“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, November 22, 2016

The filthy, the tempted, the disciples, and the holy

“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” (Rev. 22:11).

Four groups will comprise humanity when Jesus returns. 1) They are those who knowingly and lustfully come under sin; 2) those who are tempted into sin; 3) those who Jesus encourages, cajoles, woos, intercedes for to leave and stay away from sin; and, 4) “them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:14).

Until the close of probation, God weighs between those who premeditatedly dive into sin, and those who are tempted into sin. There is a difference. Adam and Eve were tempted, but Lucifer was not. He tempted himself and deceived himself. Lucifer knew God and who He was, yet he placed evil before himself. The highest covering cherub, who intimately knew the God of humility and purity, gladly threw his Creator’s gift of power against his Creator. He loved the gift more than the Giver. “Yea, Mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of My bread, hath lifted up his heel against Me.” (Ps. 41:9).

“For it was not an enemy that reproached Me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated Me that did magnify himself against Me; then I would have hid Myself from him:
But it was thou, a man Mine equal, My guide, and Mine acquaintance.
We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.” (Ps. 55:12-15). Lucifer had no one tempt him to spread every conceivable lie about God in order to steal from Him His throne in the hearts of His creation. He deceived himself. He sought to usurp from God His “first dominion” (Mic. 4:8).

And through the manipulations of the Godhead’s adversary, not only through the occult, but beginning with all who partake of the goodness of God yet refuse to give Him their love, honor, and obedience in return, eventually become His outright, avowed enemies and open, determined lovers of every form of lust. “They set their heart on their iniquity” (Hos. 4:8).

But, Eve and all her children are sinners because they have been tempted. God therefore blends His justice upon them with mercy. “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope.” (Rom. 8:20). Each child born into this world will have 70 years of probation to find out who will come to his senses and hope in something better than this sinful and temptation-filled world. God has lowered them all down into the pit of this hell, yet only partially. But, if after 70, 80, 90, 100 years, they never surrender to the fear of God and His Law, so that He could give them to His Son (see John 6:37; Galatians 3:24), then they have proven beyond any doubt in heaven that however politely they turned down His righteousness, their ethics and politeness were only a thin veneer of rebellion. When they lay down into death, their mercy ends. They will come up in the resurrection of the wicked. They were as good and polite as King Saul, who wanted nothing to do with God and His holy kingdom. Even if they had thoughts and desires to come to Jesus, temptations kept them buried in sin. Even if they were “not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34), they never entered into it.

The third group is comprised of all who have surrendered to the Law of God and to the grace of His Son. But, God cannot have them back into His pure home if they never pass the baby stage of their Christian walk. They can still die in infancy. Jesus loves to keep them in His bosom, but if they stop growing in grace, then they have stopped being His friend and feeding from His life. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1Jn. 5:12).

And “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Prov. 4:18). If we are truly connected to the vine, then we will grow and eventually produce fruit. If we don’t grow, or if we don’t produce fruit, this is sure evidence that we were not connected to His Spirit, the soul of His life. If we examine ourselves daily, dying to self by accepting the conviction from the Spirit of truth, then we will keep coming back to our High Priest for grace. We become dependent on Him like a child does its parent and we grow into the fourth group.

“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.” (John 13:23). This disciple had in Christ what Isaac had in Abraham. Love.

“And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest.” (Gen. 22:2).

John was the youngest disciple of Christ, and the one who most fully understood Him. John was the first to stand in awe of Jesus, the foremost disciple to fear Him and the first to come under the sanctifying power of His love. But, John had had serious defects of character that could not permit His eternal entrance into heaven.

“Even John, the beloved disciple, the one who most fully reflected the likeness of the Saviour, did not naturally possess that loveliness of character. He was not only self-assertive and ambitious for honor, but impetuous, and resentful under injuries. But as the character of the Divine One was manifested to him, he saw his own deficiency and was humbled by the knowledge. The strength and patience, the power and tenderness, the majesty and meekness, that he beheld in the daily life of the Son of God, filled his soul with admiration and love. Day by day his heart was drawn out toward Christ, until he lost sight of self in love for his Master. His resentful, ambitious temper was yielded to the molding power of Christ. The regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit renewed his heart. The power of the love of Christ wrought a transformation of character.” Steps to Christ, p. 73.

“God takes men as they are, with the human elements in their character, and trains them for His service, if they will be disciplined and learn of Him. They are not chosen because they are perfect, but notwithstanding their imperfections, that through the knowledge and practice of the truth, through the grace of Christ, they may become transformed into His image. Judas had the same opportunities as had the other disciples. He listened to the same precious lessons. But the practice of the truth, which Christ required, was at variance with the desires and purposes of Judas, and he would not yield his ideas in order to receive wisdom from Heaven.” Desire of Ages, p. 294.

