The Gospel & The Judgement Seat

For if we are willfully sinning after receiving the full knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice concerning sins, (plural) but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and zealous fire being about to consume the adversaries.
If anyone did not regard the Law of Moses, that one dies without pities on the word of two or three witnesses.
How much worse punishment do you think will be thought worthy to receive, the one trampling the Son of God, and having counted common the blood of the covenant in which he was sanctified, and having insulted the Spirit of grace?
For we know Him who has said, “Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10:26-31

Key words: “His people.” The willful sin spoken of in this scripture was the sin of not counting the blood of Christ sufficient to purge the iniquities of men (read the whole chapter). These things were written to His people, and as such, warned of the coming judgement seat of Christ. There is a consuming fire before the judgement seat of Christ which tries the works of His own people; the substance of which works is determined according to how fast we hold to the gospel. Precious works are wrought in light of precious blood.

For no one is able to lay any other foundation beside the One having been laid, who is Jesus Christ. And if anyone builds on this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, straw, the work of each will be revealed; for the Day will make it known, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire will prove the work of each, what sort it is. If the work of anyone which he built remains, he will receive a reward.If the work of anyone shall be consumed, he shall suffer loss; but he will be saved, but so as through fire.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15

The bible speaks so sternly regarding the loss of heavenly reward that carnal minds mistake these warnings for the very loss of eternal life.

The most destructive root sin for the child of God to become entangled in is unbelief in the sufficiency of Christ; and it is a state of heart often adopted somewhat unwittingly. It is by letting slip this word of Christ, in which we first believed, that we leave ourselves without participating in the heavenly calling (Heb 1-3). The most primal sin which man finds himself needing to die to is the self-made religion of his heart: this was the sin of our first parents, and it was the same by which they sought to cover themselves before God. But until a man reckons in accordance with the Word that the matter is indeed finished by Christ, the Spirit of Christ cannot yet even get started with that man. What foolish man, though acknowledging that he could not at first save himself, now supposes that he can keep himself? But we keep ourselves in the love of God by faith. For truly we are kept by the power of God through faith unto a salvation for which we have been given the deposit of His guarantee; the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time: “to wit, the redemption of our bodies.” For when we first believed, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, by whom we now may also walk – if indeed we fall not into condemnation through unbelief in the verity of this gospel.

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be delivered by His life.
Romans 5:10

It is the immutibility of our reconciliation by the blood of Christ which ensures the possibility of our present deliverance from every evil and our present participation in the heavenly calling. It is not by the feeble grip of our own hands that we are held in the Father’s hand. For if the legitimacy of our faith were determined by our present measure of sincerity, we should all perish because of our waverings in faith; but truly the sincerity of our faith is measured according to its placement in the gift of Christ who has authored and now wills to finish the work. Therefore let faith spread its roots and branches only into HIS works, that it shall be free and able to bear the present fruit of His Spirit unquenched.

Truly, truly, I say to you, the one not entering through the door into the sheepfold, but going up by another way, that one is a thief and a robber.
John 10:1

Not once does the bible say anything to the effect of “Repent of your sins” (plural) in order to be or remain saved. It does however say over and over again that one must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved – that is the basis of all true repentance. Once it was of course said to unbelievers, “Repent of this your sin (singular) in speaking to the Jews, who in their hearts were keeping Christ nailed to the cross. By being called to repent, they were being admonished to turn from their unbelief unto trust in Him! Also, the coupling of “Repent and believe” speaks of a repentance from unbelief unto belief. According to its scriptural usage, the definition of repentance as it relates to eternal life is a change of heart to trust in Christ for His salvation. That begins and is sealed in the repentance from sin (singular), which is faith unto justification; whereas believers are then commanded to continue in the same faith unto a life of repentance from their sins (plural) so that they may bear fruit in keeping with repentance. This includes the confession of sins unto God as a matter of cleansing and maintaining fellowship with Him for those who are already seated in the heavenlies in Christ.

When we object that this sounds far too easy and leaves too much room for the flesh, we are only revealing how hard indeed it is for the natural man to accept the things of the Spirit of God, and how quickly we as his children still stray into pride because of what our ears have heard from many teachers. Truly it is such a gospel that is sn affront to the flesh; and this reaction is only proof of it. We are only proving by the man-made religion of our hardened hearts that few indeed both find and continue by this narrow way of the grace of Christ Jesus.

Let us repent and come back to it again, that we may again bear good fruit before God.

For it is impossible for those being once enlightened, and having tasted of the heavenly gift, and becoming sharers of the Holy Spirit, and tasting the good Word of God, and the works of power of a coming age, then falling away (from grace, see Gal 5:4), it is impossible for them again to renew to repentance (not to salvation, but to repentance), since they are crucifying again TO themselves the Son of God, and putting Him to open shame.
(For the earth drinking in the rain often coming upon it, and producing plants fit for those for whom it is also worked, receives blessing from God; but bearing thorns and thistles, it is deemed unfit and near a curse, of which the end is for burning.)
But, loved ones, even if we indeed speak so, we have been persuaded better things concerning you, even holding fast salvation.
Hebrews 6:4-9

The kindness of God in Christ which leads men to repentance is the same kindness which keeps His children walking in it. It is the assurance of there being no condemnation in Christ Jesus which revives His children unto a walk after His Spirit. If only we held fast to the gospel today, we would at last find the Holy Ghost pleased and willing to burn away our dross before the last day.

