TruthInvestigate

“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, May 07, 2015

The path to life, part I

“For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” (Prov. 6:23).
 
The path of life is through death. What feels more like death than shame? What is more mortifying than nakedness? Is this the affliction of soul required for the Day of Atonement? Isn’t this what we should be doing during this investigative judgment, living “naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do”?
 
But, we love the tough exterior. We need the tough exterior. We would die without the tough exterior. To every “How are you doing?”, we give a “Fine. Just fine.” “I don’t need any of your help.” “I have need of nothing.”
 
“Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Rev. 3:17). Therefore, says the Lord, “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” (Rev. 3:18).
 
But, how? How do I get with Jesus to buy His gold, and His white raiment, and His eyesalve? Jesus is in heaven, and a rocket wouldn’t get me to the first star, let alone all the way to the throne of God. The answer: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Rev. 3:19).
 
“You mean You want to rebuke and chasten me? And then I will zealously repent? That’s a new method! What’s wrong with going easy on me, like all the other gods do?”
 
But, rebuke is the only method that gets through our tough hearts. Our tough exterior is difficult to crack and to expose the real us. Talking nicely to us doesn’t work. We only scoff it off; or rather, the devil scoffs it off through us.
 
“Say we not well that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” (John 8:48).
“Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God.” (Mark 1:24). And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Hold thy peace, and come out of him.” (Mark 1:25).
 
Rebuke? Wasn’t that a little harsh. Did that poor demon-possessed man really need to be rebuked? The pitiful man had no control over his mind and his mouth.

Yes, the devils needed to be rebuked, and they were dug in really deep. And the man needed to be rebuked because he let the demon possession happen. The man had welcomed them in; they couldn’t come in uninvited. And this man was a church member. (A devil-possessed saint?) Could it happen today? Maybe it could be us. The devils are that slick about working their invitation to rule our heart and soul; and their favorite method is flattery, smooth sayings, easy going. But, once we have let the subtle invitation that they inspire become our desire, then they have the legal right to take up our offer—that is, the offer they put into our thinking. And they quickly and boldly make good on our invitation.
 
How can I know if the devil controls me? How can I know if my heart is surrendered to Jesus?
 
Who fills my thoughts? With whom do I love to converse? About whom do I love to talk. Is it Jesus and the Father? Is it people who have submitted to Their kingdom of holy love, and received the faith of Jesus and His character? Or, do we think and talk about this world, and its heroes and celebs and its philosophers of ethical causes? “With every truly converted soul the relation to God and to eternal things will be the great topic of life.” Great Controversy, p. 463.
 
“Every soul that refuses to give himself to God is under the control of another power. He is not his own. He may talk of freedom, but he is in the most abject slavery. He is not allowed to see the beauty of truth, for his mind is under the control of Satan. While he flatters himself that he is following the dictates of his own judgment, he obeys the will of the prince of darkness.” Desire of Ages, p. 466.
 
Am I surrendered to God? If not, I need to be rebuked. Not the phony, dramatized and humorous “rebuking of Satan” that we see on Sunday morning TV. To the televangelists the devils say, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” (Acts 19:15). But, rather than jump on them and tear them to shreds (see Acts 19:16), the spirits use them for the work of casting out phony devils. They counterfeit the true casting out of familiar spirits, and they lead multitudes astray.
 
What we need from Jesus is His honest rebuke; we need Him to really set us straight. If we can accept His heart-felt rebuke from the written word, then we can know we are children of God. We can have certainty of salvation. How do we know if we are right with God? We are right with Him if we can humbly accept His loving reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness.
 
“Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matt. 16:23). “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:31, 32). “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:20).
 
We cannot surrender ourselves to God or to His will. We are not so trusting of Him. We lost our trust in the Garden of Eden. Surrender to another means vulnerability. It means submission. It requires humility. Our proud heart is contaminated with rebellion and it will need help to surrender. Our fallen, natural heart cannot do those things. It utterly resists control. Self, sin, wants to be in control of its host (which is the mind and body). Self is controlling. It wants everything done on its terms. It tells God what and how He should do His will.
 
