Archive for October, 2013

The Spirit of Christ

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Paul writing to the Corinthians writes, “You are our letter written in our hearts known and read by all men being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, served by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of hearts of flesh.

Oh if only so called Christians revealed the truth of these words, what a glory the world would see! For God, with signs and wonders and great patience, freed His chosen people from Egypt and gave to them, on tablets of stone, the 10 commandments. These commandments they were so incapable of keeping that Moses threw the tablets of stone, on which they were written, to the ground in horror at the callousness of the people's hearts toward God.

With even greater patience the Lord bore with His people's hardness of heart and said to Ezekiel, “I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” So the Lord had written the commandments on stone tablets as a sign, for their hearts were as hard and as brittle as the stones on which the commands were written.

In Paul's words we hear his amazement that in his sight, in his day, in his time, he is seeing the words of Jeremiah realized, “This is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel … I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it, and I will be their God and they shall be My people.”

If it was an amazing act in the days of Moses for God to produce His commands on tablets of stone, how much much more amazing to see God writing on transformed hearts of flesh both the desire and the ability to keep His commands through His Holy Spirit poured out on all flesh. There is something incomprehensibly wonderful in Paul's understanding of what he is witnessing. Moses whose mighty effort and work for the Lord saw him shatter the fruits of his labour on the people's behalf and had him cry out to the Lord in his psalm, “And do confirm for us the work of our hands. Yes confirm the work of our hands.” never witnessed what Paul was seeing and Paul was amazed.

We too would be amazed if all the people who call themselves Christian and children of God, who recite the Lord's prayer and declare themselves lovers of God and saved and born again, were likewise being confirmed as the works of God's hand, as the revelation of the keepers of the New Covenant, through His blood, and being made manifest as the letter of Christ. What a church we would be! What a bride we would present to the world, as those truly alive from the dead, by the power of the living God!

But we are not. So why?

The reason is hidden in the meaning of these verses Paul also wrote, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new Covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” For the Church reads scripture in the same way as Paul says the sons of Israel do, with a veil covering their hearts.

The Church may think they believe in Christ's words, but they do not reveal in their living that they are a 'letter of Christ'. By their acknowledging scripture they affirm that they are sinners and their lives reveal that they still are. Paul says of such men, “I shall find out not the word of those who are arrogant but their power.”

So the Lord is willing and able to make us vessels of honour, bearers of His Holy Spirit, being made manifest in the sight of all men, as keepers of His commands as a living testimony to His power and love. The Church however has failed to believe and hope and thirst for this witness, because the road to life is narrow and full of affliction and few there are who find it. The cost of real love of God, total commitment to His power and love, total surrender to His will is one that most men will not take. Pedalling the words of Life the Church knows nothing of His power.

Be sons of your Father

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Be sons of your Father who is in heaven who causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

God cause His rain to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous. All of God's acts are love. If God were to judge us according to our deeds none of us would be saved. Though the world is full of wickedness, the blind hardness, of the fruits of mankind, God still causes His sun to shine and His rain to fall, and allows man to go on in his selfish and ungrateful way.

To the man who has put his life right with God, He comes to him like the rain, in acts of love, which soften his heart, redeeming the man, causing him to cry out in wonder at the love and good fortune which has befallen him. This is as is described in Hosea – “Break up your fallow ground for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes to rain righteousness on you.” The barren worthless wilderness of our hearts that has produced no good thing will flourish like the desert after rain, with a blaze of gloriously joyous colour.

All sin is hardness of heart toward God, like barren unyielding fallow ground, which does not soften to the acts of God's love, impervious to the gentle acts of His goodness, His words do not penetrate our lives and we produce no fruits of goodness, joy and kindness, no deeds of love worthy of His praise. If this is true for all men, how much deeper is it true for the Church, those who use His name and declare His righteousness and call upon Him in their assemblies.

It is these men of the Church who are of most concern, for they have declared themselves to be keepers of God's word, yet they despise the loving-kindness of the Lord and His long-suffering patience and say that it is impossible to stop sinning against Him. They teach in their pulpits that no man can walk perfectly before Him, invalidating His word and thereby calling Him a liar, For Jesus went on to say, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Even through this the Lord's long-suffering love pours forth incessantly, a mighty unrelenting tide of purity and might. The earth produces its fruit, there is healing after a storm, the rainbow as a pledge, and the Lord's giving life through the chaos which is the fruit of the blindness of our walk.

It is only by fully opening our hearts to God, by placing all of our lives on the altar, and allowing Him to fully rule and shape us, that we can begin to see and know the healing of His love and the perfecting of our faith. When we fully know love how can we sin? When we fully trust we know the truth that He never fails.

Sin is our seizing something we feel we deserve and won't receive, instead of waiting patiently for God to give in due season. For His rain falls to produce fruit at the appropriate time. All stumbling is faithlessness. Men want spiritual gifts as a sign, so Satan gives his counterfeit gifts. False tongues and false prophets fill the churches. And how do we know that they are false? Because His gifts are given to build us up to the fullness of Christ and where is that visible in the Church?

We are called not to studiously study scripture and to keep, as best we can, the ten commandments, but to be sons of the Father. Jesus didn't come to collect a trophy wife but rather a bride who loves and serves Him from the heart.

If we find we are stumbling and not keeping His commandments it is because our hearts are not pure. And our hearts are not pure because we are not prepared to see His love as constantly present to each one of us. We can only keep from sin by abiding in love, trusting in love and hoping in love, not in some afterlife, but here and now. It is in the ever present now that our Father acts toward us.

The soul who drinks this rain of love and doesn't produce the fruits of love such as joy, patience and kindness; but rather produces the thorns and thistles of bitterness and faithlessness is close to being cursed. So beware lest you do not enter the glory of His rest.