"LET THERE BE LIGHT" Ministries
THE PRECIOUS COVERING OF CHRIST
First Printing, 2009
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THE PRECIOUS COVERING OF CHRIST
About 3 years before King David died, he made the following statement:
“The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore the Lord hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.” 2 Samuel 22:21-25.
Now this was written by David some 16 years after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, had then killed Uriah her husband, and then married Bathsheba to try and hide the fact that she was pregnant with his child! (You can read this sad incident in 2 Samuel chapter 11). Since this was true, then how could David have said in truth that he was righteous, had kept the ways of the Lord and not departed from Him, as if he had never sinned with Bathsheba at all? Did he forget about these great sins of his? No.
David thought that he had carefully covered up his track of sins so that no one knew he had done wrong. But God knew, and He sent Nathan to clearly point out to David his sins. When David’s sins were plainly exposed, did he get mad? Did he try to turn the attention away from himself and onto Nathan by attacking Nathan’s character? No.
David was convicted of his wrongs, he recognized that he had greatly sinned, and instead of trying to hide his wrong deeds, he acknowledged them and then thoroughly repented of these sins. In fact all of Psalms 51, including the passage where he asked God to create in him a clean heart and renew a right spirit in him and not to cast him away, was written by David from a truly humble and repentant heart for his sin with Bathsheba.
After David had fully acknowledged and repented, God sent him word that He had fully forgiven him, and said:
“The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” 2 Samuel 12:13.
So how could David say that the Lord had rewarded him according to my righteousness and the cleanness of my hands – even though he had greatly sinned in the past? Because God had forgiven him, and had “put away” his sins. The Hebrew word for “put away” is #5674 in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, and its primary meaning is “to cover”. So because of David’s confession and sincere repentance, his sins were covered. But covered with what?
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness...” Isaiah 61:10.
Because David acknowledged and sincerely repented of his sins, they were all forgiven, and a robe of righteousness was given to cover him and make it as if he had never sinned! But whose righteousness was David covered with?
“...their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17.
So the robe of righteousness that David was covered with was the righteousness of the Lord. And when was David covered with this robe? Was it when he had sinned? No. He was only covered with this robe of the Lord’s righteousness after he had confessed and repented of his sins.
While David was unrepentant, while he was living in sin, while he felt satisfied with his lifestyle, he was clothed with the garments of unrighteousness. But after David had acknowledged and fully repented of his sins, then he was covered with the pure garment of the Lord’s righteousness. Hence, this robe of righteousness is not given to anyone to cover them while in their sins, but to only cover those who are truly repentant of their sins.
Once covered with this precious robe, it was as if David had never sinned! And David was indeed righteous, not because he had never sinned, but even though he had sinned, yet because he had acknowledged and sincerely repented of these sins, God had fully forgiven him, and the Lord had given him His righteousness as a covering – making it as if David had never sinned in the first place! It was like the Lord had wiped David’s record slate clean, and given him a second chance – hopefully to avoid repeating the same sins this time. Now how many of us have wished for a second chance?
But is David the only person that can have all of their sins forgiven and be clothed with the Lord’s righteousness – making His righteousness their own?
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth....and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Jeremiah 23:5-6.
So how many can, like David, have all of their sins forgiven and be clothed with the Lord’s righteousness? Was His name to be called “The Lord David’s Righteousness”? No, his name was “The Lord OUR Righteousness”! Therefore all who have sinned, if they will follow the same steps that David followed, can have the Lord’s righteousness! And what were the steps David took? Once he became convicted of his sins, he confessed that he had sinned, and then fully and sincerely repented of them. Then his sins were forgiven, he was clothed with the Lord’s righteousness, and made as if he had never committed sin. As this would also include us today, we can also become clothed with the Lord’s righteousness and be as if we had not sinned! We also can have our record slate wiped clean and get that second chance – just like David!
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.
So if we today would acknowledge our sins and repent of them all to God, then we can indeed be cleansed from all unrighteousness, and become as if we had never sinned – having this precious covering of righteousness given to us! And where does this robe of righteousness come from? It comes from the Lord – it is His righteousness that covers us.
But without this precious and pure robe of the Lord’s righteousness covering us, we are covered with something less than pure, something that has been contaminated with our sins. With these soiled and dirty garments on us, any thing that we do – even any good that we might accomplish, is contaminated because it is done with these filthy clothes on us. This is strikingly portrayed in Isaiah.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee...” Isaiah 64:6-7.
So our sins have stained and made our clothes filthy! But there is a way to become cleansed: and that is to repent. When our sins are pointed out, and we become convicted that we have done wrong, then we have a choice to make: to either remain content to continue living in our sins and clothed with our filthy stained garments, or to become unsatisfied with our sinful life and then stir ourselves up to call upon the Lord, confess and repent of our sins, and take hold of Him so that we can be forgiven. After being forgiven, our sinful stained clothes can be removed, and we can be clothed with the pure garments of the Lord’s righteousness. And once we take hold of the Lord and His righteousness and this change of garments occurs with us, instead of feeling discontented and unsatisfied with our life, we will finally be at peace and rest.
We are told:
“Let him take hold of my strength (Strong’s, #4581 meaning the Rock – Christ Jesus), that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me....By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged...” Isaiah 27:5, 9.
“...we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...” Romans 5:1.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
This wonderful process of having your filthy garments that are stained with your sins removed from you, and then having the spotless robe of the Lord’s righteousness placed upon you, is beautifully and touchingly portrayed in Zechariah.
“And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan...is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments.” Zechariah 3:1-5.
You will notice that Satan is not happy that this wonderful change can take place in your and my life. He stands right by our side and tries everything he can, suggests to us every excuse he can think of, to try and prevent us from being convicted of our sins, from then making true confession and repentance for our sins, so that this wonderful change from sin to righteousness cannot take place in us.
But to all who are truly repentant and sorry for all their sins, and who stir themselves up to take hold of the Lord and His righteousness, what does God state to Satan? “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan.” What’s amazing is that God apparently points to us during this cleansing process of having our sins forgiven and being clothed with this robe of righteousness, and then declares to Satan: “is not this (person named Susie, or John, etc.) a brand plucked out of the fire?”
So it is the Lord’s righteousness that covers you! It is His righteousness that makes you as if you had never sinned! It is His righteousness that allows you to be “plucked out of the fire” and given this second chance! It is not your own righteousness, but the Lord’s righteousness. So if someone asks you what has made this great change in your life, what will you say to them?
“Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength...In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” Isaiah 45:24-25.
Thus in the Lord you have righteousness: in the Lord you shall be justified. But what does being justified mean? The Hebrew word “justified” means “to make right or to cleanse, to clear self” (Strong’s, #6663). So after you have confessed and repented of your sins, then the Lord justifies you, or cleanses you from all your sins, placing His righteousness on you and making you righteous in Him – as if you had never sinned. This would then clear you from the condemnation of sin – which is death, and enable you to obtain salvation and eternal life. That’s why this robe of righteousness is also likened to a garment of salvation! And just like David, you will not die because of the sins you have committed – no matter how big or great they are, because the Lord mercifully forgave you, justified you, and gave you His righteousness. So you have really passed from death unto life, and all because of and through Jesus Christ alone.
THE COST OF THIS COVERING
Now how much did this precious robe of the Lord’s righteousness cost David? It was given to him for free! Then how much does this robe cost us today some 3000 or so years later?
“Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned....But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many....for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Romans 5:12-19.
So how much does this precious robe of Christ’s righteousness cost us today? No money at all. It comes without any financial debt – it is a free gift. Are we deserving of it? No, not at all, not in the least degree. We are deserving of condemnation and death. But we are enabled by grace to have these sins forgiven and to be clothed with Christ’s righteousness; not because we deserve it, but because it is given to us as a gift from the Lord.
Yet sadly, not everyone will accept this gift – even though it is free. Not everyone is willing to acknowledge and sincerely repent of their sins when they are convicted of them. This precious robe of righteousness will only be given to those whom God has mercifully forgiven because they freely confessed their sins and accepted this gift from Christ. Those who refuse to confess their sins will not be forgiven. Thus they cannot be clothed with this precious robe, but will remain in their filthy garments, and will not obtain salvation.
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13.
So how many today can be clothed with the robe of righteousness? As many as will confess and repent of their sins and accept this precious gift. And where does their robe of righteousness come from? From the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His righteousness that makes you as if you had never sinned! It is not your own righteousness, but Christ’s righteousness!
