CHRIST THE DELIVERER: THREE
CHRIST THE DELIVERER: THREECopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
("Christ the Deliverer: Three" is taken from Behold My Servant!, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)
The transition from our grip to God's grip occurs as we continually are being brought down to death because of the circumstances through which the Spirit of God leads us. At first we may be able to fight our way through to victory without too much trouble. But sooner or later the problems become too strong for us. God is gentle with us as He leads us to the realization there is nothing good in us. It requires a period of time before we learn how to "let go and let God."
The spiritual tasks that must be accomplished and the war that must be fought and won are so totally beyond our feeble powers to accomplish that we soon come to understand the necessity for the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God and the blood of the cross can enable us to make any headway in the Kingdom of God.
We have discussed previously the concept of the sovereignty of God in the plan of redemption, that is, the initiative of the Lord who predestines us according to His foreknowledge to be members of the Body of Christ. The further we go with Christ the more we are able to grasp that God is sovereign, not only in our initial acceptance of Christ but also in every part of our pilgrimage thereafter.
God desires to give us His wisdom and strength in exchange for our wisdom and strength; His grasp in exchange for our grasp; His plan in exchange for our plans; His zeal in exchange for our zeal; His judgment of people, events, and things in exchange for our judgment of people, events, and things.
We die day by day that He may live day by day. Our adamic nature must decrease so the new born-again nature, which is Christ being formed in us, may increase.
If we would be part of the Servant of the Lord, God must do the upholding. If we will follow the Holy Spirit moment by moment, performing by His wisdom and strength the simple tasks He sets before us, He will bring us to the place where our old personality is crucified with Christ and the new man, Christ, is living in us.
We do not hold up the Rock. The Rock holds us up in every aspect of our Christian life and walk.
Notice how God Almighty asserts His sovereignty when speaking of the Personality and the work of His Servant:
Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles [nations]; (Isaiah 42:5,6)
God is the LORD ! He is the One who brings into existence the Servant and who guides and empowers the Servant in every aspect of personality and actions. God is the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and earth.
We Christians are not to be operating at the lower levels of fleshly striving as we attempt to bring about the Kingdom of God. If we will wait on God He will lead us into His program. In God there is no strife. We are to be as Isaac, a person of peace and laughter. We laugh joyously with God.
"He that created the heavens." God always creates the heavens first. The promise to Abraham is that His Seed will be as the stars of the heaven. God is Master of the heavens and He is bringing the members of the Body of Christ up to the thrones of spiritual dominion.
The Body of Christ must gain dominion over the spiritual powers of the heavenlies before it can gain dominion over the earth. God's will must be performed in the spirit realm before it can be done in the earth. The strong man must be bound before his house can be spoiled.
The Servant of the Lord has mastery over the heavens. Whatever the Church binds on the earth is bound in the heavens.
Then comes the earth. Christ plants the heavens and then lays the foundations of the earth. The promise to Abraham is that his Seed shall be as the "sand which is upon the sea shore." God created the earth, its peoples, and its resources. The earth and its peoples belong to God, not to Satan. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psalms 24:1).
The Lord God has determined that the Presence of His Christ shall fill not only the heavens (the "stars"), but also the earth (the "sand which is upon the sea shore"). Christ shall cause the will of God to be performed perfectly in the earth as well as in the heavens. The nations will learn righteousness, truth, and worship when Christ comes.
God possesses all power in the heavens and on the earth. God has given the fullness of His authority and power to Christ. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, both in the heavens and on the earth.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power [authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18)
When the Servant of the Lord, Christ--Head and Body, ministers through the Spirit of God performing the will of God, then all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth is supporting the effort.
I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; (Isaiah 42:6)
First of all, we are called in righteousness . God will not work apart from righteousness. We receive imputed (ascribed) righteousness when we first accept Christ. Righteousness is assigned to us on the basis of the shed blood of the cross of Calvary. Then, as the Holy Spirit leads us in the conquest of our fleshly nature and self-will, righteousness is wrought in us--an actual, observable righteousness of deed, word, motive, and imagination.
