The Turning

 

2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-18  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

To convert means simply to turn. It means that we turn from the way we have been led to a new and different way. The goals we pursue, the pleasures we enjoy and the endeavors we seek to accomplish are now all different. Wherein in times past we fellowshipped with unrighteousness, now we "withdraw ourselves" from them; we "come out from among them". We have now turned from false gods to the living and true GOD (1 THESSALONIANS 1:9). No longer do we seek to dominate earthly kingdoms, but now we seek to serve in HIS kingdom. No longer do we labor only "for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life" (JOHN 6:27). Now we reject the way of the world and seek a new and better way. No longer content to dwell in the darkness of the tomb, we now seek the light of life.

MATTHEW 18:3 ...Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven [ASV].

Our turning results in our re-birth, our entrance into true life, the spiritual life. Then, as infant children of GOD we must with childlike eagerness and enthusiasm seek to know the ways of our heavenly Father. The key is that we turn. We must turn! We can't just receive GOD's grace as a supplement to our old man's desires. We must change our trajectory. We must turn from the broad way unto the narrow. We must turn our eyes from the forbidden fruit and look unto the author and finisher of our faith. He it is who said, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" (MATTHEW 10:39).

If one devotes himself to the pleasures and treasures of this world, he will never find the narrow way that leads unto life. He will remain dead in his sins. But if he turns from the lusts of the flesh, if he searches for that which is invisible, the hidden wisdom of GOD, then he will find that true treasure which moth and rust cannot corrupt. This is the secret to our transformation. Seek first with all your heart the narrow way unto the kingdom of GOD!

ROMANS 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Whom do we choose to obey? It's that simple. Are our hours still spent fulfilling the inward passions of our flesh, or have we turned to know and serve Him? The wages of sin is death and if that is the course we choose, we are destined to receive the just reward for our labor. Howbeit, if we turn from the world's way unto the "living and true GOD", we shall find that hidden gift of GOD, which is HIS word. That gift of HIS word can release us from the "grave clothes" and call us into the light. Our shackles will have been removed so we can at long last finally go forth unto liberty. Then we can find the true way and begin to realize our transformation.

We begin by turning routines. Instead of robotically plopping down in front of the idiot box to receive our indoctrination, now we find time to sit before HIS holy book for the true perspective. Instead of only listening to the false promises from the radio, now we hear the words of truth from audio cassette or CD.

Our transformation is a turning. As we turn, we are transformed. As our thoughts turn so will our actions. "Why take ye thought...?" was our Lord's important question to His listeners (MATTHEW 6:28). What is the source, what is the origin of our thoughts? Why do we think the way we think? Then He charged them to consider instead the ways of GOD. The point upon which everything turns is determined by what thoughts we hold in our minds. As difficult as it sometimes seems, we can control our thoughts.

We are thus transformed by believing those words which GOD by HIS grace has freely offered. Then, after having heard HIS words of truth, as we sit alone and consider these inspired thoughts, GOD begins to open up to us the right choices we need to make. Instead of chasing after the lusts of the flesh and bathing in the pride of life, now we meditate upon HIS words of truth. The old man's ways cloud our minds with confusion while the new man's ways open up to us the path of righteousness.

2 CORINTHIANS 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

But let us not try to use the gift of GOD just to obtain the desires of the old man. Instead, turn from the ways of the old man and seek to find the everlasting way of the new man.

The way of the world is specifically designed to harden the heart, dull the hearing and close our eyes to the truth. To become transformed, we must turn from the desires of the old man. We must die with our Lord to the ways of the world. We must relinquish our will to the will of the Father. We must allow the old man to be crucified with Christ. Only after that, can we then be risen with Him. Only after first bowing to GOD's eternal purpose can we then find our own purpose. Only then is the narrow way discovered. Only then is the threshold crossed and life entered. But oh how few hearken!

ZECHARIAH 7:11-12  But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.

This is the broad way. They hear not, because they choose to hear not. Therefore the wrath from the LORD awaits them. We shudder to think how close we might have come to missing the true way. We thank GOD for HIS mercy in overlooking our failings. We praise HIM for the grace HE so many times supplied to encourage us on to a more worthy endeavor. Words fail us as we try to convey our appreciation for what love it must have required our Lord to allow Himself to be so abused so as to be our example. How little truth costs us because of the great price He has already paid. We need not be brutalized, tortured and crucified. We need only to obey HIS word.

There is perhaps a great truth in HEBREWS 12:2 which no doubt has been lost in many translations.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for [despite] the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Yeshua most likely didn't endure the horrors of the cross simply for the joy that was before Him, but rather despite that joy. He didn't endure all that pain and suffering simply so that He could be resurrected and seated at GOD's right hand. He was already GOD's only begotten Son. GOD was already well pleased with Him. He could have called twelve legions of angels to rescue Him from all that pain and suffering if He would have chosen to.

He was without doubt  already immortal before He was ever nailed to that tree. As immortal, He could die but He didn't need to. Yeshua was the second Adam and Adam would have lived forever if he hadn't of sinned and been driven from the garden of Eden and from the tree of life. Thus with Yeshua, He didn't have to die and be resurrected to be immortal. He already was.

Yeshua's immortality, His relationship with His Father, His perfect nature, this is what He laid on the table when He laid down His own life for us. That is how powerfully He believed the scriptures to be true. The scriptures promised Him that if He allowed Himself to be killed, GOD would raise Him from the grave. If on the other hand, He was not already immortal before His death, then all He was doing at the cross was choosing to die a few years earlier than otherwise. But no, He was choosing to allow Himself to be killed, when He otherwise would not have had to.

PHILIPPIANS 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

When we turn from the ways of the world to the ways of GOD, what has it really cost us? We may have forfeited the "pleasures of sin for a season" but we have gained eternal treasures which cannot be corrupted. We may forfeit a fellowship with many of our acquaintances, but now as pilgrims we are able to enjoy a richer and eternal fellowship with "the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ".