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  1. Can you always, with permanent conviction, call Heaven your present possession? This is one among many Biblical truths from which believers are to appropriate for exhortation from the “comfort of the scriptures” (Rom 15:4). How eternal life is comprehended will determine whether or not there will be a walk in the encouragement of spiritual growth truths. Concerning the “New Heaven,” believers are considered presently there because of the surety of its inevitable occurrence. Though our present condition is earthly, our present position is heavenly (Eph 2:6), which answers to our Lord’s declaration that, “I go and prepare a place for you and I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” This concurs with the Lord’s action of being our heavenly “Forerunner” (Heb 6:20). NC Heavenly Dwelling The two great subjects of the testimony of the Holy Spirit are the sufferings of the Lord Jesus and the glories to follow. When these two connected truths are received into the soul by the teaching of the Spirit, they necessarily sever it from the absorbing power of earthly interests. Take the Cross, for example. “They are enemies of the Cross of Cross . . . who mind earthly things” (Phl 3:18, 19). On the other hand, take the resurrection. ”If ye then be risen with Christ . . . set your affection (the same as “mind” in the former quotation) on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:2). The great moral of the Gospel is heaven as a present enjoyable reality, as the home of our affections, the center of our interests. This is indeed a wondrous truth, but how little we know the actuality of it in our souls! The characteristic of our present calling is, that it is “heavenly.” We are addressed as “holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling.” Our true tabernacle is in heaven; our only Priest is in heaven. The epistle to the Hebrews sets forth the heavenly worship, which faith alone can recognize in direct contrast to earthly worship, which the senses could recognize. The priest of the Jews was a visible person; the sacrifices, tangible objects; the temple, a material structure: all beautiful and orderly and suitable to the system with which God Himself has connected them; but to faith, they are mere shadows of glorious and eternal realities (God began with visibly-aided proof and gradually minimized it to allow faith to be exercised in its greatest capacity before its time is gone, for soon we will walk by sight—NC). The heart of man naturally lingers about the shadows; and the full-blown evil of the Judaizing tendency (not that Judaism is evil but attempting the admixture of it with Christianity is—NC), with which the Apostle Paul dealt so sternly, is now become habitual to the thought of Christianity, and has helped to form that characteristic of “dwellers on earth.” Judaism has been taken as the pattern of what men call Christianity, and thus Christianity itself is regarded as a mere improvement or refinement of Judaism, instead of being regarded according to Paul as its direct contrast (opposite—NC). The new piece has been added to the old garment, “and the rent is become worse.” We are exhorted to walk worthy of the calling wherewith we have been called (Eph 4:1). This implies the knowledge of our “calling.” It is a “high calling.” The word rendered “high” is the same as that rendered “above” in Colossians 3. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” We are called of God from beneath to above, from earth to heaven. We are bodily on this earth and in this world, yet we belong not to either—“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Hence also the pilgrim and stranger character of the saint: heaven is his home, and oh, that we as ardently desired to be with the Lord Jesus where He is, as He desires to have us with Him! We are not as “those that dwell on the earth” (Rev 13:14). Moralists, philanthropists and politicians all recognize something valuable in Christianity, and use it as helpful to their own ends; and thus has Christianity been dragged down from its lofty eminence, till almost all that is distinctive is lost amidst so many elements which are foreign. The long continued attempt to apply Christianity to the world, merely as an aid to its civilization, has led to the loss of even the theory of the Church. In time it may well be that nothing will be so offensive to “the dwellers on the earth” as the assertion of the peculiar privileges and special hope of the Church. - Wm Kelly (1821-1906)
  2. During your times of light, moderate or severe trials do you look unto self to find what you may have of the Lord to endure, or have you learned that there is nothing within you personally—not even the new nature—that delivers through trials. Knowing what to do in our times of stress is only half the resolution; knowing how to practice what is known brings the answer, and “Casting all your care upon Him” (1Pe 5:7) is always the proper procedure. Any other means is looking unto self for the answer, and regardless the appeal that self-reliance may possess, it’s always nothing more than a temporary delay at most. It’s also important to note that the “trying of your faith” needs the proper response—so you’ll be able to continue to be properly trial-conformed (1Pe 1:6), as this gradually increases in difficulty, but never beyond “that you are able.” Consistently putting all that we care about, pleasantries and difficulties, into God’s keeping means you’re believing His Word concerning everything in your life, that “He careth for you.” So, the protocol is first “what”; cast everything on our Father. Then “how”; trusting that He is using “all things”—“to work together for good” to you (Rom 8:28). The greatest significance in this truth is in knowing that it is solely dependent upon our position in Christ, and never the condition of our walk, which will always be progressing “in the Spirit.” The maturity of our “walk in the Spirit” varies between all and is merely an indicator of where we are concerning the level of conformity to His Word, and not a means of His deliverance, because the point of deliverance through a trial proceeds from Himself, in providing its understanding to us. You will eventually know you’re not following God’s protocol when the resolution-times for closure often seem too lengthy. Sure, God’s teachings of conformity concerning our lifestyle (walk) are hard, but not “grievous” (1Jo 5:3), because He will always “make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1Cor 10:13); and the relief (escape) is always a matter of faith in His written Word. It’s from the trials we learn the most concerning our walk. The two primary factors concerning their application are that they will always come and go; and they contain in one degree or another the element of “hardness,” which continues to conform and manifest our walk of faith “as a good solder of Jesus Christ” (2Ti 2:3). It is in the difficulties that we are brought to see if we are trusting in the “arm of flesh” (2Ch 32:8) or the arm of God. Myself, I’ve learned the former always eventually leads in succession to the latter, as God will have it no other way for us. NC
  3. It’s not in redemption that one “changes . . . from glory to glory,” for once applied it fully saves; which will show in our permanent lifestyle. It’s our earthly walk that manifests in escalating glories all that we already are (1Jo 4:17), and all that we already have (2Pe 1:3) in Christ! The present “divine nature” indwelt by the believer will not be any newer than it is now. Therefore the primary differences in the resurrected saint’s essence will be the absence of “the old man,” and the newness of the finally “redeemed body” (Rom 8:23). NC “Follow After Love” “I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor 11:2). Paul’s song accounts for all that is in Solomon’s Song. The Father looks upon the believer as altogether lovely. A sinner in himself, he has, by faith, taken on him the beauty of the Lord Jesus. He is “in Him.” He is “accepted in the Beloved.” Faith alone gives him all this comeliness. He has been baptized into the Lord Jesus, and put Him on. This is the beauty of the believer; and he is lovely in the Lord Jesus’ eye. Indeed in this form of beauty there can be no spot. The very “best robe” in the Father’s house is on Him. For it is the Lord Jesus Himself that the believer is arrayed with. Such harmonies are there between the Son of Solomon, the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles. We are naturally prone (due to the indwelling old man—NC) to be suspicious of any offer to make us happy in our Father. Because our moral sense—our natural conscience, tells us of our having lost all right, even to His ordinary blessings. Yet, in the revelation of God, faith reads our abundant title to be near Him and happy with Him, though our natural conscience and our sense of the fitness of things would have it otherwise. Faith feeds where the moral sensibilities of the natural mind would count it presuming to tread. The Song of Solomon opens with strong and fervent desire toward Himself; reaching forth to apprehend Him in some more intimate manner that had been preciously understood. It