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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.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Forget self

Isn’t it true that we are happiest when we forget self? What a boon to physical and mental health! When self is not the focus, when selfishness no longer clamors to be fed, we have perfect peace. The essence of vanity is self—the self-focus, the self-centered focus.

But, we can pray to the God of unselfishness. We can unload all of our burdens to Him. “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” (1Pet. 5:7). We are all swamped with the selfish world around us and in us. We can take it all to Him. He understands and will take away the presence of selfishness from our minds and leave us clean. He invites us to come.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1). This goes on to say that the service to self is the essence of sin. “For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the Law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:2). If we spell “flesh” backward, we get “self”, which describes our greatest curse.

“For they that are after the flesh [self] do mind the things of the flesh [self]; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally [selfishly] minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Because the carnal [self-serving] mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be.
So then they that are in the flesh [self-centeredness] cannot please God.
But ye are not in the flesh [self-focused], but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.
And if Christ be in you, the body [self] is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness[self-forgetfulness].
But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies [to self-forgetfulness] by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh [self], to live after the flesh [to please self].
For if ye live after the flesh [self], ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body [self-denial], ye shall live.” (Rom. 8:5-13).

God has given us a couple of definitions for sin. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the Law: for sin is the transgression of the Law.” (1Jn. 3:4). And, “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23).  Sin is to break the commandments of God and to not have faith in Him. Now we have, from Romans 8, a third definition of sin—to serve self. Can the three definitions relate to each other? Yes, they can.

The Law of God is the “royal Law”, “the perfect Law of liberty.” (Jas. 2:8;Jas. 1:25). It is the Law of love. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law.” (Rom. 13:10). Upon the principles of love “hang all the Law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:40).

We also know that “the Law is spiritual” (Rom. 7:14), that “the Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Rom. 7:12). We also know that “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Rom. 2:4) and that “the Law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul.” (Psa. 19:7). A confirmation that the Law of God shows His goodness.

This Law of love is the Law of selflessness, which is why “love is the fulfilling of the Law.” (Rom. 13:10). It also worketh no ill to God. He is holy, thus the holy Law of selflessness is the transcript of His character. He is the epitome of unselfish love. Unselfish, disinterested love is the pinnacle of the mountain of God. His love is the summit of His righteousness, the sum of all His acts.

It is self-evident that for anyone who lives separated from heaven, “God is not in all his thoughts.” (Psa. 10:4). To all who choose not to have His character, His will, His commandments, His acts of love, in their focus, His spirit cannot affect them; they must miss the blessing of conversion. They cannot have faith in Him; there is not connection between them and Him, no communion between their heart and His. So, we see the relation between the three definitions of sin—the lawlessness of 1John 3:4, the unbelief of Romans 14:23, and the selfishness of Romans 8:1. And the effect of the disconnect from God upon the soul is a perpetual slide into degradation. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful” (Rom. 1:28-31).

“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). Until Jesus comes we will have this natural root of bitterness. Only the Spirit of God can pull out that root of sin and selfishness. After 40 years of walking with God, so closely with Jesus “as seeing Him who is invisible,” (Heb. 11:27) yet Moses still had the “wretchedness” of sin. (Num. 11:15). See Numbers 20:10,11. But, though our fallen nature is constantly producing the makings of the root of sin, the good news is that the grace and Law of God working together act as weed killer to keep those roots from manifesting sin. “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 24). Only at Jesus’ coming will we finally lose those roots of selfishness.

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” (1Jn. 3:1-3).

Those roots, which the power of God can keep at bay, will one day be completely removed. This is our “blessed hope.” (Tit. 2:13). The blessed hope is not only that Jesus will return, but that He will permanently remove the root, the propensity to sin, permanently “save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21). “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.…Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” (Phil. 3:11,21).

Until that day, we must be on the ever running tread mill of sanctification. This is the work of a lifetime. Under no condition are we recused from it. “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Prov. 4:18). “The just shall live by his faith.” (Hab. 2:4).

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10). “Now, O LORD, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand.” (Isa. 64:8).

Jesus can only mold us and remake us into His image as we stay in His hands, self being squeezed and squashed and pulled here and there into His image. But, His providential hardships and opportunities to be selfless can only be acceptable to us by our remaining in His presence. None of His necessary prodding can give the sinner life except by his living in the light of Christ’s love, trusting and believing Him. Only in the environment of His acceptance is His molding process doable to us. “For if there had been a Law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the Law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” (Gal. 3:21,22).

He expresses His love most clearly through His promises, His oaths. When David and Jonathan exchanged gifts, they were vowing to be friends forever. See 1Sam. 18:1-4. This is what the promises of God are all about. They make up His covenant or His vows of perpetual friendship. Thus, we can accept them and live in them, and thus begin the relationship that He has initiated. Naturally, we reciprocate and give our heart and soul back to Him.

We become His to endure whatever He requires. Bathing in His love, our surrendered speech is: “Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast Thou not required.
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy Law is within my heart.” (Psa. 40:6-8).

Living in His presence becomes our one life’s goal; in the busiest life it becomes our priority. “I have set the LORD always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psa. 16:8-11).

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Phil. 3:8-11).

In the light of His selflessness we will be selflessness. We will be crucified with Him.

“Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” (Rom. 15:2,3).

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Gal. 6:9,10).

“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.” (Matt. 19:21).

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:25,26).

“Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” (Eph. 4:28).

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32).

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” (Eph. 4:15).

“He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Rom. 12:8).

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3/08/2013 12:31 PM  

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