| TRUE OBEDIENCE TO GOD BY CHRIST - part one|
TRUE OBEDIENCE TO GOD BY CHRIST
The great problem, that many Christians experience, in respect to holy living, is the lack of the constant presence and influence of a child like, trust, affection, confiding, and obedient spirit towards God. A spirit which continually cries, Abba, Father, and consists in the spontaneous flow of the heart's purest love towards Christ. If the mind could always be in this state, how easy it would be to avoid all sin, and perfectly to obey all the Divine requisitions! Many Christians often attempt to somehow acquire this love by resolutions and self efforts. They find their resolutions, however, totally inefficient to move the heart. In their attempt to solve their difficulty, they resort to their Bibles and to prayer, and renew their resolutions with increasing earnestness. Still their heart remains completely unchanged; and whatever effect is produced by these efforts only passes away, "like the morning cloud," leaving the heart the same "aching void" as before.
Now, while the Christian is busy "resolving, and re-resolving," and constantly sliding back to the cheerless state from which he started. Now while, in spite of all his efforts, he is continually sinking deeper and deeper in the "mire and deep waters."
Now Christ Himself is the only true remedy for this situation. When you realize and see what God in Christ has already accomplished in you and for you, you will at once cease from all these vain efforts. You will yield yourself up to His control, with a complete and total surrender and with total confidence in Him and His faithfulness.
God the Father has made an unbreakable Covenant with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit concerning you. This Covenant was made between God the Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit before the world was created. You did not and could not have any part of it.
This Covenant was not made make with mankind. We are just the recipients and participants of this Covenant. We really have no part to keep other than enjoying all what He has already accomplished for us and in us. There is no other way possible! God has already totally solved the problem with sin and mankind's condition once and for all. Any attempt you make to fix the unfixable is not only sin but is totally impossible. This is the Gospel message. God Himself has placed you in Christ before the world was created. He did everything necessary for your total and complete salvation.
The Holy Spirit will show you what God has already accomplished for and in you. There is absolutely nothing left out or lacking. God has done it all. There is nothing left that can ever be done. He has not only done all that ever could be done in you and for you. God, Himself has even taken the responsibility of your obedience to Him forever by keeping you in His love. You did not have any part in it at all. You did not even have a choice about it. This was all of God's doing and there is really nothing you can do about it. He has done it for you. You are in Christ so you might as well accept it, participate fully in it and enjoy all that God has already done in you and for you.
Now you have Christ, Himself actually living and abiding in you and the Holy Spirit. Christ, Himself, sheds abroad in your heart that "perfect love which casts out all fear." He is the source of that child like and affectionate spirit which you have vainly endeavored to induce in your own mind. The Holy Spirit will so present the truth to your apprehension that your heart's purest and best affections shall constantly and spontaneously flow out toward Him and others. Christ will secure you in a state of perfect and continual obedience that actually fulfills every requirement of God. Now you can joyfully experience the true reality of his divine life and love in you. All this He does do in perfect consistency with the full, and free, and uninterrupted exercise of your own free will.
This message would be to those who are "afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted," as life from the dead. This is precisely what the Lord Jesus Christ has done and is doing now, as the Mediator of the new Covenant. Christ's Life and Love, is now the source of the spontaneous flow of pure and perfect love, that God has demanded for you to have so you may do the whole will of God. The Holy Spirit will open your eyes so that your faith is fastened upon Christ, as the life and light of the soul, as the "quickening spirit," who alone is able to breathe into your heart the breath of spiritual life.
All of your efforts after holiness will be vain so you need to look away from your condition and circumstances, sins and failures, and from your own natural powers and abilities, to the provision Of Christ, Himself and His Life and power within you. The "riches of Christ's inheritance in the saints" includes complete obedience to God in this life. You are certainly are under obligation to acquire that inheritance in all its fullness.
Do you know, what has God already provided in us and for in Christ? No one can "make himself clean," or to "make to himself a new heart," in the exercise of his own efforts or strength. Do not forget that the blood of Christ, has cleansed you from all sin." The grace which purifies your heart has been provided; the fountain, whose waters cleanse from sin, has been set open. Now you can enjoy a new heart and a new spirit instantly by availing yourself to what God in Christ has already accomplished for you and in you. You can now truly experience a new heart and a new spirit when you see this reality and embrace it. The power to cleanse from sin lies in the blood and grace of Christ so the glory of his salvation belongs ONLY to Christ, not us.
