Pathway to Sainthood
We are called with a high and holy calling in Christ Jesus to become saints of God (Romans 1:7; 1Corinthians 12) to whom the faith is delievered (Jude 3). But today saintly living which is the heart of the faith as delievered to us by the Lord Himself has turned a myth in the congregation of the professed believers. Being in the world which lies under the power of the wicked one, we have become so beaten by sin and sight walking that we could not see the pathway the Lord Himself made for us in His Word to tread out of the region of fears ( of the unknown, punishment of sin, and death) into the confidence of faith in Christ Jesus.
We dwell in the midst of many uncertainties; unspoken belief that victory over sin new life in Christ jesus offers according to the gospel is not experienced until the expiration of this age. Many in the secrecy of their hearts accused the Lord that bought them of sin. Some are even bold enough to speak it out. After having attempted to gain dominion over sin through the arm of flesh which is doomed to fail to no avail, they get offended and made God in their own image. Every thing we see and hear today gives the impression that man is thralled to sin and doomed to hell. "Who then can be saved?" is the question on the lips of every one awaiting the day of the Lord. What then is the secret of a saintly living in this evil world?
The Holy Spirit through the mouth of Asaph unveiled what the pathway to sainthood is. It is not by living by a set of principles or traditions as we see it done today. The only way to sainhood is through covenant. We hear the Lord declare this in the book of Psalms 50: 5, "Gather my saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice". God always works through covenants. We have the testimony of Noah after the flood. Abraham was called out by covenant sealed by blood. Isaac was born by covenant and he lived by the same. Jacob was chosen to be hier of the covenants given to the fathers from the womb. David's throne was established upon covenant. These and many more are evidences that God does all things through covenants. And in them all we see that God has ever been faithfiul to all His covenants and does fulfil them to the least of the letters since time began.
The term of the covenant of redemption the Lord entered with us is that the redeemed become the possession of the Redeemer. When we become His, He makes us like unto Himself and gives us the grace sufficient to walk in victory as He did when He was down here in the flesh. We simply become His when we cut this covenant of redemption with Him. He shows us the way to the place of covenant with Him in His Word.
God has made the only way to come into covenant with Him known to us. The covenant of God is accessed by sacrifice. This sacrifice is not that of animals in which the Lord says in Hebrews, "I have no pleasure" (Hebrews 10), neither is it our sacrificial duty; great exploits for the Lord as we do call it today.The only sacrifice which carries us into covenant with God is the sacrifice of ourselves upon the altar of our faith; the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. No other way!
Holy Spirit through apostle Paul says we should present ourselves "a living sacrifice" which is the only sacrifice to God "acceptable" and to us "a reasonable service". Any other sacrifice other than that of our "selves" is to God unacceptable and to us unreasonable. As we act in obedience to the word and place our "selves" as sacrifice unto God upon the altar of our faith, we part with our own life and become dead to the world and the world to us (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 6:14). There we receive a new life, the life of Christ by faith, which quickens our mortal bodies ane makes us alive to God. As we enter through the cross in the likeness of His death, we become qualified to be made alive with Him in the likeness of His life.
The nature of the cross accounts for why sin continues to reign in our world today. The road of the cross ahead of which the victory lies is an offence to natural mind. There is no appearance of beauty in it that it should be desired (Isaiah 53). All a natural eye sees in the cross are shame and curse. It can by no mean see into the realm of glory into which the road of the cross is emptied, for the glory can only be seen through the eye of faith--- only a glorified eye can behold the glory of the glorified Lord in the realm of glory! That is why we see men today searching the scriptures day and night and coming out with divers novelties rather than to come to Christ the Lord and be saved. They think by searching the scripteures they will be saved, having forgotten that by searching shall no man find God and that our salvation is not in the scriptures, but in the person about whom the scriptures were written, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:39-40).
