|- Ray & Doris Prinzing -
"Do you not all know that all of you are God's inner sanctuary and that the Spirit of God is making His home in you? If, as is the case, anyone morally corrupts the inner sanctuary of God, this person God will bring to the place of ruin, for the inner sanctuary of God is holy, of which character you are." [1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Wuest Expanded].
Giving a free translation of Colossians 1:26-27, Paul declared, "The mystery which has been hidden away from the ages, and from the generations, but now is made manifest to the saints of Himself; to whom God did will to make known in an experimental way what is the riches of the glory of this mystery in the nations, which is CHRIST IN YOU the hope of glory."
This earnest of the Spirit which is given into us bespeaks that "in part" inheritance which we have in Him, that promise of what shall be, not the full and permanent fullness to which we are called, for we do not yet have our house wherein such fullness can dwell. We have a portion accommodated to the tabernacle to contain it, for He is mindful of our low estate. But this INDWELLING PORTION is the "little leaven which shall leaven the whole lump."
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."[Matthew13:33]. The kingdom is, "righteousness and peace, and joy in the whole Spirit." [Romans 14:17], "not in word, but in power" [1 Corinthians 4:20], is hidden in three measures, within us, to work in our spirit, our soul, and our body, until every part of bur being shall come under its influence, and be changed by the power of this indwelling leaven, the Christ.
Now, "not he who recommends himself, ... but he whom the Lord recommends, that one has His stamp of approval placed upon him, that approval being based upon the fact that the approved one has met the test satisfactorily." [2 Corinthians 10:18, Wuest]. It is HIS standard, and His approval. Thus we find that there is much measuring, inworking of the Spirit, purging, purifying, while the spirit of God works in us to bring us up to the full requirement of His qualifications.
"Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality..." [1 Peter 4:12, Amplified]. Or as Wuest gives, "the smelting process which is operating among you and which has come to you for the purpose of testing you..."
Let it be clear, the principle factor is QUALITY OF CHARACTER. It is not how many church buildings we have built, how many hours we have prayed, the quantity of our alms, good deeds, and works, but in that inner quality of spirit, our character which is conformed to His image and nature, the perfection of HIS WILL in us.
Once one of the Pharisees asked Jesus, testing Him for his answer, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" [Matthew 22:36]. Williams brings out in his translation, "WHAT SORT of commandment..." and in his footnote indicates that it is QUALITY which is emphasized. This is in harmony with the Greek text, for the word "which" comes from "poios" meaning of what sort or kind, as to character and quality. The question is not of quantity, how many good works, or even that specific act required, but what is the degree of QUALITY desired? And the answer came back clear, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God WITH ALL thy heart, and WITH ALL thy soul, and WITH ALL thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." [Matthew 22: 37-39]. The quality of TOTAL COMMITMENT involving the whole of your being, such to be the character of our love toward God and then toward one another.
Flesh seeks for great quantity, and boasts therein, but God is after the INNER QUALITY, therefore we read, "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work OF WHAT SORT it is. (i.e. of what quality, the character thereof)." [1 Corinthians 3:13].
Concerning this proving, refining process, we also read, "You have been made sorrowful in the midst of many different kinds of testing in order that the approval of your faith, which faith was examined by testing for the purpose of being approved... may be discovered after scrutiny to result in praise and glory and honour at the time of the revelation of Jesus Christ." [1 Peter 1:6-7, Wuest].
It is our FAITH which is being put to the test, to determine its quality and character. Obviously we find ourselves in the fire along with our faith, but He is not trying to prove how much tension our bodies can stand up under, "He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust." [Psalm 103:14], and He upholds us in all our weakness, to bring us through, but there is a testing of the inner quality of our being, to see if our faith will endure― if we will remain faithful even when the time is long, the vision tarries, and we have to "with patience wait for it."
"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." [Matthew 6:7]. What kind of faith is this, that it requires quantity? Phone everybody you know, get everybody praying for the same thing, and we'll twist God's arm until He answers our request. What a low quality of faith that requires this quantity. Their revelation of God is wrong to begin with, and their faith in Him is of poor quality besides. "When ye pray, BELIEVE that ye receive, and ye shall have." [Mark 11:24].
We learn to stand upon the pure, naked Word of God, without the props of man, without all the frills of blessing and manifestation, when the fire has burned away all the straw and the chaff, it will reveal that we shall simply believe God for Who He is, what He is, what He says, and we'll rest in Him, fully persuaded that what He has promised He will perform at the appointed time, in harmony with His will and purpose.
