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About Word-Sword

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  1. “Follow After . . . Godliness”

    Amen, a virtuous women is also as a godly women (1Pet 1:5-7). Thanks for your instructional reply MM!
  2. “Follow After . . . Godliness”

    Hi FT! Appreciate your input! True, all who are reborn will manifest His "work in us" (Phil 2:13); all by His Spirit (Rom 8:13; Gal 5:17) using the "life" of the Lord Jesus (Col 3:4).
  3. “Follow After . . . Godliness”

    Amen, the Lord Jesus declared that the majority of mankind will not choose His way (Mat 7:13, 14). Of course, He knew this prior to creation but also knew of those who will "choose life" (Deu 30:19). If heaven rejoices over one, how much more the rejoicing over more redeemed?
  4. “Follow After . . . Godliness”

    Hi SJ, and thanks for your reply and comments! I agree, there were the "godly" in the prior dispensation, but I think the author may be referring to the issue that the present dispensation in Christ brings one into a greater capacity of godliness--"walking in the Spirit," possessing a new nature which is sinless, even while the old nature yet dwells within, etc. The old man is in us but we are not in it (Rom 8:9), e.g. we are no more a part of its dominion and guilt.
  5. Godliness is only produced in the life in so far as the Lord Jesus is known. The introduction to Him personally, which produces a sense of reverence, effects in me that manner and way to which He is entitled; for as I am in the sense of reverence, I yield myself to Him, and necessarily I drop the old man which has been crucified in the judgment of the Cross. Beholding the Lord Jesus has a conforming effect upon me, not as an exaction or claim (law), but because the new nature (life) which I have answers to Him (2 Cor 3:18). God’s Man, the only Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus, so rivets and fixes my heart that I distinctly retire from that which is unapproved of in the presence of Him who so peculiarly affects and controls me. God has not only come into my state, but He has been glorified in it, where I have sinned and failed so grievously. Hence as I am consciously before Him, as I know Him, I consequently abandon (nay, hate) the life for which He suffered and died here. As my soul is filled with this blessed One, my whole being becomes expressive of His influence and claims, and there is about me a subjection and a yielding to Him. It is not that I am expending any effort to conform myself, but the knowledge of what and who the Lord Jesus is shapes me by the Spirit; for I covet correspondence to Him, and I increasingly have it, not only the form of godliness, but the practical reality of it. A godly man is one truly influenced and controlled by the presence of the Lord Jesus as known by the Holy Spirit, and this of course produces a manner and character as to everything which is the fruit of godliness, for “godliness is profitable in all things” (1 Tim 4:8). When the Lord Jesus is the Object before the soul, man is shaped by the power of His presence in true subjection to Him; but when man is the object, there is necessarily a maintenance of the old man, whatever restraints, such as the law or ritualism, may be imposed. Actually, the more a man can submit to such imposition, the more the old life is established in its own power, and of course in increased opposition to God, for the natural mind is enmity against God (Rom 8:7). In the Reformation there was, through grace, a great deliverance. The groundwork of Christianity was recovered; namely, justification by faith. Justification, not by woks, but by the Lord Jesus outside of oneself, was avowed and insisted on, and the maintenance of this is Christianity. But though this was recovered at the Reformation, it was not seen nor maintained that the old man was crucified in the Cross, and hence they only refused the exactions of Popery, but recognized the old man as still before God. Refusing the exaction was right; but the retention of that on which the exaction could be made, the old man, was and still is the crippling weakness of the Reformation. In not seeing this, the Reformers left the door open for the legal system and ritualism which have grown up since in the church; and hence the simple and only effectual way of dealing with either is, at the start, to refuse any place to the old man except crucifixion (Rom 6:6). When I have sinned, there is no room for any kind of legalism or ritualism, but the presence of the Lord Jesus produces in me that which far exceeds all that any form could produce. Then it is, “Christ liveth in me.” - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional for 11-15: CONTRASTING HEART “THE LORD IS VERY PITIFUL, AND OF TENDER MERCY” (JAMES 5:11). There are two hearts that we learn in the process of suffering: our own sinful heart, and our Father’s loving heart. “There is a Divine mystery in suffering, a strange and supernatural power in it, which has never been fathomed by human reason. There never has been known great saintliness of soul which did not pass through great suffering. When the suffering soul reaches a calm sweet carelessness, when it can inwardly smile at its own suffering, and does not even ask the Father to deliver it from suffering, then it has wrought its blessed ministry; then patience has its perfect work; then the crucifixion begins to weave itself into a crown.” -T.W. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  6. Personal Association

