Peace Transcends Understanding

Knowledge requires the peace of God if knowledge is to be held in Godliness. I say not only peace with God, but also the peace OF God.

For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
Ecclesiastes 1:18

Solomon largely spoke here to the wisdom of earthly learning; but how much more this is true of spiritual understanding, especially when it is not couched in spiritual Life!

For instance, one who has been given discernment must always, perhaps more than most others, be constantly retreating into the secret place of the Almighty for peace, lest the isolating nature of knowledge become its own snare rather than the purifying crucible it is meant to be. And understanding alone is no antidote to either madness or vice. For the seed that it sows remains barren, or worse, brings forth the brambles of bitterness, when not accompanied by the watering of God’s grace and peace. Even true discernment, without the peace of God, leads only to misery; on the part of both the discerner and the discerned.

The one who discerns yet does not walk in the peace of God gradually strips himself of the true gift, and becomes worse than he was before ever havng received it. For our walk with God is to be just that: a walk with HIM – not a walk with gifts or with understanding, but with He who freely authors those things within us. The Lord is already pleased with His gifts – He made them after all – yet what He more deeply yearns for is to know us, and for us to know Him.

Seeking to fulfill the appetite that the flesh has for God’s approval of our gifts and understanding (which are His anyways), rather than pursuing the intimate presence of the Lord Himself, is a hollow path to travel. It is a life destined to become filled with the unspiritual sacrifices and selfish jealousy of Cain; where the inner life with Christ is lost in a thick fog of ungodly discontent, and where “sin lieth at the door.”

The best that our self-made religion has to offer is an understanding without peace, which is not the true knowledge of God.

Men think that great understanding will bring them peace; when it is truly God’s peace that transcends all understanding.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses ALL understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

The Church Of His Countenance

The Body of Christ is not comprised of curiosity seekers; it is comprised of living martyrs. If curiosity seekers come into a meeting of believers and their curiosity is not soon turned into conviction, how can we claim that the Spirit of God is working in our midst? Our sensitivity ought to be toward the Seeker and Judge of men’s souls, not merely the “felt needs” or curiosities of of men.

Men who only want their endless questions constantly answered ought not to be the legacy of our faith, for such is not the faith of Christ. But men who know their God and are only satisfied with His likeness are what allow the authority and power of Christ into the midst; and with an army of such as these, God cannot be ignored on the earth, and men quickly run out of questions in the light of His countenance. For one who has seen the face of the Lord, even in the face of another man, has been given the final answer of all, and now has but to unravel it for the rest of eternity, if he so humbles himself.

Christ is coming for a glorious church, one beaming with His countenance. This cannot be its state so long as it exists to satisfy the demands of men who neither see nor desire to look upon Christ the LORD.

It Has To Be Said, And Said Again

Here is an unusual post for this site.

I wondered why I felt the need to copy and save this conversation which I had on a public blog a few days ago – something I almost never do. It conveys quite well the spirit of the age, and its growing infection within the body of Christ.

As nations are awakening of late to the clutches of global power that have consolidated their respective seats of authority, the spirit of deception has seduced the more observant eyes within the church into a new consolidation of political and cultural entanglement. Whether or not these nations succeed in their seperation to any degree, we shall see; but the people of God have another city to be concerned with, and they are abandoning it to change the world rather than saving men out of it.

The entire thread in which I responded to this blogger was later deleted without notice or explanation – which is entirely his right to do; but I will post the exchange here as I find it quite illustrative of the deception by which we find ourselves surrounded. I post this neither for spite nor to feel as though I have won an argument, and not in the least for the sake of controversy (I have no ill will toward the man); but I post it so that those who encounter this common deception elsewhere might not be ignorant.

Tony (whose blog this is from) has seen many good and true things over the years, and has been bold to share them publicly even when they are truths not pleasant to the ear. It is because of that reputation that I would be remiss not to hold the line on this matter.

Take note that my first comment is not an objection, but is a biblical framing of what Tony saw. But it appears that what I said was precise enough to draw out something nefarious in his understanding, and the rest is self-explanatory.

