“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.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

An earthly culture or the heavenly culture?

Is my earthly culture better than the heavenly culture?

“It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. ‘Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.’ ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ Job 14:4; Romans 8:7. Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.” Steps to Christ, p. 18.
Am I so proud of my American history and way of life, are you so proud of your culture and history of India, that we let them condemn some other culture compared to ours? Do the Jews’ glorious history and lifestyle trump that of heaven? Not even the strictest earthly moral code can substitute for the higher laws of God. Does God love one nation over another? Does He regard the food of one culture above another? Do any of the nations’ foods perfectly align with the diet our Creator originally gave the human race? No, not one.

“Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing; and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity.” (Isa. 40:15-17).

When we see the everlasting nature of truth, the pervasive ever-presence of universal truth, the bigness of it all, we will never exalt an earthly culture over others. They will all pale into insignificance compared to the grandeur of God’s character, heaven’s culture. “I have seen an end of all perfection: but Thy commandment is exceeding broad.” (Ps. 119:96).

Even sub-cultures, religious, moral, political, financial, etc. must submit to the great culture, the great moral government, the great ethical authority of the Most High. All earthly taboos and sacred cows must bow before Him. He says,

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:8,9).

Everyone has a conscience. Good for them! But that conscience must be educated to know the Creator’s will. Otherwise, the adversary will use those consciences unschooled in the will of God to destroy His kingdom in the earth.

“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2).

The character of God is the standard by which we should compare all earthly standards of food, reverence, fear, holiness, dress, speech, etc. His Law, His commandments judge all human requirements. The divine Law of self-sacrificing love decides whether or not aspects of each human culture are valid. Every cultures’ standards are judged by the eternal Law of God. Let them not lift up themselves above the divine culture.

“But if thy brother be grieved with thy [food], now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy [food], for whom Christ died.
Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
For the kingdom of God is not [food] and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” (Rom. 14:15-19).

Does my patriotism or nationalism oppress the true loyalists of heaven, the childlike, the Christlike? Does the love of my culture make me a true, worthy recipient of His life?

“O LORD our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth! who hast set Thy glory above the heavens.
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. 8:1,2).

The Bible may appear to condone only the culture and nation of Israel. David certainly exalted his kingdom, as if nationalism fueled his inspired words. Yet, it wasn’t nationalism. It was his soul’s song to the God over the only kingdom of His truth at that time. David’s inspired songs are for God’s kingdom of truth on earth at every other times, even though His kingdom had another name.

“Do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion: build Thou the walls of Jerusalem.” (Ps. 51:18).

“Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.
For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.” (Ps. 122:2-9).

“They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about His people from henceforth even for ever.” (Ps. 125:1,2).

“If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Ps. 137:5.6).

We need to remember the principle upon which Israel stood—faith, humbled faith.

“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Rom. 9:6-8).

Faith, being humbled by God, and receiving the promised Spirit again determine who is actually part of Israel. “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Rom. 11:26,27). “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.” (Isa. 59:20).

“I am sought of them that asked not for Me; I am found of them that sought Me not: I said, Behold Me, behold Me, unto a nation that was not called by My name.
I have spread out My hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
A people that provoketh Me to anger continually to My face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;
Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.
Behold, it is written before Me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,
Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed Me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.
Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for My servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.
And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of My mountains: and Mine elect shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there.
And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for My people that have sought Me.
But ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget My holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number.
Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before Mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, My servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, My servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, My servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:
Behold, My servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.
And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto My chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call His servants by another name:
That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from Mine eyes.
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.” (Isa. 65:1-18).

“Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me? and where is the place of My rest?
For all those things hath Mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.
He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before Mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.
Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at His word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.” (Isa. 66:1-5).

The true concept of “Israel” is predicated on obedience to the Law of God. This is apparent in Leviticus 18:24-28, Deuteronomy 28, 29:14-28, 31:28-30, and 32:15-43. It’s about the father of a tribe who wrestled with God and finally surrendered to Him, to His Law and His Spirit. All who submit to the Spirit of God will be cultured children. And all the culture that comes out of the Spirit of God is true culture because heaven’s characteristics of self-sacrifice and self-abnegation fill His children’s culture from its foundation to the walls and roof. True beauty is not seen in long hair, or a full beard; it isn’t about long, flowing sacredotal robes, broad phylacteries, or whether or not a woman’s head is covered. By heaven’s standards, true beauty comes from the workmanship of the great Cleaver of truth, the craftsmanship of our Saviour and Lord.

“That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” (Ps. 144:12).

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (1 Pet. 3:3,4).

Is our culture based on conviction of sin, repentance and conversion? Is it based upon continual communion with Jesus and growth in His graces? Does our culture lead us to be like the King and His only begotten Prince? Aren’t these the issues that set the children of God apart from the nations? Doesn’t it make them His kings and priests in the earth? Or, does my earthly culture take priority over His heavenly culture? Does my patriotism supplant His spirituality?

“Thou … hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:9,10).


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