Fret not thyself

When I see evil called good and darkness called light. When I see the swill and froth output from the so called “entertainment” industry. When, by a cursory scroll through the programmes available on Netflix, Amazon iPlayer etc. one is presented with all kinds of the most shameful and disgusting fare such as lawlessness, disobedience, ungodliness, all manner of sin, unholiness and profanity, murder, patricide, matricide, whoremongering, men defiling themselves with men, and all in the name of entertainment. Then I remember the words of Psalm 37.

A Christian knows only too well that he has a heart, by nature, as filthy as the worst excesses of the ungodly. Nevertheless a Christian has found mercy and forgiveness for all his unrighteousness and ungodliness. However there is no forgiveness without first acknowledging ones sin. We are not to call the darkness within ourselves, light. Neither are we to call the evil within ourselves, good. The Lord Jesus forgave the adulterous woman, but instructed her to “sin no more.” We are not left by our dear saviour to continue in sin. Sin is not consistent with the glorious gospel of the blessed God. As the Apostle Paul states:

But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

This leaves us with no doubt as to the seriousness of sin and it’s concequences.

When I look at all the iniquity and all the sin constantly thrown up out of the belly of this world, I’m filled with anger and a sense of outrage. But I am called to be still, and to remember:

PSALM 37

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous. The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

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Providence

The very actions of men, the complicated transactions of our common lives, are overruled by God’s Providence; and, without restraint, are so controlled that they shall subserve to the ulterior purposes of His will, after a fashion which altogether defies analysis.

Beyond this inner circle of comprehensible causation, external to the immediate sphere of cause and effect which courts our daily scrutiny, there is an outer circle, which rounds our lives; and overrules all we do; fashioning, by virtue of a supreme fiat which is altogether beyond our comprehension.

John Burgon

Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

The Bride of Christ

It’s wonderful to contemplate the fact that the whole history of the world is concerned, not with this nation or that ruler, or this war or that political solution, but with the gathering together of the Bride of Christ.  It was always in the hear of the Father to have a bride for his son. Charles Alexander speaks wonderfully of this in his book “Revelation spiritually understood.”  Here’s an excerpt:

CHRIST’S BRIDAL DAY
 
The Bible closes as it begins – with a marriage scene. The Edenic marriage of the first Man and Woman (so soon to end in suffering and shame and loss) leads inevitably to that new and eternal marriage of God and Man, of Christ and the Church, which was the goal towards which the Creator was striving from the very beginning. “Come” says the angel to the Seer, “Come hither, and I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Rev. 21:9).
 
John is caught up in the Spirit and sees the Bride in the form of a great city, the new Jerusalem …. having the glory of God, her light being like to a most precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal…. (Rev. 21:9-11). The City is the City of God, about which Augustine had so much to say when he traced the course of this wonderful city from the beginning of history to the end. The bride is one yet many. She is the whole company of the redeemed of all ages. She is the fulfillment of the object of all creation and she is in fact the wonder of all creation. A city is a dwelling place, and this is what God sought from the beginning. “The tabernacle of God is with men and he will dwell among them, and they shall be his people and he will be their God….and there will be no more death, sorrow, crying or pain because the former things are passed away and all things are made new”. (Verses 4-5
THE MARVEL OF WOMAN
 
The greatest marvel of the original creation was not the splendour of the angelic world, nor yet the creation of that First Man in whom was wrapped up the divine purpose. The greatest marvel was the creation of WOMAN. In her was vested the future of the race; she was to be the symbol of the ultimate purpose of God, a BRIDE FOR THE KING’S SON. There are no female angels. Angels are the royal splendours which surround the eternal throne, the ministers of the divine power in the vastness of creation and in the events of history. But though greater in power and glory than man, they nevertheless hold their being only in subordination to the higher purpose of God in Man. “Verily he took not on him the nature of angels but he took on him the seed of Abraham that in all things he might be made like unto his brethren”. (Hebrews 2:14-17)
 
