Exo 33:9 And it happened as Moses went into the tabernacle, the pillar of cloud would come down and stand at the door of the tabernacle. And He spoke with Moses.
Exo 33:10 And all the people would see the pillar of the cloud standing at the door of the tabernacle. And all the people rose and bowed themselves, each one at the door of his tent.
Exo 33:11 And Jehovah would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.
How often I've thought of this portion of scripture with a longing to know God as Moses did... face to face. I cried out to God many times, "Lord, let me know You in this kind of intimacy!"
What an incredible privilege to know God! Man creates his own gods many times, after his own desires, or uses... a god that will not hold him accountable, that is impersonal, that he can manipulate and find some hidden knowledge or power to control his life and others.
How much greater it is to know the one true living God - Creator of the universe! This God Who created all, Who is above all, Who takes orders from no one, though He dwells on high, yet He makes His home with the lowly. He came down to earth in the form of a humble servant and gave up all His glory in heaven to be like us, and partake of our suffering. He gave Himself on the cross, allowing Himself to be abused by those He created for His love, took on their sins, and the sins of the whole world, being separated from His Father because of it - He loved to the uttermost. Because of this, we have a greater intimacy than that of Moses now, with God Himself. Because of this that Jesus did, we always have access to His throne of grace and mercy in our time of need. We have His Spirit dwelling in us when we come to Him by faith alone in that which He did for us on the cross, accepting the salvation He attained for us. Think of it! Moses knew God face to face. But we know God by His Spirit that has become one with our spirit, making us His child, in unbroken fellowship with Him always, never to leave us or forsake us. We have His Spirit living in us!! His constant presence.
Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. Heb 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Heb 2:11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
Heb 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
Heb 2:13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
Heb 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Heb 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Heb 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Heb 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you; the hope of glory:
It is the pure in heart that will see God. Those that come to Him in faith alone, not relying at all on the works of the flesh or law, but in Jesus Christ alone, knowing Who He is and putting faith in His cross.
Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
There is no other way to "know God". We cannot know Him through spiritual experience, "contemplative prayer", works of our own doing, or any other method created by man or devils, than to come to Him in faith in all He is and has done, giving ourselves up to Him with a pure heart of faith, childlike faith, leaving everything else we ever held dear and trusted in behind, even if we thought it was a way to know Him.
Look at the story of the blind man Jesus healed.
Mar 10:46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
Mar 10:47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
Mar 10:48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
Mar 10:49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
Mar 10:50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
Mar 10:51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
Mar 10:52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
Bartemaeus knew Jesus was the Son of God. His faith was pure. A pure heart is pure faith in the true God. This faith causes us to persevere and not give up. There is no one else or no other way we could go once we have this faith! This faith calls on God, and God answers this faith. The pure in heart shall see God. Moses wanted to see God face to face. But God gives us something even greater than Moses and all the prophets of the Old Testament had. He gives us His Spirit when we come to Him by faith.
Heb 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: Heb 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Mat 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
Mat 13:17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
Many today are seeking to "experience God", but in seeking this they look not to God's Word where they will find Him, but to all kinds of experience, sensationalism, psychology, and other methods of "enlightenment" - all which seems to lead them further from the true God of the Bible Who reveals Himself to us there, giving us His promise of eternal life, His Spirit, His righteousness by faith in Him alone. He tells us there is only one way, not many as religion would have us believe. He says, "I am the Way the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by Me" - John 14:6. How sad if we exchange sensational spiritual experience, or psychological experience, or works for knowing the one true God intimately through His living Word and His Son.
All who come to Him must come to Him with a pure heart - one that knows that He is indeed God in the flesh, Who died for our sins, and rose again, and lives that we may live with Him - that person will receive His true Spirit to dwell with them forever in their heart, and will know Him.
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Do you know this God? There is no other. Would you miss the opportunity to know Him in exchange for anything else in this world? Would you give up the opportunity He freely offers all to come and receive life from Him? Would you hold on to your own way and the weak substitutes to satisfy you rather than coming to the God Who created you to be complete in Him alone? How sad if you miss Him!! How sad if you turn Him away for anything else!
John 12:25 "He who loves his life shall lose it. And he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal."
