“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth
for the manifestation of the sons of God” – Romans 8:19.
Christianity is a heavenly call: A call by the God of Heaven unto salvation of our souls; a call to grow thereafter in Christ or to become more like the Lord of Heaven; a call to work for that heaven and, therefore, to look up to it as our treasure store and eternal abode; and a call to walk the pilgrims’ narrow path to this home of the triune-God despite all odds on our way and despite all distractions. It is no meat and bread journey. Christianity is all about heaven and how to get there. It is the most focused journey ever.
Divided loyalty or shared loyalty between God and the world and the things in the world has always been the ruin of many. Indeed, there can really be no shared loyalty on that path. We must all be God’s or totally resign to Him to be able to walk continually up there and conclusively so. As we walk onward the heavenly way so much of the world we will be dropping. There is no other way about it. You got stock on the way or even veer off altogether when you refuse to let go something we must let go at a particular point in the journey. We shall soon expatiate on that.
The arm of flesh ruins on this path. Only grace enables, and only the Spirit of God leads. It is a walk with Jesus. It is an ascending walk, and we must ever lean on Jesus Who holds our hands in His in this walk.
Christianity as Mountaineering
Christianity is Mountaineering! The more we climb up the spiritual mountain the more ‘earthly joy fades, earthly tender ties breaks, perishing things of clay pass from the heart away, and the more Jesus is ours’; and if we remain in our climb upward and make it at last in the rapture what eternal felicity. But we must reiterate: We must walk up the mountain, not by ourselves alone but with the Lord Himself.
There is mountain-top Christianity! There is spiritual mountaineering. And we must all be in it. It is glorious getting to the end of this walk. The end of it takes us in that glorious flight with the Lord Himself. For now, we must be walking up there, to be near enough to hear the Last Trump of God; we must be walking up there to be light enough to be caught up in that flight that is like none. A journey upward is carefully taken. It is only those things needed in the journey that are allowed. To be overloaded is failure from day one. You lighten yourself!
And because this is a spiritual walk, we are referring to the overloads in our hearts; the unwanted things in the climb that the flesh excuses, lust justifies, the eye is enticed with, the will cannot resist and the mind, for its weakness, is prey to. The love of the world, the love of the things that are in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life smears our hearts, obscures the heavenly vision just as it blurs the light on the heavenly pathway; and causes stumbles and shipwrecks. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” – 1 John 2: 15-17.
The more we go up in the mountain, the more all these things fade; and the more of heaven is ‘introduced’ to us, the more our chances of making it there by and by. Of course, the more Satan wants us not to press upward; but thank God: the more the grace of God, the presence of God and the vision of Heaven are ours.
As we progress in our climbing we would come to discover that certain things we allowed way back should be gotten rid of now – thus bringing to bear lessons of experience and knowledge for the more we progress the better we know; and some things that inadvertently or otherwise just came in (presently) that ordinarily you would have not allowed way back should not now be allowed to stay and must be gotten rid of – thus bringing to bear holy zeal and love of our youth for the Lord in our walk with our God. That is the Christian walk. You grow in knowledge and experience but never letting the holy zeal and love of your youth diminish. As we grow in experience and knowledge in our walk with God, may our youthful love, zeal and fire for Christ not wane!
There is always a letting go. As we go ahead, and we become weary and tiresome, that simply could be suggesting that there may well be some thoughts or opinions that we have held tenaciously to that may be wrong which we may let go; or some character, attitude or habit not befitting your present level of Christianity that must be dealt with and conquered; or some debts to be settled, some restitutions and reconciliations to be made, or somebody to be forgiven or you must ask for forgiveness. The Bible says: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” – Hebrews 12:14; “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” – Matthew 5:9; “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” – Acts 24:16
Or, it may be some objects or possessions we hold dearly to our hearts that we may let go; and depending on what they are, they may be what we may out rightly destroy or give to others who may have better need of them. We must say it parenthetically that it is very evident that many Christians are holding more, and some far more, than they require, and it slows the Christian holy walk with Christ. Really, we are only caretakers of all that we have, and the caretaker would give account some day. And we really cannot have holy, sweet and acceptable fellowship with God when we are ‘debtors’ to the brethren. That is what we are when we close our channels of flow as caretakers. Caretakers who see themselves as landlords have uphill task walking up the mountain. They may count themselves blessed, and may even be seen as greats among the brethren but that matters nothing in spiritual walk with God. Caretakers indeed, channels of flow indeed, always have it smooth walking up because their treasures are laid up there, and their hearts are there, and so want to get there (for more on this thought look forward to my book: Prosperity, Eternity: Why Receive, Why Give, awaiting publication). There are things to let go, and so much.
