“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.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The science of biblically claiming Bible promises, part 2

I have known many people who claim promises without coming into subjection to the preceding condition, which starts with submitting to the warfare from God for disregarding His broken law. God’s warfare comes in many forms, and is usually the outworking of our sinful choice. Either the consequences come in the form of disease, or a lifetime together with an un-Christlike, unloving person in marriage, or living in jail for 20 years, or being hooked on a substance, etc. Our deliverance from the “curse of the law” or the curse for breaking the law begins when we finally accept the consequences for our disobedience or disregard of the law, whether we did it purposely or ignorantly. Once we accept and surrender to our consequences, the Spirit of God begins to bring us to faith, justification, deliverance and healing (see Galatians 3:23-25).

We can only claim the promise by accepting our guilt and shame, acknowledging our law-breaking as the cause of the consequences, and seeking Jesus for help to overcome our law-breaking. Otherwise, we are really claiming an imaginary promise, a self-constructed promise that God never made. God never gives His promises without stipulating His  jealous (loving) warfare and our ultimate surrender to His warfare and goodness. His promises have always been contingent on our surrender and faith in Him as Father and Deliverer. Being humbled and submitting to the warfare of God are the first step to deliverance. To shirk this first step is to never receive God’s help. Period. Here the vast majority of the world sits today.

God is good enough to send the rain and the sunshine on the just and the unjust. But, the finer, eternal gifts of His saving acceptance and joy in His Holy Ghost must be reserved for those who go the extra mile with Him. We see this all through the Bible. It is the everlasting gospel. God wants children that are responsible to duty, children who are humbled. He needs to fill His kingdom with humbled and loving, law-keeping children. The meek shall inherit the earth and delight themselves in the abundance of peace. He will not throughout eternity endure our expressions of His adversaries from hell. He shouldn’t have to suffer with Satan's presence through all eternity, and we shouldn’t expect it from Him.

But, today we hear the opposite in Protestantism, and even in Adventism. On the right hand and the left, we see the multitudes claiming promises without adhering to the promises’ conditions, all of which begin with humiliation and surrender to God’s warfare against us, repentance and justification. This not only goes uncorrected by pastors, but it is encouraged. Even the leadership does it. Being humbled and accepting the punishment of our iniquities is the last thing the sinful heart wants. It’s a humanity-wide problem. All around this globe, the human heart will not be subject to that kind of treatment, even though our humiliation is the only antidote for the pride ravaging our lives, which is caused by our sinful condition, and is daily fomented by Satan. But, should the world’s issue be in the church? Shouldn’t the church know to accept “the punishment of their iniquity” (Lev. 26:41) as the first condition of restoration with God?
Correction, reproof, instruction in the character of Christ is our only hope.
To claim the promises and to celebrate without the humbling, the surrender, the repentance, the breaking, is presumption. And presumption is basic blasphemy and spiritualism. It is all Satan’s sneaky way to make people live their whole lifetimes thinking that they are right with God, and then die lost souls.
In the Protestant churches today the celebration movement is dodging their responsibility for their sins. They are dodging the acknowledgment of the first works of falling on the Stone, yet claiming salvation. It is a full fledge apostasy away from the Reformation. And in the Advent movement it is a form of rejecting the investigative judgment. To dodge the wrestling with heaven is to lose eternal life, and to open the door to spiritualism. Today’s Spiritual Formation and celebration are no different from all the ancient religions of the world. And they all are based on the same premise—that a sinner can shake his fist at God’s authority to make war against his sin, and he can still have eternal life. This is basic presumption and blasphemy. Isn’t blaspheming God the essence of spiritualism? “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” (Rev. 13:6). Isn’t this the essence of every false religion? Isn’t it the human problem with rebellion? There is a strong link between this blasphemy and the warning of the third angel’s message. It comes through loud and clear from the Old and New Testaments.
“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: the Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.” (Deut. 29:18-20).

The curse of the law is our schoolmaster that prompts us to need a Saviour from sin. No imaginary, dreamy prayer to God will obviate His requirement to bow in sorrow for sin. Even though the work of repentance lacks glamor and glory, it is the only path to our humility and our true, eternal happiness. God knows this and our ultimate happiness, and His, is why He requires the first works.

“Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” (Mic. 7:18-20).

Notice that Micah’s promise of pardon is for “the remnant of His heritage”. It’s not for everyone. Only the remnant are the ones who didn’t abandon God because of His judgment against their sins. The rebels were first taken away (see Num. 25:9; 26:64,65; Matt. 13:41-42; 24:39-41; Luke 17:34-37). The remnant stayed in God’s judgment upon their sin and remained seeking God for His acceptance. They are the only ones who received the promised blessing of pardon because they alone patiently sought Him with all their heart. That kind of faithfulness and meekness are what God wants in His kingdom.

“At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people. Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest. The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.” (Jer 31:1-4).

Again, the promise of restoration with dancing and joy comes to those who were left over from the sword’s destruction after Nebuchadnezzar besieged and attacked. Nebuchadnezzar was punishment from the Lord. The Lord raised him up to punish His people, and told Jeremiah to relay to the Jews that to fight Nebuchadnezzar was to reject God’s authority to punish them for their accepting the occult, human-sacrificing religion of Baal and Ashtoreth. Many times Jeremiah warned them not to fight. They were to be humbled and to surrender; but, they thought they could fight or escape the punishment, with King Zedekiah following suit. Only those who accepted the warfare against them and surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar found grace and received rest in their souls. They alone fell on the Stone, their hearts and self-will broken. That was all the Lord desired from Israel. It was those who surrendered to His will that He loved with an everlasting love. Them He drew with lovingkingdness. The rest hated Him and He would not let them continue in His land. “I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of My supper.” (Luke 14:24).

Here is another example of a promise that often is trusted in without complying with its conditions.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people.
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is His name:
If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever.
Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner.
And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath.” (Jer. 31:31-39).
Jews and Christians alike claim the promise of an unchangeable blessing from heaven upon Israel or the church. Yet, the above promise is contingent on the Lord putting His Law in the hearts of the whole nation or church, as He did with the apostolic church. Do we see that happening in Israel today? Maybe to a very small remnant. How about in the churches? They have abrogated the Law. They have abrogated God’s authority to condemn; they illegitimately claim Romans 8:1. But if “the commandment, which was ordained to life,” they don’t find “to be unto death” (Rom. 7:10), then they haven’t been through Paul’s struggles to please God, and they have no right to the altar of Christ’s body on the cross which Paul found in Romans 7:25. Therefore, they have no right to Romans 8:1. The gate is narrow—it is a very restricting gate—as high as heaven is above the earth, leaving outside all who will not make a covenant with God by self-sacrifice.
The requirement of self-sacrifice before the God of Law in no way diminishes His love to bless His children. It in no way destroys God’s joy that is bound in His precious promises. But, it does distinguish His humbled children from the “children in whom is no faith.” (Deut. 32:20), to whom He says,
“They have moved Me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked Me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.” (Deut. 32:21).
“In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.” (Jer. 31:29,30).
The warfare of the Lord is His effort of love. Though painful for us as it was with Jacob, by no better way can we learn that our Lord cares for us. His warfare is weighted with eternal ramifications. It is filled with peace that passes all understanding; but it can also potentially go southbound for those who choose to stop short of the glory of God. So, let's accept His warfare, and receive all the blessing that comes with it!

The Lord wants humbled people. They are the only ones who love their neighbor as themselves and the Lord first and foremost. That is what His kingdom is about. The proud and unrepentant will never see the kingdom of heaven. The childlike will inherit the promises. The meek shall inherit the earth and delight themselves in its abundance of peace.


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