“Be glad in Yehovah and rejoice, ye righteous and shout for joy, all upright in heart.”
The religion of the world has many ideas about the life of one who is called ‘Christian’. There are a host of self-help books, carnal admonitions and fleshly exhortations that encourage the sons of Adam who have found religion to reform daily lives and transform natural characteristics. These all focus on the outward habits and conduct of Adam. They speak of what a person eats, drinks, observes and frequents as evidence of a changed attitude and a new birth. The subject of this duty faith is man and his appearance for others to see and evaluate. The wisdom of the Spirit identifies this facade as abomination before God. Wisdom instructs the child of grace concerning this strange woman enabling the wise man to be aware of such deception.
Three things are presented here as exhortations which are based upon certain attributes and characteristics of a specific, select group of people. The first identifier of this peculiar assembly is that they are in Yehovah. Since Yehovah is the same and He does not change, then those who are in Him must be immutable also. If this entourage was at any time absent or separate from Yehovah and not eternally one in Him, then there came a time when He changed from being without them to when they were in Him. This impugns the integrity of God and calls Him man, for it makes an accusation that He has lied when He said, “I am Yehovah I change not” (Mal. 3:6). If God can or has changed then the essence of eternity is suspect and the surety of His promise stands in doubt. But He has not and cannot change, therefore the sons of the children of promise are not consumed. He has confirmed His promise by the immutability of His counsel which He confirmed with an oath, “that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:17f)
Since Yehovah God is the eternal Father and His people are of an incorruptible seed, then that seed must be as Holy as He is Holy, else the children still have not measured up to the standard of the Holiness of God. That Holiness must be complete and as His Holiness identifies all that He has done as just and true, so the same Holiness identifies the conduct of His seed. Because His seed remains in the vessels which He afore prepared unto the glory of being the tabernacle of they which are born from above, they cannot fail to do His will and praise His name. Though the vessels have been fashioned from the dust of the earth in an empty similitude of God (Gen. 1:26) yet they have not the power, mind or will of God, therefore they cannot measure up to the standard of perfection that God demands. The seed however, being incorruptible, cannot miss the perfection of that mark, therefore; “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin because His seed remains in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God. In this are the children of God manifest and the children of the devil” (I John 3:9).
These children of God rejoice because they are in Him. He has redeemed them from every kindred, tribe, nation and tongue of the world by paying the wages of the sin in Adam that they inherited when they became partakers of flesh and blood. His shed blood has covered that inability in Adam, thus the judgment of God is not upon the house of their habitation. He became the curse for them, He who knew no sin became the sin of His people and He who is God made Himself of no reputation, taking on the form of sinful man, that He might be made perfect in all that He suffered. “And being made perfect He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him” (Heb. 5:9).
They are content in Him because He is sovereign over whatsoever comes to pass. He is the facilitator and enactor of every thought, word and deed for without Him nothing exists. He is also the protector, restrainer and controller of all what man perceives as contingencies, possibilities and potentials. They know that they are His workmanship and that it is He that works in them both to will and to do His good pleasure, therefore they “rejoice evermore” (I Thes. 5:16) for all these works were finished from the foundation of the world (Heb. 4:3).
The second classification of this heavenly host is that they are righteous. This righteousness cannot be of the works of man for his hands have been polluted from the beginning. Adam was created and therefore he is not eternal. He was given a form from the dust of the earth, God gave him breath to make him alive, he was placed in a prepared environment, provided for and given an help meet for him. He is not self-sufficient, he has not the mind of God and without God he can do nothing. How then could the works of these weak, vile hands produce from the limited, frail imagination a work that could be adjudicated of God as being righteous?
Therefore the righteousness of the Father is imputed unto the children. They are adorned with His righteousness and identified by the fine linen, clean and white. They stand in His eternal righteousness wherein He fulfilled every jot and tittle of the Law of God. They are ‘encircled’ by that wheel within the wheel wherein all is perfect and upright. This is the appearance of the similitude of the glory of Yehovah which the prophet saw and herein dwell the ransomed of God. They tabernacle in Him and are one with Him. They are His people and He is their God.
“And out of the midst thereof the likeness of four living creatures and this their appearance, they had the likeness of man” (Ez. 1:5).
