The Salvation of God

John David Clark, Sr. - June, 1997

The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their means, and My people love to have it so."

From about fifty feet away, I saw myself from behind, walking past a much taller Jesus. He was placing his arm around my shoulder and turning with me to walk away. There was a sense of absolute, unassailable peace. Nothing of earth would ever again come to mind. It was over. I was being saved, and, for the first time in my life, I felt I was comprehending in my spirit the salvation of God.

I marvelled that I had never before understood. It was so obvious. I knew the Scriptures. "It has never entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love Him; but God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit." "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

I knew that without revelation from God, it is impossible to understand the new birth, the church, the sacrifice of Christ, or anything else that had to do with the kingdom of God. Why then (I now wonder) did I assume that I had always understood the salvation of God? It is far different--and better--from what we have imagined, but it is a kind of salvation which no one in the flesh could ever possibly desire. A fundamental truth which I learned from the picture Jesus showed me is this: In the flesh, no man can desire the salvation which Jesus will bring when he returns, any more than a natural man can desire the holiness of God. To attain to God's salvation is not a desire that is of man; if any of us has a desire to attain to the real salvation of God, it is a gift from God.

The desire for fame has been a driving force for carnally minded men from time immemorial. Hope for unending fame has inspired heroic deeds throughout recorded history, and continues to be an inspiration for carnal men. The fame of earth's heros and villains constantly, subtly exerts pressure upon all of us to pursue it. Whether on stage or on the battlefield, whether in the laboratory or the sporting arena, fame is one of man's fondest hopes. When Paul said that the love of money is the root of all evil, he expected us to understand that it is not just the love of the coins and bills which is the root of all evil; rather, it is love for the effect of having money that is the root of all evil: the special pleasures and comforts that are available to the rich, the exalted titles and positions, the respect shown to the wealthy, the choices not available to others, the being envied, the being watched, the being known and admired. In short, fame. Fame is almost a sacred hope of the flesh, and that is why the flesh can never desire the salvation of God. God's salvation is the permanent end of earthly fame. Listen to Isaiah's description of the salvation of the Lord:

"For, behold, I make a new heaven and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind."

Are you willing to forget this world and this kind of life? If not, you do not understand the salvation of God, for that is the salvation which God has prepared for those who love Him. The ones who receive the salvation of God will not remember this world, will not remember dear friends and family members who rejected the call of God. Would it not be impossible to have eternal peace and joy if we knew the ones we love (but who rejected Christ) were being tormented in the Lake of Fire? No, God has something far better than that in store for us. It is by erasing all memory of earth, completely erasing the memory of those whom we love but are lost that He will "wipe away all tears" from our eyes.

When Jesus put his arm around me to lead me away, I sensed a submission which I had never experienced before, a submission to a gift of untouchable peace. It was the peace that comes only when we become willing to forget, to have our memories erased and forever to leave the things of earth behind. Those who are taken by Jesus into that world will be protected from all harm, all anxiety, all cares, and all sorrow--and they will not even know that they are being protected because they will have no consciousness of danger. God will forbid anything ever to disturb their peace and rest.

A desire for God's salvation is a desire to forget about this world, not only the all the evil and sorrow of it, but also the benefits and beauty of it, your achievements and possessions, too. Are you willing to forget? If not, you are not yet willing to receive God's salvation. Most of the church, if I understood the picture I saw correctly, does not yet desire the salvation of God, because (1) it is looking for another kind of salvation and (2) it is still too entangled with the world to want to leave it permanently behind. I also learned that, ironically, many who complain the most about this world are least willing to leave it. They are addicted to a spirit of criticism and are completely unwilling to have God remove the thing that they enjoy so much to criticize. As I have told many people over the years when they were frustrated with rebellious, sinful relatives or friends, if you are unwilling to release others to be wrong and to do evil, if they is what they choose to do, then you will never have a moment of peace. It is the same with us all concerning salvation. If we are unwilling to turn this world loose to the destruction God has in mind for it, we cannot know the peace that is available to us in the Lord.

Peace is not the absence of fighting. It is the absence of everything that can be fought about. For example, United States military units have been stationed in various parts of the world to "keep the peace". In truth, there is no peace to keep in those places. If there was true peace in those places, they would have no need for an army to "keep" it. The only way to have peace is to have the Spirit of God in control of the hearts of men.

