JUSTIFIED AND THEN SAVED
JUSTIFIED AND THEN SAVEDCopyright Š 2012 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.
I think most of us understand that we are justified by faith. But then we have a difficult time comprehending what Peter meant when he wrote, "It is difficult to be saved."
And, If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? (I Peter 4:18)
And then we have the following:
So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. (Romans 7:4)
The Lord Jesus Christ kept the Law of Moses perfectly. The reward for keeping the Law of Moses perfectly is righteousness, and life in the Presence of God.
The Lord Jesus earned righteousness and life, but He did not spend it. He put it in the bank to be drawn on at a later time. Then He experienced for a brief season the penalty for breaking the Law of Moses, which is separation from the Presence of God. He became sin for us.
The righteousness and life that Christ earned are still in the Bank of Heaven. Whoever wishes to do so may by faith, in the name of Jesus Christ, draw righteousness and life from that account.
We call this being justified by faith. By faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we can receive perfect righteousness in God's sight and eternal life.
In order to be free legally from our own obligation to the Law of Moses we have to count ourselves as having died with Christ on the cross. We portray this death when we are baptized in water.
Many believers have been baptized in water. But not all have counted that such baptism signals the end of their first life, their first personality. They continue in the erroneous belief that God is going to save them as they are. God is not going to save anyone as he or she is. God is going to crucify what we are so He can raise us into a new life in Christ.
Until we and God accept the fact that we have been crucified with Christ we are still under the Law of Moses. We are not free to draw righteousness and life from the Bank of Heaven.
Let us say we have been baptized in water into the death of Christ on the cross and have risen with Him to walk in newness of life. Let us say further that by faith we have drawn righteousness and life from the Bank of Heaven. We now have been justified by faith. God regards us as having fulfilled all the requirements of the Law of Moses.
In order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)
God has justified us through our faith. But for what purpose?
The traditional understanding is God has justified us that He might bring us to Heaven, there to live forever with the angels. A pleasant thought indeed, but not nearly as pleasant as the truth.
When I say that eternal residence in Heaven is not the goal of our justification by faith I am going against a tremendous weight of tradition.
Therefore, if you would be so kind, before you read any further, would you please go through your New Testament and highlight every passage that states Heaven is our eternal home. Would you do that right now, please. Thank you.
Now that you have discovered there are no passages in the New Testament (or the Old) that state Heaven is our eternal home, you may be ready to hear what else I have to say.
There are at least four steps in a prerequisite-and-accomplishment chain that may be of interest to you.
The first step is justification by faith. Justification by faith leads to:
Our marriage to the Lamb. Our marriage to the Lamb leads to:
Our change into the image of Christ and entrance into untroubled rest in the center of the Presence and will of God. Our change into the image of Christ and entrance into untroubled rest in the center of the Presence and will of God lead to:
Our being qualified and competent to serve God in at least fourteen roles and tasks of the Kingdom of God.
You may notice that none of these four steps is a change in where we are, that is, in Heaven rather than on the earth.
The first step is a change in our relationship to God. We are held to be righteous and thus live in His presence. We are justified by faith in Jesus Christ.
The second step is a change in our relationship to Jesus Christ. We are married to the Lamb.
The third step is a change in what we are and in our obedience to God. We are changed into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ in spirit, soul, andat His returnin our outward appearance.
The fourth step is a change in what we are able to do. We can perform at least fourteen roles and tasks in the Kingdom of God.
There is no question that righteousness and life are in the Bank of Heaven. Whoever is willing to do so may pray and ask God to apply some of this capital to his or her own account. Such righteousness and life, given freely to whoever chooses to ask for it, undergird all further work of salvation.
If we are to understand salvation (deliverance from the hand of the enemy) we must move from the current "ticket" doctrine to the view that salvation is a program. It is not a ticket, a one-time event in which we make a profession of faith in Christ. It is a program, a process made possible by our asking for and receiving the righteousness earned but not spent by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The program of redemption, of deliverance from Satan, includes two main aspects.
