19. The Sorrow of Love
Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? - For our God is a consuming fire. Let brotherly love continue.
19. The Sorrow of Love
Isaiah, who saw further into the revelation of Jesus Christ than any other Old Testament saint, said this: Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly . . . Isaiah 33:14-15
The writer of Hebrews in Chapter 12 said the same thing this way: For our God is a consuming fire. Let brotherly love continue.
I do not comprehend people who do not fear God. God is love — God is everlasting burnings. God is our Father — God is a consuming fire.
God honors His Word, the words that He speaks, the Lord Jesus Christ, the fine print of the New Covenant, higher than anything else either in the universe or in Himself. To treat what God says disdainfully in any possible way is idiocy.
The Lord Jesus, the victorious Conqueror, values and honors His bride, the one whom He gave His life to purchase for Himself above all things. To mess around with His woman, to treat any individual person anywhere on this planet with any kind of contempt or disrespect or condescension is to walk stupidly. I don’t want to be anywhere near when it comes down.
Does God forgive? Of course He does. But even God’s forgiveness is terrible and not to be treated lightly. Forgiveness is fully judgment against sin.
Forgiveness is found in the light; those who will not step into the light cannot find it. Some think, “Well, God has just forgiven everybody, so what difference does it make that men treat one another with cruelty?” To treat the New Testament with contempt is to treat God with contempt.
And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war… He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood. Revelation 19:11-13
Isaiah makes it clear that blood on Jesus’ robe is not the blood of the Lamb. (Chapter 63)
I believe absolutely in the grace of God. I live in His rest more than I have ever known. The closer I walk with Him, the more I regard His word and tremble when He speaks. And the more I wonder amazed at fellow believers who speak contrary to the New Testament, imagining that their view of the love of God removes all else that God speaks.
Yet we never forget that He is tender and kind, that He bends all things to His purposes, and that He has a destiny of everlasting goodness for every being He has created.
A simple perusal of the New Testament shows us that conflict and jeopardy are laid side by side with grace and goodness, often in the same verse, all the way through. Paul and John are the primary teachers of Christ in you and the love of God. They are also the primary teachers of conflict and jeopardy in the Christian walk and the victory of Christ in battle through us upon this earth. They go back and forth all the time between grace, jeopardy, and conflict.
I discovered something looking at the pattern of jeopardy/conflict versus grace/goodness throughout the New Testament. Jeopardy is always coming out of grace. Grace produces jeopardy. (About a third of the New Testament is jeopardy/conflict, another third is grace/goodness, while the remainder could be called narration.) Let me give you some examples.
Therefore, having these promises (grace/goodness), let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (jeopardy). 2 Corinthians 7
Let us work out our salvation in fear and trembling (jeopardy), for (comes out of) it is God who works in us the want to and the doing of His will (grace/Christ-within).” Philippians 2
I have heard jeopardy preachers expound on “work out your salvation” under a mighty anointing and power from heaven, but then completely ignore, or if brought to their attention, immediately make “God works in us the doing of His will” to be of little account. At the same time, grace preachers, under mighty anointings and the clarity of Christ, will expound on “God works in us the doing of His will,” but they will not mention at all, or speak light of, “work out your own salvation in fear and trembling.”
What is our problem? Why can’t we honor God by embracing all that He speaks. The bride of Christ is divided into two armed camps across this earth far more than most people realize. Both sides hold the other in contempt, considering the other side to be “lost” or missing out on “true” salvation. Preachers of grace are just as likely to rip you to shreds for mixing jeopardy and conflict with grace as jeopardy people are for teaching too much grace.
All through the New Testament, grace and goodness are always coming out of conflict. Peruse any of the epistles and notice how quickly the Lord turns conflict in people’s experience into grace and goodness.
And where does conflict come from? Jeopardy.
So we have this cycle all through the New Testament. Conflict is always producing grace; grace is always producing jeopardy; and jeopardy is always producing conflict. Jeopardy is always coming out of grace; conflict is always coming out of jeopardy; and grace is always coming out of conflict.
