“For ye have need of
patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the
promise.” (Heb. 10:36).
Paul wrote to the
Corinthians, “…but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified
in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Cor. 6:11). Yet
the church at Corinth had major problems with sin. Sin raised its ugly head
after they were justified, and even after they had been sanctified. Isn’t our
Father in heaven able to keep us from falling? “Now unto Him that is able to
keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His
glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 1:24). Yes, He is able. But, will we be
patient with Him to sanctify us “wholly” (1Thess. 5:23)? Will we be patient
with our slowness of heart, and with our failures?
Will we “keep” (Luke 8:15)
the good word from above, “the heavenly gift, …the good word of God, and the
powers of the world to come” (Heb. 6:4,5)? On the long road of sanctification,
will we remain partakers of the Holy Ghost and the powers of the world to come?
It’s at the end of long hard battles with self that we receive the full promise.
When we have done all the
will of God is when the great blessing comes. “For we are made partakers of
Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” (Heb.
3:14). But, what is the incentive for battling with self over decades? The
incentive comes along with the wholehearted effort and the victories won. The first
great battle was at our surrender before God through Jesus. We fell on the Stone
and were broken. Then the blessing we sought from Him came. The dove of peace
came to our hearts, and we knew that it could come only from our God. We joined
the group “whose hearts God had touched” (1Sam. 10:26), that great
cloud of witnesses that filled the Old Testament.
“It [was] like the precious
ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that
went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew
that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the
blessing, even life for evermore.” (Ps. 133:2,3). Peace, health, rest, life—gifts
from the heavenly King—count for more than every earthly blessing. Someone very
close to me who has chronic kidney pain said, “I would give anything to have
health, to be pain free.” Really, what does it profit a man if he gains the
whole world and loses his own health? What will a man give for his health? Along with
the blessing from the dove of peace comes every other blessing in its path. Because
of God’s justification, we walk as “kings and priests unto God” (Rev. 1:6). We have the
high privileges of the Levites.
So, let us carry on with God’s
program to sanctify us and prepare us to do literal service in His very
Will we strive to be “perfect
even as [our] Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:45)? After the Father and
Son have spent so much to work out our conversion, why wouldn’t They also work
out our sanctification? And, knowing Their interest in our eternal happiness, why wouldn’t we cooperate with Them by striving to
be like Them? We can cooperate, hand in hand, uniting our heart to Their heart, our ignorant mind with Their omniscient discernment, our weak natures with our Father and Son Saviours. But, we can only have access to Their bounties as we choose to come to Jesus over the long term, and let Him work
in us and do of His good will.
A short-term sanctification
is the choice of many and happens only because they have cherished sins, and this blinds them to perceive
their thoroughly wretched nature. Idols fill their heart, those idols keep their heart
hardened, and the idols lead them to presumptuously take on the battle against sin
without any guidance or help from their Redeemer. Impatient sanctification
doesn’t work out salvation with fear and trembling, but is full of passion and
emotion and presumption. Such a soul isn’t guided by the light of true faith, but loves the “leap
in the dark” for the thrill and self-exaltation of it that seems to mitigate some of
the “chastisement of [their] peace” (Isa. 53:5). But, Jesus condemned such look-alike,
“leap in the dark” faith when Satan tempted Him to jump off the high roof of the temple.
Like the stony ground in
Christ’s parable, hurried, presumptuous sanctification flings itself into danger and difficulty,
difficulties which are greatly caused by their life that lacks sanctification. “But
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). “They on the rock are they,
which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which
for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” (Luke 8:13). Running
into danger is a form of self-martyrdom which results from refusing to admit to
weakness. Rather than distrusting self and being thoroughly melted and humbled
by past failures, the heart is still stony and independent of Christ, and runs ahead of Him. Then when
short-term sanctification is persecuted and humiliated and offended, the unforsaken
pride and unbelief refuse to be consoled by “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9),
as He draws near to comfort and bind up the wounds.
