The Perfecting Of The Saints

 

“Salvation is from our side a choice,
from the divine side a conquest of the Most High God.”
– A.W. Tozer

 

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Romans 8:28-30

 

I’ve never heard a teaching based upon this scripture which did not at least contain within it a subtle pleading on behalf of sin and imperfection. Yet here are pure and holy words, which by the Holy Spirit speak expressly to the perfecting of the saints, whose sins their Saviour takes awaysaving them “even to the uttermost.” It is an irony bearing the very fingerprints of Satan, that most who in word affirm the electing Grace of God despise hearing the true reason that He so appeared to all men.

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching US* that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
Titus 2:12-15

* “US” – The Grace of God (the Person of Christ) appeared to all men to teach the children of God the fear of the Lord. The Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world: which gift is abundant toward those who avail themselves of it by the powerful operation of the gift of HIS faith within them. He appeared to all; but He came unto His own. Now therefore, let His own continue to receive Him even to the fullness of God; for He has other sheep of which we know not, and He will have the full-grown tree of His planting though He finds need to cast away unfruitful branches in the process.

For judgement Christ has come into the world, “that the ones who do not see may see, and they who see may become blind.” (John 9:39) That which we see of God, we are judged according to. Holiness is walked in by earnestly operating in what God has revealed to each one. Only by this shall men see the Lord: who then must either come to the Light, manifesting the practice of truth which has been wrought in God; or they must walk more determinedly in darkness, working evil before the face of God’s enlightenment because they hate His Light on account of its exposure.

And this Light beams clear and bright in Romans chapter eight, which speaks perhaps most loftily of the highest wonders of His grace.

 

And we know that all things work together
for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called
according to His purpose…

God equates loving Him with obedience to the calling given to each of His children. Men speak much of a love for God, but few make their calling and election sure. Loving God is proven in those who walk in the specific purposes of His will for them by the Holy Spirit, who gives all unction for the task. Would that we availed ourselves of His boundless resource, unto His good working in “all things”! For of such the apostle can be confident, “that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Php 1:6)

 

…For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate
to be conformed to the image of His Son,
that He might be the firstborn among many brethren…

Foreknowledge is the eternal desire of God pursuing men. It is the pleasure of the Good Shepherd to go after a lost sheep; even to find the one in leaving the ninety-nine. And to these, who by the Father are drawn to Him, He seeks to reveal the eternal purpose for which they were apprehended by Him: which is that they might themselves apprehend Him. This is that for which we are predestined; for by laying hold of He who first lay hold of us, we become in this world as He is, so that when He appears we may be like Him, seeing Him as He is. The predestination of God has within it the strengthening power of His grace to this very end for those who remain in Christ. Those who do not avail themselves of His strength to be conformed to His image fail to walk in what He has predestined. The destiny of each child of God becoming a perfect reflection of Christ the Son is decided by God; but it is carried out in those who continually yield to His way that it might be manifested as true. Jesus’ brother, sister, and mother are those who do the will of His Father. The likeness of the Son is revealed within each one to the degree that they allow Him to conform them to that glorious image – no cost in this life being comparable to the glory that shall be revealed…

 

…Moreover whom He did predestinate,
them He also called…

God’s calling is to be obeyed: disobedience is the calling neglected, and a calling neglected stands in judgement over the one called. “The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” – they remain immovable in God, their blessing impending upon the diligent; but the wicked and slothful servant moves only to bury it in the cursed soil of earth. If only he had discovered the heavenly-tilled soil which God is so gracious to produce in men’s hearts, if they would but submit to the process of growing in His good and perfect gifts! “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” (Lk 12:47) In the parable of the marriage feast (Mt 22) Jesus sent “to call them that were bidden” (v3 – KJV). The word for both call and bidden are the same Greek word (καλέω – Str. G2564). Literally, He “called them that were called,” and they refused to come on account of their own pressing earthly cares. They would rather fellowship with the dead than follow Christ and leave the dead to bury themselves. It is well to be called; but to end here is an eternal shame. That which we have received from above, let us also give, give into, and give in to fully. The callings of God are not optional if we should supp with Him in the highest of heavenly gladness. There is a place reserved for those without an inheritance (“outer darkness… where there is weeping & gnashing of teeth” – Mt ch. 8, 22, 24, 25). In the words of Peter, it is partaking of the divine nature TODAY which brings us abundantly” into His kingdom still partaking…

