THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE DEVOTIONAL

THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE Copyright

 

THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE

3 Devotions from Fifty-two Kingdom Concepts by Robert B. Thompson

Compiled and Edited by

Edward J. Reiter

Copyright Š 2000, 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DAY 1: Born of God

DAY 2: The Bride of the Lamb

DAY 3: Christ, Head and Body

DAY 4: The Coming of the Lord

DAY 5: The Day of Atonement

DAY 6: The Disciple

DAY 7: Eternal Life

DAY 8: Faith

DAY 9: The Feasts of the Lord

DAY 10: The Firstfruits of the Bride

DAY 11: Grace and Faith Versus the Law of Moses, Not Versus Righteous Behavior

DAY 12: The Great Tribulation

DAY 13: Image and Union

DAY 14: Israel

DAY 15: The Judges of Men and Angels

DAY 16: The Judgment Seat of Christ

DAY 17: The Kingdom of God

DAY 18: The Manifestation of the Sons of God

DAY 19: The Nations of the Saved

DAY 20: The Overcomer

DAY 21: The Resurrection

DAY 22: Suffering and Glory

DAY 23: Survival and Achievement, Worship, and Accomplishment

DAY 24: The Temple of God

DAY 25: The Three Stages of Redemption

DAY 26: The Throne of God

DAY 27: Two Beginnings

DAY 28: Two Kinds of Righteousness

DAY 29: War

DAY 30: The Witness of God

DAY 31: Working Out Our Salvation

CONCLUSION

DAY 1: Born of God The idea of being born of God, or born again, has come to mean an acceptance of the theological facts concerning Jesus Christ. Many Americans claim to be born again. Yet we often do not see in their lives evidence of the righteous behavior of the Kingdom of God. No new creation can be observed.

There are two aspects of having Christ in us. The first aspect is that of the conception and formation of the Divine Nature in us. For this to be true we must take up our personal cross and follow the Master, permitting the Holy Spirit to guide us in the crucifixion of our adamic personality. Christ is formed in us through the travail of the ministries of the Body of Christ.

The second aspect of having Christ in us is the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell for eternity in our transformed inner nature. God will never dwell in Adam. He will walk with Adam in Paradise but He will not dwell in Adam. The Father's only House is the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only to the extent that Christ has been formed in us that God can dwell in us; for He dwells in Christ in us. Scripture for today: I Peter 1:23 Prayer for today: Father, let all that happens today cause the new creation within me to grow to maturity.

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DAY 2: The Bride of the Lamb Christ is the Passover Lamb. The important aspect of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt was not that of the escape of human beings from physical slavery. The Centerpiece of the exodus is the Passover Lamb. The Jews left the slavery of Egypt and put on the chains of slavery to demons. But whoever eats the Passover Lamb and lives by Him is forever free from slavery. The only free individual is the one who is the slave of Jesus Christ, as the Icelandic poet, Halgrímur Pétursson, maintained.

When the slain Lamb appears in the sky, the “eagles” who live by eating His flesh and drinking His blood shall be caught up to be with Him forever. Correct doctrine will never raise anyone to meet Christ in the air. It is His body and blood in us that will raise us.

We must gain a glimpse of the nature and power of the love that motivates the Lamb in His dealings with His Church. The intensity of the Divine love will change our understanding of the new covenant, particularly the Communion service. The Song of Solomon will become real to us. Scripture for today: John 17:21 Prayer for today: Father, I’d rather be the slave of Jesus Christ than a free person living by my own strength and wisdom. Today, help me to live by the body and blood of Your Son.

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DAY 3: Christ, Head and Body Truly the Church Age might be termed “the Age of Presumption.” We have taken matters into our own hands. Instead of waiting for our directions from the Head we have gone forth in our own wisdom, strength, and talents to do the work of the Kingdom of God. We are as an individual afflicted and handicapped by a severe motor dysfunction. On the one hand we are paralyzed. On the other hand our movements are uncontrollable. This is not too harsh an indictment on us. It is the truth!

