In the 4th chapter of Galatians, Paul wrote, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (vs. 16). This question was posed to the churches in Galatia who were not receiving the Truth Paul had delivered to them, but were taking hold of that being proclaimed by others — men claiming to be messengers of God who, instead, sought a following for themselves. People often harden their hearts against God and His messengers because the Word of God, when ministered by the Holy Spirit, always exposes the self-loving, prideful nature within man, calls him to exercise faith in God, to die to himself, and let God have possession of his whole being. The self-loving, carnal nature is in opposition to God and, therefore, influences the soul to reason that the message and the messenger of God are an enemy to the individual. Always be mindful that neither God, nor His messengers, are against anyone. Love only seeks to free a man’s soul from its bondage to the carnal nature and restore the divine nature within him — “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).
In 1John 4:5-6 we read, “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the Spirit of Truth, and the spirit of error”. It’s also the carnal nature that induces people to gravitate toward messengers attempting to develop their own following and build their own kingdom. One whose desire is fixed upon his own cause, and who presents the Word of God, is not under the influence of the Holy Spirit, but is under the influence of the carnal nature. He may share the written Word of God, and be very eloquent in doing so, but he can only bring it forth in such a manner that appeals to and feeds pride, lust, envy, and wrath. This is so because his mind (soul) is enslaved to the carnal nature which prevents him from discerning and proclaiming God’s Word in the light of selfless love, humility, long-suffering, and total resignation to God. Here, we see why the world and vast numbers of professing Christians are going here and there (Matthew 24:23-24) from teacher to teacher and purchasing so many books on Christian living. Bible teachers with the carnal nature provide those doctrines, but the deceived soul never finds the rest its pursuing — “Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?” (Luke 6:39).
Carnal man has the ability to practice countless disciplines, in his outward life, that do nothing to destroy the selfish pride, lust, envy, and wrath that make up his nature. Nevertheless, a deceived soul does just that, under the instruction of his teachers. But, after numerous failed attempts to find rest, he does not come to be convinced that he is in the dark, only that he needs better instruction, or a different perspective, on the knowledge he has already acquired. So, he turns to yet another carnal teacher who is pursuing his own cause. By this, false teachers develop a massive following of people and accumulate much wealth to exalt themselves and build their own kingdoms, while their followers continue to be weary and heavy laden (Matthew 11:28-30).
Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the Truth, we can not know it. Rest for our souls can only be found by knowing the Truth, and I don’t mean intellectually. To “know Jesus’” in the proper context of the scriptures, is having the life of Jesus rekindled within us to be one with our soul and the controlling influence in our heart. In order for this to take place, we must love Him more than the life we have by the carnal nature. That’s why Jesus says, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:23-24). This is NOT because God has some unwillingness or reservation on His part, but because He has created us with a will, and we must choose one life or the other. It is impossible to have both. I really hope the following insight God has given me will help every reader comprehend the power of the Gospel and the necessity of receiving it.
All intelligent beings are originally created by God with a two-fold state of life — the creaturely and the heavenly. This two-fold state of life is nothing less than the Deity being one with, and ruling in, the creature. Adam was created in a creaturely state from “the dust of the ground”, so he could live and interact in the physical realm, and he was created in the heavenly state, the “image of God”, so he could live and interact in the heavenly realm. This two-fold state of being is the only state in which the creature can experience perfect peace, contentment, and rest. Such was the case with Adam before the fall. He was not as we see men today. With the two-fold state of being intact, Adam had a life superior to the physical arrangement. However, in the fall, he chose another life — one sensible to, subjected to, and governed by the physical world. By this choice, he lost or extinguished the heavenly state of the two-fold life. This left him with only his creaturely life and such is the case with every person born into the world.
The creaturely life has, in itself, only the properties of desire. When the desire departs from God, His light, His love, and His power is no longer present to satisfy. Therefore the desire of the soul is shut up in its own darkness of self-love, self-will, and self-seeking. Desire that can’t be stopped or satisfied can only pursue. This desire, then, shut up in the darkened soul, can only pursue self-love, self-will, and self-seeking. Since none of these pursuits can satisfy, the soul is perpetually engaged with desire, pursuit, and equal resistance to the pursuit. This produces a whirling motion of torment, or wrath, within the soul. Desire, pursuit, and equal resistance are the three properties of the creature. We must understand that darkness, torment, wrath, and hell are all different words for the same thing — the absence of the Deity and its power dwelling and working in the properties of creation. The sum of what I’ve been saying is this; all evil, no matter what it is, all misery of every kind, IS, in its birth and working, nothing but creation left to itself. In the case of fallen man, he is under the divided workings of his own want, pursuit, and wrath. Therefore, there is no possible way for the natural, earthly man to escape eternal want, pursuit, and wrath but in the way the gospel teaches — by denying and dying to self in order that a heavenly birth may be rekindled in him. On the other hand, all goodness and happiness, glory and joy, that can possess us, is from nothing else but the invisible light and Spirit of God manifesting Themselves in the properties of the creaturely life.
