|- Ray Prinzing -
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." [John 14:6].
Well spoken are the words of Proverbs 16 :25, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." To be carnally minded is death, and every way and scheme that the natural mind might produce only serves to magnify the death realm in which he dwells. "Every way of man is right in his own eyes..." [Prov. 21:2], and so we stumble on, wandering through various by-paths, striving to find THE WAY, but continually missing the mark, proving again and again that "the man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead." [Prov. 21:16].
The bleakness of this situation could be emphasized and magnified and described in ever increasing black tones-- but this side of the picture we are well acquainted with, what is needed is a clarity to the message of the positive, that grand and glorious news that THERE IS ONE WHO HAS COME TO HELP US IN OUR WEAKNESSES, to impart of HIS LIFE, that we might be able to follow in His steps, and return to our dwelling place in the fullness of God.
Laden with our sins, burdened with our guilt-complex and condemnation, we are in no condition to rise up and make noble decisions to live a righteous life, and thus be counted wor'thy to stand in the presence of God. But HE who is ALL RIGHTEOUS, He who knew no sin, neither was any guile found in His mouth, He is now ready to make intercession for us, and to help our infirmities.
Let us be reminded that this word "intercession" literally means TO MEET WITH, CONVERSE WITH, HAVE DEALINGS WITH. Because He knows the will of God, then He can have these dealings WITH US, converse with us, and bring us into the will of God, for He knows the plan and purpose of God. In our weakness we know not the right way and what the will of God really is, but the Spirit knows, and thus He helps us to know the win of God. We used to think that He was "up there" pleading with the Father, doing everything "instead of" us, until He has persuaded the Father to be kind to us and shew us a bit of mercy. But now we understand that the holy Spirit's intercession is FOR the saints, and not instead of them, but because we know not what to pray, HE HELPS US, for since He knows the mind of God, He can help us to know that mind, so that we might be able to pray in harmony with the win of God. But He does not take our place so that we are absolved from praying, rather HE HELPS OUR WEAKNESSES, and gives us the prayer to pray, which leads into victory.
We don't need the holy Spirit to tell God what is in our heart, God already knows what is in our heart. " An things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." [Hebrews 4:13]. It is even recorded of Jesus, that He "needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man." [John 2:25]. Jesus, knowing what they were reasoning within themselves, would tell them what their thoughts were, and bring out into the open their secrets. HE knows my prayer long before I utter it, He knows what my desire towards Him really is, so that it is not my problem. It is even written, "before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I win hear." He begins to pour out His love towards us before we even begin to express our desire for more of Him. Therefore I don't need the holy Spirit to lift my prayer to God, when He already knows what my prayer is going to be. In fact, to be truthful, He is the One who places this prayer within us, for I had no desire towards God until He placed this desire within me. If He gave me the desire, He certainly knows what it is. But what we do need is for the holy Spirit to HAVE DEALINGS WITH US, to intercede and make known the will of God TO US, from God to us, not just from us to God. And when we realize that "the anointing which ye have received REMAINETH IN YOU," then you know that you have a constant intercessor, one ever ready to converse with you, and guide you into all truth. You need not wander in darkness wondering what the will of God is, for there abides within you AN INTERCESSOR ready to help your weaknesses.
"Who is he that condemneth ? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, (literally, in the place of power, for the right hand speaks of strength and power) , Who also maketh intercession for us." [Romans 8:34].
HE, being in the place of power, now has full ability to help MY weaknesses, and to fill up all of my need and lack. " And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man." [John 5:27]. He has all the power and authority necessary to execute all that is needed in my behalf, until all of my weaknesses are swallowed up into His strength and fullness. There will be that need for judgment, those correctional processes used to bring us into line with the will of the Father, but since HE KNOWS THE MIND OF GOD, He is able to converse with me, have dealings with me in such a manner as to bring me into conformity to that will and purpose. "Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation (appeasement, propitiation) for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted." [Hebrews 2:17-18].
"Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." [Hebrews 7:25].
Praise God, HE EVER LIVETH to draw us to God, to bring us into righteousness!