Angels were created for man and not man for the angels. Woman is unique in creation. The equal of man in intellect (though not in bodily strength and vigour) she is superior in natural grace and beauty. Her yielding love is the strongest chain which binds man to her. She is the nursemaid of the human race in the mystery of birth and in her tender committal and loving patience in the nurture of her children.
Nothing like this wonder is found among the angels. We think of their solemn dedication to the affairs of the human race, and of the holy amazement which enthralled all the invisibility of heaven as the entire company of heaven gathered around the stable of Bethlehem on that awesome night when a Virgin mother brought forth the incarnate God, nestling in her bosom the very redemption of the world; holding in her tender arms the key to all mysteries.
 
If this is not true, then there is no truth, no heaven, no God, no meaning, no hope. Let the earth vanish and all creation disappear, and with it all the hopeless misery of existence.
 
But creation is a reality. It makes visible the consummate wisdom of the Creator, and it enshrines a wondrous purpose (now surely nearing completion) which will be made plain when the Bride will stand beside her Beloved before the marriage altar of heaven, and all things will become new.
 
 
THE SLEEP OF DEATH AND THE FIRST BRIDE
 
Every step of creation is to be considered and wondered at, in the ever unfolding drama of the life of God. The creation of man was not without a very clear and mystic foreshadowing of that spiritual drama. The manner of the creation of the first Bride has wondrous significance in the prophetic foreshadowing of the spiritual marriage of Christ and the Church. The first man, Adam, sank into a deep and deathlike sleep. The Hebrew word is unique and has no equivalent in our diffuse modern language. Adam’s sleep was no ordinary slumber. It is described in the Hebrew tongue as TARDEMAH (transliterated). It is a sleep akin to death. All physical powers are arrested as in death. The shadows of coming great events take form, as in the later case of Abraham when the like TARDEMAH and the horror of great darkness lay upon him. His soul passed through all the terrors of that long history which lay ahead, a history whose crowning point would be the coming of the promised Seed to suffer and to die upon the Cross.
(Genesis 15:12)
 
That same horror of great darkness through which Abraham passed was surely a foreshadowing of that “sleeping for sorrow” which fell upon the three apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane while their Lord and their God passed through the agony of prayer which preceded the crucifixion. The three hours of darkness and of silence during the crucifixion just as surely indicated the mystery of that terrible event when God suffered for Man on the accursed tree.
 
In the case of Adam, the Tardemah brought forth the bride, Eve; so the sufferings of Christ brought forth the redemption of the heavenly bride. The rich yet awful dowry of our salvation, was His own lifeblood.
 
The story of Creation and its inner mystery of the coming forth of the Bride for the Son, lifts the purpose of Creation into regions transcendental, far beyond human science which is limited to measurement and the conflict of natural forces. The object of creation was divine. It was the means by which the Eternal God must reveal and prove Himself, and bind creation to Himself in a wonder of LOVE fittingly presented to us as an eternal marriage state.
 
The last two chapters of the Bible make this clear and plain. The Creator cannot fail in His task, for “Love never faileth” (1 Cor. 13:8), and He is love. Whatever mystery there may be remaining, will be dissolved in that day when the marriage is complete.
 
Adam’s exclamation “THIS is now BONE of my BONE and FLESH of my FLESH” when he awakened from that deep sleep and found beside him the lovely creature who came from his own wounded side, is likewise expressed (as was his prophetic sleep) by a unique Hebrew word – PA`AM, translated in our common version by the word “NOW”. It means that, but far more than that. It expresses surprise and delight as though Adam had said, “This time” an expression of discovery: “At last. This is what I was seeking. Here is something like unto myself – bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.”
 