The creaturely properties are the ground of life that is, in itself, nothing but extreme hunger, want, strife, and turmoil. For this reason, they are the proper fuel for a fourth property — the fire of God to be kindled in them. Hebrews 12:29 says, “For our God is a consuming fire”. The fire of God consumes the creaturely properties, breaks them down, and changes them into a new, heavenly state. The fire must work from a two-fold power. The Deity and the creaturely properties must be in it. That’s why we must surrender our will to God in true repentance. The fire can’t consume if it has no place to be kindled. Everything that manifests in the physical arrangement is an out-birth of a spiritual reality. There would be no physical fire if there were no spiritual fire. Physical fire is the means by which gold and silver are purified because it is an out-birth of the purifying fire of God. Now, consider a piece of wood that is burning. The fire breaks down its properties, alters its nature, and changes it into a flame and light. The physical fire has this power because it is a true out-birth of the fire of God. This is why we must believe the gospel is the power of God to free us from the carnal nature and regenerate us with the Divine nature. Faith gives place for God to enter and do His work.
Just as the physical fire works in the wood, the spiritual fire of God consumes all that is impure in the creaturely properties, and turns all their strength into the fifth property — light. Jesus is “the light of the world” (John 8:12). The fire of God brings forth the birth of Jesus in the heart where He becomes the light of the soul. Jesus, the light, is the love of God. Just as light brought forth by physical fire is lovely and delightful in nature, so is light brought forth in the soul by the fire of God. The shock given to the creaturely properties by the light of God breaking in upon them, is the operation of the fire that takes away their wrathful strength, and forces them to shrink away and come under the power of this new-risen light.
Christian perfection, or walking in the Spirit, can only come to pass by the process of growth. A flower seed must have its natural change into the higher state of a beautiful bloom. The seed must pass through death into life. Then, blessed by the fire/warmth and light of the sun, and air of this world, it reaches its last perfection as a beautiful bloom. Likewise, our creaturely properties must pass through a death, then receive the fire, light, and Spirit of God to produce the perfected life. It is through Jesus that we can grow to the sixth property, which is a continual walk in the Spirit. The heavenly life is only sustainable by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, just as the physical life is only sustainable by breathing air. A continual work of the Deity; the fire, the light, and the Spirit, produces a spiritual man. We must die daily in order to give place for the working of the Deity to develop the spiritual man.
That which brings the three creaturely properties into union with the three heavenly properties, or said another way, that which manifests the triune God in the triune creature is yet another property, the seventh. Here you see the number of God, the number of perfection to which we are called (Matthew 5:48, Colossians 1:28-29, James 1:2-4). This is the person who has been brought to “walk as Jesus walked”, to be “as He is in this world” and to “be holy as He is holy” (1 John 2:6, 1 John 4:17, Hebrews 12:14, 1 Peter 1:15). Here, the Spirit of love is the wellspring of all that is thought, consented to, said, and done. Here, there is no anxiety, no strife, no bitterness, no want, no lack, and no more searching for the Kingdom of Heaven because it is established within the heart (Luke 17:21). This is the place we find the peace of God, rest for our souls, and the fullness of salvation that so many are going here and there to find. All the controversy about religion and salvation, and all deception, is brought to nothing when a person comes to realize, and submits to, the one purpose of the Gospel, the one work of Jesus as our redeemer. Which is, to take all the power from our earthly, carnal nature, and to raise His life up within us as a powerful, governing life of the whole man. No religious forms, creeds, or practices accomplish anything unless they bring us to giving Jesus place to work this in us.
Although it is not Biblical, most professing Christians have been led to believe that man’s salvation rests upon Jesus having suffered and died on the cross to extinguish a wrath that had been kindled in God because of transgressions. In this belief system, it is supposed that God was unwilling to reconcile with man until a punishment could be inflicted that was sufficient to avenge Himself and thereby quench His wrath. Jesus, then, having fully satisfied this requirement by His death on the cross, provided for all those who receive forgiveness to be pardoned and assured of their entry into the heavenly kingdom without regard to any sin in their lives. This corrupt theology is part of the reason there is, within the vast community of professing Christians, so much confusion, such a lack of holiness, and a countless number of people who are under the delusion that they may continue in sin and not suffer everlasting damnation.
Be assured that the purpose of this teaching is NOT to stir a debate about the just judgment of God or any actions He takes to discipline people and abolish sin. He does judge, discipline, and vindicate, but my intention is to help the reader understand that everything God has ever done, or ever will do, is an act of love, and that the only wrath in need of being extinguished is in man.
It is extremely important to see that there is a radical difference between the wrath OF God and wrath IN God. The Bible does indeed speak about the wrath of God, but does not once speak of any wrath IN God because there is no wrath in Him. Once a person comes to see and understand this, in conjunction with the things shared in this teaching, all the controversy about religion and salvation is brought to nothing, the possibilities for self-delusion and deception from outside sources are greatly reduced, and the way into God’s rest is vividly clear.