is as though the saint has been conscious of being in a lower condition than would now satisfy. For at times the soul rests itself simply on the firm ground of doctrines, such as “the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth from all sin.” It is the simple and sure power of such truth that alone answers, at times, the need of the soul. But again, at times, the ground under our feet, as believers, is understood and rested on and it is the Lord Jesus Himself that the heart desires. She had been keeping the vineyards (Son of Solomon 1:6)—attending to things abroad—but now was learning that her own vineyard had been neglected; and the deeper things of personal fellowship are longed for. The saint is leaving Martha’s and taking Mary’s place, hungering to feed under His own eye and from His own hand, not another’s. Now it is conscious of being more at home, more about its own vineyard; as though it had left the Martha place, “busy about with many things” (Luk 10:40—still unnecessarily preoccupied with much of this life—NC) and assuming the Mary place at the feet of the Lord Jesus in personal fellowship. There is a great influence upon the soul to be occupied with such affections (Christ’s fellowship—NC). It strengthens and sanctifies—for all question of our standing is anticipated, and our energy in meeting temptation is increased, and thus the liberty of our soul is secured. For how can the thought of condemnation or the temptation to defilement be entertained, when the believer is seeking to reach more into the light and joy of such communion and fellowship as this? Does it not lead him into more than a mere escape from the spirit of bondage, or from practical sin (sin commissions—NC)? Is it not the divine method of making him more than conqueror? “For we all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (The Scriptures are “as a mirror” of Christ, which shows us what we are to look like – Jam 1:22, 23. Thus the more we look into it, the more we will remember how we are supposed to look. 2Cor 3:18). - J G Bellett (1795–1864)
  4. Death in Christ is antecedent to life in Christ, and not only is this death a single occurrence but renders one to remain so concerning the curse of sin. Thus believers do not die to the sin nature but “are dead” to it; and this death intends not the absence of its presence in us, nor immunity to its effects, but rather the freedom from sin’s dominion and damnation (Rom 6:14; 8:1). The evidence of our death in Christ is the work of the Spirit’s mortification shown in our walk (Rom 8:13), all for the purpose “so we also should walk in newness of life” in Christ (Rom 6:4). NC Heavenly Life-Source It goes without saying that the believer has eternal life. But it should be carefully observed that he is never said to have it in himself (it’s here that so many have yet to grasp the full implications of eternal life, in considering that the lifestyle effects eternal life, but the order is that eternal life effects our lifestyle—NC). “This life is in His Son” (1Jo 5:11 – and not in what we do, but what we do manifests the presence or absence of eternal life—NC). Having eternal life, we have it, therefore, only in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is this fact which guarantees to us its absolute security, assures us that we can never be lost, for whoever would rob us of it, must first pluck us out of His hands; nay more, must pluck Him from His seat at the right hand of the Father. Christ is our life (Col 3:4). Our life is not here. This, indeed, is the statement of Paul. “Ye have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). He had just been pointing out our responsibilities (vs 1, 2) as connected with our having died and risen with Christ. As dead with Him, we are not to act as alive in the world (Col 2:20). He has died out of this scene, has no present place in it; He is, as far as this world is concerned, a dead man. We, therefore, commence our Christian life by taking the place of death. We are buried with Christ in baptism (Col 2:12); and God’s estimate of us is that we have died. Hence our responsibility to walk accordingly, to mortify our members which are upon the earth, etc. (Col 3:5). Scripture teaches us that the Father has so completely associated us with His Son, that He count us with Him as dead to sin (Rom 6); dead to law (Rom 7; Gal 5:23); and dead to the world (Gal 6); and hence faith accepts and reckons upon His estimate as true. We have been brought through the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus out of this scene into a new position and place—so completely, that it can be said of us, “Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Rom 8:9). Our life, therefore, is not here—it cannot be, for we have died to the world—but it is hid with Christ in God. How blessed for us if we did but accept the full consequences of this truth! What an immense gain if we only started on the Christian life by accepting death upon all around us! How it would lift us out of our circumstances, if we looked steadfastly away from all that we see, up to where the Lord Jesus is, and remember that our life is there; that He is our Life. What power it would give us over “the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”! We need to judge ourselves in these things, for we shall find the secret of much of our weakness and failure lies in seeking our life in the things of this world. Having died and risen with Christ, the believer’s life-associations should be connected with the place into which he has been brought; even as Paul says, “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil 3:20). Only then—when this truth is accepted—shall we know the joy of continual occupation with the Lord Jesus at the Father’s right hand. It may be added, the object of all the Father’s dealings with us now is to bring us under the influence of this truth. If we will find our life in things down here, He must bring death upon them, and thus lead us to see through many a grief and bitter sorrow, that the Lord Jesus—and He alone—is the life of the believer. As one of old has said, “He often dims the brightness of this scene that we may behold the glory above”; and the source of that glory is in the face of the Lord Jesus (2Cor 4:6). - Edward Dennett (1831–1914)
  5. When the light first breaks in on the soul, it is sweet to it, to the new life and nature. It is the work of the Spirit; but in order to promote it, and to enjoy what the light confers, I must practically prefer it to everything else. If I do not give it first place and absolute attention, it remains inactive, like a light in a dark lantern; hence it is said, “we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard” (Heb 2:1). If you have had a glimpse of the unsearchable riches of Christ, have you been diverted by it from other things which claimed your attention and interest or have you gone on as usual? Can you sit and talk as usual, dress as usual, read the books you used to read? In a word, though you have tasted something great, has it no peculiar effect on you? Has it produced no marked alteration in your feelings about things? If not, it really does not control you, and this is the secret of why you do not advance. If it (the knowledge of the Lord Jesus) controlled you, in spite of yourself and without perceiving it, you would retire daily more and more form usual things, because more and more engrossed with Him. You would not make any arrangements to break away from this or that thing, but in seeking to know more of Christ, like a bird ascending to the sky, you would leave earthly things behind. The sky and air would be more beautiful to you as you ascended, and the things you had separated from would not be accounted of. What is the good of things if they are not used? As you use them, you must distance yourself from the lower associations. If you will not break from the common, you will never enjoy the uncommon. It is here where so many are detained. They wish for wings—they admire flying but the moment they find that flying will distance them from the old haunts and old tastes, they are content to hop, and not fly; they are sluggards, they “desire and have nothing” (Pro 13:4). The fact is, the more we grow up in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, the more we must separate from that which is contrary to Him. The babe in Christ can mix with those, and can do things with impunity, which would make the mature in Christ miserable. Spiritual sensitivity increases with growth. The babe can endure an atmosphere which would be insupportable to a young man in Christ. It is the contrary way between the new creation and the old. In the latter, the young require the most attention and care and delicate nursing; but in the new, it is as there is growth that one must be increasingly watchful of every incongruity, because the organization is so high and holy that the more it is developed, the more it is necessary to ward off everything that would grieve and hinder it. When fruit trees are in blossom, that is the most precarious time and the moment they are nearest having fruit is the one in which they must be best sheltered from ungenial weather, far more so than at any other period of their existence. You have thought you could enjoy the uncommon and yet retain the usual, but you cannot. In proportion as you hold to the one, you weaken the other. - J B Stoney