Our Lord's reply when He was being tempted on payment of tribute is this: "Render therefore unto Ceaser the things which are Ceaser's, and unto God the things which are God's (Luke 20:25)." Jesus here established the truth that must be the foundation of our sacrifice to God. Whatever we give to God must be God's very own. We do make mistake in determining what belongs to God. That is why the Holy Spirit gives us the definition of what belongs to the Father out of all that we have. Oh, that must be tithe!, you said. But you are wrong. The Holy Spirit through Paul says "our body and our spirit... are God's (1Corinthians 6:20)" This is what God demands from us: the sacrifice of our "selves" which are God's. Nothing more, nothing less. But we often attempt to impress God by heaping what belongs to Ceaser to God in sacrifices, forgetting that the image and superscription of Ceaser is boldly inscribed on it (Luke 20:24)!
Whatever will be acceptable to God as an instrument of worship must bear a bold image and the superscription of the living God. Otherwise, it is never His! We must always walk in the light of the revealed truth of the Word of God whenever we present anything to God in worship that no amount of faith filled confession, prayers, and supplication can make the offering of Cain acceptable to God. It has neither the image nor the superscription of the living God in it. We must know that there is no substitute for the will of God in the whole creation. God desires His own sacrifice from us and not the one devise by human standard. We must give God what is God's and only what is God's.
The answer of our Lord to the question "who then can be saved?" beams light on the way out of the city of sin to the country of the saints. There is no saving power on the side of man as far as the salvation of human soul is concerned. Christ plainly declared for man it is impossible. But the goodnews to us is that with GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. This God accomplishes in us on the basis of leaving all things for His sakes.
We must also know that what we offer in sacrifice is as important as where we offer it. God specifically warned the israelites not to offer their offering anywhere they see, but in the place where the Lord will chose. Our sacrifice must be placed where the Lord has placed His name, and the place in the New Testament is on the altar of our faith; the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the altar that sanctifies the offering , and not otherwise. It is the cross that sanctifies the offering and determines the acceptability of our offering (Exodus 20:24; Deuteronomy 12:13; Exodus 29: 37, 43).
As e offer our "selves" in sacrifice to the Lord upon the altar of our faith, like the sacrifice of Elijah the prophet on Mt. Camel, God willing to show His delight in and acceptance of our sacrifice sends His living fire from above in the presence of the watching crowd for a witness to them and baptises us by immersion in the same. As it was with the burnt sacrifice of Elijah on that day, our 'self' is daily consumed (1Corinthians 15:31) and He becomes increased in us (John 3:30), until nothing is left of us and the servant becomes like His Lord in all things. The smoke thereof ascends to Him who sits upon the throne as "a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God" and as a sweet savour which spreads the aura of the life of Christ to them arround us as He becomes glorified in our body and in our spirit which are His (II Corinthians 2:15-16; 4:8-11).
Yet a little while, He who will come will come to gather His saints unto Himself. He once came for sinners, but now He is coming for those who are sanctified and justified by the offering of Himself to God. On this truth will He not allow sinners in His kingdom; He once walked down here in the flesh, persecuted and tempted in every way, yet without sin. Let us all know that our God will not be pleased with our appeasement of false humility and devotion, when He requires nothing from us other than the sacrifice of our "selves" thgrough which all that we are, have, and know will be Him and Him alone.
He is coming for saints; those who have made covenant with Him by sacrifice. Only those who made covenant with Him will be able to stand for Him in the midst of this compromise and great act of betrayal, because the sign(mark) of the covenant is in their flesh to shield them from the wickedness of the world and its own. Let us remember where we have fallen and repent, and do the first work, lest He comes and finds us sleeping while we ought to stay awake and be on watch for Him. Do you have a covenant with Him? It is never too late to cut one with Him today and become His and His forever. God always honour His covenant. He even tells us in His Word "My covenant will I not break". We are on safer ground, standing in covenant with Him. Behold, He comes for His saints and saints alone! Are you one?
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