To show that Jesus did not suffer and die to appease or vindicate any wrath in God, I’ll begin with a verse that is both well known and often quoted— “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Please note that love, not wrath, is the virtue that motivated God to send Jesus. And, in the following verse, Jesus goes on to say, “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (vs. 17). Man was already condemned, but not by God. Man was condemned because his soul, through Adam’s fall, no longer had the spiritual light and inspiration of God upon it. This left the soul shut up in spiritual darkness and held captive to self-love, self-will, and self-seeking as the only motives to pursue anything, and with a mindset that the desires of self could be satisfied by things in the physical world. The darkened soul wants what it lost (the light and life of God), but does not realize it. Subsequently, its worldly pursuit for satisfaction and rest is futile. This keeps the soul in a state of turmoil and anguish, or wrath. It is this wrath in man, not in God, that had to be put to rest in order for us to be saved. God, from Adam’s fall in the garden till now, has been working to save men from their desperate condition.
Now look at Romans 5:8-10— “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life”. Here again, it is very clear that love moved God to save men from wrath and the wrath is within our own darkened souls. Reading these verses carefully, you should be able to see that God is not reconciled, or restored into a relationship with fallen man, but rather fallen man is reconciled, or restored into a relationship, with God. In other words, God has never been an enemy to fallen man, but fallen man is an enemy to God. By this, it is blatantly apparent that there is no wrath in God which had to be appeased, or vindicated, before He was willing for fallen man to re-enter into a relationship with Him. On the contrary, something needed to happen that would enlighten and compel fallen man to turn his heart back to God. Love in God had always desired a restoration of the relationship, but the disorder within the darkened souls of fallen men had prevented it. The cross is the expression of God’s love that is intended to break the hearts of men and turn them back to God— “Or despiseth thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). I sincerely hope you can see how this perfectly corresponds with 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, saying, “And all things are of God, Who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation”.
Wrath, whether spiritual, emotional, or physical is inflammation produced by some disorder. For example, a fever is inflammation that results from some disorder within the body. Once the bodily disorder is corrected, the fever, or wrath, goes away. God is perfect, He is love, He is a Spirit who perpetually dwells in peace, and He is eternal. All these virtues of God are the highest proof that there can be no possibility of any wrath IN Him because there would, of necessity, have to be some disorder within Him to produce it. And, if there were to ever be any disorder in God, any wrath in God, it could never be extinguished because His eternal attributes are unalterable and inextinguishable. Again, disorder and wrath are within the darkened souls of fallen man because the immediate, continual inspiration of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not there. Galatians 5:19-21 lists the characteristic traits of the fallen nature and “wrath” is found among them in verse 20. To say, then, that wrath is in God, one is assuming that His holy nature and character has something in common with the fallen nature and its character—“God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). The fallen nature is spiritual darkness and the verse just quoted says very plainly that there is no darkness in God. Light, spiritual or physical, always and without question, displaces darkness. There is, therefore, absolutely no possibility that the Divine nature and fallen nature can have anything in common. James 1:17 also testifies to this, saying, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning”. There is wrath in fallen angels, wrath in fallen man, and wrath in this fallen world, but there is no wrath in God.
I now intend to show you how there is a wrath OF God and yet no wrath IN Him. Psalms 147:17 says, “He casteth forth His ice like morsels: who can stand before His cold?”. This Psalm refers to ice and cold as belonging to and coming from God. However, these physical properties are not IN Him. They are only said to be OF God because He created the physical elements. However, it must be remembered that when initially created by Him, all the elements functioned in harmony. The reason there is now extreme heat and cold, storms and earthquakes, is because the fall of angels and men has given place to spiritual disorder in the physical arrangement. All these are manifestations of wrath, or inflammation, in the elements because of this spiritual disorder. If sin had no place here, there would be no disorder within the physical elements, and they would function in a continual state of harmony and peace. Just as extreme heat and cold, storms and earthquakes, are not in God and do not proceed from Him, but are attributed to Him, the wrath of God is not IN Him, and is only said to be OF God because He is the creator of all things. The psalmist says, “For Thine arrows stick fast in me, and Thy hand presseth me sore” and yet, nothing else is meant by it than when he says, “Mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me” (Psalms 38:2 & 4). The point is this: whether you call this state of man the arrows of God and the weight of His hand, or the wrath of God, or the burden of man’s own sin and wickedness, they all mean the very same thing. Man was originally created as a righteous and holy being and reflected the very image of God. In the fall, he lost his righteousness and holiness. Now, in want of what he had, his sinful state is nothing but pain and torment, or wrath, in him, and the burden of it lies heavy upon him. Therefore, when the psalmist again says, “Remove Thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of Thine hand” (Psalms 39:10), he is praying to be delivered from his own self-inflicted pain. And, it is praying for the same thing as when he says,“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalms 51:10). The “clean heart” and “right spirit” speak directly to the restoration of the immediate, continual inspiration of God’s light and life within the soul. When this is accomplished, the disorder in the soul is corrected, and the wrath goes away.
You should now be able to see clearly that all of fallen man’s suffering is the result of the disorder and wrath within his own darkened soul, and that this suffering is justly referred to as the wrath of God because, and only because, it is the natural result of any departure from the immediate, continual inspiration of God’s light and life. This wrath of God is, and always will be, present when any created thing, whether it be angels, men, or elements, are not in their first, right state.