In the ultimate sense, all righteousness is imputed. God reserves the authority to determine who is righteous and who is not righteous. As we obey God, walking by faith in Him, He imputes righteousness to us. In the beginning our behavior is not according to God's standards. Yet, God imputes righteousness to us because we have obeyed Him. Divine righteousness was obtained for us through the fact that the Lord Jesus died on the cross in our place.
As we move ahead in our discipleship our behavior begins to approach God's standard. God still imputes righteousness to us because we are obeying Him, because we are living by faith in Him, because we are receiving the salvation He has provided through the death of His Son. But now it is an actual righteousness, as measured by both the Divine and the human standard, that has been produced in our personality by the grace of God working in us.
The mammoth error of much Christian thinking is the concept that our salvation in Christ includes only forgiveness and a righteousness imputed to us independently of and without reference to our personality and behavior. This error has destroyed the Christian churches. It is a modern expression of the ancient heresy termed antinomianism .
The truth is, Jesus did not come primarily to forgive us and to give us righteousness apart from what we are and what we do but rather to conform us to His image in personality and behavior. God's Glory is not so much in forgiving the sinner as it is in making the sinner a son.
The Servant of the Lord always is called "in righteousness." The warfare between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil is not waged in terms of power. God possesses all power and never relinquishes His almighty power. God never gives His glory to another. No creature, angelic or human, has any power whatever except that which has been assigned to him and is supervised directly by God Himself.
Rather, the battles of the Lord are fought according to righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. Michael and his angels can cast Satan and his angels out of Heaven only as the saints overcome the accuser. The saints do not overcome the accuser by fighting in their own strength but by faith in the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their Spirit-created testimony, and by loving not their own life to the death.
Every soldier in the army of Christ is clothed in the righteous conduct of the saints (Revelation 19:8,11,14). There can be no victories for Israel when there is sin in the camp. The Old Testament narratives assure us of that.
We cannot work the works of Christ apart from righteousness: first, imputed only; and then created in us through means of the Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the resurrection Life of the Holy Spirit of God.
"I . . . will hold thine hand." If we take a child into a dangerous situation we do not allow him or her to hold our hand. We hold the child's hand. So it is that God lovingly but firmly shakes loose our grasp on Him and in its place substitutes His grasp on us.
"And will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles [nations]." The entire program is of God. We do not save the world. God calls us, holds our hand, and gives us for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations.
The Servant of the Lord--Head and Body-- is the covenant God has made with the nations of the earth. God creates His holy law, His Word, in our hearts and minds. We become the personification, the expression, of God's Word. Christ is the Word of God made flesh. We are the flesh being created the Word of God.
As we become an increasingly pure expression of the law of God the nations of the earth begin to have a light, a picture of God they can behold. If the nations respond joyfully to the expression of God's Person, ways, and will they see in us, they will be accepted of God. This is the manner in which the Servant of the Lord is becoming a "covenant of the people."
We saints are the light of the world. But it not only is what we say that is the light, it also is what we are and do. It is Christ who is the Light of the nations, and it is as Christ is created in us that we become a covenant of the people.
For two thousand years the Christian churches have been attempting to teach the world of the will of God. But what the world sees, in many instances, is the self-seeking and sin of religious people. The world is waiting to behold Christ.
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (II Corinthians 3:3)
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 4:6)
Notice the upholding, saving, protecting power of God directed toward Israel, toward the Servant of the Lord:
But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (Isaiah 43:1)
The sovereign will expressed in the above verse reminds us of some of the statements made by Paul concerning the Divine will of God in selecting the members of the Body of Christ:
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began [before the ages of time], (II Timothy 1:9)
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Ephesians 1:4)
And then Peter says:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people [people for God's own possession]; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; (I Peter 2:9)
Every member of the Servant of the Lord has been called, has been chosen, that he should become holy. To be holy is to be free from the uncleanness of evil spirits and to belong to God and be reserved for His own use. In its purest sense, holiness is the Presence of God.