Calvin comes nearer to the mark than most, when he says, “In using the expression PA`AM, Adam indicates that something had been wanting to him; as if he had said, Now at length I have obtained a suitable companion, who is part of the substance of my flesh, and in whom I behold as it were another self. And he gives to his wife a generic name (Ishah) taken from (Ish), that by this testimony he might transmit a perpetual memorial of the wisdom of God.”
 
This is woman, the eloquent type of the Church, the Bride of Christ, the weaker vessel who comes up from the wilderness of this world ‘leaning upon her Beloved’ (Song of Solomon 8:5). Later she received from ADAM her personal name, EVE, derived from the Hebrew for “Life” or “Living” (Genesis 3:20).
 
But from how much sin and darkness, shame and defilement, must Christ deliver His Bride ere He can present her at the last before the Father’s throne, without spot or blemish? There is no more terrible sight on earth than that of a woman who has betrayed her own virtue and sold herself for sin. The Bible is full of her type, yet it is from the depths of human sin and degradation that Christ must win His bride.
 
The Samaritan woman of John 4 may be considered as a type of us all, who (in so many instances) have unexpectedly encountered the Bridegroom and found glorious deliverance. “Meeting strangely at some sudden goal,” the soul finds itself in the presence of the King, then
 
Life’s long night is ended, and the way 
Lies open, onward, to eternal day.
 
So it was with that poor Samaritan, in the mystery of the divine compassion, which found her who had been divinely loved and wrought for since the foundation of the world. The calling of the soul to Christ is the call of love, and the response of love is consecration — consecration to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. Part of the wonder of conversion is that yielding of the soul to the Beloved, under the profound conviction that henceforth we are ‘not our own, but bought with a price.’ No conversion is true unless it has in it the element of that yielding and self-surrender to Christ, so magnificently expressed by Paul to the gentile Galatians.
 
“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
 
For there is no true conversion without love, and no true marriage without that yielding of one to the other, which makes both one. Perhaps this element in conversion is little heard of these days when a formal theology without the Spirit is turning the fruitful ground into barrenness. “The Redeemer’s tears wept over lost souls” is an aspect of the gospel which many find hardly consistent with their “scheme”
“THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH”
 
Nigh on two thousand years have passed since the resurrection and ascension of Christ. When will that cry be heard, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him?” Who can tell? Perhaps when these lines are being written – or read. Perhaps not yet in our own generation. But it is worthy of note that history divides itself fairly evenly into significant periods of time.
 
From Adam to the call of Abraham was a remarkable approximation of 2,000 years. Likewise from the Call of Abraham to Christ was approximately 2,000 years. Now from Christ to our own day is nearing 2,000 years. There may not be any special significance in this, and we must not build upon it for we are not given to know the day or hour of His return. Nevertheless 6,000 years as the duration of man’s probation was long ago looked upon as indicated by the six days of creation – then God rested from His work. It is certain that the 6,000 years of man have wellnigh run their course – and a great apostasy is upon us. “When the Son of Man cometh, will He find faith in the earth?’ (Luke 18:8). “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28). At least, we are not excused from that warning, “Be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh” (Matt. 24:44).
 
That will be a great day of gladness for the inhabitants of heaven and for those who have been redeemed from the earth. David the King saw that day from far, and wrote of it in that most exquisite of psalms, the 45th. There he drew, in inspired words, the picture he saw of the King, the bridegroom, and at His right hand –“the Queen, in gold of Ophir”. She is brought unto the King in “raiment of needlework” – a sign of her virginity; she is reserved for Him and for Him alone to whom she has come from the ends of the earth. Gold of Ophir is from the Indies; she comes to her wedding bearing with her the true riches of creation. All that was ever worth while on earth goes into her wedding array. The sighs and the tears of believers are preserved and will be as jewels which shine for ever in the mansions of heaven. With what infinite patience and devotion have those robes of exquisite needlework been woven on the loom of a yielded life on earth? It will all be to the glory of the Redeemer who will be acclaimed as worthy of it all. In sorrow and pain some of the finest tapestries have been wrought and the Palace of the King will be adorned with these precious tokens of love and devotion to Him whose love has won for Him a Bride and whose sacrifice for her has been complete. “He loved me and gave Himself for me” will be her constant theme.
 
