Who’s Image?

And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years and fathered a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and called his name Seth.
(Genesis 5:3)

If all men are already children of God, or if all men are already imagers of God, then they would not need to be born again of His Spirit.

But the fall was the trade of the image of God for the image of Satan; it was the the trade of God as Father for the Devil as father; it was the trade of knowing God Himself for the worship of a self-image that is independent of Him. With the fall came the divide of one flesh once together called “Adam” into two self-seeking rebels called Adam and Eve. The image of God was lost to man and so he began to produce only after his own image. For that is the very character and nature of Satan: to set himself apart from God that he himself may be as God; and both the Devil and his children have not changed their objective to this day. The gospel of “finding the Christ within” is blasphemy. Those who truly believe into Christ are given the power to become the sons of God – this means that they are initially not His sons outside of Christ the Last Adam; for they are still in the first Adam under the curse, being “strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now IN Christ Jesus, you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Christ…” (Eph 2:12-13)

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that HE might be the firstborn among many brothers.
(Romans 8:29)

If we must be conformed to His image, then clearly we had lost it. If we must be born again, then clearly we had not been His children. If we must become His sons, then clearly we had not formerly been found in THE Son. That which God predestines is a path: upon which we choose to walk, or from which we choose to stray.

“Therefore IF any man be (present-tense) IN Christ,
he
is (present-tense) a new creature:
old things are 
(present-tense) passed away;
behold, all things
are (present-tense) become new.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

IF – This reconciliation to God is dependent upon one’s position with Christ, in Whom we are commanded to abide lest we be thrown away and burned as a fruitless branch. He is not automatically a part of us; we are rather called to be grafted into HIM, as He is the True Vine. We are supposed to be being conformed to HIS image, and God specifically distinguishes Him from us, so that in all things HE might have the preeminence. “HE is THE image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature”!

The esteem of self is always the esteem of Satan and the denial of Christ. The image and mark and number of the beast is the image and mark and number of A MAN! (Rev 13:18) The abomination which causes desolation is that very image being set up in God’s temple as the object of worship – and His children are that temple! This causes desolation because it is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, who upon being replaced by the “higher self” abandons such a temple. And they are slain by the sword of the mouth of the very Word who could have been Life to them, because they worshiped the image of the beast (Rev 19:20-21). For the Spirit of the Living God is not to be assumed as naturally being a part of us: rather we must partake of HIM on HIS terms. But it is clearly Satan’s objective to cause God’s children to fall away again into worshiping the creature rather than the Creator, to esteem themselves so that they esteem Him not, rejecting Him from truly ruling over them.

“He was despised… and we esteemed HIM not…”

“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not…”

The gospel of self-ascension is preaching well today, and it will lead many astray into destruction. Deliverance from all evil is found only in slavery to Christ, who came to destroy the Devil’s work. And anyone who is not born of the Spirit of Christ nor abides in Him IS indeed the Devil’s handiwork, they themselves carrying it out even further; but praise be to God for the blood and cross of Christ, by which we die with Him so that we too may walk in the newness of HIS Life through the mighty work of His indwelling Spirit!

The Devil is not rebuked in our own names, but only glorified. Let only the Name above all Names be esteemed in the conduct of His people. All other names are flowing into the beast, and we must cut ourselves off from them in order to keep the faith of Jesus. The only mark we can afford to bear in this world is the mark of God, and the marks of Jesus Christ crucified; and we have many sufferings yet to endure. We are supposed to be dead in the Lord, the only place of resting in the labors of His Spirit. HE is our only strong tower against the enemy, and the Rock higher than I.

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice,
“If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.”
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever:
and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image,
and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, ‘Write,
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth.”‘
“Yea,”
saith the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours;
and their works do follow them.”
(Revelation 14:9-13)

– Brendan

God’s Law – Part 2: The Law of Life

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying,
“I am the Light of the world. The one following Me
will in no way walk in the darkness,
but will have the Light of LIFE.”
(John 8:12)

To have and to walk in the Light of God is both to have and to walk in the very LIFE of God. What it truly means to “believe,” according to Jesus, is a thing of such substance that His very Life is revealed in those who believe. And because they bear witness of Him by the fruit of HIS Life actually being brought forth in them, that very witness of His Life in them even judges those refusing to see it. Not that we judge of our own accord, but that the Witness within us judges all things, and we discern after Him. For the dead are not aware of the living; but those who have passed through death unto Life are with diligence able behold all things through Him.

The one believing in the Son of God has the witness in himself.
The one not believing God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness which God has witnessed concerning His Son. And this is the witness: that God gave us everlasting life, and this Life is IN His Son.
(1 John 5:10-11)

The phrase “everlasting life” speaks not merely in terms of time eternal, but of the substance of KNOWING HIM ever-increasing TODAY.  “And this is Life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (Jn 17:3)

“And this Life is IN His Son” – the Life of God remains abiding in those who remain abiding in Him. “He who has the Son HAS Life (present tense), he who has not the Son has not Life…” The river of His Living Water is the river of HIS eternity, into which He brings us; yet we know that some fall away from the Living God – this means that they were once truly in Him by some measure. To have everlasting Life means to presently know Him. It is the PRESENT KNOWING of He who is Life that keeps us in His Life, and His Life in us. For unto us He has come, and in Him we must abide.

And we know that the Son of God has come, and He has given to us an understanding that we may know the true One, and we are in the true One,
in His Son Jesus Christ. THIS is the true God, and the Life everlasting.
(1 John 5:20)

But how do we walk in this Life, and how does its witness abide in us? By what power does the Light of Life shine forth? For a lamp requires oil; therefore it is spoken of He who lights our lamp: “By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because of His SPIRIT He has given to us.” (1 John 4:13)

He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life indwells us by His Holy Spirit – and more than that, He the Spirit is the very power by which the spiritual death once at work in us gives way to His Life being at work! We know that we know Him by His Life being manifested in us – not by our own assumption or doctrinal confession. For in dying to the carnal man by the cross and giving way to the working of HIS life, we abandon the working of corruption unto death through sin in the flesh, for the working out of God’s Law both in and through us by the Law of the Spirit of Life (Rom 8:2).

…My brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, for you to become Another’s, to One raised from the dead, so that we may bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sin were working in our members through the law for the bearing of fruit unto death. But now we have been set free from the law, having died to that in which we were held (the flesh), so as to serve in newness of Spirit, and not in oldness of letter.
(Romans 7:4-6)

It would seem to be a contradiction that the Law of God’s heart will be fulfilled in those who were “made dead to the law” – but that is because man supposes that the Law has to be fulfilled through the flesh. But no, Paul said, “the Law is spiritual.” The problem is not that the Law is carnal, but that man is “carnal, sold under sin.” Therefore the old man must be put to death in order for the righteous requirement of God to be fulfilled in us. For the ultimate Law of God is the Word Himself, Who remains forever; and the law of Moses was simply a hidden revelation of HIM to bring men to the end of themselves, begging for the Spirit’s rebirth. This is why Paul wrote “For through the law, I died to the law, that I might LIVE to God.” (Gal 2:19)

For the law “in which we were held” was ultimately the law of sinful flesh, which cannot obey God in a pure heart – this is why the Law of Moses only worked unto death, because the wages of sin is death. For Paul, posing as the carnal man, says, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Rom 7:22-23)

Therefore the grace of God, if it will make us free indeed, cannot end at the forgiveness of sins, it also must include deliverance from the very power of sin still at work. Now of course we are told that the power of sin is the law; but again, that is because of the weakness of sinful flesh, so that God’s requirement remains holy and just, still requiring fulfillment in His creatures. Therefore our continued salvation and deliverance is found through the putting off of the old man and the putting on of Christ. The old is condemned and must be reckoned dead for the new and blameless to be lived in with any power over sin and death. And this is all by the Spirit of the Lord. “For IF by the SPIRIT you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Rom 8:13) Those who live after the flesh are still under the condemnation of the Law and abide in death; but those walking after the Spirit are not condemned and abide in the Life of God.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to flesh, but according to Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus set me free from the law of sin and of death. For the law, being powerless in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh (not the law);
so that the righteous demand of the law might be fulfilled in us,
those not walking according to flesh, but according to Spirit.