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle on thee. (Isaiah 43:2)
Here is the protection of the Lord. The Lord protects His Servant whom He upholds. Water and fire, in the Scripture, symbolize the judgment of God. The earth was destroyed by water in the days of Noah. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire.
God is promising Christ and each person who is part of Christ, part of the Servant of the Lord, that none of the judgments, pressures, perplexities, dangers, plagues, distresses, confusions, overwhelming catastrophes, or accidents or pitfalls that are a part of life on the earth will be able to destroy Christ or any member of Christ's Body.
A way of escape always is open to the faithful Christian no matter how severe the test or how potentially destructive the environment may become. No plague can harm us when we are abiding in Christ. The Lord delivers us from the snare of the fowler (Psalms 91:3,10).
How wonderful it is that God has provided such protection for His witnesses! The days in which we are living are filled with danger, perversity, distress, confusion, tormenting situations that cause the hearts of people to quake with fear. But the Servant of the Lord is able, through the Holy Spirit of God, to gain victory over all fear.
Love, power, courage, and a sound mind are being created in each true saint. Although he may be called on to pass through the rivers and through the flame, no lasting spiritual harm will come to him if he keeps looking to Jesus. He will profit from his tribulations and testings. He will be fed in the time of famine (Psalms 37:19) and received into the Presence of Jesus when his work is completed.
In the heart of each diligent Christian believer will be found righteousness, peace, and joy in the midst of an age becoming lawless and insane as people lust for "fun" and "self-fulfillment." The Servant of the Lord will be a giant in the earth, a strong man who rejoices to run the race of righteousness. His Head is Christ Himself.
This holy warrior is strong in the strength of the Lord's might. He is destined to inherit the heavens and the earth--all the works of God's hands. He cannot be harmed because of the protection of the Lord. Every weapon formed against him shall turn back on its inventors. Those who spread traps for him shall fall into their own traps. The Servant of the Lord is upheld by the power of the Lord God Almighty.
The twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah describes the member of the Body of Christ who has learned to exchange his own strength for God's strength; who has entered the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles.
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2)
During the first part of our experience with God we come to understand that Christ is our Lord and Savior and that we must serve Him to the best of our ability. But as we press forward, the Lord Himself becomes our salvation. Christ Himself Is the Salvation. Our position changes from that of conducting our own program of redemption by our own wisdom, our own strength, our own faith, into that of trusting Christ.
This does not mean we become passive or fatalistic. But it does mean that we come to God with an ever-increasing awareness that He is in charge of our redemption. Such a change in attitude requires an enlarging of our trust that God knows what He is doing, that He is absolutely dependable and trustworthy, and that He is seeking our good. It was this concept of God that Satan challenged in the garden of Eden.
Many of us are fearful that God is not able or not willing to bring us into the image of Christ or to perform all the other good works He has promised us. As our trust increases, our fear decreases. "Perfect love casteth out fear," John informs us, and our love for God grows stronger as we draw closer to Him.
God saves us and keeps us through means of His own sovereign power and wisdom. It is difficult for us to let go of our things, our circumstances, our relationships with people even though it appears God may be asking for them. We are not certain the Lord knows precisely what He is doing, that He is interested in the details of our life, that He always is seeking our good. Perfect trust in the goodness and faithfulness of God is the mark of the mature Christian.
When we begin our Christian discipleship we commence the study of the Scriptures. There we discover many teachings and admonitions we cannot perform in our own strength. Jesus commands us to be loving and forgiving to those who harm us; to act toward other people as we would have them act toward us; to make the seeking of the Kingdom of God, the will of God, the number one priority, the chief interest, the focus of our whole life. Our adamic nature, our first personality, finds the Word of Christ exceedingly difficult and, in many instances, impossible to obey.
As we attempt to obey the Words of Jesus we soon discover we must pray constantly for the wisdom and strength to do what is pleasing to God. As we gain experience in the way of Christ there comes into our heart and mind the creation of inner righteousness, peace, and joy.
The new man, the Lord from Heaven begins to be formed in us. Little by little Christ becomes our Strength. He Himself becomes our Song. He Himself becomes our entire Salvation, our All in all.