[Originally from tpuccio(dot)wordpress(dot)com]

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“Brexit Must NOT Be Allowed To Fail”
By Tony

This is what I read today in the news concerning Brexit. “Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement was voted down 432-202, the largest defeat for a prime minister in thehistory of the House of Commons” As I was reading this I saw a vision of grappling hooks being shot over from Europe to England to pull the country back into the E.U. . Britain must be totally free from the E.U, or, I feel, that it will share in the judgement that is coming to Europe. Additionally I saw in this vision Theresa May standing at her podium looking out. As I saw her looking out I saw a very large snake slithering up and down the rows of the House of Commons. I feel in my spirit that this snake is fear and deception and I do believe that this has to do with the rise of the antichrist and an independent England would greatly hinder his plans. So I would say to the people of Great Britain, fast and pray. There is more at stake than you realize. Pray, Pray, Pray!!!! It is imperative that you pray!

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Comments:
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Me:
The church is God’s unity.
Babel is man’s unity.
Genesis 11
Deuteronomy 32:8-9
God divided the nations purposefully.
His only intended place for an integrated unity of the nations is within His kingdom – this is why all other such unions inevitably fail, and the last and greatest of them shall also be crushed at His coming.

Tony:
Not so in this case . The Word also says come out from among them and be separate. England is/was called by God to separate from the European Union

Me:
Of course they were, as were all nations instructed not to build Babel. That is precisely my point.
But here is the distinction I am making:
Deut 32:8-9
All nations are called to seperate from one another (“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He divided mankind, He fixed the borders of the peoples…”), but it is the church’s calling to seperate from the nations, in the midst of the nations, unto God (“But the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob His allotted heritage.”)

Tony:
Again, not the case here

Me:
Let scripture be the judge of that.

Tony:
Again God has spoken through many prophets concerning Brexit. Read what the Lord showed them

Me:
I may be no cessationist, but regarding all things in which God has not yet ceased, I yet remain a scripturalist. I have read and heard many such utterances; and where scripture (such as that which I have already provided) finds no warrant in them, I need not heed their every assertion.

Tony:
The Pharisees and Saducees were scriptualists. They missed Jesus and the giving of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost

Me:
They were also sacralists – a rather relevant subject to this coversation, I deem.

Tony:
They missed Jesus, The Word speaking to them did they not?

Me:
Of course. And as He pointed out multiple times, they were the ones in contradiction with scripture regarding Him – particularly because they thought that His kingdom ought to be of this present world.
And that is where I find your own words to be leading you.

Tony:
No my words are what God has shown me regarding Brexit. There are others whom the Lord has shown the same. The Word says to test all things and to hold fast to that which is true. It sounds like you have a problem believing in the prophetic.

Me:
Not in the least, Tony. I simply have a problem when the prophetic contradicts scripture, as did the prophets. For it was not the Pharisees who said, “To the Law and the testimony!”

Tony:
Then I would suggest that you follow what I wrote. Test all things hold fast to that which is good. If scripture is being contradicted, or rather your understanding of scripture, then what those in the prophetic are saying will not come to pass. On the other hand if there is alignment then it will come to pass

Me:
Coming to pass is not the test of true or false prophecy. That is the very power of the strong delusion.

Tony:
Deu 13:1 — Deu 13:4 (NKJV Strong’s)
Punishment of Apostates
“If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.

Me:
“And the sign or wonder comes to pass…” – Exactly my point: things may come to pass which lead men to follow after the prophets and their own gods. And who are their gods? Those principalities which the god of this age has used to infatuate the prophets with earthly glories.
For the sake of earthly glories they even prophesy of the true prophets, saying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.”

Tony:
No you miss the point entirely. If you’d been reading the many prophecies concerning Brexit from godly men and women who seek the Lord and would not dare to speak a false word you would not have come to that conclusion. Your understanding of the prophetic is deeply flawed.

Me:
My understanding of the prophetic is deeply flawed, because my standard is something higher than the mere sincerity of these men of whom you speak?
I rest my case.

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My final response was never approved, and the entire thread has been deleted.

Interestingly, I was already writing a long article that touches upon these very things. This encounter has only sharpened that sword. It will be posted in the very near future.

