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Word-Sword

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  1. Never Both!

    When Scripture admonishes the believer concerning the lifestyle of a Christian, the intention is to reveal what can identify one who is reborn. It’s not like the admonitions are as though one who is reborn and indwelt by God’s Spirit would ever desire to “live after the flesh,” considering this is exactly what God guards against in those who His (Phil 2:13), but it’s to reveal the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom 8:19). Jesus spoke and demonstrated what redemption meant and of what was to be expected from one who is redeemed so that it could be known of what it was to be a Christian. After the Lord’s ascension the Apostles were inspired by God’s Spirit to know and wright of what the Christian life involves, and from then on they and others would know what lifestyle is expected from one who is born-again. Thus, all through the time the Bible was being written, Christians were beginning to learn how the Spirit was applying God’s Word to their lives. For example Romans 8 contrasts the life of a believer and an unbeliever, neither from which can come both a lifestyle of evil and good. The Lord Jesus declared that nobody can be good and evil simultaneously (Mat 7:16-20). James hyperbolically wrote, “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter . . . so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh” (Jam 3:11, 12). Romans 8 is probably the best description of this principle: Verses 1, 4 refer to those “who walk after the flesh” and those “who walk after the Spirit”; neither can do both. Verse 5 states that those who “are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit”; again, it’s only one or the other. Verse 6 shows you are either “carnally minded” or “spiritually minded”; the believer cannot be carnally minded because it would involve “death” (“second death,” e.g. “lake of fire”). Verse 7 states that “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” This is not to be confused with being “carnal.” Paul in 1Cor 3:1 stated that there were those who were in Christ, but were still carnal and at the maturity level of spiritual “babes” (v 1), who were just learning. Verse 9 states that Christians “are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit,” thus—nobody can do both! It may at times seem that way but it’s just the trial-and-error learning period that gives a temporary appearance as so. Therefore it’s just a matter of time until maturity manifests itself via the new life of the Lord Jesus which is within the saint (Col 4:3).
  2. Heart Discipline

    Believers are “heirs of God” via “being joint-heirs with Christ,” which engenders a tailor-fit life by God for us to “suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together” (Rom 8:17). Christian, be comforted to know that each and every difficulty, regardless of how seemingly small or excessive, they are all controlled by our loving Father to the maturity level of the believer for the lesson at hand. We always receive from Him the right understanding in accordance with those trials that relate to our timely lessons. No sorrow or joy enters the life of the saint that God has not foreknown, preapproved and prearranged, and all for the continued progression in the maturity to “the image of His Son” (Rom 8:29); and not only has our suffering been prearranged but He also has prepared us to “endure” it (1Cor 10:13; Jam 5:11). He knows how we are going to take each lesson and therefore, always with utmost care, adjusts the elements needed to benefit us the most at the time. Heart Discipline Scripture is a book for life; and as life is full of affliction, so the Word of God abounds with counsel and comfort for the afflicted. For to view and to bear affliction aright is not easy and it is impossible without God’s Word and Spirit, for we are inclined either to despise the chastening of the Lord, or to faint under it. We try to bear trials in pride, on our own strength, without recognizing that they are sent by our Father to humble us, to lead us to self-examination and repentance, to deepen our sense of dependence upon our Father, to fix our thoughts and desires more on heavenly things. The world generally endeavors, in time of sorrow or trial, to get over it; that is, to feel it as little as possible. Our Father does not mean us to get over it, but to feel chastisement and in and through it to be drawn nearer to Himself. The spirit of Stoicism (endure without complaint—NC) is far removed from the spirit of God’s children. They are sensitive; they feel the displeasure of their Father; they stand upon the watchtower and ask, ‘Show me wherefore Thou contendest with me.’ The Christian does not harden his heart against sorrow and bereavement. He does not look upon suffering as an iron necessity, to be borne with an iron and impassive calmness; it is sent of the Father. There is the other danger of sinking into despondency. We think we cannot endure it. Darkness seems to swallow us up. Hard thoughts rise within us and our hearts fail us. The voice of thanksgiving and hope seems hushed forever. Now knowing from the Word of God and our own experience that such is the tendency of our hearts, either in undue elation to despise the Father’s chastening, or in undue depression to faint, let us pray for ourselves, and for all the afflicted, that we may not lose the benefit of the precious, though sad gift of chastisement, that we may humble ourselves under that mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt us in due time. Chastisement is sent by fatherly love. In heaven, no chastisement is needed; in hell, no chastisement is possible; earth is the scene, and the children of God the subjects of this blessed child-training. God is our Father, and therefore He chastens us. The Lord Jesus is our loving and faithful Savior, and therefore He rebukes us. The Holy Spirit , although it is His to comfort and sustain the believer, reveals unto us first, with piercing conviction, the sins and failings which are to be judged and given up. Chastisement has reference not, merely to sins, but the Father’s object is to conform us to the image of His Son. God has one Son, without sin, but not without sorrow. The Father has chosen the saints and appointed the sufferings of the saints that they may win Christ. That they may be made like unto Him. That they may hereafter be glorified together with Him. We see the gentlest, the most heavenly-minded Christians tried. They themselves are the first to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, and to acknowledge that the Father is trying and refining them to condemn sin in the flesh, to honor the Spirit. This chastening is severe. He scourageth every son. Even an Apostle beseeches the Lord three times to remove it. There, where we are most sensitive, the Father touches us. The thorn in the flesh is something which we fancy we cannot bear if it were to remain life-long. We have emerged as it were out of a dark tunnel, and fancy that the rest of our journey will be amid sunlit fields. We have achieved steep and rugged ascents, and imagine the period of great and exhausting exertion is over. But Abraham was above an hundred years old when his faith was severely tested. The trial, deepest and sorest, seems to leave us for a while and yet it returns again. For the Father’s love remains, and he scourageth every son whom He receiveth. If the Apostle Paul stood in danger of spiritual pride and self-trust (2Cor 12:7), and needed his perpetual scourging to cling to the Lord Jesus’ grace, which is all-sufficient, oh, let us remember that in each of us there is the same flesh which needs painful crucifixion. Although the Christian anoints his head and washes his face, he is always fasting; the will has been broken by the Father, by wounding or bereaving us in our most tender point; the flesh is being constantly crucified. God is our Father, this present life is only a school, a period of childhood and minority; discipline and chastisement are the tokens of the Father’s unchanging love and constant watchfulness. Childhood is both solemn and peaceful. We look back on it with reverence and affection. For in childhood everything has the character of education; it is spiritual, and for the sake of the real inner man and his future. Parents and teachers are constantly directing and rebuking; the whole life is under rule, restraint and guidance, but the only and constant object is the child himself, his good, his character, his future. The only motive is love. There is more reality in a child’s life than in our subsequent life; the whole day, with its lessons and recreations, is devoted to the true and real interests of the child. Hence, when we look back on it, we say “How happy we were!” Not that we forger the constant troubles, sorrows, cares and fears which children have; but we feel that then, everyone connected with us loved us and sought our welfare; that we were the object, not the means to the end, but the end itself. Now, as childhood is to the rest of our earthly life, so is the whole of our earthly life to the future heavenly one. Let us cultivate then the spirit of childhood. Let us think it natural that we are daily rebuked and chastened, that our thoughts, words and actions need constant correction and alteration; let us receive this with the docility and meekness of children, and with the trustful and sweet assurance that love breathes in all our chastening, that we are in the most tender and fatherly hands. God’s only object is our blessedness, and this is our blessedness, to be like the Lord Jesus, the only begotten of the Father, the first-born from among many brethren. Chastisement is one of the instruments by which the Father prunes the fruit-bearing branches. By affliction and the inward crucifixion we learn to seek our true life, treasure, strength and joy. Not in earthly affections, possessions, pursuits and attainments, however good and noble, but in Him who is at the right hand of the Father in glory. - A Saphir (26 September 1831 – 4 April 1891) Excerpt from MJS devotional for April 11: “It is not so much a matter of our attainments or full conformity to Christ, but rather our progressive movement towards the final goal. Even if we were perfect in ourselves, that would not make us ministers, for ministry consists in the Spirit’s manifesting in our lives something more of Christ that was not there before, and then making it shine out for the blessing and transformation of others.” -H.F. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  3. Completely Conformed