Devotion to Christ, love for Him, is of the very element of heaven and in the Song of Solomon (largely written on the basis of the 45th Psalm) there is a remarkable verse which has an unmistakable reference to that supreme devotion of Mary at Bethany when she poured out her spikenard upon her Lord. In the Song, chapter 1 and verse 12 we read, “While the King sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof”. Mary anointed the Saviour on the first day of the crucifixion week, “and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment”. The connection with the Song of Solomon is beyond dispute. Mary acted for the Church – without knowing it! The perfume of her great act fills another house greater by far than the dwelling at Bethany.
 
Heaven is filled with the praise of the Lamb that was slain. God will have no glory which He does not earn, and no worship which He has not proved Himself worthy to receive. Heaven will be one long and endless discovery of the perfection of His love, and as the earthly bride never tires of resting in the love of her beloved, so in heaven, the theme of the love of God in Christ for the Church will never weary. To love and to be loved is the highest of all destinies and we shall rest evermore in the fulness of that love which is divine and which begets love in those who yield themselves to it. Our unworthiness to be loved only adds to the wonder of the sacrificial love of our glorious King.
 
 
THE GREATNESS OF EVE
 
The vision of the Church as the Bride of Christ pervades the whole of Scripture, from Eden onward, with ever increasing clearness. Eve, the mother of the human race, is the first type of this great mystery. Let us not underestimate this remarkable woman from whom the whole human race has sprung. With nothing but her instinct to guide her, she brought forth the first child. No woman was there to assist her, no physician to give her the benefit of his skill and experience. In sorrow she brought forth her children, and under divine inspiration named them prophetically. Cain was “Acquired’ from the Lord but proved a source of copious tears. Abel she named as ‘Vanity’ for she had by this time understood that all is vanity and vexation of spirit in a fallen world. The murder of Abel by Cain made her the mother of the first martyr – for Abel was the first High Priest of the human race, the leader of the Church’s worship, and by this the jealousy of the elder brother was aroused. After the murder another son was born, to whom Eve gave the name of Seth (Appointed). Behold her faith as well as her anguish. She saw in Seth the progenitor of the promised Messiah who would fulfill the dearest expectation of her heart. We must never write Eve small. She was one of the great women of all time.
 
 
SARAH
 
Sarah, wife of Abraham, 2,000 years later was the mother of a new generation through whom the worship of God would be raised to the highest level since Eden. Abraham’s descendants became the children of the Promise – the promise made to the human race from the beginning. Now the Church grew mightily and was rich in prophetic men and godly women. From Abraham onward, no generation was without a prophet until Malachi (who was really Ezra, Malachi being only a title, meaning “My Messenger”). Ezra wrote the closing book of the Old Testament with its promise that the next significant event would be John the Baptist, under the figure of Elijah the prophet- “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5).
 
Sarah reappears in the parable of “the leaven in the meal”: (Matthew 13:33) “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened”. That Christ was referring to Genesis 18:6, there can be no manner of doubt. Himself in Person had already appeared with those other two at Abraham’s tent and presided over that prelude to the parable – a Parable which gives a special eminence to the wife of Abraham, and foretells the spread of the Gospel to earth’s utmost bounds.
 
David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, sang of the heavenly Bridegroom and His beauteous gentile bride and wrote under inspiration that great Psalm 45, which lay at the base of the Song of Songs which David’s royal son Solomon was to write under a supreme impulse of the Spirit of God. In it Solomon described the trials and the beauty of the Bride, and the wonder of her Kingly Lover and so prepared the way for the mystic marriage of Christ and His Church – that marriage which was the great end of all Creation and the fulfillment of the life of God.
 
