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  1. “Why” is more important than “how” in everything we do, especially concerning our service to the Father, and it’s when our motives are right in our serving Him that pleases Him the most. Regardless of the fact that our will is never to do anything with the wrong motive, we need to realize that there will be interruptions of the “old man” that will at times produce undesired results. The wrongs and sins in our lives are not to disappoint us, it being expected in an unavoidable degree; for He already knows out heart is ever for Him (Phl 2:13), and we should already know that He no longer regards us after the old man (Rom 8:9). Thus “all things” (Rom 8:28) are but ongoing lessons to us of which He desires us to know, understand and allow His precious Spirit to apply in our lives to be completely God-dependent. NC Martha’s Mis-ministry The way in which Martha served was not acceptable to the Lord (Luk 10: 41, 42). The snare with zealous, but unbroken hearts is to do the right thing in a wrong way; that is, in a human way. It is not enough to know the right thing, but I must know the right way of doing it. The latter is not easily learned; the former is the fruit of light; the latter is never acquired but as there is practical grace, charity—the activity of the Lord Jesus Life in me by the Holly Spirit (Col 3:4). Martha desired to minister to Christ, but instead of first waiting upon Him, and becoming imbued with His mind and tastes, she essays to serve at her own dictation. This was her mistake. When I consult the Lord Jesus’ tastes instead of my own, I am not the less ready to spend and be spent for Him; but I serve in quite a different way. It never occurs to me that what I am doing is a burden, when I work in answer to His mind; on the contrary, I have the assured sense of pleasing Him, and this is the greatest gratification to my love for Him. I feel I cannot do enough. Instead of being wearied by my doings for Him, I feel they are quite inadequate to express the delight which it gives me to do anything which would meet with His approbation. When I have the sense of pleasing Him, my only thought is to do more; and my study, to follow on in the line which He likes. Like a fruit tree, I bud and blossom, and bring forth fruit, encouraged at every step by the consciousness that I am answering to His mind, who planted me and gave me grace to bring forth fruit to His pleasure. It is a well-known fact, that the riches of the soil is never drawn upon, never exhausted until the fruit ripens. Green vegetables do not exhaust the ground. There can be a great deal of green service, which is not a strain nor a tax on the servant; but when there is real fruit, there is sure to be both. I call it green service when a person spends what he cannot otherwise use; but I call it ripe fruit when one, in order to please the Lord in serving His people, curtails his own liberty, and deprives himself of many comforts which might be called needful. In fulfilling this service there is self-denial, but it is not felt to be a burden, like Martha’s (v 41), because of the delight of the heart in meeting the Master’s wishes. The Christian is led of the Spirit to aspire to his proper service and calling; and the more genuinely he accepts this leading, and pursues it in faith—that is, in dependence upon the Father, “which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight” (Psa 144:1)—the more surely and efficiently will he reach, and retain, the post assigned to him. The tree that has the best fruit has always the best and most healthy leaves. It is the small things which really constitute our testimony. —J B Stoney (1814-1897) MJS devotional for Sept. 16: "It is basically the belief of the truth; it is not belief of the fruits. The Holy Spirit cannot present to me the fruit He has produced in me, as the object of my faith. He speaks to me of my faults, of my sins, but not of the good works that may be in me. He produces them in me, but He hides them from me; for if we think of them, it is but a more subtle self-righteousness. It is like the manna which, being kept, produced worms. All is spoilt—it is no more faith in action. The Holy Spirit must always present to me the Lord Jesus Christ that I may grow and have peace." -J.N.D. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  2. “Christ is the head of the church” (Eph 5:23). The Lord Jesus is Head of the Body—such is His relationship to the Church; and how is He head of the Body? Not because He is the firstborn of all creation simply, nay, not because He is Creator of all, nor His headship of all creation as the “Heir of all things” (Heb 1:2) would in themselves give a sufficient title to be the Head of the Body. The distinctive character is that He is “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead”—not merely the firstborn of, but the firstborn out of. He is the firstborn from among the dead (never to die again—NC), as well as the Head and firstborn Heir of all subsisting creation. Thus it is that He rises into a new condition, leaving behind that which has fallen under vanity or death through its sinning chief, the first Adam. The Lord Jesus has annulled the power of him that had the power of death (being the first introducer of sin - Jhn 8:44; Heb 2:14)—that word so terrible for the heart of man, and most surely foreign to the mind and heart of our Father, but a stern necessity that came in through rebellion. Where sin brought man, grace brought the Lord Jesus. The glory of His person enabled Him in grace and obedience to go down into depths never before fathomed; and out of the whole scene, not of a rejecting guilty world only, but of the realm of death (and such a death) the Lord Jesus emerged. Now, He is risen from the dead, the beginning of a new order of existence altogether; and as the Head, so the Church is His Body—founded, indeed, on the Lord Jesus, but on Him dead and risen. As such—not born merely, risen from the dead—He is the beginning. All question, therefore, of what existed before His death and resurrection is at once excluded. He who believes this would understand that it was still an unrevealed secret during the Old Testament times. The OT dealings of God were not only not on the principle of a body on earth (Body, Church, heavenly not earthly—NC) united to a glorified Head, once dead and risen, but incompatible with such a state of things. Thus the believer knows and is sure by divine teaching that the Lord Jesus was not merely the highest of that which had been already, but the beginning of a new thing and its Head. This He was pleased to begin in resurrection from the dead. It was in no wise the old thing, elevated by the glory of Him who had designed to descend into it, but a totally new state of things, of which the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ is both the Head and beginning; as it is said, “who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” “And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Col 1:18; 2:10). —Wm Kelly (1821-1906) From MJS’ “None But the Hungry Heart” devotional: "As you by faith in the positional facts realize that you are in the Father’s presence, you will not try to depend upon any sense of His presence. You know His presence because you know that your position in the Christian life is a life of faith in the facts—nothing else. That the Father forces you to live by faith so as to draw you into His presence—not you, by sense, trying to draw Him into yours." -M.J.S. "We are, naturally, suspicious of any offer to make us happy in God. Because our moral sense, our natural conscience, tells us of our having lost all right even to His ordinary blessings. But in the Word of our Father, faith reads our abundant title to be near to Him and happy with Him, though 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 even to tread." -J.G.B. "The moment we walk by sight we are outside of faith. The Father would never have us outside of faith; hence, even in answering faith, He so answers it that we need it again the next moment, even while we are enjoying the results of it." -J.B.S.
  3. The desire to know the truth concerning the concept of whether or not one can lose a redemptive position in the Lord Jesus is clearly the most popular spiritual growth doctrine among the New Testament teachings (which of course is a separate issue concerning receiving salvation). It’s clear that Scripture contains language that can appear to support either concept, and I believe there are two certainties concerning this issue: that only one of these concepts is true; that until the translation of the Church there will always remain believers who will accept one or the other as truth. It’s been wisely said that asking good questions is key to finding good answers! At present one of my most prying thoughts is why Scripture (primarily in the NT) has been written in a way that often presents significant difficulty in understanding spiritual growth truths due to numerous passages that seem to contradict and conflict with one another, even though we know there is perfect coalescence in thought and practical application within the plenary of “the Word of Truth.” It’s my belief there are at least two possible reasons answering to this paradoxical situation; for the purpose of requiring Bible-studying believers to maintain an ever-increasing reliance on the Holy Spirit’s instructions for understanding (1Co 2:13); and to learn to exercise respect and kindness to one another amidst the ongoing frustrations that often arise when communicating beliefs with one another. For success here, what we believe to be the truth must be communicated “in love” (Eph 4:15). Love to one another is the pinnacle goal of all Biblical doctrine, because practical love to God is only apprehended in practical love to others (1Jn 4:20); and God’s love is incomplete in us if we do not desire to love one another (4:12). It is common knowledge that loving God is obeying Him (Jhn 14:15; Jhn 14:21), therefore neighborly love is the primary work that maintains consistent obedience to Him; without which our walk and doctrinal conversation will be unsuccessful concerning spiritual growth.
