Anointed To Teach God's Word

Classic Christian teaching from the holy Bible

False and Futile Attempts at Salvation # 2

Now let us look at some of the aprons of fig leaves with which the natural man is trying to make himself acceptable to God and fit for Heaven.

Salvation through Character. “Character – home-brew” is the sign over the door of the self-righteous man’s life. He has to admit weakness and failure but he does not call sin “sin” nor does he grant that he has any great need. There is nothing in him so wrong that he cannot remedy it himself if given time, a proper environment and enlarged opportunities. The self-righteous man thinks that he starts with something already very good, something even with the very essence of the divine in it. His business is to make this good thing gradually better.

In this process of self-cultivation the self-righteous man measures himself with himself and he is very pleased; he measures himself also with other men and, like the self-righteous Pharisee of Luke 18:9-14, he is more than pleased. He congratulates himself on himself and even commends his virtues to God. But there is one measurement that he has forgotten to take. He has never placed his self-righteous life alongside the spotless, stainless, sinless, life of the Son of Man to see how infinitely far short he falls of a righteousness which God accepts. He ignores the fact that the absolute righteousness of God demands nothing less than absolute righteousness in all who are acceptable to Him, which is a demand no human being in himself ever can meet.

Some day when this man stands before the Lord Jesus Christ, once a proffered but a rejected Saviour, now his Judge, he will expect Him to approve this man-made production of righteousness, to pronounce it as good as anything the Lord could have done, and to let him pass into Heaven to abide forever in the presence of an absolutely righteous God.

I was talking once with a friend concerning his need of a Saviour. He was a man of splendid ideals, high standards and excellent principles. He was cultured, kind, moral, and from a human standpoint, lived what the world would commend as a highly respectable life. When I pressed the necessity of accepting Jesus Christ as his Saviour, he said, “Why do I need any one to die for me? I do not want any one’s blood shed for me!” The root of that reply was self-righteousness. That young man was trusting to be saved through character. God looks down upon all such “which trusted in themselves that they were righteous” and says,

Romans 3:10, 12, “There is none righteous, no, not one. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: they is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

And of the righteousness which has been so carefully cultivated He gives His estimate through the mouth of His prophet,

Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

To reply upon self-righteousness as the ground of salvation is utterly futile. God declares plainly that His wrath against it will be revealed.

Romans 10:3, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.”

How very different is the self-righteous, self-made man from the one who has had a glimpse of the Holy One and His righteousness!

Isaiah 6:5, “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

Job 42:5, 6, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee.  Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners: of whom I am chief.”

The last quotation is from the lips of a man who, if any one, could have rested upon his own righteousness as a sufficient ground of acceptance with God. With perfect sincerity he said of himself that “touching the righteousness which is of the law he was blameless.” Yet after seeing the Lord of glory he was convinced of the foolishness and futility of such confidence in the flesh. From that time he had but one consuming desire, “that he might win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:6, 9). The only righteousness that makes any man acceptable with God is the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:22, 23, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

No one whose eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts, and who has contrasted his own sinfulness with His holiness will have a shred of hope of acceptance with God through his own character. The man who relies upon any righteousness in himself as his ground of salvation and who refuses Christ’s imputed righteousness as God’s free gift only proves the Word of God that the god of this world has blinded hi mind so that the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine into his heart.

~Ruth Paxson~

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Three Levels

Psalm 32:8-11

Did you know there are three levels on which God can deal with you? You must decide whether you want Him to treat you as a thing, an animal, or one of His own children. God had to treat David as a thing (sponge), and His hand was heavy on him (vv. 3-4). David was rebelling. He was not acting like God’s child. Instead of confessing his sin, he was covering it. But the Bible says, “He who covers his sins will not prosper” (Proverbs 28:13). So God had to treat David like a thing. He put His hand on David and began to squeeze all the life out of him. David finally woke up and confessed his sin.

God also had to treat David like an animal. He warns us, “Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you” (v. 9). David had acted like a horse – impulsively, he rushed ahead and sinned. And then he became stubborn like a mule and would not confess his sin. So God dealt with him as He would an animal.

