives himself. And until he surrenders to the brick walls of God’s providences, he will keep hitting brick walls, and suffering the consequential bruises, headaches, and heartaches. “And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:18). As we stew in our failures our pride is put down, and God is exalted. Will we be patient with His humbling work, as patient as He is with ours? Blessed are all they who wait with Him. He is the Author, Architect, and Engineer of our humbled faith. 

Yet, based on past statistics, the longer we wait to surrender—for even giving up a little mustard seed grain’s worth of surrender—the more likely we will abandon Jesus altogether. In the end, all who did not budge even a smidgeon of their inbred self-sufficiency, will depart “into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matt. 25:41). They chose fully to deceive themselves. Not one ever “came to himself” and said, “I will arise and go to my Father, and will say unto Him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee, and am no more worthy to be called Thy son [or daughter]: make me as one of Thy hired servants.” (Luke 15:17-19). Instead of hearing “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this My son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:22-24); they hear, “if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye illegitimate], and not sons.” (Heb. 12:8). 

Why…this waste” (Mark 14:4)?!! Why, why, why the eternal loss, when every soul can be saved? Wasn’t it all in turning down the choice to surrender to the “God of judgment” and “mercy” (Isa. 30:18), who graciously, yet with standards, patiently and justly “wait[s]” for our ugly pride to abdicate the throne of our hearts? Why do we resist a Father whose balance and fairness have surpassed all human comprehension? 

“That on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep [hold down, retain] it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15). As our justification was God’s work, so is our sanctification. The fruit of the tree cannot be rushed—not by us! And God doesn’t rush it either. The elegance and wondrous construction of the fruit takes time to build. We must let the Architect, who knows no haste or delay, do His amazing work. 

The souls who choose to give themselves an honest appraisal, as fearful as righteous judgment sounds to them, cling to Jesus and to His mercy. Honest assessment fortifies their hearts to meet the floods of persecution that Satan sends to sweep them away from their Lord. “And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.” (Rev. 12:15). Long before Satan’s floods, the honest souls trusted in the Creator to handle their natural-born wickedness. No one else was patient enough; no one other than God had seen their corruption from the day of their conception and still spent everything He had, even offering them His only begotten Son, to win them back to His holiness. It’s only those who fear they have committed the unpardonable sin that are forced again and again into the Saviour’s presence by faith to touch His scepter; and if He must reject them, then He must do so to protect His kingdom; if God deems that they must perish, they should perish. Yet, they come to Him hoping and in His help and exectant in His mercy. They are crucified by faith, therefore God lets them live. “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Heb. 12:7). 

It is the long-term, up and down, often messy, patient sanctification that gives the victory. They aren’t in it just for the end result, but also for the companionship from Jesus all during the ride. The door of their soul was shut tightly by the sin of Adam. Their birth 6,000 years later has only compounded their first father’s propensity to sin. Yet, God does not hold that against if they strive to serve Him and yearn to be His faithful son. When He justifies a sinner, that person is no longer a sinner but a saint sitting “together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). And if a saint in heaven, then he was never a sinner—not in God’s eyes. The Father speaks and it is done, He calls us saints and so we are. We have never sinned when the great King says so. God treats us as Jesus deserves to be treated; God treats us as He treats Jesus. His Son stands strongly with us before Him. And this pleases the Father. His Father declares, “Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong”! (Isa. 53:12). Wonder of wonders! How can it be? 

“If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.” Steps to Christ, p. 62. 

They fell on the Stone and were broken. They were shattered. Their pride and self-will were “broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them.” (Dan. 2:35). 

In God’s eyes a hardened, stony heart that is broken goes a long, long way. For those souls, even if they fail, they can know that their first brokenness still goes a long way with God. It went deep in their hearts, and if they will but return to Him and trust in His mercy, He will receive them again. Even if they feel like they’ve committed the unpardonable sin, they must trust in the mercy of God which endureth forever. 

Patience. “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.” (Luke 5:39). This short parable had a two-fold purpose. It was a warning to both the religious leadership and the religious followership who had drunk of the old, putrefied religion that Satan had brought in. They would have greater difficulty to accept the tonic, health-giving religion of Christ because they had imbibed so deeply of the filthy religion of human devising. 

But, Jesus had another message in this parable. Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathaea, “and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7). They had drunk old wine, and did not “straightway” or immediately desire new. They desired the new wine of the Spirit and they obtained it, just not immediately. And if God can have loving patience with our delay to trust Him, we can be patient with Him as He fixes our slowness of faith. “Blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:18). 

I heard it called a miracle, and maybe you’ve heard a similar story. A woman had a tumor and she suffered greatly. She determined to faithfully observe all eight of the laws of health. Even law #8, her trust in divine power, was strong. She adhered to the program, not worrying about the potential life threat, even while suffering. One day, when going about her normal day’s work and health regime, she felt a loosening of something inside, and next she knew her pain was gone and tests showed her to be healed. She was in the work of her natural healing as a lifestyle, not a quick fix. As she left all the healing in God’s hands, thinking about the tumor only enough to keep it before Jesus, and making Him her focus, she made herself susceptible to His built-in bodily systems that are designed to counteract the growth of all the body’s dangerous perpetrators. 

Little prizes come all along the way back to God, but the big prize still waits until the end. 

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25,26). 

“And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak.” (John 12:50). 

Not if, but when we keep the commandments like Jesus kept them, we will have life everlasting. This is not just an Old Testament reality. This is what the Father spoke to His Son, and so His Son spoke it to Moses and Israel. 

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deut. 30:15-20). 

Life and good days, death and evil days are in our hand to choose whichever we will. Keeping Jesus’ commandments, statutes, and judgments always has and always will be the only way to life. To this both Old and New Testaments attest. “…the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour immortality, [God will give] eternal life”. (Rom. 2:5-27).

