A GIANT STEP FORWARD
A GIANT STEP FORWARD Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ has come to a new season. We, through faith, have been "shielded by Gods power" until the promised salvation should arrive. The promised salvation, the coming redemption, is deliverance from sin and reconciliation to God in our personality.
On the basis of the atonement made on the cross of Calvary we have been reconciled to God legally, as it were. Now it is time for the actual reconciliation of our spirit, soul, and body to the Lord in all that we think, say, and do.
Many passages of Scripture in the Old Testament and the New point toward the day when God will make an end of sin. The dawning of that day of redemption from the hand of the enemy is here now.
Table of Contents
Introduction The Three Branches of Sin How we live. Who or what we serve. Doing great things. Apostolic References to the Coming Salvation The Jewish feasts, and the Coming Salvation Hebrews, and the Coming Salvation Joshua Ten, and the Coming Salvation John Fourteen, and the Coming Salvation Malachi Three, and the Coming Salvation Matthew Three, and the Coming Salvation Our Necessary Response to the Current Season of Refreshing
A GIANT STEP FORWARD
Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. (Hosea 6:1-3)
Repent, then, and turn to God, so your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for youeven Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. (Acts 3:19-21)
Seventy "sevens" are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. (Daniel 9:24)
"To put an end to sin."
The Bible tells us that seasons of refreshing will come to us as we repent. Also, that Christ will remain in Heaven until the time comes for God to restore all that He has promised through the Prophets.
It appears the time has arrived for one such season of refreshing, and we must repent if we are to avail ourselves of it.
It is interesting to note that when Simeon encountered Joseph, Mary, and the child Jesus in the Temple he recognized the Lords Christ, as did Anna also. No doubt there were many devout Jews in the Temple at the same time. Why did they not recognize the Lords Anointed?
Suppose Simeon had said to one of the devout leaders of Israel, "This child is the Christ!" What do you think the response would have been? Simeon would have been stoned to death.
Why can some of the Lords people perceive what He is doing and others not be aware anything unusual is happening? What does it require in order to know the day of ones visitation? Probably a heart that is fervent toward the Lord.
Just because someone is religious does not mean he or she is spiritual.
The New Testament speaks several times of a coming salvation. Why is a plan of redemption, of salvation, necessary? An act of redemption is necessary because in the beginning man forfeited his ability to serve God with a pure heart. The descendants of Adam are born in a state of bondage to sin and self-seeking. Because of the original rebellion we have lost the ability to do Gods will and therefore the right to eat of the tree of life.
Notice that we did not lose Heaven! We were not created in Heaven. Heaven is not our home. The earth is our rightful home. We have been created from the dust of the ground.
Mankind lost the ability to serve God with a pure heart. The Divine redemption does not restore Heaven to us. Eternal residence in Heaven is not the goal of redemption. When we point toward Heaven as the goal of salvation we have an unscriptural objective that leads to all sorts of incorrect conclusions and methods.
When the Bible speaks of the coming redemption it is not referring to our going to Heaven but of our being set free from sin and self-will. Once we are set free from sin and rebellion against God we are permitted to eat of the tree of life. We then will be able to successfully enjoy a paradisiacal environment.
Adam and Eve forfeited their ability to serve God in righteousness. Now our Redeemer has come so we may regain the ability to serve God in righteousness. But the enemy will not let us go even though the price of redemption has been paid with the blood of the obedient Jesus. He keeps us in the chains of sin and rebellion against God will. Therefore we must regain our spiritual freedom by wara war that proceeds as a judgment against all sin.
Three areas of sin must be dealt with if we are to be redeemed fully. First, the guilt of sin must be removed. Second, the compulsive force of sin must be broken and the very presence of sin removed. Third, the effects of sin must be healed.
When we of today say "my sins are gone," we mean our sins have been forgiven. Perhaps in time past it was not necessary to distinguish between removing the guilt of our sin, and removing the sin itself. But the time has come for sin to be removed, for the enemies of Christ to be made His footstool.
So far, in the history of the Christian Church, the primary emphasis has been on removing the guilt of sin. However, we now are coming to the destroying of the compulsive force of sin and the healing of the effects of sin.
The Apostle Paul was given the understanding of the transition from the Law of Moses to the righteousness that comes from receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. This change was a giant step forward in Gods plan of redemption.
Although Pauls doctrine of grace has since been warped to the point that grace has become an alternative to righteous conduct rather than an enabling power to do Gods will, the transition from Moses to Christ did occur in Gods time. The hundreds of years from Paul to the present have been a season of righteousness by faith in Christ apart from the careful observance of the statutes of the Law of Moses.
It is time now for another giant step forward in the Divine plan of redemption. The emphasis is shifting from the removal of the guilt of our sin to the destruction of the compulsive force of sin
Logic informs us that redemption certainly must include more than the forgiveness of our sins and a favorable attitude of God toward us. Salvation must include deliverance from the presence of sin and the effects of sin. If this were not the case, think of the consequences! The new world of righteousness would be one of ascribed (imputed) righteousness while the madness of the sinful nature continued to be exercised.
I suppose all Christians understand that at some point, sin must be removed from people if we are to have any kind of happy future. But we have not been certain how, when, and where such deliverance will take place
Throughout the years there have been various doctrines that point toward the removal of sin from us "root and branch." But the reality is that we believers have problems with worldliness, lust, and self-will even when we supposedly have had sin removed from us root and branch.
It may be true that the two most commonly expressed viewpoints concerning the removal of sin from Gods people are that we are freed from sin by physical death, or the Lord Jesus will remove sin from us when He appears at His second coming. It seems neither of these solutions is scriptural or logical.
There is no passage of Scripture that states we are freed from sin by dying. Sin began in the spirit realm in the very Presence of God, as Satan decided to set his own will against that of the Father. To this day we wrestle against wicked spirits in the heavenlies. So leaving the physical realm and entering the spirit realm does not save us from worldliness, lust, or self-will. These three areas of sin came from and are maintained by personages in the spirit realm.
This leaves us with the hope sin will cease to be a problem when the Lord comes in the clouds of glory. But then we think of the man who wasted the talent that had been given to him. The Lord did not come and remove his laziness, rather He removed the talent from the wicked servant and sent him into the outer darkness. The coming of the Lord will reveal what we are, not transform indifferent believers into kings and priests clothed in Divine Glory.
When the Lord returns with the shout and the trumpet of God, He will bring the deceased saints with Him. The deceased saints will take up their bodies from the place of interment and clothe them with glory. The living saints will be transformed and clothed with their robe from Heaven. Then together the entire company of those who are abiding in Christ will be caught up from the earth and meet the Lord in the air.
After this they shall be with the Lord forever.
Now, stop and think.
At what point will we be delivered from worldliness, lust, and self-seeking?
Will deliverance from sin take place instantaneously at the sound of the trumpet?
Deliverance from sin requires the interaction of the Lord and the believer.
In the case of the bondage of worldliness, we must resolve to turn our back on the money-centered world spirit, take up our cross, and follow the Lord Jesus.
In the case of the bondages that result from the sin that dwells in our flesh, we must confess our sins and turn away from them, renouncing and denouncing them with all fervor. When we do this the Lord forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
In the case of the bondages and rebellion that result from our self-will, we must abide patiently in the sufferings and prisons through which God brings us so the self-centeredness may be destroyed from our personality.
