“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, March 17, 2015

Immaculate Jesus

Did Jesus have an immaculate, sinless human nature, or a sinful one? Is this a valid issue that relates to the fight of faith? Can we use the Catholic word, immaculate, to describe Jesus? This is an ongoing debate in our circles. Not that it is unimportant to understand it correctly. A correct understanding of the nature of Christ is utterly essential for having the true Jesus.

Ellen White distinguishes between the effects upon spirituality from stories of fictional perfection, and the actual experiences of failure at temptations and eventual overcoming through the grace of Christ. She intimates that the latter gives the victory to the one who is truly wrestling with God.

“The same day in the afternoon, I was received into the church in full membership. A young woman, arrived at the age of maturity, stood by my side and was also a candidate for admission to the church with myself. My mind was peaceful and happy till I noticed the gold rings glittering upon this sister’s fingers, and the large showy ear-rings in her ears. I then observed that her bonnet was adorned with artificial flowers and trimmed with costly ribbons, arranged in bows and puffs. My joy was dampened by this display of vanity in one who professed to be a follower of the meek and lowly Jesus.
“I expected that the minister would give some whispered reproof or advice to this sister, but he was apparently regardless of her showy apparel and no rebuke was administered. We both received the right hand of fellowship. The hand decorated with jewels was clasped by the representative of Christ, and both our names were registered upon the church book.
“I can now look back upon my youthful experience and see how near I came to making a fatal mistake. I had read many of the religious biographies of children who had possessed numberless virtues and lived faultless lives. I had conceived a great admiration for the paragons of perfection there represented. But far from encouraging me in my efforts to become a Christian, these books were as stumbling-blocks to my feet. I despaired of ever attaining to the perfection of the youthful characters in those stories who lived the lives of saints and were free from all the doubts, and sins, and weaknesses under which I staggered.
“Their faultless lives were followed by a premature but happy death, and the biographers tacitly intimated that they were too pure and good for earth, therefore, God in his divine pity had removed them from its uncongenial atmosphere. The similarity of these avowedly true histories seemed to point the fact to my youthful mind, that they really presented a correct picture of a child’s Christian life.
“I repeated to myself again and again, ‘If that is true, I can never be a Christian. I can never hope to be like those children,’ and was driven by this thought to discouragement and almost to despair. But when I learned that I could come to Jesus just as I was, that the Savior had come to ransom just such unworthy sinners, then light broke upon my darkness, and I could claim the promises of God.
“Later experience has convinced me that these biographies of immaculate children mislead the youth. They extol the amiable qualities of their characters, and suppress their faults and failures. If they were represented as struggling with temptations, occasionally vanquished, yet triumphing over their trials in the end, if they were represented as subject to human frailties, and beset by ordinary temptations, then children would see that they had experienced like trials with themselves, yet had conquered through the grace of God. Such examples would give them fresh courage to renew their efforts to serve the Lord, hoping to triumph as those before them had done.
“But the sober realities and errors of the young Christian’s life were vigorously kept out of sight, while the virtues were so exaggerated as to lift them from above the common level of ordinary children, who naturally despair of ever reaching such excellence and therefore give up the effort, in many cases, and gradually sink into a state of indifference. Life Sketches (1888) p. 146,147.

Mrs. White learned that an immaculate human demonstration of infinitely perfect righteousness causes despair in the struggling saint. But, she never condoned the opposite extreme where no standards of righteousness permitted the girl to be received into church fellowship while wearing carnal, vain jewelry and fashion. She took hope in Jesus’ ransoming unworthy sinners, but she never expected Jesus to accept her sins or let her disdain the biblical standard of 1 Peter 3:3, 4.

What does this account say about a Saviour, “who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth”? (1 Pet. 2:22). It says that humans can discourage, but Jesus is different. As the Son of God, He can show us perfect holiness and not discourage the helpless sinner who looks to Him for supernatural virtue. It also says that divine grace never lowers the standard of righteousness. Rather, grace raises the standard. Jesus did no sin. And as gracious as He was, He never gave license to disobedience, nor did He ever allow Himself to come short of the mark of His Father’s high calling of Him.

“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Heb. 12:4). To the point of bleeding Jesus resisted Satan’s pushing of sin upon Him. Because of His Father’s presence, He had never had the slightest inclination to sin against His Father, and He wasn’t going to start in Gethsemane when His Father went away. Does the writer of Hebrews sound like Jesus was the same as we are? Compared to us, His righteousness was like the great Mount Everest and His judgment like the deep Marianas Trench. All we can do is stand in awe of Him and tremble. We certainly must fear to tread on the holy ground of His human nature.

“And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” (1Jn 3:5).
In Jesus’ heart and mind there was no sin.

“Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him…. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1Jn. 3:6,9).
And, He will give us His power to overcome our sins so that we cannot sin. Here lies the crux of the whole matter. Those who will not believe that Jesus can save them from a sinful nature, will likewise not believe that Jesus could be without a sinful nature. Like the Greek philosophers, they cannot reconcile a sinless nature with flesh.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1Jn. 1:9;2:1,2).
Jesus was righteous, the only righteous, the only good. Only infinite perfection could propitiate the Father.

“If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” (John 15:10).
Jesus kept His Father’s commandments.

“For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (1Cor. 5:21).
Jesus knew no sin. That’s how, if we come to Him, He can make us the righteousness of God.

“Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” (John 14:30).
Satan could find nothing in Jesus to tempt.

“For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” (Heb. 7:26).
Jesus’ human nature was undefiled, separate from sinners. Yet, He gladly joined with sinners to uplift them from ruin, despite the grating their sinfulness did to His sin-free soul.