The Christian who has come to the fullness of the stature of Christ, of the Servant of the Lord, is the one who has been created the expression of the Word, of the way, of the Person, of the will, of the Divine purpose, of God Almighty. This is a high calling. The program is not of man but of God. The same God who created the heavens and the earth is the One who creates the new man in us and then fills that new creation with Himself.
Paul was living in the rest of God, trusting in Him.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Paul, after a remarkable life of Christian experience and service, still was seeking a more perfect grasp on the righteousness that can come only through faith.
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (Philippians 3:9)
Paul understood and had received the assigned righteousness that comes to us on the basis of the atonement made by Christ. He had been justified by his faith in the blood of the cross. But Paul was not speaking here of being saved from wrath by an assigned, substituted righteousness. He was referring to the righteousness that comes to us as day by day we die to our adamic nature and learn to live in resurrection life, that is, as we learn to walk in dependence on God, living by God's wisdom and strength.
We know this is so by the context:
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed unto his death; (Philippians 3:10)
Philippians 3:10 assures us that Paul, when referring to "the righteousness which is of God by faith," was not speaking primarily of the righteousness assigned to him on the basis of professing belief in theological facts concerning Christ. Paul was learning to live in the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord--to live rather than just to believe .
Previously Paul had earned righteousness by observing the numerous ordinances of the Law of Moses.
The expression "the righteous shall live by faith" is being employed today to mean if we profess a correct theological position our sins will not be held against us. This is not what the expression means. The just shall live by faith is an Old Testament declaration that indicates men ought to live by humble dependence on God and not by their own wisdom and strength.
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews was written as a definition of the just shall live by faith, and there is no suggestion in this chapter that the just shall live by faith means that if we profess a correct theological position our sins will not be held against us.
Living in the "rest" of God is not as easy as it may sound. We have to labor to enter the rest of God. The pressures of the world, the lusts of our flesh, our personal ambition and stubbornness--all seek to move us out of the peaceful abiding in Christ. In addition, we have our own ways of attempting to assist God, our own standards that must be met before we can believe that God is pleased or that the Kingdom of God is being established according to God's will.
Yet it remains true that the Christian salvation is a Divine intervention in our life, not the product of our religious efforts. Simply to abide in Christ and to trust God Almighty for our righteousness, our life, our joy, and our accomplishments is a way of life a child can understand but which the most mature saint finds quite challenging.
"Letting go and letting God" is fairly easy at times. But in other instances it can be difficult. It requires considerable experience as a saint before we are able to dwell in God's rest without being seduced into sin, without lapsing into spiritual carelessness and inactivity, or without going back and picking up some burden we had committed to God previously.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed unto his death; (Philippians 3:10)
The saint spends his life in diligent seeking in order to begin to know Christ the Lord. There must be consistent, earnest walking in the Spirit of God, continual meditation in the Word of God, daily victory over the lusts of the flesh and eyes and the pride of life, and total obedience to the will of God before we gain some proficiency in being able to live by the power of the resurrection of Christ.
Resurrection power is available to every believer from the moment of accepting Christ as his Lord and Savior. The power of Christ assists us from the first day of our Christian pilgrimage. But there is a gradual increase of resurrection life in us as we make our way toward the fullness of Christ.
To attain to the fullness of resurrection life is to attain perfect redemption. To always think, speak, and act in the power and wisdom of eternal resurrection life is to abide in the land of promise.
John 14:23 and 17:21-23 teach us of the coming to abide in us of the Father and the Son. These verses reveal to us the perfect oneness, the complete reconciliation to God, that is to be ours through the Lord Jesus Christ. There is to be nothing whatever in us that is not in Christ, of Christ, and through Christ.
As we walk in stern, joyful obedience to the Lord Jesus, through the wisdom and power given to us by the Holy Spirit, we find that the Lord is making us aware of our total dependence on Himself. Sometimes trouble and afflictions are sent to us and these may call to our attention the areas of our life that have not as yet been brought wholly into oneness with God through Christ.
