Jesus Christ is Lord of All

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Work of God and Searing Grace

Dear Father,
      Thank You for Your works of grace. We know and believe that You have done wonderful works on our behalf. Please forgive me for trusting in my own futile works and help your people to believe in Your work and thus receive Your grace. We have entered into Your rest for Your work is finished though You are always working in us to the praise of Your glorious grace. What I have vowed, You will make good; I have renewed my desire to love Your people unconditionally and You have again set my heart free. Bless Your bride and increase my love for her. 
In Jesus Christ's Name,

Theme Song: Who is Like You

     God's purpose in this letter is to help us understand His work. He wants us to acknowledge and believe in all of His work. In order to believe in His work, we must understand our need for grace. And with a perfect belief in His complete work, we are granted a full understanding of the grace that is ours in Christ. This understanding of His grace has a searing effect on the attitudes of our heart and the deeds of our flesh. For as we walk in grace we receive a transformation of the mind, heart, body, and soul. As we walk in grace through faith, the Spirit will surely pour out the Spiritual gifts into our midst. 

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”Is 6

I. The Manifold Work of God

    God who has existed since the beginning has been working until now. His glory endures forever and the Lord is glad in His works (Ps 104:21). His work of creation left Him satisfied and because of His omnipotence and Divine purpose, the work which God foresees that He will do is rightly described as "Finished from the foundation of the world" when "God rested on the seventh day from all His works".“Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. Ps 102:25. Though there remained the acts of God to deliver His laws to mankind, to send His Son to perform the work of being the living Sacrifice, to raise Himself from the dead, to instill faith in the bride and to refine, purify, and discipline her, His work is finished for His promises never fail and "
Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand" (Is 14:24). 

     From the beginning of the existence of mankind, He has continued to reveal His works to the inhabitants of the world. He has revealed His righteousness through His laws. For without the granting of the pure and perfect Law we could not see the truth, righteousness, and uprightness of the unseen God. He has granted the material items for sustenance to both the righteous and the wicked for "He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matt 5:45). He has granted victory to His people of Israel in the Old Testament over the surrounding nations in order to declare that He vigorously upholds the cause of His people for His own Name's sake. He has kept all of His promises and maintained the covenant of His love to His people to show that He is the unchanging eternal holy God. “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. (Mal 2). God intended for us to study His works and to delight in them. He desired for mankind to acknowledge His grace, righteousness, love, and power as we beheld His works. We were created to remember His works, even in the midst of the darkness of the trials and uncertainties of the world, so that we would not stray from His commands but rather remember His goodness and faithfulness and His work on our behalf. We were to know that there was no other God that we had perceived or heard of or seen besides the one true God who "acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him" (Is 64:4). He wanted us to "sing for joy at the works of His hands" (Ps 92:4). All of His works were filled with grace for even the very existence of our mortal flesh defies our just punishment for our wickedness. We were not fit to live and yet He had granted us life. His act to create a people who were "slanderous men bent on shedding blood" (Ez 22:9) showed His grace. The one who acknowledges the simple fact that he himself is a work of God's hand is seeing the glorious grace of God in his mere existence. Furthermore, those who make the Lord their refuge are able to "tell of all His works" (Ps 73:28). We know His works through acknowledging His present work, remembering His previous work, and hearing of His work through others who have know it. 

Great are the works of the Lord;
They are studied by all who delight in them.
 Splendid and majestic is His work,
And His righteousness endures forever.
He has made His wonders to be remembered;
The Lord is gracious and compassionate.
He has given food to those who fear Him;
He will remember His covenant forever.
He has made known to His people the power of His works,
In giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of His hands are truth and justice;
All His precepts are sure.
They are upheld forever and ever;
They are performed in truth and uprightness.
He has sent redemption to His people;
He has ordained His covenant forever;
Holy and awesome is His name.
10 The  fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.Ps 111

   The Father has sent His Son as the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us. The works which He was to do were meant to reveal to the world the eternal works of the Father. He was the only begotten of His Father and from His fullness was reveal the workings of this eternal Truth and grace of the Father. For "Of His fullness we have received grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ" As Jesus said “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”John 5:17 Though no one has seen the Father who had been working until that point, Christ who is in the Father "has explained Him" (John 1:15-18). Christ told us to "Believe Me that I am in the Father and that the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves". For even the miraculous signs and wonders which Christ has done convey to the world the Father's eternal work of restoration, healing, redemption, and freedom for His beloved. The very works of Christ testified about the Father who had sent Him. 

