“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.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

More love because of obedience

More love because of obedience.
Righteousness by works.
Acceptance by behavior.

Does God accept me because of my obedience? This was the issue of the Reformation. Here the Reformers diverged from the apostatized Church. The Reformation said, “No! Our acceptance from God does not depend on our righteousness.” Upon this concept, they freed the human race again from the grip of Satan and restored the liberty of the gospel. They served the world a message of rest—resting from the endless work of propitiating God for His grace. Truth became a Sabbath; and the Protestants received power to become the sons of God. In the world, they were empowered over the papal nations, until force was conjured up from the bottomless pit to destroy them.

Do parents love their children because their children love them back? No, parents love their children because they are their children. But, this is only true unless the parents have been ruined by a religion of justification by works. If that were the case, the parents would have no deep love for their children. And I believe unloved children to be what has created demonic dictators and aggressor nations throughout history.

Does God love me more if I obey Him? If He does, then does He love me less if I disobey Him? The Reformers plainly proved from the Bible that our obedience has nothing to do with God’s self-sacrificing love for us. He loves us because He can’t help Himself.

To say God loves me more if I obey Him is justification by works and leads to salvation by my own work, working to get God’s approbation. It leads to Satan’s victory over us and access to our souls.

The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin. Desire of Ages, p. 35.

This damning lie says that we must work hard to keep God happy or He will stop providing for and protecting us. This falsehood was and is the driving force of all of Satan’s false religions. The whole unconverted world follows after it. This is why human sacrifices have stained the histories of the nations and kept the world in rebellion toward God. Satan led men to believe that God was never satisfied short of their most sacred offering—one of their precious human souls.

During the Dark Ages, the Church became so imbued with paganism, that it took human sacrifice to a new level. It sacrificed everyone who would try to preach the truth of God and free others from the eternal lie of righteousness by propitiating God, righteousness by works.

Creation’s greatest need is love. Man’s need exceeds that of all lesser creations’ need for love. Even the plants respond to love; and probably the insect world. Much more does the animal kingdom, and mankind is at the top of every order. Does Satan know man needs love? Does he know we die without it? He must, because he devises the most ingenious diversions from love.

Grace and mercy are love in action. There is no greater manifestation of love than gracious forgiveness and forbearance. Forgiveness comes with repentance; and forbearance comes without repentance.

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Rom. 11:29). It was Israel’s daily sacrifice, evening and morning, that revealed the forbearance of God. But His forbearance was only for those who acknowledged the lamb sacrifice, and whose hearts were softened by it. Even if they might not immediately come to repentance, eventually the Spirit of God would reach to their heart.

The children of Israel descended from the patriarchs who had loved the God of heaven. They were born from a history of surrender to love; they were products of love. Therefore God sought to perpetuate that beautiful environment, as He overlooked the acts of disobedience for those who remembered their loving parentage.

Love poured down upon the people who sought God for His love, as Abraham had. Love prepares the heart to obey God’s will, to keep His Law. Love is the fulfilling of His Law. All the Law and prophets hang on the God of love. “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8).

The Father commended His love for us, when He put us on one side of the scale, and His only begotten Son on the other side. And, in His heart we tipped the scale. What kind of value does that say God places upon His human race? He values us greater than He does the whole universe! And what kind of venomous envy does that create in Satan, so that he would work non-stop to twist our minds and torment us by believing that we aren’t loved by our Father in heaven?

With all of his genius, he bends his mind to manipulate the deepest workings of our reason. He knows the science of salvation, the mystery of godliness. He also knows how to affect our trust in God with his iniquitous mysteries. He convinces us that we must be perfect to have God’s approval and acceptance—righteousness by works.