  4. God would have His own to learn to be joyous as much as He enables us to be so (Phl 4:4; Jhn 16:24; 1Jo 1:4). For those choosing to remain unbelievers, the Gospel is a Sword of conflict in administering to them discouragement and separation from His Body (Mat 10:34); for the believer it’s the Sword of peace administering encouragement and joy amidst the enmity God has placed (Rom 8:7) between us and unbelievers, especially when concerning the sadness of separation between unbelieving friends and families (Jhn 14:27). NC Blessed Whatsoever Our Father would not have His children burdened about circumstances. He is here working, and His peace keeps our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, where we give Him His honor and our trust. But even this is not all, for there are other things which claim and test us besides anxieties and cares. There is or ordinary Christian life; what can strengthen that? Here is the word, the apostolic counsel: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true” (Phil 4:8). There may not be many bright spots, but there are some; am I not to think of them? This is what I am called upon to do—to be quick of discernment, seeing not what is bad but what is good. “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are lovely, and whatsoever things are of good repot: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (v 8). Our consciences can answer whether these are the things we are most apt to think about. If we are swift to hear not of these things but instead all that is painful, while slow to hear whatever is of God, the consequence is, instead of having the God of peace as our companion (mentally—NC) , we have ourselves and others hindered by evil thought and communications. For that which the soul wants (the believer’s soul—NC) is only what is good. We are not exhorted to be learned in the iniquity of the world and church, but “wise unto that which is good and simple concerning evil” (Rom 6:19). God has given those whom He qualifies to judge evil—spiritual men who can take it up as a duty to Him, and with sorrow and love toward those concerned—but these God employs, among other purposes, for the sake of keeping His saints in general out of the need of such tasks. It is happy that we are not all called upon to search and pry into evil, seeing and hearing its details; but that, while the Lord may graciously interfere to guard us from being mistaken, our proper wisdom is growing in what is according to God. Why, ordinarily, should a simple child of God occupy himself, for instance, with a bad book (or even sad—NC) or a false teacher? It is enough for us if we have good ground to know that a thing is mischievous, and all we have then to do is to avoid it. If, on the contrary I know of something good, it has a claim on love and respect; is in not only for myself but for others. We’re never right if we shut up our hearts from the sympathy of Christ with the members of His Body, or the workings of the Spirit here below. If there were even a poor (spiritually speaking—NC) Roman Catholic Priest, who knew and brought out the truth of God more plainly than others, let us say, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth” (insinuating God can manifest His goodness anywhere—NC)? It is of great importance that we should have largeness of heart to think of all that is good, wherever it may be! —Wm Kelly (1821-1906) MJS devotional – Sep. 2: "The one purpose our Father has in view, in all His ways, is to conform us to the image of His Son. This may explain our perplexities as to the past; it will govern our behavior in the present; it is to be our guide in the future. The chief concern of our Lord is not to instruct us about a multitude of details, not to explain to us the reason for the trials which we are called to pass through. He is working out everything to serve His one supreme aim in manifesting the character of His Son in His saints." -H.F. "The God-given experiences of the Spirit’s working within many a time passes away, and leaves the believer apparently dull and dead. This is only until the double lesson has been fully learned: (1) that a living faith can rejoice in the Living God, even when all feeling and experience appear to contradict the truth (Rom. 8:28, 29); and (2) that the Divine life only predominates as the life of the old man is held in the place of death, inoperative (Rom. 6:11a). The life of the Lord Jesus is revealed as His death works in us (2 Cor. 4:11, 12), and as in weakness and nothingness we look to Him (2 Cor. 3:18)." -A.M. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  5. The three Nazarites, Shadrach, Mechach and Abednego walked with God in the king’s palace; and God walked with them in the king’s furnace. Is it not worth passing through a fiery furnace to enjoy more of the presence of the Lord Jesus, and the sympathy of His loving heart (Heb 4:15)? Is not a furnace where He is better than a palace where He is not? Nature says, “No!” Faith says, “Yes!” It is well to bear in mind that this is not the day of the Lord Jesus’ power; but it is the day of His sympathy. When passing through the deep waters of affliction, the heart may, at times, feel disposed to ask, “Why does not the Lord display His power, and deliver me?” The answer is, this is not the day of His power. He could avert that illness—He could remove that difficulty—He could prevent that catastrophe—He could preserve that beloved and fondly cherished one from the cold grasp of death. But, instead of putting forth His power to deliver, He more often allows things to run their course, and pours His own sympathy into the oppressed and riven heart, in such a way as to elicit the acknowledgment that we would not, for worlds, have missed the trial, because of the abundance of the consolation (2Co 1:4-6). Such is the manner of the Lord Jesus just now. By and by He will display His mighty power; He will come forth as the Rider on the white horse; He will unsheathe His sword; He will make bare His all-powerful arm; He will avenge His people (Israel), and right their wrongs forever. But now His sword is sheathed, His arm covered. This is the time for making known the deep love of His heart, not the power of His arm, nor the sharpness of His sword (Rev 1:16; 19:15). Are you satisfied to have it so? Is the Lord Jesus’ sympathy enough for your heart, even amid the keenest sorrow and the most intense affliction? The restless heart, the impatient spirit, the unsubdued will, would lead one to long for escape from the trial, the difficulty, or the pressure; but this would never do. It would involve incalculable loss. We must pass from form to form in the school; but the Master accompanies us, and the light of His countenance, and the tender sympathy of His heart, sustain us under the most severe exercises. What remains? Just this: live unto the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 14:8)! Seek to be faithful to the One who is your very Life (Col 3:4). Be not discouraged by the fragmentary state of everything around you. Let the example of Daniel and his honored companions encourage your heart to seek after an elevated course here below. It is your privilege to enjoy as much, if not more (because having more of His Word, which was incomplete at that time—NC), of companionship with the Lord Jesus, as if you were cast amid the best days of apostolic testimony. —C H Mackintosh (1820-1896)
  6. Since rebirth, believers have had the righteousness of the Judge imputed to them (not imparted, because He “is made unto us righteousness;” we are righteous but He is the righteousness - 1Co 1:30), and it’s in this they will eventually stand before His “seat”! Even though believers have security from condemnation, it cannot be enjoyed if misunderstood, for it is only in understanding what one has that enables the use of it! When He and the Father sees the Bride in her newly acquired array, Their Spirit will also be seen, for where the Bride is, there also will be her blessed Seal (Jhn 14:16; Eph 1:13; 4:30; Rev 22:17). NC Know Now, See Later The Jew must wait until the High Priest comes out to know whether the offering is accepted or not. When the Lord Jesus Christ comes out again, all Israel (and the world—NC) will look upon Him and mourn (Zec 12:10; Rev 1:7). But I do not wait for that, because the Holy Spirit has come out, and His presence gives me the blessed consciousness that Christ has been accepted before God, as my Life and Righteousness (Col 3:4; 1Co 1:30). My faith enables me to know that I have all in Him. But when am I to get the fruit of this? I have the Holy Spirit, but what is my relationship to Christ? The Spirit having come down gives me the knowledge of it. I have the Spirit, and the knowledge of these two things—that Christ is my righteousness in the presence of the Father, and that the Spirit is the seal of it. More than that, Christ is the Head, and “we are the members of His Body, of His flesh and of His bones” (Eph 5:30); and what is their character when He talks about them? It is as His Bride (second only to the blessed Trinity—NC). It is never said of Christ that He was bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. Just as Eve was of Adam, we are of Christ—and more so—because the “Spirit of Christ” dwells in me and unites me to Christ in Glory. When “the Sun of righteousness arises with healing in His wings” (Mal 4:2) there will be judgment, treading down of the wicked, etc. But meanwhile, while He is hidden from the world, faith sees Him (Mat 13:11; Col 3:3); and faith, seeing Him, has trusted and leaned upon Him as its righteousness before the Father. Therefore He says, “Now He which establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us is God, who has sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2Co 1:22). He is these two; the earnest (i.e. guaranty of receiving—NC) of the glory, and the present certainty of the love. I know the love now, the Holy Spirit giving me the consciousness of “prefect love” (1Jo 4:18). The bright and morning star is before the day dawns. We know Christ before we see Him (Num 24:17—NC). We have not seen Him and yet we believed (Jhn 20:29). “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (Jhn 14:20). We are associated with Him while He is not in the world. When the Son rises, I will see Him in His glory, but we know Him now behind the cloud. He is the Son who has revealed Himself to me—this One who is in the heavens, as He revealed Himself to Paul (to us it’s the glory of His knowledge, which manifests faith more significantly than Paul seeing the literal Glory - Act 22:11—NC); therefore it is the Gospel of the Glory. I know Him as my righteousness, and as the Bridegroom to the Bride. —J N Darby (1800-1882) Excerpt from the online Miles J Stanford devotional, “None but the Hungry Heart:” "The love motive is not adequate to carry the believer through to fruitful walk and service. Few seem to be able to face up to this fact, possibly because they see no higher alternative. But there is one: the life motive. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). “The law is for the man who departed from God—that man has been removed from God’s sight in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I rejoice that now by the ‘law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus’ I am ‘free from the law of sin and death’ (Rom. 8:2).” http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  7. Aah! The refreshing after the trial! I’m glad I’m learning to remember not to allow them to trouble me (Jn 14:1, 27), because there is more taught in going through free-handed than white-knuckling. I feel that I may sometimes still let it get to me a little too much, but I think the most difficult ones are at least quite bothersome. Not that I would feel guilty if I do allow a trial to trouble me, because I do sometimes when off-guard, but only briefly after remembering to “cast” it on God (1Pe 5:7). To me, “casting” involves remembering that He orchestrates everything in our life to result for our good and never for evil; esp. if we think we incurred it, which can be the most difficult to cast on Him. But we rest in knowing that the trials are the largest part of His school of learning. Regardless of where I feel my maturity should be in the Lord Jesus (Eph 2:21; 4:15; 1Pe 2:2; 2Pe 3:18), or of any type of discouraging word, I have the right—yea the command to “cast all your care on Him!” In all of this, I realize that the sole element keeping me from deviating from these Scriptural principles is the unfailing love of God, shown in His unceasing “work in you” to ever “desire and do of His good pleasure” (instead of the old man’s pleasure - Phl 2:13); from which nobody, including self (“Who” Ro 8:35) “nor any other creature” (angel – 8:39) “will separate us.” [Notice it does not say “can not,” or “may not” but “shall (will) not separate us”]
