"You shall put this altar in front of the veil that is near the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat that is over the ark of the testimony, where I will meet with you.Exodus 30:6(NASB)
I have refined you, but not like silver. I have tested you in the furnace of suffering. (Isaiah 48:10 GW)
The furnace of affliction is for those who by faith are in Christ. What happens in the furnace of affliction? What is it that is dealt with in the fire? Is it you, and is it I, that are refined in the fire? Are you refined in the fire? Am I refined in the furnace of affliction? I say, No! emphatically NO!! If we say, "Yes!" well, let us look at the furnace of affliction, the fire with the metal in the crucible. What are you doing with that metal? Well, you say, you heat the fire intensely and all the uncleanness, the corruption, comes to the surface; this is skimmed off, and when that process has been carried through to its end, there is left pure gold! IF Then if you say that is you or that is me you will have to abandon your doctrine of total depravity, and you will have to come back to the place where you say there is good in us, after all! You will have to say there is good and bad in us, and the furnace of affliction is to get the badness out of us and leave the goodness! Is that true doctrine? Never!
The furnace of affliction is not for the removal of the bad out of us so as to leave the good that is in us, and secure it! Then what is the purpose? Is it to refine Christ in us? We need not discuss that! Christ needs no refining! So what is it for? It is to divide between what is us in fallen nature, and what is Christ, and to get rid of the one in order to give full place to the other! The furnace of affliction is the application of the Cross to the getting rid of you and me, in order to leave the whole place for Christ. It is the measure of Christ that God is after, not to cut in between the good and bad in us, but to cut in between what is Christ, and what is ourselves. That is what the Lord is doing. He is after increasing Christ, and in order to do that He has to displace self, the old creation. It is all the measure of Christ in this realm. The realm of God is not going to be refined self, reformed self, or any kind of patching up of self. It is going to be none of self, and all of Christ.
Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; he flees like a shadow and does not continue. § The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. § As in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive… Death is swallowed up in victory. § For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. § To live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.” § The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. § The end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. § Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. § Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. § You were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
Be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints… Now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.
But God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Gal. 6:14).
The Lord Jesus carried out the work of the Cross as to our eternal position. The Holy Spirit carries out the work of the Cross as to our present condition. "He will take the things that are Mine and will transmit them to you" (John 16:15, Amp.).
"We cannot separate the Cross from the Holy Spirit. We can have no Easter and no Pentecost, until we have first had a Good Friday. Through the Cross alone we are prepared for life in the fulness of God; only he who is crucified with Christ can be a vessel unto honor. Our old man' must be crucified with Christ, and in His resurrection we find the roots of our new life. Whosoever loses his life, shall find it. We must learn the lesson of the Cross, as condemned and rejected ones, who have been crucified with Christ.
"Then the door will be open for a life of power and blessing. All that belongs to death must be turned over to the death of the Cross, even as the body is laid away in the earth, because it belongs to the earth. The Holy Spirit, the Eternal Spirit, is unchangeable. He brought Christ our Head to the Cross, and us His children with Him. For this work in us is twofold. On the one hand, it leads us to death; and on the other hand, to that life which God has placed within us and which leads from glory to glory." -A.M.
"And all of us, with faces uncovered, because we continue to reflect like mirrors the splendor of the Lord, are being transformed into likeness to Him, from one degree of splendor to another, since it comes from the Lord who is the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:18, Wms.).
“Seekest thou great things for thyself?” Jeremiah 45:5
Are you seeking great things for yourself? Not seeking to be a great one, but seeking great things from God for yourself. God wants you in a closer relationship to Himself than receiving His gifts, He wants you to get to know Him. A great thing is accidental, it comes and goes. God never gives us anything accidental. There is nothing easier than getting into a right relationship with God except when it is not God Whom you want but only what He gives.
If you have only come the length of asking God for things, you have never come to the first strand of abandonment, you have become a Christian from a standpoint of your own. "I did ask God for the Holy Spirit, but He did not give me the rest and the peace I expected." Instantly God puts His finger on the reason - you are not seeking the Lord at all, you are seeking something for yourself. Jesus says - "Ask, and it shall be given you." Ask God for what you want, and you cannot ask if you are not asking for a right thing. When you draw near to God, you cease from asking for things. "Your Father knoweth what things you have need of, before ye ask Him." Then why ask? That you may get to know Him.
Are you seeking great things for yourself? "O Lord, fill me with the Holy Ghost." If God does not, it is because you are not abandoned enough to Him, there is something you will not do. Are you prepared to ask yourself what it is you want from God and why you want it? God always ignores the present perfection for the ultimate perfection. He is not concerned about making you blessed and happy just now; He is working out His ultimate perfection all the time - "that they may be one even as We are."
Oh foolish Galatians…after starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?
Scripture contrasts two ‘ways’ a believer seeks to live the Christian life. Paul outlines both options in his epistle to the Galatians: 1) the grace-promise-faith way and 2) the works-merit-law way. The grace-promise-faith way is 100% achievable and done by God for man. The works-merit-law way is 100% unachievable and done by man for God. There is probably no more important message to the church today than this, for most believers having started their Christian life by grace through faith, revert from grace back to the law, by trying to live their life for God. Blessings abound for those humble enough and courageous enough to seek to live their life the grace-promise-faith way.
Paul challenges those given initial salvation by grace thru faith with these words: are ye so foolish, having begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? He is saying, having begun ‘the grace-promise-faith way’ are ye now made perfect by ‘the works-merit-law way?’ Many believers aren’t properly schooled in these two contrasting ways of living the Christian life and fall into the works-merit–law trap.
The grace way is sanctification God’s way. The works way is sanctification man’s way. The grace-promise-faith way is the ‘spiritual’ route. The works-merit -law way is called ‘carnal’, ‘the flesh’ ‘being under law’ etc. Carnality and legalism is often connected with worldly sins, pride and unbelief, but are also produced by a believer trying hard to please God, but in the wrong way.
In reality carnality and legalism often describe believers who deeply desire to be spiritual, but are trying to please God the ‘works-merit -law’ way. Remember, the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. Within the inner ‘being’ of man are two continuously conflicting camps:- the old sinread more
The crossroads and intersections of life, pepper the course you take. Without His guiding light your steps will falter – your way will become a labyrinth. But with the saints of old we call to the Lord our God and He hears our cry. With the men of faith, we hold fast to His promises and trust in His love. With prophets, priests and kings – we stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD.
For without His help we could not face unafraid, the stony path before us. We would balk at the mountainous terrain to the left hand and to the right hand. We would fear.. as the pounding sea stays our forward stride. We would faint.. as the enemy behind relentlessly pursues our path. But hearken to the voice of the prophet, Moses: Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more, for ever. Ex.24:13.
Past pains can erect future barriers that entomb hearts and wreck relationships. Future fears and mental imaginings can melt the stoutest of hearts into defeat. Bury all thoughts of unkindness and bitterness, in His sea of forgetful forgiveness and lay to rest each sadness and each bitter memory – all dislikes and painful resentments. Put away all sense of fault, failures and your own shame and disappointments.. failures and disappoints of others as well and you own. Leave them together with your gloom and despondency – buried in that sea.. and go forward into newness of life.. a life in Him Who is all in all.
Remember – you must not see as the world sees. He holds your future in His hand.. in trust – for you. He will lead you and guide you one step at a time, little by little by little.. day by day by day by day. Leave the rest with Him as you keep your eyesread more