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Altar Pure

Today, the altar is awaiting our pure hearts. Are we ready to leave all for Christ? Are we willing to prove our sincerity on the fiery altar of persecution for righteousness' sake? When we find ourselves making mistakes, are we willing to accept God's correction even if the only means available feels like caustic soap and cleansing fire? Do we really want to be that pure? Whether we desire it or not, Christ persists in offering us the means of purification, calmly assuring us with an abiding love. Christ never left anyone. Though stifled by lust, conscience persists in offering us the only way out of the malaise of mortal mind. The kingdom of heaven is our promised inheritance, and right thinking and acting prove the power of divine Love to be close at hand. No one ever said it is easy to supersede what the physical senses are offering. Even Jesus was tempted, but he never acted upon those temptations. He only allowed himself to be moved by what he knew was right and good, for therein lay his power.

Only those who are innocent can offer themselves on the altar of truth and survive unscathed. According to God's instruction to Moses, a lamb without spot was sacrificed as an object lesson for his followers. This symbolic gesture kept the children of Israel pointed in the right direction, providing an example for future generations to improve upon. As soon as humanity discovered that the Commandments were written in their hearts and were a blessing to them, they were ready for the next lesson: the altar experience, which must be reenacted individually. Jesus was the first man to make his Beatitudes practical by subjecting his own body to divine scrutiny. He knew prior to his crucifixion that purity could not die. Jesus took no risk when he allowed the so-called darkness of evil to attempt to stamp out the light of Truth. He proved that Life is power indeed and that the dark threat of death was null and void in the face of innocence, love, and spiritual understanding. Evil intentions and lustful desires have no power to withstand the altar fire. Their false pretense is seen for what it is - blindness to Christ. Even the memory of sin must be consumed. "Everything good or worthy, God made. Whatever is valueless or baneful, He did not make, - hence its unreality" (SH 525:20).

Jesus said, "Follow me." Let us be willing to follow Christ in the way, so far as we apprehend it. Every type of difficulty that Jesus encountered we will encounter. Every opportunity that came to him for a blessing will come to us as well. "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give" (Matt 10:8). Jesus proved his mastery over the flesh by blessing, healing, and teaching every receptive heart that came to him. Now it is our turn to expand the concept - "Greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father" (John 14:12). Jesus' emphatic message to humanity is to be perfect, just like him.

As infinite good, God's perfect creation has never been sullied by sin, disfigured by disease, exposed to age, and allowed to die or to become extinct. The altar awaits our proof of this statement. When we become a true disciple of Christ - when we have successfully survived the altar experience and have been exalted by it - the message, "this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," will be God's affirmation concerning each of us (Matt 3:17). We will see heaven here and agree with God's description of it - "And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (Gen 1:31).

George Denninger ©

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