Now this brings us to a very important word which is used relative to our being helped, and that is ADVOCATE, from the Greek word "parakletos" meaning ONE CALLED ALONGSIDE TO HELP, a comforter. In fact, four times this Greek word is used in the New Testament as "COMFORTER" in reference to the holy Spirit. "But the Comforter, which is the holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." [John 14:26]. Praise God for this Comforter, and all of the help which He is imparting, to teach us ALL THINGS, no restrictions, no qualifications, for IN HIM are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and He freely imparts to us according to our need.
"And if any man sin, ( err, miss the mark) , we have AN ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." [1 John 2:1].
The word "with" used here is the Greek word "pros" meaning TOWARD. We have an Advocate to help us toward the Father, helping us in all of our relationship toward God, so that we will be acceptable with God. It isn't that He is to help the Father, the Father doesn't need help, WE NEED THE HELP, and HE HELPS US TOWARD THE FATHER. He is my Advocate, He is the One called alongside to help me. He comforts me. I need someone alongside of me all the way to help me towards God, and HE IS HERE TO BE OUR COMFORTER, OUR OWN PERSONAL ADVOCATE.
There are various divisions made for the sake of our limited understanding, as fragment by fragment, line upon line, we come into the knowledge of the truth, and so we often refer to the various manifestations of God according to that position and expression which is needed in our life at that particular time. He is our Father, manifested as Son, and presently abiding in us as the holy Spirit. Galatians 4 :6 declares that "God hath sent forth THE SPIRIT OF HIS SON into your hearts." This blessed, divine Spirit was sent to be our Comforter, "that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; FOR HE DWELLETH WITH YOU, AND SHALL BE IN YOU." [John 14:16-17].
For the age, age-abiding, this Comforter is alongside to help, and He also is INSIDE, dwelling within, if so be that we have received Him, to be our help, helping us toward God, so that we are able to approach God, and be found approved in the sight of God. It is His ministry to us-ward which helps our relationship toward the Father. His ministry IS IN US toward God... No one needs to plead our case to God, HE IS THE VERY ONE WHO SENT THE SON, AND THE SPIRIT OF HIS SON TO HELP US. He loves us! He is helping us! And God sent the Spirit of His Son to dwell within us, to be our Advocate, our Comforter.
"Without Him I can do nothing,
Without Him I'd surely fail,
Without Him I would be drifting
Like a ship without a sail.
With Christ every foe can be vanquished,
With Christ I can meet every test,
With Christ as my Pilot I'll anchor
In the harbor of peace and rest."
"I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people." [Psalm 89:19].
While this is speaking of David, chosen out from among the people to be that mighty one to rule over Israel, it surely pre-figures THE CHRIST, and of Him it can truly be said, "I HAVE LAID HELP UPON ONE THAT IS MIGHTY," and such an One is sent to me, to help me in all of my weaknesses, to bring me into the fullness of the life of God. Yes, that our salvation might be to the uttermost!
Brought into His fullness, to BECOME ONE IN HIM, then shall all the first fruits become mighty ones also, and in that day, "he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them." [Zechariah 12:8]. Upon these shall God lay help, shall He impart of His abundance so that they might become His mighty ones, to become His mercyseat, His intercessors, His comforters for others.
There is such a yearning within-- "O God, bring us to that place where we are able to be a comforter to those that need comfort." Again and again we read it in the Word, as in Isaiah 40:1, "Comfort ye, comfort ye My people." And yet it seems that we do not have enough to say, we do not know what to do, we don't know how. Ah, that is why He is working in us now, filling up all that we lack, and our weaknesses shall become our strong points, that in the ages to come we might become the vessels of His grace and mercy, so that we might bring comfort to those in need.
"He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." [1 Corinthians 6:17]. When our life is totally swallowed up into oneness IN HIM, we shall become ONE SPIRIT. Then we read, "It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out of My spirit upon all flesh..." [Joe 12:28]. When we become ONE IN THE COMFORTER, we become part of the Comforter, we become part of that which is poured out, freely given, to all of the world.
We read that when He sends the rain, He "sendeth rain on the just and the unjust." [Matthew 5:45]. Furthermore, "I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me." [Isaiah 65:1].