The result of our cooperation with the Lord Jesus as He performs these deliverances through the Holy Spirit is that Christ is formed in us. Christ in us is a ruling Spirit who loves righteousness and hates lawlessness and wickedness.
If God is to give Paradise back to us there must be saints who are so filled with Christ that Satan is not allowed back into the garden.
Therefore if the present crop of worldly, lustful, disobedient, lukewarm Christians were caught up to the Lord, were freed from all the bondages of sin by one Word from the Lord, and then permitted to enter Paradise, they would be as Adam and Eve. They would be without sin in their personalities.
They also would be without the development of Christ the King in them.
Soon someone would decide to do what seems good to him or her regardless of what the Lord desires, just as most believers do today. You know what would happen then. We would have a satan among us, an Achan, and God would withdraw, leaving us all in spiritual defeat and death.
It is of great importance that deliverance from sin proceed as an interaction between Christ and the believer so the eternal moral laws of God can be carved in his heart and mind.
God will never work against our will, you may have noticed. If God worked in us so we were unable to sin we no longer would be His sons, but puppets. We always will be able to sinthroughout eternity. If Christ is formed in us we will not sin, because of the Divine Nature which has been formed in us. But we always will be able to rebel against God if we choose to do so. This is why the saints will govern the creation forever. They will prevent sin from multiplying.
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
The fundamental story of mankind is that of the prodigal son. We cannot maintain that which is given to us freely, and so we lose it. We must gain it back through the most arduous labor. But when we do get it back it is ours to keep; for now we know what it is like to lose it. Things that come easily go easily.
In the process of judgment and deliverance, judgment and deliverance, judgment and deliverance, the sons of God are formed. The sons of God will know by experience what it is like to live in a cursed environment; what it is like to be bound by sin. They will appreciate their deliverance once they have been set free and Paradise has returned to the earth.
It sometimes is taught that after we are caught up in a "rapture" we will return to Heaven and there stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ.
First of all, there is no scriptural basis whatsoever for the idea that after having been caught up to meet the Lord in the air we then will return to Heaven with Him.
The real problem, however, has to do with the Judgment Seat of Christ.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)
Although the current Christian doctrine is that no believer will receive what is due him for bad things done in his body, the unchanging Word of God states that we shall, when we are revealed before the Judgment Seat of Christ, receive what is due us for bad things done while living in our body on the earth.
To say this is not so is to go against a clear scriptural statement.
Now, think. We cannot be raised from the dead, be glorified, be caught up to be forever with the Lord, and then receive what is due us for bad things done in the body. It is true rather that our being caught up in glorified form to meet the Lord in the air is the sentence proceeding from the time when we were judged previously. We have been sentenced to eternal life in the Presence of the Lord.
In other words, we have to pass before the Judgment Seat of Christ before, not after, the Lord returns, if we are to receive immortality at His coming. This is true whether we are deceased or alive on earth when He returns.
I do not believe logic or the Scriptures point toward deliverance from sin by "reckoning ourselves dead," by dying physically, or by the return of the Lord to the earth (except under circumstances different from those ordinarily presented).
It is my point of view that the Scriptures look toward a "season" when God will direct the Lord Jesus to begin the work of removing sin from His Church, that this work has begun now, that it will continue throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and that it is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement.
Let me conclude this introduction with a few concepts:
Throughout the ages God has had one goal for manthat he do justly, that he love mercy, and that he walk humbly with his God. This is the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. As God moves from covenant to covenant the goal remains the same; but additional grace is provided and the demands on us are increased.
Divine grace is God in Jesus Christ enabling man to do Gods will.
To be "saved" is to be completely free from Satan and to be filled with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are not "saved" in order to go to Heaven but so we may have fellowship with God wherever we are. Salvation does not move us from earth to Heaven but from Satan to God.
When the Scripture speaks of redemption, that we are to look up because our redemption is drawing near, it is referring to deliverance from sin; not deliverance from the guilt of sin but deliverance from the sin itself. Redemption has nothing to do with going to Heaven.
We are abiding in the rest of God when Gods will and our will are identical. It is only then that we are free and can play in the Presence of God.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: Man does not live on bread alone." The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours." Jesus answered, "It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only." The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so you will not strike your foot against a stone." Jesus answered, "It says: Do not put the Lord your God to the test." When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:1-13)
Every son of God is tested in three ways. Three branches of sin are examined.
Living by bread alone.
Obeying the lusts of the flesh.
Other ways of expressing these three areas of sin are as follows:
How we live.
Who or what we serve.
Having a need to do great things.
How we live. Mankind was created to play, that is, to be always delighting in the will of God. We cannot play righteously and joyfully while we are bound with any of the three branches of sin. We are never free to play until our will is identical with Gods will.
The difference between work and play has nothing to do with an expenditure of energy. Playing is doing what we want to do. Working is doing what we do not want to do. Adam and Eve were able to play in the Garden of Eden until they sinned. Then they were driven from Paradise and forced to work.
"Man shall not live by bread alone," the Lord quoted to Satan, "but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
To live by bread alone is to think, speak, and act according to human talents, wisdom, and energy.
To live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God is to abide in Christ to such an extent we are looking to the Lord for every decision we make.
Words are always coming from the mouth of God. Some of them are being directed toward each creature, situation, and thing in the universe, from the ants on the ground to the galaxies in outer space. We always are to be listening and looking for the Word of God to us for the moment. To do so is to be living in Christ, in the rest of God.
The Lord Jesus spoke nothing, did nothing, and thought nothing, except that which was coming to Him from the Father. We are to live in precisely the same manner.
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 6:57)
Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (I John 2:6)
Each day we make numerous decisions, most of them very minor and some of them of more apparent importance. We have a choice at each point of decision: we can look to Jesus for wisdom and strength, or we can proceed according to our own impulses, wisdom, and experience.
In the Book of Proverbs we are commanded to trust in the Lord with all our heart and to not lean on our own understanding. We are to acknowledge the Lord in all our ways, not in some of our ways but in all of our ways. He then promises to direct our paths, to make them straight.
This is how the Lord Jesus always lives, and we are to live exactly as He does.
It requires practice and experience before we are able to look to the Lord for every decision we make, for every area of life.
We can start off by asking Jesus, at the beginning of each day, to direct us that day. It is inconceivable that any Christian would begin his or her day without looking to the Lord immediately!
Then we can double our effort by looking to Jesus both at morning and at noon.
Next we can add a prayer for direction as we prepare to retire for the night.
As we grow accustomed to the Lord we can add two more prayers for strength and guidance during the day, so now we are trusting in the Lord five times each day.
As we keep this up, keep this up, keep this up, continually adding times when we look to the Lord, the day will come when we are praying without ceasing. This we have been commanded to do by the Apostle.
Finally we will be accustomed to asking the Lord about everything we do.
Here is the point. To not do this is sin. We have never recognized that not looking to the Lord for everything is sin, but it is. It is one of the three branches of sin, and all sorts of mischief proceed from not looking to the Lord for all our decisions.
We are apt to ignore God in small areas, such as putting on our clothes in the morning, or how we do our job, or what we eat, or where we go for a vacation. But whatever is gain for us is loss for Christ.
As we look to the Lord He helps us. He carries us through all our problems. Sometimes circumstances arise that irritate or frustrate us. We are tempted to rage, fuss, fret, swear, hurt someone, manipulate or control others, until we get what we desire.
