APRIL 4, 2015



“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, who call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. (Isa. 45:3, KJV)


Darkness covered the face of the deep, so that any light which struggled to escape was smothered by blackness.  The spirit of God hovered over the inky abyss, and a small light began to glow.  The darkness sought to overcome it, to smother it, and to extinguish it before it could grow, but the light, which was God, overcame it and pushed it away from the struggling soul.  God breathed into him the breath of life and light and love, and called him “very good.” He was born again.  Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we may be called “the sons of God.” 


Most of my life I have fallen victim to perfectionistic tendencies, trying to do things as perfectly as I could.  There are many reasons for this, childhood baggage being one of them, and misunderstanding the Gospel and God’s love being the main thing.  Jesus Himself said, “Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matt. 5:48), which started me on my mission impossible.  Quickly realizing that it was beyond my ability to be perfect, I tried to bring perfection to the things I did. 


Last Saturday, while attempting to publish my treatise on hell, nothing worked as it should.  Cyber space is a weird place, for which we’re all thankful at times, and ready to tear out our hair and run screaming into the night at other times.  At issue, is the total lack of control for how the finished work appears on the reader’s computer screen?  The week before, every time I used a quotation mark, bizarre squiggles replaced it, and nothing I did changed the outcome. 


Long story short, I had to redo the article 3 times before it finally went, but not totally without a punctuation error which refused to be corrected.  When I was complaining to John Gavazzoni that perfection is over rated, he wrote the following, and gave me his blessing to quote him: 


“If Genesis 1 has anything to teach us it's that, depending on the exegetical viewpoint re: how verse 2 relates to verse 1, God either started out with a creation of imperfection, or immediately subjected it to the futility of imperfection while it had within it, by nature, a yearning to complete its destiny of glory. I smell an article there. :-)” End Quote. 


Bells chimed; the light flashed, and I knew he was right about an article being birthed.  The idea of great treasure hidden in imperfect vessels is all through the Bible.  Isaiah declared"Truly, thou art a God who hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Savior. (Isa. 45:3)  Abraham is a classic example of God’s glory hidden in flesh.  Moses, the great deliverer of God’s people from a life of hardship, slavery, and deprivation, was hidden in the the reeds of the Nile River right under Pharaoh’s nose.  Cecil B. DeMill’s classic “The Ten Commandments” will air again this week end as it does every Easter. What it lacks in biblical accuracy, it makes up for in absolutely spectacular action and drama. 


The greatest hidden gift of all time was the baby born in a manger, disguised as the son of a lowly carpenter.  His miraculous life, His cruel death, and His magnificent resurrection changed the course of events for all mankind and brought salvation to everyone, past, present and future. 


The crucifixion was man’s inhumanity to man and God, elevated to the Nth degree.  I cannot bear to watch the movies that seem to proliferate about it this time of year, and can barely stand to read the Gospel account of it.  Yet I rejoice that Christ paid the price which Abraham’s progeny owed because we failed to keep the Blood Covenant God made with Abraham.  I explained that in last week’s writing, so I’ll not repeat it here. 


We owe Christ a debt which we can never repay, and wonder of wonders, He doesn’t really expect us to because He knows we cannot ever do it.  So, in complete self sacrifice, He offered Himself as the blood sacrifice and gave us the ultimate gift of living His life in us and through us. 


The Bible recounts the story of God’s elect, who were chosen to bless those who were not YET chosen.  Abraham was the first whom God called to do His work, and the criteria could not have been anything but God’s will to do it for as we know, Abraham was a pagan.  Yet, when God deposited the faith to believe the promise that in his seed would all nations be blessed, Abraham did believe and that was credited to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:3).  It is the same process for us.  God gifts us the faith to believe we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). 


And that, my friends, is the greatest example yet of perfection (God’s grace) hidden in our flesh (imperfection). 


I sometimes wonder why the Bible isn’t more straight forward about God’s intentions, His gifts, and His plan for the ages, about which Paul wrote, “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. (I Cor. 2:7, RSV)  Yet the promise is there that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).  He is faithful to keep that promise for those whose eyes He has opened to receive it.  The elect in this hour are commissioned as Ambassadors for Christ, sharing the Gospel with all whom God directs us to bless.  The Gospel message is so simple that many miss its implications.  We are to share with the world that God “who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17), was in Christ on that cruel Roman cross, “reconciling the world to himself, not counting men’s sins against them And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (II Cor. 5:18-19, NIV)


When Jesus died, we died with Him, and when He arose from the dead, we were united with Him in His resurrection as well.  “As in Adam ALL died, so in Christ shall ALL be made alive. (I Cor. 15:22) There is treasure hidden in the crucifixion:  “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin, because anyone who has died as been freed from sin. (Rom. 6:6-7, NIV)


Lord, give us the faith to believe this truth that because we were raised with Christ from the dead, we are FREED from sin!  Does that mean we’ll never sin again?  No, it means that our sins, past, present and future were nailed to that cross, and sin no longer holds us in a death grip of guilt and shame and fear of hell.  Sin no longer controls us because our lives are hidden in Christ.  He in us and through us will deliver us from any situation over which we have no control.  


The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that in actuality, we have control over absolutely nothing.  Only God has free will because only He knows the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10).  Only He has control over all people all the time (Rom. 9:16; Eph. 1:11).  Now, that’s a secret hidden until He opens our eyes to see it.  When He does, we can enter into His rest, knowing that He holds the reigns of our lives in His capable hands. 


So far as we know from Scripture, the early church did not celebrate Easter, and I’ve wondered about that since the children of Israel were commanded to celebrate Passover each year.  The difference between the two events is simply this:  the children of Israel were living by Law, expected to keep the Commandments in their own strength.  God knew they needed to remember His power in delivering them from Egypt so they could have hope that He would help them as well.  It didn’t take long for them to forget the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, the bringing water forth from the rock at Meribah.   Why?  Because they did not have the indwelling Spirit as we do, they were depending on their own strength to drum up faith.  That did not work for them and it does not work for us. 


On Resurrection morning, all that changed.  When our blessed Savior came out of that Tomb, alive and vibrant, we came out with Him.  On the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit came upon the Disciples, He was the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, our assurance that we were now a new creation in Christ.   “And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him. (Col. 1:21-22, RSV)  The old man went into the tomb, and the New man came out, with the Spirit of Christ within, guiding him, teaching him, and through him, spreading the Good News to all whom God had prepared to hear it in this hour. 


We left the tomb, with its threats of death and dying, and arose a new creation, birthed from God’s womb.  The darkness sought to ensnare us again, but God, our champion, our deliverer, rolled the stone back in place so no one can ever be trapped in the burial chamber again.   God is our Father and Mother; Emmanuel is our brother, and we go forth in Spirit and Light to bring the Good News to all who are standing on tip toe waiting for the glory of the Lord to be revealed.  All flesh shall see it together for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it! (Isa. 40:5)


Father, we praise You for our Resurrection in Christ, for filling us with Your Spirit, for loving us and holding us in Your bosom, for teaching us to walk in Your ways, and letting Your light so shine that You are glorified in us.  We praise you and worship you, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.  Amen.   






























PERFECTION HIDDEN in IMPERFECTION [Jan A. Antonsson] 04-04-15          3

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