The greatest conflict in the Bible is the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest GRACE in the universe, the resurrection, comes out of that conflict.
No cross; no resurrection. No conflict, no grace. But also – no grace, no jeopardy!
Look at the great jeopardy coming out of the grace of the resurrection.
Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. — Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being made to us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to fall short of it. — If any man thinks he stands, let him take heed lest he fall.
We live in grace at all times; we walk in jeopardy every moment; we stand unmoved in conflict in the evil day, armored with all the armor of God.
God says “We (Christ as us) fight against heavenly powers” (Ephesians 6), and one who does not care what God says proclaims, “Oh, God has just forgiven everyone, there is no fight.”
I am not smarter than God, nor is anyone else. I must believe what God says.
It is impossible to set anyone free. One who is bound must let go of their chains. The chains are broken, but they must let them go. God respects the individual person too much to force anyone to let go of their chains. He wins by love, and love is a battle.
To one who loves his chains and will not let them go, the love of God takes on a very terrifying form. Wrath is love; yet even in wrath, God will never force anyone against their will.
In our union with Christ, we are one with Him both as He is planted in death and as He is unveiled, as the cover is taken off. We are just like Him for we see Him as He is. Our focus is not just on our time in the womb of the church, but on the present moment, as we come out of the birth canal to stand in the full light of day with Him upon this earth, a new man for a new age.
Our eyes are fixed on the manifestation of the sons of God. Every word God speaks, every word God has ever spoken, is focused precisely upon that moment, upon our day right now, upon you and me, if we are willing to say, “Look at me God! I belong to You. Let it be to me according to all that You speak.”
John said something that is impossible to comprehend. He said, “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
We understand that time is the eternal revealed inside of physical creation. On Friday, April 15, AD 29, from 3 to 6 in the afternoon, time revealed to us upon a physical cross in the physical universe the eternal nature of the Father.
When God says that the Lamb was slain from the foundation – the conception in God, of the cosmos – the orderly arrangement of heaven and earth, He was revealing to us the eternal nature of His own heart.
When God created the heavens, perfect in their day, when all the sons of God sang together in glory, the Lamb was already slain for sin. When God formed Adam out of the dust of the earth in perfect innocence, and walked together with him in the garden, the Lamb was already slain for sin.
The Lamb is slain for sin when there is no sin.
God is not the author of sin. Yet He is the sacrifice for sin in His very nature, though sin did not exist. Does sin ever exist? Sin is only an aberration, an absence, a belief in what is not true, a falling short. Yet before that aberration ever happened, God had already swallowed it up.
I don’t think sin has ever been the issue. From the beginning, the issue has always been the purpose and intention of God. That purpose and intention is right now focused upon the apocalypse of the sons of God, the unveiling of Jesus Christ. To God there is nothing else.
I believe that the cauldron in which we live, that is, the wreckage of Adam’s defeat, is necessary for the birthing of the Heart of God into both earthly and heavenly reality. Yet, I know that God is not the author of sin, neither does He “need” it to accomplish His purposes as some have argued. We do not live in sin. The one who sinned died and was buried 2000 years ago. How can both things be true?
Let’s put before ourselves two verses (there are more). Both are absolute reality; both are 100% true in every possible way. Yet the moment we believe one, it seems to us that the other cannot be true. And when we drop the first and embrace the second, it seems to us that the other cannot be true.
For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God . . . For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:32-36
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. James 1:13
ALL THINGS are of God, they exist only through Him, and ALL THINGS return to Him. God committed ALL to disobedience. God committed you and me to disobedience for a purpose.
God does not know sin; He does not author or create sin. Evil is not some opposition force inherent inside the nature of God. Evil is temporary; God neither wants it nor needs it, though He bears long with it.
I have read those who argue for the sovereignty of God, agreeing with what they say until they come to the “logical human reasoning” that, if all things are of God, then God must have created evil. Inside this argument is the proposition that God did not create an angel, Lucifer, in purity and holiness, and that Lucifer “fell” and became Satan. No, they argue, God created “satan” as an evil force in his origins; evil is just part of “God.” Jesus spoke rape and murder into existence!