"And there was given me a reed like a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein." [Revelation 11:1]. At a later time, in the progressive fulfillment of His purpose, there will be a measuring of those out in the court, and on out in the land, until all has been brought into the fulness of His plan. But for now it is the temple, the inner sanctuary which is being dealt with, tested, tried, proved, brought up to specification, to gain His approval.
We wonder why we are so dealt with by His Spirit, His probings are so deep, and He exacts such faithfulness and complete surrender from us, while others are seemingly left to go their own way, to be blessed and free to enjoy "playing church," etc. Why is it that He has stripped away our desire, and holds us from being satisfied with these lesser realms? Ah, it is because He is dealing with His FIRST FRUITS, HIS INNER SANCTUARY, and we are being duly measured and qualified to become His habitation.
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the HOUSE OF GOD: and if it FIRST BEGIN AT US, what shall the end of them that obey not the gospel of God?" [1 Peter 4:17]. Begin AT― or literally, FROM the House of God. The temple is .the focal point, the starting point, and it must first be found approved, before the judgment moves outward, till all is judged, corrected, and restored into harmony with God. Not until the temple is fully qualified is the ministry ready to reach out and bring others into alignment with the same standard. All else will measure up to the temple, once the temple has measured up to come unto the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ. "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." [1 Peter 1:16]. HIS HOLINESS is our standard, and when we are one in and with that holiness, then, and not until then, will we be a part of that living manifestation of His standard for others.
This brings a new meaning to the verse, "For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." [Luke 6:38]. Jesus Christ is the measure, His fullness, and because He is giving this measure out to us ― and He shall receive us back again, a creation restored into fulness and perfection.
If our vision is for a partial redemption, God receive a few, the Devil receive the rest, then this is the measure that we shall receive back to ourselves again, a partial redemption; until our vision is enlarged and we come into the true measure, to give out, and receive the same again.
"And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace." [John 1:6]. The first measure is HIS FULLNESS, and it is out of this measure that we receive grace for grace, measure for measure. And He shall fashion our body "like unto His glorious body" [Philippians 3:21], to have the SAME FORM WITH, to have the same measure and standard. Thank God, He is not going to limit us to our present understanding, and give us a body that will be so "in part," but when that which is perfect is come, it will swallow up all of our lack. And as one man so aptly stated it, "Not on the basis of my limited understanding, but what GOD MEANS BY IT, that is what we desire to be fulfilled in us." And we say, AMEN!
Then we read, "Divers weights, divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord." [Proverbs 20:10]. For the phrase "divers weights" the Hebrew would actually read, "a stone and a stone," both the same size perhaps, but one of much heavier substance than the other, and the crooked merchant would substitute the one for the other to his own benefit. Two cups, but one with a false bottom, to cause a lesser measure. True, in all natural dealings, this is an abomination to the Lord. But it also has spiritual application. God does not have a double standard.
Far too often Christendom has operated on a double standard, with one set of rules for the laymen, another for the clergy. One image that was portrayed to others, but a different image under the masquerade. Ah, yes, what measure is meted out is what shall return to us again, and some folk, who have so completely deceived their own heart, will be astounded at the measures they receive back to them― solid proof of what they were also measuring out. It is the inner character that shall be revealed, and what the measure is, whether it comes up to HIS standard, or no. It is the daily travail of present pressures which are being used of God to prove and develop us ― that we might be found approved on that appointed day.
"The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, and wisdom shall see thy name: HEAR YE THE ROD, and who hath appointed it." [Micah 6:9]. Then using Moffatt's translation, and he places verse twelve before verses ten and eleven, "Hard and harsh are the classes, deceitful are the masses, with mouths full of falsehood. Can I forget what rogues have hoarded, and these accursed scant measures? Can I condone wrong balances and short weights in the trader's bag?"
No wonder people are confused, they have had to contend with such strange standards and diverse measures. The religious systems said, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." [Revelation 3:17], and knew not that they were "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked."
But now the voice cries, "HEAR YE THE ROD..." Give attention to the measuring rule which God has appointed. And the temple is measured with "A REED LIKE A ROD." Here the word "rod" is the same translated elsewhere as a "rod of iron," which shall be used to rule the nations, but twice it is given as "sceptre" in Hebrews 1:8. "Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: A SCEPTRE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS is the SCEPTRE OF THY KINGDOM."
The rod of measurement for His kingdom is the ROD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. If His kingdom is now WITHIN YOU, then everything within is gradually being measured and brought up to the specification of HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, for we repeat, "The kingdom of God is... righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit."
