FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER FOUR & FORTY– Part XVII
When Faith, Hope, Grace, and Prayer Become Unnecessary
Till we are eternally secure and beyond 1) Satan’s unnumbered schemes, subtle and alluring temptations “perfected” through six thousand years of diabolical craftiness for these closing hours of probation 2) the cumulative sinful weaknesses and propensities reinforced in the fallen human nature through the power of heredity and exacerbated by nurturing indulgence instead of self-denial—we absolutely need these four essentials provided by the plan of redemption:faith, hope, grace, and prayer.
Another wonderful mystery among the other mysteries yet to be revealed and fulfilled at their appointed time and way is, earth restored will indeed become the center of God’s universe. The New Jerusalem City, the dazzlingly glorious architectural wonder of the universe with its eternally-saved residents shall descend from heaven at the end of the thousand years. John, in vision at Patmos, faithfully wrote what Christ revealed to him for the encouragement of His true church to the end of time: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first were passed away. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Rev. 21: 1-3.
FAITH. — Paul wrote: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that theworlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Heb. 11: 1-3. “For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Cor. 4: 18. M. L. Andreasen makes the following observations:
“Substance’ is the same word in the original as ‘person.’ This verse is not so much a definition of faith as a statement of what faith will do. It presents faith so strong and vital that the person not only feels himself in possession of that which he has not as yet received, but is caused to experience the strength, the courage, and the confidence that ordinarily only actual possession would give. Faith thus enables a Christian not only to claim promised blessings but to have and enjoy them now. “The powers of the world to come,” become a present possession; and the kingdom of heaven is not merely a future possibility; it is even now within. Faith gives the ‘good things to come’ a real subsistence in the soul and mind. They are no longer dreams to be fulfilled in the future: they are living realities which the soul enjoys and appreciates. They cease to be far-off visions, and become substance. We see the invisible.”- The Book of Hebrews, p. 472.
HOPE is “the expectation of future good.” It is one of the three great virtues of “faith, hope, and charity (love).” 1 Cor. 13: 13. It is described as better (Heb. 7: 19); blessed (Titus 2: 13); good (2 Thess. 2: 16); living (1 Pet. 1: 3); sure and steadfast (Heb. 6: 19).
The hope the Bible–not the religion of man, fables, and traditions–produces, are: assurance (Heb. 6: 18, 19); courage (Rom. 5: 4, 5); joy (Rom. 12: 12); patience (Rom. 8: 25); moral purity (1 John 3: 3); salvation (Rom. 8: 23, 24); “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3: 3. Indeed, “Christ in you is the hope of glory.” Col. 1: 27. The Biblical hope’s objects are: Christ (1 Cor. 15: 19); eternal life (Titus 1: 2); God (Ps. 39: 7); glory (Rom. 5: 2); resurrection (Acts 23: 6) salvation (Rom 5: 1-5); stability (Col. 1:23); and Christ’s glorious second advent! (Rom. 8: 22-25; John 14: 1-3).
“The influence of a gospel hope will not lead the sinner to look upon the salvation of Christ as a matter of free grace, while he continues to live in transgression of the law of God. When the light of truth dawns upon his mind and he fully understands the requirements of God and realizes the extent of his transgressions, he will reform his ways, become loyal to God through the strength obtained from his Savior, and lead a new and purer life. It is not the work of the gospel to weaken the claims of God’s holy law, but to bring men up where they can keep its precepts.”- E. G. White, God’s Amazing Grace (Devotional), p. 144.
Hopelessness is the condition of the wicked—those whose consciences have been irreversibly seared by persistently refusing Heaven’s merciful invitation to repent and turn away from their sins by God’s grace while probation’s door was open to them. God’s love is unquestionably unconditional but eternal salvation is unquestionably conditional. The other thief on the cross represents such sinners, in contrast to the thief who, in true humility and penitence pleaded, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.’ Jesus said to him, Verily I say to you today, you will be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23: 42, 43. Christ did not resurrect and ascend to Paradise on the same day and hour He died, 3 PM Friday. The whole Christian world agree in their doctrinal teachings with the Scriptural account that Jesus resurrected on the third day”— today’s Sunday, which, never replaced the seventh-day Sabbath that the Creator rested in, blessed, and sanctified four thousand years earlier at the end of the six-day creation week as the memorial of creation, not the resurrection!
GRACE. – Grace is the untranslated Greek charis, meaning, “the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.”- Strong’s Greek Lexicon. All those interested in clearly knowing what grace is, and isn’t, should keep this basic definition in mind. To rid our minds of the many unscriptural yet widely-accepted erroneous ideas and beliefs regarding grace by constant repetition and embellishments from the pulpits of Christendom, we need to review a couple of “Thus saith the Lord” references on grace.
First, we receive “grace and apostleship for obedience [not disobedience] to the faith among all nations for His name.”. . This “gospel of Christ is the power of God to salvation.” Rom. 1: 5, 16. How powerful is God’s power to save from sin? As infinitely powerful as He spoke everything into existence, visible and invisible. Christ, “is the image” (even “the express image of the person of the Father,” Heb. 1: 3) of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. . . . For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness (“of the Godhead bodily”) dwells.” Col. 1: 15, 16, 19; 2: 9. Look up into the heavens at night, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what the psalmist beheld and wrote. See Ps. 8: 3, 9; 19: 1-4; 33: 6.-9.
