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We must make diligent use of our most holy faith for the immediate performance of the duties of the law, by walking no longer according to our old corrupted nature, or any principles of means of practice that belong unto it. We need to walk only according to that new nature which is received by faith, and the principles and means of practice that properly belong to it. We must strive to continue and increase in such manner of practice. This is the only way to attain to an acceptable performance of those holy and righteous duties.
I am now guiding you to the way of practice, wherein you are to make use of faith, and of all other effective methods of holiness, which faith lays hold on, for the immediate performance of the law, which is the great end aimed of the whole gospel of grace. Therefore this deserves to be diligently considered, as the central instructions, to which all the foregoing and following are secondary. Our old corrupted nature is called the old man and while we are in it we are said to be in the flesh. Our new nature is that which we receive from Jesus Christ, by being new-born in union and fellowship with Him through faith. This is called the new man and when we are in it we are said to be in the Spirit. While living in the flesh the only thing that can ever be expected is wickedness, sin, corruption and rebellion against God. When we are in the Spirit we have all the abilities, powers, privileges and enjoyments which we partake of in Christ by faith. This way is the ONLY way to achieve holiness.
When we walk in the flesh we walk after its nature and its principles and means that belong to it. We are moved and guided by the virtue of it, to such actions that are agreeable to it. When we walk in the Spirit we walk after its nature and its principles and means that belong to it. We are moved and guided by the grace of it, to such actions that are agreeable to it. We must learn to move and guide ourselves in the performance of the works of the law by gospel principles and methods. This is the rare and excellent art of godliness, in which every Christian should strive to be skillful and expert. Many live with shame and confusion after they have labored for a long time with much zeal and diligence for the attainment of true godliness and failed miserably. This is because they were never acquainted with this holy art, and never pursued to practice it in a right gospel way.
The Holy Scriptures do direct you to this way of practice, as the only effective performance of holy duties. Here it is useful for us to observe the great variety of peculiar words and phrases whereby the Holy Ghost teaches this mystery, which many that frequently read the Scriptures overlook. This includes many who consider themselves to be preachers of the gospel. They are strangers to the very language of the gospel which they profess and pretend to teach.
This is the manner of practice in Scripture which is expressed by "living by faith," "walking by faith", "faith working by love", "overcoming the world by faith", "quenching all the fiery darts of the wicked one by the shield of faith". Some make no more of living and walking by faith, than simply stirring up and encouraging ourselves to our duty by such principles as we believe. The true life of faith consists in dying to the law, and living to God; and that is not of yourself, but Christ living in you. To be justified by faith and believe on Christ is the same as living, walking , and working by faith. This living, walking, and working comes by the way of Christ, and His saving powers and abilities which we receive and make use of by faith. Then we are guided and moved to the practice of Holiness.
The same ideas are communicated to us by the terms of walking, rooted and built up in Christ. We are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. We must live to God, and not to ourselves but to have Christ living in us. These phrases are frequent and do fully explain one another. They do show that we are to practice holiness, not only by virtue of Christ's authority, but also of His strengthening powers and abilities moving us and encouraging us unto them.
We are to "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus or to having or holding fast grace, that we may serve God acceptably, laboring abundantly in this way. He can only be holy by the grace of God that is with us and in us. It is by grace therefore we may well understand the privileges of our new nature that is given to us in Christ, whereby we ought to be influenced and guided in the performance of holy duties.
It is also specified when we are to put off the old and put on the new man that we put away sin and put on holiness. The old man, which is our corrupted sinful nature only has the temperament, ability and power in it to practice sin. The new man or the new nature, is what we receive from Christ by faith. This nature only has in it the temperament, ability and power necessary for the practice of holiness.
We are to understand the same thing when we are taught not to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit. That we may be free from the law of sin and death and that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us. We are to be lead by the Spirit because we live by the Spirit. The apostle shows by these expressions not only that we are to practice holiness, but also by what methods we may do it effectually. We are thought to bring forth fruit unto God. This means that we must endeavor to bring forth the fruits of holiness not by virtue of the law. Holiness does not come from the law but by virtue of the Spirit which we partake of by our union with Christ. In this union with Christ we have all the principles as belonging to His divine nature.
This is the manner of walking which the apostle Paul directs us to, when he teaches us, by his own example, that the continual work of our lives should be "to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death." We need such an experimental knowledge of Christ that we actually die to sin and become alive to God. Christ guides us to make use of His death and resurrection by faith, as the powerful means of holiness in heart and life, and to increase in this manner of walking until we attain unto perfection in Christ.