Praise God, He is made unto us "wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." [1 Corinthians l1:30], and the Spirit now works in us, and the purpose of the ministeries given unto the called out, are for the intent "that we might arrive at really mature manhood― the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ's own perfection― the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ, and the completeness found in Him." [Ephesians 4:13, Amplified].
The day of revelation is at hand, and God will expose the motivating principle behind Babylon's follies. It is written, "O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy coveteousness." [ Jeremiah 51:13]. It has not been the measure of drawing men to Christ, but of building personal kingdoms. Rogues that hoarded unto themselves. Congregations were measured with the measure of coveteousness, how much money could be lifted in the offering and what gall could be brought to their programs. Christ, and His holiness, His righteousness was not the standard, but the creeds and doctrines of men were set forth for men to measure to, diverse regulations of confusion. Thank God, this is going to end, for the true temple shall be revealed, and its standard is nothing less than Christ's own perfection, and the completeness which is found in Him.
In Ezekiel's vision, (chapter 40), they measured the temple, every chamber therein, each room signifying the office and position of its occupant. Every room, pillar, gate, etc. had to measure up to the divine specifications. Every man had to qualify for his position in the temple, and each room had to be duly fitted to the needs of that office. There must be perfect harmony, hence the measures were exact.
So also, the callings of God upon His first fruits are tremendous, and the positions, to become a pillar in the temple of our God, requires that we fully OVERCOME, even as He also overcame, and is now sitting in His Father's throne. EVEN AS― in like manner, of the same quality and kind, for we are to be made PERFECT IN ONE.
How often Christ has had to come with a "scourge of small cords" and drive "out of the temple" ― John 2:15 ― so many things which are displeasing to Him. And yet, even so, there awaits that coming shaking, when "Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain." [Hebrews 12:27]. All the things that are "made," the products of the flesh, the work of man, will be removed by the shaking, that HIS WORK ALONE SHALL REMAIN .
"The Stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the Head of the corner." [Luke 20:17], and we praise God for everyone who is now being fitted to this cornerstone, to be built up in Christ. But the point needs to be pressed a little farther, how many who have been aligned with the Cornerstone for the beginning of the building of their character in Christ, also have the HEADSTONE that perfectly CAPS THE WHOLE BEING? Zechariah 4:7 speaks of how they shall "bring forth the headstone with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it." HE is to be both the Author and the Finisher of our faith. We know that our beginning is IN HIM, but all that follows must also be OF HIM, not of our own making, and then HE becomes the CAPSTONE, the total supremacy of all of our life.
Yes, the temple, the inner sanctuary of God, which we become, is duly measured from the point of beginning at the Cornerstone, clear on through to the finality of the Capstone, with the image and stature of Christ engraven upon the whole.
Then it also says, "Measure...the altar," the place of sacrifice, and the sacrifice which becomes one with the altar. "We have an altar..." [Hebrews 13:10], our Lord Jesus Christ, and we are joined to Him to become that "living sacrifice" [Romans 12:1]. The whole sacrifice must measure up to the altar. We know that HE qualifies, but so must also the sacrifice, which we become unto Him. "Bind the sacrifice with cords, unto the horns of the altar." [Psalm 118:27]. Surrendered unto Him, bound by the cords of love, "not my will, BUT THINE, be done."
And, "measure...them that worship," for "true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth." [John 4:23]. Worship speaks of the complete abasement of self, not just a will-worship, nor a lip-service, but that total abandonment before Him, bowing low at His feet, to magnify His holy name, and to offer Him praise. Even our worship is to be measured, that it be pure, from the heart, in spirit, and in truth, to glorify God. This is the inner sanctuary where He shall dwell in His fullness and glory.
MEASURE THE TEMPLE
Rise up and measure the temple of God,
And mark ye full well how it stands approved;
Equal in score to the measuring rod.
Ponder the structure and test it for strain,
'Mid all the shakings that pierce to its core;
Only the pure and the true shall remain.
What is the standard whereby we can tell?
What is the rule to govern the whole?
The Life of the Christ, Who in thee doth dwell.
His is the stature for all to become,
Conformed to His image, and character;
Until His fullness shall fill up the sum.
He is the Cornerstone, foundation sure,
And the Plumbline to which all must align;
Plus He is the Capstone on those mature.
For judgment begins at the house of God,
With justice and mercy weighing it o'er;
Reviewing the path that each soul hath trod.
The fire shall test the faith of each man,
And burn until all the dross is consumed;
Till love consummates the work it began.
God's inner dwelling, a temple so true,
Judged and made ready by sovereign grace;
This is the hour that comes into view.
Writings in This Series: