Jesus Christ is Lord of All

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Unity # 16: The Throne of Grace

Unity # 16: The Throne of Grace
Theme Song: Lord, Reign in Me
I speak to the spirit that causes me to speak/write: Has Jesus Christ come in the flesh and is He Lord?
Yes, Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and He is Lord

Dear Father,
     Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your Kingdom come. May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Forgive us of our sins by the blood of Your Son as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. I praise You and I thank You for Your sovereign pull of love on our souls.
In Jesus Christ’s Name,

Dear Beloved,
     Several weeks ago I wrote a letter about eternal security and listed several evidences of true saving faith. For example, love for the saints, obedience to Christ’s commands, and a lack of continuation in sin as a life’s practice are Biblical tests of assurance. True faith always results in the ongoing bearing of fruit and the ongoing conformance of a person into the Image of Christ. Where there is no progression in holiness, no true and saving faith has been established. And where there is a deliberate continuation in sin as a life’s practice, there has been no knowledge of the love of Christ. As the author of Hebrews writes, “ 26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb 10)

     Those of us who have been regenerated struggle with sin daily. For there is a battle that exists in our choice of submission to the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and the sin that dwells in the flesh. As children of God, there is still sin that remains in our flesh and when we have stumbled, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins and those of God’s chosen people throughout the world. (1 John 2:1-2). By being the propitiation, He turns away His Father’s wrath from us by having borne the payment for our sin.
      1 John 3 tells us that we cannot continue in sin as a life’s practice, and yet we know that we do sin in both hidden and willful ways after being regenerated. Can we ever have a clear conscience? Can we ever have assurance of our standing before God? As King David prayed, “ 12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. 13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I will be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Ps 19). Hidden sin refers to those sins which we are unaware of at the present time, but which God brings to light in His time. Presumptuous or willful sin refers to the sin which results from our conscious choices. When true Christians willfully sin our consciences are not clean until we repent of the willful sin. When we are trusting in God’s forgiveness of our hidden sin and have confessed and received forgiveness for willful sins, our consciences truly are clean and our assurance of our eternal standing through the imputed righteousness of Christ is very great. Hebrews 9:13-14 says, “13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,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?”.

     Dear saints, there is sin not leading to death, and God will, in His good time, cause us to repent and to be granted the ongoing and abundant life through Christ. Sin which does not lead to death is the sin committed by regenerated people who are sealed by the Holy Spirit. Such sin will not result in a hardening of heart that has no return. It will not cause one to continually refuse to approach God’s throne of grace and receive mercy from Him. It does not cause one to have a life characterized by a love for the world which exceeds the love for God. It does not continuously interfere with the Spirit’s progressive transformation of the person. 1 John 5:18-21 says, 18 We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

