CHRIST THE DELIVERER: TWO
CHRIST THE DELIVERER: TWOCopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
("Christ the Deliverer: Two" is taken from Behold My Servant!, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)
In multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven and as the sand that is on the sea shore.
Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.
In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice (see Genesis 22:17,18).
Three concepts are embodied here:
Ministry to the nations of the earth.
Notice that the first two of these edicts, fruitfulness and dominion, are the same promises made to Adam and Eve upon their being created by the Lord (Genesis 1:28).
The three edicts spoken to Abraham, the three creative words of God, have not as yet been fulfilled to anywhere near the extent they will be in the future. But it is a comfort to us Christians to realize that everything God has proclaimed shall be fulfilled completely.
The three aspects of the Divine promise made to Abraham are working, working, working in the heavens, working in the earth. They are creating, shaping, lifting up, casting down, tearing apart, comforting, guiding, inspiring, all creatures and circumstances everywhere. All the universe is moving toward this end: Christ shall be multiplied as the stars of the sky and as the grains of sand on the shore. Christ shall have total dominion over His enemies. In Christ shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.
"Behold my servant, . . . he shall bring forth judgment [justice] to the Gentiles [nations]."
Heaven and earth shall pass away; but the Divine purposes in Christ shall move ahead with power and precision until all God has promised concerning Christ has been fulfilled in its entirety.
Abraham had several children in addition to Isaac, but all of Abraham's inheritance went to Isaac (Genesis 25:5). Abraham gave gifts to his other children and sent them away from Isaac so there would be no confusion as to the inheritance. We can notice in the Scripture that the children of Abraham started family lines of their own and that from these family lines came many of the peoples of the Middle East.
But the Word concerning the Servant of the Lord, Christ, He who is to possess the fullness of fruitfulness and dominion and who is to bless the nations of the earth, continued only through Isaac. The Seed is not plural but singular. There is only one Seed, only one Servant of the Lord, only one Heir of the promises of God concerning the redemption and Kingdom to come.
The Scriptures ignore many of the personages and events of world history. The purpose of the Scriptures is to describe the original Word of God concerning mankind, as found in the first chapters of Genesis; and then to reveal the Anointed Deliverer who is to bring into being the image of God, the union, the fruitfulness, and the dominion that have been promised to mankind by the Lord God of Heaven.
This is why Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, and the other children of Abraham largely are ignored by the Scriptures while the bulk of the text concerns Isaac, Jacob, the nation of Israel, Jerusalem, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus is the Seed of Abraham. The Seed of Abraham is the Servant of the Lord. We Christians also, if we truly are abiding in Christ, are the Seed of Abraham. Many so-called "Christians" are not abiding in Jesus and are not of Abraham nor are they a part of the Servant of the Lord. Those who are abiding in Jesus compose the Body, the fullness of Christ. They are an integral part of the Servant of the Lord.
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)
All the promises of God are to the Seed of Abraham. That Seed is Christ, the good Olive Tree. If we belong to Christ, whether we are a Jew or a Gentile by natural birth, we also are the Seed (singular) of Abraham and heirs of the promises made to Abraham when God spoke to him from Heaven.
Those who are part of the Seed, of Christ, of true Israel, are so by promise. Although there is much advantage to being a Jew by birth in that the Jews are the race God called out from mankind and entrusted with the Law, the Tabernacle, the priesthood, and many other Divine revelations, it remains true that being a part of Christ, of the one true Seed, is by promise only.
Being a part of Christ is by election, by the foreknowledge of God. One cannot become a member of God's Christ by being born of Jewish parents. One must be called of God in Christ and be born again of the Spirit of Christ. The inheritance is always and only by promise.
Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. (Romans 9:7,8)
It is paradoxical that the Seed is singular and yet the Seed is to be as the stars of the heaven and the grains of sand in number. How is it that the Seed can be singular and yet multiplied after this fashion? How can we be the Seed when only Christ is the Seed--the Seed being singular in number?
The answer is as follows: we Christians are being made the Wife of the Lamb. God has stated that when a man cleaves to his wife they no longer are two but are one flesh (Genesis 2:24). When we are joined to Christ there no longer are two persons, there only is the one Person. That Person is Christ and we in Him.
