“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, July 19, 2016

Who shall stand when He appeareth?

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” (Heb. 2:1).

We have heard over the past several decades that it is hard to be lost. This is not altogether an error, but it can leave a wrong impression on many minds that they don’t have to strive to get with Jesus and stay with Him. There are actually two kinds of messages from heaven, and they have been given to the people of the Lord specific to the condition of their heart.

“With the merciful Thou wilt shew Thyself merciful; with an upright man Thou wilt shew Thyself upright;
With the pure Thou wilt shew Thyself pure; and with the froward Thou wilt shew Thyself froward.” (Ps. 18:25,26).

In other words, while the people of God were faithful to Him, Jesus gave them His favor. They were safe to receive the knowledge that He was happy with them. But, during the times that they were unfaithful, He rescinded His favor. And He did this for His Father’s name sake, for their eternal safety, and, therefore, for their sake. I repeat, Jesus did this out of love and concern for their dangerous position in relation to the eternity He longed to have with them and His Father, their Father.

Our difficult relation when unfaithful to the God who could redeem us from all sin puts the mind and heart of the sinner, and of the apostatizing nation, under a spell. Sin makes us not only unable to obey, but less inclined to believe that we are not obeying. We are on enchanted ground and under the delusions of the devils. We simply cannot hear any word of grace without presuming upon Jesus and upon His grace. Our only eternal safety can come through strong words of condemnation that shake up our sleeping conscience. Paul called this “the ministration of condemnation.” (2Cor. 3:9).

And although Paul spoke against “the ministration of condemnation”, he did say that it was “glorious” (2Cor. 3:10), and that there was something that excelled it in glory. That more excellent ministry brought the people of the Lord the Spirit and the word of God’s grace.

Now, on this point many get confused. They say, If Paul recommended the ministry of the Spirit over the ministry of the condemning Law, and liberty over “ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, … which glory was to be done away” (2Cor. 3:7), then let’s have all the Spirit and grace and glory that we can get!

But, wait. Are we worthy of the Spirit and grace and glory? We must ask that question because honestly questioning our worthiness before God was the assumption in everything that Paul wrote. He knew that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2Tim. 3:16). Scripture to the apostolic church was the Old Testament, the ministration of death and condemnation. Paul accepted, and judged accordingly by, the reproving, corrective, instructive nature that went with that ministration of death and condemnation. If the people of God would not submit to the righteouness of God, then Paul continued to use the ministration of condemnation.  (Just read his letters to the Corinthians.) Therefore we see, by Paul’s example, that the Old Testament never ceased to be profitable to the Jew or Christian. Yet he also saw the promises to be especially applicable to the world after the Messiah came.

Paul understood the relation between Leviticus 26:40-42 and Isaiah 40:1-3.

“If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against Me, and that also they have walked contrary unto Me; and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Lev. 26:40-42).
“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. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isa. 40:1-3).

Leviticus 26 showed the ministration of death and condemnation, and Isaiah 40:1-3 was the ministration of life and grace. But, when we look at them together we see that they both say the same thing, the second text resulting from the first. They both look at the judgment of God from different perspectives; they show the comfort of God that follow His retributive death and destruction for their back-slidings and apostasies. And ours also. These consequences and promises of restoration are good for all time.

While Israel served Satan as another husband “[enflamed themselves] with idols under every greed tree” (Isa. 59:5), and prior to their punishment and humbling, they were not worthy of His grace. They were not worthy of His ministration of glory, as in the days of David and Solomon. Neither were they safe to have His full grace. Notwithstanding, He kept some of His grace upon them. “The Lord…is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Pet. 3:9). The God of love never lost sight of them during their horrific abandonment of Him. He loved them even though, in their feigning hearts, flushed with antinomian, idolatrous grace, they could care less about Him and His Law-filled grace. They were doing just like the surrounding nations, which were doing just like Babylon.

“I was wroth with My people, I have polluted Mine inheritance, and given them into thine [Babylon’s] hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.
And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.
Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:
But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.
For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.
Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.
Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.
Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.” (Isa. 47:6-13).

