Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

   Door of Opportunity
   by Rayola Kelley

       In this series on redemption, we have learned what it truly cost for each of us to enjoy its benefits. It cost God His only begotten Son, and it cost Jesus His former glory in the heavens and His physical life as the Son of man. He actually allowed Himself to be made lower than His created angels to pay the price of redemption in order to ensure legal restitution concerning God’s holy Law and to restore us back into a relationship with our Creator.

       This brings us to the big challenge of redemption, which entails taking advantage of it. Redemption affords us many different benefits. It identifies us to a spiritual inheritance and it provides the necessary avenues to discover and experience God’s many blessings and promises. However, to benefit from blessings and promises, we must walk through the necessary entrances that He has provided. The problem is we may not recognize such doors because of our spiritual state. We can ask God to deliver us, seek the opportunity to be set free, and knock on doors to enter in to partake of His many blessings and discover the fruition of His promises. However, if we do not by faith walk through the necessary entrances He opens for us, we can easily miss such opportunities to do so. Like the door to Noah’s ark, it may be the one door open to us for a short time or season.

       As I have discovered in the past, it is easy talk or sing about redemption, but sadly, there are those who continue to remain in bondage. Redemption is about restitution and restoration of what was lost because of the spiritual bondage and captivity that ensued due to Adam’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden. Man was not only brought into captivity of sin, but he faced the consequences of spiritual death. In his lost state, man was without hope of changing his status without intervention from something outside of the realm of what was, and is now considered the unacceptable and inept present state of mankind.

       Sadly, there are many people looking for relief from the overwhelming weight of the heavy chains of sin that often binds them, but not deliverance from the fleshly dictates or ways of sin that entangles them. As a result, these individuals might cry out in desperation against the chains, but rage against that which would challenge them in regard to their fleshly ways of thinking and being. Obviously, you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot cause that horse to drink.

       Case in point: In John 7:37, Jesus invites all who will hear, to come freely to the wells of salvation to drink of the Living Water of the Holy Spirit. The invitation has echoed from generation to generation, but how many have truly accepted it? Many walk around dying of thirst, while some recognize that they are succumbing to spiritual drought and malnutrition even though they still strive to enter into the matters of God in other ways except through the one way provided by Jesus. The narrow gate established by His death on the cross represents the main entrance. The only accessible door comes by way of revelation as to who He is and the life He offers, and the only correct veil was clearly established by His redemption that brought forth an everlasting covenant and was a product of sanctification (Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:24; John 10:7-10; Hebrews 10:19-24). Each entrance points to an aspect of Jesus’ work, character and life.

       This brings us to the haunting reality that God may have secured our ransom, but you cannot force someone to receive properly the freedom and restitution offered. We can see this in our own society. In this nation, people have been afforded the opportunity to take responsibility for the quality of their life. They have had the freedom to work for goals that were obtainable and possible. Instead of settling for small pinnacles of success, they were given the means to experience the mountains while reaching for the stars.

       However, there are those in our society who advocate free bread in exchange for personal liberties. The individuals who prefer temporary bread to that which has quality and is lasting are being offered a lifestyle that costs nothing; therefore, it is not to be valued or regarded as being important or significant. As these people learn to value nothing, they become irresponsible in every matter. Instead of learning respect, they become lawless. Instead of developing initiative and character, they become treacherous, always quick to sell their soul and sacrifice others for selfish desires.

       Sadly, each generation has been conditioned through the years to somehow give up their personal liberties to partake of the things of the world. They are blinded by their own limited point of view to the line that is being drawn in the sand of our present age. They have no real understanding of the liberty that has been afforded them through sacrifice. In fact, some rage against, as well as mock, the very principles that were put into place to safeguard them from tasting the bitterness of utter bondage that is produced by the corruption of evil. How could they understand liberty when they themselves have chosen to become slaves to their own self-serving and wicked agendas? How could they see the light of truth since they prefer the lies of this present age? Redemption is available to them, but they do not desire its benefits because they have been conditioned to take it for granted. They do not care to be restored to what has truly been lost because they have no concept as to how lost they have become. They want this present world instead of valuing the next one to come. Such individuals have sold their souls to hold on to their foolishness that will leave them empty and in complete spiritual ruin.