(Romans 8:2-4 LITV)

At the end of Romans 7 is the cry for deliverance from the cycle of the flesh warring against the Spirit, and Romans 8 lays out the path of said deliverance. The man in Romans 7 is still setting his mind upon and walking according to the flesh, which is death; but Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death! This is why Paul also said in Galatians 5, “But if you walk by the Spirit, you will NOT fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”

The one who practices sin is of the Devil;
for the Devil has sinned from the beginning.
The Son of God appeared for this purpose,
to DESTROY the works of the Devil.
(1 John 3:8)

Jesus didn’t come to make an excuse for sins, He came to destroy them. His call from the cross is not merely, “Look at what I did;” but it is also, “Now having seen Me, come up here and die with Me, that you may truly live.” His work is truly finished; but have you stepped into all of it, to walk in the labors of the Spirit of His resurrection Life?

For I may have the new desires of the new creature to obey God; but I have not the power to overcome the law of sin and death at work in my members unless that new creature is animated by God Himself rather than by me myself. It is after I am born again when I truly begin to increasingly realize that it is I who is far more the enemy of God’s work in and through me than I ever previously conceived. The fault is not with God’s demand, nor His lack of empowerment; but rather my lack of surrendering even the new creature to His control. For though I am regenerated in spirit, I am unable to animate or operate the new creature. The new nature desires what is right but gives us no power to overcome by our own will. For we are made into a new creature so that GOD can reside in and rule over us, as HIS temple!

“If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin,
yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
But if the SPIRIT of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life
even to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
(Romans 8:10-11)

So we can have the Word of Christ dwelling in us in some measure; but apart from a direct work of power by His Spirit, we simply remain in a deep struggle between two natures: our spirit being alive in the conviction of His righteousness, yet our mortal body still being subject to the manifestations of sin.
This cycle is not meant to endlessly perpetuate, but to dwindle and die – hence the baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit.

“…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you shall be My witnesses…”

Being true witnesses to the power of Christ requires that the power of His Spirit be clearly at work in us; for the Truth is not merely a concept taught and thought, but a Person known and lived in. To walk in the Way of the Light of Life is to walk by faith in the very shoes of He who IS Truth. For He said, “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” For in Christ Jesus all the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily; therefore He is the Way (the Son,) the Truth (the Spirit), and the Life (the Father). Yet on a ‘practical’ level for us, it is by His Spirit working in us that we are made His witnesses; therefore it is says, “And the Spirit is the One witnessing, because the Spirit IS the Truth.” (1Jn 5:6) We will only be His witnesses to the degree that we allow HIS power to be operative in us. We are meant to be continually being filled with all the fullness of God!

For just as one is not a Christian without the initial seal of the Spirit of God and by Him the implanted Word; likewise, one cannot get far into their Christian walk without the ongoing filling of the baptism of the Spirit being present. For this baptism is meant to be a constant flow, a continual refreshing; we cannot run effectively for long on yesterday’s power for today‘s work. Our own strength is insufficient to power the new creature because it is in fact counter-productive to the work of the Spirit. To work out our salvation with fear and trembling truly means to humbly yield ourselves to GOD “who works in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure.” So it’s supposed to be HE who works in me, not myself who works in me! The best intentions of our own efforts still amount to nothing but works of the flesh; and we do not have to live by those any longer.

Such is the confidence we have through Christ towards God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the SPIRIT. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives Life.
(2 Corinthians 3:4-6)

The trade of our own power for God’s power, and the trade of our own life for God’s Life, is the trade of deeds which amount to filthy rags for deeds which are manifest as having been wrought in God” (John 3:21). When we are operating out of any power except God’s power, we are placing ourselves back under the law of the letter rather than the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus and thereby walk under condemnation. Our growth from children into manifest sons of God is accomplished only through the very Life of the Son being at work by His Spirit within in those who are dying to self. It is one thing to initially be sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise – it is another to be led in the Father’s will by His power.

So, then, brothers, we are debtors: not to the flesh, so as to live according to flesh; for if you live according to flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live.
For as many as are LED by the Spirit of God, these are SONS of God.

(Romans 8:12-14)

The children are many; let them put away childish things and become sons. The children of Israel were not called sons until after they had passed through the death of the river Jordan to enter into God’s rest; which is where we rest from our own labors and walk in the labors of the Spirit. The righteousness of God’s Law cannot be fulfilled and revealed except in those who walk by the Spirit of His Law, the Law of the Spirit of Life. For Jesus said to John of His own baptism in the same river Jordan, “this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” It was after this that God spoke from above, “This is my beloved SON, in whom I am well pleased.” Then He was “LED by the Spirit into the wilderness.” And we are called to follow in His steps.

“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Or don’t you know that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just like Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be in bondage to sin.
For he who has died has been freed from sin.
(Romans 6:3-7)

True Life is to know Him; and to know Him is to see, to look upon, to touch and to handle the substance His very Life indwelling us – by the Law of the Spirit of Life in Him. And by this, Hi’s Law is being fulfilled in us. But those of whom He says, “I never knew you” are the same whom He calls “lawless.” For sin is the transgression of the Law (1Jn 3:4) – that being the eternal Law of God’s unchanging heart and mind, the Word. And only by this exchange of our life for His, to live by His Spirit, do we find the liberty of His Law at work in us, wherein that royal Law of HIS Love can be fulfilled.

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
And we all, with unveiled face seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror,
are transformed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as from the Lord, the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

– Brendan

God’s Law – Part 1: The Law of Light

And this is the message which we have heard from Him, and we announce to you:
GOD IS LIGHT and no darkness is in Him, none!
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and we walk in darkness,
we lie and are not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light,
as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of His Son Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.
(1 John 1:5-7)

As the Word was from the beginning, so He remains today and forever. The same law of God which was with Him from the beginning and throughout all ages until now, stands immovable still. For even before there were any ordinances written on stone because of the people’s transgressions, even then, the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?” For the law and the commandment of God is most simply expressed as this: His heart.
And this we know: that in His heart is no darkness or deceit! In His heart there is no variance or shadow of turning! For the law of God was, is, and will forever be the same unchanging law of His very character and nature, even the Word Himself.

Is it not right then, that the Law of that Word should be fulfilled in His own creatures? For it is indeed that same eternal Law of the Word made flesh which shines forth HIS Light unchanging throughout all ages, He being the only “True Light, which enlightens every man…” And He, that True Light which came into the world, is not the abolishment, but rather the very fulfillment of His Law’s requirement within all and through all who are being conformed to the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person: for it has pierced them through unto death, dying to the darkness which they once had been, becoming the transparent lamps of HIS arising and shining forth.

…then God said, “Let light be!” And there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good,
and God separated between the light and darkness.
(Genesis 1:3-4)

The desired work of God in His new creatures is one of dividing light from darkness. There is no obscurity in Him. The Light is good – the the Law is good; but until there is an actual separation of light from darkness made within the creature, it hates the Light – it cannot abide in the Law of Light! For the Light comes that the darkness might be cast away. The heart of every creature walking in darkness is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;” but glory be to God, that the One who tries the hearts and reins of men in the exposure of His Light is the same One who causes the old creature to utterly pass away along with the shadows by HIS dawning in our hearts; that Truth may find His dwelling in the innermost parts of our being!

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)

And of that deliverance from every power of darkness into His marvelous Light, they sing to Him, “You will light my lamp; Jehovah my God will make my darkness light.” For the Light of men, the “Angel of the Lord,” while leading His people out from the bondage of Egypt, divided between the two: being for the enemy a dark cloud, but for His people a light (Ex 14:19-20). To darkness, all is darkness. Whatever Light we cannot see corresponds to whatever darkness we still walk in.