Therefore the Seed remains singular in number and yet is multiplied throughout the heavens and the earth in those who are part of Christ.
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)
For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:30-32)
Christ is the Vine and we are the branches. There is but one planting of the Lord God destined to "blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isaiah 27:6). We are in Him and He is in us. We have been grafted on the one true Vine. Christ is the Head and we are the Body. The Head is not separate from the Body and the Body is nothing at all without the Head.
If we are in Christ we are part of the great multiplication of Christ as the stars and grains of sand. We shall overcome our enemies and through us the nations of the earth shall be blessed.
We ourselves are the beginning of the blessing promised to the nations (Galatians 3:8), a "kind of firstfruits" of God's creatures (James 1:18). When the saints become one in Christ in God the blessing of faith in Christ will be extended to the rest of the world.
"That the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
Only Christ is the Seed in whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed. The Christian Church is of service to mankind only as the saints enter union with Christ and Christ is revealed in them.
The work of the Servant of the Lord includes bringing forth justice to the peoples of the earth.
There are three aspects of the glorifying of Christ:
Planting the heavens.
Laying the foundations of the earth.
Saying unto Zion, "Thou art my people."
Christ is one Person--Jesus, the Lord, the only begotten Son of God.
It is the will of God that Christ be glorified. All the saved persons, creatures, and things of the heavens and the earth will one day be part of Christ. They all will be a reflection of His Person, His will, and His way. This is the eternal purpose of the Most High God (Ephesians 1:10).
The city of Jerusalem has a special role to play in the glorifying of Christ in that Christ always will rule the creation from Jerusalem. Today the spiritual nature of Jerusalem is in the heavens while the body of Jerusalem is on the earth. In the age to come the Jerusalem in Heaven that now is being perfected will come down from Heaven and be installed for eternity on the new earth.
Those who are called to be saints, that is, who are of the true Israel of God, are the members of Christ's Body. They are called to reveal Christ's glory in a special way. They are the ruling priesthood of the world to come. They are the center of government of the Kingdom of God. They are the eternal Temple of God.
One day the Throne of God and of the Lamb will enter them in fullness. They are the new Jerusalem , for Christ's Presence always is centered in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is God's choice for the capital city of the earth.
The first aspect of the glorifying of Christ is the planting of the heavens with the spirits of righteous men made perfect--righteous because Christ has been formed in them. The planting of the heavens, of the heavenly Zion, is the perfecting of the inhabitants of the eternal Jerusalem. When the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem have been brought to perfection they will descend to abide forever on the new earth.
The reborn spiritual nature of the believer always ascends to Christ at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Then, as the believer submits on earth to the program of crucifixion and resurrection, his spiritual nature is perfected in Heaven by means of the tribulation he experiences on the earth.
In the Day of the Lord he will descend with Christ. His perfected spiritual nature will then be joined with his body whether it is asleep in the ground or still living on the earth.
The second aspect of the glorifying of Christ is the laying of the foundations of the earth. Civilization is in chaos today, being built on lies. Only Christ is the truth of God. Only He is the Answer to the problems of living in the world.
The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the hearts of the saints and finally in the hearts of all those who inherit the new earth. The outward manifestation of the Kingdom of God began on the Mount of Transfiguration and will continue in great power and glory at the appearing of Christ and His saints in the clouds of the heaven.
Then will Christ be crowned King on the Throne of David in Jerusalem. Jerusalem and the nations of the earth will be governed by the Lord Jesus Christ. He will delegate His authority and power to His princes, His mighty men, His victorious saints. They are those in whom He and His Father are dwelling in restful union (Revelation 3:21; 20:4).
Jesus will come from Heaven and set up His government in Jerusalem. Then the Word of God will flow from Him to the farthest reaches of the earth. Every person left alive on the earth at that time will experience the way, the truth, and the life that are in Christ and in the members of His Body.
Although there will be resistance at first, the nations having to be ruled with a rod of iron, order eventually will come forth from chaos. The peoples of the earth will go up to Jerusalem to hear the Word of the Lord. Peace will come to the nations as they accept the Person and Word of Christ. In this manner Christ will lay the foundations of the earth.
The heavens are being planted now as the Holy Spirit is calling out the members of the Body of Christ, taking them from many nations. The Holy Spirit is causing them to be built up in the Head, in Christ. They are being brought to unity and maturity in the Spirit of God.
After the conquering saints have been prepared to the Lord's satisfaction, Jesus will return and lay the foundations of the earth. When the Lord builds up Zion, that is, the heavenly Zion, He will appear in His glory. Now will the material creation be released into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
The third aspect of the glorifying of Christ is the saying to Zion, "You are my people." Zion refers to God's elect--those individuals from among mankind whom God foreknew and whom He elected to be justified and glorified.
In particular, Zion represents the victorious saints, the Lord's warriors, His mighty men, beginning with the Jews. These are persons whom the Father has given to Christ to be with Him where He is forever (Revelation 14:1). They are not of the world, having been called out from the world by the Lord Himself. The Father's name is written in their foreheads.
Even though all the members of the elect Israel have been called to be part of the royal priesthood, the holy nation, many of God's chosen people find it difficult to be reconciled to God. To be reconciled to God to the extent God requires of one of His chosen priests is a totally demanding experience. God deals with each of His elect day and night, night and day, perfecting him or her in righteousness, holiness, obedience, faith, trust, patience, and love for God.
Because the chosen saints (holy ones) have so much trouble being reconciled to God in the supremely holy, fiery union the Father requires of every living stone of His eternal Temple, it is the task of Christ to exhort and comfort continually each person who has been called to be a saint.
Christ will say, over and over again, "You belong to Me. You are not of the world. I have chosen you from the creation of the world to love Me, to become an integral, eternally indivisible part of Me, to be with Me forever where I am."
The process of instilling in the chosen saints, in God's elect, the concept that they belong to God in a unique way, that God Himself is their Salvation and their Inheritance, will continue without letup until every member of true Israel knows the Lord and loves the Lord above everyone and everything else of his being and existence.
And they [the house of Israel and the house of Judah] shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:11)
We understand, therefore, that the glorifying, the enlarging of Christ is taking place along three dimensions:
The populating of the spiritual Jerusalem that is in the heavens, with the spirits of righteous people who have been perfected in obedience to God through the things they have suffered in Jesus' name. The spiritual heavens always have been the source of the chaotic, wretched conditions on the earth. Until there is victory in the heavens there cannot be victory on the earth.
The establishing of the peoples of the earth and their environment on the foundations of the Person and Word of Christ. The nations will know neither truth nor justice until they have been founded on the Christ of God.
The reconciling (marrying) of God's chosen people to God's Lamb so all of them are one in Christ in the Father as Christ and the Father are One. The oneness of the saints in Christ in God is the Divine means of magnifying the Incarnation, of bringing into bodily form the invisible God. Christ, Head and Body, is Emmanuel--God with us.
When all persons and things have been brought into subjection to Christ, and each saved person and thing has found his or its place in Christ, then Christ will give the Kingdom to His God and Father so the Father may be All in all.
The total glorifying of Christ is described briefly in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation. The Throne of God and of the Lamb are at rest in the Body of Christ, which is the new Jerusalem. Also, the nations of saved peoples of the earth are in subjection to Christ who is dwelling in Jerusalem, and will bring their glory and honor into God's city.
Because God is creating us the completion, the fullness of the Servant of the Lord, we have become the recipients of the Divine declarations concerning the Servant of the Lord. We have been charged with the responsibility of performing, through the Holy Spirit, the work of the Servant of the Lord, and we are partakers of the eternal destiny of the Servant of the Lord.
. . . because as he is, so are we in the world. (I John 4:17)
None of us Christians was in the beginning with God. We did not create all personages and things as did Christ. We are not offerings for sin.
But as to the present and future Substance, responsibility, and inheritance of the Lord Jesus Christ we are coheirs in every sense of the word. This is the Divine declaration of the God of Heaven. We are part of Christ, united with Christ, and share in all Christ is and Christ does. This is the Word of God to us: You are my people!