When we are confronted with an "impossible" or frustrating situation we should stop, take a deep breath, and look to Jesus. Then He will give us wisdom, strength, and peace. Most of us have many problems each day. The Lord will help us solve our problems if we will look to him for the answer instead of just worrying about the difficulties that arise.
If it is an emergency situation we are to pray on the run. All we have to do is cry "Jesus." This is what it means to not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
The Lord Jesus has issued the edict: "Man shall not live by bread alone." To think, speak, or act apart from the Lord Jesus Christ is sin.
Every person who is to appear with the Lord at His return to the earth, who is to be raised (or transformed) and caught up to meet Him in the air, has learned to live by the Words coming from Gods mouth. There shall be no disobedient soldiers in the army of the Lord, no individual who thinks, speaks, or acts according to his or her own will.
This is the rest of God. This is the goal we are to pursue after we have been forgiven through the blood atonement and have received Gods Holy Spirit.
The Lord is ready to redeem us today, that is, to cleanse us from all tendencies to live by bread alone and to not stay in the place where we can hear what God is saying to us.
It is true that some people hear from the Lord in words while others do not. This makes no difference. If we commit our way to Him, the Lord has promised to guide us. This is all that matters.
It also is true that the Lord Jesus, the Judge, seems to be closer to us today that was true several years ago. I have been a Christian for fifty-five years, and I notice that now when people slow down enough to listen they often hear what Jesus is saying. But I do not want someone to be discouraged who does not hear in this manner. The Lord guides people in various ways, but all of us have been commanded to abide in Christ.
Man shall not live by bread only but by the ever present voice of God. To not do so is sin.
Satan stood before his Maker and asked for worship. So it is that the second branch of sin has to do with service, worship, and pleasure.
God has commanded us to worship and serve Him only and to delight ourselves in Him. When we do not do this we are sinning.
This is the realm of who and what we worship.
In the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans, Paul informs us Christians that we have a choice. We can choose to be a slave to righteousness or we can choose to be a slave to sin.
Dont you know when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obeywhether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)
If we choose to obey our sinful nature we will die spiritually.
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13)
If we choose to obey righteousness we will inherit holiness and eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
I dont think this issue of slavery is always presented clearly to Christian people. Rather we are being told that we ought to try to do good, but if we do not we will "go to Heaven by grace." This is false teaching.
First, the goal of "going to Heaven" is unscriptural. Our goal is not to take up residence in the spirit realm but to be changed into the image of Christ, and to enter untroubled rest in the Person and will of the Father.
Second, Divine grace is not an alternative to righteous behavior. Divine grace is God in Jesus Christ enabling people to do Gods will. To view Divine grace as an acceptable alternative to moral transformation is to be deceived.
The Lord Jesus told us whoever commits sin is the slave of sin. He then went on to say that if He sets us free from slavery to sin we are free indeed; not just politically free, but free indeed from that which prevents our being able to play righteously and joyously in the Presence of God.
The people who today live in the "free world" may be free politically but they are horribly bound with the chains of sin.
When we sin we are the slave of Satan.
He 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 devils work. (I John 3:8)
Notice that when we sin, that part of us, that action, is of the devil.
Notice also that the Son of God did not appear to forgive the devils work in us but to destroy the devils work in us.
Most of us Christian believers are not accustomed to such plain talk from the Scripture. We have been told we are in a dispensation of grace and that when we sin it is automatically forgiven.
However, our sins are not automatically forgiven unless we are walking in the light of Gods will. The careless believers of today are not being forgiven. They are under condemnation because they are not obeying the Holy Spirit in their daily conduct. We are in great deception concerning how God views the sins of the believers!
The more I think about Dispensational theory the more I realize what a horrendous error it is. It has destroyed the churches with its "grace-rapture- Heaven" emphasis.
The first branch of sin has to do with our looking to the Lord Jesus for every thought we think, every word we speak, and every action we take. To not do so is sin. We are without condemnation provided we are earnestly seeking the Lord to show us how to live by every Word that comes from the mouth of God.
The second branch of sin has to do with our continuing as a slave to our sinful nature.
We find deliverance from the first branch of sin by continuing to move forward in the ability to look to the Lord for everything.
We obtain deliverance from the second branch of sin by clearly confessing, vigorously denouncing, and mightily renouncing the sinful deeds of our flesh.
We name our sin to the Lord clearly: "I have lied; I have stolen; I have fornicated; I have gossiped; I have used profanity; I have continued in hatred; I have slandered; I have been unfaithful to my wife; I have been cruel; I abuse my body with cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs." We confess, denounce, and renounce any and all deeds of the sinful nature that the Holy Spirit brings to our attention.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; Idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
These are chains of Satan.
We are to confess to the Lord specifically what we have done.
We then are to denounce the behavior as unworthy of the Kingdom of God. It belongs in the Lake of Fire.
Now we are to renounce the behavior, telling the Lord we want it out of us; we want nothing more to do with it ever again.
The reason believers sometimes are not delivered from moral sin when they are prayed for is that they do not denounce and renounce the behavior with enough conviction and strength. We have to let the spirit world know this is a filthy habit and we want nothing more to do with it. It may help to also let people know of our decision.
The Lord Jesus Christ has enough power to set us free from any behavior we name. He is waiting for us to make up our mind we are finished with it.
The deliverance may not come instantly; but we can be certain that if we are serious, the Lord will bring us along the path of total deliverance.
It never is the will of the Lord Jesus Christ that a Christian continue in known sin. But there may be a prolonged battle over some issue in our life, and we may have to ask for the help of other Christians as we seek deliverance.
You and I have been slaves of Satan, and Satan is not pleased when one of his slaves is attempting to get rid of his chains. We have to fight our way into the land of promise; and God will help us if we keep looking to Him.
We overcome the first branch of sin by learning to look to the Lord instead of to our natural abilities.
We overcome the second branch of sin by confessing, denouncing, and renouncing sin as the Spirit makes us aware of our behavior.
In the United States of America, ambition is regarded as a value. This is not the case in the Kingdom of God. Our whole duty is to fear God and keep His commandments.
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
The Lord Jesus Christ revealed no personal ambition in His character. The Lord Jesus feared God and kept His commandments. This is our whole duty. It is quite difficult for American Christians to grasp that personal ambition is sin.
There is nothing wrong with having a goal in life and setting out to achieve it. But we must be careful in prayer that the Lord is pleased with our goal and it is something He desires. If it is not something the Lord desires for us, and is just our personal desire for success, it is a sin. It is loss for Christ, for other people, and for ourselves.
I am not claiming we should be lazy. We know from the parable of the talents that the Lord is not pleased with laziness. I am speaking rather of our desire to impress people with our accomplishments.
We have a real problem in America with the value we put on achievement. There are people who are driven their whole life by a desire to meet the expectations of their parentssometimes long after their parents are dead.
This mad rush toward accomplishment seems to be more apparent in the "sophisticated" nations as compared with the villages of less "educated" cultures. We feel that "progress" is the important thing. And certainly advancements have been made in the field of medicine, for example, that are of benefit to people.
But all such progress, whether in medicine, agriculture, labor-saving devices, or communication can be accomplished by people who are without personal ambition but are directed by the Lord to meet the needs of mankind. The Lord Jesus Christ cares about the welfare of people, and all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him..
If we consider the world of today we see that the personal ambition of the politicians, the wealthy, and other leaders causes untold agony on the part of those who get in their way. Throughout history mankind has suffered to an extent only God knows because of the personal ambition of rulers and religious prelates.