Hopefully in our day there will be some members of the Body of Christ who absolutely will refuse to put their hand on the ark of God’s Glory. They will look to Jesus instead of to themselves. They will hear the end-time call of the Spirit of God: “Not by might but by My Spirit says the Lord.” They will wait for the Lord to tell them what to do.

Will you and I be among those who cease from our own works and enter God’s rest, into the place where we are so joined to the Head that we respond to His every desire, just as in a healthy body the members are instantly responsive to the brain? Scripture for today: I Corinthians 12:12 Prayer for today: Father, as a member of the Body of Christ guide me into the place where I belong and fit best.

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DAY 4: The Coming of the Lord We ought not to be teaching that which is not found clearly stated in the Gospels, the Epistles, and the Book of Revelation. Our unscriptural teaching that the Lord will return before His historical second coming to catch up the saints so they will not suffer has a negative effect on the spiritual maturing of the believers. They remain as silly, undisciplined children jumping up and down next to their pews in the hope that any moment now they will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.

There is an age of moral horrors on the horizon. The believers simply are not prepared for the catastrophes we are facing in America. They are not going to be able to serve as a witness of God's faithful protection. They will be screaming in terror along with the unsaved because they have not prepared themselves to stand in the day of evil.

The unscriptural “any-moment-rapture” myth is leaving them unprepared to stand in the day of evil, in direct opposition to Paul's exhortation in the Book of Ephesians concerning preparing ourselves for the day of evil. Scripture for today: I Thessalonians 1:6,7 Prayer for today: Father, prepare me for the coming of the Lord that I might stand as a faithful witness of Your glory.

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DAY 5: The Day of Atonement As an experienced Christian you may find that the sins and rebellion of your personality are becoming obvious. You are not to ignore these leadings of the Spirit and claim that God sees you only in Christ. This is not the approach indicated in the New Testament. There are only two ways in which a human being can live—in the life of his flesh, or in the Life of the Spirit of God. It is God's will that every human being walk in the Spirit of God rather than in the life of his or her flesh.

It is your job to walk in the Spirit of God each day. It is the Spirit's task to bring your sins to your attention. It is your responsibility then to cooperate with the Spirit as He enables you to put to death the sin or rebellion under scrutiny. This process is an eternal judgment of sin.

Once you confess your sin and turn away from it with the Lord's help, it never again will be mentioned to you. It is an eternal judgment. But if you ignore the Spirit's warning and do not confess your sin, do not seek the Lord's help in turning away from it, you will be judged for your disobedience at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Do not let anyone deceive you. Scripture for today: Galatians 6:7,8 Prayer for today: Father, deliver me from all sin.

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DAY 6: The Disciple One can be an American Christian in all the customary meanings of the term and yet not be a disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple of Jesus Christ is an individual who in his heart has come out from the world, who is denying himself and seeking Christ with all his might. His whole life—every part of it—is centered on the Lord Jesus.

A disciple will turn down promotion on his job if he judges that it will in any manner affect his fervent pursuit of Christ. He is learning, learning, learning every day of what it means to walk with God. Every day he is more proficient in recognizing good and evil and more capable in the desire and strength to reject the evil and choose the good.

Every day his natural strength is being broken and he is living more and more by God's strength and wisdom. He is being fed the hidden manna, the body and blood of Christ, and he is living in this virtue. There is absolutely nothing in his life, no thing, no relationship, no activity, no circumstance that he will not give to Christ promptly if it is asked for. He is being freed from all idolatry. Scripture for today: Luke 14:26,27

Prayer for today: Father, beginning today help me to be a more faithful and devoted disciple of Jesus.

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DAY 7: Eternal Life When we receive Christ as our Savior we are given a portion of eternal life. Then the fight is on. Our sinful nature desires to maintain its own ideas and life. The eternal life that is in us desires to increase so that our fellowship with God may be strengthened.

Death and life struggle each day for mastery over us. If we obey God in all matters, living as a Christian should, observing the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, God will deliver us from sin and rebellion one step at a time. Each deliverance from spiritual death causes spiritual life to increase in us.