Short-term sanctification is
in a hurry to get sanctified from all the troubles it is suffering due to
the consequences of its sins. It seeks to remove the consequences more than the sin. This kind
of sanctification arises from a fear of continued suffering under the just wrath of God,
instead of fearing God and trusting that His mercy endureth forever. Its focus
is on the uncomfortable and shaming results of sin instead of on the
Sin-bearer and Shame-bearer. Impatient sanctification watches the fiery vipers approaching all around that have resulted from a
life of sin, instead of beholding the One who was lifted up, and was made in the image of sin
and shame for our protection from the shaming curse of the Law, for our redemption, and for our healing. The short-term, impatient sanctification focus is on
self-medicating, relieving self, rather than on admitting complete and total
failure, and focusing on bringing Jesus happiness as He sees us coming to Him and our sins being washed away
in His blood.
“The heart is deceitful above
all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Impatient sanctification will not be honest with the one true assumption—that every human naturally
is dishonest. The Bible calls us all Jacobs—supplanters, sneaky, con-artists. We all need a converted heart and a lot of sanctification. And until the impatient, presumptuous soul surrenders to the brick walls of God’s
providences, he will keep hitting those divinely set brick walls, and keep suffering the consequential bruises, headaches, and heartaches. “And
therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore
will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of
judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:18). Everyone these days want to say they are “Blessed
”. But, most do not want to be blessed in the way God blesses—through His humbling judgments
. But, under His judgments, as we stew in
our failures our pride is put down, and God is thereby exalted. That is what we need—for God to be exalted in our minds and hearts. Will we be patient
with His humbling work, as patient as He is with us accepting His humbling? Blessed are all they who wait for His salvation. He is the Author, Architect, and Engineer of humbled faith.
All we can do is accept the free gift, and fall before Him in humility and thanksgiving for His doing in us what we could not do in ourselves.
Yet, based on statistics,
the longer we resists surrender—for even giving up a little mustard seed grain’s
worth of surrender—the more likely he will abandon Jesus altogether. One brick wall after another, one resentment toward God after another, one missed opportunity after another to fall on the Stone and be broken, they chose fully to deceive themselves. Not one ever “came to himself”
and blamed himself and said, “I will arise and go to my Father, and will say unto Him, Father, I
have sinned against heaven, and before Thee, and am no more worthy to be called
Thy son [or daughter]: make me as one of Thy hired servants.” (Luke 15:17-19). Therefore instead of
ever hearing the strong rejoicing, “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his
hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and
let us eat, and be merry: for this My son was dead, and is alive again; he was
lost, and is found” (Luke 15:22-24); in the end they hear the unvarnished truth, “if ye be without chastisement,
whereof all are partakers, then are ye [illegitimate], and not sons.” (Heb.
In the end, all who did not budge even a smidgeon of their inbred self-sufficiency, will depart “into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matt. 25:41).
“Why…this waste” (Mark 14:4)?!!
Why, why, why the eternal loss, when every soul should be saved? Wasn’t it all in turning
down the choice to surrender to the “God of judgment” and “mercy” (Isa. 30:18),
who graciously, yet with standards, patiently and justly “wait[s]” for our ugly pride to abdicate the
throne of our hearts? Why do we resist a Father whose balance and fairness have
surpassed all human comprehension?
“That on the good ground are
they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep [hold down,
retain] it, and bring forth fruit with patience
.” (Luke 8:15). Examining self and the honest assessments of self pay off big time. As our
humbling and justification was God’s work, so is our sanctification. The fruit of the Spirit is God’s work
and cannot be rushed—not by us! And God doesn’t rush it either. The elegance and
wondrous construction of His fruit in us takes time to build. We must let the
Architect, who knows no haste or delay, do His amazing work in our weakened, fallen natures through His divine nature.
The souls who choose to give themselves
an honest appraisal, as fearful as righteous judgment sounds to them, are the ones who cling to
Jesus and to His mercy. And afterwards, the honest assessment fortifies their hearts to meet the
floods of persecution that Satan sends to sweep them away from their Lord. “And
the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he
might cause her to be carried away of the flood.” (Rev. 12:15). No one else will survive persecution except those who trembled before God, and fell on the Stone and were broken. Long before Satan’s
floods, the honest souls trusted in the Creator to handle their natural-born wickedness.
