What Saith the Scripture?
Babylon the Great (Part 4)
Or, Come Out of Her, My People
Love Alone Will Cause Us to Obey the Command to Separate From Babylon the Great
"Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues"
by Tom Stewart
Love is the very essence of God, for the Scriptures testify that "God is Love" (1John 4:16). And, it encompasses all that is right about our motivation to obey God. "For this is the Love of God, that we keep His Commandments: and His Commandments are not grievous [literally, burdensome]" (5:3). What True Saint can wittingly complain to the One Who "Loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (4:10), that He is asking too high a price of us to keep His Commandments? "Greater Love hath no man than this, that a Man lay down His Life for His friends" (John 15:13). Can we truly say to Jesus that we are His friend, when we disobey Him? "Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" (15:14). Is any demand too great or expectation too high that we can rightfully say to the LORD Jesus, "That is too much"? "If ye love Me, keep My Commandments" (14:15).
Is God such an unfeeling taskmaster that He would demand from us that which we are incapable of giving? But, "God is Faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to Escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1Corinthians 10:13). Does God despise our True Happiness so much that He would load us with unreasonable demands? Yet, a "bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory" (Matthew 12:20). How can we persist in calling ourselves by the name of Christ while stedfastly refusing Him obedience? "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the Truth is not in him" (1John 2:4). Dare we maintain our innocence and acceptance with God while maintaining unholy disobedience? "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD" (Hebrews 12:14).
Should we not, instead, thank our Saviour for the opportunity to fulfill the highest calling of our existence-- to do the will of God from the heart, by obedience to His right and just commands? "Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" (Ephesians 6:6). Is it not our privilege to "spend and be spent" (2Corinthians 12:15) for the "High and Lofty One" (Isaiah 57:15)? "I have commanded My sanctified ones, I have also called My mighty ones for Mine anger, even them that rejoice in My highness" (13:3). Then, like the Apostle Paul, we can say, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
Love: Christ's Example for Our Obedience
Coming Out of Babylon. Our Lord's example of loving obedience to the Father is seen throughout the New Testament. "For I came down from Heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me" (John 6:38). Even as Samson tore the "doors of the gate of the [Philistine] city" (Judges 16:3) of Gaza off their hinges and carried them away, even so the LORD Jesus has stormed Babylon the Great to make our escape possible. "Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them" (Psalm 68:18). If the LORD Jesus Christ had not obeyed the Father, none of us would ever escape Babylon. "If ye keep My Commandments, ye shall abide in My Love; even as I have kept My Father's Commandments, and abide in His Love" (John 15:10). Thank God for the LORD Jesus' commitment to deliver us! "But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" (Luke 12:50).
The Humanity of Christ. A great puzzle to the human mind is the humanity of the Son of God-- why the Eternal Logos "was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14)? You correctly respond that He was born to die for our sins, "that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2Corinthians 5:21). But, such pain and suffering-- couldn't the Father have simplified it with less of each? Evidently not, for "His way is perfect" (2Samuel 22:31). Because the LORD Jesus is both truly God and truly man, His human sufferings served the purpose of perfecting the human character of our Sinless High Priest (Hebrews 4:15). "For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their Salvation perfect through sufferings" (2:10).
Sanctified by Suffering. If this suffering was necessary for the perfecting of the Messiah, a "Lamb without blemish and without spot" (1Peter 1:19), then how much more necessary is our suffering for our sanctification? "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin" (1Peter 4:1). Would this not also explain the timeless question of why God allows the Saints to suffer, i.e., "man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7)? Sanctification like justification-- "justified by faith" (Romans 5:1) and "sanctified by faith" (Acts 26:18)-- is acquired by man through faith alone, i.e., "according to your faith be it unto you" (Matthew 9:29). "And the very God of Peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the Coming of our LORD Jesus Christ" (1Thessalonians 5:23).