If we do not observe the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, if we do not live as a Christian should, then we are not undergoing the process of deliverance from sin. Then we are in danger, as in the parable of the sower, of losing the life that had been given to us. The ten virgins went to meet the Lord. Five were too low on oil, on the Life of God. They were not permitted to go to be with the Lord. Scripture for today: I Timothy 6:12 Prayer for today: Father, help me to value eternal life more than I currently do and cause me to follow hard after it.

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DAY 8: Faith That New Testament faith is not belief in theological statements, no matter how accurate, is demonstrated by the fact that the writer of the Book of Hebrews, when giving examples of faith, used the heroes of the Old Testament. Never once is it emphasized that their doctrine was correct. Never once is it emphasized that they employed aggressive faith by deciding what they thought God ought to do and then daring God to do it.

The faith of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews is not the magic we think of today, by which we imagine we can think or speak what we want and it comes to pass magically. The faith portrayed in Hebrews is not natural faith, as when we sit down in a chair and believe it will hold us.

Rather, faith is obedience to the vision God has given us because we understand that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him diligently. Biblical faith does not proceed from the soul of man but from the Spirit of God as a gift to us so we may do God's will. We are to think soberly of ourselves according to the amount of faith God has given us. Scripture for today: Romans 12:3 Prayer for today: Father, make my faith the kind that causes me to walk in righteousness, holiness and obedience to God.

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DAY 9: The Feasts of the Lord The original sin was Satan's self-will. His self-assertion is the source of all other sin. As long as we are alive in our own will, even our Christian or ministerial will, we will destroy the work of God all around us. We can speak in tongues, prophesy, work miracles, all in the name of Jesus. Thousands of souls may make a profession of faith in Christ. But in that Day we will hear, “Depart from me.”

The greatest problem of Christianity of every age is the self-will of the ministry and the people. It is self-will that caused the death of the millions of martyrs who refused to bow to the demands of the popes, priests, and Protestant kings and queens. It is self-will that produces turmoil and division in the little store-front church.

Until we are willing to permit God to crucify our self-will we are an enemy of God and man. The primary characteristic of the individual who is walking in the life of the adamic nature is his insistence on having his own way. He will have a childish tantrum if his desires are thwarted. Scripture for today: Matthew 13:41 Prayer for today: Father, make Your will the object of my heart’s desire and teach me to delight in the doing of it.

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DAY10: The Firstfruits of the Bride Each one of us has his own mark, a mark given from the beginning of the world. We shall be eternally joyous and fulfilled only as we find our predestined place in the Kingdom of God, whether it is a highly exalted role or one of far less preeminence. Neither personal ambition nor sluggishness is permitted in the Kingdom. If we cannot cheerfully clean up behind the horses in the royal parade we will never have a place in the front chariot.

Predestination is not inevitability. If we do not diligently use the Kingdom talents we have been given, whether ten, or five, or one, what we have been given will be removed from us and given to another, and we shall be thrown into the outer darkness. This is what God has stated clearly.

So we set aside all else, forgetting the past, and press forward toward that which God has set before us as an individual. Let as many as are perfect be thus minded, for this is the mind of the lowly Jesus. Scripture for today: Revelation 3:4 Prayer for today: Father, the place You have chosen for me is best. Help me leave all behind to settle securely in that very special place.

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DAY 11: Grace and Faith Versus the Law of Moses, Not Versus Righteous Behavior The blood atonement, the crucifixion and bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His coming again in the clouds of glory with His holy angels, have been taught faithfully by Evangelicals. But upon this sure foundation has been constructed a mythology about a “state of grace” leading to eternal residence in a mansion in Heaven, a mythology that simply cannot be supported by an unforced examination of the New Testament.

While it is true that God forgives our sins through Christ's blood when we first place our faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit sets out immediately to guide us in putting to death the sinful nature that we may be released to walk in newness of life.

We remain without condemnation provided we keep on abiding in Christ and following the Holy Spirit at all times. Any doctrine other than this will lead the believer into Divine judgment and possibly a total loss of inheritance. Scripture for today: Titus 2:11,12 Prayer for today: Father, grant me today the proper view of grace as an enablement to undergo the process of moral transformation. Bring forth eternal fruit from this change in me.