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power 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).
Jesus was holy from the moment Mary’s egg was divinely germinated.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:8,9).
Did anything change between Jesus, the Lord God of Israel and Jesus, Lord and Master of the church? No, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His ways and thoughts were not our thoughts and ways, but were higher as the stars are high above the earth.

“For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Ps. 16:10).
Jesus was holy, holier than the angels, and crowned with glory and honor.

“Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” (Ps. 45:7).
It was perfect righteousness that made Jesus happy.

“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Isa. 53:2).
His perfection exposed the true degradation of the religious people and made them hate Him.

“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. 53:12).
Jesus was numbered with the transgressors, not as a transgressor.

The issue at stake in the immaculate, sinless human nature of Christ is not that it sounds like Catholic doctrine. It doesn’t matter what Catholicism says, because Catholicism is pagan and anathema maranatha. Therefore, Catholicism should have no weight in determining biblical Adventist doctrine. Immaculate Mary means nothing to us because she wasn’t the mother of Jesus, but, rather the mother of Tammuz. To cover up her vilest immorality and incest, Satan made Semiramis, AKA Isis, Ishtar, Easter, Eastern Star, Ashtoreth, Ashtaroth, Ashera, Diana, Venus, and Mary, into the purest star of all the pure heavens, the Queen of heaven. She says, “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” (Rev. 18:7).

But, her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

Thus, Mary of Catholicism ranks up there in blasphemy with their Jesus who would burn sinners for ever and ever. What does any of this have to do with the true Jesus of scripture? Nothing.

The true Jesus was truly immaculate; He had a sinless nature. And He was the only human who was ever immaculate, according to scripture. The biblical Mary was influenced by her sons to stop the work of Jesus. Her mistake could only have been insinuated by the devil. Mary and Joseph scolded Jesus instead of taking responsibility for failing to protect their holy 12-year-old from King Herod. Mary was not immaculate or holy, neither prior to Jesus’ birth, nor ever afterward. Mary was a good, loving, godly mother who was privileged to bring the Messiah into the world, and He was a devoted son to her. But, He let her know that she would not control Him once He began His ministry, and she wisely and lovingly submitted (John 2:4). He also stanched the tradition of men to reverence and worship Joseph’s wife just because she was the mother of the Messiah (Luke 11:27). She was happy to be just a devoted supporter and follower of her Saviour (Acts 1:14). But, He was the only one ever sinless, with a sinless human nature. He alone was and is immaculate, and the only One immaculate, beside His Father.

“For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15).
What could be so consoling to sinners by believing that Jesus had a sinful nature? Is it that He can be one of the guys? One of the girls? Would it allow that boys will be boys, and that girls can have a girls’ night out at the club without a twinge of conscience? Does that agree with Ellen White’s disturbed heart at her baptism, noted above? No, it doesn’t agree at all.

So, where is the consolation if Jesus had a sinful nature? Even Ellen White said that Bible characters’ faultiness gives the Christian encouragement, and that the picture perfect fictional heroes were a stumblingblock. True, we can have courage when we see others like us stumble and fall under temptation, but overcome in the end. They needed a Savior like I do.

But, if Jesus were tainted with sin and struggled with sin, then who would He have for an intercessor, since He, the Intercessor, could not stand before a holy God? What kind of a Saviour could He be? Could He be a faithful High Priest? How could I trust Him to stand for me before the infinite Judge of all and not get blown away with a fury greater than He (John 14:28)? Jesus had to be infallible, immutable, untouchable by sin, and remain so distant from Satan that his temptations could not even find a pinky hold. Jesus not only spoke the truth, He was the truth. And He could even be a faithful friend of sinners.

If we are genuinely being drawn by the Father who hands us over to the Saviour, then righteousness will be in the process of being written in our heart; godliness and holiness will be our main concern. Victory over the sins that are besetting us, destroying us and our loved ones, will be our chief concern, not hoping in some faultiness of Jesus’. If we are hungering and thirsting for righteousness, we will yearn to have righteousness and hunger to see it in others, especially in our beloved Saviour. We will be bowed down because we don’t see it often enough in this world. The true seekers for God’s acceptance and His honor will “sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” (Eze. 9:4). They will not be looking for a doctrinal loophole for their continuing in our sins. God’s honor, evidence of obedience to Him, will be uppermost in those who get sealed in the end.

“All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37). Only those that Jesus will not cast away are those children whom God, through His Law, is handing over to Jesus. Each child of God is full of guilt and shame, as “a brand plucked out of the fire.” (Zech. 3:2). God is our schoolmaster, and the Law of God is the strong voice of God to the conscience. His Law is His tool to humble us and prepare us to need in His Son a saviour from sin. It is the Spirit of truth, working His Law against our sinful unbelief and leaning on our conscience. The Law of God inspires hope and faith in a Saviour, which brings us “unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24). “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?” (Heb. 12:6,7).

What are the ramifications of the alternative? What does this say about those who need a lower standard in their Saviour? It says that they have not wrestled with the convictions of the Holy Spirit of God in His Law. They have never known surrender to the humbling of the Spirit of truth, “whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him.” (John 14:17). To need a Jesus with a sinful nature means such a soul is not converted. Such a one is none of His, the Anointed One. Yes, He was “one like the Son of man.” (Dan. 7:13). But, He was still the Most Holy Messiah the Prince to whom was given “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Vs. 14).

The Son of Man is the same Jesus who left His precious 500 disciples to receive His kingdom after the close of the investigative judgment by the Ancient of days. Can anyone actually believe that “this same Jesus, which is taken up from [the disciples] into heaven” (Acts 1:11) could establish the eternal kingdom while embodying even the slightest taint of Satan’s previous, corrupted kingdom of rebellion? Would the Ancient of days ever permit that? “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; who was faithful to Him that appointed Him…. For this Man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.” (Heb. 3:1-3). Consider Him who was holier than Moses and the holy brethren of the apostolic church. Here was One greater than Moses. Even the best of them and us are capable of the worst; but, Jesus would not let Himself be capable of sin. By living and breathing every word of God, He would not let the darts of the tempter get through the helmet of His salvation.