Openness to the Spirit is crucial in knowing what to let go. Whatever it is, by the time we let go we become lighter to continue our walk with God. Remember, it may not only be what is bad and evil that may be let go! And remember, it comes continuously and thus helping our walk, for the more we let go the more of Jesus we receive and the more easily our walk with Him is.
Spiritual mountain walk is a walk of constant self-examination in the light of Scriptures, our service to God and our daily interactions and dealings with men. It is about constant consecration and rededication of our lives to God. It is about constant watching and praying. These are very vital parts of the walk if we will not make shipwreck of a holy calling and walk with God; if our journey will not become unnecessarily laborious and burdensome with the end result of looking back and letting ourselves to go altogether only because we refused to let go some things.
There is Mountain-top Christianity
We must always go to God in our walk with Him for cleansing, to empty us and fill us with more of His nature; to be manifested as sons of God on that day. As we go to Him the more of our frailties we would see and the more of His fullness and sufficiency we would know and receive and the more of Christ or more of His Image He would make us to become. No man goes to Him and he doesn’t let go those subtle evils like hidden pride in success or cleverly taking honor and glory in success.
And how about the way we talk? The tongue: That ruin of many! At the throne of grace many have learnt to receive grace in this matter of the tongue where lies the issues of death and life: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof”- Proverbs 18:21; if well used or wholesomely used can be a tree of life but otherwise a breach in the spirit: “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit” – Proverbs 15:4; if not bridled makes our religion vain: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain” – James 1: 26; if not wrongly used is tantamount to perfection and bridling of the whole body: “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body” – James 3: 2; and indeed that part referred to as fire, a world of iniquity that can defile the whole body and set on fire the course of nature (that is, the course of destiny) and set on the fire of hell: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” – James 3: 6. The tongue! Spiritual mountain walkers do not use the tongue anyhow. Except it is unto edification, holy edification it is not allowed to be opened. The mountain walk is a laborious one for those who wrongly use the tongue, and who will not immediately remedy its evil once wrongly used.
After all, the mouth tells us the state of our hearts! And who vomits poison and says his heart is ok? If there are two things a spiritual mountaineer watches and prays about, it is the heart and that heart’s opening we all call ‘the tongue’.
There is mountain-top Christianity. Those that walk there are the generation that seek the Lord. They are the violent that take it by force. They are the holy ones by grace who resolve to always look up. The lighter we become the better and more focus our mountaineering. And we can only get there when we are as light as we should be. We must be as light as possible for the greatest flight in history: the Rapture, to accommodate us. We must be all outstretched with nothing behind, nothing of the world dragging us backward.
In this mountain walk we don’t compare ourselves with ourselves. Jesus is the only standard. The more of Jesus we see the more we know we must let go. And there is much we must let go as we go up higher and higher in the walk, in our Christian walk. Others because of the love of the world and the love of the things of the world may tolerate their much baggage and remain at one stop or even starts moving steps downwards but not those that really seek the Lord; not those who are expecting the rapture.
“Who shall ascend into the Hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of salvation. This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek Thy Face, O Jacob” – Psalm 24: 1-6.
Mountain walkers must know fear and trembling; and carefulness and caution must be the watchwords. More so with spiritual walk! We must resolve to live for God, for His pleasure. We must ask for grace always and trust in same to lead us in both our walk with Him and work for Him. It behooves pilgrims to keep heavenly charges while on this side of eternity we still see ourselves.
Mountaineering needs more than the ordinary. Spiritual mountaineering needs a lot of spiritual resolve, a propelling force to keep you going and a stamina that keeps you pushing: And that is the Holy Spirit and the grace that come from Him, and total and complete trust in Him and that grace. Our foes are many! “Christian, Walk Carefully”, a hymn by an unknown author but with music by George C. Stebbins (1846-1945) admonished on the Christian walk till we make to eternal glory this way:
Christian, walk carefully, danger is near;
On in thy journey with trembling and fear.