  6. The Christian in Romans Seven might have tasted the unsatisfying pleasures of the world during his unsaved days. Now he had turned his back on the world and his face to the Father, yet never was there (he felt) so disconsolate a being. The misery increases till he bursts out with “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me?” Thus is the case of one who had seen the Lord Jesus as the hope of his soul, who had been born of God, yet nevertheless, had no sense of deliverance (which progressively manifests in our walk of all that we already are in the Lord Jesus—NC). The Father patiently lets him feel his own inward evil till he looks quite out of himself to the Lord Jesus as his Deliverer, not alone from guilt or wrath, but “from this body of death.” It is not sins, it is sin, which harasses him so much the more because his conscience is awakened (law provides knowledge of sin but not deliverance from it; law enhances awareness of the severity of sin, hence “sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful” Rom 7:13; in order that “that the offence might abound” 5:20—NC) The first answer to this problem is, that my Father has already in His love brought in a full deliverance for my soul; by-and-by He will bring in an equally complete deliverance for my mortal body (Rom 8:23). Thus a real present deliverance of grace comes first, and this becomes the pledge of all that follows in glory. As far as the soul is concerned, emancipation is complete; but it is so only for the inner man – not yet for the outer. Accordingly, Paul states in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation,” because he looks to, rests, and is in the Lord Jesus alone. This is, in part, the answer to the soul’s confession of misery and cry for a Deliver (the lost need saved and the saved need delivered—in their walk—continuously from the sin nature—NC). Awakened to feel that it is not merely pardon that he wants, but also deliverance from the old man (Rom 6:12, 14), he finds that deliverance in Another (always knowing no guilt while trusting more on the fulfillment of Christ’s efficacy—NC). He had thought that, having found pardon in the Savior, he must deliver himself by the inward working of the Holy Spirit; but he learned, when most wanting Him, that He did not help him; he found somehow or other, that the Spirit was making him miserable with himself. The reason is manifest: because he had put himself under law in the spirit of his mind, and the Spirit will never give power, but rather make a man confirm his weakness as long as he is trying to put law in the place of the One who is Life (Col 3:4). He came to earth from heaven to glorify the Lord Jesus, not the law. The lack of deliverance was learnt in groans; thence he is driven to turn to the Deliverer; whereon, in spite of the indwelling old man being still as bad as ever, having thanked God, he concludes, “there is therefore now no condemnation,” not for those for whom Christ died, but “to them that are in Christ Jesus.” We are now by grace positioned in Another, even the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ, in order to give us our place in the very presence of our Father. Nothing could be more blessed. “Hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6). - Wm Kelly (1821–1906) Don’t forget the daily devotional: http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  7. Have you ever thought that what occurs is supposed to occur or it wouldn’t have occurred? Myself, I believe all that happens is supposed to happen because not only was it foreknown to happen but has also been allowed to happen! This is an example of providential care of the only omniscient God, and please also realize something I believe has additional instruction, that He has always known it—from eternity past. Therefore for those who are reborn, all that occurs in their lives is orchestrated by God to “work together” for their “good.” That is not to say that all things are good, because the majority of this life holds that which is evil, but the evil (esp. in the believer’s life) is worked together with the good and always results in good—“to those who are the called according to His purpose.” The implication here is this, dear believer, that whatever we encounter, we can know that God has complete control of it and has already caused or meant it to, without fail, result to our benefit! What does all this good God “works” to us address the most? Our faith, which ever continues to grow in strength, through understanding and knowing that, for those who are His, all is controlled to address our faith in Him and His Word; and it’s the condition of our faith in Him that determines the degree of our practical love for Him, because “faith performs by love” (Gal 5:6), thus the greater the faith, the greater the manifestation of love which supplies it. This provides for the believer great encouraging assurance that we can welcome every day in knowing that whatever awaits us is not only foreseen and allowed, but also has already (“from everlasting to everlasting” – Psa 41:13; 90:2; 103:1; 106:4) been controlled to work for good to believers. There is nothing a believer will do that can turn aside the Father’s loving providence of causing all the evil to result—to us—for good (Gen 50:20). NC
  8. If the need of man were the sole measure of the grace of God, then man only would be thought of, the work of the Lord Jesus would be simply for man, and the power of God expended merely in rescuing man and securing his relief. Man would be the object and end of it all, and not God. Whenever the heart drops into its own thoughts, which is always the case when we are acting in the flesh and in our own strength, and not the Spirit, it will reduce grace to man’s level, making his benefit the exclusive object. It will be said that the soul’s need must necessarily occupy it first. That is quite true. But he who is most relieved is most drawn to the One who has relieved him. The more intensely I have felt the need of relief, and the greatness of the favor conferred, the more I am attached to the Deliverer. He that is forgiven much, the same loves much (Luk 7:42, 47). If the only object of grace were to relieve man, then man could be relieved without nearness of God, and this is really the effect of confining the heart exclusively to the fact of relief and favor. Too often, the believer being relieved from judgement, pursues his course as a man on earth with the sense of relief; but the Lord Jesus, the Man in heaven, may not be his object, nor his aim to represent and manifest Him here. The grace of God could never have limited itself to man’s need, seeing that the greatest thing the Father can confer is nearness to Himself. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1Pe 3:18). That’s not just when we die, or at the Rapture, “but now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off are made near by the Blood of Christ” (Ep 2:13)! If grace were only to relieve man of the misery which sin has brought in, he might be a vastly improved man, and a happy man; but then God would not and could not form any part of his happiness. He might feel indebted to Him for His mercy, but if grace effected nothing more than this he would not be brought to God, and though there might be joy in the sense of forgiveness, there would be no joy in God, no separation from the man in the flesh, no walking in the Spirit and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. Many of those who minister the Word find it easier for their own consciences to confine their preaching and teaching to man’s need. We cannot present truth beyond our own experience with a good conscience. A servant has no real effect in presenting God’s side to souls, unless he be there in measure and purpose himself. He cannot go beyond his light, but when he has refused or avoided the light in order that he might retain the world, he excuses his own state by designating is as “too high,” and unusable for souls. The one who is most for God will be most sustained by God; but the minister, in preaching or teaching, who will command the ear of men, and allow himself most of the world, is the man who confines himself to that which merely meets man’s need, and which the natural conscience will accept. So that broadly, popularity and a low level of truth, which will awaken sentiments of merely man-centered religion, always go together, and the riches of the grace of the risen Lord Jesus Christ are not really known because the glory of the grace has been neglected or refused. - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional for July 4: “Exhaustive effort brings home the necessity of strengthening rest. The believer will not be ready to enter into his spiritual rest until he is utterly worn out by his unsuccessful efforts to conquer sin and the old man. There is no rest for the “wretched man” of Romans 7—that struggle must lead to the rest of Romans 8. “The heart of man naturally seeks rest, and seeks it here. Now, there is no rest to be found here for the believer; but it is written, ‘There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God’ (Heb 4:9). “To know this is both full of blessing and full of sorrow: sorrow to the flesh; because it is always seeking its rest here, it has always to be disappointed; blessing to the spirit, because the spirit, being born of God, can only rest in God’s rest, as it is said, ‘If they shall enter into My rest’ (Heb. 4:5). What God desires for us is to bring us into the enjoyment of all that which He Himself enjoys.” -J.N.D. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  9. God desires those who are His to know there is nothing we will do that can ever effect change in our acceptance of Him in His Son. He knows our ever-constant primary goal is to “please” Him, and this goal is the most manifesting issue concerning our faith, and sums up all in our fellowship with Him. I say “will do,” not could do, because those who could will to do otherwise have not been under the “work” of His hands (Phl 213). He knows where we will error, but the issue lies not in all that we do, but rather in the fact that it’s never our will to displease Him, for we always will to “please” Him—whether success or failure (though our walk ever progresses “in the Spirit”). NC The Why Of It All Do you know the Lord Jesus as your Savior? Not only your Savior from the wrath to come, and from Satan and the world (unbelievers, whom has always made up the majority of earth’s populous, hence the term “world”—NC), but from self? Many a one needs to have that driven home. What characterized the Lord Jesus when here? All that Satan could do, he could get nothing out of the Lord. When He was here, He was always master of Himself, and He undertakes to save us from ourselves (our sin-source, the “old man.” It’s been said that the lost need saved and the saved needs delivered, i.e. Holy Spirit “mortification” in our walk—NC). When He presents us to the Father, we shall be in glorious bodies, delivered from humiliation, “made like unto His own glorious body” (Phl 3:21). Then we shall be perfectly and eternally delivered from everything not of Him. Can you say to the Father, I am a poor, simple and foolish thing, but I see that Thou hast said, and written down, that I have been crucified together with Christ? Thou lookest on me, having faith in the love that gave Thy Son; Thou lookest on me as crucified together with Him who was put to open shame. A second thing comes out—dead together with Him! He “gave Himself a ransom” for us, and the eternal life with which He quicken us is the eternal life which He had “before the world was” (Jhn 17:5). There can be no mistake as to what that quickening is. Dead, buried; ah, do all believers know what it is to reckon themselves buried together with Christ? When I think of the grace of the Lord Jesus, I say there was the end of myself in Adam (1Co 15:48, 49). God put me away on the Cross. Now as to the power of this practically: if you have got any gospel at all, what is your gospel? Is it the Gospel of eternal life? If so, I expect you to be doers, not hearers only (hearers only are absent of faith, for faith always brings forth the works or “fruit” of the Spirit – Jam 2:18, 20—NC). You cannot have life, and not be a doer. The Father has met everything against me in His Son. What is the grace mark of that given to us here? “Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin (not to die but manifest in our walk we are dead—NC), but alive unto God.” Do you count yourselves to have died unto sin? Do you know what it is to be in the presence of the Father and in fellowship with Him and His Son? That He is a living Person, whose glory we can have little idea about? The Lord Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God; and do you and I know what it is to say of everything connected with the first Adam, Thou sayest of me that I have been crucified together with Christ, dead together, buried together, raised and ascended together with Him (ascended with Him in position, and though not yet physically, it is certain as if presently so because it is inevitable—NC)? If you say that I can reckon myself to be dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God, I believe. Yes, you say; but do you see that I do not feel it? He never said that you would feel it! Abraham was given certain promises, and God took special care to let everything in nature get the sentence of God against it. You see how faith versus feeling was tried in Abraham. “A father of many nations have I made thee.” I can quite suppose the people around him saying, “Where are all these nations?” You have no child even, only Ishmael, who was not born in thy house. Where are all these nations? What did Abraham say? Just leave all alone. God has committed Himself by promise, and He is able to perform—leave it all alone. Abraham took the truth of God just as the thing in which he could rest (faith is always about unceasing trust in God for all things—NC), and would rest, and did rest. I do wish to press that side of the truth. The heart having been found in the humiliation of the Lord Jesus that which enables it to look ruin in the face and say, I am not afraid to see the place Adam got me into, not afraid of the flesh or of the world. Why? Because there is my Savior! “Know ye not that as many as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death?” We have been crucified together with Him. There is where the saint gets rest. My Father said it, my Father has written it. We have just a little bit of the blessedness of the humiliation and the glorification of the Lord Jesus, if we have faith in the facts; but the Father knows the fullness of it all, and He will give us perfect blessing in His own time and way. - G V Wigram (1805 – 1879)
  10. This article may not necessarily be presently useful but may merely be thought-provoking for possible future use due to the subject (Israel Eschatology) often seemingly to be unclear in Scripture, thus in my estimation not all questions or comments here can be sufficiently addressed. Thankfully, like most spiritual growth truths in the NT, these issues do not affect the essentials in the Gospel of redemption, but can affect, as all growth truths do, spiritual growth in the faith. The basis of the information related to Israel‘s end times within dispensationalism is premised on what I think is the concept that Israel (Jewish believers in God. esp. those alive at His coming – Jhn 14:1) will finally believe in the Lord Jesus after seeing Him at the beginning of the millennium period (Rev 20:4), resulting in Israel (esp. those alive at His coming) inheriting the New Earth, but is a lessor “blessing” (Jhn 20:29) than the New Heaven for believers in Christ before seeing Him (my personal opinion). It is obviously seen that many yet fully understand God’s Covenant with His people of Israel by not only attempting to commingle the two systems of Judaism and Christianity in desiring a Judeo-Christian system, but also that Judaism (Covenant of Law) itself, even for the Jew, has been “taken away” (Heb 10:9: also 7:11, 12, 18, 19; 8:7; 12:27). Nowhere is it written supporting the admixture of these two Covenants. NC Presently Heavenly The time was when God said to the children of Israel, “Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” This was a “worldly sanctuary” (Heb 9:1), a sanctuary suited for God’s dwelling place in the world, and suitable also for the worship for people in the world. God had constituted Israel to be His worldly people. He had fenced them off from the nations round about them by statutes, judgments and ordinances; and He had prescribed likewise “ordinances of divine service,” adapted to their sanctuary and to their standing. All here was consistent—all was worldly (“earthy” representation of God, as those who are “heavenly” are heavenly representations of God - 1Co 15:48—NC). Worldly worship, therefore, was then a holy thing in itself, for God had them appointed it to. It would be so now also, if God had a worldly people and a worldly sanctuary (presently God has only those who are heavenly in Christ—NC); but seeing He now has neither the one nor the other, the attempt to approach Him even by ordinances of divine service which He Himself originally prescribed is most sinful (though ignorantly so—NC). “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that offereth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an olblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol” (which all are done by those who “have chosen their own ways” - Isa 66:3 – e.g. attempting to live by a nonexistent Covenant—NC). Now if such was God’s estimate of His own ordinances of worldly worship, when those to whom they were given used them corruptly and willfully, what must be the iniquity of introducing an order of worship which God has distinctly set aside? But has not this been done in the history of the church? Is it not with renewed zeal being attempted in our own day? Forms and rituals of worship suited only to a worldly sanctuary and a worldly people are now sanctioned and established on every hand. The prophet of old was commissioned to rebuke Israel for their corruption and abuse of the worldly sanctuary and its worldly