When the Bough Breaks, a personal testimony of Glorious Grace!
by gonzodave coulon 5/11/2008 / Christian Living
This excerpt/article was submitted in faithreaders.com several months ago. It has become my most viewed posting at that site. I authored the piece before I was diagnosed with cancer and undergoing my present chemotherapy before surgery and radiation treatments.
I post it here, on Mother's Day, for all my new mothers and sisters and brothers in Christ.
But, especially for those who have an ear to hear. In the words of John the Baptist: "He must increase and I must decrease."
The above verses represent the "good news of Christ" that is intended for those who will join themselves to the will of Our Father and "obey the gospel." The "bad news" with obeying the gospel is that within what is considered orthodox Christianity there is a false gospel that will not save. This is the negative gospel that is presented and argued against within these pages.
Many may certainly disagree, but I have personally experienced what Scripture reveals concerning the fact that the Holy Spirit of God effects the spirit of a man in order to convict him of sin, and righteousness, and judgment. This is necessary because man is blinded by Satan and his world system that we all live in. The matter of man's free will and the divine action of "drawing" upon a man is a given truth in Scripture. Might this divine drawing be removed by another force? This is the relevant question to answer, rather than the limits of free will. 1 Of the four seeds that are sown (Mtw 13:3-9); one is snatched away by "the evil one," one "fell among thorns" and "the care of this world (age)," and two fall on "not much earth" and "good ground." But only "good ground" produces a multiple-fold increase.
I make the following statements with much certainty, as my salvation was not in answering an altar call by Billy Graham at the Astrodome when I was a teenager. Nor at any time in the following years was my salvation a result of attending church or repeating a prayer. However the providence of God works, from childhood I was extremely curious about God and heaven. Having the misfortune of not being exposed to the gospel of the grace of God, I was never satisfied with the limited answers and slogans that I received in response to my questions. I instinctively felt something was wrong with what I was hearing at the time and this - not because I knew what was right. I had a very limited religious background that was Catholic and Methodist. Which is to say, that salvation and heaven was seen as a reward for good behavior. To believe in Christ was to believe in good behavior, not a Savior who would forgive my bad behavior and insure my eventual perfection. My religious background was exclusive of any and all Pentecostal or charismatic interests or associations. That is to say no holy rollers had influenced my spiritual perceptions.
But a miracle occurred, my salvation was secured in private, in one mid-morning moment of personal insight and ownership, when a mental picture of the first Adam, the old man, and the last Adam, the new man Jesus Christ, was juxtaposed against the paternal twins, Esau the older and Jacob the younger. In this image from the OT, Jacob disguised as Esau by his mother, stood in front of his blind father Isaac and received the elder's blessing that originally belonged to Esau. Christ, like the hairy Jacob dressed in concealment by his mother, could not disguise His voice when speaking to His Father.
The mere reciting of this event cannot convey the dynamic of that moment; but, in that moment, I accepted with my whole being that the man Jesus Christ was my Savior God and, not only the gospel of the grace of God was true; but from the very first word to the last, I admitted to myself that the Bible was absolute Truth. A flood of admitted Truth overcame me.
Immediately, thereupon, I began to shake, rattle, and roll with a new love and a fierce desire to be in heaven with Jesus. Soon afterwards I learned this was yielding to the Holy Spirit. This is considered by God to be a "normal" Christian state of being filled by the Holy Spirit. And this, only possible after salvation through the permanent indwelling of the Spirit. It was a manifestation of the Spirit, the ecstasy of divine love - not my own. It was an aspect of the very nature of Christ that I experienced i (John 17:26; Rom 5:5; Gal 5:22).
Rom 5:5 And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
2 John 1:5 But now I ask you, lady (not as if I were writing a new commandment to you, but the one we have had from the beginning), that we love one another.
"(v. 5) Law (of Christ), Summary: The new "law of Christ" is the divine love, as wrought into the renewed heart by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5; Heb 10:16), and outflowing in the energy of the Spirit, unforced and spontaneous, toward the objects of the divine love (2 Cor 5:14-20; 1 Thes 2:7, 8). It is, therefore, "the law of liberty" (James 1:25; 2:12), in contrast with the external law of Moses. Moses' law demands love (Lev 19:18; Deut 6:5; Lk 10:27); Christ's law is love (Rom 5:5; 1 John 4:7, 19, 20), and so takes the place of the external law by fulfilling it (Rom 13:10; Gal 5:14). It is the "law written in the heart" under the New Covenant (Heb 8:8, note)." ii
Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, no one would have looked for a second one.