But God wants to deal with us as children. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eyes [on you]” (v. 8). He doesn’t want to control us with bits and bridles, although sometimes He has to do that. Sometimes He has to send us sickness or a handicap or an accident to break our wills. He says, “I’d much rather guide you with My eye on you. I’d much rather instruct you.” You can instruct a horse or a mule to a certain extent – but not the way you can a child. Decide today: Is God going to treat you as a thing because you are rebelling or as an animal because you are stubborn? Or will you let Him guide you as His own child? Oh, how much He loves you! He wants to work in you and through you and for you to bring about His best in your life.

God loves you and wants to guide you as His child. The way you live decides whether or not He can. Rebellion and unconfessed sin in your life will change the way He works in you. Are you living as a child of God? Decide now on which level He will treat you.

~Warren W. Wiersbe~


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False and Futile Attempts at Salvation

In His Word God has taught one truth which is beyond all contradiction. It is that sin has created an awful chasm between Himself and man. Man may ignore or condone sin, he may treat it very highly, he may even be so foolish as to deny its reality, but that does not alter the unalterable fact that sin exists and that it separates from God. God does not treat sin lightly. God hates it, God condemns it. “Sin unatoned for must be an insuperable barrier between the sinner and God.”

If the natural man is to be brought into favor and fellowship with God, it is evident that something must be done with sin. Man’s first step in returning to God must be a consciousness that deepens into a conviction of sin. So the question which comes to every person who awakens to his condition through sin and its consequences, is the same as that which came to the Philippian jailer, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

The Nature of Salvation

“Let us analyze the jailer’s question. First, “What must I do to be saved?” Who is the “I”? A lost man enslaved by sin, self and satan; a blind man, whose mind has been darkened by the god of this world and whose eyes are closed to the beauty and glory of God; a dead man alienated from the life of God.

Second, “What must I do to be saved?” He does not ask what he must do to be reformed or repaired or repolished, but to be saved. Th question he asks is, “How can I an enslaved man have deliverance; a blind man have sight; a dead man have life?”

Third, “What must I do to be saved?” What can a bond-slave do to free himself? Or what can a blind man do to gain sight? Or what can a dead  man do to make himself alive?

Let us answer the jailer’s question by defining the kind of salvation which will fully meet the sinner’s need. It must be a salvation God can accept as wholly sufficient and satisfactory.  God is the One who has been offended and most wounded by sin. By his sin Adam forfeited all right to relationship with God and it is God alone who can say by what means and in what manner the relationship with sinful men can be restored. Man has no ground upon which he can approach God. If God ever receives the natural man it must be upon some ground where he confesses himself a helpless, hopeless, sinner. “Between him and God is the impassable gulf of moral inability. Between him and God is the barrier of penal judgment.” God alone can determine how this chasm shall be bridged and this barrier removed.

It must be a salvation that deals effectually with sin and all its consequences. This salvation must put away sin and give man a new nature, without which there would be no basis for establishing a relationship with God. This salvation must blot out man’s sins and their attendant guilt. Sins committed cannot be undone merely by an expression of sorrow or by a promise of amendment through a New Year resolution or by the “turning over of a new leaf.”

It must be a salvation that carries out the sentence of death upon the sinner. God’s law is holy and it cannot be trifled with. God’s judgments are righteous and they must be fulfilled. God has said, “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” The penalty must be paid; the judgment must be executed. Any salvation that saves must take into account the payment of this penalty and the execution of this judgment.

It must be a salvation that accomplishes the defeat, dethronement and destruction of satan. God’s judgment upon satan who brought sin into the universe must be executed as truly as God’s judgment upon the sinner. God has said that the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent. This is one half of the original promise of salvation. Christ’s final victory necessitates satan’s full defeat. Such must be the nature of any salvation that fully saves.

Man’s False and Futile Attempts for Salvation

But there are those who, refusing to accept God’s estimate of the natural man, deny the necessity of any such radical and revolutionary change in him. They delight in the exaltation of the flesh and they deny the self-evident fact that human nature is in utter ruin though they are compelled to admit that it is greatly in need of repair. They believe and teach that human nature is imperfect because it is in the process of formation. But given proper environment, liberal education and the chance to make the best of what he already possesses, man by his own natural development ultimately will achieve Godlikeness and attain a place in the Kingdom of God. In other words salvation is not by grace but by growth; it depends upon an evolution of life from within rather than upon an impartation of life from without.