1Peter 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," 1Peter 1:4 "to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading, reserved in Heaven for you"
Many cling to this world and its immediate pleasure and satisfaction and reject Christ and His salvation and decide on this life here and now rather on the eternal life Jesus gives now and for eternity. They will never find real life - unless they come to the point where they are able, in faith, to turn away from this life, (repentance) and turn to His. It can not be found by bringing them into a church, meeting thier "felt needs", and making them religious, as they cling yet to their hope of life still in this world.
There are so many ways we try to hold on to our life, that even as Christians, many times we are not aware of them.
What is our life? Those things that make us feel secure, significant, happy - the things in this world that we cling to to feel this. The world has its way, and the Lord has His, which is contrary to the world. When we come to Jesus Christ through faith in His finished work and the position He brings us into, which is a heavenly one, He then becomes our life. We cannot hold on to both, this life and His. One has to go.
The Holy Spirit is continually working in us the life of Christ, and we are continually having to make the choice to hold on to our own worldly life, or chose His. We are not aware that every hardship and trial He brings us through is only His way of training us to put our faith completely in His life and let go of this one. Each time we do, we find more of that abundant life in Him as He fills our hearts. We are being brought to a deeper surrender of faith. But if we go to the world for understanding, or cling to this worldly life and cling to our own self-fulfillment, we give up the chance to know Him in His life and power.
Which would you choose? The life He gives is eternal. It is real life. The life the world gives supports and builds up and strengthens the self-life, the adam-nature, and always gives immediate satisfaction, but in the end, death. The life Jesus offers is at first a cross, and death; but out of that cross comes the true eternal life of His Spirit empowering us, filling us, and separating us from the world. Would you continually seek "self-fulfillment", or would you give it up and be free? If you would give up all self-esteem, self-fulfillment, and self-love, you would find God-esteem, God-fulfillment, and God's love filling your heart, and freedom from self. It is not separate from He, Himself being our life. And He is only to become our life as we lose the other. There is no way to have both.
In today's church movements, we see a grasping to hold on to the life in this world and find its fulfillment alongside of having Christ - a marrying of the world and church. This, the Bible tells us, is impossible. The one will cancel out the other. Love of the world is emnity with Christ. Love of self is negatory to the love of God.
John 12:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit."
There can be no fruit of the Spirit that comes from the world, or from the flesh. It comes only when our old self, our flesh, our adam-nature, is crucified with Christ and by faith in Christ as our life and energy and source, flows through us by His Spirit. Many try in the flesh to produce the fruit of the Spirit. We can arrive at a certain level of self-control, etc. but the fruit of the Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit and there is not possible for the flesh to produce. Many works are done in Christ's name that are not done by His life and Spirit, but by the strength, wisdom, and engineering of man, asking God's help. How different it is when one is filled with His Spirit and moves in His Spirit, denying this world's ways and philosophies and walking in opposition to it. The true fruit of the Spirit flows forth and gives life to others in Christ, instead of the artificial "fulfillment" of the world with a religious twist.
He who would give up his life will find it...he who would hold on to it will lose the real life that is in Christ alone.
The pain we have in this world in turning away from that life, or in letting it go, is nothing compared to the joy we have in Christ Jesus.
Rom 8:18 "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed in us."
There will be no glory in our flesh at that time. The flesh will be revealed for all that it is. The only glory that will be revealed in us at that time will be the glory of Christ and what He was in us, to us, and through us. All else will be burned up.
1Cor 3:13 "each one's work shall be revealed. For the Day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try each one's work as to what kind it is." 1Cor 3:14 "If anyone's work which he built remains, he shall receive a reward." 1Cor 3:15 "If anyone's work shall be burned up, he shall suffer loss. But he shall be saved, yet so as by fire."
We must expect, that to find God's life, we will be hated by this world. It will not understand us, nor will it understand this life, and will always be opposed to it, as it threatens their "life". It threatens everything they cling to and hold on to.
John 16:8 "And when that One comes, He will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment." John 16:9 "Concerning sin, because they do not believe on Me;" John 16:10 "concerning righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;" John 16:11 "concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged."
John 15:18 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you." John 15:19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:20 "Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they have kept My saying, they will also keep yours."
Every day, we must choose His life or ours. Which will you choose?
Sanctification is the act of making holy, or The act of consecrating or of setting apart for a sacred purpose; consecration.