Gospel salvation can be nothing less than the darkened soul being restored to its first, right state. This means that the disorder in the fallen soul must be fixed and its wrath put to rest. In the teaching titled, “The Soul on Fire” it is shown that the fallen soul may find some superficial, temporal relief from its wrath in this physical arrangement, but once departed from this world, and not having been restored to its right state, such a soul will exist throughout eternity with no means and no hope for its disorder to be fixed and its wrath to be extinguished. It has also been shown that all intelligent beings were initially created with a two-fold state of life; the creaturely and the heavenly. The fallen soul has lost the heavenly properties and is left with only the creaturely. These are the properties of unsatisfied desire which are in a whirling motion of anguish, or wrath, within the soul. This wrath is the source of every unrighteous, ungodly thing in man and in his life.
The gospel is the provision and power of God to reunite the Deity with the soul and restore the heavenly properties to it. These properties are the spiritual fire of God, the light of His love, and the continual inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They fix the disorder, extinguish the wrath, and bring the soul into peace and rest. However, this can not, and will not, occur unless a person repents as a result of a godly sorrow, and truly believes that the gospel is the power of God to accomplish this work in them. The whole heart must turn to God. This means the whole heart must turn away from self-love, self-will, and self-seeking. Not because God is angry and demanding and will have it no other way, but because it is the only way God can have place to do His redeeming work in the soul. The restoration I have set before you is the only true salvation that has been made available to us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Any doctrine that does not bring a soul to the immediate, continual inspiration of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is vanity and is nothing more than a worldly attempt to hide the selfish, prideful nature under the cover of religion.
Christian redemption is God’s mercy to all mankind, but it could not be so if every fallen man did not have the same fitness and capacity to receive it. It must not depend upon times and places, conditions of the world, intellect, or any outward circumstance of life. The highly educated, the uneducated, the rich, the poor, the blind, deaf, and dumb have all suffered the loss of the divine life. Therefore, all have but one and the same need, with one and the same common way of finding it. Since the fall is what necessitated the need for God’s redemption, so the fall must be the guide to it. In other words, the want shows the thing that is wanted. Therefore, the nature of this one salvation is grounded in man’s own sense of the misery in his soul and the vanity of this world, and a faith and hope in God for restoration to his first right state of being. Here the mercy of God and the misery of man come together. This is the true salvation which is as old as the fall; which alone saved the first man and can alone save the last. This is the gospel salvation on which hangs all the law and the prophets, and which fulfills them, because they have only this purpose — to turn man from the lusts of this life to a desire and faith and hope of being regenerated into the likeness and image of the second Adam, Jesus Christ.
A person who has cancer wants only to be healed, and the one need of a shipwrecked man is to get on shore. If we were to grasp the true state of our being, as does one with cancer or one who is shipwrecked, we would realize but one need and have but one desire — to get possession of the life that was lost in the fall of Adam. There is no personal misery but in the evil of our own fallen nature; this is our spiritual cancer or shipwreck. There is no cure, no salvation, no happiness, no peace, no arriving, but in having the life of God, with all His goodness, opened again in the soul. This work of restoration is the sole purpose of the gospel, and those not intent upon it can be likened to one who is unaware that cancerous cells are destroying the life of his body or to a shipwrecked man who so loved his vessel that he wouldn’t leave it in order to arrive safely at the shore.
The Lord has stirred a concern within me for professing Christians who may be occupied with going to church, increasing their knowledge of the scriptures, studies of Greek and Hebrew, mission trips, the growth of their local congregation, as well as the defense and expansion of their denomination, while their hearts are still possessed and governed by the powers of darkness. In his second letter to Timothy, and speaking of the last days, Paul wrote of those who would have a’form of godliness’ while ’denying the power thereof’ and said that such would be ’ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth’ (2 Timothy 3:1-7). The whole matter of being in Adam or in Jesus, of being a son of perdition or a son of God, of being lost or being saved, lies in this: whether heaven or earth has the possession and government of a man’s soul. This is the only thing that divides the worshipers of the true God from idolaters. All are of the same worldly religion and idolaters, however they may be distinguished by denomination or affiliation, where self-love, self-will, and self-seeking possess and rule the soul. We must examine ourselves! How far has our form of Christianity brought us from selfish pride, lust, envy, and wrath? Do we still desire praise, recognition, and a reputation? Are we anxious and embittered about national politics? How is our heart toward those of a different belief system? Do we harbor fears about the economy, our health, and our own preservation? What rises up within us when we see or hear something about homosexuality? Is it disdain and wrath, or mercy and compassion? Do we gossip? Do we slander others? How do we treat those who can do nothing for us? How much of our wealth is spent upon worldly desires and building our own kingdom? Are we content with what we have or looking for something else to make us happy? The reason professing Christians can have so much religious zeal and, at the same time, be so undone is because their religion has not been established upon a real want for the divine life. Instead, their hearts are occupied with fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. And, with hearts that love the world, they vainly attempt to build themselves a tower to heaven with historical facts, carnal knowledge, reasoning, intellect, debate, and outward deeds.
