“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, October 21, 2011

Locked in looking

“He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” (Matt. 13:22).

Jesus spoke of a kind of Christian that bore no fruit. “Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He [His Father] taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (Jn. 15:2,6). Every branch in Me. Here we see a person that is adopted “in Him” “in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:3-6), yet is cast away and burned. Casting away is not beyond the God of love. “Once saved always saved” is not biblical.

Jesus got this analogy from scripture. “For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.” (Is. 9:18). “And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.” (Is. 33:12). He was the precarnate God of Israel who “loved Israel for ever.” He gloried to be: “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Yet He also warned that He “will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” (1Ki. 10:9;Ex. 34:6,7).

So it is possible to once be saved, but lose that salvation in the end. Just carrying the name of Israel or Christian has never been enough. A name never saved anyone; it’s the character, the heart and life that determines a person’s standing before the great Judge. As this was true for Israel in the Bible, so it has ever been the truth before them and since. “Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matt. 3:9,10).

If the people would not give up their disposition to be thorns and thistles, they must be burned. If they haven’t lost the mind sympathetic to Satan and his government, constantly working to undo the work that God is doing in the Earth, then in the end they must go the way of all the wicked.

“Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:18-21). By their unchristlike characters He will judge them. “I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” (vs. 23).

This decision to execute judgment on the enemies of the gospel God doesn’t decide on arbitrarily. He gives much time and love and discipline in the effort to win the hearts and rehabilitate the lives of rebellious, thorny people. Some He does win over from their sharp abrasive nature toward Him and others. But He has had to lose many at the end of His investigative judgments of the past.

What causes the loss of His children who are called by His name? The parable of the sower delineates two reasons: “the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches.” (Matt. 13:22). Their faith begins in a heart that is compared to ground that has been plowed and properly prepared for the seed of God’s word. They were given every advantage for spirituality and the life of victory over sin. Everything is done by the farmer for them to facilitate the healthy maturing process of faith.

But they get sidetracked. They give in to the insinuating temptations of Satan to marry Christ and godliness with the world and its self-indulgent, self-exalting ways. They try to serve God and mammon, and mammon overcomes their desire to serve God. Their once pure love and wonder at the beautiful things God put in the world are replaced by chasing after luxury and lust for wealth.

Can we boil it down further to distill the cause for the departure from Christ? What caused the sidetrack into marrying Christ’s will with the world? Distraction. An attraction, a look. One look away without the fear of separation from God. This looking away brought down King Saul, David, Solomon, and almost everyone since Adam. I believe this look away from Christ and enjoying the moments without Him brought Eve to listen to the serpent, and then Adam listening to Eve.

They lost their fear of God, and enjoying the loss of that fear kept them from rushing back to Him. They ceased to strive to keep that fear. They chose to not struggle for it like Jesus did every day He was here on enemy territory, especially during His crucifixion when His Father was being torn from Him. To the very last moment of consciousness He strove to hang on to His Father, fighting for faith which was leaving and creating a cold emptiness. His dying effort for His Father’s presence came through the words of His last expression before expiring, “Into Thine hand I commit My spirit: Thou hast redeemed Me, O Lord God of truth.” (Ps. 31:5; Lk. 23:46).

We must look to Christ by faith, and keep looking. We must be locked in that look. One day in a campsite our tiny kitten caught an earful of a very large raven cawing high above in one of the camp’s cedars. Our kitten crouched back on its haunches, front legs straight, mouth open shaping the muted utterance of pure terror, his eyes wide open and looking upward, and probably with pupils dilated. He was paralyzed by fear, as the raven’s voice boomed down from above. My kitten was locked on the raven.

If we can have that disposition before God who “is a consuming fire,” then He will look upon us in pity and mercy. (Heb. 12:29). With Christ holding our hand and comforting us, then victory over sin is assured. He is able to keep us from falling, but it takes our continuous accepting of His constant grace in order to stand before His infinite “burnings.” (Is. 33:14.) “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt. 24:13). “Blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Is. 30:18).

“They that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful” to the end. (Rev. 17:14). Those who will choose to be brought all the way into God’s infinite righteousness and purity will stand on the “sea of glass mingled with fire.” (Rev. 15:2). And they will be without fault before the throne of God, and will sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, “Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.” (vs. 3).

Through many failures they finally learned to look at Jesus and be locked in that look, and they will walk with Him in white for they are eternally locked in looking at Jesus. “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him:
And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” (Rev. 22:3,4).


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