“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, April 11, 2012

The herd

“The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Is. 40:6-8).

It seems there is always a handful of leaders, but multitudes of followers. Most people are a follower. Of course, if the whole mind and heart are not focused on the venture at hand, then there must be reliance on a neighbor to know which way to go. Hope is in the next person who appears to know where he is going. But, this method leads to “blind leaders of the blind” and ends up that “both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matt. 12:39). “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” (Jer. 17:5).

“The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” Nevertheless, “many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matt. 22:14; Lk. 16:16).

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:13,14).

Why is this? Why is it that few ever even find the path to eternal life? Why are the multitudes so easily influenced away from the path to life, true peace and prosperity?
“And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;
Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord : I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.…
But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought Him a man after His own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over His people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.” (1Sam. 13:11,12,14).

“And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” (1Sam. 17:32). How is it that one distrusts God and fears for his temporal life and another trusts God?

Why are some so easily influenced as “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness” (Eph. 4:14); even the very best of us? “The other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.” (Gal. 2:13). Even Barnabas, a great leader in the early church; even the holy couple in very best of circumstances. “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Gen. 3:6).

There must be a cause to this. “As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.” (Prov. 26:2). What circumstances created a David and a Moses, a Daniel or an Enoch? We hear that it’s the choices they have made. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7). But, what is the mechanism to choose damnation? And what is the science of salvation?

Our opening text says much concerning this, especially its final verse. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Is. 40:8). Those who stand strong in temptation have a tool, a crutch that is strong in assisting them against life’s temptations. That tool is the word of God, God’s word, God’s voice to the soul, that extension of the heavenly throne that reaches down to us which we can appropriate, that means by which His nature may be planted in us, His divine perfection of righteousness transferred to the weak human supplicant.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.” (Acts 17:11,12). The power of the Holy Scriptures ennobled these and led to exceptional faith, regardless of heritage, class, culture, or gender. Their Old Testament Bible made them ready to receive new, greater light that aligned perfectly with the old, lesser light; the Bereans heard from Paul sentiments that agreed with the sentiments created by the prophets of old.

But here we see that it was more than simply acquainting themselves the words and stories of men. It was far different than worshipping the Bible, spending much time dissecting it and theologizing on it, arguing about it amongst themselves, “standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.” (Matt. 6:5). Christ tells us the abiding principle, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.” (Jn. 5:39,40).

That which uplifted the Bereans above other churches was that they came to the scriptures to meet with God, to learn His truth for their lives. They wanted Him, but only the “Him” of whom the Bible spoke. They loved to sit at Jesus’ feet by faith before His open Book, as Mary of Magdala literally did with Jesus. This Jesus declared was of upmost importance in the great controversy over Satan, and our only hope to escape the confusion of damnation. While tempered with grace toward Martha whom He was drawing to Himself, yet with the strongest emphasis, He defended Mary’s responding to Him. “But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Lk. 10:42).

Through meeting with God by faith in His word, in His creation, in our experiences from life, and through manual labor, the mind of man connects with the mind of God. From this originates the character that measures with the character of God’s Son. By this we obtain “the mind of the Lord,…the mind of Christ.” (1Cor. 2:16).

By the presence of God’s wisdom He transforms us. “I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.…
I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find me.
Riches and honour are with Me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.…
For whoso findeth Me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord .
But he that sinneth against Me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate Me love death.” (Prov. 8:12,17,18,35,36).

This speaks of not just “wisdom” but also of God Himself—both together—God’s, wisdom. Wisdom, by itself, is Satan’s effective tool of damnation. Spiritualism is rife with invitations to such deeper wisdom; the occult is built upon simply wisdom. The words of Satan himself, “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).

God-less wisdom, knowledge, and science are Satan’s manifesto. In that same vein, so is the God-less, person-less, mercy-less law. “The strength of sin is the law.” (1Cor. 15:56). But, the Law and its Author together, God’s law, His merciful Law of God is the strength of righteousness and of God’s kingdom the personal Law is the one true law. “O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” (Ps. 119:97,11).

It’s only by meeting with God through His law seen in Christ, by becoming His Son’s disciple and letting Him seal His law in our foreheads, that the precepts of righteousness free us from sin. Only the Law of God will pour a deluge into our hearts of need for a Savior from sin; then, when we yield ourselves to Jesus and His love, we yield to the righteousness of God in Him and we have peace with God. “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Rom. 6:13). Otherwise, social taboos, traditions passed down from human religions, the law without God becomes the tool cunningly used by the devil against us, subjugate us and destroy us, just as science without faith or without communion with God leads into a thousand philosophies and strong atheism.

The relationship with Jesus, and surrendering to Him and to His guiding Spirit puts us on solid footing. Through connection with the Redeemer moment by moment, we can say, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” (Ps. 40:2,3). Through His saving grace we can confidently say with Elijah and Elisha,

“As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand.” (1Ki. 17:1). “As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand.” (2Ki. 3:14).

We can be trees of righteousness like Elijah and Moses who were constantly like “two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth,” because His grace showered upon them. (Rev. 11:4). We can have the experience David had. “I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.” (Ps. 52:8).

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness,” “and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” (Eph. 4:14;1Jn. 2:28).

Thus, we avoid the final judgment on sinners. “For their rock is not as our Rock.” (Deut. 32:31). Our Rock keeps us from falling into sin; their belief system cannot save a single soul. “For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.” (Vs. 32,33). Their belief system is the God-less, Christ-less law, devoid of God’s presence, and leaves them angry and hateful, having drunken from Satan’s bitter, loveless presence.

“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). “With every truly converted soul the relation to God and to eternal things will be the great topic of life.” Great Controversy, p. 463.

Why do most people never find the narrow gate that leads to life? Because they don’t want the self-sacrifice of “Thy” Law, “His” Law, “The law of Thy mouth,” (Ps. 119:72). Satan leads half of the multitudes to despise law and righteousness; the other half he leads to hate the goodness of God in giving the sinner a Mediator for the righteousness of the Law. The devil keeps his captives in the fraternal twin camps of rebellious lawlessness and stubborn legalism. But, everyone who has ever come to the Savior of sin for victory over it “He opened His mouth, and taught them.” (Matt. 5:2). “The isles shall wait for His law.” (Is. 42:4).

Christ’s gracious presence will necessarily lead them to repentance, which Satan’s delusion upon them causes them to despise and evade; and the beauty that characterizes Christ’s Law of holiness Satan inspires them to see as ugliness and undesirable, or obsolete and old-fashioned, and to fear as detrimental to their earthly interest.

So they turn away from their Creator and spurn the Spirit of God. Strange infatuation and delusion! Starting from early age, choice after choice, the demons move each lost soul further and further down the slope that leads to destruction. And “many there be that go in thereat.”

But, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matt. 5:3,4,6).


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