The first aspect of salvation is the destruction of the sinful nature from our personality. The second aspect is the forming of Christ in us. The program of salvation depends for its authority on our asking for and receiving the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We cannot come to God on our own. We must approach God, and His program of salvation, through the cross of Christ. God meets man only at the cross. The Christian redemption is not a philosophy. It is a Divine intervention into the race of Adam such that a human being is transformed into a new creation who behaves in a righteous manner. The transformation of the human being looks to the cross for its authority and to the Holy Spirit for its wisdom and power.
Having been justified by faith we now are eligible to be married to the Lamb. We are married to the Lamb by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. The Lamb's flesh and blood are our eternal life and will raise us up at His coming.
The Communion service represents our partaking of the body and blood of the Lamb. But like water baptism, which represents our death and resurrection in Christ, and then is borne out in actual experience, so the partaking of the body and blood of the Lamb are borne out in actual experience.
Each day we have choices to make as we encounter several problems and responsibilities. We can choose to solve our problems and fulfill our responsibilities by relying on our own wisdom, strength, abilities, and experience. Or we can look to the Lord at each moment. If we look to the Lord at each point of action, instead of to our own resources, the Lord nourishes us with His body and blood.
If, when we are tempted, we choose to turn aside from the desires of our sinful nature and behave according to the guidelines found in the New Testament, the Lord nourishes us with His body and blood.
Finally we are living by the Lamb's body and blood as He lives by the Father.
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:53)
There is no manner in which we can overdo drawing close to Jesus in each circumstance. He greatly desires this kind of intimacy. We are to abide in Him as closely as a branch abides in the Vine.
The Christian salvation is not really a religion. It is an abiding in Christ.
So we see, then, that justification by faith makes it possible for us to be married to the Lamb. Notice that we are being married to the Lamb now, as we live by His body and blood. The marriage of the Lamb that will be announced at His return is really a revealing of a union that already has occurred.
The new Jerusalem, which is the glorified Christian Church, is the Wife of the Lamb.
The third step, for which justification by faith and marriage to the Lamb are prerequisites, consists of our change into the image of Christ, and our entrance into untroubled rest in the center of God's Person and will.
Our change into the image of Christ comes about as the Holy Spirit puts our sinful nature to death, and Christ is formed in us.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
Our entrance into untroubled rest in the center of God's Person and will is accomplished as we experience the Glory which God has given Christ, and also as we abide patiently in the prison in which Christ allows Satan to place us.
The Glory of God brings us into perfect union with one another and with God.
That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: (John 17:21.22)
Jesus is completely at rest in the center of God's Person and will. The Lord comes to us as an individual to bring us to the place where He always is (in the rest of God).
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 17:4)
We are perfected in God's will as we patiently endure various trials.
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)
Justification by faith, marriage to the Lamb, change into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, and rest in the center or God's Person and will, qualify us and provide us with the competence to perform at least fourteen roles and tasks in the Kingdom of God:
Being a member of the Bride of the Lamb (Revelation 21:9).
Being part of the Temple of God (Ephesians 2:22).
Being a member of the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12).
Being a part of the vehicle for the end-time revival (Isaiah 60:1,2).
Being a restorer of Paradise on earth (Romans 8:21).
Being a member of the royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).
Being a witness of God (Isaiah 43:10).
Being a son of God (Revelation 21:7).
Being a brother of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).
Being an overcomer of the accuser (Revelation 12:11).
Being a governor of the nations (Revelation 2:26,27).
Being a judge of men and angels (I Corinthians 6:2,3).
Being a wall of defense around the Glory of God (Revelation 21:14).
Being a part of the revelation of HimselfGod in Christ in the saints (Revelation 3:12).
We do not have to wait until we have been perfected in our relationship to Jesus Christ, or are in His image, or are dwelling in untroubled rest in God's will, in order to serve the Lord in the roles and tasks assigned to us today.