The moment I arrive at reading these “logical” conclusions expressed so eloquently, my stomach is all in knots at the filthiness of such an accusation against my Father. These people know a lot of stuff; they just don’t know Him.
Yes, there is a clear male-female in God. There is that which gives and that which receives, that which contains and that which fills. There is weakness that holds in its weakness Almighty power. There is infinite strength powering the universe that is meek and lowly of heart and that touches gently with all kindness. But there is no good versus evil or light versus darkness in God. Such is the perversion of the evil one.
All things are of God — God is NOT the author of sin, but only of good.
How then was the Lamb slain when sin did not exist? And how does God subject the whole creation to a lie so that He might show forth His glory, as Paul says in Romans 8?
The answer to this question, I now see, goes to the heart of what God is birthing now in us. Open your spirit to hear and to understand how it is that you and I were created and chosen by God to be the embodiment of Love.
Let us start with this proposition. At the center of God, at the core of who and what He is, we do not find POWER or MIGHT or GRANDIOSITY of any kind. We find One who is best defined by these words, “I am meek and lowly of heart,” gentle, tender, and kind.
In the past, when we have said that God is “Almighty” or “all-powerful,” we, with the world and the serpent, used a false definition of “power.”
There are two things that God CANNOT do. These two things are not within His nature or consideration. He does not know them in any way. God cannot lie. And God cannot force anyone to do anything (force is one definition of “sin”). However, God is not a negative, so we say, “God is light,” and “God is love.”
We have always defined power as force. We have the image of the super-hero who uses force in one way or the other to win. God cannot force; neither can He lie. Force has no relationship with and no part in the power of God.
God is meek and lowly of heart. He is tender and kind. When He creates, He always creates in liberty. He always respects and highly regards every being whom He creates. He respects the integrity of their person, and He cannot violate that integrity. God does not manipulate or control or shove anyone around.
God is love. Force is rape. God does not force.
This is a BIG problem for God. God loves problems, but we must understand how big of a problem LOVE is for God. LOVE is a BIG problem.
I once carried the image that, while Jesus walked this earth, He was meek and lowly of heart, and all He did was talk to people. But that when Jesus came off the cross and entered Hades, the place of the dead, He came off the cross swinging His mighty sword, defeating His enemies in a mighty demonstration of “force?” No. All Jesus did when He entered Hades was to keep talking to people. He led those formerly dead out of Hades by invitation, by talking.
That’s all God does. He just talks. He started everything by talking. He chats quietly and shares some things with us. He speaks in a still small voice. We do what we want with what He says. The fine print of the New Covenant is very quiet. You can do what you want with it, ignore it or believe it and speak it into your reality. God does not push what He says.
Love must have a lover. But the very act itself of creating a lover is the most painful thing God ever did. Love suffers long.
Let’s create a picture of sin and its consequences. Here is a man, standing on a high roof. There is the ground, a hundred feet below. God created the man, the roof, the force of gravity, and the ground. There is no evil in any part of this picture. All of it is pure and holy.
There are several things, however, that God CANNOT do. He is “powerless.” God cannot push the man off the roof. (Create or force sin.) God cannot hold onto the man to prevent him from jumping off the roof. (Manipulate and control, violating the integrity of man’s person.) More than that, God cannot lie. He presents the truth to the man. Man is 100% and at all times free of God. God does not force, force is disrespect and thus hatred, AND God cannot lie.
So God talks. God talks in two ways, through human language, and through the symbols of story and of creation.
God uses a picture to tell man he is free – the tree of knowledge. God, not the serpent, put the tree of knowledge before man in the garden. God cannot lie. God always sets His creation free; He never manipulates or controls. God respects the integrity of man’s person at all times and in every way.
Let’s come back to our picture of the man standing on the high roof. God says, “Listen, son, you are perfectly free. You can do whatever you want. I highly regard the integrity of your person. If you wish to jump off this roof you can, you can live your life as if you are separate from Me. But don’t do it. If you jump off the roof you will hit the ground, and you will die.”