…give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1 – (read the whole chapter)

 

…and whom He called,
them He also justified…

Religious men would not arrange the list in Romans 8:29-30 with justified following called if they had written it; for to them these words carry nothing beyond the past tense. But God, knowing the end from the beginning and the hardness of men’s hearts, speaks by faith concerning present and future realities as though they were past; so that men may likewise avail themselves of living by HIS faith in order to lay hold of the Truth for themselves. For by the Word of God the heavens and the earth were created; and the gospel of Christ that very Word remains the power of God unto salvation for them that believe (present-tense). “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith unto faith. As it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Faith is to be the substance growing within a person unto the righteousness of God being revealed in them. For the just are those who are justified, and justification is for those called to righteousness; and those in whom said righteousness is not revealed did not make their calling and election sure from faith to faith. For the creation’s expectant groaning shall only be satisfactorily answered by the revealing of the sons of God; and these are only revealed to the degree that Christ in them is revealed, Who is their hope of glory. The just are those in whose hearts the light of Jesus Christ has shone as out of the midst of darkness; so that now as His salvation draws ever-nearer, they strive for no less than to see the word fulfilled: “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.” Men want justification to be a trite excuse for rationalizing their neglect of this high and upward calling to glorification after His likeness. But here the Holy Spirit will have none of their guilty pleadings on behalf of iniquity and sin; which He came as an inward fire to remove and to purge, that we should be liberated to walk transformed by His ever-renewing power.

 

…and whom He justified,
them He also glorified…

The just live by faith; and if they “NOW live by the faith OF the Son of God” (Gal 2:20), then shall they find at work in them that same living righteousness which is only “through the faith OF Christ” (Php 3:9). It is only in walking by HIS faith, and that increasing, that God’s end for His own shall be attained to: the full sanctification of their whole beings. Paul expressed this longing of God for His people,

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God
your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless
unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

There have sadly been those throughout history who have divided these three parts of the human person with the intent of suppressing certain ones for the glorification of others. This is folly. God does not regard the body or the soul any less than the spirit; for He created them to glorify Himself, and He partook of all three that He might perfect them all in His children. Those who are happy to pursue the perfecting of the spirit, yet deny that the soul and body could possibly be sanctified WHOLLY, saying that these must rather be irreparably broken or suppressed in this life, will only fall short of the glory of God which He holds in store for each of these components which make up the whole.

The spirit of man, which men are so often proud to boast in, is not our own. “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.” (1Cor 6:17) And the Word of God divides soul and spirit for the purpose of discerning unto the good of both; not unto the pushing down of the soul, but for restoring it to the wholeness and freedom of a man’s entire being in God’s purposes. For even after the fall of Adam, God has still woven each one together in the womb: each with a personality and certain traits which are only brought to fullness and right usage in sanctification – but not thrown away; for God has woven and continues weaving that vessel to be a unique expression of His likeness. God forbid that His call and gifting within us should have doubt cast upon it by the carnality of those who despise the humanity of man in his soul. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man: for in God the two are completely compatible. For in the image of God He created man, and the life of the Christian is again hid with Christ in God. Each is therefore given the means to be a reflection of the various facets of God’s wisdom and glory. An excellent diamond requires light to strike its multiple faces from different angles in order to display the manifold beauty of its singular essence – not because the diamond is unable to display all of its glory at once, but because its viewers are insufficient to behold much of it apart from interactive movement in the light. God’s is One; but the wisdom of His glory as displayed in the many-membered church of His Son is manifold. Few have considered that to despise and neglect the soul may well be tantamount to giving it over to the Devil’s purposes. He will gladly steal, kill, and destroy whatever is carelessly left within his reach. The merchandising of men’s souls is a key characteristic of Mystery Babylon. Therefore the “churches” of men, which truly produce only formulaic proselytes despising their own souls rather than calling many sons to Christ’s glory: these entities are Babylon’s harlot daughters.

