“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, March 21, 2011

Kept from falling

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 24).

“Everyone is corruptible.” Satan loves to prove this true. Doesn’t he? When I was in the Navy I heard this sentiment often. “New meat!” was a saying to a new recruit who had just joined our crew. He was going to be trained and hardened. Boot camp wasn’t enough to train a recruit, or to turn a boy into a real man. It took actually going to sea and standing long watches, fighting real casualties, enduring the rigors of sea life.

But woven into that training normally meant retraining the recruit’s morals, lowering his morals, corrupting his conscience. Being able to defend your country against aggressors with a clean conscience was George Washington’s dream. But over the centuries, the moral condition of the home, the church, and society have declined, and these are the resources from which our soldiers and sailors come. So, while the policy still remains for our military to be moral and upstanding, the reality is that they get corrupted when they join.

So everyone is corruptible, and you see it every day. But what does this say about the power of God? God claims He can keep us from falling. Who is right, God or Satan? Who is proving his power to be reality? What are we seeing of this in our own lives?

God made man to prove that His Law could be obeyed. Lucifer’s claim was that no one could obey another’s will perfectly. “We’re all unique; we’re our own person. God is the only one who can obey God perfectly. But we’re all good, so we should just be ourselves and everything will work out fine.”

But Adam and Eve from day one, obeyed God perfectly. Perfectly impartial, with no predisposition to prove anyone right or wrong, they were perfectly happy to obey God’s will. Totally unbiased as to the great controversy in heaven, they were found naturally being holy and full of gratitude for having the privilege to wake up each day and to be alive and to live holy lives. Love for their Creator filled their whole being, as did love for perfect righteousness. No one taught them to love God and be like Him; they were not propagandized or brain-washed. They were not infected with sin, and therefore naturally loved their Creator and displayed everything love does. God won the debate over obedience and showed Satan that love had been missing from his heart all along.

But, regardless, and not to be undone, all Lucifer had to do was to introduce a temptation, and if Adam and Eve accepted it, then to him that was sufficient to show that they were corruptible, even in their, as he saw it, “alleged” state of perfection. Satan doesn’t care how good God can make a person; his argument is that all of God’s intelligent creations are temptable, corruptible. We can cry “foul play!” on Satan’s part all we want, but he does have a point. If God’s creation today is perfect then it should be untemptable; and if their Creator is perfect also, then He should know how to, and have the power to, keep them from falling under temptation.

How can we argue with that? It’s a fair statement. Did God make Adam and Eve beyond temptation? Or are His creations so fragile in the face of temptation that all it takes is to tempt a soul saved by grace to be unholy, and they immediately gravitate from godliness to ungodliness? This is what’s at stake in the great confrontation between Christ and Satan. This is what is to be proven in the grand finale here at the last days. Is God’s salvation strong or weak? Even under fire? You and I get to prove that our Father’s salvation is stronger than all the firepower Satan can muster. Are you getting ready?

Am I patient with you only until you’ve laid on me the last straw? Or can I be patient with you no matter what you do, or say to me or about me to others, or no matter how much you beat me to a pulp, i.e. Christ’s crucifixion? We get to prove this in the coming tribulation. How long can I go hungry and thirsty before I reach “Hate hour”, as one mom called it because that’s how her children got when it was past time to eat? Are we good under bad circumstances? Or does our resolve immediately begin to flag even if our outer appearance maintains a semblance of fortitude; and its downhill the rest of the way until our power to be good completely folds under sin and lash out at our tormenter?

So what’s the answer to Satan’s argument about temptation and his charge against God’s expectation of His creation to obey Him perfectly? Is it true we cannot face a tempter without caving in to temptation? Is God’s word true that we can actually keep us from falling?

Yes, God is true and Satan the consummate liar. Jesus proved in Himself that God can keep a typical human from falling under temptation. Not by His own power did He face the tempter, but by God’s power. His divinity was hidden; His own divine power He had laid aside. And certainly, Satan would have immediately thrown the flag if Christ had laid hold of His own inherent divinity in the battle against temptation.

“The prince of this world … hath nothing in Me.” (Jn. 14:30).
Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. … Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble. Great Controversy, p. 623.

Through faith in the written word of God Christ overcame Satan in the wilderness and at every step of the way. From birth to death Satan couldn’t get in to His mind to tempt Him. Jesus kept up a constant vigilance against Satan through communion with God. He understood God’s promises, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” (Is. 26:3). Through continual union and communion with His Father, His Father’s words and principles kept His mind and will focused on righteousness.

“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” (Is. 7:14 15). Jesus never tasted the intoxication of sin; therefore He had an immunity to its allure.

“Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.
Who is blind, but My Servant? or deaf, as My Messenger that I sent? who is blind as He that is perfect, and blind as the Lord’s Servant?
Seeing many things, but Thou observest not; opening the ears, but He heareth not.
The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the Law, and make it honourable….
Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come?” (Is. 42:18-21,23).

Jesus’ immersion into God’s word rendered Him immune to Satan. Even when starving for 40 days we hear Him living off of His Father’s words. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4). We look into the mind of Christ and see the Bible being implicitly believed and perfectly applied to life. That is why Satan could not tempt the Son of God.

Through His Father, Christ was incorruptible, beyond temptation, untemptable. Likewise, we through Jesus. Through His infinite, divine birthright, He was perfectly worthy of His Father’s acceptance; and through reliance on Jesus and His love, the Father willingly calls His Son’s uncorrupted birthright ours. Through Christ’s redemption God gives us a better birthright than Adam in Eden could have offered.

But now the next question. Can we get there where Jesus was? Can He get us there? Can we have the same connection with divine power that Jesus had in His human flesh? Can we unite with Him like He united with His Father? He has told us, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18). Is His “all power” reliable power? As we behold His union with His Father, the Holy Spirit will put in us Christ’s same love for righteousness and enmity, animosity, against sin that He gained from His beloved Father.

Are we warmed by His touch when we read of Him touching people when He walked among us? Can He touch us through the scriptures as His Father touched Him through them? Can we joy in His grace and truth as He rejoiced in His Father’s mercy and justice? Can we say, “My Lord works like this, and so I do, too,” like Christ said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” (Jn. 5:17). Can we say, “I don’t have the strength to do anything good, except as I watch Jesus love others and me,” like He said, “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.” (Jn. 5:19,20).

When we are following Christ like that, the tempter will have to flee and he will take his temptations with him. “God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man.” (Jas. 1:13). And with God surrounding us like a wall, we will be free from temptation and He will keep us from falling.


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