36 But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. John 5

     Of utmost importance, the Son has revealed the full extent of God's work of grace. All of the acts of God on behalf of mankind, both the temporary physical blessings, as well as the Spiritual blessings of a guaranteed eternal life, even those which occurred before the coming of Christ, were explained through the life of Christ who has granted us "grace upon grace". If only we could understand the work of God, we would know that He is filled with grace, limitless, and boundless. And the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ is the fulfillment of this grace. Apart from the cross, there would be no just explanation for His grace to mankind, but the work of Christ has revealed the work of God's grace to us. And surely His work means victory on our behalf. The work of God is finished and yet continues daily as His Spirit reveals the righteousness, grace, and Truth shown by the Father in Christ.

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.Ps 45
II. Belief in God's Work

     Though God's work is evident in numerous ways, mankind had refused to acknowledge to work of God. The absence of faith is the absence of belief in the complete works of God. Not only does this absence of faith close off mankind from understanding saving grace, but it has blinded their eyes from seeing even small pieces of the many types of work of God. Those who do not have faith simply do not see or if they have seen, do not regard, God working in any place or in any way at all.  For though the "eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made" (Rom 1:20) those without faith "quickly forgot His works" and "did not respond to His counsel" (Ps 106:13). Because they do not regard the works of the Lord Nor the deeds of His hands, He will tear them down and not build them up. Ps 28:5 The wrath of God remains on those do not believe in or regard His work, for certainly they would be unable to believe in the grace shown at the cross for the salvation by the forgiveness of sins. Because of the failure of mankind to acknowledge any of God's work, God did another work, a work of grace that would cause them to see that He is powerfully working.

But God will shoot at them with an arrow;
Suddenlythey will be wounded.
So they will make him stumble;
Their own tongue is against them;
All who see them will shake the head.
Then all men will fear,
And they will declare the work of God,
And will consider what He has done.
10 The righteous man will be glad in the Lord and will take refuge in Him;
And all the upright in heart will glory.Ps 64:7-10

      This work of grace was to cause the world to experience His judgments: He sent forth His Word and His Law11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. This Word "judges the thoughts and attitudes of the hearts" (Heb 4:12) of men and for those who came to acknowledge the work of God, that is, the work of grace, they were healed through the Word (Ps 107:20).32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20   And when these judgments of God were shown to mankind, the inhabitants of the world could learn the work of HIS righteousness. Yet though His Law was "added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the Seed would come through whom the promises was made" (Gal 3:19), the wicked could not comprehend the God's work of grace shown through Christ. Though God had shown favor to the wicked, they could not perceive His righteous work nor His majesty.  

At night my soul longs for You,

Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently;
For when the earth experiences Your judgments
The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
10 Though the wicked is shown favor,
He does not learn righteousness;
He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness,
And does not perceive the majesty of the Lord. Is 26:9-10

     The faithless people of the earth could not perceive the coming judgment and destruction of God against all who do iniquity. For in their failure to acknowledge any work of God, they could not fathom His coming righteous judgment. They failed to regard the work of God through the Law to bring them to Christ. For in order to receive grace, one must acknowledge the need for it. And unless they could believe in the work of Spirit to convict them of guilt through the Word of God they could not understand the concept of grace. For there was nothing that they perceived that they wanted that they did not deserve. Furthermore, they did not see the work of grace due to both their disregard for God's entire work and their lack of understanding of grace and their need for it. For only with the acknowledgement of the workings of God's judgement could men begin to fathom the depths of grace.  

How great are Your works, O Lord!
Your thoughts are very deep.
senseless man has no knowledge,
Nor does a stupid man understand this:
That when the wicked sprouted up like grass
And all who did iniquity flourished,
It was only that they might be destroyed forevermore.Ps 92

     For the precious beloved people of God, chosen before the creation of the world, God has chosen to cause them to come to Christ through the conviction of sin through the Law. 
20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.Rom 5  He has granted them humility and an understanding of the judgement of God which would convey to them the righteous work of God that granted them grace. But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “ God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4 As the people of God are shown the work of God, they are granted a fear of God. For the revelation of the work of God instills in the believers a fear of God. 14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. (Ecc 3). We know that the "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Ps 111:10). And in the presence of the granted wisdom of Christ, we are given a garland of grace around our head and a crown of beauty.She will place on your head a garland of grace and present you with a crown of beauty" (Prov 4:9) The granted faith to believe in all of God's works of creation, judgement, righteousness, and grace cause the heart to receive the grace that saves. 