And the body of a man: the body is not a vessel to be considered worthless; for the very body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. The “flesh” often spoken of by Paul as being at war with the Spirit usually refers to the sinful nature, not strictly the body. This is easily distinguishable by children from the other times when Paul refers to the physical body using the same term. The crossover in terminology is an acknowledgement of how sin operates amidst the fabric of the person, not a blanket condemnation of all things on the physical plane, or even of the soul. Men are carriers of the sinful nature, and outside of Christ, hopelessly subject to it; but we not the sinful nature incarnate. There is only One who has tasted such an unfathomable baptism of unmatched horror so that we who believe in Him never should: “He became sin who knew no sin, that we should become the righteousness of God in Him.” The cross we are called to bear is one of identification with Him, not one of being condemned as sin, which He already bore once for all, so that “there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus…”

“…that WE should become the righteousness of God…” – Not only “that our spirits should become,” or perhaps even, “that our spirits and souls should become.” No. But rather the whole of the person, wholly sanctified! Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Majesty of high in His fully human resurrection body, for our sake! He is our mediator because He is “the man, Jesus Christ”! The scriptures do not speak of simply shedding the mortal to be clothed in in immortality; they rather speak of the mortal putting on immortality – there is a great difference (1 Cor 15). The former despises the body, the latter hopes of its translation. “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” And the likeness of our spiritual body to His image will be in proportion to how we bore His image in the earthly body: for AS we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1Cor 15:49). “AS” – Gk. καθώς, Str. G2531 – inasmuch, in proportion as, in the degree that. It is the hope of the church who endures His refining fire that in the last days they should not all sleep…

Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. BUT thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:51-58

The resurrection of the dead which Paul longed to “attain unto” was the final resurrection (Gk. ἀνάστασις – Str. G386, always used of the  resurrection unto glory, or of Christ’s fore-running resurrection). He sought this translation; but he was a man born out of due season, yet still he strove to this end “if by any means…”

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:10-12

“…either were already perfect” – The perfecting of the saint is in view here because it is possible through Christ; and its present earthly chapter of being joined in the likeness of His death culminates in partaking of the same resurrection. “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” (2Cor 4:10)

 

For the one that died has been justified from sin.
Romans 6:7

…and whom He justified, them He also glorified.

 

Let this high calling not be received as condemnation, but as hope which further purifies God’s children in the seeing of Christ our Life.

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. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.
1 John 3:2-3

The purity and completeness of Christ’s bride is what brings about her translation; and when she is found in perfect unison with the call of His Spirit, He will answer coming forth to escort her, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” (SS 2:10) The Spirit of truth is the One witnessing, let us obtain His good witness to this end…

By faith Enoch was translated so as not to see death,
and was not found, because God translated him.
For before his translation, he had obtained witness
to have been pleasing to God.
Hebrews 11:5 (LITV)

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

 

“Let us consider the possibilities of faith.”
– A.B. Simpson

Every Good Thing Which Is In You

The words of the Lord are pure words:
as silver tried in a furnace of earth,
purified seven times.
Psalm 12:6

It is the method of God that His holy things are brought forth through earthen vessels who are being inwardly purged by His fire. The place of purity and holiness is the place of judgement: it is the realm of God’s dwelling wherein all the hidden secrets of men’s hearts are naked and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom each shall give an account. It is the habitation sought diligently TODAY by those who seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness. For righteousness is seen in the free flow of that lively river which makes glad the city of God, and it is heard in the pure words borne of His fiery trials. Each person in His city is to be the open conduit of that river, and each one of them the earthen furnace bearing His perfect silver.

So let the wise rejoice, those who seek the “seven times” refining of His furnace that only the purest of silver might be brought forth – yes, let them be glad; for He has placed within every heart of His redeemed a lamp unto their feet and a light unto their path, if they would but look unto that indwelling Counselor. And do not be restrained by the falsehood of men who minimize the salvation of the soul, as though it remained the perpetual enemy of God even in faith. For the soul of a man yields to the will whomever’s word he believes, and the soul of the redeemed can always freely yield to the Spirit of God. “He restores my soul” – it is the truth, let it be so! The soul trusting in God despite the accusatory voice is the soul which presently finds the benefits of its restoration: it is the redeemed heart being capacitated to house greater and deeper things of God for His righteousness to be walked in, in this life! Blessed are they who do not harden their hearts to Him who is speaking to them TODAY. The over-analysis of man’s fickle outward countenance works to the paralysis of faith; but by beholding His countenance whose Spirit dwells in us, we find ourselves inheriting the promise of the guarantee already deposited within the creature. For doubtless He gladly delivers us TODAY into a holy ability by the power of His Spirit; but “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is the inheritance of the faithless, who cast doubt upon the thoroughness of the Lord’s very present provision.

