Word-Sword

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  1. 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
  2. “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/
  3. 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!
  4. Just a little FYI, nearly all the materials I’ve been posting in the last 15 years are from three books compiled by Miles J Stanford entitled “Position Papers,” which consist of his selections from various Christian writers (circa 1700’s—1800’s) who shared their beliefs of the Scriptures concerning spiritual growth of faith in God. Thank you Brother Miles (now with the Lord) and see you later! Sovereign Solicitude The Bible plainly asserts that the influence of God upon the unsaved must be exercised if ever they are to turn to Him in saving faith. Christ declared, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which has sent Me draws him” (Jhn 6:44). The will of the creature is a creation of God and in relation to it He sustains no timidity nor uncertainty. He made the creature’s will as an instrument by which He might accomplish His sovereign purpose and it is inconceivable that it should ever thwart His purpose. When exercising his will, man is conscious only of his freedom of action. He determines his course by circumstances, but God is the author of circumstances. Man is impelled by emotions, but God is able to originate and to control every human emotion. Man prides himself that he is governed by experienced judgment, but God is able to foster each and every thought or determination of the human mind. God will mold and direct in all secondary causes until His own eternal purpose is realized. How else could He fulfill His covenants which commit Him to the control of the actions and destinies of men to the end of time and into eternity? His election is sure; for whom He predestinates, them—not more or less—He calls; and whom He calls, them—not more or less—He justifies; and whom He justifies, them—not more or less—He glorifies. When predestinating, He assumes the responsibility of creating, calling, saving and completing to His own purpose. In calling He moves those to believe to the saving of their souls, whom He has chosen. In justifying He provides a substitutionary, efficacious Savior by whose death and resurrection He is legally able to place the chief of sinners in as perfect a relation to Himself as that of His own Son. In glorifying He perfects all that infinite love has designed. The precise number that will be glorified will be the precise number and the same individuals—not more or less—that He predestinated. Each one will have believed, have been saved, have been perfected and presented like Christ in glory. Men enter consciously into this great undertaking only at the point of believing, or responding to the efficacious call. Naturally, it seems to them that they, acting in freedom within the restricted sphere of their consciousness, determine everything. Their action is vital, for no link in God’s chain can be lacking. The point where misunderstanding arises is with reference to the fact that, so far as their cognizance serves them, they are certain that they act freely; yet every truly regenerated person will testify that he would not have turned to God apart from that all-important divine drawing of his heart. Divine election is absolute. If this seems to some to be taking things out of the hands of men and committing them into the hands of God, it will at least be conceded that, when thus committed to God, things are in better hands and this, after all, is God’s own universe in which He has sovereign right to do after the dictates of His own blessed will. It will also be conceded that the sphere of human action, so far as it can mean anything in the sphere of human consciousness, is left in perfect freedom of action. It should be deemed no crime on the part of God that He discloses to His own elect that His sovereign power and purpose are working through and over all human forces and secondary causes. - L S Chafer Excerpt from MJS daily devotional for April 26: “It is one thing to believe on the Lord Jesus, to be born again, to be saved. That is a glorious thing as a beginning, but it alone will not take you right through all you have to meet; and if you are really in the Lord’s hands He will see to it that by virtue of need you are drawn into knowing more and more of His Son. It is the normal course of a true, Holy Spirit-governed Christian life that, in order to get through, an increase of Christ, a growing discovery of Christ, is necessary.” -T. A-S.http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  5. This is not related to this article and is for those who may not know, but I thought it significant enough to mention a quick and easy way to create a desktop shortcut of any site you’re presently on. First, on the page you’re on, you restore down with the top right double box symbol which is next to the minimize negative symbol. Then left click anywhere at the top of the page and drag down a little to access the desktop. Then left click and drag the symbol (could be a lock or circled i) in the far left address