There are those even in the pulpit and in the theological seminary who teach that the natural man is not dead but diseased; not wicked but weak; not fallen but fainting; and they attempt resuscitation through ethical culture, social reform and mass education while ridiculing the necessity of redemption through the atoning work of the crucified Saviour and regeneration through the power of the indwelling Spirit.

Their kind of preaching is well summed up in the word of a prominent preacher who said, “Do your part and God will surely do His. To deny that a man is forgiven when he turns away from wrong and asks forgiveness would be to deny the moral character of God.” In such teaching man is made his own saviour, and salvation is nothing more than a feeble sense of regret resulting in slight changes in conduct to which God is asked to affix His  seal of forgiveness.

This kind of thinking and teaching leads men to seek out ways of salvation which are futile and to rest upon hopes which are false. If the meaning of salvation is what we have indicated in these pages then the means of its accomplishment must be supernatural. But man is ever prone to put his trust in the purely natural, in himself.

When the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened to evil and they came into a realization of their sin and shame instead of seeking God, confessing their sin, and acknowledging their undone condition, they made themselves aprons of fig leaves to cover their nakedness (Genesis 3:7). From that day to this the natural man has been at the same foolish, futile task of trying to cover his sin and guilt with some garment of his own making which he trusts will be acceptable to God.

But no dress which the natural man provides for the flesh will ever please God. No matter of what material it is made or how beautiful, fitting and durable it may seem to be to the world, it will wither into nothingness, even as Adam’s and Eve’s aprons of fig leaves, before the righteousness and holiness of God.

No garment of salvation except the one He Himself provides will be acceptable to God.

Genesis 3:21, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”

By this act God acknowledged that the shame of Adam and Eve was not groundless, and that they did need a covering; but He also showed the utter inadequacy of the one they had provided for themselves, their lack of apprehension of the enormity and heinousness of their sin against Him, and of the nature of the salvation required to restore them to His fellowship.

God had said, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” They had eaten. “The wages of sin is death.” If they did not die some one acceptable to God must die in their place. This is the meaning of salvation. But God had already given the promise of a Saviour-Substitute. The seed  of the serpent would bruise the heel of the woman’s seed. The garments of skin with which the Lord God clothed Adam and Eve were procured through the slaying of animals, through the shedding of blood. By this gracious act of God the means of salvation was symbolized; the death of His own well-beloved Son was shadowed forth. God Himself furnished the skins, God made the coats, God clothed them in acceptable garments.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 2)

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Acknowledging the Ultimate Source

“… joyously giving thanks to the Father” (Colossians 1:11-12)

Joyous thanksgiving acknowledges God as the giver of every good gift.

The inseparable link between joy and thanksgiving was a common theme for Paul. In Philippians 4:4-6 he says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! … Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” He told the Thessalonians to “rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).

As often as Paul expresses thanks and encouraged others to express theirs, he was careful never to attribute to men the thanks due to God alone. For example, in Romans 1:8 he says, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.” He thanks God, not the Roman believers, because he knew that faith is a gift from God.

That doesn’t mean you can’t thank others for the kindnesses they show, but in doing so you must understand that they are instruments of God’s grace.

Thanking Him shows humility and acknowledges His rightful place as the Sovereign Lord and the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Those who reject His Lordship and refuse to give Him thanks incur His wrath (Romans 1:21).

Only those who love Christ can truly give thanks because He is the channel through which thanks is expressed to the Father. As Paul says in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Hebrews 13:15 adds, “Through [Christ] then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

As one who is privileged to know the God of all grace, be generous in your praise and thanksgiving today. See everything as a gift from His hand for your joy and edification.

Suggestions for Prayer: Read aloud Psalm 136 as a prayer of praise to God.

For Further Study: From Psalm 136 list the things that prompted the psalmist’s thanksgiving. How can that psalm serve as a model for your own praise?

~John MacArthur~

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The Cross: The Basis of the Church # 3

How does God have His rights in righteousness secured? Well, by dealing with the unrighteousness in man, the unrighteousness in this world, the unrighteousness which from the beginning has been standing in God’s way. Now, in this representative One, all that unrighteousness is taken up and brought under judgment and death, the final judgment of unrighteousness in the death of Christ. Jordan, of course, is a very passive figure of it. The active positive view of the meaning of that can only be seen and understood if in any way the Holy Spirit shows us the meaning of that great and terrible cry, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). If ever a soul were to be fully alive to the eternal meaning of being God-forsaken, then such a one would understand the meaning of unrighteousness, the awfulness of eternal abandonment by God because of unrighteousness. To deal with that the Son of God came and went to the Cross.

