“And then He turned my heart, and made me love Him.”
– Charles H. Spurgeon
“And then He turned my heart, and made me love Him.”
– Charles H. Spurgeon
Truly then, God overlooking the times of ignorance, now strictly commands all men everywhere to repent, because He set a day in which He is going to judge the habitable world in righteousness, by a Man whom He appointed; having given proof to all by raising Him from the dead.
The gospel is proclaimed as much for judgement as it is for salvation. It is the seed of the Sower which reveals the existing nature of the ground upon which it falls. We have not paid careful attention to what Jesus said immediately after explaining the parable of the sower…
But no one lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it underneath a couch, but sets it on a lampstand, that those coming in may see the light. For nothing is hidden which will not be revealed, nor secret which will not be known and come to be revealed. Then observe how you hear; for whoever has, it will be given to him; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.
The same Word of God which He first described as a seed, He now describes as a light that reveals the true substance of whatever it touches. Those “coming in” to the kingdom see the light of this gospel, and they come in because they are drawn of the Father (Jn 6:44). But the rest do not see its true light, even though it shines upon them, and even though some of them might walk amidst the children of light. Likewise, the seed of the Sower commands all; but not all have ears to hear, for to them it has not been given, and these (being many) are judged according to it.
And he said to him, “If they will not hear Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if one from the dead should rise.”
We like to suppose that the ground can be changed by the seed, if only the ground does the right thing with the seed. But in truth, the ground will be judged according to what the seed does with the ground, and it does not abide bad ground. “For nothing is hidden which will not be revealed.” We also miss the purpose of the warnings given to every ear, such as, “be careful how you hear,” or the reason for exhortations to seek God with all of the heart. For the warnings against falling away and the exhortations to seek the Lord are all serving to suggest that hard ground can deceive itself into thinking that it is good soil. For “whoever does not have, even what he SEEMS to have will be taken from him.” Time will tell the truth of mens’ hearts, and the Day will bring all to light.
Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith, prove yourselves. Or do you not yourselves perceive that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are reprobates? And I hope you will know that we are not reprobates.
2 Corinthians 13:5-6
For who determines the nature of the soils? If it were up to the choice of man, then no soil would ever become good. For in Adam, “there is not one doing good, there is not one seeking after God.” But it takes a hearing ear to seek after God; and it is His alone to give to whomever He wills.
Everyone believing (Grk: present & ongoing faith: used consistently by John to describe authentic fruitful faith, not a whimsical belief, nor even potential faith) that Jesus is the Christ, HAS been generated from God…
1 John 5:1
Faith that endures to the end is the result of true regeneration, not the other way around.
So then, to whom He desires, He shows mercy. And to whom He desires, He hardens. You will then say to me, “Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will?”
Bu rather, O man, who are you answering against God? Shall the thing formed say to the One forming it, “Why did You make me like this?” Or does not the potter have authority over the clay, out of the one lump to make one vessel to honor, and one to dishonor? What if God, desiring to show forth wrath, and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction, s that He make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy which He before pepared for glory?
God deals justly with all, and to some of them He gives mercy by dealing justly with their sin in the death of Christ. For this very reason we proclaim with great confidence the command of the Gospel: because He has a particular people whom He is calling each by name; and His command will bring them in, while at the same time it will judge the ones who do not obey, as is their nature.
For He came to gather the lost sheep of His own house; but unto the rest He says, “You will not believe, because you are not of my sheep.” His sheep hear His voice, He knows them, and they follow Him; but to the self-deceivers He says again, “I never knew you.” They are judged righteously according to the willful rebellion of their hearts; because self-will is the only will of those not generated from God, and they love their own will.
Where the will of men is given the throne by its being pleaded with rather than its being commanded, the gospel being preached is no longer the power of God – not that there is another gospel.