We always must be pressing on to the fullness of life in the Spirit of God. If it is our intention to abide in Christ, and Christ in us, we must learn to think, speak, and act in the Spirit of God.
If the Spirit of God uncovers sin in our life, that particular sin must be confessed and then resisted in the Lord. If the Spirit of God leads us into difficult situations in which we are required to do things unpleasant to us, our prayers not being answered for a season, then we must ask the Spirit to give to us the body and blood of Christ in order that we may possess sufficient virtue to overcome the present evil with the good of Christ.
It is time now for the saints to wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb and to progress to a union with the Lord Jesus so perfect and complete it may be referred to truly as "the marriage of the Lamb."
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)
God will not be content with His work of redemption until He has brought His elect, and finally every member of the nations of the saved, into perfect oneness with Himself. God desires to be our Salvation, our Song, our Wisdom, our Health, our Life.
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:28)
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
"Christ, who is our life"! God will be upholding us fully when He Himself is dwelling in us and is our eternal Life. His Holy Spirit is bringing us to the place where we shall be able to accept the coming to rest in us of the Father and the Son. Then God Himself will be our Life.
The member of the Body of Christ does not live and walk in his own strength. Little by little he is led to exchange his wisdom and strength for the Divine wisdom and strength of the Lord Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit who directs the process of exchange. The Spirit of God brings us down into death in order that He may raise us in His eternal strength.
This exchange goes on each day if we are walking in obedience to the Spirit of God. Death, and life! Death, and life! Death and life until we are filled with resurrection life.
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (II Corinthians 4:10,11)
The persons whom God calls to Himself often are worried about pleasing God. In some instances they are zealous people who become unduly concerned if they are not making sufficient spiritual progress according to their own standard.
It may come as a blessing and relief to such believers to begin to understand some small measure of the love and pleasure of God that always is directed toward them.
God delights in His Servant.
We do not always comprehend the full extent of God's pleasure in us. It helps us to understand God's delight in us when we learn that we were called to be God's Servant before the creation of the world. He knew us and called us by name before He created the heavens and the earth.
But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (Isaiah 43:1)
Known unto God are all his works from the creation of the world. (Acts 15:18)
In the beginning God created each of His elect in the image of His Son, Christ. God observed that all He had created was very good. Then God rested. Our task is to enter that rest through the means God has provided for us.
In the mind of God the saints already are perfect and complete in Christ. God sees not only us but also people yet unborn as being in the image of His Son.
When God commanded, "Behold my servant" there was no servant for us to behold. But now we see Jesus who Himself fulfills all that was spoken concerning the Servant of the Lord.
In addition, God is bringing many sons to glory, many heirs of salvation to full age. God already beholds them in the image of His Son. Moreover, God is greatly delighted with the brothers of Christ.
One of Satan's devices in the day in which we live is to persuade Christians they are worthless, that God does not love them, that they are failures, that they cannot succeed as a Christian and so forth. This attitude of defeat and unbelief is destructive of our laying hold on our inheritance in Christ.
Depression is a serious malady. We must pray that the Lord Jesus will heal our moodiness. We must gain His help so we do not take refuge in our inadequacies. The Scripture commands us: "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed" (Hebrews 12:12,13).
Clinical depression does not always respond readily to the prayers of the saint. He or she must be patient, just as in any other malady, until the Lord grants the victory. Sometimes medical assistance is needed and the Lord will direct in this. While we are doing our best with the help that is at hand we always are to remain in hopeful expectation that God will intervene and grant the miracle of healing we desire. He often does this!
God delights in His saints. He is not scolding us all the time because of our weaknesses and mistakes. God always is inviting, leading, encouraging us, offering to provide every resource to help us on our way with rejoicing.
God is good. There is no one good other than God. God delights in us.
We can press on to the fullness of Christ because God's holy, unchanging, unfailing Word directs us to do so. God Himself has promised to meet every need of the obedient saint.
The Lord delights in each of His elect.
"I have put my spirit upon him."
The term Christ means Anointed One. Christ is the One who is anointed with the fullness of the Holy Spirit of God.