“But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,  [God will give] indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” (Rom. 2:8,9). 

But, let’s not forget that righteousness comes by faith. We can see the beauty of Christ’s holiness, but, only through constant communion with Him will His holiness rub off on us through His Spirit. And God keeps the consequences coming upon us to spur us on to learn that constant, yearning communion with His Son. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36). 

They will not see life until they trust in the Son. And while their faith is new and still wobbly, Jesus exercises their faith by giving them truth and grace, His truth mixed with His grace. Through both truth and grace He strengthens our love for His commandments and statutes and judgments. We may stumble and fall, but He picks us up again and again. If we are His disciple, He will be our gracious Saviour and our truth-filled Prince, merciful Messiah and our just Lord. No man can take us out of His hand, so long as we keep ourselves in His strong right hand. 

So many of us have been born with, or have learned by practice many wrong habits and ways of thinking. They are “a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet.” (2Cor. 12:7). Yet, even they can be overcome with patient endurance. Over time, over years of building a lifestyle with Jesus and His commandments, years and decades under the conviction of our sinfulness and evil practices gained early in life, we open the door to the power of the Highest. We weren’t staring at the sin that had beset us over the long haul; but it did play in the background as we struggled to live to please Jesus our Saviour  and His Father, our Father. 

Gently, silently, the Spirit of God pulled and pulled at the roots of that sin. Gradually were the attractions for it dissolved. Suddenly, the temptation disappeared and the victory was won! Righteousness by faith by Jesus once again proved itself to be the only true righteousness. We see this slow, “patient, protracted process” (Desire of Ages, p. 172) played out in a larger scale with Israel. 

At first under Moses there was rank rebellion against the commandments, statutes, and judgments of the Lord Jesus. The next generation was a little better, and over five centuries and after many punishments, a generation arrived that learned the hard lessons of the past. Samuel helped make them ready for David, who quickly brought the people of God to a holy state before Jesus his Lord.

“O Jacob”, “this is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek Thy face.” (Ps. 24:6).

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in His holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Ps. 24:3-5).

But, they backslid, and the punishment for their serving Satan lay all around the Jews and the Roman world. Everything that Moses had warned them came upon them.

“And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law:
So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it;
And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger, and in His wrath:
Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?
Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt:
For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom He had not given unto them:
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book:
And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.” (Deut. 29:21-28). 

Israel backslid under Solomon and it took twice as long to regain what they had lost—a thousand years instead of 500. John the Baptist made the people ready for Messiah the Prince when He came. Christ did the work of David and recreated a holy state for His people among the Jews and Gentiles. The church, “the seed” that  “should come to whom the promise was made” (Gal. 3:19), received a greater dispensation of the Spirit of the Lord than even David’s generation had. 

But, again His church backslid when it lost its first love for their Lord of love, and it has again taken twice as long, this time two thousand years instead of the thousand from David to the apostolic church. “But at the end [the vision] shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Hab. 2:3). Are we the generation that again seek Him, that seek Thy face, O Jesus? Are we the next and last seed that should come to whom the promise was made? Will we see the Latter Rain and the sealing, a greater manifestation of the reconciliation of God with man than even the apostolic church saw? Will we be purified by the special dispensation of His commandments, statutes, and judgments as given in the Spirit of Prophecy counsels through Ellen White? Will the humbling, unvarnished truth from her pen give us a special repentance, which will give us a special justification, which will give us a special sanctification, that “special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14.     
     “When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing. ‘Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.’ Malachi 3:4. Then the church which our Lord at His coming is to receive to Himself will be a ‘glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.’ Ephesians 5:27. Then she will look ‘forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.’ Song of Solomon 6:10” (Great Controversy, p. 425) in preparation for the special glorification when we see Jesus as He is in glory?
“Though he were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8) and like their Master, so do they.

Will we patiently keep before the perfect Law of liberty, that begins with deeply offending us and ends in deeply comforting us? Will we keep before the God of infinite justice and infinite mercy? Will we have the strong wrestling with Jacob’s Angel, His power to soundly convert? Will we have the change to His angelic character that will lead us to the holy life, sanctified through “His rest” (Heb. 4:1)? And will that surrender and perfection be what makes us able to stand in “the time of trouble such as never was” (Dan. 12:2)? Nothing else than the Spirit of Prophecy books will prepare us to receive the Latter Rain, and then to hold on to our faith firm through the tribulation, and finally to stand when Jesus appears.

“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” (Rev. 7:14-15).

“And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8).

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).

“And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them.” (Eze. 20:11).

In the ultimate interpretation of Ezekiel 20:11 and John 12:20, those who are perfected and obedient in all respects are the only ones worthy of translation. They will walk right into heaven as Enoch did. They will be worthy to never see death. Glorification by faith by Jesus through the special conviction, special repentance, special justification, and special purification. This is a great incentive to strive for perfection in self-denial and self-sacrifice. It’s a great incentive to be like Jesus who made Himself of no reputation. But, the how to get there is not to say, “I know what God expects. Now I will bend all my will to make it happen.” No! The “how to”, according to the gospel, is to come to the Law of liberty, which makes us duck for cover (Matt. 17:5,6) until Jesus comes to say, “Arise, be not afraid.” (Matt. 17:7). The “how to” is then to rest in His acceptance and His power of sanctify us. Then we will have the “power of the highest…the Holy Ghost” (Luke 1:35) to will and to do of His good pleasure. Without the power of God through walking and talking with Christ, all our great acts of righteousness are putrid, unclean rags. But, with Jesus we can do all things. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37). “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” (2Chron. 16:9).

“Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My salvation.” (Ps. 91:14-16).

“Whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:26).

 Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm.” (Ps. 105:15).