David sang of his own deliverance from the enemy, describing God as having “made darkness His covering, His pavilion all around Him, darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. Out of the brightness before Him, His dark clouds passed through, hailstones and coals of fire.” (Ps 18) This is the Lord’s appearance to His enemies. And wherever we ourselves might walk in darkness, our own minds are as an enemy toward the searching and piercing light of God. For God separated the light from the darkness: so that the darkness can neither discern nor mix with the Light. But Christ illuminates all things for those abiding in He the Word. Therefore the Psalmist says, “IN Thy Light shall we see light.” (Ps 36:9) For Christ came as Light into the world that we may abide no longer in darkness. But for those who stubbornly remain in darkness, and darkness growing in them, to them “the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light.” (Amos 5:18)

For Daniel says of Him, “He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.” Therefore no escape is found for the rebellious, though they cover themselves in darkness, though they make the night to be as light around them, of whose exposure before God David also says, “Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”

Those who walk in darkness are alienated from the mindset of God by the works of evil and every foul spirit. This is threatened by the Light, and therefore they cannot abide it; so that unless the Father of lights draws them, they cannot come into its fellowship. Yet it is still His Light itself by which they are drawn, therefore it says to His children, those lights of the world in whom He already abides, “So let your light shine before men, that they may see…” For His drawing becomes sure upon all that are humbled by its piercing affliction, into whose darkness “the Light has shined… and the darkness has not overtaken it.”

With the merciful, You reveal Yourself as merciful;
with an upright man, You reveal yourself as upright;
with the pure, You reveal Yourself as pure;
and with the crooked, You appear perverse;
for You will save an afflicted people, but will bring down haughty eyes.
(Psalm 18:25-27)

The Light must be allowed do its afflicting work of opening the eyes of those in darkness, so that sin might be seen to be exceedingly sinful. And the crucible of their being drawn and separated to Him cannot be perceived by those without Light; for even the powers of darkness are not beyond His grasp to wield against their own intentions. He even causes His Light to shine out of the darkness – even from its very midst! For He is the One “forming light, and creating darkness; making peace, and creating evil.” (Isa 45:7) Therefore, the words of their repentance through His chastisement are these: “I am the man that has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. HE has led me and caused me to walk in darkness, and not in light.” (Lam 3:1-2)

For He makes darkness His slave, and the shadows He bends to His own will. Yet we who have already walked in the light ought never to presume upon this grace, since to those straying from whatever Light they presently have, He warns, “Give glory to the Lord your God, before He cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains; and, while ye look for light, He turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.” (Jer 13:16)

To those remaining in darkness, and darkness remaining in them, God’s Law of Light has only the ministry of condemnation. For unless a man is full of Light, the Light condems him. And just as the Law’s former revelation could not transform men by the fading glory of ordinances, but only expose them in its requirements; likewise that same Light of the Lord’s conviction regarding sin, righteousness, and judgement was the school master humbling us into the more exceedingly glorious new covenant in Christ Jesus, who is the only true fulfillment of the whole Law of God’s heart for reconciliation. For this is “the mystery having been hidden from the ages… but now revealed to His saints… Who is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory.” For it has always been the very same Law, the very same Word, the very same Gospel: yes, even “that which was from the beginning;” for the substance has always been Jesus Christ! And He who was revealed TO Saul of Tarsus, that same One was revealed IN a transformed Paul (Gal 1:16). It is the revealing of this mystery which all the prophets looked forward to, and of which Peter finally said, “and we have the more established prophetic word, in which you do well to take heed, as to a lamp shining in a murky place, until day dawns and the Day-star rises in your hearts…” (2 Pet 1:19)

For the condemnation of the Law (which is of God’s Light) still remains upon all not walking IN the Light BY the Light, with whom His true children have been made one. “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of Light” (Eph 5:8) The former revelation of God’s Law made Moses’ veiled face shine with only a fading radiance of what was upon him: the latter revelation of it now shines forth unveiled, bringing us from glory to glory by Christ’s work within us, becoming the very luminaries of HIS light shining in a dark place. “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 Cor 2:15-16)

The spiritual man has been exposed and transformed by the Light, becoming a transparent conduit through which proceeds the Light of Christ; but until they also become light in the Lord, those who are darkness cannot perceive the true Substance (Christ) of the spiritual man, Whose countenance beams forth from him.

But all things being exposed by the light are clearly revealed,
for everything having been revealed IS light.
Because of this, He says,
“Arise, sleeping ones and stand up out of the dead ones,
and Christ will shine on you.”
(Ephesians 5:13-14)

For the Light in which God dwells is unapproachable except by His own Light. Therefore, within whomever the Law of God is not being fulfilled unto righteousness, they are under the Law’s curse; and in blindly judging that Law of Light amidst their lawless deeds, they are made manifest and judged by it.

And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world,
and men loved the darkness more than the Light, for their works were evil.
For everyone practicing wickedness hates the Light,
and does not come to the Light, that his works may not be exposed.
(John 3:19-20)

Every man will be judged, each according to his works; yet our works are judged not by the spectacle of their appearance, but by the substance of their source. We will be judged according to our own conformity to the Light of Christ who dwells in us, not merely according to the light of those among whom we shone. It is HIS quality reflected in us by which we are measured. For every light of the Father is simply meant to show forth the pure Light of Christ – the reaction of surrounding darkness is not our responsibility so long as we are walking with singleness of eye toward HIM, by which our whole body will be full of His light. David lived hidden under the shadow of the Almighty’s wing, even dwelling in a cave away from most of his people for a season: not because he was of darkness; but rather to keep the evil one confounded while God proved the true substance of his heart in secret before his time to rule had come. And his proven character naturally exposed the wickedness of Saul’s heart, though David never reviled him, but even had mercy upon his life (1 Sam 24).

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of
them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ,
who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord;
and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
(2 Corinthians 4:3-5)

At times, the Light shining forth from us will provoke Light to spring forth in men; at other times, it will cause them to descend deeper into darkness. We may be a beacon of hope in the midst of darkness – we may also be a silent reckoning upon darkness and for those remaining in it. Both are the work of the Light. And there are also those who appear to have already rejected the Light beyond all turning back, whom God will first bring through the deepest darkness before they truly enter the Light; just as Solomon “kept his wisdom with him” even amidst all his revelings, who later returned and at last penned, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecc 12:13-14)

But even regarding this, if we are indeed light in the Lord, then we still ought to strive toward such a degree of brightness in our kingly duty as did David: which is to search out and reveal those matters that are the glory of God to conceal (Prov 25:2); and David was called a prophet of God, though he did not know it. Likewise, as we ourselves are thereby conformed to His likeness in the secret place, growing in the revelation of knowing HIM, we also will naturally fulfill what He commanded saying, “What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light. And what you hear in the ear, proclaim on the housetops.” (Mt 10:27) Yet we do not speak before mere men, and we do not proclaim to mere men; but God. The doing comes from the being wrought of HIS inner working. We ourselves must always be lain before the scrutiny of the Lord’s light, lest we begin to deceive ourselves even as the Devil did, who now masquerades as an angel of light.