God has something which He demands as His rights and that something is righteousness, perfect righteousness, righteousness filled full, fulfilled, and that must obtain before anything else can be realized. God must have His rights secured in utter righteousness.

But that means, of course, an utterness of abandonment to the will of God. Abandonment to the will of God – that is righteousness. God having His rights means that He has undivided allegiance, devotion, abandonment. That is the note from Genesis to Revelation. Whenever God gets anything which resembles that, you will notice there is something very, very wonderful that comes out from God. You think of it. We only dare take one instance, that of Abraham in the offering of Isaac. Here, you see, is an abandonment to God, an utterness, unquestioning devotion to the will of God. That is the only thing that governs; no arguments: and he might have argued. God said, “Take now thy son,” and Abraham neither argued, reasoned, nor held back, but made his way to the appointed spot and virtually enacted the Divine requirement and offered Isaac. What was God’s reaction? “Because thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed …” (Genesis 22:6-17). But, more than that, Abraham became the friend of God. The friend of God! I do not think there is any other title in the Bible which approximates to that in its meaning. “Abraham my friend” (Isaiah 41:8). Think of Almighty God saying that of a man. Here is an utterness of devotion to the will of God. But that is the Cross, that is always connected with the Cross. With Abraham, it was, in type, bound up with the Cross, the offering of his only son whom he loved. It was the Cross!

But it is a figure, after all, of something greater in the Lord Jesus and His Cross. He was an abandonment even unto death, unquestioning devotion to the will of God.l “I come to do Thy will” (Hebrews 10:7). “I delight to do Thy will” (Psalm 40:8). “Not My will, but Thine” (Luke 22:42). The will of God, that is the Cross, God getting His rights. Oh, beloved, you see what the Church is founded upon. Had the Church truly seen and taken its character from that, there would have been none of this situation which we find on the earth today among Christians.

Yes, the Cross God-ward means that God comes into His place. If you and I are going to say anything about the Cross, if we are going to preach and teach the Cross, let us understand that, from God’s standpoint, this is what the Cross means, not merely a question of the benefits we derive, but what God Himself gets in us and through us by His Cross. That is the other aspect. God has His eye on that all the time, and that to which God has a right is this abandonment to His will without question. Upon that rock the Church is built.

The Man-ward Aspect of the Cross

Then there is the man-ward aspect of the Cross, that is, that not only does the Cross clear the ground for the Eternal Purpose of God in Christ by its answering to God’s requirement of absolute righteousness, but it clear the ground of man, man’s nature, man’s being; for the Church can never be composed of man as he is by nature. That is just where things have gone all wrong, and that is why we have such a situation. The “old man” has come into the Church, and he has no right and no place there. Yes, Jacob is there; whereas he ought to have been smitten, to have become a prince with God. You and I by nature have no place whatever in the Church, and will forever keep a clear line of demarcation registered between what we are by nature and what Christ is in us by grace. Do not forget that. The Holy Spirit by the Cross draws that line, and if and I are really going on into God’s fullest thought and purpose, that line will be constantly kept in view by the Holy Spirit, and we shall be made aware of it all the time – Yes, that is you, that is not Christ, that has no place here at all and you must leave it out! In this place, the House of God, the Church, it is Christ and only Christ, and you can only abide in this House as you abide in Christ; which in turn means that you must keep out of what you are by nature, and keep what you are by nature out. The Cross has for ever put those two asunder, cleared the ground for God’s purpose.

You know that, you know it all. I have not told you anything fresh. Ah, but it is very necessary for everyone of us to be continually reminded of this lest we are found to be in God’s way, lest we are found, after all, to be fighting against God; lest we are found to be bringing stuff into God’s house which has no right there. Oh, that is a terrible thing. You know what happened in the days of Nehemiah over that, how Nehemiah had to turn the furniture of an enemy from the very house of God; how place had been given to that which was inimical to God’s thought by the very people of God themselves. Oh no, God will not have anything of that!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 4)

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Life On The Highest Plane # 27

satan and God in Conflict (subtitle)

Jesus disclaimed any part in or relationship to the satanic system called “the world.”

John 17:16, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

John 14:30, “For the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”

In fact Jesus declared that this satanic system had an unchangeable attitude toward Him – that of unrelenting hate which would spend itself ultimately in crucifying Him.”

John 15:18, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”

John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

There is nothing in Scripture to indicate that God makes any attempt to change or to convert “the world.” The Lord Jesus frankly acknowledges that “the world would lieth in the evil one” (1 John 5:19) and is under satan’s control.

God’s purpose in Christ is to call men out of the world; to emancipate them from love for it, even to crucify them unto the world and it unto them.

John 15:19, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

1 John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Galatians 6:14, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

God’s purpose in this age Scripture makes unmistakably clear to the spiritual mind. It is to call out individuals, here and there, from all nations, kindreds, peoples and tongues, who through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross became a very part of Him and He of them. This living organism He calls His Body, the Church.

Colossians 1:18, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence”

Christ’s purpose in this age is to call out of the world and into union with Himself those “chosen in him before the foundation of the world,” who become a holy, heavenly people fit to be members of the body of which the holy Christ in Heaven is the Head.

Ephesians 1:4, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

Ephesians 1:22, 23, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”

1 Corinthians 12:27, “Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

From God’s viewpoint “the world” and “the Church” are exact opposites. “The world is a vast organization of the whole mass of unbelieving mankind under satan’s leadership. “The Church” is an invisible organism of all true believers under Christ’s Headship. These two are in conflict on the earth and are pitted against each other as the instruments of satan and of Christ in their attempt to get and keep possession and control of men.

How does God win response to His appeal to men to come out of the world and into fellowship with Christ? Does He have an associate in this task? We shall see in succeeding lessons that this is the work of the Holy Spirit who kindles life anew in the human spirit and then comes Himself to dwell in it.

Ez. 36:26, 27, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: … And I will put my Spirit within you.”

Romans 8:9, “But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit he is none of his.”

The Consummation of the Conflict

God’s eternal purpose in man’s redemption has been in gradual process of fulfillment ever since it was formed and each succeeding century has brought it nearer to its consummation. The heart of God’s plan of redemption was a Saviour. This Saviour was to come through the seed of a woman. God was to become man. So God chose a people and set them apart that through them the Saviour might come “according to the flesh.” In the fullness of time Christ came, lived, died and rose again. Man’s  redemption was accomplished.

Romans 9:4, 5, “Who are Israelites: … Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came.”

Following therein a written Word was needed to proclaim this wondrous Gospel to sinners everywhere. So God chose and set apart a people through whom the written Word might come.

2 Corinthians 15: 3, 4, “I delivered unto you fist of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

Romans 3:1, 2, “What advantage then hath the Jew? … Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”

Through the Israelites, God’s chosen people, He gave both the incarnate Word and the written Word to the world.

God’ next move was to preach this Gospel through His own ministers and missionaries throughout the whole world that all men everywhere might have the opportunity to behold the Son and to believe on Him.

Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’ “

When this work has been completed to God’s satisfaction and the Bride is made ready for the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ will come again to take His own unto Himself and to set up His kingdom upon earth.

This is the beginning of the end for satan. He will be bound, cast into the bottomless pit for one thousand years. Then he will be loosed for a little season. He will go forth to deceive the nations and to gather them together for battle against the Lord, thus proving his unchanging and unchangeable attitude of self-will and of opposition to God (Revelation 20:1-3, 7-9).

Then comes God’s final and full judgment upon him. He is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone to be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10).

Christ Jesus having consummated to the full God’s plan to redeem men and reconcile all things unto Himself now restores the absolute, undivided sovereignty of God over His entire. universe.

1 Corinthians 15:24-25, 28 “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when h shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.  And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son, also himself be subject unto Him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 1 – “False and Futile Attempts for Salvation”)

[I am going to leave the original title and replace it with the one above. We are barely getting in to the words of Ms. Paxson]

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Faith Worth Imitating

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5)

When we make the decision to follow Christ, we begin the journey of a lifetime, a journey that is unknown as to what path it will lead us down but certain as to where we will arrive. It is our commitment to follow Christ that reflects to everyone around us exactly where we place our faith.

Although our circumstances might suggest we search for our own course of action, God’s Word tells us that a committed heart results in the best pathway: “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).

To pass on our faith, we must have faith. We must realize that when difficult times arise in our lives, running to God – not from Him – results in victory. It is when we experience victory in Christ that our faith swells.

As a result of our victories in Christ, no longer can we contain ourselves when it comes to sharing our faith. We recognize just how much God has done for us and how much He has intervened in our impossible situation when we trusted Him alone. We cannot keep that to ourselves.

Passing on our faith occurs when we demonstrate openly those truths that we clutch in our hearts. To remain dedicated to the cause of Christ, even when it is difficult, shows that our faith is more than just a passing fancy or another religion. It shows it is faith worth imitating.

Lord, help me to remain dedicated to You even when it is difficult. I want to have faith that is worth imitating. Amen

~Charles Stanley~


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Life On The Highest Plane # 26

satan and God in Conflict (subtitle)

God says that this satanic system is inherently “evil”; hopelessly “corrupt”; thoroughly “polluted”; irreconcilably hateful.

Galatians 1:4, “Who have himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.”

2 Peter 1:4, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

John 15:18, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”

Thus God states His estimate of “the world.” He speaks with equal clearness regarding its works.

John 7:7, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”

This satanic system, “the world,” is like a colossal, octopus that has sent forth myriads of tentacles to lay hold upon every phase of human life and draw it unto itself. It has its grip upon the corporate life of mankind in its homes, marts, schools, politics, even its churches. It has penetrated into every relationship of the individual’s life, personal, family, social, national and international.

“The world,” which is human society with God left out, is satan’s snare for capturing men and holding them in bondage. “What the web is to the spider: what the bait is to the angler: what the lure is to the fowler: so is the world to satan a means of capturing men.” “The world” is the devil’s paw with which he strikes men: it is his lair into which he entraps men: it is the devil’s ally in fighting God for the sovereign control of men.

But is there anything within man that responds to satan and to his system? In the Bible we read they have an accomplice whose name is “the flesh.”

Romans 7:5, “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”

Romans 8:12-13, “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

In Scripture the word “flesh” has several meanings but in the verses quoted it used in the ethical sense and means the whole natural man, spirit, soul, and body, living in self-will and alienated from the life of God. The flesh is what man became through the fall. It is man “without God” (Ephesians 2:12).

The “flesh” manifests nothing but antagonism to God and defiance of authority. It is irrevocably opposed to God and to His law.

Romans 8:7, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

The “flesh” then is the material in mankind upon which satan works to keep man a pat of his system. This trinity of evil, the world, the flesh and the devil, is organized into a diabolical combine against God and His saints.

satan has a cleverly thought out plan but God has a divinely wrought out purpose. God’s purpose antedated satan’s plan: God’s purpose anticipated satan’s plan: God’s purpose annulled satan’s plan: God’s purpose was formed in the eternity of the past and reaches into the eternity of the future. “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.”

Christ Jesus was the One through whom God’s purpose was to be fulfilled. He constantly spoke of Himself as one who had been sent from heaven by the Father to do the Father’s will, not His own. He did not belong to earth but to heaven and was here only to fulfill a special mission.

John 6:38, 40, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him at the last day.”

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 27)

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Take the Initiative

” … add to your faith virtue … ” (2 Peter 1:5)

“Add” means that we have to do something. We are in danger of forgetting that we cannot do what God does and that God will not do what we can do. We cannot save nor sanctify ourselves – God does that. But God will not give us good habits or character, and He will not force us to walk correctly before Him. We have to do all that ourselves. We must “work out” our “own salvation” which God has worked in us (Philippians 2:12). “Add” means that we must get into the habit of doing things, and in the initial stages that is difficult. To take the initiative is to make a beginning – to instruct yourself in the way you must go.

Beware of the tendency to ask the way when you know it perfectly well. Take the initiative – stop hesitating – take the first step. Be determined to act immediately in faith on what God says to you when He speaks, and never reconsider or change your initial decisions. If you hesitate when God tells you to do something, you are being careless, spurning the grace in which you stand. Take the initiative yourself, make a decision of your will right now, and make it impossible for to go back. Burn your bridges behind you saying, “I will write that letter,” or “I will pay that debt”; and then do it! Make it irrevocable.

We have to get into the habit of carefully listening to God about everything, forming the habit of finding out what He says and heeding it. If, when a crisis comes, we instinctively turn to God, we will know that the habit has been formed in us. We have to take the initiative where we are, not where we have not yet been.

