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By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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There is much complacency amongst believers. Many casually assume they will inherit eternal life with God, but don’t realise He has some ‘entry standards’ they must meet first.
If you ‘accepted Christ’ at an evangelistic rally, or ‘gave your heart to the Lord’ at a preacher’s altar, that’s fine, if your heart was truly in it, but what have you done with your life since?
Some have learned Christ through the teachings of cults, who arrogantly ‘sell’ their church as ‘the only one’. Others believe the once-saved-always-saved lie – that you can’t lose your salvation. But Paul wasn’t so presumptuous... or careless! He wrote candidly:
I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified (1 Cor 9:27).
...for many, I say to you, will seek to enter [the kingdom of God] and will not be able (Lk 13:24), so said Jesus.
0The base line of salvation is humility. It boils down to whether you are humble and meek – willing to change, able to be moulded by God’s Spirit – or whether you are resilient, resistant, self-made.
The ones who won’t make it into God’s family are those who are casual, apathetic, lethargic, sloppy. They don’t care enough about the things of the Spirit. They don’t care enough to change. They don’t abase themselves. They won’t humble their inner man. They won’t submit their spirit to God’s Spirit. Thus, they are in rebellion against God – something you don’t see outwardly, because it’s in their spirit. It’s hidden.
But it’s not hidden from God!
The ones who will make it are those who care deeply about God’s things. They care less about material things – much less! They care less about family, friends, and personal desires. Their ambitions are secondary to those of God. Everything in their lives takes on much less importance than seeking to do the will of God.
These are the ones Jesus will take to be the jewels in His crown. They will rule with Him on earth during the Millennium (Lk 22:30; Rev 19:7; 20:4), and as His Bride, be with Him for all eternity (1 Thes 4:17).
Will you be in that honoured number? Many won’t!
The reason they won’t is that they just refuse to submit their spirit to His. It’s an internal thing.
A recent interpretation of tongues message in one of our meetings was that God is urging people to let their spirit blend with God’s Spirit.
Your spirit is unacceptable to God, fashioned in its own selfish image in this present evil world. Satan has influenced it in ways you don’t perceive – until God shows you what’s wrong with pride, arrogance, self- centredness, conceit, complacency, coolness, aloofness, casualness, and all the other evil attributes that have filtered into it from demonic influences. It’s why Jesus said:
Unless one is born again [born from Above] he cannot see the kingdom of God (Jn 3:3).
God’s Spirit is so pure, so perfect, so sinless that you don’t comprehend it. Yours is so impure, so imperfect, so sinful, that you also don’t comprehend it as God does (Jer 17:9). God requires your change.
How can you change? You can’t!
And this is the problem with the false believers who think they are heading for eternity with God while they are not! They are deluded that they have changed because they have accepted Jesus in their heads. But He is not in their hearts – not in the innermost part, the spirit – the part that really counts to God.
What you believe and are in your head is far less vital than what you believe and are in your heart.
You can’t change to be the way God wants you to be. So, God made provision for you. He allowed Jesus to suffer and die, to justify you – for you to be cleared of guilt – by accepting Jesus’ death in your place. (Death is the ultimate price of sin – Rom 6:23.)
By your acceptance of what He has done for you, you are absolved – by faith. Not by what you do. God gives you that faith; it comes from Him (Eph 2:8).
Then He requires change. And that’s not by what you do, either. It’s by something so subtle, so unnoticed on the outside, but so vital on the inside. It allows His Spirit to enter and begin the process. YOU don’t change yourself. His Spirit changes you
For Jesus’ Spirit to come into you and start to refashion your spirit in His image, you yield to Him.
The false Christian can’t do this, because he is self-reliant. His own trust in himself (and of which he is unaware) denies Jesus entry. Oh, Jesus is in some of his thoughts. He knows about Jesus. He has some knowledge of the things of God in his brain. But what is most needed is not head knowledge. It is heart knowledge. He needs to know Jesus’ presence within!
As you yield your spirit to God’s Spirit within you, the change begins to take place. It’s a miracle. A meekness, a humility develops inside. God’s Spirit fuses with your spirit, giving you holy motivations and desires, and replacing all the old stuff that must go.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that all the struggles end, and all the temptations pass away from then on. You still have the same carnal nature to contend with, but on the inside you learn to submit your spirit to His, and that permits Him to come in. He lives in you.