The Lord Jesus Christ is without personal ambition and we are to be just like Him in every detail.
The whole duty of each one of us is to fear God and keep His commandments. When we begin to strive to be rich, famous, successful, we are sinning. This is the third great branch of sin; and as long as we are bound by the need to prove we are important, or even worthy, in the eyes of people, we are not able to playthat is, to delight ourselves and be content in the Lord.
We are not obligated to prove to anyone except God that we are a worthwhile person.
"Jump off the roof. Prove you are the Son of God. Come down from the cross, King of Israel. Show us what you can do."
"You shall not test the Lord your God."
The Lord answered from Deuteronomy:
Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah. (Deuteronomy 6:16)
The reference is to Exodus.
And he called the place Massah [Massah means testing] and Meribah [Meribah means quarreling] because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?" (Exodus 17:7)
It is difficult to see the relationship between Jesus jumping from the roof of the Temple, and the Israelites complaining because they were thirsty. However, that relationship is the root meaning of the third branch of sin. It has to do with contentment in whatever state we find ourselves. It has to do with fearing God and keeping His commandments.
"Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." The Israelites went beyond this. They were not content with their state. They had seen the unprecedented miracles in Egypt. God had led them forth from their slavery. But they forgot all about the manifestation of Gods Presence and wanted God to again prove His love and faithfulness.
The Lord Jesus had been placed by Satan on the roof of the Temple. No doubt this was a very hot, very uncomfortable place to be.
Satan tempted the Lord to do something about this ridiculous situation, to act rashly in order to deliver Himself. Instead the Lord kept looking to His Father for the solution. He feared God and kept His commandments. He was without personal ambition.
It is interesting to note that the hiding of the perfect power of the seven thunders, of the tenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, can also be traced to the waters of Meribah.
And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down." (Revelation 10:4)
Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah. (Psalms 81:7KJV)
Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them." These were the waters of Meribah, [Meribah means quarreling] where the Israelites quarreled with the LORD and where he showed himself holy among them. (Numbers 20:11-13)
Moses temporarily abandoned his meekness and acted presumptuously and rashly. Such behavior is sinful and Moses was sorely punished for this lapse.
American ministers often seek power with God. Perfect power will be issued to Gods witnesses in the last days, but only to those who are without personal ambition.
The American culture wants to know what an individual has accomplished. We are not always concerned about what kind of person he is just as long as he is achieving something.
God sees matters differently. He is concerned about the person, not what he or she has accomplished. God is creating eternal servants and He wants them in His image and dwelling in untroubled rest in the center of His will.
Whether a pastor has two people in attendance or twenty thousand is of no significance in Gods sight. God is looking only for faithfulness. God can do tremendous things with any person at any time and under any circumstance. But to find an individual who limits himself to fearing God and keeping His commandments, who is not leaping with the high hills of personal ambition, is extraordinarily difficult.
Contentment and patience are Bible values.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (Philippians 4:11)
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. (I Timothy 6:6-9)
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eatfor he grants sleep to those he loves. (Psalms 127:1,2)
I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. (Revelation 1:9)
Sometimes we hear people advocating that we should "do big things for God; think big; step out in faith and God will bless you; prove God, take Him at His Word; God is waiting for people who dare to believe."
None of this is of the Lord. Rather, God says: "Be still, and know that I am God." God is not looking for a person who will "dare to do great things for God."
There is no example of aggressive faith in the "faith chapter," the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews.
If God tells us to take some unusual step of faith, then this is altogether different. This is not ambition but obedience and faithfulness. Sometimes God indeed does require an individual to walk on the water, so to speak.
But the current emphasis on daring God to perform some marvel is identical to Satan daring Jesus to jump off the roof of the Temple. It is presumption. It is the third great branch of sin, a satanic bondage that will be released in our day from every believer who will cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
We overcome the temptation to try to live by bread alone by making a practice of looking to the Lord continually throughout the day and night.
We overcome the temptation to worship and serve Satan by confessing, denouncing, and renouncing our sinful compulsions and tendencies.
We overcome the temptation to fulfill our personal ambitions by waiting patiently in the situation where God places us, in the meanwhile praying for what it is we want. When we delight ourselves in the Lord He grants us the desires of our heart.
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11)
There are several New Testament passages, such as the one above, that view our salvation as coming in the future. It appears this concept of salvation has been lost to the Christian churches. We usually think of salvation as something that happened to us in the past when we received Christ.
If we do think of a future redemption, we picture it as our going to Heaven.
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (Luke 21:28)
But our redemption is not from the earth to Heaven. We are not saved, or redeemed, from the earth. We are saved from the power of Satan. So the redemption that is drawing near is deliverance from the power of Satan.
To open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. (Acts 26:18)
The idea is that if we are faithful today in putting aside sin as well as we can, the time will come when the Lord will help us in a much greater way so we are able to gain total victory over the spirit of the world, the lusts of our flesh, and our self-will.
It often is said that as long as we are in the world we must sin. But this is not scriptural. By going to the Throne of Grace when we have need we can gain victory over each temptation. God always will make a way of escape so we can bear whatever comes against us.
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligationbut it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. (Romans 8:12)
If we continue to obey our sinful nature we will slay our spiritual life. Since we no longer are under the Law of Moses but under the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ, sin no longer can force our obedience. The Law of Moses only exposed our sin and then provided an animal sacrifice to make an atonement. The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ guides us and empowers us step by step so we can overcome all the works of Satan.
In the present hour we are kept by Gods power as we look to Christ in faith. But there is coming a salvation in which the very presence of sin shall be removed from us.
Who through faith are shielded by Gods power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)
Notice carefully the following passage:
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27,28)
There is coming a second appearing of Christ. From our point of view, and we will explain the basis for our viewpoint later, the appearing mentioned here is not the coming of Christ in the clouds of glory but a coming to "bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him."
When we consider the eighth through tenth chapters of the Book of Hebrews, the context of the above passage, we understand the salvation that is coming will result in a taking away of our sins, that which the blood of bulls and goats was not able to accomplish.
Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are Gods possessionto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14)
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
There is coming a day of redemption, a time when the Lord Jesus, who has been seated at the right hand of the Father, will arise and His enemies shall be made His footstool. Then we shall be free from the presence of sin. More than that, because we are free from sin we shall be filled with the Spirit of God without measure.
We have not been completely saved until our spirit, soul, and body are totally free from the guilt, power, presence, and effects of sin, and our spirit, soul, and body are totally filled with the Spirit of God. In addition to this complete salvation, the Father and the Son will be resident in our personality for the eternity of eternities.
From then on, moment by moment, we shall be growing in the image and knowledge of God.
Here is deliverance from the body of sin and death, for which Paul groaned.
Just as our freedom from the guilt of sin was accomplished by a specific act of God, so it is true that our freedom from the power of sin will be accomplished by a specific act of God.
We believe the Day of Atonement, of Reconciliation, of total redemption, has begun now and will continue throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed: (Deuteronomy 16:16)
The feast of Unleavened Bread.
The feast of Weeks (Pentecost).
The feast of Tabernacles (Booths).
The feast of Unleavened Bread symbolizes our basic salvation experience through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus.
The feast of Pentecost symbolizes the work of the Holy Spirit in our salvation. We might say that the twentieth century has been the century of the Holy Spirit.