How is the Body of Christ, the completion, the fullness of the Servant of the Lord, created and formed? The Body of Christ is formed as the members of the Body work together in the Spirit of God. The Body builds itself up through the grace given to it by the Head through the Holy Spirit of God.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying [building up] of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12)
The apostles lay the foundation, which is Christ. The prophets declare the burden of the Holy Spirit. The evangelists spread the good news of redemption in Jesus' name and of the coming to earth of the Kingdom of God. The pastors and teachers work with the believers, assisting them as they learn to walk in the Spirit of God.
All the ministries and gifts of the Spirit are extensions of the authority, power, wisdom, and virtue of the ascended Christ. All of them are laboring to bring about the perfecting, in the Head, of each saint. The purpose of the Christian ministry is to produce perfect maturity and perfect unity in the Body of Christ, the Body of the Servant of the Lord.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)
The standard of excellence for the final result of the travail of the ministries of the Church is Christ Himself. It is the perfect and complete enlarging of Christ by bringing each saint to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. The standard against which our growth is measured is the stature of the fullness of Christ.
It is not our strength and wisdom that will bring about such an incredible attainment, it is the Word of God that accomplishes everything of value in the Kingdom of God.
In the mind of God is a vision, an understanding, an idea, a concept, an expression of desire and purpose. That purpose is Christ. Christ is the Word of God from the beginning. Having come forth from God, the Lord Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of the vision, the concept, the expression of God. He alone is the Truth!
The God of Heaven dwells in His Fullness in Christ and has given to Christ the Spirit of God without measure.
It is God's further purpose to multiply that perfect concept and expression in millions of people. God has spoken. He has declared there will be many brothers of Christ, many persons who are to be changed into the image of His beloved Son (Romans 8:28,29).
Every person, every thing, and every action in the universe, willingly or unwillingly, is contributing toward this end--that those whom God foreknew and predestined shall be changed into image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
We are not stating that all persons consciously are doing God's will or that people have no choice in what they do.
We are saying, rather, that God has issued the sovereign Word that the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, will be completely, perfectly in the image of His Son, Christ.
The members of the Body of Christ individually and collectively will be in the express image of Christ in their spirits, in their souls, in their bodies, in the communication of their personalities, in their behavior, and in every other way in which people live, move, and have their being.
Yet each of these holy ones, although losing his individuality because of being brought into the Oneness of the Godhead, will retain his unique identity throughout eternity.
So utterly important, so surpassingly significant, is the enlargement of the Being of God that all else of the universe is serving as a backdrop and supporting cast for this one supreme purpose. God will permit nothing--absolutely nothing--to hinder in any manner the perfect, total accomplishment of His Divine purpose in Christ.
The Word of God is infinitely more than a directive issued to mankind so people may understand mentally what it is they are supposed to become and do. Rather, the Word that proceeds from the Father is creative Power and Substance that contain in themselves everything necessary for the fulfillment of that which the Word proclaims and describes.
The Word of God is working today, bringing into existence a church, a wife for the Lamb, a body for Christ, that will be of the Substance and in the image of Christ. The Church will fulfill all that has been spoken in the Scriptures concerning the work and destiny of the Servant of the Lord.
No person, no spirit, no authority or power of any kind can prevent the fulfillment of the Word of almighty God. In the future the heavens and the earth to which we are accustomed will be tossed aside as a soiled garment (Hebrews 1:12). But Christ, who is the Word of God and in whom all of the Word shall be fulfilled, will remain as powerful, as fresh, as vital, as perfect, as the moment the Word proceeded from the Father. So it is with all who do the will of God. (I John 2:17).
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Ephesians 4:14)
It is characteristic of children that they are deceived easily. They do not possess the wisdom, strength, and purpose that come from experience. They are led with equal ease into truth and into error.
Many--perhaps most--Christian people are like that. They are immature in the ways of God. They readily fall prey to self-seeking preachers and teachers who never were charged by Jesus with the responsibility for feeding and taking care of His sheep.
No member of the Body of Christ, the Servant of the Lord, will remain as a small child in understanding. Each member will have had his senses exercised in the discernment of good and evil. They all will know the Lord from the least to the greatest (Hebrews 8:11).
When the Lord has finished building up the saints they will be perfect in the exercise of judgment, excelling in the knowledge of the ways of the Lord.
In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. (Zechariah 12:8)
They shall take control of the gates of the enemy, the gates of Hell. They are conquerors. They overcome through Christ the spirit of this present wicked age, the lusts of their bodies, the adversary and his legions, and their own self-centeredness and self-will. They love not their lives to the death.
