“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.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Law or Example

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people.” (Heb. 8:10). “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Ez 36:26).

This was God’s promise to Israel to take place “after those days.” (Jer. 31:33). Those days, following the execution of a long overdue punishment. “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” (Ez. 36:24,25).

But it wasn’t only their captivity to Babylon that was spoken of here, but an extended 600 year pagan domination that these words signify. So the gospel news was that the new church answered this promise to the Hebrews. That God would humble them and then work His will into their stubborn hearts. The Jews had yet to enter into their rest until they accepted in their Messiah Prince of peace. (Heb. 4:9).

This is where Saul of Tarsus was. He was physically living in Jerusalem but because grace was driven from his religion and thinking, he was far from the God of his fathers. Even while waging war in defense of Judaism he was the very one God had promised to bring back from “the heathen” “countries”, from where Isaiah prophesied Israel would be “driven to darkness” and “dimness.” (Is. 8:22-9:1).

So the Lord was bringing him in. Jesus stopped him in his tracks on the road to Damascus and then sent him out into Arabia to learn the science of salvation, to true obedience to His Law, on which Moses had elaborated. There in the wilderness Paul studied. Scales of prejudice fell from his understanding, and with clear vision he plied the scriptures like a new-found book. He discerned his true motives for defending the laws of Moses. He had been fulfilling the letter but was far from satisfying the spirit of the Law. Now that he had caught a glimpse of Christ, in his own righteousness he saw a stronghold of rebellion, and described it.

“I was alive without the law once.” (Rom. 7:9). In the quiet of the desert he wrestled as his real self was coming to light. “For without the law sin was dead.” (vs. 8). “Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” (Rom. 7:13). “For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.” (Rom. 7:11).

“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” (Rom. 7:14). “And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.” (Rom. 7:10).

Paul’s steps moving closer and closer toward perfect submission to Christ are thus:
1.) I was alive without the law once, then the commandment came. (vs. 9)
2.) Therefore the Law is holy. (vs. 14)
3.) I consent to the goodness of the Law. (vs. 16)
4.) I delight in the Law of God after the inward man. (vs. 22)
5.) With my mind I serve the Law of God. (vs. 25)

Yet, all these steps in reconciliation with the Law he found insufficient to quell the rebellion maintaining its hold on him. In the end, under full conviction of the truth and the harassment by condemnation due to his inborn hatred toward the Law’s constant instruction and blame, he gave up.

He gave up the fight against sin. Self cannot rid itself of self. The first thing that needs to go is self, that is, the controls. Self cannot be in charge of sanctifying itself. No one can crucify himself; no one can baptize himself. Someone else must crucify him; someone else must baptize him. The business of his sanctification must be somebody else’s. We must give the controls to our Savior; we must give Him our will. “He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure.” Steps to Christ, p. 47.

Paul’s flesh was not strong enough for him to prevail over his natural-born rebellion. “The law worketh wrath.” (Rom. 4:15). And his own resources could not overcome his hatred to the eternal Law’s unending correction and shame. His was the cry of Martin Luther and millions in all lands in all ages: “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24).

Who shall deliver me? “Not the Law. It is the cause for my rebellion coming alive! It’s what is making me feel my wretchedness!” So Paul stopped trying to work righteousness. His conclusion: “To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:5). The apostle just gave up.

Who shall deliver me from my enslavement to rebellion, and free me to serve and obey God? Jesus. Jesus can. It, the Law can’t, but He , the interpreter and exemplifier of His Father’s Law, can. His Sprit will through faith in Him. “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (Jn. 15:7). Walking and talking with Jesus. Abiding in Him. Walking after the Spirit and giving up on our own inherited, tasteless, loveless morality we will have peace with God and power to serve Him.

To be “in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1) is like being safe in Noah’s ark while “the windows of heaven were opened” and “all the fountains of the great deep broken up”; rather than being outside the ark as “the flood came, and took them all away.”

To be in Christ is to abide under the shadow of the Almighty, trusting under His wings as an eagle protecting her chicks. (Ps. 27:4,5).

To be in Christ is to be able to beseech the Lord to show you His glory: it is to be hidden in a cleft of a rock, covered by His hand and to have all His goodness pass before you. It is to be hid with Christ in God.

To be in Christ is to be adopted into the beloved, to be brethren to God’s dear Son, to be a family member of the second Adam by redemption.

To be in Christ is to be in His presence where there is fullness of joy and pleasures for eternity.

No longer trying hard to keep the law, but receiving power to copy the Word of God come in the flesh; to focus on One who models the righteousness of the law. No condemnation for those who dearly love His truth and His merits, who have received a love for the law, especially the 4th commandment which commands us to be in Christ, exclusively for 24 hours each week.

To be in Christ is to have the Holy Spirit rest upon you, the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of grace. To be in Christ is to be wholly sanctified by the God of peace; to purify yourself, even as He is pure. (1Thess. 5:23;1Jn. 3:3).


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