  8. There’s nothing more encouraging and comforting than realizing that at rebirth, believers have all they will ever require to be pronounced innocent before Christ’s judgment seat! I often wonder how many believers there are who may at least wish or hope that rebirth is permanent. One truth is certain, it requires God to give the understanding that there is nothing He does in Christ that is not permanent! Unless I’m wrong, I have yet to encounter anything in His Word that appears to refute this issue. Yes, there is a change in the manner of dispensing His plans and mind between the OT and the NT, but this only concerns Him revealing more of His mind in all He is going do. In His choosing Israel to be the first dispensing of the revelation of Himself to man, He has retained those who believed in Him (Jn 14:1), and the Jews who believe in Him at His last coming, them God will also retain and complete His plans for them in the Millennium. The only changes God makes are those concerning the manner of the dispensation He chooses to use to reveal His will. I have learned though, that the primary delay in understanding the issue of permanent security in Christ is in attempting to attribute to ourselves (other than receiving) anything that either effects and retains salvation. It’s clear to all that only God effects salvation, but I believe the fullness of this understanding is gauged in how we comprehend its retention (afto pou paragei apokleistika, diatirei apo mono tou; what solely produces, solely retains; literal: what it produces exclusively, it maintains on its own). The Scriptural order is that salvation procures works, and not the inverse (believing and receiving are not works but gifts). Works manifest and not produces! James 2:24 “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified.” In this context, “justified” is defined as “to show or manifest one is righteous.” Not “to make one righteous,” as in Rom 8:33, “It is God who justifies.” NC (apologize for the winded prologue) Forever Secure “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Ro 8:1). If this can be successfully shown, many a doubt will disappear from weary hearts. In turning to John 5:24, we see “Hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement, but is passed from death into life.” Who has the authority to pronounce absolute unconditional security of the believer and to guarantee immunity from coming judgement? None other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Quickener of the dead! His right and authority to announce beforehand the ultimate destiny of His own is unquestionable. Instead of standing in the dock as sinners and rebels, we shall sit on the bench as judges (1Co 6:2, 3). At the Rapture, the believers are raised in glory (1Co 15:43). Consider the absurdity of believers in their glorified bodies, crowned and robed, morally and physically like the glorified Lord Jesus, standing trial before Him to see if they are fit for heaven and glory. A mere casual examination of the Scriptures must reverse such a conclusion. The Judge was once God’s victim on the Cross for our sin (2Co 5:21). He bore our judgment, divine judgment due us. Our trial and judgment at Calvary are long since passed (since eternity past He’s known who will be His—NC). We are completely beyond judgment as is the Judge Himself. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the “Day of Judgment,” because as He is, so are we in this world (1Jn 4:17). The feeblest and weakest of the Lord’s own are as safe from judgment as is Christ. Do not permit your assurance to be shaken by either your thoughts of unfitness, or the use of certain passages of Scripture that are wrested from their meaning and applied by blind leaders of the blind to undermine themselves and others. We refer to such Scriptures as Matthew 24:13: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” An examination of the context will immediately clear up any doubt as to the meaning of this Scripture. There are dispensational differences in the Word, and this one has to do with the tribulation period. Then, many have been troubled by Hebrews 6:1-12. This Epistle was written to Jewish professors who had renounced Judaism and turned to Christianity. These were in danger of apostasy from Christianity; therefore, there would be nothing else to turn to but a fearful looking forward to judgment (10:27). Verses 9 and 10 (chp. 6) show true believers, while the others were mere professors and not believers at all. Condemnation is future and necessarily succeeds judgment. Romans 8:1 states no judgment and no condemnation. What a glorious position for the believer! Unknown
  9. In all things, our Father teaches us to know the freedom we have available from now on in the Lord Jesus (but you’ve got to appropriate it in your conscience and walk). That is, the release of the old man’s incurred guilt and “dominion.” It’s the possession of the sin nature (“old” or original “man”) and not the sinning that incurred guilt; and it’s not the sinning that determines dominion. Dominion is the ability of which the sin nature had to cause us to willfully desire sin (but never again – Phl 2:13). It was our source of sin (though being in us, we are no longer in it (Ro 8:9) that incurred condemnation—and it is our source that was “condemned” (Rom 8:3) and “crucified” (Ro 6:6), never again to “reign.” Nowhere is it written in Scripture that we can be lost more than once; nor that we can be saved more than once! To the degree our conscience experiences freedom in Christ will be the degree to which we “Walk in the Spirit.” Where there is doubt of our innocence there is misunderstanding of His expiation. When there is disappointment, there is failure not only in recalling what we have in Him, but also, somewhere in our walk, we have placed “confidence in” ourselves (Phl 3:3) and not in Him, because He never fails to provide all necessities, at all times (Ro 8:28). NC The Spirit of Liberty There are many Christians who more or less understand that the Lord Jesus has brought them liberty in the matter of righteousness, or the standing of justified ones in the sight of God; but they do not know liberty in their daily walk with Him. Practical growth, in such cases, invariably suffers. Where there is along with this much conscience, it necessarily takes the legal form of ordinances, restraints and the like (“the legal form” meaning works attempting to produce righteousness—NC). Or where souls have not the same internal exercises, it takes the shape of laxity to a greater or lesser extent. That is, they see that they are delivered by the grace of God, and they consider themselves free to use the world, and to allow, to no little degree, the inclinations of nature; because as they say, there is evil in the nature, and as they suppose, God in His tender mercy, makes allowance for it. Now both of these attitudes are totally wrong. One cause of all this mistake lies in the misapprehension of a very important truth—the effect of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven. Yet, in Acts, the Epistles and all the exhortations, the walk that is set forth is built upon the presence of the Holy Spirit. Where this is not entered into, the consequence is that believers must either suppose that there is a certain latitude allowed them by God, which is only another word for indifference, or they must fall back upon the righteous curb that God has put upon our nature, and that is only another expression for the law of God. But the Gospel insists that, good and holy and perfect as the law of God is, it is entirely powerless either to justify or to sanctify. It cannot in any way make the old man better; neither is it the rule of the new life (it has been said that Christianity is not “the old man” restoration society—NC). The old man is not subject to it (Rom 8:7), and the new man does not need it. The new creation has another object before it, and another power that acts upon it, in order to produce what is lovely and acceptable to the Father—the Lord Jesus as the object, realized by the ministry of the Holy Spirit (2Co 3:18). Of course, the Spirit can use every bit of the Word. I maintain that the law does not give the form, nor the measure, nor the character and the power for Christian growth (nor Christian birth—NC). It is a misunderstanding of the Father’s design in giving it, and of its present uses, to suppose that therein is the mold in which the Father is now fashioning the souls of His saints. We might well suppose that Paul had said enough to the Galatians about the law, after having charged them to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made them free, and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. But no. In the domain of growth this liberty is needed, just as much as for justification; and therefore he says, “Brethren, ye have been called into liberty” (Gal 5:13). That is, it characterizes our calling. Only, Paul says, it is not liberty for an occasion to the flesh (which manifests unregeneracy—NC), or you are not to use license: do not turn this liberty for an occasion to the flesh (which sinful will is now absent if reborn—NC), but by love serve one another. It is not for the purpose of putting you under the law, but that you may serve one another; “for all the law is fulfilled in one way, even this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Had they not been trying the law? What had been the result? He says, You have been biting and devouring one another: that is not fulfilling the law, but lusts. When persons talk about the law, or desire to be its teachers, do they ever fulfill it? It begins with confident words, and ends without deed or truth. Whereas, on the contrary, when the Lord Jesus is the object of the soul, though the law does not occupy the mind, yet it is fulfilled. The Lord Jesus is the power of God (no condemnation – Ro 8:1—NC); the law is the strength of sin (condemnation - 1Co 15:56—NC). —Wm. Kelly (1821-1906) August 6 MJS online devotional excerpt: “To walk in the Spirit is not self-occupation, nor even occupation with the Spirit. Walking according to the Spirit is occupation with the Lord Jesus. When the believer looks to the Lord Jesus, depends upon Him, draws all he needs from Him—if the Lord Jesus is his all, then the believer walks in the Spirit.” -A.C.G. “To be Spirit-controlled does not mean the loss of free-agency. A free agent acts as he pleases, and the Spirit-controlled individual pleases to act in accordance with the mind and will of the Spirit.” -A.McC. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  10. The majority of mankind dies “in” sin (Mat 7:13, 14), but Christ could only die “to” sin because He not only “knew no sin” but also “in Him is no sin” (2Co 5:21; 1Jo 3:5). It’s my belief that “made to be sin” is in the sense of “being made out to be sin”, (e.g. was made only in “the likeness” of sin - Rom 8:3) and not to literally become sin, for the sin nature of men and of angels is unattainable by Christ, being Deity; which would be to mistakenly assume He was peccable (as some think - Jas 1:13). It was not the Lord Jesus Himself the Father condemned (rather sacrificed), but sin itself, which was on and in His body during His death! No, made Him out to be sin is imputing our sin to Him and not us (Rom 4:8; 2Co 5:19). Our iniquity is said to be “laid on Him” and that our sins were “in His body” (but not in His spirit - Isa 53:6; 1Pe 2:24), annulling sin’s “dominion” (Ro 6:14) and guilt (Ro 8:1) forever, as it perished with His old body—via “condemning sin” (Ro 8:3; Rom 6:6; Gal 3:13; 1Pe 2:24; 1Pe 4:1, 2); and that was to no effect of sin concerning His divine nature, otherwise where would be the required perfect Lamb sacrifice. The Lord Jesus had the nature of “infirmity” concerning the human body (Heb 4:15), but not the nature of man’s spirit (sinful), for His nature is unchangeably “divine” (2Pe 1:4). NC Romans 6:10—“Unto Sin” “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.” Now we beseech you, do not change God’s word “unto,” here! Do not confuse with this passage those other Scriptures that declare that Christ died for our sins. For this great revelation of Romans 6:10 is that Christ died unto sin! There is here, of course, no thought of expiation of guilt. That belongs to Chapters Three and Five. Here, the sole question is on of relationship, not of expiation. Christ is seen dying to sin here, not for sin (in dying to sin He resolved it on His and the Father’s side firstly; in dying for sin He resolved it on our side lastly—NC). What is the meaning of that? In 2 Corinthians 5:21, God declares: “Him who knew no sin God made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Christ was made to be what we were (guilty), that we might become, in Him, what He is (1Jo 4:17)! Might not Christ, the sinless One, bear the guilt of our sins and that be all? Nay, but we were connected federally with Adam the first—with a race proved wholly unrighteous and unacceptable. That we might be released from that Adam-standing, there must be not only our sin borne, but ourselves liberated from the old Adam headship—all we were in Adam: which involved the responsibilities we had in him, the responsibility to furnish God, as morally responsible beings, a perfect righteousness and holiness of our own (via obedience - Gen 2:15, 16, 17—NC). Now God’s way was, not to change the old man, but to send it to the Cross unto condemnation and death, and thereby release us from it (Ro 8:9). No one who remains in Adam’s race will be saved. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1Co 15:22). God’s method was to introduce a Second Man, a Last Adam—Christ, with whom indeed all God’s eternal plans were connected, whom He would not only set forth to make expiation of guilt, but would make to become sin itself, in order to get at what we were, as well as what we had done. Our old man would thus be crucified with Christ, so that all of his evil and responsibilities (guilt, “rein” and “dominion” – Ro 6:12, 14—NC) would be completely annulled before God for all believers. For they must righteously be freed from Adam, before they are created in Christ, another Adam; and this must be by death. Hence God would say to believers, to those in Christ, “Your history now begins anew!” So Paul triumphantly writes, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2Co 5:17). What a day was that when Christ, made to be sin itself, died unto it, and was forever done with it! So that now He lives unto God in light and joy eternal without measure. In our identification with the Lord Jesus Christ, our relationship to sin is exactly the same as His. Why? Because He is now our only Adam; we are in Him. What happened to Him, positionally happened to us. Therefore Paul says, “For in that He died, He died unto sin once, but in the He liveth, He liveth unto God. “Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to have died unto sin, but alive unto God in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Ro 6:10, 11). —Wm R Newell