    At rebirth believers are complete in salvation (we will never be more saved in our spirit than we are now), and in our spirit being we have been fully “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom 8:29) via being “partakers of His divine nature” (2Pet 1:4), which in my understanding exists via the “new nature”; which new nature (“new man”) is created by the Spirit and in Whose image is Christ (Rom 8:29; Col 3:10). Completely conformed in our spirit, but progressively conforming in our walk. The walk alters not the conformation but the comprehension of our conformation alters our walk! This of course does not design the intention that the creature (man) becomes divine, but only as it is written—taking our part in being recipients of the provisions from the divine nature and not becoming divine, i.e. being holy, righteous, justified and sanctified—but never “divine.” Being divine is reserved solely to the Trinity (Father, Son and Spirit), for possessing divinity requires never having had a beginning but has existed “from everlasting (eternity past) to everlasting” (eternity future). The longer believers live in this life, the more they manifest this completeness—by their walk, which is unceasingly progressive in learning and appropriation (applying). The sole relation which the walk of the believer has with salvation is that of “justifying,” which in this sense means to manifest or display, and this parallels “by works a man is justified” (Jam 2:25), e.g. works show (manifest or display) one has been made righteous. The other sense of “justify” is that which only the Lord Jesus effects (produces—Rom 3:24; 5:9; 8:30; 1Cor 6:11; Tit 3:7), which believers can only manifest but never produce (same as the branch only “bears” - Jhn 15:8, for only the vine produces). The manor of our walk will always be commensurate with the level at which is our understanding concerning our faith in Christ’s expiation, and of our comprehension concerning the completeness of our Father’s acceptance in Him! Therefore, everyone born-again has been perfected in their spirit being, which will be fully manifested at the “Resurrection of the just” (Luk 14:14), due to the absence of the corruptible body and the sinful nature (“old man”). All that remains for believers here is to continue to mature in our “walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:25), which God uses to glorify Himself and His Son, via strengthening the saved and drawing the lost!
  4. Atonement—Reconciliation

    Though atonement entails all that is provided for forgiveness, are we traversing onward from there (Heb 6:1), or are we yet at the foot of the Cross, with Christ yet there upon it? If we lack the fullness of understanding our “reconciliation” (Rom 5:11; 2Co 5:18, 19; Heb 2:17), we will lack sufficient appropriation of “atonement” in our conscience. For those who know they have arrived at the place of atonement never needs to revisit there again but only in memory (Luk 22:19, 20; 1Co 11:23-26). Obedience can never effect atonement, for only atonement is that which effects “forgiveness,” and forgiveness procures reconciliation. Our faith is in atonement, shown by our walk of obedience, and it is reconciliation wherein eternal fellowship dwells! Atonement—Reconciliation It is essential to understand the scriptural meaning of these two words: Atonement and Reconciliation. Every believer has, in some measure, apprehended the meaning of atonement, but very few, as far as I know, have entered in the light and fullness of reconciliation. All through the OT we see that the man of faith was sheltered by the blood of atonement (i.e. Num 15:25); but it wasn’t until Christ, who dealt with the man who offended (“old man”; sinful nature—NC) in bearing its judgement on the Cross, and in it glorified the Father where man had dishonored Him, so that He “was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father” (Rom 6:4), that reconciliation had fully come in. The word reconciliation is used in the OT incorrectly (translation related—NC), whereas the word “atonement” is never really used in the NT (Rom 5:11 should be “reconciliation”). Now many Christians never get beyond atonement. They have faith in the Blood of Christ, and are thus sheltered in the eye of God, and all the benefits of Christ’s work are secured to them hereafter, for that work has made their title sure to all the grace that has been secured by Him; but if they do not know reconciliation, they do not come out upon this earth in an entirely new way for Him. They may rejoice in their shelter, but like Israel in Egypt they are still morally there, and they do not see that the power of death and sin have been broken; they have not begun here on earth the heavenly journey across the wilderness to Christ in glory. Sheltered by the Blood you are safe eternally; but unless you know reconciliation there will be little growth and fruitfulness in your life for His glory. Now, reconciliation is based on the fact that the man who dishonored God is removed from His sight; but the Man who honored Him in bearing the judgment of death has been raised from among the dead to the Father’s right hand in glory. If you only know atonement, you do not get beyond Romans 3; but when you see the Lord Jesus risen from the dead, you have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom we also have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand” (Rom 5:2). This grace is summed up in verse 11: “We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation.” The scope of reconciliation is detailed very distinctly in 2Cor 5:14-17: “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh (e.g. we do not discern other’s person according to the sinful nature—NC); yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh (according to our sinful nature before being renewed—NC), yet now henceforth know we Him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Not a vestige remains before the eye of the Father of the one who has offended Him (concerning the believer—NC); but the One who has glorified Him fills the whole scene, and every believer in Him knows that the Father’s heart is toward them, as we see illustrated in the prodigal. The father runs and falls on his neck and kisses him—he is reconciled. And then as he enters into and enjoys his reconciliation, he begins to joy in the Father; he knows he is in Christ before Him, as a son God and joint-heir with Christ. There is not a cloud between him and his Father, and finally he learns that the Father loves him as He loves His blessed Son. - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional for March 28: “The Lord may see it needful, for the trial (development) of faith, to seem for a season not to regard our supplications; yet, if we patiently and believingly continue to wait upon Him, it will be manifest in His own time, and way, that we did not call upon Him in vain.” -G.M. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  5. True Fellowship

