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“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, January 16, 2013

The greatest power of God

It takes the infinite act of God to bring us to sorrow. We cannot produce one erg of genuine repentance.

“If by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Rom. 11:6).

Any work of ours to manufacture it is the depth of sin and leads straight into spiritualism. Only the word of God reveals the secret to sorrow. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2Cor. 7:10). Any sorrow from our own corrupted, selfish, self-centered, self-pitiful heart is intoxicated with pride and is an abomination to God.
“Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood. And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: the LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.” (Deut. 29: 18-20).

“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). “So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” But, the end product of His strong conviction and powerful reproof is a humbled, happy soul. “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” (Isa. 55:11-13).

Only repentance born out of God’s word can ever reconcile us to God. Only God’s word can lead us to God. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1Pet. 1:23).

God will not allow for any human counterfeit. “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.” (Hos. 6:4). Fraudulent penance can never replace repentance. Self-made propitiation can never stand before God, and the “man, or woman, or family, or tribe,” who does this, “whose heart turneth away…from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations;” will receive only bitterness―“gall and wormwood.” For “he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (Jn. 3:36).

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber…. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (Jn. 10:1,10). “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.” (Eze. 34:16). And rightly so, when even we try to avoid the Law and its condemnation. We are fed judgment too, because we need to see our failure. We’ve missed the mark―the ultimate mark being God and His acceptance. Our crooked arrow, shot from our deceitful bow, can never arrive at the bull’s eye—a Father of justice and mercy, a Father of condemnation and then forgiveness upon the humilation of our pride. A proud, unbroken spirit cannot conceive of a God of disinterested love. Therefore it never receives His Spirit. Only overpowering justice and truth can break out stubborn, vile, imperious self-will.

Just ask Job.

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me.
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,
 And brake up for it My decreed place, and set bars and doors,
And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;
That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?
It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment.
 And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken.
Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?
Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
 Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.
Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,
 That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof?
 Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great?
 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,
 Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?
 By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?
 Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder;
To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man;
To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?
Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?
The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.
 Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?
Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?
Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?
Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?
Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go and say unto thee, Here we are?
Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?
Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven,
When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together?
Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions?...” (Job 38:1-39).

But, the Lord wasn't finished yet.

“Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said,
Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
Then Job answered the Lord, and said,
Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto Me.
Wilt thou also disannul My judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?
Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like Him?....” (Job 40:1-9).
After four chapters of the Lord raining reproof upon Job’s head, he agreed to never again say that he shouldn’t humble himself before God.
“Then Job answered the Lord, and said,
I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job. 42:1-6).
 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. 104.
It would be the height of callous cruelty to allow us to travel in a direction that leads to Satan. The God of love will never do that.
 
 Jesus did not suppress one word of truth, but He uttered it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He spoke the truth, but always in love. He denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity; but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, which refused to receive Him, the way, the truth, and the life. They had rejected Him, the Saviour, but He regarded them with pitying tenderness. His life was one of self-denial and thoughtful care for others. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He ever bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save. Steps to Christ, p. 12.

This is real love and this is our Father in heaven. Let all look and listen to His infinite appeals through His servants the prophets, via His Son.
“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” (Isa. 55:1-3).

“And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me.” (1Ki. 18:30).

Don’t be afraid of Me. “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28).
But, they preferred to serve Satan. So, He gave them to Satan, and he gave them gall to drink, and many died from it. A constant diet of the fun this world advertises often ends up in suicide.
“Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.” (Jer. 9:15). “He gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them. Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.” (Ps. 104:41,42).

Nevertheless, the LORD continued to show them the truth. “Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.” (Hos. 6:5). Eventually the light dawned in their souls that it was better to deny self, to take up their cross, and follow Jesus.
“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.
After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.
Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” (Hos. 6:1-3).

His standard is high. He wants the best for His children. He only wounds to heal. But, the low standard which they set for themselves, the self-manufactured penance which the world gets from Satan, will never bring them happiness. But, Jesus wants them to have “everlasting joy shall be upon their head.” “They shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” (Isa. 51:11).

Who can be sad, when Jesus has made them glad by His presence? The sun is brighter; the flowers gleam brighter with color. “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” (Isa. 55:12,13).

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