“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, November 16, 2015

Confusion of face, Pt. 1

“O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto Thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither Thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against Thee.” (Dan. 9:7).

Confusion of face. Here we see the result of ignoring righteousness by faith. Daniel also prayed, “Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. Yea, all Israel have transgressed Thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey Thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against Him.” (Dan. 9:10,11).

The word “obey” is connected with the voice of God. “...obeyed the voice of the LORD our God”, “obey Thy voice”. There is no word in Hebrew for “obey”. The word we read means “hear”, as in “[hear] Thy voice.” Hearing a voice makes more sense than obeying a voice. We think of obeying, as in a Law. And the Law of God is the transcript of His voice, His aural Law to our conscience. He is the great Schoolmaster, as He describes Himself to be a teacher before whom His children must sit and from whom they must learn.

Hearing assumes a disposition to a person. The ability to hear a person assumes rapport and a close relationship, as in father to son. Hearing result in obedience, both requiring a relationship to a Person, the Son—thus, righteousness by faith in Jesus.

“Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do ye not understand My speech? even because ye cannot hear My word.” (John 8:42,43).

What happens if we choose lawless teachers of a lawless gospel which has no Spirit of truth to condemn us of sin, righteousness, and judgment? Then, we are reading the righteousness of God, but hearing the unrighteousness of false prophets who make excuses for sin. We are reading divine truth but hearing human tradition. Something in the image of God in our mind conflicts with the image of Satan in his new doctrines. The result is confusion. And confusion of heart and mind, is expressed in our countenance—confusion of face. “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).

Jesus must be close to us before we can hear Him and see Him, and thus love and obey Him. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.” (John 6:37). Jesus wants to come close, but before Jesus comes close, God must draw near through His condemning Spirit of truth. The Father’s exaltation of righteousness causes the sinful soul to tremble in resistance and rejection until the soul surrenders and is silenced before Him. We sense our helplessness to resolve our wretchedness and the requirements of the Almighty; and in hopelessness we cry out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). “Wherefore the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy, and just, and good.” (Rom. 7:12). All of the surrender to the righteousness of God creates a willingness to be just; and the tangible interaction from the holy/divine-unholy/human disparity creates faith in us. All we need now is a friend in the Son of God to consumate our willingness to be God’s holy child. “Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24).

Our self-righteousness has wrestled in defense of our goodness against the sky-high righteousness of God, which is as high as heaven is above the earth. We’ve had enough of the wrath of the great Judge against our self-exaltation. We are humbled, we submit to the righteousness of God, and we tremble before Him. The great Ancient of days has won His great war against our old self-made morality. He has overcome when we judged Him mistaken toward our goodness and we see the justice in His condemnation of us. He sees our trembling in wretched hopelessness and sorrow as appeals for another Judge. We need a merciful Judge, and He provides us one—One with whom we can identify and from whom we can comprehend human love. According to John 6:37 and Galatians 3:24, our advocate Jesus steps in between us and God. Then comes true the words of Jesus, “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.… And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.” (John 5:22,27).

“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth…. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Heb. 12:5,6,11). Only when we have ceased our battle with the Spirit of truth and, with all our heart, have responded to His gift of repentance through our new friend Jesus, does He then deem us worthy of adoption into His eternal kingdom. He will give His children to His Son for them to get close to and to receive His royal friendship. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:15). “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Gal. 4:6).

The spirit of bondage was our futile efforts through dead works to achieve peace with God by obedience to a Christless law. Without the power of the Spirit of Christ, service to the Law of God was never intended and has never worked. But, service to a Christless Law God used for His advantage to help us realize our exceeding sinfulness and helplessness to overcome our sins. And this process, from a Laodicean service by the dead works of God’s Law, to life and true obedience to our Intercessor and His Law and love, has always been God’s plan from the start of His work.

In Christ there is no more confusion of mind or face. Adopted into the family of Christ, we have assurance through Christ’s Spirit, which is the Spirit of God coming to us through His Son. “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 6:19,20). That certainty comes through the abiding presence of “the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:19).

The Spirit of peace with God, which we could not receive directly from the Father, we receive from His only begotten Son. Going directly to God without His Son as Mediator would not be appropriate before the holiness required of heaven. Neither would it be acceptable to the Most High God, given our destitute fallen nature. Speaking in behalf of His Father Jehovah, Jesus says to us, “Thou canst not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live.” (Ex. 33:20). Nor could we love His righteousness. “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (1Cor. 15:50).

“In his sinless state, man held joyful communion with Him ‘in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’ Colossians 2:3. But after his sin, he could no longer find joy in holiness, and he sought to hide from the presence of God. Such is still the condition of the unrenewed heart. It is not in harmony with God, and finds no joy in communion with Him. The sinner could not be happy in God's presence; he would shrink from the companionship of holy beings. Could he be permitted to enter heaven, it would have no joy for him. The spirit of unselfish love that reigns there —every heart responding to the heart of Infinite Love —would touch no answering chord in his soul. His thoughts, his interests, his motives, would be alien to those that actuate the sinless dwellers there. He would be a discordant note in the melody of heaven. Heaven would be to him a place of torture; he would long to be hidden from Him who is its light, and the center of its joy. It is no arbitrary decree on the part of God that excludes the wicked from heaven; they are shut out by their own unfitness for its companionship. The glory of God would be to them a consuming fire. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them.” Steps to Christ, p. 17.

We need the redeeming work of the Godhead before we can ever receive the humbling, the strong need, and faith from God, and the strong repentance, the equally strong forgiveness and life from Jesus.

And then our painful confusion flees away.


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