Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Prize

An issue I am trying to get a handle on is the idea of the revelation of God as revealed through those who believe and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, yet, have such differing views on how that salvation and their subsequent lifestyle is seemingly affected or perhaps unaffected by that belief. It brings to mind the question of What is being experienced by them as Jesus resides in their heart and soul.

Luke 24:44-47, "Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

John 1:9-12, "That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: ..."

The lens through which I view my walk with Jesus is unique to me. It is and has been formulated by childhood, memory, pain, success and all the other variables which are universal in affecting the outcome of behavior, action, reaction and personality. Life is 'viewed', "... for now we see through a glass, darkly, dimly,..." in imperfection, as unintelligible, as vision impaired by the obscurity and illusion created by the view through an opaque, and yet, somewhat transparent glass. Those images viewed through the opaque glass of faith and hope have shaped my Christian walk, my theology, and molded my personal vision and relationship with God as His love is revealed to me. God's transparency in His love and desire for relationship is revealed through His willingness to sacrifice His Son on my behalf, that I can be ... What?

Now a "vision" is to be something seen, whereas to be "transparent" is to be something through which something else is seen. A transparent vision, then, is an oxymoron. That is, unless there is a specific circumstance that changes the meaning of the concepts. Those living as the blind have no option for 'vision', unless magically a lens is found through which they are given sight, but what is the vision they see, how are things translated to their mind through 'new' eyes, (Mark 8:24, ... and he looked up and said, "I see men like trees, walking."). The sovereignty of God's grace is not to be questioned; (John 3:8, "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.") nor the exercise of the dispensation of those gifts. We can be discerning of the gift of salvation as it exists by the effects which it produces: and so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit: the effects are discernible and sensible just like the wind; but we cannot see into the heart and soul of the person. He who is born again, knows that he is born-again: the Spirit itself, the grand agent in this new birth, that Spirit given to us as a guarantee (2 Cor. 5:5)
bears witness with his spirit, that he is born of God, Romans 8:16; he that believes has the witness and testimony of salvation in himself, 1 John 4:13; 5:10; Galatians 4:6. This Spirit works in and by him that others, though they see not the principle, the agent, The Spirit of God, they can easily discern the change produced; for whosoever is born of God overcomes the world, 1 John 5:4.

"Wicked men convicted by the Spirit know the evil of their natures as well as they know their past sins. They are not then delivered from their depravity, from any lack of knowledge, but from a lack of the requisite degree of faith. God in great mercy does not require a faith which grasps at once both pardon and purity. Faith for purity is a much higher attainment than faith for pardon, an effort requiring a taste of love divine and the illumination of the Holy Spirit, revealing the greatness of his sanctifying grace. Then and then only will faith be able to grasp the prize."

1 John 2:27, " ... but the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him."
This abiding is the task of the believer to 'walk in truth'; it is an imperative action; its design was to allow believers to persevere in faithfulness and sound doctrine; it was the enablement to recognize and understand spiritual truth; it indicated the relationship between the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the dependence of the believer in that revelation. This abiding was crucial in anticipating 'the prize', the 'purifying hope' found in sanctification and obedience; the purity manifested in love and holiness; and reflected the genuine, authentic, reality of the nature of salvation. This abiding is about the search for wisdom and knowledge only found in God. "Knowledge is power; and it is truly astonishing to see what influence true learning has. Nothing is so universally respected, provided the learned man be a consistent moral character, and be not proud and overbearing;" That knowledge which promotes holiness is the revealed character and purposes of God as revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Back to the point ... as I look around at all those who profess Jesus as their Savior, I ask myself are they growing in knowledge?; are they attempting to attain 'the prize'? or are they happy to believe that they have 'escaped the noose'?; Jeremiah 39:18, "For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me," says the Lord.' " Is this the only goal? Has anyone left the depravity of the former self in accepting this as the achievement of salvation? Is this worth a death? Is this worth dying for?

Philip. 3:12, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me."
Philip. 3:14, "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
1 Thes. 2:19, "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?"

The sense is that life is a journey that is a continual progresssion originating at a point of conversion, exhibiting advancement, the pressing forward toward a goal found in perfection, understanding, knowledge and wisdom and 'the prize' being the attainment of a maturity which produces and reproduces holiness of character, for which the reward is to abide in the presence of God for eternity.

Recognize the despair, the forlorn nature of the succeeding quote - "O my God! It is over. I have come to the end of it - the end, the end. To have only one life and to have done with it! To have lived, and loved, and triumphed; and now to know it is over! One may defy everything else but this."

John 19:30, "So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit."

Psalm 31:5. "Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth."

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