The true ground and nature of gospel Christianity is an awakened divine life in the soul that wholly possesses and governs the heart. When Jesus had taken a birth in and from the human nature, had finished all the wonders that belonged to our redemption, and sat down at the right hand of God in heaven, then the Holy Spirit came down, and a heavenly kingdom was set up on earth. This was such a degree of birth and heavenly life that never was, nor could be given to man until Christ, the Redeemer of human nature was glorified. But when the humanity of Jesus, our second Adam, was glorified, then the heavenly life, the comfort, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit was the gift which He gave to His brethren and followers here upon earth. The Holy Spirit descended in the shape of cloven tongues of fire upon the ones who were to begin and open the new powers of a divine life set up among men. This was the beginning and manifestation of the WHOLE nature and power of gospel Christianity. The apostles were new men who had been consumed by a new life that had come down from heaven. They were enlightened with new light, enflamed with new love, and did not preach an absent or distant thing, but Jesus Christ, as the wisdom and power of God, felt and found within them, and as a power of God ready to be communicated in the same manner as a new birth from above, to all that would repent and believe in Him. Then, the Christianity men were called to was this change of nature, of life, and spirit; to this certain immediate deliverance from the power of sin to be possessed and governed by gifts and graces of a heavenly life. The preachers of it bore witness, not to a thing that they had heard, but to a power of salvation, a renewal of nature, a birth of heaven, a sanctification of spirit, which they themselves had received. Christianity then stood upon its own true ground and appeared to be what it really was — an awakened divine life set up among men. It was its own proof and it appealed to its proper judge — the heart and conscience of man. This is why sinners of all sorts felt the burden of their evil natures and were compelled to turn from the world and receive the glad tidings.
The apostles and disciples of Jesus, though they had been baptized with water, had followed Him, heard His doctrines, and done wonders in His name; yet as then, stood only near to the kingdom of God and preached it to be at hand. They had only known Christ according to the flesh, and followed Him with great zeal, but with very little and very low knowledge either of Him or of His kingdom. And therefore it was, that they were commanded to stand still and not act as His ministers until they were endued with power from on high. This power they received, when the Holy Spirit came down upon them, by which they became the illuminated instruments who were to diffuse the light of a heavenly kingdom all over the world. From that day began gospel Christianity with its true distinction from everything that was before it and all that has come after. It was the ministration of the Spirit and the ministers of it called the world to nothing but gifts and graces of the same Spirit, to look for nothing but spiritual blessings, to trust and hope and pray for nothing but the power of that Spirit, which was to be the one life and ruling Spirit of this newly opened kingdom of God within them. No one could join himself to them, or have any part with them, but by dying to the desires, wisdom, and light of the flesh that he might live by the Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 8:13-14 says, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”. Can it be more clear? Those who only trust in, adhere to, and rely upon the history of facts, doctrines, and institutions of the gospel, without being born of its Spirit, are only such people, and are no nearer to Christ than the rigid Pharisee, the orthodox priest, the Jew who carnally adhered to the letter of the law, or any worldly heathen. They all stand in the same distance from gospel Christianity. Jesus says, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” (Luke 9:23-25). The life of fallen man, the life we must lose, is one of selfish pride, lust, envy, and wrath. The life of Jesus is one of selfless love, humility, longsuffering, and total resignation to God. Living to one is dying to the other.
Carnal intellect and reasoning, historical knowledge of Bible facts and gospel doctrines, learned methods and fleshly attempts to fulfill God’s will, and aroused soulish emotions can not, and will not, secure anyone’s salvation because the light and Spirit of God can only be regenerated within man, and become the controlling influence of the soul, when a person truly humbles himself to cooperate with God by repenting of a godly sorrow and believing the gospel. A man’s own inward misery should tell him that he needs such a salvation, and a man’s own inward peace is the only thing that will assure him of having it. Those who find that their soul is in turmoil, need only to have a real desire for that which was lost in the fall, and a turning of their whole heart to God, believing that He is able to restore His love and Spirit to be the controlling influence of all that is thought, allowed, consented to, said, and done. This IS the heavenly life.
I genuinely hope this series, and all we publish, will awaken and help many, in this time of darkness, deception, delusion, and controversy, to find the full truth and fundamental ground of all the doctrines of salvation just as plainly written and evident in the essence of their own souls, as they are in scripture. The reason being, that if a son of Adam never comes to realize the true condition of his darkened soul, if he is continually desensitized to the whirling motion of anguish within himself by the things of this world, and he never cooperates with God to partake of the one remedy, then, when his body dies, and his soul has no more contact with the physical arrangement, he will be in that place of outer darkness where nothing will be available, physical or spiritual, throughout all eternity, to provide a remedy, to act as a drug, or to use as an escape for one moment of relief from the wrath of his own unsatisfied desire. It will be his worm that never dies and his fire that is never quenched (Mark 9:43-48 NKJV).
