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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Purpose of the Great Tribulation, #9
. . . we must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)
We do not enter the Kingdom of God through much wrath but through much tribulation. There is a difference.
God's wrath does not fall on the faithful, but in the world the faithful experience much tribulation, much chastening. The saints experience much tribulation because it is pressure and trouble of various kinds that bring us from our bodily, self-centered, soulish existence into the liberty of the life-giving spirit (II Corinthians 4:8-17; I Corinthians 15:45-49).
The saint who is chastened soundly by the Lord begins to partake of God's holy Nature. He comes up out of the wilderness leaning on his beloved. Tribulation works patience in him, and patience is one of the chief attributes of the Kingdom of God.
There are people who are expecting the Church to be "raptured" suddenly into Heaven, there to be married to Christ.
The slightest knowledge of the present-day condition of the Christian people ought to convince any sincere observer that the "rapture into Heaven" of the Church in its present state would be an unparalleled disaster. The Christian churches do not resemble the Wife of the Lamb who is described in the Scriptures. We are living in a dream world, a realm of fantasy based on nothing more than our traditions and fleshly hopes.
The Christian salvation does not lead us to a dream world, a utopia in which the spiritually indifferent and sluggish believers suddenly become ardent worshipers of God. The Christian salvation is leading to a kingdom in which the will of God is done; not a kingdom of fantasy but a real flesh-and-bone kingdom destined to rule over the works of God's hands forever.
Christ is not coming for the spiritually naked, pitiful wretch of today who is eating her own bread, wearing her own clothing, and asking to be called by Christ's name in order to acquire spiritual respectability. Rather, the Wife of the Lamb will be faultless in righteousness, utterly pure, breathtakingly beautiful in holiness, and sternly obedient to God.
The Bride is capable of eternal fruitfulness, of total dominion, and possesses nation-shattering authority and power. She is the Wife of the Lamb. She is as terrible as an army with banners. She is the Church and has been given the keys of the Kingdom of God.
God has decreed that the Wife of the Lamb will be perfect and complete, an entirely worthy complement of Christ. Christ covers her with the robe of imputed (ascribed) righteousness and then begins the work that will result in her perfection and beauty. Tribulation is one of the devices Christ employs as He prepares His Bride for the eternal romance.
The doctrine we have described in this brief paper is set forth in the fourth chapter of the Book of Isaiah, as indicated previously.
The Lord will wash away the filth of His elect.
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (Isaiah 4:4)
The atoning blood of the Lord Jesus pays for our sins, appeases the wrath of God toward us, and covers us so God sees the righteousness of His Son in us.
Then the Holy Spirit takes us in charge and leads us through the numerous processes of sanctification, making us holy in spirit, in soul, and in body.
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)
To be continued.