    It is generally thought in Christendom that God’s Son became man in order to repair and rehabilitate the first man—the Adamic race (man and his sinful nature—NC). It has been said that man is broken china, but Christ perfect china. He is not china at all, but unique, a man of His own order*; and in His death unto sin the first man is set aside in judgment, and the new man is therefore according to God. Consequently we must not be deceived by thinking that the human mind can form an idea of any trait of the new man, or that it can imitate Christ*, though many read the Gospels with this object. We must look entirely to God in order to understand the Man of His pleasure (Mat 3:17; 17:5) — “the holy thing also which shall be born shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35) — “the expression of His substance” (Heb 1:3) — “the beginning of the creation of God”*. He bore the judgment due to the first man and righteously removed him from the eye of God; so it is not in Adam that the believer appears before the Father, but in His Beloved Son. What is the new man? We have seen what it is not; we have already seen that it cannot be learned by any effort of the human mind, that its structure and nature are entirely beyond the conception of man, and the next question is: How do we learn it? It is not by the mere study of the Word that we learn it, but by association and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, by beholding His glory, and hence being progressively “changed into the same image” (2Cor 3:18). You cannot explain what you get, but you receive that which corresponds with Him; as you are with Him you acquire it. “Having put on the new man, which according to God is created in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24), is addressed to the believer who is in conscious union and personal fellowship with the Lord Jesus, seated in the heavenlies with Him (Eph 2:6). Now you come out here in a new way, beginning with a new mind, “renewed in the spirit of your mind”—not making works prominent, but in the renewed mind which is able to judge of the works that suit Christ. As we read in 1 Corinthians 2:16, “We have the mind of Christ”—we “put on the new man, which according to God is created in true righteousness and holiness.” A believer realizes the tastes of the new man by association with the Lord Jesus. It is important to see that we derive from Him, we are in Him where He is, and He is in us where we are. He is altogether sui generis—of His own order, and it is only in fellowship with Him that His nature and mind become experientially known to us. No one can tell what he acquires by association, but he knows that he has acquired a taste and hunger for His company, and that when not in His company he has not that which suits his new taste: he finds it very partially here among His own and he is glad to return to His presence, and he knows the benefit of it. This draws the line of difference between mere students of the Word, and those who enjoy resting in His presence, beholding His glory—the latter can form a conception of what suits Him which the former cannot. We see from Colossians 3:10, “Having put on the new man, renewed into full knowledge according to the image of Him that has created him (it—NC)”—that we cannot be with Him without becoming more like Him. We are enlightened and the Word comes with more definiteness to our sous; we are “renewed in full knowledge,” hence we become more like Him by being with Him, and we learn Him as our Life (Col 4:4) and consequently put on “bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, etc. - J B Stoney Poster’s opinions: * “a man of His own order”: only One presently with an indestructible physical body. * “imitate Christ”: it’s my understanding that living “for” Christ is not the same as living “by” Christ, i.e. “not I but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). We cannot live the life of Christ, which would merely be imitating. But He is living His life in us. The doing of righteousness is not “by” us using Him—but “by” Him using us. The glove (us) works by the life of the hand (God), not the hand works by the life of the glove! God’s using us, not we using Him (simply put—difficulty understood)! * “the beginning of the creation of God”: most likely means the first one with the creation of an immortal body, i.e. “the first begotten of the dead” (Rev 1:5; also 1Cor 15:20, 23; Col 1:18). MJS devotional for Nov. 10: THE DOCTRINAL WALK “YE HAVE OBEYED FROM THE HEART THAT FORM OF DOCTRINE WHICH WAS DELIVERED YOU” (ROM 6:17). The purpose of doctrine is to produce the personification of truth. “The sublimest truths are still needed to enforce the simplest responsibilities. As the laws which mold the stars and move the gigantic orbs of Saturn and Uranus in their tremendous circuits, shape the dewdrop that glistens at the end of a blade of grass, so should everything in the Christian’s life be regulated by the principles which lie in the Person and Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. To isolate Christian morality from Christian theology is to rend asunder the teachings of the New Testament, as to its deepest and most vital elements.” -W.G.S. “The knowledge of doctrine, essential as it is, gives no power. One might be very well up on the doctrine of deliverance, and know absolutely nothing of its practical reality. It is as our hearts are under the sway of that grace which is ministered to us through our Lord Jesus Christ, and as we are knit to Him in affection, that we touch and taste a new life, and are severed in heart from all that constituted the life of our old man. Thus the body of sin is annulled for our hearts, and we do not henceforth serve sin.” -C.A.C. “In the New Testament literature of the Church, creed and conduct are always related. Doctrine and practice, theology and morality, knowledge and action are inseparably connected, being related to one another as foundation to superstructure, as center to circumference, as cause to effect. Some expound without applying, and some endeavor to apply what has not been expounded, but the Apostles always do both. When revealed truth is divorced from Christian living it becomes an impotent abstraction.” -W.G.S. “BEING, THEN, MADE FREE FROM SIN, YE BECAME THE SERVANTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS” (ROM. 6:18).
  7. This is also a good indicator for God creating man-- "to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction (those God foreknew who would be unbelievers); "in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory"--(believers).
  8. Hi SJ - Good comment and appreciate your reply, as it is highly applicable to the issue: "it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given (Mat 13:11). Blessings!
  9. It's never wrong to ask God anything that you are lovingly and faithfully to accept as answered from Him. It is certain to ask only in faith (Heb 11:6), knowing it's always for our good.
  10. Hi Den - Thanks for your reply! Unanswerable for us, not God, i.e. concerning why He does some things that He does (Rom 11:33). Blessings and safe travels!
  11. We are allowed to ask God any question we have but we should know that not all are answerable in this life, so the best option is asking God to "work in us" (Phil 2:13) us to live for Him, regardless of how confused and discouraged we can get. One thing is certain, it wouldn't be fair for Him to bring one into this life without having the choice to live for Him, which requires us to ask of Him of our needs (Jam 4:2, 3), or "need" concerning redemption! Good question and God bless your Family!
  12. External Transcript