We are sanctified, (set apart, made pure, cleansed) by Christ, in Christ, through Christ, not by any works of our own, but by His finished work, and not by man or any work of man. Sanctification is only by faith in this work. John 17:17-19, 1 Cor. 1:30, 1 Cor. 1:2, Eph. 5:25b-27, 1 Thess. 5:23, 2 Thess. 2:13, Heb. 13:12,
We are sanctified by the truth, which is His Word. He is the living Word indwelling those who believe in Him. His truth is taught by His Spirit to every born again believer as they read the Word, in dependance on His Spirit, and His finished work - (1Jo 2:27 But the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true and no lie, and as He has taught you, abide in Him.)
We are to "know how to possess our vessels in sanctification and honor" (1 Thess. 4:4) - again..."the just shall live by faith". The way to possess our vessels in sanctification, holiness, or being "set apart" for Christ is to walk in the righteousness and sanctification He provided through faith in that position He put us in which is heavenly... Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us Eph 2:5 (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), Eph 2:6 and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus,
Col 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Col 3:2 Be mindful of things above, not on things on the earth. Col 3:3 For you died, and your life has been hidden with Christ in God. Col 3:4 When Christ our Life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
This is our "position in Christ" - our sanctification - hidden with Christ in God. We were removed from the first Adam...under the law of sin and death, and put into the new Adam - Christ - and are in Him in the heavenlies, having His righteousness. To possess our vessels then, in sanctification, is to abide by faith in this position so that we do not give our vessels over to sin in the flesh. We still dwell in these vessels of flesh which must be under the subjection of our new life in Christ...the life of the Spirit. Gal 5:16 I say, then, Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. And these are contrary to one another; lest whatever you may will, these things you do. Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
All of our sanctification is by faith...none of it is by our own works. It cannot be worked out by our efforts or our flesh. Only by faith and total dependance on His finished work of putting us "in Christ" can we walk in sanctification here. Setting up any other method of sanctification, or working out the salvation of our souls (the mind, will, and emotions) such as ritual, rules of conduct, relationships with others in family or church, psychology (humanistic concepts of behavior and self-fulfillment), etc. can never produce the holiness or sanctification of our souls that is in Christ. Only faith in His finished work, and walking in dependance on His righteousness that indwells and impowers us can we work out that sanctification in the body. Phi 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, cultivate your own salvation (work out) with fear and trembling. Phi 2:13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
We are "crucified with Christ," to sin and the world, and alive unto Him, raised up and seated with Him in the Heavenlies, hidden with Him, depending on Him as our life, our righteousness, our sanctification, our wisdom, cleansed from all sin - in Him, dead to the law - in Him - no longer under it's rule or penalty, but under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus - faith in His finished work. To live in that sanctification He has put us in, we must study and learn this finished work, what it means for us, how complete our salvation is in Him, what it means for our sanctification, and our daily walk; these are the things we need to study, meditate on, understand, and put our faith in daily. This is our sanctification.
Col 2:1 For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh,
Col 2:2 that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and to all riches of the full assurance of the understanding, to the full knowledge of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
Col 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Col 2:4 And I say this that not anyone should beguile you with enticing words.
Col 2:5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in the spirit, rejoicing and beholding your order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
Col 2:6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
Col 2:7 rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Col 2:8 Beware lest anyone rob you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ.
Col 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
Col 2:10 And you are complete in Him, who is the Head of all principality and power,
Col 2:11 in whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ,
Col 2:12 buried with Him in baptism, in whom also you were raised through the faith of the working of God, raising Him from the dead.
Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
Col 2:14 blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.
All of the above is in the past tense...it is the finished work of Christ which is already accomplished in every believer that is born again, of His Spirit through faith in this work. Also see Eph. 1 and 2, and Rom. 5-8 for more study in His finished work. As we walk in faith in our position, our experience in the body becomes more and more conformed to that image that we are in Christ, and our sanctification in the body which we already have in the Spirit is worked out.
