Gleaning Gold

~Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Nuggets of Truth

I am so thankful that I received the garment of salvation.  Prior to my salvation, I had the coverings of sin.  But now, according to Isaiah, I wear a robe of righteousness provided by Jesus Christ, Himself!  Why do we need a robe of righteousness, you may ask?  We can only come before God in holiness.  We all know that everyone of us has sinned and is born with a sin nature.  None of us are good enough to come before a Holy God!

It has been this way since Adam and Eve.  Here they were already able to be in God’s presence.  He walked with them in the Garden of Eden!  Instead, they chose to sin and, therefore, gave up the privilege of sweet communion with the Lord.  In fact, they tried to cover their bodies with clothing made by their own hands.  But was the Word teaches us, this was not sufficient – it was not enough.

~Genesis 3:7  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

This is where God first teaches us on this topic.  God has to be the one to provide the “clothing” for us.  The first mention of shedding blood is mentioned in the Word for this very reason.  God made Adam and Eve coats made from animal skins and clothed them.  Blood had to be shed to make these coats.

~Genesis 3:21  Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

God used this account to teach us.  Through the Old Testament, Jewish law pointed towards Christ’s work on the cross.  The New Testament points back to the cross and teaches us today how we, too, may have this covering.  Prior to salvation, we desperately try to dress ourselves our own way.  We think that by doing good deeds, going to church, giving money to the poor, etc., will be enough to balance our lives.  We cannot come to God dressed in our own works of righteousness, my friend.  Isaiah tells us exactly what our righteousness appears as to God.

~Isaiah 64:6  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

God is the one who has to be the one to provide our covering!  We cannot do it for ourselves.  Our church cannot be the one to provide the covering.  Our good works cannot provide the covering.  As with Adam and Eve, God has to be the one to provide our covering!

Christ taught us in Matthew about what happened to those who tried to enter the king’s son’s wedding with their own clothing.  The man did not take the wedding garment which was provided for the guests and required to go to the wedding.  Notice what happened to this man who tried to enter in with his own garment.

~Matthew 22:12-13  And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.   Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Refining the Gold

The Book of Revelation tells us that we will be attending a marriage supper like that the one that Christ taught us about in Matthew.  That marriage supper is coming, my friend.  Christ’s bride will be clothed in white raiment – white because we are covered by Christ’s righteousness, not ours.  Christ is our righteousness.

~Revelation 19:7-8  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

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Gleaning Gold

~Joel 2:13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

Nuggets of Truth

This is a popular verse to show God’s patience with mankind.  Yes, He surely is patient for if He weren’t, I would surely be dead today.  But there is so much more to this verse, my friends.  The first part of the verse is the actual meat of this verse.  God instructs us to do something and then He will do something in return.

The Jews would tear their clothing as a sign of great grieving, distress and sorrow.  I read Joel 2:13 and I see that God wants us to go to this drastic measure with our hearts.  How convicting is this?  How truly sorrowful are we when we sin?  Do we grieve with intensity over hurting our Heavenly Father?  Are we distressed at what we have done?  Do we have honest sorrow in our hearts for our wickedness?  Yes, the born-again believer is blood bought and is saved from eternal damnation because of Jesus Christ’s work on the cross.  But when we sin after salvation, our conviction should be intense!  This is what I believe the Lord is trying to tell us today.

As we glean from this verse in Joel today, let’s present our sins to God in the same manner.  Let’s look at sin the way our Heavenly Father looks at it – vile and despicable.

~Isaiah 64:6  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Isaiah brought this out.  Our sinfulness is so unclean that even the “good” things we do are looked upon as filthy rags in God’s eyes.  Strong’s defines the Hebrew word for “filthy” in this verse as:

H5708
עד
êd
ayd
From an unused root meaning to set a period (compare H5710 and H5749); the menstrual flux (as periodical); by implication (in plural) soiling: – filthy.

When a filthy rag is compared to this definition, it puts our sin into perspective and gives us a glimpse of God’s view of it.

Refining the Gold

As of today, let’s look at our sinfulness in a new light.  When we see sin as God sees sin, it helps us to glean from Joel’s words.  We must figuratively rend our hearts (tear our hearts) and be truly sorrowful for sinning against God.  When we prepare our hearts in this manner, we become truly repentant and are able to draw nigh to our God!  It is then that we see that He is:

…gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

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~Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

It is God who covers us in righteousness. It cannot be our own works because the Word says that our own righteousness is like a filthy rag to God.

~Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Our sins blow us around like a leaf in the wind. There is no holding us down – there is no stabilizing us. The only stable thing we can possibly have is salvation. At the moment of being born again, we put on the righteousness of Christ and our sins are no longer being judged by the Father for the Father only sees His Son’s precious blood on that altar of sacrifice.

~1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

There is only One who can forgive our sins, clothe us in righteousness and pay the price for our deserved punishment! That is the Christ, our Saviour! Why do you think He is called the Saviour? What would He save us from if it weren’t from sin and eternal punishment? Praise God that He saved me from myself because I would have only led my soul to destruction.

“Some men are foolishly counting on getting to Heaven simply because they have never been in jail.”

~ B. F. McLendon

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The catholic church teaches that there are seven sacraments, according to their catechism. They go so far as to say that these sacraments are necessary for salvation:

“There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.” Pg. 289, #1113

“The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” Pg. 292, #1129

These are not my words, dear catholic, but those of your catechism.

