Photo Credit Flickr/ernestkoe

Photo Credit Flickr/ernestkoe

Friday Morning Manna

Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE – Part XXXII “Three things that render ultimate salvation individual”

As important as the church is, being the apple of His eye (Deut. 32: 10; Ps. 17: 8; Zech 2: 8); the body of Christ (Eph. 1: 22, 23), the bride of Christ (Eph. 5: 22–32 ), the pillar and ground of truth (1 Tim. 3: 15); the flock (Acts 20: 28; 1 Pet. 5: 2); the household of God ( 1 Pet. 4: 7);the Israel of God (Gal. 6: 16); spiritual house; the house of God (1 Pet. 2: 5; 4: 17); the spiritual kingdom (Gal. 4: 26); spiritual Mount Zion (Heb. 12: 22); the Lamb’s wife (Rev. 19: 7), etc.,

the choices made finally resulting in ultimate salvation or eternal damnation are, until probation closes, is individual.

Here is one area defining the relation of the individual to the church and vice versa: “No church can advance in holiness unless its members are earnestly seeking for truth as for hid treasure.” (E. G. White, Great Controversy, 1844 ed., p. 345). There are others.

First, the will is the governing power in the nature of man. Alonzo Trevor Jones wrote: “Since God has created man, in the nature of things the first of all relationships is that to God; and the first of all duties could be nothing but duty to God.” Hence, in matters of religion, it is likewise individuality of religion, religion being “the duty we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it.” Here is its origin and how it has been perpetuated since then: “Eve yielded to temptation, and through her influence Adam was also deceived. They accepted the words of the serpent, that God did not mean what He said [Gen. 3: 2-5]; they distrusted their Creator, and imagined that He was restricting their liberty, and that they might obtain great light and freedom by transgressing His law.” (4 SOP 352). Each individual overcomes his own sins and weaknesses–by God’s saving grace; he cannot and must not expect any mortal to do this for him, and most certainly he cannot do this for anyone—even if he were “sainted” by any church. “Satan assailed Christ with his fiercest and most subtle temptations, but he was repulsed in every conflict. Those battles were fought on our behalf; those victories make it possible for us to conquer. Christ will give strength to all who seek it. No man without his consent can be overcome by Satan. The tempter has no power to control the will or to force the soul to sin. He may distress, but he cannot contaminate. He can cause agony, but not defilement. The fact that Christ has conquered should inspire His followers with courage to fight manfully the battle against sin and Satan.” – Ibid, p. 510.
Second, in the current pre-advent or investigative judgment, the final work of Christ as High Priest, Mediator, and Judge of all the earth, judges the cases of each individual as if there were no other person in the world.
Third, because Christ is a personal Savior each one has to submit his individual will to the will of Christ if he were to “overcome even as Christ overcame” or else he will yield his will to Satan, the enemy of Christ and man. There is no neutral ground in the great controversy. Without man’s consent: God cannot work in him (MB 142). He does not control his (MH 193). The Holy Spirit cannot cleanse our hearts and expel sin from it without our consent (SD 99; MLT 43).

The prophet says: “Though these three [genuinely righteous] men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness, says the Lord God.” Eze. 14: 14. “Even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, says the Lord God, ‘they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.” verse 21.

Thus Paul wrote: “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. Phil. 2: 12, 13, K.J.V.
Will here is the Greek thelo, meaning, “a determination; choice, purpose, decree, volition; acquiescence; consideration; choose; prefer; to wish, to be inclined; prefer; be disposed, intend to; have rather.”-Strong’s Greek Lexicon.

The willing (and its comprehensive meaning ) and the doing are both the workings of Omnipotence in the individual who, on his own, is totally incapable of willing and doing God’s good pleasure because his sinful carnal, “old man” nature which, until transformed, is naturally inclined “both to will and to do Satan’s evil pleasure.

Ellen G. White says the same thing in the light of the nature of the closing work of atonement and mediation which included in 1844 the pre-advent judgment and cleansing of the sanctuary (Dan. 8: 14) and by which it will be concluded:
“The work of preparation is and individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the wants of these qualities in another. Though all nations are to pass in judgment before God, yet He will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon earth. Everyone must be tested and found ‘without spot or wrinkle or any such thing’ [Eph. 5: 27].”- The Great Controversy (1911 ), p. 490.

For sure: “But Christ has given us no assurance that that to attain perfection of character is an easy matter. A noble, all-around character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; we form the character. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be waged against hereditary tendencies. We shall have to criticize ourselves more closely, and allow not one unfavorable trait to remain uncorrected.
“Let no one say, I cannot remedy my defects of character. If you come to this decision, you will certainly fail of obtaining everlasting life. The impossibility lies in your own will. If you will not, then you cannot overcome. The real difficulty arises from the corruption of and unsanctified heart, and an unwillingness to submit to the control of God . . . .
“Remember that you will never reach a standard higher than you yourself set. Then set your mark high, and step by step, even though it be by painful effort, by self-denial and sacrifice, ascend the whole length of the ladder of progress. Let nothing hinder you. Fate has not woven its meshes about any human being so firmly that he need remain helpless and in uncertainty. [This is what fatalism glorifies and uses to excuse and justify sin]. Opposing circumstances should create a firm determination to overcome them. The breaking down of one barrier will give greater ability and courage to go forward. Press with determination in the right direction, and circumstances will be your helpers, not hindrances.” – Ibid, Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 331, 332.