“Although in the wilderness, [John the Baptist] was not exempt from temptation. So far as possible, he closed every avenue by which Satan could enter, yet he was still assailed by the tempter. But his spiritual perceptions were clear; he had developed strength and decision of character, and through the aid of the Holy Spirit he was able to detect Satan’s approaches, and to resist his power.” The Desire of Ages, p. 102. Yet, there came One after John whose sandals he was not worthy to unloose.

“When Jesus came to be baptized, John recognized in Him a purity of character that he had never before perceived in any man. The very atmosphere of His presence was holy and awe-inspiring. Among the multitudes that had gathered about him at the Jordan, John had heard dark tales of crime, and had met souls bowed down with the burden of myriad sins; but never had he come in contact with a human being from whom there breathed an influence so divine. All this was in harmony with what had been revealed to John regarding the Messiah. Yet he shrank from granting the request of Jesus. How could he, a sinner, baptize the Sinless One? And why should He who needed no repentance submit to a rite that was a confession of guilt to be washed away?” The Desire of Ages, p. 110.

“And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:23,24).
How would the Son of God have the authority to tell anyone he would die in his sins in light of Him coming from immaculate, sinless heaven, if the Son had a sinful nature? What hypocrisy would that be!

“And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21).
And, how could He save us from our sinful natures if He has a sinful nature?

“For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Heb. 2:10,11).
This isn’t saying that we are united to Christ because we and He both have sinful natures, but because His sinless nature sanctifies our sinful nature and removes our sins from us, so that He isn’t ashamed to call us brethren. It’s about sanctification and receiving His sinless divine nature, not bemoaning or excusing our sinful nature next to His sinful nature. “We’re only human!!”  “Jesus was only human!!” “Come on! Let’s be ethical and not judge Jesus (or us) too harshly!”

“Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Heb. 2:17,18).
The issue about Christ’s nature is not only about His power to sanctify His people; it’s that joining Him in His suffering under temptation strengthens us in our suffering under temptation.

“For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.” (Heb. 2:16). “A body hast Thou prepared Me:… But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” (Heb. 10:5,12).
Jesus didn’t come in the brilliant body of angelic spirits which excel in strength; but He had no beauty in Him that they should desire Him. Rather, He came in a human form weakened by 4,000 years of sin’s degradation upon the human race. Yet, He offered a perfect sacrifice because He had never been tainted by sin.

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14).

Without a mediator before God, His just character necessitated sinlessness from His first moment of conception until His death. We can be declared just through justification, which says that we never sinned. However, Jesus’ status of never having sinned could only come through, not as a declaration by grace, but as a reality without grace. Otherwise, the Mediator would need a mediator before God. Who less sinful would be that mediator, God? Never! God is the Judge deciding if His Son is worthy to forever destroy the great controversy issues of sin and His sin spreading adversaries.

It’s a travesty, and a symptom of apostasy and acceptance of ecumenism, to degrade the Son of God with a nature tainted by sin. A Saviour with a sinful nature in no way inspires anyone to have victory over sin. So, the alcoholic in the gutter hears of another sinner-Saviour who wrestled with alcoholism. Could that really help the struggling alcoholic? Or, could the real power come from One who can be kind and loving and understanding enough to seek the alcoholic out and then give him His all-powerful, sinless Spirit for strength to overcome alcohol? The sinless One offers the slave of alcohol the privilege to look at Him and away from the sin that bewitches and beckons him so, telling him that he can have perfect acceptance by God if he accepts His Son’s friendly help. Another person can help by testifying that a sinless, powerful Saviour took away the same, or a similar, temptation by His sinless Spirit in the inner man. But, no one is benefitted by a supposed Saviour who has lost His perfection. We need to know that divine power can keep us from falling, and will never miss under any circumstance.

To believe that Jesus had our sinful nature pollutes the gospel into pure humanism. Humanism is a human tradition that says no one can reprove me, correct me, instruct me, or offend my conscience. It leads to unrestrained pride and perversity. It also gives the person who never touched alcohol or a cigarette or a drug or swine an advantage over a Jesus who is tempted with those things. It makes the person, who believes himself to have never done anything wrong, better than a Jesus who struggles with sodomy. Jesus can never convict that self-righteous person, and that is exactly what those who hold this sinful Jesus doctrine desire. The true Jesus caused a constant grating on the conscience of the humanistic religious leaders of the babylonized religion of Judaism. They would have loved to see some character flaw in Him. But, His challenge to them was, “Because I tell you the truth, ye believe Me not. Which of you convinceth Me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe Me?” (John 8:45,46). They could see nothing that even hinted of sin. So, their only reply was to cast Him off as devil-possessed. “Say we not well that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” (John 8:48).

Jesus was not just like us. And how we should be abounding with joy that He isn’t like we are! How unfaithful and unloving sin makes us! How self-centered! Who could trust a Saviour like us? “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit.” (1Cor. 15:45). Jesus was more than Adam before his fall into sin. But, it should be enough to know that the Son of God accepts me and loves me, can forgive my sins and make me whole. I can’t think of any better news.