Since we cannot give any money to buy this gift of righteousness, can we somehow work for it? No. Can we somehow become good enough to obtain justification and righteousness? No.
“...by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested...Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Romans 3:20-21, 4:6-8.
So we cannot purchase justification and righteousness at any price, and we cannot work or become good enough to obtain these either. They are given to us as gifts just as we are.
Now the Bible stated that “God imputeth righteousness without works” to us. The Greek word “imputeth” means to “conclude, account or reckon” (Strong’s, #3049). So when we sincerely confess and repent of our sins, God imputes righteousness to us. He does not conclude, account or reckon that we are still sinful, but concludes, accounts and reckons that we are indeed righteous. And this merciful action of God is all provided to us as a gift!
A FREE GIFT COST SOMEONE!
Even though this precious robe of righteousness is free to us, without money and without cost, did it cost the Lord Jesus Christ anything to be able to cover us with it? Yes indeed – it cost Him His life! Why?
“The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23.
What is sin?
“Sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4.
So what is going to happen to anyone who broke God’s 10 commandment law and committed sin? They are destined to die an everlasting death.
“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” Isaiah 13:9.
Now the Scriptures reveal to us all a very amazing fact of truth. This fact is that Christ is the Creator of all men and women on this earth (see John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:1-3)! So Christ is our Creator, and we therefore are His creation. But since we chose to commit sin and now deserve death and are destined to be destroyed, what did our Creator do? Did Christ just stand idly by in heaven and watch all of His creation hopelessly wandering around just waiting for the penalty of sin to be executed against them at any time by God? No. Then what did our Creator do?
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners...” 1 Timothy 1:15.
How did Christ come into the world to save us sinners? He was born through the linage of Abraham and David to a human mother named Mary, and the God of heaven was His Father (see Luke 1:31-35; Romans 1:3). Jesus actually became human, and even partook of all the same passions and infirmities common to fallen humanity (see Hebrews 2:14-18, 4:15). So quite amazingly, Jesus – our Creator – lowered Himself to become one of His creation in order to save us sinners.
Now, how did Jesus live while on this earth in order to save us sinners? Jesus Christ never once gave in to these passions or infirmities of His human nature, but overcame all the evils that are common to this world, and never once committed sin (Matthew 16:33; John 8:46; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 1:19; John 8:28-29). He did always those things that pleased God, and thus He could say in truth that those who had seen Him, had actually seen the character of God the Father being manifested (John 8:20, 28-29, 14:9).
As all this is true, then how would Christ try and save us sinners?
“...I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:13.
So Christ would try to save all the sinners on this earth by calling them to repentance from their sins. But how would repentance from our sins save us from the penalty of death for having already sinned?
“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.
“...he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all....He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth...thou shall make his soul an offering for sin....He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:5-11.
“...and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21.
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36.
So Jesus would draw all men and women unto Him – He would draw you and me unto him – by bearing our sins and iniquities, offering up and sacrificing His life in dying on the cross, thus suffering our punishment. Jesus then was resurrected from the grave and ascended to heaven (Matthew 28:1-7; Acts 1:1-11) so that He could then offer His spilt blood to atone for and wash away our sins (Matthew 26:28; Colossians 1:14; Psalms 51:2-3, 7; Revelation 1:5), and then offer His sinless righteous life as a covering for our past sinful unrighteous life. All this He offers to us free for the taking, so that all who would accept this gift could be set free from their sins and be saved from death and destruction.
But who is guilty of putting Christ on the cross and crucifying Him? All who have chosen to sin. If no one would have sinned, then Christ would not have needed to die to pay the penalty for their sins. So then because we have chosen to sin, then you and I are also guilty of killing Christ. And if you think about it, since Christ is our Creator, then we are guilty of killing the One who gave us life. What a horrible and solemn thought! Therefore who gave Christ the nail prints in His hands and caused Him to suffer all that He did? You and me!
“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” Zechariah 13:6.
Oh dear ones, we were supposed to be the closest friends of Christ – for no other reason than just because He is our Creator who gave us life. And yet, we – His supposed friends – killed Him!
MOTIVE BEHIND THE GIFT
Why would our Creator choose to voluntarily come down to this dark world to save those who were going to kill him?
“...Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.” Ephesians 5:2.
“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you...Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:9.
So because of His great love for you and me, Christ came to this earth, was born a human, lived among us and was indeed one of us and thus felt all that we do, including when we are tempted to sin. Yet He resisted all temptations and never once committed sin. He then died on the cross, spilling His blood in full payment of our penalty for sin. All this so that we could have our repentant sins forgiven and become justified, have our filthy garments removed and be clothed with His pure robe, having His righteousness imputed or placed on our account, thereby making us as if we had never committed sin. All this merciful kindness was provided because of Christ’s infinite love for you and me – because He views us as His friends!
But more than this dear ones.
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God...” 1 Peter 3:18.
Christ went through all that He did so that we could have the privilege and honor of being brought back to, and accepted by, God. And God will indeed accept us as His own son or daughter, not because we are worthy, but because we are clothed with the precious covering of His Son’s righteousness!
This wonderful act of mercy and love is beautifully portrayed in real life. Anciently, when baby lambs are born to mother sheep, the animals of prey are well aware of this time. As can sometimes happen, they will hunt down and kill a baby lamb leaving its mother childless, and will also kill a mother sheep leaving its baby lamb an orphan. So now you have a childless mother sheep, and an orphan baby lamb within the same flock. The childless mother, of course, will continuously call out for her lamb child to return from its wandering back to her side, but no corresponding answer comes back to her. And the orphan lamb will continuously call out pleading for its mother, but no answer comes either.
Now you would think that it would be quite an easy matter for the shepherd to connect these two unfortunate victims together, and both would then be happy. But such is not the case at all. No matter how hard the orphan lamb tries to connect itself with this mother sheep, she refuses to accept the orphan as her own son or daughter lamb. Why? Because it does not smell the same as her precious and only child. In this sad state, the orphan lamb will not survive. But all hope is not yet gone, because there is still one last chance that this orphan lamb can be saved from certain death.
What the shepherd is forced to do is to take the dead child lamb and skin it, then take its wool and cover the orphan lamb with it. Then something truly amazing and marvelous takes place. The mother sheep will not look or investigate beneath the covering, but out of pure joy and relief she will instantly accept this orphan as her own child, will protect it, will feed it and raise it as her own child, all because she recognizes that it has the same smell as her precious child.
This true life occurrence beautifully portrays the gospel and plan of our salvation. Isaiah tells us:
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2.
So because of sin, a gulf or chasm opened up between us and God the Father, thus cutting off all connection. There was absolutely nothing that we ourselves could do to provide a way to bridge this gulf and reconnect ourselves with our Father because the stain of sin was upon us, showing us that we were not His children, but are children of someone else – children of the wicked one. So even though the Father would be calling for us to come home, yet He could not recognize us as being His children because of our sins. Thus we were all doomed to wander until we lost our lives. It was then that Christ, the only begotten Son of God, stepped in and willingly chose to sacrifice His life so that all who desired to be reconnected with their heavenly Father could have the stain of sin removed from them, and then be covered with His precious righteousness. The Father would then immediately accept them back as being His own children without investigating beneath the covering, because He recognizes His precious Son.
Oh dear ones, this amazing plan of our redemption and salvation shows us very clearly that it is not just Christ who loves us tremendously by dying in order to provide us with forgiveness and with His robe of righteousness. But that God the Father loves us tremendously as well. And you know something: God is not just sitting up in heaven waiting to execute all who have chosen to sin. But He is intensely earnest that all should accept His Son and be saved.
“O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?” Ezekiel 33:11.
So God the Father is not just waiting to execute judgments upon the head of us sinners. He does not delight or take pleasure in the wicked dying. He is instead very earnest that all should repent of their sins and find life.
But it is even more than this. Did you know that Christ was not the One who developed this plan for our salvation? Although Christ agreed to carry out the will of God, yet it was the Father who came up with this glorious and amazing plan in order to bring us back to Him!
“Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire...burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I (Jesus Christ), Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God...” Psalms 40:5-8 (see also Hebrews 10:4-9).
“...God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9.
So it was the Father who came up with the plan of our salvation. He is the One who sent His Son into the world so that we might be saved from sin and death. So the Father is very earnest that we all should repent of our sins, be clothed with His Son’s righteousness and be saved from destruction. In fact, He is so earnest and actively involved in the plan of our salvation, that when one sinner finally decides to repent of their sins, and accept the free gift of justification and righteousness, that He lifts up His melodious voice and sings for joy!
