“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, June 30, 2018

Another testimony that glorifies Jesus

“But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.” (Ps. 103:17).

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14).

Here is another beautiful testimony. His is so similar to mine. But, this must be because we are all made in God’s image, we all basically think the same and we are all therefore affected by sin the same way, male or female, rich or poor, bond or free, black or white or green or blue. All who come to Jesus follow the same pattern laid out in Romans 7. In Paul and in John, in poor Peter and errin’ Aaron, we see the clearest examples of God’s redemption from sin.

The following testimony is perfect, his confession of his sinful self is honest, his theology in the way of the science of salvation is right on, his wisdom is beyond his years because Jesus has been his teacher. Maybe he is an Adventist, but I sense that he isn’t. But, by his experience with the convicting and comforting Spirit of truth, this young man has correct theology. He is learning more and more, and I’m sure Jesus will lead him to be an outspoken proponent of the soon 3rd and 4th angels’ messages when the final appeal to the world comes in the Latter Rain.

He says,

“I want to share about what God has done for my soul. And I’m thankful, the Lord, He didn’t let me go. I was very lost. In fact, I didn’t even have a clue that I was lost. That’s one of the worst parts about not knowing the Lord is you really are stumbling around in the dark. You are blind. You don’t realize that you need Him. And that was the truth for me.

I grew up basically going to church with my mom and hearing about some things of God but being totally ignorant and totally clueless. And I thought basically what it meant to be a Christian was, and to be right with God was, that you go to church and that you believe in Jesus Christ, both of which I did. But what I didn’t realize was that my life was full of sin. And I actually was in a totally different kingdom, a totally different world. And that realm that I was under kept me deceived for a long time

I thought that basically I was good. But as I began to get a little older, sin really started coming out. It really started coming to the forefront. And I was a hypocrite, totally. And I was really ashamed of the Lord. If you would get me around other Christians or if you would see me in mixed company, I didn’t want to talk about Christ. In fact, usually any Christians, any true Christians, really got on my nerves. I didn’t feel comfortable around them and I was kind of hiding from the Lord.

But, what God began to do was, He let sin manifest itself in me. And as things got deeper, things that I’m ashamed of now, even to talk about, things that are wrong, things that are perverted and sinful and evil. Those things I actually took delight in. And I never would have let anyone know that but if you could have followed me around which God, and God’s everywhere, He’s in every place and His eyes see everything. There is nothing hidden from His sigh. And if you could have seen me, you would have seen sin in my heart. But what the Lord began to do slowly was expose me. And He began to show me—really He was exposing me to myself, because up to that point I was blind.

And what God began to do was He put me…. When I was in high school I was going to church but really I didn’t want to be there. Even my Bible, I kept it in the back of my mom’s car, like just so I could pull it out and take it in church when I needed to go there. But He put me around true Christians [who] actually loved the Lord. And what that did was it really showed me the example of what a life for God is supposed to look like.

Some of these people, they were the most dorky, geeky people in the world. I was a sophomore in high school, and I can remember there was this one seventh grader in particular, and he was just about as geeky as they come. But I felt convicted when I was around him because he would share things in church about sharing Christ with his friends. He just had a love for God. He was totally unashamed and I was really ashamed. And that began to cut into me. And I realized there were problems in my life.

So what did I do? My thought was, basically to try and fix myself. I thought the solution lie within myself. I have the power to change this. That was really, you could say that that was my gospel. That was really the only gospel that I knew. [It] was, ‘Save yourself, change yourself.’

So I tried that. The sins that were in my life that God began to put His finger and show me, I tried to get rid of. I was 15 years old and but what happened was things actually started to get worse. And I didn’t know this Bible verse at the time, but in John 8 it says, ‘If any man commits sins he is the slave fo sin.’ You know, sin is not an accident. Sin isn’t something that is skin deep. It goes to the heart. [You choose to sin.] It’s coming out of your heart. And there’s a principle that is reigning inside of you. You’re under the power of sin.

I didn’t know that. But God began to teach that to me from experience. So that, as I tried to fight sin that was in my life, as I tried to rescue myself and change myself around, to commend myself to God, I actually went deeper and deeper into sin. And I felt the struggle, and I didn’t like it.

At this point, sin was not my friend. I was trying to get away from sin. I was trying to follow God. I was much like the man in Romans 7. You know, the commandment comes to him and he realizes what he’s doing is wrong and he tries to stop, but actually the Law stirs up sin. And that was exactly what was happening. I felt convicted; I knew God [and admitted], ‘You are right on this. I need to stop this. This is wrong. I can see this as clear as day.’ [He is starting to talk directly with Jesus. Faith in Jesus has been born.] And yet I was under the power of it. And I began to feel very guilty and very weighed down because I knew I was a hypocrite. And there was nothing I could do about it. I felt like, ‘Okay, I’m a hypocrite. Now what?’ And in the mercy of God, He didn’t leave there.