The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is virtually unknown to the Christian churches. This is where we are heading in the present hour.
The feast of Tabernacles includes the Blowing of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles proper.
The Blowing of Trumpets announces the coming of Jesus Christ the King to make war against His enemies.
The Day of Atonement, of Reconciliation, is the work of God of which we have been speakingthe salvation that will move us completely from all the works of Satan and bring us into the image of Christ and into untroubled rest in the Father.
The feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled when the Father and the Son settle down to rest in us.
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)
There actually are seven feasts of the Lord. They are divided into the three groups we have just set forth.
Now notice: after we have come through the Passover blood, after we have experienced Pentecost, we then are ready for the great Day of Atonementthe season when the Lord God will remove from our personality all that is displeasing to Himself.
We never thought we could experience such deliverance prior to our death, or prior to the return of Jesus Christ in the clouds of glory.
The truth is, the deliverance of the Day of Atonement has nothing to do with whether we are alive on earth or alive in the spirit realm. The Lord judges the living and the dead with equal facility.
But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. (I Peter 4:5,6)
The fact that the Day of Atonement is announced by the Blowing of Trumpets reveals that the nature of the Day of Atonement is one of war and judgment. This is because our deliverance from sin can be accomplished only as the enemy that binds us is judged and driven from us by force.
Mankind was created to be Gods judges. As such we must be quick to confess our sins, as they are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, and judge them to be unworthy of the Kingdom of God. Until we pass judgment on our behavior, nothing can be accomplished.
Redemption is symbolized by the two goats by which atonement was made on the Day of Atonement.
Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:9,10)
The goat "whose lot falls to the Lord" was sacrificed, its blood being sprinkled in front of the atonement cover and then seven times before the atonement cover.
In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. (Leviticus 16:16)
Notice that in the above verse the atonement is made for the Most Holy Place and also for the Tent of Meeting. Perhaps we are not accustomed to the idea of an atonement being made for the Most Holy Place and the Tent of Meeting. Nevertheless, it is true that the Lord Jesus Christ cleansed the Divine sanctuary in the heavens.
Previously in this chapter, Aaron is to offer a bull to make an atonement for himself and his household.
Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. (Leviticus 16:6)
It also is mentioned that an atonement is to be made for Aaron, his household, and all the people of Israel.
No one is to be in the Tent of Meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel. (Leviticus 16:17)
But in verse 16, the atonement is presented as being made for the Most Holy Place and the Tent of meeting.
The atonement for the Most Holy Place, and then the atonement for the people, suggests to us that the blood of Jesus Christ cleansed the sanctuary in the heavens and then reconciled people to God until such time as the sins of the people could be removed.
It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (Hebrews 9:23)
The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:13,14)
The Lord Jesus made an atonement not only for our sins but also for the sins of the whole world.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)
The atonement of forgiveness has been preached for the two thousand years of the Church Age. Now it is time for the atonement of the removal of sin from the Church. The removal of sin is symbolized by the scapegoat.
When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelitesall their sinsand put them on the goats head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert. (Leviticus 16:20-22)
The sprinkling of the blood of the first goat represents the first aspect of the atonement, that is, the cleansing of the Most Holy Place and the Tent of Meeting, and the entire congregation. This is what the Lord Jesus meant when He said, "I go to prepare a place for you." We now are able to approach God because of the cleansing of the Most Holy Place in Heaven by the atoning blood of the Lamb of God, and because of the cleansing of the people.
The second aspect of the atonement took place as the sins of Israel were put on the head of the scapegoat. The scapegoat carried on itself the sins of Israel "to a solitary place." This means our sins not only are forgiven but are to be removed from usnot the guilt of our sins but the sins themselves, the sins that have bound us.
But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:10)
Atonement (reconciliation) is made not only by the shedding of blood but also by removing the sin; not the guilt of the sin, but the sin itself.
Reconciliation to God comes through the atoning blood of the cross of Calvary.
Reconciliation to God comes also as the power of Jesus Christ removes the bondages of sin from us and puts them in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.
Redemption from the hand of the enemy is not complete when there is only forgiveness. We must be delivered from the power of sin; otherwise we will keep on sinning and never will be permitted to remain in the Presence of God.
"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (II Corinthians 6:17-7:1)
God receives us, not only on the basis of forgiveness through the blood atonement but also as we cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. We have been forgiven. Now we must be delivered from every work of Satan.
It is interesting to note that the Trumpet of the Jubilee is blown on the Day of Atonement. This means we shall be released from our sin by the judgment and deliverance that characterize the Day of Atonement.
Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. (Leviticus 25:9,10)
The eighth through the tenth chapters of the Book of Hebrews explain the reasons why the new covenant is superior to the old covenant.
The first reason is that the eternal moral law of God is written in our mind and heart, instead of on stone in an abridged, covenantal form.
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Hebrews 8:10)
The second reason is that the new covenant removes our sin whereas the old covenant merely forgave our sin and therefore the sacrifice had to keep on being renewed.
The current teaching is that sins were not actually forgiven under the Law of Moses, but now, under the new covenant, they truly are forgiven for eternity and that this is the reason why the new covenant is superior.
This is not scriptural. The Bible states in several verses that sins indeed were forgiven by means of the atonement made by the blood of animals.
He shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. In this way the priest will make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven. (Leviticus 4:31)
"He will be forgiven." We may have heard that the only reason he was forgiven is that the animal sacrifice looked forward to Calvary. Whether this is true or not, I do not know of any passage of Scripture that states clearly animal sacrifices operated only in terms of the future crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
In the first place, the Israelite would have no comprehension of a future crucifixion of Jesus Christ. God said he was forgiven and so he would regard himself as being forgiven.
I think the idea of the animal sacrifice having no true immediate effect is misleading and dilutes the authority and power of the Word in Leviticus.
It is said today he was not really forgiven. The Bible states "he will be forgiven."
One reason why Christian teaching contains so many unscriptural traditions is that it employs deductive reasoning instead of holding firmly to the statements of the Scriptures.
The superiority of the new covenant is that it finally removes our sin, not that it provides an eternal forgiveness apart from our moral transformation.
He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:12)
This verse leads scholars to believe Christ has redeemed us eternally in that we are perpetually forgiven no matter what we do. Obviously, such a position does not agree with the Apostle Paul when he wrote that if we Christians continue living in the sins of the flesh we shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. Something obviously is amiss with the current conclusion regarding Hebrews 9:12.
Christ indeed did obtain eternal redemption for us. That redemption begins as we receive by faith the atonement made through the blood of Calvary. Then it continues through the work of the Holy Spirit until finally we are delivered from the compulsions of sin. We continue without condemnation because the righteous requirements of the Law of Moses are imputed to us; but the righteous requirements of the Law of Moses are imputed to us only as long as we are following the Holy Spirit in the program of removing sin from us.
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)
"Who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit"!
Christian thinking is incorrect when it maintains that righteousness is ascribed to us even though we continue to live according to the sinful nature.
What a gross error this is in Christian thinking!
The truth is, the difference between the two covenants is not that the new covenant is a superior forgiveness but that the new covenant through its many aspects of enabling grace guides and empowers us to put to death the deeds of our sinful nature.
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:14)
The new covenant invites us to look up from the Law of Moses and serve Christ without condemnation. But we are free to "serve the living God," not free to continue in our sins. The atoning blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness provided we are walking in the light of Gods will.