The saved man who lives by the weakness of his flesh and the saved man who lives by the strength of his flesh both recieve the same lack of inheritance in the kingdom of God. For the works of the flesh, which to the apostle Paul were “obvious,” include sins both licensious and religious (Gal 5:19-21). The fruit which God is looking for is that begotten of His Spirit. If we got out of His way, we just might start bearing it.

But I say, walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another; lest whatever you may will, these things you do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkennesses, wild parties, and things like these; of which I tell you beforehand, as I also said before, that the ones practicing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. Against such things there is not a law. But the ones belonging to Christ crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Let us not become glory seeking ones, provoking one another, envying one another.
Galatians 5:16-26

Forgotten Gospel – A Testimony

What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light.
And what you hear in the ear, proclaim on the housetops.
Matthew 10:27

Long have I inwardly burned against the self-deception of the liars and the unfaithful, who fell proudly from the grace of God into works of the flesh, boasting not in Christ but rather in themselves – though they do not admit to be guilty of it, nor have they even comprehended that this is their sin.

Hear this thing which I have seen; behold this treachery that has reached my ears.

In the day that the Lord redeemed my life from the pit, setting me upon the Rock of my salvation; others He also gathered. Repentance rang out, and many approached the throne of grace for true strength, as the kindness of God in Christ was being made known. The traditions of men were losing some ground, and the Spirit was moving very directly in the midst of some.

Then just as discernment was being given among a few and spoken by them to judge between dead works and a faith which gives way to the mighty power of the Spirit – the Devil injected his details among the many.

Many who at one time had found much deliverance from sin’s power began measuring themselves by themselves and so walked again after the powerlessness of the flesh. Where once the judgement seat of Christ was rightly considered unto the gathering of heavenly reward, now it became seen as eternal damnation upon those who yet gather little. The assurance in Christ they once possessed gave way to doubt in light of their stumbling; and so they would not approach Christ in the humble confidence that once had claimed them deliverance. The Spirit became quenched by their lack of faith; for as they obsessed over their own filthy rags, they no longer reckoned themselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus unto His fruitful work in them.

Few have continued into much excellence after the Spirit; for by forgetting that they were once-for-all purged of their sins by the blood of Christ, they refuse to lift their heads unto Him: preferring not to to be assured in what is hoped for, but rather in what is seen of themselves according to the law of works.

Now to the one working, the reward is not counted according to grace, but according to debt. But to the one not working, but believing on Him justifying the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as also David says of the blessedness of the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawlessnesses are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed the man to whom the Lord will not charge sin.”
Romans 4:4-8 (LITV)

The same temptation to fall into much unbelief has incessantly knocked at my own door; but I refuse to be so unmindful of the gospel which I received, in which alone can I stand, and by which alone am I kept safe. The truth of the wickedness of my own flesh leads me only to throw myself all the more upon the mighty strength of He whose life I choose to dwell in by this faith.

But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you were enslaved to righteousness.
Romans 6:17-18

We present ourselves as instruments of righteousness only by presenting ourselves as we are in Christ Jesus according to His promise. We present ourselves to Him by faith as those who are the living out from among the dead; for in Him we are indeed that (Romans 6:8-14). Only then shall the Spirit find much room wherein to work, for the heart is at rest in His labors. Only then can we ourselves possibly learn to labor IN HIM. Only in this rest is known the ease of His yoke and the lightness of His burden.

If we seek to keep God’s commendments for any reason other than that He in Christ has already loved us, then we are walking after the flesh. For it is by the power of the very Spirit of Christ through the faith of HIM that more-than-conquerers are made. It is those who keep themselves in His unfailing love that will be kept by Him from stumbling.

…you who are justified by law are deprived of all effect from Christ, you fell from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness out of faith. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any strength, but faith working through love. You were running well; who held you back that you do not obey the truth? The persuasion is not from Him calling you.
A little leaven leavens all the lump. I trust as to you in the Lord that you will think nothing else, but that the one troubling you shall bear the judgment, whoever he may be.
Galatians 5:4-10 (LITV)

He Draws All Men

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:
and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:44

It is by the activity of Satan that we have become ignorant of whom the Father draws – though Jesus Himself answered the matter plainly and indeed died to fulfill it…

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
This he said, signifying what death he should die.

John 12:32-33

The drawing of the Father is through Jesus Christ unto every man, that they might come to Him. He draws all men; but not all come to Him. Every man who comes to Him has been drawn; not every man drawn comes to Him

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
Romans 10:13-18

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only,
but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:2

…that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:19

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Colossians 2:8

One House, Two Sons

“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first, and said, ‘Son, go work today in my vineyard.’ He answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind, and went. He came to the second, and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but he didn’t go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Most certainly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering into God’s Kingdom before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. When you saw it, you didn’t even repent afterward, that you might believe him.”
Matthew 21:28-32

While religious men waste precious time boasting of their good intentions, those who boast in the Lord Jesus Christ alone perform His will.

 

There are two kinds of sons in God’s house…

The one promises his own faithfulness and thereby cannot not deliver; the other beholds God’s faithfulness and thereby learns faithfulness.