    There is hardly any subject more interesting than recognizing the way the Lord leads on a soul. Edifying is His great service. Love edifies, and this is real growth. When the work is real, it is ever with the consciousness that He is making more room for Himself in my heart. Sometimes I know what the idol or prepossession which He supplants is, and sometimes I do not. I only know that I have lost interest in things in which I had interest, though I had not felt when they were superseded. Like the Queen of Sheba, new sights—His things—have come to engage me so fully that natural things were displaced without my feeling any loss. This is the happier way. But often I am sensible that some taste or gratification which has power over me must not be resumed, being incompatible with the pleasures at His right hand. This is real spiritual progress; the dark part is discovered. There is often darkness lurking in a distant corner, when the light is not strong enough to displace it all; and it is blessed progress when the darkness has been displaced. And though at times it is displaced without our feeling the displacement, yet afterwards, the very sense of being perfectly happy without the “wine,” whatever it was, makes one quick to see, that it is mere wine, which seeks to regain its power over me; and I am able not only to see it as that which is not spiritual, but as that without which I can be perfectly content, because of what I have found in the Lord Jesus above. Nay, I am afraid of it, lest it should divert me from what I know is the best, or weaken my enjoyment of it. It is beautiful when the light so reigns within that the dark part is overcome, and then light like a gilding surrounds me externally. The whole aspect is affected by it; the body in luminous, so to speak. The external becomes the transcript of the effectual work within. There is no affection about it; that is, there is no self-occupation with how I should do this or that, but one is like a leafless tree in early spring, coming into leaf all round. There is a beautiful conformity on every side in dress, manner and everything. I may arrest or provoke a person by doctrine, but I silence him “by patient continuance in well doing” (Rom 2:7). Doctrine is like the leaves of a tree, they tell what the tree is. Everyone knows the name of a tree by its leaf; but the value of a tree is known by its fruit—the natural activity of life. There is seldom much, if any fruit, where there are too many leaves. The strength is spent in the effort for outward testimony; and on the other hand if there are not leaves enough, the fruit will be indifferent. There must be leaves. They are the public avowed expression of the doctrine which is to govern my life; but this being stated, I devote my attention now, not to expression of a creed, but to the way the doctrine I have received as the truth of God influences and controls me. Even though those around me may not approve of my personal devotedness to the Lord Jesus, yet it must command their respect and attention, for in proportion as it controls me, the house is filled with its essence. - J B Stoney Excerpt from Miles J Stanford devotional for Nov. 3: The source of our Christian life is a Person, and the growth of that life in us is a gradual process—comparable to a grain of wheat, or a branch in the vine. “A person whose ancestors for three or four generations have all been Christians, may inherit their virtues; but although affecting his life for good, they do not count before God as righteousness, for they are not the fruit of the directly imparted divine life. A believer may thus inherit patience, and although he may be but a babe in Christ, he is seen to be more stable than a more advanced believer, because whatever goes wrong he stands unruffled. “To empty him, the Father puts him in circumstances where his natural ‘patience’ fails. After repeated failures of his natural virtue of patience, he realizes that it is not enough to meet all trials, and carry him triumphantly through them all. Then he turns to the Father to give him His own unfailing patience.” -E.R. “Spiritual growth is from stage to stage. There are great days, days of decisive battles, days of crisis in spiritual history, days of triumph in Christian service, days of the right hand of the Father upon us. But there are also idle days, days of apparent uselessness, when even prayer and service seem a burden. Are we, in any sense, renewed in these days? Yes, for any experience which makes us more aware of our need of the Father must contribute to spiritual progress, unless we deny the Lord who bought us.” -W.G.S. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  13. Hi BT! There's no doubt about it that one of the surest evidences of redemption is if you never cease pursuing God's "pleasure," and if we do, it means He was never there to"work" this in us (Phil 2:13). Blessings!
  14. The Process of Growth

