Overcome = hold fast

This is something I’ve been wanting to jot down for a while — since watching a webcast from the ICSC. There’s a common thread in John’s writing to the messenger of each of the 7 churches in Revelation 2-3, and it’s not just the call to overcome. I can’t quite remember how the brother described it, but just take a read for yourself..

To the messenger of the church in Ephesus:

“Remember therefore where you have fallen from and repent and do the first works” (2:5)

Smyrna:

Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (2:10)

Pergamos:

“In the same way you also have some who hold in like manner the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore…” (2:15-16a)

Thyatira:

“Nevertheless what you have hold fast until I come. And he who overcomes and he who keeps My works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations” (2:25-26)

Sardis:

“Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and keep it and repent.” (3:3)

Philadelphia:

“Because you have kept the word of My endurance…hold fast what you have that no one take your crown.” (3:10-11)

Laodicea:

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. …be zealous therefore and repent.” (3:15, 19b)

The call is to hold to what we already have, to repent and return to where we already were. The entire Bible has already been opened to us. The high peak of the divine revelation is already all there in the ministry. The God-ordained way has already been set before us. The only need today is to intensify. It’s not he who has a new interpretation, a higher vision, a better way of doing things who overcomes — it’s he who holds fast and keeps until the end. In a sense, we’re all in a position to overcome. It’s just a question of who will last.

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Our destiny

Ordinary days. The Bible tells us how to live them: under the divine dispensing. This song is such a great summary — get the recording here.

Little by little,
The Lord is cutting off all our natural life;
As we grow in Him,
He replaces us with more of His life divine.

(Exodus 23:30Little by little I will drive them [the various pagan tribes, signifying the different aspects of our natural life] out from before you, until you have become fruitful and inherit the land [Canaan, the good land, signifying Christ].)

    It is our destiny,
    To live a normal life in the divine dispensing,
    It is a blessing,
    To be satisfied with ordinary days  in the divine dispensing.

Day by day,
Our inward parts are being renewed by the Lord;
Every day, 
Fresh and rich supply to us He does afford.

(2 Corinthians 4:16 – Therefore we not lose heart; but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed [with the supply of the resurrection life] day by day.

Here a little,
And there a little, Christ reveals Himself to us;
When we read His word,
We are satisfied and we enjoy Him thus.

(Isaiah 28:10 – For his words are: Rule upon rule, rule upon rule; Line upon line, line upon line; Here a little, there a little.)

Morning by morning,
Jehovah He is faithful to awaken us;
He instructs our ears,
With just a word, the weary to sustain we must.

(Isaiah 50:4 – The Lord Jehovah has given me the tongue of the instructed, that I should know how to sustain the weary with a word. He awakens me morning by morning; He awakens my ear to hear as an instructed one.)

From strength to strength,
We’re on the highways to enter into our God;
Though Satan opposes,
We are strengthened to lay hold of more of God.

(Psalm 84:5 – Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion. 84:7 – They go from strength to strength; Each appears before God in Zion [the church as God’s house].)

Grace upon grace,
The Triune God is processed for us to enjoy;
The law is over,
Now we can partake of His supply through grace.

(John 1:16 – For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 1:17 – For the law was given through Moses; grace [God enjoyed] and reality [God realized] came through Jesus Christ.)

From glory to glory,
We are in the process of being transformed;
Beholding, reflecting,
To God’s image with all saints we’ll be conformed.

(2 Corinthians 3:18 – But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.)

So what’s our destiny? To live little-by-little, day-by-day, here-a-little-there-a-little, morning-by-morning, from-strength-to-strength, grace-upon-grace, from-glory-to-glory ordinary days — not so ordinary because they’re under the divine dispensing.

(I’m not the only one with a particular enjoyment of the phrase “ordinary days”. Check out this blog.)

Whiter than snow

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Whiter than snow

Psalm 51: “A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba.”

Reading 2 Samuel 11-12, I questioned how David, “a man according to [Jehovah]’s heart for Himself” (1 Samuel 13:14), could commit such a sin as to break five of the Ten Commandments (murder, adultery, stealing, false testimony, coveting). But reading Psalm 51, my question became, “How can someone be “whiter than snow” after doing that?”

We’re so complicated. We think that it will take a lifetime of good-doing and God-serving to make amends for a sin like David’s. But to God, the blood suffices. “For by one offering [Christ] has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14), therefore “[God] then says, ‘And their sins and their lawlessnesses I shall by no means remember anymore'” (10:17).

It’s really that simple. When we repent and confess our sins as David did, the blood of the Lamb immediately cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). There’s no condemnation, no record — God does not even remember it. Right there and then, we become whiter than snow.