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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The science of biblically claiming Bible promises, part 1

“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).
 
There are many precious promises in the Bible. And Peter said that by them we become partakers of the divine nature—we receive the Spirit (see 2 Peter 1:4). But, historically most of Christendom has had a problem with actually receiving the proclaimed benefits in each promise. This has left multitudes disillusioned, with “confusion of faces” (Dan. 9:7). It has given many a sad countenance, and made them the object of rebuke from the podium, “Let’s have some smiles, here! It doesn’t hurt to smile! How can we show the people that we have the truth when we come to church with frowns! Put on a happy face!” No doubt joy in the Lord is our strength, and the world will know that we are Christ’s disciples by our happiness. But, beating a dead horse accomplishes nothing, except condemnation for the one doing the beating and possible his destruction by a merciful God (see Matthew 24:48-51).
 
What has caused the sadness? That is the question that the Great Physician would have asked.
 
“I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.” (Rev. 2:24-26). Jesus came to give us rest, not to add to our burdens. And He still comes for that purpose.
 
So, how can we dispel confusion and sadness of faces? What is the science of promise-claiming which leads to the divine nature—salvation? Well, there are two parts to this science, and it is a science, a very profound one. The two parts are the “bad-spel” and the “gospel”—that is, the bad tidings and the good tidings. What are the good tidings? Forgiveness of sins; grace beyond degree; a Saviour who become one of us and took our place in Judgment Day. What are the bad tidings? “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2Tim. 4:2-4).

The bad news for everyone is the rebuke of their sins. And there are no exceptions—for all have fallen under sin. And the exposure, and shame and guilt and sorrow that come with that exposure, make us angry. We don’t want to hear it!  We want no Law! “The law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.” (Rom. 4:15). If there is no Law, no sin can be imputed to us! Great! So we pass a law that there be no Law! “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.” (Rom. 7:9-11). “I was minding my own business, having a grand old time in life when the Law—(or the consequences to ignoring the Law)—butted in and ruined my grand old time!” As the truth grinds on us we wrestle to be free from the humiliation and accountability that come from the searching eye of God.
 
“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. 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. 4:12,13).
 
We fight the Great Cleaver of truth until we make a choice and go one of two ways. We decide that God and His truth are unfair in calling us desperately “corrupted” (Gen. 6:12) and “wretched” (Rom. 7:24) and “wicked” (Jer. 17:9); or, we will submit and agree that we are all of that and worse. We admit to self that the “chastisement of our peace” (Isa. 53:5) is a necessary mercy, and that we really deserve eternal extinction for our shameful past.
 
If we decide that God is unfair, and we endthen that ends up with the LORD saying, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man.” (Gen. 6:3). He can only go so far to save us if we will not surrender our self-will and welcome His work of humbling our pride in order to save us in His eternal kingdom.
 
But, if we see the goodness of God and His fairness in all of His necessary pruning, and we choose to remain a “brand” in “the fire” (Zech. 3:2), then we immediately find the hewing of the Great Cleaver doable as He immediately begins mollifying our wounds with His Spirit of comfort. We are passing through our Gethsemane and Golgotha with our Saviour. We are beginning to walk in His steps. Follow this concept in the beautiful words from The Desire of Ages:
 
“The words fall tremblingly from the pale lips of Jesus, ‘O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.’
     Three times has He uttered that prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice.… He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life. He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And He will not turn from His mission. He will become the propitiation of a race that has willed to sin. His prayer now breathes only submission: ‘If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.’  
     Having made the decision, He fell dying to the ground from which He had partially risen. Where now were His disciples, to place their hands tenderly beneath the head of their fainting Master, and bathe that brow, marred indeed more than the sons of men? The Saviour trod the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with Him.…
     Christ’s agony did not cease, but His depression and discouragement left Him. The storm had in nowise abated, but He who was its object was strengthened to meet its fury. He came forth calm and serene. A heavenly peace rested upon His bloodstained face. He had borne that which no human being could ever bear; for He had tasted the sufferings of death for every man.” Desire of Ages, p. 690-694.
 