And then God, by His very nature, is quiet about what He says. There is NO bully in God; He doesn’t push anyone around. You can do whatever you want with what He says. People draw back from my bold proclamation of what God actually says. But I am as free in God to do what I wish with what God says as they are. They are free to ignore it; I am free to believe it.
If the man jumps, he will hit the ground. Hitting the ground is consequence, not “punishment.”
God is love. How can He love except He create a lover? And how can He create a lover whom He loves, without, by love, setting that lover completely free of Himself? And how can He create a lover free of Himself and not lose her? Of course He will lose her. “Jesus wept,” reveals the eternal nature of God. “If you love something, set it free,” speaks truly of God. God is always weeping. (Don’t feel sorry for Him; He is always singing and laughing at the same time.)
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was 100% created by God and placed in the garden. It came entirely out of Himself – an outward description of His own ways and doings. There was no evil in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, no sin could be found there. That tree IS the law of God. Paul said in Romans 7 that by the law is the knowledge of sin. He said that the law is pure and holy and good. The tree of knowledge was pure and holy and good.
Here is God’s dilemma, His problem. The tree of knowledge is God telling us the truth. We are by right and by nature completely free of God. To choose to do good IS to choose to do evil. If you choose one you WILL choose the other. If you choose to obey the law, you will choose to disobey it. If you choose to obey God’s voice, you will choose to disobey God’s voice. If you choose to carry your cross, you will choose not to carry your cross.
God does not live by choosing to do good. Yet He told both Adam and Lucifer that they were completely free of Him. God cannot lie. At the same time, God placed before Adam HOW God Himself does live – the tree of life.
But again, here is God’s problem. He is meek and lowly of heart. The tree of life HAS — no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. Isaiah 53.
The first thing Moses did with the law was to break it, to shatter it upon the mountain side. The first thing Jesus did with His cross was to stumble and fall under it. He could not carry it.
It is impossible for God to force anyone to like Him. Look at the entrance of God into creation, a babe lying in a manger. At what point did Jesus ever force anyone to do anything? They turned Him into the most hideous picture in the universe. A chunk of raw and bloody human meat nailed to a piece of wood.
At no point nor in any way did the Creator of the universe ever resist them or attempt to prevent them from doing what they wanted to do. Jesus told Peter that He could have called on ten thousand angels from a human point of view (so put away your sword – force). Yet to do so would have been to violate the very nature of the Father.
It’s a simple thing. Love desired a lover. To love is to bring forth children in pain. To bring forth children is to set them free. To set them free is to weep through the long hours of the night in grief over their mistakes and over the sorrow they have learned to know.
This brings us back to the beginning. There is only God. But God is Love. Before God ever brought forth creation, He bore ALL consequence of sin inside Himself. Before God ever formed man out of the dust of the earth, the Blood of Jesus was already shed for him.
God paid every price, bore every sorrow, forgave every sin, covered every transgression, tasted every pain, swallowing all of it up inside His own Heart before creation ever came out of God. God is Love, and Love desires a lover.
I am not impressed with the practice of spelling Satan with a small “s.” People who do that do not understand God. God has as much respect for Satan right now as He did for Lucifer in the beginning. The writer of Jude said this, “Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these speak evil of whatever they do not know.” The writer of 2 Peter says the same thing.
To mock or ridicule Satan is to mock and ridicule God. God knows only what He created in the beginning; He sees only that which He must win in the end.
For God, to create is to release and to release is to know pain and sorrow. All of this, God carried in His heart before ever He created the universe. So it is that God foreknew sin, though He cannot author it. God did NOT push the man off the roof. The tree of knowledge was God simply telling the truth; He cannot lie.
Yet before He created us, God Himself already bore our sins and carried our sorrows within His own Heart. God created all things AFTER Jesus was slain and after His blood was shed. Or shall we say it this way: God created all things inside of Jesus’ sacrifice for sin and inside of His shed blood.
This is the same Heart God is birthing inside you and me. We are the embodiment of Love. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.” We have chosen to live forever in consuming Fire.