How are we doing? Do we put the Law before our consciences while we seek His face? Have we done like Paul in Romans 7, wrestling with the Law’s amplification of our rebellion until we see ourselves as God sees us? Have we yet come to “delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom. 7:22) because of the overpowering Spirit of the Law has changed our disposition toward it? Has that delight in God’s Law, and the contradiction to it that we see in ourselves, brought us to the saving exclamation of Paul? “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24).

Even if we’ve been there and accepted the punishment for our iniquities, even if our uncircumcised hearts have been humbled, will we be humbled enough to realize that our fallen nature is deceptive indeed, and forever in need of humbling by the Law of God? “If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye [illegitimate], and not sons.” (Heb. 12:8). In our new service to Jesus, will we “serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Ps. 2:11)? While we can rejoice that “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1), will we admit to ourselves that “we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Heb. 2:1)?

Will we be “temperate in all things” Cor. 9:25), including in our balance of the justice and mercy in divine love?

Back to the two kinds of messages. The new covenant message that the early church received came only because the people had suffered under imperial oversight and interference for 600 years and under a deathly silence from heaven over the last 450 of that period. At the end of those years, to both Jews and Gentiles, “[their] warfare [was] accomplished…[they had] received of the LORD’s hand double for all [their] sins.” (Isa. 40:2). Therefore their “iniquity” could be “pardoned”. The Spirit of God could be poured upon them in collusion with the sacrifice of His Son when He received His Son to Himself again safe and sound, who was fully prepared to do battle with the Father’s great controversy adversary.

That generation was worthy of the abundance of God’s grace because they had already suffered an abundance of righteous justice from God’s providence. But, we are not there yet. We have not yet fulfilled the full measure of God’s justice upon our apostasy from the Reformation of gospel and Law. We are still playing around with the Bible and with the complete consecration to God as the apostles had. We are far from the new birth and sanctification that they had. Can we die for Jesus? Can we die for the Bible? We are still wrestling with dying to self whenever we see a bowl of lentils.

Therefore, we are still under God’s wrath and under His ministration of condemnation. We are not worthy of claiming all that the apostolic church had. We must go through one last distress—a little time of trouble such as never was—that will give us the humbled and repentant heart that we need as prerequisites for receiving the abundance of the Spirit that the early church had. That chosen generation will be worthy of the Latter Rain gospel preaching to the world. To them will be committed the gospel preaching to the world, for a witness to all nations. Before we can represent Jesus perfectly we must go through one last push in the pangs of our delivery from this world, a push that will be traumatic, yet necessarily so.

“Who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” (Mal. 3:2-4).

“For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee.” (Isa. 30:19).

 “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zech. 12:10).

They will be worthy to claim all the promises of grace and blessings from the God of our salvation. And the greater the tribulation, the more assured we will be that our hold on God will not slip away in eternity.

“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:13,14).

When among the 144,000 we will see Jesus very clearly. Naught but a veil will separate us from our heavenly King. They will hear His voice and see His glory. God will not protest their rejoicing, because they will be dying daily. The church will stand on Mount Sion with the Lamb like Moses stood with Jesus for over a month without eating or drinking anything (see 1 Corinthians 15:31; Revelation 14:1-5; Exodus 34:28).

They will “[see] the Son, and [believe] on Him” (John 6:40). “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Prov. 29:18); and that “vision”, Strong’s 2377 châzôn, means a “revelation” of God’s Law in Jesus. Through that vision of Jesus they will be made without fault before the throne of God. By beholding Him they will be changed into His same image. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2Cor. 3:18).

They will not let Jesus slip away. They will not let anything crowd Him out of their minds. They will perfectly reflect the character of Christ. They will keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

“Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams.” (Isa. 33:20,21).


Blogger Nsubuga Daniel said...

so much blessed to read this post, God bless you indeed.

7/25/2016 11:29 AM  

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