“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
The apostle of Jesus Christ, in the proclamation of the gospel to the brethren at Rome, stated that the child of grace is not to be ‘conformed to this world’. He has already stated that each and every one whom the Lord has chosen has been and is predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. This conformity is as eternal as the love of the Father for His children. It is manifested while the incorruptible seed is made a partaker of flesh and blood having the fullness of the Godhead dwelling within the body afore prepared. It is demonstrated as the child of grace walks by the faith of the Son of God who loved him and gave Himself for His people and it will be finally realized when the tabernacle of this dwelling is dissolved and the redeemed shall be like Him. Each member shall be gathered unto Him in their proper order and they shall stand in His presence as His glorified body.
But during the time of their (our) habitation, conforming to this world is the natural desire of the Adamic nature. Adam was formed out of the dust of the ground, he finds his sustenance from the fruit of the ground and he delights in the things of this world. His days are spent working by the sweat of his brow in the fields of this world and he live deliciously of its delicacies. He is of the earth earthy. His logic, senses and reasoning are all of the temporal plane, limited, flawed and corrupt. He views the pleasures of this evil generation as things to aspire after and judges his accomplishments and worth by the standard of those around him. Self-esteem and self-confidence are preached as being essential for success in business, family and religion. They are the dogma of natural, Adamic, doctrine.
The child of grace is not immune to this rhetoric. They see the world and are enticed by the lust of the eye. They aspire to fulfill the pride of life (success, prominence and fame) in everyday activities and projected endeavours and are given to govern their daily lives in satisfying the lust of the flesh (eat, drink, rest, attire, etc.). Yet the Apostle beseeches these saints of like precious faith, who have experienced a common deliverance, to, as living sacrifices, be not conformed to this world. His words speak directly to the esteem one has for self and the attitude that follows from such corruption.
The scriptural evidence is plenteous that God is not a respecter of persons. He has created all things for a purpose and has properly equipped each element to satisfy that purpose in an appropriate sequence and order. He is not persuaded by the actions of one to either bless or condemn for all things work together according to His design. He no more commends the fish for swimming in the water than He condemns the same for not flying in the air and just because a bird may dive deep into the water to catch the fish, praise is not given to him as a swimmer. God has created each man the same way. The one He has afore prepared unto glory and the other He has outfitted for destruction. He has blessed the one with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies and has provided his daily need. The other He has reserved for the day of judgment and provides such things as are necessary to bring him to the end of the course set for him to walk. Nothing the first may do can diminish or advance the blessing in either worth or quantity and nothing can separate him from the eternal love of the Father for His children. The same is true of the latter. Nothing he can do, no matter how many deeds of righteousness he may perform or benevolent deeds of charity he can accomplish can afford him one eternal blessing from God or diminish the condemnation that he was outfitted for, because God is not a respecter of persons.
He is a respecter of one person and His actions are well pleasing to the Father. When the Father saw the travail of His soul He was satisfied (Is. 53:11) that the demands of the law were met to every jot and tittle. This is His Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased (Matt. 3:17) and whom He instructed the apostles to give heed to and hear (Matt. 17:5). Do you think that if Almighty God was satisfied that all His law was fulfilled in righteousness that there could be one thing that corrupt Adam could bring unto Him to make it MORE fulfilled or make Him MORE satisfied? If He is well pleased with the life, sacrifice and offering of His Servant upon whom He set His Spirit (Is. 61:1) can mortal man add to that pleasure by being more obedient that His Son? And yet the religious hucksters are spewing forth the doctrine of the approval of God based on the numbers that are seen in the auditorium, stadiums and halls each and every meeting day. They call to men everywhere to come to their seminars, buy their books, adopt their techniques and be followers of them in order to be successful. The Apostle Paul said, “Be ye followers of me as I follow Christ.”
Paul was taken from the pinnacle of fame, power and success to the depths of human experience. He was the best of the Pharisees and more profitable than all his fellow kinsman yet all this was stricken from him and he was made the servant of all men. He was caused by the mercies of God to esteem himself nothing for the sake of the brethren and walk by faith. He was an Hebrew of Hebrews that was made a fool for Christ’s sake, stoned and left for dead. All the labours of his hands and the profit thereof were counted as dung. He had no home, no steady income, a criminal record and was marked for death yet he rejoiced in the grace of God that had assigned him this station in life.
It is the nature of Adam to consider the man not so bad and to aspire to improve. This evaluation is ignorant of the station in life that God has assigned man, the labour that He has placed in his heart and the reason for it all. He has not the mind of God and cannot understand the things of God. He is a murmurer and a complainer that walks after the lust of the flesh. He speaks great wonderful words that sooth the itching ear, lift up the accomplishments of the arm of the flesh and entice the knowledge and understanding of man with his own wisdom. This is a gross deception for a man to think himself to be something when he is nothing and the child of grace inhabits an earthen vessel with the propensity for such delusions. The nature that God has given in Adam to His children during the time of this habitation reminds them of the weakness and frailty of the flesh and the inability for Adam to do anything righteous. Thus Paul said that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing.
One who has been born from above is born of an incorruptible seed. This seed is hewn from that Rock which is the Son of God and therefore as the Son is so is the stone. He is life and they are living. He is faithful and they are faithful. After He became sin for His people and took away their guilt, He has the charge to keep the commandments of God (Zech.3:7) and they stand upon His obedience. They have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies because of His testimony of a finished work to which nothing more can be added. The respect that the Father has is for His Son and His Son has declared His name in the congregation of the living, His people. He has presented them unto the Father saying, “Behold I and the children that thou hast given unto Me” (Is. 8:18). He cannot change for He is God, therefore the sons of promise (who are One with Him), whom He loved (they having done neither any good or evil that the purpose according to election might stand) are not consumed (Mal. 3:6). They are of the house of the firstborn, (not a descendant of the first born and therefore heirs in waiting but the generation of Jesus Christ), heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Christ. They have neither spot nor blemish being born from above and being washed in the blood of the Lamb and therefore they are Holy as He is Holy. They cannot be tainted with the corruption of this world yet they are subject to the vanity of it. They are tempted on every side with the allurement of temporal comfort and wealth after the Adamic nature but their affections are set on the things from on high (Col. 3:2). Their mind, wherein is the delight for the law of God, is renewed day by day as they prove, not by sight nor by the wisdom of man, the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. Therefore they think soberly, according to the measure of faith which God has dealt to every child of the King for therein dwells the Spirit, upon the grace of God which is bestowed upon them. They contemplate the manner of love that the Father has bestowed upon them that they should be called the sons of God and they are made to be content in whatsoever state they are. Only by this transformed and renewed mind do they find peace for they understand that there is no unrighteousness with Jehovah, He does not lift up persons because of their actions and His favour cannot be bought, borrowed or begged.
This is how they present their bodies as living sacrifices and do not think more highly than they ought; by grace through faith.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
June 10, 2012