“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.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Simply seeing the Son

“This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (Jn. 6:40).
This is Christ’s formula righteousness by faith; this is eternal life. It is the only way that God can keep us from falling. His formula was the secret of His success. It is a simple formula. Look and live.  Watch someone enjoy to do right. Watch someone love to serve. It will catch the whole attention and inspire eternal immitation. The simplicity of the gospel is its power for all simple-minded people. Except we become as little children we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Even the youngest minds can comprehend Jesus, seeing Him, and trusting in Him.
This simple formula was demonstrated the day when Jesus blessed the mothers and their little children. It was the outworking of the Law of God in the fruits of His Spirit exemplified in Christ’s life. That day was yet another providential meeting which Jesus daily thrilled to welcome with open arms and open heart. He always trusted in all the circumstances that His Father sent to Him, all the varied audiences, all the subsets of society, untouchables, rejected, downtrodden, marginalized, oppressed. In this case, the oppressed were women and children.
The mothers came seeking that Jesus might bestow heaven’s blessedness upon them and their children. Those women understood the benefits that the beauty of holiness would have upon their young offspring’s minds and hearts. And they desired God’s benediction of peace upon the charge that He had laid on them by giving to them their little ones.
In keeping with His ever-consistent actions, Jesus accepted these folks as gifts from His Father, who ruled over every circumstance and situation that came to Him. So Jesus brought them into His heart. The mothers felt perfectly at home and at ease around Jesus. They were in His presence, within His drawing power of His redemptive love, “even in Him.” (Eph. 1:10). In His presence was fullness of joy.

Jesus had a joy that was deep and full. It was not explosive, but naturally was controlled by the burdens of the ministry. His joy was so very often diminished by the sorrows that came to Him from facing angry, hardened hearts of those religious leaders who were misrepresenting His Father. Their constant contesting the truth that He was laboring to restore, their belittling the Law that He was magnifying and making honorable, brought great pain to His spirit. The leaders’ daily competition for the minds of the people, and their full permission to be used by Beelzebub, brought the Son of God much broken-heartedness. If the leaders had not stood in the way, the whole nation would have come to repentance and have been a bright light to the Gentiles. A greater than Jonah was among them, yet they prejudiced the people away from Him. Instead, the church of truth must go forth against great opposition. But, though He was cast down, still He was not destroyed. Although persecuted, He knew that He was not forsaken by His Father.

His constant prayer to His Father was, “Now, saith the LORD that formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob again to Him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and My God shall be My strength.” (Isa. 49:5). He saw that these mothers and their little ones were ambassadors from His Father, and they evoked from Him the joy that He had had among the angels prior to His incarnation.
“Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever.
Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty.
And in Thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things.
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; whereby the people fall under Thee.
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” (Ps. 45:2-7).
And the children responded to His joy with their own innocent joy. “They loved to climb upon His knees and gaze into the pensive face, benignant with love.” Steps to Christ, p. 11.
When the rich, young ruler saw all this, suddenly his guard dropped and he suddenly became cognizant of a new paradigm, he saw of the existence of a whole new reality. Surely this is the righteousness of God! Heaven was real! Righteousness of a whole different order shocked his conscience. The love that he witnessed in Jesus and in the mothers appeared so different from the self-righteousness reigning over the land. Jesus and His love up-ended the expectations in this young ruler as he watched the happiness brightening everyone attending the scene. His old paradigm was shaken and uprooted, and thrown into the depths of the sea. New life surged through his heart and mind. This ruler poured forth the thoughts of Napoleon Bonaparte:
“I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.”
The young man saw that no one would ever die for him. But, people loved this unique Rabbi. And why shouldn’t they? “His voice was the first sound that many had ever heard, His name the first word they had ever spoken, His face the first they had ever looked upon. Why should they not love Jesus, and sound His praise? As He passed through the towns and cities He was like a vital current, diffusing life and joy wherever He went.” Desire of Ages, p. 350.
Astounded, the young man’s legs took control and before he realized it, he found himself running to the Master with a heart full of wonder. Kneeling to his Messiah, he prayed a blessing for himself. He wanted the same joy and acceptance that the mothers and their children had. He must have salvation. What must he do to be saved? How can he have eternal life?