“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” Luke 15:7.
“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty, he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy. He will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.
But you know dear ones, the Father’s love for us, and His desire for us to be saved from our sins through His Son’s righteousness, goes even farther than this! Christ revealed a story about a wayward son who was finally coming to his senses and realizing how greatly he had sinned against his father. Christ further revealed that when this wayward son decided to come back home, he feared that his father would not accept him because he had been such a great sinner. Yet he stirred himself up and decided to try anyway. Christ then continues:
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe and put it on him...For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:20-24.
So how much love does the Father have for you? It was out of infinite love for you that the Father developed this glorious plan for your salvation. It was out of infinite love for you that the Father willingly allowed His only begotten and precious Son to die at your hands – the very person He was trying to save and bring back home as His son or daughter. The Father could not bear the thought of losing you, and so He was willing to sacrifice His most precious possession – His Son Jesus Christ – in order to bring you back to Him so that you might be covered with the best robe – the robe of righteousness.
What love is this! Love that is beyond all human measure and understanding! Just think about it: How much love would it take for you to be willing to allow those who murdered your son to become part of your family? And if you did allow them to join your family, how much more love would it take for you to really and truly look upon and accept them as being your sons and daughters? And yet, when we truly confess and repent of our sins, the Father accepts His Son’s sacrifice as payment of our debt, and His Son’s spilt blood as forgiveness and washing away of our sins! The Father will also not look beneath the robe of Christ’s righteousness covering us to see the sinners and murderers that we once were, but He gladly and joyfully accepts or adopts us as truly being His children who have finally come back home!
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Galatians 4:4-7.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:3-7.
So how much does God the Father love you?
“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (atonement) for our sins.” 1 John 4:10.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us....For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Romans 5:6-10.
“Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God.” 1 John 3:1.
So it was out of infinite love for you and me that God the Father developed the plan of our salvation, which involved the death of His Son to provide us a way of escape from sin. It was also out of infinite love for us that Jesus voluntarily agreed to carry out this plan and provide His precious blood to wash away our sins, and His precious robe of righteousness to cover us so that we could be accepted as a real son or daughter of God.
It is this precious robe of righteousness, this garment of salvation, this covering that the Lamb of God had to die in order to provide you and me with, that enables us to have heaven as our home because God sees us in it as being His sons and daughters, and no longer sees us as being the strange children of the wicked one. In fact, anyone who does not have on this robe of Christ’s righteousness will not be saved, because they do not have on the “wedding garment” necessary in order to be admitted to the wedding feast in heaven (see Matthew 22:8-14).
So if we confess our sins, then how completely are we cleansed? We are “cleansed from all unrighteousness”, all our sins are washed away, all our filthy sin-stained garments are removed, and we are clothed with Christ’s righteousness. And quite amazingly, we are now accepted by God as if we had never sinned at all. We are indeed perfect and righteous without the spot or stain of sin, because God accepts us in His Son’s perfect righteousness, and does not look or investigate beneath this precious covering of the Lamb of God over us.
RIGHTEOUSNESS BY AND THROUGH FAITH
Since this precious robe of Christ’s righteousness is given to repentant sinners as a free gift, without money, without cost and without works, then is this a gift we can see? No, it is a gift that we cannot see or even feel.
As we cannot see or touch this gift, but it is placed on our account or imputed unto us, then how do we know that it is a real gift? We must believe that we have received it, we must believe that all our sins are really forgiven and that we are justified and stand before God clothed in His Son’s righteousness as if we have never sinned. This takes faith! That’s why the Bible calls this process Justification by Faith (Romans 3:28, 5:1; Galatians 2:16, 3:24) and Righteousness by Faith (see Romans 3:22, 9:30, 10:6; Galatians 5:5; Philippians 3:9; Hebrews 11:7). Thus it is through faith that you can indeed have all of your past sins forgiven, become justified and made righteous through Christ.
The Bible refers to this amazing miracle of transformation from being a defiled sinner into being a perfect righteous man or woman clothed in Christ’s righteousness, as becoming a "new creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15); a "new lump" (1 Corinthians 5:7); a "new man" (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10); a "new bottle" (Mark 2:21-22; Matthew 9:16-17; Luke 5:36-39); and being "born again" (John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:23).
Now after all our sins are forgiven, and we are justified and clothed in the precious robe of Christ by faith and are accepted by God as if we had never sinned, becoming born again into a “new man”; what are we then to do? Some believe that it does not matter what you do from now on, because once you are justified, you are justified forever – even for any sins you may commit in the future! But this is not what the Scriptures teach.
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God...without the deeds of the law.” Romans 3:24-25, 28.
So justification, or being made righteous, is only for the remission or forgiveness of all the sins that we have already committed: it is only for the “sins that are past”. Thus justification is not a blank check which covers our continued sinning, but is only good for our past sins! And being justified freely by His grace comes to us as a free gift, without cost and without works – it is by faith alone.
Then what are we to do after we have been justified and cleansed from all unrighteousness – becoming this new creature, this new bottle, this new born again man or woman in Christ because we have accepted the gift of righteousness by faith alone?
“The just shall live by faith...” Galatians 3:11.
“...the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4.
So not only are we justified by faith alone, but now what are we to do in this justified condition? We are to begin to live this new life! Before we were justified, we were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). But after being justified by faith, God has given us His grace, strength and power to begin to live. And how are we to live our new life? By our faith. And what must we do with our faith?
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God....For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:1-2, 6.
So what are we to do with our faith? We are to use it to stand up.
“...for by faith ye stand.” 2 Corinthians 1:24.
While we were living in sin, and were unlike God in character – being ungodly, we were dead, had no strength, and thus could not stand before God. But Christ died in order to justify and make us righteous so that we could exercise our faith and obtain the strength or grace or power necessary to live and stand up. Whereas before, it was a righteousness by faith alone experience that allowed us to be justified and made righteousness. But after being justified, we now have access to the grace and strength found in Christ necessary for us to live and to stand.
Now, will God stand us up? No, He gives us through Christ all the grace and strength we need in order to stand. But we must exercise our faith, we must grab hold of the grace and strength of Christ and then use it in putting forth all the efforts necessary to stand up.
But the Devil is ready to immediately attack any new born Christian who tries to stand. Satan hates this robe of Christ’s righteousness, and tries to strip it off us so that we will not be recognized as children of God. So to help defeat Satan’s plans, God offers all of His new born sons and daughters some extra help which will enable them to retain their robe of righteousness and not allow the devil to remove it!
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11.
So we are to use God’s strength and grace to put on this armor of God. Why? So that we can protect this precious covering of righteousness and avoid being hit and wounded by any of the wiles of the devil as we are standing up. And what does this armour consist of?
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Ephesians 6:14-18.
Now after we have successfully put on this armor of God and have stood up, what are we then to do?
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:12-13.
What are we to do while standing with the armor of God upon us? We are to use it to resist all the wiles and temptations of the Devil, to fend off all the fiery darts of the wicked, and to wrestle against all darkness and spiritual wickedness so we can remain standing and not fall. This means that we have to continue putting forth efforts in the strength and grace of Christ to fight against all of these evil things whenever and wherever they come against us. And through what are we to fight against evil? Through our faith. Faith in who: – ourselves? No, faith in God and His power to gain the victory in us. And we have God’s assurance that He will not allow the Devil to send so many darts against us all at the same time that we would have no chance to fend them all off!
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Dear ones, what a merciful God our Father is towards His children!
WHY DO WE HAVE TO FIGHT?
Why are we having to do battle against all these evil things in the first place? One reason is because the Devil does not want to let us go. We were once his children, children of darkness, children of disobedience, children of sin and wickedness. But since we have longed for a better life, have chosen to escape from the hard taskmaster that the Devil is, and have fled to Jesus Christ, then Christ has given us new clothing, God has accepted us as His children, and has given us shining armor with which to fight off the Devil in his desperate efforts to try and get us back into his service of evil. In other words, we have become changed from what we once were.
But it is more than this: the last great evil day – or Jacob’s time of trouble – is just ahead of us (Daniel 12:1; Ezekiel 7:7-9; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Jeremiah 30:7; Isaiah 33:2). So the Lord allows just enough darts and temptations to come against us so that we are forced to exert efforts to battle against all these evil things. And the more attacks we successfully fend off, the more victories we win, which means that we are growing more proficient in living as being the sons or daughters of God that we are. Thus as we fight, we grow in grace, becoming stronger and stronger in the Lord, becoming better and better prepared, and all so that we can remain standing and not fall and be lost during the last great evil day. That is why we are called upon by God to exercise our faith, and through our faith in God granting us the grace and strength we need to grow, we can then fight against the power of evil wherever it is found.