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (Ephesians 4:15)
Christ is the Head of the Servant of the Lord. We are to grow up, to mature in the Head. We do so by continuing to announce the Word of God in a spirit of love and gentleness. The Servant of the Lord must not strive.
During the present age, before the army of Christ comes from Heaven, the Servant of the Lord on the earth does not force His way or harm other people. He always is judging, as He hears from His Father, but He never executes vengeance on people.
We capitalize the pronoun he although we recognize that human beings are included in the Servant of the Lord. The point is, the Servant of the Lord always is the Lord Jesus Christ even though the expression of Jesus is found in us. We are the branches of the one true Vine.
All we are required to do is to keep on declaring to the members of the Body what God has proclaimed: that is, that Christ is Lord of all; that He has died for our sins; and that we are being created in His image. If we just "speak to the Rock," not smiting the Lord and His people in our arrogance, presumption, and harshness, the Word of God will do the rest.
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying [building up] of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:16)
Every Christian has a part to play in the building of the Body of Christ. In time past the work of building the Body of Christ has not progressed rapidly, perhaps because the majority of the believers have not been participating according to the scriptural pattern in the work of building the Body. Many Christians have been attending church meetings but have not actively been seeking their place of responsibility in the Kingdom of God.
Now is the time for each of us to make his or her individual contribution to the unifying and maturing of the Servant of the Lord and to arise and build the wall of defense against sin, the wall of the new Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:17).
It is not necessary for us to be anxious about what we are supposed to do. Our part is to present our body each day a living sacrifice in order that we may prove the will of God for the particular day.
If we keep ourselves in readiness to hear and obey the Lord, spending time each day in prayer and in the reading of the Scriptures, the Spirit of the Lord will direct us into our own part in building the Body of the Anointed Deliverer.
The Anointed Deliverer, the Servant of the Lord, will bring the kingdom of darkness to total defeat. He will exercise dominion over all the works of God's hands. He is the eternal dwelling place of God Almighty. He brings judgment, justice, deliverance, and great joy to the whole earth. He multiplies and fills the entire universe with the Person and image of God in Christ.
Our responsibility is to be obedient and faithful to what is presented to us each day, whether the issue or task is great or small, significant or seemingly insignificant, prominent or humble and commonplace. God's responsibility is to bring to pass His eternal Word.
The Servant of the Lord is a called Man, a chosen vessel. The meaning of the term church is called-out , that is, called out from the world, from the nations of the earth. Each person who will ride with Christ in the Day of the Lord is first called, then chosen, then faithful. The calling of the Lord comes first (Revelation 17:14).
The scriptural concept of election, of calling, does not signify that no matter what we do, how faithfully we serve God, we have been assigned a predetermined destiny. The Scriptures teach clearly that each individual will be rewarded according to his own works (Revelation 22:12).
The record of the entire Scriptures plus our Christian experience inform us that many events and things in the world come about in response to our prayers or lack of them, our obedience or lack of it. We do not teach passivity, fatalism, or inevitability.
A spirit of inevitability has in some instances settled on the Christian people. The Antichrist is coming! We are going to be raptured! Why become too concerned about personal holiness, about overcoming sin and self-will, about the unifying and maturing of the Body of Christ, about making disciples from the people of the nations, teaching them to obey the Word of Christ, about our personal ministry? What is going to happen will happen. Why make the effort? We are saved by grace in any case!
The spirit of inevitability is the opposite of the admonitions and promises of the Scriptures. It has settled on the churches because of the lack of prayer, lack of faith, ignorance of the Scriptures, and love of the world.
The saints need to stir themselves and take hold of God in the present hour. It seems clear that God's people have been lured into deception concerning the role of the Church in the end-time.
We hope we have made clear our position concerning a fatalistic, passive, inevitable approach to the matters of God's Kingdom. Having done that, let us go on to discuss the Divine election of the Servant of the Lord.
The Scriptures teach, both in the Old Testament and the New, that God knows precisely what He is doing. He could have prevented the sin that took place in the garden of Eden. God is not bound by any thing, person, or spirit. God does what He will in the heavens and on the earth. No person or spirit can by any means hinder God or call Him to account for His behavior in any area.