 
SONG OF SOLOMON
 
This all-important Song of Solomon consists of two divisions, equally dividing eight poetic stanzas (which appear as the eight chapters of the Song). The first four stanzas portray the Church in her Old Testament state. The last four present her in her New Testament condition when the identity of the heavenly Lover is fully developed, and her own perfected love chimes with His.
 
“I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine,” she sings, and He, the glorious Prince of Heaven responds, “Thou art beautiful, my love, as Tirzah. Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome Me.”
 
True love never reaches its goal save by the road of travail and tears, of suffering and patient waiting. He, the heavenly Lover pays her dowry in the drops of His own blood. She after the long night of waiting (symbolising the Old Testament condition of the Church) endures the cruel blows of the false watchmen of Israel in the darkened streets of the city which had no room for Him (see chapter five). That dark night of cruelty and shame proved the reality of her love for Him. Still she yearns and awaits the great moment of love’s realisation. She has waited long. So has He. Time is now running out. How long – how soon – will it be till that glorious dawn when the Twain will be finally united in the completeness of that mystic marriage state – never to part again? In the meantime she cries, long and loud, “Make haste, my Beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountain of spices” – Song 8:14.*
 
Salvation is more than the forgiveness of sin. It is that, but more than that. Salvation is only complete in the final union in marriage of Christ and His bride, when she, the completed Church, is conducted by angelic courtiers through the Palace of the King to where He waits at the altar of heaven. This was always the object of creation – an object which could be realised in no other way but by tears and blood, suffering and patient endurance. This is the great secret of the life of God. He would not reign alone. Eternal Love (which He is) must reach out to widen the area of blessedness to the utmost limit. God will have no final realisation of the meaning and purpose of His own great life, for which He does not pay the supreme price. This is the wonder of all Creation. God will not be satisfied with a mere legal reckoning with a revolted creation. He Himself must pay the price of love to the utmost limit, by descending to a condition in which He becomes the outcast of His own world. Only by this awful descent can it be known what divine love is. The Cross is the token of that giving of Himself in complete surrender to all that evil can do, hiding not His face from shame and spitting – the sin offering for His own creation.
 
By this means the Lord solves the problem of creation. To create a world that could not fall, He must needs create Himself (which is an absurdity). What He could do was to enter into that fallen creation and raise it from its ruin by bearing its woe, its burden and its shame, so that by death He might destroy death, and by weakness confound the mighty. Thus He raises fallen creation to the point where God and Man become one. “This is He who came by water and by blood; not by water only, but by water and blood….” (1 John 5:6). The Spirit of God is the water; the blood is the atonement. Both flow from the wounds of Christ. By death comes life. He who believes in Christ and comes to Him and drinks; He who believes in Christ, as the Scripture hath said, out of him flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-39). New life flows from Christ. God and Man are reunited in Him. Here is a new creation which cannot fail or fall.
 
This new creation is the paradise of God where God and Man become one again. Creation becomes a song of victory and joy, another Eden, a garden of delight, a paradise of eternal love where the river of Life flows down and the celestial fruits of the Tree of Life are free for all.
 
Here is the heavenly marriage. Here is the Bridegroom and the Bride. Here is our peace, our beauty, our home, our other self, our sweetness, our love. Here is the Bride coming up from the wilderness leaning on her Beloved – He to her and she to Him in a oneness of love, a joy, a rest, a peace, which can know no ending.
 
Make haste, my Beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.
(Song of Solomon 8:14)

Righteousness

Matthew Ch 5 verse 17

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets:I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Jesus came to fulfil the words and prophesy of the prophets, because He was the one prophesied about. He made this clear when:

…………he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

He also made it clear to two of His downcast and confused disciples on the Emmaus road.

O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Then later as they were all assembled together He stood in the midst of them and said, concerning His death and resurrection:

These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

He came not to destroy the prophets but to fulfil their words completely.

