Isaiah 45:15 – A GOD Who Hides Himself

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Have you ever thought that God has withdrawn his favor from you?

Have you ever questioned… Is God really still dealing with me on a personal level, like His daughter/son?

We think to ourselves, could I really be in such a bad spiritually state?

We question ourselves:

Why could God be hiding from me?

In Isaiah 45:15 (NASV) we read, Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior!”

Here we note that hiding from man, is one of God’s attributes. Is it because we have done something to displease the Lord, and where God disapproves of our actions? Perhaps in such a situation, we find we don’t have the prayer life anymore or one that we would wish to have where there is ease of communication without guilt or feeling unworthy. Or, we may be saying to ourselves “my life is no different than that of the world around me.”

So when we can’t distinguish any difference in our life then in the life of a person who has not given himself to the Lord then we say “there is no specific purpose to my individual experiences compared to another person in the world.”

Or, perhaps our experiences feel like they no longer have any spiritual meaning when we can’t identify what the experiences are for, and we get into a rut; when our experiences mean I am merely just existing or surviving this experience and I know I am just existing because I experience, but I cannot identify with me this experience spiritually.

Maybe we recognize that for most of us, when we grasped the Truth, we had a great outburst of emotion for it — we loved it; we were enthused about it; we talked about it; we were excited about it and when we heard a discourse we would get goose bumps from joy! And all of a sudden we come to a place where that is no longer true. We just go to meeting because it’s a habit and we expose ourselves to creation experiences which we are sort of glad about having, but beyond that, there is no quickening of the heart beat.

Here are some possible reasons WHY we may experience that God has hidden himself from us:-

(A) God wishes to AWAKE US TO RIGHTEOUSNESS

It is good to remember that when it comes to God’s dealing with anyone, they are never intended to be a harsh, burdensome experience but God’s aim of  allowing certain trying experiences in our lives, is for the purpose of CORRECTING a situation…. correction of action … and ultimately to correct our character so that we may learn to be perfect  (Matthew 5:48) – that is, “reckoned as righteous” through our Faith (see Romans Chapter 4) and LOVE RIGHTEOUSNESS (Hebrews 1:9) so that we can be used in His future kingdom as administrators of the blessings to all the world of mankind – teaching mankind how to walk up the Highway of Holiness, having attained to the highest levels while going through the experiences of the Gospel Age now, while the permission of evil abounds.

In Hebrews 12:6, Apostle Paul writes, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

The chastenings of the Lord are not necessarily designed for punishment, but rather for discipline. They are necessary as a part of our training, and to test our humility before the Lord, and our loyalty to him. Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). This is what it means to be “patient in tribulation” (Rom.12:12); and if we are thus patient we will rejoice in a hope which “maketh not ashamed.”

In Ephesians 6:4 (ESV) we read, Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Our Heavenly Father does not deal with all in this manner but only with some, His sons.

He thus dealt with our Lord Jesus — “the captain of our salvation” — as he lived in this world of sin and suffered the “contradiction of sinners against Himself.” For, “what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 2:7).

 So the apostle admonishes that we “look unto Him” lest we become weary and faint in our minds (Hebrews 2:2,3). The rigors and the discipline to which a well-trained child is subjected by a loving father may at times seem irksome, unpleasant and painful, but it is for the ultimate good and development of the child in every sense. So it is in the life of the child of GOD but in a perfect manner.

The tests of faith, of fidelity, of love for God and righteousness, of obedience, of patient endurance and suffering wrongfully, the discipline of the Word under adversity, the submission in love to the Father’s will, and an awareness of the guidance of the Spirit, are some aspects of the Father’s discipline as He trains us for the purpose He has in view.

These are all tangible evidences of the heavenly Father’s love and concern. Like those to whom the apostle wrote, we also tend to forget this when the way is hard and difficult. Frustrations, pressures, and perplexities surround us. “Ye have forgotten” says the apostle, “the exhortation that speaketh unto you as unto sons” (Hebrews 2:5).

If we remember this always, we will rejoice even when all things seem to be against us as we earnestly seek to do His will, inasmuch as we know we are under His loving hand.

The life of the child of God, wholly surrendered to Him and to Christ, is an entirely new life, in and of Godly character, under the Father’s influence, control and leading, the Heavenly Father’s constant special and infinite care for our training in the principles of His laws, so that, we can be ministers of these laws and processes of training for all humanity.

We are “hid with Christ in God” (Romans 8:1-4; 8:14, 28; John 1:13; 16:27; Luke 12:4-7, 22-32; 1 Peter 5:6, 7; Colossians 3:1-4). Sometimes the Father withholds or hides Himself in order that the depth of our longing and love for Him and for Christ may be put to the test, that we may be conscious of a sense of loss, that me may yearn for Him and learn to fully depend on Him to reveal Himself more fully in all His love and tenderness.

God may withdraw His favor to awaken us to the situation that we have begun to slip or that we are near the point of slipping and that we need to reassert ourselves spiritually. The best example of this in the Bible, is when we look at the account of Queen Esther.

In the 4th chapter of the Book of Esther, we are told that Esther, (who had become the Queen of the Persian empire), had now an enemy against her uncle Mordecai and all the Jewish people (so this would include her, as she was Jewish). A man named Haman had become a chief counselor of the empire and had put into motion a plan that would mean the destruction of every Jew throughout the Medo-Persian empire. Mordecai realizes this; he tears his clothes; he puts on sack cloths and ashes, and he sits in mourning. Esther’s initial response is documented in Esther 4:4, “So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.”

So we can see that Esther’s first response is “let us stop mourning; let us not face the reality of the problems that we have.” Esther’s initial reaction is not a good reaction. Her reaction is one of not comprehending the true danger of the situation. It is Mordecai who wakens her to the danger by mentioning one thing specifically and that is, that this is not a danger, remote to someone else; it is, that YOUR VERY LIFE IS AT STAKE! YOU TOO, won’t escape this! You too, are Jewish and so your in just as much danger of death as I am in and all the rest of our people, the Jews, are in. But then Esther experiences the alienation that she has already experiences from the King himself and this is noticed in Esther 4:11, where she is speaking to Hathach, one of the King’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and instructs him to say to Mordecai.

“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days” (Esther 4:11).

Esther realizes that she has become estranged from the King and notice, that she says, as if “I am free to go to him but if I go to him without being invited to, by him, then I am afraid my life may be at stake even earlier because I have been so presumptuous to come to him.”

We may experience this too, in our spiritual lives as consecrated. We may at some point in our spiritual walk feel like we do not feel free to go to our Heavenly Father. We feel “I am not bidden to come to God anymore or feel God is not communicating with me anymore; that God has hidden Himself from me (just like King Xerxes has from Esther), Jehovah God has hidden himself for the past perhaps 30 days too, and we don’t feel we can go and plead our cause.

And this is what Mordecai is bringing out to Esther — the reason for Him hiding. He is saying, “remember Esther … You’re life is at stake! You think you will die if you go to the King … I know you will die if you do not go!”

So in our lives God may bring us to this point in our lives to show us that if we don’t continuously communicate with Him, then we WILL DIE!

You know dear friends, there is a far greater then Haman out there looking to kill us … that is… a “Haman” who is called Satan. Satan wishes to kill our New Creature developing in us — the embryonic New Creation which is developing into maturity until the Jesus agape love in us, overflows towards our beloved brethren and our will becomes dead to self but alive in Christ — being crucified in ALL we think and do, having our minds super-glued on Christ Jesus no matter how ridiculous we sound to the world or how humiliated we are for striving to conform to the LIKENESS OF OUR LORD JESUS.

Dear brethren in Christ, as we are now on an arena and we are a spectacle unto angels and men, let us endure it with great Joy in our Hope that promised for the faithful unto death isn’t just eternal life in perfect conditions, but IMMORTAL life and those who suffer with CHRIST for doing good now, shall reign with CHRIST. They are those who grow into the maturity in Christ, learning and CUTTING OFF and TURN AWAY from sin -from mistakes made in blind ignorance according to any uniquely individual situation allowed by God, and turning completely away from past errors, learning to well appreciate the failings of all their brethren and the world through their own experiences of enduring the sacrificial experiences as prospective Bride of Christ members, and learning to only FULLY depend on and seek out their Heavenly Father’ will in ALL.

So this experience is to help bring us back to the place where we will come and pour out our hearts to our Heavenly Father, but in doing it, we face that one big emotional problem: that problem of … “well I can’t do this because I’ve gotten out of the habit … I don’t have that feeling anymore.” And that’s when we have to awaken to the righteousness that says, “even if I don’t feel comfortable in praying to God, if I don’t do it, the result is certainly DISASTROUS! If I do do this, then there is the ONE and the ONLY potential of overcoming in doing this and as we come to the remedies we’ll find that the first remedy, is the remedy suggested by the first cause, and that is PRAYER.

PRAYER is the beginning of the remedy even though it may be the very hardest to apply when we feel estranged from the Lord individually.

This situation of Queen Esther’s, may remind us of a certain class in the Bible; a class mentioned in the prophecy of Jeremiah 8; a class that ends up saying “the harvest has ended the summer is passed and we are not saved.” That class that speaks those words in Jeremiah 8:20, in Jeremiah 8:11 said that the reason for their punishment is because they said “they have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”

Is this not the very thing that Esther was doing! Esther was telling Mordecai “your problem is you need to get out of your sack clothes … You need new clothes.” And Mordecai was telling her that’s like saying “peace, peace when there is no peace.” That is not the problem but rather is the symptom. The problem was that she needed to approach the King on behalf of Israel.

And so the alienation we sometimes feel is to awaken us to the deeper problems that lie there to bring us to the Lord not to solve the alienation but to solve a deeper problem; to find out what it is to not keep us away.

(B) God may hide himself from us, to teach us FAITH, TRUST and RELIANCE upon Him through Jesus Christ, our Master and King.

Sometimes our Heavenly Father teaches us that our life isn’t different from anybody else’s or to bring us to a place where we can’t see any purpose from an experience, He then says,

“That’s when YOU NEED TO TRUST IN ME when you can’t trace Me.” This is brought out beautifully in Job 23: 3-5,8,9,15 (NIV) and this pin-points the problem.

(3-5) If only I knew where to find Him; if only I could go to His dwelling! I would state my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would find out what He would answer me, and consider what He would say to me.”

(8-9) “But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find Him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him.”

(11) “My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside.”

This is a sad set of scriptures. Job looks everywhere for God, yet cannot find God to feel that He is with him in his experiences at a time of experiencing so much pain and misery. These experiences seem over his head and as a result, Job was beginning to sink in the experiences he had. It isn’t until later in the Book of Job, that Job starts swimming upward again and begins getting over these experiences.

In Job chapter 23: 3-5, Job wanted to find God to plead his case before God.

Let’s look at verse 6 & 7 to fill in some answers.

(6) “Would He vigorously oppose me? No, He would not press charges against me. (7) There the upright can establish their innocence before Him, and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.”

In verse 6, Job realizes if he could find God, he would find Him a Merciful God, who would give him strength.
In verse 7 is the realization that if we feel we have lost God, we firstly need to find our Advocate — the one who pleads on our behalf! We know it is our Beloved, Precious Jesus who is the Best Lawyer in the whole universe!

When we feel we have lost our ability to approach God then more than ever we feel “if only someone spoke God’s language and could get through to Him for me”, and that is exactly what Jesus does! And Job was as if saying, “if only Jesus would argue for me … if I could just enlist the upright one on my side, then he would deliver me from this judgement forever … Then I would be over this particular experience”.

So friends, IT IS FINDING THE UPRIGHT ONE, JESUS, IN OUR LIVES.

And Job says he can’t. He goes upward, downward, backward, front, and simply can’t find him. So now let’s look at verses 10 & 12:

(10) “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
(12) I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.”

So just like Job highlights through these words of his, let us look for the realization that even though we feel God is hiding himself from us for a brief moment, He knows exactly where we are and has not departed from us, and it is HE who FIRST FOUND US, called out us of darkness into His marvelous light, and adopted us as we are told in Ephesians 1:5 (NLT). God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.”

God wishes for us to develop faith in Him, that He is taking charge in our life and to TRUST COMPLETELY in Him.

In verse 11 & 12, Job says what he felt he had done, and they are a stimulus to us about things WE MUST DO to feel this pull to our Heavenly Father. We must trust and be convinced that God will pull us through and make us more than gold IF:

1.      Our feet will hold to His steps;
2.      His way we keep and do not decline;
3.      We do not go back from the commandment of His lips;
4.      We esteem the words of His mouth more than necessary food.

It is at this point God is telling us we will be in a good place IF WE DO OUR PART. God is saying, “I’m putting you in a place where you can’t see Me, but if you just do your responsibilities then trust that then I will do what I promise to do and bring you closer to Me.”

And Job tells why he’s so confident in Job 23: 13-14. “But He stands alone, and who can oppose Him? He does whatever He pleases. He carries out His decree against me, and many such plans He still has in store.”

The Leeser’s Jewish Bible translation of Job 23:14 reads, He will bring to completion what is destined for me.”

Each one of the Church of the Body of Christ members (that’s you and me dear brethren) are being trained and fitted for a peculiar specific and each different part of the body that requires a different treatment. I can’t be treated in exactly the same way as Sister X, Y or Z or Brother A, B or C as we each need specific experiences and as we come into these experiences as their all different, we don’t see what the end result is, and God’s saying to us, “the reason I give you these experiences is because I want you to have confidence that I KNOW BEST what the end result should be and so I’m not going to let you see what this end result is, so that you will learn that my hand will lead you through this to safely overcome and develop a Christlike character that I require from you, so that I can present you to my Son when I’m through with you.”

It will take every inch of TRUST, of DISCIPLINE over the mind, and FAITH. It will require us to LAY DOWN OUR COMPLETE UTTER ALL for God to direct us now so we can prove to Him our LOYALTY to God’s PRINCIPLES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS so that we can receive the Highest possible reward because of proving to God that we please Him through overcoming the most unfavorable circumstances of the permission of evil.

And the end of this verse is saying that just like God has this kind of experience in store, so HE has other experiences for us also.

Now, the hiding of God’s face is only one tool in His tool box. 

The heavenly Father has tools of throwing His arms around us too!

At other times in our walk up towards spiritual Holy “Mount Zion”, God is showing us, that He really likes what we are doing.

God gives us His tools of directing us, just when we need that direction.
Our Divine Father testing us to the words we sing in that hymn,

“I’d rather walk in the dark with God,

than go alone in the light”. 

So would you really? That is what God is TESTING.

God is as if saying, “Are you willing to really walk in the dark with me when you can’t see the next step? Will you trust to take the steps in the dark and know that it will lead to gold? Would you really rather walk by Faith then walk by sight? Show me how”.

Let us look at one more thing here. Job’s attitude in Job 10:2. Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.”

This same word “bitter” is used in Deuteronomy 31:27. “For I know thy rebellion…?” The word “rebellion” here, is the same word as the one written as “bitter” in Job 23:2.

Job in verse 2 is saying, ” I just want to argue with God and show and explain to Him that this hiding from me just isn’t fair!”

This attitude is the one God is trying to correct, to bring us into a complacent one that Job shows and had in Job 23:10.

(C) God may hide himself to TEST THE SINCERITY OF OUR CONSECRATION.

How much easier it is to say “whatever your will God, I’ll do it!” but then when hammered down as life unfold, through the Christian pilgrimage to our heavenly home, how easy is it to accept our Heavenly Father’s will when we experience agonizing experiences of pain, sickness & disease, and death?

When we first made our consecration, it may have been far more easily said “God may it be your will”, yet we learn to understand what this means ONLY through the BIGGEST BLESSING OF ALL that follow: LIFE; EXPERIENCE; PHYSICAL and MENTAL PAIN, and /or SICKNESS, and SUFFERING.

We now see that being a soldier in the Lord’s army takes every inch of mental and physical energy that we have into the fight for the victory of being a member of the 144,000!

Never give up!

Never, never, never give up!

A martyr means “a witness” and to be a witness of CHRIST will cost us our ENTIRE ALL not just half of us… No way! God doesn’t want a lukewarm CHRISTIAN as a King to reign with His Son Jesus in future… God does not want a COLD Christian either who has a non- repentant or non-forgiving heart… God WANTS A ZEALOUS follower of Christ who shall defend JESUS and those who are His; who have professed consecrating into Christ, to the best of their human abilities -seeing them all as better than self (Phil. 2:3).

So our tools to overcoming is prayer and the studying of Holy Scriptures every day and immersing the mind into Scripture at every point you have even if it’s a few minutes here or there then do that! ALL our time is consecrated unto the Lord so we no longer even own it, as we lay down our ALL on the altar of sacrifice daily, and daily seek to fulfill our covenant sacrifice until death.

Never stop to rest from activity in the Lord’s service, even for one minute!

Don’t ever think the battle is won till faithful until death!

By hiding himself, God is in fact asking us “are you willing to take a path where you now can no longer identify with me, where you find your confused and say God how does this experience identify with me?”

This was the test our Lord Jesus experienced too. Remember when Jesus hung on the cross, for the first time he did not call God “Father but said:

 “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”

that is,

“My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

Jesus felt our Divine Father’s face hidden from him!

Look at the depth that Jesus felt this experience …

I mean here is a PERFECT human, the Son of the Almighty Jehovah God, who had had a prior relationship with the Father when he was the Logos in his pre-human existence. Jesus knew God intimately!

God was testing our Lord Jesus to the very depth of his consecration. Could he take that alienation? In Jesus case, the experience was very temporary. It had to be, as his life was very temporary; it was only a more few hours on the cross and so at last his life WAS RESTORED and Jesus’s last words (which were called out by him in a loud voice) were,

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46).

God had tested Jesus to the point of seeing if Jesus would really take and accept any experience, even the experience of turning his back on Jesus, turning away from him so that he could not even see the Father’s face.

(D) God may hid himself from us to TEACH US leadership and principles.

Under the Old Law, the Israelites were told exactly how to order their life. They were given a set of Laws and were instructed by God how to follow these laws to inherit eternal life. Every experience of life related to what God did want or didn’t want.

But when it comes to the Church of the Firstborn, God says, “I’m not going to give you a whole set of Laws and tell you what to do and what not to do, but rather I want YOU TO THINK OF IT FOR YOURSELVES … I’ll give you the material to based your thoughts upon, (and that’s in the Bible) but YOU HAVE TO DETERMINE what I want you to do and what I don’t want you to do.” And that’s HARDER, as it’s no longer the case of reading what the law is, but trying to learn HOW GOD OPERATES. And as a result God gives us the Gospel, a broad sketch outlines of HIS will. He gives us a book full of biographies – of both Old and New Testament characters and God doesn’t tell us which experiences they did right and which they did wrong but gives us these experiences and tells us “now you decide which ones I approve of and which ones are right and which ones are wrong based on an EDUCATED CONSCIENCE that you’ll gain from works in developing your Faith in Me”. And in most cases, God doesn’t give us the answers in our own individual experiences but wants us to think on His principles to deal with our challenges of life.

God does not want us as His children to memorize rules, but HE wishes us to be like philosophers and reasoned upon and apply His Righteous Principles… to figure out what He would wish of us and this takes continual leaning on HIM and HIS word through prayer and study.

That is WHY our Father hides himself, so it is better for us to see the principles.

Let’s share a practical example.

You have a new employee and there is only so long you can stand over your new friend’s shoulder and say “do it this way, this way, this way and this way.” After a while, you need to tell the new employee, “this is the end result I want so do it the best way you can.” You LET THEM figure out the best way in realizing how to accomplish the job and the LORD is telling us the same thing. “I want your character like mine. I’m not going to show you every step. I want you to figure it out on your own based on the principles to develop leadership potential.
Why does God work like this? Because God’s training us!

For what? To be Kings who will reign with Christ.

And a King must learn to think.

A King must know what the principles are to actively apply them.

God is training us to be teachers. There are good teachers and bad teachers. One feature distinguishes the two:

A bad teacher — teaches merely facts. He tells you what is the answer. What it is.

A good teacher — teaches how to think and how to arrive at the facts. These students can surpass their teacher and then they become even better teachers.

God is a good teacher. God is saying “if you just look at Me you’ll never learn to teach others so I’m going to hide from you so you can figure out what I’m trying to accomplish in your life.

God teaches us that we must be governed in our life by PRINCIPLES, not by emotions.

The emotional response to Truth can sometimes be an asset but it can be out of balance in our lives because that’s the only response we look for, so God may withdraw the emotional response and withdrawn that which produces that emotional response to see if we’re really serving him out of the principles of righteousness.

(E ) God hides himself in order to STIMULATE STUDY. 

We learn to go back to our Father’s word to see why He is hiding His face.

It’s like God’s way of tapping us on the shoulder and saying, “Read 2 Timothy 2:15 again … ‘Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.'”

Just as one doesn’t study a verse of the Bible out of its context, so too we study the book of our lives IN THE CONTEXT OF OUR LIVES and we don’t take an experience all by itself and say why did GOD let this develop but we relate it to the context of our whole life.

When we go to school to be trained we relate what we study to the job we will do afterwards. So to, in the school of Christ, we are being trained for a particular job which includes many functions and let’s incorporate them into one job — Mediator.

What makes a good mediator?

The Vines Expository Dictionary definitions the word “mediator” in the following way:

“A mediator should himself possess the nature and attributes of him toward whom he acts (man) and should likewise participate in the nature of those for whom he acts (God). Only by being possessed of both deity and humanity can the mediator comprehend the claims of the one and the needs of the other.

And in the final analysis that is exactly the point. We will have the Divine nature (deity) if we are faithful unto death. Jesus got the Divine nature at death, when he was faithful. Only by having that, could he really understand what God required because then he shared the same requirements. Only by being with men and possessing their nature could he understand what they needed and he could then diagnose them. And so with us. Our experiences are to give us a common identity with the world. In fact that is why our life is no different from the world around us, and we’re told it wouldn’t be.

(F) God hides his face to BROADEN OUR BASE OF SYMPATHY

1 Corinthians 10:13 talks about what kind of experiences God gives us.

1 COR. 10, 13 -with cross

There is no experience we have that is different to man’s. So we look around and see that our experiences are no different to those we see around us and so therefore we say…”God is not with me”… It is just the opposite. BECAUSE YOUR LIFE IS NO DIFFERENT FROM THOSE AROUND YOU, GOD IS WITH YOU!

If we look for our lesson and apply ourselves in learning to trust God’s providential care and leading we will know how to endure the experience and use the strength God gives us to overcome any and every test of character development God allows to come our way.

Our Divine Father tells us, “I’m giving you these experiences because that’s what you are here for… to learn to be part of the Mediator.”

In the tabernacle picture, you had two animals making ONE SIN OFFERING. But there was a distinction between those two animals. One signified Christ; one signified the Church. They both died; both had the blood applied on the mercy seat. But the blood of the bullock was for Aaron the High priest and his house, the Levites. The blood of the goat was for the whole family of Israel.

Christ’s part in the sin offering is peculiarly and particularly for the Church and the Church’s part of the sin offering is peculiarity and particularly for mankind.

And we can substantiate this in Hebrews 2: 17-18, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15,16).

So mankind will have the same experiences that the Church has because that is required in the body of experiences in the sin offering to most effectually help back the world of mankind in the kingdom that someone has gone through a life no different; that they have gone through the most common experience that mankind has had and that is universal and that is, that God is hiding his face from me.

So one of the most common experiences he must give us is that He hides His face from us so that we can learn to find it and so that, in turn, we can help mankind find God’s face again so that their lives are more meaningful even as we look to find God’s face in our experiences so that likewise the experiences can be more meaningful to us.
May the Lord add His bless.

Acknowledgment

Br. Carl Hagensick – words from his discourse titled “When God Hides Himself” have been used to create this post.

 

I KNOW NOT WHAT AWAITS ME

I know not what awaits me,
  God kindly veils my eyes,
And o’er each step of my onward way
  He makes new scenes to rise;
And every joy He sends me comes
  A sweet and glad surprise.

Where He may lead I’ll follow,
  My trust in Him repose;
And every hour in perfect peace,
  I’ll sing, “He knows, He knows“;
And every hour in perfect peace,
  I’ll sing, “He knows, He knows.”

One step I see before me,
  ’Tis all I need to see,
The light of heaven more brightly shines
  When earth’s illusions flee;
And sweetly through the silence comes,
  His loving, “Trust in Me!”

Oh, blissful lack of wisdom,
  ’Tis blessed not to know;
He holds me with His own right hand,
  And will not let me go,
And lulls my troubled soul to rest
  In Him who loves me so.

So on I go not knowing;
  I would not if I might;
I’d rather walk in the dark with God
  Than go alone in the light;
I’d rather walk by faith with Him
  Than go alone by sight.

 

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Encouragement to SHARE & SHINE

SHINE AND SHARE -WITH ADDRESS

With a hope that this blog post will motivate our readers in wanting to dedicate as much time as they can in studying God’s character and His Divine Principles and Plan, to better be enabled to glorify and praise  our Creator, Jehovah, through His Son Jesus–our Beloved Master and Conquering King, let us begin with a beautiful Scripture from Isaiah 58:7 (ESV),

“Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

The primitive Church did show an active concern for the poor and needy in their midst and brethren laid aside portions of money and supplies for those less fortunate financially. An example of this can be seen in the collections for the brethren in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-4) and the support of Paul by the brethren in Thessalonica.

“But whoso hath this world’s goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 John 3:17)

Now let us examine the term “sharing” in regards to the spiritual food, that is, our sharing with others the understanding of the Word of Truth, and the ministering to others about God’s Divine Plan and His beauties of Truth.

We are not only instructed to preach the Gospel message of hope to the world (Mark 16:15), but we are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly by “teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness” in our hearts to God (Colossians 3:16).

If God has called us into his marvelous light of Truth, then one is sure to learn about the disastrous effects of evil, so as to realize that disobedience to righteous Godly principles has led to only pain, misery and despair, which results in HOPE-LESS-ness.

By gaining an exposure to such experiences, one gains a priceless understanding of what the Heavenly Father requires to please Him and thus how to strive towards developing into the likeness of Christ.

By experiencing pain and sorrow, we then truly feel how horrifically unpleasant and torturous it’s effects are, and governed by the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 2:14; 3:19) we desire to obey God in every single aspect of existence, realizing this is the ONLY way that humanity in the future will gain eternal life after the resurrection during the period of Christ’s reign with his body members of 144,000 (see Revelation chapter 7 & 14.)

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

Dear friends, what abundant blessings are gained by striving to adhere perfectly to Godly and righteous principles. The fully consecrated to God are not only to strive for this perfection in Christ (2 Corinthians 13:11) but actually BE perfect (Matthew 5:48).

How is it possible to BE PERFECT if we still live in carnal imperfect bodies? We realize that if we were perfect, we would never die as the death penalty is a consequence of Adam’s sin and thus all the world of mankind has inherited Adamic sin (Genesis 2:17).

We answer:

We can be reckoned as perfect in God’s eyes, thanks to the robe of Christ’s righteousness covering our sins, hence our intentions can be reckoned as perfect due to OUR FAITH. In Romans chapter 4 the Apostle Paul here writes about what Godly faith actually is and how it is developed and maintained.

The faith talked about in the Bible does not mean having a BLIND FAITH–believing in the words of another without testing it against what the Word of God says on the subject at hand. 

In the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul does explain that faith can only be true Godly faith if one hears the message, “and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

The true faith we are talking about that ALL eventually will HAVE to have by the end of the “little season” (Revelation 20:3) of the Millennial Reign of Christ with his completed Bride– is faith that is based on God’s wisdom and not man’s wisdom.

This is what the Apostle Paul means by saying to the Corinthian brethren in 1 Corinthians 2:5, that their “faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

We are to TEST the Scriptures by studying the Words of God documented to us by the prophets in the Old Testament and by the Apostles and Jesus’s disciples in the New Testament, and study to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

We cannot expect someone to understand or even know who God is simply by reading the Bible like a story book as “the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9). 

We must scrutinize every word that we read if we do not understand it’s glorious meaning. The Prophet Isaiah writes, Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior! (Isaiah 45:15) WHY does God hide himself? In the following post are some suggested Scriptural thoughts on this: Isaiah 45:15 – A GOD Who Hides Himself”

Understanding God’s Word

Here is an extract from Reprint of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence (R5982) about the subject matter concerning understanding God’s word:

“Our ability to understand spiritual things depends, not only upon our study of the
Scriptures, which are able to make us wise, but also upon the measure of the Holy Spirit which we possess. Hence the Apostle’s exhortation, “Be ye filled with the Spirit!” — Ephesians 5:18.