The wise keep ready with their lamps ever full of His oil; but the foolish must feign spirituality, for theirs are filled instead with the lengthy tomes of man’s darkened understanding. O, that they would see, and such grievous vanity be displaced by the beaming brevity of the Spirit of the Lord! The foolish refuse to discover and interact with the Lord’s inheritance within them so that they may preserve the familiarity of their emptiness; but the wise freely acknowledge His inheritance within them so that His living waters might liberally burst forth from out of their own being…

…that the communication of thy faith may become effectual
by the acknowledging of every good thing
which is in you in Christ Jesus.
Philemon 1:6

Every member of God’s house has the ability to quench the fire and dam the river. Many have gone to a certain point in the things of the Spirit and become content not to continue beyond whatever satisfies those around them. But those who refuse to become dull of hearing and weary of seeing the things of God are not content to stay behind the lines which their forefathers have drawn. My participation in THE faith which is mine in Christ Jesus becomes effectual not by the wishful admiration of things yet outside of me, but rather by the acknowledging of every good thing which is verily in me through Him! Let the veil of shame and false humility be removed; let the redeemed souls of the Lord not shrink back from walking after His declaration.

Those who never step forward despite the darkness which they see within themselves will never pass through that blinding shroud and cast it off behind them. What (or Who) we behold is that to which we become beholden in our walk; and we are to behold the glory of the Lord as in a mirror! For as much as it is not a matter of beholding ourselves, it is yet also not a matter of beholding a thing outside ourselves. For we shall only walk as children of light by beholding that Light who resides within us. At all times He is there, eagerly shining forth to the end that His illumination would be acknowledged and not neglected for the familiar ways of men. We are commanded to walk as children of light because we ARE already light in the Lord (Eph 5:8). And in the confidence of this soul-anchoring hope, we may turn our eyes with singularity upon He who hereby liberates us to walk in the fuller victory to which we have been called…

…whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
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 3:16-18

Is not your life hid with Christ in God? For He is the Shepherd Whose very habitation is His sheep: this is why they shall not want – unless they seek the ministration of another. The church of today are spectating at the Dead Sea rather than wading into the Jordan: not only do they err in their manner of participation, but they partake of the wrong sort of waters! They hang upon the empty words of men, whose rivers are long stilled and their fires long quenched; rather than allowing the word of the Lord to become as a fire in their very own bones, constraining them to act on the things which they have seen and heard unto the overflow of their own waters. The true Life of God begins flowing in the secret place; and it calls for the same dynamic in others. But the spirit of any other cistern is a strange woman seducing men of God to trade the fountain of living waters for a broken well which can hold none.

Drink waters out of thine own cistern,
and running waters out of thine own well.
Proverbs 5:15

Those merely going after the revelation of another are truly being drawn away by the spirit of antichrist, following the voice of mere men; trading the divine ministration already at work within them for the fireless words of man’s dammed river. For even if they “follow” a man whose words are truly fire and whose river is truly flowing, they can neither truly receive nor utilize it as such, since they themselves are still trusting in man. But we have one Teacher, even the Christ. For “there are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” (Prov 19:21). We each have a choice as to whether it shall be the council of men or the counsel of the Lord given audience within our hearts. True things shall not be settled for apart from the Truth Himself – it is a matter of Life or death. One keeps moving in the daily-new things of God; the other terminates course while His ever-present call continues flowing onward and upward.

While men remain sitting their whole lives contemplating the wonderful truth that there is nothing good in them apart from Christ, the wise are found shamelessly acknowledging unto transformation every good thing which He has now indeed placed within them. That which we commit to the Lord He is able to keep; let us therefore apprehend in Him that for which we were already apprehended by Him, guarding the good deposit entrusted to us. For that good deposit of His Spirit is guarded by the using of it; through which He brings forth the increase.

Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.

For this reason I remind you
to fan into flame the gift of God,
which is in you
2 Timothy 1:6

Dying To Live: The Faith Of Christ

For through the grace of God which is given to me, I say to everyone being among you, not to have high thoughts beyond what is right to think. But set your mind to be right-minded, even as God divided a measure of faith to each. For even as we have many members in one body, but all members do not have the same function, so we the many are one body in Christ
(Romans 12:3-5, LITV)

The fruit of faith will be in accordance with its measure. First there is that initial measure which “God divided” to each; and then there is the greater measure attained as each one humbly invests said deposit by the allowance of God’s power to be at work in them unto righteousness, bringing forth fruit unto salvation. For the gospel in which His righteousness is revealed from faith to faith is unto salvation (Rom 1:16-17). The parable of the talents illustrates to the wise the absurdity of not walking in such increasing faith; since the deposit of faith was freely given, as well as access to the power for said increase. This is also why we ought not to think highly of ourselves above one another, since even our increase is by the power of God through faith in Christ…

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
(1 Peter 1:3-5, ESV)

“Guarded through faith” – but what is the nature of that faith? It has long been taught that all one will ever need to walk in the power of Christ is faith the size of a mustard seed. No such thing can be found in all of scripture. Jesus said nothing about such little faith except in rebuke. He did however reveal that we are required to have faith LIKE a grain of mustard seed: “…If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt 17:20, Lk 17:6)
The difference here is immense, considering the parable of the grain of mustard seed. For while the natural man proudly settles for little faith (the size of a mustard seed), Christ Jesus meanwhile describes the kingdom within His people in terms of ever-increasing faith (LIKE a mustard seed)….

And He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard, which, when it is sown on the earth, it is less than all the seeds of those on the earth. And when it is sown, it comes up and becomes greater than all the plants, and produces great branches, so as to enable the birds of the heaven to roost under its shade.”
(Mark 4:30-32, LITV)

It is within the very nature of genuine faith to grow unto greater faith; and the sustaining of living faith over time actually depends upon its continual growth. Only through such faith as this can we be guarded by God’s power until the end. Today’s faith is not sufficient to lay hold of the power required to overcome the world tomorrow. But such faith cannot be born of the flesh. Only the ever-increasing faith of Christ Himself is the faith which becomes able to move mountains. Jesus has overcome the world, and we have yet to grow into the fullness of HIM! For by faith, “we all with unveiled face behold the glory of the Lord… being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor 2:18)

Faith will only attain life in God to the degree that it has attained death in ourselves. The great tree grown from a grain of mustard in the parable of the kingdom is the Tree of Life, Jesus. He was sown in the earth a dead Seed and now lives to give life to all who died with Him. We grow up into His fullness by being members of Him in His death, burial, and resurrection by faith. Now if these three things are indeed our spiritual history by faith, then they should also become present realities by the obedience of faith for which we have received grace from God. “…we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith…” (Rom 1:5, ESV) That which true faith believes, it finds power from God to apprehend in experience. The grace of God appeared not simply to be admired, but to be walked in the power of. For He who died is the One in whom we are to remain planted, and He who rose also seeks to water and supply the growth. Let us therefore accept and submit to our death in Him daily, laying hold of the nutrients of His word and the watering of His Spirit by faith ever extending itself heavenward; as our roots drink evermore deeply of the love of the One who first loved us when we were yet His enemies. And that is the first key of faith: the acceptance of our place IN HIM apart from our own doing. It is only the pride of the sinful nature which doubts this; and it must be reckoned dead before Christ’s own Life can live in us. He will not suffer a rival in His temple.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat that falls into the earth dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. The one who loves his life loses it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it to everlasting life.
(John 12:24-25)

If we derive the power to walk after Christ from our own soul, then we do not truly walk as Christ walked. Only the faith of Christ is of true substance, not ourselves. The soul is saved to be restored unto the rule of the Good Shepherd, not unto its own. The soul is always beholden to the storm-tossed flesh if it is not beholden to the spirit under God’s Spirit. Jesus calms the storm from the inside out. The only works pleasing before God are those wrought in HIM. Only Christ living in and through us is a true fruitful life in the sight of God. All we bring to the table is the faith to surrender to His working – the faith which He gave us in the first place! If the matter was finished for us when Christ died, how much more then, since He is risen and seated on high, shall it now be being finished in us by the power of His own Spirit whom He sent for that very purpose! Or are we greater than He who said, “I am able to do nothing from Myself… for I do not seek My will, but the will of the One sending Me, the Father”? Surely we are not! So let us be made conformable to His death, even that the measure of the stature of His fullness might be shown forth in we who are HIS body. We are not our own: He would see our spirit and soul and body kept blameless for His coming – all three must come under the dominion of His own Spirit. This is the inner working of true faith that produces the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Faith which reckons itself dead in Him is proven by the same faith springing forth and branching out in the tangible substance of Christ’s Life. If we truly submit to God’s Word, then He (the Word) will even divide soul from spirit and lay bare every secret of the heart and mind, giving way to the complete rule of the Spirit of God in us. For the will of man and the faith of his own soul cannot lay hold of that which belongs only to the Spirit of God. It is only possible by the very FAITH OF CHRIST, who beheld the Father at all times, which is unfeigned and ever-increasing from glory to glory; and it only comes “from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

For as He beheld His Father, so do we in Him, and He in us. And as His likeness becomes revealed in us, “His Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are sons…” May such pure and unmixed faith thrive and multiply within the regenerated hearts of His own to become grown sons! Let that same mind of humble confidence be found in us which also was in Christ Jesus: the Seed who died to plant the kingdom of God within His people. Let us likewise more fully believe unto death that we would more fully believe unto Life: from glory to glory by faith to faith! Such is the faith of Christ, our only true Life.

For in it (the gospel of Christ) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; even as it has been written, “But the just shall LIVE by faith.”
(Romans 1:17)

The measure of faith exercised within us is displayed in the measure of His righteousness being revealed through us. If I know that I have already died on the cross with Christ, I can find rest in dying daily. And if I have so  died and remain dying, His Spirit may thereby work His resurrection Life in me. This is how the daily cross which results from obedience in a rebellious world becomes a light and momentary affliction; and even the earthly body may begin to acquire the marks of the cross. But again, the order is from the inward man to the outward man; it cannot be the other way around – that is self-made religion. If we have come to rest in Christ, let us remain working from that surrendered bliss and allow the body to reflect what is first true of the soul…

…Always bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus in the body, that also the life of Jesus may be revealed in our body.
(2 Corinthians 4:10)

For I calculate that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to compare to the coming glory to be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God.
(Romans 8:18-19, LITV)

Faith which suffers the cross rejoicing is faith that overcomes the world. And we can have confidence because this faith has been tried and proven true; for it was the Lord’s before it became ours.

The heart of genuine faith gives way to only the Life of Christ Himself within His body. How can we claim to possess the faith of Christ when we live from ourselves?

“When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?”

Holiness Through Surrender

...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, so as for us to serve in newness of spirit, and not in oldness of letter.
(Romans 7:4-6, LITV)

Holiness is not merely a way of living, it is the very Life of God reigning freely in a man who is given over to Him. We shall only authentically live like Christ from the inward parts to the degree that His impending Life is at last allowed to replace our own. To seek for anything less from God in light of our sins reveals the pride of life that is born of the self-deceived sinful flesh. “I am simply too weak Lord” is the inevitable cry of the man who has evidently tried to accomplish by the fleshly nature the holy Life which he himself can never live. But the proper cry of the new creature is, “Lord, you are all that I have, my very Life: as I bring nothing except what You work in me.”
For the “weakness” of God cannot even be lowered to comparison with the “strength” of man: it is a comparison of the very nature of God with the nature of that which cannot but oppose and fall short of His glory. The strength for which we must cry is not strength of ourselves, but rather the strength which is His very Life; because except for Christ, I do not even have life before God! Yes, even the new creature is not mine to operate: it is HIS vessel, meant to be operated by the power of His Spirit.
No other is able. Not I, but Christ – Christ in me.