III. Searing Grace

    Once the people of God receive the grace of God as they acknowledge both their outstanding need for grace in their falling short of God's glorious righteousness and in the manifold work of God through Christ which is filled with "grace upon grace", the effect of grace within the soul is profound and life-changing. The grace is always seen by the recipient as exceedingly external to the works of the flesh and as a source of eternal Life and all the associated blessings. 
‘ Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”Zech 4 The tasting of grace is the mark of a true believer. Those who resort to the trusting of the deeds of the flesh "have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.Gal 5 Falling from grace always accompanies a failure to [continue to] regard the work of God. When the eyes of the heart have been closed to acknowledging the workings of God, the blindness that ensues results in a reliance on the works of the sinful flesh which can never justify. But when God "pours out the Spirit of grace and supplication" on His people, they will mourn and weep (Zech 12:10) and they will cry out "woe is me, for I am ruined". As God's Word comes to them like a burning coal of grace, they are cleansed and healed and this cleansing is a result of the "searing grace".

In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said,
“ Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”
And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said,
“ Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”Is 6

     The appearing of the grace of God brings salvation to all those who have seen and acknowledged this grace in their own souls. The receiving of this grace proceeds the heart that had been cultivated and plowed by the Spirit of grace such that the person is aware of both a large distance by which their former sin has separated him from the righteousness of God as well the belief in the true and just judgement of God. Thus the heart that has truly received grace is already convicted of sin and the wrath of God as well of the righteousness of Christ which has been imputed and the mercy and forgiveness of the Father through Christ. In the act of believing in His finished work of grace, the soul, heart, mind, and body are seared. That is, they are refined, purged, cleansed, purified, and sanctified. The intricacies of the act of grace upon the soul cannot be expounded upon though those who speak from God may describe in part its infinite effects on the hearts of men. For grace comes to us as a teacher, an instructor, conveying to our hearts that we ought to deny ungodliness, worldly desires, and to live sensibly, righteously and Godly in our days on earth as we look forward to seeing Jesus Face to face. Indeed it is grace that has taught us that we had sinned in breaking the Law of God and it is grace that had revealed to us that our God was filled with power, love, and strength at the cross to grant us eternal Life as we believe and it is grace that inspires our hearts to walk in righteousness with an eager heart that longs to be near to God and to behold His glory. For in the revelation of grace, we see the glory of God and the grace of God is referred to as a glorious grace for in it the glory of God is clearly seen. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,  to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. Eph 1 And as His grace reveals His glory to us, our hearts have been regenerated such that we would love His glory as we see It and in the midst of this glory our souls would find great delight and satisfaction.chosenaccording to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and besprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure. I Peter 1 His grace brings us into the glorious joyous throne room of God. And once His grace had brought us here, we would have no desire to remain in sin, for we knew that our sin had separated us from the glory that we now beheld. Thus, grace reveals the glory of God to the saints whose souls have been regenerated such that they will love this revealed glory and do anything to remain in It. They will walk in holiness, purity, obedience, love, and in HIS GRACE so that they may behold the glory that grace had opened the door to.

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 whogave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.Titus 2

     Trusting in God's work has led us to His grace and in His grace we are able to work with Him. This grace had not come to us by our own work but rather by God's finished work on the cross and yet this same grace that came to us by His work allows us to work with Him and be relieved of the prison of sin that we formerly lived inside of. And with each temptation and arrow that comes to us, His grace that allows us to walk with Him helps us at the appropriate times.And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain— for He says,“ At the acceptable time I listened to youAnd on the day of salvation I helped you.” 2 Cor 6 It is God's grace with us that labors through us and in this sense we work with God by allowing His grace to work out from us for the sake of His glory and Kingdom.

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. I Cor 15

     There is an aspect of the belief of the work of God that relates to the way we consider the work of our flesh apart from God. For at the very same time that we acknowledge the work of God, we simultaneously acknowledge that our own work is complete futile and worthless for our salvation. Even our best deeds were as a "filthy garment" (Is 64:6). In addition to this understanding of the futility of our work, we saw that our belief in the goodness of the works of the flesh had been blocking our belief in His work of grace. For as long as we continued to self-righteously set our minds on the deeds of the flesh, we could not see God's workings of righteousness and grace to us. The further we continued in attitudes of self-righteousness the further we would be "falling from grace". The belief in the Truth of God's work of grace and the belief in the lie of the work of self are two opposing ends of an infinitely broad spectrum. The further we believed in the saving grace, the less we believed in the goodness of our own work. And the further we believed in the goodness of our own work, the less we believed in the work of saving grace and the further we would be from the life given over to the workings of grace within us. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Cor 12 For those who have tasted the gift of grace have come to understand that apart from the conscious humble reliance on the grace of God, there is no merit and no good effect of any act of ours. You therefore, my  son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.2 Tim 2 And even when our own wisdom has deceived us with its aura of superior reasoning and self-righteous judgment, we must remember that the wisdom that comes from heaven is "first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace" (James 3:17-18). There is a marked difference between the works of self-righteousness and the good works which are done through the grace granted to us. For the works done by the Spirit of God result in a distinct attitude within the bearer of these works. This attitude is one of peace, gentleness, clarity of thought and mind, mercy, and good fruit. For these are some of the effects of grace within the hearts of men. And any wisdom and good works which proceed from that grace cannot show violence, pride, insolence, confusion, or apathy. 