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
(Matthew 6:22-23)

Therefore, as lights shining in a dark place, our effectiveness is not in what we think we are doing for God, but rather in being conformed to His image; for Jesus did not say “shine your light,” but He said, “LET your light shine…” HE is that light! The precision with which HE can use us will be in proprotion to our conformity to HIS Light within our every facet. Our personal singleness of eye towards HIM determines the brightness of the Light naturally proceeding from us. The more we see Him as He is, the more we shall be like Him! Anything born of ourselves apart from Him is tainted with darkness; therefore it is written, “But the one doing the truth comes to the Light, that his works may be revealed, that they exist, having been worked in God.” (John 3:21)

Praise be to God! He has brought the blind by a way that they did not know, to lead us in paths which we could not conceive of; and made darkness into light before us, and the crooked ways straight! Therefore let us now likewise draw ourselves out to the hungry in spirit, and satisfy the afflicted soul; that our light arise from the obscurity of these times, and our own darkness turn to noonday; that we may no longer grope for the wall like the blind, nor stumble at midday as though it were night. For if we walk in the Light of the Day we may say to our accuser, “Rejoice not against me, my enemy; for though I fall, I shall arise. For if sit in darkness, the Lord is a light to me. I will bear the fury of the Lord because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my cause and brings forth justice for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall see His righteousness.” (Micah 7:8-9)

This is a day for His true children to walk by nothing except the Light of Christ within their hearts. For He is doing a work to bring His people into HIS fullness; but we must be purged from within of every hint of darkness. It is He dwelling fully in His people, and His people fully in Him, of which the scripture says, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: but it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” (Zech 14:6-7)

The night is far gone, and the day has drawn near; then let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the weapons of the light. Let us walk becomingly, as in the day, not in carousings and drunkennesses, not in co-habitation and lustful acts, not in fighting and envy.
(Romans 13:12-13)

This is the fruit of the Law of Light being fulfilled in God’s children, this is the very Life which God has within Himself, and also the Son; so that all who remain in Him may have that Life in overflowing abundance, unto liberty from bondage for fulfilling the Law of God’s holy love. For His fullness unveiled is that coming Day of which He says, “the work of each will be revealed, for the Day will make it known…” (1 Cor 3:13) The result of inner darkness is outer darkness (Mt 8:12, 22:13, 25:30). But if we walk in that Day today, we may have confidence before Him.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying,
“I am the Light of the world.
The one following Me will in no way walk in the darkness,
but will have the Light of Life.”
(John 8:12)

– Brendan

Joshua 7: It Repented The Lord

And the sons of Israel committed a sin in the cursed thing. And Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah took the cursed thing. And the anger of Jehovah glowed against the sons of Israel.
(Joshua 7:1)

The Lord does not show partiality in His judgement, as though He would blindly pass over ongoing rebellion among His own people. His wrath is kindled against all the sons of disobedience – especially those who trouble His own house from within. It is always assumed in our midst that God is on our side; and it is seldom questioned as to whether or not we are on HIS side. Such is the mindset that allows a people to begin falling away – if they haven’t already fallen greatly. This is the great blind assumption of all spiritual pride, declaring of its self-supposed heavenly estate, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Even Joshua himself had begun to assume the welfare of his fellow brothers when He sincerely questioned God as to why they were suffering defeat on the field of battle; but the Lord corrected him:

“Get up! Why do you fall on your face this way? Israel has sinned, and they also have transgressed My covenant which I commanded them, and have also taken of the cursed things, and have also stolen, and also deceived, and also put it among their stuff. And the sons of Israel have not been able to stand before their enemies; they have turned the back before their enemies because they have become cursed. I will not be with you again if you do not destroy the cursed things from among you.”
(Joshua 7:10-12)

We ourselves occupy a day in which sin is tolerated in the camp, God is not sought sincerely about it, and the wretched state of His house is excused as being due to uncontrollable and external circumstances. Faithless and perverse generation! How much longer shall the Spirit of Christ bear with us? Those who trust not in His power so as to obey Him and tear down the altars of their every idol cannot expect to be graced with His presence. And today He has already forsaken the gathering place only to be found by those who will dwell in the secret place, which often brings isolation; but the fellowship of God is there. The grievous “church” of man is the outer court of our day, and is now fully ruled and trampled underfoot by the Godless. And regarding such a state of affairs, in which the hope of Eden returning seems all but lost, the scripture says,

And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth,
and it grieved Him at His heart.
(Genesis 6:6 KJV)

This astonishing description of God’s heart can be applied not only to fallen mankind as a whole, but even more potently to a backslidden people who were at one time His very sons and in step with the Spirit. Upon these words hang for all of us the balances of judgement and mercy, of redemption and woe. The holy eyes of the Lord cannot look upon the fruit of man’s corrupting ways without His wrath being kindled and His heart pained with exceeding sorrow.

The love of God is pure, therefore He agonizes over our sins because He cannot abide their stench. It “repented” God that He had made man because He is holy and must take vengeance upon the wicked, for He hates all of their evil deeds; therefore it also “grieved Him at His heart” because He is merciful and takes no delight in the punishment of any. It pleased the Lord to crush the Suffering Servant (Isa 53) because that Servant became sin, in order to put sin itself to death with Himself and rise without it for those who would believe into Him, that they might partake of that same newness of Life. Only the One not accursed could take all of the curse upon Himself for all men; but remedies begotten of the sentiments of human pity are powerless to quench its eternal rot. Only the burning of God’s fire in our hearts will remove the dross to keep the gold pure: and dross can be whole persons or even peoples. For He beholds with holy eyes the horror of it all in great anguish and fervent scorn.

“And it repented the Lord…”

All of heaven itself stands aghast at the spectacle of our spiritual famine; yet men are content to continue praying for earthly good with no recognition of their dire condition in God’s eyes, taking no thought that in doing so they only further provoke His wrath. His Ark awaits to lift them above the flood of His fury, yet nearly all stand in mockery; and though claiming to honor Him, refuse to enter in. Most of those who are said to be born-again bear no fruit in keeping with repentance; and most of those who are supposedly Spirit-lead remain as worldly as they ever were. But those who truly see through the eyes of holiness take no delight in the futile matters of this passing earth, and they despair of hope in all but God Himself. These are the only ones possessing anything of worth, for they realize that the Lord Himself is all they truly have. Those who live from such a place of freedom and peace in the Lord Himself will no longer have need to confess, “I saw, I lusted, and I took…” (v 21) for they have allowed the Lord to take them as HIS own possession.

All of creation groans for the unveiling of God’s mystery in His offspring through Christ in them, and the heavens declare His glory even through the dull and miserable tones of the curse; but the exposing Light of Christ is so repulsive to those who continue engaging in the works of the devil, that to satisfy the insatiable appetite of hell is more desirable for them than to dwell in the piercing presence of the Holy One. It is no wonder that nothing short of the travail of the very soul of the Son of God Himself shall alone bear fruit unto God from among men, those of whom His Spirit declares “No one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does any good, not even one.” The agony of our Lord Jesus just before His crucifixion can never be weighed for the dread of drinking the bottomless cup of the eternal wrath of God, being plunged into the fiery baptism of the furnace of that righteous indignation, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not put out.” Yet who in our midst is found agonizing in the Spirit with Him, seeing that there remains only a small remnant of the faithful? If we do not allow the fire to purge us today, what assurance do we have that hell will be satisfied with our absence from it on the day of judgement? TODAY is the day of salvation for every man, especially for those of His own house.

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23)

Our trifling day lacks any real sense of the weightiness and urgency of the Lord’s mercy. A true revelation of His longsuffering in light of our stubbornness and rebellion should implant a lasting fear of Him in us which burns out all desire or draw to remain in any measure of idolatry. Those who have not been marked by the near despair of God’s own heart over their rebellious ways have not touched the cross; and those who refuse to continue carrying the burden of the Lord’s heart for today have strayed from it. These are the troublers of the true Israel of God, who grieve and lie to the Holy Spirit as did Ananias and Saphira; and these He will reveal and expel from the true camp of His people as the Day of redemption draws nearer and the faithful remain true to Him.