This means that only the spirit-begotten may understand the deep things of God at all; and that their understanding would be in proportion as they attain more and more a filling, a saturation with the spirit of holiness, the spirit of God, the spirit of Christ, the spirit of Truth.

Every Bible Student should realize that if, as a New Creature, he walks after the flesh and not after the Spirit, his mind will become more or less darkened, and not only will his ability to understand the deep things of God decrease, but even his recollection of the Lord’s Word will decrease; and that, on the contrary, when he is living near to the Lord–walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh–his memory of the Divine Word and his ability to appreciate its Spirit are increased.

Additionally, let us remember that a correct understanding of the Lord’s Word is not enjoyed by all the educated and talented, but comes to those who are of a meek and teachable heart, who study the Lord’s Word and who live it and absorb its spirit. Thus we have illustrated to us the Divine declaration, “Not by might [greatness], nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts” — Zechariah 4:6.”

————

During this Gospel Age, the called out of Babylon have the privilege to learn obedience to God and this involves developing the highest form of love, agape–towards our brethren in Christ. The Lord’s people have the privilege of learning now the lessons of forgiveness like God forgives us. God has such GREAT PERFECT mercy and love towards the fallen race, and the Apostle John in 3 John 3:16 tells us that God sent his firstborn of all Creation, His most Beloved Son, Jesus– the Logos– down to a terrestrial plan of existence (earth) (Hebrews 2:7-9) to redeem mankind and pay the ransom price to free ALL humanity from the sentence of Adamic death.

God’s divine plan encompasses the process of restoring all of humanity to perfection during the millennial reign of Christ with his Bride members (Revelation 7:14), known as the “elect” (Matthew 24: 22; Romans 11:7) and the “little flock” (Luke 12:32).

We have a responsibility to let our lights (the CHRIST-LIKENESS character) shine (Matthew 5:16).

But what’s the point of others seeing what WE DO? AH… the sentence follows with other words giving the correct answer.

In the kingdom when evil shall be restrained for 1000 years,  righteousness shall be the only standard by which all will have to adhere to, to gain eternal life and pure, perfect everlasting JOY will be the blessed result for everyone who chooses to obey God.

If indeed we have received the light and have consecrated ourselves fully to God, then let us ask ourselves, WHAT AM I DOING to show others the goodness of God? WHAT AM I DOING to proclaim the virtues and excellencies of Jehovah, who CALLED ME out of darkness?

Am I going forth with these tidings to my neighbors near and far?

Can I truly affirm that I am:–

“All for Jesus, all for Jesus–
All my being’s ransomed powers;
All my thoughts, and words, and doings,
All my days and all my hours?”

In 1 Peter 2:9 we are told,Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

It is God who calls one out of darkness. So no one can force anyone to believe how they do.

God does not call families. God calls individuals into the Truth of His Holy Word.

What is the Purpose of the Gospel Age?
The purpose of this Gospel Age is to “call out” a BRIDE FOR CHRIST, a group of 144,000 body of Christ members who can soon begin their Mediatorial Reign in bringing the world of mankind into harmony with God. This is only understood by those who have a discerning heart who God has decided to choose to understand His mysteries, which is:

Christ in youthe hope of glory” 

(Colossians 1:27).

The partakers of the High Calling have a desire to please God in all they do. As they commune with God, their minds are fixed on Christ and to be like him in character-likeness and thus, strive to do the Father’s will and be partakers in “the first resurrection.” (Revelation 20:6) (A 3 part series of posts on the RESURRECTION can be read here: Part A, Part B, Part C).

God’s fully consecrated children share closest communion with The Heavenly Father and His son Jesus (Psalm 118:8), and long for a heavenly inheritance, as their minds are set on “things above”  (Colossians 3:2).

True Christians feels they are called by the situations that each of the fully consecrated believers in Christ experience during their earthly testing and preparation time, realizing how the Lord is drawing them to desire to give up ALL their human life rights to themselves; to their body, to their time, to their health, to their reputation, to their talents, or to anything that belongs to them confessing themselves as belonging to Jesus their Redeemer, and they dedicate to serve, love and trust Jesus as their life and their salvation to their last moment of life on this carnal earth.

Fully consecrated believers in Christ seek divine nature— to be where the Heavenly Father and His Son, Christ Jesus reside.

So what is our HOPE?

The Bible is jam-packed with precious promises.

Just flip open any page of the New Testament, and start reading. What is the first precious promise you read? It will surely not take you more than a minute to find, and it will surely inspire you, unlike any 10 minutes of watch the News on T.V. will do! Go try it!

In Colossians 1:27, we have the answer to what our HOPE is. (We have also referred to this text earlier in this post.)

It is a LIVING hope, for as stated in 1 Peter 1:3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

What does a LIVING HOPE mean?

It means having a HOPE OF LIFE and not one of burning eternal torment which falsely the worldly institution of Papacy have darkened the minds of the world to believe in order to have power and prevent the light of Truth from illuminating the minds and hearts of mankind due to the influence of the Adversary who’s corrupt and wicked army of angels do still control— yet, they will all be bound during the Millennial reign of Christ period when God shall provide mankind with the opportunity to learn righteousness and be blessed by so doing (Isaiah 26:9).

After Armageddon, all will need to become true Israelites indeed. [see post: “Will ALL Mankind Need To Become ‘ISRAELITES INDEED’?”]

The rule then in the 1000 year Messianic Kingdom will be:

OBEY GOD and LIVE or DISOBEY GOD and die (without a possibility to resurrect ever again).

Those who have done wrong in this life, will have more re-learning to do, so the faster their minds choose to follow God’s ways, the sooner they will see and feel the immense blessing of JOY and satisfaction that they will gain from walking up the HIGHWAY OF HOLINESS (Isaiah 35:8).

It was Jesus’ obedience to the Heavenly Father— dying as the ransom for our justification— that has opened up the door for God’s children to have this living hope and it is not only a hope for such now justified, but it includes a hope of perfecting in future the now still ignorant, sinful and unjustified world of mankind, and bringing them into harmony with the Heavenly Father, so that God may be all in all. And this is “the eternal gospel”— that the Creator (who has no beginning and no end) will be finally ALL IN ALL (Revelation 14:6).

Just as the hopes of the apostles had withered at the time of the crucifixion but were revived at Jesus’ resurrection, so too, we have the assurance through Jesus’ resurrection that our final triumph is through our Lord and King, Jesus, who is currently standing at the Heavenly Father’s throne after having sat earlier at the right hand of God after his ascension to the divine realm (Mark 16:19). We are told of Jesus standing up since his parousia (invisible presence, that is often in English, incorrectly translated as Christ’s “coming” in Scripture).

In Daniel 12:1 we read, “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.”

When the last members of the Bride of Christ shall have gone “beyond the second veil” (died in the flesh), then Jesus shall sit with them on his own throne. We are told of this in Matthew 25:31:- “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.”

May the Heavenly Father be praised forevermore as we await our transformation into glory!

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11, ESV).

This post’s URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/05/03/share-shine/

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What is Love?

1 JOHN 4, 8.jpg

Love is …

perfection of character.

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).

The love that our heavenly Father seeks to have us develop is a love which is in full harmony and in total surrender to God’s will. When we please our Divine Father of Life, He will bless with eternal life.

“To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor an immortality, he will give eternal life” (Romans 2:7).