The one looks to his good works as the assurance of things hoped for; the other finds faith itself to be that assurance.

The one tries to discern if he is in the faith though he already believed the gospel; the other knows that he is in the faith because he believes and thereby hears the Spirit bearing witness.

The one supposes to remain in Christ by his new-found goodness, and is overcome by his own weakness; the other abides in Christ’s love, and is overcome by His strength.

The one works with fear and torment in order keep his salvation as though it were on loan; the other learns with fear and trembling to work out his salvation, the free gift of God.

The one is persuaded that he must be able to keep that which Christ Jesus entrusted to him against the day of judgement; the other is persuaded that Christ Jesus is able to keep the thing entrusted to God in Christ against that day.

 

He whose heart is pure does not approach God on the terms of pretense; for he knows that God has not called him into pretense, but rather upon a settled surety.

It is Christ who shall present us to Himself, not ourselves. Men are obsessed with their own presentation; and through this, the Devil distracts them from the only One who can ever wash them clean.

“You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the platter, that its outside may become clean also.”

“If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.”

Sowing & Reaping In The Faith

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.”
Show me your faith apart from your works,
and I will show you my faith by my works.
You believe that God is one; you do well.
Even the demons believe – and shudder!
Do you want to be shown, you foolish person,
that faith apart from works is useless?
James 2:18-20

James in his much-disputed epistle is not questioning the possessing of faith, he is rather calling for the showing forth of it. He does not declare faith without works to be non-faith; he simply declares it to be useless (or “dead”). The foolish do not work according to their faith as the wise do; yet still they are said to possess faith, however unprofitable. It is simply of no more use in their outward walk than the empty and hopeless confession of the demons. They are not eternally lost as the demons, but their confession becomes as valueless before men as the confession of demons is before God. Tragically, men have used this scripture to justify their arbitrary and religiously defined litmus tests of “true faith”. Repent has come to mean only something which leaves men such as the thief on the cross damned. Jesus cried, “Repent, and believe” – in other words, “Turn from your unbelief, and believe!” What we discover in the scriptures is a call to child-like faith: which is effective not by its apparent strength but rather by its simplicity. But the self-righteous are blind to man’s most primal and central sin: the self-made religion of the inner heart. Deriving our assurance of faith from anything but faith itself only perpetuates our lack of faith. Of this we must also repent, and believe! The fruit of the Spirit is the result of growing faith; a lack of said fruit is the result of stagnant faith. Yet both are still faith, only one is shameful.

“By their fruits you shall know them” does not refer to discerning whether this one or that one may not be born-again; it is rather a call to discern false prophets by their fruit (teaching). For their words are the shoals upon which the faith of many becomes shipwrecked, teaching men to establish themselves in their own righteousness rather than being grounded in Christ’s. In the end they will say, “Lord, Lord, did we not do many mighty works in Your Name?” And He will declare to them, “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” For Christ is the fulfillment of the law, and they transgress His law of faith. These are they whom Jesus rebuked saying, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces, For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.” For without faith it is impossible to please God; and indeed, whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. It is only those who do the will of the Father in heaven that enter therein, “And this is the will of Him that sent Me: that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up on the last day.” The purer the faith, the purer the fruit – all else is tainted by the man of sin, who ever seeks to justify himself. If a man seeks to maintain his righteousness through works, he upholds not the righteousness given to him in Christ Jesus. If however he is justified by faith apart from works, he escapes the tyranny of self-imposed religion, and the Lord is able to work through that man. The yoke of the Lord becomes easy and His burden light to those who enter His rest.

Now, the highly contended chapter in the epistle of James appears within the context of a rebuke over a lack of charity and the failure of God’s people to show their faith by their works, rather than only through a confession – however legitimate and sincere that confession is before God. But the contention among many is only heightened by his next remarks…

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” – and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works
and not by faith alone.
James 2:21-24

Many have failed to properly reconcile these words with those of Paul regarding the same Abraham, where he said,

For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. Romans 4:13-14

Much of the confusion on this point reveals a lack of understanding in what sort of justification is being spoken of by James versus Paul. We see the words in our English bibles, “justified,” or “saved” without a thought as to their immediate context and intended implication. Justified before whom, and in light of what? Saved from what, and saved to what? This varies depending on the context at many points in scripture. The same Greek word is most commonly translated “saved” or “delivered;” but even beyond that simple distinction, the original meaning can speak of any number of other matters: from being spared of earthly torments, to avoiding divine discipline, to having eternal life. It is no mistake that both Paul and James were prompted to write of the same Abraham regarding these things so that we might have clarity – if we choose to listen.

James uses the word often translated “saved” [Gk. σῴζωsōzō] in the following examples, each time addressing those who already have eternal life:

“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save [σῴζω] your souls.” (James 1:21)
– Here the word of God is already implanted, signifying the regenerate state of their spirit. His word is to be further received for the deliverance or preservation of the soul [Gk. ψυχὰς – the soul, the living state of the person as brought about by the breath of life from God]. The fruitfulness of God’s word within us determines abundance of God’s life in us both here on earth as well as in heaven.

“And the prayer of faith shall save [σῴζω] the sick…” (James 5:5)
– Same word, [σῴζω]. And the context makes obvious here that σῴζω implies a release from illness.