  11. The one great thought of the Holy Spirit in Philippians is to make known the Lord Jesus as the Servant (Phl 2:7; e.g. Mat 12:18; 20:28); and this He does, that He may produce in us truehearted service (Jhn 13:14). There is not a thought of our Father’s love but what we get in “the face of the Lord Jesus” (2Co 4:6). He wants to endear His beloved Son to us, and so He associates us with Him in service down here, as He has associated us with Him in glory above. There is something much deeper meant by being a servant than the office of pastor, deacon or the like. It is not the law, nor the appointed office that can make servants; but fellowship with the Lord Jesus who calls to service, and this puts us in the path and gives us enablement. If my Father has not given me enough to place me in His presence, then He cannot do more. He has not another Son to give. He cannot disparage the work of His Beloved Son. What a difference it makes to a Christian when passing through trials in service, if he has the Lord Jesus for his Object—when, in the midst of difficulties, he sees Him as his standing and his strength, the ground from which he acts! If I am put in a place of service for my Father, it is to the Lord Jesus I have to look, and in Him I have to trust and not man at all. If I am God’s servant, it is not for the glory of the flesh; the flesh I am to judge: if I do not, I shall be sure to get humbled by it, for it will lead me to disgrace the Lord Jesus. What we have most prominently brought out in Philippians is the experience of the Christian servant, and what it is that qualifies and gives the heart of every true believer courage for service. It is not Christian affection, love, or humility, those these must be; and it is not that which encourages. What keeps us, as well as that which sets us in the path, is what we have and what we are in the Lord Jesus Christ. We must have mercy, kindness and compassion; but that does not give us enablement. That which enables is what we see in the Lord Jesus and receive from looking at Him (2Co 3:18; Heb 12:2). The world (unbelievers, which has always consisted of the majority of mankind – Mat 7:13, 140—NC) and the flesh (sin nature; old man—NC) would makes us forget we are in the Lord Jesus. The devil ever aims to keep us off the consciousness of our ground of standing. If I am thinking of my home as God’s Word speaks of it, and of the Lord Jesus as the Spirit makes Him known, I am attracted by His love and sheltered by His power. I am raised up above the world’s vanity by the glory I see in Him, and kept out of temptation by the beauty of the place He has brought me to. I cannot be higher than the Father has positioned me in the ascended Lord Jesus—bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh (Eph 5:30)—bound up with Him in life and service, made to sit together in Him in the heavenlies (Eph 2:6). I have my place at the Father’s right hand, and I am down here to do His will—to be His son and servant. Nothing fits me for serving, or enables me to walk in obedience, like the apprehension of my association with the glorified Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing gives me power to abstain from evil as the realization of my union with the exalted One in heaven. I do not the least doubt the Cross is the foundation of every blessing; but it is the ascended Lord Jesus I belong to—the One who has died and is now in glory. The Father will, at all times, provide for His own people. In the millennium, it will be blessing come down from heaven to earth; Christ over the people, and Satan not there (Rev 20:2). But what keeps us now, is the power of God in grace who has united me to the loving Lord Jesus above by His Spirit. What is the effect of seeing Him? “We are changed in to the same image from glory to glory” (2Co 3:18). —J N Darby (1800-1882)
  12. Though genuine believers in the Lord Jesus’ expiation for their sin presently possess salvation, what one understands concerning the issue of its permanency does not affect its work of eternal redemption, because spiritual growth doctrine is a separate issue from that of soteriological doctrine. The prior has to do with initial faith for salvation; the latter has to do with growth in faith itself, for salvation does not admit in degrees. NC Keep Moving The great defect in believers is that, while they believe in the Savior, they have a limited or incorrect idea of what He has accomplished. When I know the measure of His work, even though I may not be in the full enjoyment of all He has wrought out for me, I at least know what is mine, and I could not accept anything else, nor anything less. When we read that “by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb 10:14), what an immense scope and measure is presented to our minds! All which was typified by all the offerings is fulfilled in divine perfection at the Cross. In His one offering we are brought, according to God’s holiness, not only from the greatest distance, but to the greatest nearness; we are entitled to be in the Holiest of All by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ (in went the high priest alone, but now it’s all who are in Christ—NC). It is of all importance that we see that the work which sheltered us from the judgement of God, the worst and most distant place, is the same which has given us title to enter the brightest and the best place. Since His work has done the one, so has His work obtained for us the other. Now in His one offering at Calvary there was the burnt-offering, the meat-offering, the peace-offering and the sin-offering. The latter gave the blessed God liberty to have us in the Holiest, and through it we are entitled to be there; but besides, in His presence we have fellowship with Him in His satisfaction with the Lord Jesus as the Man who glorified Him on earth in life and in death, and who is ever the prosperity-offering for every believer. The Gospel is generally regarded as safety from future judgment because of faith in the Blood of Christ, with present earthly favor and heaven after death. This is rather more like the blessing of the millennial saint than of the Christian (millennial saint is all Jews believing not only in God - Jn 14:1 - but finally in Jesus after seeing Him - Zec 12:10; Rev 1:7—NC). It is evident that the Lord Jesus’ work secured the blessing of the millennial saint as well as that of the believer. The point to maintain is that His work, with nothing super-added to it, has secured the blessing of both the one and the other. His Work, blessed be His name, has obtained a place for the Christian in company with Himself, typified by the sons of Aaron consecrated. We are thus, as His companions, those who have derived from Him. “Behold, I and the children which God hath given me.” “Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” His work has secured for us a like place or position with and in Himself. Hence we are here but pilgrims and strangers, and now earthly prosperity is not to be expected. The work which enabled God, according to His glory, to have us in His house with Himself—the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, is the same work in virtue of which the Lord Jesus will yet, as Melchisedec, come forth and bless Israel on earth in the millennial kingdom; while we, the Church, are blessed in heaven as coheirs with the Lord Jesus—that same work, but with a different blessing for each company (Jhn 20:29—NC). We might have expected this from the simple fact that on the Day of Atonement there was the blood of the bullock for Aaron and his house, the heavenly company; and the blood of the goat for Israel, or the earthly company. In the type there were two bloods; in the antitype, of course, only one blood—the Blood of the Lamb of God. Now not only is nearness to God, as the Holiest typifies, secured for us by the work of the Lord Jesus on the Cross, but also His place is our place. His work is described, “the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1Pe 3:18); not only to save us from judgment, but to bring us to God. Thus our approach to the Father by the Lord Jesus’ work can only be measured by Himself; nay, the very glory resting on Him, as the One who has established everything according to God where man dishonored Him, transforms us into “the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Hence we are not only in nearness, but in nature too (via the eternal imparting of the “new man” or new nature, which is created after Christ’s image - Col 3:10—NC). There are four aspects of His death, and it is thus in parts that we apprehend it. We learn first how His Blood shelters from judgment. Then, believing in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, we are not only clear of all guilt, but we are really as the type sets forth, brought to God; we can sing, “Thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.” The Son of Man is lifted up, and He is now my life (Col 3:4); “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2). Now, in the liberty of His life, I am not only dead unto sin, but I also learn that having died with Him, I am dead to the world (Gal 6:14). I am across Jordan, I am in heaven (positionally—“hid with Christ in God”). This is exemplified by the thief on the Cross. In one step he is transferred from the deepest degradation and distance to the greatest elevation, and there with the Lord Jesus—the most honored place. The same work brought him from one place, the lowest and the worst, to the highest and “the best” (Luk 15:22—NC). The man who would limit the Lord Jesus’ work to the first part (degradation—NC), and leave out the other (fellowship in Christ—NC), would not only deprive himself of the highest blessing, but would grievously misrepresent the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. His work sets us there in the heavenly places in Him. God said to Moses, “I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.” Nay, more; it is plain that a believer on the earth receives from heaven, the Spirit, which is the promise of the Father, consequent on Christ being glorified; not only a well of water springing up into everlasting life, not only lighting up the heart with the resources which are in the Lord Jesus, so that he who drinks of it never thirsts, but he is so enriched that out of his innermost being flows rivers of living waters. “He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you—that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal body.” Moreover, the indwelling Spirit is the bond of union between us and “the Head of the Body, the Church,” making us know “the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places.” That is, being united to the Lord Jesus by the Holy Spirit, I can now know here on earth the power which set Him in heavenly places, which raised Him from death, the lowest, man’s lowest place, up to the Father’s right and in the heavenly places; and we all, who were dead in sins, are quickened together, and raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ. That is, the work of the Lord Jesus on the Cross has spanned the whole distance between God and us, and His place before the Father is, through grace, the believer’s place. We are not only cleared of all our offences, but in the life of Him who created us, we “joy in God (Rom 5:11),” and we are the delight of His heart. He can say, “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad” (Luk 15:32). The “man in Christ” can pass into the highest place, “the third heaven,” and there he is received, not merely as a guest, but as one fit and welcome to the innermost circle; all this being simply and solely effected by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. - J B Stoney (1814-1897)
  13. I believe it comes down to the fact that there are two groups of people professing Christianity. Those who genuinely profess the faith by unceasingly manifesting it by their continued lifestyle of godliness; and those who falsely profess faith in Christianity (Jas 2:18) who cease from appearing to lives godly. Thus what the latter departs from is not faith, but from the doctrine of faith, which they never truly entered into.
