The Four Cherubim & God’s Tapestry (an introduction)
“The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle.” (Rev 4:7)
“That I may cause those that love me
to inherit substance”
God’s purpose has always been to make those who love Him, evident tokens of Himself. In things pertaining to the spirit there is a transpiring within whereby the thing believed becomes the reality of the life lived. In Hebrews chapter eleven we read that “Faith is the… substance…”; those in whom faith is real become the very evidence of things hoped for. The reality of Christ within must, by His nature, produce within an obvious revelation of Him without. It is inconceivable to have the majestic Christ within without radical and continuous changes to our walk in this world. The power of His Word infused with the wonder of His Holy Spirit is to the end that we would bear His image in this world.
“Herein is our love made perfect,
that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:
because as He is, so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17
The reason for a confidence in the Day of Judgment is because we have allowed His Life to produce in us a likeness of Him in this world! The substance of His life developed in us what we are to impart to those around us. Peter declared to the crippled man
“…but such as I have give I thee:
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”
Spiritual substance is the result of our yielding to the power of His Spirit; the forming in us of the Pearl of Great Price! He is the precious treasure. In Him we are no longer barren, poor or found wanting. As the power of the Living Christ makes us One with Him, His virtues become ours through a vital and substantive relationship with Him.
“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life”
1 Timothy 6:18-19
Those who are rich in Christ internally, will be rich in the good works of Christ externally. The power of the good works is directly related to the substance of Christ internally. We can only distribute the substance of Christ in proportion to the substance we have.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another…”
The depth of our teaching and the power of our admonishing one another will be according to the depth and power of His Word which dwells within us.
Let us be encouraged in His heart and His purposes for us. He has made a covenant with us to cause us to inherit substance, His substance, that we may be light in this world.
“That I may cause those that love me
to inherit substance”
“…that as He is
so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17
“The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is perfect shall be as his master”
Many translations miss the beauty and power of this saying of Jesus. The word “perfect” here should be rendered “mended”. The salvation that Christ brings to His own is one that heals, transforms and brings wholeness of being. It is more than nice words. It is literally the life of Christ being infused into the contaminated essence of man, with a view to being healed and restored. His salvation is more than just a covering; it is God investing His life into that which was lost.
Man was lost through the infection of self-will and the corresponding corrupt choices. Simply put, when any living organism is removed from its life-center, corruption and decay are the result. When an apple is picked from the tree it becomes subject to the second law of thermodynamics. When man severed his relationship with God as the source and center of being, decay and death was/is the result. God, by the inner law of His being, sent His only begotten Son into the world to pay the penalty of man’s disobedience. When individuals break a law of any society, there is a penalty which must be paid *.
The penalty, having been paid by Christ, brought with it the offer from God for all to receive forgiveness. Man, who by freewill chose to disobey God can, by that same act of will, receive the justification of God in Christ. While that is often the extent of the Gospel message in our land, there is more. Not only has God offered forgiveness, He has invested the Life of Christ to undo the stain, corruption and decay of the human race. The infusion of this life is given to destroy the works of the enemy within all who receive Him. He has come to annihilate the workings of lust, envy, jealously, anger, murder and countless other defilements of the human condition.
The life of Christ within is all about the mending and the repairing of the breach. He has/is come to mend our brokenness and to obliterate the works of the flesh by the power of His Holy Spirit. Where the works of the flesh once reigned, we can see the beauty and grace of the fruit of the Spirit forming in those who abide within the sphere of His nature.
“The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is mended shall be as his master”
It is the disciple (the ardent follower of Christ) who knows of this mending and healing within. The mending of a life is to become a follower of Jesus from the inside out. As one great man of God stated hundreds of years ago: “we are to become by grace what Christ is by nature”.
This work of mending can only be revealed in the depth of love we have for one another. People who treat others (in the name of God) with the same disregard and cruelty that is in the world, clearly reveal the absence of Christ in their hearts. Whenever there is sectarianism, division and strife within God’s people there is, at its root, pride, unforgiveness and carnality. It is the disciples who are mended; it is the true in heart who are called the children of God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God”
* Even in this is a residue of God within the composition of man. Law and order in society, though corrupted, reveals that man still carries within their own being a sense of justice.
“For I know with an absolute knowledge and stand persuaded in the Lord Jesus that not even one thing is unhallowed in itself except it be to the one who reasons it out to be unhallowed. To that one it is unhallowed. For, if because of food your brother is made to grieve, no longer are you conducting yourself according to love. Stop ruining by your food that one on behalf of whom Christ died. Therefore, stop allowing your good to be spoken of in a reproachful and evil manner; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the sphere of the Holy Spirit; for the one who in this serves the Christ is well pleasing to God, and because having met the specifications is approved by men”
Romans 14:10-13 (Wuest Translation)
Paul prefaced this plea to the Body of Christ with:
“Who are you who judge another’s servant? To his own lord he stands or falls. Yes, he will be made to stand, for God has power to make him stand. One man esteems one day as more important. Another esteems every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks. He who doesn’t eat, to the Lord he doesn’t eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself“
(May the very Spirit of Christ be the arbitrator of our hearts).