Snares from without and temptations within,
Seek to entice thee once more to sin.
Christian, walk carefully,
Christian, walk carefully,
Christian, walk carefully, danger is near.
Christian, walk cheerfully thro’ the fierce storm,
Dark tho’ the sky with its threat of alarm.
Soon will the clouds and the tempest be o’er,
Then with thy Saviour thou’lt rest evermore.
Christian, walk cheerfully,
Christian, walk cheerfully,
Christian, walk cheerfully, thro’ the fierce storm.
Christian, walk pray’rfully oft wilt thou fall
If thou forget on thy Saviour to call;
Safe thou shalt walk thro’ each trial and care,
If thou art clad in the almor of pray’r.
Christian, walk pray’rfully,
Christian, walk pray’rfully ,
Christian, walk pray’rfully, fear lest thou fall.
Christian, walk hopefully, sorrow and pain
Cease when the haven of rest thou shalt gain:
Then from the lips of the Judge, thy reward –
“Enter into the joy of thy Lord.”
Christian, walk hopefully,
Christian, walk hopefully,
Christian, walk hopefully, rest thou shalt gain.
Many have descended down from their spiritual mountain walk. They have turned their backs to that Mountain Sublime, the blessed hope of all redeemed. Many who have trod the path that lead to eternal life have made shipwreck of their most precious faith. They came down because they refused to let go their loads. They came down because they thought it is a difficult journey. They came down because they tried to continue with the arm of the flesh. They came down, and some even crash-landed because they got the whole concept of Christianity wrong in the first place.
And there are even others who have not even climbed at all but talking and preaching ‘Christianity’ at the base of the mountain which is nothing different from the world; and so they actually preach worldliness, their flesh excusing them and not even allowing them to lay it to heart that Paul and Barnabas and others hazarded their lives for the gospel; and Peter and John and others forsook all for the gospel; and Stephen and others died for the gospel! Yes, we may not all become martyrs but we are all supposed to be violent, holy violence: in getting off sin, worldliness, lust of the flesh, pride of life, appearance of evil, filthy lucre. We are supposed to be violent, holy violence: in resisting Satan and surrendering all to Jesus and presenting our bodies a living sacrifice acceptable by Him and consequently becoming choice vessels in His Hands for His work: Lost in Jesus! That is violence, holy violence. This is the generation that seeks the Lord. It is only the violent, those taking it by force that shall be manifested on that day as sons of God. These are the ones ‘the earnest expectation of the creature’ points: Those sons of God, eternal sons of God, to be manifested.
Since the days of John the Baptist there is a mammoth holy struggle, a surge to get into the Kingdom of God. True: Many are called and so there is a spiritual traffic. And also true: Few shall be chosen. It is a race with terms that qualifies or disqualifies. This is where ‘many are called and few are chosen’ comes in, for, indeed, as the Scriptures put it, many shall seek to enter in but cannot. But may we be among the few that shall be revealed or manifested when He that loves us indescribably dearly comes to take home His jewels.
Christian mountaineering is the walk in holiness that creates those jewels of Christ. The more upward you are the more you see to let go. So, everything comes to matter for the mountain walker if he must be light and free enough in the inside to hear the sound of the Archangel, and if he must be light and free enough on the outside to catch that glorious flight that ushers into eternal felicity with the Triune-God.
True Christianity/ Holy Living and Rapture
The entire creation of God is earnestly expecting the manifestation of the sons of God: Those that shall be like Him when He shall appear; those that shall see Him as He is! All men in all ages that had this hope purified their lives. Our age cannot be different. No message can make it secondary or be promoted above it. WITHOUT IT (purity of life or holiness) NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD– Hebrews 12: 14.
There must always necessarily be a letting go, a purging and an emptying of ourselves; a refining, molding and humbling of us after the Image of God’s dear Son. Those that do are empowered as choice vessels to run with the will of God and finish the race set before us.