    As Scripture declares, we are to place our love to God above all others (Mat 10:37). There is the desirous love for God, and then there is the practical love for God—and our practical love for God is in accordance to our love for one another (1 Jhn 4:12, 20), esp. to those “who are of the household of faith,” which is “the household of God” (Gal 6:10; Eph 2:19). As God gives us to increase our desirous love for Him, may He also give us to increase our practical love to all others, thereby increasing our practical love for Him! True Fellowship Fellowship is, in its very highest expression, having one common object with the Father, and taking part in the same portion; and that object, that portion, is the Lord Jesus Christ—known and enjoyed through the Holy Spirit. This is fellowship with the Father. What a privilege! What a dignity! What unspeakable blessedness! To be allowed to have a common object and a common portion with the Father Himself! To delight in the One in whom He delights! There can be nothing higher, nothing better, and nothing more valuable than this. Not even in heaven itself shall we know aught beyond this. Our own condition will, thank God, be vastly different. We shall be done with our dying body, and be clothed with our body of glory. We shall be done with a sinful, sorrowful, distracting world, where all is directly opposed to our Father and to us, and we shall breathe the pure, invigorating atmosphere of that bright and blessed world of Eternity. For, in so far as our fellowship is real, it is now as it shall be then, “with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ”—“in the light,” and by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is much as to our fellowship with the Father. As regards our fellowship one with another, it is simply as we walk in the light, as we read, “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jhn 1:7). We can only have fellowship one with another as we walk in the immediate presence of our Father. There may be a vast amount of mere interpersonal relationship without one particle of divine fellowship (union without fellowship—NC). Alas! A great deal of what passes for Christian fellowship is nothing more than the merest religious gossip—the vapid, worthless, soul-withering chit-chat of the religious world, than which nothing can be more miserably unprofitable. True Christian fellowship can only be enjoyed in the light. It is when we are individually walking with the Father, in the power of personal fellowship, that we really have fellowship one with another, and this fellowship consists in real heart enjoyment of the Lord Jesus as our one Object, our common portion. It is not heartless traffic in certain favorite doctrines which we receive to hold in common, blessed as they may be. It is something quite different from all this. It is delighting in the Lord Jesus Christ, in common with all those who are walking in the light. It is attachment to Him, to His Person, to His Name, His Word, His cause and His people. It is joint consecration of heart and soul to that blessed One who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own Blood, and thereby brought us into the light of His Father’s presence, there to walk with Him and with one another. This, and nothing less, is Christian fellowship. - C H Mackintosh Excerpt from MJS devotional for March 22: “We want fellowship with the Lord Jesus in His peace and joy, and naturally fear and seek to avoid suffering. However, it is in the fellowship of His sufferings that we partake of His peace and joy.” http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  6. “Be Not Deceived”