God is God!
God is working in terms of His own purpose. His purpose is directing the course of history. If that were not the case it would not be possible for a person to prophesy of the future. We have the Book of Revelation that outlines for us the events of the future all the way to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. Could that be possible if God did not have perfect knowledge and were not in control of all people, events, and things?
Abraham is the father of all true members of Christ. The Seed of Abraham is Christ--Head and Body. Abraham was a called-out man. Paul refers to the calling of Abraham when he teaches the meaning of the grace of God given to us under the new covenant. When we can see clearly the picture of Abraham being called out of Ur of the Chaldees and being made the father of many nations, then we can understand what it means to be saved by grace and not by works.
Archaeological findings suggest that Ur of the Chaldees was an important city of its day. Apparently there were many people living there. The Scriptures give no indication Abraham and his family were any different in behavior from the other citizens of Ur.
On what basis, then, did God call out Abraham and his family and assign such significance to them? Why was Abraham given the opportunity to become the father of all who believe in Christ? Why did the Lord promise Abraham that his Seed would be as the stars of the heaven for multitude, and then account him as righteous on the basis of his believing the promise of God?
The basis was, and yet is, the sovereign working of the Lord God among His creatures. When we can accept that the Lord saves us by His grace in a manner similar to His calling out of Abraham; that Divine grace operates in terms of election; that election works according to God's desires, will, and foreknowledge; then we can begin to grasp the principle that Israel always is a chosen nation; that each member of the Body of Christ, the Christian Church, the Wife of the Lamb, has been called out from the peoples of the world to be a person peculiarly God's own; that we have not chosen Christ but Christ indeed has chosen us (John 15:16).
This is why the Apostle Paul was so emphatic that the physical Jew is not necessarily the heir of Abraham. While the land and people of Israel are the only physical land and people that God has designated as belonging to Himself, it remains true that the Messianic inheritance always is by promise and cannot be given by physical birth. Christ is the only true Seed of Abraham. The members of Christ are revealed when the Spirit of God brings them to Christ.
The physical Israelites were removed from the Olive Tree, from Christ, after having sought the inheritance by the works of the Law in the wisdom and energy of the flesh, not by faith in God. The elect Gentiles have received Christ by faith in the promise of God. God has shown favor to the Gentiles in order to provoke Israel, His own chosen physical nation, to jealousy.
The Abrahamic inheritance always is by faith in the promise of God, according to God's election. If the inheritance came by our righteous endeavors we could boast of our own righteousness. But God has deemed all men to be in sin and unbelief in order that He may show mercy to those to whom He has chosen to show mercy. Let us, therefore, cease from our own works and press into the rest of God, into the perfect will of God, into the place of abiding in Christ.
Having grasped the principle of grace operating through election and through our faith in the promise of God, our task is to lay hold firmly upon the promise in order that we may press on toward our inheritance with every bit of our attention and energy.
We make certain of our calling by following after Christ with singleness of heart and purpose. If we do this we will not fail to attain the inheritance. But if we are indifferent toward our election we may discover some day that God has given our place to another. Remember Esau!
Whenever we consider the life and testimony of one of God's heroes of faith, whether Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Samson, Elisha, John the Baptist, or Paul, we can see the grace of God working through election. The Scriptures are not a record of holy people seeking God. The Scriptures are a record of Almighty God reaching down from Heaven and calling out people according to His own purpose and grace.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (Hebrews 1:1)
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began, (II Timothy 1:9)
The Servant of the Lord is an elect Man, a chosen vessel. Every member of the Servant of the Lord was designated before the events of the first chapter of Genesis came into being. When we do the work of the Lord we do not just march forth, the results springing up through means of our own wisdom and energy. Rather we go out seeking the mind of the Spirit of God who, in turn, is working in terms of the will of the Father. Isn't this what the Book of Acts teaches us?
. . . And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:47)
Notice (verse above) that as the Apostles and the remainder of the church did the will of God, the Lord Himself added souls to their number--and He did so on a daily basis.
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)
The above verse reveals the role of God's sovereignty in the imparting of belief to hearers of the Word of God.
Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not [did not permit them]. (Acts 16:6,7)
For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. (Acts 18:10)
Consider the expression, "I have much people in this city."
The Christian Church consists of called-out saints. In the above passage we can observe that the Lord has people whom He has called and that He knows who they are and where they are: "I have much people in this city." God knows what He is doing.
The Servant of the Lord already is perfect and glorified in the sight of God. "Behold My Servant, whom I uphold." " Behold Him," God commands us, "because I have called Him in righteousness. I will hold His hand, and will keep Him, and give Him for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations of the earth."
The glorification of the saints is in the past tense: "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified" (Romans 8:30).
God "calleth those things which be not as though they were" (Romans 4:17).
God never is confused. He knows exactly what He is doing with every person. God is in control of all people and all events. God is far greater than any of us can conceive at this time.
The Servant of the Lord is an elect Personage. Each member of the Servant of the Lord, of the Body of Christ, has been Divinely called to this office.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16)
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (I Corinthians 1:26)
It can be a help to our pursuit of Christ when we begin to understand the sovereignty of God in the building of the Kingdom of God. There is a plan. There is a design. God knows precisely what He is accomplishing with every creature in Heaven and on the earth, down to the smallest sparrow.
What is our part, then, if God is sovereign in the plan of redemption? Our part is to lay hold on that for which we have been grasped by Christ. God came to us when we were in the bondage of the devil and opened our eyes to the blood of the cross. God came to us. The Holy Spirit moved on us and we were convicted of sin. At that point we could have refused to repent. We could have hardened our heart. The choice was ours.
So it is with all points of growth along the way. Redemption always is an opportunity we can refuse or grasp. God initiates an outpouring of grace on us. The Holy Spirit brings an assigned portion to us. When the grace comes, the calling to a higher, better place in God, we can answer yes, or no. We consider the cost. We weigh the reward of Christ against our comforts and desires. We then cast all else aside and follow the will of Christ or else we cling to the things of the world.
Each believer chooses to lose his life in Christ or to save it in the world.
God constantly is challenging us and inviting us to a deeper relationship with Himself. Each day abiding in Christ becomes more demanding. We constantly are making up our mind, day by day, whether or not we wish to lay hold on the fullness of the grace of God.
Meanwhile the Spirit of Christ keeps on saying, "You are mine! You are mine!"
Many Christian people are wandering in the wilderness of confusion, unable to make up their mind concerning the pull of the Holy Spirit on them. Others are hardening their heart, being unwilling to go any further with God because of the death to self that is involved.
But the victorious saints, the conquerors, are wasting no time in indecision. They are pressing on! Pressing on! Pressing on! When God invites, they respond. They are insistent on attaining the fullness of the Glory of God. They go straight to the goal fixed in their heart.
There are two great dynamics involved in the formation of the Servant of the Lord. The first dynamic is the power and wisdom of God who reaches down and calls the individual into God's plan for his or her life. The second dynamic is the will of the believer as he keeps on choosing to grasp Christ, or else as he wanders in the wilderness of the world without being able to make any clear, stable decision with respect to the drawing of the Holy Spirit toward the holiness of God.
"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." It is impossible for a person to remain in indecision and at the same time pursue God's highest plan for his life. We must make up our mind to perform the will of Christ. Christ will not wait forever for us to decide to forsake the world and follow Him.
There is power in the Word of God--unbelievably great, universal, galaxy-creating power. Every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God Almighty contains more power than we are able to comprehend.
God's Word is absolutely powerful, trustworthy, eternal. It cannot be changed by any other force. Everything God has proclaimed shall come to pass in its entirety.
God has announced:
. . . all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
"All things"! There is no exception. It requires faith to believe in the word all .
The condition is that we love God.
God calls people out of the world. Every true saint has been called out of the world by the Spirit of God.
The people of God, true Israel, always are a called-out nation. God chooses whom He will and calls them to approach unto Himself. God does the selecting.
God has a specific purpose. We have been called according to that purpose. God's purpose is in Christ. The fullness of God's purpose is known to no one other than God Himself. It is a design, a plan hidden in the mind of the Father. There are many parts of the plan that are a complete mystery to the angels. God is working all things according to the counsel of His own will.