The Bible gives us a clear outline on what we must do to be saved. All the sacraments reflect man’s works – man’s ability to achieve salvation through doing something rather than solely trusting on the Lord Jesus Christ’s shed blood on the cross for complete remission of sins. Nothing we do to achieve salvation will ever benefit us or save us. The sacraments, or any works, are man’s attempt to justify himself before God.

~Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Cain tried to justify himself before God by the works of his own hands and God did not accept his offering (~Genesis 4:3-5). Abel offered a firstling of his flock as God commanded of him – of which our Lord Jesus Christ is a symbol (the Lamb of God). But the fruit of Cain’s garden was not pleasing to God – this is a symbol of man’s works – this was Cain’s idea of how he could come to God. Things have not changed in these thousands of years. It did not work with Cain and it will not work for us today either. God will look upon your works with the same disgust as He did on Cain’s.

God views our own works as filthy and putrid, my friend!

~Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Nothing we can do is clean enough of God’s eyes. Can’t you see that? Notice how Isaiah says that all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags? This means that anything good that we try to do for God appears like a filthy rag to God. This means that praying a thousand rosaries, attending mass every day, or even working at a nursing home to help the elderly will be of no benefit to you.
The Hebrew word for filthy is:

H5708

עד

‛êd
ayd
From an unused root meaning to set a period (compare H5710 and H5749); the menstrual flux (as periodical); by implication (in plural) soiling: – filthy.

Just reading this description is disgusting to me. When we look at the difference between this disgusting type of blood and the precious blood of Jesus Christ, we can see a vast difference. If you read in Leviticus 15:19-33 and 20:18, you will see what was required when dealing with this type of blood – the cleaning ceremonies were intense. The leper was also linked with this type of uncleanness (Leviticus 13:45) and his rags were considered just as filthy. I once heard a sermon about lepers. The preacher said that before the leper could enter a city, he had to take a rag from the top of a post (that other lepers had used) and rub hard over his leperous sores. He would then return the filthy rag back to the top of the post for the next leper to use. Is this not disgusting to you? Isaiah says that God views our good works in the same manner He views this filthy rag!

God compares our own works to this putrid type of filthy rag! There is nothing that we can do that will even come close to the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Everything you do in order to get closer to God will fall short of what God requires of us. This includes the sacraments required by the catholic church. Here is what the Bible has to say on this subject:

~Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

Notice that this verse uses the words just man. This Hebrew word for just is:

H6662

צדּיק
tsaddîyq
tsad-deek’
From H6663; just: – just, lawful, righteous (man).

This includes anyone who thinks he is “just,” “lawful,” or “religious.” That even includes the good religious catholic, Jew or anyone who thinks himself a “good” person. God views every act of a “good” person as unrighteous because of our fallen sinful nature. He sees the pridefulness behind our good works.

We are sinners because we have the fallen nature of Adam. The good person does not have genuine repentance. The catholic’s penance lacks true sincerity and it is reflected in his prayers to God. Furthermore, his prayer life is routine – it is repetitious. He thinks God will hear him because he has prayed a hundred prayers in chapel that morning (~Matthew 6:7).

Because of his pride, he secretly desires that others see his public prayer and his good deeds. He secretly desires to be known for his good works rather than letting God receive the glory for them. A good man’s holiness can only be viewed as putrid sin when compared to that of the holiness of God. In fact, the good person’s religious worship and acts contain enough sin in them all to condemn him to a million hells.

How then can the catholic say that obeying the sacraments assures salvation? The Bible says:

~Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

If the sacraments are to be obeyed, and if the sacraments are of God, then they would be found in the Bible. They are not found there but instead, they are recorded in the traditions of men, the catholic church’s sacred tradition and magisterium – attempting to reach God through religion. But God cannot be reached in this manner. There is nothing we can do in this flesh that will ever please God. We can only reach God through salvation in Jesus Christ and after doing so, we receive the Holy Spirit of God and can now say that we can truly worship God with the same obedience that Abel worshipped God with his sacrifice – because we are covered by the Perfect Sacrifice, Jesus Christ and His blood!

~John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

~John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

~Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Jesus is the only way to God, my dear catholic.

~John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

This does not say that you can reach the Father through the sacraments or even just one of the sacraments, like baptism for example. You can only come to God when you acknowledge that you can do nothing yourself (like Cain) to earn salvation. All God will see is your filthy rags. You must acknowledge that Christ’s shed blood is the only righteousness there is to cover your filthy rags of good works. Once you have repented of your filthy sin and accept Christ’s perfect righteous blood as the only worthy sacrifice, you can be seen by the Father as righteous – not because of your own righteousness but because of Christ’s righteousness! Christ’s blood is the only thing that the Father wishes to see and Jesus’ blood is the only thing that the Father will accept, just as He did with Cain.

No amount of keeping the sacraments, praying a thousand rosaries, going to confession daily, doing daily penance, repeated flaggellations, climbing the stairs of a cathedral on your knees, wearing rough clothing against your skin, working in the soup kitchen, – NOTHING can cause God to view your good works in any other way than as that putrid dirty bloody rag mentioned in Isaiah 64:6. The Father sees only His Son’s righteous blood. Won’t you finally acknowledge that it is only the blood of Jesus that can set you free?

~John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

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