It’s amazing to listen to the cheap theology of our apostate generation. Cheap grace that covers lacy religion is the order of this last generation. Grace has become an excuse to live self-centered lives and yet claim discipleship with Christ. The Bible makes no such room for careless living. Grace does not cover for sin but breaks the power of sin. Patience is ceaseless surrender in the face of many difficulties to that power of grace at work in the believer’s heart. The rapture of each of us to His presence will be the triumph of patience.
Listen to the Apostle of grace as he instructs us to patience. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:1-4). The world will never be fair to the saints. There is no unity between us and a world under the sway of sin. We are the ones that must show them t he pure life and never expect them to understand the conflict until they are converted. We win others to Christ by patience.
“Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” It is a race, a contest and an arena of spiritual sport. There is a world full of dark spirits, wickedness in high places, and we are the opponents to be defeated. Day by day we must see ourselves in this race and learn to deal with each conflict patiently.
The other person may treat you wrongly, but our Father says, “Love your enemies.” They may even hate you, but remember they hated Him first. Our struggle is never to be in a personal battle with individuals. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:12-18) This is a struggle to the end. There is no coasting if you would win the prize. “In your patience, possess ye your soul”(Luke 21:19). The triumph of patience is the rapture of His saints.
The Rapture: Triumph of Holiness
Jesus plainly said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).You will never find one scripture in the Holy Bible that even suggests that those living in sin will inherit the eternal kingdom. The opposite is always declared without compromise. The glory of the rapture will be the triumph of Holiness. Pure, Godly, separated saints will be caught up to meet Jesus in the air. The true church from Pentecost until this hour has been badgered over Holiness above every other thought. Theology is important but it never causes the attack that Holiness does. People will divide over denominations, ideas of church government, and other ecclesiastical matters but nothing causes more disputes than right and wrong. What is the lifestyle acceptable to be called a Bible Christian is t he ultimate place for church war.
Sometimes the problem is mainly the argument over man-made standards. The church has often been deeply divided over Holiness issues that are not Holiness at all. It would be impossible to name or describe all the man-made standards imposed on believers. Good people with impure spirits have developed man-made ideas about right and wrong that reflect nothing but self-righteousness. There are a lot of Scriptures that can be twisted to support many different man-made convictions. They always do more harm than good.
Bible Holiness is not only right but the only way into the Kingdom. The Gospel said, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). His church is a Holiness church. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good wor ks, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (I Peter 2:9-12). Search the history of every great awakening—Waldensians, Anabaptists, Huguenots, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, or Pentecostals—in every case Holiness, separation from the world, was the character and culture. There is no such idea in Scripture of discipleship without Holiness.
I am not talking about man-made standards but a Biblical culture. Every human individual was created in the image of God. Our entire person was created in the Father’s likeness. As He is triune, in three persons, we are triune in spirit, soul, and body. There are three that bear witness in Heaven—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—three that bear witness on earth—blood, water, and the spirit—and there is a three-fold witness in every human person. We were created “a little lower than the angels, but crowned with glory” (Psalm 8:5). Because of our creation in the image of God, the ultimate sin is to mar and defile that image which is ourselves.
Every commandment and restriction in Holy Scripture is based on our likeness to God. Sin is anything that reduces my life from the image of my Father. The commandments, both in the First and New Testaments are never given to restrict our liberties or to place bondage on our lives. They are given to protect His likeness in men, to keep us in His image and in His glory. That’s the culture of Holiness that will fill heaven and the New Earth and no one will inherit the Heavenly future without the Heavenly culture and lifestyle. The Bible teaches this culture and clearly makes it the only acceptable life in His family.
The Rapture will be the final triumph of Holiness over sin and worldly living. One church put the following on their outdoor sign, “The Rapture: Separation of Church & State.”
Joseph R. Chambers