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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Help Me help 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…. 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).

“God helps those who help themselves.” That expression says that first we must help ourselves out of trouble, and then God will come to our rescue after He determines we have sufficiently helped ourselves. Doesn’t that smell like righteousness by works? “God helps those who help themselves” stinks. All of my helping myself is like filthy rags. Where is it in the Bible?

Let’s see, is it in John 15? “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15:4-7).

No, it’s not there. We can’t even start to help ourselves without Jesus’ help.

Maybe “God helps those who help themselves” is in Paul’s letter to the Corinthian saints? “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2Cor. 12:10). No, its not there.  If power packed Paul could realize his weakness, shouldn’t the rest of us admit to ours?

How about Jesus’ words in Revelation? Can we help ourselves? “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.” (Rev. 3:8). No. Then we must conclude that “God helps those who help themselves” is not in the New Testament.

Then it must be in the Old Testament, right? “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the LORD.” (Isa 54:17). All who let Jesus protect them must first realize their inability to protect themselves.

So far, we see that we have no righteousness or strength to offer God. All He wants to see is His Son’s righteousness and strength.

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jer. 23:5,6).

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” (Isa. 26:3). “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31).

None of our righteousness gets very high marks with God. How can we help ourselves be good?

“Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,
A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!
Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is He which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire He shall destroy them, and He shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.
Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.
Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that He may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.
Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD….
Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.” (Deut. 9:1-7,24).

“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
The LORD did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
But because the LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations...
Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.
Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which He sware unto thy fathers:
And He will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: He will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which He sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.” (Deut. 7:6-15).

So, Moses seems to be completely against trusting in our own strength to do righteousness. But, what can we do to help God save us?

We have to work hard, right? It appears Moses commanded us to work hard on our works, or else?

“All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers.
And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no.
And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.
Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.
Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to fear Him.
For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;
A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;
A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.
When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which He hath given thee.
Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command thee this day:
Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;
And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;
Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might humble thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;
And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.” (Deut. 8:1-20). All that the Lord had given Israel were holy, just, and good laws (Romans 7:12). To do them was life for them. And isn’t that what Paul meant when he wrote, “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Rom. 8:10).

The question of effort and obedience can be tricky. Keeping the commandments is a vital part of salvation. But Satan has also used it for his ends. By his devious twisting of minds weakened and confused he turns glorious laws of righteousness into laws of oppression. How are we to know if we have righteousness by faith or by works? How can we know if we are keeping the Law of life or the same Law of death. The question we must ask is: Why are we working hard to keep the commandments? What is our motive? Are we keeping them to prove something to God or to people around us? Or to know Jesus better? By asking this question we examine ourselves to make sure we are truly in the faith. Either to know Christ is my motive for right living, or I am reprobate.

This was the motive that Paul demonstrated. “That I might know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.” (Phil. 3:10). For Paul obedience was all about knowing Jesus better. The same for Peter. After explaining his ladder to sanctification, he added, “And if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 1:8).

So, are we helping Jesus help us? Are we making ourselves available to His words that are Spirit and life, in which our flesh profits nothing? If we are, then He can work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. If we don't come to Him in His words and the biography written of Him, then we severely limit His ability to be our Helper, our Comforter, our Shield and exceeding great Reward. He cannot and will never force Himself on us. Of our own will our spirit must reach up to His down-reaching Spirit. My heart with His must meet together in a cleaving that never lets go. His salvation of hearts must ever require His call and our response. Therefore His cry, Come unto Me! I want to be your helpmeet! The Lord Jesus was saying this as Lord God of Israel, “Therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still.” (Isa. 30:7). The Sabbath plays big in this. His children will sit at His feet and learn of Him. He magnified the Law and made it honorable.

“Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.
Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon Him for?
And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.” (Deut. 4:1-9). 

“Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.
Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:
That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.…
And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.
And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He hath commanded us.” (Deut. 5:32-6:3,24,25).

What does all this say? It says that everyone who keeps all the Law or all the Spirit of Prophecy counsel will be blessed by God. But, they must keep the whole Law and also all of the prophets’ inspired commentary on it. They must hear the precursors to the Law given in the wilderness: the Genesis promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for trusting in the Lord God, who is the Lord Jesus, Messiah the Prince; and they must hear the Job rebukes to self-righteousness and self-exaltation for all of Job’s good deeds. As Genesis and Job were written by Moses before delivering Israel, they hold a status of higher eminence, and as a strong balance for the upcoming laws for liberty.