“Brethren, if any of YOU do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he who converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save [σῴζω] a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)
– Here a brother falls into error, and is “converted” back to the truth. This is not speaking of the conversion of a lost man from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God; it is speaking of the conversion of an existing brother from walking in error back to walking in the truth. Notice that he is still a brother, yet here also a “sinner”. The sin (singular) in this case is simply the error in which he presently walks; but the multitude of sins (plural) which are graciously hidden by his turning back from error are the temporal fruits of that sin of error. This brother’s soul [Gk. ψυχὰς – explained previously] is here delivered (or “saved” [σῴζω]) from death (death’s bodily sting or reign) by the righting of his steps in Christ.

James in his epistle is exhorting believers to display the fear of God in their life here on earth in light of His discipline, in light of the needs of the brethren, and in light of their witness.

And to make the matter very clear, Paul wrote regarding Abraham’s works:

For if Abraham was justified by works,
he has something to boast about,
but not before God.
Romans 4:2

Abraham indeed had something to boast about in his works (which proceeded from faith) – but not before God. His faith was counted to him as righteousness, but his works fulfilled the scripture which spoke thus. Not all who are righteous by faith fulfill the scriptures – and no man but Christ Jesus has fulfilled them all. Abraham’s faith boasts before God in Christ; whereas his works boast righteously before men, that men might see a likeness of the One in whom he believed. So by his good works in offering up Isaac he preached not himself, but Christ crucified, who raises the dead. James is concerned in his letter with the witness of the church and their justification before men by good works: Paul is largely concerned with establishing the church in the surety of their justification before God by faith, from which faith a good witness will indeed blossom if allowed to remain in its pure form. The faith of James’ brethren was not producing good works because it was being held in a man-made cage of religious attitude (in this case, greivious partiality). Abraham’s faith did not itself consist of his works; rather his works consisted of his faith. Abraham simply believed God – that is why he could obey God truly. James is not preaching law to his brethren for them to prove something to God (for by works of the law no man is justified before God); he is rather exposing the impurity of their faith by its fruitlessness. For could such faith save them from before the face of men, or from the Lord’s earthly chastisement of those whom He loves? No.

For his fuller context, here is the first portion of his discussion of works:

My brothers, show no partiality AS you hold THE faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
James 2:1-4

The apostle is clearly speaking to a people whom he fears to be sitting on their laurels even as they hold the faith: to the earthly detriment of their neighbor, and the destruction of their own witness therewith. There is a judgement of the works of every man who will enter the kingdom. The works of the flesh (including those religious) will be burned up, though the man himself be saved; but the works of God by faith will endure to adorn that man in eternity. “Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” [James 1:12] James goes on to plead that we should save or deliver ourselves from the consequences (both temporal and eternal) of a faith which profits nothing.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:14-17

Just as we know through Paul that Abraham’s faith was his boast before God; we know through James that his works were the boast of that faith before men unto a sure reward. Faith alone is unto salvation; the works of that same faith are unto immeasurable blessing therewith. That which was gained without good works cannot be lost by a lack of good works; but being left alone, faith does remain unprofitable beyond this. A man reaps what he sows – especially if God is his Father. Of the athletes who compete in the race and cross the line, few are crowned. For the sake of His own great Name, God remains faithful even toward straying and unfaithful children; but such are denied the greater privileges of His reign, though mercifully they are chastened that perhaps they might come to maturity.

And also if anyone competes, he is not crowned unless he competes lawfully. It is right for the laboring farmer to partake first of the fruits. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things. Remember Jesus Christ, having been raised from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel, in which I suffer ill as an evildoer, unto bonds; but the Word of God has not been bound.
Because of this, I endure all things on account of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus, with everlasting glory. Faithful is the Word: for if we died with Him, we also shall live with Him; if we endure, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, that One will deny us; if we are unfaithful, that One remains faithful; He is not able to deny Himself.
2 Timothy 2:5-13

Contrary to the notions of some men, there are such things as carnal Christians – such are Paul’s own words. In the same great house there are both vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor. Of course dishonor is not a thing to glory in; yet it is sadly a matter of reality. Paul was accused of preaching that men should go on sinning because of the truth that where sin abounded grace much more abounded. He simply condemned his accusers and never adjusted his message. If that is all they hear in the gospel, then they simply cannot hear. The blindness of the blind should not cause those with sight to be ashamed of what they can see. Adding a law of commandments to the gospel of Christ does not keep men from sinning, it further enslaves them in the sinful nature; for “the power of sin is the law.” The fruit we are to bear is of the Spirit, not of the letter; for by the letter the flesh arises and the new man is paralyzed, and the Holy Spirit is quenched.

Many rise up and say that they have repented of all their sins: these deceive themselves and the word is not in them. A sinner who repents is saved because of his faith, not by the worthiness of his own repentance. For a man cannot perform adequate penance to please God, that is why it depends on faith. A man can have faith, and the Lord will help the unbelief of the one who asks! It is the man who knows his debt is paid that can freely offer himself without shame to the mighty hand of his new found Lord. In knowing the truth, we are made free. Our primary repentance is to be a repentance from dead works to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; it is to be a turn of the heart’s central trusting loyalty from the worship of what is false to serve the living God. This repentance preached by Jesus and the apostles was a turning from unbelief to faith in the Name of Christ. And when they did speak of turning from walking in impure and worldly ways, they spoke to those already within the realm of said faith as it being their reasonable service as obedient children. Only those who have first freely partaken of the heavenly bread become its true dispensers.

