The Banner Of Truth 2014
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. (Psalm 60:4 )

"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
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Many Shall Be Purified And Made White
By Al Stoner

 
"Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (Dan. 12:10). 


 


 
Herein lies an interpretation of life's experience for all men, whether for weal or for woe.  Men are either in the process of being purified, and made white by grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, or they are doing wickedly, simply by virtue of their refusal of the gracious provision which God has made for them to be reconciled unto Himself through His only begotten Son.  All men are in one of these two domains and categories, and there is no middle ground.  They are either being purified by Jesus, or they are doing wickedly by their refusal to submit to Him. Hear the solemn word of the Psalmist: “Kiss (do homage to) the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” (Ps. 2:12)
 
 


Many Shall Be Purified And Many Shall Do Wickedly.  We are not speaking here of what men might call fatalism, for it is only after men make their departure from this life through death, that it is said of them that: "they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence" (cf. Lk. 16:26). 


 
 


While men are yet “at home in the body” (II Cor. 5:6), the passage from one domain to the other is a veritable possibility.  At one’s conversion to Christ, God opens men’s eyes, and turns them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Christ Jesus (see Acts 26:18).  The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile (cf. Rom. 1:16-17).  God is calling men by the “gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Th. 2:14). 


 
Just as obedience to, and faith in, the gospel is the divinely ordained means for men to make the otherwise impossible transition from darkness to light, so the willful neglect of the gospel will also result in men lapsing back into a state from which there is no recovery, where “the latter end is worse with them than the beginning” (II Pet. 2:20-22; cf. Heb. 6:4-8; Heb. 10:24-31; Ps. 19:13).
 
 


As Many As Received Him. Let us seek to further diffuse the fatalistic notion that is held by myriads of religious people by considering the words of the words of the Scripture.  ". . . as many as received Him," John declared regarding the Lord Jesus, "to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn. 1:12-13).  "As many as received Him" . . . “which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  The harmonization of these two thoughts has been as a puzzle to many “theologians” down through the centuries.  But the Savior here joins them together almost in one breath, not as a mystery, but as that which is to be believed by men. 


 
"As many as received Him" -- no more, no less.  "As many as received Him" -- undeniably and assuredly those. "As many as received Him" -- speaks of an unquestionable unreserved receptivity on man's part.  "As many as received Him" --a receiving that entails the living Christ's involvement with the receiver as well as man's involvement.  To such receptive ones He gives the power to become the sons of God. Jesus is giving and they are receiving.  Where the exalted Christ is not giving, men are not receiving, religious profession notwithstanding!
 
 


Incidentally, the receiving of Christ does not end with one's first encounter with Him, but rather it continues from the emergence from the baptismal waters until the time of putting off this earthly tabernacle. 


 
 


(The notion that the faith that was initially possessed when a person first trusted in Christ could carry the person safely through all the vicissitudes of life’s experience is from beneath, not from above.  Such a notion relegates the throne of grace, our great High Priest, and the Mediator between God and men to a position of non-importance, instead of to the vital purpose which they serve, by God’s grace.  In addition, faith must be regularly nourished by the Word of God, in order that it fail not.  This nourishment proceeds from the living Christ who is now seated at the right hand of God.  Apart from Him the Scriptures are a sealed book.) 


 
 


As we continue “from faith to faith” (Rom. 1:16-17), we are receiving the Lord Jesus Christ in increasing measure.  As we “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Pet. 3:18), the receptivity of Him is ever enlarging.  “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Col 2:6-7). 


 
Many Are Being Purified And Made White.  In the kingdom of God there is no sustainable growth that takes place, except in the arena of suffering affliction, even where many are being purified and made white. Hear the word of the Apostle on this matter: “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Rom 5:3-5).  James expresses the same thought more concisely: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (Jas 1:2-4).
 
Being Purified And Made White. For those in Christ Jesus there is complete acquiescence to what is being experienced.  In those who are being purified, and made white, even by Him who now sits “as a refiner and purifier of silver” (Mal. 3:3), there are tribulations, afflictions, sore trials, and testings.  But there is also a recognition of one’s partakement of “the sufferings of Christ” (II Cor. 1:5). “The fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10) is something that believing men rejoice and glory in.  And, in addition, there is acquiescence, with understanding, to what God is working in the sufferings.  "The Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding," as the John the beloved Apostle declared.  There is even understanding "unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness" (Col. 1:11), as Paul has affirmed to us.  “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” Jesus assured His Apostles just prior to His betrayal, “but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). --Editor

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"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).