But when the fullness of the Kingdom of God has come to the earth, then the above roles and tasks will be accomplished by saints who have been made perfect through the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is our responsibility today to move the believers past initial justification by faith to marriage to the Lamb; to change into the image of Christ; to stern obedience to the Father until we are at rest in God's will. For the necessary roles and tasks of the Kingdom cannot be performed by believers who are spiritual babiesbabies who have been forgiven but who have made little progress toward spiritual maturity.
Spiritual maturity is the ability to judge what is good and what is evil, and the willingness and strength to embrace the good fervently and totally reject and renounce all that is evil.
I am afraid today we are emphasizing building churches when we ought to be building people. Hopefully God will cause this emphasis to change appropriately in the near future.
It is true that God has justified us, but then we have to endure the process of salvation.
The Apostle Peter tells us "it is hard for the righteous to be saved." Since this statement is contrary to most Christian preaching, perhaps we need to examine the context to see if we can discover what Peter means by this unusual warning.
And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" (I Peter 4:18)
If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner! (Proverbs 11:31)
Why is it difficult for the righteous to be saved?
In order to understand why this is true we have to define "righteous" and "saved."
The "righteous" are in contrast to the ungodly and the sinner. The righteous person is the one who has put his faith in the blood atonement made by Jesus Christ rather than in the Law of Moses. In addition, he or she is living a godly life. He is not ungodly, or a sinner, but a righteous person. We have overemphasized imputed righteousness to the point that we Christians do not believe there is such a thing as a righteous person, except by imputed (ascribed) righteousness.
This is not true. The division between the righteous and the ungodly, between the wheat and the tares, alluded to so frequently in the Book of Psalms, is not equivalent to the division between the believer in Christ and the unbeliever. There are numerous believers who are wicked, who do ungodly things. There also are people who do not know Christ, for one reason or another, who practice righteousness. God will bring such to Christ in His time, just as He did Cornelius.
The men replied, "We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so he could hear what you have to say." (Acts 10:22)
The righteous person, whether or not he is a Christian, is the one who obeys the laws of conscience, places his faith in Christ when Christ is presented to him, and then obeys the commandments of Christ and His apostles. If an individual places his faith in Christ when Christ is presented to him, and then does not obey the commandments of Christ and His apostles, he is unrighteous even though he has made a profession of faith in Christ.
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. (I John 3:7)
It is difficult for the righteous individual to be saved. The righteous person is the one who does what is right, according to the Apostle John.
Having discussed what is meant by "righteous," let us consider what it means to be "saved."
To be saved is to be released from the person and works of Satan, to have Christ formed in us, to be in the moral image of Christ, to have the Father and the Son dwell in our transformed inner nature, and to dwell forever in untroubled rest in the Father's Person and will.
To be saved is to be transformed morally.
To be saved is to be released from the love of the world, from the lusts of our flesh, and from self-will and disobedience to God.
To be saved is to be filled with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
To be saved is to be abiding for eternity in untroubled rest in the Father's Person and will.
An individual could behave righteously and still not have been transformed morally (saved) to the extent God requires.
An individual could behave righteously and still be bound in his personality with some aspects of worldliness, the lusts and passions of his flesh, and self-will and disobedience to God.
An individual could behave righteously and still not be filled with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
An individual could behave righteously and still not be abiding in untroubled rest in the Father's Person and will.
We see, then, that an individual, no matter how righteous, may still need to be "saved" in some areas of his or her personality.
By "saved" we are making no reference to Heaven but to the transformation of the human personality from Adam to Christ, from a sinful nature to a nature filled with the Life of God, a nature that can have joyous fellowship with God.
This is what salvation is.
In addition, if we are to understand why it is hard to be saved we must recognize that salvation is a process, a program that commences when we first come to Christ for salvation and continues until we are in the image of Christ and dwelling in untroubled rest in the Father.
Salvation is a process of redemption, of transformation. It is not a ticket that insures we will escape Hell and be admitted to Heaven when we die. Although the latter is the common viewpoint, held even by non-Christians, it nevertheless is without foundation in the Scriptures.
So we are saying it is hard for a person who behaves in a righteous manner to be totally transformed morally, indwelt by the fullness of the Godhead, and to find eternal rest in the will of God.
Why is this so difficult?
It is difficult because of the means God uses to effect such transformation. Our sinful nature is reluctant to respond correctly to the sufferings that God employs to change us from Satan's image to God's image.
The fourth chapter of First Peter, the chapter in which the expression "it is hard for the righteous to be saved" is found, informs us that judgment has begun in the house of God, and that this judgment consists of intense suffering, suffering designed to "save" the believer.
We are saved by these fires of Divine judgment, because they burn out of our personality that which is of Satan.
We find this program of salvation by judgment difficult because our sinful nature seeks continually to find its life in the world, in the lusts and passions of our flesh and soul, and in our self-will and personal ambitions.
We find this program of salvation by judgment difficult because we desire to blame people, and even God Himself, rather than to humbly submit ourselves to God and remain in the prison of suffering where He places us.
The first two verses of the fourth chapter set the tone for the remainder of the chapter.
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. (I Peter 4:1,2)
What is true of the Christian who suffers in his body? He or she is "done with sin." After he has suffered he does not live for evil human desires but for the will of God.
Can you see from this that the suffering "saves" the individual? What does it save him from? It saves him from sin.
Why does he need to be saved from sin? So he can be accepted of God and have fellowship with God; so he can serve God in God's kingdom.
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (I Peter 4:12,13)
God saves us by means of painful trials. These trials are not punishment because we are continuing to sin, but are necessary for our purification because God desires to perfect our spirit.
To the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)
We are not to be amazed when we go through hard places with the Lord. We are to rejoice. We are to share in the sufferings of Christ. If we do, we will rejoice and be glad when the Lord returns to earth in His glory.
The sufferings of Christ take two general forms. First, we are denied what we fervently desire. Second, we are required to continue in a situation which we do not enjoy. These are the two arms of the cross.
Usually, although not always, our sufferings come at the hands of people. People are the instruments God uses to unwrap the graveclothes from us, so to speak.
The correct, profitable way to respond when people cause us pain is to immediately go to the Lord for wisdom and comfort. We need to know how He views our discomfiture.
Our sinful nature is filled with malice, spite, and a desire for vengeance. If we respond to the sufferings God sends our way with malice, spite, and a desire for vengeance, we will not grow spiritually. We will develop a hateful, bitter spirit. God will chasten us because of this.
If instead of finding fault with the instruments God uses to save us from our sinful nature, we go to the Lord and eat at His table with Him, we will grow spiritually. We will become wiser, stronger, and better able to assist weaker people.
What we have just written explains why it is difficult to be saved. Our sinful nature strongly urges us to seek ways of getting what we desire. We do not want to remain in the prison where God places us. We may leave our wife or husband for someone we think will make us happy. Sometimes we have to pray, pray, and pray some more in order to overcome the temptation to act outside of God's will.
Many Christians in America are soft. They have no intention of being denied what they really desire. They have no intention whatever of denying themselves, taking up their personal cross, and following Jesus.
Because they will not obey the Lord by denying themselves and taking up their cross, they cannot possibly be saved, unless God in His mercy sends such fire on them that they finally repent and accept the chastening of the Lord.
I am speaking now of Christians, not of those who do not know the Lord.
Sometimes it is said I am too hard in what I preach and teach. I am seldom accused of being unscriptural, only of being too hard. Let me say at this point that it indeed is hard to remain in the program of redemption.
But the Scriptures maintain it is the way of the transgressor that is hard. This is absolutely true. The way of the transgressor is very hard. He may suffer anguish without respite, even though he jumps from one situation to another in order to escape any sort of pain.
