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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. (I John 2:28,29)

How do we know that we have been born of Christ? Because we do what is right. How the overemphasis on belief and grace ever gained the ground that it has, I do not know. Don’t people ever read First John? Maybe the reason is, they read First John chapter 3 and focus on the first two verses:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (I John 3:1,2)

This means, it is conjectured, that everyone who “accepts Christ” will suddenly be like Him when He appears. They will have the same character, be morally pure as He is pure, be gentle, kind, and courageous. Perhaps this is what commonly is assumed.

They are not like that now. But the moment Christ appears, voila! With no effort on their part, they will have the same character as the Lord Jesus, be as morally pure as He is, be gentle, kind, and courageous. Right now they may have a self-centered, unbelieving character, be immoral, and be harsh, unkind, and fearful. But just let the trumpet blow: They will become perfect saints, qualified to walk with Enoch, Abraham, and the Apostle Paul.

Common sense tells us this is foolishness. But then, religion is not always a friend of common sense.

“The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.” John, the Apostle of Christ, was writing about those fervent disciples that he was acquainted with. I would guess that today, the world knows most of the Christian believers. We are not so righteous in behavior and holy in personality that the world cannot understand us.

There will be some who will be like Christ when He appears because they already are like Christ. The only sudden transformation is the clothing of the righteous, holy, obedient disciples with a body fitted for the new creation they have become.

And you know, there may be few believers who will be ready to receive Christ when He appears. We may think that every believer in Christ will be caught up to meet Him in the air. But this is not in accord with the Bible, is it? Isn’t it true that most of Israel was continually rebelling against God while only a few were standing true—just like today?

I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. (Ezekiel 22:20)

“I found no one”!

Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city. (Jeremiah 5:1)

“But one person”! Is it different today? Has the preaching of unconditional grace prevented many believers from discovering the true Nature of the God of Israel, who demands iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father? In the days of Noah, eight people were saved. Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah.”

People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:27-30)

Is this true of America today? Notice carefully that in the days of Noah, people were wicked. Noah alone was righteous out of the millions of people on the earth.

The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (Genesis 6:5)

Yet Jesus did not mention the wickedness. Then what is it that will keep God’s people from being resurrected and caught up to meet Him when He appears?

People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. In America today, people are as wicked as they were in the days of Noah and Lot. But what are the church people doing? Eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. Eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, and building are not sins. Why, then, will the Lord not receive such people when He appears? Because He has told us we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Instead, the believers of today are listening to preachers who are telling them how to be rich and prosperous. I do not believe many of the American Christians of today will be ready when Christ appears!

What if only eight people are ready to receive Christ? Will you and I be among them? “Brother Thompson, you are speaking foolishness.” Am I? How many Christian people that you know are presenting their bodies a living sacrifice that they might know the perfect will of God for their lives? Is God with the majority or the minority?

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13,14)
Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. (Genesis 5:24)
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. (Mark 9:2)

Think about it. One of the greatest events of all history, and only three of earth’s people witnessed it. What about today’s stress on numbers of people in attendance?

These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14)

How many people pass from the ranks of the called to the ranks of the chosen, and then stand true after repeated tests and temptations?

I think I am blowing the trumpet in Zion. The attitude of numerous Christian people in America is that when Christ appears, everyone who has made a profession of belief in the Lord Jesus will be changed and caught up to meet Him, and then go with Him to Heaven.

I believe we are mistaken. It may be more nearly correct that there will be a handful from each Christian assembling—if that many! Those who are caught up to meet the Lord in the air will be an elite, each one being a king. These are the kings who come from the East, ready to rid the earth of sin and to install the eternal Kingdom of God.

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. (Revelation 16:12)

The “kings,” the victorious saints, will come from the East, from the rising of the Sun of the Day of The Lord. The dried-up bed of the Euphrates River will be the staging area for Mahanaim, the double camp of saints and angels, as they descend from the platform in the air. The “kings from the East” are the Firstfruits of the Body of Christ who were ready to receive the Lord when He appears.

And they sang a new song, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:9,10)

They have been made like Him in character as they have obeyed the Spirit of God. When He appears, they will transformed in body, filled with eternal power and incorruption.

There is this about God’s Word: it is absolutely correct in detail. It maintains that only the pure in heart ever shall see God. Are we pure in heart?

All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (I John 3:3)

What’s this about purifying ourselves? Purifying ourselves? Is this scriptural? I thought God purified us.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1—NKJV)

“Perfecting holiness in the fear of God”! Perfecting holiness! How often is it preached from the pulpits of America that we must perfect holiness in the fear of God? (The Greek word is “fear,” not “reverence”). How many times have you heard it preached? I think our theology has been heavily influenced by the philosophy of Humanism.

If we are to be like Christ when He appears, we have a job to do, don’t we?

Revelation speaks of 144,000 standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion. I believe this number includes the firstfruits in the spirit world and also on the earth. If there are that many who have purified themselves, we can be thankful. There are millions of “believers” who are not actually disciples of the Lord, and are not in any manner qualified to receive Him when He appears.

We already have come to Mount Zion, and the Lamb no longer is sitting, waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool. He is standing. The trumpets are sounding. It is time to follow the Spirit of God until all the enemies of Christ in us have been brought into subjection to the Lord.