      Another manifestation of God's grace to us is the existence of His remnant throughout the places in the world in which we reside in our journeys in this world. God opens our eyes to see His remnant of people who reside in our midst. Sometimes they are few and sometimes they are many. This revealing of His remnant enlightens or eyes and relieves the bondage of the troubles of this world. As you believe in His work of the revelation of His remnant to You, remember that His act of showing you this remnant is His grace to You. But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. Ez 9 God's grace is seen in His revelation of the remnant not only in His revealing work but also in the granted understanding that the reason why the remnant is called as such is because the people who comprise it have been shown grace themselves...the very same grace in Christ that we had known and come to love. 15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.2 Cor 4

       Many of us who are in Him have often feared to receive His grace perhaps because we felt that we were powerless to change ourselves in a particular area. But we must remember that grace is the only door to the life lived in righteousness and the victory over sin. And the receiving of the grace is the opening of and entering through that door. If we do not enter through this door of the revealed work of His grace, then we can never know the good works of the Spirit of grace on the other side. We can only know the hopeless despair of our futile works which result in death.14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb 9:14

15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Heb 4

      The searing effect of grace is certain. The tasting of grace will certainly transformer the taster. Thus, the licentiousness that accompanies a claim of grace is based on a counterfeit "grace", cannot save, and will result in condemnation.

 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1

IV. Gifts of Grace

     Some of the working of grace within our souls are the manifestation of Spiritual gifts. This section is primarily about Spiritual gifts. By God's grace, I have learned many things about the granting and exercising of Spiritual gifts as relates to grace in the past year and I will share with you some of these things:

1. Spiritual gifts are gifts of grace. Spiritual gifts are never present in individuals before they come to know Christ. Apart from the receiving of grace, no Spiritual gifts of grace (as described in the epistles) are granted to people. People certainly have innate God-given strengths, but until they have tasted the grace of God in Christ by the Spirit, they do not have and are unable to exercise the Spiritual gifts of grace. Furthermore, during the exercising of Spiritual gifts, individuals are controlled by the Spirit of grace and work exclusively with ethe power and strength of God.

of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. Eph 3

2. Everyone who has received the grace of God has been granted at least one Spiritual gift. 

10  As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. .I Peter 4 

3. Our prayers for God to reveal and work out the Spiritual gifts in other believers are very effective. We may pray with one another for God to pour out the gifts of grace or rather pour out the revelation of the gifts of grace (for He has already poured them out in many cases, but the individual must be aware of the gift and walk in grace to exercise it). The acknowledgement of one's Spiritual gift comes with ones receiving of God's grace shown in Christ. If we want to know our Spiritual gift, we must walk in grace and He will help us identify and exercise our gift. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.  I Tim 4 For this reason I remind you to kindle afreshthe gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 2 Tim 1

4. The submission of the flesh to the righteousness of God that occurs through faith in God's grace in Christ results in the exercising of Spiritual gifts. There are two forms of Spiritual gifts (there may be some overlap). 

* The first type is the appointment of the denoted Spiritual gifts: apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher, tongues, interpretation, helps, administration, mercy, wisdom, knowledge, exhortation, discerning of spirits, healing, signs and wonders, etc. These types of gifts seem to be altogether external to the natural strengths of the individual. This is additional evidence that these appointments are gifts of grace. That is, individuals who receive these gifts clearly had no such giftings prior to their being granted them, and acknowledge the power of God as they exercise these gifts. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if  service, in his serving; or he whoteaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.Rom 12

* The second type of gifts are exercised when natural innate strengths are used by someone who is led by the Spirit of grace. Here is an example: Submitting one's speaking to God with acknowledgement of His grace results in a speech that is gracious and seasoned with salt  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.Col 4 Another example of the second form of gift: 11  Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; I Peter 4