“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:17-18.
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12.
You know, when we succeed in fending off the darts or attacks of the wicked one and have gained the victory, we feel so good, and are led to rejoice and glorify God who has helped us gain the victory in His strength. But we need to fight in order to do what? To lay hold upon eternal life. Those who refuse to fight, believing the false doctrine that while they sit back and relax, Christ will do it all for them, will be lost.
So we are to fight the good fight against evil – how? By faith. Now in this fight of faith, are we to remain standing in the same place where we first stood up in? No.
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4.
Hence after we are standing in the armor of God and fending off all evil, then we are to walk in the newness of life. But which direction are we to walk?
“But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.” Jeremiah 7:23-24.
So we are not to follow the ways of evil by walking backward, but we are to walk forward following in the ways of God. Now, where are we to walk forward?
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16.
What are these old paths and the good way that we are to walk in?
“Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth...” Psalms 86:11.
“Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.” Psalms 119:151.
“And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.” 2 John 1:6.
Therefore once we are standing justified and righteous by faith, clothed in the precious garments of salvation and covered with the armor of God, we are to ask for, find and then to walk in the old paths of truth. We are to walk in and keep all of God’s commandments which were given in the beginning, while resisting all the Devil’s efforts to try and get us back into our past life of sin.
In doing this, we are actually keeping our justification and righteousness from being taken away from us which we received as gifts by faith alone. We are tenaciously to hold onto these precious gifts and not give them up. So you can see that it is not just righteousness by faith without works that entitles us to salvation. But it is also remaining righteous through faith by works and efforts that we put forth in the strength and grace given us by God.
GRACE AND SANCTIFICATION
This grace and strength from God is also a free gift which Christ purchased for us: we cannot earn it, nor can we work for it. Yet many have been taught that this grace only serves as a free ticket to salvation and eternal life, and so they again believe that all they need to do is just sit back and relax while Christ does it all for them. But what does God state is the real reason why He gives us His grace?
“By whom [Christ] we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.” Romans 1:5.
So God gives us His grace so that we can obey the truth and keep God’s commandments through faith. Then grace is not given us so that we can sit back, relax and do nothing. But grace is given us so that we can through faith obey God unto salvation.
Now with this correct understanding of grace, let us examine the passage that many quote to supposedly prove that grace is only a free ticket to heaven without any works or efforts needed.
“And you hath he (God) quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:1-10.
What is the gift of God? It is grace. So this grace is a gift of God that cannot be purchased by any amount of works, but is freely given to us. And why is it given to us? So that we can obey God and show to the world that we are no longer the children of disobedience, but now are the children of God, and we show forth the good works to prove it! So we are not to just sit back and relax, but we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works.
Thus salvation is actually composed of two different areas. The first is justification and righteousness by faith without works. The second is remaining righteous and being sanctified through faith and works combined. Therefore it is not salvation by faith alone, but salvation through faith and works!
“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13.
So our salvation is not just being justified by faith alone, but it also includes walking in the good way, keeping God’s commandments, obeying the truth, and being sanctified. But what does the word “sanctification” mean? Both the Hebrew and Greek words for “sanctification” or to “sanctify” or be “sanctified”, all translate “to purify or be purified” (Strong’s, Hebrew word #6942; Greek words #37 and 38).
But how are we sanctified?
“And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” John 17:19.
“Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1-4.
So we are sanctified or purified through the Spirit by believing and then using God’s grace and strength to obey the truth found in His word. And it is God’s will that we go through this purification process so that we will learn how to possess ourselves in purity and honor, how to keep ourselves from evil, and thus retain our righteousness that we received at conversion.
“I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word....Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalms 119:101, 105.
But how long are we to follow the truth of God, refrain ourselves from every evil way, and keep ourselves pure in righteousness? All the way till we either die or remain alive when Christ comes.
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12.
“...he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 10:22.
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of...I CHARGE thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick (living) and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine...But watch thou in all things...I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 3:14, 4:1-3, 5, 7-8.
So you can see that this sanctification or purification of ourselves does not occur all at once, but it is a continual process. Thus our sanctification is not instantaneous, nor is it given to us as a gift as was justification. This sanctification and purifying process continues throughout the rest of our lifetime. But why?
When we were justified and made righteous all our past sins had been mercifully forgiven, yet we still had the same old habits of sin. The same old defects and deficiencies of character that we formed for ourselves through all the years that we lived before we found Christ, were still a part of our character. So even though we are now justified and are standing perfect and righteous before God, yet our characters are still not formed after the character or image of God. I hope you can now see why this second part of salvation, or the process of sanctification, is absolutely necessary in order to purify all of God’s new born sons and daughters from all of their old sinful habits and defects of character as they follow the truth and obey God’s will – thus living the life of righteousness and being the children of God. And since God desires His people to be purified, then He is not just sitting back and leaving us alone to accomplish His will, but He is actively helping us to accomplish this before He comes the second time.
“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2-3.
Yet how is this purification process accomplished in us? By grace which allows us to obey God through faith and to resist and deny our past old habits and deficiencies.
“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.” Titus 2:11-13.
What did Paul state grace does in us that brings salvation? Grace enables us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, so that we can live righteously and godly in this wicked world. So Christ has not only redeemed us from all our past sins, but is working to purify or sanctify us as His peculiar people who are recognized by the good works that we do for His glory. So in this good fight of faith, we are being continually purified and sanctified as we deny our old habits of sin and defects of character, and instead follow the truth in obedience to the will of God.
Now this righteousness through faith process can also be likened to the following example. Picture a woman in a row boat. She has had a good time relaxing and floating downstream, while enjoying the scenery and even taking a nap. But now the sun is heading down, and she must get back to her docking port which is now some ways upstream. In order to get there she must grab hold of her two oars and use them with whatever strength and energy is necessary to force her way against the downward pull of the current. If she does nothing, she will continue floating downstream farther and farther away from her port until she eventually goes over the falls, drowns and thus loses her life in the bottom of the lake. If she paddles with only one oar, then she goes around in circles while still floating downstream. She must use both oars in order to fight against the pull and force of the current while exerting enough energy to make headway, and however long it takes her to reach her port depends on how much strength she exerts on the oars.
These two oars represent faith and works in the process of sanctification. Using either one alone will accomplish nothing against the downward pull and force of sin and wickedness. Thus in the process of sanctification, both faith and works must be combined in order to make headway against habits of sin and character defects and make it safely into the port of heaven. Using faith alone, or using works alone, will lead to destruction in the lake of fire.
“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone....For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:17, 26.
So first it is justification by faith alone, and then it is sanctification by a combination of faith and works. It is first righteousness by faith, and then it is righteousness through faith. But sadly, many will not use both faith and works in fighting against the force and pull of sin and wickedness. Many will not ask for, and will not put forth efforts to walk in, “the good way”. Nor will they walk in or keep all 10 of God’s commandments. This is because they see the pathway, and then believe that it is too narrow and too hard to follow, and so they convince themselves that it must be impossible to walk. Yet, what are we to do?
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14.
So it is indeed a straight and narrow pathway that God asks all those who have become justified and righteous by faith to walk in by grace through faith, and not allow your sight to discourage you. Yet many will fail to do so, preferring instead to take the downward wide path that leads to destruction instead of the narrow upward path that leads to life. And why do so many prefer to take the downward broad pathway? Because it is so much easier to let the downward force of gravity help pull you on your downhill walk, than it is to put forth the extra strength and effort necessary to fight against this downward force and instead walk and advance upward. Yet Christ states very plainly:
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Luke 13:24.
Now the Greek word for “strive” means “to struggle” “to contend with an adversary” “to labor fervently” (Strong’s, #75). So there are going to be many who desire to enter in at this straight gate and narrow pathway, who desire to do God’s will and keep all of His commandments, who desire to be saved and gain eternal life, but they will not put for the efforts necessary to struggle and labor fervently in contention with this adversary that is pulling them downward to destruction. And who is this adversary? The Devil. And what is this downward force that he uses to pull us backwards when God says for us to go forwards?
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1.
