Word-Sword

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  1. The sole manifestation of faith in Christ is a godly love to others (Jhn 13:35), and all else is a manifestation of this faith! We cannot determine our fullness in the Father by our outward walk, for our ever learning progression will always be manifested by the revealing of our ever “offending” occasions (Jam 3:2). Thus our fullness in Him is determined not by our spiritual maturity but only by Jesus’ imputed righteousness, which can only be “made unto us” (1 Cor 1:30). Our Father desires us to know that there is nothing between Him and us, except what we might think there to be, which will always be a misconception. One major interference with how He wants us to possess Him can be in attempting to evaluate our place in the Lord Jesus, i.e. “Do we think we are at the proper maturity level in His Son that we should be”? Such mindset may seem honorable but the truth is that all who are in Christ are eternally accepted by the Father, and since His Spirit is always “conforming” us, we are always at the maturity level He desires of us for the moment, and we will continue to be conformed (not conform but “be conformed” - Rom 8:29) more all the time—“from glory to glory” unto the maturity of Christ, which is a progressive constant that will not change for the duration of our lives. NC Fit For The Light “Giving thanks unto the Father, who has made us meet (fit) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col 1:12). My position is in the light. We cannot properly give a right testimony or be effective servants to others until our own relationship with the Father is completely settled (know that your fully in Him—NC). It is not that you talk about yourself, but can you say in your Father’s presence, “I am thanking Thou because Thou hast made me meet? You may go through the deepest exercises (the deeper the better), but when you are brought into your position as a believer, you give thanks that He has made you fit. The perfect and infinite love has taken me up, a poor sinner, and made me fit for the light of His presence. That is where I am—my Father has carried it out in the perfectness of love. Supposing me to be actually risen, am I not fit for the inheritance of the saints in light? Self-righteousness (which is a very subtle thing) says, “I am not fit.” Why, you do know how bright that light is! But I do know that He, whose love has thought of me, must have that which is fit for His presence, for He is light as well as love. The prodigal was quite as sincere when he set out in his rage as afterwards, but he was not fit to go in until he has the best robe on (exemplifying us putting on Christ’s righteousness through imputation—NC). The life of the Lord Jesus in us cannot be looking after wealth, power and vanity—for the one thing we have to do in the world is to overcome it (1 Jhn 4:4; 5:4). The blinding power of Satan is here (2 Cor 4:4), but we are delivered from it. I get out of this darkness, which only ministers to the wretched selfishness of my old man. There is only one true, holy, blessed place—the presence of my Father in the light. The One who is the delight of the Father’s heart, who satisfies and draws out His love—we are one spirit with that Beloved One (Jhn 17:21). We have to go through the world, which has risen up because man was turned out of paradise. We have to judge ourselves, and watch unto prayer—but we are brought, even while here, to know we are loved of our Father even as the Lord Jesus is loved (Jhn 17:23). “All things were created by Him and for Him (Col 1:16); but He could not, in the counsels and love of the Father, take all those things without having joint-heirs; His Bride. He has come up, after having wrought redemption, not only Head over everything He has created as man, but also Head of the Body, the Church. “And you . . . hath He reconciled” (Col 1:21); that is more than “made fit” for what the Father wants, according to His holy nature and presence. We are not simply fitted, but the Father has reconciled our hearts now in that perfect love which has come out. My reconciliation is a present effectual fact, through the knowledge of the perfect love of my Father, which did not spare His Beloved. He has left no uneasiness upon my purged conscience. The Lord Jesus is my righteousness and my “life” (Co 3:4)—myself loved as He is loved—that is my eternal position in the light of glory, now (Eph2:16, 13). How far can your heart look up to you Father, without one thing to hinder your fellowship with, and enjoyment of, Him (there is nothing to hinder knowing this other than misunderstanding—NC)? He has brought you to Himself—brought into His very presence, in the full sense of the unclouded love of His heart. “Your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). - F G Burkitt Excerpt from MJS devotional for July 20: “Not only is my blessing in heaven, but I need the Lord Jesus’ power to enable me to rise above the sense of my infirmity down here; for this world, instead of contributing to me, makes me feel my weakness and need, and that I must rise out of it to find and enjoy my blessing. “The very infirmity which this evil age makes me conscious of makes me draw upon the power of Christ, as the One outside it, passing into the heavens, so that I take pleasure in the very infirmity which is exposed here, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” -JBS http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  2. If righteousness (Gal 2:21) and redemption came by the Law then only Jews could ever be saved, for Gentiles were never under it prior to its annulling (Heb 7:18, 19; 8:7; 10:9). Until all the Law would be “fulfilled” it