5. The exercising of Spiritual gifts results in the glorification of God rather than the person who is exercising the gift and result in the edification of the church. The reason for this is that the individual's work is not from their own flesh, but from the Spirit of grace who is working through them. All who see a believer exercising their Spiritual gift will acknowledge God rather than the believer's natural that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen I Peter 4 The searing effect of grace in our hearts to grant us the desire to walk in righteousness will cause us to eagerly desire the Spiritual gifts which edify the church. 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts.And I show you a still more excellent way...[lead into love chapter] I Cor 12 


Our Visit With Anand and Prasanna God blessed us with a few days this past week to spend with Anand and Prasanna in Indiana. We praise God that they are expecting a baby due in February. We are very thankful for God's conception of a precious child and I could not help but say things like "There are 6 of us in this car!" during our time with them. We went to a Christian Brethren conference on Wednesday where we were encouraged to "stay connected to Christ who is our Head and must not detract from His worship, Word, or work". On Thursday we God gave us a gift of the opportunity to go witnessing at the Purdue U Memorial Union and God's Presence was truly evident with us with the conviction of sin and tears in some people. God has blessed Anand with the gifts of the discerning of spirits, wisdom, and evangelism. And I am starting to believe that Prasanna's gifts are exhortation, wisdom, helps, mercy, and many other things. God has partnered them so beautifully, though they may not always know this, and I was amazed to see how God uses them together. Other than those two events, I had a very blessed time having special conversations with Anand and Prasanna and learning from God about the cleansing of the heart (while we were cleaning their house :)) and about the relationship between God the Father, the Bridegroom, and the Bride. Early on Wed morning I picked up a book that Anand and Prasanna have been reading called "Sacred Marriage" by Thomas Gary and I read much of it in one sitting because it is filled with practical Divine wisdom; I highly recommend it. By God's grace leaving Anand has been tearless ever since He gifted him with Prasanna! I am eager to see how God builds up their family and how He uses them in His church.

Revision of a Prior Sentence: In the letter "A True Disciple", there was a sentence: And we know that unless the Spirit had removed the veil, the glory could never be revealed to someone. I would like to revise this statement but am not sure how at this moment. The veil represent disbelief and sin. And we know that at some point God's glory is revealed to everyone. For those who hate God, their disbelief and sin is not removed though they will at some point see the glory of God before they perish eternally. If I were rewriting that letter I would remove this sentence. I pray that God will help me understand how His glory is revealed to those who hate God while their veil of sin and unbelief remains.

My final email to Mary Jo about the souls of those who are in hell:
 "The work on the cross is very complete because it has paid for all aspects of the salvation of the believer. It has purchased the work of the Spirit to cause the true sheep to trust in Christ (because on their own they could never seek after or desire God) as well as to remove the penalty for their sin, grant them eternal life, discipline, sanctification, adoption...and all the Spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms. Even the good response of our souls to love His glory and righteousness when the Spirit reveals Them to us is a gift included in what was purchased for us on the cross. 

     Without the Spirit's regenerating work in our hearts, we would continue to hate God. Only a regenerate soul can love God. Had we not been regenerated by the Spirit, when we saw God's glory, we ourselves could not love It. We could not love it because the Light of this glory exposed our evil deeds (John 3:20). Our deepest heart's desires were the exalting of the fallen self and world. These desires were misaligned with the purpose of God to exalt and glorify Himself. Thus, in our wickedness, we did not want God to reign supreme on His throne (Luke 19:27 "But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence"). And without the Spirit's work, a soul's delight would be in the exaltation of self, that is, the devil's victory and God's defeat. So when God's glory is revealed, one could not love It because it stood against the evil purposes of the heart. The revelation of His glory would cause one to awake to "disgrace and everlasting contempt" (Dan 2:2) and "their end will be according to their deeds" (2 Cor 11:15).

     Those who are marked for destruction will finally see the glory of God on the judgement day. They will see His majesty and their knees will bow, their tongues will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2). They will see His glory as exalted and supreme, filled with splendor and Light. But somehow, though they see the beauty of the Lord, it is not desirable to their souls in the same way that the true sheep love His Truth and glory. Herein lies the difference between those whose souls have been purchased by the King and those whose souls are devoted to destruction. 

    In another sense, how could we rejoice with God in heaven if there were people in hell longing to have the fellowship of God with us?

     This concept puts all of the sins of my flesh in a new perspective and I hear the Spirit's call for me to love His glory and to throw away the love of self. For the latter would be damning if I continued in it. My seemingly-trivial thoughts of selfishness and fear would condemn me if the Spirit had not and does not continue to bring me to the Father through Christ. "

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