The Finished Work of Jesus Christ
1Co 1:30 - "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:"
In Christ we have every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies, all we need to live godly, all we need for fulfillment, and all we need for the life we are to have in this world and the life beyond. He Himself is our life. He is our rule of life. It is no longer "I" who live but "Christ Who lives in me." We do not live in the flesh asking the Holy Spirit for help... which can never be. He does not "help" the flesh, but crucifies it. But we live "in Christ", as He lives in us. His work is completed for us; our salvation is completed in Him. We are seated in the heavenlies with Him. In this life we walk in dependence on that from a place of Sabbath rest. Our work comes out of that rest.
From T. A. Sparks:
"One of the enemy's most successful activities against the testimony and those who bear it is to bring about unrest and a lack of assurance concerning the Lord. He has many ways of producing such a condition of uncertainty: introspection, self-occupation, false accusations, feelings of the soul or doubts in the mind. All manner of means are used to upset the restful, confident assurance of faith in relation to the Lord. A principal one is fear, but there is nothing which will so quickly and utterly paralyse the servant of God as fear. In this connection we are told: "And in nothing affrighted by the adversaries". The great adversary works hard to get us unsettled and affrighted, which means that we are not spiritually enjoying God's sabbath. In principle the sabbath is a state rather than a period of time; it is a spiritual condition of heart rest in the fact that God has reached the end of all His works and has nothing more to do, having secured everything finally in His Son. We need to apprehend the completeness of Calvary's work, for without such an assurance we cannot build for God. If we are fretful and worried about our spiritual life, our acceptance, our standing or our fellowship with God, then we are debarred from practical participation in building for God."
"'If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing THINE OWN PLEASURE on my holy day: and call the sabbath a delight, and the holy of the Lord honourable; and shalt honour it, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure... I will make thee to ride upon the high places of the earth' (Isaiah 58:13-14). To know what spiritual ascendancy is, to be on the uplands with God, means first of all to have entered into God's rest in His completed work and then to cease from personal and selfish interests."
There can be no gain in our spiritual life, no wisdom, no true working, or righteousness, etc. unless it comes from that relationship of faith in the finished work of Christ. Outside of that we produce wood, hay, and stubble. That is the fruit of our flesh - yes even our religious, consecrated flesh.
Joh 19:30 - "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."
What was finished? The work Jesus came to do in this earth as God in the flesh, as Savior of the world for sin. It was finished at that moment. Not one more thing needed to be done for our salvation. There is not one thing any man or religion can add to that work. It is finished!
2Co 5:21 - "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
This is His finished work. All other sacrifices under the Jewish law had to be given again and again. But His sacrifice was one time for all our sin. It accomplished our salvation from beginning to end. There is nothing we can do in any way to contribute to that. It is by grace we are saved through faith....the gift of God!
"Rom 3:21 - But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
righteousness of God
The righteousness of God is neither an attribute of God, not the changed character of the believer, but Christ Himself, who fully met in our stead and behalf every demand of the law, and who is, but the act of God called imputation (Lev_25:50); (Jam_2:23); "made unto us . . righteousness" (1Co_1:30).
"The believer in Christ is now, by grace, shrouded under so complete and blessed a righteousness that the law from Mt. Sinai can find neither fault nor diminution therein. This is that which is called the righteousness of God by faith." -- Bunyan. "
This is how we are to live the Christian life. We are to live it in complete trust and dependance on this fact of the finished work of Christ. Every error in Christianity and every cult and false religion you will find takes away from and annuls in some way this fact. Anything that puts emphasis on what man can do for righteousness, consecration, sanctification, Christian work, salvation, happiness, fulfillment, emotional wellbeing, spirituality etc. nullifies this finished work of Christ. As Christians, everything we learn and do should be measured by this. Discernment falls away when we do not understand this. Wolves creep into the church because we do not understand this and we let them deceive us because we have not a firm foundation in His Word and His finished work.
What a comforting thought to know that Christ is all and all for us and that there is nothing we can face in this life that He has not already seen and has gone ahead of us to prepare for us the way. We only need to rest in His care for our lives and trust in Him. We know there is nothing unimportant to Him. We know that even our failures He saw ahead and works even those for our good to conform us to that perfect image we were created in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us to stand in that position when the enemy attacks. And the enemy does attack! If we stand on anything else we will fall. If we stand on any man's philosophy we will fall. But if we stand on that finished work we will see God's work and we will stand indeed!