John 3:21 says that: “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” A Christian does truth, that is, he says godly things and does godly works and that from a godly or divinely approved heart and not in hypocrisy and not driven by any other consideration other than the will of God, or what Finis Jennings Dake explains as one who actively produces gospel fruit by being a doer of the Word (James 1:22-27; James 2:14-26; Matthew 5:16; Matthew 7:15-20); this man comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God.
The real Christian, as a song writer would say, doesn’t feel at home in this world anymore. Like Paul the apostle by the Spirit would say in Philippians 1:21-24: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”
The true Christian is glued to Heaven, leaving here as if the trumpet would sound now. He tarries for the coming of the Lord to rapture His own. Why tarrying he has the command to occupy till He comes. And just as you cannot separate holy living from tarrying, you cannot also separate occupation, holy occupation from tarrying. Indeed holy living and holy ‘occupying’ are the two prongs of this tarrying. To tarry is to live holy till He comes to take us home. And to tarry is to occupy approvingly till He comes to take us home to apportion us our rewards. Salvation is the passport and holy living is the visa that takes us to be with God. Holy works (not just works, no matter how seemingly fruitful in the eyes of men) determine who we become when we get there.
Then what? Holy living, more of holy living, and yet more and more until we see our Savior and know Him as we are known. What does it entail? We here convey a most serious matter with sundry allusion to or paraphrases of Scriptures: It means keeping our garments spotless, our bodies without wrinkles; striving to entire in at the strait gate; walking on the narrow path; earnestly contending for the faith; and fighting the good fight of faith. It means seeking first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness; awaking to righteousness and sinning not; seeking the City that has foundation; laying our treasures in Heaven; and taking hold of eternal life. It means condescending to men of low estate; making our moderation known to all men; and fleeing youthful lust and every appearance of evil. It entails being steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord and pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. It has to do with thinking, speaking and doing all things with eternity in view. It asks for tongue taming, for in the mouth are issues of life and death; it requires letting all speech be unto edification and our words being seasoned with salt. It demands living and walking in the Spirit; walking after the Spirit; walking in the Light; walking as children of light; walking in love; and walking worthy of God. It is being the salt of the earth; the light of the world; an example of the believers. Sum: IMAGE OF CHRIST!
It commands avoiding them who preach the gospel for their belly sake and for filthy lucre sake; who make merchandise of men; who with good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple; who suppose that gain is godliness; and who have run greedily after Balaam’s error for reward. Fleeing all appearance of evil; and traditions of men within and without the church so-called (and their many damning wine of fornications) is part of it!
This most serious and earnest pleading which came to us by the mercies of God must always be ours to hearken to: “I beseech therefore, brethren, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable will of God” – Romans 12: 1-2. This is the generation that seeks the Lord! These are the candidates for the rapture.
We shall take the classic hymn of Jane Catharine Bonar (1821-1884) “Jesus is Mine!”
1. Fade, fade, each earthly joy, Jesus is mine!
Break every tender tie, Jesus is mine!
Dark is the wilderness, Earth has no resting place,
Jesus alone can bless, Jesus is mine!
2. Tempt not my soul away, Jesus is mine!
Here would I ever stay, Jesus is mine!
Perishing things of clay, born but for one brief day,
Pass from my heart away, Jesus is mine!
3. Farewell, ye dreams of night, Jesus is mine!
Lost in this dawning bright, Jesus is mine!
All that my soul has tried left but a dismal void;
Jesus has satisfied, Jesus is mine!
4. Farewell, mortality, Jesus is mine!
Welcome, eternity, Jesus is mine!
Welcome, oh, loved and blest, welcome sweet scenes of rest,
Welcome, my Savior’s breast, Jesus is mine!
This is the generation that seeks the Lord here revealed in few lines. Living our lives to glorify God is the key to everything! Only those living for Heaven or living with eternity in view really knows that hymn. All that shall be manifested as sons of God are actually those who are living with eternity in view or living as heavenly citizens here on earth!
Christian mountain walk (walking closer and closer upward unto God) or Holy living (becoming more and more like Jesus) or the life that catches up with the Lord in the sky in a twinkle has success-secret in the fear of God. The fear of God! And to that all important subject matter we must now turn, and so important two series handles it.