My previous post (Thought for Today -Christmas) was in response to attending a school Christmas concert of one of my grandchildren. I sat there as each individual class got up to sing some silly song about Santa, reindeer or snow. I found it heart-breaking that there is a generation arising who knows and hears little of the precious Name of Jesus. After 6 or 7 classes, one got up and sang a beautiful song about my Saviour, His birth and resurrection; I found myself thanking God that there was one teacher who was making an effort to make known His Name. I discovered afterwards that she had written the song herself. To me she was a great light shining in the darkness and it made me want to be the same. It encouraged me that there was one who had a heart to make known His Name and do it in such a way that her whole class was being taught the message of His birth, death and resurrection. The ministration of the Gospel went forth in a very simple and yet profound way. She was not afraid of this contentious day; she used it for the Glory of God.
My own experience growing up was in a godless family with a violent father; at one point I was living on the streets at the age of 13. However, I remember back in one of my grade school days, while participating in a Christmas concert, I was singing a certain carol and there was such a joy that welled up in my heart! To this day I know it was God’s grace touching a very lost and lonely life.
My God is above all things; what Satan means for evil, God uses for good. While to some this day is “unhallowed”, to others it is “hallowed”; to me it is neither. I hope, just as this teacher did, only to make HIS NAME known in a world that is perishing for the lack of His Light.
Paul rejoiced whenever and wherever the name of Jesus Christ was made known.
“Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice”
Whether one esteems a day or not, let the LOVE of Christ show through as we are entreated in the Word of God. To me every day is the same; but regarding those who honour the day as unto the Lord and those who do not honour the day, I will not speak evil of them. This is not the spirit of compromise; it is the grace of God lending respect and honour to the faith of God in His people.
Everyone one of us will surely stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ for our words, our thoughts and our actions.
I was totally taken by surprise over the reactions and the flood of comments concerning such a trivial subject. Would to God we would be as zealous over our real issues of life! Issues such as the nature of our thought lives, our lack of charity, and our real need to overcome every vestige of sin and rebellion in our hearts; to the END that we would be immersed in the Love of God.
Be that as it may, to those who have been offended, I heartily apologize as it is not my purpose to stir up controversy or strife.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all”
“Glory in the highest places to God,
and upon earth peace among men of good will”
(Wuest and the literal Greek rendering)
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”
(2 Corinthians 4:6)
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,
whereunto thou art also called…”
1 Timothy 6:12
We are called in Christ Jesus unto Eternal Life. The depth of its wonder and reality in our lives is determined by the fight of the faith residing within our hearts. Eternal life is far more than a gift; it is the very life of Christ ruling and reigning in the sanctum of our lives. The strength of its hold is determined by our freedom from sin, the freedom of His Spirit to have dominion over the affairs of this world, and the consecration of our lives unto His Will. It is short-sighted for us to think that a born-again experience settles the matter of eternal life.
Eternal Life is the very power of Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith. Eternal Life is the living dynamic of Christ putting to death the resident sin nature. Eternal Life is revealed in those who are captivated by the love of Christ living a life of continuous change and transformation.
How little we appreciate the necessary intensity for us to fight with great diligence the war of faith within and without. Read Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to “lay hold” on eternal life by fighting the “good fight”. Few Christians today know of this battle to find themselves “apprehending” the promises and purposes of God; few comprehend the dimensions of His Victory to be wrought in each of our lives. We have been deceived into thinking of salvation as simply being saved from some distant judgement with no real and eternal consequences for the thoughts we think and the life we live now.
“Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect; but I press on, that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus”
Can we not grasp the language of the Holy Spirit throughout the sacred scriptures? We have been called to “lay hold” on eternal life and to “take hold” of that which to which we have been called. This is no passive Gospel as the one that is often presented. We have been called by the God of all Glory to “fight the good fight”, to discover the weapons of our warfare with the intent that we may “lay hold” of the eternal riches of Christ’s life.
Even a casual reading of the message of Christ to the seven churches in the book of Revelation shows the promises of God are given only to those who “overcome”. May we read afresh the call of God to be found in the “fight of Faith” whereby we are enabled by His Spirit “to war a good warfare”.
If there is no fight within a child of God,
there can be no crown.
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”
“For indeed we who are in this tent do groan, being burdened; not that we desire to be unclothed, but that we desire to be clothed, that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life”
2 Corinthians 5:4
Life, whether earthly or heavenly, is by nature filled with longings, desires and pursuits. As the natural life is filled with unholy lusts and affections so the heavenly life is filled with holy pursuits and desires.
