“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.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Unload on Jesus--no one else can take it, not even self

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13).
Do we really know the blessedness that God has offered us through the atonement of Christ? Do we know the health-giving boon that comes with Christ’s sacrifice for the world? “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn. 3:16).
What did Jesus accomplish on the cross? Was it more than theological benefit? Was it more than “efficacious”, or “atonement”, or “mediatorial” or “salvific”? If children should be able to benefit, like Samuel and David and, no doubt, many others, in what way can they and how did they? In what way can the non-theological adults benefit? And can it also be possible, even in our day and in our Adventist sub-culture, for someone to has all the theology correct, and miss the real thrust of the cross; and thus be lost? Can we have a hot theology and a cold experience?
This is possible, not because I think I have my experience all together as compared to others, but because the hot and cold have ever been the possibility since the days of Adam.
Cain had it all together. He had a massive intellect like Adam, and cleverness, a powerful body and perfect health, the stately walk and kingly bearing; but, he lived off of these gifts from heaven. They were his sole source of thought and action. They were also the cause of his grumbling and murmuring toward the Lord for having to live at the doorstep of the Garden of Eden, with its lush and abundant ground. But, his rebellion made the difficult existence outside the garden intolerable to his selfish fallen nature. The fallen world, though having not the splendor of Eden, was far superior to ours today. Cain had all the look of heir to Adam’s glory, except for the main attribute requisite for the crown—reconciliation with God.
“Righteous Abel” (Matt. 23:35) had none of the massive endowments of kingly Cain. But he had what Cain lacked—“a more excellent sacrifice.” He was reconciled with God, “by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Heb. 11:4).
Abel had an excellent sacrifice. It was a sacrifice that made him righteous and gave him the “excellent spirit” (Dan. 5:12) that Daniel had. I won’t go into all the theology of justification by faith, as Christianity has built it into a mammoth, brick and mortar courthouse. I don’t believe Abel had made it so complicated with his sacrifice. I think with Abel justification meant, “I killed the Lord of glory.” I do believe Cain complicated justification. But all of his justification, which was without faith, became self-justifying. This was forced upon his soul because he received no justification from the Holy Ghost. So, the whole religion of his parents only fed his miserable gall and wormwood.
Abel had the experience of redemption, the “witness” (Heb. 11:4). He knew peace with God. Each time before the fire fell he was right with God because the lamb was slain. The baptism of fire simply honored the obedience of the heart that the Lord God saw within Abel. Thus, he was sealed, and his brother received the mark of the beast. Both evinced a witness from either of the two great spiritual powers contending for the human race.
I want Abel’s “witness”—the sealing; and I want to avoid Cain’s—the mark of the beast, don’t you? But how did Abel get sealed? He went to the cross. He got the sealing by slitting the throat of his most precious lamb. Only by bringing pain, shock and death upon the little, innocent animal could he unload his congenital “root that beareth gall and wormwood” (Deut. 29:18). Abel gave his sinful disposition to God. Through the sacrifice he could unburden himself of his natural rebellion and be relieved of the horrible “chastisement of [his] peace” (Isa. 53:5).
Our merciful healer, “knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14). “O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off” (Ps. 139:1, 2).
The great Therapist and Physician knows our constant building up of stress and anxiety because of self-centeredness, our living alone and supreme in the universe. He knows that “there is none righteous, 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” (Rom. 3:10, 13-17).
He knows our pride and insolence. He also knows the pain that every child of Adam carries in the heart; and He seeks to heal them all.
So, when He came to accomplish our redemption, He willingly placed Himself as the object of hatred, being “once” (Heb. 9:28) a punching bag for the release of our pent up aggression. We could not pinpoint the cause of our chastisement of peace, the gall that makes our mouth and thoughts so venomous. But He knew the remedy. The remedy was to unload on Him; so He has given us that opportunity. Thus, He allows us to be relieved and freed from the internal pain, but, only at the expense of the pure, Anointed One. Then, we have the needed, healthful peace; but, the innocent One is dead, His blood is on our hands and splattered all over our body. Now we can calmly and with clear heads be thankful to Him and worship Him for His healing of our mind and soul. There is no other way to keep down the ill effects of sin in humanity.
But, Cain rejected this. Will we? Cain kept his chastisement of peace. He loved it and dwelled on it. Will we? Cain slew his brother who was more righteous than He. Will we kill those who resist us or resent our killing them little by little, thus firing up our chastisement of peace, perpetuating it in an endless feud? Or will we hit and claw the innocent Lamb who “openeth not His mouth”, who “had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth”? (Isa. 53:7, 9). Will we get completely out of our system the aggression from being sinners in a world of sin, and be dead to venomous sin, so that those around us can be completely spared from our aggressions? Will we unburden our venom on Jesus, the sinless Lamb? Only He can take it.
“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (1Pet. 2:24, 25).
Will we drink the true elixir, the water of life? Jesus is pleading, “I am the water of life”. “Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive….)” (Jn. 7:37-39).