Praise God, these mighty ones shall flow out with life and love unto all men. They won't condemn the sinner and tell him to clean himself up. They won't cry to those who are dead to come and receive life. They shall take life to those who are dead, and they shall bring help and salvation to those who need cleansing. That which is filled with sin and iniquity cannot clean itself, but that which is pure can minister that purity unto them.
Strange indeed, the past theology of men. The corpse is floating upon the water and we throw it a life-rope and tell the corpse that if it will grab hold we'll help pull it in. What nonsense! He is dead, he cannot grab hold of anything. The man is DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SINS, his back is toward the light, he is all enwrapped with self-rebellion against the Lord, there is no light in him at all. Then are we suppose to call out to this one totally dead in trespasses and sin, "Come to Jesus"? How can he come? He is dead to all spiritual life. He has no power to turn around and walk towards God. Then dare we blame him for not coming to Christ for salvation ? How foolish! But, now, if a mighty one overtakes him, and light is brought to this one in darkness, and they are covered with the love of God, and life is given whereby they can begin to receive new strength, then shall they respond and serve Him.
With the new ministry of reconciliation to be revealed in the ages to come, there will be no need to tell men what sinners they are, and knock them down a little more into the mud. "A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory." [Matthew 12:20]. We shall not give them any more condemnation and smother that last little spark they might have, but rather it shall be fanned into a strong flame, and the message will be clear that God does love them, and freely offers to all of His abundant life. It is a life which maketh rich and addeth no sorrow, for in His presence there is fullness of joy, and at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore.
Not until they have first received life can they begin to come towards God. So Jesus plainly declared, "I am come that they might have life, AND that they might have it more abundantly." [John 10:10].
There is a whole realm of processing between life and more abundant life, and comes in this " AND" space, which includes the whole process of death to self, and the way of the cross. First of all Christ must impart to us life before we can die to self. We tell the sinner to die to his sin and come alive to Christ. He is already dead, how can he die any more ? There has to be life before there can be death. LIFE IS THE CAUSE, death is an effect, there cannot be an effect without a cause. Something cannot die unless first it has been alive. Therefore there must be an impartation of LIFE to one dead in trespasses and sins, and after he has received this measure of life, then he can begin to use that energy to die out to self, and the more one dies out to self, the more they come into the MORE ABUNDANT LIFE OF GOD.
We read, "But ye shall receive power, after that the holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses..." [Acts 1:8]. This doesn't mean that we all find a soapbox and stand upon some corner to witness to everybody that passes by. The Greek word for "witness" is "martyr." It requires the inflow of the power of the holy Spirit to enable us to lay down our life, that we might be found in His life. Too many preach death to self before they announce the LIFE of the holy Spirit which will enable them to pass through this death-process. That is why we need the Comforter, for without His help we cannot die to self.
Praise God, He has given to us an intercessor, an advocate, a comforter-to work in us, to enable us to do that which is right. Since we were without strength, God laid help upon one that is mighty, and HE came to our rescue. He takes up residence within us, and He works within us the right way, and then we live it. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." [Philippians 2:13]. You can only work out what He has worked in, but you cannot live something that He has not first worked in. The way to work it out is simply to LIVE IT. We live out what He works in. Praise God, this releases us from all self-condemnation for not manifesting perfection when as yet He has only given us the earnest of our inheritance. We possess but "in part," but when He gives us more, brings us into His fullness, then we shall be able to fully manifest perfection. You can give expression to that which He has wrought within, but you cannot express what He has not worked in you as yet. Thus, there is no condemnation to them in Christ Jesus, we simply follow on as He leads, responding to His inworkings.
"Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah ? this that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength ? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine fat? I have trodden the winepress alone..." [Isaiah 63:1-3].
Laid help upon one that is mighty-- MIGHTY TO SAVE. But why is He "red" in His apparel ? This word "red" comes from the Hebrew word "adam." What was the apparel He put on ? It was the form of a servant, for He was found in fashion as a man, in the garments of Adam! Furthermore, this Adam-body became stained with blood, for His blood was shed. He poured out His life for us, and "now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace." [Ephesians 2:13-14]. ALL for man's benefit, because of His love!