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DAY 12: The Great Tribulation The “rapture” emphasis on escaping suffering shows that the rapture doctrine is not of God. It is popular among those who are living in the adamic nature. They desire to save their life. This is the motive of the rapture doctrine.

The true saint concentrates on pleasing the Lord. He is not afraid of suffering. He embraces the cross and is willing to share the sufferings of Christ and be conformed to His death on the cross.

When we hear people speak of escaping the great tribulation and Antichrist we know they are not hearing from the Lord and pressing into Him. They are striving to preserve their own comfortable existence. The victorious saint does not fear suffering or death. His greatest fear is that he will not please the Lord Jesus in some area of his life. Isn't that the truth?

So let us turn away from the unscriptural hope of being raptured to escape tribulation. Not only is such a doctrine completely without biblical foundation, it is an exercise of the adamic man who is seeking to save his life rather than to lose it in Christ. Scripture for today: Acts 14:22,23 Prayer for today: Father, help me not to fear suffering, rather let me fear You in a manner that will bring forth an obedient spirit within me. Teach me to lose my life, not save it.

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DAY 13: Image and Union The goal of salvation has two aspects. The first aspect is confirmation to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, first the moral image and ultimately, at His return, the bodily image. The second aspect of the goal of salvation is untroubled rest in the center of God's Person and will.

To be in Christ's image but not to be resting in the Father's Person and will would be to bring a rebellious christ into the universe. Satan desires to be like the most High but would never be content to rest in the Father's will. We hear Christians today saying they want power. This is a dangerous desire. We ought to say we want to be in the image of the Lord and to be in the center of God's will.

To be in Christ's image and at rest in God has nothing whatever to do with going to Heaven or with gaining power with God. We do not press forward into the image of Christ and into union with God through Christ in order that we might have power or that we might minister. We press forward into the image of Christ and into untroubled rest in God in order that we might please God and serve Him in His Kingdom. Scripture for today: Romans 8:29 Prayer for today: Father, bring me into union with You.

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DAY 14: Israel The olive tree is Jesus Christ. At one time the olive tree, Christ, was with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the sons of Jacob. Then, when Christ came to earth, a number of Jews did not receive Him and thus were cut from the olive tree. But a remnant did receive Christ and remained in the olive tree. Sometimes the believers forget that the first Christian Church, the Body of Christ, was composed of five thousand Jews, all keeping the Law of Moses.

So today the olive tree comprises a remnant of Jews and a remnant of Gentiles. However, Paul told us clearly that after the full number of Gentiles have been grafted on the olive tree God will turn once again to the physical land and people of Israel.

Paul said, in Romans, “all Israel shall be saved.” Paul told us also, in Romans, that to be a member of Israel is by promise. So true Israel includes all whom God has elected, at one time just physical Israel; next, a remnant of physical Israel and a remnant of Gentiles; finally, physical Israel once again. Scripture for today: Romans 11:17,18 Prayer for today: Father, today grant me a better and clearer understanding of the olive tree and my place in it.

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DAY 15: The Judges of Men and Angels Today is a period of judgment for us Christians. Judgment has begun in the household of God. All of the worldliness in us, all of the sins and passions of our flesh and soul, all of the filthiness of our spirit, all of our self-will and self-seeking, must be identified and confessed to the Lord.

We must utterly renounce all sin and rebellion. When we do, an eternal judgment is exercised on our behalf. The Lord forgives us and then through His Holy Spirit removes the love of the world, the love of sin, and the love of self from us. No spiritual darkness is permitted to remain in the Body of Christ. The Bride of the Lamb must be without spot or wrinkle, not by imputation but by actual deliverance.

Whatever we do not confess and renounce, when prompted by the Holy Spirit, is an idol. There are to be no idolaters in the Kingdom of God.

God is ready now to execute an eternal judgment in every believer who is willing to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. Ask and you shall receive! Scripture for today: Luke 22:29,30 Prayer for today: Father, judge me now, and not later. Let this judgment make me a true witness of Your will and way so that others might observe the distinction between good and evil.

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DAY 16: The Judgment Seat of Christ There is enormous confusion today over the fate of the Christian at the Judgment Seat, most Evangelical teachers claiming the believer has nothing to worry about because he or she is “saved by grace.” This is little more than Satan saying, “You shall not surely die.”

We all must be revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The good we have practiced will be given to us. The bad we have practiced will be given to us.

God, through Jesus Christ, gives us the opportunity to change what we are sowing so that in the day of resurrection we will reap eternal life. If we do not lay hold on this grace of transformation we will be judged as having neglected our great Divine salvation. As a result we will be sorely punished, and may in fact find ourselves in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

Satan is telling the believers, “You shall not surely die.” He told that to Adam and Eve. But they did die and all their descendants after them have been born in slavery to sin. Scripture for today: II Corinthians 5:10 Prayer for today: Father, today at a deeper level than ever before deliver me from that which is sowing death and help me to sow that which will reap eternal life.

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DAY 17: The Kingdom of God What God is creating now is a Kingdom, a government. The purpose of the government of Christ is to remove sin from the earth, and then to prevent its return. This is why we have to overcome sin and rebellion in our own personality before we can be permitted to be part of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

There is no point in God returning Paradise to us if there is no Kingdom that is strong enough to prevent sin from occurring again. This is why God is training victorious saints, saints who through Christ have managed to conquer every force that has come against them. They shall sit on the throne with Jesus Christ and judge the angels and the nations. They shall rule forever from their headquarters, which is the new Jerusalem.

The true effort of the new covenant is not to bring us to Heaven, it is to create Christ in us so we will be able to help ourselves and others to maintain Paradise once it is entrusted to us for the second time. Scripture for today: Acts 28:31 Prayer for today: Father, today erase the traditions of religion from my mind and create within me a true and clear understanding of what the Kingdom of God is all about.

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DAY 18: The Manifestation of the Sons of God It is God's will that you and I follow Jesus Christ in iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father. We are to pray every day that our personality will be thus transformed. Only mature believers will be resurrected when the Lord returns, be gathered to Him in the air, and then descend with Him to release the groaning material creation.

The immature believers will not be resurrected when the Lord returns. Neither will they be gathered to Him in the air. Why not? Because this first resurrection is for the members of the royal priesthood; for the soldiers of the army of the Lord; for the brothers of Christ to whom has been assigned the authority of judgment; for the members of the Body of the Servant of the Lord who will bring justice to the nations. These are they who will rise in the first resurrection. Anyone else would only bring confusion to the work of God, just as the immature do today.

If you want to be revealed to the creation in that Day, then get busy and follow the Spirit of God today. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Scripture for today: Romans 8:19 Prayer for today: Father, let today be a new beginning wherein I make eternal progress in being led by the Spirit of God.

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DAY 19: The Nations of the Saved Sometimes we are told we will have precious jewels in Heaven. This is part of our mythical eternal residence in a mansion in the spirit world. The truth is, our inheritance, since we are coheirs with Christ, is people. In fact, the only inheritance worth having is first the Lord (always the most important inheritance of the royal priesthood), and then people. All else is nothing more than environment.

The saints will govern saved mankind for eternity, because Christ is in them and God is in Christ. Thus when all have been brought into subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Father will then be All in all. This is the wheel in the wheel, as described in the Book of Ezekiel. The nations of the earth will walk forever in the Light of God streaming from the persons of the saints in whom the Lamb is dwelling. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is in them forever.

Apart from the nations of saved people we would have no inheritance. We would be priests with no one to love and serve. We would be kings with no one to govern and guide. Scripture for today: Revelation 21:24 Prayer for today: Father, make room in my heart today for the nations of the saved and cause me to treasure this inheritance.

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DAY 20: The Overcomer What does it mean to be perfect each day? It means only that we have prayed and obeyed through the challenges of the day. We are not walking around in condemnation, we are praising the Lord and living in victory through Him. In this case the blood of the Lamb keeps us without condemnation even though we have not as yet been perfected.