  14. The most understandable and encouraging attribute concerning salvation is that of its permanency, after all, it is called “eternal salvation” (Heb 5:9). What part of salvation is temporary, seeing that one of the meanings of redemption is that of being saved from “eternal damnation” (Mar 3:29). Is it a sensible truism that one can be eternally saved and then not eternally saved? Thus being temporarily saved from “everlasting punishment” (Mat 25:46) is clearly a concept of an oxymoron?
  15. It is truly beyond answering why it must be that the majority of mankind has and will continue to reject that which is the most important in this life—and the next! God’s great love, especially for those whom He knows will choose Him, is well demonstrated in the fact that He is allowing the majority of mankind (Mat 7:13, 14) to perish (by their own choice of course) for the sake of gaining those whom He knows will live with Him forever! “Let both grow together until the harvest” (Mat 13:30). NC “I See the Son” It is not so much a question of what we are, but of what our Father is, and of what we have in Him. There may be some deficiency in availing ourselves of them, but it is a great cheer to my soul to know that, as a general might say, “My resources are complete.” Talk of feebleness and declension, I admit it fully; but I do not admit that there is any lack in the resources. I look upon my Father and see the resources as great as ever (at rebirth, believers possess “all things that pertain unto life and godliness,” which we for the rest of our lives are being taught to appropriate—NC). We are set (saved—NC) here for a purpose; we are all missionaries. Our duties are but discipline to fit us for His service. It is our Lord’s will to fit us for His own service, and He places us in different circles and responsibilities for training. The more you are for Him, the more He will cut away from you all that debars you from being for Him fully. “We which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake” (2Co 4:11). I never yet saw anyone get any advance in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ who did not get at the same time severance from the thing that would hinder his being the expression of it. “That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal body.” Monks and nuns think they can sever themselves from it (worldly was of the old man—NC). All ascetics are on that ground. But no! Nothing but the Father’s own hand can do it; and He will touch something that perhaps you know nothing about, something you little expect; but He knows all about it. He knows how to touch, and His own hand does it. I am to be here for the glorified Lord Jesus Christ. I come out from inside (similar to High priests addressing the people annually from beyond the second veil - Heb 9:7—NC), having learnt the blessedness of His rest and comfort. I confront the world because I belong to another order of things altogether. I am the very opposite of the world. What has the Church done? She gave up the power of the Holy Spirit, and accepted the power of the world (acquiescing too much to natural, worldly religions, due to a position of immaturity in Christ’s image and in the Word of God—NC). Think of Rome . . . but she is not alone (works oriented, e.g. Romish; Romanism; Popish—NC). Consider Stephen. “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). Until we understand this, we do not understand our position for the Lord Jesus on the earth; and we could not understand the new order of things, the new center. Here the fact is disclosed that the old order of things is over; not the world simply, but all here that is nominally for God. It is not only the pagan world, but the religious world as we call it (religious world, i.e. works-oriented systems—NC). Stephen is the first witness of the new order, the new creation. That is the first time ever a man on earth saw a Man in heaven (because Jesus is the first with the new body in heaven—NC), and now a Man in heaven is seen in connection with the glory of God. Stephen saw Him, and he turns around and tells what he knows, not what he has read, but what he knows. He says, “I see the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (Paul saw only Christ’s glory – Acts 9:7; 22:11, but Stephen saw Him in His newly created body—NC). The Word of God tells us what to believe. In believing, we progressively have the virtue of it; not only possessing the food, but the food appropriated. Stephen is transformed (Act 6:15). He himself had, like the rest, been looking for the Lord to come from glory that “the times of refreshing (kingdom) might come from the presence of the Lord” (Act 3:19). But now, he has a new center, a new metropolis; and that is, the Man at the right hand of the Father. “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). —J B Stoney (1814-1897)
  16. At the point of rebirth we are given “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2Pe 1:3); and from then on the Spirit ensures that we will learn “the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1Co 2:12). This will “not be in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (v 13). The precious Holy Spirit, being the Author of the written Word of God (2Tim 3:16; 2Pe 1:21) and the Creator of our rebirth (Jhn 3:5, 6, 8), uses His Word to “teach you concerning all things” (1Jo 2:27). With the Father “working in you” (Phl 2:13), the Son being our “Advocate” (1Jo 2:1) and the Spirit ever opposing our “old man” (flesh – Gal 5:17) the genuine believer will “endure unto the end” (Mat 10:22; 24:13; Mar 13:13; 1Co 1:8; Heb 3:6, 14)—and all along safe and secure in the hands of God (Jhn 10:29)! NC Open Heart Surgery The place of the believer is in perfect acceptance before the Father, with every question of sin completely settled. Just as with Israel, they were delivered from the place they were in; God’s judgment met by the blood upon the doorpost, and themselves brought through the Red Sea to Himself. “I bear you on eagle’s wings to Myself.” That is where the believer is: the veil rent; and we are now before our Father without any at all, though it may be on our hearts through ignorance (possibly unaware due to immaturity—NC) But if I know and go in faith, I go through the rent veil—His flesh (Heb 10:20)—into the Holiest of All with boldness, because He Who accomplished the work is there; I find Him there when I go in. I press this, because you are not on the full true ground of liberty before the Father until the thought of imputation of sin, when you stand in the presence of your Father, has completely disappeared. What then comes of our present walk? The first thing to get quite clear is, that my place before the Father is the Lord Jesus’ place every instant. “No condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” How can you condemn one who is in Him? The very thought is absurd. Still, I am here, a poor weak creature, exposed to all sorts of snares and temptations; and we have the Word of God (the surest and quickest spiritual growth can result from rereading the NT by marking where you left off so you will not have to decide where to read when returning—NC), “sharper than any two-edged sword,” which comes and judges; it runs right through and says, “What is in your heart?” Is that in accordance with the light? No buts, nor ifs; there is no excuse. You are standing in the light! It shows me things that I never suspected before—“all things naked and opened (Heb 4:13).” The Word is God’s eye, prying into my heart, and showing me what suits the blessed Eye, judging not merely acts but “the thoughts and intents of the heart” (v 12). But supposing all the thoughts and intents of my heart were as perfect as possible, still I am a poor weak creature. There are snares all around—the world, the Christian friends who are not spiritually-minded (i.e. not yet spiritually mature because none reborn are carnally-minded - Rom 8:6, 7—NC); and I have to go through all that—all the difficulty and trial that comes from those who do not wish the Cross to be quite what it is (one example is enduring hardness - 2Ti 2:3—NC). We are in danger (physical but not spiritual—NC) in passing through the world; and so I have the Lord Jesus, who has met every difficulty and temptation, and understands it all, not only in the divine, but also in the experiential way (Heb 4:15). For the evil movements of my heart, I want the Cross; for the difficulties, trials, etc., I get the throne of grace, yea, God Himself, and a sufficient supply of all grace to overcome (2Co 12:9). We never can excuse ourselves when we fail (though forgiven and taught from it—NC). There may be unwatchfulness, negligence in prayer or in using the means that our Father has given; but I never can excuse myself (maybe meaning when considering where we could be in our maturity - Eph 4:15—NC). Have your heart open before your Father. Do not leave any chambers locked up before Him, or you will not have joy and liberty (even though being redeemed—NC). You may walk outwardly apart from offending anybody; but if you have anything in your heart not open to your Father (esp. not presenting it to Him for resolution—NC), you have lost fellowship with Him (but not union—NC), and that is what inevitably weakens your whole path. —J N Darby (1800-1882)
  17. When Saul, in his zeal persecuting he Church, was on his way to Damascus, the Lord in glory met him—that same Lord Jesus, Whom Saul had with his nation rejected and cast out, but now risen from the dead and glorified, appeared to him. It was then Saul discovered the true values of his precious things in the light of glory which shone round about him—saw their utter worthlessness, and hence by grace was able to say, “What things were gain to men those I counted loss for Christ. Yes, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for (because of) the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may win Christ” (Phil 3:7, 8). Now he had discovered the fine gold, and by the side of it he could see what he had been priding himself upon was but wretched tinsel, and estimating is at its proper value, he now desired only to win Christ—i.e., to have Him as his gain. Everything which had been precious in his eyes disappeared, and the Lord Jesus only, remained; and it was Christ only that he now desired to possess, not only as his ground of confidence before God, but also his everlasting possession. For the Lord Jesus had won his heart, and the heart can never rest until it has gained the object of its affections. But inasmuch as it was the Lord Jesus in glory Whom he has thus seen and desired, it was only in the glory that He could be possessed. Hence the whole future course of the Apostle was governed by this fact. With heart and eyes fixed upon his Object, he says, “I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended (if I may get possession of that for which also I have been taken possession) of Christ Jesus.” And in the energy of his soul—being all aglow with fervent desire—he adds, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things that are behind, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” This was the prize on which his heart was now set, and like a racer, he bent his rapid steps toward the goal, and the varied objects of the surrounding scene passed by him unheeded, or were seen but dimly as he hasted onward, for his eyes were on the glorified Lord Jesus Christ, and he could see naught else “for the glory of that light” (i.e. as if we can see only Him through this present wilderness - Act 22:11—NC). Such also is the object set for every believer. Well might we examine ourselves by the light of this Scripture—by the light of the energy, the ardent desire, the concentrated affection of the Apostle. Does the Lord Jesus (let us ask ourselves in the presence of the Father) so possess our hearts that we desire no other object (i.e. is He alone our sufficiency or is there still also something else we use to suffice us—NC)? Do we, like Paul, count all that the natural man esteems but loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord? The prayer is at times heard, and it may be presented by ourselves, that our hearts may be set upon the Christ. But He Himself said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:21). If our hearts, therefore, are not upon and occupied with Him, it is because He is not sufficiently our treasure. If, then, we would have our hearts detached from this scene and its objects, we must begin with Christ; we must trace out His manifold perfections, His varied beauties, His ineffable grace and unchanging love, and then our hearts will be drawn out towards Him, and He will absorb our affections, and attract us wholly to Himself. —Edward Dennett (1831 – 1914) “None but the Hungry Heart” devotional excerpt by MJS: “What is our link with God? It is this—the Lord Jesus Christ, as the answer to God and to Satan for us. It will never be what we are in ourselves. If you are expecting a day to come when in virtue of what you are in yourself you can satisfy God, you are destined to an awful disillusionment. The day will never come when we can satisfy God in ourselves, not even more or less.” “How could there be any doubt about the believer’s perfect security if his position in the Lord Jesus were realized? It would be impossible. Can He change? Or will God say to Him, I cannot any longer accept You as standing for this people? Or, once again if standing for them, is He on probation? Is His work completely done, or still to do?” - Frederick William Grant (1834 – 1902) http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  18. Those who continue to “desire and do” God’s “good pleasure” manifest that it is He who “works in you” (Phl 2:13)! This is clearly an advantage shown within Christianity that was not a provision within Judaism. Nevertheless, the former dispensation was equally necessary as the present one, for it was for the Jews—the “schoolmaster” which “brought them to Christ” that they in Him “might be justified by faith” (Gal 3:24); all of which used by God exemplifies salvation to all who will now come! How could it be sensible to consider that anyone in whom God has implanted His Spirit, and a nature that makes one a “partaker of the divine nature” of His Son (2Pe 1:4; Col 3:10) could ever desire to be without God? If the Creator is “working in you” to desire after Him—who is one to resist? It’s a given that God can be “resisted” if you haven’t chosen to be His (Act 7:51), but in the light of the above, how can a believer ever choose otherwise? Is not God’s purpose of “working in you,” to prevent ever again choosing “the former conversation the old man” (Eph 4:22)? Thus, those who profess faith in Christ and do not manifest a permanent lifestyle “after the Spirit” clearly evince the absence of God’s love and provisions having ever entered into the life of the soul! It’s my strong suspicion that God offers all salvation (Mar 8:34; Tit 2:11; 1Ti 2:4; 2Pe 3:9), but only draws (Jhn 6:44) those whom He knows genuinely choose to come to Him (Mat 7:13; Jhn 6:37; also Deu 30:19). The Spirit proves to believers that they are saved (Rom 8:16), and the outward evidence is that they will never cease to live for Him (Mat 24:13; Mar 13:13; also Heb 10:39).