So the Devil tries to capitalize upon our past habits of sin and character defects of our flesh, and works through these to pull us back as we are trying to walk forward in the newness of life. But we are to resist these darts and attacks, and instead walk upward after the Spirit through faith, advancing in the truth and commandments of God, and not go backward towards the evils of our past old life of the flesh. And you cannot walk upward while going backward at the same time!
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would....Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:16 -17, 19-25.
“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord....They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.” Psalms 119:1, 3.
Now, how many victories over the evils of our past life in the flesh can we obtain as we crucify these and instead walk and advance forward in the truth and commandments of God?
“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark 9:23.
So how many victories can we obtain over evil through our belief of faith? Victories over all kinds of evil: not just against those evils that hold little attraction, but we can even gain the victory over the great and powerful things of evil that we have fallen for again and again! This is all possible if we will just walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
A TREMENDOUS OVERLOOKED TRUTH
How much does God the Father and Jesus want you to be saved? Well, how much has God and Jesus provided to help you in this fight against evil so that you might be saved? All of your confessed and forsaken sins are forgiven for free. You are given the precious robe of Christ’s righteousness as a gift. You are freely accepted and embraced by God as being His real sons and daughters. You are provided without cost all the grace and strength in Christ necessary to successfully fight against all sin and evil. You are also freely given all the armor necessary to successfully fend off all the attacks of the enemy. And God even prevents the Devil from overwhelming you with too many attacks at once so that you will not be overwhelmed and defeated.
So how much does God the Father and Jesus want you to be saved? A tremendous amount! They both have provided everything necessary for you to be saved and not lost. And why? So that you can be with Them, and then together you can enjoy all the good that heaven offers, all the pleasures of the new earth, as well as all the wondrous things which God has created throughout the entire unfallen universe for eternity!
But as amazing as all this is which has already been provided to you for free just so that you can be saved, yet there is more that God and Christ have provided you through this glorious plan of your salvation.
When a baby first begins to stand up, do they immediately jump up upon their feet? No, they go through a period of learning how to stand proficiently without wavering. And they do not give up trying their best until they have mastered how to stand. Those who have children know what I’m talking about. Now, after learning how to stand up, do they immediately walk across the room? No, they again go through a period of learning how to walk proficiently without losing their balance. And again, they do not give up trying their best, no matter how many times they fall, until they have mastered how to remain standing while walking forward.
But even though their early attempts at either standing or walking were far from perfect in the beginning, yet they were putting forth their best efforts to accomplish the difficult task before them, and they didn’t give up until they finally perfected each task as they matured. Since we, as parents, could not take their place to either stand or walk for them, we understood their weakness and accepted their imperfect efforts as the best they could do at that time in their particular stage of development and growth, and we were continually helping and encouraging them to put forth more efforts until they finally got it right. This same process of development and growth occurs with those who are born again and have become new creatures in Christ Jesus.
After we have been covered with the precious robe of Christ’s righteousness and stand perfect before God as if we had never sinned at all, our first attempts at standing, or walking, or fighting this good fight of faith in our new born again life will be far from the perfect example of what Christ revealed when He was on the earth. Then does God disown us because we are not yet living up to the perfect example of what His sons and daughters in Christ should reveal? No, not at all. God mercifully understands that we are still babes in Christ, and as long as we put forth our best efforts at obeying His will, then, even though we may come short of the standard of perfection, yet God accepts us as still being perfect in the particular stage of development and level of growth we are at in our Christian walk.
But how could God accept us as really being perfect when, after we did the best we could, we still came short of perfection? Amazingly, because we put forth our best efforts and could do no more, then God accepted Christ’s perfection on our behalf. Or in other words, Christ made up the difference between where our best efforts ended and what the standard of perfection is!
“For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.” Psalms 18:30-32.
“...their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17.
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25.
So on a scale of 1 - 10, if 10 was the standard of absolute perfection, and our best efforts at the time only made it to a 4 on this scale, then Christ’s perfection would make up the difference, making us a perfect 10 through His righteousness. How? Because we are clothed in His righteousness, and the Father mercifully does not investigate beneath this covering of the Lamb, but accepts us as being faultless and perfect in Christ “with exceeding joy”!
“The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness...” Jeremiah 51:10.
“The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever...” Psalms 138:8.
Now this is not talking about someone who stops the warfare, refusing to advance upward, and instead has chosen to sin, because Christ’s robe of righteousness will never cover anyone who practices a known sin. But this is talking about advancing upward on this straight and narrow pathway, not walking in our flesh, but doing our best to walk in the Spirit while working to overcome our defects and faults of character. And then if we should come short of perfection, Christ will make up the difference with His precious righteousness!
“Who shall ascend [advance upward] into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” Psalms 24:3-5.
When we were justified, Christ’s righteousness was imputed to us by faith alone. But during the process of sanctification, where we are learning by experimentation and experience how to walk and grow more into a mature and perfect man or woman in Christ, Christ’s righteousness is imparted to as through faith as we put forth our best efforts to obey the will of God towards perfecting our character in all areas. And after we have done our best, if we still came short of perfection in any area, God understands where we are at in our growth process of sanctification, and He mercifully accepts us as being perfect in our Beloved Saviour.
Do you realize what this means dear ones? This means that all the way along this straight and narrow pathway which you are walking and advancing upward on, you can indeed be perfect in and through Christ Jesus as you continue to grow in grace! You can have the assurance that you are accepted of God as His perfect son or daughter all along this straight and narrow pathway because you are doing your best to obey His will! This should then give you the assurance and confidence that you can indeed come directly before God at any time of need without having any fear of being rejected because you couldn’t do a better job at walking at that particular time!
“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more....Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” Hebrews 10:14-17, 19-24.
Do you now understand better the statement of Paul to the Colossians about Christ? He plainly stated:
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 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. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him...” Colossians 2:6-10.
The Greek word for “complete” means “to level up or fill up or to perfect” (Strong’s #4137). So dear ones, you are complete, leveled and filled up to the standard of perfection and righteousness in Jesus Christ at every step in this Christian walk – if you do your best and not give in to your past life of sin! The Lord Jesus Christ is your Helper all along that narrow pathway, and He will continue to make up your deficiencies of character each and every step of the way until you become “a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” growing “up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:13, 15).
Remember, Christ told us that “first [comes] the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come” (Mark 4:28-29). Thus at every step you take up this straight and narrow pathway, at every stage of growth and development in your Christian walk, you stand perfect and righteous and complete before the Father through Jesus. Just like with the corn in the husk: while it was growing towards becoming that perfectly formed full corn in the ear, it was perfect at each stage of development because it was doing its best to follow the will of God! The same with our growth and development towards becoming that perfectly formed man or woman in character: we are perfect in Christ at each stage – if we do the best that we can do in following the will of God.
“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth [up that straight and narrow path], and grow up as calves of the stall.” Malachi 4:2.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17.
“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18.
So in the beginning of our Christian life and walk with God, we do not start out on this straight and narrow pathway with a character that is fully formed in perfection and righteousness. But we start out as “calves” or young children of God who are to learn to first stand, fight and then “go forth” in walking forward and upward on this “path of the just”. And as we advance we also grow and develop “from faith to faith” and “more and more unto the perfect day” until we finally become a fully mature Christian man or woman who represents Christ perfectly in character. At that point Jesus no longer has to make up any deficiencies in us. But all this is only made possible through the glorious plan of our salvation. All I can say is what an amazing and glorious plan God has developed and Christ is carrying out, just so we can be saved!
So again, how much does God and Jesus want you to be saved? How much do They love you and want you to be with Them for eternity? More than just a tremendous amount – it is truly a stupendous amount!
But dear ones, as amazing as this plan of our salvation is and all that God and Christ have already provided for each one of us, it even goes beyond this. They have provided even more to help each one of us to be saved and not lost.
GOD PROVIDES MORE!
How many of us can overcome by ourselves in our own strength and gain salvation? Not one. Now how many of us can overcome by ourselves in the strength and power of God and gain salvation? Again, not one!
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13.
Now lets just think about this for a moment. Since God has spent so much time, sacrifice and effort to provide you with justification and righteousness by faith, then do you think that He would just abandon His now newly justified and righteous young child to battle it all alone against sin and the Devil? No way! He loves you too much, and cannot sit on the sideline watching. Also, do you think that Christ, after all the time, pain and sacrifice He has endured to provide you with His precious robe of righteousness, that He would just abandon you to battle it all alone against sin and the Devil as well? No way! He also loves you too much, and also cannot sit on the sideline watching.
