Time to Learn Righteousness

By Francis Frangipane

"At night my soul longs for You,
Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently;
For when the earth experiences Your judgments
The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness" (Isa. 26:9).

Fear Among the Nations
There is trepidation among the nations, and indeed there should be. Political leaders strike poses of confidence, yet express anxious whispers and dread when they are alone:

What is happening in our world? Will it get worse?

No one really knows the outcome of this time. But here is what is occurring worldwide: Over the past year the veil of deceit and subterfuge that hid the corruption in many nations is being lifted. God is exposing corruption, whether it is rooted in Wall Street or among politicians or leaders in the church.

The sense of privilege, that one can live without accountability either to God or to the law of man, is being judged by the Lord. There are no special people who are exempt.

One should not assume that things are worse today than ever before. I don't believe so. There have always been corrupt leaders whose practices were masked with deceit. It is in this season that the Lord is peeling off the mask.

This is not a bad thing, although it will be very bad if leaders do not embrace righteousness as the way out. The fact that these things are being exposed is a good thing. If we respond correctly, it means that a more honest set of leaders will arise to replace those who were corrupted. It means that, if we submit to God, our economy and culture will turn a corner into a time of renewed blessing.

However, if we resist, if we persist in deceitful ways, we should not expect God to bless us.

Thus, it is imperative to discern this season. We are in a time of increasing judgment. The world and its structures are in a collision course with the Kingdom of God.

We have underestimated the authority and function of the Holy Spirit; we have assumed He has come only to inspire or comfort. Yet, Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes into the world, He comes also to confront and convict the world "concerning sin and righteousness and judgment" (John 16:8).

You see, God has an agenda, a grand plan, and it is not just to bless and prosper us as we live mostly self-centered lives. His ultimate goal is to see the kingdoms of this world become the "kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ" (Rev. 11:15). Thus, Jesus commands us to pray, "Thy kingdom come. . . . on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10).

Remember, Jesus' message was "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17). We are in the season of the kingdom. We either repent and change our ways so they conform to righteousness, or we face the consequences.

If we don't repent, God renders a decision accordingly. He judges us. His motive is still to redeem, but He will not refrain from judging the sin that rules us. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. This is not the season to try to negotiate with the Almighty. The only option He gives us is to humble ourselves and pray. It is time to seek His face and aggressively turn from our evil ways. If we would have healing in our land, we must take the path the Lord provides.

The Consuming Fire
Thus, speaking of the last days, the Lord warns, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven" (Heb. 12:26). God is focused on more than blessing a few people here and there. He is coming to shake and subdue the cultures of man. Hebrews continues:

"This expression, ‘Yet once more,' denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain" (v. 27).

Two things are occurring simultaneously: God is shaking what can be shaken, and He is establishing His kingdom, which cannot be shaken. We must migrate out of trusting in man and enter into the unshakeable life of the Kingdom of God.

Hebrews concludes:

"Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire" (vv. 28-29).

Let us focus on this reality: God is a consuming fire. Not long ago a revival tried to emerge amidst great controversy. To the shock of many, God exposed the hidden sin in Lakeland's leader. To what degree this revival itself was true or false is still debated, but one thing is true: millions of people nightly joined via Christian television praying and calling forth in unison, "Fire! Fire! God pour out your fire." The ministry itself was called "Fresh Fire."

What did we suppose, that "fire" in God's dictionary means blessing? Or even healing? No. Fire means purification. It consumes and purifies the sacrifice – indeed, it consumes everything that can be burned. This one prayer was certainly answered: when the body of Christ prayed for God's fire, chaff in the church, starting with leadership was the first to ignite. And then the fire spread into the world systems, exposing the corruption and greed.

While many hope that the rapture will rescue them from tribulation, it will rescue no one from the fire of God. Recall, my friend, Paul's word: the day of the Lord will be "revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work" (see 1 Cor. 3:13-15).

"For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Pet. 4:17).

Judgment begins first with the household of God. Fire came to the church first, and it has only just begun to burn.

My advice is that we stop judging others and take inventory of our own condition. Where we have sinned, we humble ourselves before the Almighty. By humbling ourselves, I mean that we confess our secret sins, the areas of our soul's bondage – our fears, lusts and deceits, those things we are most ashamed of – and bring our sin to the cleansing light of God's grace. My counsel is that we not put this off for another day, but we humble ourselves now, passionately and thoroughly.

Do not look for shortcuts; do not seek to justify yourself to God. The judgments of God are in the land. It is time to learn righteousness. 

 Adapted from Francis Frangipane's In Christ's Image Training. We encourage you to consider enrolling in the upcoming Level I class. More information at www.icitc.org.