And Joshua rose early in the morning, and brought Israel near by its tribes. And the tribe of Judah was taken. And he brought the family of Judah near; and he took the family of the Zarhites. And he brought near the family of the Zarhites by men, and Zabdi was taken. And he brought near his household by men, and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
And Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to Jehovah, the God of Israel, and give thanks to Him, and please tell me what you have done. Do not hide it from me.”
And Achan answered Joshua, and said, “Truly I have sinned against Jehovah, the God of Israel, and this I have done: when I saw among the spoil a goodly robe of Shinar, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold, one of fifty shekels in weight, then I lusted after them, and took them. And behold, they are hidden in the earth, in the middle of my tent, and the silver under it.”
(Joshua 7:16-21)

The futility of all things outside of God Himself must be realized should we make an offering of obedience truly pleasing to Him in this dark day, lest we perish by His own hand untimely for failing to redeem what little time is left. Waiting for a future hour of necessity to consecrate ourselves only reveals a failure to recognize that the hour of necessity is already passing. The hand of the Lord which prevents great evil from entering into His fold is quickly lifting because of their hidden idolatry and spiritual pride. Many have fallen away and many more will continue to drift. The wheat and the tares are also becoming manifest. Today, and today only, is the last day for being made ready to be broken and poured out unto death. The Lord will hear the cry of contrite in heart who tremble at His word, for them He is able to answer with mercy.

Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord! Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven: “We have transgressed and rebelled, and You have not forgiven. You have wrapped Yourself with anger and pursued us, killing without pity; You have wrapped Yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can pass through.”
(Lamentations 3:40-44)

May we no longer tolerate in the temple of God that which troubles the holy progress of the body of Christ: may it no longer repent the Lord that we are called His children.

And Joshua said, “How you have troubled us! Jehovah shall trouble you today!”
And all Israel threw stones at him, and they burned them with fire,
and they stoned them with stones.
And they raised over him a great heap of stones to this day.
And Jehovah turned back from the heat of His anger. On this account, the name of that place is The Valley of Grief until this day.
(Joshua 7:25-26)

– Brendan

The Work Of God in Believing

A Primer for the Forthcoming Series on Joshua

“This is the work of God, that you believe…”
(John ‪6:29‬)

The works which God has ordained that we should walk in are the fruit of HIS work in the ones who believe. And this fruit cannot be borne through a man whose eyes are fixed upon what is before him on earth; but rather through one whose eyes are fixed upon that which we have been blessed with in heavenly places: namely, the fullness of JESUS, through whom nothing begotten of his Heavenly Father’s desire is impossible! For He says of the faith of the one believing, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

“Delight yourself in the LORD…” (by which you adopt HIS desires)
“…and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
(Psalm 37:4)

There are many empty works which one can do from one’s own heart that earthly religion and man’s church will praise; but the truth remains that “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom ‪14:23‬). And this is how we may discern the works of faith: that they are done only unto God who ordained them, and only through Him whose love is perfected in those who by His love keep His word.

“He who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in GOD.”
(John ‪3:21‬)

These are the evidences of the work of God manifest the one who believes: faith, hope, and love; “and the greatest of these is love.” Now the first love of the one believing is the Father Himself. “And this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments…” A heart which purely loves the Father is one which for HIS good pleasure “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”– and such faith working through love can only proceed from a life that is surrendered into the working of HIS mighty hand in the hope of HIS righteousness being revealed.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone believing; both to Jew first, and to Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; even as it has been written, ‘But the just shall live by faith.’
(Romans ‪1:16-17‬)

Those believing every word of God are able to truly walk in His light, being strengthened in His grace; that grace in which they “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Rom 5:2), this hope not being held in vain, since “those whom He justified, He also glorified.” For we know that until we are fully glorified, “this is God’s will: your sanctification;” because for those who believe every word of God and walk in it, both to them and through them is revealed the mystery of the gospel, “which is Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory.”

And so Christ can say,
“All things are possible to the ones believing.”
And these things being so, how then will any of us excuse disobedience in seeing that which we have been called to inherit?

But to which of the angels did He ever say, “Sit at My right hand until I place Your enemies as a footstool of Your feet?” Are they not all ministering spirits for service, being sent out because of the ones being about to inherit salvation?
For this reason it is needful for us more abundantly to take heed to the things having been heard that we should not slip away. For if the word spoken by angels was confirmed, and every transgression and disobedience received a just repayment; how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation??
(Hebrews 1:13-2:3)

A faith which has been dampened by the earthly cares of this life, subdued by the worldly doctrines of man in pride, or crushed by the devil’s accusation because of unrepentance, is a faith in the throes of death; and is therefore unable to produce the revealing of the righteousness of God. Those lacking obedience in the little are unable to be spiritually fruitful in the much, since they have become satisfied with the little and fear the unknown. Only Satan himself would have us be so earthly minded that we are no heavenly good on earth! Or did the Lord not pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”? The accepting of the dim and shallow paradigm of man, so cherished by his self-deceiving heart, is the embracing and excusing of that same unbelief for which God did not allow the rebellious children of Israel to enter into His rest (Heb ch 3-4).

For just as believing is not merely the accepting of doctrinal truths, but rather a state of being in submission to He who is Truth; likewise unbelief is not simply the rejecting of doctrinal truth, but rather a state of living in an illusion which is truly contrary to He who is Truth. Many indeed honor Him with their lips, but their heart is far from Him. Disobedience is the expression of unbelief. A man is always moving one direction or the other. Stagnancy in spirit is truly a path unto death: such is the essence of unbelief. To become unresponsive to the Spirit’s conviction is to become as one not believing and so be given over to a spiritual decay unto death.

For we have become partakers of Christ, if truly we hold the beginning of the assurance firm to the end; as in the saying, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the provocation.” For hearing, some provoked Him, but not all those coming out of Egypt through Moses.
But with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with the ones sinning, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter into His rest, except to those 
not obeying?
And we see that they were not able to enter in 
because of unbelief
.
Therefore, let us fear lest perhaps a promise having been left to enter into His rest, that any of you may seem to come short. For indeed, we have had the gospel preached to us, even as they also; but the Word did not profit those hearing it, not having been mixed with faith in the ones who heard.
(Hebrews 3:17-4:2)

The fruit of the promised land will not be eaten by those who do not first enter into it (Joshua ‪5:11-12‬), and no one having entered therein will take upon its cities with success who do not submit to the covenant in the blood of Christ who marks them, removing all reproach of their former association with Egypt, which is the world (Joshua 5:2-9).

There is therefore now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus (the reproach of Egypt removed – Joshua 5:8), who do not walk according to flesh, but according to Spirit. For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus set me free from the law of sin and of death. For the Law being powerless, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous demand of the Law might be fulfilled in us, those not walking according to flesh, but according to Spirit.
(Romans 8:1-4 LITV)

The natural man only ever lives in reproach, and therefore he must be done away with in order to make way for the new creature to live under the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. The fleshly nature can only ever bear the fruits of unbelief. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. (Rom 8:6)
The mind of the flesh is death because the flesh is not able to receive the love of God, and therefore can only live in the fear of punishment. That is why it depends on faith to enter into His rest: for faith which acts upon the hope of glory that we have been promised in God’s steadfast love creates space for the Holy Spirit to move and work in us far more than we could ever ask or think; but unbelief, which is born of carnal fear, is where the flesh overcomes a man and he does not enter into God’s rest, since he who believes not obeys not.

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
For,
“Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
(Hebrews 10:35-39)

After they refused to hear His voice directly from the mountain for themselves, God administered to the unbelieving children of Israel a hidden word (the Law) which could only magnify the power of sin and death, through a mere man who could not lead them over the Jordan into the promised land of rest. Those who shrink back from sowing of what they have received from the Lord forsake reaping of their inheritance in the kingdom of heaven: such are the consequences of minding the things of the flesh rather than the things of the Spirit.