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh:
and these are contrary the one to the other”
The nature of the life of an individual is known by the thing it covets and pursues. Just as the lust for the things of this world is the expression of the worldly man so is the desire in the life of the believer to be “swallowed up” in the LIFE of the SON.
Where there is no cry for heavenly things
There is no heavenly life
“Thou hast granted me life and favour,
and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit”
Nothing less than the presence of God can preserve, restore and refresh the soul of His Own. The heart of the true child of God was made for His presence. The focus of life is to live in Him and to have His life holding us in the firm grip of grace and glory.
“Whom have I in heaven but thee?
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee”
The longing and pursuit of life is summed up in knowing Him. The Pearl of Great Price incites a singularity of purpose (Matthew 13:45-46). In His beauty the desire for other things is dissipated and drained of force and power within the human heart. Life becomes a journey consumed in the one great love, the one great quest and the one boundless pursuit of knowing Him.
Religion with all of its rituals, precepts and demands fail man’s inherent need… the visitations of God Himself! It is by His Presence we are preserved, refreshed and made right. He is our salvation, He is our strength and in Him alone are we kept clean from this present world.
“Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name:
the upright shall dwell in thy presence”
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks,
so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”
The soul is the seat of our affections. What the eyes behold the soul pursues. Those who set their affections upon heavenly things know the longing, seeking and pursuit for God. Those who behold earthly things, lust and desire after the things of the world and the praise of men know nothing of heavenly things. It is not difficult to discern the true longing of any heart for it cannot hide the thing it desires most.
“For where your treasure is,
there will your heart be also”
The heart of a life is revealed in the thing it covets.
“Set your affection on things above,
not on things on the earth”
Fire, like Love, cannot be kept to one’s self. Those who love God cannot contain His Fire; they cannot see apathy and not speak. Love is sacrificial. It must speak and express itself even in the face of opposition and indifference. It will not choose the easy way, it will always contend for truth, and will not compromise for the sake of acceptance.
Men who hold teachings and doctrines dear are content with those things. Men filled with God’s fire must speak, must move and must give way to the inner burning of the heart, for the message is more than the man himself. The desire to reveal God’s heart exceeds the desire for men’s approval. It is better to burn than to fit in. It is better to be alone than to be tempered into the current theology of comfort and acceptance.
Love, like fire, must consume the very object from which it springs. Men who hold God’s love in their hearts are like the flimsy wick that is simply the medium through which His Fire burns. Dead and insignificant in themselves they cast the very heat and light of God as they are consumed in His Glory. Life lived outside of such a grip is not worthy of Him. Acceptance of a life lived on any other level is to fall short of Him.
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance:
but he that cometh after me is mightier than I,
whose shoes I am not worthy to bear:
he shall baptize you
with the Holy Ghost, and with fire”
“Not every one that saith unto me,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven.”
Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God. He taught His disciples to pray for it, seek it first in their daily lives and, most importantly, to ENTER it. The above scripture tells us that merely calling upon His Name is not the door through which God’s rule becomes the reality of our hearts. The Key to the Kingdom is obedience. Many are satisfied in talking about it and praying about it; we are ever exhorted throughout the New Testament that FAITH is synonymous with obedience. Obedience is the revelation of the Love of God in our hearts and the “works” of a living faith.
“For this is the love of God,
that we keep his commandments”
The revelation of the Love of God in our hearts is in the keeping and obeying of His commandments. Love is the root and the atmosphere of the Kingdom of God. It is the motive behind every good work that glorifies our Heavenly Father. It is the fountain from which every word is spoken and the very expression of the Son within the lives of His own. Those who obey not, love not.
This Kingdom for which every true child of God seeks first, must be sought through the reality of obedience to Him. Obedience is a learned thing. Men are not born obedient; they become obedient through the discipline of the life of the Son. The Love of God moves in such power and beauty, overwhelming the hearts of His own, that they forsake their own will to DO HIS.
Those who seek God’s Kingdom by any other means will be sorely disappointed at the outcome, for in truth obedience is the highest form of worship; it is the very essence and revelation of His Love in US. Just as Faith cannot be separated from obedience so also a true and sacrificial obedience is not possible without the very Love of God beating in our hearts.
Men who seek their own know not Love. Obedience is the only means of seeking His Kingdom, entering His Kingdom and abiding in His Kingdom. As the Son only did the things that pleased His Father, if He is alive in our hearts, His Life will be evident in our desire to please Him.
“…Thy Kingdom Come
Thy WILL be done
As it is
“Faith, as Paul saw it,
was a living, flaming thing
leading to surrender and obedience
to the commandments of Christ”