A Comparison between the Great Pyramid and the Tabernacle, continued
Standing on the precipice of the “step” considering the cost of further advancement the believer (Individual number 5) is not only weary of this next step, but likewise skeptical of its necessity. Having been for the most part deceived by the “blind guides” into believing that a mere profession of faith was all that was necessary to secure ones entry into the heavenly phase of the kingdom he was content to leave it at that, after all, all that was required of him was faith and his best endeavors to live a righteous life.
However things have changed, having gained a little further insight he now realizes that the “blind guides” were in error, yes it’s true that all that is required for salvation is faith in Christ and the putting away of the defilement’s of the flesh as best one can, but this salvation, the “common salvation” (Jude 3) is applicable to all, it is the very same salvation that will be offered to the rest of mankind (the non-believing world) in the next age. This salvation involves the restoration or restoring of all things as they were originally intended to be, the restoring of that which was lost. And what was it that man-kind lost through father Adam’s sin?
Why it was human perfection, and the image (or character likeness) of his creator, that and his dominion over the earth. The promise was that the earth would likewise be brought to perfection, that it would be made a glorious paradise. This he learned was the earthly phase of the kingdom in which all who enter, who exercise faith and obedience shall progress up the “Highway of Holiness” and to a complete and full resurrection (Greek: anastasis), which means a full, complete rising up out of death conditions into perfection of life conditions, It signifies to raise up again, thus implying that a thing (father Adam) was once up and fell down is to be brought up again to the place where it originally was. This salvation is “FREE” it is the gift of God; it cost nothing of the believer save faith, no sacrifice, no cost, the cost having already been paid through the ransom, even the precious blood of Christ.
Having obtained this further understanding he now realizes that the “blind guides” were blind and completely misunderstood this next step (the “second step”, the step of sanctification), nor did they know the way, that in their blindness and vanity they were not only missing the way themselves (the way into the heavenly phase of the kingdom), but likewise in their ignorance were hindering others from entering in (Luke 11:52).
As he now gazes down the narrow passage into the ante-chamber before him he recalls how he was once stumped over heavily laden with (sin), whilst traversing the downward path of the descending passage, and how he had found relief from this burden following his realization that the Man Christ Jesus by the race of God had paid the price of his freedom, and in so doing had opened a way of escape (as pictured by the well shaft) by and through which he could be justified by faith in Christ. This allowed him to enter the Grand Gallery (representative of the Gospel age and the faith-justified condition) in which he now resides.
And now having reached its end he has been made aware of the reason for which he has been so blessed with this justification, that the object of this grace being given him at this time was so as to permit or qualify him to become a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God through the great sacrifice of his redeemer Christ Jesus.
Now (with this knowledge) a decision has to be made, has he received this grace (this favor of faith-justification) in vain or will he use it for its intended purpose now during the Gospel age, the “acceptable time”.
The Apostle Paul states the matter thus,
“I beseech you therefore, brethren (fellow believers, those faith-justified), by the mercies of God (in which you were brought into this condition), that you present (consecrate) your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Rom 12:1
Perhaps the following excerpts taken from a discourse entitled “Consecration” written by Brother A. H. MacMillan may shed some further light upon this subject.
“Many Christians seem to misunderstand the subject of consecration and on this account fail to take the necessary step, feeling that it might involve them in certain experiences that would work to their disadvantage.
When the subject is understood we see that it is the duty of all who desire to be in harmony with God to make a full surrender of themselves to Him as soon as they learn about His plan; for the time will come when all must so do, or forfeit their lives. Those who take advantage of the privilege as soon as they learn of it gain a decided advantage over those who tarry.