8:8 But showing its fault, God says to them, "Look, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will complete a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
8:9 "It will not be like the covenant that I made with their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant and I had no regard for them, says the Lord.
8:10 "For this is the covenant that I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and I will inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people.
8:11 "And there will be no need at all for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, 'Know the Lord,' since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest.
8:12 "For I will be merciful toward their evil deeds, and their sins I will remember no longer."
8:13 When he speaks of a new covenant, he makes the first obsolete. Now what is growing obsolete and aging is about to disappear.
"(8:8) The New Covenant, Summary: (1) "Better" than the Mosaic Covenant, not morally, but efficaciously (Heb 7:19; Rom 8:3, 4). (2) Established on "better" (i.e. unconditional) promises. In the Mosaic covenant God said, "If ye will" (Ex 19:5); in the New Covenant He says, "I will" (Heb 8:10, 12). (3) Under the Mosaic covenant obedience sprang from fear (Heb 2:2; 12:25-27); under the New from a willing heart and mind (v. 10). (4) The New Covenant secures the personal revelation of the Lord to every believer (v. 11); (5) the complete oblivion of sins (v. 12; Heb 10:17; Cf. Heb 10:3); (6) rests upon an accomplished redemption (Mt 26:27, 28; 1 Cor 11:25; Heb 9:11, 12, 18-23); (7) and secures the perpetuity, future conversion, and blessing of Israel (Jer 31:31-40; see also "Kingdom (O.T.)," and 2 Sam 7:8-17). The New Covenant is the eighth, thus speaking of resurrection and of eternal completeness. (8) The New Covenant rests upon the sacrifice of Christ, and secures the eternal blessedness, under the Abrahamic Covenant (Gal 3:13-29), of all who believe. It is absolutely unconditional, and since no responsibility by it is committed to man, it is final and irreversible."iii
During this divine moment that I experienced, I had much pent up truth to concede to Christ. This response was particular to me. I had previously studied the Bible in private off and on for years in order to find my own answers about Christianity. I was motivated by my disillusionment with religion and the many differing denominational ideas regarding Christ, salvation, and Christianity. I asked myself, How could so many differing ideas come from what is one fairly short book, the New Testament? In my studies I found that Christ Himself despised religiosity. I also learned the meaning behind "strange fire" and "strange smoke" mentioned in the OT. I found the only curses in the NT are laid on a false gospel, or spiritual sin. I loved the thoughts and realities suggested in the Epistles, especially Galatians and Ephesians, but I avoided the synoptic gospels, as the words of Christ seemed terribly repetitious and out of sync with the rest of the NT.
I then began to read the OT. I now have learned the meaning of "rightly dividing the word." The future earthly kingdom teachings in the synoptics are a different message and primarily are an extension of Old Testament covenantal promises, "Behold, I will send my messenger and he [John the Baptist (Mtw 3:1-3)] shall prepare the way before me [the first advent of Christ when He was rejected by the nation of Israel]: [the second advent of Christ predicted at the end of the events in the seven year tribulation period] and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts" (Mal 3:1). Consequently, the gospel of God's grace grounded in the death and resurrection of Christ is contained in the Gospel of John, the Book of Acts of the Holy Spirit, and the Epistles, which are the letters written for Christian instruction in this age. Owing in large part to a destructive "admixture" of the above, I understand also, that the world's negative opinion of religion is mostly correct. Jesus Christ is harmed much in the house of His friends (as during His first advent), but never by His Church, His Bride, and His Body of brethren (His interim work in heaven as our resurrected Savior).
My understanding has grown precept upon precept, and drop by drop, by the power of divine illumination of the Scriptures, provided to me and every child of God by Christ Himself. "Then he opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures" (Luke 24:45). This understanding is administered only as one will yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit that resides in every believer. The benefits thus derived are not intended for the world at large. Any thing that comes "in Christ" and is done "in Christ" is for the benefit of His Body of believers, both current and future.
There are many degrees of effect in different personalities and circumstances. Truth, the person of Jesus Christ, comes to someone in a way that is uniquely suited to them. The presentation of Christ, the true gospel of grace by spoken or written word, and the wholehearted full acceptance of the Truth - are inseparable and vital. The complete acceptance by the mind, will, and emotion in unison is saving faith. The reality of a never to be denied choice.
The theology that adheres to the rationalism which accepts that it is the "inalienable right" of a man or woman, that it is within the power of a true believer to voluntarily forfiet, or "give back," one's salvation is merely a system of Christian profession, not faith. How may a sinner saved by grace completely and forever deny His Savior? How may the Savior "give back" His own gift - the new sons and daughters of God whom the Father has given Him as "brethern" that are to be "created in His image" for all eternity?