I will now give some necessary instructions, that your steps may be guided rightly to continue and go forward in this way of holiness until you are made perfect in Christ. We need to earnestly pray, that God would give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that we may discern the way of Holiness.
Let us notice, and consider diligently, in our life as a Christian that though we are partakers of a new holy nature by faith in Christ, our knowledge of Christ is never totally perfect. As long as we live in this present world, our insight of Christ and His perfections in this life is only by faith. It is common that by sense and reason we may realize much in ourselves contrary to Christ. Our faith is imperfect, so that all true believers have good reason to pray to God to help their unbelief (Mark 9:24). Therefore, though we receive a perfect Christ by faith, yet the measure and degree of enjoying Him is imperfect. All the blessings and perfections are in the new nature, as justification, the gift of the Holy Spirit and everything that pertains to the holy nature itself. We can receive these blessings no further than we receive Christ Himself by faith. We must always press forward to apprehend and win Christ more perfectly. You must be found in him not having your own righteousness but that which is by God by faith.
Believers have, indeed, put off the old man and put on the new man, yet they must continue to put the old off and new on as they grow and mature in Christ. The old man remains within them to some degree and measure. They are not in the flesh, but in the spirit but they must continue to mortify the deeds of the flesh.
All believers have all the perfections of spiritual blessings, justifications, adoption, the gift of the Spirit, holiness, and eternal life, the old man is perfectly crucified. They are dead to sin and the law with its curse. They are quickened together with Him and raised up with Him and made to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Believers receive and enjoy by faith all these perfect spiritual blessings of Christ only as far as they receive and enjoy Christ Himself dwelling in them, and no farther.
1 Cor. 13:12 "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. "
Our participation and enjoyment of Christ Himself, and all His perfections, is imperfect and partial until faith sees Christ in greater measure and degree. As long as we live on the earth we will only see by degrees and measures. It is like a sunrise that expels darkness by degrees, shining more and more unto the perfect day. We will never reach a point while living on earth where we will know all of Christ and His fulness. There is always more of Christ yet to be discovered and reveled to us by His Spirit.
If a true believer does sin it is because he does not yet know enough of Christ yet to receive His strength in that area of weakness. Sometimes a new believer is too ignorant of himself and knows too little about Christ, to be confirmed and established in sanctification. He needs fresh conviction of sin, to see himself as truly needy. Then he needs to have Christ revealed to him and formed in him as the hope of glory. This must take place before he will be steadfast, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
Many do not fully understand how needy they actually are until God places them in a circumstance that reveals it to them. One purpose for trials and temptations is to show us our true need. When a person sees the need, and seeks God for the answer, then the Holy Spirit will reveal Christ. What is needed is a clear and powerful revelation of the total inadequacy of anything spiritual to ever come from self efforts or works. Then we need Christ to awaken and develop all our weaknesses and needs concerning the relations of Christ.
Every believer faces temptation and nothing can keep him against falling but Christ being revealed to meet that temptation. The believer when tempted sees his need revealed. The design of temptation is to show the believer his weakness in a given area at one specific time. The believer will see this need and receive a new revelation of Christ that fully meets the demands of that need. The believer must continually take from Christ all that he needs by faith. The gospel promises that for every temptation there is a way of escape.
The believer can fully expect Christ to reveal and to meet those needs. God promises that He will provide this gracious aid or revelation in time. The believer will overcome sin by laying hold on Christ in the present revealed relation. The believer may be preserved blameless through the furnace of temptation.
A person does not need first to know Christ totally before sanctification can take place. Knowing Christ and all of His fulness is the condition of the believer's perseverance in holiness under temptation. No person can have Christ or all his needs revealed at once. God does not require anyone to know all of Christ at once. The believer's present duty is to embrace all he understands of Christ. As trials and circumstances come, he will learn more of his own needs. He must learn more of Christ and take Him in new relations, or he will surely fall.
You must give up attempting to eliminate or overcome any fleshly lusts of your flesh. Give up trying to get rid of the old man and its sinful lusts and inclinations. Give up trying to practice holiness by your willing and resolving to do the best that lies in your own power. Give up trusting on the grace of God and Christ to help you in such commitments and endeavors. Instead of this, purpose to trust on Christ, to work in you to will and do, by His own power, according to His own good pleasure.