  19. In Scripture the term “flesh” has two meanings: 1) the physical body; 2) the mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God. The prior term is the Hebrew word bä·sär' and is found only in the OT, which never refers to the nature of man’s spirit and soul but only that of the physical body, for the physical body itself is never referred to as sinful but is only used sinfully. The latter term is the Greek word sarx’ and is only found in the NT, which in the epistles nearly always refers to the nature of man’s spirit and soul. Once this is understood by the believer, identification can be made of the old man (sin nature) and its activities, from which the majority of our trials will derive, and by which our faith will be most exercised thereby. Scripture may appear to teach that one who is saved can enter in and out of a salvific condition according to how one lives, but it rather teaches that one lives according to the nature of one’s spirit and soul! I believe it needs to be understood that the description of what one lives after, will concern that which one does the most. Paul revealed that all either live after the sin nature (flesh), or they live after the Spirit, which establishes the impossibility of living after both (Rom 8:5; also Mat 7:18; Jas 3:11). Hence, a soul’s condition (saved or unsaved) will be indicated (not necessarily confirmed) by what they do the most, e.g. “the tree is known by his fruit” (Mat 12:33). NC Center to Circumference The proof of the real value and force of life—the life of the Lord Jesus in us—is the way and manner in which it resists the opposition of the flesh; and not only how it resists, but how it manifests and expresses itself (the ways of the new nature displayed—NC) in the place of that which it has resisted. I have a new nature, its source and standard is the Lord Jesus Christ (Col 3:10 – which is the goal of the new covenant to make souls one with each other and God—NC); He is my “Life” (Col 3:4), and the only measure for my walk. The Spirit of Christ is the power to enable me to act according to my new life and nature. Now if I were in heaven (physically—NC) there would be no check to this new nature (testing not necessary there—NC); there would be perennial sunshine and everlasting verdure. But here, on the contrary, everything is adverse to it, because the flesh “is enmity against God” (Rom 8:7; Gal 5:17), and this is in myself and in everyone around me. I am here like a diver in a diving bell. Everything around me, the very element I am swelling in, is disastrous to me unless I can resist it (keep from desiring it, which ability comes from God via the new nature—NC). I must not only resist it, but I must express an action in it (Rom 6:13, 19, 22), quite new and unknown to that which opposes me (self, Satan and society—NC). It is not enough for the diver to exist under water, but he must also act there. A saint now has not only the know that he is safe in Christ (continuously without ceasing, regardless of all things within and without—NC), that his life is hid in Him and that he is at home with Him above (not only in position but presently in permanent physical union via the Spirit—NC), but he is set here to show forth the virtues of Him who has called him “out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1Pe 2:9). Hence everything of the flesh in himself, and in everyone with whom he comes into contact becomes a trying of his grace (“trying, i.e. exercising; the believer is not tested or tried for pass or fail but is only exercising faith, which grows in the using of it”—NC). If he meets flesh with flesh he is vanquished (e.g. faith unsuccessfully exercised—NC); if he overcomes it the Lord Jesus is glorified. There may be great or little foes, but whatever they be, they are the enemies to whom we are not to yield. Each of us has his own foes to resist, and not only to resist but to manifest in place of and in contrast to that which he has resisted, the way and manner of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, the first opposition you meet is in yourself, and then in everybody else; it is the force of the flesh. You are called to repel it (“put off”), and if you cannot repel that force, you can repel none (all believers are enabled to put off the old man via the Spirit using the new nature—NC). Hence, private life is the beginning of the campaign. If you cannot run with the footmen, what will you do with the horsemen? The contrarieties begin at home, or more properly they begin first within. If you cannot resist them in the inner circle (old self—NC), how can you face the outer one (old man in others, and Satan—NC)? But they are to be resisted, and they are the force which you are called on to resist, and instead set the Lord Jesus on the ground which they once occupied. If you complain of your foes, wither the inward or the outward ones, your strength is less than theirs (no need to complain knowing all is for your “good”—NC); you are unwittingly making the Lord Jesus inferior to them, or else you are thinking of yourself as still in the old man (the old man is in us but we are no longer in it – Rom 8:9—NC)! I am not merely to find fault with my enemies—the carnality in myself and in others; I am simply to resist them in the grace of Christ, and to manifest on the ruins of the foe, the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. You begin in private life, which is the closest circle to yourself. You refuse the old plantation, and you supplant it with entirely new growths; and as you do this in the inner and home circle, you are prepared for still greater advance in the outer circle (glorifying God by being used to strengthen the saved and draw the lost—NC). Having learned on the parade ground how to use your weapons, you will find that they are “mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2Co 10:4, 5). — James Butler Stoney (1814-1897) MJS devotional excerpt for June 11: “We are the objects of the continual care and discipline of our heavenly Father. If we walk after the flesh, instead of after the Spirit, this may call for His loving rebuke and chastening (child training); but that in no way interferes with the precious truth of our continual acceptance and position in the risen Lord Jesus Christ, by whose one offering we have been perfected forever. “Through grace, we are not in the flesh, but in Christ, yet the flesh is in us; but our part is to reckon it as having been, before God and to faith, judicially put to death in Christ crucified, thus setting us free to be so constantly occupied with the triumphant Son of God, as to find all our resources, all our strength, all our springs, in Him.” - Hugh Henry Snell (1817-1892) http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  20. We who are reborn are merely camping on low grounds until the High Grounds are reached; and for us, through the entirety of the journey since believing, “all things work together for good,” that is, to the reborn! This means we can consider all that we encounter from now on, esp. the difficulties, regardless of the degree and from where they originate, are being used for our good. This applies mostly to our faith in trusting God that He is unfailingly doing this, for our faith is now of the utmost importance, as “faith works by love” (Gal 5:6), thus the stronger the faith, the stronger the practical love. I say practical love because it is the actual love, not just desired love. One’s desired love to God can be unlimited, but desirable-love-only is not actual, because only practical love is real. Faith is being used only in this life as our “hope” (not a hopeful hope but a knowing hope). In eternity we will only walk by sight, for faith and hope will no longer need to be; “hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for (Rom 8:24)? Being “saved by hope” has not the sense that the hope we are given (same as “through faith” Eph 2:8) saves us; “not that hope is the cause of salvation, but the means by which souls are brought to the enjoyment of it; salvation, or glory, is the object of it” (J Gill). I think the most pleasing of it all concerning God’s goodness to us is that it is not affected by what we do and say (which only shows who we are, not makes who we are), but by what God He already prearranged, “from everlasting to everlasting”!