One may presume that the lethargic condition and eternal consequences I’ve described could only be applicable to souls who are unchurched and without knowledge of the scriptures, but this is not so. There is a large number of church-going, professing Christians, who have an intellectual knowledge of the scriptures, but as yet have not come to a right understanding of gospel salvation, a real sensibility of the wrath in their souls, or to cooperating with God that they may partake of the one remedy He has provided. This observation is not born of a critical, judgmental spirit, but is solely based upon the words of Jesus saying, “…by their fruits ye shall know them” and “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 7:20 & 12:34). Deception worked through false doctrines and the precepts of men have lulled many into this lethargic condition whereby there is no conviction, or compulsion, to turn from sin, die to self, and live wholly to God. Those in this number can be among the most difficult to arouse from their stupor because carnal intellect and reasoning, coupled with a form of godliness, such as a historic knowledge of Bible facts, participation in religious activities, and the performance of some “good” deeds, have the tendency to induce a false sense of security in the minds of people. Therefore, everyone who reads this teaching should carefully, and prayerfully, consider its entire content, be as honest as is possible with themselves in conducting a self-examination, and then be done with anything and everything they find not to be the will of God in their inward man and outward life.
Up to now, the following matters have been fully substantiated by scripture. First, that the only true gospel salvation is a restoration, or a rebirth, of the light and Spirit of God within the soul to generate and govern all that is thought, allowed, consented to, said, and done. Second, that God’s love, wisdom, and goodness is infinite, that He always has, and always will be the same unchangeable will to all goodness and love, and that He is as incapable of any sensibility of wrath, or acting under it, as of falling into pain, or darkness, or acting under their direction. Third, that all wrath, discord, strife, envy, hatred, pride, all heat and cold, all hostility in the elements, are things that only exist in and from the sphere of fallen creation. Fourth, that carnal intellect and reasoning, a knowledge of Bible facts and gospel doctrines, learned methods producing fleshly attempts to accomplish God’s will, and aroused soulish emotion can not and will not secure anyone’s salvation. Fifth, that the only way a soul may partake of gospel salvation is by turning their whole desire from self and to God. This demands a total death to self-will, self-love, and self-seeking. It is through, and by, this cooperation with God that His spiritual fire has place to overcome the properties of desire, break their nature, alter their state, and change them into heavenly light and Spirit.
Although it has been sufficiently proven that there is no possibility of any wrath in the Deity, there remains a necessity to explain the atonement, or in other words, the true meaning and need for that righteousness of God that must be satisfied before man can be reconciled to Him. This is a necessity because most of the contemporary church has been misled to believe that the transgressions of man had caused a wrath and resentment to rise up in God, and that He was unwilling to reconcile with man until a punishment could be inflicted that would suffice to appease God and thereby quench His wrath. Jesus then, having fully satisfied this requirement, by His death upon the cross, provided for all who receive forgiveness to be pardoned and assured of their entrance into the heavenly kingdom while sin continues to rule and reign in their hearts. This corrupt theology is part of the reason there is, within the vast community of professing Christians, so much confusion, such a lack of holiness, and a countless number of people who are under the delusion that they may continue in sin and not suffer everlasting damnation.
The absolute necessity and real effectiveness of the atonement, made by Jesus, to satisfy the righteousness, or justice, of God, is the very ground and foundation of Christian redemption, and the life and strength of every part of it. But then, this doctrine is so far from supporting the idea of a wrath in God that, in fact, it is an absolute and full denial of it. The whole nature of our redemption has no purpose but to remove, or extinguish, the wrath that is between God and man. Therefore, where the wrath is, there is that which is the cause of the separation and there is that which Jesus came into the world to extinguish, quench, or atone. The wrath that needs to be atoned is nothing else but sin and disorder in man. It is the sin in man that produces wrath in his soul. When sin in a man is removed, wrath is atoned, or pacified, and the individual is reconciled to God. If this wrath, which is the blamable cause of the separation between God and man, is in God Himself, if Christ died to atone or pacify a wrath that had gotten into the Deity itself, then it must be said that Jesus made an atonement for God and not for man! This blasphemy is unavoidable if you suppose that Jesus died to atone, pacify, or appease a wrath in God Himself.
Atonement implies the alteration or removal of something that is not as it ought to be. Therefore, atonement can not possibly have any place in God because nothing in God needs, or can receive, alteration. Atonement is only necessary when a created being has lost, or altered, that which it had from God and is fallen into disorder. Then, that which brings the creature back to its first, right state, that which alters what is wrong in it, and takes its evil out of it, is its true and proper atonement. Water is the proper atonement for the rage of fire, and that which changes a storm into calm is its true atonement. So, as sure as Jesus is a propitiation and atonement, so sure is it that what He does as a propitiation and atonement, can be nothing less than altering that evil and disorder in fallen man that needs to be altered. Hell, wrath, darkness, misery, and death mean the same thing throughout all scripture. These are the only things from which we need to be redeemed, and where there is nothing of hell, there is no wrath or separation from God. The apostle says that fallen men are by nature, children of wrath(Ephesians 2:1-3). Is it not clear that the wrath which needs the atonement procured by the blood of Jesus is that sin, or sinful state, in which we are naturally born?