Many who are convinced of their own sin and misery do commonly first think that they must somehow tame the flesh. They spend much effort and energy trying to subdue and root out their lusts, and attempt to make their corrupt nature to be better natured and inclined to holiness by struggling and wrestling with it. They think that they can but bring their hearts to a full purpose and resolution to do the best that lies in them, that they will be able to achieve great accomplishments in the conquering of their lusts and the performance of the most difficult duties.
It is the great work of some zealous preachers, to stir up people to this commitment, by which they place the central turning-point from sin to godliness. They do not think or consider that this is contrary to the life of faith, because they trust on the grace of God, through Christ, to help them in all such commitments, decisions and endeavors. They aspire to reform their old nature and to be made perfect in the flesh, instead of putting it off and walking according to the new nature in Christ. They trust on low carnal things for holiness, and upon the acts of their own will, their purposes, resolutions and endeavors, instead of Christ; and they trust on Christ to help them in this carnal way; whereas true faith would teach them that they are nothing, and that they do but labor in vain.
They may as well try to wash a black horse white as purge the flesh, or natural man, from its evil lusts and make it pure and holy. It is desperately wicked, past all cure. It will forever lust against the Spirit of God. Its mind is enmity to the law of God and neither is, nor can be subject to it. (Rom. 8:7).
They that would cure it and make it holy by their own resolutions and endeavors do act quite contrary to the design of Christ's death. He did not die so that the flesh, or old natural man, might be made holy, but died so that it might be crucified, and destroyed out us (Rom. 6:6), He died that we might live to God, not to ourselves, or by any power of our own resolutions and endeavors, but by Christ living in us, and by His Spirit bringing forth the fruits of righteousness in us (Gal. 2:20;5:24,25). Therefore, we must be content to leave the old man vile and wicked as we found it thanking God that there is true deliverance through Jesus Christ our Lord. Our way to mortify sinful affections and lusts must be, not by purging them out of the flesh, but by putting off the flesh itself and getting above this into Christ by faith, and walking in that new nature that is by Him. Our willing, resolving and endeavoring must be to do the best, not that lies in ourselves, or in our own power, but that Christ and the power of His Spirit shall be pleased to work in us; for in us that is, in our flesh) there dwells no good thing (Rom. 7:18).
We have great ground to trust in God and Christ for help in such decisions and endeavors after holiness, as in things that are agreeable to the design of Christ in our redemption, and to the way of acting and living by faith. It is not enough for us to trust on Christ to help us to act and endeavor so far only as creatures; for so the worst of man are helped. He is JEHOVAH in whom we live, move and have our being (Acts 17:28). It is likely the Pharisee would trust on God to help him in duty, as he would thank God for the performance of duty (Luke 18:11). This is all the faith that many make use of in order to a holy practice. We must trust on Christ to enable us above the strength of our own natural power, by virtue of the new nature which we have in Christ and by His Spirit dwelling and working in us. If we do not, our best efforts will be altogether sinful, and mere hypocrisy, despite all the help for which we trust upon Him. We must also watch out for our depending for holiness upon any decision we may make to walk after Christ. Many make vows and oaths to walk holy but these commitments have nothing to do with true holiness at all. Any holiness that we have already received can continue no longer than we continue walking in Christ, and Christ in us. They must be kept up by the continual presence of Christ in us. Just as light is maintained by the presence of the sun, and cannot possibly exist without it.
Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. "
Many think that peace, righteousness, and joy are just things that Christ distributes or gives out, but for a kingdom to exist, you must have a king. Only when we are united to King Jesus, do these privileges actually exist. These are not something that Christ just gives away. They only exist as the result of His continual presence of Christ within us. I don't think I can emphasize enough the fact that Christ's LIFE can only exist as a result of Christ's actual presence within us. LIFE is not something that Christ just declares or gives out and then leaves. Christ Himself is the only true source of LIFE and we must always be totally dependent on His continual presence within us. Christ imparts LIFE to us as he lives within us.
You must not seek to acquire forgiveness of sins, the favor of God, a new holy nature, life and happiness, by any works of the moral law. You must not seek it by any rites and ceremonies whatever. You must work as those that have all these things already, according to your new nature in Christ. You are only to receive them more and more by faith, as they are ready prepared and treasured up for you, and freely given to you, in your spiritual Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. If we act to obtain the freedoms and privileges in Him, it is obvious that we judge ourselves, at that time, to be without them. If we do this we also act as if we are without Christ Himself in whose fullness they are all contained. This results in our walking according to our old man as one yet is still living in his corrupt sinful nature. We still think that we can get salvation from our carnal works and rituals instead of living altogether on Christ by faith.
