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It is a system or a person’s reliability that engenders faith and trust.  Belief comes from first seeing or hearing about the person or the system.  Usage of the system or association with the person is what causes faith and trust to begin to grow.  That is to say there can be no faith or trust without usage and/or association with the person or the system.

That is why, although all who believe what they hear of the Gospel will be saved… “Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved…” salvation does not come without repentance, the presence of which is signatured by the baptism in water, as John the Baptist said, I baptise you with water for repentance.”  Faith opens the door to salvation, repentance ushers a person through the door.  And when that faith and repentance are absolute, the door is shut behind the person so that he would never, could never, go back.  As it is written:  “What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open.”

Just as it was God who opened the door for Israel to be delivered from Egypt, it was also God who shut that door on them so that they could never go back.  Having entered the house of God by faith and repentance, how deep into that house you will and can go will depend on you and on God.  From you must come that desire to go into the house further, but from Him must come that initiation.  Just as boundaries were set around Mount Sinai to stop the people from going up, so there are boundaries set, for no one can come unto Jesus unless the Father draws him.  No one can be a disciple unless chosen by the Father.  And no one can be in the fivefold ministry unless chosen by Jesus.  And no one is an elect of the Holy Spirit unless he is chosen by the Holy Spirit.  However, those boundaries are not set to keep people out, but rather, to show people that they must participate and react to those boundaries in order to overcome those boundaries or be held back.  Although it is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who choose, it is also up to the individual to prepare himself to be chosen and even volunteer to be chosen.  Thus, even when Jesus said, “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut,” it is still up to that person to enter through the door.  Hence, anyone who has believed but not repented is incomplete, and anyone whose repentance is not absolute will always turn back.

Hence, the proof that you have entered into absolute repentance and belief is not because you say so or because you think so in your heart, but rather, it is borne out in your actions and deeds.  You would only deem a person unreliable if that person turns back to what he was and breaks his word by his actions, in the same way as you would consider a system unreliable if it breaks down repeatedly and fails to produce the results.  However, when the person delivers on what he has said by his actions repeatedly, then the proof of his repentance and belief is evident, and trust will come into existence.  So that as you come into the place of absolute repentance and belief, you are not the only person who is undertaking that process of complete turnaround from behaviour through your habits, whilst attempting to produce the belief required.  No, even as we enter into repentance, that is, as we turn away from our culture of disobedience and sin against God… so God too turns away from His relationship and attitudes towards us.  God does not have to repent as we think of repentance, but God does turn away… as repentance is turning away.  God turns away from the way He relates to us to a new way of relating to us, and if our repentance is absolute, so His turning away is also absolute.  What do I mean?

God related to Adam in a certain way in the garden… fellowshipping with Adam and Eve in nakedness.  However, when Adam sinned… God turned away from fellowshipping with man in his nakedness, making first for him a covering of skins and then clothing of linen… and He instructed the Israelites, “…do not go up to My altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it.”  As we sinned, God turned away from His way of fellowshipping with us.  As we repent, God turns back to fellowshipping with us.  So in a sense… God does repent, which is why in the KJV, Moses said to God, “Turn from Thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Thy people,” which in the AMP is, “…change Your mind concerning this evil against Your people,” and the NIV is, “…relent and do not bring disaster on Your people,” when God wanted to destroy them for making the golden calf at the base of the mountain whilst He was speaking with Moses.  Moses was ignorant of what was happening at the base of the mountain while he was listening to God, but God was well aware of what they were doing even as He was speaking to Moses.  Can you imagine what an affront it was to God?  Yet God did not stop and did not interrupt His conversation with Moses, nor did He stop giving the law to Moses.  It was after He had finished that He then told Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt.  They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf.  They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’  I have seen these people, and they are a stiff-necked people.  Now leave Me alone so that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them.  Then I will make you into a great nation.”  And that was when Moses pleaded with God, asking Him to repent, to change His mind and to relent of this evil against His people.  Do you hear what Moses was saying to God about God’s intentions?  The audacity of Moses, yes, but his zeal and jealousy for the glory of God is what it truly was.  And after Moses sought His favour, see what is written:  And the Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people.  (KJV)  Then the Lord turned from the evil which He had thought to do to His people.  (AMP)  So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.  (NASB)  Then the Lord relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened.  (NIV)  Then Moses went down and when Moses saw what was happening, he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.  So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.”  And all the Levites rallied to him.  Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says:  ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbour.’   They obeyed, and that day 3000 died.  Because of their obedience, the Levites were blessed by Moses who said, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and He has blessed you this day.”  Now see Exodus 32.30:  The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin.  But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”  But the Lord turned down Moses, saying, “Whoever has sinned against Me I will blot out of My book.  …when the time comes for Me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”  And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made. 

So then, understand what repentance is from God’s perspective.  It is not just about sin, but about a turning away, a changing of mind and therefore of thoughts, and a relenting of what was planned… and as you can see, God’s repentance, God’s turning away, God’s changing of His mind and relenting was absolute.  Israel was not destroyed, but those who were guilty were punished.  In that incident, one tribe showed that it was so capable of turning away from their own people to absolutely obey what Moses said that God said they killed 3000 of their own kind.  They behaved in a manner foreign to Israelites, killing their own sons and brothers for God’s sake.  And because of their absolute obedience, God entrusted to them the care of the tabernacle.  God merely agreed to what Moses entreated Him not to do… and let Moses come down the mountain without further instruction as to what to do.  It is as if God left it to Moses to decide what to do with Israel after Moses saw for himself the situation.