“And the one who received the one talent also coming up, he said, ‘Lord, I knew you, that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter; and being afraid, going away, I hid your talent in the earth. Behold, you have yours.’
And answering, his lord said to him, ‘Evil and slothful slave! You knew that (if) I reap where I did not sow, and I gather where I did not scatter, then you ought to have put my silver to the bankers, and coming I would have received my own with interest. Therefore, take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to each who has, more will be given, and he will abound. But from him who does not have, even that which he has will be taken from him. And throw the worthless slave out into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth.'”
(Matthew 25:24-30)

Such unfounded fear is the shackle of death; and where the Devil smells this fear he finds an easy target to devour through the flesh, deceive through the world, and so lure down to destruction through unbelief. But this is the perfect love of God in Christ Jesus which casts out all such fear: that “since the children share in flesh and blood, He himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Heb ‪2:14-15‬)

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment; and the one fearing has not been perfected in love.
(1 John ‪4:18‬)

The wilderness of condemnation in which the people wandered outside of the promised land of God’s rest was the result of their distrust and disbelief of the goodness of His perfect will for them, simply due to a little hardship – and may such wildernesses never be excused or embraced by those who have known God and been known by Him! Let not the same things be said about God’s children today that may also be said regarding those of old who did not enter into His rest, “Because knowing God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful. But they became vain in their reasonings, and their undiscerning heart was darkened… And even as they did not think fit to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind…” (Rom 1)

Therefore our Lord says to the feeble, “Do not fear, only believe.”

To fall short of walking in God’s grace against all unfounded fear is to place oneself under the Law of sin and death, under which God can only be a harsh Master, and where man attempts to excuse himself for his fruitlessness when confronted. But to the one believing, “His commands are not grievous,” for such a man can freely walk obedient to God despite himself and despite the devil’s accusing voice, in the confidence that “He who began a good work in you will bring it unto completion for the day of Christ;” and we may glory in this hope because we have “not received the spirit of bondage again to fear… but the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, ‘Abba, Father!'”

Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it was not yet revealed what we shall be. But we know that if He is revealed, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone having this hope on Him purifies himself even as that One is pure.
(1 John 3:2-3)

Having in us the hope of His glory and righteousness being revealed is the very conduit of faith by which we are able to be purified BY HIM to the measure of HIS purity. We “purify ourselves” in that we keep our eyes fixed on HE who authors faith in our heart and perfects it in our obedience; and thereby we are kept and so keep ourselves in His love (Jude 1:21). For the one whose hope is on Him, and who by that hope lives separated to Him, is given the revelation of Who He is – though for now as through a darkened glass.

And the hope does not put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us; for we yet being without strength, in due time Christ died for ungodly ones.
(Romans 5:5-6)

But those born of God who do not keep their gaze fixed upon the Beloved in whom they are accepted (Eph 1:6) – who is well able to deliver them from every evil – will soon again become only hearers of the word and not doers, because “faith is the SUBSTANCE of things HOPED for, the essence of things unseen.”  Faith is that which firmly grabs hold of the power of God’s grace for our sanctification: because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is indeed liberty to walk in the newness of the very Life of God; but he who is not a doer of the word by such living faith is described in scripture as being “like a man studying his natural face in a mirror; for he studied himself, and has gone away, and immediately he forgot of what kind he was. But the one looking into the perfect Law of liberty, and continuing in it, this one not having become a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:23-25)

Why was he a hearer of the word only, and not a doer? Notice that he beheld only his NATURAL face in a mirror, not in the mirror of the perfect law of liberty in the Spirit; and he did not remain there, for he was surely ashamed at what he saw! But the one believing all things in the gospel of Christ and rendering Himself fully to His work through obedience unto Life, this is the one whose eye is “single” towards God, by which “your whole body shall be full of light. But if your eye is evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt ‪6:22-23‬)

This is the verdict: that Light has come into the world; and men loved the darkness rather than Light, because their deeds were evil.
(John ‪3:19‬)

Unbelief is darkness; and men fall into the shelter of that darkness because their hands have worked that which is not according to faith. For the works of faith are revealed by the light as having been wrought in God, whereas the works of the flesh are revealed as having been wrought in unbelief; for the old man of the flesh is under condemnation, but the new man is in Christ under grace.

Unbelief is cultivated by trusting in the arm of the flesh, by having hope in that which fails. “The flesh profits nothing:” and he who falls by the flesh must choose whether he will come into the light and abide there, or remain in perpetual darkness. So if our own hand causes us to sin, why do we turn back to it for help in the time of need? This only works more unbelief! A man cannot cast out his own flesh any more than he can die to demons. The flesh must be reckoned dead and be died to. We must give up and humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, entrusting ourselves to the work of Jesus in His death, which He has died as the One for the many, believing the word of His gospel which says, “For you HAVE died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3) Therefore “Reckon yourselves dead to sin and alive to God…” and so we may, in view of God’s mercy, offer our bodies a living sacrifice…

The ultimate posture of heart in the one believing is that of getting out of God’s way and submitting to HIS work; so that by the same Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead, who quickens even our mortal bodies, the Spirit “which He gives to them that obey Him” – thereby let it always be “GOD who works in you, to will and to do according to His good pleasure.” This is the essence of abiding in Him: to remain obedient in His gospel, which is the power of God through Jesus Christ our intercessor who is able to “save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him”! (Heb ‪7:25‬)

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
(Hebrews ‪3:12-14‬)

So if we have been called out of Egypt, let us immediately draw near to enter the Lord’s rest across the Jordan after He who has gone in before us, Who now calls His people even into the most holy place, which He has opened to us.

Again,
This is the work of God, that you believe INTO Him whom that One sent…
(John 6:29 LITV)

Therefore, brothers, having confidence for the entering of the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus, which He consecrated for us, a new and living way through the veil; that is, His flesh; and having a Great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts having been sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our body having been washed in pure water; let us hold fast the confession of the hope unyielding, for He who has promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:19-22)

Why should I not be fully persuaded of every word that proceeds from Your mouth, and why should I not walk in it?
For in Your covenant I then would ever abide; upon this life Your hand would ever rest.
Why should I not be rendered by fire a vessel for honourable use, a living stone eternally placed in the temple of Your glory?
For this You have desired: that your child should be a light in the world, in whom the Light of Life abides.

“ALL things are possible to the ones believing…”
“Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!”

– Brendan

Become a Disciple

There is a gospel of salvation through mental acknowledgement alone (gnosis) that has been taught in the land, for which many have fallen. Yet the scriptures declare of our salvation that we might BECOME the righteousness of God that is in Christ Jesus; meaning that we must actually know the way of righteousness by continually walking therein from faith to faith in the power of God. This is the difference between the tree of knowledge and the tree of LIFE. And of the latter we must partake or we will perish. But we cannot partake of both. For we are not yet made perfect, and we indeed never shall be made so if we have neither begun nor continue to walk obediently in the upward call of discipleship.

The true gospel of Jesus Christ is one not of self-talk unto realization, but rather of the actual power of God to regenerate and transform an ungodly man – not into the projection of one’s own perception, but into the very living image of Christ through the death of self that the life of Jesus might be revealed from one degree to another. For the cross is the revelation that having become altogether unprofitable and utterly despicable, God in His great mercy gave me the opportunity to sell all my own worthless things (repentance) for the currency (faith) with which to buy the field wherein is hidden the true Treasure of great worth (Christ) who seeks to dwell in me by the Spirit.

It is about knowing HIM, and giving up all rights to HIM that HE might live in me – not I. He came not for me to discover myself, but rather to lose myself to HIM; so that I may enter into and abide in HIS continuing work, being found conformable even to His death, so that HIS light and life might spring forth and HIS Name be gloried in.

Discovering the breadth, length, depth and height of HIM takes the denial of my own self, and the putting to death of the deeds of the body by obedience in the Spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Let us work out with fear and trembling that which God seeks to work in us. For Christ Jesus laid hold of us so that by faith we might also lay hold of HIM, unless by disobedience we fall away; for disobedience is manifest unbelief.

The grace of God is that which saves us FROM our sins and reconciles us to God to walk by the Holy Spirit unto sanctification; not merely saving us from the consequences of sin so that we might continue in it. “If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” – and thereby we remain in our sins, for the cleansing blood is accessed when we walk in the light (1 John 1:7). For to continue walking by the flesh, which has no power over sin, is to frustrate the true grace of God which brings a FULL salvation and teaches us to deny ungodly lusts (Titus 2).