The right way to live by faith is to act like we already have all the fulness and perfection of spiritual blessings in Christ by faith. We should never strive or struggle to get these for ourselves. In this sense it is a true saying that believers should not act for life, but from life. They must act as those who are not procuring life by their works, but as such who have already received and derived life from Christ, and act from the power and virtue received from Him.
Do not be like the Galations who began in the spirit but then attempted to be made perfect after the flesh.
Gal. 3:1-29 "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministers to you the Spirit, and works miracles among you, does he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that does them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or adds thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serves the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise".
Do not think that you can effectually incline your heart to the immediate practice of holiness by any such practical principles as do only serve to bind, press and urge you to the performance of holy duties. Let all such principles stir you up to go to Christ first by faith, that you may be effectually inclined to the immediate practice of holiness in Him by gospel principles that strengthen and enable you, as well as urge you there by them. There are many principles and commands that only press and urge us to obedience without showing us how dead we really are in sin. We see the necessity of our obedience without seeing that we really do not have the strength or ability for this obedience without first receiving Christ and drawing on His strength.
Many think That the life of faith consists principally in our living to God in holiness by a constant belief and meditation on the principles of the gospel. They attempt to press and urge their hearts to the performance of holy duties. This is NOT the way of holiness.
If a man makes use of these binding principles to stir him to go to Christ for strength to act holy, he walks like one that has received Christ as his only life by faith. If he does not he walks like other sinful men. For the sinful man may be brought to act by these principles, partly by natural light, and more fully by Scripture light, without any true knowledge of the way of salvation by Christ, as if Christ had never come into the world. The old man may be strictly bound to such principles and pressed and urged to holy duties. These principles can not give the LIFE necessary to be holy even for one second. The person pressed and urged by these principles is left in his own strength and weakness. None of these principles give any strength to help him preform any holy duty. It is IMPOSSIBLE for a person to preform any holy act until he receives a new life in Christ by saving faith. There would be no need of a new life and strength by Christ, if these principles were sufficient to bring us to salvation. Therefore, this manner of practice is no better than walking after the flesh, according to our corrupted sinful nature, and seeking to be made perfect in the flesh.
The law and these principles are good, but they are designed to humble us and to reveal our true need of Christ. These principles are designed to lead us to Christ first so we may be able to fulfill them by His grace and strength. Without Christ these principles have no effect to bring about any holiness.
Some make use of gospel principles, only to force and urge to duty, without furnishing any life and strength for that performance. They fail to realize that Christ's death and resurrection did not establish a new covenant of works for our salvation. He did not die to give us a pattern of good works by His own obedience. Christ died to purchase life, obedience and good works for us. Many do not understand and receive the principles of the gospel rightly, but they pervert and abuse them, contrary to their true nature and design. They end up making these principles completely ineffectual for their sanctification as any other legal motive.
Many are confused about their ability to obey the commands of God. Some think that it is impossible to fully obey God. Others attempt to obey these commands in their own strength and power. There are two types of commands in the Bible. These are the direct and indirect commands. Everyone is always able to obey the direct command. The indirect command is one that a person will never accomplish without first receiving the results of the direct command.
A person fulfills the direct command when he comes to Christ and receives His life and nature. This person then can receive from Christ and the Holy Spirit all the necessary abilities and power that is needed. A person will only fulfill the indirect commands by abiding in Christ. No person will ever grow in grace and the knowledge of God without abiding in Christ. No person will ever overcome sin by his own efforts and strength.
We always can fulfill the direct commands directly and the indirect commands indirectly. God can never require anything that is impossible for us to accomplish. We can become more than conquerors through Christ. Whatever difficulties we face, we are able through Christ to overcome them all.
No man ever will fulfill the indirect commands without receiving Christ and totally depending on Him. God's pure love never will flow from our corrupted sinful condition. God freely makes available the love that the law requires through His son. The grace of the gospel when received will fulfill the obedience required by the law.
It is true indeed that God requires us, especially under the gospel, what we are unable to do directly in our own strength. He requires us to lay hold on His strength, or to avail themselves of His grace, as the condition of being what He requires them to be. The direct requirement in the case under consideration, is to avail ourselves of, or to lay hold upon His strength. This we have power to do. He requires us to lay hold upon His grace and strength, and thereby to rise to a higher knowledge of himself, and to a consequent higher state of holiness than would be otherwise possible to us. The direct requirement is to believe, or to lay hold upon his strength, or to receive the Holy Spirit, or Christ, who stands at the door, and knocks, and waits for admission. The indirect requirement is to rise to a degree of knowledge of God, and to spiritual attainments that are impossible to us in our own strength. We have ability to obey the direct command directly, and the indirect command indirectly.
With the light of the gospel, and with the promises in our hands, God does require of us what we should be unable to do and be, but for these promises and this offered assistance. The real inability is to do directly in our own strength all that is required of us without any consideration of His offered aid. We can only do it by strength imparted by the Holy Spirit. That is, we cannot know Christ, and avail ourselves of Him, and appropriate to our own souls His fulness, except as we are taught by the Holy Spirit. The thing immediately and directly required, is to receive Christ and the Holy Spirit by faith. The Spirit will be our teacher and guide, to take of Christ's and show it to us. This confidence and assurance we are able to exercise. Who can ever really and intelligently proclaim that he does not have the power or ability to trust or confide in the promise and oath of God?
We will be faced with the power of temptation, but the Bible abundantly teaches, that through grace we are able to be more than conquerors. We are able to be this through grace to avail ourselves of the provisions of grace. However great the difficulties may be, we are able through Christ to overcome them all.
Stir up and strengthen yourself to perform the duties of holiness by a firm persuasion of your enjoyment of Jesus Christ, and all spiritual and everlasting benefits through Him. Do not attempt to preform the law without knowing that holiness depends on the benefits we have in Christ, not on our own purposes and resolutions of our own will. The first step is to expel all unbelieving thoughts by trusting confidently on Christ. You are to persuade Yourself by faith, that His righteousness, Spirit,.Glory, Love and all of HIS spiritual benefits are yours because He actually dwells in you and you in Him.
This confident persuasion is of great necessity to the right framing and disposing of our hearts to walk according to our new nature in Christ. The life of faith principally consists in it. And herein it eminently appears that faith is a hand, not only to receive Christ, but also to work by Him, and that it cannot be effectual for our sanctification except it contain in it some assurance of our interest in Christ.
You need this assurance to act as one who is above your old corrupted nature, advanced to union and fellowship with Christ. You must maintain in your heart a persuasion that Christ really Loves you and gave Himself for you. Only by having this assurance will you be enabled to live to God in holiness, through Christ living in you by faith. You must know that your old man is crucified with Him and that you are indeed dead unto sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the way to be filled with the Spirit, strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.
How could it be ever be expected, that a man should act according to his new nature, without the assurance that he has this nature? If Christians knew their own strength, in the Lord better, they would endeavor far greater things for the glory of God. But this knowledge is not easily attained. It is acquired only by faith and spiritual light. We only know Christ to a degree and measure and this is the reason that the life style of some believers falls so much below their holy and heavenly calling.
Consider what abilities, privileges or properties of your new nature are most satisfying and desirable to incline and strengthen your heart to love God above all. You need to know which abilities you can rely on to renounce all sin, and to give up yourself to complete obedience to His commands. This knowledge is necessary so you will be able to walk in the confidence of them, and so you may attain to the practice of these great duties. When we love the Lord correctly we also hate sin. When love is produced in our heart, so is hatred for sin also produced. The main blessings of our holy nature are the ones that are the most effective to enable us for the immediate performance of holiness. We make use of these blessings by faith. The love that fulfills obedience of the law must proceed from a good conscience, purged from sin. We must understand that our cleansing of sin and our union with Christ are only the result of Christ's work, ministry, life, death and resurrection. You must believe steadfastly that all your sins are forgiven, and that you are reconciled to God, and have access to His favor by the blood of Christ. You must believe that He is your God and Father and has great unending love to you. He is your all-sufficient everlasting portion and happiness through faith. You have been freed from sin, you have become a servant of righteousness and have fruit unto holiness.
Such convictions as these, when they are deeply rooted, and constantly maintained in our hearts, do strongly arm and encourage us to practice complete obedience, in opposition to every sinful lust. We must look on it, not only as our duty, but our great privilege, to do all things through Christ strengthening us. God does certainly work in us both to will and to do by these principles, because they properly belong to the gospel, or New Testament, which is the ministration of the Spirit, and the power of God unto salvation (II Cor. 3:6,8; Rom. 1:16).
For the performance of the other duties of the law, you are to consider not only these abilities which are satisfying and desirable to enable you to the love of God and complete obedience, but also those that have a power, ability and aptitude sufficient to the nature of these duties. You must endeavor to assure yourselves of them by faith.