ordinances; but the Apostle Paul rebukes the saints of God when tending to turn back to worldly “elements” (Rom 8:3; Gal 4:9). God was dishonored of old by any neglect of the worldly sanctuary; He is dishonored now by any attempts to copy or reestablish it. This enables us to determine the character of things now done by the professing church—such things, for example, as an alter on earth, repeated sacrifice, the burning of incense, the consecration of building and of ground, and of persons also, by an outward ceremonial. Such like rites and ceremonies were so early borrowed from the Jewish worldly ritual, and transferred into the Christian church, as to have become almost universal shortly after the Apostles days. But where is their warrant in the New Testament epistles? How can one read therein and not see the introduction of such things prophesied of and solemnly warned against? How searching then is such a word as this: “I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer (Isa 66:4)!” How needful is that to recall the only source of authority found in the Word. “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.” This marks at once the place from whence our wisdom and guidance must be sought—not in antiquity, or in the examples of Judaized churches, but in the unquestionable teaching of the Holy Spirit Himself to the churches. This leads us away from all whose wisdom or authority can be questioned; it places the Word of God itself before the conscience of every saint. Errors, however ancient, or venerable, or attractive, are thus detected, and the child of faith is forbidden to countenance them. This makes the path of faith at all times sure, though oftentimes difficult. Nothing can be more sure than the steps of one guided by the Spirit of God and His Word of God, and yet nothing more difficult than to have to walk in separation from all that exists around. It is indeed difficult to have to wind one’s way through things so perplexing and so different as the religious systems of our day. We have to allow that such things were given by God, and that they will yet again be introduced by Him (Jer 31:31-34; Eze 36:27—NC), while invariably contending that they are positively opposed to His present working by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven. There was a worldly sanctuary; there is yet, in the coming dispensation (millennium), to be a worldly sanctuary; but now there is none (Christ moved the sanctuary to heaven – Heb 8:1, 2—NC). Existing systems are variously compounded of things proper to three periods. Some have drawn most from the past, some from the future, while some it may be, from the present; but all involve sad confusion in the things of God. How many, who may in some measure have been emancipated from the ordinances of the ancient worldly sanctuary of the past dispensation, do not allow that there is a worldly sanctuary to come, and have consequently chosen and instituted that in which God delights not, as much as others who are professedly imitating the ancient ordinances (e.g. repeated sacrificing of Christ via supposing His literal presence in the bread and wine during communion—NC)! Thus while denouncing worldly elements they really have invested themselves with that which can only properly belong to a worldly part of the dispensation to come. Thus they are involved in the sin of mingling things heavenly and things earthly. Is not all this a work of the flesh? Is it not an admission of worldly principles in the Church of God? Do we not see this in the fond desire for official distinction, dedicated buildings, permanent institutions and ordinances, and attempts to attract worldly repute, so common in systems around? For all this is not confined to the church of Rome by any means. Surly all these things, under whatever form seen, must be alike offensive to God. We may go back to some ancient institutions of God, or forward to something He intends yet to introduce, or we may assert our own right to worship according to a pattern of our own devising; but in each and all these cases we subject ourselves to that word, “When I spoke they did not hear” (Isa 66:4). It is important therefore to show that there yet will be a worldly sanctuary and worldly worship (with “statues” and “judgments” - Eze 36:27 - which will be “unlike” the Old Covenant – Jer 31:32—NC). This is very largely revealed in the prophets. Their subject of hope is the restored nation, restored polity, and restored worship of Israel; but all, when so restored, under and in connection (leadership—NC) of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now the Christian church has in a great measure applied these predictions to itself; and hence we have the thought of Christian nations, instead of the holy nation soon to be gathered from out of all nations. Hence too the (erroneous—NC) thought of the union of the church and the state—a thought to be most blessedly fulfilled when Christ as King and Priest shall sit upon His millennial throne (all of which are mistaken concepts—NC). All attempts to establish a worldly sanctuary now are therefore in direct opposition to the present testimony of the Holy Spirit. He by His coming was the conviction of the world’s sin in having rejected the Savior, because testifying that God had exalted Him; but that blessed Spirit is also, by His very presence in the Church, the conviction of sin of every attempt to set up a worldly sanctuary. He has to testify only of a High Priest now ministering in the heavens, “Jesus the Son of God, who is passed through the heavens”; and consequently, He can only lead the soul to Him He glorifies. All who worship “in Spirit” must therefore worship in the heavenly sanctuary, the Holiest of All; for there alone does the Spirit lead. - J L Harris
  11. It’s God’s care to “work in us” (Phl 2:13), and the believer’s care to “walk in His Spirit” (because we “live in His Spirit - Gal 5:25), via Him “conforming” our minds and hearts to be as His Son’s (1Jo 4:17) by His Holy Spirit (Eph 3:16) through the implanting of a new nature (“new man”) that is “after” the Lord Jesus’ nature (Col 3:10), thereby being made “partakers of the divine nature” (2Pe 1:4). Hence we do not conform ourselves but are “to be conformed.” We do not change ourselves but “are changed” (Rom 8:29). Those who are “born again” eventually, without fail, manifest (in their lifestyle or walk) all these godly virtues and blessings, as we continue “looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:2). The renting of the Temple veil was the renting of the Lord Jesus’ body and demonstrates not only the nullification of the sin nature’s damnation (Ro 8:1) and dominion (Ro 6:14) in believers, but is also the provision of establishing eternal fellowship with the Father. “For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time” (Heb 10:10 – NLT). . . by a new and living way, which He has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh” (Heb 10:20). His death did not establish new life but firstly, the judgement of our sin, so His resurrection could establish our new life in Him and the Father, through Their Holy Spirit! NC Glorious Gaze The Lord Jesus in glory is set before us as the object to which we are to be conformed. We are told that the Father has predestinated us “to be to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren” (Rom 8:29). John likewise alludes to the fact when he says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know the when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (1Jhn 3:2). But it is Paul who brings out this truth in its most definite form. Writing to the Corinthians, and contrasting the ministry of righteousness with the ministry of condemnation, and being led to state the full and blessed place into which believers are now brought, he says, “We all, with open (i.e. unveiled) face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2Cor 3:18). He refers to Exodus 34, where we read Moses was compelled to put a veil upon his face to conceal the glory that lingered there (after he had come down from the Mount, where he had been with the Lord forty days and forty nights), because Aaron and all the children of Israel “were afraid to come near him.” “And (till) Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. But when Moses went in before the Lord, to speak with Him, he took the veil off, until he came out” (Ex 34:34, 35). Only Moses went in, under that dispensation, before the Lord with unveiled face; but now we all—all believers—with open (unveiled) face behold the glory of the Lord. The truth then is, that all who are in the Christian place and position are set down in the light, as God is in the light (1Jo 1:7), and there they behold with unveiled face the glory of the Lord. Christ in glory is the object on which they gaze (it’s gazing or “looking unto Jesus” in the Word of God that conforms and changes—by the Spirit – e.g. Jam 1:23, 24; thus the more the Word exposure the more the change in our walk of what we already are in Christ—NC). This was shown, albeit in an extraordinary way, in the death of Stephen. “He, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). This scene is significant from the fact that now the heavens are opened for every