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritancenow that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews 9:15)
The above verse does not mean Christ sets us free from the guilt of the sins committed under the first covenant, but from the sins themselves.
Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:26-28)
The idea of the above passage is that when we receive Christ we are held to be without condemnation, with a view toward the time when He appears to actually remove the sin from us. In the meanwhile we are to be walking in the Spirit of God so we are not obeying the lusts of our flesh.
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:16)
There is coming, prior to the appearing of Christ in the clouds of glory, an appearing of Christ to His people in order to finish the work of redemption. As far as one can tell, this second aspect of salvation has begun now. However, deliverance from sin will come only to those who, like Simeon and Anna of old, are really walking in victory and waiting for the Lord. It probably is true that most of the Christian believers will never realize a new day is here.
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are comingnot the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. (Hebrews 10:1,2)
Perhaps the expression in the above passage, "would no longer have felt guilty for their sins," is the basis for current Christian teaching that sins committed under the Law of Moses were not actually forgiven. Now, however, our sins are completely forgiven forever. The new covenant provides a superior forgiveness that is not related to our behavior, it is maintained.
Given the fact that Leviticus states the believers, having made the sacrifice, were forgiven, makes it unlikely that the reason they continued to feel guilty for their sins was because they doubted Gods Word. It probably was true, rather, that they realized they still were committing sin; thus they still felt guilty. As Paul would say, "the Law cautioned me concerning covetousness and so covetousness came alive in me and I died."
The new covenant, on the other hand, assures us that if we really are following the Lord and keeping His commandments there is no need to feel guilty, even though we realize we are not perfect. We are following Jesus and He is keeping us free from condemnation. The Law no longer is nagging at us about our behaviors that are morally impure or rebellious. Our conscience is clear.
The problem has arisen because scholars have, in some instance, gone too far. They have presented a sovereign grace that ignores our behavior. This position cannot be validated by the writings of the New Testament.
One can understand how such a conclusion could be reached, provided the remainder of the New Testamentand in fact, the Book of Hebrews itselfwere ignored.
The Book of Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who, according to the text itself, were saved, filled with Gods Spirit, had witnessed the powers of the age to come, and had joyfully suffered persecution. These were not baby Christians.
Yet the Book of Hebrews in its entirety was a powerful rebuke, a severe warning. The warning was that the believers were coming short of the rest of God and were liable to perish in the wilderness of unbelief and disobedience.
Now, if once having accepted Christ we are eternally forgiven apart from our behavior, the writer of Hebrews would not have warned the believers that if they drew back they would perish.
The Book of Hebrews exhorts us to labor to enter the rest of God. The rest of God is that state of being where we have found rest in God and God has found rest in us. This state is possible only when the three great branches of sin in us have been dealt with and removed. So the idea of an eternal forgiveness apart from a diligent pursuit of Christ finds no support in the Book of Hebrews.
Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Hebrews 10:4)
According to the Scripture, sins were forgiven by the atonement made through the blood of bulls and goats.
According to the Scripture, the blood of bulls and goats could not take away the sin itself. The inference is that the atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ, both as to the slain goat and also the goat of removal, can indeed take away our sins until we are set free from sin.
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36)
Whoever commits sin is a slave to that sin. The Lord Jesus came to set us free from sin, to remove the chains of sin from us.
But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. (Hebrews 10:12-18)
The Lord Jesus Christ was an Offering for our sins. Christ is waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool. In other words, the forgiveness has come. Now we are waiting for the deliverance, that is, for the enemies of Christ in us to be brought under His feet.
The Lord writes His laws in our heart and mind. He also remembers our sins and lawless acts no longer.
The two have to go together. The new covenant is not complete when our sins and lawless acts are forgiven. The new covenant also makes us a new creation by carving the eternal law of God in our heart and mind. We are made a new creation as the old adamic nature dies and the new Nature of Jesus Christ is created in us.
These two actions must go together. In order to be redeemed we must be forgiven; then we must be transformed into righteous people. If no transformation takes place in our inward nature, if the eternal moral law is not inscribed there, then the program of redemption has been aborted and we shall perish in the wilderness of unbelief and disobedience. We shall not enter the rest of Gods perfect will. This is the thesis of the Book of Hebrews.
Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:14)
The only believers who are made perfect forever by the one sacrifice of the Lord Jesus are those who are being made holy. We are made holy only as we are following the Spirit of God each day in putting to death the deeds of our sinful nature. We have to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. If we do not, we are not partakers of the salvation that is included in the new covenant.
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)
It is fashionable today to discard such passages as the above as not applying to Christians. If the above two verses do not apply to Christians, then neither do any of the other passages of the Book of Hebrews apply to Christians, including Chapter Eleven, the "faith chapter" (an account of actions taken under the old covenant, thus revealing the continuity from the old covenant to the new covenant and thereby invalidating the concept of a "new dispensation" of "grace").
It is my point of view that Bible teachers who refuse to acknowledge that such warnings as Hebrews 10:26,27 apply to Christians are lacking in intellectual integrity. Furthermore, they will be held responsible for the tragic plight of millions of American Christians who are living in spiritual death because they believe they will not be held accountable for their lawlessness and disobedience to God. They are not keeping the commandments of Christ and His Apostles because of the false teaching they are receiving. The watchmen are not sounding the alarm!
How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:29-31)
"The Lord will judge His people"! Who are the Lords people? Those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ, whether they are Jewish or Gentile by race; those who have been sanctified by the blood of the new covenant.
On what basis would it be anyone else?
The writer, having told us previously that "by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy," is warning us that this does not mean we can continue in sin; for to do so is to count the blood of the covenant by which we were sanctified as being unholy, and to insult the Spirit of grace.
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. (Hebrews 10:35-39)
This passage seems to sum up what we have been saying. Our sins have been forgiven, and now we believe the Lord will come and completely deliver us from all the bondages of sin, culminating in the raising of our body from the dead and clothing it with eternal life.
In the meanwhile, we are living by faith. We are not shrinking back from the dealings of the Lord with us, for to do so is to invite destruction.
We "believe and are saved." The next chapter of the Book of Hebrews reveals what is meant by faith and belief. The faith and belief of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews have nothing to do with a doctrinal position. Rather they are the faith and belief of obedience to the leading of the Spirit of God in our life.
Each one of us has a goal, a unique calling. We are to be pressing toward that goal every day of our Christian life. We are to be grasping that for which we have been grasped. Although that goal is unique in terms of our calling, it is true nevertheless that each of us is to labor to enter the rest of God. We all have this in common.
To be fully in the rest of God is to be in the moral image of Jesus Christ and to be dwelling in untroubled rest in the very center of the Fathers Person and will. The Jewish Christians to whom the Book of Hebrews was addressed had received the blood atonement, had been filled with the Holy Spirit, but they were not following on to know the Lord. They were not pressing into the moral image of Jesus Christ and into untroubled rest in the center of the Fathers Person and will. This is the reason for the following exhortation:
As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion." Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 3:15-19)
We no longer are encumbered by the numerous statutes of the Law of Moses. We are without condemnation even though we do not adhere to the Law. Rather we are following the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. As we do so we are being set free from sin.
Freedom from sin is not gained overnight. It is a battle, city by city, as we enter the promised-land rest of God. If we are faithful in following the Spirit, when the Lord Jesus returns to earth we will be raised from the dead and clothed with eternal life. The last enemy, physical death, shall be destroyed.