       Jesus’ words continue to echo through the centuries: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul” (Matthew 16:26)? Sometimes I stand in utter fear as to my own spiritual condition. Have I given up bits and pieces of my soul to partake of the things of the world? Have I become so spiritually dull towards truth that I have no consensus as to the spiritual opportunities I might be missing concerning my spiritual inheritance? Have I become so accustomed to some worldly lifestyle that I have no awareness as to how unprepared I am to face the trying tests of my faith, as well as the possible adversity that will bring me close to the abyss of utter destruction as the present darkness consumes the world around me?

       In order to discern my own spiritual condition, I have often considered what God had to do with the children of Israel to cause them to walk through the entrances of opportunities allotted to them. Let us consider the route He had to take them to cause them to enter into all that He had promised them.

     Desperation: We must become very uncomfortable in our slavery before we will accept being ransomed. We have been born into our slavery and know no other life. As long as we can get by with what we are familiar with, we have a tendency to be content even in tremendous bondage. Our slavery must not only become uncomfortable, it must become tormenting and unbearable before we become desperate. This is how spiritually dull we are, until we are awakened by the torment of our slavery. Torment is what will cause such slavery to become unbearable. It is when it becomes unbearable that we will begin to cry out in desperation.

    Judgment: God must bring some type of judgment for us to realize that deliverance will cost. Judgment serves, in a way, as the gate that all must enter to experience redemption. The necessary price has to be paid for each of set us to be set free from any type of enslavement. Somewhere along the line, it will require someone to make the necessary sacrifice in order to secure redemption. The best must be offered and innocence must be sacrificed in order to produce the joy that should come with the awareness that one is truly being ransomed from bondage in order to be restored. First, there must be judgment on the old to bring the contrast of knowing there is a price that comes with such freedom.

    Separation: Once judgment takes place, there must be a separation from that which has been judged in order for the new to be unveiled. For the children of Israel that separation came at the Red Sea. The Red Sea represented the door through which the children of Israel could enter to ensure the separation from the old (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). Once through the Red Sea, the door was forever closed for them. They could not go back to the old; therefore, they had to go forward to the new. In a sense, such a closed door represents death to the old in order to discover the new life that awaits God’s people on the other side of the door of opportunity He has clearly provided (Romans 6:3-5).

   Preparation: God allows for desperation in His people in order to bring judgment on the old as a means to separate them from it. However, separation from the old means nothing unless God’s people are prepared to embrace the new. The preparation to receive the new is often wrought with difficulties. It is not enough to bring people out of a certain lifestyle, the lifestyle or way of thinking must come out of the people. You can change a person’s outward appearance, but until the inward is changed, he or she remains the same. God clearly had to purge and forge the old out of His people before they would accept the opportunities afforded them as His people.

   Deliverance: There are various stages of deliverance. There is always the past phase of deliverance where people are set free from that which initially enslaves their spirit. However, they must be set free from that which entangles their souls. The soul is made up of the will, intellect and emotions. God has provided the gate of redemption to set the spirit free, but He has carved out the door that would open the way through which a person’s soul can be set free. Notice, one is the gate that results in deliverance, but the door opens up the way a person must walk in order for the soul to be delivered from the influence of the old. The way a person must walk entails the ways of righteousness and the work of sanctification. The way of speaks of the present tense of deliverance that is ongoing in our lives. The truth is our souls can be easily taken captive by the strong tentacles of the world.

       Communion: The ways before us must constantly be cleared by the work of sanctification that is done by the Spirit of God. He is always trying to prepare us to enter through the veil to enjoy the fullness of the blessings and promises of God. The veil for God’s people points to communion. Each entrance of opportunity provided by God is to bring us to the place where the fullness of the life He has provided to us through redemption can be realized and secured. However, such a full, complete life cannot be realized outside of communion with Him.

         When we consider the children of Israel, we must admit that each entrance presented a short window of opportunity through which they could enter. We can also see where God was faithful to prepare them to enter through the gate and door of deliverance at the allotted time. However, the day came when they were tested concerning entering through the veil into all that God had promised them. Even though He had been faithful to prepare them each step of the way, the children of Israel still failed to enter into the life that was secured and allotted to them by redemption.

       In next month’s newsletter, we are going to consider why the children of Israel failed to enter through the final entrance into the Promised Land. Surely, we need to make sure that we are not unfaithful in the life that God has clearly ordained for us. We need to make sure that we are entering through each entrance of opportunity that has been provided for us. Clearly, the seasons that mark our spiritual life and journey on this earth are ending, as we know it. Instead of becoming weary and hopeless, we must become more discerning and aware of our spiritual surroundings and be ready to enter through the veil into that place of abiding communion with our precious Lord and Savior.