Dear Y,

Now that I’ve gotten away and can think more clearly, I realize the issues at stake for you. Call this my opinion, the opinion of an ignorant layman, if you want. But, it involves my knowledge of the Bible and my own experience of how God has worked for me.
I’ve seen your fighting spirit and have heard your justification of that as God-given and Constitution-given. But, as you must admit, it is not being blessed by the Spirit. Your fighting stems from not having peace with God. It isn’t God who is at fault that you don’t have peace; rather, it is your failing. The fighting and unrest come because you prevent the Lord from doing His work in you.
“For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.
But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift.
One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill.
And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:15-18).
I’ve asked you to read Isaiah 30:15-18 and I’m not sure if you ever did, or understood its application to your situation. It was a message to both northern and southern kingdoms of Israel, a people who were in the same circumstance as you. They had lost the ability to cooperate with God, yet they took into their own hands the work of saving themselves. This is what the world has always done. The Israelites were copying the customs of the surrounding nations caught up in proud, lawless, emotion-only religion because long before they had lost Noah’s humbling, correcting, law-based religion in their hearts. So they were without surrender to the Spirit of truth, which left them wide open to the power of Satan, who led the two houses of Israel into moral collapse and national ruin. Therefore, Jesus dropped His protection for Israel and raised up armies from which the Israelites could not save themselves. In the end, they would be humbled and He would be exalted.
First, He brought in the Assyrians, then the Babylonians. The Israelites were going to learn the lesson of surrender and submission, even if it killed them, literally. They were going to have to take the punishment that He needed to give them for their restoration and rehabilitation to His covenant given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The fathers had joined in a covenant with the holy God of heaven, yet their descendents were going after wicked Satan. Israel’s apostasy was all spelled out for them in the warnings of Moses, and they all had access to know those warnings. They still had His name, and He was going to ensure their proper representation of Him to a weakened, needy world. The anger and pride in God’s people, which was encouraged by the gods of the nations, must be dealt with by using those very nations, who were filled to overflowing with satanic cruelty and pride.
“And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.
Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.
For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.
And I will utter My judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken Me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.” (Jer. 1:13-16).
“He that abideth in this city [to defend it] shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey.” (Jer. 21:9).
“Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans [and to their captivity] shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live.… Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon’s princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house.… Jeremiah said, They [the Jews’ armies] shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the LORD, which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live.” (Jer. 38:2,17,20).
“Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city. And I Myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath.” (Jer. 21:4,5).
Those who lived would lose everything, be abused, greatly mistreated, and humbled as slaves; but, at least they would finally learn surrender and humility. In the case of the Jews, and likewise of the northern tribes in the days of Isaiah, they chose to fight. And the results were dire.
“In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it. And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up.” “And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king’s garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain. But the Chaldeans’ army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him.” (Jer. 39:1,2,4,5). They slew his sons in his presence and then put out his eyes, his dying sons being his last visual memories.
They had opportunity to learn a lesson no different than what Jesus had given their father Jacob to learn the night of his fighting. The difference was that their father did surrender. He took the beating and clung to Jesus. Jacob was finally broken. The beatings of life had not produced the full humbling, which left him still fighting to save himself, and fighting to justify his self-dependent life. But, he got what he deserved and needed because Jesus is fair like that. And after Jacob surrendered, he was at peace with God. Though he limped for the rest of his life, he was finally happy. His self-focus was knocked out of him. As Israel left his battleground a victor over himself, “the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.” (Gen. 32:31). He got the blessing of the Spirit he wanted all his life, and his soul was comforted, at rest, and satisfied.
Brother, without peace with God the sanctification you so deeply desire will never be complete. What you need, as every human being needs, is to have your hip knocked out of joint by the touch of your Master’s hand. That’s what you should pray for. Pain, incredible, excruciating pain. A total crucifixion of self, a death to self daily. You need a trouble so horrific, towering so high above you like a 90 foot tsunami that you give up and stop fighting; then you will be at peace. Then His blessing will transform your heart. You need to be stopped in your tracks because you know you are outdone. That spanking of a lifetime will knock out of your heart all your misconceptions of God’s tender mercies. And all the self-pity and self-comfort methods you’ve used to replace God’s pity and comfort will leave too. All of your idols of opinion will flee away, as will the devil and his harassments.

Then you will be a fully humbled child of God; and you will have the patience that gives possession of soul. You will love the Spirit of Prophecy, its view of the Bible and the Law of God. You will humbly take your place before the high standard which Ellen White relayed from Jesus to the Advent movement. You will no longer be a partial member of the Advent movement, but whole-hearted. You will become a powerhouse of faith and a champion of Law and grace. Peace with God, which you so covet, will be yours forever. No man will be able to take it away because no man gave it to you. Jesus, the Lord God of Israel, gave it to you. And all of His promises will be Yea, Yea in your heart forever.
But, you need to fall on “this Stone” and be completely broken. Until you are completely broken you will retain the anger that plagues you. “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Eph. 2:3). Brother, you are not yet fully broken, as indicated by your continued desire to fight against God and man. Not until you are broken into itsy-bitsy pieces will you be done with fighting. Jesus needs to break you down like a firearm that is cleaned and oiled. When you let Him break you down completely then He will put you back together again—without crud, and anointed. He will grow you up from a pure beginning, like a sapling is that free from disease because it grew from nothing except pure molecules and proteins and the vacuum of space.
“For 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). You want to serve God, but He requires a service empty of all self. “No flesh should glory in His presence.” (1Cor. 1:29). Self—the flesh—doesn’t readily give up its dominion over the mind. The fight for and against selflessness leaves the soul in a lurch and in confusion of face. We want God, but through our sin-oriented self the devil can resist the perfect submission that God requires.  The lurch is like a stalling car engine that wants to run but that cannot overcome the resistance. We want to do good, but we don’t do it. We want to eschew evil, but we do the evil. Without the power of God to kill self’s control of our own righteousness, we struggle on, exhausted and unsatisfied and without hope, tormented. Our sanctification is not forthcoming.
There are two ways to have victory over our natural penchant to fight and resist selflessness.
1) We can go to the Law of God (the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy), let it humble us, shame us, and relatively quickly boil away our pride, and motivate us to cry out to Jesus for His acceptance and justification (Gal. 4:6; 3:19,23,24). We lose all control of our circumstances to His providences. Our Satan-controlled self trembles before the new Schoolmaster we have chosen because He is so much greater than we are. Self-control is no longer in our control; but we are as it were in a hurricane of trouble and anguish and confusion, with no light at the end of the tunnel. Self-flagellation compares nothing to this flogging. But, in the end of that total loss of control, we come forth as gold.
Or, 2) we can choose to avoid that humbling, shaming, guilting work of God’s Law. But, then we reap a much longer, drawn out lesson from the consequences for remaining away from the conviction of the Spirit of truth. In the second case, we will need to face terrible failures, pains, and the horror of great darkness because we have blinded ourselves to the Spirit of truth, which will also be our ultimate Comforter if we surrender. Nevertheless, by our avoiding the Law of God, surrender is not usually the choice made by the wrestler with God (take King Saul and Judas Iscariot, for examples). The decision to go the long, hard, circuitous route to surrender to God’s will does not guarantee surrender. And our sanctification will suffer and be delayed. Our chosen path will involve much more torment than the choice to go to the Law, because our choice to leave the Law gives Satan’s greater access to us.
“Wherefore I poured My fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it:
And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them….
And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.
And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.
I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.
Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.
Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.
And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by.
And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.” (Eze. 36:18,19,23-35).
But, in spite of our final surrender in the end, if our ultimate choice is to surrender, we will have dragged out the victory into a long, exhausting experience of withdrawals from sin until we finally do crumble in a heap filled with submission to God. Ours will be the admission that God’s will, as given in His Law (and His Bible and His Spirit of Prophecy) must endure forever. We will be saved, although we might not have all of the blessings of life, that is, all our body parts, earthly possessions, a family, or even freedom. But, at least we will know that God always wins, one way or the other.
The question is, Will we win with Him? Will we choose to lose everything, even the controls of our life, in order to become sons of God? Either route will require this humbling admission. In the end, will we choose to lay everything on the altar, even intellectual property, self-respect, and praise of peers, in order to have the praise of God? Will we open our death grip on all our idols in order to reign with the Godhead which suffered the loss of everything for us, so that we could sit next to “Him that sitteth upon the throne, and…the Lamb for ever and ever”? (Rev. 5:13). Will we join Jesus in His Gethsemane? Will we hope in Him during our agony and exhaustion?
“Again the Son of God was seized with superhuman agony, and fainting and exhausted, He staggered back to the place of His former struggle. His suffering was even greater than before. As the agony of soul came upon Him, ‘His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ The cypress and palm trees were the silent witnesses of His anguish. From their leafy branches dropped heavy dew upon His stricken form, as if nature wept over its Author wrestling alone with the powers of darkness.”  The Desire of Ages, p. 689.
“Christ’s agony did not cease, but His depression and discouragement left Him. The storm had in nowise abated, but He who was its object was strengthened to meet its fury. He came forth calm and serene. A heavenly peace rested upon His bloodstained face. He had borne that which no human being could ever bear; for He had tasted the sufferings of death for every man.”  The Desire of Ages, p. 694.
After our surrender to the cross we will know to not fight God. When we finally submit and humble ourselves, God alone will be honored. “As it is written, That Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest overcome when Thou art judged.” (Rom. 3:4).
Brother, for years you’ve been in the middle of your Gethsemane. Your Gethsemane has been unhealthfully too prolonged. Please, in earnest go to the Spirit of Prophecy and Righteousness by Faith in order to get all the way through Gethsemane. You have been where Jesus was in His when He said to His disciples, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” (Matt. 26:38).
Do as Jesus did. “And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt…. O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” (Matt. 26:39,42). Read the whole chapter of Desire of Ages entitled, “Gethsamane”.
If you will suffer before the grinding Law of God while seeking for Jesus’ acceptance as, alone in Gethsemane, He sought for His Father’s acceptance; and, if you will let “all [His] waves and [His] billows” (Ps. 42:7) go over you as He also endured that night, then you too will receive “the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of [your] salvation” (Ps. 24:5). God will count you as a joint-heir because you laid self down as Jesus did. He will call you a son, as He does His divine Son. You will have what David had, “Yet the LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.” (Ps. 42:8).
If you will be baptized with a baptism of fire like Jesus was baptized, if you will be planted together with Him in the likeness of His death, then God will raise you up in the likeness of His resurrection. “If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal [body] by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom. 8:11). You will reign with Him in this life and in the life to come. If you will not let go of Him until He gives you a new nature, then the Lord will bless you with twice as much as He let Satan take away. You will be through the long night of the soul.
“Then Job answered the LORD, and said,… Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.…
Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.
So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
He had also seven sons and three daughters.
And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch.
And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.” (Job 42:1,6,11-15).
We will see perfectly eye to eye because we will have gone through the same process. Look away from the things of this earth and look for Jesus. Turn away from vain deceit of human philosophy and turn to the Bible, God’s everlasting truth and His psychology. Study the holy principles of God’s Law in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, rather than the tradition of men or the faulty traditions of your elders. Jesus will be to you the light that lightens every new man that cometh into the world.
“And in that day seven women shall take hold of one Man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by Thy name, to take away our reproach.
In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.
And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.
And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.” (Isa. 4).