~Oswald Chambers~

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Life On The Highest Plane # 25

Satan and God in Conflict (subtitle)

Two Systems: satan has a purpose, a project and a program. His purpose is to “be like the Most High,” his project is to set up a kingdom in opposition to the Kingdom of God, his program is to better the condition of the world and the circumstances of humanity so that men will be satisfied to remain his subjects and will have no desire for the Kingdom of God.

satan has been represented in much of the literature of the world as the fiend of hell. He has been caricatured as a heinous creature with horns and hoofs, revealing in all that was cruel, vicious and unclean. But he is the exact opposite of all this. He never wanted to be the god of hell but the God of Heaven. It was God’s judgment upon his sin that made him king of the bottomless pit. He is the inspirer and instigator of the very highest standards of the God-less, self-made world of mankind. His purpose was and still is to be and to do without God what God is and does. Let us ever keep in mind that satan’s purpose was to dethrone God in His universe and in the hearts of men and then to take His place. To succeed in his attempt satan must try not to be unlike God but like God. To incline the hearts of men to himself as a ruler and to draw out their hearts to him in worship he must imitate God. To annul the work of Christ satan must counterfeit it as far as possible.

His project was in line with his purpose. He would leave his position as a subordinate in God’s kingdom and set up a kingdom of his own. The foundation of it would be self. Self-will, self-love, self-interest, self- sufficiency would constitute its corner stone. Lawlessness, a revolt against the rule of God, and irreverence, a refusal to worship God, would be its superstructure.

satan knew that such a project would have to be safeguarded by a cleverly planned program. Not even the natural man would submit knowingly to the sovereignty of satan or fall down and worship him. So satan’s program from the beginning has been one of deception. satan has sought to keep the natural man satisfied with himself and with the world in which he lives. This is not an easy a task as it might seem. The spirit of man can never be satisfied save in God from whom it emanated and for whom it was created. Something in even the worst of men at certain times and under some circumstances cried out for God. man lives and toils in sweat, suffering and sorrow. His spirit, soul, and body cry out for release from the intolerable burden.

In the light of this knowledge satan framed a very cleaver program. It was to unite all his subjects into a huge federation for the reformation an betterment of the world. This would be accomplished through carefully worked out plans for the promotion of education, culture, morality and peace upon the earth. Human relationships, international, civic, social, family and personal are undeniably in a terrible tangle but through peace conferences, leagues of nations and world courts international maladjustments would be righted: through mass education movements and social service programs civic and social conditions would be bettered: through new thought processes which foster self-culture and self-constraint the civil war within man’s own personality would be ended and so more amicable relations with those to whom he was bound by ties of blood and of friendship would be established. Thus satan would succeed in deceiving men into thinking the Kingdom of God had come to earth.

satan knows there is but one true God and that Jesus Christ is His Son whom He sent to be the Saviour (James 2:19; Matthew 8:29). But this truth he would keep men from knowing. He must even keep them from feeling any need for God. So his program must provide for the perfect satisfaction of man’s soul and body that his spirit may be kept darkened and deadened. So satan’s program includes every conceivable thing that could minister to self-enjoyment, self-ease, self-gain, and self-satisfaction in the realm of the physical, intellectual, affectional, aesthetic, moral, yea even in the religious nature of man.

Moreover his program must provide for man an outward environment that matches this inward need. The earth is cursed but satan must do what he can to remove the effects of that curse. man will never be satisfied unless the earth is a more comfortable, pleasant place in which to live. So satan’s plan is to make this world very attractive and ten organize human society it it may be so engrossed with its pursuits and pleasures men will have no thought for God.

Earnest, serious minded men will see through this flimsy veil and will be concerned over the world’s maladjustments. But satan will engage such men in the task of repairing the ruin he himself has wrought. They will give millions upon millions of dollars,  some will even lay down their lives in the accomplishment of the task thinking they are engaged in God’s service. satan will drug men with the tangible and transient and so detach them from the heavenly and eternal.

This huge federation of evil spirits and evil men is organized into a cunning system over which satan is the presiding genius. He determines its principles, directs its policies, decides upon its program and devises its propaganda. This satanic system is “the world.” The Lord Jesus revealed both its name and its nature in His farewell message to His disciples and told them clearly what its attitude to Him would be. The attitude of this system to Jesus Christ, which is one of unmitigated hatred, brands it as satanic.

John 15;18-20, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

John 17:14, 16, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 26)

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