“Abraham our father,
was not he declared righteous out of works,
having brought up Isaac his son upon the altar?”
James 2:21 (YLT)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”
By Faith alone was Abraham Justified
By obedience his Faith Perfected
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”
“It is one thing to believe in God; it is quite another to believe God.”
“For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”
The power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ lies not in the words and the doctrine of it; its true power lies in the Love of it. The Love of God IS the Gospel; more than a message, a doctrine or a teaching, the Gospel is in itself the expression of God’s love to His fallen creation. It is the WHY which caused God to send “His only begotten Son”. Until those who declare it comprehend its true power, it will remain an impoverished message. It must be expressed from the lives of those who bear in their hearts the passion of God’s WHY!
“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power…”
1 Corinthians 4:20
What is this power? What is the flame which enabled men and women of old to turn the world upside down? What is the glory of God which fills the heavens with awe, worship and exaltation? It is the God of Holiness and His undimmed fiery Love. A Love so incomprehensible that Paul had to pray for the Church at Ephesus to be “strengthened with might” in order for them to be able to comprehend the “breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of the Love of God.
A loveless gospel is a powerless Gospel. The Church is not perishing for lack of knowledge; she is languishing from the loss of the dynamic of His love (Revelation 2:4-5). Love is the furnace, the fire and the very essence of God Himself. In the midst of all of our correct doctrine God’s decree stands as the Divine witness against our true state:
“He that loveth not knoweth not… for God is Love”
1 John 4:8
Those who hold within their hearts even the faintest quintessence of this Love cannot remain untouched in heart. They cannot sit in faithless inactivity or take comfort in a knowledge bereft of the Divine heartbeat. Many would rather discuss the correctness of the words rather than feel the burning power of the God of the message. The world will remain untouched by those who share from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge rather than the power of the Law of Life in Christ Jesus. The Gospel is not a WHAT, it is a WHO.
The cry of God is summed up simply:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…”
It is impossible to hold the love of God within your heart and not feel the anguish, the urge and the pulse of the Almighty to express His Light and Life into this world.
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men”
“There is too much theology in the Church now, and too little of the Gospel”
“For I know with an absolute knowledge and stand persuaded in the Lord Jesus that not even one thing is unhallowed in itselfexcept 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 14:14-18 (Wuest Translation)
Paul prefaced this plea to the Body of Christ with:
“For, on the one hand, there is he who judges a day above another day. On the other hand, there is he who subjects every day to a scrutiny. Let each one in his own mind be fully assured. The one who has formed a judgment regarding the day, with reference to the Lord he judges it. And the one who eats, with reference to the Lord he eats, for he gives thanks to God. And the one who does not eat, with reference to the Lord does not eat, and he gives thanks to God…”
Romans 14:5-6 (Wuest Translation)
“But as for you, why are you judging your brother? Or, as for you also, why are you treating your brother with contempt? For we all shall stand before the judgment seat of God. For it stands written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. Therefore, then, each one of us shall give an account concerning himself to God. Therefore, no longer let us be judging one another. But be judging this rather, not to place a stumbling block before your brother, or a snare in which he may be entrapped”
Romans 14:10-11 (Wuest Translation)
There is within the economy and glory of Christ the liberty and respect for each member to hold within their hearts their own faith concerning food, drink, and days. The secret to this liberty is that they are “serving Christ” in their persuasions.
Paul in Colossians stated:
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days”
Let not him who regards a day judge him who regards not a day; let not him who regards not a day judge him who esteems a day over another.
The living fabric of Christ’s Body is more than meat, drink or reference to some day or season. His LIFE is the very sinew and connection of each and every part. The ignorance of who and what the wonder of Christ is becomes apparent when the mundane issues of life become of more importance than the unity of His Spirit in our midst!
Paul goes on to say in his letter to the Colossians that they who judge others in respect to the elemental and menial things are
“…not holding firmly to the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and ligaments, grows with God’s growth. If you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances, “Don’t handle, nor taste, nor touch” (all of which perish with use), according to the precepts and doctrines of men?”
We violate the very life of Christ who supplies the rich ministrations through which we are knitted together. Those who emphasise the mundane over the Holy will give an answer to Him in the Day of Judgment.
Paul finishes his discourse of these things by stating that the observance of these things will in NO WAY bring victory for a believer over their flesh. There are no spiritual victories to be gained by the foolishness of fleshly ordinances. Our victory comes only by living and abiding within the sphere of Christ Himself.
May God free us from the horror and stain of the Pharisee spirit in the observance of trivial matters while failing to comprehend that “the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Timothy 1:5).
“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” (Seven Ones – Perfection)
Those who would destroy the bonds of peace and sever the very ligaments of Christ over the rudimentary elements in respect to days, food and drink, know not the heart of He who is the Head of all things.