The Lord taught to the children of Israel through Moses this lesson of unburdening sin. Right in the midst of the congregation caustically blaming him for their thirst, and being ready to stone him, Moses was to take his rod, and smite the Rock. “And that Rock was Christ.” (1 Cor. 10:4). He had to hit the Rock hard, in order for water to come out. The people had been dehydrated, for sure. But what made their thirst so dire and hated was their unredeemed, natural aggressions, and for having to be so inconvenienced by Moses and the desert. To Moses the hot desert was difficult, but doable; but, they murmured and they griped.
“All the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?” (Ex. 17:1-3).
From this they were to see how to unburden themselves on One who alone had the infinite reserves of forbearance and love. Otherwise, they would stone their fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, children, etc. He could take it—He could take it all, but no one else could. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:14, 15).
The children of Israel knew the story of their father, Israel, and how he beat on the Son of God all night. Then his conscience was pained and the lights came on. He was redeemed and became perfectly humble, holy, and at peace with God and with all of mankind—even with his murderous enemies. But he had to fall on the Stone and be broken. Until his breaking he could not be rid of his congenital gall and wormwood that nagged him day and night all of his life. The only consolation came through his amazing gift of cheating people. But, supplanting, lying and stealing finally lost its appeal (by the work of the Holy Ghost) and he needed something better. He wanted what his father and grandfather had—real right standing before God, real faith and holiness. And Jesus let him beat on Him until he saw himself for the sinner he really was.
If we will go easy on the Stone, then it will do no good for our under-the-radar chastisement of peace. If we try to prevent breaking the Stone, we are too good for God. But, if we will strike the Rock hard, with “all that is within me,” (Ps. 103:1) then we will only need to do it once. Our conscience shattered, our peace no longer being chastised, and all the gall and wormwood flushed out, from then on, we are happy to speak to the Rock. But this beautiful and therapeutic lesson of redemption was jeopardized by Moses finishing it to Israel by his disobedience to God’s direction; he hit the rock again instead of speaking to it. Thus he unadvisedly taught that the Lord’s redemption can’t keep us from falling again and again into the thirsty desert of sin and gall and wormwood, and the Lord’s redemption can’t lead us to perfect communion and victory over sin.
The sanctuary also taught this lesson of redemption from sin. The altar of sacrifice involved killing and blood, but the end product involved speaking to God at the second veil, praying humbly and at peace because of the previously required killing and blood. What a privilege to be humbled and to be at peace with Jesus, as his trusted friend! What a boon to health!
But, could the priest use the altar of incense without first using the altar of sacrifice? Never. Sacrifice must precede incense, and perpetually so until the end of time. There could be no privileged union within the sanctuary without the bloody death of the innocent lamb first. To avoid the sacrifice would have resulted in the episode of Nadab and Abihu. No matter how righteous Abel ever got, he still had to precede his communion with God by a sacrifice and its resultant repentance. Cain wouldn’t do this. He demanded God speak to him while disregarding the blood and the death.
We must come to Jesus and unburden our gall and wormwood on Him before we repent of sin and pray to Him. Whoever turns away from the sacrificing of Jesus, even his prayer is abomination to God. We must beat upon Jesus so that He can prove Himself worthy of our trust and love, faithful unto death.
Whoever comes to the Son and murders “the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood” (Jn. 6:53) will be forgiven of their hated sins, and be redeemed. Whoever doesn’t come to Him and beat upon Him will never lose their lust for sin, and inevitably they will stone His people that surround that unredeemed sinner; and they will sin against the Spirit of God by not coming to “Lamb as it had been slain.” (Rev. 5:6). They sin against the Holy Ghost, and for that there is no forgiveness, not in this world nor in the world to come. “The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” (Ps. 1:5, 6).
That is to say, that those like Cain, who choose to avoid the beating upon Christ and seeing Him fall lifeless under our last blow, will have no part in the world to come. They will never know the restoration of mind, body, and soul that comes with smiting the Rock, unburdening sin upon Him and knowing the outflow of sorrow for His innocent, but mandatory death. They will never know the “the powers of the world to come”, they will never “[taste] of the heavenly gift” and be “made partakers of the Holy Ghost,” “[having] tasted the good word of God”,  “being made conformable unto his death” (Heb. 6:4, 5; Phil. 3:10).
“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him” (Jn. 6:53-56).
Coming to God without first coming to the redeeming Lamb, I don’t detect the demonic tapeworm talking within me, “[speaking] out of the ground, and [my] speech…low out of the dust, and [my] voice…as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and [my] speech…[whispering] out of the dust (Isa. 29:4); but, God hears it. And He cannot dwell in that same selfish, self-indulgent, self-pitiful, and foul environment.
But, having fallen upon my victim, Satan must flee my sorrowing soul. Thus, having saved me from Satan’s presence in me, God and I are able to speak together without Him hearing the voice of the dragon come out of my heart. Then, He is “satisfied.” (Is. 53:11).


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