FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
October 16, 2015
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE – Part XIX
Three Principal Subjects to Unite the Flock and Sanctify the Soul
Character unity, based on the heavenly standard, transcends organizational unity particularly that of spiritual Babylon’s, which is based on a global unity that demonizes the individuality of religion. The former is based on true freedom and liberty and is as unchanging, uncluttered, and everlasting in its principles and methods of achievement, as its divine Author and Example is–Jesus Christ, the humble Creator of heavens and the earth, the world’s Redeemer, merciful High Priest, Mediator and Advocate in heaven, who, like the Father, “changeth not” “neither is there any variableness nor shadow of turning,” is “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” the great I Am, and thus, unquestionably, to the earnest seeker of truth, and adopted the sons of daughters of God, is “the Author and finisher of our faith.”
Human organizational unity and all that comes with it, though based even on the most recent cutting-edge knowledge enhanced by the latest science and technology, is characterized by constantly changing concepts and priorities, increasingly spiritualistic philosophies which are but outgrowths of ancient heathen myths and esoteric wisdom, and policies that change with every political cycle, and every time there is a changing of the guards among those occupying the various ivy towers of “the great men of the earth” with craftily-designed legalese and jargon that the man on main street will never understand, thus, needs “lawyering up.”
Though prefaced with the repetitive “we are on the verge of discovering the ultimate breakthrough solution” to whatever ails humanity or feeds the legitimate hopes as well as the fantasies of the unconverted heart and carnal mind by the world’s think tanks—scientists, inventors, politicians, strategists, diplomats, and yes, even theologians—they are invariably configured and confined to the same realms—never on moral character renovation and perfection—but on: (a) Economic prosperity and “equity” through the distribution of wealth—a phantom reality beyond the reach of mankind till He comes. Jesus declared, “the poor you will always have with you.” The rich man’s greed is exposed by the poor man’s unanswered needs.
Included among the unnumbered schemes and temptations of Satan for these last days, licensing as legal, sinful, and health and mind-destroying indulgences, “the love of the world, the lust of the eye and lust of the flesh,” is Reality TV that is causing untold millions more to lose sight of eternal realities. (b) Global peaceachieved through a combination of the force of ever-increasing capacity for mass destruction through military might and superiority and pre-emptive striking ability, mingled with diplomatic maneuverings skills and political positioning. This was never the basis of the “peace that passeth understanding” that Christ offers, for it is an earthly, ephemeral, and short-lived peace, actually truces, achieved by constantly shifting, highly unstable, and confusing alliances (allies now, enemies tomorrow), compromises, a peace exacted through fear generated by assured mutual destruction, not love!
But God’s idea and definition of unity and organization are both essential for His cause for He is “a God of order” and a lover of all things beautiful from the core outward. Yet we Christians have almost totally lost sight of what Paul pressed for and expressed near the very end of his sanctified life as the distinguished “apostle to the Gentiles.” He said, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3: 14, K. J.V. Is this our goal in life, too? We easily get swallowed up and overwhelmed by the maddening rush to achieve temporal success, prosperity, recognition, applause, and glorification of fellow mortals, even in religion and the church life. We forget that our all-too-short, some seventy years earthly journey is, in fact, the second and last probation time God mercifully granted to Adam and Eve and every soul born since then. He converted sin-cursed earth into a global fitness gym, as it were, where our characters are being fitted up for Heaven and immortality through trials and tribulations, if we claim the promises, avail of the provisions, and willingly participate in His plan of salvation.
In educating and preparing a people to meet Him in peace and fill up the vacancy in heaven caused by the rebellion of one third of the angels who comprised Lucifer’s hosts who waged the first “war in heaven against Michael and His angels” but lost and were cast down to earth to become the demons and evil spirits, “Christ did not deal with abstract theories, but in that which is essential to the development of character, that which will enlarge man’s capacity for knowing God, and increase his efficiency to do good. He spoke to men of those truths that relate to the conduct of life, and that take hold of eternity.”- E. G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons,p. 23.
I firmly believe that education is essential, that is, as expressed by my favorite author, who only finished third grade but look at the knowledge of God’s Word she possessed and unselfishly shared as “the lesser light” in order to point us back to “the greater light,” the Bible!
“Let none think that there is no more knowledge for them to gain. The depth of human intellect may be measured; the works of human authors may be mastered; but the highest, deepest, broadest flight of the imagination cannot find out God. We have seen only the glimmering of divine glory and of the infinitude of knowledge and wisdom; we have, as it were, been working on the surface of the mine, when rich golden ore is beneath the surface, who will reward the one who will dig for it. The shaft must be sunk deeper and yet deeper in the mine, and the result will be glorious treasure. Through a correct faith, divine knowledge will become human knowledge. No one can search the Scriptures in the spirit of Christ without being rewarded. When man is willing to be instructed as a little child, when he submits wholly to God. he will find the truth in His word. If men would be obedient, they would understand God’s plan of government. The heavenly world would open its chambers of grace and glory for exploitation. Human beings would be altogether different from what they are now; for by exploring the mines of truth men would be ennobled.” – Ibid, pp. 113-4.