2 Peter 1:4, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these you might be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
2 Cor. 7:1, "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." If to "escape the corruption that is in the world through lust," and to be "made partakers of the Divine nature," to "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit," and to "perfect holiness," do not imply complete obedience, how, I ask, can that doctrine be expressed? That the Christian may be thus sanctified is the declared object for which the promises were given. Who will deny that they are adequate to this object? Unless they are thus inadequate, perfection in holiness is, in this life, practicable to the Christian.
Perfection in holiness is provided in the new covenant under which he is now placed. The first, or the old covenant, then, is the moral law, that law by which you are required to "love the Lord our God with all our powers, and our neighbor as ourselves." This covenant, as we learn was in Hebrews was faulty. This covenant only made demands but it could never make any person righteous, holy or give them a clean heart. This covenant was not even designed by God to do that at all.
Heb. 8:5-13,"Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
What the new covenant is, we learn from Jer. 31:31-34, and Heb. 8:8-11, "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt (which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord); but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more."
The following blessings, specifically promised in this covenant, demand our special attention:
1. A confirmed state of pure and perfect holiness, such as the first covenant, or moral law, demands "I will put my law In their inward parts, and write it in their hearts."
2. The pardon of all sin, or perfect justification "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more."
3. The continual enjoyment of the God's Divine presence and favor "I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
4. The general spread of the Gospel among mankind "All shall know me."
Do you see that the relations of these two covenants are the same standard of character, perfect holiness, is common to both and what the old covenant requires of Christians, the new promises to them. For example,
The old covenant required perfect holiness. Its language is, "Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God;" "He that keeps the whole law, and yet offends in one point, is guilty of all."
On the other hand, the new covenant provides perfect holiness. Jer. 31:32, "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." See also Heb. 8:10. Here, as above remarked, the very thing which the moral law requires is positively promised to the believer.
Ezek. 36:25-27, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them." Is it in the power of language to express the doctrine of entire sanctification, if it is not here expressed?
Jer. 50:20, "In those days, and at that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve." What other thought, let me ask, is such language adapted to convey but this, a state of entire sanctification?
Deut. 30:6, "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that you may live." Here the perfect holiness required by the law is promised in the very words of the law itself.
Again, the old covenant or moral law required not only perfect, but continual holiness. Gal. 3:10, "Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."
The new covenant, on the other hand, provides not only perfect but continual holiness. Jer. 32:39-40, "And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me." If, to give a person one heart and one way, that they may fear God for ever, and never depart from Him, does not imply, not only perfect, but continual holiness, you may truly say that language cannot express that idea.
Ezek. 37:23, "Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions." Every one will perceive, that if the Holy Spirit has not here given us the promise, not only of perfect, but continual holiness, he has made as near an approach to it as is in the power of language to make, and that, if he had designed to express that promise, no stronger language could possibly have been used.
The same truth is taught with equal distinctness in Isa. 59:21, and Luke 1:74-75, "As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord: My Spirit which is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever." "That He would grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life."
One other passage, which, if we had none others like it in the Bible, would place the doctrine under consideration upon an eternal rock. 1 Thes. 5:23, 24, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do it." Here you have, a prayer for perfect and continual holiness, dictated by the direct inspiration of the Spirit of God. Who can believe that the Holy Spirit has dictated a prayer which is not "according to the will of God," and which He requires us to believe that God will never answer by the bestowment of the blessing desired of him?
The new covenant is the covenant of grace, concealed to our first parents, in the promise, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head," more distinctly unfolded in the promise to Abraham, and brought out in all its fullness in the new dispensation. As the Mediator of this covenant, Christ, as shown in the text, and in a preceding discourse, promises to believers, on condition of their faith in him, the following blessings:
1. A confirmed state of pure and perfect holiness, such as is required by the moral law.
2. The full pardon of all sin, or entire justification.
3. The continual fruition of the Divine presence and favor.
4. The consequent universal prevalence of the Gospel. Such are the "riches of the glory of Christ's inheritance in the saints." Such is the "completeness of the saints in him," as the Mediator of the new covenant.