If God begins to reveal your sin to you, that’s a merciful thing. And He did that for me, and I’m thankful. He didn’t let me love sin and enjoy it. He began to cause me to flee from it and to hate it and to feel heavy, heavy laden.

And so what happened was there was a retreat at the church I was going to—and it was strange—it was like this was the first time. Before I was always kind of forced to go to church. But this was the first time after months of feeling guilty that there was just a new feeling about it. It was like there was some— God was doing something, and I didn’t understand what it was. But on Saturday night I got alone by myself and I just cried out to God. I wasn’t around anybody. There wasn’t anybody telling me what to do. I didn’t even know what to pray. But I needed help.

[“Our great need is itself an argument and pleads most eloquently in our behalf.” Steps to Christ, p. 95.]
And I began to cry out to God for Him to take me, to change me, to save me. And really all I could say at first was, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” I just repeated that over and over to the Lord. I was just broken. Just weeping before the Lord because I knew what made it so bad, what made the feeling so heavy was that God was so good. It was like, I had never known the presence of God before. But that night God came—it was unmistakable—God came. And it was like, His goodness was present. His love and His worth [were] present. And I was broken. I felt, I felt like humbled to the dust, clinging to the dust because I had sinned against a God that was good.

I had sinned against a God that was holy and lovely and pure, and a God even who had loved me. And I knew that. I don’t know how I knew that, but I knew that. And I was broken because of it. Just full of remorse and just telling the Lord, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’

But then, the tears of pain and of contrition out of nowhere turned into joy. And it was like my soul was flooded with assurance that God accepted me, God loved me. I belong[ed] to God and I didn’t even really know the right terminology about, ‘I’m saved’, or I didn’t know to say that. But I knew this: I was saying ‘Jesus is my Lord.’ That’s what I was saying. And I was telling the Lord, I just told Him, I said, ‘God’—I mean I can remember saying this, just telling the Lord, ‘You can have my life. Just take my life. I don’t want to keep it. I want it to be Yours.’ It was like, it was surrender, but it was a happy surrender. And that’s really what it means, like in the Bible when you see yourself as a sinner when you begin to feel heavy laden, Christ says, ‘Come to Me.’ And that’s what I did.

Like the Lord drew me to Himself. And when I came to Him, I found His yoke wasn’t heavy. You know His burden wasn’t this oppressive burden. It was light. And that’s the case when it comes to walking with the Lord. What is that? [The Lord’s burden was light] because I knew my sins were forgiven, because I knew that God had washed me. All of that guilt, all of that filth that I had been living in, all the hypocrisy, it was like, it was just washed away. It was like it was thrown away. And God wasn’t going to remember any of it.

And I felt so loved and caught up and near to God that my soul was just filled with joy and peace.

[I just have to add here that his exhilaration and peace from being caught up and near to God, was the exact experience of Paul and the apostolic church. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:4-7).]

And even in the Christian life, you say, ‘Well, is it easy to be a Christian?’ No, it’s not easy to be a Christian at all! In fact, the scriptures say, ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous.’ And the world is gonna hate you if you love the Lord. You live in a sinful world, and you love the Lord, the world is gonna hate you. And I experienced that. I lost all my friends right off the bat in high school, you know. I couldn’t contain it [his experience from God]. I was wanting to share it with them, and they just said, ‘Get out of here.’ But I wasn’t sad about losing my friends. It wasn’t a burdensome thing to me because God’s peace had come into my life. His forgiveness was covering me.

And if you know what it means to be justified, if you know what it means to be spotless in His sight, it’s like your world is unshakable.

[“I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” (Ps. 40:1,2).]

And that’s what it was for me.

[“And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” (Ps. 40:3).]

Right away the Lord did that in my life, and I’m so grateful just to follow the Lord, and walk with the Lord. It doesn’t matter, you know, even as you go on in the Christian life. I’ve been telling people recently, because His word says this, ‘that the path of the righteous, it grows brighter and brighter until the full day.’ And that’s true, like even as God gives you more, more trials, more things to handle, more things to walk it, more sin to fight against, more battles, He gives grace. And like over the years God has shown me more and more. At first I didn’t really know anything. I knew that God loved me, I knew that He had forgiven me, I knew that Christ had died for me. But even as you go on in the Christian life, God begins to show you more of the depth of His love, more of the power of His salvation, the finality of it, the security of it.

I can remember when I was 18, I heard a man preaching. And he quoted a line from a hymn that I had never heard before. I didn’t grow up listening to hymns or singing hymns, which was a shame, because this one I think would have been really good. He said, the hymn writer said, ‘Nothing in my hands I bring. Simply to Thy cross I cling.’ And that, when the Lord taught me that, I had been Christian for like three years. But, again it’s been like even more depth to the forgiveness that God has. The freedom of the gospel, that He invites you just to come and lay hold of the Lord Jesus Christ. You don’t, you can’t, clean yourself up to come to Him. I tried that and failed miserably. That’s bondage. It’s death. It’ll lead you straight to hell if you do that. But if you come to the Lord with empty hands, what can you give to God to impress God? Nothing. What can you do to commend your soul to God? Nothing. But if you come with empty hands like a child, that verse says you can cling to the cross.

