“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, June 28, 2013

The Law in Galatians

It saddens me when I cannot perfectly clearly express what I’ve learned from heaven and from God's word.
I’ve seen a beautiful and powerful truth in righteousness by faith that is extremely difficult for most moral Christians to comprehend. But it was the same difficulty Paul had with the Jews in his day.
Most moral people (and the whole human race falls into that category) believe that by doing good acts that they are good in the eyes of God. They see their good deeds and, from the defective perspective which sin puts in us, they naturally conclude that they must be righteous people. But, this the Bible has proven a falsehood. (“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” Jn. 16:2). Much, much (self-)righteous indignation has ruled the world since the beginning of the fall.
Yet, the legalistic mindset is only one of the ditches that line the path of truth. And it is the least recognized. The other ditch is the most obvious—the ditch of lawlessness. On the one extreme, Satan has sold to people his wares of outright skirting the works orientation of God’s Law. The works orientation, or behavior, is something we see with our eyes and hear with our ears. It’s easy to observe. The lawless concept is even found in Christianity. It goes like this: “the Law was abrogated at Christ's death on the cross.”
But, the not so easy orientation is the legalistic approach. In this we see a good look to lawlessness. Bad religion doesn’t look like its breaking God’s Law, when it is doing so ever more effectively than the outlaws can do it, because it looks holy, moral, vigilante. It is void of the spirit of God’s Law, yet purports to uphold God’s will.

I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, “Father, give us Thy Spirit.” Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace. Early writings, p. 56.
 Legalism has no sweet love, joy and peace; all that it can produce is violence and force. But that force is what Jesus spoke of among the Jewish leadership and others who desired the power over the masses. “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matt. 11:12). This is a sad commentary on the nation which professed to serve the God of heaven. Yet, they were the ones who would kill thinking they were doing God service. It was no different from the papal Inquisition of the Dark Ages.
There I beheld Jesus, a great High Priest, standing before the Father. On the hem of His garment was a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate. Those who rose up with Jesus would send up their faith to Him in the holiest, and pray, “My Father, give us Thy Spirit.” Then Jesus would breathe upon them the Holy Ghost. In that breath was light, power, and much love, joy, and peace. Early writings, p. 55.
Only those who know the sweet love, joy, and peace with God can have access to the force of love to correct sinners and bring them into the way of holiness. Only they can obey the injunction, “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (Jas. 3:17, 18). Everyone else is so mired in mental and spiritual torment that the best they can produce is the fruit of the devil. “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” (vss. 14-16).
Neither lawlessness or legalism ever bring the soul to God. Both take a person further and further away from God, and end in perdition, held in “the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2Tim. 2:26).
But, the truth of God alone will lead us to God and the fruits of the Spirit, that sweet love, joy, and peace. Yet, here Satan has a most ingenious ploy to siphon away many well-meaning Christians. The devil gets God’s children to busy themselves with their sins in order to come to Jesus. Or, even more deceitfully, he gets them to work on repentance, and then using their own repentance to come to Jesus. Its built right into religion; and it’s a religion that encompasses the whole world. Repentance is a good thing. How can anyone be criticized for working on repentance? Yet, God rejects such attempts and can give such a person no peace from His Holy Spirit.
How does this device of Satan's work? He convinces the whole world that they are good enough to produce their own repentance. But, God says that we are never good enough, even to repent!
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom. 3:10-18).
All of our righteousness is gross, loathsome, messy dirty diapers; and that describes our repentance, also. The only repentance God can accept is the kind He gives us. (See Acts 5:31.) Yes, repentance is a gift from God. That is good news for anyone who needs repentance and peace with God, but feels so angry with God and His Law that they cannot seem to call up any sorrow for their sins.