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

One element of Love is MEEKNESS.

Meekness does not mean weakness.

Consider Moses. He was a meek man and did he have a weak character? Not at all. He was humble-minded, not boastful, not proud or haughty.

“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men who were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3).

So the New Creatures in Christ, must develop and maintain this quality of meekness, from the divine standpoint.

Another element of love is GENTLENESS.

Does this signify weakness or fear? No.

Gentleness is part of a character of love.

Jesus said, “take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29).

In Galatians 5:22, 23, the Apostle Paul writes, that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

To the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul writes, ” (1) I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (2) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (3) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (4) There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; (5) one Lord, one faith, one baptism; (6) one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:1-6).

“Let your moderation be known unto all men” (Philippians 4:5).

“Moderation”reasonableness, gentleness—the spirit of a sound mind, of gentleness, meekness.

This attitude of mind comes in large measure as a result of knowledge of God and his plans (R5840). Surely there never was a time when this counsel was so much needed as now!

Let the fact that we know only in part and understand only in part keep us humble and moderate in word and deed and thought (R5249).

Temperance, self-control—let men see by our thoughtful (not rash and hasty), careful and considerate demeanor in every affair of life, that we honor our profession (R4809, R2460).

Here is a practical example:

If we feel the leader of a meeting is not following the best Scriptural course, we must show moderation in our approach—approving what we can, objecting in kindness, meekness, and brotherly love (R3866). The Greek seems to carry the thought of reasonableness, of not exacting our rights too rigorouslymercy and leniency (R3128:2). Keep yourselves well in hand, subject and obedient to the will of God.

In 2 Timothy 3:2-5, the Apostle Paul warns against those “in the last days” (today) who he describes as “(2) lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, (3) without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, (4) treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— (5) having a form of godliness but denying its power.” The Apostle Paul then states, “have nothing to do with such people.”

Even in discussing the time of trouble, emphasis should be laid upon the glorious Kingdom which will be inaugurated (R5716:4). We should be using the knowledge we possess, doing with our might what our hands find to do (R5249). Let us be specially on guard that the influence of every word and act should be in accord with law, order and peace—“live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18).

Our gentleness toward all men would begin at home—more particularly in the Church—but should be manifested toward all with whom we have dealings (R5840).
Messiah’s Kingdom is shortly to be established—this should help the Lord’s people in living an exemplary life (R5840). This clause implies the exhortation belongs specially to the closing of this Gospel age—thus, to this time period we are currently living in.

We are expecting great changes soon and can well afford to be generous and liberal in our sentiments toward others (R3128:3).

PATIENCE is another element of love and a part of the true Christian character.

“With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

Patience is an element of character. We read in Revelation 3:10,

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

When examining the word “patience” we find that two quite distinct words in the Greek are translated by our English word patience in the New Testament:

  • hupomoneethis is used in the Revelation text quoted above which has a much deeper and fuller significance than attaches to our English word patience. It signifies rather constancy,—the thought being an endurance of evil in a cheerful, willing, patient manner. It represents, therefore, an element of character, and not merely a temporary condition or restraint of feeling or action.

For instance, a worldly man might have a great deal of patience in connection with the running of his business;—he might be very attentive to his customers, very obliging, very painstaking, and show no dissatisfaction in connection with the inconsiderateness of his customers; and “patience,” in its ordinary sense, might be ascribed to his conduct.

But the word in the Revelation text rendered patience” signifies such a development of heart and character as manifests itself in an endurance of wrong or affliction with contentment, without rebellion of will, with full acquiescence in the divine wisdom and love.

In Luke 8:15, in the parable of the sower, we read:

“That [sown] on the good ground are they which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience [with cheerful endurance, constancy].”

The thought here is that in order to be of the fruit-bearing class which the Lord will approve and accept to his Kingdom, it is necessary to do more than to receive the word of his testimony, even thou we receive it with joy—for that class in the parable is represented by the stony ground, which at first gave evidence of great fruitfulness and vigor, but which, when the sun of persecution arose, withered, because of lack of depth of soil. That stony, shallow soil represents, the Lord explains, a class of hearers who rejoice greatly in the truth, but do not endure, such as cannot withstand persecution or opposition, but wither under it, become discouraged. Such cannot be of the Kingdom class, all of whom must be overcomers.

In this parable our Lord shows us that patient endurance, constancy, is the final test, following after the readiness of preparation to receive the seed; following after the seed has been received and has sprouted; following after love and hope and joy and faith have caused it to spring forth and to give fruitage (R2791).

Patient endurance, then, is necessary, in order that the grain may be developed and thoroughly ripened, and made fit for the garner.

Ah! how important patient endurance seems to be, in the light of this our Lord’s word—cheerful endurance; for we cannot suppose that he who judges the thoughts and intents of the heart would be pleased with his children, even if he saw them enduring much for his sake, if they endured in an impatient or dissatisfied or unhappy frame of mind. They would not, in that event, be copies of God’s dear Son, our Lord, whose sentiment is expressed in the words,

“I delight to do thy will, O God!” (Psalm 40:8)

All of the Royal Priesthood are sacrificers, as was the Chief Priest, our Redeemer and example, who offered up himself: we, as the under priests, have also presented our bodies living sacrifices, and are to lay down our lives for the brethren—in the service of the truth. And God, who accepts these sacrifices through the merit of Christ, informs us that he appreciates or loves the cheerful giver, those who perform their sacrifices of a willing heart, cheerfully.

The other instance in which our Lord used the word “patience” during his ministry is recorded in Luke 21:19. He had just been telling his followers what they must expect as the result of being his disciples during the present time, when sin abounds, and when Satan is the prince of this world—they must expect tribulation, opposition from various quarters; but he assures them that they would nevertheless be fully and completely under divine care and protection, even tho the persecutions would be permitted to reach and to affect them. Then follow the words,

“In your patience [patient endurance, cheerful constancy] possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19).

BROTHERLY KINDNESS is another element of love.

“(5) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; (7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (8) For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).

The Greek word “Philadelpia” signifies brotherly love. “Phileo”—is duty love, a love which has a cause or demand upon it (R2807).

Phileo love is evidenced in the natural family relationship, and also in the spiritual family, the Church. We may not love our brethren’s peculiarities, their features, but we love them as brethren, whether black or white, bond or free, because they are brethren, comrades in the same race (Q449).

Phileo love means to make due allowance for inherited weaknesses and circumstantial misfortunes of others—to deal patiently and helpfully so far as wisdom may dictate, with a view to the correction of those faults, even at the expense of self-interest, if necessary and prudent (R4809, R1114).

Phileo love means to meekly bear reproof, determining to overcome deformities of character, and prove a help rather than a hindrance to others; no longer fostering old dispositions (R4809).

Phileo love allows one to exercise and manifest the principles of the divine character toward our fellow-men (R3090, R1628:2).

Phileo is a love for all who are brethren and yoke fellows in the cause of righteousness and truth, the cause of God (R2037).

Instead of disdaining those who are ignoble, instead of putting them away, treat them kindly (R448). This of necessity grows out of godliness. As god-likeness presupposes the other graces mentioned, so its development implies an enlargement of our hearts to all who are of the household of faith (R2155).

There is also “AGAPE” LOVE…

This is known as charity (R5693, R5208).

