Anabaptist Connections Musings
Gods whole plan for mankind is Redemption. This is not an after thought in Gods heart – Redemption was birthed in eternity past. Its an ongoing and unfolding mystery, few, if any of us, have captured its fulness. The Cross speaks of brutal death, yet, that is where life is birthed. We all rejoice that Jesus paid such a heavy price for us, but what about our cross – or perhaps more importantly, why is it required for us to bear it?
Redemption always comes with a price, “evil is redeemed by love” Proverbs 10:12, James 5:20, 1 Peter 4:8. It is not possible for the mystery of the cross and its redemptive power to be a reality of the heart, through theological training, or intellectual understanding. But its a language of the heart, as Paul speaks about it…….”That I may know Him and the power of His ressurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death. if by any means, I may attain to the ressurrection from the dead. Phil 3:10-11. NKJ. This is a most profound passage – yet widely misunderstood, and even ignored.
As I endeavored to write on this most critical subject on, “The Cost Of Redemption”, David Davenport from the farm lands of Ohio ( who does all my editing) graciously came to my aid. With my 7th grade Amish education it is a little difficult for me in getting my thoughts into proper wording. If this message speaks to you, you owe it to the Holy Spirit, and to him for its clarity.
The Cost of Redemption
On the day that Adam fell, cosmic repercussions were set in motion, whereby all of Heaven was impacted. Lucifer could now lay claim to the souls of men. Without a doubt, he was sure he had confiscated the eternal victory from God. In his revolt in ages past, he claimed a full third of the angels (Rev. 12:4). It is difficult for us to comprehend the depths of his evil schemes and mass-deception, portraying God as being unjust. I for one cannot comprehend how these fallen angels, dwelling in brilliant light in the presence of God’s perpetual glory, could be deceived. It yet happened however, and that through the cunning skill of Lucifer—the father of lies.
As we steadily march further into the End of The Age, Lucifer’s deceptive prowess is again gaining to these levels within the Church. Consider that when the disciples asked Jesus about the coming age, His first words were: “Beware, lest we be deceived… this deception is coming in such cunning proportions that the elect are in danger of falling into it…for this cause, the Lord will shorten the time” (Matt. 24:4, 5, 22, 24).
These deceiving spirits have all the earmarks of being the real-deal (of God), and of holding to the truth, when in reality they are the most insidious and destructive agents of the Prince of Darkness. The greatest Christians among us will not escape the assaults of these vile and deceiving spirits. The greater influence one carries in Kingdom business, the greater the temptation will be to yield to one of the more subtle yet destructive elements of this deception—a posture of compromise, and that of accommodating the carnal whims of the masses.
This begs the question: how may we avoid falling into these traps? If we have little concern of being deceived, there’s a good chance we already are. I do not by any means wish to incite fear, rather I wish to issue the sobering warning that this force is lapping at our feet, and we must confront it head-on if we are to stand without waiver upon the solid rock of Christ Jesus. To be passive, is to yield to their deceptive powers – there is no neutral ground to be found.
As members of the Body of Christ Universal, each of us must diligently pursue our gifts and callings; the greatest calling being that of unrestrained yielding and devotion to Christ Jesus (i.e., “And He [Jesus] answered and said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind…” Luke 10:27). But wholly following Him requires unconditional obedience (Matt. 16:24-28, 19:21, Lk. 9:23-27). Our spiritual gifts may at times impress people, but without obedience and deep roots of humility born of whole devotion to Christ, there will be no lasting fruit in the exercise of such. For more often than not, the reckless demonstration of our gifting sets us up to be used in deceiving others. To the contrary, those who exercise obedience to the gentle ebb-n-flow of the Holy Spirits’ leading will discover hidden pearls of revelation—from which emerges great clarity, discernment and anointing, that our gifts may then yield fruit-upon-fruit and build-up the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:16). Our voices then become like a trumpet sound, a clarion call which leaves no question as to its origin (Is. 58:1). A man whose steps are ordered by the Lord never gives an uncertain sound, he makes a clear distinction between the eternal truth of God’s Word and the deceiving lies of the enemy (Ps. 119:133-136).