    I believe some Christians think they have nearness to the Lord and spiritual rest who very little understand either the one or the other. It is quite possible for a soul to rest satisfied with a certain quietude, and to be in a certain degree devoted and devotional, who is not near the Lord in glory. It is quite possible for a believer to go on in great darkness with a good conscience, their good works and good reputation stand them in good stead, and they go on without exercise, save now and again they are distressed when thy have fallen below their own standard. The conscience is no criterion unless it is daily enlightened by the Word of God. The power and wonders of God never touch you like the “still small voice” of the Word. Your feet are washed by His words to your soul, and the soul that trembles at His Word is the one that is really near Him, walking in “the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom.” You will always find that there is more reverence and fear of the Lord in a soul that is walking near Him than in one who feels less the evil within and without, and therefore assumes to be happy and in a place of nearness and rest which in truth he is not.* Reverence and value for the Word of God is an external test as to whether one is walking close to Him. The Word is regarded not merely as a marvelous revelation, but in relation to himself individually. Not a word does he quote of it that does not send its ring to his soul of its quality and metal—if he is nigh to the Lord. There is also an internal test, if I may say so. If you tell me what your soul is occupied with I can tell you where you are, and I believe every person is often very well satisfied with himself for a good long prayer (don’t smile, we have hearts often deceitful); again for visiting a needy one; and again, because we have acquitted ourselves to the approbation of others. A still more insidious condition is that of occupation with our own failures. How often does one think of his state because he has raked up its evil (and even that is only the kind he feels most)! True, most true, you must see the evil when entering into the light; but you cannot enjoy the Lord until the clouds have been removed by His Word declaring His grace to the owning soul. I have mentioned what would prove that the soul was not near the Lord. I must just add that the one great expressive mark that a soul is nigh the Lord is that he is receiving light and instruction from Him. You may find Christians very good and proper who are really thinking more of themselves than of the Lord Jesus, who is their Life, exacting love and consideration instead of truly being in the fear of the Lord laboring to confer it. Whenever a soul makes itself the object, the Lord is distant from it. - J B Stoney Poster’s Opinion: * “which in truth he is not”: Not that there isn’t a desire for nearness, but that nearness to the Lord cannot be well known until the awareness of the sinful nature in us is sufficiently realized. I believe the more aware the saints are of the ongoing presence and the decadent levels of the “old man” within, the more we will understand the holiness of God; and the more we will come to understand our forgiveness in the dependence on Christ’s expiation—and the “acceptance” of our Father (Eph 1:6). Excerpt from MJS devotional for March 14: “The true value of anything is known only when it is wanted. For this reason bright days must be succeeded by dark ones. In the dreary and desolate hour to nature, we begin to know the value of the truth communicated to us in the bright day. The learning is at one time, and the proving at another. In fact, we ought to be prepared for the dark hour; so that, though it be dark, there is something so blessed, so suited, pouring its comfort and sustenance on our souls, that, after all, the dark and dreary hour becomes a more really festive time to the heart, because of the virtues of the truth now made known, than the time of its reception, which was so happy and exhilarating.” -J.B.S. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  7. Here and There

