Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Grace To Submit (Part 2)

Fresh from being tempted in the wilderness by Satan, it is recorded in Luke 4 that Jesus went home to Nazareth, to identify himself and his purpose there, only to be so rejected that they ran him out of town and sought to murder him by throwing him down from the cliffs Nazareth was built on.

To precipitate this, he read the verses from the prophet Isaiah, which said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."

He came to save people who are granted the grace to be aware of their decrepit spiritual state,
and have hearts and spirits broken and contrite as a result. The vast majority of people, especially those who knew him merely as the son of Joseph, possessed none of these attributes,
and Jesus knew it. So when he told them as much in terms they fully understood, they were infuriated, as the remainder of Luke 4 details.

The Lord identified the spiritual state of men to that of a captive cast into a dark prison, sightless and broken, bruised by iron chains.

It brings to mind the horrific fate of Zedekiah, last King of Judah, who, already in tributary bondage to Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, entered into alliance with the Pharaoh of Egypt and revolted without the blessing of the LORD, and the resulting siege and capture of Jerusalem led to his fleeing the city with his followers, only to be captured, brought before Nebuchadnezzar in
chains, and have his last sight be that of his sons being put to death before his own eyes were gouged out.

Zedekiah perished in that prison.

Having disobeyed the LORD through the word He gave from the prophet Jeremiah, he brought utter calamity to himself, his sons, and his entire kingdom. This is being repeated in various ways, in the lives of innumerable people, who hear the gospel of salvation, only to either refuse it or deceive themselves into thinking they need not submit their lives to receive it; because their pride has stolen their sight, and prevented them from seeing that their soul is destitute, that the thing they hold to their breast by the acceptance of the world is sin and therefore condemns their spirit to judgment and *death*. Thus they are hopelessly bound to their sin as with chains in the dark. Nor do they recognize the poverty of their spirit, as their sins have not broken their hearts, made possible because the parasite of pride is all that sustains them while the breath of life remains.

Jesus came for those who acknowledge the hopeless condition of their spirit and are crushed by the truth of it. He did not come for those who think they're all good as they are. He made this abundantly clear when in Luke 13 he was asked bluntly, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?"

"He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out." Luke 4:23-28

In short, Jesus answered in the affirmative.

THIS is the truth. Ignored. Inconvenient.



It is not the lie you have been told, that everyone gets to heaven their own way. Nor the lie which says God loves and accepts you just the way you are. Nor the one that says we are to tolerate and accept the behaviors which the secular world tolerates and accepts, and that God, who changes with the times, does too.

These are lies wrought by the rulers of the darkness of this world, the spiritual wickedness in high places, led by the Accuser, he who walks about seeking whom he may devour before he himself receives judgment in everlasting fire. And all who exchange the truth of God for these lies will be impaled by them, for the lies leave them under the wrath and judgment of the LORD, who in spite of all claims to the contrary is unchanging, and makes mockery of "enlightened, modern understanding".

God is not fooled or impressed by any such claims; even those which deny Him.

"The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise
will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “He did not make me”? Can the pot say of the potter, “He knows nothing”?" Isaiah 29:13-16

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the
intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." 1 Corinthians 1:18-19

Receive the grace of the LORD and submit all that you are to it. Acknowledge the truth and permit it to break your spirit and replace your pride with humility and a contrite heart. Then the LORD will release you from your captivity, restore your sight, and set you free.

"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."John 8:31-36.

23 short verses from here, those who Jesus spoke to here took up stones to kill Him.

Be one who accepts and obeys the truth when convicted by it, rather than one whose heart is so hardened against it that they would sooner crush it to earth and remain blind and in the dark than submit and be transformed.

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