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21.
So both God the Father and Jesus Christ are actively working for our perfection and salvation. But after all that we have done to both God our Father and to Jesus our Saviour, and yet they still love us enough to sacrifice so much in order to save us, is indeed a mystery!
“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” Colossians 1:26-29.
Now we read that God “worketh in you” to do His will. But just how is God in you? Through Jesus Christ who is the connecting link or mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). And we also read that Christ is “in you, the hope of glory”. But just how is Jesus Christ in you? Through the Holy Spirit of truth, His representative.
“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name [including helping us to overcome all sin and character defects], that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” John 14:10-20.
“Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” 1 John 4:13.
“...the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” 2 Timothy 1:14.
So God the Father works in us through His Son Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ works in us through the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit works in us through the truth and word of God. So all three mighty powers and Beings in the Godhead are not just sitting on the sidelines watching us battle alone, but They are actively working in us so that we all can fight this battle together against sin and the Devil.
So it is not just our Father and Jesus that are working for our salvation, but the Holy Spirit as well. And as long as you continue to walk and advance forward in the armor of God, working to please Him through faith while continuing to hold on to and retain the righteousness that was given to you by faith in the beginning, how can you fall or fail to gain the victory? That is why we are to be baptized in the name of all three of these Mighty Gods so that each One has our permission to help us all along this pathway (see Matthew 28:19-20).
But without the Holy Spirit being in us, then we would not have either Jesus or our heavenly Father working in us as well. That is why the Holy Spirit is called another Comforter besides Christ, and amazingly, He is also given to us as a free gift without cost from the Father.
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:13.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38.
WHAT KIND OF POWER WORKS IN US?
Now what kind of power do these three Gods have as They work in us? They have divine power! So since we have this direct connection to Their divine power working in us, then how many times can we gain the victory over sin and the Devil?
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 John 3:9.
What represents this seed?
“And I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15.
Who bruised the head of the serpent or Satan? Jesus Christ – He was superior to Satan in everything because He never gave in to any of Satan’s temptations. And who bruised the heel of Jesus? Satan – by crucifying Him on the cross. So who represents the seed that is given to us when we are born again? This seed represents Jesus Christ.
“...thy seed, which is Christ.” Galatians 3:16.
Now before we were born again, we were clothed in what kind of garments? We learned that we were clothed in the filthy and sin-stained garments of unrighteousness (see Isaiah 64:6). Now please bear with me here. The Hebrew word for “filthy” means “menstrual flux” (Strong’s #5708), and the Hebrew word for “rags” means “clothing or garment” (Strong’s #899). So “filthy rags” literally means clothing or garments that have been soiled by the menstrual flux of a woman’s monthly cycle, and in Leviticus it mentions that this bloody menstrual issue defiles everything that it comes in contact with (see Leviticus 15:19-27). This is a very descriptive picture of someone contaminated with sin, and thus any good deeds of righteousness which they might do could not be accepted by God because it was done while their garments were contaminated by filth.
But once we are born again, these filthy garments are removed from us. We are then cleansed and clothed in Christ’s pure and spotless robe of righteousness, and the seed or Jesus Christ is planted within us. Now when a woman becomes impregnated with seed, what happens to her menstruation cycle? It ceases, and so there is no more blood to defile her garments. So in this born again condition, we become, as it were, impregnated with the seed – or we have Christ living within us. In other words, we are united with Divinity.
Now what happens when humanity and Divinity is combined? We learned that “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin”! So once our weak efforts to obey God combines with the divine strength and grace of Christ, what happens? We will not sin, but we will obey God! So you can see that we could then do works of righteousness that would be accepted by God since we are no longer clothed in the filthy rag experience we had while living in sin and in fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.
“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:1-4.
So now, how much does God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit want you to be saved? Well, all of your confessed and forsaken sins are forgiven for free. You are given the precious robe of Christ’s righteousness as a gift. You are freely accepted and embraced by God as being His real sons and daughters. You are provided without cost all the grace and strength in Christ necessary to successfully fight against all sin and evil. You are also freely given all the armor necessary to successfully fend off all the attacks of the enemy. God even prevents the Devil from overwhelming you with too many attacks all at once so you will not be overwhelmed and defeated. Christ even makes up for your deficiencies and defects of character with His righteousness as you do your best to deny your habits of sin and defects of the flesh while obeying the will of God. And, as we just learned, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not abandon you to fight this warfare alone, but They all work together in you providing you with Their divine power so that you will no longer sin, but will obey God in all things.
As if you needed even further proof of how anxious your heavenly Father is that you become saved and not lost, He even hears and answers your prayers to Him before you have even finished saying them – especially those prayers where you are asking for help.
“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24.
So how much does God and Christ and the Holy Spirit want you to be saved? How much do They all love you and want you to be with Them for eternity? More than just a tremendous amount; more than just a stupendous amount; it is truly an infinite amount!
Now dear ones, if you fully understood, realized and appreciated all that the Godhead have already provided you, and all that They are already Personally doing through this glorious plan of your redemption and salvation just so that you could be with Them and together enjoy eternity, what will you be led to say and to do?
“My mouth shall show forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.” Psalms 71:15-16.
“The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.” Isaiah 33:5.
“The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.” Jeremiah 51:10.
Now the Godhead has provided all that They can in order for you to be saved. But They cannot save you by Themselves. Since you know this glorious plan of your salvation, and all that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are Personally doing so that you can be saved, what are you now to do? “Repent ye therefore, and be converted” (Acts 3:19), remembering that you are to “Strive to enter in at the straight gate”; to “go forth” and “walk in the spirit”; to “go in the strength of the Lord God” and “ascend” up that straight and narrow pathway.
How is all this to be accomplished? By taking one advancing and upward step at a time so you can be saved. This is indeed possible by grace through faith, taking just one step at a time.
You know, the end of any journey all depends upon taking that first step in the right direction. So in order to reach the end of this straight and narrow path, you must take that first step of faith in obeying the will of God. But sometimes taking that first step can be the most hardest to do, especially when to all our sight and senses it seems impossible to walk. Yet, what does God tell us to do? To go forward in faith and do not doubt. Remember, you are to walk by faith, not by sight.
After the children of Israel had wandered 40 years in the wilderness, they finally came to the Jordan River and saw that the promised land was just on the other side. But it was the rainy season at that particular time of year, as well as being the time of harvest, and thus the Jordan River had overflowed its banks and was swift and raging. To all human sight and understanding it was impossible to swim across the Jordan without drowning. So here, just before them, was this terrible imposing obstacle preventing them from advancing any further.
But what did God tell them to do? He told them to go forward and pass over (see Joshua 3:5-17). So the children of Israel were faced with having to choose either to put faith and trust in their eyesight and understanding and then cease advancing, or they had to put faith and trust in their God who commanded them to walk forward. When the children of Israel decided to allow God’s word to rule in their hearts and to walk by faith while ignoring their sight and understanding, actually putting forth the effort and taking that first step into the water in obedience to God’s command, then the Lord came through with His divine power and parted the Jordan river in half. They were then able to overcome that obstacle which was preventing their advancement, and they walked into the promised land having gained the victory.
The same with us dear ones. During this time of harvest and the falling of the latter rain, we are to walk upward on this straight and narrow pathway one step at a time. And when we find any obstacles preventing our advancement, we are not to just give up – even though to all intents and purposes it appears impossible to overcome them. But since God tells us to go forward, then we are to forget and crucify self, put our faith and trust in God, allow God’s word to rule in our hearts and then take that first step in obeying God’s will. Then God’s divine power will work in and through us allowing us to walk right past that obstacle like it was nothing more than a mirage. Thus we will allow God to work in us to accomplish His will, and we will gain the victory through Christ which strengthens us. In doing this, sin will no longer have a stranglehold upon us like it did before we accepted Christ.
“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalms 119:133.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin...? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life....Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him...Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you...Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?...But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness....But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:1-4, 6-8, 11-14, 16-19, 22-23.
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalms 119:11.
What was the key that prevented sin from having any further “dominion over you”? Having God’s word “in mine heart” and “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God”. And what was the key that made you “free from sin”? Ordering all of “my steps in thy word” and “as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” So the key was having God’s word in and the guide of your life, as well as no longer yielding yourself to temptation, no longer yielding yourself to be servants of unrighteousness, but instead to yield yourself to God to become servants of righteousness and holiness! It is this word of God in your heart or mind, and then yielding your will to follow God’s word and commands, that brakes sin’s dominion over you and makes you “free from sin”!
