“What happened sis?” the boy asked the girl as he looked down his chest, to his stomach, to his feet.
“I don’t know brother! Last thing I remember is when we both called out from that broken limb up there” the girl pointed to the tree limb dangling above her head “we called to our Big Brother, we called out “Jesus ” real loud and then..” The girl paused” I think we fell. . .”
Both children looked from where they stood in a stream of water to a large puddle of mud beneath the tree. Puddles shaped like silhouettes of their bodies held their crumbled dirty clothes.
. “Look sis. Look There are our clothes all wadded up and filthy” the boy said as he looked at the muddy puddle .
Wiping a drop of mud from her eyes, the girl blinked to see more clearly.
Suddenly , the girl scolded her brother turning his head with her hands ” yuk, boy don’t you look at that!!”
She turned away looking down at her dress. ” Look at what we have on now!! ” She shouted. Twirling in the clear water where she stood, she lifted up her white dress like a bridal gown .
“Well Where did we get these dressy clothes sis?” the boy asked, looking at his white suit.
“I dunno” the girl replied .
Smiling she continued , “Really, I don’t remember changing clothes at all!!! Somebody must have done it for us”
There was something very ugly about the two types of children we had seen in Romans 2 . see “in the trees” http://wp.me/p3KvVr-d . We entered Tuesday December 16th remembering these children . Easily, we concluded with Pastor’s review.” These folks lived like they didn’t need God.” They would either say there is no goodness , no glory, no God OR they would try to become their own goodness, their own glory , their own God.
” But this isnt just talk about all those people out there, this is what we all look like apart from Jesus. Every last one of us is busted and disgusted without God’s mercy ” Pastor reminded us. Something broke in our souls as we remembered. We remembered all too well the ones who fell from the tree. It was not so much others as It was our selves.
Like children falling into muddy pits of wrath from trees of handmade glory, we fell. Our handmade limb to heaven could not sustain us. We were “busted and disgusted” with our disobedience. How it brought such bitter fruit! And, when we would try to “make up to God” with good works, we found self righteousness just as wearisome. and It’s fruit tasteless, hard, and fake. Was it not true that all of us had truly fallen short of the glory of God.? (Romans 3:23) This lethal accident was set from the beginning of time. It was a fall of both an angel and man A fall resulting from going “out on a limb”, away, from Daddy’s Glory. It was a” going out on a limb” by seeking our own glory.
The hot, holy, accusations of the Lord burned into our souls as Pastor delivered Daddy’s word.
None is righteous, no not one one understands ,no one seeks for God. all have turned aside. together they have become worthless, no one does good not even one.. . there is no fear of God before them. (Romans 3:10-12, 18) ESV
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness as filthy rags; an we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind , have taken us away (Isaiah 64:6)KJV
The fire of the holy WORD melted all our idolarty like the first day we believed. It burned our lustful idols and melted our prideful facades to clay mud. We fell prostate in soul before our God.
Ashamed, we were naked . With our clothes melted ,we looked like the first naked and defenseless brother and sister in the garden . Who could rescue us in this mudslide of sin melting beneath a Holy look from God?. Who could cleanse us ? And who could clothe us? Would our Perfect Daddy find a way to cleanse us and clothe us? What garment would He make? Surely, It had to be more than the animal skin he put over Adam and Eve!.
Our souls called out:
But now , O Lord , thou art out father; we are the clay , and thou our potter ; and we all are the work of thy hand. Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. Isaiah 64:8,9
Imputed( righteous )
“Imputation.” . “. say imputation ” our Pastor Chris said. Only a few shyly mumbled” imputation” , The rest asked their neighbor”what did He say ?”.
“I dunno, it’s one of those big preacher words ” I said to my neighbor.
We did not know it was the Designer label on the clothes sent to us from Daddy THE DESIGNER. A most expensive label that cost Him His Life, “Imputation”declares and delivers a most beautiful garment of Daddy’s Love. This garment clothes every naked part of the body , soul , spirit and mind. It is His RIGHTEOUSNESS.
His Righteousness worn becomes an “all weather garment” penetrating His Holiness through and through us in all seasons, in all weather, at all time. More than an outer marking like a tatoo or a jewel, the garment of His Righteousness puts upon every believer the Righteousness of Jesus. A full body suit of God’s Glory !
Once naked , we now recognized that we were clothed. we read together with Pastor : “But NOW the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the Law. . . the righteousness of God THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST FOR ALL WHO BELIEVE!! (Romans3:21,22) Pastor stood . This could not be merely read.
“I gotta preach now” Pastor warned “You must know Christ is your righteousness. Your righteousness is not in you but IN HIM IN YOU! This righteousness is the same today yesterday and forever. It does not get better with strong faith or worse with weak faith. It is His Righteousness sealed eternally in heaven. And it is put upon you. . . It is IMPUTED.”
The big preacher word, “imputation “ hovered in the air. It was such a big word. But,bigger was what it contained. It spoke of how our Daddy acts as both the JUST AND THE JUSTIFIER. (Romans 3:26). So, eagerly , we listened to Pastor tell us, in many ways and with many words, the beauty and glory and love contained in the word “imputation”.
“Imputation” . Still none of us could say it . We only softly said “thank you Jesus”. Softly brother and sister would echo “thank you Jesus” with each agreed truth that Pastor preached. Perhaps, our gratitude contained an “imputation” of perfect praise. Perhaps , we were His righteousness revealed.
” Well so why do you think we are all dressed up sis?” the boy asked as he looked at his white suit.
“I dunno , I guess we are going somewhere special” the sister replied.
We were in our best dresses. And we were in our best moment . We were at a wedding. It was so magical at the wedding that we thought it might be imaginary. But, it was very real. It was on a Saturday in June. It was in the year 2013. It was at a time , a set time. And it was at a moment in time between the wedding and the reception that we played in the garden where there were swings. We chose two swings and together , each in our own sling, we began to draw our legs back and forth. As we pulled our legs vigorously against the air, we talked of long flowing dresses, peach colored flowers , musty books and lacey napkins. . . Then , we talked about Daddy.
“When I go into that house” she said as she swung upward kicking her feet towards the steepled church “He feels so far away”
I thought of a very big word that I knew:”Transcendent” as I watched her swing glide high towards the tree.
“when I go over there into that other house ,” she pointed her toes to a guest house ,flat and simple, next to the steepled building, “He feels so near”
I thought of a very big word that I knew “Immanent” as I watched her dip towards the dirt beneath us.
“I wonder if He is in both houses ” I shouted to her.”like up there and down here”
” Maybe, but I like Him better down here ” she said and she stopped her legs suddenly.”cause this is where I feel close to Him”
“But,I like Him better up here” I teased “Cause I can see how big He is”
Suddenly , we saw girls in chartreuse dresses begin to linger over a banquet table that was center-pieced with a wedding cake. We jumped from our swings. Somehow it didn’t matter anymore which of us was right. There was a banquet to go to and we were both dressed and hungry. Pulling each other up from the dirt, we laughed and looked back at the swings.
There, we saw a boy at the swing set where we had been. We saw that he had grabbed our swings to halt the motion. Suddenly, our vision was united.
We didn’t need big words anymore to describe it all. God is ever so near and yet ever so vast. He consumes all things and yet makes habitat with man. Only swinging from heaven to earth do we see Him fully. On one hand is His Immanence on the other , HisTranscendence. Where they meet . . .
In a man, Jesus.
“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit'” Isaiah 57:15