The fear and trembling with which we work out our salvation is the sweet fear and trembling of surrender; for it is only God Himself who can work in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. The law of sin and death is set aside by the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus – and by no other means. And these two laws, which work in their respective subjects, were spoken of by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians…

For through law I died to law, that I might live to God.
(Galatians 2:19, LITV)

By faith’s surrender to the law of the Spirit of Life, we are released from the law of sin and death that is at work in the sinful flesh. That which causes us to walk against the will and pleasure of the Spirit may truly be done away with to continually receive the Life that is in Christ Jesus! “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom 8:2)
Without Christ, I lived after the flesh and was dead to God. But by faith, although still living in the flesh, I died in Him; so that my only Life may now be securely hidden with the risen Christ in God. For the righteous shall live by faith! And by a faith which has no motive except God’s own glory at every expense, we may lay hold of His Life in actual experience…

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.
I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness is through law (that is, apart from the Spirit through faith), then Christ died without cause.
(Galatians 2:20-21, LITV)

Christ is the end of that which ministers condemnation through the fleshly attempts of outward observance: He is the very law God’s Life at work in those who keep HIS faith in themselves. The great sin of disobedience which caused the children of Israel to fall away, according to the writer of Hebrews, was unbelief. It was this bitter root of dissatisfaction with the original and unchanging promise of God by which they kept themselves from entering His rest. In other words, they judged God by what their carnal eyes saw rather than walking after the Spirit by faith which is the substance of things hoped for. Those who kept no faith in the promise instead longed again for the bondage of Egypt: rather than looking for the city of God, the heavenly kingdom, in which we now may be immersed by the Holy Spirit. For the King of glory has arrived to His people: let Him come in and reign! Is not the kingdom within His own? Are they not His temple? But when we have no trust in Christ to be our present sustainer and only strength, we shall likewise come short of entering that rest (Heb 4:1). Meanwhile, the promise of entering still stands, waiting to be reached by the steps of faith that can only be made in the very Spirit who labors graciously to that end. Let us therefore not insult Him by disallowing His rule in and over the entirety of our being.

“This is the work of God: that you believe into Him whom that One sent.” – Jesus spoke of faith as the key to the very powerful working of God. It cannot the work of a man; for the best that any man can do is revive the old man to rule over the new and so deceive himself. “You cannot serve two masters…” It is only by God that all things are possible, and this is given to those who actively believe. The key to holiness is surrender – nothing less. “It is finished” must become an ever-nearer reality in our lives, bearing the righteous fruit that can only be apprehended by unfeigned faith, trusting in God to increase in us as we ourselves decrease. All we can bring to the table is surrender on all fronts. It is finished: and by the grace of God through faith not pretended, let it continue to be finished within the purchased possession! For by blood of His covenant we are sanctified; as the the Spirit actively works even in the present moment through our faith – faith which surrenders the whole being to the refining fire of God. We take hold of Him as we let go of our own ways and things, knowing the love of God toward those who so believe Him with their lives. “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His.” (Heb 4:9-10) Today, let it no longer be we who live, but CHRIST!

…for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them to be trash, that I might gain Christ and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness of law, but through the faith OF Christ, 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. Not that I already received or already have been perfected, but I press on, if I also may lay hold, inasmuch as I also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-12, LITV)

Revelation 13 – Warnings & Meditations

And I stood on the sand of the sea.
And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns,
and on his horns ten diadems, and on its heads names of blasphemy.

And they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast;
and they worshiped the beast, saying,
“Who is like the beast; who is able to make war with it?”

…And all those dwelling in the earth will worship it,
those of whom the names had not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb having been slain from the foundation of the world.
If anyone has an ear, let him hear.

(Revelation 13:1,4, 8-9)

Those who are finding no rest in God through Jesus Christ the sacrificial Lamb are ultimately found following after and rendering their worship to the spirit of this present evil age. Where the blood of the Lamb and the word of the testimony of His holy ones is not held up and walked in by faith to thwart the Devil’s onslaught of accusation and temptation, it becomes replaced by the carnal devices of man and flesh unto the enthroning of ourselves and our self-will. And in this arrogant self-deception, even the bringing about of the appearing of Christ’s kingdom becomes a work that we ourselves must accomplish through political means and social actions; rather than a bride being cleansed from all such worldly mixture by He who gave everything so that she might be made ready BY HIS OWN MEANS for His return.

The Spirit goes on to warn:
If anyone gathers captivity, into captivity he goes.
If anyone will kill by a sword, by a sword he must be killed.

Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
(Revelation 13:10)

Such is the landscape of today: where those in God’s house, who should be at peace in Him, enduring with patience and faith unto the day of salvation, are instead being seduced to seek and to give honor unto men that they might see their perceived image of heaven take shape upon the earth through the captivation of men’s agendas and by the sword of their own arms – not realizing that such is the very essence of the second beast…

And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth.
And it had two horns
like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon.
And it executes all the authority of the first beast before it.
And it causes that the earth and those dwelling in it should worship the first beast, of which was healed its deadly wound.