One cannot read the beauty of Ephesians Chapter 4 and Colossians Chapter 2, with any illumination of the Spirit of God, and not feel the very essence of Christ Himself beckoning us to preserve the Unity of His Spirit and the wonder of the Body of Christ.
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind”
Fellowship is the natural outflow between those who are in Christ. Where there is no deep and powerful flow of Christ there is darkness and separation from the Life and Wonder of Christ. Beware of something added (or taken away) from the Life Giving essence of Christ alone. Light (not knowledge) is the basis of true fellowship.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another”
1 John 1:7
“Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart”
A true heart does not seek to cover sin; it seeks the Lord to expose every wrong and crooked way. Exposure is the path to purity and the hope of salvation and freedom. The Light of Christ penetrates the heart and His eyes burn through the very soul of man. The burning consumes pride, self-seeking and the desire for pre-eminence. It removes the religious fig leaves of those who cloak themselves in garments of piety and false humility.
May our God, as a consuming fire, burn within our hearts until there be no shadows or pretense. Let there be no hidden chambers for sin to hide. He alone can heal the broken and restore righteousness and holiness. He beckons us to the fellowship of the fire; the fellowship of His Light.
The prison of pretense is deep, dark and rooted in sin and hypocrisy. The foundation of this prison is built one lie at a time. Mercy was never meant by God to excuse sin; its purpose is to cause men to come to the Light, to free them from the misery of sin. Mercy’s true triumph is in men and women finding the courage to face the light and allowing it to shine into the hidden areas of their hearts, set free by the “spirit of burning”.
“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil”
Purity of hearts brings us freedom and the liberty to express Him through the vessel of our redeemed self. As the gem, polished and cut, shines with the luster of its own being, so Christ has called each of us to be a distinct expression of His handiwork. Come to Him, present yourself to the light and fire of all that He is that you may know true liberty.
“…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”
2 Corinthians 3:17
An individual’s liberty will be in proportion to their surrender to the indwelling Spirit of Christ.
“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you are not having life in yourselves. He who is eating my flesh and is drinking my blood is having life eternal, and I will raise him up on the last day, for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. He who keeps on eating my flesh and drinking my blood, in me is continually abiding and I in him”
John 6:53-56 (Wuest Translation)
The Wuest Translation brings out the correct Greek Parsing in these very significant verses where the “ing” speaks of a continuously feasting upon Him who is the True Bread of Life. They who feed upon the eternal living bread are filled with the eternal living life of Him. If an individual ceases to eat they cease to know of the fire and the life of Him who holds us in the mystery of His Life.
“The appetite grows for what it feeds on”
This is an excerpt of my own heart’s internal desire to remain current and alive unto my God and Saviour.
Spiritual Ignorance is the result of disobedience.
“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light”
Spiritual Stagnation is the result of fruitless living.
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away”
Spiritual Apathy is the result of not abiding in Him.
“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered”
Spiritual Poverty is the result of robbing God of the gift of ourselves to Him.
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me”
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship”
Repentance and godly sorrow is the great gift of God’s mercy to us. In turning we shall be turned, and in godly sorrow is found the wonder of His Joy. Humbling ourselves is the precursor to Him being magnified in our lives.
” I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, which brings no regret”
2 Corinthians 7:9-10
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith”
2 Corinthians 13:5
“…be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble”
1 Peter 5:5
Humility is the allurement for Grace. As bees are drawn to fragrant flowers, humility invites the grace of God. How wise and good is our God; His ways and His mercies are past finding out. As we develop in Him, we begin to comprehend the interaction of His graces in our lives.
His mercies enable a life of surrender unto Him.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship”
Just as the mercies of God bring us into the submission of our hearts, so humility leads us into a life of obedience.
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death…”
It is through the workings of Grace that obedience becomes our joy and purpose in life. The Apostolic ministry has one purpose: to bring all men to the obedience of Faith unto God.
“through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of (the) faith…”
The evidence of mercy received is a surrendered life. A life of humility is expressed in obedience and the ministrations of His Spirit to others.
The inner workings of God’s grace must always find expression in our external walk. A life unlived and unfulfilled is the result of not allowing His graces to work in our lives.
“You shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water… I will fulfill the number of your days”
Is not this the cry of every redeemed human heart; that the number of our days be filled full of Him?
“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God”
God’s heart is for us to be overtaken by His Blessings.
“He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly… his waters shall be sure”
Righteousness in our walk and in our speech is the precursor to the sure waters of the Lord. His waters flow freely from a life that is compatible with His. Righteousness brings the freedom of His Spirit to water others with the goodness and grace of God. His flow is the portion of all who walk with integrity of heart.
As we walk in His righteousness, we discover that the waters of the Lord flow in times of plenty and in times of drought. In trials, tribulations and sorrows His waters will be sure unto those who have made Him their spring and source. Sure waters are the blessing of the Lord upon His own.
Those who are His know of His provision.