believer, and that he therefore, by faith, without a veil, with nothing between, sees the glorified Lord Jesus at the right hand of the Father. For upon the death of Christ the veil was rent (renting of His body—NC), expressive of the fact that the atonement He made by His death was accepted by the Father as a full and complete answer to all the claims of His holiness, so that He could now come forth in all His grace and love to meet the sinner, and bring him, through faith in the Savior, unto Himself, to dwell in His own immediate presence, in the Holiest of All. Such is the place and position of every saint of God! A caution, however, may be needed. It is undoubtedly true that this place belongs to every believer; but it is another, and indeed, a most momentous question, whether we are occupying it (walking in it by the same principle as “living” and also “walking in the Spirit” - Gal 5:25—NC). We are brought into it according to the efficacy of the work of the Lord Jesus, and through His death, resurrection and ascension; and it is thus our blessed privilege to be ever occupied with Him as our Object. The Father would have us thus occupied; for He would have us share His own delight in gazing upon the face of Him who has retrieved His glory by becoming “obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.” Are we then, occupying the place into which we have been brought by the grace of our Father, and having fellowship with Himself as to the Object of His own heart? Perhaps there is no greater loss at the present time than knowing the full truth of our position without seeking to answer to it practically (in our lifestyle—NC). It should, therefore, be a very solemn matter of inquiry with us whether we maintain the attitude of Stephen; whether our faces, like his, are ever turned to the glory of the Lord. But the marvelous thing is, that the Lord Jesus we thus behold as our Object, is the model to which we are to be conformed (we are forever conformed to Jesus’ place of innocence at rebirth, so it’s always our “walk” which is unceasingly being conformed—NC). The Father, according to the purpose of is infinite grace, and delighting to mark His appreciation of the work of His Son, will have us to be like Him Who He has glorified. Even now we can say, “As He is (guiltless—NC), so are we in this world” (1Jo 4:17); that is, our acceptance even now while in this scene, is as perfect as His at the right hand of the Father. But the time will come when we shall be fashioned after His own likeness, when even these poor bodies of ours shall also be conformed to the likeness of His glorious body” (Phl 3:21). {Note of interest: There is a scientific law implies that mass can neither be created nor destroyed, although it may be rearranged in space, or the entities associated with it may be changed in form. Thus, God takes all the mass of our first body, from wherever all of it has been separated to in existence, and “changes” it - 1Co 15:51; God “redeems” our old body – Rom 8:23, but not our old nature, and are given a new nature, which presently indwells us, and at the resurrection will eternally remain to be our only nature—NC.} How then, we may inquire, is this change wrought out in us? This same Scripture gives the answer—“We . . . beholding the glory of the Lord are changed . . . by the Spirit of the Lord.” While on the one hand the Lord Jesus in glory is the model to which we are conformed, beholding Him, there is on the other, instrumentality in the power of the Spirit by which it is effected. How simple! We behold and are changed—changed into the same image from glory to glory—for it is a gradual process (e.g. in our walk, not our redeemed position—NC), as by the Spirit of the Lord. We receive the impress of the One on Whom we look; the rays of the glory of His face falling on us, penetrate in and transform us morally into the likeness of our Lord (God fully transforms us at rebirth, and is inevitably [Rom 11:29] manifested in our walk—NC). Herein lies our responsibility and privilege. The object is before us; before Him we stand with unveiled face, and it is divine power alone that can mold us into His likeness; but the activity of that power—through the Spirit—the Father has been pleased to connect with our beholding. Who then, would not ever stand before Him, catching every ray of glory that shines from such an Object, in the earnest desire to obtain growing conformity to Him on Whom we gaze? But it should be remembered that it is only growing likeness we obtain even by such a process. Full conformity “waits” (Rom 8:23), as John teaches, for the moment when “we shall see Him as He is.” There is no perfection here (concerning ourselves personally, due to the old man and old body—NC), since the Father’s standard of holiness is His Son in glory, and He will never rest until we are perfect according to it. May we keep our eyes ever upon the Object, that we may daily grow in resemblance to Him to Whom we are to be fully conformed. It is not only that the Lord Jesus is a Savior suited to our needs, but He is One who is suited to the heart of the Father—the Man after His own heart; and the Father would have us prize Him according to His own thoughts of His value and preciousness, to enter into, and to rejoice with Him in, His appreciation to the worth of Him who gave up all for the Father’s glory. As He is our Object now, so He will be throughout eternity. We shall ever be with the Lord. He Himself (not just through the Holy Spirit as now—NC) will be with us, the Lamb that was slain; then as now, the Man—for He will nevermore lay aside the humanity He has assumed; and then He will fill our gaze and our hearts, perfectly and completely. What an infinite study to trace out and contemplate His varied and manifold excellencies! We shall hear His voice, and oh how we shall hang to every word that falls from His lips. All that we see and hear will but fill our souls with ineffable delight, and our ceaseless joy (nothing to ever interrupt—NC) will be to lie at His feet in adoration and praise. Lord, in anticipation of the time, turn our eyes from all that might obscure Thee from our present view, and Thyself attract and occupy us altogether! - Edward Dennett (1831-1914)
  12. Hi SW, and appreciate your revealing reply! Yes, present-day Christianity, within the last century or so has not understood law and grace enough to grow spiritually much from them. I believe it's due to the influx of errant teachings since around 1900. God bless! (keep re-reading the NT as much as possible)
  13. Note to viewer: Hope you will like this daily devotional from MJS because it contains all of the same teachings as the articles I share. God be blessed! http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/ “Putting off the old man” involves that which it does, not that which it is. Believers cannot put of the old man itself, but do, “by the Spirit” put off its “deeds” and “conversations” (Col 3:9; Eph 4:22). This is possible because the old man, or sin nature, is restrained (but not removed) on the Cross (“is crucified” – Rom 6:6) due to our being “crucified with Christ.” NC “Crucified With Christ” The believer is now before the Father, not in the man who was under judgement (old man; sin nature—NC), but in the Man who has glorified Him in bearing the judgment, and consequently, there is not a cloud between his soul and the Father, because the man who caused the distance has been condemned in judgement. Often a believer though tasting of peace with God, when he finds the working of sin in him tries to correct it as if he could alter himself (old self—NC), overlooking the great and stupendous fact that the Father Himself has removed the man (nullified the dominion of “the old man” – Rom 6:14—NC) in judgement in the death of His own Son. Thus if a believer is really at peace with God it is because his “old man has been crucified with Christ,” and altogether set aside in the judgement of the Cross. If he were clear as to the fact of our old man being crucified with Christ, instead of trying to correct himself (i.e. crucify old man by self—NC), he would look to the Lord Jesus to set him free from the intrusion of the flesh: “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” What becomes us now is to have the Lord Jesus before us, and not the correction of the old man (by self—NC). The snare of trying to improve oneself is very common, and it is important to see that, however well-meaning it may be, it is really denial that our old man has been crucified, and a revival (continued ignorance—NC) of that which has been set aside in the Cross. It is plain that if we are clear of the old man we have no man before us but the risen Lord Jesus Christ. “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin”; and the more sensible you are of how ready the flesh is to intrude, the more you are cast upon Him. It is inconceivable that one could have any just apprehension of God’s grace, and yet continue to expect anything from the flesh or in any way to deal with it (referring to the nature itself and not its works, which we are given to deal with in our walk, because we are crucified—NC). It shows how little the revelation of His grace is really accepted in its greatness; because if I know that God Himself has in the Cross removed from His sight the man (old man—NC) who offended, how gladly I should accept His grace! What fruitless sorrow has one known for months and years in the attempt to improve oneself, until wearied out we cry, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death” (not the physical body but the “body of sin” with its “members” (Rom 6:6; Col 3:5)? Then we find there is only one relief, and that is found where we ought to have sought it at first: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Nothing can be more certain for the believer than that one man is judicially gone in judgement, and that the Lord Jesus alone remains. When I have put on Christ—the best robe—which is “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Not only does the blessed Father see me on this ground, one from which He never can change or be diverted, but I now, by the Spirit of God see myself (new self or new nature—NC) on that ground and I can only say, not only our “old man is crucified,” but “I have been crucified”; and if I have been crucified, how can I refer to myself in any sense (concerning self-crucifixion, which is impossible—NC)? If we observe the history of Christians, we see them trying to improve themselves—their tempers and their evil tendencies, plainly showing they do not truly believe (or misunderstand—NC) in the absolute and simple revelation that “our old man is crucified with Him.” There is nothing of deeper importance at the commencement of our Christian life than that we should accept, with some apprehension of its greatness, that the man that was under judgment is removed from the eye of God in judgment. We have to ponder in order to realize the magnitude of it, and when we do believe it is the truth, another thing of equal importance is made known to us—that not only is the old man completely removed (concerning its guilt and rein—NC) from the eye of the God, but that by the Holy Spirit we are in Christ a new creation by the power of God. If we keep these two things together we have a great start; one man is gone in judgment and another has been brought in, and this is established to us by the renewing work of the Holy Spirit. Thus we enter on our new history. Properly, we are not occupied with the flesh (sin nature—NC); though the flesh is still in us (Rom 7:17, 20) we “are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit” (Rom 8:9); and our attention is largely given to walking in the Spirit. We have now a new exercise, even to sow to the Spirit. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (the victory is in the absence of willing to sin - Heb 10:26—NC). This shows us how intent our eye must be on the risen Lord Jesus; we have nothing to do with that man that has been judged, and the more we realize this the happier we are—judicially freed of the one and by the Spirit of God established in the Other. Everything we do now is done with reference to the Lord Jesus; and not only is “the body for the Lord” (1Co 6:13), but “he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” We are to act according to His pleasure in the very management of our bodies. It is remarkable that Romans 12:1, 2 refers to the body; “Present your bodies a living sacrifice . . . be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” But in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “we all beholding the glory of the Lord—are transformed”; it is the same word (transformed) as in Romans 12:2, and is only used twice in Scripture in reference to us—once as to the physical body, and secondly as to what is imparted to us—what is received from Christ; we are “transformed according to the same image.” This might be called the exercise of our daily life; our history here is not merely seeking to glorify Him in our bodies, but we should be growing in moral correspondence to Himself, and that by association with Himself; so that the two great truths we started with would be confirmed to us more and more every day—the old man gone from the eye of God and from our eye, and we are new creations established in the Lord Jesus Christ by the ministry of the Spirit of Christ. - J B Stoney d between his soul and the Father, because the man who caused the distance has been condemned in judgement. Often a believer though tasting of peace with God, when he finds the working of sin in him tries to correct it as if he could alter himself (old self—NC), overlooking the great and stupendous fact that the Father Himself has removed the man (nullified the dominion of “the old man” – Rom 6:14—NC) in judgement in the death of His own Son. Thus if a believer is really at peace with God it is because his “old man has been crucified with Christ,” and altogether set aside in the judgement of the Cross. If he were clear as to the fact of our old man being crucified with Christ, instead of trying to correct himself (i.e. crucify old man by self—NC), he would look to the Lord Jesus to set him free from the intrusion of the flesh: “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” What becomes us now is to have the Lord Jesus before us, and not the correction of the old man (by self—NC). The snare of trying to improve oneself is very common, and it is important to see that, however well-meaning it may be, it is really denial that our old man has been crucified, and a revival (continued ignorance—NC) of that which has been set aside in the Cross. It is plain that if we are clear of the old man we have no man before us but the risen Lord Jesus Christ. “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin”; and the more sensible you are of how ready the flesh is to intrude, the more you are cast upon Him. It is inconceivable that one could have any just apprehension of God’s grace, and yet continue to expect anything from the flesh or in any way to deal with it (referring to the nature itself and not its works, which we are given to deal with in our walk, because we are crucified—NC). It shows how little the revelation of His grace is really accepted in its greatness; because if I know that God Himself has in the Cross removed from His sight the man (old man—NC) who offended, how gladly I should accept His grace! What fruitless sorrow has one known for months and years in the attempt to improve oneself, until wearied out we cry, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death” (not the physical body but the “body of sin” with its “members” (Rom 6:6; Col 3:5)? Then we find there is only one relief, and that is found where we ought to have sought it at first: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Nothing can be more certain for the believer than that one man is judicially gone in judgement, and that the Lord Jesus alone remains. When I have put on Christ—the best robe—which is “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Not only does the blessed Father see me on this ground, one from which He never can change or be diverted, but I now, by the Spirit of God see myself (new self or new nature—NC) on that ground and I can only say, not only our “old man is crucified,” but “I have been crucified”; and if I have been crucified, how can I refer to myself in any sense (concerning self-crucifixion, which is impossible—NC)? If we observe the history of Christians, we see them trying to improve themselves—their tempers and their evil tendencies, plainly showing they do not truly believe (or misunderstand—NC) in the absolute and simple revelation that “our old man is crucified with Him.” There is nothing of deeper importance at the commencement of our Christian life than that we should accept, with some apprehension of its greatness, that the man that was under judgment is removed from the eye of God in judgment. We have to ponder in order to realize the magnitude of it, and when we do believe it is the truth, another thing of equal importance is made known to us—that not only is the old man completely removed (concerning its guilt and rein—NC) from the eye of the God, but that by the Holy Spirit we are in Christ a new creation by the power of God. If we keep these two things together we have a great start; one man is gone in judgment and another has been brought in, and this is established to us by the renewing work of the Holy Spirit. Thus we enter on our new history. Properly, we are not occupied with the flesh (sin nature—NC); though the flesh is still in us (Rom 7:17, 20) we “are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit” (Rom 8:9); and our attention is largely given to walking in the Spirit. We have now a new exercise, even to sow to the Spirit. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (the victory is in the absence of willing to sin - Heb 10:26—NC). This shows us how intent our eye must be on the risen Lord Jesus; we have nothing to do with that man that has been judged, and the more we realize this the happier we are—judicially freed of the one and by the Spirit of God established in the Other. Everything we do now is done with reference to the Lord Jesus; and not only is “the body for the Lord” (1Co 6:13), but “he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” We are to act according to His pleasure in the very management of our bodies. It is remarkable that Romans 12:1, 2 refers to the body; “Present your bodies a living sacrifice . . . be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” But in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “we all beholding the glory of the Lord—are transformed”; it is the same word (transformed) as in Romans 12:2, and is only used twice in Scripture in reference to us—once as to the physical body, and secondly as to what is imparted to us—what is received from Christ; we are “transformed according to the same image.” This might be called the exercise of our daily life; our history here is not merely seeking to glorify Him in our bodies, but we should be growing in moral correspondence to Himself, and that by association with Himself; so that the two great truths we started with would be confirmed to us more and more every day—the old man gone from the eye of God and from our eye, and we are new creations established in the Lord Jesus Christ by the ministry of the Spirit of Christ. - J B Stoney