could not “pass” (Mat 5:18), thus its passing came when Christ fulfilled, or, finished it (Rom 10:4). Remember, it is Christ’s words that “shall not pass away” (Mat 24:35), not the Mosaic Law! In this article it makes a point that since the Law did not require one’s death for obedience, then “why did Christ die?” Thus it was His expiation for sin (after His obedience to the Law manifested His qualification for sacrifice which required a perfect subject), which voids the curse, and not His supposedly imputed Law-obedience to the believer. The Lord Jesus has always been righteous by virtue of His deity and sinless state (which His Law-obedience manifested), and it is this righteousness which is imputed to the believer! Those who were under the Law were “under the curse” (Gal 3:10), for it manifested souls to be “ungodly” (1 Ti 1:9), thus the Law could only direct toward deliverance, not effect it (Gal 3:24, 24), because the Law was “not of faith” (Gal 3:12) but of works. Hence we enter in, not on the works of man but on the works of the Lord Jesus Christ! Besides, the obedience of the Law required not just the outward working which anyone could have done—but also the accompaniment of a sinless soul by the Doer. NC Law Liquidated “Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believes” (Rom 10:4). When the Lord Jesus died on the Cross, He bore for Israel the curse of the Law, for they alone were under the Law. Divine Law, being broken, does not ask for future good conduct on the part of the offender, but for his death, and that only. Now Christ having died, all the claims of the Law against that nation which had been placed under the law were completely met and ended. So that even Jews could now believe, and say, “I am dead to the Law!” To him that believeth, therefore, Jew or Gentile, Christ dead, buried, risen and ascended is the end of the Law for righteousness—in the sense of Law’s disappearance from the scene! Law does not know, or take cognizance of believers. We read in Romans 7:6 that those who had been under the Law were discharged from the Law, brought to naught, put out of business (katargeo), with respect to the Law. The Law has nothing to do with them, as regards to righteousness. The words “Christ is the end of the Law” cannot mean He is the fulfillment of what the Law required. The Law required obedience to precepts—or death for disobedience. Now Christ died! If it be answered, that before He died He fulfilled the claims of the Law, kept it perfectly, and that this law-keeping of His was reckoned as over against the Israel’s breaking of the Law, then I ask, “Why should Christ die (since death is not required in the case of obedience—NC)? If the claims of the Law were met in His earthly obedience, and if that earthly life of obedience is “reckoned to those who believe,” and the curse of the Law has been removed by His “vicarious law-keeping,” Why then, should Christ die? Now this idea of Christ keeping the Law for “us” (for they will include us among the Israelites, even though the Law was not given to Gentiles), is a deadly heresy, no matter who teaches it. Paul tells us plainly how the curse of the Law was removed: “Christ redeemed us (meaning the Jewish believers) from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us” (Gal 3:13). It was on the Cross, and not by an earthly life of obedience that Christ bore the Law’s curse! There was no law given “which could make alive,” Paul says; “otherwise righteousness would have been by it” (Gal 3:21). Therefore those who speak of Christ, as taking the place of fulfilling the Law for us—as “the object at which the Law aimed” (Alford); or, “the fulfillment or accomplishment of the Law” (Calvin); give the Law an office that God did not give it. There is not in all Scripture a hint of the doctrine that Christ’s earthly life—His obedience as a man under the Law—is “put to the account” of any sinner whatsoever! That obedience which was perfect, was in order that He could “present Himself through the eternal Spirit without spot unto God” (Heb 9:14) as a sin-offering. It was also in order to His sacrificial death, as “a curse” for Israel (and for us believing Gentiles who were under the curse of “the law of sin“, which was incurred unto the whole world - Gen 2:17—NC). It is because Reformed theology (though well intended—NC) has kept us Gentiles under the Law, if not as a means of righteousness, then as “a rule of life,” that all the trouble has arisen (legalism, which was always Paul’s greatest opposition to the doctrine of grace—NC). The Law is no more a rule of life than it is a means of righteousness. Walking in the Spirit has now taken the place of walking by ordinances. God has another principle under which He has positioned His saints: “You are not under law, but under grace” (Rom 6:14). “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2). - Wm R Newell Excerpt from MJS devotional for July 11: “If and when the trial comes, you will find Him waiting there.” - MJS “We should always be prepared for circumstances that will arise, and for blessings that are to come, without foreseeing what these circumstances and blessings will be. This preparation consists in attention to present responsibility, and acceptance of present discipline. “If day by day we first seek divine direction, and then follow it, we shall be ready, when new circumstances arise, for the new blessings which will be offered. Today should be preparation for tomorrow. The only proof that we shall be equal to tomorrow’s test is that we are meeting today’s test believingly and courageously. The only evidence that we shall be willing for God’s will tomorrow is that we are subject to His will today.” -W.G.S.
