LOSING YOUR IDENTITY - Part I
II Chronicles 4:17-18 – "In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredathah. Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance: for the weight of the brass could not be found out."
This illustration that is found in the fourth chapter of II Chronicles is beautifully symbolic of what the Holy Spirit can and will do in the life of the believer who fully trusts Him. It is an example of losing our identity and allowing the Lord to make us into something new.
As many of you know, every morning, after I drop my daughters off at school, I like to get alone with God, to seek His face and to read and study His Word. It's a time that I cherish, for I feel that this is the best way to start my day.In prayer, I generally ask the Spirit of God to illuminate the Word that I may know Him more, find direction, and gain understanding of something I had not known before.
In my daily Bible study, I have been reading about the construction of the temple by Solomon, David's son. It would be the most beautiful temple ever created with much gold, silver, and precious jewels adorning the edifice.
David longed to build a house for his God, but the Lord would not allow him to do so. In prayer, the Lord expressed His feelings to David about this desire and forbid him from going forth with the plan, for David's hands were stained with the blood of men from expanding the kingdom to distances never known before (I Chron. 22:8). In this declaration to David, God would decree that his son, Solomon, would be the one to build the temple, to which David acquiesced. When Solomon was old enough for David to declare him king of Israel, one of the first things David did was to give Solomon the divine instructions that would be used to construct the temple.
NEVER DEVIATE FROM THE PLANS
Even though it was David who would charge Solomon, and it was David who would lay the plans in front of his son, still, the plans came from the Lord Himself. Solomon was given the charge to never to deviate from these plans.
What David would present to Solomon, and what Solomon would go on to construct, could not be added to by what they saw fit, in any way that they saw fit. David and Solomon had to stay within the plans arranged by God Himself. There was a reason for this – every part of the temple would portray to man, in some way, the sacrificial, mediatorial, or intercessory work of Christ. It all pointed to Christ and what He would do for lost humanity. That is why it was so important, and crucial, for David to express to Solomon that these plans were given to him by God and were to be followed to the proverbial T.
If anything was added to, or taken away, from the temple, then it would cease to represent Christ and His redemption plan. ;It would take away what it foreshadowed – the Cross.
The problem with the modern church today is that it has, by and large, ignored the Cross of Christ. The church today has a modicum of understanding regarding the Cross of Christ for salvation, but if I can be completely honest, it is losing that with each day that passes. However, when it comes to our everyday life and living, the church has no understanding whatsoever of the Cross of Christ, which means that it has no understanding of how to truly live for God. The result is that many Christians around the world are living defeated Christian lives, and they are living far beneath what God has provided. Many Christians around the world are struggling just to make it through this Christian experience. They understand that there is a problem, but they do not know how to solve that problem. The fact is that the sin problem has already been solved for them, but they fail to take advantage of God's prescribed order of victory, which is the Cross, and this leads them to rely upon their own strengths and abilities, which are always woefully inadequate to combat sin.
THE WAY TO VICTORY
We must surmise that the only way to absolute victory is through the very means that brought us into the family of God to begin with – the Cross of Christ. The Cross of Christ is the path that got us in, and it is the path that keeps us in. For anyone to offer a different path will only constitute catastrophe. The Cross of Christ is the foundation of the gospel; without the Cross there is no salvation, and neither will there be any sanctification. If the believer does not know or understand God's prescribed order of victory, then that believer is going to resort to dependence upon rules, regulations, or self-effort of many stripes, which the church is full of self-help schemes which will do nothing for the believer except place them under condemnation.
If we add anything to the Cross of Christ, then we frustrate the grace of God (Gal. 2:21). If we take away anything from the Cross of Christ, then we are left with nothing more than a philosophy. The Cross is the key by which the sinner can come to Christ, and the saint can live for Christ in total and complete victory.
THE SPOILS OF WAR
In preparation, David would begin to bring the items together that were needed for the construction of what would be the most beautiful building ever built – the temple. David would charge Solomon as soon as his son took the throne as to what to do with the plans of the temple.
Let's fast-forward several years: Solomon has begun construction, the pieces were all together, and individuals chosen to perform certain tasks. One task that stood out to me relates to the spoils of war – the gold, silver, brass, precious jewels, and the like. All of that had been taken by a conquering David, brought back to Jerusalem, and stored for a specific reason – to use in the temple. But how could this be? Much of the gold, silver, and brass were used by heathen nations regarding idol worship. Did that mean that David was going to bring false gods into the temple for the worship of Jehovah?
Under the instructions of the Holy Spirit, Solomon would take the gold, silver, brass, and other precious jewels that were once used for the worship of heathen idols and melt them down, which means that they would lose their old identity.
Think about that for a moment. When David defeated these nations, he would take, as spoils of war, all that was used for the worship of a false god, which was done during that time. He would bring them back to Jerusalem and store them in a warehouse, if you will, awaiting the construction of the temple. At the Word of the Lord, Solomon would take these items – golden altars, rails, gold or silver idols, etc. – and would completely melt them down and would use the gold, silver, brass, and precious jewels, for a different purpose.
MELTING US SO WE LOSE OUR OLD IDENTITY
This is a perfect picture of what the Lord does with us. Before we accepted Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we were used for the purpose of self-glorification. That means whatever talent we had before our salvation, whatever prosperity we had, or whatever it may be, held no weight with God whatsoever. There was nothing that we could offer that would please God, and because of that, every trace of the world in our lives had to be eliminated, and there is only one way that can happen: self-denial.
There are many reasons as to why most people will not accept Jesus Christ as Saviour, but one of the main reasons is pride, or the thought that they personally do not need a Saviour. Satan has hoodwinked much of the human race into believing that if they are good, or do good things, that the doing of those good things will bring salvation. However, we know that this could not be further from the truth. The fact is, much of the human race will die lost because they fail to take advantage of God's redemption plan, which is the Cross. The Cross of Christ is the way of salvation, and the only way of salvation. Any other way is a farce.
Going back to these golden vessels and such, in order for this to be carried out that these pieces were used in the temple, there had to have been a melting down in a furnace. This took place, as the Scripture says, in the plain of Jordan. All of the gold was assembled into one pile, the silver assembled into one pile, and the brass into one pile. A furnace was set ablaze, and in order, these vessels were each placed into the furnace. As would be obvious, as soon as the metal was consumed by the furnace, its former appearance would melt away. This means that no matter how beautiful it once was, under the fire, that beauty melted away, and that which had been melted would then be poured into a different mold, a mold that would be suitable for use in the construction of the temple. This means that everything these items once represented has now been completely destroyed, and the identity of each item is now melted away.
What we used to be before our salvation, no matter how wonderful we think we might be, or how grand we consider ourselves to be, we, in that condition, cannot be used for the His purpose. What we used to be has to be melted away, so the Holy Spirit can make us into what He wants us to be. At salvation, our old man was crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:3-5), and our old identity was melted away, with a new identity established in Christ. At the same time, there is a continual process of the Holy Spirit melting away all of our old nature, which is dependence upon the flesh, as the Holy Spirit desires that we depend upon Christ to meet our every need.
The melting away process that was done by Solomon was a necessity, just as it is a necessity in our everyday lives.
This article will be continued in the July issue of The Evangelist.
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