    Nowhere does the patience and longsuffering of God appear greater than in His dealings with Israel in the wilderness. Nothing like it had ever been seen before. The antediluvian world, the cities of the plain, and Egypt bore witness to the judgment of God; the wilderness to His mercy. Why is this? Because those who went through it were sprinkled with blood before they entered it. Mercy, even though the people put themselves under law, thus became a necessary feature in God’s righteous dealing. Yet this is not the deeper thing. The Father would display the Lord Jesus; and the various victims offered upon the altar, the incense upon the golden altar in the holy place, the various duties and functions of Aaron, all declare Him and are for the instruction of the Church. The New Testament alone unfolds their meaning; a Book which Israel never had, but which is laid open to the Church. Nevertheless we do not find all we need in the wilderness; for the saints of the Church are not only contemplated as pilgrims passing through a wilderness, but as dwellers in a land, i.e., blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. Not yet heaven, still on earth, in the body, in the midst of enemies but warring a good warfare with blessed victory. So when Israel enters the land, a new scene altogether different from the wilderness is presented for our learning; where new energies are called forth to meet different trials and testings, as seen in the conflicts of Israel under the leadership of Joshua with the inhabitants of the land. How different too the character of the failure and sins in the wilderness to those in the land which are recorded in the Book of Joshua. It is the same flesh, and the sin in the land is rather vain confidence in man –in his strength as an Ai, in his wisdom as in the matter of the Gibeonites. Whatever the contrariety in appearance and working, whether the despondency that would make a king and return to Egypt, or the confidence apart from God that would meet the power and the wiles of the enemy, it is the same old man that never learns, never submits, never seeks the wisdom and grace of God. Christians as being in the wilderness, and seated in heavenly places, are liable to both these things. They may not be manifested in the same believer at the same time, but, looking at the whole Church these two aspects of the Body are always visible. How prone we are to doubt and fail in confidence in the Father, to repine at His dealings, to murmur because of sorrows and difficulties, to long for the things of the world, and then to rebel in heart. These are the experiences of the wilderness, and are far from being uncommon. Other dangers characterize the land. A believer who has in any way known the power of God in believing, or in service, may forget the source when victory came, and take glory to himself; forgetting that not his ram’s horn, but God made the walls to fall. God makes the believer feel his powerlessness, and puts him to shame (concerning self-dependence—NC). This is the experience of the land – not despairing of God, but confidence in the old man. Our true place is where we put the sentence of death upon ourselves (old man—NC), and have full confidence in the Father. The wilderness condition is not one endowed with power, as in the land (Canaan—NC). The great lessons in the wilderness were the varied aspects but complete work of Christ; and it was necessary that He should, thus be set forth that when they – Israel – possessed the land, they might see how their blessings all centered in Him. The nation has not yet learned it, nor can they till the new heart is given them (Ezek. 36:26). It was absolutely necessary that we should have all these details that we might learn how to judge and deal with our old man. And when grace has taught us that the Lord Jesus, made in the likeness of sinful flesh, died bearing its full judgment, and that we in Him have died unto sin, then do we as believers receive strength to maintain conflict with the world. It is vain to attempt battle with the enemy without, before the enemy within is judged (discerned and ever cautioned against—NC). The change in the typical presentation of Christ, i.e., from Moses to Joshua, corresponds to the growing of the believer when he first apprehends the truth of being in heavenly places in Christ. The former led Israel through the wilderness, and Christ is the power that leads us through the world; and while believers look to Him, there may be awareness of the Holy Spirit’s enablement and power. Blessed it is, when, not realizing power over the old man, we are able, burdened and sorrowing, to turn to Him. But to be delivered from the burden, to rise above the sorrow is something more, and this is when we know Him not only as the Captain of our salvation – our Joshua – but also as our High Priest in heaven, and the Holy Spirit sent down as the connecting link between the Head in heaven and His members on earth. The Spirit leads us through the Priesthood to look to Him as seated at the right hand of the Father. So that He is with us here, and in heaven; and Priesthood connects these two, so that we have direct and immediate access to the Father. Joshua has to stand before Eleazer the priest who shall enquire of Jehovah for him. It is the Lord Jesus by the Spirit leading us to approach Him as our High Priest above, and to God, through Him revealed as our Father. “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:18). We must be in the land to know this fully. But to be in the land – seated in Him in the heavenlies, does not take us out of the wilderness as to the body. On the other hand, only those who by grace know their position in the Lord Jesus can bear without murmuring the trials of the wilderness. And thus it is that the believer as to circumstances, is yet in the wilderness; and as to his standing, in the heavenly places, with and in the ascended and glorified Lord Jesus Christ. A riddle to the world, a divine reality for us. The people were numbered before Joshua were appointed. How the numbering of the people, and the record of the name of each family, and the allotted inheritance for each, prove the care and love of God entering – so to speak – into the details of their life so that place and quality of the possessions are appointed by Him. There was due preparation made, the order of their march was determined. It was God’s army going to take the promised inheritance; the rank and file, as well as each officer, knew their position, and the march did not begin until all was ready. There is the same loving care watching over us, not such order as the world may see, not to such possessions as the world may take away. Our possessions are heavenly. But neither are we left as orphans now; all that we have now is appointed by our Father’s wisdom and goodness (Rom. 8:28). To most of His children now in this world, it is poverty and suffering; but the best is to them. This challenges our faith. Is suffering with its varied aspects the best for us? Ought we to doubt it, seeing that, having given us His Son, the Father will with Him surely give us all things” (Rom. 8:32)? Our dwelling place, our city is one made without hands eternal in the heavenlies. Oh, for more confidence in the supreme love of our heavenly Father! – R. Beacon MJS devotional for March 4: “God now commands each of us to reckon ourselves as having died with Christ to sin—and therefore as now dead unto sin; and as having risen with Christ, and therefore now alive to God (Rom. 6:11). Now it is always on the basis of what God has done (never in man but in Christ alone—NC) that He asks us to reckon, to appropriate. God makes the facts and tells us to take the attitude that befits these facts; and when we obey, He increasingly works our experiential victory in and through us.” -W.R.N. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  8. For Him and With Him