God revealed Himself to his servant in a most wonderful vision. Ezekiel saw this man, who is Messiah Jehoshua, the anointed salvation of Yehovah. His feet and His wings are straight. They do not turn to one side or the other as He accomplishes the work that was set before Him. He was the elect servant of Yehovah and whithersoever the Spirit led, He went. He is the Word of God that became flesh and dwelt among His people. He is the refiner’s fire and His colour is the colour of amber as one brazen in a fire. His appearance and His work were as it were a wheel in the middle of the wheel, never beginning and never ending, perfectly constant in harmonious agreement. This is Yehovah God. His walk, speech and ways (feet) are as immutable as He is for there is no contradiction in Him. He has established the boundaries and He covers over all (wings). He is the Lord God Almighty. He is seated in the heavens and rules over the kingdoms of this world. He has done all things for the love of His people and although the inhabitants of this world are accounted as a winged infestation (locust), yet they are profitable for His people. He has absolute command over the things of this earth, whereon His feet walk and His eyes see and the things of the heaven above the earth (wings). He has ordained the afflictions, trials and tribulations of this existence for His Beloved. He preserves His Beloved and is the “defense which delivers the upright in heart” (Ps. 7:10).
These are not those who demonstrate integrity in the natural man for, although Adam thinks himself trustworthy, yet a sinner has no integrity. All men are liars, man loves the darkness for his deeds are dark and there are none that seek after righteousness. Flesh and blood have neither right, nor portion, nor memorial in the kingdom of God for the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit neither can he know them.
Therefore the completeness and integrity of the upright heart must be of the inner man. This man desires and delights after the perfect law of God (Rms. 7:22) wherein he finds liberty from the captivity of the vanity of this world and the corruption of the flesh. This inward man is strengthened by the Spirit of Messiah and he knows the love of the Father. The inner man is renewed continually as he has his hope and confidence in the fact that the One who has begun this good work in him shall perform it unto the time when Messiah returns to gather His child home, every man in his order. Herein he does not lean on his own understanding but in all his ways he acknowledges Yehovah (Pro. 3:5).
The third classification and by no means the last, is they which are of an upright heart. This is not the heart of flesh or by the work of the covenant of the wilderness. No man can keep the types and foreshadows of the ministration of death and by the deeds of that law no flesh is justified. No man’s conscience is purged by the ritual ceremonies of the ministration of condemnation for in keeping the handwriting or ordinances, the doer confirms that he is carnal sold under sin.
This perfect and upright heart, which is that new heart of flesh of the new covenant, knows that he, as the Beloved of God and the “apple of His eye”, is always before Yehovah God (Is. 49:16). He also knows that God is in His Holy temple, (which is not a building in the sands of Palestine but a building not made with hands wherein dwells nothing that loves or makes a lie) yet His eyes behold and examine the children of men. He is at peace since the seven eyes of Yehovah run to and fro through the whole earth (Zech. 4:10) beholding the good and the evil (Pro. 15:3). He is comforted that the righteousness of the Lord God omnipotent loves righteousness and His face is turn toward as He provides for the upright (Ps. 11:5-7).
His assurance is established firm and sure because the work is finished in Christ Jesus his Lord from the foundation of the world. Therefore the praise and rejoicing or dancing and leaping, of the righteous is a beautiful habitation (comely) for the children of the heavenly King. They have been granted of the Bridegroom to be arrayed in the garments of righteousness which is praise unto their God (Rev. 19:8). His people are the armies of heaven which follow after the one upon the white horse whose name is Faithful and True. He is the Word of God and He has clothed His elect in this praise (19:14) as they are adorned as a Bride for her husband (21:2). This is Emanuel who dwells in His people in the fullness of His glory.
The result of this beautiful habitation is a shout of victory that no man can comprehend. This victory is because He, who is the first born of many brethren, has overcome the world. It is the voice of triumph because “Yehovah most terrible is the great King over all the earth” (Ps. 47:2). It is the sound of a finished work that entered once into that sanctuary not made with hands and in obedience to the will of the Father, has sprinkled the precious blood of the Lamb upon the altar, that perfect sacrifice for sin. It is a stridulous and tremulous sound that is foreign to the noises of man and his habitat. It is likened unto the sound of many voices, mighty waters and “the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle” (Rev. 9:9). It a sound which causes men to fear and tremble (Gen. 19:16), no man can understand and which the mouth of Adam cannot utter. It is the voice of Zion wherein “God has gone up with a shout, Yehovah with the sound of a trumpet” (47:5). It is the trump of God, that messenger with the everlasting gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation and it speaks joy and peace to the church of Jesus Christ.