The Greek word for “yield” used here actually means “to exhibit or to stand” (Strong’s, #3936). Now how much effort does it take to stand? You have to employ and set your entire body to work in order to stand up. So to yield yourself to obey God unto righteousness is more than just choosing to serve Him, it IS serving Him. It takes decision and determination to force your will to accomplish the task of overcoming, and once your will is set to work, then just like with the child learning to stand, your whole focus will be centered upon accomplishing that task, and you will not give up until you succeed and achieve righteousness.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6.
To hunger and thirst after something means that your whole focus is centered upon obtaining that object or goal. And what is the promise if we hunger and thirst after righteousness instead of sin? “They shall be filled”!
INTERNAL PEACE IS POSSIBLE
Now what has to occur before you can yield yourself to either commit sin or do righteousness? You must first make the choice. So you actually choose for yourself – either sin or righteousness! Neither Satan nor God can decide or act for you. The choice to walk upward by faith in the Spirit, or to walk downward in the lusts of the flesh, is for you alone to make. The Devil cannot force you to take the easy broad road, nor can God force you to take the straight and narrow path. The choice of whom you are going to yield your will to, and which road you then walk in, is fully left up for you to decide.
If you should choose to follow the will of Satan and yield your will to obey him, then his power works in you to do of his evil pleasure, and you together fulfill the works of unrighteousness. But if you choose to follow the will of God and yield your will to obey Him, then His divine power works in you to do of His good pleasure, and you together fulfill the works of righteousness which gains the victory over the flesh. And believe me dear ones, when you decide to yield your will to obey God, and take that first step forward in obedience, the force of your will directs and focuses your entire body and mind towards accomplishing this task. Then with God’s divine power combining with your human efforts, sweet victory is assured over any obstacle – no matter how enormous or seemingly impossible it appears to be to overcome!
“...let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” Isaiah 27:5.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
So no matter how enormous or seemingly impossible the habits of sin or the obstacles are that prevent you from advancing, yet when you choose to obey God and then put forth your will power and take that first step in obedience to God’s will, His divine strength and grace combines with your weak efforts, the victory will be obtained, and sweet internal peace will be yours.
For instance, how many times did the man with palsy try to stand up from his bed before he met Christ? I imagine hundreds and even thousands of times. Yet each time he tried in his own strength to arise, his body just laid there limp, unresponsive and useless, which only increased his troubled and tortured mind. But when he met Christ, what did Christ tell him to do?
“Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.” Matthew 9:6.
So even though the palsied man had probably tried thousands of times to arise before, yet he had to overcome his doubt and then exercise faith in Christ to try it just one more time. And as he put forth his will power and exerted effort to obey the command of Christ through faith, what happened? God’s divine power combined with this man’s efforts to obey, and he was able to gain the victory over that seemingly impossible obstacle that was hindering his advancement, and he became completely healed! Finally, he was able to experience peace!
You can see the same experiences with the lepers (Luke 17:12-14); the man with the withered hand (Matthew 12:13); the blindman (John 9:6-7); etc. Each time it appeared humanly impossible for them to overcome their problems. Yet when they met Christ, and decided to overcome their doubts, obey His commands, and then put forth their will power in taking that first step to obey through faith, then God’s divine power combined with their weak efforts, and they all obtained the victory and sweet peace. The same with us!
WHAT IF WE FALL BACK?
Now in this walk through faith, some will fall into sin which stains their garments once again with blood and filthiness. But does that mean that they are lost? No.
“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again...” Proverbs 24:16.
“When I fall, I will arise...” Micah 7:8.
So once you realize that you have fallen into sin, and your garments are no longer pure and spotless, then humbly confess and repent of this sin to God. You know by faith that He will re-justify and re-cleanse you and make your garments spotless once again. Thus you will be able to have His strength and grace to stand back up and then continue forward in the process of sanctification and righteousness.
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1.
Then afterwards, what does Jesus tell us, just like He told the woman who had fallen into sin and then was forgiven?
“...go, and sin no more.” John 8:11.
So if you fall back into sin, then confess, repent, and stand back up in Christ and go forward – don’t just remain fallen down! Learn from your mistake, and also learn to avoid repeating it – just like you did when you were first learning how to stand as a child.
What caused you to sink back into sin is the same that caused Peter to sink into the raging sea – you took your eyes off of Christ (see Matthew 14:29-31). So this time keep your eyes more firmly focused on Christ who is leading you to the city of God, and keep walking forward through faith, even through you have to step into the raging waters of affliction. You will only fall again if you take your eyes off of Christ and instead fix them upon yourself or upon your circumstances. But instead keep your eyes focused upon Christ, and in doing so you will be beholding Him, and by beholding Him you will become “changed into the same image from glory to glory [or from one stage of growth in character to another stage of growth], even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
But please know and realize this solemn point: we learned that at conversion we have the seed or Christ as it were impregnated or living within us, and this stopped our filthy rag menstrual issue of blood from continuing to defile our garments. So after Christ is now living in you, if you should happen to choose to sin, your garments became stained with blood and were no longer pure. But what would cause your garments to now be stained with blood? Has your filthy rag issue started over again? No. Then where did the blood issue from that stained your garments? Well, if a pregnant woman begins to bleed, where does the blood issue from? It issues from her placenta which attaches her baby to her womb. And what does this then mean? This is a signal that her baby is in distress, and quite possibly is in the beginning stages of being aborted out!
So dear ones, after you have accepted Christ as your Saviour, have confessed and repented of your sins, have been justified and clothed with Christ’s righteousness, and are walking on this straight and narrow path, if you should then choose and yield to sin, instead of advancing past that obstacle through faith, then you are guilty of causing Christ distress, pain and suffering beyond what He has already endured for you, and you are also in danger of aborting Him out of your life. Now if you confess and repent of this sin, then this abortion process is stopped. But also realize, that if you continue sinning and refuse to repent, being determined to give up the warfare and no longer advance upward, then this abortion process will continue until Jesus is fully and forever aborted out of your life! Thus you will be guilty of killing Christ afresh, and then there is nothing you can do to remedy this situation – which means that you are eternally lost!
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” Hebrews 6:4-8.
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?...Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:26-29, 35-39.
What causes you to be lost is when you have fully understood and embraced the truth of God, have enjoyed living in it and experiencing the work of the Holy Spirit in your life and the power of God working in you to overcome your habits of sin and defects of character: if after all this you then choose to completely turn your back upon God, to no longer follow the truth, but have gone back into living your life of sin and unrighteousness, then there is no more forgiveness of your sins because you have killed or crucified Christ afresh and done despite unto the Holy Spirit of grace. This means that you are lost without any hope of obtaining a third chance for salvation. This also proves that there is no such Bible truth to the belief of once-saved-always-saved, because you can always throw away the free gift which you once received!
“...when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.” Ezekiel 18:24.
So just because after you are converted and are walking on this path, you should happen to fall into sin, doesn’t mean that you have fallen off the path and are now destined for destruction. But recognize that you have caused Christ distress and pain by this sin, confess and repent of it, and then stand back up in the strength and grace of God – not to repeat the same sin this time, but to advance beyond that obstacle that is hindering you from obtaining the promised land. In doing this you will have stopped the abortion process which your sin started, thus avoiding killing Christ afresh and losing your salvation, but are now once again walking upward towards the city of God to that promised land and eternal life!
ALL MUST FIGHT AGAINST THESE DEADLY SEVEN
Before the children of Israel could inherit the promised land, they first had to fight against all the evil nations that were preventing them from living in that blessed paradise. But does anyone know how many of these wicked nations they had to defeat before they were able to obtain the promised land? There were exactly seven nations.
“When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them...” Deuteronomy 7:1-2.
“And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.” Acts 13:19.
So these seven nations were greater and mightier than all of Israel. But what did God tell them to do? He told them that before they could have the promised land as their own, they had to fight against all seven of these wicked nations. In this fight God also told them that they could not show mercy to any of these nations, they were also not to make any agreements or truces with them, but they were to violently smite them until they had been utterly consumed and completely destroyed out of the land.
Now were the Israelites to be afraid and doubt that the Lord’s command to conquer all seven of these mighty and strong nations was something impossible for them to accomplish? No. Were they to fight against and conquer all of these nations by themselves? No. Were they to fight against all seven nations at the same time? No. Listen to what God told them:
“If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt...Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible. And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little...” Deuteronomy 7:17-18, 21-22.
