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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, February 13, 2013

When Jesus leaves us

“My God, my God, why have You deserted me? Why are You so far away? Won’t You listen to my groans and come to my rescue?
I cry out day and night, but You don’t answer, and I can never rest.” (Psa. 22:1,2). CEV.
“My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? why art Thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
O my God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.” (Psa. 22:1,2). KJV.

Would God ever desert His children? Ever?

The exception to the rule is the rule. For every rule, there is the exception. The rule may go on for weeks or months or years, but the exception comes. Exception is the rule.

God’s grace is the rule. His mercy endureth forever.
His grace continues today; and for that we are glad. “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The Lord…is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish.” His longsuffering is very long. Amen.

However, there will come an exception to His long held rule of grace.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2Pet. 3:7-10). “For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.” (Isa .28:21).

His rule is to prosper and protect His children. “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3Jn. 2). “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psa. 1:1-3).

“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.
For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” (Ps. 103:8-14).

But, there are times when the recipients of His prosperity and protection have to say, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21).

Glorious has been the history of the people whose God was Jehovah. “The time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Women received their dead raised to life again.” (Heb. 11:32-35).

But, many had a different history. “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Heb. 11:35-38).

Is this just because Satan got the upper hand on God’s people? Is the only reason for God allowing atrocities to happen because the adversary gets the victory over a soul? Or is the cause a deeper one? Is the issue much deeper?

“In the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” (2Chron. 32:31). We read this of King Hezekiah, who was sliding away from God after the Lord miraculously cured him. But, the deeper issue involved here is a test which God must give His children who are “to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” (Col. 1:12). Its a test that comes even to those who are sliding closer to Jesus.

We see this in what God did to His Son. He left His Son to try Him.

Of His experience in Gethsemane the apostle comments: “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” (Heb. 5:8). This separation perfected the Father’s only Begotten. “And being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.” (Heb. 5:9). It perfected the Father also, by solidifying His kingdom.

This test came to the first Adam. Like the second Adam, his days had been full of the Holy Spirit without measure. Adam’s life was filled with glory that surrounded him, filled with all the fullness of God. Constant and unbroken, communion with God and praise was his. Adam’s was the privilege of transmitting that communion to the animal kingdom. All was peace and joy and song. Topping it all off was his beloved wife, the mother of us all. Nothing more could Adam have for his happiness.

But, all that God does is balanced between grace and truth, between mercy and justice, goodness and severity, His gift and a test in the life that indicates that we really did accept His gift. The saving and sanctifying truth cannot be shut in the heart if the heart truly received it by faith.

Lest God be charged with building a hedge of protection around His children, but then spoiling them in the abundance of gifts, He must challenge their true loyalty. Adam and Eve must be tried.

At long last, the trial came in order for Adam to pass from prince to king; and the test came through his own dearly beloved wife. He faced the eternal loss of his dearest earthly companion and joy. Suddenly, he stood alone. Decision filled his mind. Eden, God’s joy, began to fade. After all his gifts bestowed from the throne of heaven, Adam forgot about it all as he studied the reality of eternal life without Eve. And, thus he lost his hold on the salvation he had lived in since birth.

For this reason, Jesus, the second Adam, passed over the same story. He too was filled with the Spirit of His Father. “For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.” (Jn. 3:34). His days were full of joy and song. But, He was also “made under the law,” made under “the curse of the law.” (Gal. 4:4;Gal. 3:13). “For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.” (Heb. 2:16). No taint of sin was in His character, but He dwelled in a body that was degraded by millennia of sin, temptable by the devil, and under the condemnation of God. Yet, all the pain of sin’s presence was greatly reduced as He spent His first 30 years enjoying the undisturbed fellowship with His Father.

But, Christ knew the requirements of His Father. He knew the depth of the sin nature and the powerful insinuations of sin. So He welcomed all the difficulties His Father sent to Him while preparing for His ministry. Then when His Father drove Him into the wilderness to be tested, He gladly went.

When Jesus entered the wilderness, He was shut in by the Father’s glory. Absorbed in communion with God, He was lifted above human weakness. But the glory departed, and He was left to battle with temptation. It was pressing upon Him every moment. His human nature shrank from the conflict that awaited Him. For forty days He fasted and prayed. Weak and emaciated from hunger, worn and haggard with mental agony, “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” Isaiah 52:14. Desire of Ages, p. 118.

This partial separation from His Father at His Father’s hand came because of the weakness of the human frame which Jesus had received at incarnation. But, unlike Adam, He was victorious over the tempter because of His determined abiding in His Father’s love and strength. “Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me.” (Heb. 10:5). And Jesus foresaw this to be the necessary precursor and preparation to a much larger test of separation from His Father.