The following is an entry from my journal dated October 4, 2004. In retrospect, I believe this was the starting point of a "voluntary desire" that made this writing effort possible:
"I struggle with why God has made life "full of troubles" and why the "precept upon precept" of knowing Him "line upon line" and "drop by drop" - the working out of my love for God - is so constant and immediate. But just now His Spirit in me says, "Your present concerns are a result of free will. The measure of your love for me, the starting point the most difficult point in your life is accomplished. What you will always have after that, which you live with day upon day, is Me working in your life. Note to Self, Let our virtues learn to suffer test."
In closing, I'd like to show you some family photographs from our Book of Life. The Word of God gives us the gospel in a series of beautiful pictures of the silent Truth in the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Pilate as he was considering the sentencing of our silent Lord asked, "What is truth?" and walked away from Truth. Later, Pilate presented Christ to the Jews and said, "Ecce homo - Behold the man!" Mary, His mother at the foot of His cross. The three hours of Darkness in which Christ suffered the sins of the whole world. The dead pierced body of Christ on His Cross of Crucifixion as the Centurion admits, "Surely, this man was the Son of God." The stone and soldiers that guarded the burial tomb. The empty tomb. The wounds in His resurrected body. The ascension of Christ to heaven after forty days. The witness of the two angels concerning His return.
Truth - The God-Man - A virgin birth - Sinless and unique - The blood of the Lamb for the sins of the world - God Himself - Dead and buried - He's alive and resurrected - Witnessed and confirmed by many - He has ascended and will return.
Christ is in heaven now ministering to His living Church of believers that are placed eternally and securely into His Mystical Body by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. His future return to earth with all the saints who are His brethren is promised. Grace and Truth cannot fail!
"Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ's behalf, "Be reconciled to God!" God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God." iv
John 17:3 Now this is eternal life 8 that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. NET
John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came about through Jesus Christ. 1:18 No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known. NET
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. NET
John 14:6 Jesus replied, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 14:7 If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him." NET
8sn This is eternal life. The author here defines eternal life for the readers, although it is worked into the prayer in such a way that many interpreters do not regard it as another of the author's parenthetical comments. It is not just unending life in the sense of prolonged duration. Rather it is a quality of life, with its quality derived from a relationship with God. Having eternal life is here defined as being in relationship with the Father, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom the Father sent. Christ (???????, Christ?s) is not characteristically attached to Jesus' name in John's Gospel; it occurs elsewhere primarily as a title and is used with Jesus' name only in 1:17. But that is connected to its use here: The statement here in 17:3 enables us to correlate the statement made in 1:18 of the prologue, that Jesus has fully revealed what God is like, with Jesus' statement in 10:10 that he has come that people might have life, and have it abundantly. These two purposes are really one, according to 17:3, because (abundant) eternal life is defined as knowing (being in relationship with) the Father and the Son. The only way to gain this eternal life, that is, to obtain this knowledge of the Father, is through the Son (cf. 14:6). Although some have pointed to the use of know (???????, gin?sk?) here as evidence of Gnostic influence in the Fourth Gospel, there is a crucial difference: For John this knowledge is not intellectual, but relational. It involves being in relationship.
Copyright 2007 by David Coulon. Use with credit only.
**Greek fonts do no convert in this .txt file
1 "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (John 6:37). "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44). In these two verses, spoken in the same passage, Jesus states both sides of the coin with no apology or contradiction. Any can come and not be cast out (free will of man 6:37). All who come have been chosen (sovereign election by God 6:44).
i "There is a very real human love, but all Christian love, according to Scriptures, is distinctly a manifestation of divine love through the human heart. A statement of this is found in Romans 5:5, "because the love of God is shed abroad [lit. gushes forth] in our hearts by [produced, or caused by] the Holy Spirit, which is given unto us." This is not the working of the human affection; it is rather the direct manifestation of the "love of God" passing through the heart of the believer out from the indwelling Spirit. It is the realization of the last petition of the High Priestly prayer of our Lord: "That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them" (John 17:26). It is simply God's love working in and through the believer. It could not be humanly produced, or even successfully imitated and it of necessity, goes out to the objects of divine affection and grace, rather than to the objects of human desire. A human heart cannot produce divine love, but it can experience it. To have a heart that feels the compassion of God is to drink of the wine of heaven. (He that is Spiritual, Dr. Lewis Chafer, p 48)
ii Old Scofield Study System, Dr. C. I. Scofield, p 1326
iii Ibid., p 1297-98
iv 2 Cor 5:20-21 NET