Righteousness by works. I must do something to get God to love me. He must love me because of what I can do for Him. I had supervisors who would ask us, “What have you done for me today?” That might work in the workplace, but it doesn’t work in the home. And it’s certainly not what relationships are made of. Business can never create the model for the kingdom of God. The Law and obedience can bring us to the need for a Savior, but they can never make us acceptable to God. God’s kingdom can never endure upon the foundation of the Law. We need the Law of God, and we need obedience; victory over sin is a necessary requirement for happiness and peaceful cohabitation with God. But at the end of the day our receiving the redemptive grace of Christ decides whether or not we are acceptable to God. Grace appeals to our faith in whoever is gracious to us; the Law appeals to our fear toward all who accuse us and punish us. Punishment can abuse; grace will never.

Does God love me more if I obey Him better? If He does, then He must love me less when I disobey Him. Is that a God of love? Would we do that to our children? If we have we were wrong. Who obeys God all the time? Who obeys Him some of the time? Who rarely? Saints and religious fanatics and goody-goodies obey Him all the time, while the vast majority of us—the normal people—obey Him some of the time. Publicans and sinners rarely obey God—the thieves, prostitutes, and drug addicts.

But, what must have been Jesus’ message to the world, if it was the common people and thieves and prostitutes who flocked to Him? He must have destroyed the worldwide misconception of acceptance based on behavior. Their obedience came in the form of love and fellowship; and love was the true telltale sign of surrender to the Spirit of God, repentance, and obedience to God. Jesus must have turned this assumption upside down and showed that, in God’s view, the wretched and rejected sinners had more obedience than the religious people.

Who avoided Jesus? The self-acclaimed goody-goodies. The religious leaders and their lay army of Pharisees. They were the ones normally considered to obey God all the time. But, because Jesus wouldn’t preach their gospel of righteousness by working for God’s acceptance, they thought He was Beelzebub and killed Him.

In this real life scenario, Providence revealed the deep things of the Spirit of Christ, and the deep things of the spirit of Satan. Jesus brought out in the open the apostasy of Judaism, and how deeply rooted it was in Babylonian spiritualism.

The inner workings of spiritualism require some acquired goodness of our own, which leads Satan’s adherents to distrust God’s true omni-grace, and to trust in their own endeavors to be good enough without His seemingly unfair love. But, working for acceptance corrupts the yearnings of the heart that God put in us. Believing that the infinite God requires perfection before He will receive us and love us sours the healthiest human soul.

All who have imbibed these insinuations of the devil, and taught men to serve such a god, became workers of iniquity. Every priest and Pharisee, who looked down upon the publicans and sinners, drove them deeper into perpetual rebellion against the God of love. Today, we see the same things happening through the churches. Using a mixture of the high standard of God’s Law and the world’s uninformed definition of His love, the denominations have driven a wedge between this generation and the God of love. Can we blame the hedonistic world for being God haters? We cannot without first giving them the truth about God’s love, to decide for or against it.

God loves us because we are His children. A right standing, justification, acceptableness before God, God’s acceptance, do not come by working. They do not come by striving to be good enough. His acceptance comes by Himself who initiates it. He is merciful because He wants to be. “I will be merciful to whom I will be merciful, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Rom. 9:15). And obedience follows acceptance. And that obedience is perfectly acceptable obedience to God because it comes out of love that He put in us by loving us first. Acceptance dwells in the heart of God whether or not my life is on par with His. He is the God of love, who will always see the ugly nakedness of my sinful heart in ways I could never conceive, and yet desire my love anyway. He is dying for our love.

“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.” (John 10:16,17).

“Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.” That is, My Father has so loved you, that He even loves Me more for giving My life to redeem you. In becoming your substitute and surety, by surrendering My life, by taking your liabilities, your transgressions, I am endeared to My Father. Desire of Ages, p. 483.