Salvation is from, not in sin. The Messiah’s main work was to “save His people from their sins.” Matt. 1: 21. “There is no other name under heaven by which men are saved.”Acts 4: 12. It is the power of God in Christ, dispensed through the Holy Spirit that enables–not disables–the humble, penitent, and striving sinner to cease from sinning and continue overcoming by constantly looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith. The greater the temptation resisted and trials endured through these divine provisions the sweeter the victory.
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid!” Rom. 6: 15. “It is the sophistry of Satan that the death of Christ brought in grace to take the place of the law. The death of Jesus did not change or annul, or lessen in the slightest degree, the law of Ten Commandments. That precious grace offered to men through a Savior’s blood, establishes the law of God. Since the fall of man, God’s moral government and His grace areinseparable. They go hand in hand through all dispensations. The gospel of the New Testament is not the Old Testament standard lowered to meet the sinner and save him in his sins. God requires all His subjects obedience, entire obedience to all His commandments.”- E. G. White,God’s Amazing Grace, p. 144.
God’s Mirror. —“Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are, that He might know how to succor those who should be tempted. [Heb.4: 15; 2: 18]. His life is our example. He shows by His willing obedience [John 15: 10] that man may keep the law of God and that transgression of the law, not obedience to it, brings him into bondage . . . . Man, who has effaced the image of God in his life by a corrupt life, cannot, by mere human effort, effect a radical change in himself. He must accept the provisions of the gospel; he must be reconciled to God through obedience to His law and faith in Jesus Christ. His life from thenceforth must be governed by a new principle . . . . .He must face the mirror, God’s law, discern the defects in his moral character, and put away his sins, washing his robe of character in the blood of the Lamb!” – Ibid.
More than Enough Grace to Resist and Overcome. See 1 Cor. 10: 13; James 4: 6-10.
“Will man take hold of divine power [God’s grace], and with determination and perseveranceresist Satan, as Christ has given him example in His conflict with the foe in the wilderness of temptation [Matt. 4] God cannot save men against his will from the power of Satan’s artifices. Man must work with his human power, aided by the divine power of Christ, to resist and conquer at any cost to himself. In short, man must overcome even as Christ overcame [Rev. 3: 21]. And then, through the victory that it is his privilege to gain by the all-powerful name of Jesus, he may become and heir of God and joint heir with Christ [Rom. 8: 14, 17]. This could not be the case if Christ alone did all the overcoming. Man must do his part; he must be victor on his own account, through the strength and grace that Christ gives him. Man must be a co-worker with Christ in the labor of overcoming.
“The victims of evil habit must be aroused to the necessity of making an effort for themselves. Others may put forth the most earnest endeavors to uplift them, the grace of God may be freely offered, Christ may entreat. His angels may minister; but all will be in vain unless they themselves are aroused to fight the battle in their own behalf. . . . .
“Those who put their trust in Christ are not to be enslaved by any hereditary or cultivated habit or tendency. Instead of being held in bondage to the lower nature, they are to rule every appetite and passion. God has not left us to battle with evil in our own finite strength. Whatever may be our inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrong, we can overcome through the power that He is ready to impart.”- Ibid, Ministry of Healing, pp. 174-176/ GAG 254.
Unfortunately contributing to the short-circuiting of the power of grace is the familiar song “Amazing Grace.” Why? How? Consider its lyrics: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound thatsaved a wretch like me.” Instead of the past tense, “saved,” it should be in the present progressive tense, “saves a wretch like me.” Then, it won’t unwittingly encourage the doctrinal error of “once-saved-always-saved”—an idea that contradicts the freedom to choose and exercise one’s own will, including changing one’s mind about God and salvation. Even after accepting Christ and walking with Him in the newness of life, we are never beyond temptation while still in the mortal state and Satan and his evil angels are alive. True to their demonic nature, they will continue tempting and harassing God’s people and deceiving the world until Christ shall come the second time.
PRAYER. — We are instructed to “Pray without ceasing”(1 Thess. 5: 17), till Jesus comes again. The closing lyrics of the beautiful hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” states it so poignantly: “Till from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height, I view my home and take my flight. In my immortal flesh I’ll rise, to seize the everlasting prize. And shout while passing through the air, Farewell, farewell sweet hour of prayer!”
All who remain faithful and steadfast to the end, and make the antitypical crossing through their spiritual Jordan experience into the heavenly Promised Land, Heaven itself, and a thousand years later, after the Biblical millenium, occupy the earth made new, will no longer have to exercise faith, develop hope, need grace, or pray to an invisible God. They have used all these divine provisions on earth to fit them up for heaven and receive the reward of eternal life. More importantly, they availed of all these in order to please and glorify God, not self, as pilgrims on earth! They shall see Him face-to-face and converse with Him as Adam and Eve did before the Fall!
(Continued next week)