A Faith Which Worketh by Love. Our rebellion at the prospect of our pain causes us to rationalize that our additional suffering is useless because Christ's work on the Cross is a finished work-- which it is. But, do not the Scriptures teach us that "faith without works is dead" (James 2:20)? Truly, it was a necessity for the Reformers to emphasize the primacy of Salvation by faith alone-- "the just shall live by faith" (Galatians 3:11). But, though Romanism perverted the very idea of works-- emphasizing self-righteous works, i.e., of which are truly said that "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6)-- the works of faith are a vital fruit for any who are genuinely planted in the Vine of Christ. "I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). Rather than making war against works in the name of faith, i.e., Antinomianism, should we not simply admit the supremacy of a "faith which worketh by Love" (Galatians 5:6)? "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works" (James 2:18).
God Worketh in Us to Will and to Do. Certainly, we take too much upon ourselves to equate any amount of our own suffering as the expiation for any amount of sins. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5). Only the work of Christ on the Cross finishes and settles forever the atonement for our sins. "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). However, "though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8); therefore, the "Shepherd and Bishop of [our] souls" (1Peter 2:25) sanctifies us by the "washing of water by the Word" (Ephesians 5:26), allowing us to "work out [our] own Salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12), recognizing that it is still "God which worketh in [us] both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (2:13).
Love is Perfected in Them That Obey Him. It is recorded that Christ said, "I can of Mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father Which hath sent Me" (John 5:30). The Lamb of God was committed to do the will of the Father and to keep His Commandments. "If ye keep My Commandments, ye shall abide in My Love; even as I have kept My Father's Commandments, and abide in His Love" (15:10). In the Garden of Gethsemane, our LORD prayed to the Father, "I have glorified Thee on the Earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do... For I have given unto them the Words which Thou gavest Me; and they have received them" (17:4,8). Thereby, the LORD Jesus verified why the Heavenly Father loves His Son, because the Son always obeys the Father. "Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God" (Hebrews 10:7). When the LORD Jesus was baptized, the Father said, "This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). And, why, but for obedience, would the Father be so well pleased? "But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the Love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him" (1John 2:5).
Following the Example of Christ. As with the Son, so it is with the Saints. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an Example, that ye should follow His steps" (1Peter 2:21). In Charles M. Sheldon's worthy book, "In His Steps" (1896), the author attempted to portray a story based upon the proposition, "What would Jesus do?" Sheldon's main character, a minister by the name of Henry Maxwell, attempted to follow in the steps of Christ. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me" (Matthew 25:40). "In His Steps" came at a time when the Social Gospel was competing with the Old Time Religion for relevance to the plight of modern man. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8). The sickly, unemployed tramp that stumbled into the First Church was Sheldon's device to prick the conscience of his readers to practice the religion of Jesus in all areas of human endeavor. "Thou shalt Love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 22:39). [See the section, "Modernism and the Social Gospel"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Timeline/Babylon.The.Great.Part.3.html#Modernism --, of our article, "Babylon the Great (Part 3)"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Timeline/Babylon.The.Great.Part.3.html --, to see this concept developed. Also, read Charles M. Sheldon's "In His Steps"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Stories/In.His.Steps.html -- in the "Stories"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/WStS.Stories.html -- section of our website.]
Obedience is a Test of Sonship. If the professed Christian can debate about the necessity to obey a clear command of the LORD Jesus, then the Spirit of Christ has pledged to withhold His testimony to the debater's sonship, i.e., even to testify of the debater's complete lack of sonship. "He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now" (1John 2:9). A test of the Truth of whether we Love God, Whom we have not seen, is whether we obey the command to "Love [our] neighbour" (James 2:8), whom we have seen. "If a man say, I Love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he Love God Whom he hath not seen?" (1John 4:20). In short, failure on the part of any professed Christian to follow the example of Christ's obedience to the Commandments of the Father is to despise the Word of God. "Because he hath despised the Word of the LORD, and hath broken His Commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him" (Numbers 15:31).