“Earnestly contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”

– Brendan

True Religion

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James 1:26-27

The religion toward which every man’s heart is naturally drawn is characterized by a boasting in his own spirituality through the outward show of lofty words, and even lovely deeds, while inwardly there dwells secret depravity unchecked. But true religion in the sight of God is characterized by the golden harmony of authentic selflessness and personal holiness.

There is a sureity of tongue that is born not of holy confidence, but of arrogance; and yet there is also a self-deprication that is born not of humility, but of pride.
The spiritual worship that is to be the very walk of every child of God is a daily offering of life to receive Life; it is the fragrance of holy conduct born of the fear of the Lord’s mercy. For he in whom the demerrited mercy of God does not invoke a reverence unto obedience has not known God.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Romans 12:1

To “worship in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24) is directly equivocal to living a selfless and holy life. For to be authentically selfless only flows from the shattering recognition of the mercy of God; and to be truly holy is to be true – which is to be without mixture in one’s dealings with He who is all-knowing.

How, therefore, does the selfish man walk humbly, and the sinner live holy? By the application of the cross to every facet of his life and being, spirit soul and body. For he to whom the cross of Christ truly applies shall bear his own cross also. And it is this bearing of the cross which promises the abundant entrance into the heavenly kingdom. In the urgency of such a life in God, there is found the foretaste of eternal rest; and in the overcoming obedience of such a faith, there runs a trust which takes hold of a purely God-ward contentment.

“The truly religious man does everything as if everything depends on himself, and then leaves everything as if everything depended on God.”
– Joseph Parker

Scripture & Quote – John Chrysostom

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:3

“Now if peace be of grace, why hast thou high thoughts? Why art thou so puffed up, being saved of grace? And if thou hast peace with God, why wish to assign thyself to others, since this is what separation comes to? For what if you be at “peace” with this man, and with the other even find “grace?” My prayer is that both these may be yours from God; both from Him I say, and towards Him.

For neither do they abide secure except they enjoy the influence from above; nor unless God be their object will they aught avail you: for it profiteth us nothing, though we be peaceful towards all men, if we be at war with God; even as it is no harm to us, although by all men we are held enemies, if with God we are at peace. And again it is no gain to us, if all men approve, and the Lord be offended; neither is their any danger, though all shun and hate us, if with God we have acceptance and love.

For that which is verily grace, and verily peace, cometh of God, since he who finds grace in God’s sight, though he suffer ten thousand horrors, feareth no one; I say not only no man, but not even the devil himself; but he that hath offended God suspects all men, though he seem to be in security… Thus, if ye will mark it, David was in favor with God, Absalom was in favor with men. What was the end of each, and which of them gained most honor, ye know.”

– John Chrysostom (347-407)

Short Poem – From Babylon To Zion

From Babylon to Zion bright,
Let children tread above the mire.
For gods in which man takes delight
Shall drag him to eternal fire.

The rulers fought for kingdom-come
Without a thought of Christ within.
How much indeed will be the sum
Of judgement if we likewise sin.

There is no rest, no throne on earth,
That grasping, we shall have repose.
But God in Christ has made a birth
In which His kingdom is disclosed.

– Brendan Jaster

Finney – A Lesson From History

When we sanitize the long and sorted history of God’s people by filtering it through our personal traditions, we miss out on a greater appreciation for the saying, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

On to the subject matter…

Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as something owed. But to him who doesn’t work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.

Even as David also pronounces blessing on the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whom the Lord will by no means charge with sin.”

Is this blessing then pronounced on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it counted? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision?

Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in uncircumcision, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they might be in uncircumcision, that righteousness might also be accounted to them.