If God speaks to us about covetousness, then we confess our covetousness, renounce it fiercely, receive our forgiveness, and, by the Spirit of God, turn away from it. Covetousness will die in us if we really want to get rid of it. The reason people do not get delivered from sin is that they do not confess and renounce it specifically with enough determination.

If you have confessed and renounced a sin, and it does not vanish immediately, do not become discouraged. You are in a battle. Keep on confessing and renouncing the sin, not in a stressful frantic manner but in an attitude of praise and confidence in Christ; and the first thing you know the power of covetousness in your personality will be broken. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Scripture for today: Revelation 21:7 Prayer for today: Father, teach my hands to war effectively and make me a worthy, battle-tested warrior of God.

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DAY 21: The Resurrection Christians often state that they want to make Heaven their home when they die. We have fantasized an entire world and have furnished it with what we think would be desirable. Yet, almost none of the world and furnishings we think of as Heaven can be found anywhere in the Scriptures.

The truth is, our concern should not be what happens to us when we die. The Scriptures are vague on this point. The real issue is what will happen to us when our body rises from the dead. The primary goal of redemption is the adoption of our body so that it is filled with the Life of God. The Apostle Paul groaned for the adoption of his body so he would be free from the compulsions of sin.

Those who are living in total consecration to Jesus will be raised (or transformed) when He returns, and then clothed with the Glory of God. This completes their redemption. Then they shall be caught up to meet the Commander in Chief in the air in preparation for the Battle of Armageddon. Those believers who are not living in total consecration to Jesus will be judged by the Lord and His saints, as we see in the Book of Jude. Scripture for today: Philippians 3:10,11 Prayer for today: Father, today I pursue a better resurrection.

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DAY 22: Suffering and Glory Perhaps because of the rise of humanism, the idea has been advanced that God's people are not to suffer. The principal manifestation of this persuasion is the unscriptural “pre-tribulation rapture,” the stated purpose of which is to prevent God's people from suffering under Antichrist or during the great tribulation.

The last days, according to the New Testament, will be characterized by a great deal of deception. There is only one action that we can take that will guard against deception: denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following the Lord Jesus each day.

We can read the Bible constantly, pray a great deal, and still be deceived if we are seeking to make this present world a pleasant place to live. It is because of the love of pleasure that we have received the “rapture” deception and the lawless-grace deception. There is widespread doctrinal error in the Evangelical churches because we love pleasure and tend to reject the iron discipline required in the Kingdom of God. Scripture for today: I Peter 4:1,2 Prayer for today: Father, remove from me the love of pleasure and instill in me a greater desire to lay down my life completely.

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DAY 23: Survival and Achievement, Worship, and Accomplishment When all is said and done, there are only two ways of behaving in this present world. Either we utilize our own intelligence, strength, and talents or that of other people to gain survival and security, pleasure, and achievement, or else we trust God in His own way and time to provide survival and security, pleasure, and achievement for us.

God has promised us survival and security in the world. Either we will attempt to create our own survival and security or we will trust God's Word and enter His rest. We can flee from trust in the world by calling on the Lord for strength.

God has promised us fullness of joy. Either we will attempt to create our own joy or we will trust God's Word and enter His rest. We can overcome sin by following the Holy Spirit carefully and confessing and turning away from our sinful passions.

God has promised us fruitfulness and dominion. Either we will attempt to create our own fruitfulness and dominion or we will trust God's Word and enter His rest. The third realm, that of self-will, is by far the most difficult area of challenge. Scripture for today: I John 2:15 Prayer for today: Father, today I choose the best way...Yours.

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DAY 24: The Temple of God Part of God's reaction to the rebellion of the angels appears to be the movement of His throne from His palace in Heaven into the personalities of mankind, His new creation. In fact, it appears that man was created to be the eternal Throne of God.

The Book of Revelation informs us that the Throne of God and of the Lamb will be located forever in the holy city, the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem is the glorified Christian Church. There is no temple in the new Jerusalem because the entire city is the Temple of God, and the Throne of God and of the Lamb is located therein.