There is a great hatred in the body of Christ today for this truth of God’s sovereignty, just as it has always been drifted away from shortly after its light was revived. I have at times been guilty of questioning it myself, but have very recently been graciously dragged back to it by the Lord. He made this matter clear at first, and I reseisted it for a time; but now the clarity of His Word regarding these things is stunning, and I can take no credit for it. Truly His gospel is the command which tries the hearts! If I ever had anything to do with God’s mercy being bestowed upon me, then He is no God.
“The gospel is a command, not a suggestion.”
– James R. White
And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.
Once His illuminating work has found a footing in His creation, there is a new depth of division which the Word of God brings forth in it. On the first day of creation, we see the Spirit of God brooding over the surface of the waters – and we might even say striving and groaning for the creation to manifest the form which He intends for it. So it is with ourselves in Christ.
Our Potter begins with a lump of clay, formless and void, under darkness. There is depth of water, yet not a revealed purpose for it: not a river to flow in, not a sun to reflect majesty. Then there is light. And in His light, we shall now truly see light, and more still. For not only have waters once darkened and obscured in a mass of mixture now been exposed by the pure light of God Himself, but the Spirit which once hovered over them now sends His rays into the depths by the word of God’s mouth unto to the dividing of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. It is here in the continued shining of His light that the dividing of waters from waters begins to take place. Here, not only is discerned light and darkness upon the suface of the creature; but now more importantly even the depths within this new creation are spiritually discerned.
Natural men are not comfortable with such discernment: they want neither to discern nor to be discerned. Both edges of that sword are equally inconvenient to man’s facáde of peace with God. But the true peace of God is holy, so that the same word of the Lord which creates whatever is good also by necessity divides the good from whatever is contrary. Therefore, if we shall maintain and grow in the peace of God, we must submit ourselves to the more unpleasant surgeries of our Great Physician. Those without the faithful wounds of His word are not His friends. But those who have truly walked in some degree of God’s light are quickly confronted with the revelation of the great expanse between their own waters and His waters resident within this new creation.
And God called the expanse “Heavens” (plural in the Greek, ie: the skies). And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
His pure waters must be discerned from our own waters lest we deceive ourselves in every matter: this is why He divides them by His word, “let there be an expanse;” therefore we find a distinct choice to either walk after the flesh (our waters) or after the Spirit (His waters). But those who are not divided by His word are filled with mixture, for there is no sword of division within them to so judge between what is of God and what is of self. The separation of waters is a confirmation of His work in us.
The separation of these waters is discernment for the conscience. Here we discover all the more “the exceeding sinfulness of sin;” for in the seperation of His waters, by which our sense of holiness increases, our conscience of sin is thereby sharpened. We find the depth within us of law of sin and death we must daily contend with: the gravity by which our own waters remain bound to earth. Conversely, His waters within us are unbound, above the expanse of the heavens; but of our own strength we are unable to access their invaluable resources. It becomes increasingly obvious that there are greater depths of Him with which our present depths cry out to meet; and we begin to see how much higher above our ways and thoughts are His own, “even as the heavens are higher than the earth.” We long to plunge into His waters, to live out of His fountain rather than our own – that His wellspring of eternal life would become our own in Him, that the voice of HIS many waters would be the sound poured out through each of His own.
Deep calls to deep at the roar of YOUR waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your waves have gone over me.
We must discover in our present earthly experience that glorious Law of the Spirit of Life which makes us free from the law of sin and death. It is here in the revelation of the divided waters that obedience becomes of particular importance to the new creature; for by the drawing up of God’s waters above its own, the creature has begun to sense its great need to follow the upward draw of Lord’s current in order to remain flowing in it. The call unto His own ever remains, “Come up hither.” The new creature which submits itself to the word continues discovering the evidence of even greater depths in God far above its present experiential knowledge; thirsting always to drink deeper of that eternal spring so that even the waters of earth below might be made conformable to the word of His mouth, “Peace, be still.”