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).This is the whole work, the whole nature, and the sole purpose of gospel atonement. It all consists, from beginning to end, in carrying on the one work of regeneration, and therefore the apostle says that the last, or second Adam, was made a quickening Spirit because Jesus was sent into the world, by God, to revive and make alive that divine nature and heavenly life that was lost in the fall of Adam. Jesus is called our ransom, our atonement, for no other reason but because that which He did and suffered in our fallen nature was as truly an effective means of our being born again to a new heavenly life of Him and from Him, as that which Adam did was the true and natural cause of our being born in sin. It can truly be said that Adam purchased our misery and corruption by what he did, that he bought death for us, and sold us into slavery to the world, the flesh, and the devil, though the only thing we have from him, or suffer by him, is the inward working of his nature and life within us. So, in the same way, it is truly said that Jesus is our price, our ransom, and atonement though all that He does as to buying, ransoming, and redeeming us is done wholly and solely by a birth of His own nature and Spirit brought to life in us. The apostle says, “Christ died for our sins”. He is the great sacrifice for sin and its true atonement, but how and why is it so? The apostle tells us in these words, “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57). Jesus is the atonement for our sin when by, and from His living in us, we have victory over our sinful nature. But what is the full meaning, effect, and benefit of His giving Himself up for us? The apostle does away with all doubt when he says, “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” (Titus 2:13-14).The whole truth of the matter is this; Jesus given for us is neither more nor less than Jesus given into us. And, He is in no other sense our full, perfect, and sufficient atonement than as His nature and Spirit are born and formed in us to purge all the evil from our soul and to generate all that is thought, allowed, consented to, said, and done. Once a person comes to this understanding, it is easy to see that the mercy and love of God has done all that can be done to deliver fallen man from his sin and the wrath in his soul.
Therefore, those individuals who, for whatever reason, deny the power of the gospel, and fail to cooperate with God, are rejecting the one remedy that will free their soul from everlasting torment and there is nothing else the love of God can do for them. But whosoever will die to self, turning their whole heart to God, will find the power of the gospel to remove the sin and disorder in their souls and experience the heavenly life today, tomorrow, and throughout eternity.
Virtue and goodness may be imparted to us by two different ways. They may be taught to us by men, the written Word, and precepts, or they may be born within us as a genuine birth of our own renewed nature. Learning virtue and goodness from outward means can only, at best, change our outward behavior while leaving our heart in its worldly, carnal state. Here, the fleshly, worldly passions are only put under a forced restraint and will show themselves when various occasions arise to uncover them. This way of learning and attaining goodness, though imperfect, is absolutely necessary in the nature of things, and must have its time and place to work in us. Nevertheless, it is to only be so for a time, just as the Law was a schoolmaster, or tutor, to bring us to Christ. We must first be babes in doctrine and in strength before we can be men. However, all outward instruction, whether from godly men or scripture, must be categorized the same as that which the apostle has said of the Law — that it makes nothing perfect (Hebrews 7:19). Could this be why so many professing Christians are still enslaved to sin, so susceptible to deception, and failing to experience the power of God in their lives? Could many be assuming that their learned knowledge of the Scriptures and practices of forced restraint are the new birth and life God has called them to? The true perfection and profit of the written Word is well stated by Paul in his second letter to Timothy saying, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). The scriptures have no other eternal good or benefit in them, but as they lead and direct us to a salvation that can not be obtained in themselves, but can only be obtained by faith in Jesus. Their teaching is only to direct us where and how to seek and to find the source of all Light and Knowledge.
Just as the Law was a tutor to lead man to Christ, so is the written letter of the New Testament. With regard to it, Peter says, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2 Peter 1:19). The New Testament is like that of the Law and prophets; a light of which we are to take great heed until Christ, as the dawning of the day, rises in our heart. Then, all knowledge, notions, and opinions acquired by outward means, all carnal ideas of good and evil will be done away with, just as the stars lose their visibility when the sun is risen. No heavenly instruction that comes in the form of words, verbal or printed, can do any more for us than sounds or pictures can do — they can only direct us to something that is better than themselves, that can be true Light, Life, Spirit, and the power of holiness within us.
To some, this may seem to minimize the Scripture, but it does not. How is it more possible to exalt the written Word of God than by acknowledging it to be the one true outward direction to Jesus Who is the only Light and salvation of man? The ministry of John the Baptist was to prepare the way to Jesus. How could a disciple of John have more magnified his ministry, or declared their confidence in him, than by going from him to follow Jesus as he had directed them to do? John was indeed a burning and shining light and so are the holy Scriptures, but “He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:8-9). And, so it is with the written Word. Would it not be an error to say that you had undervalued the ministry and character of John the Baptist because he was not the Light itself, but only a witness of it and a guide to it? Yes, it would be an error and it is also an error to suppose the Scripture is being minimized by saying that it is not that Light, but is a witness of it and a guide to it.