The Muslims have their own version of paradise, as do Buddhists, Christians, and others. But who really wants God's paradise, under God's terms? God's ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His salvation is not what carnal men hope and imagine it will be. It is a life in which none of these former things shall ever come to mind. And the only way that we can really demonstrate to Him that we desire His salvation it is to obey Him now and abandon our own thoughts and ways completely and permanently.

Friend, there is likely to be more of the world and its ways left in your mind than you know. All your life, you have been given wrong ideas about the new birth, salvation, the church, the Father and the Son, the blood of Christ, and virtually every other facet of life in Christ. But Jesus is offering to you his liberating truth, if you are willing to come with him and forever to leave the other behind. Forsake the foolish and live! Depart from the presence of a man when you perceive that he is speaking perverse things about God. Do not stay in his congregation and suffer! Do not love and cling to the abuse of ministers who are not from Jesus.

Loving The Abuse

This is a most difficult thing to comprehend and believe about ourselves. In the Old Covenant prophets, God provided a litany of abuses heaped upon His people by their religious leaders. Covetousness, greed, teaching and prophesying falsely, secret adultery, mixing the truth with heathen ideas of worship and faith, taking advantage of the poor, and a hundred other things too long to list here. God's people were fed, spiritually speaking, with dirty water (Ezek.34:18-19) and moldy bread, while the pastors and prophets "lived sumptuously, clothed in fine linen". The sheep of God's pasture were plundered, scattered, and unloved. But by far the most stunning, the most inconceivable fact revealed by God concerning all this was that His poor, abused people LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. "My people" said God, "love to have it so" (Jer.5:31).

Until you have learned the truth, until you have seen how stubbornly God's children now refuse to depart from false teaching and Spiritless congregations, even though they admit they are as miserable as they can be, you cannot possibly comprehend the meaning of those words from Jeremiah. I have seen my own brothers in Christ reject the life-giving truth of God to cling to the very thing that is driving them insane. I have seen them abused, and yet refuse to leave the abuser. I have been broken and deeply grieved by the poison of false doctrine being fed to my family in Christ, and yet I have seen them cast aside the pure water of life and curse me for offering it to them. You may not think so, but if you are among those who are miserable, being confused and abused by dead doctrines fed to you each Sunday morning by unanointed men among mixed congregations (some with the Spirit, and some not), and yet you return week after week for more of it, it is because you "love to have it so". You would not leave if an angel from God came from heaven and taught you the truth. Ask God to show you your own heart! He will help you to cease loving "to have it so"!

Get out! Forsake the foolish and live! Be willing to "become of no reputation", and live! It is the only real way that you can demonstrate to Christ your willingness to receive the salvation of God. Let Him cleanse from your heart now and forever your attraction to that one unclean thing, so that you may be counted worthy to have your memory erased of all unclean things later. Show him that you are willing to permanently abandon all evil and that you really do love and desire his peace.

Are you really ready to stop complaining? Are you really ready to stop suffering? God will give you a love you cannot complain about, and a blessing with which He adds no sorrow. Do you really want to know the truth and be made free? If you really do, you will come out of those places that are wearing you down. God has a truth for you that will liberate your spirit and thoroughly satisfy your soul. Do you really want it, or do you secretly enjoy grumbling about your pastor and the deadness of the worship where you go? Are you addicted to your fame among that congregation? Be honest with yourself. Don't pretend with God. You know what I mean by "fame among the congregation": the reputation that you have nurtured of being a wonderful church member, a pillar of the faithful. Always playing the hero for others, leading the complaint about how spiritually oppressive and dead the church is. Are you still following that wicked doctrine of Satan that tells you to stay there in that religious filth "so that you can help others", as if God's will for you is to be abused and die with them! Why not rather obey God, be a testimony of faith, and be happy! Search your heart! If you do not "love to have it so", the call of your God to "come out of her my people" will be the sound you have longed to hear. It will give you great pleasure to walk away and to have Jesus place his arm around your shoulders and lead you into a peace that is so far from the carnal mind that vain men cannot even desire it.

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