The Secret to a Life of Obedience is to Abide in Christ. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the Vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me" (John 15:4). If we do not continue to see our very life wrapped up in Christ, then we will not be compelled by His Spirit to keep His Commandments. "LORD, Thou wilt ordain peace for us: for Thou also hast wrought all our works in us" (Isaiah 26:12). The wisdom of Solomon understood the importance of trusting God to work in the Saints that inclination to obey, i.e., as can be seen from his dedicatory prayer of the First Temple. "That He may incline our hearts unto Him, to walk in all His Ways, and to keep His Commandments, and His Statutes, and His Judgments, which He commanded our fathers" (1Kings 8:58). This facility or inclination to obey God is just what the prophet Ezekiel predicted. "26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My Statutes, and ye shall keep My Judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:26-27). [Concerning abiding in Christ, our article, "He Will Subdue Our Iniquities"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Fellowship/He.Will.Subdue.Our.Iniquit.html --, deals with that subject, and is based upon the promise of Micah 7:19 that the Mighty Jehovah will do exactly that in us-- while still on Earth!]
The Inclination to Obey God. Jeremiah also wrote concerning the same inclination to obey God. "31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a New Covenant [New Testament] with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah... 33 But this shall be the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write It in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people" (Jeremiah 31:31,33). And, strange as it may seem to the New Testament Church, we have already been provided the outpouring of the promised Holy Spirit since the Pentecost of Acts 2. "38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive The Gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the Promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call" (Acts 2:38-39).
Forgetting Our First Love. Wherein lies the difficulty? Why does the New Testament Church seem to have as much problem with disobedience as did Old Testament Israel? Like the Israelites of old, we have forgotten what "God hath wrought" (Daniel 4:2) for us. "13 They soon forgat His works; they waited not for His Counsel... 21 They forgat God their Saviour, which had done great things in Egypt" (Psalm 106:13,21). Like the Church of Ephesus, we have spiritually forgotten the "great Love wherewith [Christ] loved us" (Ephesians 2:4), we have left our Original Love. "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy First Love" (Revelation 2:4). The solution is obvious. "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (2:5).
Repentance Restores Obedience. So then, the immediate act of obedience required by God is our repentance-- for we did sinfully withhold our obedience to His clear commands. "Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" (Romans 2:4). Repentance restores the blessing and power of the promised Spirit of the New Covenant. "And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, Whom God hath given to them that obey Him" (Acts 5:32). And again, we would find ourselves disposed to obey Him. "Thy people shall be willing in the Day of Thy power" (Psalm 110:3). Restored obedience causes the Saints to "Love His appearing" (2Timothy 4:8). "And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His Coming" (1John 2:28).
Separation: Christ's Example for Our Holiness
To Be Separate From Sinners Describes Christ's Holiness. The One Mediator "between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1Timothy 2:5) prayed His high priestly prayer for us in Gethsemane, "Keep them from the Evil... Sanctify them through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth" (John 17:15,17). Not only did He pray for our separation from sin while in the world, by our sanctification through the Word of God, but He set the example of separating from sin and sinners-- in the only way that could reach us. "For such an High Priest became us, Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens" (Hebrews 7:26). The reference to "separate from sinners" (7:26) speaks of the holiness of Christ our High Priest, Who is the "Holy One and the Just" (Acts 3:14), "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth" (1Peter 2:22).
The Son of Man Chose to Be Holy. While on Earth, Jesus the Son of Man was holy, not because of His divinity, i.e., "God is holy" (Psalm 99:9), but because of His own free choice, i.e., "Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared" (Hebrews 5:7). The "strong crying and tears" (5:7) of our LORD demonstrated that His holiness while on Earth was a demonstration of His own free choice, i.e., being a moral attribute such as justice, mercy, truth, and wisdom; and, that holiness was not necessitated and forced upon Him by His existence due to His being truly God, i.e., not a natural attribute such as eternity, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, spirituality, and immutability. "For ye know the grace [help] of our LORD Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich [with the Heavenly Glory of His natural Divine attributes], yet for your sakes He became poor [while continuing to be God, He temporarily set aside the Heavenly Glory of those natural Divine attributes while upon Earth], that ye through His poverty might be rich" (2Corinthians 8:9).