  21. “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust” (1Tim 8-11). There is a very grave danger—man’s misuse of God’s Law—which has sadly misled many, even godly souls. Yet the law is good, if one uses it lawfully (lawful use of the law is in its informing of guilt—NC). Have the misusers the inward consciousness that law is not made for a righteous man but for the lawless and unruly, and for other evil doers (those who continue to “sin willfully, i.e. after knowing [“receiving”] the knowledge of the truth and choose not to believe it, thus they are receiving or learning only the knowledge of the truth, but not receiving the truth – Heb 10:26—NC)? Far different was their thought. Herein, then as now, men betray their inability to discern God’s reveled mind. Law does not contemplate the good, but the bad. Law is enacted to detect, convict and punish. Law never made a “just man,” much less “the good man,” if one may cite the distinction in Romans 5:7. It is a sharp weapon to wound and kill transgressors; it never was designed to form motives of integrity or a walk of true righteousness. Its excellence lies in its unsparingness of evil; and man is evil and this by nature. Grace, not law, saves sinners. Not law but grace teaches “us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Tit 2:11-13). Here theology revolts from the truth, and even good men ignore the source of all that made them what they are through the redemption that is in Christ and the faith that casts them thus upon God (e.g. Gal 3:3—NC). It matters not to them that the Apostle elsewhere declares that “by law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom 3:20), that it “works wrath” (Rom 4:15), that it “is the power (strength) of sin” (1Co 15:56), that it is a “ministration of death” and “condemnation” (2Co 3:7, 9), that “as many as are under its works are under its curse” (Gal 3:10; the beginning of the curse of the law - Gen 2:17; Eze 18:4, 20—NC), that it was added for the sake “of transgressions” (Gal 3:19). They will have it that the law was made for the righteous as a rule of life, though it is plain unavoidable inference from the words before us that this is precisely what the Apostle explicitly denies of the law. It is the Lord Jesus Christ Who above all acts on the believing one’s soul. Hence he needs the Word of God as a whole throughout his life, and the Spirit enables him to apply it in practical detail. Such is the believer’s secret of true morality; which in divine wisdom binds the heart up with the risen Lord, and make the written Word to be matter for constant pondering, for comfort and conscientious application in the Spirit, but all in the sense of the true grace of God in which we stand and are exhorted to stand. For such exceeding privileges are meant to deepen our dependence upon the Father and our confidence in His love day by day. Entirely is it not only admitted but insisted on in Scripture that the Christian is bound to do the will of God at all cost, and is never free to gratify the flesh (not fulfill the lust of the sin nature - Gal 5:16—NC). He is sanctified unto the obedience of Jesus Christ no less than to the sprinkling of His Blood (1Pet 1:2). Self-pleasing is Satan’s service (and our old man—NC). But the law is not the measure of God’s will for the believer. It was for Israel but believers are made dead to it through the body of Christ, that they should belong to Another—even to Him that was raised from the dead, that they should bring forth fruit unto God (Rom 7:4). This is now the method of divinely-wrought freedom, only to obey the Father with a nearness, fullness and absolute devotedness unknown to the Jew (non-messianic—NC). Can anything be less satisfactory, yea more negative, than the ordinary assertion of the divines that Paul still leaves it open, so far as Scripture speaks, for the law to be the directory of Christians, and that he simply means to exclude it from justifying the soul (Gal 2:16)? It is certainly undeniable that in Romans Six and Seven Paul is treating Christian walk not to be the order to justification; and there he lays down that believers are not under law but grace. Against the fruit of the Spirit “there is no law” (Gal 5:23). Is it not painfully instructive to see how an error once let in works to ungodliness (Gal 5:9)? For those who so strenuously contend against the uniform doctrine of the New Testament, and place the Christian under law as his rule of life, contend that if he offended as we all do too often, he is not under its curse! Is this to establish the law, or to annul it? If the Lord Jesus Christ died and bore its curse (Heb 9:28; 1Pe 2:24), and believers too died with Him and now are no longer under law but under grace, the truth is kept intact, the authority of the law is maintained (by Christ, not the believer—NC), and yet we who believe have full deliverance. If believers were really under law for walk, we ought to be cursed, or you destroy its authority; if we are not under it, the true provision for one’s sin is Christ’s advocacy with the Father, which brings us to repentance by the washing of water with the Word. Truly the law is a ministration of condemnation (via informing sinners of their guilt, for we would have “not known sin, but by the law” - Rom 7:7. The guilt is incurred due to the fact of being informed why we are guilty - Jhn 15:22, 24—NC). What then can minister life, righteousness and the Spirit? The Gospel of salvation based on the Lord Jesus and His work on the Cross, which faith only receives; “and the law is not of faith,” as we repeat from Scripture (Gal 3:12). Blessing is inseparable from Christ; and it is of faith that it might be according to grace (Rom 4:16). Those that speak of law for the believer may speak out of the abundance of their heart, as they certainly do out of weakness of faith, and never show the good works for which they call, but prove the wretchedness of slighting the Lord Jesus Christ (unknowingly, without awareness—NC). For the Spirit is sent to glorify Him, and will never decorate the old man by vain hopes of amelioration (law served with the only nature man had at the time, i.e. the old man, but now faith serves with the new man—NC). — Wm Kelly (1821-1906)
  22. Under the Law the Jews status was as a people of God but not children of God, which came later (believing Jews first) by being in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! God used the Law to draw a people unto Himself (Hebrews and Jews). Those (Jews) whom He knew would believe in His Son, He worked within to move them from a law Covenant made between them and Himself, to a Covenant made between Himself and His Son. Thus the final “Covenant of Redemption” made between Him and His Son became the “Everlasting Covenant” for all believers in the Son of God (Heb 13:20, 21). The Law was only a “shadow” and “image” of that which makes one complete (Heb 10:1) and was not intended to bring one to righteousness, but rather direct one to righteousness (Gal 3:24, 25) in Christ; who the sole source of righteousness (inherent), which must be imputed to the believer, for man has no personal righteousness (inherit). I believe it’s instructional to note the differences between “not justified by the works” (Gal 2:16), and “by works a man is justified” (Jam 2:24). In the prior passage “justified” is defined as “to make one righteous,” and in the latter “justified” is defined as to manifest or show one is righteous. NC Our Gracious Calling The Christian is on larger, higher and firmer ground than that on which Israel after the flesh stood (“flesh” – carnal or physical ordinances (Heb 9:10) which only represented heavenly positions and was not the very Thing itself—NC), or rather fell. Never do you hear the law say, “Let the stealer steal no more” (Eph 4:28); its voice must be, “Let him die” (Eze 18:4, 20). The law is good if a man use it lawfully; and its lawful application is expressly not to form, guide and govern the walk of the righteous, but to deal with the lawless and disobedient, ungodly and sinful, unholy and profane, and in short, with whatever is contrary to sound doctrine (1 Tim 1:9, 10). [Note on Poster’s opinion: Lawful use of the law would be to obey it perfectly in which only Christ was intended to manifest; and not that obedience effects righteousness but that obedience manifests One is righteous, for one must be righteous before he can obey. Obedience doesn’t produce righteousness but righteousness produces obedience. In knowing man cannot obey the law, it can only condemn him, apart from the forgiveness obtained via the sin sacrifices for the Jews, until Christ—NC). “Sin”, we are told in Romans 6, “shall not have dominion over” Christians, “for ye are not under the law, but under grace;” and this in a chapter where the question is the holy walk of the saint, not his justification as Covenant theologians insist. Yet in the face of this, the clear and uniform teaching of the NT, the tendency of most in Christendom, habitually is to go back to law, especially where there is feeble separation from the world. But it is easily understood. For the world does not receive nor understand the grace of God, whereas it can appreciate in the letter the righteous law. Hence, when the world and the saints are mixed together, the will of man soon takes the upper hand; and as the saint cannot elevate the world to his standing, he must sink to that which he holds in common with the world. Thus both meet once more on Jewish ground, as if the Cross of Christ had never been, and the Holy Spirit were not sent down from heaven to gather believers out of a mixed condition into the Body of Christ, apart from the world. Even for the individual Christian, as well as for the Church, and most of all for God’s truth, grace and glory, the loss has been incalculable. For the ordinary walk has been reduced to a string of negatives (e.g. shalt and shalt nots which are unnecessary for Christians - Gal 5:23), save in public acts of philanthropy, religious activity, or ritual observances, which a Christian might share with any and everybody that will join him. It is not occupation with good according to God’s will; still less is it suffering for Christ and for righteousness from a world which knows them not. This is not Christianity, though it is the state and system of most Christians (which God of course is working to resolve in every believer—NC). Did the Lord Jesus ever obey from the fear of judgement? Was not His life a surrender of Himself to the holy will and pleasure of His Father? So our souls are to be occupied with the Father’s grace in His Son, if we are to find strength in pleasing Him. The mere avoidance of evil, the not doing this or that, is below our calling (“ye need not that any man teach you,” for our learning is from the Word - 1Jo 2:27—NC). Do we indeed desire to know and to do His will as His Children (which will be permanently evident in everyone reborn – Phil 2:13—NC)? Are we zealous in learning to do well, no less than careful to cease from each evil way (not willfully serving any sins—NC)? If not, the day will come when we may begin to do evil again, and with a conscience the less sensitive, because we have learned truth which we do not carry out. To talk about the Ten Commandments as the rule for the Christian’s walk is to go back from the sun which rules the day, to the moon which rules the night; it is to eclipse the Lord Jesus Christ by Moses under the delusive profession of doing God service (attempting the errant admixture of a Judeo-Christian concept—NC). In general what the law exacted from those under it on the principle of right, the Christian is responsible on the principle of grace to exceed in every way (Mat 5:20; 2Co 3:7-11—NC). Such is the unquestionable teaching of the Word for the Christian; it is darkened, undermined and denied by those who insist on judaizing the Church by putting the Christian under the law as his rule of life. Truly, they “understand not what they say nor whereof they affirm” (1Ti 1:7). —Wm Kelly (1821-1906)