CONTINUED IN PART THREE
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
There is an order to the creating work of God. And just as He had an order in the original work of the heavens and the earth, so also He has an order in the making of every new creature in Christ. We might pair the summary statement of the scripture’s first words with these words of the apostle Paul:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2Cor 5:17)
Yet the work is not completed, though indeed its end is finished in the will of God – but His will shall be manifested in proportion to our conformity to it. “God created the heavens and the earth” – Amen! Yet shall we not uncover the wonder of His every decree in this matter? For the good work which God has begun, He intends to perfect even unto the Day of Christ, who has shined in our hearts by the operation of His power to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God as seen in the face of Jesus.
For just as it was God who created the heavens and the earth, so it must also be HE who makes each one into such a new creation. There is no power within the bosom of man by which he can ascend to the heaven of God; there is no right to which he can appeal in order to be adopted into the Father’s house. And except the mercy of God find us, we are not His children at all, we are truly the Devil’s; for after the likeness of that one we have sought our own glory and dominion and power, only to be cast out of the kingdom of God’s marvelous light. For emptiness and darkness is the natural lot of rebellion against the Excellent One, by Whose mercy undeserved He makes new creatures from the formless clay to the praise of His glory…
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Waters deep but undefined,
Where no light as yet had shined.
Darkness could not comprehend
Its reign of sleep should find an end.
Such is the state of every heart uncreated in Christ Jesus. And even of those already being conformed to His image, it remains true regarding the remnant of the old man as it wastes away; the Spirit of God ever striving against its corruption, ever working for the continual deliverance of those who yield it to Him.
But the whole creature – being yet untouched by God in the deepest heart of its waters – over the whole creature the Spirit of God broods with groanings unutterable in the pangs of childbirth until Christ be fully formed in it, that the eyes of those in Him might be ever more enlightened according to His word, so that the new man “being rooted and grounded in love may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, being filled with all the fullness of God.” The Spirit of God will convict and press and outrun a man until he surrenders and deepens in surrender; for God has set His eye to call a people unto His manifold purposes for His singular glory. And upon they who are found heeding the call, He does not ever relent in this mercy; so that a man might truly come to see joy and gladness in the Lord, and that the bones which the Lord has broken along the way may rejoice. “Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life.” (Job 33:29-30)
And God said, “Let there be light,”
and there was light.
Lift up your head, ye trodden down,
Look unto He who wears the crown!
Behold, the Lamb of God was slain,
And over the darkness took His reign!
And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.
Upon the introduction of light there comes definition. It is an immutable law in God’s creative order that light and darkness are separated. Though men ever seek to obscure this separation in order to hide from the contrast between His perfect way and their lawless hearts, He remains unmoved in inapproachable light; and He will be given an account by every creature, rewarding back to them according to what they have done in light of Him.
The obscuring of God’s light is the obscuring of sight, and except a man be lead by the Light of Life, he shall never see. If we be found with a light which does not keep us evermore exposed before the eyes of the Lord, that is not the true light of God! In the account of the creation, the scriptures establish each day to consist first of evening, and then of morning. That is to say, the true light is ever shining unto the perfect Day; the Daystar is meant to be dawning ever brighter in the hearts of the redeemed.
God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
The separation of light and darkness is the first act of separation in the order of creation. So it is also in the making of a child of God. The presence of His light within us is the foundation of our every step into His ongoing work. By the practice of walking in the light, we begin to better discern between the light and the darkness. It is a simple discernment but a necessary one; it is the basis of our stability in God so that His work in us might continue.
“…In Thy light we shall see light.”
Those who walk not according to the light which they have already received from God never shine brighter – they become quenched in the shadows of their own obscurity. Without the light of the first day carrying over into the second, there is no purpose to what is done on the second, nor any ability for what follows it to function. By obedience our path is continually lightened. As we carry forward in His light, it continues illuminating the path before us as we its carrier step forward into the untraveled dark. Through the experience of conducting ourselves according to our revelation thus far, God can usher us into ever higher things prepared for those who love Him; which not eye has seen nor ear heard – nor can they be among those who fail to carry the revelation of the first day into the second and beyond.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
CONTINUED IN PART TWO
(Consider this an add-on to the previous post.)