Two states of virtue and goodness arise from the two ways of obtaining knowledge. If we only learn virtue and goodness from outward means, we may be virtuous and good according to time and place and outward forms, we may do works of humility, works of love, and we may be heavily involved in religious activities. All this virtue and goodness is suitable to this kind of teaching, and may very well be the product of it. But, the virtues of God can only be acquired by the operation of the Light and Spirit of God through the birth of a newborn spirit within us. When virtuous deeds are done only under obedience to outward rules, precepts, and doctrines, but are not the fruits of a newborn spirit within, they are only learned practices and are built upon the faulty foundation of self rather than Jesus. Everything done by such a person is a mixture of their own good and evil; their humility will strengthen their pride, their love to others will nourish their own self-love, and as their outward religious activities increase, so will their opinion of their own holiness. The reason is this — until the heart is purified from top to bottom, and the axe has severed the root of its evil, everything that proceeds from it partakes of its impurity and corruption. Divine virtue and goodness can not be produced in man by outward instruction but only by an inward birth and work of the Light and Spirit of God.
Experiencing the heavenly life requires the continual, immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This is necessary to begin the first, and continue every step of the Divine life. The natural, beastial, diabolical life can only last as long as it is under the immediate, continual working power of the root from which it stems. And, so it is with the Divine life in man; it can only proceed from the life of God within him. Jesus instructed the apostles with His mouth while with them in the flesh, and they were enabled to work miracles in His name, but were then not yet qualified to know and teach the mysteries of His kingdom because there was still a higher dispensation to come which provided an opening of the Divine life in their hearts that could not occur by any outward instruction, even from Jesus himself. Though He had taught them the necessity of being born again of the Spirit, He left them unborn of the Spirit, until He came again in the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. He breathed on them and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost”, yet that which was said and done was not the thing itself, but only an outward instruction of what they should receive when He, being glorified, would come again in the Spirit, breaking open the death and darkness of their souls with fire and light from heaven. The heavenly light then did what it alone could do for them; it opened and verified within their souls all that Jesus had said and promised to them while in the flesh.
All this is clearly declared by Jesus Himself saying, “I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away” (John 16:7). Therefore, Jesus taught them, and us, to believe for and expect a higher and more blessed state than His bodily presence or any outward teaching could provide. Now when Jesus had told them the necessity of a higher state than that they were in, and the necessity of an illuminating guide of which they could not have until His outward teaching was changed into the inspiration and operation of His Spirit within their souls, He commanded them to not begin bearing witness of Him, but to stay in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high saying, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:8).
They, nor any other man, could experience or testify to the heavenly life then, today, or throughout eternity until Jesus was glorified and His kingdom among men was made to be, wholly and solely, the continual, immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit within the soul. Everything before this was useful in an inferior capacity for a time and preparation to this last dispensation, which could not have been the last, if it had not carried man above types, figures, and shadows into the real possession and enjoyment of that which is the Spirit and Truth of the Divine life. The current dispensation has put an end to the bondage of weak and beggarly elements (Galatians 4:9) and has provided that man can now have that dwelling in God, and God in Him which he had at the beginning.
Just as the apostles could not have any true and real knowledge of Spiritual things, or possess a capacity or fitness to preach and bear witness of them to the world, but solely by the Holy Spirit opening all the mysteries of redemption within them, so can no other person. It may seem that the apostles, having been eye witnesses to the whole process of Christ, with their own human apprehension and abilities, should have been able to declare and testify to the truth of such things, and yet they were not qualified or capable until baptized with fire and born again of the Spirit because the truth of such things, as knowable by man intellectually, are the very things that are literally done by this heavenly fire and Spirit of God in our souls. Until then, though a man may know the written Word well, he is a stranger to all the mysteries of the gospel, and to the heavenly life, and he can only talk about them as he could any other story he had read or been told about. Redemption is, in its whole nature, an inward spiritual work that alters and regenerates the life of the soul, and therefore nothing but the inward state of the soul can bear true witness to the redeeming power of Christ. As it wholly consists in altering that which is most radical in the soul, bringing forth a spiritual death and a new spiritual life, it must be true that one can not know the mysteries of Christ’s redeeming power by any historical, intellectual knowledge, or rationally consenting to what is said about it in written or spoken words, but only by an inward finding and experience of the operation of it in that death and new life, both of which must be effected within the soul of man or Jesus is not, or will not, be found and known by the soul as its salvation. It is also equally true, that the redeemed state of the soul is nothing else but the resurrection of the divine and holy life in it and, from beginning to end, can be nothing but the sole work of the creating Spirit of God as was the first created state of the soul. All of this, because the mysteries of Christ’s redeeming power, which work and bring forth the renewed state of the soul, are not creaturely, finite, outward things that may be possessed by verbal descriptions, human reasoning, or formed ideas of them, but are a birth and life and spiritual operation which solely belongs to God as does His creating power.
Every single person may now possess the heavenly life, but it will not be acquired by searching out new teachings, formulating new ideas, or by more intellectual knowledge of the written Word. It only comes by the way of the cross of which is declared by the written Word as dying to self and the world, turning the whole desire of the heart to God, and believing that the gospel is the power of God to perform the mysteries of Christ’s redemption in our own soul.