FRIDAY MORNING MANNA  

Biblical Numerology: NUMBER FOUR & FORTY– Part  IXX

 ‘What shall I do to inherit eternal life?’

QUOTE FOR THE WEEK:

“Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made them upright;

but they have sought out many inventions.”

King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 7: 29, K.J.V.

This is the question those who are convicted by the Holy Spirit will ask, not the popular yet unbiblical question: “Are you saved?” Such questioners force the issue by even demanding, “It’s answerable by either a Yes or No.” The Creator of the heavens and the earth, our incarnate Redeemer and Savior never asked this question from those He humbled Himself and “became obedient unto death even the death of the cross” (    ) in order to save. Neither did His disciples and apostles. And neither should we. Our special work and message is to proclaim the third angels’ message—earth’s final merciful warnings contained in the first, second, and third angels’ messages of Rev. 14: 6-12.   See Matt. 19: 16-330; Mark 10: 17: 22; Luke 10: 25-28, 29-37; Mat. 5: 5, 12; 1 Cor. 6: 9, 10; 15: 50; 1 Pet. 1: 15-19; Matt. 10: 22; Luke 13: 23, 24Acts 16: 29-31; 1 Pet. 4: 17-19.

Instead, Christ offered salvation, the genuine gospel to all, both those who presumptuously considered themselves already “righteous,” “sainted” and “saved” represented by the bigoted and hypocritical religious leaders of Christ’s day and the sinners represented by the despised yet contrite publicans, Samaritan woman at the well, and the Gentiles who received Christ as the Messiah. He imparted the plan of redemption through different illustrations throughout all dispensations since after the fall.  It is the gospel of “the power of God unto salvation” that produces the unmistakable “fruits of the Spirit” in stark contrast and in reproof to “the works of the flesh” (Gal. 5: 22-24, 16-21). This spiritual growth takes place one day at a time, one step at a time, gaining victory after victory over sin in all its forms, the world and all its fatal attractions, the powerful clamors of the flesh, and the wily temptations of the devil and his agencies. The goal and purpose of the gospel is to restore the image of God in man that he was created in but which he lost by transgression. The yet-carnal heart that needs to experience genuine spiritual rebirth, desires the miraculous power of Christ but not His self-denying, self-sacrificing character! Paul said in his victorious walk with God, “I die daily.” 1 Cor. 15: 31. Read what he does further in 1 Cor. 24-27.

Do you truly desire both the divine power of Christ and His character which He demonstrated during His mission on earth? If so, He has long been inviting and waiting for all to give Him our sin-soiled hearts and minds and willingly and wholeheartedly surrender our perverse wills to Him. That’s all. Of course, it is easier said than done but that’s exactly what it takes for the impossible to start happening miraculously, the process of reconciliation and restoration to begin. What happens after?

      From Christ’s Object Lessons by E.G. White, “Without a Wedding Garment” chapter based on Matthew 22: 1-14, pp.  311-317, we delightfully and ever so gratefully read the inspired concise answers:

       “When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged to His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garments of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us, He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah. . . .

      “Righteousness is right-doing, and it is by their deeds that all will be judged. Our characters are revealed by what we do. The works show whether the faith is genuine.  It is not enough for us to believe that Jesus is not an impostor [as the Jews accuse Jesus of, among others], and that the religion of the Bible is no cunningly devised fable. We may believe that the name of Jesus is the only name under heaven whereby man may be saved, and yet we may not through faith make Him our personal Savior.

      “It is not enough to believe the theory of truth. It is not enough to make profession of faith in Christ and have our names registered on the church roll. ‘He that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit He hath given us’ ‘Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.’ 1 John 3: 24; 2: 3.  This is the genuine evidence of conversion. [David wrote: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Ps. 19: 7. Thus, the law of God is an agency in the true conversion of the sinner. By the law is the knowledge of sin].

     “Whatever our profession, it amounts to nothing unless Christ is revealed in works of righteousness. The truth is to be planted in the heart. It is to control the mind and regulate the affections. The whole character must be stamped with the divine utterances. Every jot and tittle of the word of God is to be brought into the daily practice.

      “He who becomes a partaker of the divine nature [2 Pet. 1: 4] will be in harmony with God’s great standard of righteousness, His holy law. This is the rule by which God measures theactions of men. This will be the test of character in the Judgment.

     “There are many who claim that by the death of Christ the law was abrogated; but in this they contradict Christ’s own words, ‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets . . . Till heaven and earth pass [and both are still here!], one jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.’ Matt 5: 17, 18. It was to atone for man’s transgression of the law that Christ laid down His life.

      “Could the law have been changed or set aside, then Christ need not have died. By His life on earth He honored the law of God. By His death He established it. He gave His life as a sacrifice, not to destroy God’s law, not to create a lower standard, but that justice might be maintained, that the law might be shown to be immutable, that it might stand fast forever.

     “Satan had claimed that it was impossible for man to obey God’s commandments; and in our own strength it is true that we cannot obey them. But Christ came in the form of humanity, and by His perfect obedience He proved that humanity and divinity combined can obey every one of God’s precepts.

