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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.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The merit controversy, pt. 4

But in the third dispensation a knowledge of grace shone brightly in the earth. Reconciliation to God through Christ’s merits; justification by grace through faith in His righteousness alone; “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Rom. 3:20). Sanctification most clearly came through repeated justification, by looking to Christ’s life of holy love.

But once again, Satan, who exposed his real character when he personally got involved in the destruction of the Son of God, refused to cede to Christ. Quickly he moved the youthful church to get involved in a meritorious service to God. “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:2-5). But further and further the church detracted from pure grace. The official religion of Rome had crossed over from Egypt and blended with one from Persia which closely resembled Christianity. Christianity existing among Rome’s pagan religion began to borrow its practices and sentiments and merit-centered philosophy.

Even in the apostle’s day was seen this mysterious enchantment redirecting the beloved revival established by the Messiah. See 2Thes. 2:3-12;2Tim. 3:1-5;1Tim. 4:1-3;Acts 20:28-30;2Pet 2;1Jn. 2:18,19;4:1. Once again, the grace-based worship and salvation would come under attack and for centuries flee from the merit-loving enemy’s armies. See Rev. 12.

But 1,500 years of Satan’s warring against Christ’s revival of salvation by faith in His merits alone, the Lord raised up the great Protestant Reformation to make one last preparation before the end of the 3rd dispensation, the final showdown before the finale of the great controversy between Christ and Satan.

But once again, as with the first two revivals of Noah and Ezra, this Protestant revival has lost its former underpinnings and repudiated its charter of Christ’s gracious merits alone without our own merits involved with our acceptance with God. Today Jesus, His life and death, are not the subject of conversation or preaching. The study of His character is not our mainstay. Christ is not made unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption. Sports, news, world problems, local church issues, television shows, fictional books and movies, et cetera are the subject of communication and sermons. Idle sermons and conversations are in; and Christ is left out.

But at the end of the previous two dispensations, there sprang up a revival of grace that would sanctify and reconcile the heart to God’s law, and likewise, we will see this again in our generation. Beginning the first of this 3 era sequence Adam and Eve quietly left the garden under the hush of paradise. 2,000 years later Abraham made his way onto the stage in relative quietness among the barbarous tribes of ancient Canaan. Another 2,000 years and Christ and His apostles came with more activity of the Holy Spirit and clashes with Satan’s Roman Empire. And 2,000 years again we will witness the most turbulent engagement between the hosts of light and darkness, a jubilant merit-free seed of the Spirit of God, and a bitter merit-laden seed of the Dragon.

We will know the Latter Rains that will exceed the great Early Rains of the Holy Ghost in the Apostolic age. That downpour of the Spirit of God, in expectation of the end of the controversy and the final establishment of His eternal kingdom, will be heard by the entire world. The Ephesians’ complaint regarding the work of the apostles was: “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” (Acts 17:6). That upsetting of their world was small time compared to the global revival coming our way. And the resistance to it will be even greater as Satan gathers all his forces to crush the spread of the gospel of grace as a gift of God without our own merits atoning for anything.

The furious storm that meets the last display of divine appeal to Earth will create waves that reach the remotest corners of the world. Everyone taking part in the Latter Rain will be sanctified by the message of mercy they bear to the world, and prepared to act the part of Abel in the hands of Cain. Great trouble will be suffered by thousands who have learned total rest in God’s love and surrender to His will. Nothing else will matter to them than letting God be glorified in the things He allows. Like Paul they will say, “The Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:23,24).

Finally the conflict will reach it climax as a global Sunday law is enacted to forever silence the dissenters of merit-founded religion. During the time awaiting the enforcement of the decree, the saints of the Lord will be crying out from their cells or hiding places night and day. But their experience in the mighty Latter Rain and in the great time of trouble must continue in order to prepare them for the day Christ returns.

Without these two preparatory undertakings they couldn’t pass through the time when He leaves the Most Holy Place; both the Latter Rain and the great time of trouble are required to endure Jacob’s troubles. And without taking part in these three events and their incremental challenges of faith to God’s people, the final phase of a glorified Christ actually appearing would totally destroy their faith and hope. Ten thousands of His brilliant warrior hosts and millions of blazing meteorites and asteroids will strike hopeless terror in Earth’s inhabitants. “For the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Lk. 21:26).

In light of where we are today, on the tale end of the Early Rain of the Holy Spirit, and on the very verge of His Latter Rain and the Time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, will you show mercy for no other reason than for the sake of learning God’s mercy? Will you serve others primarily for the purpose of being able to learn Jesus’ merits, to help yourself conceptualize the sacrifice of self Jesus experienced every day of His life here, and finally through His death in our place? Will you dispense with every other reason to be a servant other than this one? Comprehending His goodness is the only way the Holy Spirit can lead us to renounce our naturally incombent merit-based service, and escape the dungeon we create for ourselves when we rely on our own abilities and talents, our intelligence and good looks and bank accounts, house, cars, clothes, religious service and behavior, ad infinitum.....

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