Foretold: new covenant, new life (5)

2014-41.5

Isaiah 60:18b

“You will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.”

Thursday, October 10, 2013

How praise brings salvation – Part 2

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Yesterday we looked at the way Isaiah links the words – and titles for God – Salvation (yesu’ah) and Praise (tehillah), literally glory or praiseworthiness.

We started with the first thought, which is salvation – we could say deliverance, or healing – of spirit, saved out of the kingdom of darkness to eternal life, and also new life now, life in abundance as those who have come under the just rule and order of God which we call His kingdom.

Kingdom living opens us up to deliverance or healing of both mind/will/emotions, and in a physical sense. In Hebrew thought, they are all dimensions of the whole, rather than the separate compartments we often put them into.

Physical healing is something which we have all experienced, and also debated and argued and questioned why it doesn’t follow our rules. The fact that it isn’t under our control helps us to understand how praise is the gate by which we experience salvation.

If you have asked God to heal you (it has to start with us asking), and have received prayer for this in agreement with others, which is clearly the Bible way, what happens? It is clear from the Bible that God’s heart is set on saving, showing his love without regard for whether we deserve it, in various saving ways. So what is a typical experience?

Sometimes the pain or other symptom just goes, but often there is a process – it lessens, and you might feel the tingling/warmth/cold that often seems to accompany what God is doing.

Now, this is the point. If at that time you praise Him for what you have received, what you are receiving and (by faith) for what you know you will still receive –often that is the point of connection. That is when faith rises up in the immobile person in the wheelchair and they stand up. This is where we thank God and walk on, but it is not with the same limp — there is a strengthening.

That is the bit that is controversial for some. The enemy doesn’t give up ground easily and there is always a battle, and the battle is a lot about doubt and fear and unbelief. As we choose to oppose these lies in the opposite spirit – that God’s Word is true, He is good and His intentions are always good, His plans are to prosper us not harm us, because He is for us and Jesus has gone to the Cross for us – everything changes.

We are going through the gates of praise, resolutely expressing what is good, what is true, exalting God’s nature and purpose. That is in agreement with God Himself and with every being in heaven. If on the other hand we express some negativity in how we feel or what we might think, who are we agreeing with then?

How do we exalt God and assert our agreement with Him? By speaking it out, or singing it out, or writing it out, or acting it out – it is expressed. The pilgrims going up to Jerusalem for the festivals were a noisy lot especially as they got close to the gates of the city, as seen in the character of the later psalms.

The salvation of the soul, becoming free in the truth, as Jesus said, (John 8:32), is also entered by praise. This is also truth against lies and the gate is our going forward in that truth. Your soul might feel that you are a bit rubbish — after all, you grew up being told that by parents, teachers and others, and life’s experiences have had a good few heavy landings which seemed to reinforce the view you were meant to bump along the ground and not fly.

But the psalmist said, “Praise the Lord,  my soul.”(Psalm 104:1) God’s word says I am:

…chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16);

…God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16);

…a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21);

…seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 2:6);

…God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10);

…Able to approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12). And more.

When you first came to know God, it was the same progression into freedom. God spoke to you. Your Christian friends said things that has a resonance to them. The preacher seemed to be addressing you personally. You had a go at reading the Bible – it never made much sense before – and a phrase jumped out at you.

And then you agreed with God about who Jesus is and who He would be in your life.

And, crucially (Romans 10:9-10), you told someone else: God has come into my life and as of now, I am a Christian. That was an expression of truth and praise. The sword of the Spirit was raised and demonic beings were forced to retreat to safe distance in silence.

You don’t have to listen to the lies. In fact, just don’t. How do you shut them up? By speaking out truth and praise yourself. It is impossible for a lying voice to get itself heard when you are speaking truth.

I’ve got a relative – you probably have one the same – that is always talking, always full of opinions. At times you can’t say anything to them because of the blah, blah, blah. You can turn that around. The principle works in reverse. When you take charge of your space and speak truth about God and praise of God, the blah, blah, blah voices around can’t say anything to you. Now you are not listening – you are compelling them to listen.

This intention to praise in the face of circumstances, logic, feelings, all those other voices and even the wisdom of mankind opens the doors, causes the gates to open, to what God does best which is defined in the name of His Son, Jesus. God saves.

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