“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man will give to you; for God the Father sealed this One.” Then they said to Him, What may we do that we may work the works (plural) of God? Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work (singular) of God, that you believe into Him whom that One sent.”
John 6:27-29

So in keeping with this law of faith, we continue by it; and in light of our darkness thereby remain grateful and free to repent of inner wickedness unto fruitfulness in God. Our ability to repent of sins will be in proportion to our faith in His existing sufficiency apart from us. For in the flesh we find ourselves unable to offer ourselves one in whom we scarcely trust. To walk by the Spirit we must believe Him when He declared of His firm foundation, “It is finished;” so that upon this foundation, we now find liberty to further exercise this faith. For being in Christ Jesus without condemnation, we may now be lead of His Spirit, being built up as a worthy temple. And so we are saved unto good works, being His workmanship in joy. No man is able to pluck God’s children from His hand, no man. Not themselves, not another. Let us therefore live with assurance from our heavenly seat in Christ Jesus! By this we are able to conquer the doubts and timidity of spiritual youth as we are reminded that “when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” And we also are able to be delivered here from the present power sin in the flesh, in proportion to the measure of this FAITH…

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life 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 also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:5-11

We are called to be holy as Christ Jesus is holy because without holiness no man will see the Lord. Few walk worthily of the calling wherewith they were called: they sow very little and will therefore reap very little. Many believe unto salvation; but few walk consistently in the faith in life. The Lord desires those whom He knows to know Him also, that they might have the full assurance of faith themselves. So let us reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God, that finding strength before this throne of grace we may depart from iniquity! Those who know the wonder and joy of salvation and groan with God’s heart for others: these have an understanding of the eternal tragedy of a tainted or nonexistent witness. They do not need to be threatened with damnation in order to do good works – as is the way of self-righteous men and their teachers; but they need only to look upon the mercies of their savior, high and holy, meek and lowly, and they are evermore compelled to walk wisely in the fear of the Lord, showing forth HIS works before men. Our faith is tested not to determine its existence, but rather so that its proof may result in praise and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Remind them of these things, solemnly testifying before the Lord not to dispute about words for nothing useful, to the throwing down of those hearing. Earnestly study to present yourself approved to God, a workman unashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. But shun profane, empty babblings, for they will go on to more ungodliness, and their word will have growth like gangrene, of whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who missed the mark concerning the truth, saying the resurrection already has come, and overturn the faith of some. However, the foundation of God stands firm, having this seal, “The Lord knew those being His;” also, “Let everyone naming the name of Christ depart from unrighteousness.” But in a great house not only are there vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Then if anyone purifies himself from these, he will be a vessel to honor, having been sanctified and made useful to the Master, having been prepared to every good work.
2 Timothy 2:14-21

The virtues we are exhorted to add to our faith by the apostle Peter in his second letter are unto the end that “they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” [2Pet 1:8-9]

Notice that the qualities which characterized maturity and holiness are the visible attributes of man who has not diminished the ever-present truth of his cleansing by Christ; since the lack of these virtues is in fact the evidence of one who has become unmindful of it. But it is those who have rested from their own labors that will discover Christ most potently at work in them. The greatest task for man, and the one which his religious heart most resourcefully objects to, is to simply have pure faith in Another who promises that which cannot be fully seen through carnal eyes.

And Peter goes on to describe the final thing anticipated…

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:10-11

It is one thing to simply enter the eternal kingdom, it is another for that entrance to be richly provided. The confirming of faith before men by obedience to the word and Spirit of Christ renews the people of God unto greater realms of His glory being revealed both to and through them – indeed on this earth. But we are presently in such a low estate that even sins unto death are winked at in the midst of God’s house. It is a great unspoken tragedy. The place is filled with defilements and breaches of faith which only the Lord Himself can remedy before the last day; on which many are scarcely saved as through fire. And because we abide not in the word of Christ, we often lack the discernment and fortitude to rightly deal with such matters…

Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 5:2-5

The branches which abide not in the love of Christ become fruitless, and men gather them to be burned [John 15:6]. But where are these men? Blessed are those who, as God judges His house, He finds abiding faithful. If we abide in the word of Christ, we shall live as the new creature by His Spirit through faith. For the new man born of God “does not sin, because God’s seed abides in him, and he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.” But the old man commits sin and is therefore “of the Devil, because the Devil sins from the beginning. For this reason the Son of God was revealed, that He undo the works of the Devil.” [1John 3:8-9] The children of God all have access to His means by which sin shall no longer have dominion over them. Or have we forgotten that the soul also, and not only the spirit of every man in Christ, is saved? For the evil which they do is no longer them doing it; but sin dwelling in the flesh [Rom 7]. The divide has been made, there is a new creation, the chain has been broken! Shall we then remain sitting in a prison cell whose bars have been sundered and its keeper overcome? “All things are possible to the one believing.”

