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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.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Failing of the grace of God

“For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation.” (Hab. 1:6). Why was Babylon a bitter and impatient nation? Why were they so described as “terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves”? (vs.7). They were like their predecessors the Assyrian potentate, who said, “Are not my princes altogether kings?” (Isa 10:8). And it was “in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.” (vs. 7). How did they become such violent aggressor nations?

The answer is found in spiritualism—a subtle spiritualism that resides in every unconverted heart.

“I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.
Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.
They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.” (Jer. 23:14-17).

Doesn’t Jeremiah refer back to Moses? “And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:
The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.” (Deut. 29:19,20). As we have said before, Paul pointed to the real cause of bitterness. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” (Heb 12:15).

Failing to receive grace. Nothing can make a soul so indifferent to love and faith as having no grace shown to it. Nothing can harden a sinner in sin as a world without grace. Nothing else can make life so meaningless and purposeless.

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Eph 2:1). How did God quicken us to life? “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved.)” (vs. 4,5). Graces softens the heart of the recipient. Grace makes truly peaceful souls. Grace evaporates our pride and our swaggering presumption. The goodness of God leads sinners to repentance and humbles the heart like nothing else can.

But there is a connection between spiritualism and a life devoid of mercy and grace. What is that connection? We can see it in the serpent’s first promise. “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:5). Satan led Eve away from her natural-born childlike love of trust and relationship, and wisdom packaged within the context of trust and love, to an empty search for knowledge, sophistication and ambition.

Eve was tempted to leave her simplicity and to chase complexity which would only end in her confusion. She accepted a life devoid of grace but full of high hopes of a suitable substitute in the satisfaction of curiosity. It isn’t that in her innocence she couldn’t handle wisdom and knowledge, which implies that the simple life God gave them leads to ignorance. But the Lord had planned to teach that holy couple slowly, in His time, and on His terms. Yes, He wanted them to be all that they could be; but only as quickly as they could receive it. He wanted them to have a depth of knowledge that wouldn’t destroy them. But the serpent had one purpose; he was bent on their eternal destruction.

Would attainment of knowledge however great, silence the need of a good conscience? Can sterile wisdom replace the wholesomeness of the wisdom that comes from communion with the Spirit of God? Yet, once having chosen a life apart from God, mankind became subjects to the spirit of darkness. Satan himself has abandoned the God of grace and he is driven to darkness. Grace, now, is his arch enemy, gracelessness his greatest ally, and he will do his utmost to keep man from ever discovering the need of it. Thus it is as Christ said, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Mat 7:14).

Mankind is enticed to do great things, study great ideas, achieve, accomplish, discover, and invent, to be awarded with badges, honors, applause. Each generation moves farther and farther from the last great revival of primitive godliness under grace in the Protestant Reformation. The further it moves from simplicity and grace the more bound up it is into vanity and vexation of spirit. Decadence and promiscuity attempt to heal the wounded souls, but only amplify the destitution of the empty hearts.

Vices and lawlessness only spread desolation. Gadgets and games only postpone the inevitable collapse. The addictions attending the dissolute lives imprison the masses in Satan’s power, chaining them to his car. They are under his strict control and he manipulates them to further destroy all evidence of grace, even leading men to kill those who know God’s grace.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Rom 1:28-32).

There is only one remedy—return to the simplicity of Eden. “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 18:3,4). This simplicity was in the mind of Christ. “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Isa 53:2). “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” (Jn. 5:19,20).

In the demonstration of Christ’s self-forgetful love, and His precepts concerning the same, we find the only escape from the scourge of bitterness plaguing the world today. In His substitutionary death as the Lamb of God we have deliverance from this bitter and hasty modern life.

“I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.
But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” (Isa 57:19-21). Who has not already seen enough of life to acknowledge that there is no peace with those who pursue the life of disobedience to God's law of love and liberty?

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