What is the "good" for which all things are working together? The good consists of the fulfillment of the Divine promises concerning the Seed of Abraham. The promises include the fullness of fruitfulness, the fullness of dominion over the enemies of Christ, and the fullness of blessing for the nations of the earth.
Of even greater importance in the purpose of God is the creating of the fullness of the image of Christ in the brothers of Jesus.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
God possesses foreknowledge. He knows in advance what will take place. The time through which God is able to look ahead is so vast we humans can by no means conceive of it. To envision the events of thousands of years in the future is as nothing to God. The specificity of detail included in the Divine foreknowledge is another element we cannot comprehend. He numbers the hairs of our head.
God can see into the future at His will and in detail. God knows what is going to happen in the future concerning every creature, every thing, every environment in existence.
Christ remains unique, being the Word of God from the beginning. Now God is using Christ as the goal, the pattern, the standard of excellence. The Word of God has proceeded from the Father: there shall be "many sons" created in the image of Christ.
God will fulfill His part of the covenant. Unless the believer decides he has had enough pain, enough deferral of his desires, enough interference with his life, and removes himself from the program, the Word of God will work until there has occurred a perfect, complete transformation into the image of Christ.
Christ's brothers will be in His image, of His Substance, or else they will not be His brothers.
The promise is to whoever is willing to respond. The brothers of the Lord Jesus are not an exclusive group of exceptional Christians. To be in the image of Christ is the calling of every member of the Church of Christ, the Body of Christ, the Servant of the Lord.
We do not look to ourselves or trust in ourselves that we can do anything at all. We trust only in the Word of God to accomplish the purpose of God in us and through us.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)
He predestined. He called. He justified. He glorified.
This is the sovereign Word and work of God Almighty. Until we absorb deeply into our consciousness the sovereignty of God in the building of the Kingdom of God we cannot find the rest of abiding in Christ. God often works in a manner so contrary to our understanding of what is appropriate, necessary, and desirable that we worry continually concerning our personal welfare and the adequacy of the work of redemption in the earth.
The question keeps coming to us: "Can these bones live?" The only answer is: "O Lord God, thou knowest."
God knows what He is doing. God is in control. His response to the insane desire of people to cast off His restraints is to laugh. We may be fretting ourselves concerning wickedness but God is laughing.
God is not laughing at the misery of the prisoners of the earth. He understands every pain, every tear, every experience of terror, anguish, and futility. God cares about people, about His offspring in the earth. God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son for us.
But God laughs in derision at the rebellious kings and rulers of the earth, both the human rulers and the angelic rulers. Woe to the rulers of the earth when God ceases to laugh and begins to tread the winepress of His wrath! In that Day only our position in Christ will shield us from certain destruction.
We have been predestined for glory. We have been called to be saints (holy ones). We have been declared to be righteous. In the sight of God we have been glorified although we do not as yet see the state of glorification accomplished in us. But God sees us perfect and complete. This is why the Spirit of Christ exclaims, "Behold my servant"!
The Servant of the Lord already has been perfected in the mind of God.
We have been called, justified, and glorified according to the sovereign counsel of God's own will. Whether we come to actually experience glorification depends on our willingness to follow the Lord Jesus patiently in cross-carrying obedience, our willingness to cooperate with the Spirit of God as He produces holiness in us.
If we choose to live in the wisdom and appetites of the flesh we will die spiritually whether or not we have been predestined for eternal life. If we, on the other hand, sow to the Spirit of God, we will reap eternal life. Every believer in Christ is living either in the wisdom and appetites of the flesh or else in the Spirit of God.
If we yield to our fleshly nature we will receive the wages of sin, which is physical and spiritual death. But if we Christians follow on to know the Lord, then the reward of eternal resurrection life, of glorification in spirit, soul, and body, will be ours.
Each member of the Body of Christ has been predestined for glory, having been pronounced righteous by the Lord. If he works with the Holy Spirit in dying to the love of the world, in putting to death the deeds of the fleshly nature, and is willing to die the death of stern obedience to the will of God, he will be able to attain glorification.
Death to the love of the world.
Death to the appetites and lusts of the fleshly nature.
Death to self-will, self-centeredness, and self-love.
When all has been completed he then is eligible for the fullness of the inheritance promised to the Seed of Abraham.