He also came to fulfil the law. He didn’t come to destroy the law, but He also didn’t come to keep it on our behalf. The law justly demands righteousness from us, but we were and are by our sinful nature totally incapable of bringing forth a righteousness to present to God for acceptance. He however, brought in an everlasting righteousness for us, independent of us. Not a human legal righteousness, but a divine righteousness, even the righteousness of God.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The law itself couldn’t produce from us, or in us, the righteousness that it demanded. It was unable to do it. It was, as it were, weak because of our sinful impotent flesh. This was what the law could not do. But God sent His own Son, to condemn our failure and sin, in His flesh. Therefore by the death of Christ our unrighteousness has been judged and already condemned. Therefore we are not under condemnation any more! Now we are no longer in a relationship of condemnation and fear. We are now free to serve God on an altogether different basis, one of total acceptance in spite of who and what we are. Jesus Christ has removed every barrier and brought in a new law:

…………the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

This brings us to serve God in Love, because He first loved us and gave His Son a ransom for us. It brings in a righteousness far beyond that of the law. A righteousness that loves our enemies, and prays for them that despitefully use us and persecute us. A righteousness that turns the other cheek, that gives to those that ask of us, and we lend hoping for nothing in return. A righteousness that gives, as our heavenly Father has given to us. This is not a legal righteousness under the old covenant, but a righteousness born out of the death of Christ for us. It is faith working by love in the new covenant. We are brought to see our need: Blessed are the poor in spirit. and how every need is met in the saviour. The great moving force of our new life is the depth of the love of Christ for us. How can we, who owed so much and were freely forgiven, deal any differently toward our fellow man than how Christ has dealt toward us? The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death.

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

This is how the righteousness of the disciples far exceeds the legal self righteousness of the scribes and pharisees.

This is the more excellent way.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. He loved me! and gave himself for me!

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.

He came not to destroy the law but to fulfil it, by love.

Love is the fulfilling of the law.

Daniel Chapter 9

I was reading the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel today and a few things struck me.  Firstly, it is rooted firmly in history and speaks of historical persons and rulers. These aren’t fables or myths!  Secondly, the humble heartbroken attitude of the prophet. He wasn’t presumptuous.  He didn’t read about the imminent fulfillment of God’s word and become complacent.  We read, in the opening of the chapter:

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

The time of fulfillment drew near, and Daniel’s response was to pray earnestly.

And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

He justified God in His judgments. He owned and confessed that because of the sins of God’s people, including himself, all this evil had come upon them.

We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.

I see a parallel in our own day, as everyone does that which is right in their own eyes and turns away from the one true God. Myself included. Iniquity abounds and the love of many waxes cold.  Good is called bad and bad good.  Sins that would have been unthinkable 20 or 30 years ago are now not only indulged in, but encouraged and lauded as somehow honorable and praiseworthy.  God’s law is treated as irrelevant to the modern liberal ‘inclusive’ society.  The biblical statements about sin and guilt are laughed at as merely leftover inhibitions from a distant and backward medieval past.  The notion of a real personal adversary who is opposed to everything holy and true, has become a joke, though cinemas throughout the land parade all that is base and evil in the name of entertainment.  So what are we to do?  We ought to acknowledge our sin, as Daniel did, and come before the Lord with prayer and supplication.  Then we will find what Daniel found:

O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;

And though Daniel speaks about the professing people of God in his time, we can surely apply it to ourselves, as the professing Church of God in our time.  All the confusing divisions, all the sin at the very heart of some of our great ‘Christian’ institutions.  An unwarranted, unscriptural Papacy and priesthood. The ineffectual soft social clubs raised up to ‘get people in.’  The lack of real biblical teaching and preaching. The fact that many unbelieving people, with some justification,  look upon the professing church as an irrelevance. A reproach.  What a cause for prayer and supplication.

O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name

Amen.