“A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next. Those who are under the instruction of Christ in this world will take every divine attainment with them to the heavenly mansions. And in heaven we are continually to improve, How important, then, is the development of character in this life. . . .The heavenly intelligences will work with the human agent who seeks with determined faith that perfection of character which will reach out to perfection in action. To everyone engaged in this work Christ says, I am at your right hand to help you.

“As the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent. Whatever is to be done at His command, may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings.” – Ibid, p. 333.

When I first read these lines some years ago, I had to make sure I was reading it right. Even now its ramifications still makes me wonder but not doubtful because I understand it is gospel truth for His strength and power are omnipotent, enabling that which is humanly impossible. Apostle Paul expresses it elsewhere in sublime language: “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Eph. 3: 20. Note that It is the will, not the person itself that becomes omnipotent when it fully co-operates with the expressed and revealed will of God, which is clearly expressed in His law, summarized by two familiar verses: “I delight to do Thy will O My God, yea Thy law is within My Heart.” Ps. 40: 8. “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification. . . that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor.” 1 Thess. 4: 3, 4, K.J.V.

Let all churches think this through, particularly the universal church who condemns as heresy (and still do) the God-given inalienable right and freedom to worship Him according to the dictates of conscience, the latter being “the voice of God heard amid the din of human passion.” Only “love divine, O love excelling” alone is what “compels” sinners to accept Christ and His plan of redemption. Every other means is antichristian.

Even as God has “predestined those whom He foreknew to be conformed to the image of His Son” and “called, justified, and glorified them” (Rom. 8: 29, 30), He has “chosen us 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” (Eph. 1: 4, 5, K.J.V). This is “according to His purpose and mission to save all” for “the plan of salvation is broad enough to embrace the whole world.” But the sinner must willingly and voluntarily accept the terms of salvation specified in the plan of redemption by first accepting His invitation to come directly unto Him, and then as it were, to get on board and stay on board this gospel ship until it crosses the final antitypical Jordan and safely docks in that beautiful eternal “shore beyond the seas.” This is what God has predestined the eternally redeemed to be: “holy and without blame before Him in love.”

This specific work-out is the preparatory work of fitting one up to be worthy guests of the marriage supper of the Lamb after the wedding has been performed and consummated in heaven while they were on earth (Luke 12: 36; Matt. 22: 1-14; 25: 1-14). Thus outfitted in the “wedding garment” of His perfect righteousness, which has become the “fine linen, clean and bright which is the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev. 19: 8, N.K.J.V.) they then have “the right to the tree of life and enter into the gates into the city” (Rev. 22: 14) to inherit the mansions Christ went to prepare for all who chose to allow Him to do this work of conquering sin with them as “co-laborers with Christ.” Thus they have become “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Rom. 8: 17).

Three prophecies point to same event of the coming of the bridegroom to the marriage. – “[1] The coming of Christ as our High Priest as our High Priest to the most holy place, for the cleansing of the sanctuary, brought to view in Daniel 8: 14, [2] the coming of Son of man to the Ancient of days [God the Father], as presented in Daniel 7: 13; and [3] the coming of the Lord to His temple, foretold by Malachi [Mal. 3: 1], are descriptions of the same event; and this is also represented by the coming of the bridegroom to the marriage, described by Christ in the parable of the Ten Virgins, of Matthew 25.”- Ibid, Great Controversy, p. 426,

The threefold work to be done while the marriage and the pre-advent judgment are taking place . – “While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of the penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14 [the three angels’ messages]. When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing.” – Ibid, p. 325.

“As a personal being, God has revealed Himself in His Son. Jesus, the outshining of the Father’s glory, and ‘the express image of His person’ [Heb.1: 3] was on earth
found in the fashion as a man [Phil. 2: 8, 5-7]. As a personal Savior, He came to the world. As a personal Savior, He ascended on high. As a personal Savior, He intercedes in the heavenly courts. Before the throne of God in our behalf ministers ‘One like unto the Son of man’ [Rev. 1: 13].’- Ibid, With God at Dawn (Devotional), p. 5.

Three righteous men attest to the sanctuary in heaven. – “Thus those who were studying the subject found indisputable proof of the existence of a sanctuary in heaven. Moses made the earthly sanctuary after a pattern which was shown to him [Exo. 25; 9, 40]. Paul teaches that the pattern was the true sanctuary which is in heaven [Heb. 8: 1, 2]. John testifies that he saw it in heaven [Rev. 4: 5; 11: 19].” – Ibid, p. 415. (To be continued next week)