Living in the Stronghold of Deception (Part 5 of 8)
By David Wickey
January 1, 2018
Part five of an eight-part series called Living in the Stronghold of Deception.
First Peter 4:17: For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? Judgment and suffering go hand in hand according to the will of God. First Peter 4:19 says: Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator. What is the house of God? Is 1 Peter 4:17 saying that God is mad at the church and is going to judge us because we failed in some area in our lives? No! Judgment begins because we are His children!
First Corinthians 3:16: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? When we are born again (or born from above or born of the Spirit), we have the Holy Spirit in us. We also still have that which fights the Holy Spirit within us; it is called the flesh or sin nature. This is what has to be judged because our sin nature does not choose God or His ways. The first Adam represents this.
The choice is ours. Which one do I follow? Do I walk after the Spirit or after the flesh? One is death, and one is life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
If we are Christians, God will allow circumstances in our lives that are not pleasant according to our way of thinking; He even allows us to fall. God is judging us because He loves us.
Sometimes, we think we are being attacked by the devil. Yes, the devil will try to make us think this, so we take our eyes off Jesus and turn our eyes on him. When judgment occurs, God is growing us up to the stature of the fullness of Christ. The more judgment or suffering, the more we come into the knowledge of the Son of God and into His glory and victory as well as Death and resurrection; this is what it is all about.
My friend, if we do not allow this judgment now, we will be judged in the future. Today is the day of salvation. There is a great white throne judgment (Read Revelation 20:11-15). Let us choose life today.
If this judgment does not happen in our lives, we will have eyes but will not be able to see. We will have ears but will not be able to hear. We will never be able to do the will of God. It is easy to learn the Word of God with our sin nature, which the devil also knows; but to learn it from the heart is the power of God, which gives us life and saves us. This can only be accomplished by the work of the cross in our lives.
The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see and our ears to hear. In Acts 9:16, the Holy Spirit is telling Ananias how much Saul (who will become Paul) must suffer for the sake of the name of Christ. Paul suffered both from without and from within. The Lord did not have Ananias tell Saul what a great apostle he was going to be, but He had Ananias tell Saul how much he must suffer for the sake of Jesus’ name. Why? So Paul wouldn’t glory in his flesh or sin nature. If an apostle or a prophet is not suffering for Christ’s sake today—yes, even in America—he or she will go in the power of the flesh and will become a false apostle or prophet. This is the same with all the gifts that the Lord has given to His body, and this is true of all Christians. God help us! Many begin on the right path, but end up on the wrong one.
One may say, “I will never end up on the wrong path.” Didn’t Peter say the same thing in Matthew 16:22? Are we better than Peter? Oh, but the flesh is so strong! God help us! Thank God for the word and operation of repentance.
Second Corinthians 12:1-2: It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. Paul had a powerful experience of the revelation of Jesus Christ. He heard and understood things by this experience that he could not describe or explain with human wisdom or with human speech.
Because of the abundance of revelation, he was given a thorn in the flesh. Paul’s flesh could not have any part in this experience. His flesh could not get any glory whatsoever. Do we glory in our ministries today and show others all the things we are doing and all that is happening? All this will be tried by FIRE in me and in you.
There had to be suffering in Paul’s flesh of some kind. If this suffering didn’t take place, his sin nature would glory. He asked the Lord three times to remove this thorn in the flesh. Could it be that the church thought Paul didn’t have enough faith to remove the suffering in his life? Maybe he didn’t fast enough. Maybe he didn’t confess the Word enough. Maybe he didn’t believe enough. Maybe he didn’t give money to Peter’s ministry. Maybe he had some hidden sin. Maybe he didn’t pray enough, and that was why God did not remove that suffering. Does this sound familiar? God have mercy and give us wisdom! God didn’t remove the suffering, but instead told Paul, My grace is sufficient for thee (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Yes, we are saved by His grace through faith as He gives us revelation of Himself. That is why a thorn is allowed in our lives. Also, so the sin nature that is still in us doesn’t glory or boast. This is especially true for those whom God has called into any kind of leadership. If this thorn or suffering is not given to us, we will corrupt this holy salvation that is of God, and we will offer up strange fire. I have seen it too many times. Let us suffer according to the will of God, and we will experience the glory of God, and the true holy wisdom will flow like a mighty river!
Paul gloried in his infirmities so that the power of Christ might rest upon him, for he knew that when he was weak in the flesh, he was strong in the Lord. In Greek, “weak” means to be feeble in any sense; to be diseased, impotent; to be made weak. What? Paul gloried in this? By this means, true grace operates in us, and our sin nature doesn’t get any glory. We become His workmanship, and we will not boast in our self-effort.
Infirmity means almost the same thing. So you see, brothers and sisters, any doctrine that says that any manifestations of suffering means we don’t have enough faith is a doctrine of error. This doctrine is blind to God’s ways and blind to truth. I would never write this if I had not experienced this. No, these infirmities will not overtake our lives because of the power of God, but they will keep our sin nature from getting any glory. That is why Paul gloried in his infirmities; he could be a partaker of the glory of God. He had eyes to see and ears to hear, which is a sign of a true apostle.
Somebody might say, “God took care of all my sin and my sin nature on the cross. I don’t have sin and a sin nature anymore.” Yes, the cross did take care of the sin problem, and our mind said yes, but our heart, or inner man, has not caught up with our mind. Read Romans chapter 7. We try to change that which does not line up with our mind by self effort. We get confused and try all the latest fads; it won’t work. Instead of being led by the Holy Spirit, we are being led by self-effort for self-exaltation. We need the mind of God in this. ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK. Read Luke 18:9-14. Again, we become His workmanship.
First John 1:8 says, If we say that we have no sin [speaking about our sin nature], we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. We know that operating in our sin nature brings sinful results. If we confess this to God about ourselves, the workmanship of God takes place, and we grow in this great salvation. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
When we, like Paul, understand the revelation of Jesus Christ, we see our sin nature. Our sin nature becomes real to us because it opposes the work of the cross. Therefore, we confess our unrighteousness to God and not to man. Man can’t help you. We start to learn the truth, and this truth will make us free, because it comes from God by His workmanship in us. This is called being led by the Holy Spirit unto good works that were foreordained that we walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
The biggest problem in the church today is we want to do God’s work with our sin nature, and our flesh is getting the glory. This is the desire of Satan: to be like God and above God. We think we are free, but we operate in great bondage. This has always been the greatest problem.
My friends, today, God is setting true ministry in the body of Christ. God has severely dealt with those who come into ministry, so that no fleshly work gets the glory. These are true apostles, true prophets, true evangelists, true shepherds and true teachers. They know their sin nature; they also know God’s way, which is the cross. They know truth, and they know what is not true. They know the difference between light and darkness. They have been trained according to God’s training. They hear from God. These are the hidden ones God can use.
— D. Wickey
To read other parts of this eight-part series, please click on the links below:
Part 1: Fighting the Good Fight
Part 2: God’s Wisdom
Part 3: Circumcision of the Heart
Part 5: True Judgment
Part 6: Pride and Humility
Part 7: The Unlimited Power of God
Part 8: True Healing of the Churchcomments powered by Disqus« Back to Articles