  3. It is well to note that the differences in receiving from God between the prior covenant of Israel and the present covenant of the believer in Christ is that of how attaining the things of God derive. In both covenants, faith is always the means “through” (not “by” –Eph 2:8) which blessings come but in the former they came to the individual first by entering a union with God through faith, then receiving the blessings according to their level of obedience, e.g. do this and that and you will receive this and that. In the present covenant all the blessings of God are received upon union with Him (2 Pe 1:3), but the encouragement and peace they impart are only utilized according to progressive maturity in the Word of God which teaches us how to walk in them, of which He “works” (Phil 2:13) in all who are born again. - NC Surpassing Rest Let us look at the difference between Israel entering the land, and the man in Christ. Everything depended upon their act. They must go in and possess the land. True, God brought them in, but they had to act in order to possess, and those who went in without faith did not remain possessors. Now the believer is united to Christ, and is in full title and ownership of the heavenly places before he enjoys any of it (physically enters—NC). True, as he accepts in faith the portion which grace has given him, the greater is his sense of possession and consequently of his enjoyment (the more we know of our eventual possession of heaven the more we can enjoy ourselves in anticipating it—NC). In the one case the act was necessary in order to obtain possession; in the other, there was as much title before enjoying the possession, as there was consequent on possession. If I only possess heaven in proportion to my act of faith, as was the case with Israel respecting Canaan, I have no right to possession but as I secure it; my sense of owning the land is only as I set foot on it. Hence I am necessarily anxious as to my progress; my possession depends on it. But with a believer now, he has full title before he lays hold of any of it, and every apprehension of his portion only stimulates him the more to advance, and to be in association with Him who is there. It is the vastness of the blessing which he has in association with Christ, which makes him long to apprehend it more, as Paul says, “That I may apprehend that for which I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” It is the breadth and length, and depth and height, which occupy him who has Christ dwelling in his heart by faith. He does not depend on his own progress for assurance of possession, but he is so assured of the unsearchable riches of Christ, as his portion, that he dwells on it in faith; and thus, as the greatness of his possession realized, he longs to enter still more into what he is sure is his. We all know the tendency there is in our hearts, and often in proportion to our earnestness to be in the line of attainment, instead of being simple recipients; and it is well for us to note the difference in the state which the effort to attain produces, from that which grace or the mere acceptance of gift produces. One who is in the former is never even; he is elated at any sense of his progress, and depressed if he becomes conscious of his losing ground, though generally he is too well pleased with his own engrossment of desire to advance, and obtain more. In the other, in proportion as the grace is simply held, there is great balance and evenness. There is ever a sense of being far behind in enjoying the vastness of what has been conferred; and there is the greatest thankfulness for a sight of it, while with each new acquisition, there is the sense that “the draught which lulls our thirsting awakens our thirst anew.” The one is like a man making a fortune; while the other is exploring the vastness of the gift bestowed upon him; one necessarily is occupied with what he is doing; the other is praising the Lord for all that He has shared with him. Surely the one with boundless resources in Christ, and with any fidelity of heart for Him, must surpass the most devoted heart that does not know its portion in its object. The Queen of Sheba is after all only an enraptured spectator, while the believer is united to Christ and participates with Him in His things: and surely the latter must, because of intuitive or intrinsic grace, surpass the former. - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional: “The Christian suffers the same calamities as others, perhaps even worse; he faces difficulties and losses in the things of this life; he has to be prepared to meet death itself. In all these circumstances he is calm and trustful; he is not only sure of ultimately going to heaven, but already abides there and enjoys something of it in his own heart. “God is real to him and ever near. He knows a peace which passes all understanding, and he experiences a joy which no man can take from him. This, surely, should be our testimony in the world, but it can only be as the Lord Jesus Himself lives out this life in us.” -H.F.http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  4. I agree, and it will be according to what the Father causes us each to do (Phil 2:13).