What an awesome concept this is—that we are being made the dwelling place, the Throne of God Almighty. This fact adds a most significant dimension to our Christian experience. We are not just being saved to go to Heaven; rather, we are being made the Temple of God, the Throne of God. Now, what does this fact mean in practical terms? It means that our salvation is not merely a case of our being forgiven. We have to take up our cross and follow the Lord each day of our discipleship so a place may be prepared in us in which God may rest. Scripture for today: Ephesians 2:21,22 Prayer for today: Father, find a place of rest in me today.

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DAY 25: The Three Stages of Redemption There are three parts of the program of salvation. First, we are forgiven through the authority of the blood of the cross. Second, we are given God's Holy Spirit so we will have the wisdom and power to achieve God's purpose in our life.

We have been forgiven, and we have wisdom and power. But forgiven and given wisdom and power to what end? This is an important question in our day, for we now are at the point that God is ready to reveal to us His objectives.

It is the third part of salvation that is the Divine goal for man. We have been forgiven that we may reach the Divine goal. We have been given wisdom and power that we may reach the Divine goal.

The Divine goal set before us is that we might be the dwelling place of God through Jesus Christ. To attain this supreme goal we must be conformed to the moral (and finally bodily) image of Jesus Christ, and we must be dwelling in untroubled rest in the center of God's will.

The purpose for our being made the dwelling place of God is that God might be able through us to relate to all of His other creatures. Scripture for today: John 14:23 Prayer for today: Father, fulfill Your purpose in me today.

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DAY 26: The Throne of God From the Throne of God issue rulership, judgment, mercy, and blessing. All of creation is governed from the Throne of God, although it often appears to us that the wicked are in control. The truth is, the wicked are never in control. God always is in total control of all that transpires in the creation.

Every one of us was created with a throne room in his or her personality. When we first come to Christ we must turn that throne over to Him. If we prove absolutely faithful the day will come when we are invited back on the throne of our own heart. Then we are one with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. From our life, then, will proceed, government, judgment, blessing, and mercy. It will really not be us who is providing government, judgment, blessing, and mercy but Christ who is dwelling in us. However it is not Christ who is providing government, judgment, blessing, and mercy but God who is dwelling in Christ.

This is our eternal destiny—to be incorporated into Jesus Christ until we are one Whole with Christ just as Christ Himself is one Whole with God. Scripture for today: Revelation 3:21 Prayer for today: Father, to be made part of Your Throne is beyond comprehension. Nevertheless, I will believe and obey.

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DAY 27: Two Beginnings One of the greatest errors in Christian thinking is the perception of Christianity as a religion whereby people who follow the rules will go to Heaven when they die. This is not what the Christian salvation is. The Christian salvation asks us to renounce our first life, to count it crucified, to regard it as having died with the first creation. Now we are to maintain that we are alive in and with the Lord Jesus Christ at the right hand of God.

The mainspring of our salvation is crucifixion and resurrection. All of our personality must be brought down to the death of the cross. The Life of Jesus Christ must enter us. We must live by His body and blood. We must become as much a part of Him as He is of the Father. This union with Christ is the Kingdom of God.

 Eventually all things in the heavens and upon the earth will be brought under one Head, under Christ; all things in the heavens and upon the earth will be summed up in Christ. This is the new creation, the Kingdom of God. It is essential to our life as a Christian that we understand clearly that God is not going to save any aspect of the old creation. God is making all things new in Jesus Christ. Scripture for today: Colossians 1:15-17 Prayer for today: Father, let the new creation in me arise.

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DAY 28: Two Kinds of Righteousness The subject of righteousness is found throughout the Bible. God is righteous and requires righteousness of all who would walk with Him.

There are two different forms of righteousness. One is the righteousness ascribed to us because we have placed our faith in Him who justifies the ungodly. The other is the actual righteousness of the new covenant in which we become a new creation, in which the eternal moral law of God is written on our mind and heart. The purpose of ascribed righteousness is to give us a clear conscience so we can turn away from the Law of Moses and follow the Spirit of God. If we do not understand this, but instead regard imputed righteousness as a new way in which God has chosen to relate to man, we have invented the worst of all possible religions.

