“O send out they light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.” - Psalms 43:3
LIGHT and TRUTH are the prerequisites of one who worships God in spirit and truth. Neither this LIGHT nor TRUTH is among the characteristics composing the natural man as born of a woman. This LIGHT and TRUTH is foolishness to natural reasoning for “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.” This LIGHT and TRUTH cannot be acquired by study because in the same verse just quited the scripture says: “neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Then it behooves God's people to look to another source – other than themselves – for LIGHT or TRUTH. Then they are made to pray to God for both LIGHT and TRUTH. Bot the LIGHT and TRUTH must be present at the same time in order that the saint of God be enabled to joyfully praise God in sincerity. “Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God, my God.” Psalms 43:4. The TRUTH is foolishness to the natural man and unless accompanied by the LIGHT cannot be appreciated. The truth is that God determined “the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” “He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” Unless this LIGHT accompanies the TRUTH to show us our inability and that it lieth not in man to direct his steps and that all things work together for good to them who love God we cannot realize his sovereignty nor appreciate this TRUTH. The truth is God chose his people in Christ before the foundation of the world; that his people are the elect according to the foreknowledge of God. As John puts it “ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Unless we are in possession of the LIGHT that reveals our inability to choose good things and that we naturally take darkness we cannot believe or appreciate this TRUTH. The truth is that “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph. 2:8-9. Until we are enlightened to the fact that the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, and with men it is impossible, we cannot believe this TRUTH. Our seeming ability vanishes when the LIGHT manifests the gross darkness of our reasoning abilities. We are made to realize that God begins this work in us. Unless we are shown in our experience that we are not able to perform it after God has begun it in us we would be as the foolish Galatians. “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Yes it is needful that we undergo experiences as Paul, “to will is present with me: but how to perform that which is good I find not,” before we can realize the TRUTH that “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Peter was in possession of the will to stand by Jesus Christ; yea, to go with him even to prison and in death, through he be slain, yet it was necessary that he go through the sad experience of denying Christ – cursing and swearing – in order to convert him that it took more than the will to enable him to confess Jesus Christ. Peter learned that God must enable him with the Spirit and truth in each experience before he could truly worship Jesus. The fact that he knew him was not sufficient in this trial. It takes such experiences as these to enlighten and convert the individual to the TRUTH that he cannot of himself do anything that is good in any part of the journey of the saint of God, and to bring about the confidence thus; “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Then he is convinced that salvation, in any phase, is solely by grace. The TRUTH is clearly expressed in the scriptures thus: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11. The scriptures pointedly teach that the prerequisite for entrance into the kingdom of God is a radical transformation wrought by the spirit of God himself. And since this work on the soul is sovereign and supernatural, it may be granted or withheld according to the good pleasure of God. Consequently salvation to whomsoever it may be granted is entirely of grace. The born-again person comes to see that Jesus is in reality “the author and finisher of our faith.” Heb. 12:2. When Jesus said: “Lazarus, come forth,” a might power went with the command and gave effect to it. Lazarus probably was not conscious of any other than his own power working in him, but when he was enlightened to the situation he undoubtedly saw that he had been called into life wholly by divine power. God's power was primary – his was secondary and would never have been exerted except in response to the divine. The truth is as Paul teaches; that believers are not under law, but under grace. “For sin shall not have dominion you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14. Sin cannot cause their down fall for they are under a system of grace and are not treated according to their deserts. “And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.” Romans 11:6. “Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.” Romans 4:15. “For without the law, sin was dead.” Romans 7:8. That is, where the law is abolished sin can no longer subject the person to punishment. “Ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ.” Romans 7:4. The one who attempts to earn even the smallest part of his salvation by works becomes “a debtor to do the whole law.” (That is to render perfect obedience in his own strength and thus earn salvation) Gal. 5:3. When God sees fit to chasten his children by temporarily withdrawing his Holy Spirit or his providential mercies – or his LIGHT and TRUTH – the poor child of God is corrected and converted from any trust or confidence in himself and will again be praying to God (not to himself) for both LIGHT and TRUTH. This is the TRUTH as proclaimed in the scriptures but LIGHT must accompany this TRUTH before it can be believed or appreciated. Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14:6. If you contend that you are any part of that way you deny the words of Jesus. “The spirit of truth, - will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13) and will enable you to realize that Jesus is the TRUTH. Yes, Jesus is the life. When the divine operation of God's Holy Spirit is inactive the individual is dead as far as ability to do good is concerned. My experience harmonizes with Paul's experience when he said: “I die daily.” We are made to realize that God must work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure before we can walk godly in this present world. When God sends forth His LIGHT it manifests man's righteousness as filthy rags in God's sight. Thus this life in and of ourselves that we have had confidence in has been worked OUT as God works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. The farmer works in his crop and thus works out the obnoxious weeds and everything else that hinders his crop. Man's confidence in his own righteousness or anything of himself that he depends upon for salvation, whether in time or for eternity, must be worked OUT or abolished. The truth is, that we do not reach perfection in this present life; that evil is mixed with all we do, and that the children of God must be delivered (in the future) out of his bondage of corruption into the glorious liberties of the children of God. Unless this LIGHT shines into our hearts and makes us to see our vile nature, the filthiness of our own righteousness and the imperfection of all our deeds, we cannot realize this TRUTH. We are mortal creatures hoping some day to be raised as immortal. We are corruptible desiring to be clothed with incorruption. We are natural and yet carnal but we have hopes of being made spiritual. The natural blood runs through our veins now which inspires our fleshly lusts, but we trust in some wonderful way that the Spirit of eternal life will replace the natural blood we now possess when we become residences of that Eternal City not made with hands.
(Elder) E.J. Lambert
Box 745, Hampton, Ark
Signs of the Times
Volume 113, No. 8