Whatever the old covenant, or the moral law, required of us, the new covenant, provides to the believer. The first covenant, for example, required of the creature perfect and continual holiness. The new covenant provides perfect and continual holiness. Consider these passages: Jer. 32:39-40, "And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them and of their children after them; and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, and they shall not depart from me."
Ezek. 36:25, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart, also, will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments and do them."
Deut. 30:6, "And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul." Jer. 50:20, "In those days, and at that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none, and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found."
I Thess. 23, 24, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do it." That Christ, as the Mediator of the new covenant, does, in these and kindred passages, promise to the believer all that the law requires of him.
The object of Christ in the provisions of Divine grace is, to lay the foundation and provide the fulfillment of all that is provided in the new covenant. This provision is the full and entire pardon of all their sins, their redemption from all iniquity, their perfection in holiness, and their perfect and continual blessedness, in an eternal enjoyment of His Divine presence and favor.
I Pet. 2:24, "Who His own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed."
Eph. 5: 25-27, "Even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
Tit. 2:14, "Who gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works:"
John 3:16, 17, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him might be saved."
Rom. 8:3, "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
I John 3:5, "And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin."
Such is the design of Christ, in all the provisions of Divine grace. It is to lay a broad foundation the fulfillment, on his part, as the Mediator of the new covenant, of all the blessings provided in that covenant. This was the work which Christ undertook and fully accomplished, as the incarnate, atoning Savior; and, blessed be God, the work which he assumed in our behalf He finished. "I have finished the work which You gave me to do." "When Jesus, therefore, had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished; and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost."
Having finished this work, He now presents Himself to us, as "able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for us." You are permitted, by faith, to "behold his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." “And of his fullness you may all receive, and grace for grace." Listen, to the "gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth," as our high priest and intercessor, as the "Mediator of the new covenant." "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever lives and believeth in Me, shall never die."
"Come unto me, all you that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." "I will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely."
No mater what condition you find ourselves in, there is a specific remedy provided in the Gospel for complete and total victory. Do your lusts rebel? You are told, that if "Christ be in you, your body is dead because of sin;" that "the old man is crucified with Him." and that if you will "walk in the spirit, you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh." Do the world and Satan entice? You are assured that "this is the victory that over comes the world, even our faith;" that "stronger is He that is in you, than he that is in the world; and that, when you have "put on the whole armor of God," you shall be able, with the shield of faith, to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." In short, from whatever source temptation to sin arises, you are assured that God will not "suffer you to be tempted above what you are able," but will, "with the temptation, make way for your escape." With Christ within you, and these "exceeding great and precious promises" around you, you are commanded to "reckon ourselves dead indeed to sin, and alive unto God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
| 2014/9/12 9:16|
| TRUE OBEDIENCE TO GOD BY CHRIST - part two|
You need to actually believe In what God has already accomplished in you and for you to experience Christ and reliance upon Him for all these blessings, in all their fullness. When you believe Him, He accomplishes a total surrender of your whole being to Him, according to the "exceeding great and precious promises" of the new covenant. The second you believe, Christ gives you that full and implicit reliance upon Him, for the entire fulfillment of all that He has accomplished. He becomes directly responsible for your full and complete redemption. "He that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die."
To us His word stands pledged to "put the laws of God in our minds, and write them in our hearts;" to "circumcise our heart and the heart of our seed, to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul;" to "sprinkle clean water upon us, so that we shall be clean;" to "give us one heart and one way, that we may fear God for ever; to make an everlasting covenant with us, that He will not turn away from us to do us good, but that He will put the fear of God in our hearts, that we may not depart from Him; finally, to "sanctify us wholly, and preserve our whole spirit, and soul, and body, blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
"Do you believe this now?" Can you open your mouth thus wide? Dare you ask, or expect, from your Redeemer, less than this? I hear that Redeemer asking you the question, "Do you now believe?" "According to your faith, be it unto you." Let me ask you again, Do you desire to be filled with a child like love, confiding, and obedient spirit towards God, to be brought into such a state, that your heart's purest and best affections shall spontaneously flow out towards Christ, and the "peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus?"
Christ is now present in your heart, and has given you all this purity and blessedness. Now you can believe that He has done this, you can cast your entire being upon His faithfulness.
To you He says, "If you can believe now, all things are possible to him that believes." Come to the fountain, and "wash your garments and make them white in the blood of the Lamb." "Christ bore your sins in his own body on the tree, that you, being dead to sin, might live unto righteousness." Why should you any longer bear the burden of those sins? Especially when Christ, in view of the provisions of His grace, calls upon you to "reckon yourself dead, indeed, unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ your Lord.
We see how it is that often the peace of a young convert is very commonly destroyed, and his growth in grace prevented, by the instructions which he receives from older Christians. When the convert, alarmed at the discovery of inward corruptions, and of the numerous occasions of stumbling, in himself, arising from his temper, his appetites, his habits of sin, as well as the hardness of his heart, comes for counsel to those who ought to be able to point him at once to the remedy, and thus lead him to the "fountain of living waters," there is commonly a direct attempt to comfort him in his present state. He is told that his condition is "normal" and that he must not be alarmed when he finds sin in his heart. He is told that these sins, inclinations and tendencies will never be dislodged or overcome from his body until his dying day. If, now, he will turn from all such directions to the "exceeding great and precious promises" of Christ, and with humble confidence cast himself upon his faithfulness, then shall his "righteousness go forth as brightness, and his salvation as a lamp that burns." Then shall he prove, by blessed experience, the truth of the promise, "Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
Finally, you perceive the infinite obligation that rests upon you, not to remain under the power of any sin; but to have your temper, your appetites, your inclinations, tendencies, habits, and all the powers and feelings of your being, subdued and brought into sweet and perfect subjection to the will of Christ, so that there shall be "none occasion of stumbling in you." For the accomplishment of this, full provision is made in the Gospel of the grace of God, and you have only to cast yourselves upon Christ for the fulfillment of the "exceeding great and precious promises" which He has given yous, and all this blessedness is yours.
It is your blissful privilege, in the use of these promises, to be made a "partaker of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." Remember what God has said, "Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." "See that you do not refuse Him that speaks. For if they escaped not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven."
In our efforts after holiness, you may attain to a state of entire consecration to Christ. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his own good pleasure." Our hope of attaining to this state rests not at all upon a view of your own natural powers, but upon the provisions of Divine grace for your "redemption from all iniquity," and your perfect "completeness in all the will of God," together with the Divine aid that is promised to succeed all sincere efforts made in simple faith in Christ, for the attainment of that state. In the redemption of Christ, full provision is made for the entire sanctification of every believer. The Holy Spirit is given for the express purpose of so presenting the Lord Jesus Christ to your mind, that you may experience in your heart the full power of his redemption. The Spirit, it should be remembered, has a perfect understanding of all truth pertaining to your salvation. He has, at all times, direct access to your heart, and is perfectly able to present the image of Christ to your mind in such a manner, that it shall exert upon you the highest possible transforming power. He is always in you, a continually indwelling light, whose highest illuminations you can always enjoy, by opening your heart with simple faith and prayer to receive it.
With such provisions and such a helper, to what state ought you to expect to attain? Who is strongest, Christian, let me put the question again, "He that is in you, or he that is in the world?" Which has the greatest power, the Spirit of the living God, together with an indwelling Christ, or your fleshly lusts, inclinations and tendencies? Shall the followers of Christ proclaim the fact, that the Spirit and grace of Christ are less strong in their hearts, than the "world, the flesh, and the devil?" that grace which changed an enemy into a son, is not adequate to render that son "perfect and complete in all the will of God?"
You must forever give up all idea of resisting temptation, subduing any lust, appetite, or tendency, or of acceptably performing any service for Christ, by the mere force of your own resolutions. If your inclinations and tendencies, which lead to sin, are crucified, you know that an indwelling Christ must do it. If you overcome the world, this is to be the victory, "even our faith." If the great enemy is to be overcome, it is to be done "by the blood of the Lamb."
The Lord Jesus Christ has provided special grace for the complete obedience and holiness of every individual. He has provided for the subjection of all our inclinations and tendencies, for a perfect victory over every temptation and incentive to sin. No matter what appears to hinder us, You can through Him, be everything that He requires us to be. The first inquiry is, In what particular respects do I need the grace of Christ? What is there, for example, in my temper that needs correcting? Where am I in bondage to appetite, or to any of my other inclinations and tendencies? What are the particular responsibilities, temptations, & events to each particular condition in life in which the Divine intervention of God has called me to act? What is the temper that I should have there to manifest, so that I may everywhere, and under all circumstances, reflect the image of Christ?