Greek, agape, is the higher grade of disinterested love; the broader, more comprehensive, or divine love (R3949; Q449).

Love as a general expression covers all the elements of character which are really parts of love (F186).

We might divide the race-course into four quarters:

(1) duty-love;

(2) love for the Lord because we see something of the glorious majesty of his character;

(3) love for the brethren;

(4) perfect love—for all, even our enemies (F187-189).

As we get agape love it means that we love all (Q449) We must reach this climax of love before we can be counted worthy of a place in the new creation (F190).

Agape Love:

  • Is deep, pure and true.
  • Thinketh no evil.
  • Does not puff itself up.
  • Is not easily offended;
  • Rejoiceth always in the truth and never in iniquity;
  • Is the climax of Christian attainment in the present life, the grace of all graces, which never fades, and which will be perfected when we receive the new resurrection body (R2037, R2155).
  • Is sincere love for the unrighteous and unlovely, as well as for the good and beautiful (R4809, R1114).
  • Is a love which is ever ready to manifest itself in wise and helpful activity for saint and sinner; and which pities, helps, comforts, cheers and blesses all within its reach—manifesting and cultivating the disposition which must be found in every member of the Christ company (R4809, R1114).
  • Is a broad, generous love, taking in the whole world, even our enemies (R5678, R5757, R5460).

We do not attain to the perfection of love at the beginning of our course, but it is the mark or standard which indicates the end of the course

(F186).

Love is the chief of all graces.

Acts of kindness will gradually lead to an attitude of love, even where the subject does not seem to deserve it (R1628).

Love is an experience, and includes in it an earnest desire for the well-being of the object loved (R78:5).

Love excels all the other virtues, because it is the most enduring (R4732).

True love on our part will manifest itself in obediencedisobedience is an evidence of the loss of love as viewed from the Lord’s standpoint

(R2466).

“WITHOUT LOVE I AM NOTHING”

If we could speak all the languages known amongst men and even the angelic tongue as well, and if we were to use these talents in preaching, if we were to preach without being inspired by love, it would be completely unprofitable.

God would esteem it no more than the sound proceeding from cymbals or any brass instrument. Does God want to give cymbals and brass horns glory, honor and immortality? Of course not!

If man were to preach the whole Truth in all its grandeur, and have the ability to comprehend it even through the holy Spirit yet if there be a weakness in character development of love towards the brethren, then we could not be fit enough for divine favor and a share in the Kingdom, just like that brass horn would not be.

What a glorious lesson as we attempt to sound forth the praises of Him who has called us from darkness to light! How necessary it is that we speak the Truth in the love of it, with hearts full of devotion and appreciation!

By quieting the mind… and heading to the voice of our Heavenly Father through the inspired words of God in Bible and through prayer, we may learn to absorb and appreciate each lesson step by step as God unfolds it to us. God is the ultimate example of patience, waiting perhaps billions of years before finally confronting the pain of watching His own firstborn Son being sacrificed on Calvary and be the ransom for all mankind.

And Jesus… has been waiting for the completion of His BrideHis Body members of 144,000 since AD 33!

JAMES 5, 7-8.jpg

There is a saying “take time to smell the roses.”

And in the same way let’s remember to take time to hear God-Jehovah speak…
digest it…
absorb it…
and grow from it…

The Apostle suggests that if he had mountain-moving faith, if his knowledge of Divine mysteries were very great, superior to those of all other men, and even if in his zeal for man or for God he should become a martyr and permit his body to be burned, yet, notwithstanding all this, if the primary influence in these matters were not love, all the sacrifice, all the self-denials, all the labors, even the burning, would profit nothing.

Dear friends,

When we come to get the Divine standpoint of things we find indeed that we have a very high standard to achieve; and yet our judgment assures us that it is right, that it is just, that it is proper, that God should thus set the standard of love as the only standard by which we shall ultimately be measured. But whoever thinks to have this perfect love for God and for man and make no manifestations of it is equally mistaken.

Wherever love is in the heart … words, works, thoughts and looks will testify to it, so that he who loves much will serve much.

If we love the Lord we shall delight in His service regardless of failures, regardless of fame, regardless of any earthly consideration; yea, even though the service of the Lord should cause us the loss of human approbation, fellowship, etc…

Hence every true Christian may link the two words love and service, and be sure that his love will manifest itself in zeal. Similarly, love of the brethren will mean a desire to serve the brethren; love of the home and family will mean a desire to do good to them; love of our neighbor will signify a desire to do for his interests according to our knowledge and limitations.

THE RESTRAINTS OF LOVE

The Apostle points out some of the restraints of love.

It cannot be quick, irascible; for “love suffers long and is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4).

  • He who is loving cannot be envious of others, nor covetous of the blessings and favors they are enjoying; for “love envieth not.”
  • He who is loving cannot be boastful and proud; for “love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”
  • He who is controlled by the spirit of love will not be ungracious, unkind, rude; for “love doth not behave itself unseemly.”
  • He who is full of the spirit of love will not be selfish, grasping, neglectful of the interests of others; for “love does not seeks its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
  • The truly loving one will not be quickly angered, will not be easily offended; for “love is not easily provoked.”

“The one controlled by the spirit of love will not be imagining unkindness and rudeness nor seeking to interpret the words or conduct of others unkindly; for ‘love thinketh no evil’ “

(Pastor Russell’s Sermons, pages SM272-SM285).

What a beautiful example we see in our Master’s words to Simon:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32).

Let us not neglect to pray for our fellow brethren in Christ, always while we are in this carnal abode.

“LOVE NEVER FAILS.”

(1 Corinthians 13:8)


The following is from “What Pastor Russell Said – Question Book”

QUESTION (1910) 1 At what point of character development can we say, the crown is ours, and that we are overcomers?

“ANSWER. — I think, dear friends, that the proper point at which we could say that, would be when we reach the mark of perfect love. For instance, you came to the Lord and made your consecration, you entered the School of Christ and began to learn of him. That was about the time you found out how short you were of the proper measure. Will the Lord ever be able to make anything out of me? Now the Lord is going to measure you according to your mind and is waiting for you to get to the mark of perfect love, which is the standard of a perfect character, for none will be worthy of a place in the kingdom or eternal life except those that reach this mark, either now or in the Millennial Age. God has nothing for anyone except those that reach that standard in his mind and heart. He may have weaknesses, etc., and you may speak things that you are sorry for, and must apologize for, but your heart is at the mark–perfect love—and that is the reason you want to apologize, because you have reached the mark of perfect love. You love God, and all mankind, and wish to do good to all, as you have an opportunity. After a person gets where he can love his enemies, he is at the mark of perfect love. He will not be perfect in flesh, for that will not be possible in this age. Many still have to put a bridle upon their tongues, etc., you must hold in the old nature. This I have often illustrated by a bad dog which would represent our old nature, and for which the new creature is responsible. We must hold him in. Our intentions are good, as is shown by the fact that when the heat or excitement of the moment is passed, then the heart goes back to the principles of righteousness, and asks for forgiveness from the Father. He will ask for forgiveness for anything he has done. You might say, it will be harder to rectify this, than not to have done it in the first place. Surely. But that is what you must do, if you want [Q51] to prove to the Lord that your heart is for righteousness, and whenever you find you have made a mistake, you must rectify it. Now, then, if you get to that place, you have gotten to the place where, to my understanding, you are at the mark of perfect love, toward God, men, etc. You desire good for all and injury toward none. From that moment, I understand, the Lord counts you as one having a crown apportioned to you. That is one thing, but seeing that no man take your crown is another thing. After granted to you it still remains that if you are moved from the mark, pressed aside by difficulties, you are not standing this test, and you will not be worthy of being an overcomer. So you see there is a mark of character, without which none will be acceptable in the kingdom, spiritual or earthly. Now we must demonstrate our love and devotion, that is what we live for today and tomorrow, and in all your Christian experience, from the time you enter the school of Christ, for you are to learn of him as quickly as possible and get to the mark of perfect love toward all.


