"After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled...said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and died." (John 19:28,30)

The big question that arises is this: if everything was finished at the cross, why would God leave us to struggle in this sin stricken, miserable world for another 2000 years? What's the purpose?

If God won the war at the cross, why isn't it OVER? Why is it not FINISHED?
If it's FINISHED, why is it NOT FINISHED?

To find an answer let's consider something in Revelation 15. This chapter comes immediately after the chapters warning us about a tremendous struggle between a false worship and the call to worship and give glory to God. It describes plagues being poured out upon those who worshipped the wrong god. Yet we read:

Rev. 15.2-4 "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

Here we see the redeemed standing on a sea of glass. I've often wondered what a sea of glass was like. I'm sure John saw something pretty remarkable, which he couldn't quite describe, so he wrote that the redeemed would stand on a sea of glass with harps, singing praises to God. Singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Singing praises to the marvelous works of God, declaring Him to be just and true in all His ways.

What brings forth such praise? Especially when we see the context these verses are placed in. The chapters before are dealing with some pretty difficult times concerning battles to enforce false worship, followed by plagues falling on those who worship the wrong god. But looking beyond the smoke and din of the battle, John beheld a company upon Mount Zion with the Lamb, having, instead of the mark of the beast, the "Father's name written in their foreheads." And again he saw "them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God" and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.

We can reach the conclusion that these people will, somehow, be convinced that God's dealings, even though severe, are just and true and good.

The redeemed will sing the song of the Lamb. It is because Christ, the Lamb of God, took upon himself the guilt of their sins and suffered the wages of sin in their behalf, that the redeemed are sheltered from the plagues and receive eternal life.

Christ has shown that His love was stronger than death. Upon the cross of Calvary He purchased man's salvation; and although the ordeal was terrible yet, through it all, His love grew stronger and stronger. For our sakes He endured the hiding of His Father's face, until He was led to exclaim in the bitterness of His soul: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" But He did not waver. His sacrifice brought salvation. The price was paid to purchase the redemption of man. and Jesus exclaimed with His departing breath: "It is finished." Satan was then defeated. He knew that his kingdom was lost. Angels rejoiced as the words were uttered: "It is finished." The great plan of redemption, which was dependent on the death of Christ, had been thus far carried out. And there was joy in heaven that sinners could be brought back into a full relationship with God and someday be able to stand before the throne of God. Oh, what love! What amazing love! that brought the Son of God to earth to be made sin for us, that we might be reconciled to God, and elevated to a life with Him in His mansions in glory. Oh, what is man, that such a price should be paid for his redemption!

However, they also sing the song of Moses! This surprises many, for they think anything to do with Moses was done away with by the Lamb! Interesting isn't it that John keeps saying the saints of God "keep the commandments and the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 12:17,14:12) and now, the redeemed sing "the song of Moses and the Lamb."
The Song of Moses is a victory song of deliverance by God, and the triumph of good over evil. . It points forward to the destruction of all the enemies of righteousness, and the final victory of the true followers of God

But the question returns: if the victory is won, and it is finished, why would God allow another 2000 years of sin and suffering to continue? Why are the redeemed not already on the sea of glass singing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb?

To understand we must realize that God not only seeks to forgive sin, but to establish in all His creatures a genuine love for righteousness. Yes, the cross was the key to salvation, when Christ died His victory over Satan was sure, but it was not the end. There was more to be done. When it is finished all will sing from the depths of their hearts, "true and righteous are your ways of God!"

There has been much talk about God having no need to vindicate Himself. No, He does not have to vindicate Himself, He could simply wipe out all rebels, reprogram the minds of the rest of the created beings, and continue to rule as God. However, God does not operate that way, He desires the service and obedience of LOVE ALONE FREELY GIVEN FROM PEOPLE WHO KNOW HE IS JUST, GOOD AND RIGHTEOUS. When His goodness and justice was challenged He put Himself on trial for the whole universe to see the contrast between His goodness and government vs. a way of life apart from His laws and righteousness.

What are the issues here? We get so wrapped up in ourselves that we see the sin problem only in the dimension of God's opinion of us. All people want is a pat on the back giving them the assurance that God looks with favor upon them. DOES IT NOT MATTER WHAT WE THINK OF GOD AND HIS LAWS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS?