  5. “Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had (Jhn 5:2-4). How well have we learned to wait on God in the good and the hardness? We can conclude that there will always be times of lulling, times of not knowing what to think, feel or do which requires simply to hold our conclusions while we “cast or care on Him” (1 Pet 5:7). I’m convinced that the answers are always in what we learn about the waiting itself. Do we already know that every difficulty will benefit our faith in God, or do we still need to wait and see the answer? If we choose to rest on Romans 8:28 we will never be void of the proper placement of our “care” (1 Pet 5:7). The lessons learned concerning the fact that we need never allow ourselves to be “troubled” (problems are unavoidable) by any hardness (Jhn 14:1, 27) manifests far more of our trust in God than waiting for how He has willed it to conclude. Thinking on what we presently possess and by Whom we possess it, and on what we will eventually possess (Heaven) allows our waiting to be more at ease and in greater patience. Reminding ourselves of our present surety (2 Cor 1:22, 5:5; Eph 1:13, 14) concerning the Spirit of God and of our faith and salvation, abides all the needed time to allow our hearts and minds to encouragingly allow the “trial” to pass. To go from “glory to glory” trials must be endured from hardness to hardness, for it is through the trials that faith is strengthened, which is the provision for progressive access to patience, and it is in our patience that our spiritual growth in the Lord Jesus is evaluated (Luke 12:19). Knowing that every single thing that occurs in our life is used by God for our “good” supplies the most support for how we can endure our trials. I’ve learned that all difficulties are accompanied by pride or impatience, or both. Thus the response is humble in pridefulness and “patient in tribulation” (Rom 12:12), waiting on the Lord in knowing all is and will always be well! - NC
  6. It is neither the possession of the Spirit (we can have the Spirit and have yet to learn to walk in Him, in which takes time to mature – Gal 5:25—NC) nor of actual spiritual tastes that makes (but does lead to because of continual desire – Phil 2:13—NC) a man spiritual. The mark of a spiritual man is that he judges of things according to God and not according to man (1 Cor 2:13, 15). He might appear, from his love of truth or his ability to impart his knowledge of Scriptures, to be very spiritual, yet when he acts or gives counsel about an action, or a course of action, it will be seen from which side it derives, God or man, he formed his opinion. It is the action or the counsel indicating an act which shows on which side the control is. The act necessarily tells the nature of the control. A man is not controlled by the Spirit if he acts out of his nature. It is the act therefore that indicates what is within. As in type with Joshua in Exodus 17, his act—prevailing over Amalek or the reverse – indicated whether Moses’ arms were uplifted or not. There must be power to produce an act. A desire is not power. “The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing.” Faith is only shown by works, and the works tell out of the real nature of the faith. That which controls me and orders my course must always be the dominant and greater power, and hence it is in vain to say that one was taken unawares to excuse one’s bad conduct; the conduct is the evidence of the power which is paramount. Hence, though there is spiritual growth in the soul, yet if the flesh be no held in the place of death by the consistent working of the Cross, there will be an acting in it. It is uppermost; it is ever ready, if not mortified, to express itself and to dominate (which is temporal because maturity is eventually wrought in each believer—NC). We must ever remember that the natural mind, the mind of the flesh (e.g. old man or sinful nature—NC) is as it were at home in us. The spiritual mind (new nature—NC) is the stranger, and quite beyond the natural in all its desires and thoughts; therefore the easy and ready thing for man is to look at things according to nature (or also his nature—NC), and not according to God. In order to judge of things according to God, we must set aside the suggestions of nature, and inquire how the Word of God would lead; and this is faith, and not sight nor feelings. It is faith that guides and motivates the spiritual man. Faith looks to God, sees His mind and accepts it, not only as the best, but also as quite possible, however improbable to nature. Abraham, even when accepting the Word of God, says, “O that Ishmael might live before Thee!” Ishmael was the child of his self-will; he would substitute him for the child of promise. The child of promise was as yet unseen, of faith; Ishmael he could see. This is nonspiritual, accepting the mind of God, but seeking to have it fulfilled in a natural way. The correction for this is, “Cast out this bondwomen and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son.” It is not enough that there is an answer to faith, but when the answer is confirmed, which is when Isaac was weaned, in the same day Ishmael was cast out (Gen 21). There is no real spiritual control unless there be a practical bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus. The simple fact is that, in order to be spiritual, one must not be natural; and the only way not to be natural is to take up the Cross “daily” and follow Him, and this can be done only in faith by the Spirit. Peter, after he was the recipient of a revelation which flesh and blood could not make known to Him (Mat 16:17), savors not of the things that be of God, but of those that be of men (Mat 16:23). Then the Lord Jesus said unto His disciples, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up the Cross and follow Me.” The spiritual mind in a saint is like a diamond in a quartz rock. It is not enough to possess the diamond in the rock (e.g. not enough to just be saved but to also be used—NC), but all the quartz must be broken away in order that the diamond may entirely and freely express itself (which will eventuate in all believers—NC). It is not enough for a man to know that he has spiritual tastes, or to seek the ministry that will feed them; but he must renounce and reckon dead the nature in him, which like the rock, interferes with and hinders (temporarily—NC) the manifestation of the diamond. - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional for June 22: “Greater zeal for the salvation of sinners, and the amelioration of the condition of mankind, never was more manifested than at present (1850). This is ground of rejoicing to all the friends of the Gospel. But there is one unhappy symptom of the present times, with respect to Christianity. Zeal for the purity of divine truth has not kept pace with zeal for the salvation of sinners.” -A.C.http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  7. Surely we may look at the Church as a great ship, moored to the heavenly port; the deep sea, the Red Sea of Scripture, crossed over, and also the Jordan, the river beside the land. Seats for every believer in the great assembly are on the other side, in the land flowing with milk and honey. No one has entered into the full work of the Lord Jesus until he has sat down on his own seat at the Passover feast, at and after Gilgal. We are born of God for these seats; but we take a long time individually until we have, as it were, sense enough to see that the seats is heaven are ours now, and that each one always had his own. We are like born princes; only very gradually do we comprehend the greatness of our royal position. The first great step in our spiritual history is that the Lord Jesus has triumphed gloriously, and that we are not only sage from judgment by His Blood, but that through His resurrection and ascension we are at the other side of judgment; we are in a new region, even in righteousness and life. Our dignity is thus breaking in on us; we have got some sense now of our position. Very often we do not advance very rapidly from this. It has been said that a child learns more the first five years of life than during the following twenty. Be that as it may, there is more rapid growth to rest of conscience, even peace, than there is to the other stages, and to the full apprehension of the Father’s calling. The next step is that I learn that there is not only sin in me (Rom 6), but that there is no good in me (Rom 7). I abandon myself now for the Lord Jesus: “Not I, but Christ lives in me”: “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” I know my princely position now; that it is one really heavenly. Hence that next great advance is that I have left the flesh entirely behind. I find that I have died with the Lord Jesus, and that I am on heavenly land with Him. Here now at length I apprehend what was true of me from my new birth; that I have a seat in the grandest circle ever to be in heaven or on earth. The Lord Jesus’ work had acquired it all for me, thought I only learn it by degrees. Hence after Gilgal, we sit down and eat the Passover in remembrance of Him. The corn of the land is now our proper sustenance for serving Him, in keeping with our heavenly royal position. I am glad to think of you as one of those royal personages. May you daily enjoy more the seat that is yours in His glorious presence! How happy to know that we, who have journeyed together so many years in the wilderness, are able to anticipate the day when we shall uninterruptedly commune together; the Lord one, and His name one. But the more our growth or spiritual sense now, the more we enter into the greatness of His grace; and if we do not, we are slow and dull of learning. “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15). - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS June 16 devotional:“If there be a growing up into the measure of the stature of Christ, there must be a conscious refusal of that which would tend to revive or invigorate the old nature. The saint is not only a new creature to grow into the likeness of the Lord Jesus, but he has to watch and beware lest the things he has to do with should in any way minister to another will in him, which would divert him from God to himself. Self is the circle and center of man’s mind in his fallen state; but when Christ is formed in the soul, God is the center and source of everything.” -J.B.S.http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  8. “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling . . .” (Heb 3:1). “Calling” here, as always in Paul’s epistles, has reference not to an invitation to go to heaven, but to a present heavenly standing and manner of being. For Christians according to Colossians 1:12, have already by Christ’s work on the Cross have been made “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” and their citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20). The Hebrews had a natural earthly calling. To them was given an earthly land, with earthly blessings, wonderful indeed, with Jehovah’s dwelling in their midst in His temple in Jerusalem! But their sin drove Him from that temple. It was destroyed, the city taken and the people placed under Gentile rule. Though they rebuilt their temple, and at the same time of this epistle worshiped there, they were under the Romans, so that although never to be nationally forsaken of God, they were not yet nationally forgiven. But these individual believing Hebrews, addressed in Hebrews 3:1, had been transferred from an earthly to a heavenly calling and destiny, an entirely different “calling,” ending their fleshly hopes; called to a rejected Savior—and lo, a priesthood announced on high, at God’s right hand, which was for those who believed and left all earthly hopes—who were willing to be “without the camp,” (of earthly religious things, including Jerusalem) and to be the earth-rejected but heaven-accepted worshipers “within the veil” above. On earth they would be persecuted and despised. In heaven they were received, welcomed and incited to “the throne of Grace,” of which, alas, the Jewish nation knew nothing! Remove from your mind the idea of any difference before God between these Hebrews and anyone else who comes to God by Jesus Christ. For, although God had given these Hebrews a “religion,” the book of Hebrews sees God taking it all away! The Hebrews were indeed to learn lessons from their former history, and God will exercise great gentleness and grace now toward them. But Aaron disappears; yes, Moses disappears; yea, the Law is “disannulled—the priesthood being changed”; the scene is changed from earth to heaven, and these Hebrew believers are saluted as “partakers of a heavenly calling.” In this “calling” there are no Hebrew or Jewish things, which distinctions belong wholly on earth (Col 2:16, 17; Heb 8:5). It will be difficult to view a Hebrew believer as “having nothing”; and most difficult to the Hebrew believer himself! Union with Christ, resurrection, heavenly position, this was “the heavenly calling.” In this “calling” there are no Hebrews, no longer Gentiles, for they are “new creations in Christ Jesus.” Creation is creation, not change (change - old body into new body – Rom 8:11; creation – not change old nature into new nature but remove the old and bring forth the new nature—NC; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15). There is but one heavenly calling revealed. Those to whom Hebrews 3:1 was addressed were “partakers” of it. They were in a risen, heavenly Christ. It matters not whether or not they fully realized these glorious facts, or whether or not they enjoyed then. The writer of Hebrews, indeed, here defines their heavenly calling (as is done in Ephesians). But he does not assert that they, being partakers of a heavenly calling, are through with earthly things, not having here on earth even an abiding city! They are to be approached as those who one had a city, a temple and a sacrifice, but are now without them, without any earthly religion whatever. They are called to come boldly to the throne of grace in heaven, by the Blood of the Lord Jesus; having Him as Great High Priest! In short, the object of Hebrews is to call to a heavenly rest and worship, people who now have a heavenly calling! - William R Newell Excerpt from MJS June 7th devotional: “We find the greatest difficulty often in bringing our sorrow to God. How can I do so, some may be saying, as my sorrow is the fruit of my sin? How can I take it to God? If it was suffering for righteousness’ sake, then I would, but I am suffering for my sin; and can I, in the integrity of my heart towards God, take my sorrows to Him, knowing I deserve them? “Yes: the Lord Jesus has been to God about them. This, then, is the ground on which I can go. There has been perfect atonement for all my sins; Christ has been judged for them. Will God judge us both? No; I go to Him on the ground of atonement, and God can justly meet me in all my sorrow, because Christ’s work has been so perfectly done.” -J.N.D. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  9. Hi MC - Appreciate your input! I've found it difficult to encounter believers who are at a growth that can understand enough concerning basic Biblical truths, but this will be temporary because God is bringing them gradually to where they will know enough basic truths to remain desirous of more truths. Only truth can propagate truth, thus much of the errant teachings in the Body for the last half century can only continue to recirculate in a stagnated form, moving side to side and backward but not forward. This hinders growth, which hinders desire, which hinders Church attendance and true Bible study. God bless us with hunger for His truths! Blessings!
  10. I see, thanks!
  11. Thanks for the reply, but not sure of your meaning. Blessings!
  12. The Lord Jesus Christ is at the Father’s right hand, and He is there as our righteousness*. By Him too, we have access into our Father’s favor. It is not only that grace meets us in our need and distance, but us brings us nigh to the Father as those who have access into His favor. To understand this grace, we need to have very distinctly before our souls the One Man by whom it has come. We can never truly learn the grace of God by thinking of those to whom it comes; we must think of the One by whom it comes. Adam brought in sin and death, but the Lord Jesus has brought in righteousness and life. According to grace, we have been transferred, reborn from Adam to Christ. We have become identified with the Lord Jesus in His death unto sin. This is the only way of blessing. Our Adamic flesh could not be improved or Christianized; its history must be closed in death. One can be thankful for such qualities on human nature as natural affection, amiability, and so on, but they do not alter the terrible fact that “the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God; for neither indeed can it be: and they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom 8:7). The flesh must be condemned, and it has been condemned in the death of Christ. “Our old (Adamic) man has been crucified with Christ.” It is on this ground that we have been “made free from sin.” Sin has no longer any right to claim us. Christ has died to sin, and lives to God, and it is our privilege to take account of ourselves as having died to sin, and become alive unto God in Christ Jesus. In Romans 7 we see the exercises of one who is finding out that he is sold under sin; he is under a tyrant from which we cannot escape. Then he learns that the sin which holds him captive is in him. Finally, he discovers that in him, that is, in the flesh good does not dwell. I remember a young man saying to me, “I always knew there was plenty of bad in me, but I never knew until now that there is no good.” The Lord Jesus is