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that, hangeth on a tree.” (Gal. 3:13).

Jesus must pass through the worst of all trials, when His Father would separate from Him completely for the first time and only time. He must pass through the test that Hezekiah failed at. He must succeed where Adam and his progeny failed. He must pass through the death that was their due, without failing in faith as they have done.

“Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? They die, even without wisdom.” (Job 4:21). Could Jesus die with wisdom and grace? Could He die amid tremendous suffering without charging God foolishly? Could He die accused as a criminal without justifying Himself? Could He die in patience, possessing His soul? Could He die in majestic God-like dignity? Could He die without sin, as a lamb quietly stands before its shearers?

Could all the benefits of His Father remain so firmly rooted in His mind, that they would carry Him through the trial? Would His longing for His Father faint in the burning wrath He saw in His Father toward Him? Would His fidelity to God be so true and genuine, that He would hang onto God when God was shaking Him off? Would His love for His Father prevent Him from being shaken off, despite being forsaken by everyone in heaven, despite being thought by sinners to be suffering under God’s punishment, and despised by every demon under the earth. “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (Isa. 53:4;2Cor. 5:21).

If this would be the case with Jesus, then He could pass the test which Adam failed. Sinking down into shock and death, all the while fixated on His Father’s merciful love, He could affect the great King and all the hosts of heaven so that nothing ever again could accuse His love from being anything except real and whole-hearted. Thus, God was vindicated, we were saved, and Satan was doomed.

This display of infinite love and holiness galvanized God’s cause, and redeemed His reputation. An adversary could never rise up a second time; sin was banished forever. God’s throne was made an eternal kingdom through all time to come. Freedom of will would be safely free forever, so that unforced, freely-given love and obedience could reign forever.

“It pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.

He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isa. 53:10-12).

One gloomy day, the glory of God’s love will be overshadowed by the pervasive presence of sin in the world. Sin will so surround God’s people, and their tastes will have been so changed through constant communion with Him, that, except for the presence of Jesus, sin will seem omnipresent, inescapable, eternal, and unshakable from their senses. Then, the worst will happen. The living presence of Christ through His Spirit will disappear because Jesus has left heaven to get His people home.

Says the prophet: “Who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2, 3. Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. Great Controversy, p. 425.

They will be cut off from their normal connection with Christ. Communion with Jesus, the ongoing relationship with Him, is the rule of salvation by faith. But this last hour, in the time of Jacob’s trouble, will be the exception to the rule. “The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” (Rev. 11:19;Rev. 15:8).

Some today have doubted the theological validity of living without Christ as our Mediator. But, this is only the exception to the rule. It is biblical, sound doctrine. Will we at that time hang on to every evidence we’ve gathered during the times of peace and vulcanize our faith in the stormy wrath of the holy God? Will we now gather every evidence we can find?

All comfort will be gone; all peace and joy in the Holy Ghost will stop being received. The angels of the Lord will double up around the people of the Lord, but His Spirit will feel like it has left them, in the wake of Jesus’ absence before the great Judge of sin. All who will be translated must pass through an experience similar to what Jesus passed through in Gethsemane. Their love for God must be eternal and perfected. It must be genuine to the maximum.

The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger—a faith that will not faint though severely tried. The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time. Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. His victory is an evidence of the power of importunate prayer. All who will lay hold of God’s promises, as he did, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded. Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it. Wrestling with God—how few know what it is! How few have ever had their souls drawn out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch. When waves of despair which no language can express sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to the promises of God.

Those who exercise but little faith now, are in the greatest danger of falling under the power of satanic delusions and the decree to compel the conscience. And even if they endure the test they will be plunged into deeper distress and anguish in the time of trouble, because they have never made it a habit to trust in God. The lessons of faith which they have neglected they will be forced to learn under a terrible pressure of discouragement.

We should now acquaint ourselves with God by proving His promises. Angels record every prayer that is earnest and sincere. We should rather dispense with selfish gratifications than neglect communion with God. The deepest poverty, the greatest self-denial, with His approval, is better than riches, honors, ease, and friendship without it. We must take time to pray. If we allow our minds to be absorbed by worldly interests, the Lord may give us time by removing from us our idols of gold, of houses, or of fertile lands. Great Controversy, p. 621,622.

Let us all heed the warnings, humble ourselves before the Lord, and tremble at His word.
“Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.” “From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.” (Isa. 28:22,19).

“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Heb. 10:36).

“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” (Heb. 3:14).

“He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt. 24:13).

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