Can you see how the current perversion of Paul’s teaching of grace has undermined the Gospel of the Kingdom? We have been taught the necessity for believing in Christ but not the necessity for obeying Christ and His Apostles.

It reminds me of the Israelites who were led by miracles through the wilderness. But when they came to the border of the land of promise, they would not believe that God, after bringing them so far, could bring them into Canaan and finish the job.

We are like that today. We believe that God has forgiven our sins through the Lord Jesus. But we cannot seem to believe He can finish the job by delivering us from our sins and self-will. Forgiven, yes. Set free from sin, no. Christ cannot finish the job, so we have to be content with forgiveness only.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. (I John 3:4)

When a Jewish Apostle speaks of the “law,” he is referring to the Law of Moses. Sin is the breaking of the Law of Moses. I realize we no longer are under the Law of Moses, but under the Law of the Spirit of Life. However, if we truly are being led by the Holy Spirit, we do not break the eternal moral law of God, of which the Law of Moses is an abridged form.

As long as we are confessing our sins and renouncing them, as the Holy Spirit points them out to us, the part of our sin nature that has not been revealed to us as yet remains under the blood of the Lamb. But the moment the Spirit makes us aware of a sin in our behavior, we are to present ourselves before Christ; confess the sin clearly; denounce it as unworthy of the Kingdom of God; renounce it, turning away from it vigorously. Christ will help us never to behave in this manner again—not for eternity! It is an eternal judgment of an unclean spirit.

It never is God’s will for a Christian to live in known sin. When we refuse to confess and turn away from any sin that has been pointed out to us by the Spirit, we are committing willful sin. There is no atonement in the Old Testament or the New for willful sin. We are facing the fire of God that shall destroy His adversaries.

But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or foreigner, blasphemes the Lord and must be cut off from the people of Israel. (Numbers 15:30)
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26,27)

When we sin willfully and knowingly, we are blaspheming the Lord and become the enemy of God. Nor will there be a chance in the next world to be delivered. Once Christ and His will have been made known to us clearly, and we harden our heart, there is no second chance after we die.

It is true that teaching and deliverance do occur in the spirit world. If that were not the case, there could be no Church without spot or wrinkle. But such teaching and deliverance are for those who never have known the way of forgiveness and deliverance. There is no second chance for those who, while living on the earth, knew what they were supposed to do and did not do it.

But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. (I John 3:5)

Do you see anything in this verse about forgiveness of our sins? “He might take away our sins.” Not take away the guilt, but take away the sins themselves. “In Christ there is no sin.” If we are to be like Him, there must be no sin in us! Right?

For two thousand years the Christian churches have focused on Jesus our Savior, on the One who forgives our sins. Well, the times are changing. We are entering the last three festivals of Israel: The Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Festival of Tabernacles. These three portray the climactic work of the Divine redemption. Our sins are removed from us, as we obey the Spirit, until finally we are filled with all the fullness of God. Does this sound like anything you desire? Then go to Christ and find out what you should be doing right now. He will help you.

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (I John 3:6)

Continuing to sin means we have rejected the help of the Holy Spirit in the task of confessing and turning away from our sin. We are refusing to become a new creation. We do not believe Christ has the power or is willing to deliver us from the deeds of our sinful nature. So we keep on in our old patterns of behavior, trusting that when He appears we shall be made like Him instantly with no effort on our part. This indicates we neither have seen Him or known Him.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. (I John 3:7)

As I stated in the beginning of this essay, we know we have been born of God when we do what is right.

How did we ever get so far from the truth that we believe the Gospel message is that God declares us righteous when we say we “accept Christ,” independently of our behavior? This is no kingdom at all. It actually is a fantasy, a delusion, that says “I don’t care how you behave.“ Just say that you believe in Jesus, and I will welcome you even though you are practicing sin and intend to keep behaving in an unclean manner.”

But what is God actually saying?

What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” (II Corinthians 16,17)

Quite a difference, isn’t there?

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (I John 3:8)

When we know the right thing to do, have the power to do it, and then excuse ourselves by saying everyone sins in this world, we have chosen to obey Satan. Jesus Christ did not come to forgive the devil’s work, but to destroy it. When we are living in what we think is a state of forgiveness, but are not cooperating with the Holy Spirit in the task of destroying Satan’s work in us, we have chosen Satan over God. We may not enjoy the truth because we prefer our complacency.

Nevertheless, the Bible states that the one who does what is sinful is of the devil. This is just as true as John 3:16. The same Apostle wrote both passages.

If we are moving ahead in the work of confessing and turning away from our sins, then we are covered by the blood of the Lamb. But if we are careless, knowing we are sinning and not coming to Christ for deliverance, then we have chosen to be the servant of Satan.

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. (I John 3:9)

If we have been born of God, and His Life is increasing in us, we are not going to keep on sinning. Christ has made a way for us to overcome sin.

For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)

If you and I are willing to interact with Jesus Christ until we have been able to live victoriously in Him, we will be among the chosen few who, at His appearing, will be like Him and will see Him as He is.

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. (I John 3:21,22)
For many are invited, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14)

(“To Be Like Jesus”, 3575-2, proofed 20210830)

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