    As David’s men were withdrawn from all connections with Saul’s system by virtue of their association with him, so all those who are led by the Spirit to know their oneness with the rejected Lord Jesus, must feel themselves dissociated from present things here, by reason of that blessed oneness with Him. Hence, if you ask a heavenly man why he does not mix himself up with the plans and pursuits of this age, his reply will be, “Because the Lord Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, and I am identified with Him.” He has been cast out by this world and I take my place with Him, apart therefore from its objects and pursuits. All who understand the true nature of the heavenly calling will walk in separation from the world; but those who do not, will just take their portion here and live as others. Many, alas, are satisfied with the mere knowledge of the forgiveness of sins, and never think of going further. They have passed through the Red Sea, it may be, but manifest no desire to cross the Jordon, and eat the mature corn of their heavenly position. Just as it was in the day of David’s rejection many, though Israelites, did not cast their lot in rejection with him. It was one thing to be an Israelite. It was another thing to be with David in the hold. Even Jonathan was not there, he still adhered to the old system of things. Though loving David as his own soul he lived and died in companionship with Saul. True, he ventured to speak for David, and sought his company when he could. He had stripped himself to clothe David; yet he did not cast in his lot with him. Consequently, when the names and deeds of David’s worthies are heralded by the Holy Spirit (Heb 11:32), we look in vain for the name of the affectionate Jonathan; when the devoted companions of David’s exile were mustered round his throne in the sunshine of his royal countenance, poor Jonathan was mingled with the dust, having ingloriously fallen on mount Gilboa by the hands of the uncircumcised Philistines! Oh that all who profess to love the Lord Jesus in sincerity and truth may seek a more decided identification with Him in this time of His rejection! The citizens have sent a message after Him, saying, “We will not have this man to reign over us”; and shall we go and associate ourselves with these to forward their Christ-rejecting plans? God forbid! May our hearts be with Him where He is. May we know the hallowed fellowship of the cave of Adullam, where the Prophet, Priest and King are to be found, embodied in the beloved Person of Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own Blood. Oh that the Holy Spirit may kindle within us a flame of ardent love to the very Person of the Lord Jesus Christ—may He unfold to our souls more of the divine excellencies of His Person, that we may know Him to be the fairest among ten thousands, and altogether lovely, and be able to say with a true worthy, “Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may win Christ” (Phil 3:8). - C H Mackintosh MJS devotional for Feb. 21: “When the standard of the Christian life is low, the responsibility for growth is placed upon the believer. But when it is known that God’s standard for us is His Son, all expectation of maturity must be placed in Him—”for it is God which worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).” http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  9. True Consecration

    Hi MM, and thanks for your involved reply! Amen, we are completely set apart by God from all that is enmity with Him, and even though the closest one is within (old man), He never again regards us after this sinful nature (Rom 8:9).
  10. True Consecration

    Though the word “sanctification” has been often described as some type of process or progression, Scripture always presents it in its completed sense at the time of rebirth (same for righteousness and justification). Its general meaning is the same for holy and “consecration” (OT term), of which all three are perpetual one-time occurrences included with salvation, e.g. redemption. The general thought of consecration in the OT was to be set apart for God by your doing. If consecration was instructed in the present dispensation it would only involve the work of the Spirit, for all things godly are by the Spirit—in the life of Christ. 1 John 4:17 (“as He is”) is in reference to the spiritual position of believers in the above attributes of the Lord Jesus; 1 John 3:2 (“we shall be like Him”) is in reference to the physical condition of believers at His “appearing” (2Tim 4:1; Rom 8:23), along with of course the final absence of that which impedes perfect fellowship with God—the sinful human nature! The Son’s present position before the Father is also our present position (soon our present condition). I say “present” because our eternal presence with Them is as certain as though we are in Their presence now. NC True Consecration The Lord Jesus is in glory, and I am united to Him in spirit in all His beauty and perfection. I am also left in this world to be for Him down here. The same One who has gone up there is the same One who is down here in His saints (via the Spirit of course and is how all those reborn are in one another—NC). Up there I am in all His perfection in the Holiest, sustained there in all the sweet savor of the One whom the Father has taken up. This we surely all know, otherwise we do not have the sense of our acceptance with the Father. So it says, “As He is,” not as He was. “As He is, so are we.” It does not say that we shall be as He is, but that we are at this moment. It is perfectly true that I shall be like Him in the glory, but that is not what this passage says. It is, “As He is, so are we, in this world”—not in heaven. The thought is that we cannot be placed in any higher position; and any place except that one up there would neither be commensurate with the work He has wrought, nor satisfy the heart of the Father for me. My apprehension of the Lord Jesus in glory at the right hand of the Father determines my expression of Him down here. See how it comes out in Paul. He says that he sees the Lord Jesus; that he has to do with Him where He is: “With open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image (via the “new nature” which is “after the image of Him that created him – Col 3:10—NC) from glory to glory”; and so he adds, “bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” In Romans 12 we read, “I beseech you therefor brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” People read this, and fancy that they are giving God something; but this is not the fact at all. In Romans 7 you find that you have a new life, a new nature, but you have also with it a very unpleasant guest, which ultimately causes you to cry out, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me?” I long to subdue the flesh, and who does this for me? Why, Christ. “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” I say to Him: I was a sufferer from this noxious guest, but now I have got deliverance; and as it is You who have done it, I present my body to You, which is the least I can do. I give You nothing but an empty house, and You may make the most of it. “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, hoy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable (not legal) service; and be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed.” It is not reformation, it is “transformation.” I find my deliverance in Christ, and now I would present my body to my Deliverer; but that body is only an empty vessel, one which He must fill Himself, and His filling is consecration. Hence consecration is not that I have given Him anything, for I have nothing to give. People talk about consecrating themselves, their talents, their property, and so on, and I know is a certain sense what they mean; but the fact really is, that I put aside everything in me which would hinder the expression of Christ flowing out of me, that the life of Jesus may be made manifest in my body. For this Paul prays in Ephesians 3, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts”: the true force of the word is domicile. That He may so dwell there that we “may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of our Father’s own favor—the full scope of blessing; “and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Christ is that fullness, having Him thus dwell in the heart is real consecration. - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional for Feb. 13: “The great secret of the Christian life is found in ceasing from self, in which the power of the Cross manifests itself in us.” – A M http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  11. At Home There — Strangers Here