“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:15-17).

If the Jews wouldn’t obey the promises, how could they obey all the Law, as the Lord Jesus required? Satan loves to hold back either one, Law or gospel. He moves rebellious hearts to disdain correction and reproof. But, when the curses come upon the rebels and they choose to obey the rules, then the very same devil leads these humbled souls to overwork themselves in their obedience and to neglect the promises until they utterly reject the promise-based covenant. They are doing real good at obedience to the laws and rules and statutes and judgments. They’ve got it all down pat pretty good. Satan whispers into their thinking, “Its time to sit back and let the good times roll. We don’t need God for anything else. We don’t need to go further than the Law, and do the rest of His covenant—that is, heart work. We’ve done enough for His Majesty! We’re all holy enough; our heart are circumcised; we all basically good people. Look at all of our works! Who can argue that we aren’t holy people! Look at our evangelism and all our records for Christian service! We’ve listed all our works and kept perfect records for the glory of God! Let the whole world check us out; we are perfect examples of obedience! We don’t need to launch off into the unknown world of faith and love, and risk unsettling all the good works that are moving along so nicely!” These are Satan’s very sentiments; this is all his doing.

Therefore they don’t keep all the Law; they keep part of it. They don’t keep all the commandments; they only keep some of them. They only keep the works of the Law; and that is not the whole Law. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matt. 23:23). They refrain from the weightier matters of faith and sin and judgment. They keep the circumcision of the life, but not the circumcision of the heart. These kind of commandment keepers need to keep both in order to satisfy the Judge of the Law. We need to do the one and not to leave the other undone. But, they keep the letter of the Law, and not both the letter and the Spirit of the Law. They are not spiritual, and cannot keep a Law that is “spiritual” (Rom. 7:14). Christ’s words “are Spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63), “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” (Rom. 8:9).

“For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Gal. 5:3,4). If we would do the whole humbling Law, then we would seek God for the empowering redemption in His mercy. Christ would become of great effect to us. By exposing ourselves to the conviction of His Law, and being brought to repentance, we have also received Christ’s help. We have helped Him to help us.

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” (Jas. 2:10,11). If we keep the Law, but “obey not the gospel”(1 Pet. 4:18), then we are as much transgressors as if we were not commandment keepers. Does Jesus love only the truth? Does Jesus love only grace? He loves them both; and He was full of both (John 1:14). He desires to win our hearts through both. Grace and truth together, welded together, are His realm. Not one without the other, but ever together. The painful truth He ever spoke graciously. The precious promises of grace He ever spoke in strong conviction. We must enter this environment if we want to come to Him for His sure help.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:17-20).

These leaders overseeing their flock were such sticklers of the law, yet broke the second commandment, “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” (Lev. 19:17,18).

“And some of them would have taken Him; but no man laid hands on Him.
Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought Him?
The officers answered, Never man spake like this Man.
Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?
Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on Him?
But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)
Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” (John 7:44-52).

They weren’t keeping the whole Law. The unconverted cannot love its neighbor as itself. It speaks arrogantly and rudely, when charity would speak patiently and kindly. The Pharisee is anyone who has hot works on the outside, “on fire for the Lord”, but is empty and cold on the inside. The second greatest commandment is the challenge that our God puts before each Pharisee, for him to know that sin lieth at the door so that he will know to humble himself, confessing his sinfulness, and come for forgiveness. The whole law includes the confession of our sins to God and our faults to one another. A life of only outward goodness is under a greater curse of God because of its pretended service to Him than a life of outward badness.

“So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” (Gal. 3:9-13).

Let us muster all the faith we have been given, and come see a Man who tells us everything we ever did right and wrong!

“Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law….
The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” (Isa. 42:1-4,21).

Jesus wants us to keep His commandments from both Old and New Testaments; He wants us to do the whole Law of His gracious mouth. He came here and exemplified His requirements, but Satan refused to give up his territory in the hearts of those who had adopted his methods and signed on to his covenant.

Paul had dealt with the effects of Law without grace. And the results were horrifying him.

“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.
Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.
And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” (Gal. 4:8-15).

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
This persuasion cometh not of Him that calleth you.
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”  (Gal. 5:1-9).

Paul had the truth. But, the Jews had a counterfeit from the devil.