Therefore, let every one in God’s house consider of what spirit he is. The Lord knows each of His own and He calls them by name; but many of His very own do not yet themselves know HIM. Many loved of God love not their brother and so lie in saying that they themselves love God. Many in God’s house still hate their brother, and so needlessly abide in death as murderers. The judgement of each man’s work to determine his reward is no light matter. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” It is far better to walk in holiness so that our joy be full and our hearts have no occasion to accuse us; that we may have confidence before God in fellowship with Him and with the brethren.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Galatians 5:7-10

Eternal life is the free gift of God received by faith alone; but the discovery of its endless depths are not reaped except by the sowing of ever-increasing faith. Life eternal is to know the Father and the Son by His Spirit; and the greatest riches of this relationship are reaped only by those who strive to find rest in the labors of He whose abundant life will continually cost them their own. The one losing their own life for His sake is continually finding it.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10

God, who willed and provided for all men to be saved, has also predestined for whoever trusts in Christ that they should redound to the praise of His glory. Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved; and let them who are so saved abide in His love, and not tire of pursuing their own upward calling in Him, lest they come short of His many great and precious promises! It is one thing to be a child of God, it is another to be an fellow-heir with Christ of His kingdom. The children are all heirs of God; but the co-heirs with Christ are those who have gratefully given themselves to His service, even unto death.

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God, and fellow heirs with Christ provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:16-17

Though surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who by faith went before us, the sin which still so easily besets us is our tendency to subvert the gospel by our own vanity, to the undoing of faith. We are afraid to forsake our inner religious tendencies in order to gain Christ by faith, and so despise the chastening of the Lord who is ever calling us to such. If we go on sinning by rejecting the call of this chastening, and become enemies of the gospel within His house; then we shall become undisciplined children who are called bastards, unable to become mature sons and partakers in HIS holiness. The bastard son of the slave woman will always persecute the son of the free. Cain will always trust in the fruit of his own labours; and he will always rise up jealously to slay his brother whose boast is the Lord. But the works of God’s people are judged according to whether they proceeded from faith or from self [Rom 14:23].

Such is the estate of His house:
Many have believed in Him, but few abide in His word.
Many are His own, but few are the free.
Many have received His grace, but few have continued by it.
Many have begun by the Spirit, but few have not quenched Him.
Many possess faith, but few are possessed by it.
Many have heard the gospel, but few have remembered it.
With the good news forgotten, the fruit becomes rotten.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him,
“If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples;
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8: 31-32

“There are many children, but few disciples.”
– Brian Troxel

Psalm 73 – Purity Of Heart

Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
Psalm 73:1 (ESV)

 

~ FIRST, AN EXHORTATION ~

The holy nation of God is made up of those who are pure in heart. For the thing which God is after is a holy nation, and He will have it even at great cost. No, He has even already paid for it immeasurably. So when and how shall He see the full fruit of the travail of His soul? His being poured out unto death is the promise of glory; but in every merciful promise of God, the recipients are justly charged to actively inherit its spiritual substance in the likeness of He who opened the way unto that abundance of His Life.

The aim of our charge is love
that issues from a pure heart
and a good conscience
and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1:5

His holy uncompromising love issues forth from pure hearts because the pure heart has no defilement of conscience, so that their participating in the faith can always be instant and authentic. These are a peculiar people, for they are no one’s possession except His. They are not even their own, for they see and are ever undone at the immeasurable worth of His buying price. Today is the day for purity of heart to be sought and acquired in the members of God’s house, lest the jealous yearning of His indwelling Spirit be provoked to wrath upon His near visitation.

The prophet wondered aloud regarding the day in which the Lord suddenly comes to His temple: “But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appears? For He is like a refiners fire…” We the temple stand at the threshold of that day, and we ought to be trembling; for He shall first visit His own house to purge the iniquity and burn the chaff. If evil will not be removed from our hearts by the Lord in His strivings with us, then the Lord is free to remove the evil of heart from the earth.

Beloved, we are God’s children now,
and what we will be has not yet appeared;
but we know that when He appears
we shall be like Him,
because we shall see Him as He is.
1 John 3:2

He identifies His own by their likeness to Him. Now, there are degrees and varied expressions of His manifestation through each one of us; but let each one earnestly participate in whatever measure which God has entrusted to them, lest any be ashamed at His coming as was the wicked and slothful servant. Those who will not see Him as He is will not be like Him. This truth transcends whatever we may think defines the boundaries of His house. Those who abide in Him unto the doing of His will according to faith in Jesus may have confidence at His appearing; but those who shrink back from faith in His sufficiency leave themselves to walk in a most precarious hope and superficial assurance. For in seeing little of His person, they cannot be continually lead of His Spirit, and the wonder of His Life remains but a faint abstraction easily traded for lesser things. Pray the Lord opens their eyes, lest they carelessly slip away and loose much reward!

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal:
“The Lord knows those who are His,” and,
“Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver
but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable,
he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy,
useful to the Master of the house, ready for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:19-21

If the ungodly shall not be spared in the final judgement, much more should the unfaithful servants learn again to serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling before that final day; those whom He expectantly appointed to present His church to Him a chaste virgin, spotless and without wrinkle. “It is time for judgement to begin at the house of God.” The names of those who weep over the ravished daughter of Zion are being written in the books, as well as those who have ravished her; and not a wicked soul shall His slaying Spirit spare: beginning at His most holy sanctuary, which they have defiled by their abominable revelings in HIS bride.

