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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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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Neither here not there, but the heart

“Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20,21).
The children of Israel had been given a very regimented religion. It had to be that way, having come out of deep Egyptian darkness. But, that wasn’t all the Lord gave them through Moses. For 170 years we’ve heard that the Old Testament was only legalistic and now the New Testament is all about freedom in the Spirit. It’s true that we are free in the Spirit, but conceptualizing that liberty with the misleading backdrop that it contrasts with a dispensation of legalism has sent multitudes—whole denominations—into antinomianism, i.e. lawlessness.
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.” (Rom. 3:21).
The following quotation from Romans can only be grasped by first understanding the text Paul was quoting from. But, first here is what Paul wrote:
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. 10:4-9).
And here is the original from Moses:
“If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.” (Deut. 30:10-14).
When we compare the two, we see that they both say the same thing. Moses was preaching the gospel of righteousness by faith. “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.” Moses was instructing the people, close to the end of his life with them, in the nuts and bolts of obedience. The heart. If righteousness doesn’t come from the heart, then it doesn’t get out right. The heart must be purified first that we may be able to “do it”.

“It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Job 14:4; Romans 8:7. Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.” Steps to Christ, p. 18.
“All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.” Desire of Ages, p.668.
Heart work is all that Moses was saying to the children of Israel. And therefore Paul was only amplifying what Moses hadn’t made clearer because the people would have rushed to using it for a segway into antinomianism. “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.” (Gal. 3:19).
It would take time, even generations and much falling and getting up again, before the human will could surrender to the Spirit of God. Christ, “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9), knowing Him—was the end of the Law, back in Moses’ day and in Paul’s and in ours. The promise of the Spirit would be the panacea for all of humanity’s ills because it would realign us with the will of God and His laws. This secret of success Satan has fought tooth and nail to keep hidden because it is his undoing.

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).

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