Monday, March 09, 2015

Vomiting abomination: the power of Jehovah and man in Christ
We all know what it is to have a toxic stomach. We ate something we shouldn’t have, and have poisoned our system. We are in a great strait because we know what we need to do—we need to vomit. But, we resist the distasteful (and maybe humiliating) experience. Yet, even though we know what needs to happen in this regard, even if we choose to do it, we still need an extra help to get it started. That is, we need a probe. Something to start the vomiting reflex needs to touch a special nerve.
This is a very crude illustration of the reconciliation of God to man, but I believe our wise Creator left it to give us an idea of what God went through for our redemption at the cross. Sin was in no way our Father’s doing or choice. It was no wrong-doing or indulgence on His part that caused rebellion. “An enemy hath done this.” (Matt. 13:28). And we joined the enemy to cause the long misery to our Father.
As the poisoned belly causes a dilemma, so did the sin problem bring the Creator grief and pain incomprehensible to the finite minds of His created children. God’s dilemma was the need to destroy His wicked, but beloved children in order to spare His kingdom the spread of man’s poisonous nature. His eternal principle of self-denial and humiliation was compromised by our insertion of self-indulgence, self-exaltation, self-dependence, self-preservation, self-sufficiency into His family of heaven and the worlds.
In jeopardy was the basic law that could never be abrogated without destroying His kingdom:
“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:4).
“He that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” (Luke 9:48).
“Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:25).
“Many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” (Matt. 19:30).
“The last shall be first.” (Matt. 20:16).
But, we were Gods, by Satan’s doing. We believed that we must be first and best and highest. “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isa. 14:14). A God deserves utmost praise and respect. Gods should get honor; they should never have to humble themselves. “How much she [Babylon] hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, ... she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, … and shall see no sorrow.” (Rev. 18:7). Pride will not allow us to be pained for our sin. We had bitten into this delusion and we were in misery. The Spirit of God had departed; and with its departure left peace and health. Gall and wormwood filled our bellies, minds, and souls. We had drunken of the curse and our thigh was rotting and our belly swelling. Our whole persons toxic, we needed to rid ourselves of the poison we had received—the controlling spirit and power of Satan.
But, we didn’t know how to unburden ourselves. We needed a helper to accomplish that. Of ourselves, we would have died a slow, bloated, peptic agony. It was a dire emergency—our life was at stake. But, no other man could offer us the method by which we could be freed from our plague. Pride and rebellion were deeply rooted in us, and our puppeteer, the devil, worked our hearts so as to keep our will too weak to affect the riddance of our invisible killer.
We needed another person who knew what would bring us to regurgitating the abomination causing our slow death. We needed someone who we could trust in to not needlessly accuse us, which would only increase our unwillingness to finish the unpleasant work of repentance. Our dilemma was a true near death emergency, and only our Creator had the patient love and wisdom, and the knowledge of our spiritual make-up to accomplish our confession and renunciation of our sin.
Likewise, our Creator was God’s only hope, who alone knew His Father’s make-up. Only the Son understood the deepest issues that were the cause of the King’s agony, because He alone knew all the work and purposes of His Father’s ingenious enemy.
“All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” (Matt. 11:27).
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1Jn. 3:8).
The self-pity of Lucifer was made to look like pity; the invention of self was subtly inserted into the thinking of man. Pity is good, and now the carcenogenic counterfeit had lodged in our nature, spreading and multiplying into every facet of life. Hurting the children was Lucifer’s method of wreaking revenge on the Lord. Now the curse of sin struck its root deep into our heart, and the wrath of God was invoked. We ate of the cursed fruit, and since that day we would surely die. “There is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.” (Num. 16:46).
We needed a trigger to repent. Jehovah needed a trigger to relent. A God-man was the only answer to trigger both, and thus broker reconciliation between God and man. If we could see a true friend in the Broker and if God could see in Him a perfect and wise standard-bearer, both us and Jehovah could be unburdened of the enemy’s veiled machinations. Both of us could be moved to unburden our issues to our hearts’ content.
Having a friend in God’s authoritative Physician, we could hurl our despiteful, poisonous spirit upon the Physician, and He would adsorb it. “Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.” (Isa. 30:22). Thus, we would receive peace of mind and body through the Physician who died because He took our infirmity. Our horrific malady is gone and buried with the Physician; and now we owe Him for the rest of our life.
As for the King, with a proper, sinless, infinitely loving and selfless Physician, Jehovah could thunderously heave His reticence of our poisonous, corporeal representation of Satan. Jehovah would be relieved of the burden of sin by all of His due justice toward sin, which He wretched His wrath upon His only Begotten Son. The Ancient of days exposed His private ills, even if it would be improper. He humbled Himself, doing what He had never before done. He acted out of character and outside of propriety. Divine propriety said that the King must never open up His deepest longings to the purview of His creatures, even though this had caused His interminable ill. In every circumstance, He must use His representative Spokesman, the Word through whom God’s every thought had forever been made audible. Now, in accordance with His own plan of salvation, His Spokesman was on Earth—though there had been silence in heaven, God was still speaking through His Word.
The Law required, “Take now Thy Son, Thine only Son…, whom Thou lovest, and get Thee into the land of Moriah; and offer Him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell Thee of.” (Gen. 22:). In that sacrifice, He would sanctify the wicked site and make it the place of His future kingdom.