The Finished Work of Christ
1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
So many other foundations in Christiandom others have tried to lay than that finished work of Christ that He has layed!!! Paul layed that foundation. Others build on THAT foundation, but NEVER are they to lay another or wrongly build on it in a way that nullifies it's truth and power. Today a whole new foundation is being layed other than the foundation of Christ in mainstream Christianity, though it uses the name of Christ. This is not to say this is a "new thing"! It has been tried since the beginning of the gospel message went forth. Yet the foundation that stands, the foundation that is built on Jesus Christ alone, the foundation that brings eternal life, is the one Paul layed by the Holy Spirit and that is Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen!!
What does this finished work mean in practical application in our walk with the Lord? How does it change the way we approach scripture and live the entire Christian life? It means the ENTIRE AND ETERNAL difference!! It means power in our walk with the Lord to bring His life to others and walk in victory, or death and defeat in the body of Christ and the works we are to do. It means the difference between the lost being saved and made religious and still lost, or being eternally saved and empowered to live true life in Christ ,now and in all eternity. IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE!!! I can not shout that out to you loud enough! I cannot stress it hard enough! I cannot speak it long enough or ever say it enough times. This is what Paul preached when he said, "I know Christ and Him crucified". He preached nothing else! - 1 Cor. 2:2
That foundation says all in our life is to be based on that work and by faith in that work and by that Spirit of Christ living within us and through us, not by our putting our faith in the Holy Spirit to help us live better or to keep the law, or even to keep the New Testament teaching! It is by Christ Himself now as our life, putting to death the old and replacing it with the New. All is of Him, by faith, from beginning to end of our salvation. It is complete! It is finished!
This is where we stumble -- it is complete you say? Well, then why did Paul say we must "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling"?
Phi 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Let us read this in context and also along with and not apart from Paul's preaching on the finished work of Christ which caused Him to write Col. 2 and proclaim also in Gal. 2:20 - "I no longer live but Christ lives in me"....etc. along with all his other writings.
Phi 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Phi 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Phi 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Phi 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
First, Jesus Christ is Lord, and no flesh will ever be exhalted in His presence. No flesh will say, "I accomplished my salvation "with the help of Christ", or in any other way. But I was saved by grace, through faith, THROUGH Christ alone and His work.
Our "working out of our salvation" here in this life in no way means that our salvation in Christ is not completed!! Oh praise God! Let me say that again. I am feeling like shouting this here, please excuse the emotion, as I am barely able to contain myself as I type this... Our working out of our salvation here in this life IN NO WAY MEANS OUR SALVATION IN CHRIST IS NOT COMPLETED! Praise to His Holy name!!!!
That working out of our salvation is simply the working of that completed salvation into our practical daily experience and life here and now and the "putting to death the deeds of the flesh" in this body, which can only be done by He, Himself living in us, and it is from that completed work, not by our flesh, not by our power, not by His Spirit helping our flesh in any way. The Holy Spirit will NEVER help our flesh in any way, shape, or form. He will never bless our flesh or the efforts of our flesh, no matter how "Biblical" we think they are. He will never sanctify our flesh. He will never accept consecrated flesh or the works of consecrated flesh. Most of the works in the church, today, I fear are of "consecrated flesh"....and appears to be good, appears to be something that is even Biblical, and appears to be something God would surely bless and use. Let me say again, God will never bless consecrated flesh. He only blesses His own work. All else is wood, hay, and stubble, and produces the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit in the church. It produces death in the body of Christ. It may even appear to be successful, but it does not produce the work of the life of the Spirit in the body, bringing people to the cross and its power for their lives and deliverance from sin. Flesh can only produce works of the flesh, whether "consecrated to God" or not. God's Spirit exposes, rather, our flesh; yes, even our religious, consecrated flesh, and makes us see what is not of faith in that finished work, but another foundation, and what is of our own flesh striving and producing only "religious works" but not the works or fruit of the Spirit; and then He applies the power of the cross, which has already been accomplished in Christ, to that flesh, by exposing it to our hearts, as we agree with Him and say, "Yes Lord! I see it for what it is and surrender it to Your cross! I reckon myself dead to it in Christ and alive unto You as You have said!" Then and then alone are we free, in utter dependence on His Spirit in us to allow Him to do His work through us. We must see it by His Spirit, and cry out for deliverance from it, before the cross' power can be applied to our earthly life. No striving of ours will crucify it or even allow us to see it. In fact our own introspection and trying to die to self will only keep it more hidden. We cannot "die to self", we must reckon on our death to self in Christ. (Rom. 6) Even our striving to die to self is a work of the flesh which will produce only self-righteousness.