The way of the transgressor is even more difficult than that of the Christians, and this is why there are so many suicides. Nonetheless, it is hard for the most righteous person to be saved because of the demands made on his personality.
There were three, not one, but three crosses on Calvary. God was crucified. The saved was crucified. The unsaved was crucified. It is impossible to go through this life without being crucified in one manner or another.
The person with integrity will never accept happiness at the expense of another person; he will never cause someone to suffer in order that he himself may have joy or peace.
Integrity is compounded from faithfulness, truth, and honesty. Integrity is sorely lacking among many people of the American populace. We are becoming accustomed to political leaders who lie, who make promises they cannot possibly honor. There is cheating in business. There is treachery in marriage. There are numerous homicides every month as people seek to insure their own pleasure at the expense of others.
If we do not have integrity it is hard for us to be saved, because we may not be willing to deny ourselves and take up our cross. In this case, the program of salvation cannot continue in our personality.
If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. (I Peter 4:15)
Sometimes we Christians suffer because of our own sin or foolishness. We experience the results of our own conduct. We steal something so we are put in jail. We murder someone so we are convicted and sentenced to death. Perhaps we meddle in a situation that is none of our business and bring trouble on ourselves.
Such sufferings are not part of the process of redemption, although even in these we can profit from our pain if we will allow them to bring us to repentance.
However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. (I Peter 4:16)
If we patiently bear the suffering that comes upon us because we are a Christian, then we are to praise God. In this case we are being proven worthy of the Kingdom of God.
Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. (II Thessalonians 1:4,5)
We understand, therefore, that God sends suffering upon us to save us from our wicked nature. Such judgment begins with those who are closest to God, and has been continuing for two thousand years.
For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)
God chastens His own children first. Then He turns to those who are further removed from Him. The closer we are to God, the more we will be punished for our sins. Jesus rebukes and chastens those whom He loves, not those whom He does not love.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. (Revelation 3:19)
You may be going through very difficult experiences at the present time, while the wicked seem to be flourishing. Be patient with God. The day will come when you will be singing and dancing on the heights of Zion while the wicked will be gnashing their teeth in anger and remorse.
Asaph was troubled because he was going through painful situations while the wicked were having a wonderful time. Then he came before the Lord and he saw the end of the matter.
When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me Till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. (Psalms 73:16,17)
Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies. (Psalms 73;18-20)
The wicked are facing fires so intense, so painful, and so terrible that we need not worry about the justice of God. God is putting us through painful experiences now so He will be free to judge the wicked at a later time. Otherwise Satan would point the finger at God and accuse Him of permitting His elect to practice wickedness without punishment.
I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months." (Revelation 11:1,2)
The above passage is saying the same thing in symbolic language. It is stating God will judge His Church, particularly those who have progressed spiritually to the point of laying down their lives at the Altar of Incense.
The reference to the outer court indicates that the people outside the Church will not be judged at the present time.
And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" (I Peter 4:18)
The righteous are being saved, delivered from sin, by means of fiery trials. We can only imagine how the ungodly and the sinner will suffer when God turns His attention to them.
So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (I Peter 4:19)
The above verse tells us what to do when we are going through a time of judgment. We are to commit ourselves to God, knowing beyond doubt that He remains faithful. Satan cannot harass us beyond that which God permits for our good.
Meanwhile, we are to continue to do good. This means we patiently submit to the dealings of God. We do not blame people. We do not become angry with God. We do not seek to escape the "prison" we are placed in.
When bearing our personal cross, we do not focus on that which is causing us frustration or pain. If we keep thinking about what it is that is causing us pain we finally will quit and turn away from righteousness. The experienced saint learns to think as little as possible about what it is he cannot have or cannot do, and turns to what he can have and can do. There always is a way of escape made for us so we can bear up under any testing.