Let me give you an example of how to trust in the Lord with all your heart, casting all your care upon Him. You would assure yourself of His great love and concern for you. Persuade yourself through Christ, that God according to His promise will never leave you or forsake you and He will not withhold anything good from you. You must have confidence that God actually cares for you before you can trust Him.
God expects and desires that you obey all the commandments. You are bound to preform them because they are His will. God has begotten you according to his own image in righteousness and true holiness. God has given you His Spirit that you may be like-minded to Him in all things. You have the mind of Christ who dwells in you and you in Him. These perceptions wrought in you by the Spirit of faith do certainly beget in you a right frame of Spirit, thoroughly furnished for every good work.
You will be able to overcome all fleshly and wordily lusts, that war against your soul, and hinder true godliness. This is done by your complete, steadfast confidence that you really are crucified to the flesh and to the world. You have been quickened, raised, and sit in heavenly places together with Christ. The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you. You are a member of Christ's body and the temple of His Spirit. You are complete in Christ and have all perfection of spiritual blessings in Him. It is only by Christ in you and you in Him that holiness is possible. Only in Christ do you have more then enough power, ability, and inclination to walk in holiness. You draw more from Him as He reveals more of Himself to you and you discover even more about the gospel of your salvation. The new nature that you have in union with Christ is furnished and fully equipped with everything necessary to fulfill all the requirements of the law. The new nature is designed and formed for true holiness. You make use of everything that is in this new nature by faith. When you use these by faith you will be comforted and established in every good work and you will grow in holiness and grace.
1 John 5:11-12 "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."
Do not forget that it is impossible to have Christ's life or His saving powers without first having Him. This in an area of much deception. Many people do believe they actually have Christ and consider themselves Christians when they are not believers at all. All they is have is religion based on ideas, concepts, theories, and doctrines. They may know some of the facts of the Bible. Some may even believe that Christ was born of a virgin, shed His blood on the cross for sins and was resurrected from the dead. They may have a head knowledge of all these facts but still remain living in their corrupted sinful rebellious nature. Just knowing these facts will not save anyone. To be saved a person must have some idea of his need for salvation. Then he needs to see how God has already provided Christ as the only solution to meet this need. Then he must by faith actually take Christ and His salvation unto himself. When Christ is actually received correctly, Christ's life and nature are birthed within him. Saving faith must necessarily contain two acts. These two acts are believing the truth of the gospel, and believing on Christ, as promised freely to us in the gospel, for all salvation. By the one act, faith receives the way in which Christ is brought to us; by the other, it receives Christ Himself, and His salvation in this way. Just as it is one act to receive a glass in which water is brought, and another act to drink the water in the glass. Both of these acts must be performed before true salvation can exist. It is by this faith that Christ Himself is immediately received into the heart.
Every sinner has committed two evils. These are, forsaking God and building a system that tries to quench their spiritual thirst and desire.
Jer. 2:13 "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."
Many people instead of receiving the true life in Christ attempt to give and make for themselves life. The sinner has cut himself off from the life of God. He then tries to find life and fulfillment without Him. This is never possible because there is no true life or satisfaction outside God. Many build their own religious system and knowledge to comfort them and bring themselves pleasure.
If you endeavor to grow in grace and in all holiness, trust assuredly that God will enable you by this manner of walking to do everything that is necessary for His glory, and your own everlasting salvation. He will graciously accept your obedience through Christ, which you are enabled to perform, according to the measure of your faith. Do not attempt to preform these duties any other way. This is necessary instruction to establish us in the life of faith. You should never despair or get depressed when you consider all of your weakness and defects. If we fall into despair we could return to the use of carnal and fleshly things to help us fight against these corruptions. If we return to fleshly things we will act like the life of faith is insufficient for our sanctification and salvation. When you become aware of any weakness in yourself you should immediately assure yourself in Christ and His strength. When we know we are weak we can receive His strength. If we consider ourselves strong in our own strength, we will not receive from Him and end up rejecting Christ
Joel 3:10b "let the weak say, I am strong."
2 Cor. 12:10 "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
Eph. 6:10 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."
Christ accepts all that which our weak faith can attain to by His grace, and does not exact or expect any more of us for His glory and our salvation until we grow stronger in grace. We are to use the measure of faith that He has given us. When we exercise faith correctly, our measure of faith will grow even more.
Rom. 12:3 "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
The precept of Solomon, "Be not righteous over much" (ECC. 7:16) is very useful and necessary, if rightly understood. We are to beware of being too hard and harsh in exacting righteousness of ourselves and others beyond the measure of faith and grace they have.