In the beginning Adam and Eve were consecrated to God; that is, they recognized His will as the supreme authority in the universe and were governed thereby. Later, however, they desired to have their own way about things, and thereby became estranged from God, and in this condition of alienation the whole human family have been born — “Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psa 51:5). God, however, has provided a plan whereby all the willing and obedient of the human race may return from their wayward course and come into harmony with His will, those refusing to do so will be destroyed in the second death. Thus we see that eventually all intelligent creatures in existence will be consecrated to or will recognize and obey the one supreme will and ruling authority (Isa 45:23, 24). Those who make a consecration at the present time are assured that their offering will he accepted, and that the Lord’s blessing will be their portion.
We must remember, however, that God could not accept an offering brought by one under condemnation; and in view of the fact that all the human family were condemned in Adam, how could any of them offer an acceptable sacrifice? As expressed in our text above (Rom 12:1), this may be done by or through “the mercies of God,” in His providing for us a Redeemer. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
By reason of faith in our Savior we are justified to peace with God, and are thus acceptable to Him as sacrificers. We now have a life (our restitutional life rights, although presently only reckoned to us) to offer, for “he that hath the Son (he that believes in the Son, the Redeemer of life) hath life.”
Nevertheless even with this divine provision there are still various excuses offered by those who have taken the first step (faith in Christ and a consecration to righteousness, i.e. right living), but who have failed to go on to a full consecration, (the second step, a consecration of sacrifice) as the Apostle so admonishes.
We will now examine some of these excuses to see if they are tenable.
Note: In his discourse the author lists three main excuses however we believe he has left out one of the most notable excuses for the majority not taking the second step of a full consecration at present, and that is that they have not even been made aware of this second step or of its necessity. Having put their trust as well as their eternal destiny in the hands of the “blind guides”, they have been fully convinced that all that is required of them is faith in Christ, and the attempt to live as godly a life as possible. This for the most part is true as respects salvation, that is the “common salvation”, but in respects to the special or “great salvation” there is a lot more to it that they are completely unawares.
First, those, not understanding the subject, hold back, refusing to make a full surrender to the Lord, feeling that it would mean unnecessary self-denial and sacrifice; that is to say, they are afraid that God would ask to much of them, possibly ask them to live in such a manner as to render their lives miserable and unhappy.
Second, others say they are glad they have not made a consecration, and on that account have more freedom to live in a careless and indifferent way, devoting their time and attention to personal or worldly pursuits. (Some of these having heard that they will receive a second opportunity in the next age to get their lives in order have no realization of the consequences that their present lives, their conduct, actions and etc. will have on their next lives, poor souls they delude themselves, forgetting that whatsoever a man sows so shall he reap. That is to say the character they develop now will be the same one they will have when resuscitated, if it has been sown to corruption one devoted to selfishness and selfish pursuits it will be all the more difficult for them in the next age to correct this downward course.)
Still others feel that if they made a consecration to the Lord now that it would involve serious results; if they failed to win the Heavenly prize they would lose all and go into the second death. These say that they would prefer to wait until the Millennium and share restitution blessings with the world of mankind.
All of these positions are un-scriptural and unreasonable views to take; for, as already stated, it is only a matter of a short time now until every intelligent creature must accept, bow to, and be governed by the supreme will of Jehovah(Isa 45:23). Why then should we hesitate or put the matter off?
Do we wish to take advantage of God’s goodness and continue in sin a space longer, and submit ourselves to Him only when confronted with the other alternative, second death?
Those who refuse to consecrate because it would involve, as they think, a great deal of self-denial and hard-ship to them, fail to appreciate the goodness of God. They feel as if he would expect something of them that would render them unhappy.
To illustrate their position, suppose a family of great wealth, enjoying great luxury, were suddenly reduced to poverty and dire want, and a friend should call upon them and noticing their great unhappiness on account of the loss of their prestige and wealth, should offer to restore them at the cost everything he owned. Suppose they should accept his generous offer and thus enjoy the privileges of their former condition. If their benefactor should later call upon them and make re-quest for a favor, suppose they would say to him, “State your desire first before we agree to grant it. We wish you to do this because we feel that perhaps you would ask us to do something that would involve great hardships and self-denial on our part.” Should they take this course, how ungrateful and unappreciative they would prove themselves to him! How little confidence they would have in their benefactor! If he was willing to reduce himself to poverty in order to give them the luxuries of life, surely he would do nothing to rob them of these. The attitude that they should take would be to tell their benefactor, “All we have we owe to you. Make your request, even to the extent of asking our all; we will gladly grant it.”