     Though true believers are still in the process of putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, humbly receiving the Word planted in them which is able to save their souls, and proving themselves to be doers of the Word and not simply hearers of the Word who delude themselves (James 1:21-22), they are continually approaching the throne of grace. Heb 4: 14-16 speaks of this throne of grace: “14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 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.
     The regenerate life is characterized by a confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh. Those who are born-again have a great high Priest over the house of God and thus draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having their hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and their bodies washed with pure water (Heb 10:19-22). When Jesus began to wash His disciples’ feet, Peter initially refused, but Jesus told Him that unless He washes him he has no part with Him. Peter then requested for Jesus to wash His hands and head as well. Jesus replied, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is clean; and you are clean [because of the Word spoken to you]” (John 13:5-11, 15:3). If we are regenerated by the Word and Holy Spirit, we truly are clean forever in the sight of God through the blood of Christ, and yet each day as we commit sin not leading to death, we must let Jesus wash our feet of the filth of our wanderings. For when in our post-regenerate lives have we loved and worshipped Christ as He deserves to be worshipped and loved? And yet He is pleased by the fruit of His gift of faith in our lives! We have a need to endure so that when we have done the will of God, we may receive what was promised. In a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But His righteous one shall live by faith. And if he shrinks back, God’s soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. (Heb 10:36-39). If we do not let Christ cleanse our feet, to cleanse our conscience of the past and ongoing sin that does not lead to death, not only will we be unable to achieve victory over sin, but we have no part with Christ.
     You see dear saints, if we continue in willful sins, we would be ashamed. We would shrink back and God would have no pleasure in us. For this reason John tells us as God’s little children to abide in Christ, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If we know that He is righteous, we know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. (1 John 2:28-29). There truly is a state of walking by the Spirit in faith in which God is pleased with us and we are assured of our salvation by grace through faith alone. May we be watchful and ready, and walking in this grace when He appears, whether we are taken to be with Him or whether His second coming occurs in our lifetime. He tells us that if we walk by His Spirit, we will not carry out the desires of the flesh (Gal 5:16). It truly is possible for us to walk in the obedience of faith with a conscience cleansed by the blood of Christ. Indeed, countless saints who have gone before us have walked in this way and met their Savior’s greeting into eternal glory: “Well done, My good and faithful servant”. The fruit of our walking by the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is not law (Gal 5:22-23). Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:24).
     There is something very important that we must understand about our struggle against sin and our battle to repent and receive forgiveness when we have gone astray. For imagine that a Christian has fallen in some way and thinks to himself, “I have not loved my brothers. I have borne no fruit today. I have been addicted to sin. Thus, what if I am not a Christian? I have continued in sin, so how can I be a believer?” Should such a person simply take great pains and efforts to obey the commands of Christ so as to be assured of his standing as a person with the true saving faith that results in obedience? Yes, but there is only one way that this person can return to obedience: and that is through the gates of grace. For the struggle between the carnal desire of the flesh to do good and the inability of this same carnal flesh to do so is a losing battle as we have discussed in Unity # 13. For if we seek to be justified by obedience to the Law, not only will we fail, but we will have fallen from grace as Paul told the Galatians (Gal 5:4). Rather, the way that the Christian gains the victory is through a return to the conscious belief in the Gospel of grace. There is no other way to achieve victorious obedience outside of the conscious remembrance of the Gospel by which we are saved, not by the righteous deeds of our selves, but by the mercy and grace of God, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5-6). Indeed, it is the grace of God which has appeared that alone brings salvation to all men and instructs them to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and Godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and appearing of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave 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. Yes, God will fulfill this in each and every one of His people in His chosen time. He tells us to speak, exhort, and reprove according to these things with all authority and to let no one disregard us (Titus 2:11-15).
     The way we are strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might is to put on the full armor of God so that we will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil, to resist in the evil day, and having done everything to stand firm. It is remarkable that each piece of the armor of God involves the Gospel of our salvation. The putting on of the Armor of God is a conscious renewing of our minds to the state of belief in the Gospel and a full surrender to Christ that results in the walking by faith and the Spirit. Eph 6:14-18 says, “14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints”.
     Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as Christ is pure. (1 John 3:2-3) Dear saints, it is impossible to believe the Gospel and long to be perfect as Christ is perfect, and to simultaneously desire to willfully sin. The hope of becoming like Christ defies all desires of the flesh to sin. Thus, may we find refuge in this purifying hope of seeing Christ face to Face and becoming like Him. As King David says, “The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned” (Ps 34:22) Dear saints, while we were yet sinners God demonstrated His own love towards us by sending Christ to die for us. Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Rom 5:8-11) Listen to God’s Words to us from Is 44:21-23:
21 “Remember these things, O Jacob,
And Israel, for you are My servant;
I have formed you, you are My servant,
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me.
22 “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud
And your sins like a heavy mist.
Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
23 Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it!
Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth;
Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it;
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob
And in Israel He shows forth His glory. Is 44
Excellent Messages:
The Invincable, Irrefutable Joy Article by Bonhoeffer

Love in Christ,

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