All Honor to the Son of Man for the Magnificent Work He Displayed in His Earthly Ministry! Much greater respect, appreciation, and admiration ought to be accorded to the LORD Jesus Christ for His Earthly accomplishments:
Our LORD Jesus Christ Lived His Earthly Life by Faith. We sometimes forget that our LORD experienced the same limitations that we face:
Was not the Father "well pleased" (Matthew 17:5)
with His Only Begotten Son; and, what else but faith can "please Him"
(Hebrews 11:6)? So, the LORD Jesus had to overcome His circumstances the same
way we ought-- by faith alone. Christ the Just (Acts 3:14) lived His earthly
life by faith, for the "just shall live by His faith" (Habakkuk 2:4).
Separation According to the Spirit and Not the Letter of the Law. Some also forget the example of the LORD Jesus, and begin to draw lines of separation according to the letter of the Law, and not the Spirit of the Law. "And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?" (Matthew 9:11). Our LORD demonstrated the simplicity of faith when He pointed out that His wise association with sinners was only for the purpose of seeking their repentance. "When Jesus heard it, He saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Mark 2:17). The Pharisees, of which Christ spoke, were separatists, for their very name is taken from the Hebrew word parash, which means "to separate". These were those characterized by Scripture as saying, "Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou" (Isaiah 65:5).
The Religion of the Pharisees Was a Hypocritical Contradiction.
Our LORD rebuked the Pharisees for their sanctimonious hypocrisy,
not for their adherence to the Ceremonial Law, literal interpretation of the
Scriptures, or hope of the resurrection; for the LORD Jesus Christ Himself was minutely
fastidious about fulfilling the Law. "For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven
and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all
be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18).
True Scriptural Separation is Simply the Practice of Holiness. God's New Testament command for separation is a separation from sin and sinning, which is the same as the practice of holiness. "15 But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1Peter 1:15-16). If we should find ourselves in the compromising situation of abiding in the enemy's camp-- Church Discipline certainly not possible-- then we must leave, as Martin Luther did! "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the LORD, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2Corinthians 6:17). But, when sin appears in the camp of the Believers, then True Scriptural Separation demands the Church Discipline of Matthew 18. "15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church: but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican" (Matthew 18:15-17). Scriptural Separation is first and last a matter of personal holiness, not simply a checklist provided to us by a human religious organization as to who is or is not considered to be in good standing. For in the end, it is personal "holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD" (Hebrews 12:14).
If We Refuse to Separate From Sin, Then God Must Separate From Us. "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear" (Isaiah 59:2). If we persist in refusing to separate from sin, then thoughtful, Godly Christians must withdraw Spiritual fellowship from us. "Now we command you, brethren, in the Name of our LORD Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition [of the Word of God] which he received of us" (2Thessalonians 3:6). In fact, the Apostle Paul commanded the Corinthians to deal with a disorderly brother by delivering him to Satan for dealing which would bring him to repentance. "1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4 In the Name of our LORD Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our LORD Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the Day of the LORD Jesus" (1Corinthians 5:1-5).
Our Separation From Babylon the Great Will Place Us Outside the Camp Bearing the Reproach-- With Jesus. "12 Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. 13 Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach" (Hebrews 13:12-13). Sometimes, our obedience may require us to stand alone. "I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of Thy hand: for Thou hast filled me with indignation" (Jeremiah 15:17). If the company of the Godly cannot be found, then the company of the LORD Jesus outside the camp will more than suffice. "I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked" (Psalm 26:5). As we rapidly approach the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ, we should not think it strange that we must separate from professed brethren-- for "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse" (2Timothy 3:13)-- not simply to attempt to restore them, but to preserve our own holiness. "22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh" (Jude 22-23).