    Thanks you Wayne for you comments! I agree, all is done in the Son, and concerning the believer doing wrong, God knows we do not do it deliberately anyway. This helps us to know He knows this!
  12. At Home There — Strangers Here

    Thank you too Willa for your reply!!
  13. It is a solemn thought that there is no place in heaven above or on the earth below that is not filled with the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, except indeed the one sad exclusion of the poor, wretched unbeliever’s heart. There is no place from Calvary to the throne of God that is not filled with the love and righteousness of the Father as manifested in the Son. If we always live up to the knowledge of this, what quiet and peace of heart should we enjoy! The very peace of God Himself would keep our hearts and minds; for we could get into no place or circumstance, no sorrow or suffering where we should not find the Lord Jesus. If He be between our hearts and the suffering, instead of the suffering being between our hearts and Himself, we shall find that place of suffering to be the best place on the face of the earth for us, as all suffering will then bring us nearer to Him. There is no middle place. The bodies of those beasts, when brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin are burned without the camp (Heb 13:11-13). You must take up the Cross outside if you have the heavenly place inside. There was a veil over God for Israel, bet we have liberty to enter into the Holiest of All by the Blood of Jesus. The veil is done away in Him. To us it is the throne and temple above, the Cross and the Lamb below. Those who are in heavenly association with the risen and glorified Lord Jesus must have His rejection here below. We are accepted within the veil, and all that is precious is there. The believer is brought to see sin as God sees it—is brought into the light as God is light, and being cleansed from guilt, enters the sanctuary through the rent veil. Such is our proper and only place, the earth being entirely shut out from us, excepting as we are pilgrims and strangers through this wilderness world. As just in proportion as we practically know the Cross down here, will be our enjoyment of fellowship with the Lord Jesus up there in the presence of the Father. Light fills up all the place between the Cross and the glory. There is no possible place that we can encounter that we shall not find the Lord Jesus there; for to simple, single-eyed faith there is no spot between the Cross and the glory, be it heaven or earth, that is not filled with the Lord Jesus (Eph 4). - Unknown Excerpt from MJS devotional for Feb. 5: “We cannot enjoy acceptance but in the way in which it was acquired or effected for us, and if we are in the acceptance we know that no improvement of the flesh could commend us to God, and that we cannot be before Him but in Christ. But if we are in any degree dark as to the crucifixion of the old man, we are not in acceptance experientially, we are not in the daily benefit of it, and our liberty by the Spirit can never go beyond our conscious acceptance.” -J.B.S. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  14. It’s All In The Desire

    Hi J1, and thanks for your reply! Amen, love is always the greatest of all godly attributes (1Co 13:13).
  15. It’s All In The Desire

    Thanks for the humor and God bless! (lol)
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