Here is how we are to apply that cross, by faith alone, to our daily working out of our salvation:
From Out of Adam, Into Christ, by J.C. Metcalfe: http://members.tripod.com/~GinnyL/out_of_adam4.htm
"Before the new life about which we spoke in the last chapter can grow, and be free to develop naturally, the old must be 'reckoned' dead (Romans 6:11). Do you find this 'reckoning' difficult to understand? You are not the first to have found it so. On one occasion I met a lady at a meeting who said to me, "I cannot understand this business of reckoning myself dead. The more I try the further away from it I seem to be." "What have you been doing?" I asked her. "O," she replied, "I have read all the books I can find about it, but the more I read the less I understand." "Do you know that your sins are forgiven?" was my next question. "Yes," was the answer. "How do you know?" I asked, and the answer came quickly, "Because Jesus was wounded for my transgressions". "Where did you look to see that?" I then said. "Why! I saw Him dying on the Cross for me," came the reply. I continued with my questioning. "How did you know when you looked at the Cross that it was for you?" My friend hesitated for a moment, then she said - "I cannot quite explain, I suppose it was the Holy Spirit Who showed it to me!" "Do you believe that 2 Corinthians 5:14 is true?" I then asked. "It says that because He died for all, all died." "Yes," was the rather hesitant reply. "I think," I then continued, "that you have been trying to do what God has already done for you. Have you not been doing your best to die, because you feel that the Word of God teaches that that is the way of deliverance from sin? The fact is that the Bible never tells us we have to die, but that when Christ died, we died with Him. All we have to do is to count, or reckon, that what God says about us is true. When you saw how greatly you needed forgiveness you turned with a cry for forgiveness to the one place where God has promised to pardon. You looked to Jesus dying for you, and the Holy Spirit, to your great joy, showed you that He did indeed die 'that you might be forgiven'. Why not come back to the foot of the Cross, and because you so greatly need deliverance from the power of the old life, ask that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you in just the same way the fact that you died with Him?"
This is something that very few see as a basis for everyday living. Let us go over the facts again. If you and I slip or stumble as we go through our daily life what is the remedy? It is summed up by two glorious facts, which we who have entered into the relationship of children of God, through the redemption wrought out for us by the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross must accept, and reckon on:
1. "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the propitiation for our sins ..." (1John 2:1,2).
In other words the Savior Who died for us lives constantly to plead the merit of His sacrifice before God, and to pardon the penitent.
2. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1John 1:9).
By going openly and honestly to Him in repentance and confession, pardon is received. This is blessedly true in the experience of Christian people, and is possible because He died for all. Now let us take the second step! When you and I come face to face with temptation, and are deeply conscious of our inability to meet it, we may count upon two more facts revealed to us in the Word of God.
1. "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Romans 6:6).
In other words we may face the power of temptation, by reckoning on the fact of our death with Christ, as having freed us once for all from the necessity of serving sin.
2. "Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof ... For sin shall not have dominion over you" (Romans 6:12-14).
We must accept God's verdict on the inability of our old nature to meet temptation, and to live the Christian life. Then by an act of our will we must take our stand against the tyranny of sin, crying to Him to fight for us as His word promises. The Holy Spirit will make our reckoning real, and free us practically from the old nature that the new may come into action. This reckoning is as much a day by day affair as was the gathering of manna by the people of Israel. We are shown the secret of this union with Christ in His death for the first tme, and the revelation may well come as a crisis in our life. Afterwards we live day by day counting on the facts thus revealed to us." (emphasis mine)
I leave you with this foundation - the finished work of Christ - as your very life in your living out your salvation in this body. I pray that all who read these words will understand, and will be full of joy in His completed salvation in themselves. I pray if you have tried to live your Christian life on a false understanding of this foundation and wrong building upon it, your eyes will be opened to see the truth of His finished work on your behalf and the power of it in you. I pray that if you have received any other foundation and are not truly born again by His Spirit and saved by that work, that you will see it and believe and turn away from all else to Him alone! May it be so Lord Jesus!
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