Having alluded to the spiritual gifts, I underscore Paul’s call to “earnestly pursue the spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (1 Cor. 14:1). In very simple terms, to prophesy is to share the heartbeat of God. To do so, we must hear His heartbeat. When Jesus said that He “does only what He sees the Father doing” (John 5:19) and only what He “hears the Father saying “(John 5:30), He was revealing a profound model for prophetic ministry and the true application of the revelatory gifts as a whole. How then do we “see what the Father is doing,” and “hear what the Father is saying”? It is quite simple: we cultivate and guard at all costs, our daily time with Him—what many ancient mystics called “the secret castle” of our quite-time with him—our figurative “prayer closets,” where nothing occurs but that which is spoken by Him. As we then figuratively lean upon His breast, waiting for the still-small-voice of His heartbeat, we come away with this heartbeat before our eyes and in our ears. As each day then unfolds, we see and hear His heartbeat for the Body of Christ and the lost and dying world at large. Consequently, we also see where His heart is not (i.e., the Discerning of Spirits, or, in short, Discernment).
One of the more grave oversights within the Body of Christ at large presently, is that of the failure to cultivate Discernment. This divine sensitivity toward recognizing the true nature and origin of the spiritual activity around us can only be attained and maintained by unadulterated time with Jesus, at His feet, daily, as we linger to see what He sees, and hear what He says. When we then mirror Him, we are that clarion trumpet call to prepare the way of the Lord—we sound this trumpet call with grace, with ease, with anointing, with authority, and with fruit.
God’s redemptive plan was in-place ages before He created mankind, but neither man, angels or devils understood it. It was a secret birthed in Heaven in ages past. No one could comprehend how such would come about after the fall was complete, much less what it would cost. Few, if any of us, can fully comprehend what it cost God to redeem us. Lucifer’s scheme was to take all, while it was God’s plan to give all. Lucifer, in his scheming design, had no clue that he would ultimately be defeated by the Son when He came and freely gave His life. He was not coerced by the Father to give it, but He freely offered it (Heb. 10:5-7, John 10:15 -18).
Heaven yielded it’s very best to redeem us from the fall. It could only be done by the shedding of blood freely offered by the Son. The intense agony He suffered in Gethsemane largely remains a mystery. Who can know the depths of it? To what extent must one’s agony reach to cause the pores to sweat blood? It was here that redemption was to be won or lost. I believe the mystery of the Cross will be a continual unfolding of revelation—for eternity.
In earlier years, I often inquired of the Lord that he reveal to me the mystery of redemption as it pertained to His suffering, both in Gethsemane and on the Cross. Had I known what I was asking for, I would not have done so. The price for such mysteries are unspeakable. There are those who can very capably intellectualize and subsequently expound upon the theological tenets of the Cross, but the reality of the Cross can never be experienced and comprehended on this level. God never taught me in the classic sense, or gave me random insights on it, but little by little He led me into the horrors of deep pits from which redemption was first effected, and how it is to be obtained by the lost soul. The whole redemptive plan rests upon the merits of Jesus alone in what He accomplished on the Cross, and His subsequent resurrection.
The plan of redemption is a continuum of work unfolding that is presently being carried out by a hidden army of unsung, unknown soldiers, who have been groomed and prepared for this work from their mother’s womb. One of the mysteries of their work is that in continually giving up what belongs to them—self-less-ness. These have been bruised and wounded beyond description; betrayal is their common portion; but with every assault, they not only have the capacity to forgive, but to bless those who curse them (Matt. 5:44). Unknown to many, they are keepers of the gates……….”Blessed is the man who listens to Me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. Prov. 8:34… through which they obtain profound authority to release multitudes to the Lord for salvation—due to their unflinching faith, patience, obedience, and untold sacrifices. Redemptive Agents are rooted in self-denial, giving and releasing, often that which is very near and dear to their hearts.
These are the ones who are preparing the way for the Lord’s coming. They are laying foundation stones for His coming Kingdom, where true righteousness will reign. As each stone is laid, it becomes transformed into the most glorious gem stone imaginable. Rev 21: 18-20. They have no agenda of their own, but neither are they passive. They are continually on the alert as watchmen on the walls. They flee every false pretence; either in themselves or in others. No glamour, honor, or corrupt ambitions will sway them. They are a chosen remnant, whom God has specifically anointed and authorized to play a vital role in His redemption plan. No one will stop them, though many try to do so. The more their rights are taken from them, the more authority God releases to them. They are unstoppable, not in and of their own efforts, but because God goes before them (Ex. 33:12-14). We do well to bless them, for it is folly to fight against God.
“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me, receives Him who sent me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward” (Matt. 10:40-41).