RIGHTEOUSNESS is the heritage of faith, and faith without works is dead. Therefore, let no man claim that he has a righteousness which is not being REVEALED in him from faith to faith, for the gospel is the power of God unto such a salvation. “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” If we shall know God’s grace upon grace, we must walk from faith to faith.

Do not say that you have God as your father if you will not keep His commandments. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous.” The easy yoke and the light burden of which Jesus spoke will not be known as light and easy until we deny ourselves, take them up, and follow after His voice. For this is to truly live by faith, where the Holy Spirit will empower, the Spirit “whom He gives to them that obey Him.”

A disciple is one who freely and without fear follows the instruction of his Master, knowing that both in praise and rebuke, it all is for the good in perfect love. But a rebellious child hates discipline and presumes upon the grace of God, as though he need not appeal to it by a living faith which seeks diligently the way of the Lord’s pleasure.

Jesus remarked to one who knew the truth about obedience to one’s master:
“Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
But the CHILDREN of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness:
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

(Matthew 8:10-12)

And so it was done to that man according to His faith.

– Brendan

Faith: The Victory of the Gospel

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom we ALSO have access by faith INTO this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
(Romans 5:1-2)

God’s grace wherein we stand by faith will only be truly walked in, known and entered into beyond earthly knowledge by the accessing of its resources through the further exercise of faith. For true faith is that which gains not merely an earthly understanding that which God has already counted to us; but steps forward in obedience to taste of true and lasting victory over the power sin. It is after these first two verses of the fifth chapter of Romans that one could almost think to skip over into the eighth chapter without seeming to miss anything – except that Paul has to deal with that stubborn and deceptively pitiful enemy of all righteousness: the sinful flesh. The victory of Jesus Christ on the cross, dying for our sins, and being raised for our justification, will not alone produce the transformation of a man into His image simply based upon intellectually knowing and agreeing upon the fact that it happened. God requires His truth being in the inward parts of a man; but the corrupted nature will suffer no rivals to its own supreme rule in the heart, from which flows all of a man’s deeds. We too easily pass over the admonitions of Jesus Himself that one must turn from wickedness, deny oneself, take up one’s cross, sin no more, etc. We see Isaiah say of our Savior that “His delight will be in the fear of the Lord;” yet we act as though this all means that Jesus was simply preaching law so we might later rejoice that His gospel cancels out all of His difficult admonitions. I contend that nothing could be more a more dangerously subtle perversion of His glorious gospel. Yet sadly, most of us have ignorantly been taught such a gospel for much of our lives.

The problem is not that what Jesus preached is impossible and therefore irrelevant to those under grace; the problem is rather that what He preached is impossible yet still relevant, and that those who are called His own will indeed be judged according to it. ALL OF IT. The problem is that we have missed the glorious POWER of the true gospel, in which the very Spirit of the Living God, having regenerated a man into a new creature, now by faith in our surrender works within His temple a work of holiness; so that “now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the END everlasting life.” (Rom 6:22) This echos the remark of Peter that the END (result) of your faith is the salvation of your soul (1 Peter 1:9).

The keeping of the fullness of everlasting life is the result of us BECOMING the righteousness of God of Christ. It is the promise to those who overcome:
“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.”
(Revelation 3:5)

The fact that He chose to say it specifically this way strongly implies that those who do not overcome may indeed have their name blotted out. The Psalmist asked that his enemies be “blotted out” (69:28, 108:13), also Moses plead with God over the people’s sin, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin – and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” (Exodus 32:32) The book of life has been from before the foundation of the earth, and God never disputes that men could be blotted out of it.

The call of God from eternity to overcome is an ever-present call. It is true that the scriptures describe in human terms those who believe on and follow Christ as having been “predestined” or “elect.” Yet while God sees things in time all at once, the scriptures still in so many ways point to free will on man’s part, according to which He judges. The mysteries of eternity are not to be fully comprehended in time, but rather responded to in the obedience of faith at God’s ever-present call. For now, since the exercise of faith is required to overcome, we see before us either a road whose travelers are called chosen and elect, or we see before us a road whose travelers are called lost – according to our faith. Now the ovecomers are those who endure to the end and are saved (Matt 24:12-13). For Christ Has overcome the world, and so we must remain in Him and He in us.
Paul wrote the following to Christians,
“The gospel… by which you are BEING saved.” (1Cor 15:1-2)
– The Greek for “saved” is so often in this tense, though rarely translated into english as such. The salvation of a man is the deliverance and transformation of all aspects of his being according to the image and likeness of Christ, by whom such reconciliation IS possible.

This is why there exist scriptures about falling away, and about there being left no sacrifice for the sins of those who once tasted and saw of the heavenly gift and of the powers of the age to come yet turned away. If the scripture says that there remains no sacrifice for that person, this means that it did once before apply to them. If the scripture says that they fell away, it means that they actually had something which God considers legitimate to fall away from. For in the gospel of Jesus Christ, which ios the very power of God operative UNTO salvation; the righteousness of God is revealed FROM faith TO faith, since the righteous live by faith (Rom 1:16-17). Therefore, let the righteousness which He has indeed imparted to those who believe now be revealed in them by such ever-increasing faith, which is the fruit of this gospel of the power of God. For we must enter into the labours of the Spirit of Christ if we will reap fruit unto life eternal (John 4:36-38).

Therefore it is graciously written:
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh IN you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
(Philippians 2:12-13)

What a wonderful revelation! To those who believe on Christ, God is WORKING IN YOU something which must be, and therefore by the surety of God’s promise indeed can be, WORKED OUT by you.

BY FAITH:

And what He is determined to work in you, by the Holy Ghost indwelling you, is this: “righteousness unto eternal life” as the apostle Paul puts it. Now this is the grace of God which works mightily in us through our faith, “That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 5:21)
Salvation is by grace; yet most have seemed to miss what is meant by it being through faith. For true living faith dictates action upon that which we have not yet fully seen or fully known. The desire of God and the prayer of Jesus that His people be sanctified and holy is answered when His people surrender themselves to be the obedient vessels of HIS desire being carried out both in and through them; for the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us that we might walk in the newness of HIS Life! There is nothing of more sure substance than this very Life of God, which He has given to the Son to have true Life in Himself, who gives it also to us in measure according to our faith. For just as “the Life was revealed” in the person of Jesus (1 John 1:2), so also He desires that said Life will be revealed in those who believe on Him, who no longer obey sin unto death, but rather obey Christ Jesus unto righteousness (Romans 6:16). And we will surely walk in the evidence of things unseen when we manifest a faith that is of such true substance in our hope (Hebrews 11:1).

And this is the gospel of God’s power about which Paul said,
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.'”
(Romans 1:16-17)

The grace of God is His power unto His righteousness being revealed in those who work OUT what He is trying to work IN them. Faith UNTO faith is the continual casting aside of what we now see for the seeing of God’s righteousness being manifested in us from one degree to the next. Do you not know that God IS and always HAS been desirous to work such a work in you unto completion, that in His light you shall see light, that it might be made manifest that your deeds are wrought in God? For the Light of God is the radiance of the power of His holiness both to judge and to transform us from one degree of glory to the next by the Spirit of the Lord (2Cor 3:17-18). This is the fruit of the true gospel. “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed…”

“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
(John 3:17-21)

Now some object and say that this is a salvation by works, and that it boasts in the will of man. For in their spiritual blindness and perversity they believe that such faith is a work of the flesh. But as God demands faith on our part, HE gives us the means by which to walk in it: which is the crucifixion of the flesh and the power of the Holy Ghost. There is nothing in this gospel by which any man can boast. For except He died, I could not put to death the deeds of the body; and except He was raised, I would not have access to the power by which to do so. We do not take credit for the faith by which we walk; nevertheless we fear God so as to humble ourselves and walk with Him obediently, and therefore we boast only in HIM. There is absolutely no flattery in knowing that those who were given much yet did not cultivate it will be beaten with more stripes than those who were given little. We are called to holiness, by which comes the knowledge of the holy, with which comes greater accountability. To whom much is given, much more will be required – this is the cost of the gospel of Christ which must be counted. Yet this is not reason to excuse not earnestly seeking the knowledge of God; for to do so willfully is to remain in sin. And such will also be judged.