      “ ‘As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.’ John 1: 12. This power is not in the human agent. It is the power of God. When a soul receives Christ, he receives power to live the life of Christ.

      “Christ requires perfection of His children. His law is a transcript of His own character, and it is the standard of all character. This infinite standard is presented to all that there may be no mistake in regard to the kind of people whom God will have to compose His kingdom.  The life of Christ on earth was a perfect expression of God’s law. [“The word made flesh,” John 1: 14, was the law in the flesh!], and when those who claim to be children of God become Christlike in character [the true definition of Christian], they will be obedient to God’s commandments. Then the Lord can trust them to be of the number who shall compose the family of heaven.  Clothed in the glorious apparel of Christ’s righteousness, they have a place at the King’s feast. They have the right to join the blood-washed throng.

      “The man who came to the feast without a wedding garment represents the condition of many in our world today. They profess to be Christians, and lay claim to the blessings and privileges of the gospel; yet they feel no need of transformation of character. They have never felt true repentance for sin.  They do not realize their need of Christ or exercise faith in Him. They have not overcome their hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong-doing. Yet they think they are good enough in themselves, and they rest upon their own merits instead of trusting in Christ. Hearers of the word, they come to the banquet, but they have not put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness.

      “Many who call themselves Christians are mere human moralists. They have refused the gift which alone could enable them to honor Christ by representing Him to the world.  The work of the Holy Spirit is to them a strange work. They are not doers of the word.  The heavenly principles that distinguish those who are one with Christ from those who are one with the world have become almost indistinguishable. The professed followers of Christ are no longer a separate and peculiar people. [See 1 Pet. 2: 9; cf. Titus 2: 11-14]. The line of demarcation is indistinct. The people are subordinating themselves to the world, to its practices, its customs, its selfishness. The church has gone over to the world in transgression of the law, when the world should have come over to the church in obedience to the law. Daily the church is being converted to the world

      “All these expect to be saved by Christ’s death, while they refuse to live His self-sacrificing life. They extol the riches of free grace, and attempt to cover themselves with an appearance of righteousness [and adopt the counterfeit gospels, etc.], hoping to screen their defects of character; but their efforts will be to no avail in the day of God!

      “The righteousness of Christ will not cover one cherished sin.  A man may be a law-breaker in heart; yet if he commits no outward act of transgression, he may be regarded by the world as possessing great integrity. But God’s law looks into the secrets of the heart. Every act is judged by the motives that prompt it. Only that which is in accord with the principles of God’s law will stand in the Judgment.

      “God is love. He has shown that love in the gift of Christ. When ‘He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ [John 3: 16], He withheld nothing from His purchased possession. He gave all heaven, from which we may draw strength and efficiency, that we be not repulsed and overcome by our great adversary [Satan and his agencies, both devils and humans]. But the love of God does not lead Him to excuse sin. He did not excuse it in Satan; He did not excuse it in Adam or in Cain; nor will he excuse it in any other of the children of men. He will not connive at our sins or overlook our defects of character. He expects us to overcome in His name.

      “Thus those who reject the gift of Christ’s righteousness are rejecting the attributes of character which would constitute them the sons and daughters of God. They are rejecting that which alone could give them a fitness for a place at the marriage feast. “ (end of quote fromChrist’s Object Lessons).

Often, those asking this “diagnostic” question do it out of lack knowledge of the plan of redemption as taught in great detail by the sanctuary doctrine and the  nature of the great controversy nearing its prophesied awesome climax in the days ahead where America plays a lead role! See Revelation 13. The rapid –fire “unprecedented” developments are but filling out the prophetic template. This is why we cannot ignore what is currently transpiring in rapid-fire succession but we must exercise spiritual discernment obtained and honed through prayer and study of the Word, particularly the specific prophecies in order to distinguish the genuine from the decoys and ploys.

This is how Satan (whom many now even doubt exists—one of his end-time deceptions!) has stolen a march upon the remnant. First, many have lost their first love, zeal, honor, and glory of and for Christ, becoming impatient and weary due to  the apparent delay of His coming (not realizing we are partially responsible for it, ceased from “watching and praying lest they enter into temptation,” and lured by the deceiver, have taken their eyes off the road of the prophetic highway and re-focused their attention, Mrs. Lot-like, towards the enchanting attractions of the world.

All need to be reminded that we are still journeying in the wilderness of sin of fallen earth in our yet-mortal, sinful flesh still subject to the passions and pollutions of the carnal nature where self is constantly trying to re-assert itself over self-sacrifice and self-denial through the empowering grace of Christ to “overcome even as He overcame.” As long as we are alive we are still “wrestlingnot against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against  the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” and need to put on and keep on the whole armor of God in order  “to stand against the wiles [crafty deceptions] of the devil and quench all the fiery darts of the devil.” Eph. 6: 10-18. The “fiery darts” are the painful inflictions of  the children of darkness towards the children of light, beginning with Cain towards Abel.  The “wiles of the devil” are his unnumbered schemes and enticing temptations. More souls will be lost through deception than persecution!                                                                                            (Continued next week)