To the lost man, earthly (including demonic) reasoning is his revelation. But to the found man, heavenly revelation must evermore become his reasoning – and not merely his reasoning in the mind; but that upon which he acts in faith, which is the substantiation of things hoped for. Revelation bearing no fruit in action has been received in vain. It is those who honor the gift of God through obedience that continue receiving more of His fullness; for those who truly know Him desire nothing less than that He be glorified in the fruit of His labors within them.
And we are His witnesses of these things, and also the Holy Spirit, whom God gave to those obeying Him.
Acts 5:32 (LITV)
A witness is one who has heard, seen, looked upon and touched the Word of Life.
…as it has been written, “Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,” nor has it risen up into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those that love Him. But God revealed them to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of a man within him? So also no one has known the things of God except the Spirit of God. But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. Which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in words taught of the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual with spiritual. But a natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know, because they are spiritually discerned. But the spiritual one discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord? Who will teach Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:9-16 (LITV)
True divine knowledge is not found merely by the reason of the mind; it must be revealed by God. For the true knowledge of God is to know the person of God Himself; and what He has prepared for those who love Him does not enter into the hearts and minds of men – the scripture indeed testifies that it cannot. Rather, the very mind of Christ must enter into a man so that he may discern the things of God.
Those who suppose to uncover God simply by force of reason despise that His method is revelation. Many to whom something of Him has been truly revealed are tempted to flatter themselves by methodically reasoning out what truly was revealed to them of the Everlasting God. This is a snare; and those who step in it prove that they still gladly wander back to partake of the tree of gnosis. Ever has this been the bane of many a man of God throughout the ages: that a revelation becomes buried in the unending interperative jargon of his vain mind, until little more remains than an empty husk of what once bore real and tangeable fruit. The binding up of revelation into the constraints of human reasoning effectively chalks up the work of the Spirit to a mere human exertion. This is made to appear as humility, but truly it is a theft of God’s glory in how He makes Himself known.
Man in his vanity considers reason the great pillar of objectivity, until God ruins him by revelation. For truly the things of God cannot be revealed by a man’s reasoning faculties, but only to them; and even then, our mere thoughts still cannot contain the very substance of God’s Life: for the true knowledge of God consists in fellowship with His person by the power of His Life guiding our steps and conforming us to His image. Therefore, if we shall reason, let it be by the revelation of His Spirit in accordance with the scriptures, and not by our isolated thoughts in accordance with some great philosopher; for God reasons with men by the revealing of Himself. And if we yet lack in the revelation of His person, why do we continue to reason within ourselves, as though we should find it there?
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask from God, who gives to all freely and with no reproach, and it will be given to Him. But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing. For the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, being driven by wind and being tossed. For do not let that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord: he is a double-souled man, not dependable in all his ways.
James 1:5-8 (LITV)
Man reasons within himself, but God reveals Himself to men.
My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to Your word!
Life according to God’s word is life according to His sword.
In the word we are given the mirror of God’s holy eyes to judge the true state of our souls, and by its piercing revelation we are continually brought to repentance. This is the kindness of God to give us His life in abundance.
Life eternal is to know the Father and the Son; and the abundance of that life working within and flowing forth from the vessel will be in proportion to the depth and efficacy of this relationship.
Those in God’s house are those who have the Son and thereby have life; but how many of them have that life in abundance? If we but looked into His mirror, we should stand aghast at our estate before falling on our faces as one dead. The children of God are those whom He knows; but the co-heirs with Christ are those who partake of and know Him, even through the suffering of death (Rom 8:17). The apostle Paul, of whom many teachers today speak so glibly as if they knew the man, cried out near the end of his ministry…
…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,
and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death,
that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
There is no higher resurrection than Christ’s, there is no suffering greater than His, and there is no death more final than His. O, that we by any means possible might attain to these! Let HIM be the measure of our life! For then our souls in gladness shall ever cling to He who alone gives life, and not to the dust of our wilderness.
If we do not ask, we shall not receive; but if we do not know the depth of our need, we shall never continue asking. And the Lord is refreshed by our asking.
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
“My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!”