Thus, having discovered my special need, in any one of the particulars above referred to, my next object is, to take some promise applicable to the particular demands before me, and go directly to Christ for the supply of that particular need. By having my eye of faith continually fixed upon Christ in this manner; by always looking to Him for special grace in every special crisis; yes, for "grace to help in every time of need, how easy it is to realize in our own blessed experience the truth of all the "exceeding great and precious promises" of Divine grace! How easy it is to have the peace of God, which passes all understanding, "keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." "Our peace is then as a river, and our righteousness as the waves of the sea." The mind seems to be borne upward and onward, as upon an ocean of light, peace, and blessedness, which knows no bounds.
Christ has provided means specifically adapted to secure your entire perfection in holiness. He perfectly understood your case when He undertook the work of your redemption. Every obstacle that lies in the way of your perfect sanctification was distinctly before his mind; and He has provided means fully adequate, and specifically adapted, to remedy all the consequences of your sins. However low you may have sunk in sin, He is able to lift you out of the "horrible pit and miry clay." However hard your heart may be, He can take it from you, and give you a heart of flesh in its place. However firmly fixed your habits of sin may be, He can break them all up. However strong the power of your carnal inclinations, He can subdue them all, and give you a perfect victory over them. Whatever temptations to sin beset you, from within or around you, He can give you strength to endure them.
The way to accomplish all this, and specifically adapted to your particular case, are all provided by his infinite love. "If any man be in Christ, He is a new creature. Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." Why, then, should you remain under the power of sin? Why should you be appalled by the fixedness of your habits of sin, by the strength of your carnal inclinations, or the multiplicity and power of the temptations which beset you? Christ saw all these when He assumed the work of your redemption. For all these He has provided a specific and all-powerful remedy. Go to Christ, and you will find that in Him there is redemption in readiness for you, to render you "perfect and complete in all the will of God." Clad in the armor of righteousness, which He has provided for you, you will find yourself able to stand against all the wiles of the wicked one.
Christ, in short, has made ample provision for every particular necessity which may come upon you in time and eternity. There is not a solitary want of yours, throughout the endless future beyond you, for which a special supply is not made in the redemption of Christ. For you there is provided a seat in heaven, a robe of righteousness, a harp of gold, a crown of glory, and a special place in the center of God's heart of eternal love.
| 2014/9/12 9:18|
| TRUE OBEDIENCE TO GOD BY CHRIST - part 3|
He requires and expects that you will believe that He, as your Redeemer, has made full and special provision for all your needs in that particular area; and that, in the exercise of full and implicit faith, you will look to Him for grace to meet those needs.
Such are some of the requirements and expectations of Christ from us as Christians. Here let me add, that if you do not look to Christ to be saved by Him, in every sphere, and in respect of every transaction in life, our faith does not fix upon him at all as a Savior from sin. I would also add, that if Christ does not save us by subduing our tempers, controlling our appetites and inclinations and tendencies, by rendering us in the world, as husbands and wives, parents and children, in every area of our life, and the particular transactions of life, what he requires us to be, he does not save us at all. The man who expects to be a Christian in his closet, and upon the Sabbath, and a man of the world behind his counter, in his shop, or on his farm, will find at last that he has failed of the grace of God.
Romans 8:2-4, ”For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
We may now understand the full meaning of the passage, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Christ has accomplishes in us and for us all that the law demanded but could never accomplish. Now His perfect obedience secures your full exemption from all condemnation, and a sure title to the protection and favor of God. This the Christian enjoys through faith in Christ.
You will learn, Christian, to what to attribute every act of sin, and all your care, and trouble, and perplexity about the "many things" of this life. All these, together with every wrong feeling which arises in your mind, have their origin in one source exclusively, UNBELIEF, a lack of confidence in that special redemption of Christ, which, but for unbelief, would meet every possible exigency of our whole existence.
We also can understand the secret of always having a heart melted with love and tenderness. It consists in a full sense of our own infinite guilt and vileness and then see the boundless love of Christ, in making such full and perfect provision for our entire necessities, and as being ever present in our hearts, to confer upon us the full benefits of this eternal redemption. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God!" Such a thought, when it once takes possession of the mind, has omnipotent power to melt the heart, and cause its purest, sweetest, and best affections to roll for ever around one "blissful center."