As maximum punishment was laid upon His Son, ultimate punishment weighed fatally upon the Father. Jesus submissively strove to extend His existence under His intense, Gommorrah emolation, patiently enduring until all of His Father’s hatred of sin could rise to maximum revulsion and horror, regret and sorrow, tears and death. His Father must rule over Him; and His desire must submit to His Father’s needs. His Father must know the maximum multiplied sorrows of death. He must help His Father ensure that every aspect of disloyalty had been completely addressed, every contingency of the devil had been dealt with. The Son thus assisted His Father to press toward the point of complete and unassailable, legal justification of mankind.
No created being could bear up under all the anger and hatred and sorrow that was required for the Father’s emptying Himself of all regret toward mankind’s sin. None else beside Jesus could lead the Ancient of days to reconcile the sparing nature of redemption with unsparing justice; this, not only in His own mind, but, also for the acceptance of His heavenly hosts, who must behold it in awe and mystery forever. Jesus brought His Father to that reconciliation, where the fullest death possible could be known by the great Creator, “who only hath immortality.” (1Tim. 6:16). Jesus brought His Father to the full expulsion of His quandry over the issues of saving His most beloved race which had dug itself so deeply into sin. The only eternally legal way to redeem their precious race was satisfied by the Godhead’s joint and mutual, self-sacrificing love.

Per His Father’s plan, Christ’s willing agony and humiliation by His Father gave rise to His Father’s agony and humiliation. And Their humiliation gives rise to our agony and humiliation. Christ’s pouring out of His soul under the full wrath of God caused the Ancient of days to fully pour out His soul that had been kept shut because of wrath. And They cause us to fully pour out our soul in repentance for selfishness and self-preservation. Because Jesus suffered from their alienation, both parties involved were able to do the same. Jesus was the trigger; He was the mechanism for everyone’s reconciliation, and relief, and rescue from the death knell coming from the burden of sin and from the alienation of man from God. “Wherefore God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which above every name.” (Phil. 2:9).
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Heb. 2:14).
“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).

An email

I feel like I was hurtful to you yesterday. I spoke against the book you were reading about God not needing to see blood before He would forgive us. Maybe I misunderstood. And I didn’t read the rest of what the author had to say. Maybe he had it right.
But, I feared for you because for years I had read similar things myself. And they didn’t really help give me a lasting assurance of God’s love, and they also didn’t agree with the bigger picture of the Spirit of Prophecy.
If I may, can I please show you what I’ve learned about the atonement? The power of the cross isn’t just to break our heart, but to also bring us gigantic offense. Just as God can’t go easy on us, so at Calvary we don’t see God going easy on His Son. “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.”(Heb. 5:8). Rather, we see the Father going over the top with terror.
But, it was love all the way through, because God used the only thing that He could use to destroy His Son—Their separation, which showed the most basic love. And that separation destroyed God too. They both died of self-sacrificing love. Thus, the cross shocks us, destroys our pride, and saves us.
The cross was God bringing infinite terror upon Himself. In the big picture, it was the Son assisting His Father to gain in Himself a new ability to spare a rebel planet. But, in an even bigger picture, the cross was the Father arranging all of this for His own change of heart, and using His Son to proctor His change. He could trust no one else for this, not even Gabriel, because the Son was the only one who would do the work of reconciliation infinitely perfectly, infinitely loyally to perfect righteousness. For the sake of a future kingdom eternally impregnable to another rebellion, God couldn’t let anyone allow Him to go easy on Himself. Only His infinitely strong Son would keep Him to that task. Only the omniscient and omnipotent Son would extend His time under the hot wrath of His Father, requiring of the great King what needed to be done for the destruction of sin in the universe, forever.
The Son was the only one who could remain untouchable by the inundation of satanic hosts, and, with an unimpeachable sacrifice, keep faithfully to the plan to restore a kingdom that could never fall. Only beholding the poured out soul of the Son, who would prefer to take our infinite hell and His infinite, eternal separation from His Father, could satisfy and move the heart of God to overlook our rebellion and ensure the perfectly reclaimed trust of the unfallen hosts and worlds. Only the infinite love in His Son for Their earthly children could God depend on to cause His own unburdening His infinite agony from the presence of sin in His kingdom, and relenting toward mankind. His Son’s mediation under His consuming, unending wrath against sin helped Him to choose the redemption of Adam’s race over the loss of His Son. And as His satisfaction of justice and condemnation abounded toward the Son of His sorrow, His grace could legally much more abound toward man.
Thus, the inseparable Ones died together that day; and the holy angelic hosts recognized absolute righteousness in the Godhead and in Their decision to save mankind. And all of us who see this pivotal act of the great controversy will come to life. He that hath the Son hath life. “Thy dead men shall live, together with My dead body shall they arise.” (Isa. 26:19).
We need to see what God was going through because of sin, and still is going through until Christ can finalize the investigative judgment and seal His children with a perfect reproduction of His character in us.

  What is the work of the minister of the gospel? It is to rightly divide the word of truth; not to invent a new gospel, but to rightly divide the gospel already committed to them. They cannot rely upon old sermons to present to their congregations; for these set discourses may not be appropriate to meet the occasion, or the wants of the people. There are subjects that are sadly neglected, that should be largely dwelt upon. The burden of our message should be the mission and life of Jesus Christ. Let there be a dwelling upon the humiliation, self-denial, meekness, and lowliness of Christ, that proud and selfish hearts may see the difference between themselves and the Pattern, and may be humbled. Show to your hearers Jesus in his condescension to save fallen man. Show them that He who was their surety had to take human nature, and carry it through the darkness and the fearfulness of the malediction of his Father, because of man's transgression of his law; for the Saviour was found in fashion as a man. Describe, if human language can, the humiliation of the Son of God, and think not that you have reached the climax, when you see him exchanging the throne of light and glory which he had with the Father, for humanity. He came forth from heaven to earth; and while on earth, he bore the curse of God as surety for the fallen race. He was not obliged to do this. He chose to bear the wrath of God, which man had incurred through disobedience to the divine law. He chose to endure the cruel mockings, the deridings, the scourging, and the crucifixion. "And being made in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death;" but the manner of his death was an astonishment to the universe; for it was even the death of the cross. Christ was not insensible to ignominy and disgrace. He felt it all most bitterly. He felt it as much more deeply and acutely than we can feel suffering, as his nature was more exalted, and pure, and holy than that of the sinful race for whom he suffered. He was the majesty of heaven, he was equal with the Father, he was the commander of the hosts of angels, yet he died for man the death that was, above all others, clothed with ignominy and reproach. O that the haughty hearts of men might realize this! O that they might enter into the meaning of redemption, and seek to learn the meekness and lowliness of Jesus !  Review and Herald, September 11, 1888 par. 10.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Having the Son