Let every one whom God has called into the fellowship of His mystery heed the warnings of His word.

 

~ THEREFORE ~

I write this (especially what follows) to the earnest of heart, who desire no other shepherd than the Good One, who cry for nothing less than the Lord Himself to be fully glorified in them: His perfect will done in light of these things.

This Psalm [73] has for some time now been a sharp instrument in the skilled hands of my Physician, and it necessarily remains so. It contains the words of a man rightfully disenchanted with the spiritual injustice of his day, yet crippled by the impure response of his heart toward it. The proverb is true: “the more knowledge, the more sorrow;” and the sorrowful soul not being continually restored by the Lord can become just as deceitful and desperately wicked as any unregenerate heart. Those who see the horror of things as they are and hear the urgent call of God can easily run the risk of feeling as though they have come to something which excludes them from requiring further heart surgery. Herein lies the path of becoming both unmerciful and unjust in response to what God is revealing. The great danger of conviction is that we become content with its mere presence, neglecting its call to ever-deepening repentance.

The Psalmist continues…

But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
Psalm 73:2-5

“I was envious of the arrogant…” Here is the admission of a man who observed the order of things correctly, yet contemplated them unrighteously within his soul. A lack of personal peace due to the succeeding of the wicked indicates this envy in the hidden heart. Envy is not merely covetousness. Covetousness has to do with lusts and selfish desires; but envy describes a self-centered sense of justice. Envy is a root of restless evil which supplies the many tendrils of covetousness. But even if we do not directly covet the unrighteousness of men or their gain by it, it is still the sin of envy which we find inwardly robbing us of walking in the peace of God. In being envious of the arrogant, we become arrogant. Where God does not appear to be the fulcrum of justice, we overstep Him to seek out our own. This is the envy here described. We act in the passion of envy and speak in the heat of our own displeasure. The reasoning is righteous, but the execution is not; and this is not a matter of outward method, but of the inward heart.

This envy reveals the absence of Godly contentment; it is the frame of those seeking their own justice for all that rightly disturbs their souls. The Devil has learned well to drain the Godly contentment out of those who are righteously dissatisfied with the status quo of man’s religion. For what we envy is the apparent peace of the wicked in light of the apparent disappointment of “I the righteous.” But this is not reality as God sees it; since there is no true peace for the wicked, and disappointment is not the mind of those who trust in the Lord. We think too highly of our selfishly impassioned understandings. A lack of entrusting God’s capable hands to be in control of matters too lofty for us brings about the crippling frustration of envy in our souls, so that in the secret of our hearts we rail against the most high over our perceived predicament while the wicked prosper.

Self-pity is the unrighteous bog in which we soak our hearts when we allow the evil of men to overshadow the goodness of God in our present sight. But we are exhorted to see from eternity, that we may bring back the piercing decree of eternity to lighten this present darkness. The decree from what our own eyes see and our own ears hear among men will not do; since from these God’s perfect justice and equity can never proceed. But those who have stood in His council are constrained to speak the truth in a true heart; for at their appointments with the King, mercy triumphs over judgement. By the brightness of His glory before their eyes and in the burning of His coals upon their lips, His perfect justice ever becomes their acquaintance.

By mercy and truth iniquity is purged:
and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.
Proverbs 16:6

Let us therefore with thankfulness and fear fix our eyes upon the things which are of Christ, our only boast; for by these we find the renewing of our troubled minds, and receive the heavenly wisdom both seen and heard in the stark yet measured words of our Lord. Neither the fear of man nor the wrath of man works the righteousness of God; but there is an inner choosing of God’s peace which disarms the provocateurs of Satan, and there is a bold confidence in “His own arm” amidst dire circumstance which confounds the evil powers. Blessed are they who invite the searching light of God into the unvisited places of the heart, that when His purifying fire comes it may be gladly received to do its work.

But regarding the wicked, whose hearts we ourselves emulate through the unrighteous fellowship of envy, the Psalmist continues…

Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
Therefore His people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them. And they say,
“How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease,
they increase in riches.
Psalm 73:6-12

“The murmuring spirit… has much of the spirit of Satan within it.”
– Jeremiah Burrows

The soul most embittered by perceived injustice most quickly rises within the ranks of the unjust. The unjust were all at one time crying out for justice themselves. For no sooner does a man give himself to earnestly seek God’s justice in light of great evil, than the Devil and the flesh remind him of every wrong that he has suffered at the hands of men – especially the betrayal of his very brothers. When we seek the undoing of unrighteousness to find the peace of God rather than standing in the peace of God to find the undoing of unrighteousness, we inevitably find ourselves likewise setting our mouths against the heavens. Yet what was our Lord’s response to this world, who knew men’s wicked hearts beforehand? See what it accomplished! For in Him the Spirit blew where it wished. At one time He was quick to rebuke; at another, to extend mercy; at another, to leave men to themselves. All these interactions were enthroned upon righteousness and justice; for He knew what was in man, because He knew where He came from and where He was going. He perfectly discerned others because He perfectly discerned Himself, so that the Holy Spirit was at liberty in Him. The degree to which we discern ourselves determines the degree to which we discern outside of ourselves and are enabled to be more precisely led by His Spirit.