The words below are from Reprint No. 4470 from “ZWT” (www.htdb.one).

STANDING AT THE MARK

WE HAVE heretofore suggested what we now wish to further, if possible, emphasize; namely, the fact that there is a Divine standard of holiness, of righteousness, which, if it be not attained, will mean our non-acceptance by the Lord as members of his Elect Church; and, more than this, our unfitness for eternal life upon any plane. This standard of character, or mark of perfection, as we have pointed out, is not a standard or mark of fleshly perfection, because the Lord accepts amongst his consecrated disciples those of various degrees of mental, moral and physical degeneracy. The justification which he provides makes up for the blemishes of each, for the more blemished as well as for the less blemished. The robe of his righteousness imputed is as necessary to the noblest as to the most degraded, and renders the latter as acceptable as the former.

From this standpoint it is recognized that the heart, the renewed mind, the renewed will, is the spirit-begotten New Creature which is on trial before God. It has professed a thorough consecration to righteousness and opposition to sin, a complete deadness to it, and a determination to mortify, to deaden, the will of the flesh to the extent of its ability. From the very start this condition is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. Nevertheless, it is Scripturally represented at first as being merely a “babe” condition, according to one illustration, and according to another merely a “begotten” condition. Progress must be made, character must be developed, and then, further, it must be tested. “Not every one who saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter the Kingdom.” Not every one who professes consecration, and newness of life, and self-sacrifice in the interests of truth and righteousness, can be accepted as a joint-heir with Christ. Time must be given for development and for proving.

Love for God they have, from the very outset. But it is not love of the highest type. As already shown, it is largely, if not entirely, duty love. The “babe” in Christ must feed upon the sincere milk of the Word, that he may grow strong. As the spiritual food is appropriated, and spiritual exercise is taken, strength of character comes in, the eyes of our understanding open more widely, and lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the Divine character are discerned which were not visible at the first. This brings us to a higher type of love for God—a love for his glorious character.

Meantime, also, a sympathetic love for the world is gradually developing in the spiritual “babe.” As the principles of the Divine character are seen and appreciated, the New Creature begins to apply these to everything in life, and hence increases in sympathetic love toward man and beast, friend and foe. Another element of love is gradually attained also: At first the “babe” in Christ loves some of the brethren—the nobler, the gentler, the better educated ones, etc.; but gradually, as the Divine character is discerned, and the Divine love becomes shed abroad in the heart, this love broadens out so that it includes every member of the family of God and every member of the fallen race—yea, even enemies. With this development comes spiritual activity, called in the Scriptures quickening—”You hath he quickened.” This quickening implies activity in the service of God, and the service of the brethren, and if outside opportunity beyond this permit, it would mean an activity in the service of all needing assistance such as we could give.

The Christian life here illustrated, which began as a “babe in Christ,” has by this time reached the standard of manhood in Christ, and is at the Mark of Perfect Love—for God, for the brethren, for the neighbor and for the enemies. Not until this point shall have been reached could such a person be considered fit for heaven, or for eternal life on any plane.

We are to bear in mind that there is no development in heaven, and hence perfection of character must be attained by the saints before they die. And, similarly, the world during the Millennium must attain this perfect development before the close of the age in order to be fit for eternal life according to the Divine promise and standards.

Is it asked to what extent will this standard of perfect love in the heart manifest itself in the flesh? We answer, that during the Millennial Age it will manifest itself perfectly in the flesh, for the world then will be judged according to the actual attainments in their flesh, and perfection by restitution will be not only possible, but required. But as for us of the Gospel Age, we who are being judged not according to the flesh but according to the spirit, to what extent will the new mind, the new nature, when at the Mark of Perfect Love, be able to govern and control the flesh? Our answer is, that the degrees of control will vary much, according to the degrees of imperfection with which the mortal body is afflicted.

The only standard which we can set forth is that the new nature, new mind, new will, would be very regretful, very sorrowful, in respect to any laches, or errors, of its mortal body. The Lord would know (and perhaps the brethren also to some extent) of the New Creature’s endeavor to control the mortal body by the degree of its grief in connection with every error, and its continually renewed effort to bring every power of the body, and even every thought, into complete subjection to the will of God in Christ. Any sympathy with sin is an evidence that the New Creature is not at the Mark. And no sympathy with sin, but constant endeavor for righteousness, is evidence that it is at the Mark.

Some may be at this Mark for a longer and some for a shorter period. Our Lord was surely at it from the beginning of his ministry. He was tested there, while at the Mark of perfect love. All the besetments of the Adversary and of the world failed to move him from that position of perfect love. He laid down his life at this Mark. St. Paul was surely at this Mark for many years before his actual death. He was continually laying down his life for the brethren, continually serving his enemies and praying for them; and surely he was continually loving and serving the Lord with his every power and talent.

No Christian should be satisfied with a long delay in reaching the Mark. The milk of the Word should be received, its strength should be appropriated, spiritual sight and spiritual energy should quickly follow, and strong meat of Divine Truth should speedily bring to full maturity the Christian character. And once attained, it should be held at any cost through all the trials and difficulties which the Adversary, and the world, and the flesh, might be permitted to bring against us. The severest temptations come after we have reached the Mark—temptations to slackness in service of God; temptations to withhold parts of our sacrifice; temptations to deal unkindly, uncharitably, unlovingly with the brethren, or unjustly with our neighbor, or ungenerously with our enemies. All of these must be resisted as we prize our eternal life, as we prize the promise of joint-heirship and fellowship with our Redeemer in His Kingdom.

Whoever sees this subject clearly must realize that as a Christian he has to do with a great proposition which will thoroughly test his loyalty, his courage, his zeal, [R4470, page 271] his love. He will need to remember the Lord’s comforting assurances of grace to help in every time of need if he would come off a victor and not be dismayed, nor have his courage beaten down by the Adversary’s attacks.

 

References:

Br. Charles Russell. “Pastor Russell’s Sermons,” and “What Pastor Russell Said – Question Book.”

The Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. These Reprints can be accessed here: http://www.htdbv8.com

Suggested Further Reading

“Lovest Thou Me More Than These?”JOHN 21:15-22. Reprint 2806. The Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Kingdom.
http://www.htdbv8.com/1901/r2806.htm

A Practical Self-Examination On Love

A Practical Self-Examination on Love

Agape by Br. Mark Grillo
http://www.heraldmag.org/2012/12nd_11.htm

Brotherly Kindness by Br. Ed Byrd
http://www.heraldmag.org/2012/12nd_10.htm

Words for Love in the Bible, In the Hebrew, by Br. W.A. Eliason, The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Set/Oct. 1986.
http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1986_5.htm#_Toc36907449

 

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