Faith & Philosophy

Nonconformity and Manifestation of the Sons of God

I am afraid the subject matter of ‘prosperity’, ‘breakthrough’, deliverance’ and ‘miracles’ in ‘Christendom’ today has taken Christianity to mere bread and butter thing. Paul says if it is so then, let us eat and tomorrow we die. But no: There is eternity! And so, Christianity is a most serious matter. Too sad ‘prosperity’, ‘breakthrough’, ‘deliverance’ and ‘miracles’ are being drained of their foremost and weightier spiritual meanings. Where is the subject matter of prosperity of the soul, of breakthrough from sin and unrighteousness, of the souls deliverance from sin and its grip and of the miracle of salvation of the soul and keeping it saved and unsoiled until its final salvation when the sons of God will be manifested and so be with God forever and ever?

God is not willing that any soul perish: the heart of the Gospels, the heart of Acts of the Apostles, the heart of the Epistles and the heart of the Book of Revelation are all about snatching the soul from Satan and this world and preparing it for Heaven! It is all about eternal matters and eternity with God. For anyone to primarily think or present Christianity otherwise is to think ‘more highly than he ought to think’, or to erect structures of stubbles on the solid foundation of the Apostles. It may even be to preach another gospel or to raise new foundation. But we are commanded to think soberly: Seriousness with God according to His terms. That is, we must allow the Holy Spirit to dictate and lead, and not the flesh. That is righteousness. That is obedience. That is the fear of God. That is piety. That is the surest way of being among the eternal sons of God that will soon be manifested.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 is very instructive and tells in no unmistaken way the secret of making it at last to God’s habitation and to getting His eternal rewards: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” We have commented on these verses in our previous work. Christianity is a very serious race. But grace runs it with us. And grace should not be frustrated! The fear of God it is that does not frustrate God.

Someone asked in Scriptures: “Are there few that shall be saved?” The Lord Jesus Christ is just too plain and clear about it. Few shall be saved, He told us. And we know He is not just always damned right but that He is actually the Truth. But we can be among the few. The fear of the Lord which helps us live a life that glorifies God is the key.

When Paul says “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” – Acts 24: 16, he is talking about piety or fear of God. And when he by the Spirit tells Timothy and all of us to exercise ourselves ‘unto godliness’ (1Timothy 4: 7) he is appealing to piety or the fear of God. The verb to ‘exercise’ employed in both his example and his admonition is very instructive and shows the serious nature of the Christian race.

We must exercise ourselves unto godliness to win eternal life. This is the demand of Christianity. This is what the fear of God or piety is about. And so, of course, we cannot afford to be conformed to this world nor can we be comfortable with being with the multitudes. And not the attendant persecution will deter because “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” – 2 Timothy 3:12; but rather, we should by grace “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” – 2 Timothy 2:3.

W. F. Kumuyi, one of the leading ministers in this age by the grace of God, has a tract titled: “Others may, I cannot”. That is the language of piety and the life of piety if made good. That is the fear of God if lived out. The fear of God or piety takes us from the crowd into the inner circle of the Lord’s company. Here everything matters. Everything is weighed on God’s balance scale to see if He approves of it or not or to know His will on it. And His Spirit and His Word is the sure guide.

Piety, the fear of God or nonconformity is the antidote for backsliding, compromise, worldliness, fleshly urges and carnal desires, cunning fables and feigned words from not heaven-minded preachers. So true, we cannot overstate it: It plants us on the narrow path that leads to eternity with God; the path of the true and heaven-minded pilgrims; the path of the few who shall make it at the Rapture of the saints of the Lord. It is a life of sweet grace, and of Holy Spirit empowerment to live for God and for His pleasure.

Moses or Old Testament’s Must-Prayer by all Pilgrims
“Who knoweth the power of Thine anger? even according to Thy fear, so is Thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” – Psalm 90:11-12. ‘Who knows the power of Thine wrath’, Moses asks. “Multitudes of angels, demons, and men will know the power of God’s anger which had kindled a fire in the lowest hell (Deuteronomy 32:22)”, Dake comments. ‘Even according to Thy fear, so is Thy wrath’, Moses says. “God’s wrath in hell will be equal to the reverence He has demanded and which the wicked have refused to give”, Dake, again, comments.

But we discover two great things here: The place of prayer in the fear of God and the place of God as the teacher in the matter of the fear of God. It is God Himself that teaches His fear to willing and craving hearts who desire to fear Him: “Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God” – Proverbs 2:3-5. Again: “Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread” – Isaiah 8:13. In this fear of the Lord, the Lord Himself is the teacher, i.e. when we earnestly and continuously so, ask Him in prayer to teach us the way of His fear and when we are willing to be taught and to obey:

“Teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth: unite my heart (i.e. give me singleness of heart – so the margin reads) to fear Thy name (or as the margin puts it: to have reverential awe for Thy name).” – Psalm 86: 11, And so, it must be understood that the fear of the Lord is no timid or foolish fear without godly direction or blessed purpose. It is reverential awe. We must be willing to fear the Lord, for it takes singleness of heart or undivided heart or undivided loyalty to fear Him.

Because this takes singleness of heart; by implication therefore, they that fear the Lord do not conform to the world. To fear the Lord is to be a nonconformist. And not to conform to the world but be all heavenly focused is preparing for the return of the Savior. Indeed, ‘No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him Who hath chosen him to be a soldier’. To the extent a heart is ‘united’ for God, it has no heart for the world.

‘So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom’; ‘teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth: unite my heart to fear Thy name’. Undivided fear for God or love for God is what makes the rapture. This must be our pursuit.

He that has an Ear and Overcome!
The fear

of God cannot and should not be compromised. In Romans 11:20-22 we read: “Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”

If Israel the natural branch could be cut off and you and I grafted in, shall we not mix grace with fear, even the fear of the Lord? ‘Be not highminded, but fear’. Or do not think about or covet the world and the things in it but rather think about God and His option for life and the heavenly walk: The fear of the Lord. Then again: ‘Take heed’: Piety! ‘Goodness’ is promised if we continue (piety) in ‘His goodness’. And that promised ‘goodness’ speaks of the goodness that now is ours in Christ, but much more of that eternal felicity in the presence of God in the land beyond compare, ‘the land of the blest’ and a ‘country so bright and so fair’. But if any doesn’t continue in His goodness there is a cutting off or a severance from God and so from all that are His eternally.

The fear of God cannot and should not be compromised. Jesus told us directly: “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you Whom ye shall fear: Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him” – Luke 12:4-5. Salvation gives us the hope of glory; the fear of the Lord consummates that hope; and the want of the fear of the Lord extinguishes that hope!

The pilgrims’ walk or heavenly race or true Christianity cannot be without Christ in the light of His Word. It is a scriptural race and holy endeavor with terms to be reverentially obeyed. Engaged in as such, O what a great help it attracts from the Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent God! We need the power, wisdom and companion of God on the way. The fear of God or piety; or rather, obedience to His Word, and holiness of life by His grace tap them (His power, wisdom and companion) from His Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence respectively: “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” – Hebrews 13:6.

So, the Command that comforts: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” – Revelation 2:10-11.

The prayer must always be for us to have ears that hear. The fear of the Lord is that ear. That is the hearing ear that taps or receives the strength of grace to overcome.

‘Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire’. May we fear God, and live for His glory and pleasure; may we live like we belong to ‘the few’, the chosen or soon to be manifested sons of God! It should behoove us to be faithful pilgrims indeed. And how Fanny Crosby’s “Thou my Everlasting Portion” comes alive again:

Thou my everlasting Portion,
More than friend or life to me,
All along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with Thee.
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Close to Thee, close to Thee;
All along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with Thee.
Not for ease or worldly pleasure,
Not for fame my prayer shall be;
Gladly will I toil and suffer,
Only let me walk with Thee.
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Close to Thee, close to Thee;
Gladly will I toil and suffer,
Only let me walk with Thee.
Lead me through the vale of shadows,
Bear me o’er life’s fitful sea;
Then the gate of life eternal
May I enter, Lord, with Thee.
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Close to Thee, close to Thee;
Then the gate of life eternal
May I enter, Lord, with Thee.

Amen!

In this all important subject matter of piety or the fear of God, we would necessarily see what the Spirit told Titus, you and I in Titus 2:11-15: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”

The grace of God teaches us to deny unrighteousness and worldly lusts. It teaches us nonconformity with the world on the one hand and continually progressive conformity to Christ’s Image on the other hand. That is what grace does. That is, it teaches us to live soberly, righteously and godly. Where: In this present world! This is Christianity that makes heaven. Those that fear the Lord listen to grace, obey grace and are thus perfected for the rapture; for, again, this same grace help them (those that fear the Lord) to look ‘for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ’.

May God take us to this beginning of wisdom and help us grow our Christian life from thence till He comes to take us home. No other way to making it to God’s eternal presence. No other way; and so, be not deceived. Be not distracted with ‘modern day Christianity’ which is nothing but ‘glorified worldliness’, or broad-way Christianity: Another gospel, which is really not another.

Go for piety! Mockers may abound around when you do, “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” – Titus 1:10-11; and “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

Remember: ‘let no man despise thee’. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is the answer to ever unfolding bliss with God through all eternity which is the portion of the manifested sons of God, which manifestation is the greatest subject matter now in all of the universe, ‘for the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God’. May God help us make the list; and may we help God to help and teach us to fear Him and to live the life the fear of God dictates! May this be all that matters to us; may we have grace to do this; and so, may we listen to grace! This is the beginning of wisdom. It is called the fear of God.

‘Behold, He Shall come’,
‘But who may abide the day of His Coming’ is the Old Testament poser in Malachi. Malachi 3:1-5: “Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, Whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He i

s like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.”

Who shall abide not: It says those that do not fear Him!

And Malachi 4:1-2 has this for us as well: “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear My Name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.”

Who shall abide: It says those that fear His Name!

‘Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? – is the New Testament poser in Luke! Luke 18:8: “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” That is, shall He find those still holding on to Him in righteousness; even those that fear and trust Him and live for Him acceptably! It is talking about the genuine Christian faith or true religion: Piety!

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” – Revelation 22:17. “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” – Revelation 22:20-21.

Now, the fear of the Lord is the fertile ground for that ‘grace of our Lord Jesus Christ’! It is the fear of God that can say ‘even so, come, Lord Jesus’, for it lives just for that! ‘When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more’, these are the ones to be gathered together on the other shore. The fear of the Lord: It is the beginning of wisdom!

May we be among the number that will make it, though few they may be; may we not join the multitudes – within and or without our congregations – in the broad-way; may we conform more and more to His Image, live more and more as true pilgrims, and live more and more with eternity in view. May we fear or love Him more and more to continually disentangle ourselves from this world and all that are in it to be able to go in that flight like no other. He came once to separate a people to Himself; and behold He comes again to take them home! This should take us to the next subject matter.

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