If there is no transformation of character, if there is no new righteous creation coming forth, then we may be a member of a Christian assembly but we certainly are not abiding in Christ. We are a member of the Christian religion but not a disciple of Jesus. Scripture for today: Matthew 5:16 Prayer for today: Father, today as I pursue Jesus with all my heart let actual righteousness spring forth for all to see.

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DAY 29: War The Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Hosts, is standing before us. He is ready to declare war on the enemies in our personality: the love of the world, the lusts and passions of the flesh, soul, and spirit, and especially our stubbornness, rebellion, and self-seeking.

The coming of the Lord to drive evil from the members of His army of necessity must occur prior to His worldwide appearing; for at His worldwide appearing He will invade the earth with His army riding behind Him. No person can ride behind Christ in the attack of Armageddon until that individual first has been subjected to the scrutiny of Christ in every aspect of his or her personality.

We read in the Book of Daniel that God is ready to put an end to sin. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God, the doing of the will of God, to the earth. How about you, dear reader? Is it in your heart to put an end to sin? Do you believe that Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of the devil—not to forgive the works of the devil but to destroy them utterly, completely, perfectly, totally, and for eternity? Scripture for today: Psalm 24:7,8 Prayer for today: Father, annihilate all sin in me and prepare me to ride in victory behind Christ in the Day of the Lord.

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DAY 30: The Witness of God God makes witnesses of Himself that He alone is God. We must see God, hear Him, touch Him, before we can bear witness of Him. How do we see, hear, and touch God?

Seeing, hearing, and touching God takes place throughout a long, rugged discipleship. We are in deep water but do not drown. We go through the fire but are not burned. We endure every conceivable difficulty and frustration. We have the sentence of death in ourselves and become as dead-living people. God keeps raising us up, and in the raising the witness of God shines forth.

We learn of God's faithfulness when we are brought to the brink of disaster and then find that God appears on the scene just in time to save us. We learn of God's provision when we have great needs and only God's faithfulness keeps us surviving and moving ahead. We learn of God's keeping power when thousands fall around us and we escape all harm.

Only as we walk through the fires, dangers, and pressures of life on earth with our hand in God's hand do we gain the knowledge of the Holy and become a witness of God and Jesus Christ. Scripture for today: Isaiah 43:1,2 Prayer for today: Father, raise up a true witness in me today.

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DAY 31: Working Out Our Salvation The Bible tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is because it is very easy to start on the way of righteousness and then to be deceived back into the cesspool from which we were rescued. We have to watch carefully that no one take our crown. The way to God is filled with pitfalls and snares of every description. We do not fear and tremble because Christ cannot keep what has been committed to Him, rather we fear and tremble lest we be deceived and led away from the covenant we have made with God.

Peter informs us that the righteous are saved with difficulty. The fiery trials mentioned in the fourth chapter of the Book of First Peter are for the purpose of driving worldliness, lust, and rebellion against God from our personality. Let us, therefore, patiently work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. It will not be too long before we stand in joy before a glad King who invites us to share His Kingdom.

A few more weary steps and we shall be home. Don't quit. He has kept for you the best wine until now. Scripture for today: Philippians 2:12 Prayer for today: Father, let today be the start of a new relationship with You in which I please You in all things.

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CONCLUSION Of the various errors present in current Evangelical teaching, the common denominator probably is the misunderstanding of the role of imputed righteousness. This misunderstanding has created an unscriptural "state of grace." The concept of the “state of grace” is that God has given a covenant by which a Gentile can make a profession of belief in Jesus Christ and on this basis, apart from any significant moral change, be admitted to Heaven upon his or her death.

The product of this error is people who believe in a doctrine but are not practicing righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. Thus we have an effect opposite to God's purpose in providing a new covenant. The blood of Jesus Christ, instead of being a means whereby sinful man may begin the process of transformation into a new righteous creation, is presented as an alternative to moral change. We are being conformed to the image of Christ legally, not in actuality.

The Kingdom of God is a real kingdom in which God's will is performed on the earth as it is in Heaven. It is at hand. Jesus is coming soon. Therefore God's people must begin to make the change from imputed to actual righteousness, for our assignment is to appear with Christ and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.

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