It was man, changing his opinion about God, that brought sin into this world. And it is man's opinions which must be changed before sin can be eradicated from the planet. It is because created beings doubted the trustworthiness of God's commands and decided they knew better, that opened this flood gate of misery; and it is only once created beings fully commit themselves to the will of God from a heart that is in full agreement with His grand principles, that those floodgates of misery will be forever sealed shut.

Will those who remain in rebellion to God's laws enter heaven? No, and the reason is simple enough — if they did they would mess up heaven and it won't be heaven, it would be the same as this miserable sin sick planet.

Now our obedience does not earn us salvation. Before we go further we must make that very plain. We are not saved by our works. Nothing we can do will ever save us or forgive one tiny sin. Christ had to take those sins and suffer the total separation from God that sin brings, as He died the death we deserve, so we could be justified. He won for us the right to stand free from all guilt when we are joined to Him by the bond of faith.

The cross guaranteed the victory of Christ in the great controversy. The cross clearly reveals Christ's attitude to man. But what about man's attitude to God? The universe needs to know whether God's methods of restoration really work. They have seen that He can indeed forgive sinners. But forgiveness, relatively speaking, seems the easier part. It has to do with God's attitude toward man, and God is the stable, clear thinking One. But what about man's attitude toward God? That is where the trouble spot has always been!

Sin came into the world because of rebellion against God's commands. Can God change wayward minds and hearts back into willing obedience and unchanging loyalty to Himself? Can He accomplish this?

There will be no "spiritual magic" at the resurrection that quickly restructures the neurons of the brain so we will sing about God's righteous ways with joyful praise, on that sea of glass. If we haven't seen the goodness in God's law and committed ourselves to loyal obedience now, there will be no hocus pocus magic replacement of our attitudes when Christ comes. If we resent His will now, we will be declared unfit to enter heaven. The Bible plainly states that no wilful lawbreakers will enter heaven. God cannot allow them in, simply because they would turn heaven into the same mess we have on earth today.

Jesus said in Matt. 7.21 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven."

Why? Because they don't really know God, their hearts are far from Him, they don't think His ways are good, just and right. So they live in resistance to His will. To these Jesus says the sad words, "Depart from me I don't know you." They refused to trust Christ with the Lordship of their lives.

1 Cor. 6.9 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" Gal. 6.7 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Our attitude to God's law reveals our attitude to God. Do we declare "Just and true are your ways?"

After the cross Satan can no longer validly argue that repentant sinners do not have the right to return to fellowship with God. He knows the meaning of the cross. But now he charges that rebels cannot be changed into loyal, obedient followers of Christ.

And believe it or not, that is exactly what some Christians are telling us. They say we cannot be changed into loyal, obedient followers of Christ. They say we must have the fruits of the Spirit : JOY, PEACE, and LOVE outside of God's commandments! But the Bible says "Great PEACE have they which LOVE THY LAW: and nothing shall offend them." (Psalms 119.165) "If ye KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, ye shall ABIDE IN MY LOVE; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and THAT YOUR JOY MIGHT BE FULL." (John 15:10,11)

How can God ever trust a person who willingly chooses to disregard God's commands, with the perfect, endless freedoms of that pure place without them messing it up all over again. The truth is simple enough — He can't!

Yet we can never change ourselves either!

God is proposing that He is indeed able fully to prepare a people to live in the kingdom. It is not a matter of us earning anything, but of what God can do in and for us --IF WE ARE WILLING. That is the crux of the matter. Are we willing to let God fit us for His kingdom or do we insist on doing things our way?

In Ephesians 2.8 Paul sums up both the free gift of salvation AND the necessary change in our attitude towards God's Will which was ordained earlier.: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Paul says in 2 Cor. 6.17-7:1
"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. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

So does God put Himself on trial by purposing that He can change our attitudes and that we will, upon seeing His righteous ways, declare Him totally just and true and righteous?

Interestingly the book of Job has been presented as proof that God has not put himself on trial for all the universe to see if His government and ways are truly the only right and good and just way to live. Yet that book clearly demonstrates that YES, GOD IS ON TRIAL! And YES, HUMAN ATTITUDE is part of His vindication.

The book of Job begins with a challenge from Satan against God. Satan challenges that no one would worship God simply because they loved, and trusted Him, knowing He was righteous and good. Job's motives are questioned. Was he serving God because he thought God was good and trustworthy, or was he serving God simply because God hands out rewards?

Satan is, in effect, charging that there is no such thing as genuine faith that transforms the mind and character. God has to buy followers by offering rewards. No one, Satan claims, will serve God because of the joy of serving Him and walking with Him and bringing Him joy for His own sake.