Eventually though, we see John cuddled next to Jesus, as the twelve lay inclined on cushions on the floor, forming a circle around the supper table. This customary arrangement caused one’s neighbor to his right to be placed such that his neighbor’s head came up to his belly or chest, and his head did the same to the neighbor on his left. Thus, John’s head was on (in) Jesus’ bosom, and Jesus’ head was on (in) Judas’ bosom. There was nothing impure or sexual about this ancient, middle-eastern custom, any more than dancing hand-in-hand in a circle of people holds anything illicit. Homosexuality was horrifically disdained by the Hebrew people. The social eating and dancing circles were a time of fellowship and brotherly love, especially with the God of love among them. The same tightly knit friendship between John and Jesus was a replica of the tight bond between Jesus and His heavenly Father. Jesus’ apostles never lost the tight bond of pure love that they gained from their discipleship, sealed in the bosom of Jesus and in the righteousness of God. But, eventually Judas’ first love for Jesus would ebb away as he fell behind in the training to overcome self. The fullest love for Jesus faded before Judas became a full-fledged apostle.

“Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” (Ps. 45:7). “They joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” (Isa. 9:3). Jesus’ disciples, His fellows, joyed before Him as He joyed before His Father. It was from the context of His dwelling in His Father’s bosom that Jesus made the following statements:

“I proceeded forth and came from God” (John 8:42).

“For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (John 16:27, 28).

“And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was…. For I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me.” (John 17:5,8).

“I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30).

While Jesus remained on earth in His weakened, human nature, He was all in all to John, just as a mother is to her young. But when Jesus left and was exalted in heaven, John matured into an adult follower of Christ, an apostle. He then joined the fourth group. When Jesus was glorified, He became the authoritative voice of a father to John, and under that powerful authority was His disciple sealed. “I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” (Rev. 5:6). The Spirit, which was the power radiating from the glorified Son of God which was no longer being hidden in a fallen Adam’s finite body, spoke to the apostles throughout the book of Acts in the same strong authority that the Son had spoken to the Old Testament prophets. His infinite, pre-incarnate Spirit (see Revelation 4:5) restored, the Son was the same yesterday, today, and forever. No longer in the third group, His disciples graduated into apostleship, the fourth group.

While John loved to abide in Jesus’ bosom, under His loving view, and although the close bond entered into by Jesus and John turned John into the truest representative of Christ, formed perfectly in His image, the days were coming when all the joy of this fellow of Christ would be put to the test. “And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the Bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.” (Matt. 9:15).

Visible separation from Jesus, persecution, trial, suffering would harden into his character the loving memories of his discipleship. Although John was the last of the original twelve to die, the seal, which he had set to his heart that God was true, remained in his forehead to keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus.

“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). The love that existed between the Prince of princes and this favorite of His favorites, kept John protected in the bosom of Jesus, as Jesus Himself “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14), “the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18) had been protected by all the hosts of heaven. “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53). “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand.” (John 3:35).

In those days the fourth group, the children of Jesus would become of full age, and “as arrows are in the hand of a mighty man…they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” (Ps. 127:3-5).

“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of Thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” (Ps. 8:2). While the apostles would speak and think like men, their hearts would forever retain the childlike love from their Mother of all living, their Parent now passed into the heavens to live in the bosom of the Father.

Fearlessly they spoke “with the enemies” of God. Fearlessly they dealt with the invasion of Satan’s infiltrators, “them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan”, “them which say they are apostles, and…found them liars.” (Rev. 2:9; Rev. 2:2).

No longer a disciple cuddled by the Saviour, each must carry the burden that their Master had carried for them. “Greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.” (John 14:12). Each must stand alone in God, averse from temptation, as “the soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan.” Desire of Ages, p. 324. They are made to fly without a mother eagle carrying them. They must sink or swim, drown under the storms or walk on water. This is what the Spirit of Christ did with King Hezekiah. “God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” (2Chron. 32:31).

“Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14.” Great Controversy, p. 425.

They are no longer tempted because Jesus has sealed them into righteousness. They are “in Him” (Eph. 1:10), strong to fear the Lord; and the “the angel of the LORD encampeth round about them…and delivereth them.” (Ps. 34:7). They are lost in His love, surrounded by His arms of infinite love, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made [them] accepted in the beloved.” (Eph. 1:6). Therefore He “is able to keep [them] from falling, and to present [them] faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 24).

They are the full-fledged “children of God” (Matt. 5:9), “the children of the living God” (Rom. 9:26), “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26). “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Rom. 8:17). They are the purified “sons of Levi, …as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” (Mal. 3:3). They abide forever in Their bosom, joint-heirs with the Heir of God “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto” (1Tim. 6:16). They are the earthly complement of the angelic armies, and they love the holy rivalry with the angels, and their godly saber-rattling and jousting with the sword of the Spirit keeps each other and the whole redeemed race wholly loyal to the Law and love of God. They are the 144,000 army of the living God, mature in Christ, able-bodied and ever ready to defend His kingdom. “From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel.” (Num. 1:3).

Jesus is their commander, “the God of the armies of Israel” (1Sam. 17:45), “captain of the host of the LORD” (Josh. 5:14) to thwart any possibility of another Goliath adversary to defy the God of Law and love. They are His special guard contingent to never again lose “the first dominion”. (Mic. 4:8). “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them” (Rev. 7:15), finally at peace in His kingdom that is strong again.


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