No one else was patient enough; no one other than God had seen their corruption
from the day of their conception and still spent everything He had, even giving
them His only begotten Son, to win them back to His holiness. It’s only those who
fear they have committed the unpardonable sin that are forced again and again
into the Saviour’s presence by faith to tremblingly touch His scepter. And if He must
reject them, then He must rightly do so to protect His kingdom; if God deems that they must perish,
they should perish. Yet, they come to Him hoping and in His help, and expectant of His mercy. They are
crucified by faith, therefore God lets them live. “If ye endure chastening, God
dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth
not?” (Heb. 12:7).
It is the long-term, up and
down, often messy, patient sanctification that gives the victory. Those with this kind of sanctification aren’t in it
only for the end result, but also for the companionship from Jesus all during the
ride. The door of their soul was shut tightly by the sin of Adam. Their birth
6,000 years later has only compounded their first father’s propensity to sin.
Yet, God does not hold that against them if they strive to serve Him and yearn to be His
faithful son. When He justifies a sinner, that person is no longer a sinner but
a saint sitting “together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). And if
a saint in heaven, then he was never a sinner—not a sinner in God’s eyes. The Father
speaks and it is done, He calls us saints and so we have always been. We have never sinned
when the great King says so. God treats us as Jesus deserves to be treated; God
treats us as He treats His Son. Jesus stands strongly with us before God. And this pleases the Father. His Father declares, “Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong”! (Isa. 53:12). The justified saints must be “the great” and “the strong”. Wonder of wonders! How can it be?
“If you give yourself to Him,
and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for
His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of
your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.” Steps to Christ
They fell on the Stone and
were broken. Their pride and self-will were “broken to
pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and
the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them.” (Dan. 2:35).
They were shattered and then, thusly, and thereby they were justified by God.
In God’s eyes a hardened,
stony heart that is broken goes a long, long way. And for those souls, even if they
fail, they can know that their first brokenness still goes a long way with God.
“For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him.” (Luke 20:38). “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25). Though they failed Him, shame and guilt and repentance went deep into their hearts, and if they will but return to Him and trust in
His mercy, He will immediately and happily receive them unto Himself. Even though they feel like they’ve committed
the unpardonable sin, in “fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12) they must trust in the mercy of God, which endureth
Patience. “No man also having
drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.” (Luke
5:39). This short parable had a two-fold purpose. It was a warning to both the
religious leadership and the religious followership who had drunk of the old, putrefied
religion that Satan had brought in. Because they had imbibed so deeply of Satan’s filthy religion of self-exaltation, they would have greater difficulty to
accept the new tonic, health-giving religion of Christ in which “the flesh profiteth nothing.” (John 6:63).
But, Jesus had another
message in this parable. Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathaea, “and a great company
of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7). They had drunk old
wine, and they had not “straightway” or immediately
desired new. They desired the new wine of the Spirit and they did obtain it, just
. And if God can have loving patience with our delay to trust
Him, we can be patient with Him as He fixes our slowness of faith. “Blessed are
all they that wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:18).
I heard it called a miracle, and
maybe you’ve heard a similar story. A woman had a tumor and she suffered
greatly. She determined to faithfully observe all eight of the laws of health.
Even law #8, her trust in divine power, was strong. She adhered to the program,
not worrying about the potential life threat, even while suffering. One day,
when going about her normal day’s work and health regimen, she felt a loosening
of something inside, and next she knew her pain was gone and tests showed her to
be healed. She was in the work of her natural healing as a lifestyle, not a
quick fix. As she left all the healing in God’s hands, thinking about the tumor
only enough to keep it before Jesus, and making Him her focus, she made herself
susceptible to His built-in bodily systems that are designed to counteract the
growth of all the body’s dangerous perpetrators.
This is the way patient sanctification works.
“Ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” (Mal. 4:2). The wide-eyed, blinking, long eye-lashed calf grows not out of anxiety to grow, but because it drinks its mother’s milk and love.
The smaller prizes come all along
the way back to God, but the biggest prize waits until the full end.
“Jesus said...whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25,26).
“I know that
[the Father’s] commandment is life everlasting.” (John 12:50).
