“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

My Photo
Location: United States

A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Called to be saints

“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.” (1Cor. 1:2).

The Corinthians make the perfect model for a segment of today’s church. And that segment is a large segment. The other epistles Paul wrote had some counsel for increasing the godliness of the congregations, but he also included theology to deepen the knowledge of God and of His Son.

But, Paul’s letter to the Corinthians has very little of the mysteries of God and almost exclusively contains rebuke, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Paul sent them what he did because he had to. Their unruliness and misrepresentation of Christ to unbelievers warranted the barrage of justice they received from him.

Yet, the purpose of all that Paul gave them was to re-justify them and to sanctify them, to set them back on the right path, make them saints. Never once did he doubt their original consecration to Christ and their love and respect for him. They had responded to his preaching of grace and truth, as Christ had taught him. He knew that “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.
My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” (Jn. 10:27-29).

Some of them had been “fornicators, …idolaters, …adulterers, …effeminate, …abusers of themselves with mankind, …thieves, …covetous, …drunkards, …revilers, …extortioners.” (1Cor. 6:9,10). But they had been washed from all of that through the hearing of the self-sacrificing love of God, and were “sanctified” and “justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Cor. 6:11). Grace could not let these newborn babes be lost in the morass of Corinthian debauchery and sophisticated worldliness. The traditions of their fathers had left deep roots in their souls; and those traditions, as socially acceptable as they were warred against Christ’s kingdom of righteousness toward others and holiness toward God.

Paul could not simply abandon these poor souls to their devices, allowing  them to do as the rest of the Roman Empire, “to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” (1Thess. 2:16).

Thus, in the Corinthians, Christ has provided us an inside view of the extent to which He will go to rescue each of His disciples―even the worst of us, the most hopeless cases. The Corinthian Christians filled the same purpose as Aaron and Peter had, who required extra patience and discipline by Jesus, but who responded to His love and His humbling. Those two and many other individuals also, showed the infinite just and merciful love of Christ in their rehabilitation and total salvation from sin.

But the greatest glory to God comes through the groups He saved, whether it was the people of Israel in the Old Testament or the churches in the New Testament. The ultimate purpose in all of His discipline and punishment was, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” (Eze. 36:25-27).

Our sanctification is the purpose God calls us; in this way He chooses us. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Rom. 8:29,30). “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Eph. 1:4,5).

We are called to be saints. “Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.” (Lev. 19:2). “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1Tim. 1:5). The saints have no self-righteousness. Their faith is not feigned. It does not spring from “pretence,” “not sincerely,” (Phil. 1:18,16). The true saints speak nothing of self, which has been their only shame, but they testify only of Jesus.

“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you.” (1Cor. 1:4-6).

No sooner does one come to Christ than there is born in his heart a desire to make known to others what a precious friend he has found in Jesus; the saving and sanctifying truth cannot be shut up in his heart. Steps to Christ, p. 78.

The saints know the mysterious and powerfully tempting force that self-exaltation has and they also know the powerfully cleansing effect of Christ’s self-sacrificing love to combat temptation. His was a constant love, like the continual evening and morning sacrifices of ancient Israel, which He showed in every moment of His life, especially at the closing scenes. They have the testimony of Jesus, while they are filled with all of His grace and truth.

The saints are not dead people, gutted of personality, whom Satan has reconstructed into his captivating character, subtly superimposing on their forms his own self-righteousness, and empty of God’s glory and self sacrificing love. The saints are the church who love to meet and renew Christ’s character in each other, rehearsing His promises and His commandments. The saints maintain their holiness only in obedience to the Bible and the life of Christ.  “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Prov. 27:17).

God calls them to Christ. “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1Cor. 1:9). “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” (Jn. 6:37). He uses His pointed and sharp words to give us the need of a Savior. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12). “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24). They are so thrilled to be home in the Savior’s arms, that they have no regrets toward the strict schoolmaster.

If He has to, Jesus will use the consequences of our disobedience. “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” (Jer. 2:19).

“The way of transgressors is hard.” (Prov. 13:15). “He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.
His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.
If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man His uprightness:
Then He is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.
His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth:
He shall pray unto God, and He will be favourable unto him: and he shall see His face with joy: for He will render unto man His righteousness.
He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;
He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.
Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man.” (Job 33:19-29).

In the end, we cling to our beloved Savior and say, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” (Gen. 32:26). Then Jesus dispenses to us His Spirit and we receive the blessing we’ve wanted all of our life. We have peace with God, “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding.” (Phil. 4:7).

There is not a better, more sincere love, than the love that comes through the fear of God.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home