Only those who stay in the spiritual chaos of their own Gethsemane until Jesus delivers them become partakers of His divine nature. Only to them are the promises truly precious and have power to deliver the surrendered ones from the power of sin’s corruption. Jesus in the Garden exemplified and paved the way for each of us in our wrestling under the severe eye of God, as Jesus wrestled under His Father’s infinite severity. The levels of severity between our struggle and Jesus’ struggle are hardly comparable. But, the experience is identical, by which He is able to bring all of His children to glory.

“For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings... Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and glood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had power of death, that is, the devil.... Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Heb. 2:10,14,17,18)
 
This science is often overlooked by sinners who are desperate to be “blessed”. They don’t want the bad news. They don’t want to hear about it. Yet, the Lord will refrain from His good promises until they have surrendered to His bad news, if they will.
 
In the most precious of all precious promises, notice this science of “bad-spel” and “gospel”:
 
“Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” (Isa. 40:1,2).
 
Notice who receives the comfort from their God. All who have suffered under His warfare until He has accomplished it. Their iniquity is pardoned because they have received of the Lord’s hand double for all their sins. But, are we willing to go the full distance “under the law” (Gal. 4:5), or more accurately, under “the curse of the law” (Gal. 3:13)? Upon this question divides those who “find” (Matt. 7:14, cf 16:25) the strait gate and narrow way to life, and those who remain on the wide road that eventually goes over the slippery slope to destruction.
 
Do you like the words, “iniquity…pardoned”, and “speak comfortably…and cry unto her”? Do you like the sound of “My people” and “your God”? Wow, I sure do! What an incentive to remain under His surgical strikes! What an incentive to have a testimony that ends with “I received of the Lord’s hand double for all my sins!” When 12-year-old Ellen Harmon finished the warfare from heaven, her testimony was essentially just that.
 
“I repeated softly to myself: ‘I am a child of God, His loving care is around me. I will be obedient and in no way displease Him, but will praise His dear name and love Him always.’ My life appeared to me in a different light. The affliction that had darkened my childhood seemed to have been dealt me in mercy for my good, to turn my heart away from the world and its unsatisfying pleasures, and incline it toward the enduring attractions of heaven.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 19.
 
She finally had peace with God and she received the power to become a daughter of God. Is that what you want? There is only one way to have it—the straight gate to life, the furnace of affliction, the condemnation of your sins. Many believe they would make great martyrs in the end; but they don’t concede the battle of wills to the Lord before His Law and His Testimonies. Yet, our concession to the transcript of His character is but the first step—albeit the big first step—to the blood-stained path to heaven.
 
Will we accept the grief and discomfort, the brokenness and feeling of hopelessness before a holy God that comes with facing our sins and confessing them to Him? Will we accept His warfare until He has given us double for all our sins? Has His providence put us into situations that cost us tears and patience, heartache and angst? Will we accept the consequences for our past willfulness, and patiently endure like the saints of the Bible: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, David, to name a few? If we will, we will find ourselves being personally molded by the Great Potter whose very hands touched lepers and children and blind and impotent folk of the past. And He knows that it takes water to fashion us; and the water that He will give us will be a well of water springing up to everlasting life.
 
He will work us and put His testimony and song into our mouth. Will we stay under His molding providences and learn to see Him in it all? Will we then claim His promises after He has accomplished to scatter the power of His people?
 
“And I have put My words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of Mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art My people.
Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of His fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.
There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up.
These two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee?
Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the LORD, the rebuke of thy God.
Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine:
Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of His people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of My fury; thou shalt no more drink it again:
But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.
Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.” (Isa. 51:16-52:3).
 
Will we accept the only help that really works to give us faith, and change our hearts and lives? And in the end will we be a partaker of the divine nature? Or, will we, with the rest of the world, skirt the bad-news first step to salvation, and end up beyond help from the Spirit of Jesus? Will we accept the biblical science of claiming the Lord’s promises? Or will I pretend that I have His promises, and then get involved in celebrating nothingness, “the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst” (Deut. 29:19)?
 
“The end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” (1Tim. 1:5-7).
 
“Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Josh. 1:6-9).

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