That brings a wonderful peace as you humble yourself before His presence inside you. The old ego dies, and you start to live for God instead of for yourself. You don’t want the things you formerly wanted for yourself, at least, not to the same degree. It’s a process. Slow, maybe, but definite and sure.
The thing is, a false Christian doesn’t make the first step for Jesus to come in – this humbling of the spirit. He’s content with himself the way he is. He sees no need for God to come in. He can have Jesus in his head, in all his doctrines and knowledge of the Bible. That gives him the ‘assurance’ that he is converted and saved.
But he’s not! He has actually shut out the very means of salvation – the Spirit of God.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor 3:17).
...if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His (Rom 8:9).
It’s all a question of the Spirit. And the Spirit vies with the flesh, and the flesh vies with the Spirit. Who is going to yield? Will you? Or do you expect the Spirit to yield to you?
That may sound a ludicrous question, but it’s actually what the wicked expect – by ‘wicked’ I mean believers who put themselves in place of God by asserting their pre-eminence in their lives.
If you are the one in control of your life, if you can manage to go through each day without His help, by your own efforts, you shut Him at the door where He stands and knocks. You don’t let Him in, because you don’t recognise that you need Him.
You are not humble; you are self-made. Your spirit has not been crushed, broken, come to the point of recognition of innate worthlessness and of your spiritual inadequacy. Your spirit has not cried out to Him in emotional desperation. And until that happens in your life, it is impossible for you to truly know Him.
He dwells in the heart, in:
...him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word (Is 66:2).
The Spirit is everything! "It is the Spirit which gives life, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (Jn 6:63).
However, the person devoid of the Spirit can’t recognise the vital spiritual content of those words. So they will die. Their inner self-reliance rejects the very Source of Life! They deny their Maker! He cannot remake them, because they resist the process.
Those Who Will Be Lost
The young prodigal was emotionally crushed when he came to realise how wayward and selfish he had been; he was humbled (Lk 15:18-21). In contrast, the do-gooding, proud older brother, who had ‘never done much wrong’, was self-centred and resentful (Lk 15:28,29). His attitude betrayed his inner evil spirit. He had no contrition, unlike his younger brother who was accepted by the father with great joy (15:24,32).
Many religious people are like the older brother. They live upright and moral lives. They do good. They present a good image before others. They want to be seen to be good, before God and man.
But God doesn’t want your ‘good works’. He wants YOU. He wants to dwell in you, and fuse His Spirit with yours, to change it.
While these folks go along in their pride and self-righteousness, that they cannot see for what it is, God is distanced from them. Their works are the filthiest of rags compared with the goodness of God (Is 64:6). He considers them unclean and detestable. But their opinion of themselves is high. They are content with themselves and see no need for the indwelling of God’s Spirit (other than intellectually).
They may speak in tongues, prophesy, perform wonders in God’s service, and spread His gospel, but as long as their spirit is unyielded to His, He says: Depart from Me, I don’t know you (Matt 7:23, paraphrased and abbreviated).
"Jesus believed that men could prophesy and do even more astonishing works while never knowing the God is in whose name they were functioning" (NKJV footnote on Matt 7:21-23).
It’s not enough to know about God. You must come to know the nature of God, and desire it in you. When you allow yourself to be inwardly crushed then you can know the presence of His Spirit within.
The bottom line for the religious wicked is that they REFUSE to allow themselves to be humbled. They may go through the motions of fasting, prayer, diligent ‘obedience’, and all the rest, but they will not let their spirit yield. They obdurately resist. Their ego or pride means everything to them. Ironically, they can’t even see it in them. I guess that’s because it IS them! That’s the way they are, and the way they are going to stay, just as Satan chose to be.
Like the one talent man who received from God the most valuable ‘commodity’ but buried it and didn’t use it, the Spirit washes over these people, and is not allowed to come in to cleanse their innermost parts. To such a one, Jesus says:
You wicked and lazy servant...! (Matt 25:26.)
The punishment decreed is in Matthew 25:30.
In beautiful contrast, consider the reward of the saved and the wonderful way God treats them. (See the dream to Helena of 3rd Nov 2008 in DD46.) Will that be your inheritance? I truly hope so. Malcolm B Heap
Bible quotations are from the New King James Version (NKJV) unless otherwise stated
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