It is our prayer, that today, as many call to remembrance the first Advent of our Lord and Saviour to this world, that we may also take time to seriously consider His 2nd Advent, and His soon coming again in the clouds of heaven to receive His own !
“Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way (My path) before Me . . . And the Lord (Adoni – the Sovereign King), Whom ye seek, shall suddenly (unexpectedly) come to His temple (I Corinthians 3:16-17) . . . . Even the Messenger of the Covenant, Whom ye delight in: Behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of hosts . . . ref: Psalm 72:6 & Hosea 6:3
But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth?” Malachi 3:1-2 & 4:1-6
“Who shall ascend into the hill (mountain – Isaiah 2:3) of the LORD? and who shall stand in His holy place? . . . . he that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity (pride, self-confidence), nor sworn deceitfully . . . He shall receive the Blessing (Galatians 3:14) from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his Salvation . . .
For this is the generation (the children) of them that seek Him, that seek Thy Face, O Jacob. Selah !” Psalm 24:3-6 & II Corinthians 4:3-6
“The character and tendency of modern revivals has awakened no little anxiety in thoughtful minds among all denominations. Many of the revivals which have occurred during the last forty years have given no evidence of the work of the Spirit of God. The light which flames up for a time, soon dies out, leaving the darkness more dense than before.
Popular revivals are too often carried by . . . .
appeals to the imagination, by exciting the emotions, by pandering to the love for what is new and startling. Converts thus gained have no more desire to listen to Bible truths, no more interest in the testimony of prophets and apostles, than has the novel-reader. Unless a religious service has something of a sensational character, it has no attractions for them. A message which appeals to unimpassioned reason, awakens no response. The plain warnings of God’s Word, relating directly to their eternal interests, fall as upon the ears of the dead.
The converts are not renewed in heart or changed in character. They do not renounce their pride and love of the world. They are no more willing to deny self, to take up the cross, and follow the meek and lowly Jesus, than before their conversion. In a genuine revival, when the Spirit of God convicts the conscience, the earnest, anxious inquiry will be heard, “What must I do to be saved?”
And this not merely for a day. With every truly converted soul the relation to God and to eternal things will be the great topic of life. But where, in the popular churches of today, is the deep conviction of sin? where is the spirit of consecration to God? The spirit that controls the world rules in the church. Religion has become the sport of infidels and skeptics because so many who bear its name are ignorant of its principles.
The power of godliness has well-nigh departed from the churches. Heart union with Christ is a rare thing now. The majority of church-members know no tie but that which joins them to an organized body of professed Christians. Love of pleasure and thirst for excitement are everywhere prevalent. Picnics, church theatricals, church fairs, fine houses, personal display, have banished thoughts of God. Lands and goods and worldly occupations engross the mind, and things of eternal interest receive hardly a passing notice.
Pleasure-lovers may have their names upon the church-records, they may stand high as worldly-wise men; but they have no connection with Christ of Calvary. The apostle Paul describes a class who are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” Concerning them he says, “From such turn away.” [2 Timothy 3:4, 5.] Be not deceived by them, do not imitate their practices . . . .
The scriptural doctrine of conversion has been almost wholly lost sight of. Christ declared to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born (begotten) again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The heart must be renewed by Divine grace,* man must have a new life from above, or his profession of godliness will avail nothing.
“Set your affections on things above, not on things of the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God . . . !” Colossians 3:1-10
“Always bearing about in our body, the dying (to self, and carnal desires) of the Lord Jesus, so that the Life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh . . . !” II Corinthians 4:10-11 & Galatians 2:20
The apostle Paul, in relating his experience, presents an important Truth (verity of Scripture) concerning the work to be wrought in conversion. He says, “I was alive without the Law once,” –he felt no condemnation . . . . “But when the commandment came,” when the Law of God was urged upon his conscience, “sin revived, and I died.”
Then he saw himself a sinner, condemned by the Divine law. Mark (make note), it was Paul, and not the Law, that died. He says, further, “I had not known sin, but by the Law; for I had not known lust (carnal desire), except the Law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” “The commandment which was ordained to Life, I found to be unto death.” The Law which promised Life to the obedient, pronounced death upon the transgressor. “Wherefore,” he says, “the Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Romans 7:9-12.
How wide the contrast between these words of Paul and those that come from many of the pulpits of today. The people are taught that obedience to God’s Law is not necessary to Salvation (deliverance, freedom and healing); that they have only to believe in Jesus, and they are safe. Without the Law, men have no conviction of sin, and feel no need of repentance. Not seeing their lost condition as violators of God’s Law, they do not feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ as their only hope of Salvation.
“Wherefore . . . lay aside all filthiness and superfluity (abundance) of naughtiness, and receive with meekness and humility, the engrafted Word (Psalm 40:8 & 119:1 and 119:9-11), which is able to save your souls . . . . And be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves . . . !” James 1:19-25
The Law of God is an agent in every genuine conversion. There can be no true repentance without conviction of sin. The Scriptures declare that “sin is the transgression of the Law,” (I John 3:4) and that “by the Law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20) In order to see his guilt, the sinner must test his character by God’s great standard of righteousness (James 1:25).
To discover his defects, he must look into the mirror of the Divine statutes. But while the Law reveals his sins, it provides no remedy. The gospel of Christ alone can offer pardon. In order to stand forgiven, the sinner must exercise repentance toward God, whose Law has been transgressed, and faith in Christ, his atoning Sacrifice. Without true repentance, there can be no true conversion. Many are deceived here, and too often their entire experience proves to be a deception. This is why so many who are joined to the church have never been joined to Christ.
For “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7)
In the new birth, the heart is renewed by Divine grace* (G5485), and brought into harmony with God as it is brought into subjection (surrender) to His Law of love. When this mighty change has taken place in the sinner, he has passed from death unto Life, from sin unto holiness, from transgression and rebellion to obedience and loyalty. The old life of alienation from God has ended; and the new Life of reconciliation, of faith and love, has begun. Then will “the righteousness of the Law” “be fulfilled in us who walk not after (by) the flesh, but after the Spirit !” Romans 8:2-4.
Excerpts taken from: 4SP p.294-297