TruthInvestigate

“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.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I looked for love

“Just coming to Christ—apart from growing in Him—involves a process. The first step is a desire for something better. We may not even recognize this desire as having anything to do with God. We may simply desire a better car or better job or better grade point average. But God has placed within each heart a reaching out for something more.
  The second step in coming to Christ is to gain a knowledge of what it is that’s better. Through the Scripture, through the testimony of other Christians, through the working of the Holy Spirit upon the heart, we learn of the plan of salvation, God’s answer to the emptiness of the human heart.
  The third step in coming to Christ is the conviction that we are sinners. We are convicted of our condition—not merely of sinful behavior. As we gain a knowledge of God’s love, we realize how little we have valued it. We recognize that we have lived independently of Him. We see our desperate condition and realize our need of His salvation.
  The fourth step in coming to Christ is the realization that we are helpless to do anything at all about our condition. Young people especially may teeter for years between steps 3 and 4, recognizing that they are sinners, but not yet admitting that they cannot help themselves out of their condition.
  Finally, we come to the end of our resources. When we see our helplessness, there is only one thing left to do. Give up. It’s spelled S-U-R-R-E-N-D-E-R. As we have already noticed, we cannot bring ourselves to the point of giving up. But when God has brought us there, we ourselves make the choice to give up to Him.” Morris Venden, 95 Theses, p. 91, 92.

“God doesn’t expect us to repent before we come to Christ; indeed, it would be impossible for us to do that. We come to Christ first, and then He gives us repentance. ‘It was taught by the Jews that before God’s love is extended to the sinner, he must first repent. In their view, repentance is a work by which man earns the favor of Heaven. And it was this thought that led the Pharisees to exclaim in astonishment and anger, “This Man receiveth sinners.” According to their ideas He should permit none to approach Him but those who had repented. But in the parable of the lost sheep, Christ teaches that salvation does not come through our seeking after God but through God’s seeking after us. “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way.” Rom. 3:11, 12. We do not repent in order that God may love us, but He reveals to us His love in order that we may repent.’—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 189.
  So after we come to Christ, we come to realize the deadly character of sin by beholding His love for us, and thus become willing to accept His gift of repentance.
  Repentance is not something we do, even though it’s something we do! Repentance is not our work; it is God’s work for us. But it does come before forgiveness. And if repentance precedes forgiveness, then repentance also precedes justification. ‘Whom Christ pardons, He first makes penitent.’—Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 7. Acts 2:38 is clear that repentance must take place before forgiveness. ‘Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.’
  Sometimes people question the value of becoming so meticulous in trying to isolate and list in order each event in coming to Christ for salvation. It certainly isn’t so you can have a list and then check off each item as you proceed and know what to do next! But the enemy of God and man has a steady supply of misunderstandings along the way. And these can bring a barrier between us and God. If we think we are to work on righteousness or faith or surrender or repentance or obedience or any of the other gifts that God is offering to give us freely, we can miss coming to Him. And coming to Him is the only way to receive His gifts.” Ibid., p. 101,102.

I would add to Morris Venden’s clear explanation of God’s method of saving man—that the greatest gift of God is the knowledge of His love for us. So we can rephrase that last statement to say, “If we think we are to work on righteousness or faith or surrender or repentance or obedience or any of the other gifts that God is offering to give us freely, then we can miss seeing His love. And His love is the only way to receive Him.”

Is this how Jesus had such power to overcome the devil? He did not work on His righteousness or His sealing, but only to get with His Father and stay with His Father. And on the cross, the separation from His Father is what truly crucified His heart and killed Him.

Such a provision for our conversion and sanctification can only come from infinite love. So let’s go to the cross and look for love. Let’s go to the Bible and look for love in all of God’s dealing with Israel, both good and bad, in His blessings and His discipline. Let’s look for love in the Law as revealed in the yearning and broken hearts of the prophets and in the same from the Lord Himself on Sinai. The love is there.

Let’s dig for that undiminished love as for a hidden treasure. For love—ever growing divine love—is the greatest, loftiest, most powerful, wisest thing we could ever seek after. And for love, he that seeketh findeth.

I looked for love in the red rose so small,
I looked for love in the green tree so tall;
But the red rose had its thorns,
and the green tree was a cross,
and my searching for love was a total loss.

I looked for love in a friendly face so true,
I looked for love in a creed I once knew;
Well, my friend just called me friend,
and he said, “I’m searching too,”
and the creed only told me what I couldn’t do.

Then one day I heard the story of love like I’d never known.
How God gave His Son to save me and wanted me for His own. His own, His very own.

And now I know what it means to belong,
not lost in a crowd,
swept along by the throng.
But to Him who gave His life,
Every longing to fulfill,
And I know that He loves me and He always will.

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