The reason why Christians are given the Holy Spirit is that we may be created the Body of Christ, the fullness of the Servant of the Lord (Ephesians 1:22,23). The peoples of the earth who are not Christians do not have the Holy Spirit of God abiding in them.
It is significant that the holy anointing Oil is abiding in and upon us. It is a priestly anointing. The Holy Spirit baptizes us into the Body of the Anointed One, into the Servant of the Lord.
During the present age the Holy Spirit is recruiting members for, and building up spiritually, the Body of Christ, of the Anointed Deliverer. During the Kingdom Age, which will be instituted at the return to earth of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord will empower the Servant of the Lord to bring forth justice to the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. (Psalms 96:13)
He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment [justice] in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:4)
The scepter of Christ's Kingdom is a scepter of justice!
Our physical body is composed of a great number of contributing parts, some external and some internal. Yet we possess only one body even though there are many systems and parts that operate in it.
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (I Corinthians 12:12)
It is true of Christ, of the Servant of the Lord, that He includes a great number of contributing members. Christ is the exalted Head of the Body of Christ. The Body itself is made up of a multitude of saints, each of whom makes a unique contribution to the Body.
This fact in no manner detracts from the preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, it glorifies Christ; for He always is glorified in us, in His Bride.
The emphasis in the mind of God the Father is not that there be many replicas of Christ in the universe. The Scripture may appear to teach this in some passages, but it is not true.
What God has in mind is to enlarge Christ.
The Holy Spirit is forming Christ in us; not Christ-likeness, but Christ ! Christ is dwelling in us and His Divine Substance is being formed in us.
When the process has been completed we will be in the image of Christ, it is true, but it will be an image flowing from Christ who is dwelling in us.
We are an integral part of Him! He is an integral part of us! It is a marriage, a union, a pounding together of molecule into molecule until separation is impossible. It is an eternal welding of two personalities into one Personality, neither identity being lost.
God the Father always retains His identity. Christ always retains His identity. But all that the Father is the Son is, and all that the Son is the Father is. The Father and the Son are One.
The Lord Jesus Christ always retains His identity, His uniqueness. The Father always retains His identity. The members of the Servant of the Lord always retain their identity. But when the process of reconciliation has been completed it will be true that all that the Father and the Son are the saint is (except in realms of authority and greatness), and all that the saint is the Father and the Son are. The Father, the Son, and the saint shall be one!
What is the motive behind the program that is proceeding from the Father in Heaven? There is but one motive; there are not two motives. The motive is Divine love.
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:13)
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:16)
There is only one Body of Christ. When a person becomes a Christian, a true, born-again saint (not according to the undemanding ritual that passes today for conversion or for being born again), the Holy Spirit comes upon him and baptizes him into the Body of the Servant of the Lord, that is, into the elect Israel. The Servant of the Lord is true Israel, the Seed of Abraham, the Anointed One who will bring justice to the nations of the earth.
The Kingdom of God will come to the earth, under the administration of Christ in His Church (which is true Israel, consisting of both Jews and Gentiles), and the will of God shall be done in the earth as it now is being practiced in Heaven in the Presence of God.
The Church of Christ, being the Body of the Servant of the Lord, is to be filled with the Spirit of God.
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; (Isaiah 11:2)
It is the will of God that the Church, the Body of Christ, be filled with these several aspects and abilities of the Spirit of God. The reason we do not possess the fullness of the Spirit of God is that we do not beseech God in Jesus' name for the Spirit. When we ask, seek, and knock, diligently, consistently, and continuously, never, never ceasing, then God will give to us the fullness of the anointing God's Word promises to the Servant of the Lord.
The Spirit of wisdom is necessary if the Church is to know what to think, say, and do as it encounters the dilemmas, confusions, and catastrophes of our time.
Ours is a day in which more people than ever before in the history of the Christian Church are acquainted with the gifts and ministries of the Spirit. Great opportunity is before us and also great danger.
The danger is that we, not knowing the mind of God, may blindly run about attempting to deliver people. This is what is taking place. The Charismatic movement is an illustration of people exalting themselves through the blind, self-centered use of the gifts of the Spirit of God. The Charismatic movement is on its way to becoming the False Prophet (Revelation 13:11).