The author wasn’t saying from this that God loved Jesus more because He obeyed His Father to lay down His life. She was saying that God was infinitely relieved to have His family all together again because of the sacrifice of His Son. God loved His Son before sin ever came into being. Their bond was infinitely tight. They created the powerful attraction of the proton and neutron in the hydrogen atom to demonstrate the force of love joining Them together. And the release of energy upon breaking that bond likewise demonstrates the separation of the Godhead. “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). Power incomprehensible, Strong’s G1411 δύναμις dunamis, “explosive power, dynamite, atomic bomb energy released, mushroom cloud”.

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power G1411: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev. 4:11).
 “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power G1411, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” (Rev. 5:12).
“Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power G1411, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 7:12).

God loved man immensely in the Garden of Eden. And He loved him no less after he fell into sin. And the dunamis between the Father and Son is this same power that explodes in the hearts of mankind when we know, beyond any doubt, that God loves us in spite of our innumerable, gross and horrific defects, and the exceeding sinfulness of our sins.

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the [dynamite] power G1411 of God.” (1Cor. 1:18).
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the [creative] power G1411 of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1:16).
“That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with [explosive] might G1411 by His Spirit in the inner man.” (Eph. 3:16).
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of [atomic] power G1411, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2Tim. 1:7).

 “And the whole multitude sought to touch Him: for there went [creative] virtue G1411 out of Him, and healed them all.” (Luke 6:19).
They “tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the [dynamite] powers G1411 of the world to come.” (Heb. 6:4,5).
 “But ye shall receive power G1411, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).

 “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily G1411.” (Col. 1:29).
“Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power G1411.” (Eph. 3:7).
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power G1411 to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” (Eph. 1:19).

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power G1411 of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35).

And the lack of knowing God is the cause of salvation by works and the loss of His power working in us. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power G1411 thereof: from such turn away.” (2Tim. 3:5). How do they deny the mighty power of God’s love? By believing that God loves them less when they fail and fumble, and mess up, and really blow it, and blunder, and cause people to brow beat them into better performance. Or, believing that God thinks they are heroes because they were victorious over sin and sinners.

It’s only in the atmosphere of acceptance that we can be obedient. “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.” (Rom. 7:18).
“But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” (Rom. 7:6).
“Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the Law.” (Rom. 3:31). Only in the atmosphere of acceptance can we be obedient; thus, righteousness by faith.

Which comes first, love and obedience, or forgiveness of sin? Forgiveness of sin. “When they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell Me therefore, which of them will love him most?
Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And He said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
And He turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest Me no water for My feet: but she hath washed My feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
Thou gavest Me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss My feet.
My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed My feet with ointment.
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” (Luke 7:42-47).
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Rom. 13:10).

The life of obedience doesn’t come without knowing God’s acceptance, despite any good or bad actions we might have had. Regardless of the life, if we need a Savior and Friend, we have one. Done. Period. We have heard the old saying, “You asked for it, you got it!” In Christ it is, “You asked for Him, you get Him!” “You needed Him, You get Him!” Divine acceptance before good behavior happens is a biblical paradigm. “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth.” (Rom. 9:11).

Righteousness by receiving grace. Righteousness by gratitude for God’s love. Righteousness by servitude to an everlasting Friend.

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6).

Jesus said, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matt. 9:12,13).

 Briefly, God doesn’t love us more if we obey Him, and He doesn’t love us less if we are disobedient. Our acceptance with Him is not dependent on our behavior or performance. Before He begins a relationship, He doesn’t say to us, “What have you done for Me today?” Justification is not based on good works or good living. It can’t be, or none of us would have eternal life. But, God commended His love toward us. While we were yet sinners, He sent His only begotten Son from the bosom of His heart. The publicans and sinners came to Jesus when the good people hated Him. He came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. There is more rejoicing in heaven for one sinner who repents than for 99 righteous people who need no repentance. Those who are forgiven much, love much, and those who need and receive little forgiveness, love little. God’s love comes to us without the requirement of good behavior and perfect obedience. And nothing else like unmerited love gives us the power to obey much more than the self-righteous people who work to get God’s love.

“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.” (Matt. 5:20).


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