Judgment: Christ's Example for Our Righteousness
The Righteous Judge Demonstrated How We Ought to Righteously Judge. "Henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness, which the LORD, the Righteous Judge, shall give me at that Day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that Love His Appearing" (2Timothy 4:8). The Enemy has attempted to blunt the Pilgrim's Two Edged Sword by perverting our LORD's Words and teaching the Church the false doctrine that Christian Love is contrary to judging a Brother, saying, "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matthew 7:1). However, Jesus, our Example for Living the Christian Life (1Peter 2:21), not only demonstrated by His earthly example of Righteous Judgment in casting the money changers out of the Temple-- "45 And He went into the Temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; 46 Saying unto them, It is written, My House is the House of Prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves" (Luke 19:45-46)-- but He positively taught us to judge righteous judgment. "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).
Hypocritical Judgment is the Unrighteous Judgment That is Forbidden. It is clearly an example of not "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" (2Timothy 2:15) to say that our LORD taught that it is forbidden to judge our brethren. Consider just what the LORD Jesus said.
If Satan can persuade us through false doctrine to avoid
Righteous Judgment, then the Professed Church will be transformed into the cursed
Babylon the Great, i.e., "that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness
for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Ye Shall Do No Unrighteousness in Judgment. Not surprisingly, the Old Testament speaks of judging our neighbor in the same breath as judging in righteousness. "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour" (Leviticus 19:15). This is the unchanging Moral Law, and not a statement from the Ceremonial Law-- which was the "shadow of good things to come, and not the very image" (Hebrews 10:1). After the New Covenant was instituted by the "blood of Christ" (Hebrews 9:14) at Calvary and sealed by the outpouring of "The Gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38) at Pentecost, the Ceremonial Law was set aside. And, it is still correct to say that we ought to keep the Royal Law, i.e. "If ye fulfil the Royal Law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt Love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well" (James 2:8).
Meekly Restoring a Fallen Brother is Judging Righteous Judgment. It is blessedness for two to "walk together" (Amos 3:3) in agreement. Further, as "iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" (Proverbs 27:17). If that friend falls into sin, would it not be an act of Love and friendship to judge our brother's sin and attempt to restore him? "1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are Spiritual, restore such an one in the Spirit Of Meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ" (Galatians 6:1-2). We fulfill the requirements of the Unchanging Moral Law when we bear "one another's burdens" (6:2) by righteously judging their sin and attempting to "restore such an one in the Spirit Of Meekness" (6:1). This is the finest application of the Royal Law (James 2:8) to a Backslidden Brother. "For all the Law is fulfilled in one Word, even in this; Thou shalt Love thy neighbour as thyself" (Galatians 5:14). We ought to be careful about committing the same sin-- or worse-- "considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (6:1). And, by active faith in the Promises of God, we need not live in fear of being subdued by our iniquities, because we have the Great Jehovah's Word that He will not allow sin to dominate us, i.e., "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the Law, but under Grace" (Romans 6:14). [Both our articles, "Exceeding Great and Precious Promises"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Promises/Exceeding.Promises.html -- and "He Will Subdue Our Iniquities"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Fellowship/He.Will.Subdue.Our.Iniquit.html -- based on 2Peter 1:4 and Micah 7:19, respectively-- give Promise and hope to those who walk by the Royal Law of Love.]
Standing in Faith is Judging Righteous Judgment. Whenever the Righteous take a stand in faith, it condemns the unbelief of those who refuse the Word of God. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith" (Hebrews 11:7). Just as Noah's faith was his justification, as well as the condemnation of the Unbelieving Antediluvian World, the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar's golden image "in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon" (Daniel 3:1), was justification of their faithfulness and condemnation of all those that did worship before Nebuchadnezzar's idol of gold. "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" (Isaiah 43:2). The LORD Jesus abides with those who righteously judge because of Him. "Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God" (Daniel 3:25).