Jesus wants to bring us to Himself through both His statutes/judgments, and His grace/trustworthiness. In short, His truth and grace are the only balanced, redemptive power to save us from sin and deliver us from Satan’s power to deceive.

Jesus calls us to Himself. He did this all throughout the Old Testament, and He did it again throughout the New. But, He cannot force anyone. He holds out the promised blessings of His love and His Father’s love, with all of love’s glorious by-products in the fruits of His Spirit. But, we must go to Jesus and let Him draw us in. We must witness His love in action as recorded in the whole Bible.

We help ourselves, not by immediately getting busy working hard on His obeying His laws of good works, or even working hard to obey His requirement of believing. He only requires heeding His loving call to “come and see” (John 1:39). We must have His help to help ourselves even in believing, for we have little strength. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom. 5:6).

We cannot make ourselves surrender to either the Law or the gospel. All we can do is come and see. But, once we see, with the seeing comes the power to obey. Watch the leper when the sight of Jesus grabbed him and would not let him go. Watch the crowds fall away, yet he did not see them. All he could see was Jesus. Then the leprosy of sin we cleansed and he had perfect obedience—righteousness.

“In the region of Christ’s ministry, there were many of these sufferers, and the news of His work reached them, kindling a gleam of hope. But since the days of Elisha the prophet, such a thing had never been known as the cleansing of one upon whom this disease had fastened. They dared not expect Jesus to do for them what He had never done for any man. There was one, however, in whose heart faith began to spring up. Yet the man knew not how to reach Jesus. Debarred as he was from contact with his fellow men, how could he present himself to the Healer? And he questioned if Christ would heal him. Would He stoop to notice one believed to be suffering under the judgment of God? Would He not, like the Pharisees, and even the physicians, pronounce a curse upon him, and warn him to flee from the haunts of men? He thought of all that had been told him of Jesus. Not one who had sought His help had been turned away. The wretched man determined to find the Saviour. Though shut out from the cities, it might be that he could cross His path in some byway along the mountain roads, or find Him as He was teaching outside the towns. The difficulties were great, but this was his only hope. 
     The leper is guided to the Saviour. Jesus is teaching beside the lake, and the people are gathered about Him. Standing afar off, the leper catches a few words from the Saviour’s lips. He sees Him laying His hands upon the sick. He sees the lame, the blind, the paralytic, and those dying of various maladies rise up in health, praising God for their deliverance. Faith strengthens in his heart. He draws nearer and yet nearer to the gathered throng. The restrictions laid upon him, the safety of the people, and the fear with which all men regard him are forgotten. He thinks only of the blessed hope of healing. 
     He is a loathsome spectacle. The disease has made frightful inroads, and his decaying body is horrible to look upon. At sight of him the people fall back in terror. They crowd upon one another in their eagerness to escape from contact with him. Some try to prevent him from approaching Jesus, but in vain. He neither sees nor hears them. Their expressions of loathing are lost upon him. He sees only the Son of God. He hears only the voice that speaks life to the dying. Pressing to Jesus, he casts himself at His feet with the cry, “Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.” 
     Jesus replied, ‘I will; be thou made clean,’ and laid His hand upon him. Matthew 8:3, R. V.” Desire of Ages, p. 262, 263.

“It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith in the atoning blood of Christ. Our precious Saviour invites us to join ourselves to Him, to unite our weakness to His strength, our ignorance to His wisdom, our unworthiness to His merits. God’s providence is the school in which we are to learn the meekness and lowliness of Jesus. The Lord is ever setting before us, not the way we would choose, which seems easier and pleasanter to us, but the true aims of life. It rests with us to co-operate with the agencies which Heaven employs in the work of conforming our characters to the divine model.” Great Controversy, p. 623.

The work of my salvation is a cooperative effort—me doing my part, and Jesus doing His part. But, that doesn’t assume that His part and mine are separate from each other; they are rather in conjunction. Both ours and His are joined together as if braided like a rope. I receive strength only from His strength. He gives me strength to get heavenly treasures. But, I must come to hear His words and see His works. I must receive from His hand the evidences of a friendship that He desires me to have with Him. Then He will pick me up and I will “ride upon the high places of the earth” (Isa. 58:13) and He will feed me with the heritage of Israel. I will sit in heavenly places with Christ (Ephesians 2:6).

“The LORD God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.” (Hab. 3:19). 

“Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” (Isa. 27:5).
“Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.” (Ps. 91:14).

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