  23. It's when believers know the permanency of their salvation that they can always depend on the guiltless position of their lives. There's nothing that will encourage one more than to know that whatever lesson we are learning, we can be self-encouraged, knowing we are to "Always rejoice in the Lord" (Phl 4:4), esp. when considering the unchanging state of our fellowship in God! -NC Which Man? The Word of God presents the illustrations of circumcision and baptism to depict how we are cut off and removed from Adam, in order to be legitimately and spiritually born in loving union with the Lord Jesus risen from among the dead. “Ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power; In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ (on the Cross); Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead; And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col 2:10-13). Nor did our Father stop at resurrection, but went right on to position us in the heavenlies in the ascended Lord Jesus. “And raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” “Blessed be God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 2:6; 1:3). It is our privilege and responsibility to rest in Him where He is (while we are where we are—NC), because that is where we are positionally. Abide above! At the same time He abides in us down here, by the Spirit. “Abide in me, and I in you.” “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27; Jhn 15:4). Reciprocal union, the ultimate in oneness! It is the ministry of the indwelling Spirit of Christ to make these priceless positional possessions progressively experiential in our present pilgrimage (lot of ps in that one—NC). So far so good. We are no longer in the fleshly Adam, but in spiritual life-union with the risen and ascended Last Adam. “Ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit” (Rom 8:9). Yet for all this, there still seems to be something radically wrong—“something rotten in Denmark.” Although we are not in the old man, the old man remains in us. Judicially condemned and destroyed in the death of the Cross (Rom 6:6), yet God has chosen to have the old man experientially abide in our mortal body. Why should such a thing be? Our Father leaves the Adam-life and nature within for the same reason that He position us in Adam in the first place. It was in order that we might have a personal and responsible part in our salvation enabled by His grace to choose the Savior and thereby pass from death unto life eternal. Now, the indwelling Adam-life plays an important role concerning our spiritual growth (and can never again effect our redeemed position—NC). Satan’s worst contributes to God’s best. The personal needs generated by the indwelling sin-life are designed by the Father to turn us from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness. Sin within (originally, before rebirth—NC) also provides us with a choice – which life and nature will we respond to and live by (those reborn always choose the new nature of course, due to Phl 2:13—NC)? Romans 7 defeat will also teach us the necessity of depending upon the Spirit of Christ (e.g. Gal 5:17). It is He alone who can free us from the dominion (desires—NC) of the old man and, in turn, develop in us the growth from the spotless new man. But the real issue is not moral goodness or evil, spiritual health or sickness. The scriptural consideration concerning the Christian life is—Which man? God can accept nothing that emanates from the old man, no matter how good it may seem to be. John Darby made it all too plain: “What would you do if you wanted to make something of a crab tree? Not nurture, prune and dig about and feed it. That, God has done with His fig tree (Israel). If you know anything at all about it, you will cut it down. Until you find out that the old man is utterly bad, and that there is no mending it, you will not give it up. If you cultivate the old crab tree you will have fair blossoms, but only bigger and sourer crab apples.” On the other hand, God fully accepts everything that comes from the righteous source, His Son—our Life (Col 3:4). The Old man brings forth nothing acceptable; the new man brings forth nothing unacceptable. Therefore the issue of spiritual growth consists not in what is being changed, but who is being depended upon. Just who is the source of our daily life, growth and service? Although the Lord Jesus is the sole source of our Christian life and service, there is a very real and powerful antagonist within. “For me to live if Christ” (Phl 1:21). “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin” (the unregenerate are not as captives but willful slaves, unlike the regenerate who are unwilling servants as captives - Rom 7:23, 25—NC). Civil war! When we discover the strength and sinfulness of the old man and try to subdue and conquer Him, we soon find ourselves to be a “wretched man” in the defeat of Romans 7. When we finally realize through bitter experience and utter failure that we can neither change nor oust our malevolent old man, the faithful Spirit refers us to the completed work of the Cross. “Ye have put off the old man” (Col 3:9). But if it has been put off, why does it continue to cover me with shame? That is the question. The answer is that he was put off judicially at the Cross (Rom 8:6) in our death unto sin and Adam (so we can know we are always cleared of guilt while we are continually learning His “walk” - 1Jo 2:6, e.g. putting off the old and on the new - Col 3:9, 10—NC). How then can we experience the reality of a positional work that was accomplished nearly twenty centuries ago? Think for a moment. Were not your personal sins judicially dealt with back there at Calvary, and do you not experientially enjoy the saving results of that finished work today? Of course you do! Similarly, you are now to apply your faith concerning the principle of sin indwelling the Adam-life. We know that our old man was condemned at the Cross, and there we died unto—out of—its right to reign over us (Rom 6:12, 14). “Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin” (Rom 6:11). The Comforter’s present ministry to us is to minister the things of the Lord Jesus. He initiates nothing, but receives and administers from the Person and finished work of Christ (Jhn 16:13-15). As we count upon that work of the Cross, He applies that crucifixion experientially to the old man within. Life out of death! “For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal body” (2Co 4:19). — Miles J Stanford
  24. If you take the law as your rule of life—and holy, and just, and good it is—remember that as many as are of its works, upon that principle, are under the curse, as the Apostle Paul said (“of its works” i.e. trusting its works or any works for forgiveness - Gal 3:10; “under the curse,” because man could not perfectly obey the law, which was intended to establish the necessity of Christ to change one’s heart - Jas 2:10—NC). It is only when man puts himself under the law that he forfeits everything, for then God must allow him to prove how much he can claim on the ground of his sown works. You find neither pilgrim nor stranger-ship in your rule, and that may suit you; but you find no glories of the new creation in it either; nor does it speak to you as a heavenly people, sanctified, and sent into the world as the Father sent His Son. All this is nowhere; the Christian’s place no higher than the Jews (still law not grace—NC); the standard of walk no different; for, of course, if the law is your rule of life, as was the Jews’, there cannot, and ought not to be any difference between you walk and his; your position in the Lord Jesus and its privileges gone, for of these the Jew knew nothing (the Jews chose not to advance from being a people of God under the prior Covenant, to being children of God under the present Covenant, as the indwelling of Christ is required to be an “heir” in the child-ship of the Father - Rom 8:17—NC). But “if any man be in Christ he is a new creature’ old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new” (2Cor 5:17 – and all remains new daily - Lam 3:23—NC). What does this mean: “a new creature”; a new sort of creature, as the Word implies? Do you go back to Adam, the pure and innocent man in the garden which God set him in to dress and keep? Nay, that would be no creature new in kind! Adam, even pure and good before his fall, was yet “of the earth, earthy” (but God’s plans were of a greater “heavenly” position for man, providing a closer fellowship of, not just being with Him on earth but being in Him in heaven, via His Spirit - 1Cor 15:47-49; Jhn 14:16, 17—NC). Is the Lord Jesus but the first man set up afresh? Never! He is “the second Man, the Lord from heaven” (v 47). Let men cavil as they please, He is a heavenly Man; a second, another sort (first with the new body in heaven—NC); a “last Adam,” seen and accepted before the Father, “in the Beloved.” “As is the earthy, such are they also that are heavenly.” The image of it we have not yet, true (e.g. the new body and sinless state—NC). That will be ours in the day of His coming. The thing we are (eternal child of God in Christ—NC)! Do you and I know what it is to look into those heavens, where the Son of God sits in glory all His own, and see and recognize in Him what we are before the Father, “as He is,” even “in this world” (1Jo 4:17)? Can we say quite confidently, each for themselves, “Yes, we are identified with “Him who is our Life” before the face of the Father (Col 3:4); as He is, in whom no spot was ever found, nor can be (impeccable—NC), after the Father’s own heart wholly”? That is to be in Christ, a new creature. Our rule is to “walk in Him” (Col 2:6), as being what we really are: heavenly citizens, pilgrims and strangers upon the earth (all are pilgrims on this present earth because it will “pass away” - Rev 21:1. I do not think Christians will dwell on the new earth, but rather rule it with the Lord Jesus from the new heaven; and the new Jerusalem possibly being the meeting place of fellowship between the earthly and heavenly dwellers (Rev 21:2—NC). All the rest the Cross has ended for us. We have died with the Lord Jesus out of our old Adam position; our old man was crucified with Him on the Cross (Rom 6:6). The flesh is in us still, indeed, but in us a foreign thing. We are not in it before our Father, nor identified with it in anywise (concerning its damnation, dominion and ungodliness – Rom 8:1; 6:14; Tit 1:15—NC), but with Him in Whom it was never found. We are in Him as He is and where He is. Can we own this, and seek to get on in a world (i.e. get together with the world—NC) that crucified the Lord Jesus; a world to which we are crucified and it crucified to us (Gal 6:14); a world whose prince and god is Satan (Jhn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2Co 4:4), and friendship with which is enmity against God (Jas 4:4)? Can we take up the law with others, when our Father has shown us grace? Not I, “for I, through the law, and dead to the law, that I might live unto God” (Gal 2:19). — Wm Kelly (1821-1906)
  25. As the Lord Jesus walked on earth, He was a circumcised man, debtor to do the whole law (who only could do so because it was required to be kept perfectly, which required One without a sin nature—NC). He was made, as we read, “under the law” (Gal 4:4), and to the utmost tittle of it was obedient to it, so that He presented a righteousness in flesh to God; as He died on the Cross a Lamb without blemish. But by resurrection He entered into another condition, being then “declared to be the Son of God with power” (Rom 1:4), having thereby proved that He, the Son of Man, had the life of God in Him, life superior to the power of death. We must ever remember, for it is a doctrine insisted on most fully, I might say in all parts of the apostolic Scriptures, that it is with the Lord Jesus in His resurrection that the saints have their union. It is as the first-born from the dead (first permanent resurrection—NC) that He is the Head of His Body, the Church (Col 1:18). The life in His members is not, if I may call it, legal of Jewish life, life of circumcised flesh, but life through the Spirit; a “circumcision made without hands” (Col 2:11), divine life, eternal life, life of the ascended Head. They have become “children of God, being born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Now when the Lord Jesus left this world, He went to the Father—there to prepare a place for us (Jhn 14:1). He ascended to His Father and our Father, to His God and our God (Jhn 20:17); and has gained for each of us—blessed be His name for such riches of grace, such everlasting and satisfying consolations—that we should be loved of the Father with the same love wherewith He Himself is loved (Jhn 17:26). Being thus in union with the ascended Lord Jesus, Son of God, the saints having the Spirit and life of their Head, sit even now in Him in heavenly places. Their citizenship is in heaven. By Him they have access to God as a Father, through the Spirit. They belong to Him that is raised from the dead, and thus bring forth fruit unto God; and being now the children of God, the world knows them not, even as it knew not Christ, for they have in the Spirit followed Him out of this world into heaven. The blessings, therefore, wherewith they are blessed are blessings not of this world, or of the earth as we have seen the Jews were, but spiritual blessings in the heavenlies; as it is written, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph 1:3-6). As children, now in the Father’s presence, they are waiting for the inheritance of the children, for “if children, then heirs”; they are waiting in confident hope for the grace which is to be brought to them at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As the Lord Jesus Himself is now crowned with glory, and seated at the right hand of the Father, as a kind of pledge of His future dominion (Heb 2:8, 9), so His saints here, His members still suffering on earth, have received the Holy Spirit, the fruit of His glory and exaltation to heaven, as the earnest or pledge of their inheritance with Him (2Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:13, 14). — J L Harris (1793 – 1877)
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