Opposing the Antichrist During the Tribulation Week is Judging Righteous Judgment. The Tribulation Saints are those who will face the Antichrist during the Tribulation Week (Daniel 9:27). Though God's people will "do exploits" and "instruct many", they will face "sword", "flame", "captivity", and "spoil" in order to "try", "purge", and "make them white". "32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. 33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. 34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. 35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed" (Daniel 11:32-35). [See our article, "Why Must There Be a Pre-Tribulational Rapture?"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Prophecy/Must.Pre.Trib.Rapture.html --, for a discussion of that subject. Also, "A Tale of Ten Virgins"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Prophecy/A.Tale.of.Ten.Virgins.html -- is a warning for those who look forward to a Pre-Tribulational Rapture.]
Refusing the Mark of the Beast During Daniel's 70th Week is Judging Righteous Judgment. The Tribulation Saints will be faced with the necessity of worshipping the Antichrist-- which they will refuse. "And he [the False Prophet of Babylon the Great] exerciseth all the power of the first beast [the Antichrist] before him, and causeth the Earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed" (Revelation 13:12). Death for the Saints during the Tribulation Week will be twofold:
For the Tribulation Saints, Blessing Will Come Upon Those
Who Judged Righteous Judgment. Those who receive the Mark of the Beast are assured
of receiving the Wrath of God, i.e., "And the first went, and poured out his
vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which
had the Mark of the Beast, and upon them which worshipped his image" (16:2).
But, blessing is assured to the martyrs who righteously judged, separated
from the Antichrist, and refused his Mark. "And I saw thrones, and they
sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them
that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had
not worshipped the Beast, neither his image, neither had received his Mark upon their
foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand
years" (20:4). "22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you,
and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach
you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake.
23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your Reward is great in
Heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets" (Luke 6:22-23).
Separating From Babylon the Great is to Stand With Christ in the Judgment. King Jehoshaphat of Judah instructed his judges with the following words, that as righteous judges, we would do well to heed. "Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, Who is with you in the judgment" (2Chronicles 19:6). To judge that Babylon the Great is worthy of our separating from her, means that our LORD will accompany us in our separation and stand with us. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:1). It is impossible to estimate the total worth of righteously judging our relationship to Babylon the Great-- and separating from her. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2Corinthians 4:17). Instead of counting the cost of our separation from Babylon the Great too dear, we ought to rejoice in the Eminently Worthy Company of our LORD, the Righteous Judge (2Timothy 4:8)-- outside of Babylon. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).
Doctrine without application is spiritual death, for "faith without works is dead also" (James 2:26). The study of Bible Prophecy without a corresponding growth "in grace" (2Peter 3:18) is a demonstration of not being taught of the Spirit about the character of our LORD Jesus Christ. "13 Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall shew it unto you" (John 16:13-15).
Discussions of End Time Events, i.e., the Pre-Tribulational Rapture, and Chronologies, i.e., an expectation of being Raptured before the Year 2000 ("Y2K"), are intensely interesting, but our conduct in the meantime is of the utmost importance. "14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the LORD will, we shall live, and do this, or that" (James 4:14-15). Thus, when the Word of God gives the command to separate from Babylon the Great, it remains only for the instructed Believer to make the personal application required for their situation-- and depart from Babylon. "And I heard another Voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4). Love will always obey, for "if ye love me, keep My Commandments" (John 14:15) is the cry and command of our LORD and Saviour.
If we were to "speak with the tongues of men and of angels" (1Corinthians 13:1) without the obedience of Love, then we would be as empty and worthless "as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal" (13:1). If we possessed the "gift of prophecy", understood "all mysteries, and all knowledge", and had "all faith" to "remove mountains", but did not have loving obedience to the command to come out of Babylon the Great, then we would be as "nothing" in the sight of God (13:2). If we bestowed all our "goods to feed the poor" and gave our bodies "to be burned", it "profiteth" us "nothing" (13:3). Whatever we say, if we will not come out of Babylon the Great, we do not love God. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).
Next in the Series "Babylon The Great"
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