The Spirit does not give us gifts so we may go about as so many deliverers in the earth. The gifts are given to us so we may build up the Body of Christ, but only as the Lord directs. Any ministry that does not proceed from the cross, from a minister who is living a crucified life, is in immediate danger of becoming part of the False Prophet.
We need wisdom. We need to know what Christ is thinking. It is not enough to attempt to do good in the Kingdom of God. We must find God's will for the present hour.
The Spirit of understanding is required so we may have a clear sense of the mind of God in all areas of endeavor. It is relatively easy for us to gain a head knowledge of Christ, a knowledge of the facts of theology. But knowing God Himself, understanding His Person, His way, His will, and His eternal purpose in Christ and in Jerusalem, can come only through the Spirit of understanding. We need to know God Himself, not just a set of theological facts about God.
The Servant of the Lord must not be harsh with people (which can happen when we do not have an understanding of the ways of the Lord, when we are attempting to enforce our own religious will). We may have knowledge about a situation and even a certain amount of wisdom concerning the right thing to do. But the Spirit of understanding enables us to mix judgment with a deep appreciation for the many pressures and factors that cause people to do as they do. Our wisdom and knowledge always must be seasoned with love, mercy, joy, peace, humility, kindliness, and a dash of good humor and common sense.
We need the Spirit of understanding in order to rightly interpret the Scriptures. Each passage, each verse, must be viewed in the context of the entire Bible. The Scriptures are one whole from Genesis through Revelation. If we limit our understanding of salvation to a handful of verses that support the current understanding of "how to get saved." the great bulk of the Scriptures, the types and statements, will lie untouched.
We must beware of the spirit of the Pharisee. The Pharisees obeyed the letter of the Scriptures blindly. The letter of the Scriptures forbade the drinking of blood. The Lord Jesus requires of His saints that they drink His blood. Because of this and other statements and actions the Pharisees had a scriptural basis for putting the Lord Jesus to death.
The Pharisees were not in touch with God, only with the Scriptures. As infallible and as necessary as the Scriptures are, both Old and New Testament, they are never to be a substitute for knowing the Lord Himself.
No commandment of the Old or New Testament is to be obeyed blindly. Indeed we must obey the numerous commandments found in the writings of the Apostles, but we are to look always to the Lord for strength and guidance in keeping His Word. If we do not we will be as a Pharisee, ready to murder our Christ. The letter kills but the Spirit gives life.
The Spirit of counsel is in great demand today. Many people are looking for someone who will listen to their problems and offer suggestions that will bring relief from the anxiety, confusion, and pain of living. We need to pray to God that He will give to us a word in season for the weary and distressed.
Here again we must insert a caution because of what is taking place in our time.
"Counseling" has become fashionable. The ministry instead of proclaiming the Word of Christ is "counseling" people and people are flocking to the counselors.
It often (not always) is true that people request counseling as much as they do because they are not living according to the Scriptures. They are not living according to the Scriptures because the ministry is not preaching the Word of God. It is a vicious cycle.
People today are reaping what they have sown. No amount of counseling can remove all the pressure from an individual who is being judged by the Lord. We can pray. We can advise. But there is no formula that works in all situations.
The ministers of today are studying psychology in the hopes of becoming expert in counseling. The discipline of psychology is based on research, experience, and sometimes on the Scriptures, and can be learned. (However, some of the theory and practice of contemporary psychology and psychiatry is demonic in origin.)
There often is value in psychological counseling. It is true also that the contemporary need is for people to serve God. If Satan has gained a foothold in the individual's life the expert advice may prove to be ineffective.
In some instances there are manifestations of demons in the client's home. It may be true that we will be seeing in the future a great increase in demonic manifestations and visitations. Counseling that is not godly will not be able to solve those types of problems and may intensify them.
God has not called us to patch up the woes of mankind. God has called us to proclaim the will of God. Christ will heal those who are walking in righteousness, after they have suffered for a season while they are learning of God's holy Person and ways.