But the concept of God rejecting all repentance that He has not produced is bad news to everyone who has gotten pretty good at overlooking their gross character and have been expending much self-made emotion, pleading for God to accept them, for all their tears and groveling.
Here we see the essence of the one true religion and the one global false religion of many colors. Everyone who admits to their inability to ever please the holy God are the real worshipers of “the only true God, and Jesus Christ.” (Jn. 17:3). And Jesus said, “This is life eternal” to know this God. This is why Jesus had so much success with the publicans and sinners. They could admit that their lives were a mess, and the friendliness Jesus offered them, as one who represented God to them, was irresistible! He never exposed their sinful lives to the public, and treated their condition with such gentleness! Mary Magdalene was so far from God that Jesus had to cast out seven demons before she was free to serve Him with her whole heart. But with her whole heart she became His slave, to work with all of her heart, mind, and strength to keep Him from suffering any more from her reckless life. Hundreds of others did the same.
This is righteousness by faith. Honesty before God. The humility to admit to the impossible—of ever being good enough. Such a person will depend heavily upon God for everything, everything! This includes the very first step, repentance. They will look to Jesus for their propitiation to God, His mediation, intercession to God. When they find that they can trust Jesus, they will never attempt to approach God alone.
But, everyone who refuses to admit to their decrepit hearts and characters, will spend their whole lives propitiating God without the need for an intercessor. Like the priests of Baal, they will jump up and down, and howl at the moon, and do others ridiculous things to get His attention and receive peace of mind. But, they will receive not a word from heaven. They will pray to Mary, or some saint, Ashtoreth or Venus, or Diana, or even to Moses or Ellen White. They will go to a priest who will tell them to repeat some gibberish so many times so that they can be blessed.
But, the God of heaven has given us just what we need to come to Him. Yes, of course He gave us His Son as the source of grace; but He also gave us His Law. That Law is immutable. Let Hollywood say what it will, let science and psychology and philosophy and even Christianity say what they will about God’s Law and condemnation. But, the whole of humanity is subject to God’s Law; no one can escape it. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Rom. 3:19). That didn’t come from Moses, but from Paul.
Jesus said the same thing. “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:18, 19).
Then, He goes further into spiritual things: “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (vs. 20).
These all-compassing statements of Christ concerning the eternal accountability to God’s Law expose both ditches on the road to everlasting life, lawlessness and legalism. His words relate to the two groups seeking eternal life, the true child of God who will serve God for the blessing of His peace, and the group that follow either or both, lawlessness or legalism, to live a good life without surrendering their heart to God’s fullest gift, repentance.
God’s Law is instrumental to bring us to need the Savior. “The scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” (Gal. 3:22, 23). Everyone who will come to the light of God’s word and His Law found therein, will find it a very hot, disturbing experience. Caught in the grip of inadequacy before God, we wrestle and fight against the Law’s constant barrage of condemnation. Kept under the Law, “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:17). We are bound down under our responsibility to obey God, and our inability to do it.
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:18-24).
Then, finally the Spirit of Christ gets a word in edge-wise and the dawning of a new day appears. “... through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (vs. 25). We have learned the most important lesson of this life. We couldn’t do good! We didn’t have it within us! “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:1, 2).
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24). The Law grinded on us until we finally surrendered to its authority. Then we crumbled before it and the new power of faith brought us to Jesus. “Whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matt. 21:44).
“But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (vs. 25, 26). As a schoolmaster the Law no longer functions. Now is it our guide and best friend. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” (Ps. 19:7).
We see Jesus in it all. It’s no longer “the Law” (Rom. 6:14; Gal. 2:19), but, “Thy Law” (Ps. 119:18, 29, 44, 51, 53, 55, 61, 70, 77, 85, 109, 126, 136, 142, 150).
“Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.” (Ps. 119:92).
“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” (Ps. 119:97).
“I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.” (Ps. 119:113).
“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). We finally have obedience. We have repentance, forgiveness, justification, sanctification. But it was all God’s power and doing. We only came to Him for our needs and responded by accepting His gifts. We rest in His love. “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).
But everyone who cannot bear the thought that they aren’t good enough to stand before God will avoid His condemning Law because they have no hope in God’s goodness. They skirt the condemnation of the Law and never receive the faith that frees them from their tormenting sins and unrest. They never wrestle with God and His Law. They never have peace with God through His Son, Jesus. They perform ever increasing penances and great works, finally listening to Satan’s guidance to destroy those who have the coveted peace of mind.
They also become the devil’s favorite false prophets and teachers. “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” (1Tim. 1:5-7). They are the ones Jesus will call, “workers of iniquity” (Lk. 13:27), in spite of all their “many wonderful works.” (Matt. 7:22).
It was in this context that Paul wrote,
“The strength of sin is the law.” (1Cor. 15:56).
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Rom. 6:14).
“For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Gal. 2:19-21).
None of this releases us from the duty to obey God and His Law. Rather, it does provide the only true power to obey Him. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Rom. 3:31).


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