Pride refuses to subordinate self to another, neither to a human nor even to its Creator. Nobody can tell Me what to do! God, how dare you tell Me how to live my life! You are nothing to Me! I Am that I Am! “I, ME the Almighty” “waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and [I, ME the Almighty] cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, [I, ME the Almighty] magnified [I, ME the Almighty] even to the Prince of the host.” (Dan. 8:10,11). The warfare of self against God is what the great controversy is all about.
 
Yet, living in surrender to God is the only avenue to peace, as well as mental and physical health. If stress is killing us with cancer and other diseases, then all that we need is peace with God through Jesus, which will give us peace of heart and mind.
 
Therefore, if stress and disease need peace; and peace needs surrender; and surrender needs trust, vulnerability, submission, and humility; and they all need rebuke; then, let’s get rebuked! In other words, let’s let loving reproof have its way in our will. Simple enough!
 
But, rebuke by whom? God. How? His Law. Nothing else works so well to grind into powder our defective, reprehensible self-will. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Rom. 3:19). But the law is more than about correction, instruction, condemnation, and reproof. It also is full of messages of promise and hope and encouragement.
 
Peace is a 4 step process that begins with conviction of sin, as spelled out in Hebrews 4:12-16.
 
Step 1) We get convicted. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12).
 
Go to the Law, the word of God; go to the Spirit of Prophecy books. There you will hear promises and commands; you will hear instruction in righteousness and condemnation of sin. You will find sin to look very different from the way the world paints it. You will find godliness and purity and holiness to be beautifully beneficial, and the Law of God to be holy and just and good. The true picture of sin will convince us that sin is very wrong. The Spirit of God will make the truth from the Bible go straight to your conscience like the dentist’s needle to the nerve.
 
Then, you will find in your heart a resistance rising against principles of righteousness that you know must be obeyed. “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” (Rom. 7:20,21). “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). The resistance separates the soul from its Creator; and thus from the peace and life that comes from Him. We cannot do what we naturally want to do. Happiness disappears. We exist between action and its equal, opposite reaction. For a long time maybe, we wrestle for and against righteousness, godliness, holiness.
 
Step 2) We get ashamed. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Heb. 4:13). Through the Law, as we are reading His soul, God is reading our soul. And shame will happen naturally, as we spend time exposing ourselves to the high standard of the Bible, and especially to the high, high standard of the Spirit of Prophecy books. This is very harassing. This is pure death. On so many counts we stand exposed to the light of truth.
 
But, the agony and misery that come with facing the truth are a necessary evil. It’s only as we get shamed and guilted, as we let the Spirit of truth peak into our conscience, that we can need a Deliverer from that shame and guilt. Day after day, week after week, month after month, the rebuke of sin by the Almighty gives us no rest because we are hanging on to the old “I don’t need any help” mind. It was this life and death struggle that Martin Luther said almost killed him. The stress upon his mind drove him into a monastery, and yet he still only got relief when he found a Bible and saw in it the mercy and compassion of Jesus toward other sinners like Martin Luther.
 
When no one else can help, or wants to help our desperately troubled soul, that’s when we go straight to Jesus. As there are no atheists in foxholes, neither are there any atheists in every other desperate circumstances of this life. Whenever the children of Adam are desperately in need of acceptance and help, they always go straight to the holy One. This response is quicker for those who used the Bible at the beginning of the peace-making process. The Bible has a great solution for our terrible distress.
 
Step 3) We discover the touched heart of Jesus for our case. But, look at what just happened! The desperation from the Spirit of God, entertained by one in whom the Law created a fear of God, also created faith in God. It drove him to God for help. And no sooner does one speak straight to God, than he must have faith! The condemnation of God created faith. And the Lord immediately rewards that faith. This is what Jesus has been hoping to see for so long! Once the sinner has faith, he is justified and no longer a sinner. He is a saint. Jesus gives the helpless one the blessedness of Abraham; He gives him the promised Spirit. The needy one had come to realize that God knows our hearts’ great need. The desperate person knows God’s heart is touched by our calamity.
 
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 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. 4:14,15). Our new faith sees Jesus, and it knows that He sees us and cares about us. We have faith, honest faith, real, true, abiding faith.  “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law…that the blessing of Abraham might come on [every needy soul] through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Gal. 3:13,14). He sent His dove of peace to our heart. Jesus was “made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13).
 
Step 4) We receive the boldness of the sons of God. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16). From now on we know that God is and that He is a great forgiver of sinners. We can always come to get His forgiveness for our sorrow and hatred for sin. Our hearts are settled in Jesus. We are loved by the King of the universe. His love has transformed us. Troubles that used to bother us aren’t such a problem anymore. Things that offended us don’t hurt us so badly anymore. God saved me.

“He surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder.”
(Mark 3:17).
 

“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;
We are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken;
Cast down, but not destroyed;
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” (2Cor. 4:7-10).
 
Having endured the tremendous distress from the Law of God, now the Law is our delight. “Great peace have they which love Thy Law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Ps. 119:165). “His delight is in the Law of the LORD; and in His Law doth he meditate day and night.” (Ps. 1:2).
 
But, before they could have such peace and power, God had to make war with their soul. If no warfare with the sinner, then no peace for the sinner. “Thus saith the LORD, …where is the house that ye build unto Me? and where is the place of My rest? To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” (Isa. 66:1,2). “The LORD is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation. The LORD is a Man of war: the LORD is His name.” (Ex. 15:2,3).
 
Only the devil will offer peace without war. Such a regimen for “salvation” was Baal worship in the Old Testament, and today it’s the same, called Spiritual Formation and celebration worship. “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” (Jer. 6:14). If we let the devil near enough to speak to us, he will fill our minds with flattery. “Oh, you don’t deserve all that reproof and correction and instruction in righteousness. You’re already a pretty good person. God just doesn’t recognize your good aspects. He doesn’t want to let you be what you were meant to be. He just wants to keep you down. He wants to keep you under His almighty thumb. Resist!
 
The longer we listen, the more pleased we get, and the more we are hooked on his smooth talk and familiarity. If we never awaken out of his trance, we will end up fully in his clutches. We will choose to leave God’s people and move to our new friend’s place. During the transit, our limousine is filled with flashing lights and music that transports our soul to the heavens. We take no notice that our transportation has taken us to a far off country, and within a compound of high walls and barbed wire fencing on top.
 
But, we had the freedom to choose. It was either sit at Jesus’ feet and learn of Him, or this other option. Only two powers are contending for the supremacy of the human race. Rather than come to the light “that [our] deeds may be made manifest” and eventually be “wrought in God” (John 3:21), we are captives to one who has no love, never did have any love, and never will. Neither He nor anybody in his house are nice people. We want to get out, but we learn that we can’t leave. The doors are locked tight and the windows have bars. Now we want to cry to God for help, but our pride won’t let us. And the boxing match begins. After years of abuse either we have become as abusive as the others before us, or we are whittled down to a mere punching bag. Then, the first admission to our mistake of joining Satan dawns upon our soul. Later, we have ideations of asking the Lord to take us back. Later still we act on those ideations, and our thoughts turn to needing His help. Then, we make the big step of asking Him for forgiveness. Our repentance is full and honest. It reaches all the way to touch the hem of His garment, and His virtue heals us. Suddenly, like with King Manasseh, we are released from our prison and we know that Jesus is our Lord (see 2Chron. 33:11-13).
 
“Before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:23-26).
 
God’s science of salvation is very simple. God condemns our sin. We either tremble before Him or we stand up stiffly in rebellion. That decision determines whether or not we can receive His grace. Our decision predestinates each individual to whether or not they will be saved. If we accept our rebuke of sin, then He calls us to Himself. If we continue to receive His often painful working in our darkened soul, then our experience with Him grows, and so does our trust in Him. His mercy and truth grow more and more acceptable and the devil’s hold on us grows increasingly distasteful to us and weaker, despite all of his countermeasures to keep us his captives. Soon enough, our faith cries to God for deliverance and God answers in power. He calls us by His name—we are justified and in His kingdom. Our naturalization is complete; we are citizens of the heavenly country. God has “delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” (Col. 1:13). He has “raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:6).
 
We have cooperated with Him, by choosing to “put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” (Col. 3:10). We “are dead, and [our] life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall [we] also appear with Him in glory.” (Col. 3:3,4).
 
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Rom. 8:28-30).

1 Comments:

Blogger Gabrielle Eden said...

Good point - how do I know that I am not controlled by Satan. How do I know I love Jesus? Because He is who I think about, and His lovers are the people I enjoy to talk to or about. Thanks for posting that. God bless.

5/14/2015 6:57 PM  

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