We must learn to only use the promises, in order that we may obtain the good which they present to us. As the design of the promises is to free us from the "corruptions that are in the world," and render us "partakers of the Divine nature," they are addressed and adapted to every possible condition in which we may be placed, and as a remedy for every evil, natural and moral, in which we may be involved. They descend to the sinner in the lowest depths of guilt and depravity, for the purpose of lifting him out of the "horrible pit and miry clay," and rendering him a partaker of the "Divine nature." They meet the Christian, in a state of partial holiness, for the purpose of raising him to a state of "perfect love," and then of carrying him upward and onward, from glory to glory, through time and eternity. Now, to use the promises so as to become possessed of the blessings which they offer to us, four things are necessary,
1. That we know our need.
2. That we apprehend the particular promise of Christ, which was designed to meet that particular necessity.
3. That we repose full confidence in Christ's ability and faithfulness to fulfill the promise which he has spread before us.
4. That we cast our whole being upon him, for the specific purpose of securing a fulfillment of the particular promise before us.
For example, a person is brought to see his own condition and then he is met with the declaration of Christ, "I came to seek and to save that which was lost;" together with the promises, "Look to Me and be saved;" "Whosoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out." Let everyone cast himself at once upon Christ, for the definite purpose of securing a fulfillment of those of what Christ has already accomplished.. Are you in darkness,? Go directly to Christ for the fulfillment of the promise, "I will lead the blind by a way which they know not." Is your heart hard and unfeeling? Go to Christ with the definite promise, "I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh," and cast yourself upon his faithfulness for the fulfillment of that promise. Are your appetites, or your inclinations and tendencies the "occasion of stumbling" to you? Carry these particular objects to Christ, and plead the definite promises, "If Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sin," and "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new."
Do temptations beset you? Go to Christ with the promise, "Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation make a way for your escape, that you may be able to bear it." Are you about to enter into new and untried scenes, or spheres of action? Go to Christ with the specific promises, "Lo, I am with you always," and "My grace is sufficient for thee."
Are you "hungering and thirsting after righteousness?" This promise you may now plead with Christ, "They shall be filled." Does the water of life begin to flow in your heart? This promise now rises before you, "Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."
In short, whatever your condition or state of mind may be, remember that you are addressed by your Savior with some specific promise, perfectly adapted to your peculiar case. Your life depends upon your casting yourself at once upon the faithfulness of Christ, for a fulfillment of that promise. In so using the "exceeding great and precious promises," you may, with absolute certainty, be rendered a "partaker of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
Now, Christian, if you will believe it, Christ will be to you all that He was to them. "He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever;" and you may share as fully as they did in the infinite fullness of the love and grace of Christ. If, however, you would enjoy this full redemption, all the powers of your being must be brought under the continual influence of this one principle, "Looking to Jesus."
Do your sins rise up before you, and fill you with apprehensions of coming retributions,” Look to Jesus." Do you desire to be wholly freed from the power of sin, and to have your entire character presented to God, “without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing," "Look to Jesus." Are you burdened with care, or do the storms of affliction gather round you, "Look to Jesus." Is your temper unsubdued, do your appetites and inclinations and tendencies rebel, and call for unhallowed gratification, "Look to Jesus." Do temptations beset you, from within or around you, "Look to Jesus." Do you need wisdom and grace for any exigency whatever, "Look to Jesus." Whatever your condition or necessities may be, hear his gracious voice, "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls."
Col. 3:3-4, "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."
This message of the Gospel of the finished work of God in Christ is the only possible message that contains the power of God for total and complete salvation for mankind. No other message contains the power of God to bring about perfect and continual obedience.
As the Holy Spirit shows you THE FINISHED WORK you will experience God's gift of repentance giving you the ability to trust and embrace His obedience causing you to turn away for your unbelief and your own dead works. Now this is the ONLY obedience possible.
You do have His Life. You are In Him and He will never leave you of forsake you. If you are unfaithful God will remain faithful to you. God will keep you by his Love. You can NOT keep yourself.
God remains faithful to you no mater what. When you see this truth and recognize that you are in NOW in perfect union by what God in Christ had already accomplished, you can rest and your joy will flow. This is the secret of true rest. You thought it depended on your ability to be faithful to Him and have striven in vain to rest in Him. Now you see that God has promised to abide with and in you. He will never leave you or will never fail you.
