“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.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Seeing is believing

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.…  By faith he [Moses] forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.” (Heb. 11:1,27).
Hebrews 11 sounds self-contradicting. Is faith based on seeing or not? We have the old guardian standard of “faith, not sight”. “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29). But, that was taken from the following larger context.
“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.
And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.
And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book.” (John 20:24-30).
After chastising Thomas, Jesus does signs and wonders before them all. No doubt, they all needed a good dose of seeing. It seems that there is a time and season for everything under the sun, even signs and wonders. God has requirements that are sky-high, and it’s His Son’s job to work into His children the ability to perform those requirements. One of God’s requirements is faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” (Heb. 11:6).
“And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:16,17).
His Son pleased Him because He had perfect faith. Of course, everyone listed in Hebrews 11 had faith, but Jesus’ trust in His Father towered high above them all. Yet, how did He get such faith? How could He converse in prayer? He saw His Father.
“The Father Himself, which hath sent Me, hath borne witness of Me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape.” (John 5:37).
“Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is of God, He hath seen the Father.” (John 6:46).
“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).
So we see how the people in the Hall of Faith from Hebrews 11 got their faith. Jesus revealed Himself and His Father to them. They saw God. Jephthah, a member of the mixed multitude saw and knew God? Yes, even the lowest can have an interview with Him. And, Barak, the scaredy cat? (I would have been just as nervous to match hundreds of thousands of enemy troops against the farmers and shepherds of Israel). Even the murderers, King Manasseh and Saul of Tarsus? Yes, they all eventually saw God because they allowed their hearts to be brought to the place where He could convict them. Then they believed.
The people of Nineveh saw that God could burn up them and their city, as He had done to Sodom and Gomorrah. They saw and they believed. “Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” (Jon. 3:4,5).
But, the Ninevites’ seeing God was a different kind of seeing than Thomas demanded, wasn’t it? That kind of seeing was an opening of the heart, and the felling of pride and rebellion against God. That kind of seeing involved not light into Thomas’s eyes, rather conviction into the Ninevite conscience, bowing to the warnings and promises of God, trusting His words, good news or bad. But, trusting God is an Uh-oh moment to a sinner. Satan rends his “holy” vestments to affect the self-indulgent sympathies of his slaves, and with great urgency screams into their minds, “Treason! Treason! High treason! Sinner beware! This is what I have warned you about all these years of your faithful service to me! The enemy is in your midst! Don’t let down your guard for a moment! Steel yourselves against Him! Be sober and vigilant because that Devil who wrote that awful Bible is coming toward you like a roaring Lion, seeking to devour you!”
But, those sinners who have had enough of Satan’s false promises and frauds, will consider the Lion and see a Lamb. “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56). Something will ring true about the Lion-Lamb. Is it His demeanor of honesty? Is it His discipline that is perfectly fair? Is it His example of self-denial? Is it the scars of self-sacrifice on His face, “His visage…so marred more than any man” (Isa. 52:14)? “He is not the same. His countenance is changed. It bears the traces of His conflict in the wilderness, and a new expression of dignity and power gives evidence of His heavenly mission.” Desire of Ages, p. 145.
Or, is it in the character of service that He requires? “Satan tempts men to indulgence that will becloud reason and benumb the spiritual perceptions, but Christ teaches us to bring the lower nature into subjection. His whole life was an example of self-denial. In order to break the power of appetite, He suffered in our behalf the severest test that humanity could endure.” Ibid. p. 149.
Maybe is it His promise to walk beside and guide the trusting sinner all the way through the process of salvation? “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6). They see His patience and helpfulness and kindness. They understand that without Him they can produce nothing good. “For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6).
They see, they conceptualize, they comprehend a love in Jesus that they never noticed before. So, they follow Him, leaving their filthy worldliness and the service to the unnerving life of harassment and enslavement under the real devil. The Spirit of Christ has reached their need of love—a need that their old master was forever loath to give—and new loyalties have been born within them.
Ah, conviction of truth! Ah, the reviving of the heart! It is the beginning of a new and better direction in life. When the pride is humbled, and the heart opens to truth and to its convicting nature, the next natural step is repentance. The soul begs God for His pardon, and immediately the heavens open and he receives the Spirit of God. The heart and will are justified and empowered to obey all of the will of God that they know. Because of justification and peace with God, no burden is too heavy, no difficulty too arduous, no requirement too restricting.
The heart convicted by God’s Spirit of truth is true worship to God. “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23,24). The Spirit of conviction in the heart is the only condition from which praise to God arises out of a love that He finds acceptable. No Spirit of God in the heart can call God accursed; but, every spirit not of God in the heart will only call God accursed, even in prayer. God cannot accept the prayers of the wicked, the very breath of their souls being tainted with violent hatred toward Him and all that He stands for. So, He keeps His distance, forebearing their destruction and letting His Son work in them to remove their hatred of Him and His righteousness. If they will continue with Christ, they will be His disciples indeed. Then, genuine faith in them works its goodness from humiliation and conviction; and from that fountain comes the only kind of goodness and praise that pleases the Father.
“The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” (Ps. 119:130). From a heart humbled, convicted, repentant, and converted they tap into a Source of power to do righteousness to which those who resist the humbling have no access or right. They gain a vision of Christ that the world can’t see. The Spirit of life gives them a deeper faculty of insight than the world can have.
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1Cor. 2:7-10).
They can now commune with Christ, and it satisfies their every need. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Ps. 16:11). They know a rest of spirit that causes everlasting life and strength to spring up. “The Spirit is life because of righteousness.” “But 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 bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom. 8:10,11). They live in a safe haven, a pocket of warmth. The righteousness which they see in Christ causes their hearts to burn within them. He has baptized them with fire.
They walk in communion with Jesus, as Enoch did. “Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Gen. 5:22-24).
“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Heb. 11:5).
All who walk in Christ have a different paradigm than the rest of the world, a different mindset, a different world-view. Theirs is a heaven-view. They, like Moses wrapped in a vision of the Anointed One, see the Invisible.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1Cor. 2:12-16).
The world cannot comprehend the rest and peace that come from that vision of righteousness in Christ. They live under the regime of Satan; they see no advantage to righteousness, and have no submission to the Law of God. Thus, a great gulf remains fixed between their thinking and that in the converted soul. The converted walk in the mind of Christ and are looked upon as deluded; but they are the only ones free from Satan’s delusions. Because the servants of Satan by far outnumber those who have faith, they believe that it is the saints that are deranged. But, the Bible gives us the real picture. It’s the lovers of sin that are deluded, and the children of God have fortified their minds to bear up under the accusations of being delusional.
The unholy think themselves to be good enough, and moral. And even many churched people believe the same way. They cannot live under the knowledge that their sinful nature is unacceptable to God. They acknowledge that they can’t change their nature, but, they discount God’s existence and His readiness and power to do for them all that they can’t do for themselves, which includes even the first steps toward holiness. They therefore choose to ignore all possibility of their filthiness. They deceive themselves. They are ethical; and let every messenger of truth to their conscience who tries to convince them of their lack of ethics beware, or there will be unpleasant repercussions to the messenger. The unconverted souls are ethical, and that’s the end of the conversation.