And when God showed me that, it was like new levels of joy that I’ve never known before. A new level of rest in the Lord. That’s why rest comes up in the Bible so much. Why is it saying so much in the Old Testament about Sabbath rest? And why was He always telling, He actually commanded His people to rest. ‘You will rest.’ And the Lord told me that when I was 18. It was like even more showing me the depth of salvation that Christ has won on the cross that he purchased for His people to rest in Him, to come empty-handed to Him. And it continues to be that way as I walk with the Lord. He continues to show me more things I never knew about His goodness and about His grace [in the context of the science of salvation, righteousness by faith].

And even the fact that God had grace for me, even before I ever turned to Him, while I was still His enemy, Christ had died for me. He demonstrated His love for me. His grace was set upon my life. It was like it was riding over me all the time, and I had no clue. But God’s love, as it says in Psalm 103:17, that His love is ‘from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him.’ And God began to teach that to me, too. I mean it’s like, where will it end? Where is God ever going to run out of grace? Well He doesn’t. All the riches [of God], all the fullness [of God] is hidden in Christ, every treasure. And you can’t, it’s unfathomable, you can’t sound the depths. So I just look forward to knowing more of who God is, and God is… What a Saviour we have! What a Lord, what a God we serve!”

Wasn’t that another amazing testimony!

This was very much a treatise that thoroughly explains how Jesus works to save the whole world. He works the same way to save us all and deliver us all from our sins. The experience of this young person verifies scripture, and scripture verifies him, as his was identical to the apostle’s experience in Romans chapter 7.

“I thought that basically I was good.” “And I thought basically what it meant to be a Christian was, and to be right with God was, that you go to church and that you believe in Jesus Christ, both of which I did. But what I didn’t realize was that my life was full of sin…. But, what God began to do was, He let sin manifest itself in me.”

“For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” (Rom. 7:9-13).

And the Evangelical world may believe that the Law is bondage, and of works only. But that isn’t what the apostolic church found to be the case. For contrary to the way the Pharisees saw the Law, the Christians, who had personally wrestled with the Spirit of truth, knew differently. “For we know that the law is spiritual.” They had learned by experience, just like this young man giving his testimony, “But I am carnal, sold under sin.” (Rom. 7:14). No one who hasn’t personally wrestled with Jesus, can say he is carnal, sold under sin. “I thought that basically I was good.”

“And I was broken. I felt, I felt, like humbled to the dust, clinging to the dust [like Peter in Gethsemane after Jesus looked at him from a bruised and bleeding face].”

This student in the school of Christ learned by experience the central biblical truth of justification by faith. He has experiential religion. Ellen White’s famous saying, “What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself.” Testimonies to Ministers, p. 456.

“And I was telling the Lord, I just told Him, I said, ‘God’—I mean I can remember saying this, just telling the Lord, ‘You can have my life. Just take my life. I don’t want to keep it. I want it to be Yours.’” This 15 year old hadn’t studied theology in college or had been to seminary. He didn’t have a doctorate in religion. He didn’t know what was to be expected when a person comes to Jesus. But, true to form, he naturally responded to the God who had verily turned his guilt and shame into joy and peace. His conversion was genuine. He was like the lepers that never got the training of the disciples because the lepers didn’t need it. They had more true education, more present truth, than the disciples had at that point. They had honorary degrees from God Himself. Jesus healed and so He sent them out to tell others what God had done for them. This young man’s depth of knowledge of salvation is powerful to articulate it as he does.

Drawing from a knowledge embedded solidly in his memory, he describes in detail the work of God in him. “It was like, it was surrender, but it was a happy surrender. And that’s really what it means, like in the Bible when you see yourself as a sinner when you begin to feel heavy laden, Christ says, ‘Come to Me.’ And that’s what I did. Like the Lord drew me to Himself, and when I came to Him I found His yoke wasn’t heavy.”

Wonderful love of Jesus!

In vain in high and holy lays
My soul her grateful voice would raise;
For who can sing the worthy praise
Of the wonderful love of Jesus!

Wonderful love! wonderful love!
Wonderful love of Jesus!
Wonderful love! wonderful love!
Wonderful love of Jesus!

A joy by day, a peace by night,
In storms a calm, in darkness light;
In pain a balm, in weakness might,
Is the wonderful love of Jesus! [Refrain]

Wonderful love! wonderful love!
Wonderful love of Jesus!
Wonderful love! wonderful love!
Wonderful love of Jesus!

My hope for pardon when I call,
My trust for lifting when I fall;
In life, in death, my all in all,
Is the wonderful love of Jesus! [Refrain]

Wonderful love! wonderful love!
Wonderful love of Jesus!
Wonderful love! wonderful love!
Wonderful love of Jesus!


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