“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;  knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”
(1 Peter 1:17-19)

That Jesus shed His precious blood to cleanse us once for all is exactly why we ought to fear Him and receive the unction to walk with Him; for He will not be crucified a second time if we choose to willfully abuse the grace of God. He sent the Holy Spirit that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled IN US; that is, that we may walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we were called. Let us not neglect so great and complete a salvation. There is a difference between ethereally “accepting” grace and actually walking in it; and those who have not been crucified with Christ forsake truly following Him on that narrow path, which by His power is made possible, even to the degree that the Psalmist could say of it, “You gave me a WIDE place for my steps, that my feet did not slip.” – Such is the grace upon grace we are called to walk in from faith to faith!

Those who object to bearing any responsibility in what God has freely given are revealing that, at the very least, they still walk according the flesh and not according to the Spirit. I have even had one say to me that turning away from sin has nothing to with the gospel of Christ, and that God is not concerned so much with our refusal to forsake sins as He is concerned with our love of said sins. My friend, if you consistently and willfully refuse to forsake your known sins, then you do indeed love them.

“Everyone practicing sin also practices lawlessness, for sin IS (not “was”) lawlessness.
And you know that He was revealed that He might take away our sins, and sin is not in Him.

Everyone remaining in Him does not sin. Everyone sinning has not seen Him, nor known Him.”
(1 John 3:4-6)

Now it is true that “by works of the law shall no man be justified.”
But this is because of the limitation of the flesh. Paul therein speaks of works being attempted in a man’s own strength. For the law of Moses was holy and right and good; but it was the law of sin working in our flesh which rendered it ineffective – not because of any defect of the law itself! Jesus will say “I never knew you” to those whom He calls “LAWLESS ones.”
For the perfect law of God’s heart is now revealed in Christ Jesus, and must be obeyed; but because of the weakness of the flesh, it shall be accomplished only by faith in the grace and power of God through the Spirit who gives unction. For in the flesh dwells no good thing, and it is the realm of our being in which the devil and every demon has the greatest advantage, whose work Jesus appeared to undo.

“Little children, let no one lead you astray; the one practicing righteousness is righteous, even as that One is righteous.
The one practicing sin is of the Devil, because the Devil sins from the beginning. For THIS the Son of God was revealed: that He would undo the works of the Devil.
Everyone who has been begotten of God does not sin, because His seed abides in him, and he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.”
(1 John 3:7-9)

And of those who are found in abiding faith unto so great a salvation, Paul declares,
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free IN Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
(Romans 8:1-4)

This law of the Spirit of life is known through the “law of faith” which excludes all boasting (Rom 3:27). This is to live beholding ourselves in the mirror of His “perfect law of liberty” – liberty from all bondage as slaves to righteousness in Christ Jesus. For God’s grace is not frustrated by works in general, but by works begotten of the flesh in particular. For just as faith without true works is in fact dead; likewise, to remain vainly striving in the powerlessness of the fleshly nature is to remain wallowing in spiritual decay and sin unto death. Therefore, since the law of God’s righteous requirement is beyond our flesh to apprehend, our faith must be allowed to work obedience in view of allowing for the revealing of God’s own righteousness in us by the Spirit; counting ourselves as truly dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ, who died and was raised that we might also follow after Him through death unto true Life. For “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” And faith works itself out as the fruit of the indwelling Spirit, but the works of the flesh are evident, according to which anyone who walks in them will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21). All deeds begotten outside of such faith compound one upon another in a ruinous heap fit only for the furnace.

Therefore, just as by faith we indeed stand in the storehouse of God’s grace, let us now, by the exercise of ever-increasing faith, access all of its resources unto Godliness. This is what His divine power grants us, if only we will walk in it rather than our own power. For the natural man is “carnal, sold under sin” (Rom 7) and only does that which wars against the desire of the new man’s regenerated spirit; but now we may, by the grace of God through the crucifixion of our flesh in Christ, live as spiritual ones in Him by faith: submitting our spirit, which He has made alive, to the rulership of His Spirit. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:3) 

“For through law I died to law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, the One loving me and giving Himself over on my behalf.”
(Galatians 2:19-20)So we see that our freedom in Him is freedom from sin as slaves of righteousness. True faith in God’s grace is seen not merely in the intellectual acceptance of forgiveness; but in a walk which can only be explained by God’s power working in the man who denies himself and allows the Spirit of God to be his animating principle.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”

(Galatians 5:16-18)

For the gospel of Jesus Christ according to His own words is not the cancelling of the law (for the law is spiritual – Rom 7:12-14); but rather it is the power of God to fulfill its requirement in those who walk by the Holy Spirit, who writes the law of God’s own heart upon theirs. The Spirit of the Living God has first regenerated not our flesh (for the day of our final resurrection is yet to come, though He does to a degree even now quicken our mortal bodies), but rather He has regenerated our spirit (the inner man); so that, by being evermore strengthened in our inner man by God’s Spirit, we no longer have to live from the outward man (the flesh), the deeds of which body must be put to death by the Life of the Spirit that we may truly live. For “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal 5:24-25)

“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
(Romans 8:12-14)

“Therefore I bow before the Father… that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the INNER man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; so that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
(Ephesians 3:14-19)

The breadth and length and height and depth of the fullness of God, known through the love of Christ, is comprehended by the faith of Christ, a knowing for which we are strengthened to walk in. It is by such faith working through God’s love that we shall become those who speak of “that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled…” (1John 1:1) For then the Lord will have disclosed Himself to us. This is to truly know, in actual experience, that which surpasses knowledge.

It was such an increase in knowing the Lord Himself for which the apostle Paul longed and strove for in spirit:
“That I might be found in Him; not having my own righteousness of Law (which is weak through the flesh), but through the faith OF Christ (which is mighty through the Spirit in those who are crucified with Him), having the righteousness of God on faith; to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, having been conformed to His death, if somehow I may attain to a resurrection out of the dead.”
(Philippians 3:9-11)

And also for his brothers he prayed:
“May the God of peace Himself fully sanctify you, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will perform it.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

And how may He perform it? That in view of such mercy, we offer even our bodies as living sacrifice to Him, yielding all our members as slaves to righteousness unto sanctification.

What amazing grace unto a glorious and comprehensive victory! And this is only a sampling of God’s grace upon grace available to everyone who is born of Him by the Spirit (John 3).

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised-who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”
(Romans 8:31-34)

Now as for faith, I still must say in light of the above scripture: is it not astonishing that Jesus Himself, not only at least once before (John 17), but even now, makes intercession for us? I contend that Jesus has never and will never pray anything without pure and unwavering faith, knowing the perfect will of God! I recently heard from a brother to whom the Lord once said, “Have faith in My faith.” – Now here is an incredible word! For HIS faith is the present verification of eternal reality, it is His “verily verily” to those who will walk in its promise, it is the perfect will of God made known to those who earnestly seek His kingdom and righteousness. This is the confidence we have in Him! (1 John 5:14)

Every prayer that Jesus prays in faith for us can find its manifestation where our faith marries HIS. And in this we shall obtain the substance of things hoped for, overcoming just as He overcame and sat on His Fathers throne (Rev 3:21). For by faith Christ Jesus has laid hold of us, so that we also by faith might lay hold of Him!

“For this is God’s love, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world: OUR FAITH.”
(1 John 5:3-4)

– Brendan