  14. The fact of possessing certain attributes (e.g. “fruit of the Spirit”) of God does not establish the use of them, only potential for such. Though at rebirth, saints possess “all that pertains to life and godliness” (2Pe 1:3), it is only that which is properly learned and understood in time that will be applied in the walk; and it is true to His Word (Phl 2:13), that every genuine believer (if here long enough) will eventually be given and taught of God to “walk in (after) the Spirit.” This mostly involves understanding godly truths that pertain to spiritual growth in the Lord Jesus’ “image,” which reveals to us the comprehension of them enough to apply them in our lives—of course, by the blessed Spirit. If there be that urgency of desiring to walk in the love of God toward all, then the entire course will reflect that of “pleasing” God (Phl 2:13). NC Fact-fostered Experience To judge oneself (1Co 11:31) is often necessary and useful, but if that produces distrust toward God (results in self-condemnation—NC), then it is evil—the spirit of legalism is there, and the heart of the Father is judged (conflicts with “no condemnation”—NC) according to what we find in our own heart—a sad way, if we desire to know Him. The law says, Love; it is a righteous demand. But of the Gospel, the Lord Jesus Himself says, “God so loved,” and from this the new life, and the power to conquer sin flow. The demand of love does not produce love, and the demand for holiness does not make holy. But also the fact that we have new life, does not give liberty—desire for holiness, no doubt, but not strength for liberty. Redemption provides for us first of all liberty, placing us before the Father, justified and accepted in the Beloved (Christ); the conscience is purified, and we recognize the love that is in our Father, justified and accepted in the question of the dominion of sin, and if we are not clear as to redemption, liberty in the soul is lost. This is what remains to be settled, in part, in your soul. You speak of having practically (in practice—NC) done with self, and of holding it for dead. But it is with this latter truth that you must begin, and that as crucified with Christ. “Ye are dead” (Col 3:3). Faith recognizes this truth, and the experience which precedes is but the means of bringing us to discover that we do not succeed in delivering ourselves, nor in the dying. We must reckon (realize—NC) ourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God. Experience is useful to make us feel the need of a deliverer—our own weakness. When we have made the discovery of it, we come to know that God in sending His son, has “condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom 8:3). There is no acceptance of sin in the flesh (i.e. “in the evil nature; not the physical body but the old man—NC). We learn that is has been condemned, but in the Cross of Christ, that matter being settled by that sovereign grace; sin which tormented us has been judged. Then having been judged in the Cross, we have the right to hold ourselves for dead to sin; the practical carrying out of it (the walk—NC) comes afterwards—as a result. God says, “Ye are dead”—“crucified with Christ.” I accept it, quite convinced that good does not exist in me (old me—NC), and I reckon it of myself to have died (old man’s damnation and dominion nullified in the believer—NC). Then, after that I bear, more or less faithfully, in my body the dying of the Lord Jesus (2Co 4:10); but it is a consequence—an important consequence—for our fellowship depends upon it. But it is also important to look constantly to the Lord Jesus, and to the love of the Father, because that encourages the soul. There is positive goodness in Him, strength also that He exercises on our behalf, but by looking to Him we are enlightened. It is not only that our condition is improved, but the grace that is in Him above all that we are, is revealed to the heart, and we know where strength is, and what the grace is on which we can count. If you are tempted and tried, look to Him; little by little you will become accustomed to believe in His goodness, though it be necessary to recur constantly; but the eye directed to Him via the Word makes Him known to the heart. Looking to Him delivers us from ourselves (old selves, against which we constantly “put off”—NC), is what excludes that thought of self, and sanctifying us much more in a practical way—we grow. “We all, with open (unveiled) face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2Co 3:18). - J N Darby
  15. Redemption (salvation, rebirth, etc.) is not something one can grow in, for its operation exists only in a single degree, i.e. one soul cannot be more saved than another. Thus the sole difference between those reborn lies within the maturity of understanding and application of all that Scripture and the Spirit of God teaches. To know by Spirit-given faith (Gal 5:22) the efficacy of Christ’s expiation for sin is to manifest in one’s lifestyle (walk) evidence of being forgiven by our loving Father. This manifests “union” with Him, but “fellowship” with Him involves a progression from mere union, as forgiveness is but the beginning of learning the love of God via obedience of His “Word of Truth” (2Co 6:7; Eph 1:13; 2Ti 2:15; Jas 1:18). NC Proceed To Progress Is it not a strange, humbling and prevalent fact that so few Christians should understand their own Christianity? Yet it is true that there are many saints in the Lord Jesus who know more about the Jews than they do about their own Christianity. Pay close heed to this, lest it be your own case. It is always the truth most important to us that the devil tries to hide away from us, and turn us bitterly from it. Nor is it only the bad thing that he perverts, to hinder our blessing. For many true believers are kept back because they refuse to look for more than the forgiveness of their sins through the Gospel. Now therein is God’s righteousness revealed by and to faith (Rom 1:17); therein the sinner owns the riches of God’s grace to his soul: but to stop there is altogether unworthy. So many saints of God fall into this snare at the present moment, that it is well to see to it that we ourselves escape it. What is the good of occupying ourselves with what does not promote our Father’s glory? Let us seek in all integrity to judge ourselves. Let us zealously seek to be taught by the Spirit (1Co 2:13). Let our eyes be fixed on the Lord Jesus that we may be filled with fervor of spirit, and purpose of heart, simple and thoroughgoing. The question for our faith and practice is the attitude that our Father assumed toward us, and our relation to Him while the Lord Jesus is above on His own right hand. How is the answer to this great truth to be carried out on the earth in the heart and way of those who believe? Must it not be through faith “working by love” (Gal 5:6)? “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). It was His God and Father that raised the Lord Jesus from among the dead, and gave Him glory, that our faith and hope should be in God, His Father and our Father, His God and our God (Jhn 20:17). As in the rest of the New Testament it is not just the God of Abraham, etc.; but here, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is no longer just the revelation of the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob. You naturally become more or less of a Jew in this case, and your heart cannot then rise higher than “the promises made to the fathers” (Rom 15:8 – I believe the patriarchal promises relate primarily with inheriting the new earth, e.g. Psa 25:13; 37:9; 37:11, 22; 82:8; Isa 49:8; Mat 5:5—NC). Hence so many believers now, like the Reformers and the Puritans in former days, talk of grasping the promises. This is to ignore and lower the privileges of the Gospel and of the Church. It loses sight of the Lord Jesus Christ in heavenly glory, after the work of the Cross. Every Christian ought to understand and appreciate the total difference (chiefly between those inheriting the New Heaven and those inheriting the New Earth—NC). Therefore, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Tim 2:15). - Wm Kelly (1821 – 1906)
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