They have not come to God and submitted themselves to His righteousness. “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (Rom. 10:3). They work to tailor their own Ten Commandments to suit their natural, corrupted character, as Paul confessed to have done. “I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (Rom. 7:9). “Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.” (Rom. 7:8). “And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death” (Rom. 7:10), “that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful” (Rom. 7:13), “sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good [the Law of God]” (Rom. 7:13).
These “Bible” Christians do not serve the one true God of Law. They haven’t come to Christ because they have distained to wrestle with the Law of God. Jesus said, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me.” (John 6:45). “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him.” (John 6:44). If they would come to God and His Law, they would need a Saviour from their sins, “after that [they] have suffered a while” (1Pet. 5:10), wrestling with Him in guilt’s agony and torment. But, this means pain and “death” (Rom. 7:10) that are unwelcome to them. Therefore, they remain aloof from God, filthy, godless, and unsaved.
Their “peace with God” is not real because they have not the faith that is born from wrestling with the God of Law, the Schoolmaster. “But 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.” (Gal. 3:23,24). God represents Himself to the human race as an immutable, stone Law. All who turn away from His Law, turn away from Him and His gift of faith in His Son as their Saviour.
Because they won’t “serve the Law of God” (Rom. 7:25), they don’t fear and serve the one, true God. Therefore, theirs is not faith, but rather imagined faith. Their wormwood bitterness remains whenever their conscience comes face to face with the truth of their unmerciful, unloving filthiness, and lack of heart consecration to God. “Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; and it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst.” (Deut. 29:18,19).
“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63). They have rejected the words of Christ that are so very tonic, and that make their eyes squint and tear and set their teeth on edge. But that zing is the only thing that can bring the dead soul to life. It will give them the pucker power to “suck honey out of the rock [the Law of God].” (Deut. 32:13).
But, having rejected the convicting life of God, life to the rebellious is anything that can stimulate their fallen nature. Enervation is all that their soul can pallate. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63); and by serving “the flesh” they serve “the law of sin.” (Rom. 7:25). They are slaves to Satan, to whom Jesus said, “Thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matt. 16:23). Drunkenness from smooth, intoxicating religious falsehoods, dead works, and ceremonious substitutes that dodge the high standard and which are the opiate of the masses, are all that they will ever have until they come to a humiliation of their sinful past, conviction of their sinfulness, and repentance to God.
The Bible’s view keeps the faithful ones true to their course of beholding the Invisible and following Him. But, because the filthy are in the majority they try to harry faith out of the family or out of the workplace or out of the land. “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be [judged] who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Thess. 2:11,12).
This need never be. Let’s awaken to a sincere assessment of ourselves by looking into the deep things of God’s Law. Let’s plead with God to open our eyes to seeing ourselves as He sees us, to see ourselves as we really are. We need a deep humiliation, a riveting conviction; we need a brokenness that only Jesus can put back together. And if we’re broken, He will most assuredly put us together again and keep us on the right path. They that are whole don’t need a physician, but they that are broken. Jesus came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

“Though the LORD be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly: but the proud He knoweth afar off.” (Ps. 138:6). It’s the humbled that He highly regards. But, He can’t touch us if we aren’t broken, for they that are all good have need of nothing. The proud and self-sufficient are none of His.


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