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Jehovah Proves His Consecrated People
“The Lord your God proveth you, whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut. 13:3)
The words of this text were uttered to Natural Israel, but they are certainly applicable to Spiritual Israel to all of God’s people. The thought is manifest that the Lord’s children are all under testing, that the Lord is proving our devotion. It is not sufficient that God should have called us with a Heavenly Calling, that He should have sent a Message through His Son, speaking peace and declaring that He will forgive the sins of those who surrender themselves to Him. It is not sufficient that we should be informed as to how we may gain these blessings through a full consecration to God through the Savior. It is not sufficient even that we should accept these terms and make a full consecration of our selves to do the will of God. Something more is necessary.
The making of the consecration, according to the Scriptures, would mean the giving up of our lives to do the will of God. “Present your bodies a living sacrifice,” as the Apostle Paul expresses it. (Rom. 12:1) We have seen this privilege. We have accepted the terms. We have given our little all to God, through the Lord Jesus Christ. We rejoice that He has received our little offering through our great Redeemer, who has imputed of His merit to cover our blemishes, thus making us acceptable to God. We have now been received into the family of God in the highest sense and are New Creatures in Christ, members of the Anointed company, sons of God, called to be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to the great inheritance of glory, honor, immortality and the Divine nature. 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Cor. 12:12; John 1:12; Rom. 8:17
It is not enough that God has accepted our consecration. He purposes to prove us, to see whether we mean all that we said. Consecration is more easily made than fulfilled. Having made the surrender to God, we received an enlightenment. As the Apostle says, we were illuminated. (Heb. 10:32) This illumination came to us as it came to our Savior, through the holy Spirit and through the Word of God, enabling us to see the lengths and breadths and heights, and depths, and to know the love of God, which passeth knowledge, giving us an insight into the Plan of God, helping us to appreciate what we have done, what it means to us now, and what it will mean to us hereafter.
All these things become clearer day by day; and we realize more and more the glorious things which our God has in reservation for His faithful children things which “eye hath not seen nor ear heard,” but which the Lord has “revealed unto us by His Spirit.” (1 Cor. 1:9,10)
A FORETASTE OF COMING GLORY
Every day we are receiving added blessings. God’s mercies are indeed “new every morning and fresh every evening.” His providences are shaping all our affairs. How are we responding to all these blessings coming from the Lord? This is the question. God has indeed entered into a Covenant with us, as He says: “Gather together My saints unto Me, those who have made a Covenant with Me by sacrifice.” (Psa. 50:5) You agreed to give up yourself, your own will, all your our preferences in every matter, not only in word and action, but in thought. It was on this condition that you and I were received. It was on this same condition that our Lord Jesus was accepted and became the Head of the Church.
Jesus was our Guarantor. Therefore the Father entered into this contract with us and gave us the holy Spirit, the first fruits of our inheritance. This He would not give without a definite contract; for it is the advance payment, the earnest of the glory to come. So we see that the blessing which has come to us from God through Christ is only a foretaste of what is in store for us. Our Father waits to give us all the riches of His grace, of His lovingkindness, through our Lord Jesus, in the coming Age and in the Ages to follow. In those future ages of glory He will continue to show to the Church the glorious riches of His grace and of His love. Eph. 2:7
“The Lord your God proveth you.” The Lord does not wish to disprove us. Our Heavenly Father has great love for all of His children, and He has exceeding great blessings in store for them when their loyalty has been demonstrated. The word LOVE has in it the thought of honoring the one who is loved. “Surely we are not worthy of God’s love!” you say. Very true, my brother; but we remember that our Lord Jesus said, “The Father Himself loveth you.” (John 16:27) The Word tells us about God’s deep interest in those who have become His children. It tells us that the Church are as dear to Him as the apple of His eye. (Zech. 2:8) What tender love and care is here expressed. All things permitted by the Lord to come to any of this class are for their good, for their preparation for the Kingdom, that they may be to the glory of God, members of the Divine family.
THE PRIZE OF OUR HIGH CALLING
According to the Bible, our Heavenly Father alone had originally this great thing, the Divine nature, with its quality of immortality, incorruptibility. He has given it to His Firstbegotten Son since His resurrection from the dead, that He might have this same nature, this inherent life; and through the Son the Father has offered it to the Bride class that they also might inherit the same glory as our Lord, though He will always remain the Head of His Church. (John 5:26; 1 Tim. 6:16; 2 Pet. 1:4) This is the sum total, as we understand the Word that nevermore will any others attain the Divine nature only the Father, the Son and “the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife” no more.