He shall not judge by what His eyes see, or decide disputes by what His ears hear, but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall kill the wicked.
Isaiah 11:3-4

Such is the way of one whose life proceeds from heaven. The desired reward of true righteousness is the singular glory of God, who today still sends His rain upon the just and the unjust alike. The pure in heart know that they are not the protectors of God’s glory – this is why they can stand undeterred in spirit despite the wicked schemes round about them. For the wise do not dare touch the Ark of God to steady it, though it appears for a moment to waver. The tempter prompts good yet undiscerning men to seize the day right when God is about to make it His own. Any ministration which bypasses the direct working of His Spirit is a ministration after the spirit of antichrist. If we are grieved by what we see and spurred to action with the Holy Spirit, then let the justice of God first overtake and trample our own motivations, lest our own decree go forth and not His. The purest justice flows from a vessel which has itself been most refined in judgement; but the heart envious toward evil men reveals its own impurity as it wearies of walking uprightly amidst such a perverse generation…

All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.
But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
Psalm 73:13-17

The response of an impure heart toward evil both within and without God’s house causes our brethren to stumble, for in our envious condition we ourselves are slipping. Let such infancy in grace give way to maturity through both receiving and trusting His good counsel, which He reserves for the ones who diligently seek Him. Holy ground is walked upon by those who earnestly desire to look upon HIS beauty and inquire in HIS temple. Only here is made known in the depths of our being the unfathomableness of His perfection in His dealings with men: of His foreknowledge and His longsuffering, of His mercy and His wrath stored up for their respective days, of the desperate longings of His heart unsearchable, of the boundless symmetry of His way inscrutable. Those who humble themselves to seek the counsel of the Lord regarding their grievances will find not merely words to fill an intellectual gap, but living eye-salve of the Holy Spirit. For He reveals His heart regarding the wicked only so much as we allow our own darkness to likewise be lightened.

Truly You set them in slippery places;
You make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when You rouse yourself,
You despise them as phantoms.
When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward You.
Nevertheless, I am continually with You;
You hold my right hand.
Psalm 73:18-23

In the nearness of God the end of evil men is at last discerned; for here is our own wickedness also discerned. He allows the wicked to prosper that they may heap up a most complete judgement for themselves: this itself is a judgement of God, and we dare not interfere with His proceedings as children rudely interrupting His court. The pure in heart do not overstep God’s decree regarding the wicked: they are satisfied with it; for they have seen His decree’s relevance even to themselves but for His ever-new mercies. They find peace even in the hearing of His heavier counsels, for they know the good of conceding to His way. In this they are not denying His intercession through them, but they uphold its rightful place. Intercession is the extending of God’s heart within us for what He has decreed, not of our own counsels toward Him; and there are times when He emphatically says, “Pray NOT for this people, for their good…” (Jer 14:11) There is a sin leading to death, and we would do well to walk in the discernment of He who sees the hidden thoughts and intentions of men’s hearts. Conversely, in those for whom God still suffers long there can be a particularly unruly waywardness which requires us to trustingly remove our hands from them, so that He who drew us to Himself apart from man’s devices might be able do the same in them. It is not that we give up on such; but we do let go, certainly grieved with the Spirit yet also freed from ourselves that we may rejoice in His hope.

We often despise God’s times and seasons, because He uses them to challenge what we suppose should be happening and when. The sooner we trust Him, the sooner we shall see His hour. But we need to trust Him first – then He will do whatever pleases Him, however it pleases Him. The prophet Elijah, who hid himself in virtual exile for years at a time upon the command of God, became so entwined in God’s perfect will that he could confidently say, “As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to MY word.” (1 Kings 17:1) Elijah lived standing in the Most Holy Place before God Himself, speaking and moving according to whatever he saw the Father doing. He was a true intercessor: a man who stood in the gap, just as Noah who “by faith… condemned the world” in his building of God’s refuge for the righteous few. The battle within us is not merely between action and inaction; it is a matter of whose action. There is a Devilish restlessness which saps the Godly strength of the ready soul.

The most well-intentioned self-will is the greatest neutralizer of true intercession. The tether which binds fleshly action to a holy burden is sensual and demonic; but those who are overcome of Christ overcome the world in His faith. They are secure in daring to say “Thy will be done” because they have chosen to live before the judgement seat of Christ today. For it is here that we discover our need to be led by the hand into the maturity of a living understanding, where our perspective of justice gives way to His own. If we could taste but a drop of His holy anguish over the injustices of wicked men, we would be utterly ashamed of our own imperfect angst. In the covert of His wings vexation is removed from the soul; and the spirit of loneliness and rejection which fostered all manner of sins gives way to renewed strength by returning to the arms of He who never truly forsook us. The burden of the whole world is the Lord’s; and we shall only rightly partake of His burdens if we allow Him to minister rest to our souls, else their weightiness will cause our hearts to fail and our flesh give way to defeat. We cannot minister to the Lord if we are not first ministered to by Him. We may speak much of readiness yet His love remains bound within us, unable to be fully and freely expressed. But deliverance finds those who at last give up pride and let Him win, consolation is found by those whom His word breaks in pieces, and the anointing is poured out of broken vessels. The works of which the pure in heart shall tell are HIS.

You guide me with Your counsel,
and afterward You will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is nothing on earth
that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from You shall perish;
You put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to You.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all Your works.
Psalm 73:24-28