To attempt to solve the problems of disobedient Christians through counseling techniques is not a proper use of the Spirit of counsel. The Spirit of counsel is for those who are ready to serve the Lord, not for Christians who want to get repaired so they may continue in their self-seeking, lustful ways.
The Spirit of might, of the miracle-working power of the Kingdom of God, must come to the Church in these days so we freely can demonstrate in advance the glory that will come to the earth with the return of Christ. Until the signs and wonders are following the Gospel we have only half a Gospel. The peoples of the earth must behold as well as hear the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Once more the danger flag must be raised. During the twentieth century we have seen powerful gifts of healing, of faith, of miracles. Thank God for them!
But self-seeking entered along with the gifts of power. Miracles are attractive to people, and soon the minds of the ministers and of the people were turned away from what the Lord desires. Evangelists began to argue among themselves about who had the largest tent. Money became a temptation because of the willingness of the crowds to give money when they saw the power of the Lord.
When the Lord gives a gift of power in our day it sometimes is perverted into a tool to exalt the recipient. He or she becomes the new idol of the believers, particularly the Charismatic believers.
In some instances the exalted minister is not adhering even to the basic principles of Christian living. He becomes a kind of God and his publications and institutions proclaim his name throughout the world. It is the False Prophet!
The "two witnesses," that is, the anointed saints of the latter-rain outpouring of the last days, will be "clothed in sackcloth" (Revelation 11:3). They will have been purged of self-seeking and self-aggrandizement. They will reveal in themselves the Glory of the Lord. They will be as little children in their heart, trusting the Lord with their hand in His.
In the eyes of God the character of the saint always is more important than his ministry. His or her ministry during the present age is for the briefest of periods. But the saint will be God's servant for eternity.
God may take steps to purify some of His "stars" so God does not lose His servants because of their exposure to success and prominence. In other cases the ministers who are working unrighteousness will pass into eternity, there to be driven from the Presence of the Lord. Success in ministry never is a substitute for godliness.
God will give His saints the Spirit of knowledge of facts and events past, present, and future if they will pray for such knowledge. The Body of Christ is not to be blind to the future, as is the world, but must be shown by the Spirit the things that are to come to pass.
Tremendous changes are to occur in the immediate future in both the Church and the world. It is a fact of the Scriptures that God warns His prophets, and through them His people, of the things that are to come to pass in the earth. Knowledge and warning concerning the future is one of God's provisions for His elect.
But ye, brothers, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (I Thessalonians 5:4)
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)
Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. (Isaiah 42:9)
Lot was ignorant concerning the forthcoming overthrow of his city but Abraham was not.
The Spirit of the fear of the Lord , a godly fear, must return to the churches of Christ. Our overfamiliarity with the things of God and our notion that God and His Christ exist for our pleasure are not founded on truth. Paul persuaded men because he knew the terror of the Lord--what it will mean to fall into the hands of God.
The Christian churches have been deceived concerning the fear of the Lord.
We have been led to believe that God is anxious to play our little games. We do not know God as well as we think we do. We have not seen Him !
When we do see God and come to know a little of His Personality we shall obey God in godly fear. God is the greatest of all kings. He deserves and demands the reverence due the mightiest of monarchs. That God loves His elect dearly and is using every means to enable us to make a success of our calling does not change the fact that we should be rendering to Him the obedience and respect that are the right of the most awesome of all potentates.
Why must we have the Spirit of the fear of the Lord? Apart from the fear of the Lord there is no way in which we can gain and keep a correct perspective on life. The plan of redemption cannot be understood and the Kingdom of God cannot gain ground in the earth apart from an awe of, a respect and reverence for, a genuine fear of, the Lord of Armies.
People today are teaching that it is not appropriate for the saint to fear God, only to reverence God. By this teaching they are revealing that they are coming short of the Glory of God and that we are in the last days. It is the influence of Antichrist and humanism.
Reverence and fear are not the same attitude. One may reverence the statue of a famous individual or his memory. But this is not the same as fearing the statue or the memory. Wisdom teaches us the fear of the Lord as well as love for the Lord.