Deep waters pour from deep places and rich are the blessings unto others. He gives grace to the humble and the bread of life to the wise.
“And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not”
The reward of the righteous is God Himself.
“For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield”
“But you shall fear the LORD your God,
and he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies”
2 Kings 17:39
Deliverance and freedom are fruits of the fear of the Lord. When we touch His Holy Presence there is a peace which settles over our entire being. Peace is the atmosphere of a life that is right with God. Through His Presence we come to know the wonder of the “fear of the Lord”. There is a sanctity which eradicates sin. The Seraphim (Fiery Ones) who stand before Him must shield their eyes from the majestic gaze of God. John in the Book of Revelation, who was walking in the fullness of the Spirit, fell down as one dead when he saw the Glorified Jesus. Men and women who do not fear God, do not know Him.
May He awaken us again to the benefits of knowing and walking in this wonder. In fearing Him we will once again discover the blessings associated with its beauty.
“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever” (Psalm 19:9) “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him” (Psalm 33:18) “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence” (Proverbs 14:26) “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life” (Proverbs 14:27)
(Pause and Consider)
“Then had the churches rest throughout all Judæa and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied“
The early Church walked and lived in the atmosphere of the fear of the Lord. They knew well the consequences of the actions of Ananias and Sapphira. They understood His Holiness and Fire and walked accordingly.
God gives us the key to “understanding the Fear of the Lord”.
“Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; THEN shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God”
The understanding of the fear of the Lord belongs to those who have sought for it and have discovered it riches.
“By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life”
“This charge* I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare…”
1 Timothy 1:18
The word translated “charge” in the above scripture is actually a command in the Greek (see note below). The promises of God are given to His own that, by receiving them, they may war rightly to see them come to pass. The promises of God require warfare to be real and vital in the lives of His own.
“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully”
2 Timothy 2:5
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul uses the Olympic athlete as an example to observe and be instructed thereby. Paul follows this statement declaring:
“Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things”
2 Timothy 2:7
There is a striving and a contending for the crown of the call of God upon us. Few of God’s people comprehend the strenuous effort required in “laying hold” of the prize of our call in Christ. The apathy and the complacency of many is a source of suffering for those who know God. The sum of all the energies of Paul were expended in his pursuit of laying hold of God.
“Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore run like that, not aimlessly. I fight like that, not beating the air, but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected”. (“Unapproved, unworthy, spurious, worthless. In a passive sense meaning disapproved”)
1 Corinthians 9:25-27
Paul says he fights like that! He is fully involved (spirit, soul and body) in the fight of faith. He has one resolve in the entirety of his being. He is fully persuaded in his press to obtain the Crown OF Life to which he has been called. His life bears evidence of the faith and fire of God burning within! There is no value in glibly quoting the scriptures if we lack the evidence of faith in our daily life. How it must weary God that there be contentment in the quoting of scriptures without the corresponding evidence; but rather families out of order, poorly handled finances, lives lived in pursuit of other things, and an inability to impart the power of faith into the lives of those around them. Paul, in the passion of the Spirit of God, cries out:
“So run, that ye may obtain”!
1 Corinthians 9:24
The Christian life is not about just believing, it is about obtaining!
“Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible”
1 Cor. 9:25
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”. 1 Thess. 5:9
“Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”
2 Thess. 2:14 (what a staggering call)
“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus…”
2 Timothy 2:10
“For by it the elders obtained a good report”
“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions…” Hebrews 11:33
The list is too long and too precious to be listed without prayerful consideration of each one as a powerful truth. I am stirred this morning as I consider the grace and mercy of God, and the ethos of a generation who know little of the cost nor the power associated with the call of God. There is a generation who find contentment in words rather than a life of godliness.
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ”
How few understand the cry of Paul’s heart, “that I may win Christ”. To those who do not pursue the person of Christ, this statement will be an enigma and a mystery. There will be an inability to see the pure truth contained within its wonder. The secret of the Lord is with them who fear Him, and it is to such that He reveals His Covenant (Psalm 25:14). The power of this Word ignites a hunger within and a thirst which cannot be quenched. Oh, the folly of words without fire, purpose without passion, and a powerless Christian gospel which does not birth a singular pursuit of Him! Life lived outside the grip of the fire of His love is meaningless and vain. He is the One Object of our faith; He is the Pearl of Great Price; He is the Fire which burns within.
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?”
Those who bear His Fire Shine forth His Light; For the Light without Is evidence of the Fire within.
“But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay”
parangelia (G3852), “a proclamation, a command or commandment,” is strictly used of commands received from a superior and transmitted to others. It is rendered “charge” in Act 16:24; 1Th 4:2, RV (where the word is in the plural); 1Ti 1:5 (RV) and 1Ti 1:18. In Act 5:28 the lit. meaning is “Did we not charge you with a charge? Vines New Testament Dictionary