Now as you begin to hear and taste of absolute repentance and belief, and begin to understand what it is, it is good to realise that God Himself practises absolute repentance and belief.  If God turns away from something, His turning away is absolute.  He never goes back to that which He has repented of, changed His mind of and relented of.  Because He repented, changed His mind and relented of the idea of wiping out Israel completely there and then at the base of Mount Sinai, a remnant of Israel remains alive to this day.  If God changes His mind, His ways, that change is absolute and irrevocable.  He does not turn back to it.  That is why the imitation of God must begin with the practice of absolute repentance.  Jesus said, “Repent,” as the first word He preached, and if we are to practise His words that we have heard, then repentance must be practised until it reaches the standard of God’s repentance – absolute.  So then, the changing of our mind, the relenting of our thoughts, needs to be absolute.

It is when God finds that we are seeking absolute repentance from our ways that He opens the door, not for salvation, but for entry into His household for service.  So we see a reciprocating system.  A person who does not seek absolute repentance, but likes to mix the old with the new, may be saved, yes, but will never be entrusted with the operation of the new.  For without absolute repentance, there can be no absolute faith.  For letting go completely of the old to embrace the new completely is the sign of the beginning of belief and of faith.  A stubborn refusal to revert to the old way of doing things is the testing of that belief and faith for its fullness, for its reliability, so that trust may be formed.

It is as if God deliberately took 40 days with Moses to see if Israel would revert back to its old ways… which they did.  Although God kept His promise to deliver them from Egypt, He never ever really trusted them completely.  When Israel failed to repent absolutely of their Egyptian ways and refused to show absolute belief in God, absolute faith was withheld from them by God.  That first generation never got to be representatives of God to the Canaanites to deliver God’s judgment on them.  And God’s judgment on Jericho was to be complete annihilation, absolute genocide, not one survivor except for Rahab.  God had to have a generation who believed Him absolutely, so that He could trust them absolutely.  He so trusted Moses that He allowed Moses to come down the mountain without any instructions as to what to do… Moses would know what to do, and whatever he did was acceptable, even if he broke the two tablets of God when he saw the calf, and not destroy the calf whilst preserving the tablets.   And that was alright with God?  Can you see why?  In destroying the tablets, Moses was declaring God holy, separate.  Those people did not deserve the tablets of God but the calf!  It was not as if Moses put down the tablets, destroyed the calf, punished the people and then showed them the tablets.  No, Moses destroyed the tablets and then he destroyed the calf.  Moses was saying to the people, “You do not deserve the goodness of God’s law even if you do not worship the calf.”  That time Moses showed God holy in the sight of the Israelites.  God is not just another god competing for their worship. 

Likewise, Jesus never came to set up a religion to compete for the hearts and minds of men… but to offer salvation to those who believe… and those who do not believe now stand condemned.  That is the holiness of God’s way.  He is not a god that needs to compete for our love.  He is God.  Accept Him for who He is and live, or else, go the way you have chosen for yourself.  That is Him… and yet, it is also God who will purify the lips of all the peoples on Judgment Day that they may call upon the Name of the Lord and serve Him.  When you see God in all His holiness and His graciousness, you cannot help but strap the sword to your side.

So, even as we begin to learn, contemplate, and understand what absoluteness is… a word that itself appears only four times in different forms in the NIV as ‘absolute’ and ‘absolutely’… realise then it is the very nature of God Himself.  And He Himself, when He repents (changes His mind, relents), His repentance is absolute, and when He trusts, when He believes and puts His faith in someone, it is also absolute.  It is because of this that we ourselves must embrace absolute repentance and belief so as to have the faith to trust.  For it is when we believe God that we will find ourselves believed.  It is when we have faith in God that we find ourselves given faith, and it is when we trust God that we find ourselves trusted by God.  And it is when we are found reliable, that is, consistent, that God will rely on us. 

Except for one mistake in his service to God… Moses was the most faithful of any of His servants, ever… so faithful and reliable that Jesus, when He was tempted by Satan, did not quote from Leviticus to refute Satan, but quoted from Deuteronomy:  “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”  “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”  All these verses are the words of Moses about God, not words from God’s mouth directly.  It was Jesus’ way of firstly honouring Moses, and to show us that although Moses missed out on Canaan, he has not missed out on eternal honour, for Jesus, in quoting him, made Moses’ words His words.  It was also to show us and Satan how much more superior the ministry through Jesus would be… that the words of Moses were sufficient to withstand Satan’s temptation, how much more the words from the Father that Jesus would now unleash to destroy Satan.  Moses was quoted also to show us God’s forgiveness of Moses and the honour that comes with forgiveness because God is absolutely gracious.

If 40 days on the mountain changed Moses into someone who would destroy the tablets of God before he destroyed the golden calf and ordered the slaughter of the Israelites from one end of the camp to the other… how would 40 days on the Mount of Transfiguration have changed the disciples?  For, 40 years of desert removed all love of Egypt from Moses so that he could be used to destroy Egypt.  The 40 days on the mountain removed all pity and mercy for the Israelites who sinned from Moses.  So, what would have 40 days in the presence of Glory on the Mount of Transfiguration do to the disciples?  Would it not have removed all love of things Jewish from them?  Now like Moses, going up the second time for the second set of 40 days with God to receive the tablets again, what would happen to another group of disciples  spending 40 days in the glory of God?

The days of distress that are upon the world, the coming of the false prophet, the beast and all that is to prelude the arrival of Jesus, are merely to serve as a backdrop for such a group of disciples to display to the world and all creation what God had in mind originally.  In the same way as Joshua led Israel out of the desert to show Canaan what God had in mind for them.  When God repents, changes His mind and relents of something, it is absolute, and Israel’s existence today is that witness.  When God does not change His thoughts and plans, it is just as resolute, and that emergence of the disciples of Jesus Christ in these days will be the testimony of God’s absolute resolution to glorify the Name and the Person of His Son… Jesus Christ.  For this you can rely.


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