The patience of Jesus Christ

After outlining his previous way of life as a “blasphemer,”  “Injurious” and “a persecutor” the Apostle Paul, reveals, for our encouragement, the wonderful mercy and grace of God.

He states that Jesus Christ demonstrates how longsuffering and patient he is, by the example of Paul’s own conversion, In spite of the enormity of his sins.  He shows that the same grace which he had obtained would not be wanting also to those who should hereafter believe. No matter how far their sin had taken them, no matter how vile they were. There would be mercy, even to the chief of sinners.

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. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Faith of Jesus Christ

The Faith of Jesus Christ.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of (our) faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith.
The word ‘our’ is in italics. It is true that he is the source and object of our faith, but it isn’t ‘our’ faith that is spoken of here but His faith.

We are to look unto Him as:

The author:Strong’s Concordance opens the meaning of the word as one that takes the lead in any thing and thus affords an example, a predecessor in a matter, the pioneer,

And finisher:

Again, Strong’s definition is one who has in his own person raised faith to its perfection and so set before us the highest example of faith.

After presenting to us a great cloud of witnesses, all of whom personified Faith, the writer to the Hebrews now exhorts us to look to the prime example of Faith. The pioneer of Faith. The head of the line of all this great company. We trace all these men and women who lived by faith, from Abel through Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses’ parents, Moses himself, Rahab, Gedeon, Barak, Samson, the Prophets, until we reach the pinnacle and peerless life of faith, the faith of Jesus Christ.

His faith is described:

Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…..

His faith saw the joy beyond the terror. He believed in a Joy beyond His death.

This is faith, His faith.

He endured the cross, seeing things invisible. He saw the glory beyond the shame. The outward visible circumstances, couldn’t blur His resolve of faith. If it be possible, He prayed, take this cup from me, but not my will but thine be done. Thy will be done on earth. Faith to submit.
The joy set before him was His bride, His Father’s house, His eternal inheritance in His Saints. He believed the promise made to Abraham and to his seed, the promise that he would be heir of the world. He believed the promise made to David,

And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.
Though it is Davids immediate successor, Solomon, who spoke these things, they find their true fulfilment in him who was David’s son and David’s Lord. He saw the eternal purpose which God had purposed.

For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;

Here was that man. Though the throne of glory lay beyond the tomb, He trusted. He could say:

In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven:

He knew that this prophecy would come to pass through him:

In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

And because of the faith of Jesus Christ God pronounced the following:

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Like all his predecessors He looked for a City whose builder and maker was God, the Holy City, New Jerusalem. He looked for His bride, he believed that God was able to raise him, and her, from the dead, he despised the shame, the cruel mockings and scourging, the bonds and imprisonment. He was tortured, not accepting deliverance, (come down from the cross, save thyself they shouted) that he might obtain a better resurrection. Out of weakness He was made strong, and turned to flight the armies of darkness, making a show of them openly, triumphing over them by His death.

His adversarys even taunted him because of his faith.

He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

Faith marked him out, it was how he walked. He trusted in God they said, let him deliver him NOW. Now it all seems hopless, now it all looks a shameful and helpless failure. He SAID I am the Son of God. But obviously it’s not true, look at him.
He did trust in spite of it all.
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the a arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil u with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

He knew, he belived that this was true of him.

He knew he was the good shepherd who was to be smitten for the sheep.

He did always those things that pleased the Father, but without faith it is impossible to please God. He had faith, and lived by faith. He was the righteous one, who lived by his faith.
By such a faith as this he brought in the righteousness of God, even the righteousness of God, by faith of Jesus Christ. Unto all in terrible wrath and judgement, but thereafter upon all in grace, mercy and peace, righteousness being fully satisfied by his death.
Then, because we were justified, because death could have no more dominion over him, the penalty exacted, God raised him from the dead and seated him on his throne.

