by C. Parker Thomas

(Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the March-April 1985 issue of the Midnight Cry Messenger.)

Divine order continues to be of paramount importance in this hour of frustrating transition. Transition is always attended with frustration and confusion as the old order gives way to the new. The revelation of God brings change and men, by nature, are fearful of a change. Especially is this true in religion. This is because we have all been taught that it was the other fellow who needed to change and not us. Our religion alone was the right one and all others were wrong. Of course, the other fellow thought the same thing about us.

Jesus knew what he was talking about when he said you couldn’t put new wine in old wineskins. Fresh, vital truth is always such a departure from tradition until it actually appears to be heresy to orthodoxy-loving souls. This is the reason Jesus was so hated by the Pharisees. He transgressed their traditions and spoke as one having authority while they were vague and indefinite. Tradition, for the most part, is based upon truth of yesterday that was used of God. Like the disciples who wanted to build tabernacles to perpetuate the memory of the transfiguration, man is forever building a shrine to perpetuate the glory of yesterday instead of going on with God. As wonderful and glorious as the experience or visitation of God might be, it becomes idolatry to pitch our tents and settle there.

The revelation of God is progressive even from glory unto glory. There is no stopping place short of being conformed to the image of his glory and his will being done in earth even as it is in heaven. The visitation of yesterday, the glory, the revival, the miracle or the experience will not suffice today. We must hear from heaven afresh and dare to walk in the light thereof.

We cannot follow the crowd if we move on with God. One of the great hindrances to many is the fact that God has blessed them in the past. They know such a method or doctrine is absolutely right because God blessed them and this proves they were right.

The marvel of grace is that God has condescended to bless all of us in spite of the fact that none of us were in divine order. Though we have been blessed out of divine order, we have never, as a church, been allowed to enter into our inheritance. The promised land is still before us and we are still wandering around and around in the wilderness.

The Lord, in grace, has sustained and kept us alive for this hour. However, we have come to the place where we must prepare to cross over. For some of us, the days of wandering are over. We are shut up as we linger on the banks of the Jordan. We must come into divine order and cross over and claim our inheritance or die in the wilderness.

Divine order means the restoration of divine authority. Divine authority means subjection. This means that individual liberty and license must give way to subjection to this restored authority that will lead the way to divine order.

Men and ministries must submit to this restored authority for judgment and approval. This restored authority is the church which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all things. For too long the individual has been a law unto himself in doing that which was right in his own eyes. Thousands have run to and fro teaching, preaching and invoking their blessing or curse upon the hapless sheep which do not know their right hand from their left. These spirits must be brought into subjection or be exposed as lawless rebels.

Our Lord is once again saying, “If he will not hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” The individual or group that ignores or despises the authority of Christ’s church will have no part nor lot in this last great move of God in the earth.

Though God has blessed and honored individual efforts and initiative during this day of semi-darkness, Zech. 14:6-9, his ultimate purpose is that we be made perfect in one. John 17. The Lord sees us as one body, one building, one household, one family, one people with one mission, one Lord, one faith and one baptism.

I personally believe every individual that continues on apart from recognition of the authority of the body of Christ will dry up and cease to be used of the Lord. Read Is. 42:13-19. What God in grace condescended to bless yesterday will not work today. This is a new day, a new move and a new emphasis ordered by the sovereign Spirit of God. We either come out of our shells of tradition and personal ambition to follow the cloud that’s headed for Canaan or we dry up and die in the wilderness. If ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat of the good of the land.

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