But if we do not follow the Spirit of God, if we do not proceed from victory unto victory in the Lord, then, when the Lord returns to earth, we will not be clothed with eternal life. Rather, we will be raised by spiritual power, not by eternal life, and then receive what is due us according to our behavior while living on the earth.
The Lord Jesus has come to His Church now to help us get rid of the graveclothes that bind us. Like Lazarus, we have been raised but we are bound with the graveclothes of sin. The Lord is ready to deliver us if we are ready to be delivered.
Let us make sure we do not miss the hour of our visitation.
The account of Joshua and the cave at Makkedah portrays two aspects of the manner by which we overcome sin.
The first aspect is our willingness each day to confess our sins, denounce them, renounce them, and then draw near to God and resist them. This is a daily struggle against the forces of darkness that seek to fill us with death rather than the eternal life that is in Christ.
The second aspect is that of Christ coming and calling forth the kings of sin, so to speak, that reside in the depths of our personality.
In the Book of Joshua, the Israelites, led by Joshua, were defeating the Amorites.
After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. The LORD threw them into confusion before Israel, who defeated them in a great victory at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the LORD hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites. (Joshua 10:9-11).
When the five kings of the Amorites realized they were being defeated they hid in the cave at Makkedah.
Now the five kings had fled and hidden in the cave at Makkedah. (Joshua 10:16)
Joshua commanded that the five kings be imprisoned in the cave.
He said, "Roll large rocks up to the mouth of the cave, and post some men there to guard it. (Joshua 10:18)
The Israelite army continued to chase the Amorites and thoroughly defeated them.
Then the army returned to Joshua at the camp that had been established at Makkedah.
Joshua ordered that the stones be rolled away and the five kings brought from the cave.
This is what is taking place today. The Lord Jesus has come to us in the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement and is calling forth the "kings" that have kept His people in the bondages of sin.
Joshua had his commanders come and put their feet on the necks of the Amorite kings.
Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight." Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening. At sunset Joshua gave the order and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had been hiding. At the mouth of the cave they placed large rocks, which are there to this day. (Joshua 10:25-27)
Notice that the Amorite kings were killed and thrown back into the cave. This reminds us that the Lord will put to death the most powerful forces of sin in us, and then leave their dead carcasses in us. At His return in the clouds of glory, all the residue of sin in us will be removed so when workers of evil come to us they can find nothing in us that responds to their wicked desires. This is a major part of the salvation that is to be brought to us in the future.
Unlike the five kings of the Amorites, the kings in us that have been killed and left in us can come back to life, if we do not continue to keep the Lords commandments and walk in His ways. Satan watches us carefully to the last minute of our life on earth to see if he can deceive us into disobeying God. We never, never, never are to let down our guard!
Notice that what will happen to us in the future depends on the victories we gain today. If the kings of the Amorites are still alive in us when the Lord returns, then we shall be facing judgment rather than deliverance.
Perhaps we might want to consider the second through the twenty-third verse of the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John as portraying the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
We will tie the passage together with the second and twenty-third verses.
In my Fathers house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)
The Greek term for "room," in verse two, is the same Greek term for "home," in verse twenty-three.
There appears to be no linguistic reason why the translation should not be uniform:
In My Fathers house are many abodes.
We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
If the translators had been consistent with their usage of the Greek term for abode we would not have fallen into the "mansion in Heaven" mythology.
The Lord is saying, "In My Fathers house," which is the great temple of God, ChristHead and Body, "there are many rooms."
Christ Himself is the chief Cornerstone in the house of God and we are living stones that form the house.
The Lord went to the cross, and then into Heaven, to prepare a place for us that we may be part of the eternal dwelling place of the Father.
The Lord then promised He would come and receive us so where He is, there we may be also.
Where Christ is, is at the right hand of the Father. According to the Scripture, this is where we are now.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
We have died and a firstfruits of our life, our born-again inward nature, is at present hidden with Christ in God.
Now the Lord has come to us in the Spirit so Satan may be driven from the remainder of our personality.
Is there actually a coming of the Lord to His Church before He comes to the world?
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. (John 14:21)
The revelation of Christ to us depends on our keeping His commands. Perhaps this is why Satan has endeavored to introduce into Christian thinking the idea that it is not necessary for us to keep the commandments of Christ. We are saved by grace so it is not necessary we keep Christs commands, it is maintained.
"I will love him and show Myself to him."
Our point of view is that after we are saved and filled with the Spirit of God, Jesus Christ comes to us in the spirit realm and deals with the bondages of sin in our life.
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" (John 14:22)
Obviously, we are speaking of a coming of Christ to His disciples prior to His appearing to the world.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:3NASB)
(I did not use the New International Version rendering of the above verse because it appears the translators have inserted words in such a manner that it gives the impression Jesus is returning to take us to Heaven. Perhaps the translators were thinking traditionally. Other translations have rendered the Greek as "receive you to Myself," which I think is more in line with the meaning of John Fourteen.)
All of this is leading up to the New Testament verse that most clearly expresses the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles:
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)
Because God intends to dwell in Christ in us forever, He first must cleanse our personality. The Jewish feast that immediately precedes the feast of Tabernacles is the solemn Day of Atonement. The ten days from the Blowing of Trumpets to the Day of Atonement represent the period when God judges the world, according to Jewish tradition.
Over fifty years ago, while in Bible school, the Lord spoke to me that He was ready to judge His Church, and that the judgment was symbolized by the Day of Atonement. As I have studied the Scriptures through the following years, it becomes increasingly clear that the Lord Jesus Christ will come to His Church and prepare her for her role as the eternal Temple of God, the holy city, the new Jerusalem. This preparation will take place, at least for a godly remnant, before Christ returns in the clouds of glory.
It seems, then, that John Fourteen, verses two through twenty-three, tells us plainly that the Lord Jesus will not leave us as orphans but will come to us through the Holy Spirit. We will learn to live by His Life. He will receive us to Himself so we may always be with Him where He isin the very center of the Living Fire who is God.
I think this is taking place today. We are being baptized with the Fire who is God. Our sinful nature is being examined with a view to being removed from us.
We indeed shall be set free from sin if we are willing to follow the Spirit of God closely and cooperate with Him fully.
The Prophet Malachi tells us of the coming of the Lord to cleanse the priesthood. We Gentiles may not think of ourselves as being the priests of God, but we are. The calling that is on us is identical with the calling on Israel.
You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (I Peter 2:5)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (I Peter 2:9,10)
The expression "Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God" tells us the Apostle Peter finally had come to recognize that Gentiles can be true members of the royal priesthood.
Malachi informs us that Christ will come to His Church and cleanse it that it may serve God in righteousness.
"See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiners fire or a launderers soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,
For two thousand years the principal righteousness of the Christian churches is that which has been imputed to us because of our faith in Christ. But the hour will come, according to the Prophet, when Christ will cleanse us from sin so we are able to lift up hands that actually are righteous and holy.
The cleansing of the members of the royal priesthood of necessity must take place before they are raised from the dead and clothed in bodies like that of the Lord Jesus. We cannot be glorified and after that be cleansed!
Physical death is the last enemy to be destroyed, not the first!
It is time today for the wickedness to be removed from the Kingdom of God.
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:40-43)
First the Lord will take the weeds out of us. If we are not willing to have the weeds removed from us, the Lord will remove us from the Kingdom. We then will be thrown into the fiery furnace, for the fiery furnace has authority over all sineven the sin in a Christian. We are in danger of being harmed by the second death until the sin is out of us.
Matthew continues the warning of Malachi concerning the coming of the one who is to remove the sin from the royal priesthood.
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:10-12)
The Lord Jesus Christ will baptize us "with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
I suppose we always have felt that this should be translated "with the fire of the Holy Spirit."
However, the baptism with the Holy Spirit and the baptism with fire are two different baptisms.
The baptism with the Holy Spirit is for the purpose of making us witnesses of the Lord, both in acts of supernatural power and also in holy moral behavior.
The baptism with fire is for the purpose of clearing the Lords threshing floor, gathering His wheat into the barn; and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
We already have been baptized with the Holy Spirit. Now we need to be baptized with the fires of Divine judgment.
Every person born into the world is as a weed, being conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity. This is our inheritance because of Adam and Eves obedience to Satan. We were born spiritually deadcut off from God. Even after we become a Christian our physical body is dead because of sin.
When Christ is conceived in us we now are part weed, part wheat. As we serve the Lord faithfully, the weed diminishes and the wheat increases.
If we follow the Spirit of God carefully, the Lord will baptize us with fire. Then the weeds will be burned out of us and the wheat will be gathered into the barn.
When we say there are no weeds in us we deceive ourselves. When we confess the weeds, the Lord is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to purify us from all unrighteousness.
We must be forgiven, and then we must be purified from all unrighteousness.
The Christian salvation to the present hour has been almost totally one of forgiveness. As I stated before, when the Lord says He will take away our sins we automatically insert the word "guilt." What we perceive is that the Lord will remove the guilt of our sins. It may take a while, as we are drawing near to the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, for us to believe Jesus Christ intends to actually remove the very presence of sin from us.
However, we always have realized that somehow the new world of righteousness will not be one of imputed righteousness only. In that case there would be no Kingdom of God, no rule of God in which His will is done in the earth as it is in Heaven. Somehow, somewhere, at some point, sin must be removed from the people who inherit the Kingdom of God.
We look forward to peace and joy in the Paradise of God. But what if the people in Paradise were forgiven but not transformed? Then we would have the condition that is true today in the churches.
For I am afraid when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged. (II Corinthians 12:20,21)
If the Lord were to "rapture" the Christian believers into Heaven today, then Heaven would be filled with quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance disorder, and other spiritual impurities.
We have assumed that once we are in Heaven we will be changed and such behaviors, which are common in the churches of today, will no longer be present.
Try to find one passage in the Bible that tells us we will be changed morally by dying and passing into the spirit realm.
The truth is, all sin is spiritual in nature. It comes down to us from the angels and is maintained by the presence of demons plus the self-will of people.
We have no scriptural basis for believing we no longer will be bound by self-will when we die and enter the spirit realm. Also, the demons still will be present.
So apart from a passage of Scripture that informs us otherwise, we conclude that passing from the physical world into the spirit world is, for the sinning Christian, out of the frying pan into the fire.
Also, there is no passage of Scripture informing us that when the Lord returns He will wave a wand and we will be transformed from sinners into spiritual giants who will govern the nations with the rod of iron.
In fact, the opposite is true. When the Lord returns He will reveal what we have become while living on the earth. He will reward us according to what we have done. As I stated previously, He will not deliver the unrighteous servant from laziness; rather, He will remove the talent from him and throw him into the outer darkness.
We have been grievously misinformed. Now we need to get busy and serve the Lord diligently so we may move forward in the program of redemption from the power of sin.
It may be clear to us that we are in a season during which the Lord is ready to help us throw off the chains of worldliness, the lusts and passions of the flesh, and self-will and rebellion against Gods will.
Many of us have received Christ as our personal Savior but not as our personal Lord. We have continued to live the "Christian life" quite independently of the Lord Jesus.
We have mentioned the three great branches of sin:
How we live.
Who or what we serve.
Doing great things.
The Lord wants to deliver us in each of these three areas, removing what is of sin and spiritual darkness and filling us with eternal, incorruptible resurrection lifethe Life of God which is in Christ and is Christ.
We are in a definite season of moral deliverance. Having experienced Pentecost since 1948, we have become aware God is moving forward today. It was spoken to us in 1948 that God is ready to judge His people, and we now can feel the power of this declaration.
Of course, we always go by the Bible, not by our feelings.
The best way to discover if a teaching is from the Lord is to first make sure it does not clearly contradict the Scripture, and then to go to Jesus. Keep bringing the issue before Him. If the teaching is not from the Lord, it will not be long before He makes you aware of this.
It would be wrong, I think, to just ignore the passages presented above. Ours truly is a day of visitation. The "high hills are leaping," so to speak. There seems to be a sound of revival in America. Yet there seems also to be confusion concerning what part is of the Lord and what part is the ambition of religious people.
Brother Stanley Howard Frodsham prophesied some years ago to the effect we must beware of movements that are eighty percent scriptural and twenty percent questionable. This appears to be sound advice. In some of the "revivals" of today there are parts that are scriptural but other aspects that are questionable.
I do not feel called on to judge these refreshings, only to keep looking to Jesus to make sure that it indeed is He who is at work.
The Lord told us to pray that the Father would not lead us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. We ought to pray this every day. The believer who does not realize any Christian can be led down the path of deception has not had much experience with the Lord. Numerous Christians are smug in their belief that they are advanced disciples, when the truth is they are walking in the deception that sometimes affects the religious extrovert. They are confusing their religious actions with spirituality.
All of us should continually ask the Lord Jesus for a "report card" to make sure we are not pursuing some religious adventure that does not include Him.
We live in perilous times in both the physical and spirit realms. The two realms run parallel, it seems. The drums of Hell are beating to the attack. The three- point sermon, the choir anthems, the musical "specials," no longer are sufficient to meet the needs of the believers. We must have much more fire and life in our assemblings.
My own hope rests on the young people and children. I think we older people in America are backsliddenmuch, much too involved with money and our retirement. If we are willing we can serve as Joshuas and Calebs, providing experience and wisdom for the younger people. But I think it is the children of today who will reach the summit to which we have been called; who will cross over the Jordan, so to speak, and inherit the good land of the Kingdom of God.
I do not expect the Lord to return tomorrow. I believe there is much more to do in the way of getting the Church ready for His appearing.
The trumpet of war is sounding. Listen to the new choruses being sung in the churches that are moving forward. God is ready to make the enemies of Christ His footstool. God is beginning with those of the churches who are prostrate before the Altar of Incense, saying fervently "Not my will but Yours be done."
The remainder of the churches are oblivious to the new season and are preserving the Christian traditions, some of which have no basis whatever in the Scriptures.
The Bible teaches clearly in many symbols that the Church will be divided into a militant remnant and then a general body of believers. Perhaps the account of Gideon and his 300 is one of the stronger of these symbolic portrayals.
If you desire to be on the front line of the march toward Jordan, then tell Jesus about it. Open the everlasting doors of your heart. Let the Lord of Glory come in, the Lord strong and mighty in battle.
He will dine with you. Your food is His body and blood. His food is your adoration and obedience. Enter the eternal romance. Welcome Him who comes leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills. He knows how to play.
He will help you through the age of moral horrors we are approaching. He will protect you and your loved ones if you are faithful.
He will set a table before you in the presence of your enemies.
He will teach you to play!