Not if, but when we keep the
commandments fully, as Jesus kept them, we will have life everlasting. This is not
just an Old Testament requirement and reality. This is what the Father spoke to His Son, and then
His Son spoke it to Moses and Israel.
“See, I have set before thee
this day life and good, and death and evil;
In that I command thee this
day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments
and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the
LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
But if thine heart turn away,
so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods,
and serve them;
I denounce unto you this day,
that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the
land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
I call heaven and earth to
record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death,
blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may
That thou mayest love the
LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave
unto Him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest
dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac,
and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deut. 30:15-20).
Life and good days, death and
evil days are in our hand to choose whichever we will. Keeping Jesus’
commandments, statutes, and judgments always has and always will be the only
way to life. To this both Old and New Testaments attest. “…the righteous
judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them
who by patient
continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour immortality,
[God will give] eternal life.” (Rom. 2:5-7).
“But unto them that are
, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,
[God will give] indignation and wrath, tribulation
and anguish.” (Rom. 2:8,9).
But, let’s not forget that
righteousness and well doing come by patient faith. We can see the beauty of Christ’s holiness, but,
only through constant communion with Him will His “Spirit of holiness” (Rom. 1:4)
rub off on us. And God keeps the consequences of our sins coming at us to spur us on to
learn that constant, yearning communion with His Son. “He that believeth on the
Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see
life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36).
They will not see life until
they trust in the Son. And while their faith is new and still wobbly, Jesus
exercises their faith by giving them strong truth and grace, His truth mixed with His grace.
Through both truth and grace He strengthens our love for His commandments and
statutes and judgments, and solidifies our love in Him. We may stumble and fall, but He picks us up again and
again. If we are His disciples, He will be our gracious Saviour
our truth-filled Prince
, our merciful
and our just Lord
. No man can
take us out of His hand, so long as we keep ourselves under His strong right hand.
So many of us have been born
with, or have learned by practice, many wrong habits and ways of thinking. They
are our “thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet.” (2Cor. 12:7).
Yet, even they can be overcome with patient endurance. Over time, over years of
building a lifestyle with Jesus and His commandments, years and even decades under
the conviction of our sinfulness and evil practices gained early in life, we
open the door to the power of the Highest. We weren’t fixated on the sin that had
beset us over the long haul; our fixation was on Jesus and His mercy, but the knowledge of our sin did play in the background as we struggled
to live to please Jesus our Saviour
His Father, our Father.
Gently, silently, the Spirit
of God pulled and pulled at the roots of that sin. Gradually were the
attractions for it dissolved; and a distaste for the sin grew. Suddenly, the temptation disappeared and the
victory was won! Righteousness by faith by Jesus once again proved itself to be
the only true science for righteousness. Long-term, patient, beholding Jesus and desiring to please Him gave the victory. We see this “patient, protracted process” (Desire
of Ages, p. 172) played out in a larger scale with Israel.
At first under Moses there
was rank rebellion against the commandments, statutes, and judgments of the
Lord Jesus. The next generation was a little better, and over five centuries
and after many punishments, a generation arrived that learned the hard lessons
of the past. Samuel helped make them ready for David, whose godly and holy leadership quickly brought the
people of God to a holy state before Jesus his Lord.
“O Jacob”, “this is the
generation of them that seek Him, that seek Thy face.” (Ps. 24:6).
“Who shall ascend into the
hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in His holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and
a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn
He shall receive the blessing
from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Ps. 24:3-5).
But, again they backslid, and the
punishment for their serving Satan lay all around the Jews and the Roman world.
Everything that Moses had warned of came upon them.
“And the LORD shall separate
him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of
the covenant that are written in this book of the law:
So that the generation to
come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall
come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and
the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it;
And that the whole land
thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth,
nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah,
Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger, and in His wrath:
Even all nations shall say,
Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this
Then men shall say, Because
they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which He made
with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt:
For they went and served
other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom He had not
given unto them:
And the anger of the LORD was
kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in
And the LORD rooted them out
of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them
into another land, as it is this day.” (Deut. 29:21-28).