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye” (Ps. 32:8).
It is an exercise in futility to suppose that Adam can teach his fellow man to know Yehovah God since God has purposed that man cannot know Him. He has put the things of this world into the hearts of man and given him an insatiable hunger and thirst for exploration and discovery. The analytical nature of the mind of man processes the elements of the heavens and the earth, which God has caused him to find, and his conclusions refute the sovereignty of God, dismiss the power of God and deny the existence of God. Then, with parchment in hand and an impressive armada of initials after his name, he presumes to teach his neighbour to know God. The subject matter is as the instructor and the methodology as limited as his understanding. Adam’s theology knows only the things of this world, delights only in the desires of the flesh and can teach only those earthly things which he has experienced with flawed logic.
The child of grace has been born of the Spirit from above. He is not of the earth therefore he does not mind the things of the earth. His mind is filled with the things of God and his desire is praise unto his God. He kicks against the pricks of the leading and drawing of the Spirit of God until the Father is pleased to reveal Himself in him. He hungers and thirsts after righteousness which he is satiated with because of the righteousness of the Son of God and as he grows in the grace and knowledge of His will, he is “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Col. 1:9).
This teaching is from faith to faith which means it cannot be conceived, imagined or perceived by the carnal faculties of man. This ‘wise understanding’ is granted to every member of the household of faith. It clarifies the fact that the mark of the perfect holiness of God has been, with perfect accuracy, in the finished work of Messiah. It assures the student that there is no need to shoot another arrow at the target in attempt to hit the mark (as is the nature of Adam in trespasses and sin) for their work, in Christ, is accepted of the Father. The path that the pilgrim walks through the barren wilderness is the correct path assigned to him. Each step is ordained of old and the Lord has provided a lamp unto the feet and a light upon the path that the righteous walk. Though each stranger and sojourner has been made subject to vanity by reason of hope, each step along the way, even when the path leads through the valley of the shadow of death, is precisely brought to pass by the will of God. His eyes are upon the righteous and His Spirit leads them in all truth (Ps. 34:15).
“Mark the perfect and behold the upright for the end of that man is peace” (Ps. 37:37).
The testimony of the Holy Spirit is that there are none righteous of this world. The child of grace knows that the body of death wherein he dwells is wretched, vile and blind. In this he finds comradery with all the inhabitants of this world save that those not born from above do not know the vileness of this corruption. He finds warfare between the desires of the needs and delights of his members and the delights of the inward man. His affections are set on things from above while his Adamic nature craves the temporal and unprofitable things of the earth. He groans within himself awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God when He shall transform this vile body to be ‘standing together with’ (fashioned like) His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself (Phil. 3:21).
There has never been and never shall be one born of Adam who is perfect before God. There are no role models to aspire after for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rms. 3:23). Job was accounted as a “perfect and upright and one who feared God and eschewed evil” (1:1) because he was “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (I Pt. 1:2). Since the steps of the righteous are ordained of Yehovah and his conversation (manner of life after the Spirit of God) is not of this world, then the children are identified as they who keep the Law of God. They have the eternal love of God shed abroad in their hearts and He draws them with His loving kindness. They have a common deliverance and walk together being agreed for “there is one body and One Spirit, even as ye are called in One hope of your calling; One Lord, One faith, One baptism, One God and Father of all who is above all and through all and in you all” (Eph. 4:4ff).
These all have been justified by the obedience of their elder brother, the builder and head of the house, and being justified by His faith they have peace with God (Rms. 5:1). The old heart of stone, which is the law of commandments written in stone, has been removed and the handwriting of ordinances has been nailed to the cross. The old man, who strove to be blameless according to the righteousness of the law, has been crucified with Christ, old things are passed away and behold all things are new. The house of the Israel of our God has had their sin in Adam imputed unto the Lamb of God. These are blessed for their transgression is forgiven, their sin is atoned and Yehovah cannot impute iniquity unto them. They love the Father because He first loved them and they love the brethren as they love the Father. This is the mark of a perfect man and by this shall all men know that they are disciples of Messiah, for they have love, one for another.
This is that peace that exceeds all understanding and these are they that walk in the light of Yehovah.
“Thou wilt keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed because he trusts in thee. Trust in Yehovah forever for in Yehovah is eternal strength” (Is. 26:3f).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
March 9, 2014