A Christian, by definition, is a disciple of Jesus. In order to be a disciple we are required to deny ourselves what we are not permitted to retain, take up our cross of personal frustration or pain, and follow Jesus. We are to do this every day of our pilgrimage.
If I am not mistaken, there are not many believers in the United States who are aware in order to be a Christian they have to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Jesus. This means there are not many genuine Christians in the United States.
We have developed a plan called "the four steps of salvation." This plan has been put together from several verses lifted from their context. They do not insist that we take up our cross and follow Jesus. Therefore they are not a true plan of salvation. Rather they are a doctrinal approach to religious orthodoxy.
When we put together the "four steps of salvation" with lawless grace, the ticket-to-Heaven definition of salvation, and the pre-tribulation "rapture," we have a formula for spiritual disaster. The adherent of such a misunderstanding of the Christian salvation will not grow in the Lord. He will remain a spiritual baby after fifty years of attending church. Most assuredly, when fiery trials fall on him he will be bewildered. He will not perceive this is a Divine judgment that is saving him. He will do everything in his power to be delivered, to escape pain.
Did you ever hear a believer say, "God wants me to be happy and have nice things"? One lady said, "If I thought God would permit me to suffer I would not serve Him." Such may never have considered the saints of past time.
Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. (Hebrews 11:35-38)
Suffering is an important part of the Christian discipleship, and all true saints partake of it. We enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
We are in doctrinal, and consequently moral, chaos in the Christian churches of America. The unsaved community, including the educational institutions, the courts, the business corporations, and the offices of government, directly reflect this chaos. The idea that personal integrity is of the greatest value has become laughable. Each year the entertainment industry becomes more vile, and each year the moral fiber of the nation deteriorates.
If the Christians in America do not repent, turning back to Christ in sincerity, resolving to keep His commandments and those of His apostles, our nation will suffer terrible judgments. We have been so blessed and have hoarded our blessings, both spiritual and material, to ourselves.
We have a generation of young people coming up who are brilliant, but who have no strong moral foundation.
We also have a generation of young people who are going to serve God as an army of witnesses before the Lord returns. This is why Satan is promoting abortion and homosexuality. He realizes, just as did Pharaoh and King Herod, that deliverers are going to be brought forth in our day. Satan is doing all he can to destroy the generation coming up, because they are going to do very great harm to his kingdom in the earth.
It is going to be of the utmost importance that the churches of our day learn to obey God. If we expect to be part of the army that descends from the sky with Jesus Christ and establishes the Kingdom of God on the earth, we are going to have to be trained in obedience. We learn obedience, as our Lord did, by suffering. Therefore we Christians can expect fiery trials in the days to come.
Ours is a new day. The choruses are changing from that which is pleasing to the ear and musically sensual, to more rugged modes and meters presenting words that speak of the Kingdom of God and of righteousness. The banners are to be waved. There are to be high praises and exuberant worship. There also is to be the two-edged sword of the Word of God. The traditional services and liturgies are far too tame to counteract the moral horrors of the secular society. The wicked indeed shall trample on the "holy city," so to speak.
Let those who presently are suffering under the hand of God, patiently doing His will, take heart. These lashes are for your salvation, that you might be a partaker of God's holy, righteous Nature. You are a son of God, and God does not want you to be condemned when He judges the world.
It will only be a little while. You are not in a grave but in a tunnel. There is light at the end. God is faithful. You will not drown. The fire will not harm you, only your bondages will be burned away.
Christ is Alpha and Omega. What He commenced in your life He will complete in a most glorious fashion. You will come to know His faithfulness, just as did Job, Abraham, Daniel, and others who went through difficulties for a season.
If you are to be part of the great host that will be raised and ascend to meet the Lord at His appearing, you must partake of the cup that all have had to drink. Only those who have suffered with Him will be glorified together with Him. Only those who have suffered with Him will rejoice with Him. Only those who have suffered with Him will rule with Him.
If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. (Hebrews 12:8)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)
Only a few more steps and you will be home.