Israel backslid under Solomon
and it took twice as long to regain what they had lost—a thousand years from David to the apostolic church instead
of 500 from Moses to David. John the Baptist made the people ready for Messiah the Prince when He
came. Christ did the work of David and recreated a holy state for His people
among the Jews and Gentiles. The church, “the seed” that “should come to whom the promise was made” (Gal.
3:19), received a greater dispensation of the Spirit of the Lord than
David’s generation had received.
But, again His people
backslid when the church lost its first love for their Lord of love. And it has again taken
twice as long, this time two thousand years.
“But at the end [the vision] shall speak, and not lie:
though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”
(Hab. 2:3). Are we the generation that again seek Him, that seek Thy face, O
Jesus? Are we the next and last seed that should come to whom the promise was
made? Will we see the Latter Rain and the sealing, a greater manifestation of
the reconciliation of God with man than even the apostolic church saw? Will we
be purified by the special dispensation
of His commandments, statutes, and judgments as given in the Spirit of
Prophecy counsels through Ellen White? Will the humbling, unvarnished truth
from her pen give us a special repentance,
which will give us a special
justification, which will give us a special
sanctification, that “special work of purification, of putting
away of sin, among God’s people upon earth”?
“When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing. ‘Then shall the offering of Juday and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.’ Malachi 3:4. Then the church which our Lord at His coming is to receive to Himself will be a ‘glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.’ Ephesians 5:27. Then she will look ‘forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.’ Song of Solomon 6:10” (Great Controversy, p. 425) in preparation for the special glorification when we see Jesus as He is in glory.
“Though He were a Son, yet learned He
obedience by the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8), and like their Master, so
Will we patiently keep ourselves before
the perfect Law of liberty, that begins its work with deeply wounding and offending us and ends in deeply
cleansing and comforting us? Will we keep before the God of infinite justice and infinite
mercy? Will we have the strong wrestling with Jacob’s Angel, His power to soundly
convert? Will we accept the change to His angelic character that will lead us to
the holy life, sanctified through “His rest” (Heb. 4:1)? And will that
surrender and perfection be what makes us able to stand in “the time of trouble
such as never was” (Dan. 12:2)? Nothing else than the Spirit of Prophecy books
will prepare us to receive the Latter Rain, and then to hold on to our faith
firmly through the approaching tribulation, and finally to stand when Jesus appears.
“These are they which came
out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in
the blood of the Lamb. 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. 7:14-15).
“And shall not God avenge His own elect, which
cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He
will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He
find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7,8).
“Here is the patience of the
saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of
Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).
“And I gave them My statutes,
and shewed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them.” (Eze.
In the ultimate
interpretation of Ezekiel 20:11 and John 12:20, those who are perfected and
obedient in all respects
are the only
ones worthy of translation. They will walk right into heaven as Enoch did. They
will be worthy to never see death, worthy to not die. Theirs will be glorification by faith by Jesus through their
special conviction, special repentance, special justification, and special
purification. This is a great incentive to strive for perfection in self-denial
and self-sacrifice. It’s a great incentive to be like Jesus who made Himself of
no reputation. But, the how to get there is not to say, “Now that I know what God
expects I will bend all my will to make it happen.” No! The “how to”,
according to the gospel, is to come to the Law of liberty, which makes us duck
for cover due to its austerity and dreadful greatness (Matt. 17:5,6, cf Eze. 1:18) until Jesus comes to say, “Arise, be not afraid.”
(Matt. 17:7). The “how to” is then to rest in His acceptance and His power of sanctify
our will. Then we will have the “power of the highest…the Holy Ghost” (Luke 1:35) to
will and to do of His good pleasure. We will regain the power to think and to do. Without the power of God through walking
and talking with Christ, all our great acts of righteousness are putrid,
unclean rags. But, with Jesus we can do all things. “For with God nothing shall
be impossible.” (Luke 1:37). “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout
the whole earth, to shew Himself strong
in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him
.” (2Chron. 16:9).
“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.
He shall call upon Me, and I
will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour
With long life will I satisfy
him, and shew him My salvation.” (Ps. 91:14-16).
Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm.” (Ps. 105:15).
“Whosoever liveth and
believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:26).