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“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, November 24, 2009

Our fighting belligerent natures

“And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.” (Num. 14:33).

The question is: Did those rebels fall because their bodies could not survive an inhospitable desert? Or did they waste away because their belligerent natures fought against the punishment they received until they used up all their vital force?

“The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” (1Cor. 15:56).

Here we see a train of cause and effect. The law caused sin to be strong; a strengthened sin caused a sting; the sting finally causes death.

“But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.” (Rom 7:8-11).

Paul here is describing the effect that loveless rules and condemnation had on a latent sin that he didn’t even realize he had before his call to apostleship, and still clamors for attention. It wasn’t until the conviction came that he discovered that particular sin and found himself justifying his life and resisting any change. Ignorant of the natural self-righteousness of his sinful heart, he didn’t appreciate being made aware of any deformity of character, and his natural response was to rebel. His peace of mind was slaughtered, and his reaction was to judge the law as being rude and self-righteous.

Without any volition he redoubled his energy in sin. Or rather, sin had such control, that it took on a life and power of its own. We are not our own. Either faith has control of us, or sin does, through either one of the two great powers contending for our supremacy, Christ or Satan.

“I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (vs. 22-25).

What power do we have inherently to resist the power of pleasing self? None. Zero. And pleasing self in its many forms is the essence of sin. We must have a power outside and above us. That power is a love for somebody else beside self. Even a set of laws cannot overcome the power of loving self. What the image of God in us craves is a person to love supremely. If God is not that person, then no one else except self will suffice. Not our spouse, not our most precious child, not our fine-preaching pastor, not an angel, not even one of the holiest saints. Only our all-powerful Creator can lay our self-sufficiency in the dust, because only He has demonstrated such an infinite love that blasts our love of self into oblivion; His strong love grabs hold of our focus and fixates it on Him.

Apart from the power of the Almighty, we will spend our days dealing with sin, trying to put out its fires, blaming God for all our failures, fending off His every attempt to put His hand on our shoulder, always miserable but tenaciously fighting to regain respect, wasting away our one life’s vitality. Surrender to God would remove this sting that will most certainly lead to a horrible death.

“Whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matt. 21:44). Discipline and punishment do not have to be so painful. Death doesn’t have to be either. The grinding power of resistance against trusting God has led many to a lunatic’s grave. So horrific the life feels and so dark the grave looks without falling on the Stone and being broken.

Upon Christ as our substitute and surety was laid the iniquity of us all. He was counted a transgressor, that He might redeem us from the condemnation of the law. The guilt of every descendant of Adam was pressing upon His heart. The wrath of God against sin, the terrible manifestation of His displeasure because of iniquity, filled the soul of His Son with consternation. All His life Christ had been publishing to a fallen world the good news of the Father's mercy and pardoning love. Salvation for the chief of sinners was His theme. But now with the terrible weight of guilt He bears, He cannot see the Father's reconciling face. The withdrawal of the divine countenance from the Saviour in this hour of supreme anguish pierced His heart with a sorrow that can never be fully understood by man. So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt.
Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father's acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal.
DA p. 753.

He had tasted the sufferings of death for every man. DA p. 694.

When we fight surrender we face the losing struggle that Christ won for us at such a cost to the Prince of Peace. We taste the sufferings of death for our own self that He already paid for. “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.” (Jn. 3:36).

This condition will only worsen as time marches on toward the great conflagration of the ages. Satan is gaining increasingly greater power over this earth, and the Holy Spirit is receding. Soon, all who have refused to bow to the love of God will receive the enchanting enslavement of a Christianity-appearing spiritualism. Then comes the final appeal to the world before complete devil possession of the human race.

“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.
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:9-12).

A storm is coming, relentless in its fury. 8T p. 315.

Only those who have surrendered to God in faith and have been established in that faith through victory over sin through the Law and grace of God, will escape the possession of the whole world by the spirits of wickedness in high places. To delay ending the continued resistance and giving up to the God of love and righteousness is to make a fearful mistake. We need all the time we can get to prepare for the hurricane force winds heading our way.

“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” (Rev. 7:1-3).

Let’s heed the grave warnings from God. Let’s fear God and take seriously the fight of faith, of wrestling with the Holy Spirit to get through the devils crowding Jesus’ presence. While probation still exists let us crowd around the Jesus who so lovingly exemplified His Father’s Law. Let’s try the Lord’s promises and find Him to be faithful and true, that His presence truly is fullness of joy and stronger than the most masterful of sins. The joy of the Lord will be our strength.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1-4).

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