After a short interview, “Jesus beholding him loved him.” (Mk. 10:21). Jesus loved this rich young ruler not because he was well dressed, properly mannered, and wealthy, although He could make use of his wealth as He did with Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathaea, and even Zacchaeus. He didn’t love the young fellow because he had power over the people, although He could have used it as He had with Jonathan, Nehemiah, Paul and Apollos, all of them princes in their own right. Jesus didn’t love man because he was young, although He knew full well that “those that seek Me early shall find Me.” (Prov. 8:17). Jesus knew that the more years His disciples have left over after their rescue from sin, the stronger for Him their influence can be in the world.
But, Jesus didn’t love this youthful man for all these advantages. He loved him because he had looked upon the Son and believed on Him; he had received the new heart. He had become another one of “fellows” (Ps. 45:7) that surround Jesus  (see Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 1:13; Luke 23:43; Revelation 14:1); and Jesus’ joy was filled to the full. Subconsciously, the man chose to be a Christian, and conviction made its way into his conscience, overthrowing the kingdom of unbelief and a living death. Christ’s perfect cooperation with His Father had felled the young man’s walls of prejudice against God, and light had poured into the ruler’s darkened soul. “Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; whereby the people fall under Thee.” (Ps. 45:5). Another heart and mind was being converted to the kingdom of God and to eternal life.
Yet the new life of serving God would be full of tests; and the first test would come from his new Friend and Benefactor. How could he fail the test of Him from whom had come the life-giving Spirit of truth? How could he not envision wonderful opportunities of a future full of blessings, such as he had just received from His new heavenly Father? How could he turn away from all loss that he might win more and more of Jesus? How could he not relish every self-denial in order that he might see more of the self-sacrificing love of Jesus, and join with Paul, saying, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death”, “and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:10,9)?
Yet, as high as the prince sent his new Lord into a special expression of joy, equally did he sink Him into loss and disappointment and despairing to regain the ruler’s heart. At the remembrance of his earthly treasures, he immediately forgot about the new paradigm. How quickly we forget the beautiful convictions that Jesus offered! Tears were in Christ’s voice when He called out to the crowds. The young man was walking away from Jesus and from His eternal treasures; and he was returning to the corrupted, dead, unsatisfying treasures of the Roman world. Jesus, exasperated in heart and distraught, and still within the hearing of the departing young man, “looked round about, and saith unto His disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” (Matt. 19:23). Would the young man yet heed this final call of Jesus? Maybe he would have regrets; maybe Christ’s words would sink down into his ears and stop him in his tracks. Certainly the struggle in his mind had been grievous; but, the earlier conviction was evaporating fast. Every passing second was determining his eternal future. The calls of the Spirit of truth from Jesus were only hardening his heart, until he walked out of earshot and chose death over life. He was offended in Jesus. The cries and fears of the Saviour to His disciples, who “knew all men, and…knew what was in man” (Jn. 2:24,25), turned out to be the truth.
“Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.
She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.
Unto you, O men, I call; and My voice is to the sons of man.
O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.
Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of My lips shall be right things.” (Prov. 8:1-6).
“And [God,] He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He [Christ] maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Rom. 8:27). “The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (Jn. 1:1). “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (Jn. 1:4,5).
Despite the entrance of the seed of Christ’s actions and words, the ruler’s heart was the stony soil of the parable. “He that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (Matt. 13:20,21).
Yet, the decision of the young man does not destroy the truth that if we see the Son of man and allow our trust to lodge in Him, we receive power to be His disciple. As we began this post with, “This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Jesus wants to keep everyone who receives the seed that encapsulates the knowledge of His person and high standards. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17). But, more than simply hearing, the sight of Jesus exponentially added to the words that proceeded from His mouth. He perfectly exemplified every word that He preached for His Father. Self was lost in love for His most holy Father and for His weak and needy children. The tone of His voice, His open arms, His welcoming countenance, His smile that evinced faithfulness and evoked trust, are what make the righteousness that He gives us the only true righteousness. When we come under His influence the influence of Satan is broken.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16). As we are drawn into the grace and truth of Christ, we warm up to Him and find our reticence toward self-denial to disappear. As we face the tests that God brings us, and as we find in Jesus an ever-present Comforter, we are able to bear up under the necessities of patience and self-sacrifice. Even in our failures our faith grows in Jesus, if we hold fast His promises of forgiveness and restoration. No fetus looks pretty unless it is a loving parent who is the one beholding it; and the growing Christian falls short of the beauty of holiness except in the sight of a forgiving God.
But, nothing is static; if our hearts are not hardening, then they are softening; if they are not softening they are hardening. Therefore we must keep up an ever-vigilant examination of our hearts, lest we end up reprobates and cause the righteous Judge to discard us from the book of life. Our conversion and justification before God, our peace and resting in Jesus, are only the beginning, not the end of our salvation. We still need a lifetime of purification from self. We must admit to our propensity toward presumption. We need to be ever mindful of our naturally mischievous hearts. We must remember our first cry for help, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24), and the word of hope from Jesus that came into our hearts. We must never forget our response to His word, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 7:25).
We should heed the counsel, “Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Gal. 6:6). “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Ps. 2:11), rather than “[receive] the seed..., and anon with joy” run right into “tribulation or persecution...and...[be] offended.” (Matt. 13:20,21).
We must see the Son and trust Him. We need to see Jesus and trust in Jesus so that we can receive His same faith, that mighty Rock. “Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ.” (Gal. 2:16). We must have “the righteousness of faith” (Rom. 4:13), “even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ” (Rom. 3:22). To “be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:10,9). The righteousness of God by faith, having been humbled by the Law’s revelation of our true filthy rags bought in Babylon the Great, and by the sight of the merciful Healer of the disease, is a necessity not only at the beginning of our walk with Jesus, but constantly at every step of the way.


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