Romans 4:4-11 (WEB)

Now consider this quote:

“There can be NO justification in a legal or forensic sense, but upon the ground of universal, perfect, and uninterrupted obedience to law. This is of course denied by those who hold that gospel justification, or the justification of penitent sinners, is of the nature of a forensic or judicial justification. They hold to the legal maxim, that what a man does by another he does by himself, and therefore the law regards Christ’s obedience as ours, on the ground that He obeyed for us.”
– Charles G. Finney, Systematic Theology, 362

Why not instead say that faith without works is dead, as say the scriptures? The claim of justification without any sanctification is self-deception; but this does not permit us to throw out the former because we do not see enough of the latter. They are both part-and-parcel of the grace of God in salvation. This conflation of the two leads to a denial of what both are. For there is judicial righteousness, and there is experiential righteousness – and the two are not at odds (except in the minds of some). They are both present in true salvation, yet they are distinct in function; for the one is the begining and underpinning of the other. It is not without purpose that the apostle Paul frequently structured his letters according to this principle. Peter then shakes awake our sleepy hearts from interpreting Paul carnally, and puts in us the fear of God, convicting us of God’s holiness; and James with John clarify the synthesis: that the righteous will practice what has been given to them, and the rest are evidently not of His sheep.

It is not a question of too much or too little grace; it is a question of authentic grace. It is not a question of to much or too little law; it is a question of authentic law. Now the authentic article of faith is the divine law being written upon the heart of a man by the finger of God, and it is the giving of empowerment to obey such by the indwelling Holy Spirit – and this is all of grace. For no man has this inherently: he must be granted it from heaven. To deny this justification by faith in order to begin sanctification is to remove a foundation before building a house.

Who could bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is GOD who justifies.
Romans 8:33 (WEB)

To set out upon a sanctified walk without being justified by faith is to set out across a bridge with no beams supporting it. It is doomed to fail, for it has no basis. It has no preexsisting grace by which to affirm that the way is sure and the goal attainable; and it has no ever-present grace to remind us that even what we have attained is all by God’s mighty power.

The man Finney often preached well against the tyranny of the self; but at times offered little more than the pitiful power of the fallen human will as its antidote – which only can perpetuate the cycle of said tyranny. (Rom 7). It is a sad truth that a great wealth of spiritual excitement and conviction can dwell alongside a ghastly lack of staying power.

Now this may be objected to by those who are aware of Finney’s teachings on the Holy Spirit, which are numerous and in many aspects quite excellent. But the Holy Spirit, were He bound by the choices of the human will or limited to man’s “uninterrupted obedience to law,” would have no power to sanctify us. For the will of man is the very first and primary matter that the Spirit comes to set right in us. For the law of God is not written on our hearts until the Lawgiver by the Spirit does so; and if He cannot do so without a sinner’s permission, then it will most assuredly never happen. But if we accept such teaching, we are left quite to ourselves, and we deny much of God’s help, however unwittingly.

For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be. Those who are in the flesh can’t please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Romans 8:6-9 (WEB)

And how is the Holy Spirit obtained?

I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, that He may be with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world can’t receive; for it doesn’t see Him, neither knows Him. You know Him, for He lives with you, and will be in you.
John 14:16-17 (WEB)

The more true obedience to His maker that a man walks in, the more he ought to behold the gracious preordination of God in every step along the way, and all the more quickly should he therefore yield himself unto the doing of that same will of God. But the man who becomes proud of his own obedience sees it only as the doing of his own will, and mocks the grace of the God who had soveriegnly worked it all in him. This man takes little delight in being humbled; and rather than simply surrendering to the will God, he constantly makes treaties with his Creator, thinking it to be the Lord’s method. Man’s desire to “be like the most high” of his own accord and by his own means is insatiable; and it must be crushed by the overbearing power of the Spirit of Grace, who is the mouth of the fount of true sanctification.

Do I hereby condemn Charles Finney? No! Based on many other things he said, I actually believe that he himself had a real and powerful walk with God. For by God’s grace, many who are attracted to vain philosophy may yet be constrained by His power to truly know and walk with Him despite their most carnal notions; and they are herein most blessedly inconsistent. Finney also lived in a day of great spiritual slumber – and despite the shear reactionism behind such of his teachings as those here quoted, he was apparently not without a good measure of real fruit. I dare any one of us to presume that we were the better man for that hour. God knew what He was doing.

The legacy of those things which we call the movings of Christ throughout the ages is one often beset with the mixture of man’s disasterous religious recipes and earthly philosophy.

O Lord, give us eyes to see that which is pure, holy, and becoming of You; that we may test all things, and hold fast to what is good!