“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1Jn. 5:12).
He that hath the Son. Hath the Son? What does that mean, to “have” the Son? Morris Venden said that it means to have a relationship with Jesus.
 I couldn’t agree more. But, I needed a “Thus saith the Lord” to prove that premise, and feel right about using such an interpretation. See if the following texts don’t illustrate Elder Venden’s typical shootin’ from the hip exegesis.
“And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.” (1Sam. 18:1-4).

“And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded. And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.” (1Sam. 20:41,42).
What do we see happening between David and Jonathan? We see more than the oft bandied “relationship”. We see more than an idea or an abstract. We see more than the explanation of love. We see love illustrated, love exemplified. David “had” Jonathan because he clutched Jonathan, he had a hold of him. And vice versa. They wept on each other’s shoulders. And why? Because they knew they wouldn’t get to be with each other again. They had shared everything. Their hearts were bound together. And they had to be permanently separated. (Can this scene give us a glimpse into the most holy precincts of the Godhead as the Son was leaving His Father to don a corporeal human form that the Son must carry forever and ever and ever and ever?)
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20).
“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry…. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:24,32).
Did the father “have” the son? Did the son “have” the father? Yes. They fell on each other’s neck. They ran together and not away from each other. The father had compassion, and the son had repentance and reverence. Therefore, they made merry together.
“Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.” (Acts 17:34).
Did the small remnant at Mars’ hill “have” Paul? They “clave unto him.” I like that. They clung to Paul; they grabbed him and wouldn’t let go of him. Not that Paul minded it. I get the impression that with Paul, the more friends the merrier. “O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.” (2Cor. 6:11).

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.
Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him,
Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.” (Acts 20:32-38).
Did the believers of Ephesus “have” Paul? Yes, they all wept sore and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him. They were sorrowing most of all that they would never see him again. Paul would eventually find himself imprisoned and bound for Caesar. So, it’s good that the Ephesian brethren sorrowed for Paul while they had him. If they had refrained themselves, then when Paul was deceased they would forever regret their missed opportunity to cling to him.
To have is to bind and to bond. “The soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.” (1Sam. 25:29).
Is this what it means to have Jesus? To be bound in a bundle with Him? To bond with Him? Or to bind ourselves to Him? That does sound good.

Another definition of to “have” is to possess, as in possessiveness. But, that is obviously a selfish attempt to “have”. Maybe you’ve seen a girl who sticks close by her boyfriend because he’s good-looking, or because he comes from a family with money, or because he wins football games, etc. In other words, such a boyfriend is only a good-luck charm or a brooch on her coat. And if he leaves the girl, evil jealousy rears its very ugly head. Fights break out and turn seemingly civilized women into animals. The same can happen by switching genders in this hypothetical situation.
So, this kind of “having” is the opposite of what John means by having the Son. Jesus isn’t interested in possessiveness, selfishly clinging to Him just for public reasons. But, He does happen to like clingy friends. Everyone is clingy to Jesus when they get to know Him. He isn’t about undue familiarity; but He is about close fellowship. And that demonstrates the kind of unity Jesus has always had with His Father. So, He is right at home with that kind of “having” Him. Justification means being clingy, or atonement; otherwise spelled: at-one-ment. That sounds like the prayer Jesus had the night of His capture by the motley crowd.
“And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.
I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me; and they have kept Thy word….
For I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me….
And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are….
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word;
That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.
And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one:
I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.
Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me.
And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:5,6,8,10,11,20-26).
The oneness between the Son and those who have Him, is but a gleam of the glorious oneness between the Father and His only begotten Son.
“And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” (John 17:5). This gives the impression that God enshrouded Jesus with Himself from the days of eternity until Jesus came out of the Father to come here. That’s unity. Truly the Father had the Son. (Could that also mean as when a woman has a baby? First, she has a baby by giving it birth; then, she gives it food and protection because she still has a baby, and will have her baby until her sunset years.)
What is it about having the Son that gives life? Why does the Son give life?
To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves. My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever.
Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty.
And in Thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things.
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under Thee.
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” (Ps. 45:1-7).

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: Thou hast the dew of Thy youth.” (Ps. 110:3). “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Isa. 53:2). Jesus, from the days of eternity, never saw power as political, something to be grasped, or something to jockey for and jab to get. He was perfectly happy with simplicity and love. His chief needs were to love and to be loved, by His Father and His children.

It was His love of righteousness and hatred of wickedness, it was truth and meekness that made David “gush” out this psalm. It was the fairness and trustworthiness that gave David a tongue ready to delineate the goodness of Christ. David found that in the atmosphere of equal rights before a God who never played favorites, he could trust in Christ to never promote self-aggrandizement. He found that God was no respecter of persons; His government was no good ol’ boy rabble or God-father kabbala. And, isn’t equity what we desire of God and His eternity? Isn’t that we mourn for in this life? Fairness, justice, mercy, love—these are why Jesus was loved by all the hosts in the courts of God. Caught up in the joy of heaven is why David gushed forth this “song of loves.”
“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1Jn. 5:12). To have the Son is to have life. It is to have the righteousness and love that comes down with His Spirit.