Now you can give up all own efforts, struggles and striving in the attempt to be faithful. It is impossible for you to be faithful. IT IS NOT UP YOU!!! God Himself has placed you in Christ and you do abide in Him.
Eph. 1:4. "According as he hath chosen us before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."
1 Cor. 6:17, "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."
Acts 17:28, "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring."
Gal. 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
2 Cor. 5:14, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead."
2 Cor. 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
1 Cor. 3:17, "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
1 Cor. 6:15, "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?"
1 Cor. 6:19, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"
Rom. 6:1-4, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are DEAD TO SIN, live any longer therein? KNOW YE NOT, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Rom. 6:6-7, "KNOWING this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin."
Rom. 6:8-10, "Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: KNOWING that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Rom. 6:14, "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace."
Rom. 6:18, "Being then MADE FREE from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."
Rom. 6:22, "But now being MADE FREE from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."
Heb 8:6-7, "But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second."
1 Cor. 1:9, "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ."
2 Tim. 2:13, "If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny himself."
2 Th 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.
| 2014/9/12 9:19|
| TRUE OBEDIENCE TO GOD BY CHRIST - part 4|
2 Cor. 5:17-21, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
It is VERY important to recognize that is was ONLY by God's doing that you are in Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:30
New International Version (©1984)
"It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption."
New Living Translation (©2007)
"God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin."
English Standard Version (©2001)
"And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,"
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
"But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,"
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:"
International Standard Version (©2008)
"It is because of God that you are in union with the Messiah Jesus, who for us has become wisdom from God, as well as our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption."
Remember what Hudson Taylor wrote when The Holy Spirit opened his eyes to the reality of what God in Christ had already accomplished for him and in him.
When my agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never seen it before. McCarthy, who had been much exercised by the same sense of failure, but saw the light before I did, wrote (I quote from memory): "But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One."
As I read I saw it all! "If we believe not, He remains faithful." I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed) that He had said, "I will never leave you." "Ah, here is rest!" I thought. "I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I'll strive no more. For has He not promised to abide with me - never to leave me, never to fail me?"
Stop trying to improve yourself. It will never work. Renounce your self efforts to do better and simply rest in your union "IN CHRIST". Your LIFE IN CHRIST is the only true focus you need. It is not about you or your behavior. Remember your true nature is determined by birth, not by what you do or do not do.
Most Christians are completely consumed constantly looking at themselves and their performance. They invest much time, effort, energy and attention on improving their actions. They think they love Jesus, but they really do not. Their entire focus is spent on themselves and what they are doing or not doing. They do not depend on the Life of Christ at all. Christianity isn't about you and how well you behave. It's about having an intimate love relationship with God through Christ. Where is your focus? Is it on you? Or is it on what you're doing or not doing? Or is your attention focused on Jesus Christ?
There is a real need for repentance. As the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to the reality of God has already accomplished for you, you are given the ability to turn away from yourself and your standards. You will have the ability to give up on your never ending and never satisfied demand for perfect behavior. You will have the ability to turn to Jesus Christ and rest in Him. You will be able to stop relying on your expectation to behave correctly. You are made free to stop using any self-efforts to improve. Do not allow your Christian experience to be about your efforts, your sins, your good works, your promises to do better or even you ability to trust in Him. It's not about you! Christianity is all Him, Him, Him!
You are free to turn Him and acknowledge that you never will be able to live up to your own self-righteous standard. Just cast yourself on His grace and love which is true repentance. Then, and only then, will you find that Christ and Christ alone is your Deliverer. He will free you from being held hostage in a prison of self-perfectionism. When you have turned away from your efforts to change yourself, you will hear God tell you, "I never intended for you to change yourself. I just want you to rest here in my arms. I will bring about the changes in your life. You just stay here and enjoy me."
Christ offers entire freedom from all sin, and the transformation of our entire character into a likeness to his own. "I," says Christ, "will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you." "And thou shalt call his name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins." "But we all, with open face beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." This is held before us as a promise. Such a change Christ stands pledged to produce in us IF WE WILL BELIEVE IN HIM.
Do not forget that both faith and repentance are free gifts are only found in the person of Christ. The Holy Spirit is right now enlightening you to believe – do not resist.
| 2014/9/12 9:20|