Which brings us to the thought of RANSOM. "Redeemed-with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." [1 Peter 1:19].
"For the LIFE of the flesh is IN the blood." [Leviticus 17:11].
The blood was the vehicle which carried the LIFE, the life was IN the blood. Men have termed it a "bloody religion" because for years preachers talked about the exterior, about the blood which was shed, but they never got to the real truth, which was the LIFE THAT WAS POURED OUT FOR US. It was the LIFE which was IN the blood which abides to this day to bring us into victory. Romans 5:10 says, "we shall be saved BY HIS LIFE." It wasn't the red fluid which dropped to the earth and was absorbed into the dust of the ground which saves us, it is that LIFE which was in that blood, which life was poured out of us, and which is age-abiding and sufficient for our needs in this very day.
"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to GIVE HIS LIFE a ransom for many." [Matthew 20:28].
Then the Scriptures speak ,of those who have "counted the blood of the covenant wherewith they were sanctified, an unholy (common) thing." [Hebrews 10:29]. It is HIS LIFE which they little esteem, which they call common, as if it was not a holy, set apart, separated life which could work in them this same holiness. Now , once again blend in the thought of our becoming IN HIM these same wonderful ministries, and for an example of being a ransom, we turn to Acts 7:35, where we read, "This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge ? the same did God send to be a ruler and A DELIVERER." We find that this word "deliverer" is the same Greek word in this case which is translated "RANSOM."
How was Moses a ransom for Israel in Egypt ? Did Moses pay a price to Egypt for Israel's redemption ? Did he promise Egypt anything in return for allowing Israel to leave ? NO! Moses paid Egypt exactly NOTHING. It was his own life which he poured out for Israel, it was the freely giving of his life for Israel which led them up out of Egypt.
When Jesus Christ became our ransom He didn't have to take an offering to God, and say, "Here, God, is a price for the people." Nor did He go to the Devil, and say, "Here devil, is a ransom-price, now you let all creation go." NEVER! He poured His life out and freely gave it to the people. We are the ones who are receiving the ransom, and by receiving His life we are able to get up and leave the filth of this old world behind, and walk into the higher realms with Him.
In the natural we pay the kidnaper the ransom money, but God does it the other way around, HE GIVES OF HIS LIFE TO US WHO ARE IN BONDAGE, AND THEN WE HAVE NEW LIFE AND STRENGTH TO ARISE AND RETURN TO FATHER'S HOUSE. We cannot do it on our own, we are weak and helpless, bound in the shackles of sin and shame, but when HE gives of His life, and fills us with His strength, then THROUGH HIM we are able to rise up and return. Praise God, His life is given as a ransom FOR US, in our behalf, we receive the help.
For forty years Moses poured out his life for his people, "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward." [Hebrews 11:25-26].
Paul also said that he was ready to be "POURED OUT" an offering for Christ. Are we willing to pour out our life for others in this day? This does not take away from HIS ministry, but only expands it unto all creation. Whatever life we have, we first received it from Him, and then if we pour it out for others, it is still HIS LIFE which is reaching them through us. Praise God, HIS life shall reach out until it has embraced ALL MEN. "Who gave Himself a ransom for all to be testified (witnessed to) in due time." [1 Timothy 2:6]. Ere the ages have run their course and fulfilled all of God's purpose, every man will receive of HIS LIFE, and witness to the fact that HE IS THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, and especially of those who believe.
CHRIST, OUR ADVOCATE AND RANSOM
An Advocate, A Comforter,
A Ransom for my soul,
What mercy and what grace revealed
To make the wounded whole.
Futility, a world undone,
But not forgotten by our God,
He knows the pain we bear...
And in His plan, through ages wrought,
He purposed our release,
To bring us back unto Himself,
Into His rest and peace.
He laid the help upon His Son,
And sent that Son to me,
To work within my heart this grace
Which sets the captive free.
A ransom He became for me,
His life He freely gave,
Poured ,out, and yes, effective too,
Triumphant o'er the grave.
An Advocate, A Comforter,
A Ransom-this I see,
The Father's heart has planned it all,
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