In the plan of salvation, character unity, not uniformity, is the object and fruit of the gospel received by “faith that works by love.” This is best exemplified in nature and in the Word of God. “Nature and revelation alike testify of God’s love. Our Father in heaven is the source of life [not the ‘presence of water’ in any of the distant planets!], of wisdom and of joy. Look at the wonderful and beautiful things of nature [which “groaneth and travaileth together in pain even now,” Rom. 8: 22, ravaged by man’s greed and substituted with artificial, lifeless works and then hailed and venerated as masterpieces!] Think of their marvelous adaptation to the needs and happiness, not only of man, but of all living creatures.” (Ibid, Steps to Christ, p. 1)
“In the visible creation, divine wisdom is manifested in an endless variety of processes. Uniformity is not the rule followed in the kingdom of nature. Neither is it the rule that is followed in the kingdom of grace. In different ways God works to attain one purpose—the saving of souls. By different methods the gracious Redeemer deals with different minds. The change of heart is as truly wrought out by one process as by another. It is the Lord working upon minds and molding characters. All are not led to the Lord in precisely the same way. Human beings are not to define, arbitrarily, and narrowly, the characteristics of God’s working on minds. It may be given to one to gain spiritual strength and discernment easily, while another has to contend with ‘a thorn in the flesh’ (2 Cor. 12: 7), and at times is ready, apparently, to step off the heights over the precipice. Yet who dare say that God does not still love and regard as His child the one so sorely beset, and that His hand is not still stretched out to save.”- Ibid, This Day with God, p. 67.
What is the gospel? In plain and practical terms, we reiterate this quote: “The gospel is a system of practical truths destined to work great changes in human character. If it does not work the transformation of life, inhabits, and practice, it is no truth to those who claim to believe it. Man must he sanctified through the truth.And said Jesus, ‘Thy Word is truth.’ (John 17: 17). Unless the truth of God shall lift man out of his depravity, his intemperate and profligate habits, and make him reflect the image of God, he is lost.” (Ibid, p. 81).
Sanctification, or the work of character perfection is God’s will for Christians. The non-believer, who has been likewise purchased by Christ’s blood, has to first accept the terms of and plan of salvation which freely offers justification before the purifying, perfecting, work of sanctification begins and ends with the finishing touch of immortality. Justification, or forgiveness full and complete, is our passport to heaven. This perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to the undeserving yet truly repentant sinner by God through and in the substitutionary death and all-efficient perfect atoning sacrifice that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God offered at Calvary—where He “was lifted up” between heaven and earth on that “shameful tree” and purchased our redemption, the price being His blood.
The perfect atoning sacrifice made by Christ at Calvary on earth is not the same as the closing work of atonement He is currently finishing up in heaven in His office as High Priest, Mediator, Advocate, and Judge of all the earth. The former precedes the latter, for “without the shedding of blood there can be no remission for sins,” and He “could not enter into the heavenly palces without blood, i.e., His cleansing blood.” The forgiveness and the removal of guilt of sin, its first baleful consequence before death, its wages, takes place, is not only what the divine plan of redemption contemplates; it is the complete restoration of the carnal mind to the mind of Christ, the original moral perfection man was created in, which is God-like, not ape-like.
Sanctification is our fitness for heaven—the righteousness of the perfect life and infinite power of Christ’s sinless life imparted by the Holy Spirit to the justified, fully yielded, and cooperating sinner. At the end of that saint, that pilgrim’s progressive earthly journey towards Christlikeness in his mortal flesh, he receives the finishing touch of immortality when Jesus comes. Thus, “the only hope for the sinner is to cease sinning.” (TDG 140), for, in receiving Christ and having His words abide in us, we receive “the most precious gift of a clean heart.” Ps. 51: 1-17.
All these are fleshed out in wondrous detail in the three principal subjects that comprise present truthwhich the “messengers,” i.e., ministers, pastors, Bible teachers, and lay worker should constantly dwell upon for these subjects have been perfectly calculated to unite the flock and sanctify the soul. We have been admonished “to redeem the time” (Eph. 5: 14-16). But the only way we can redeem lost time is to make the best of whatever remains since we cannot recall even a single moment of the past. So here they are:
“There are many precious truths contained in the Word of God, but it is ‘present truth’ that the flock needs now. I have seen the danger of the danger of the messengers running off from the important points of present truth, to dwell upon subjects that are not calculated to unite the flock and sanctify the soul. Satan will here take every possible advantage to injure the cause. But such subjects as the sanctuary, in connection with the 2300 days, the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus, are perfectly calculated to explain the pastAdvent movement and show what our present position is, establish the faith of the doubting, and give certainty to the glorious future. These, I have frequently seen, were the principal subjects on which the messengers should dwell.” – Ibid, Early Writings, p. 63.
REMINDER: On October 22, Thursday, will the 171th year since Christ began the pre-advent judgment in heaven. I urge all to read as soon as possible, “Facing Life’s Record,” ch. 28, 1911 edition of Great Controversy, or “The Investigative Judgment,” ch. XXIII, 1884 original edition. (Continued next week)