    Many have an erroneous idea of what the word “chastening” means. We think, perhaps, that it represents God as having a big stick in His hand and knocking us about all the time. You have only to make a mistake and down comes the big stick! That, of course, is a wrong conception of our Father, and is not what the word means at all. The word “chastening” just simply means “child training.” It is not a sign of love for your child if you never train him. While training does, of course, mean correction and sometimes using a stick, the idea is to do everything necessary to make that child a responsible manor women. It is a poor kind of adult who can never take any responsibility, whom you can never be sure of, who is not reliable and who always has to be told what to do and what not to do. The idea of son-ship in the Father’s mind is to have people who are absolutely reliable and responsible, who know in their own hearts what is right and what is wrong, and do not have to be constantly told. Chastening, or child-training, has to do with son-ship. We should always look at our difficulties in the light of this! It often seems that the life of the believer is more trying than any other life, and more troubles (which are really just problems – Jhn 14:1, 27—NC) come to us than to others. Our Father does not excuse His children from troubles, but, whether we recognize it or not, and whether we like it or not, these difficulties and troubles which come to us are to train us for something and to develop in us the spirit of son-ship; that is, to develop our spiritual intelligence and ability (when we exercise trusting in the promise of Ro 8:28—NC). “Christ in you” is unto our being “conformed to the image of His Son.” It is to work in us that which has been perfected by Him. It is the whole realm of our being made Christ-like; having all the faculties and features of the Lord Jesus, which are resident in the new life received at new birth, brought to maturity. Every spiritual virtue will be matured and developed; love, meekness, goodness, gentleness, etc., so that we are not just theoretical Christians, but real ones, spiritually responsible and accountable. This, however, necessitates much discipline; what is called “chastening.” This discipline, or child-training, employs many forms of adversity and trial, has the effect of bringing to light what we really are in ourselves, and it is an ugly picture. Our own features do not improve as we go on. We know ever more what poor, wretched and deplorable creatures we are, and—but for the grace of God—hopeless. But something is being done deep down which will show itself in due time (as we mature, not in our conforming but in our “being conformed” - Ro 8:29; “through the Spirit”- 8:13”) to the glory of our Father. We are born of God, and are sons in the Son by right of our birth from above; but how true it is that the course of our spiritual experience seems to be deeper and, ever deeper baptisms of death—His death—in order that, more and more of the power of His resurrection may be known by us and manifested in us. There seem to be cycles, or tides, of death and life (1Co 15:31—NC), and while each cycle or tide seems to compass our end more completely or to leave us at lower ebb that ever, there comes with ever-increasing fullness an uprising of spiritual life and knowledge. Thus while that death overpowers “the old man” (sinful nature—NC), we live increasingly by that life, “the new man” (new nature, by the Spirit as in all things godly—NC), upon which—and upon alone—the seal of God rests. - T Austin-Sparks Excerpt from MJS devotional for Oct. 27: “The path through the desert must be rough, and it is well that it is so; for there is no right-minded person who would not rather be set in a rough than a ‘slippery’ way. The Lord sees our need of being exercised by roughness and hardness, not only that we may find the rest at the end sweeter, but also that we may be the more effectually trained and fitted for the place we are yet to occupy.” “We are constantly ensnared by looking at secondary causes; we do not realize God in everything. Were we more alive to the fact that there is not an event which happens to us, from morning to night, in which the voice of our Father may not be heard, His hand seen, with what a blessed atmosphere would it surround us! Man and circumstances would then be received as so many agents and instruments in our Father’s hand; so many ingredients in His cup for us. Thus would our minds be solemnized, our spirits calmed, our hearts subdued.” -C.A.C. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  15. Glorious Reflection