And so we say to those who fear that a life of consecration would entail great hardships on them, if God would give the dearest treasure of Heaven — His only begotten Son — to die that they might be redeemed from death, should they not trust Him with their all, assured that he would not require anything of them that would work to their disadvantage? “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.” (Rom 8:32)
Those who refuse to consecrate because, as they say, they love their freedom so much, remind us of the fisher-men who were lost in the fog and unable to find land, and who concluded to seek the Lord’s help. One of them got down on his knees in the bottom of the boat and began to pray thus: “Lord, I have not bothered you or asked you any favors for over twenty years. Now if you will just help us get ashore, I promise — “The Captain shouted, “Shut up, don’t make any promises; I can see the land; we will get there without His help.”
Oh, yes, they say, we will make a consecration in the Millennial Age, when it will be a matter of life or death with us, but the question arises, will God appreciate your consecration THEN, if you refuse to make it NOW? What assurances have you that he will? (See Heb 3:7-8) A parent would not appreciate the service of a child who would render it only when threatened with punishment. Such a child would be considered unworthy of the parent’s love.
And then there are those who fail to consecrate because they are afraid they might go into the second death if they did, are making a great mistake. To our understanding of the Scriptures, no one will go into the second death because he has made a consecration, but because he did not consecrate. The only ones who will go into the second death will be those who have gone back on or refuse to fulfill their consecration, and those who refuse to consecrate at all.
Some think that they are unable to walk the narrow way, and on this account they feel sure that they would be condemned to the second death. Those who take this stand fail to appreciate God’s deep interest in their eternal welfare. God would never start anyone in the narrow way if He saw any reason why they could not win the prize. If a man saw his home burning and all his valuable papers in danger of destruction, his little ten-year old boy might offer to enter the burning building and rescue the papers, but the loving parent would not permit the lad to endanger his own life. He would prefer to have the son live and the papers lost. Nevertheless he would appreciate the offer made by his child and love him for so doing. Even so our Heavenly Father will appreciate the offering made by all who present themselves to Him, even though He saw best not to start them off into the narrow way. He will, however, confer upon them certain blessings because of their willingness to trust Him.
We should remember also that we have the promise based on God’s faithfulness that we will not be tried above that we are able, but will always be given a way of escape; He will direct the issue by giving us grace (favor) to endure the trials that we otherwise could not. As suggested in 2 Pet 3:9, “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly out of temptation.” That is to say, He will come to our rescue when our trials become too great for our strength. Again we remember how our dear Redeemer was rescued in the garden when the trials seemed to crush Him down. The Lord sent an angel to minister to Him. So He will do for us in our trials. So, dear friends, we have no excuse on this point, for the Lord has made every necessary provision for all who come unto Him and offer themselves in sacrifice.
Those who refuse to consecrate now WILL NOT go into the second death when they die the Adamic death, but if the spirit of holding back continues with them into the Millennial Age, and they still refuse, after a space of time (as a consecration to righteousness will be required of all then), they will go into the second death. It is a great mistake to refuse to consecrate when we learn God’s will; for this attitude will harden the heart to a certain extent and will require chastisements or stripes to correct this condition. Jesus said to the Pharisees who resisted His will that it would be difficult for them to escape Gehenna, for their course was hardening their hearts. The “Truth is a saver of life unto life, and death unto death,” and it begins to operate the moment we learn of it.
Therefore, “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain”. (2 Cor 6:1)
We will continue with our next post.