“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.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A most horrific thing

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots.” (Lk. 23:34).

There she sat in perfect satisfaction, slouched back on the sofa with ankles crossed, in complete ignorance of what she had just done. Mrs. Calliopia had just made the most awful mess. Her goodness was turned into corruption! Surely, she had made the most horrendous mess. And she only sat there perfectly happy in indifference to this fact and that others were, even at that moment, trying to clean up after her. Yet, she just sat there, doing what comes natural, making a nonsensical noise with her tongue, “Tick, tick.” “Tick, tick.”

What had she done? She had had a very large bowel movement in the toilet; and when the toilet was flushed, the solid waste clogged it. Now the brown ooze mixed with urine was filling the bowl to the brim and threatening to overflow. Yet madame Calliopia was quite undisturbed by all that and just sat out in the living room going on endlessly like usual, “Tick, tick.” “Tick, tick.” “Tick, tick.” And, to add insult to shame, it didn’t even break across her mind that her ticking might be like Chinese water torture to those around her. All she could produce through that empty stare were her loud tick-ticks, sometimes broken by a “Tick, tock” or a “Tuck, tuck.”

Poor, old Calliopia is 82 years old and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. She has a very vague concept of what she does and the impact it has on everyone around her. She has no will to do differently than what comes natural to her. If it feels good, she does it. All comeliness and propriety are gone from her thought processes.

What a perfect lesson the infinite wisdom of God has left us in this dear, elderly living parable! What a perfect picture of our sinful condition! All our righteousnesses are as, well—as the brown scum filling Calliopia’s toilet. Moment by moment, we daily let it all out, we let self go free and untrammeled, unmindful of its effects on a God who can’t ignore any part of His domain, and unaware of its impact on everyone around us.

A long trail of misery and woe follow our path. “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: 13-18). “A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.” (Joel 2:3).

Last night at a church meeting, we were trying to focus on Jesus and His mighty act on the cross. Yet, a beloved brother, without realizing it, kept derailing our focus on Jesus. How did he do this? His burden was on how we can be a better witness in the workplace; how we can sacrifice ourselves for the sake of others with whom we associate.

A very good subject. A very Christian idea. And yet, it was derailing the group-think on the cross. How can anyone ever accuse our righteousnesses of being unrighteous? How can righteous living ever come under condemnation? Certainly, good living is safe from the judgment of God! No? Please say, No!

But Jesus said, “Ye have the poor always with you; but Me ye have not always.” (Matt. 26:11). In other words, without purposely keeping Jesus as our sole primary focus, and keeping our radar locked on His work, our religion becomes only social gospel; and the state does that much. Such was the religion which Judas put forward, which prompted these words of Christ. “If we must do good, let us do it when the focus is on Jesus! By any and all means, divert the attention from Him and His grace and truth and put it on good works!” It is the unacceptable offering of Cain. “Ye have the poor always with you; but Me ye have not always.”

Unless Jesus, and what He has done, is the center of focus, then how can we say we obey Him? Faith only comes in associating with Him, studying Him, fellowshipping with Him. Unless all fullness dwells in Him, we can never arrive at true faith. Then if we believe our righteousnesses come from “Righteousness By Faith,” and yet a knowledge of Jesus is not the object and purpose of our righteous acts, then how can our righteousnesses come by faith? Or is so, faith in whom? Because Jesus is absent if He isn’t the focus, as He has been in most of Christendom’s sorry history of “obedience” since it’s falling away.

If Christ has not become our complete focus, so that we are complete in Him, all our Christian endeavor is actually antichristian endeavor. It’s truly amazing how self so quietly weaves itself into the work of God! It made John admire the cunning work of the mystery of iniquity. “And when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman.” (Rev. 17:6,7).

“And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes.” (Dan. 8:24,25).

“He shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the Prince of the covenant. And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. He shall enter peaceably. …And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” (Dan. 11:21-24,36,37).

We are the remnant church; yet if Jesus is not the focus and if focusing on Him is not our highest, continual effort, how can God trust us with the greatest message of His love to a world gone awry, yet one that is trying its best to look moral? “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” For in Christ Jesus a circumspect life avails nothing, as well an uncircumspect; but rather, a new creature avails everything. (Gal. 6:14,15).

Look once more into that thick blackness surrounding Golgotha, the place of the skull. “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: … Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.” (Is. 53:10). “For He hath made Him to be sin for us.” (2Cor. 5:21).

No sign of goodness and joy must He be able to see, hear, or feel. His beloved disciple and the scattered other ten, His faithful mother, dear Mary Magdalene who had just recently so poured out her love for Him,—all must be blotted from His sight. Perfect sensory deprivation and total focus on the horrendous nature and effects of sin must drown His sensitive soul in a death-like sorrow. A knowledge of rebellion must block out everything else until He is filled of its abhorrent toxicity. He was made to be sin; dead while He yet lived (1Tim. 5:6), until His life ebbed away.

Yet His love and subjection to His Father kept Him faithful to this great controversy-sized task. As the Father’s one true representative of heaven’s administration, Jesus accepted His part in this greatest ever revelation of divine justice and mercy.

“He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Cor. 5:21).


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