So the people of God were not to allow the sight of these seven mighty nations to make them afraid and then doubt that they could indeed conquer and utterly consume each one. But they were to remember that God was in their midst. Nor were the people of God to fight against these seven strong nations all by themselves, but they were to remember that God was going to fight along with them. Nor were they to try and conquer all seven wicked nations at the same time, but were to remember that God would help them to overcome and conquer each one little by little until finally all seven would be completely consumed. And once these seven obstacles had been removed which were preventing them from obtaining their goal, then the children of Israel would obtain the promised land.
Now some of you might be asking yourself: “What does this history have to do with me in the process of sanctification and gaining eternal life?
“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19.
How many sins and abominations were listed there that God hates? Exactly seven! So then, do you suppose that you will be able to gain the promised land of heaven and live on the new earth if you do not overcome, conquer and utterly consume each one of these seven sins from your life and character? Not at all! God hates each one of the sins, considers them to be an abomination, and nothing that is abominable will be allowed to enter heaven!
“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Revelation 21:7-8.
So just like there were seven mighty, strong and wicked nations that had to be fully conquered and utterly consumed before the Israelites could possess the promised land, so there are exactly seven wicked and abominable sins that must be fully conquered and consumed out of each one of us before we can gain the promised land! As this is true, then how are we to go about overcoming all seven of these mighty, strong and abominable sins?
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, 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. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.” 2 Peter 1:5-12.
So exactly how many righteous characteristics were there that you were told to add on to your faith? Exactly seven! Now do you suppose that these characteristics have something to do with overcoming these wicked and mighty abominable sins so that you can gain the promised land, and be allowed entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Well, lets see.
If you became virtuous, then you would never lie. Thus you would have fully overcome a lying tongue – which was one of the seven abominable sins.
If you became knowledgeable in the ways of God, then you would never bear false witness. Thus you would have fully overcome that abominable sin as well.
If you became temperate in all things lawful, then you would never be sowing discord or strife among brethren.
If you became patient, then you would never have feet that were swift in running to mischief.
If you became godly, then you would never give a proud look to anyone.
If you exhibited brotherly kindness to others, then you would never have hands that shed innocent blood.
And finally, if you developed charity or agape love, then you would never allow your heart or mind to devise wicked imaginations towards or against others.
So you can clearly see that if you would only follow this guideline of adding to your faith “virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity”, then all seven of these wicked, strong and mighty abominable sins can indeed be fully conquered and utterly consumed away from you.
Now in doing this, are you to allow your sight of these mighty sins to make you afraid and then doubt that you can indeed conquer and utterly consume all seven of them? No, because why? Because just like with the Israelites fighting against the wicked nations, God is in your midst. Now are you to fight against all of these strong sins by yourself? No, because just like with the seven strong nations, God will fight them right along with you. Now are you to try and conquer all seven of these mighty sins all at the same time? No, because just like with the mighty nations, God helps you to conquer each and every one, just one at a time, little by little, until finally all of these abominable sins have been fully and utterly consumed out of you. And just like with the seven mighty nations, once these seemingly undefeatable obstacles have been conquered, then you will obtain the promised land!
Remember: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4.
Even though at times you must exert every ounce of will power in order to resist and violently fight back the urges and desires of your flesh, yet know that as you put forth the effort to do so, then God’s divine power will combine with your efforts, and thus the victory is assured.
“Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:5-8.
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12.
So how do you gain the victory over every sin and defect of character until you become the perfect man or perfect woman in Christ Jesus? By submitting your will unto God, then resisting these mighty and strong urges and desires of the flesh, exerting violent efforts with determined purpose in order to gain the victory through faith combined with divine power, and thus you will obtain the kingdom of heaven. This is all accomplished by taking just one step at a time in faith, keeping your eyes fixed upon Jesus and not letting them drift onto your circumstances or onto yourself. And all this is only made possible by the infinite sacrifice of God your Father and your Saviour Jesus Christ in providing for you this glorious plan of salvation – which is Justification, then Sanctification, or Righteousness by faith and then Righteousness through faith.
“If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” Psalms 130:3-4.
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1.
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.
WILL YOU BE AT THE WEDDING?
So now, how much does God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit want you to be saved? Well, throughout this booklet, what have we learned? All of your confessed and forsaken sins are forgiven for free. You are given the precious robe of Christ’s righteousness as a gift. You are freely accepted and embraced by God as being His real sons and daughters. You are provided without cost all the grace and strength in Christ necessary to successfully fight against all sin and evil. You are also freely given all the armor necessary to successfully fend off all the attacks of the enemy. God even prevents the Devil from overwhelming you with too many attacks all at once so you will not be overwhelmed and defeated. Christ even makes up for your deficiencies and defects of character with His righteousness as you do your best to deny your habits of sin and lusts of the flesh while obeying the will of God. Also God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not abandon you to fight this warfare alone, but They all work together in you providing you with Their divine power so that you will no longer sin, but will do the will of God in all things. And God will hear and answer your prayers to Him before you have even finished saying them!
So how much does God and Christ and the Holy Spirit want you to be saved? How much do They all love you and want you to be with Them for eternity? More than just a tremendous amount; more than just a stupendous amount – it is an infinite amount! It is truly beyond all measure!
Yet if this glorious plan of salvation had not been devised by God and carried out by Jesus Christ, then all of us would not be able to stand and avoid being destroyed. But praise God that He developed this plan of our salvation! Praise Jesus that He perfectly carried it out in our behalf! And praise the Holy Spirit for making this plan effectual in the lives of those who desire to be saved from sin and destruction! Without Their tireless help, we would definitely have nothing to be happy about. But since we do have each one of Their help in our lives to overcome sin and be saved, we do indeed have much to be joyful about!
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:10-11.
“For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” Isaiah 62:1-5.
So in this sanctification process of your righteous growth and development in the Christian life as you walk upward by and through faith on this straight and narrow pathway, not fulfilling the lusts of your flesh, but instead sacrificing your desires while taking each step, one after another, in using your will to obey the commands of God, you will indeed continue advancing until you resemble Christ perfectly in every area of your life and character.
This advancement in character will continue until you either die in the Lord, or finally reach the point to where Christ no longer has to make up any of your deficiencies or defects. And when 144,000 people come to this place of fully representing Christ perfectly in character in all areas, then Christ ceases His ministration in heaven, throws down the censor, and then declares that all who are righteous will remain righteous, and all who are filthy will remain filthy – thus closing probation upon all the world (Revelation 22:11). After performing His priestly work for nearly 2000 years now, Christ will finally be able to state: “My bride has made herself ready! I am coming to get her and take her home, for the marriage supper is already prepared, and all the guests have already been invited.”
“Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” Psalms 50:2-5.
“...the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” Matthew 25:10.
So dear ones, I believe that now you can clearly see that the Godhead have provided everything necessary for you to be saved and They can do no more. Now it is up to you! Especially has Christ done everything He possibly can do to help make His bride ready so that He can come and take her home! I also believe that you can now clearly see the pathway that leads to heaven, you can also see the mighty sins and strong obstacles that are preventing you from obtaining that promised land, and now you understand exactly what you must do.
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works...” Hebrews 6:1.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
“I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes [laws] alway, even unto the end....for I will keep the commandments of my God.” Psalms 119:112, 115.
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12.
“Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and send them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” Zechariah 10:1.
“For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14.
This is my sincere prayer for you all, that in this current season of the latter rain: in this time of harvest, you will walk by faith and not by sight and take that step into the water in obeying the commandment and will of God. Then God can work in you to fulfill all that the glorious plan of salvation provides, dividing any obstacles in half, so that you may continue walking forward and growing more and more unto the perfect man or woman in Christ, thus gaining that promised land one advancing step at a time.
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Revelation 22:14-15.
Since both the Father and Christ have revealed such immense love for you and me, in that while we were yet sinners who did not love either of Them and were even enemies to Them both, God still sent His Son to die for us: then the real question is: Will you, dear one, allow this infinite love to soften your heart? Will you come to your senses and stir yourself up to come back to God? Will you confess and repent of all of your sins and accept the free gift? Will you be one of those brands plucked out of the fire? Will you make the Father sing over you with joy because you have come back home to be lovingly embraced with His strong and protecting arms? Everything has already been prepared and provided so that you can be saved. It is now up to you! Will you now make the righteousness of Christ your own by and through faith?
“...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Revelation 3:20-21.
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be....And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:12, 17.