A Voice in the
"Do you hear them coming, brother? Thronging up the steeps of light, Clad in glorious shining garments, blood-washed garments pure and white. 'Tis a glorious church without spot or wrinkle, Washed in the blood of the Lamb."
This old favorite gospel song would send many-a-congregation into a state of piety, joy and rejoicing of a Sunday evening "singspiration."
Current revivalists speak of "purifying the church" for the coming of the Lord, seeking to make the world into a perfect place, in order to usher Christ back to reign over a world "they" have prepared for Him. They say Scripture prophesies that the Church must be purified before His coming; that the "tribulation" it allegedly must go through will effect this purity.
First, as we consider what Scripture teaches, "who" PRESENTs "what" to "whom?" "[The Son, Jesus Christ] being the brightness of His [Father's] glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb1:3) ..and.."to which of the angels has He [Father] ever said: 'Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool?'"(1:13)
When Jesus Christ comes back to earth to reign, He will be coming "...in the clouds with great power and glory. (Mk13:26) God the Father gives this to the Son. The loud voices in heaven said, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ." The 24 elders said, "..You have taken Your great power and reigned..your wrath has come..that they should be judged..that you should reward Your servants..and should destroy those who destroy the earth." (~Rev11:15-18) When it says "TAKEN your great power," the word "taken" is not a word as to "receive a gift" ..but rather, to "take hold of, take claim to, procure for one's self." No, dear reader! He is not coming to receive a gift that men have packaged up with a neat little ribbon and bow. He is coming in great power to WRENCH AWAY from the evil one what has become corrupt beyond measure!!
So, what of Scripture prophecy for the last days prior to His com- ing? Does Scripture prophesy "revival?" "Now the Spirit expressly [explicitly] says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons."(1Tm4:1) "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come...having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!"(2Tm3:1,5)
Contrary to the delusion of "revival," Scripture says there will be apostasy. Falling away, corruption, following after false doctrines. And contrary to the current push for "unity" the command is given "from such people TURN AWAY!"
So, what of the "purifying fire" that is supposedly sweeping the world? Mal3:2 speaks of Christ as a "refiner's fire." In Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came, He came appearing as "tongues of fire." And thus, the modern day purveyors of falsehood, preaching their "doctrines of demons" claim that the ecstatic twitchings of their demon-possessed is Christ's purification of His Church!!
Daniel 11:35 speaks of "purify." Mal 3:3 further clarifies. The "purifying" that is to occur is a purification of ISRAEL, the "sons of Levi...That they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness." (v3b) Ezek 40~ gives information about the new temple, sacrifices and worship; as Israel will worship God in fullness. He will have written His laws on their hearts, after changing their hearts.(Jer31:33) This, again, is something God is doing...not man.
OK. So, what about the "Church?" When will it be purified? The "future" purificationists quote, "that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish."(Eph5:27)
Two little things they miss. First, instead of man presenting the Church to Christ...actually, Christ presents the Church...to Himself. We do not do this. ..."not of works.."(2:9)
And second, this work of purification has ALREADY BEEN DONE. "It is finished."(Jn19:30) "..just as Christ also loved [past tense] the church and gave [past tense] Himself for it.."(Eph5:25) If anyone is [present tense] in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed [past tense] away; behold, all things have become [past/present tense] new."(2Cor5:17) He has "made us alive..with Christ." (Eph2:5)
God chose us that we should be "without blame."(Eph1:4) In other words, "perfect, pure, faultless, unblamable." Christ redeemed us. (vs7) We have the inheritance.(vs11) And the Holy Spirit guarantees the inheritance.(vs13) God, Who cannot countenance sin, sees us as right- eous. "..having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom5:1) If we were not "pure" there would be no "peace."(Isa48:22)
Thus, those claiming to be seeking "purity" unwittingly are admitting to not being "in Christ." If they were True Believers, they would know their position before God. But they are busy "seeking" Christ (their own words).
So, what about "be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless."?? (2Pt3:14)
The answer can be found in Paul's outcry, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"(Rom7:24) This is the same man who two chapters earlier writes about "peace with God." The key is the word "body."
While the inheritance has been sealed, we are still in these bodies. Bodies subject to frailty, sickness, lust. We are still limited by human, earthly understandings of things. "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known."(1Cor13:12) How are we "known" now? Christ knows us "..to the division of soul and spirit...is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb4:12) But when we are "adopt- ed...redemption of our BODY" (Rom8:23), "we shall be like Him..we shall see Him as He is."(1Jn3:2)
When does this change take place? At the resurrection/rapture. "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet..this cor- ruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortal- ity. "Death is swallowed up in victory." (~1Cor15:51-54)
This is why Paul writes, "I do not count myself to have apprehend- ed [physically]; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil3:13-14) In other words, Spiritually we are ALREADY pure in God's sight. Physically, we are still beset by these filthy bodies. But it is the "spiritual" which saves us.(1Cor5:5)
So, in God's eyes, the Church (redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ-Rev1:5) is already pure. "And [unrighteous] were some of you. But you were washed..you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.(1Cor6:11)