“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.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

True grace

Hi C____,
  The common definition of grace is undeserved, unmerited favor. It is unwarranted favor in that it comes regardless of our behavior. “One good turn deserves another,” is a norm to sinners. Sinners don’t like to give unless either given to already or a reliable promise to give is made. This is what it means to be truly human.
  But that kind of thinking is what God calls sin, and it is an aberration of what it originally meant to be human. Jesus came as the second Adam to show us what the original norm was for being human, and He died with forgiveness on His last passing thought and desire. His whole life of hardship and character development He accepted so that He would have the endurance to last as long as possible during His final trials showing His “grace and truth.” (Jn. 1:14).
  “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations.
 For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: Thy faithfulness shalt Thou establish in the very heavens.” (Ps. 89:1,2).
  That sounds good, but what about this?
“And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.
 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, 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, and that 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.” (Ex. 34:5-7).
  That sounds conditional, doesn’t it? This verse is like the 2nd commandment. “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;
 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.” (Ex. 20:5,6). This can sound like righteousness by works. But its a far cry from RBW.
  How about this one?
 “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
 He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever.
 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.
 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.
 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” (Ps. 103:8-13).
  How can it grace, especially unconditional grace, if we have to fear Him first?
  First of all, the fear of the Bible is not abject fear. But, contrariwise, it is much more than just respect or reverence, which are easily corruptible with hypocrisy. Fearing God means to tremble. “For all those things hath Mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord : but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word....
 Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at His word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.” (Is. 65:2,5).
  This fear of God is the only honest faith. So, we are saved by grace through faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8,9). But, its possible, and a very common phenomenon, for the sinner to believe he has faith, when he doesn’t. (Jer. 17:9).
  Therefore, God’s solution to the deceitfulness of the human heart is to make conditions. “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matt. 7:16-18). “And whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matt. 21:44).
 God doesn’t dangle before us the carrot of grace in order to coax us into being good enough to get it. But, He does demand genuineness. And He has every right to do that. He should do that. Would you like to share eternity with people who never fell on the Stone and were broken? Yet, the churches are full of such souls. Overflowing!
  Ellen White explained it through John the Baptist,

John...saw his people deceived, self-satisfied, and asleep in their sins. He longed to rouse them to a holier life. The message that God had given him to bear was designed to startle them from their lethargy, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. Before the seed of the gospel could find lodgment, the soil of the heart must be broken up. Before they would seek healing from Jesus, they must be awakened to their danger from the wounds of sin.
God does not send messengers to flatter the sinner. He delivers no message of peace to lull the unsanctified into fatal security. He lays heavy burdens upon the conscience of the wrongdoer, and pierces the soul with arrows of conviction. The ministering angels present to him the fearful judgments of God to deepen the sense of need, and prompt the cry, “What must I do to be saved?” Then the hand that has humbled in the dust, lifts up the penitent. The voice that has rebuked sin, and put to shame pride and ambition, inquires with tenderest sympathy, “What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?” Desire of Ages, p. 103,104.

This is why the shaking is going to be so earth-shattering. God is going to pare away the chaff who have been playing the game of relationship with Him, simply acting the part, and He will leave only those who have truly been struggling to have Him and to have His mercy. Only those who fear Him and tremble at His word will be humble enough to pass the great shaking. But, before the shaking happens, the Lord will send a message like John’s to let the people know just where they stand before God. Many will see themselves as being under His frown. This will come as a shock because they were so certain that He was smiling on them. For many, many, this will come as such an insult that they will reject the messengers of mercy.