The same challenge is raised by Christians today. No one, they claim, who believes in keeping the commandments, would possibly do so to serve the Lord because of the joy of serving Him and walking with Him and bring Him joy for His own sake. They say to honor God's law is just a man made devise to try and earn a reward.

Yet, they are all eager to claim the reward and gifts, while saying a person's attitude and response to God's laws doesn't make a difference.

When Satan charged Job of serving God only for legalistic reasons, this charge is really against God, rather than against Job (or those who chose to follow God's commandments). Satan is going to prove his point by using Job to show the universe that God's methods of gaining human loyalty don't work. Just take away the hope of reward, Satan says, and just watch the Job turn against God. No one, Satan claims, really thinks God's commandments and way of life is worth following if their is no reward!

Job lost all his material blessings and his health. But, even though he couldn't understand why God would permit such disasters, he declared "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."

Can God's grace transform people into that kind of loyalty to the things of God? Thus God, Himself, is actually on trial. God is the ONE who has been challenged. All the universe watches. Is it true that created beings, even if all advantages are removed, will still see God as good, true, and trustworthy.

The same is true in the investigative judgment. It's not a counting up of merit points. We will never in a million years be able to work up any merit points. The judgment is to see who trusted God! Who trusted and loved Him enough to accept His forgiveness for their confessed sins. Who trusted and loved Him enough to give up those sins and follow in HIS WAYS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS because they recognized that His ways are just, right and good. The only way to live! They desired the fellowship of walking with God even if it meant hardship in their journey here on earth. They will obey Him even if all the world turns against them, for their loyalty is to God and God alone.

God already knew that Job was walking with Him. He knew Job's heart. But still He allowed Him to pass through a trial to determine if His faith was genuine or just self serving. The judgment is not a time for God to decide who are His. The Lord already knows who are His. Rather it is a time for Him to defend the decisions He has already made. It's a time for Him to say, "Here are the people who genuinely love me and have faith in me. My love for them has transformed them till they have been fully restored to unshakeable loyalty and can be trusted in the realms of perfect harmony with no fear that they will chose sin and transgress my laws. They have committed themselves to My way of righteousness, they are safe to bring into God's holy kingdom.

Once again, it is man's opinion of God, not God's opinion of man, which needs to be changed before the great controversy can end. Therefore the judgment is not for God to decide what he thinks of man, but for human beings to see God dealing so fairly, so lovingly in the settling of the final issues that they will form an unchangingly loyal opinion of God!

Will we stand upon that sea of glass and in all sincerity sing from the depths of our hearts, "Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."

Will we sing the song of Moses?
Think of Moses looking over earth's history and looking in on our day, He had been shown the work of Satan in leading the Jews to reject Christ, while they professed to honor His Father's law. He now sees the Christian world under a similar deception in professing to accept Christ while they rejected God's law. He had heard from the priests and elders the frenzied cry, "Away with Him!" "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" and now he heard from professedly Christian teachers the cry, "Away with the law!" He saw the Sabbath trodden under foot, and a spurious institution established in its place. I'm sure Moses would be filled with astonishment and horror. How could those who believed in Christ reject the law spoken by His own voice upon the sacred mount? How could any that feared God set aside the law which is the foundation of His government in heaven and earth? But not everyone is in that group, for he sees a small company of people of whom it is declared: "here are they that keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus". With joy Moses sees the law of God still honored and exalted by a faithful few who have put their complete trust and loyalty on the side of Christ. He sees the last great struggle of earthly powers to destroy those who keep God's law. (Rev.12:17, chapters 13 and 14) Yet God shall arise to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, (Rev. 15 ) and those who have feared His name shall be covered and hid in the day of His anger. He hears God's covenant of peace with those who have kept His law, as He utters His voice from His holy habitation and the heavens and the earth do shake. (Hebrews 12:18-27) He hears the voice from heaven proclaim "IT IS DONE!" IT IS DONE!!! IT IS DONE!!!!! ) (Rev. 16:17-19)

Yes, salvation's price was paid at the cross -- Christ's work of assuring victory was finished at the cross. But it isn't until after the plagues have fallen that the words ring out "It is Done!"

Then Christ will come in all His glory. The righteous dead will be raised to immortal life, and the living saints will be translated without seeing death, and together they will ascend with songs of gladness to the City of God, where all the redeemed will sing the song of Moses and the Lamb from a heart of overwhelming praise and trust to their Lord and Savior.

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