Then will come the other natures on the spirit plane cherubim, seraphim, those who will constitute “the great multitude,” and then the lower order of angels. We do not know how wonderful some of these orders may be; but none will be so great as those on the Divine plane. Then, to complete the picture, we shall have mankind restored to perfection—" a little lower than the angels." Psa. 8:5; Heb. 2:6-9
This is the glorious outlook before us. Those of the Divine nature will reign over all others. Theirs will be “the glory that excelleth.” The Father loves us and wishes us to attain this glory. If we fail, it will not be because of His unfaithfulness. “Faithful is He that hath called you, who also will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:24) The whole responsibility is with us. No one can take our responsibility. Each must stand for himself. We cannot go into the Kingdom by classes. There is no other way to get into the Kingdom except as individuals, personally related to the Lord Jesus. Therefore it is for each of us to “make our calling and election sure.”
OUR FLESH NOT ON TRIAL
“Is God proving my imperfect flesh, to see whether I will use it perfectly?” someone may inquire. No. Long ago God knew that we could not do perfect works. He would not try our fallen flesh. In that Bible He tells us that all mankind are imperfect, fallen. (Rom. 3:10, 20) He is proving what your spirit is of, your mind, your will. What kind of mind ought we to have? The Lord tells us, “Let this mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:5) “But,” you say, “I have not the same body that Jesus had.” Very true; but you can have the same mind, disposition, will, that He had. You can WILL for truth, for righteousness, for faithfulness to your covenant with God. You are to come as nearly to the line as you are able. God looks to see how you rule your mortal body, to what extent you crucify the flesh and its desires. Gal. 5:24
You are the one in charge now. The Lord says, “I will let you work with that poor body, which you have; and if I see you doing your best with that body, in due time I will give you a perfect body. If you prove your loyalty of heart now, with all your imperfections, I will cover those imperfections with the merit of Jesus. I know that if you are faithful in this blemished body, you will be entirely satisfactory in the glorious body I will give you by and by.”
This is a very reasonable proposition, dear friends; and everything about God’s Plan, when we come to understand it, is so beautiful, so reason able, that we could not ask Him to change even one feature. How would it be if we could get glory, honor and immortality without living up to our promises, while another who did not promise would do better? We would say that the one who did not promise would be better than the one who promised and did not fulfill his promise, that the one who did not promise would be more deserving of the reward. If the Lord sees that you mean all that you said in consecration, no matter how poor the body you have, the blood of Jesus Christ will cover all your defects; and you will be acceptable to God and will thus be counted worthy.
“To Him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne,” declared the Master. (Rev. 3:21) If we do not overcome, we shall not be seated there. “But there are special tests, are there not? asks someone; ”Is one test how we keep the Sabbath day?" Not especially, we reply. Such a test would be but a poor proof of character. If you thought that God wished you to keep a certain day as the Sabbath day, you would be injuring your conscience if you did not keep it. It is not keeping a Sabbath day or wearing clothes of a certain style or having your hair cut in a special way that proves character such as God requires.
REASONABLENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES
There is a great difference between faith and credulity. We have learned this lesson from the experiences of the Dark Ages. There was comparatively little faith then. We are not to have faith in things that nobody can understand. That is not God’s Plan. It may be the creeds of men, but it is not the Word of God. He expects us to have faith in what He has declared; and He says, “Come now, let us reason together.” (Isa. 1:18) Today, all over the world, you will find people saying, “I believe in the Trinity, but I cannot understand it.” There is no credit in believing what you cannot understand. “I thought that if I did not believe in the Trinity, I would go to eternal torment,” says one. My dear brother, there is nothing about the Trinity in the Bible. The Bible is all straight and reasonable.
What the Bible says is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Jehovah.”( Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:6) Have faith in what the Bible says. Attend to what God has declared. “To us there is one God, the Father.” Have faith in this Scriptural statement. We are to believe what the Word of God declares, and not what men have said that is not in the Bible.
Another thing which God requires of us is loyalty. We are to stand for all that God stands for, and to be opposed to all that God opposes. There are only two sides. “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” You cannot serve Truth and error. Watch where you are standing. There is great danger of being deceived. Thousands of people are standing today where they should not stand, and would not, if their eyes were not blinded. (2 Cor. 4:4) “His servants ye are to whom ye render service.”