the Man of God’s pleasure, and we have every grace and blessing in Him. All is perfection there, and glorious suitability to divine love. If you have gone down into the depths of what you are, and have found that there is nothing there for God’s approval or pleasure, what a joy it is to look upon the Man Christ Jesus and to find in Him everything that is pleasurable to God! Through His blessed grace on the ground of redemption you are in Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit given you is “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” The Spirit of God dwelling in us is the evidence that we are no linger “in the flesh” (e.g. in the sinful nature; though this nature is in us: Rom 7—NC). He could not identify Himself with the flesh*; He could not come in as an addition to the flesh. The fact that He dwells in us proves that, according to God, we are in a wholly new standing. We are “not in the flesh, but in the Spirit” (Rom 8:9). The practical outcome if this is that “we are debtors, not to the flesh, to love after the flesh. For if you live after the flesh you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.” The Spirit brings us consciously into the circle of divine love as those who are in Christ Jesus the objects of that love. We have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father. That is liberty. We are brought out of all that attached us to our standing as in the flesh, and we are brought into that which divine love has prepared for us Christ Jesus. If we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, it forbids that we should live any longer after the flesh. In the practical renunciation of the flesh lies the secret of liberty and growth; in short, spiritual maturity. - C A Coates Poster’s Opinion: * “He is there as our righteousness”: The only righteousness in existence is the righteousness of the Lord Jesus, which is in all believers, and it is this righteousness only that makes believers righteous—by being their righteousness—which must be “made unto us” (1 Co 1:30). The righteousness we perform is by the Spirit of God using Christ’s righteousness. There is no self-made righteousness which God regards, thus we are not required to perform in a manner which seemingly manifest our righteousness but rather Christ’s. We are “made the righteousness of God in Christ” (Rom 5:19), by “imputation” only (Rom 4:11). This is how the righteousness of believers pleases the Father. After all, which strain of righteousness would you want to be in—what the Spirit uses or a so called self-made righteousness? Everything a believer does apart from the new nature is sin-tainted with the old nature and thus is imperfect, requiring trust in the necessities of the Lord Jesus’ provisions. * “He could not identify Himself with the flesh”: The Father “made him to be sin for us” 2 Cor 5:21; e.g. made Him out to be like sin, i.e. “the likeness of sinful nature” Rom 8:3; but not become sin, since He is the only One being formed or “conceived by the Spirit” Mat 1:20; Christ’s human nature is sinless but not our human nature—yet! We are only “partakers” of what His human “divine nature” provides (2 Pet 1:4), which is that which keeps us from being dominated by the old nature—through the new nature. He is the only One who has this new human nature apart from sin, and a new human body). MJS excerpt from May 31 devotional: “Two things mark spiritual growth; one is a deeper sense of the sinful old nature, the other is a greater longing after the Lord Jesus Christ. The sinfulness is discovered and felt as the power of the Holy Spirit increases; for many a thought and act passes without pain to the conscience where the Lord Jesus is less before the soul, which will be refused and condemned as the knowledge of the Lord increases in spiritual power within.” -J.B.S. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/ The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.'" -MJS
  13. Soon for us all things will be new (that which we wait for; new body, new heaven, new Jerusalem and new earth—NC). Indeed now for faith, the “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” I believe that when we truly see our new position where the Lord Jesus is, we find it easy to see that we must be altogether new creations to suit Him in this new place. There is an order in Ephesians 2. First the place—heavenly place. Second—the new man. The hope of the Gospel is heaven. The new place is the greatest and the best. The earth has He given to the sons of men. The Lord’s throne is in heaven. We see in Genesis 1 that the place was first formed, and then the occupants for it. Thus heaven is our new place, and so we are formed anew for it. The Lord Jesus having gone into heaven leads our hearts there. Stephen looked up steadfastly into heaven. Our Lord Jesus is there. The soul looks up to see Him where He is. It is Himself who draws our hearts to the new place. “For their sakes I sanctify Myself.” His absence from this place draws our hearts to where He is, and we are therefore fitted for it. This new history properly begins with being risen with Christ. “If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:1, 2). The new place is now the one that occupies our thoughts. Like a man on a voyage, going to see his dearest friend in a distant place, his thoughts are ever anticipating the new scene to which he is journeying; he anticipates the pleasure of meeting his friend, the beauty of the surroundings; and how much more when he knows that everything there is in perfect accordance with the mind and pleasure of his friend. Hardly anything is more attractive to us respecting heaven than that everything there is in perfect harmony with the mind and heart of the Lord Jesus. Now the more absolutely we are seeking the things above, the more fully will the rest of Colossians 3 be practically entered into by us. We learn that we must be cut off by divine power from the old man, and then we arrive at the new man, “renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him that has created him.” We are fit for the new place. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest.” “Giving thanks unto the Father, who has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col 1:12). “Such as is the heavenly One, such also are the heavenly ones.” The heart now not only soars unto the new place because its Object is there, but the realization that I am a new creation, and being conformed to His image, make me feel more at home there than I could be here. I am fit in a new creation for my Lord in the place where He is, at the Father’s right hand in glory. It is true that I often feel that I am not fit for Him here. But the more I seek the place where He is, the more I find that the work of grace has severed me from the old, and from all that was of myself as Adamic and earthly, and has made me now—heavenly. I delight in the new position, for there the Object of my heart is; and there I am suited to Him. I am fit to be in His company, for fellowship with Him. When I look at the place, He is not here; and when I look at myself naturally I am not fit for Him. How happy then to know that I belong to the place where He is; and that through grace I am made suited to Him in the new position, so that I set my mind and heart there, the place where my deepest joys are realized. - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional for May 15: “What the other person said or did to you was undoubtedly wrong and cannot be justified. Nor did he do it at God’s direction; but God permitted him to do it for some wise reason which will yet prove to have been abundantly worthwhile for you. By the time that action reached you it had become the will of God for you, since to a yielded believer there are no second causes.” - M J S
  14. “Our citizenship is in heaven.” “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longer for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord” (Phil 3:20; 4:1). Your polity, your citizenship, is in heaven. If you simply accept the fact that you are a citizen of another country, then you are not really a citizen of this country. Nothing can be more definite than that if you belong to another country, you do not belong to this one. This is a great point. The first thing to accept is that the earth is not our place, but that heaven is our place. You may say that we are not in heaven yet; still, it is our country, and therefore this is not our country. I quite admit we are subjects here, but subjects and citizens are quite different; we are subjects, but we are not citizens; we are bound to obey the powers that be, but our citizenship is in heaven. I believe it is of immense importance to apprehend that fact, and I do not think anyone can form a just idea of the alteration it would effect in him. Practically, there is nothing that a man abhors more than to be displaced from the earth. The earth suits the natural man. First of all, the earth could not be your rightful place because the One who is your Life (Col 3:4) was rejected here, and He has been called to the right hand of the Father. “The light of the world” has gone away, and if you seek the light (IMO, the presence of Jesus’ person in His body, thus believers have the presence of His Spirit, and now in His absence they are the only light of the world—NC) you will find that it is in another place, and that you cannot find it here. “But if we walk in the light, as He is the light, we have fellowship one with another” (1 Jhn 1:7). The subject I am pressing here is, that your blessings do not come from the earth. It is true that immense blessing has been effected for you here. Christ died for you here; but if you look for blessings peculiarly Christian, they do not come from this place, but from Him who is exalted to the Father’s right hand. Hence there are many Christians, who, though true and devoted, do not enjoy the blessings peculiarly their own. The do not seek them where they are, and they cannot find them anywhere else. They come from heaven. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). Most Christians dwell on the fact that they are forgiven their sins, they have the satisfaction that they are believers, and they look for proofs of God’s favor all day long, and this mercy and the other, they say, is a mark of His favor. No doubt His mercies are “new every morning”; but there is much more. The greatest mark of the Father’s favor is the fuller revelation of His mind. If you were to be given the whole world it would not be equal to the favor of a growing acquaintance with the One who has done everything for you. The day you see more of Him in His own greatness and preciousness, then you are most highly favored by your Father. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” It is plain that if you have not your treasure in heaven, your heart cannot be there. The Lord Jesus has gone in, and taken us there, and now we lose immeasurably if we do not know and fellowship with Him where He is (Col 3:1-3). - J B Stoney Excerpt from the MJS devotional for May 5th: “The sharing of His life is our blessed experience just in the measure in which we share His death. So many of us are content merely that the Cross should be the power to save us from the penalty of sin, but death was not the end of the manifestation of Christ. It was resurrection, and it is the risen life, shining forth in the believer, that alone can carry out the purpose of God in redemption. The believer, in whose daily attitude the mark of resurrection is seen, becomes what the world is looking for, a convincing witness to the power of the Living Redeemer.” -G.W. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  15. Hi Y - Thanks for the reply, and I'm of the same about Paul. It's mostly in the Pauline epistles that the Lord Jesus teaches us "conformation in the image of Christ." God's blessings to your Family!