All, from beginning to end, is of faith. The great cloud of witnesses obtained a good report through faith. We are justified by the same faith. We are said to be justified by the faith of Christ. Why do we need anything else? He lived by faith, he died by faith and by faith he offered up himself the fulfilment of every type and shadow, the one and only sacrifice for sin, imperfectly set forth and prefigured by the blood of bulls and goats, by the furniture and ordinances of the Tabernacle, by the Levitical priesthood, by the holy place and the most holy place, by the Ark made of incorruptible wood, overlaid with Gold.

We have redemption through His blood.

We are made nigh by his blood.

We are justified by his blood.
We are sanctified by his blood.
We are washed in his blood.
We are cleansed from all sin by his blood.
We are purchased by his blood.
It’s the blood of sprinkling, which speaks better things than that of Able.

It’s the blood of the everlasting covenant.

The precious blood of Christ.
Everything is in his death.
His sinless spotless righteousness, made him the only suitable substitute.

His obedience (Literally to hearken submissively) was unto death, even the death of the cross. He hearkened submissively, and his obedience was the obedience of faith.
Righteousness of God comes by faith in his blood.
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.
His being made sin, at the cross, was for this purpose, that we might be made the righteousness of God, in him.

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:

Here Paul speaks of having a righteousness which was not his own, but a righteousness which is through the faith of Christ, through Christ’s faith. The righteousness of God by faith.

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Here the faith of Christ is a separate thing than our believing in Jesus. The one is his faith, the other is ours.

We often hear the phrase “The Righteousness of Christ is reckoned to believers.” By which is meant, if I understand the teaching aright, that Jesus vicariously kept the law for us.

It is stated that: Just as we haven’t, don’t and can’t keep the law of God, and therefore are unrighteous. He however could and did keep the law of God, and therefore His righteous keeping of the law, is what is reckoned to us, so that we are seen as having perfectly obeyed the law. Therein, in this imputed keeping of the law, stands our righteousness.

Popular as it is I must admit that I can’t find that teaching anywhere in the bible.

First of all it seems to me that this teaching is not represented in the shadows and types of the Old Testament.

The sacrificial lamb was indeed to be without spot or blemish. But doesn’t this answer, figuratively, to the perfect sinlessness of Christ as:

The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.

He was without sin. He did no sin. He knew no sin. He was perfect and absolutely righteous. Therefore he was the only suitable substitute.

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh……..

The suffering and death of Christ as the righteous one, in the place of a great multitude of unrighteous ones, is what brings us to God.

But nowhere in the Old Testament is the life of the sacrifice, before death, said to be accepted in place of the offerer.

The sacrifice, being perfect, was a suitable substitute, but it was the death of the sacrifice alone, instead of the sinner, the shedding of it’s blood, which made atonement.

A substitute is one who stands in our stead. We are condemned to die. He died in our place.

he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Secondly, the Apostle Paul insists that the reckoning of the Righteousness of God to the ungodly is totally apart from the Law, which was given by Moses.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 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; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Justification is through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus.

And if we are thereby reckoned righteous, and justified in the sight of God, what else do we need? Why is anything else required?

Our Law breaking wasn’t balanced out by Our Saviour’s Law keeping. Our Law breaking is what caused the curse of God to fall on His Son. As the Apostle Paul says:

Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.

Everywhere in the Scriptures salvation is in His blood. in the above passage it doesn’t say that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by keeping it for us. It states that he redeemed us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us.

He stood as it were in the breach. Between the wrath of God and the sinner. Something deep within the very being and heart of God passed, by the eternal Spirit, between the Father and the Son. God was making an end of sin, by the sacrifice of His Son.

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, (he who knew no sin;) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

This is the Law:

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

This is the gospel:

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Far from vicariously keeping the law for us, that was against us, which was contrary to us he:

Blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

The answer to a broken law isn’t someone to keep it for us but for someone to take our place under the curse.

The answer to a broken law is:

I am crucified with Christ.

If He ‘kept the law for me,’ then why was He cursed for my breaking it?