And it does great signs, that it even causes fire to come down
out of the heaven onto the earth before men.

(Revelation 13:11-13)

“…coming up out of the earth.
– This false spirituality, which seeks to build the kingdom of God rather than to receive it through meekness in due time: this is of the earth, not of Heaven. For His kingdom is not of this world; and its unveiling before all is not until HIS unveiling before all when all the kingdoms of the earth are judged. Until then, it is within those who follow the Lamb wherever HE may go.

And it executes all the authority of the first beast before it.
– The faithful should not distinguish between the evil of the world’s first beast, which rises out of the sea of all men, and the evil of the second beast which is born of a church that has become earthly. For its authority is equally carnal and its power equally satanic. Its venture to influence the world in its greatness is equally as blasphemous as the very world which it desires to take unto itself.

And it causes that the earth and those dwelling in it should worship the first beast, of which was healed its deadly wound.
– This wound being healed may very well speak of specific future or current events surrounding this first beast; but it is also at the very least a parable of the political and false religious outcome of a worldly ‘gospel:’ a gospel which declares righteous that which has not been cleansed by Christ’s blood, declares mended that which has not been healed by HIS wounds, and declares anointed that which heaven has not ordained. It is the call of the wicked one upon all men – and especially God’s people – to render spiritual honor and obedience to world powers, under the claim that such have suddenly been sanctified and anointed to have authority in the household of God – much as we see rampant today. The signs which wicked carnal men seek are conveniently being provided to them by devils who lead them further astray into their own worldly desire.

And it deceives those dwelling on the earth, because of the signs which were given to it to do before the beast, saying to those dwelling on the earth to make an image to the beast who has the wound of the sword, and lived.
And was given to it to give a spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak, and might cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
And the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the freemen and the slaves, it causes that they give to them all a mark on their right hand, or on their foreheads, even so that not any could buy or sell, except the one having the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of its name. Here is wisdom: Let the one having reason count the number of the beast,for it is the number of a man and its number is six hundred and sixty six.
(Revelation 13:14-18)

The image and mark and number of the beast is the image and mark and number of A MAN! The abomination which causes desolation is that very image being set up in God’s temple as the object of worship – for His children are that temple! Therefore it causes desolation because it is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, who upon being replaced by another cannot abide in it. And they are slain by the sword of the mouth of He who could have been Life to them, because they worshiped the image of that beast (Rev 19:20-21).

It is clearly Satan’s objective to cause God’s children to fall away into worshiping the creature rather than the Creator, to esteem themselves so that they esteem Him not, rejecting HIM ALONE 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 and worldly-kingdom-building 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. Anyone not regenerated by the Spirit of Christ nor abiding 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, even the marks of Jesus Christ crucified; unto which end 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, by the obedience of faith. HE alone is our peace and our only rest. HE is our only strong tower against the enemy, and the Rock higher than I. Only HE is that which is truly good – all else is the path to self-seeking and blasphemy.

And a third angel followed them, saying in a great voice,
If anyone worships the beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead,
or in his hand, he also shall drink of the wine of the anger of God which has been mixed undiluted in the cup of His wrath. And he will be tormented by fire and brimstone before the holy angels and before the Lamb.

And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever.
And those worshiping the beast and its image have no rest night and day,
even if anyone receives the mark of its name.

Here is the patience of the saints;
here are
the ones keeping the commands of God,
and the faith of Jesus.

And I heard a voice out of Heaven saying to me,
Write: Blessed are the dead, the ones dying in the Lord from now.‘”
Yes, says the Spirit, “they shall rest from their labors,
and their works follow with them.

(Revelation 14:9-13)

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellence of the power may be of God, and not from us; in every way being troubled, but not having been hemmed in; having been perplexed, but not utterly at a loss; being persecuted, but not having been forsaken; being thrown down, but not having been destroyed; always bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus in the body, that also the life of Jesus may be revealed in our body.
For we who live are always being delivered up to death on account of Jesus, that also the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh…
(2 Corinthians 4:7-11)

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 2:20)

“Come to Me, all those laboring and being burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, because I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30)

– Brendan

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