I saw some with strong faith and agonizing cries, pleading with God.  Their countenances were pale, and marked with deep anxiety, which expressed their internal struggle.  There were firmness and great earnestness expressed in their countenances, while large drops of perspiration rose upon their foreheads, and fell.  Now and then their faces would light up with the marks of God’s approbation, and again the same solemn, earnest, anxious look settled upon them.
Evil angels crowded around them, pressing their darkness upon them, to shut out Jesus from their view, that their eyes might be drawn to the darkness that surrounded them, and they distrust God, and next murmur against him.  Their only safety was in keeping their eyes directed upward.  Angels were having the charge over the people of God, and as the poisonous atmosphere from these evil angels was pressed around these anxious ones, the angels, which had the charge over them, were continually wafting their wings over them to scatter the thick darkness that surrounded them.
Some, I saw, did not participate in this work of agonizing and pleading.  They seemed indifferent and careless.  They were not resisting the darkness around them, and it shut them in like a thick cloud.  The angels of God left them, and went to the aid of those earnest, praying ones.  I saw the angels of God hasten to the assistance of all those who were struggling with all their energies to resist those evil angels, and trying to help themselves by calling upon God with perseverance.  But the angels left those who made no effort to help themselves, and I lost sight of them.
As these praying ones continued their earnest cries, at times a ray of light from Jesus came to them, and encouraged their hearts, and lighted up their countenances.
I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen.  I was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the true Witness to the Laodiceans.  It will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver of the testimony, and it will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth.  This straight testimony some will not bear.  They will rise up against it, and this will cause a shaking among God’s people.
I saw that the testimony of the true Witness has not been half heeded.  The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs, has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded.  This testimony must work deep repentance, and all that truly receive it, will obey it, and be purified.
Said the angel, List ye!  Soon I heard a voice that sounded like many musical instruments, all sounding in perfect strains, sweet and harmonious.  It surpassed any music I had ever heard.  It seemed to be so full of mercy, compassion, and elevating, holy joy.  It thrilled through my whole being.  Said the angel, Look ye!  My attention was then turned to the company I had seen before, who were mightily shaken.  I was shown those whom I had before seen weeping, and praying with agony of spirit.  I saw that the company of guardian angels around them had doubled, and they were clothed with an armor from their head to their feet.  They moved in exact order, firm like a company of soldiers.  Their countenances expressed the severe conflict which they had endured, the agonizing struggle they had passed through.  Yet their features, marked with severe internal anguish, shone now with the light and glory of heaven.  They had obtained the victory, and it called forth from them the deepest gratitude, and holy, sacred joy.
The numbers of this company had lessened.  Some had been shaken out, and left by the way.  The careless and indifferent who did not join with those who prized victory and salvation enough to agonize, persevere, and plead for it, did not obtain it, and they were left behind in darkness, and their numbers were immediately made up by others taking hold of the truth, and coming into the ranks.  Still the evil angels pressed around them, but they could have no power over them.
I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth in great power.  It had effect.  I saw those who had been bound; some wives had been bound by their husbands, and some children had been bound by their parents.  The honest who had been held or prevented from hearing the truth, now eagerly laid hold of the truth spoken.  All fear of their relatives was gone.  The truth alone was exalted to them.  It was dearer and more precious than life.  They had been hungering and thirsting for truth.  I asked what had made this great change.  An angel answered, It is the latter rain; the refreshing from the presence of the Lord; the loud cry of the third angel.
Great power was with these chosen ones. Early Writings, p. 270.

  Because of the seriousness of the last days and the soon-coming day of judgment, the Advent movement has been given a message of grace that is different than the Sunday churches. Our grace is fuller, heavier, but much more wholesome and powerful to overcome sin.

  The gospel to us includes the Law of God, which the other denominations rejected a century and a half ago. But, its the working together of Law and grace that the Holy Spirit uses to bring us to fall and break at Jesus’ feet. And those who come to Him having horribly failed at obedience are the only ones He counts as coming to Him. “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matt. 9:13).

  We can only have mercy in the face of the Law of God. This seems contradictory and counter-intuitive. There is a constant tension going on. But those are God’s conditions, His arrangement. Sinners, even if they are going to church, will only need a Savior if they stand before God’s Law. Then and only then will they truly know how much of sinners they are. But guilt and shame are a very uncomfortable frame of mind. Nobody naturally likes being there. That is why so many desire a Savior without the Law. This is why the churches are so full of imposters. And in the SDA church, we have the Law shining brighter than anywherebecause we have the Spirit of Prophecy, the Testimony of Jesus. But, how many Adventists are looking at those books or seeking to obey them? Hardly anyone. As we saw in the quotation above,

I saw that the testimony of the true Witness has not been half heeded.  The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs, has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded.  This testimony must work deep repentance, and all that truly receive it, will obey it, and be purified.

Ellen White is very lightly regarded today in the Adventist church. Little do those multitudes know that the prophet they laugh off is judging them and will be the cause of their shaking. And all who shrugged her off and then passed away, died in their sins and will never know eternity with Jesus. Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.” (Jn. 6:37). The reason its the Father that gives them to Jesus is because its His Law that has grinded on them and given them the need for a Savior. And the good news is, “and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” (vs. 37).

  Only those who have been humbled by their lack of righteousness compared to God will come to Jesus, and never be cast away. This is true grace, and its only for the worthythat is, those who have trembled before God’s Law, accepting God’s authority over them, but finding nothing in themselves to measure up to itnever in a million years can they ever muster up the will-power to obey the powerful Law of God. They stand hopeless in terms of their performance, and in faith hope in Jesus’ performance. Without Him and His wonderful merits, they admit their deserved eternal destruction. But they have learned of Jesus’ love and His love has drawn them into hoping in His grace. Then the Holy Spirit confirms their faith and hope. They have surrendered to God through His Son, and they are written in the Book of life. Now obedience comes easy because they have a new heart and in their minds God has written His Law.  

Love you a lot, sister,


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