    The “Last Adam” has brought all who belong to Him now into this common place of blessing. We all with open, or unveiled, face (for this is the true force of it) behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord. A Christian, all the time he is here below, is, as far as the work of the Lord Jesus is concerned, one entitled to “draw near” (Jam 4:8) to the Father, to look into the glory, and to be there himself; the veil is gone. Christ without the veil. There was a veil but it is rent. Now there is none—none on the heart of the believer, none on the face of the Lord Jesus or on ours; it is completely gone. “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass (Word of God, esp. the Gospel of Christ, which is how we know how we are to look—NC) the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2Co 3:18). What the Holy Spirit now ministers to us is not merely a Savior who came down into our woe and misery to bear our iniquities and sins, but that same Savior after the work of grace is done when He is gone up as the witness of its perfection into the presence of the Father; and we are invited by the Spirit to keep our eye fixed upon the Lord Jesus there, glorified according to the excellency of perfect redemption. That will not make His grace in coming down here to be less valued; nor will it make redemption to be less prized, but much more. It will also imprint a heavenly character upon all our ways; and this, and nothing less, is our place. “As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly”; and, “As we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” Then it will be perfect; now it is only “partial,” and according to the measure in which we judge (discern its activities as much as it is manifested —NC) the old man. What hinders the practical effect, the heavenly likeness being reflected from us, is the unjudged old man. Do we not know it? When is it we do wrong? When is it we form mistaken judgments, and become careless and worldly? Just I proportion as our eye is off the Lord Jesus as He is now at the Father’s right hand in glory. I grant you that He, anywhere before the soul, is a preserving means. Nevertheless, there is no such growth for overcoming the seductions of the world, and that which looks fair and religious; nothing will do it thoroughly but beholding the Lord Jesus in glory (being mindful we are now also as good as there—NC). As far as leading out our souls in love and devotedness is concerned, learning of the Savior here below will do it. But the glorified Lord Jesus Christ extinguishes the light of earth’s best religion, and makes it appear deathly pale and tawdry in comparison to its surpassing brilliance. We are invited, we are called upon as believers, to behold Him in that glory continually now. The Lord give us to so walk, and we shall find the fruit of it: “changed from glory to glory.” - Wm Kelly MJS devotional for Oct. 19: “Many Christians are bogged down between the nursery and the schoolroom; between the playpen and the workshop. These resist the weaning period; but the hungry-hearted are eager to have their feelings replaced by faith. “It is true that the Father does take up those who are spiritually immature and permit them to speak His words years before they fully understand their import; but He does not wish any of us to stop there. We may go on that way for a while, but is it not true that from the time when He begins in us His work of formation through discipline and chastening, it growingly dawns on us how little in fact we know of the true meaning of what we had been saying?” - Miles J Stanford - http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/