Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Refiner's Fire: "Seeing the Goldsmith's Face"

The concept of seeing the Goldsmith’s face is a serious thought. If we see His face, we are going to have to enter through the veil into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary, because that is where the Goldsmith is.

Hebrews 6:13-18: “When God made promise to Abraham, ... after he had patiently en-dured, he obtained the promise. ... God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed [it] by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which [it was] impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.”

Hebrews 10:22: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

So, you see, the way into the sanctuary is going to involve the perfection of God’s peo-ple, having our evil conscience sprinkled, washed. Entering into the Most Holy Place is a spiritual experience as we are washed with the blood and the water of Jesus. This way into the Most Holy was consecrated by Jesus by living His perfect life in His flesh, that is, the fallen sinful human flesh that He took.

The experience of Jacob gives us a clue as to how this “entering” happens.

Genesis 32:24-26: “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. ... And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And He said unto him, ... Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”

Do we cling to Christ until we have received the blessing? Do we allow the Holy Spirit to show us our worst case—to show us things about ourselves we might otherwise not want to know? The job of the Holy Spirit is to convict of sin and to bring us to repentance (Rom. 2:4). Will we let Him do that? By wrestling with God until we receive the blessing, we allow the “oil” of the Holy Spirit to bring us to the experience of the perfec-tion He has given us through His consecration—His righteous character—as He understands it, not as we understand perfection. A. T. Jones, one of the 1888 “messengers,” says it best:

“In His coming in the flesh—having been made in all things like unto us and having been tempted in all points like as we are—He has identified Himself with every human soul just where that soul is. And from the place where every human soul is, He has consecrated for that soul a new and living way through all the vicissitudes and experiences of a whole lifetime, and even through death and the tomb, into the holiest of all at the right hand of God for evermore.

“O that consecrated way! Consecrated by His temptations and sufferings, by His prayers and tears, by His holy living and sacrificial dying, by His triumphant resurrection and glorious ascension, and by His triumphal entry into the holiest of all, at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens!

“And this ‘way’ He has consecrated for us. He, having become one of us, has made this way our way; it belongs to us. He has endowed every soul with divine right to walk in this consecrated way, and by His having done it Himself in the flesh—in our flesh—He has made it possible, yea, He has given actual assurance, that every human soul can walk in that way, in all that that way is and by it enter fully and freely into the holiest of all. ...

“Perfection , ... of character, is the Christian goal. ... . Christ attained it in human flesh in this world and thus made and consecrated a way by which, in Him, every believer can attain it. He, having attained it, has become our great High Priest, by His priestly minis-try in the true sanctuary to enable us to attain.

“‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.’ And ‘Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for He is faithful that promised’” (The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, pp. 82-84).

And the results of the refiner’s fire?
“The church, being endowed with the righteousness of Christ, is His depository, in which the wealth of His mercy, His love, His grace, is to appear in full and final display. The declaration in His intercessory prayer, that the Father’s love is as great toward us as toward Himself, the only-begotten Son, and that we shall be with Him where He is, forever one with Christ and the Father, is a marvel to the heavenly host, and it is their great joy. The gift of His Holy Spirit, rich, full, and abundant, is to be to His church as an encompassing wall of fire, which the powers of hell shall not prevail against. In their untainted purity and spotless perfection, Christ looks upon His people as the reward of all His suffering, His humiliation, and His love, and the supplement of His glory—Christ the great center from which radiates all glory. ‘Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb’” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 18; emphasis supplied.

Fasten your seatbelts! We’re in for quite a ride (Matt 5:48). A blessed one.

—Craig Barnes

(Note: A series of CDs on these lessons recorded by this Robert J. Wieland is available from the office of the 1888 Message Study Committee: 269-473-1888.) Listen to the audio recording for Lesson 4 now in MP3 format. Listen as a podcast at Listen as a stream at pluggd.