bar anywhere to the open desktop and release, and of course you can move it to where you desire it to be on your desktop from there. Let me know if you have any questions. Conformation As believers the Father has predetermined us (or, “marked us out beforehand”) to be conformed to the image of His Son. In His eternal purpose God ever had it before Him that there should be for His pleasure a vast host of human beings, who should be in a position of subordination to Himself; which is right, for He must ever be supreme, but who should nevertheless enjoy the most wonderful blessedness and glory. They were to be in the most intimate relationship with God which is possible to the creature, in nature and character fully answering to God Himself, knowing and understanding Him, and responding to Him in such a way as to give satisfaction to His heart, while themselves finding satisfaction and fulfillment in Him. When God brought creation into being, He did not see fit to introduce at once the kind of manhood that His all-wise purpose had in view. The order of manhood introduced in Adam became totally corrupted by sin, and was proved altogether incapable of ever answering to the desires of the heart of the Father. But when the fullness of time was come, the Savior emerged, the Man of God’s pleasure. One of the blessed Persons of the Godhead, without ceasing to be God, stepped down into manhood, bringing with Him all the moral excellences that were ever His as God. Nothing that He was intrinsically or morally was left behind, but all was brought into the subject place of manhood, a position taken up by Him in love in order that by suffering and death He might give full effect to the blessed and glorious thoughts of the Father. No wonder that upon such a Man the heavens opened, and that Voice from the glory proclaimed, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I have found My delight.” What grace that we, who were of Adam’s fallen and sinful race, should have been marked out from eternity to be conformed to the image of this glorious Person; to be among the many brethren of whom He is the Firstborn! Not, of course, that we can ever have part in Deity; but to be made (“partakers of His nature which is divine” via the “new nature”—NC) like the Lord Jesus in all the moral perfection of His Manhood. John tells us that we will to be like Him even in a physical way (1 Jhn 3:2), but this bodily conformity is in order that there should be an adequately glorious “house” (2 Cor 5:1-5) to enshrine what we shall be inwardly as conformed to Him in a moral sense. He has now a body which corresponds with what He is in the glorious state of His Manhood, and we are to be brought into conformity with Him in that perfection, so that we shall be suited to inhabit a body of glory, “like unto His glorious body” (Phil 3:21). Over against such thoughts as these, we have the injunction of Romans 12:2: “Be not conformed to this world.” It is the world that hated the Lord Jesus, and still does, the world that crucified Him. He came into it in all the grace of His Person, His very presence in it being a testimony of divine love; yet He was the despised and rejected One. Despite the world’s refusal, He continued unswervingly in His pathway of love, and gave Himself for the sins of the whole world: yet still His name is hated and despised. Are we, then, who in infinite grace have been called to be conformed to the image of that lovely One, seeking to be conformed in any way to such a world as this? Do we seek to appear as if we belonged to the world that murdered the Prince of Life? Are we admiring and assimilating or even approximating to its ways, it fashions, its outlook, it spirit? Or are we walking here as pilgrims and strangers, as those who desire to be conformed to the Son of God? “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Believers, having the indwelling Holy Spirit, possess what the Scripture calls the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16). This is a mind that recoils from the world and from all that marks it; a mind which delights in the Father, and what is according to Him, and which delights to please Him, even as the Lord Jesus delighted to please Him. As we depend upon the Spirit, and give heed to the desires and impulses that spring from Him, we shall be transformed according to the Lord Jesus. Thus instead of using our bodies to affect our own wills, we shall “present them a living sacrifice to the Father, holy and acceptable in His sight,” and as doing we shall prove how good and acceptable and perfect is His will. What a delight it is to the Father to have those who find their pleasure in fellowshipping with Him and serving Him; conformed to Him who under the greatest possible pressure could say, “Abba, Father . . . not what I will, but what Thou wilt” (Mar 14:36). In Philippians we have the language of one who was truly transformed by the renewing of his mind. Once his mind was bent upon the extermination of the name of the Lord Jesus, but now his whole aim and object is to “gain Christ.” All that once seemed to him glorious he now esteems to be but filth, on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. We see him pressing on with dauntless spiritual energy to apprehend that for which he had been apprehended of Christ Jesus (Phil 3:12); that he might arrive at the resurrection from the dead; that he might reach the prize of the calling on high of God in Christ Jesus: and this necessarily embraces the principle of full conformity to the image of God’s Son. It is as having passed through death that the risen Lord Jesus is the goal and prize of the believer. We are to be with Him, where He is, and like Him as He is; and it is by the way of suffering and death that He has reached that position of glory in which we now see Him, the way by which He must needs go if ever we were to be with Him, and Paul would follow in the way that He has gone. His death was very truly a death of shame and loss. The Messiah was cut off, and had nothing (Dan 9:26). He was bereft of all that attached to Him as a Man here, even of life itself, and all man’s scorn and hatred found expression in the particular form of death which man demanded for Him—the death of the ignominious Cross. Furthermore, the crucified Christ was the expression of God’s holy judgment of man according to the flesh. Paul would accept the full bearing of all this. He would relinquish all that attached to himself as a man here, repudiating all that he was according to the flesh, and fully accepting the reproach and shame that the Cross of Calvary expresses: the scandal of the Cross (Gal 5:11). It is beautiful to see how Paul would bring us into the pathway with himself. He enjoins us: “Be ye imitators all together of me, brethren”; let us be thus minded and let us walk in the same steps. May we all be helped to accept the challenge, and to be able to say with Paul, “Forgetting the things behind, and stretching out to the things before, I pursue, looking towards the goal, the prize of the calling on high of God in Christ Jesus.” - W J Pearce Excerpt from MJS devotional for April 20: “It is well to remember that the deepest and truest spiritual qualities are not learnt or established in us by our happy or enjoyable times, but in the difficult ones! There is nothing wrong in times of great joy and spiritual blessing; in fact we long for more of them, and look back perhaps to some days of much blessing in our lives or in the work of the Lord; but in the securing of Christ in greater measure in our lives, we find that it is by the things which we suffer that we learn most. So let us give thanks for the joyful days, and learn all that the Lord intends by the days of waiting and difficulty.” -C.J.B.H.http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  6. It has been inspiringly said that “there was never a time when believers were not on the Father’s mind”! In their spirit and soul believers have been “raised with Christ” (Col 3:1). This is the present reality in experiencing part of the “Resurrection,” for we are in the death and resurrection of His Son in our spirit, by which He “has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet 1:3). This part of His resurrection presently provides rebirth and “quickens” (Eph 2:8, 1; Col 2:13) our soul and spirt unto the union of a “new man,” e.g. a new nature which “is created in righteousness and true holiness,” and “is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him” (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10). The final experience of His resurrection will be when we are raised in a new body “when He shall appear” (1 Jhn 3:2), in which our present body which remains (Rom 8:11) will be “changed” (1 Cor 15:51, 52; 1 Thes 4:16, 17). In our present condition we have a “new man” coexisting with our “old man” within a “corruptible” body. In our final condition we will have the same new man—but in an “incorruptible” body (1 Cor 15:53), and the old man will be eternally absent! No sinful nature, no sin. No sin, no interruption of love and peace with our God the Father and with our Lord the Son—all through Their blessed Spirit (Jhn 14:16; Rev 22:17), via the new nature (Eph 3:16). As this love and peace shall be then, so can it be now—in our conscience—in knowing that there’s no sin that God has not already taken into account which has not already been addressed “by the blood of Christ” (Eph 2:13). We are not walking in the faith of Christ’s expiation for our sinful nature when we do not realize our permanent separation from the “old man.” Though it is in us, we are not in it (Rom 8:9), thus God does not regard us after it! When there is that concept or feeling of guilt, there is not that walk (understanding) of faith in His reparation for us from sin! Nevertheless, be encouraged, for this guiltless condition in the Lord Jesus does not come from our faith but from His Cross-work. The walk of our faith here, and everywhere, is presently for the sake of our conscience concerning “irrevocable” (Rom 11:29) peace with God. It is “through faith,” “by” which the “grace” of salvation is received (Eph 2:8), thus it must be the same concerning all the promises of God if we are to “walk in the Spirit,” not just “live in the Spirit” (Gal 5:25). Though believers live in a guiltless position they cannot walk in it if they do not know it! We will not be any more redeemed or saved in our spirit and soul in eternity than we are now, but we will be void of the old man, thus the “Resurrection” for which we await has only to do with the new body, and the power of “death” will be no more, for it shall be “cast into the Lake of Fire” (Rev 20:14). Death which came by the commission of sin (Gen 2:17) will be eternally banished by the “remission” of sin (Heb 10:18), by which we are in our spirit “perfected forever” (Heb 10:14)! Let us contemplate more on what God thinks of us than on what we think of ourselves, in order that we may be most readily prepared to receive, apply and share in the “comfort of the scriptures” (Rom 15:4). -NC
  7. It’s refreshing to realize that all we see in the Word concerning “life and godliness” is not just to know but that God makes them practical in our lives. Though our desire is for God, this is the same as that there must be that knowledge and understanding from God that as we “live in the Spirit,” He teaches us also to “walk it the Spirit” (Gal 5:25), which is progressively applied (appropriated) by all who are born again. - NC Admiration, or Appropriation? I believe we have admired the thoughts and counsels of God too much as simply His, as communications from Him, rather than as the revelation of Himself to us. We have seen them as beautiful pictures at which we were permitted to look, rather than as what we have to appropriate and adopt. The reason for this is that we have not realized our identification with the Lord Jesus when surveying these divine treasures. If I am in the Lord Jesus, I see and admire everything that is of Him, not as it were apart from myself; I admire it with all the consciousness that it is mine, because I am of Him and that I am to adopt and appropriate it by faith (appropriating by faith applies that which is already possessed: 2 Pet 1:3—NC). Hence everything which ministers to my godly taste announces to me what belongs to me as of the Lord Jesus and what I am to take possession of. The beautiful thing (i.e. godliness—NC) that I see is mine. What I admire I acquire; where my foot rests that is my possession now and forever. You may not rest satisfied with having the taste, however accurate; you must see that you acquire practically what you admire. It is yours if you see yourself in the Lord Jesus in that new order in which the Father in His grace has positioned you before Himself. But to appropriate it involves the refusal and renunciation of that old standing in which we were at a distance from the Father, and where we could never find it possible to appropriate anything godly, though glad to receive mercies from our Father’s hand. There cannot be appropriation unless the distance, and that which caused it, are consciously gone at the Cross (even though we are separate from sin in Christ, we must ever acknowledge it in our mind in order to utilize it in its reality—NC), because when they are gone we are consciously in Him, otherwise, and according to the Father’s mind, there cannot be appropriation or the sense of having the right to appropriate. You may admire truth like little children who are taken through a museum, but not allowed to touch anything, much less to take anything away. How different when we are introduced to the treasures that are in the Lord Jesus, as heirs, with the full assurance that they are ours. We can admire truth, but it is appropriating and adopting it that we really possess it in a practical way. You will say—how is one to begin? By seeking sedulously—breaking your heart over it—you appropriate what you admire. I have no doubt that many are disappointed, in that after hearing with delight and receiving the truth of God, they are yet not affected by it. The reason of this is, that they rest too much in the standing and have not gathered the first-fruits and put them into a basket; they have not occupied themselves increasingly with the glorified Lord Jesus, have not drawn nearer to Him where He is, and recognized Him as the only One who can make it true to them, and the only One who can keep them in it. - J B Stoney MJS April 6th devotional excerpt: ““I no longer attempt to produce that which will satisfy God from myself as originator. I know that even if I try I shall only fail. But I do seek to please God by faith in the activity of Another. The Son of God who indwells me by His Spirit is able and willing to carry out in me ‘those things that please Him’; and I count upon Him to do so. Consciously, day by day, I take the attitude that I trust Him to work the will of God in me, and in that attitude I go forward and serve Him. I do not trust myself. ‘I live by faith in the Son of God.’“ - A I K http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  8. It has been well said that “the unsaved need deliverance from the damnation of sin; and the saved need deliverance from the dominion of sin.” Also that, “the Blood procures pardon from sin; and the Cross procures power over sin.” The power over sin involves the restraint of “the old man” via remaining “crucified” (Rom 6:6). This disallows its “reign” and “dominion” (v 12, 14) over the saved, in that it cannot cause us to sin “willingly” (Heb 10:26). Also be it known that the act of “crucifying” is not carried out by the believer but has been established by the Lord’s crucifixion in us (Gal 2:20), which is progressively brought about in us by the Spirit. Thus, “they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh” (Gal 5:24) intends that the sinful nature of our being has been crucified by Christ, which will be progressively manifested in our acts and “conversations.” Same for the “mortifying of your members” (Col 3:5), in which believers have not the power to perform, but is only accomplished “through the Spirit” (Rom 8:13). -NC Death’s Deliverance How constant Israel’s desire for Egypt’s food! With every difficulty in the way, whenever their soul was discouraged, there was always coupled with it regret for leaving Egypt. This is the sure fruit of the flesh, for which no sacrifice nor ordinance has ever been given to meet its deep evil. Transgression, various defilements along the way, all provided for; blood for transgressions, ashes to be sprinkled with running water for the defiled. But nature, the flesh, the root of sin of all, has not yet been the object of any ordinance. The flesh has broken out now (speaking against God – Num 21:5) in its worst form. It is an evil that admits no remedy; it must be destroyed. Sprinkling with ashes of the red heifer, or even blood, does not meet the evil (though well we know that all God’s way of grace from first to last are founded upon the Blood of Christ). A pure thing may be defiled and then cleansed, but death is the only thing for the old man. Wash it as you may, it is still flesh, and must be put “off” in death. This old man cannot be improved, and may be covered to a certain extent by a decent exterior; but there it is, as vile as ever under the covering. To cover is man’s remedy for the evil he knows; it is the religion of the world in its best form. But the Father would not have His saints go through the world, as it were under false pretenses, but teaches us to count it dead, on the ground of our old man crucified with Christ; and, when we take His Word simply and truthfully, He supplies the needed enablement to live in accordance with the standing given to faith working experience in us. How suited to the truth is the manner of teaching! Sin, tainted nature, nature as it is now in man, is sin. There cannot be greater condemnation of man. Murmuring against God is but the complement of loathing His bread. In judgment the Israelites are bitten by fiery serpents and dying. Fitting symbol of the venom of the old serpent who instilled his poison into the heart and nature of Adam in the garden; which made him not a mere transgressor of a known command, but changed his whole being morally before God. Adam truly became another man. Death inevitably followed, and the whole world consequently bears its impress. “Sin entered into the world and death by sin.” The connection between sin and death has never been dissolved. If man be sin, how is death to be severed from the believer: Not the blood in the great Day of Atonement, nor the ashes of the heifer; for the one puts away the sins of the flesh, the other cleansed the pilgrim from defilement contracted by the way. But “the flesh”—the old man—remains unchanged, and the righteousness of God demands that flesh should die. How then is a believer saved? To meet this righteous necessity Christ was made to be sin and died, and thus becomes our deliverance from it and its power. “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The believer knows no other way of deliverance than death. It is surely by the death of Christ unto sin, but it must be morally as well as judicially accomplished. Sin and death are never severed. It is a wondrous way in which God maintains His Word, and instead of being mere judgment, it becomes one of our greatest blessings. But being God’s way, it must therefore be the way of faith to us. “Reckon yourselves to be dead unto sin” (our reckoning doesn’t make it so but provides for a conscience walk in it—NC). Look at Him made sin on the Cross, fully answering for sinful flesh (sinful flesh, e.g. not the body but the nature—NC); then in power of that look turn to the old man and with Job after he had seen God, say, “Wherefore I hate and abhor myself” (old self; old man; old sinful nature; that which is still in the first Adam opposing the believer—NC). As truly as death is the result of sin, so also is life eternal, life beyond the reach of death, and blessed effect of looking at the Lord Jesus Christ made sin for us. God’s judgement joined death to sin, His grace has joined life to the look of faith. The manner of Israel’s healing is the foreshadowing of this. Then it was simply to look at a serpent upon a pole. A look in itself had been nothing; but God now joined healing and life to it; therefore to look is everything. What a lesson of faith is here! All is referred to the power and grace of God of Him Who said, that every one that is bitten when he looked upon it shall live. Blessed testimony of the efficacy of faith and of Christ, Who lifted up like the brazen serpent, had said “that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Here is a type of Christ, not simply of blood, but of death. It is a question of sin is the flesh (the sinful nature—NC), not of sins by the activity of the flesh. Blood purges, purges the conscience, but purges us from our sins. The flesh, the old man, is never purged, but condemned. “God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom 8:3). This is not a process in the soul always going on; but it is made experientially true in our growth. The old man has been crucified with Christ (Rom 6). The body of sin is thus annulled. An immense fact for us, effected on the Cross. Only neither this nor any other blessing is known without faith. Realizing by faith that the flesh was condemned and put to death on the Cross, and practically putting on the new man, is both the privilege and the responsibility of the believer. Death to the flesh, not atonement by the blood, nor mere cleansing, is the lesson here. It is our identification with Christ on the Cross and proclaims a deeper truth than that typified on the great Day of Atonement (substitution). On that day we saw the Blood that washed away all our sins. It is propitiation. Here in the brazen serpent it is life through death. Christ in the likeness of sinful flesh, and on the Cross, made sin, and then dying under the judgment of God. That is, He takes our place, made sin for us, “that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” That righteousness which we are made is the standing we have in Him before the Father; is it not practically that which believers are when they judge their own flesh with the judgment of God? Condemning it root and branch? I am persuaded we shall never know the blessedness of becoming God’s righteousness in Him until we pass sentence of death upon our old man; for you cannot cleanse sin. Our souls are forgiven their sins; but that is another thing. Fallen nature is still flesh, and must be condemned to death. The flesh is never cleansed. The Lord Jesus has fully borne the judgment of the flesh. He was lifted up for that very purpose, that we, beholding the judgment of our old man resting upon Him, might be able to say that we died with Him (Gal 2:20). As the bitten Israelite looked upon the serpent of brass, and lived, so we look upon the Lord Jesus and in a new life live unto the Father. The question of sin is settled forever. Of course it is but a hint there: the full truth can only come out in the Lord Jesus dead and risen. - R Beacon Excerpt from MJS devotion for March 28: “I do not think that a petition that misses the mind of God will ever be answered (1 John 5:14). Personally, I feel the need of trusting Him to lead me in prayer as well as in other matters. I find it well to preface prayer not only by meditation but by the definite request that I may be directed into the channels of prayer to which the Holy Spirit is beckoning me (Rom. 8:26, 27). “When we once have the deep, calm assurance of His will in the matter, we put in our claim, just as a child before his father. A simple request and nothing more. No crying, no beseeching, no wrestling. No second asking, either.” -J.O.F. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  9. There are two dangers to which believers are exposed: one is stopping short of the position grace gives;* the others is, losing the abiding sense of it in the soul. Both involve what is important as to position and condition. The latter should be governed by the former, and both maintained in consistency and grateful thankfulness to the Father of all grace, from Whom all blessedness comes, and to Whom all the fruit of it should return. Alas, how little pure grace is known or understood with the love that gave rise to it, and the work of the Lord Jesus by which the grace of salvation has freely come. The grace that saves from death and judgment, with present forgiveness of sins, is much clouded with uncertainty; so that the fullness of grace in positioning us in Christ in heaven is rarely heard of, much less known and believed in as a present blessed reality. No wonder therefore, that the ground of an earthly people is accepted, and Jewish things imitated; as if what was, should still be in experience and practice rather than what is, since the Lord Jesus has come and is gone back into heaven. Eternal redemption, eternal life, present seated position in Him, in the abiding rest of a complete salvation, are nevertheless for today, since the Gospel has given by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven. Happy are those who receive in their simplicity these blessed realities, as beyond all question! It is well, for those who in any measure know what grace has freely and fully given in Christ, to be reminded of the responsibility such a position brings with it. Gentiles when under the profession of Christ, have become proud and boastful, indifferent to the true grace of God, yea, have turned it to fleshly purposes heavenly position may well give heed, lest they fall into the snare of practical indifference to the abiding sense of what grace should produce. If heavenly life calls for heavenly ways and fruit, so also such a position claims the corresponding answer in separation from all that which is a denial of it, bearing in mind that those positioned in Christ on high are created in Him unto good works. To avert the danger of falling short, either of the place grace gives, or of its abiding effects, no brighter example can be given to follow, that the Apostle Paul, to whom its fullness was made known, and as it was received so was it manifested to others. Grace abounded toward him to own himself the chief of sinners, the least of the Apostles and of all saints. “Not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” In motive and object Christ Himself governed him: a man in Christ his grand theme, in contrast the man in the flesh; and Christ in glory the One for Whom he has suffered the loss of all things, to gain Whom as His eternal portion would be his incomparable blessedness. Such was grace to him for salvation and position, as Christ Jesus was his Savior, object and boast. May that same grace so work in us by the blessed Spirit of God to beget in some little measure a like answer to the praise of Him, Who, though on high, yet went lower than all, in order to provide at all cost to Himself a position not only in Him in the heavenlies now, but to be with Him in His own blessed likeness forever and ever. Amen! - G Gardner Poster’s Opinion: * “stopping short of the position grace gives”: this involves incomplete understanding that the forgiveness of all sin encountered in a believer’s life is expiated in Christ, and that apart from this knowledge believers cannot walk “with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb 10:22). * “losing the abiding sense of it”: not having in the conscience the rest, security and encouragement which comes from understanding the permanency of grace. Even though this permanency is actual concerning all who are born again, a life of certainty in all the promises of God in Christ cannot be rested in apart from knowing this. * “the latter should be governed by the former”: knowing that the “position” of forgiveness in Christ is complete and permanent provides encouragement and consistency in the growth of our faith, regardless of circumstance (feelings, opposition, etc.). Excerpt from MJS devotional for March 20: “The wilderness wanderers were maintained by manna, but those in Canaan flourished on “the old corn of the land.” The carnal Christian exists on the milk of the Word, while the hungry-hearted believer feeds and matures on the meat of the Word.” http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  10. When God forgives He is forgiving the sinner but not the sin itself, for He instead always judges it. Thus the priority with mankind is fellowship with God through the application of redemption, without which there cannot even be union, let alone fellowship. How close can our fellowship presently be with the Father? As close as His fellowship is presently with the Son (Jhn 17:11, 21-23)! Surly nothing gladdens the heart of the Father more than fellowship with His Son, Spirit, angels and saints—now, and forever. God desires that our confidence in Him concerning guilt of sin is well understood, that when believers feel condemned this opposition never derives from Him, but from self (1 Jhn 3:20, 21), Satan (Rev 12:10) and society (Mat 5:11; 1 Pet 3:16). It would be required that our Father condemn His Son in order to condemn those who are in Him, for our acceptance with the Father is commensurate with His acceptance with the Son (Eph 1:6). Therefore there need be no single moment concerning guilt of sin allowed in our minds and hearts if our desires are to have permanent “confidence” and continuous fellowship with God, which is His greatest desire concerning us now and latter. The more we are given to understand the vileness of our nature, the more we are also given to understand the holiness of God, and in the presence of this all we are also given to know that the most important issue here is to know and understand the fullness concerning the forgiveness of our position in the Lord Jesus. NC Free For Fellowship “For he that has died has been declared righteous (released) from sin” (Rom 6:7). Let us distinguish at once between being justified from sins—from the guilt thereof—by the Blood of Christ, and being justified from sin—the thing itself. “Justified from sin” does not mean sinless perfection, but something utterly different and infinitely beyond that. It is different, in that it does not refer to an “experience” of deliverance from sin, but a passing beyond, in death with Christ at the Cross, the sphere where the former relationship to sin existed. We are justified, accounted wholly righteous, with respect to the thing sin itself! This, therefore, is infinitely beyond any state whatever of experience. It is a newly established relationship to sin. They are “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” They are heavenly. Their old relation to sin is over forever. They are justified from it. They rejoice, indeed, and have died, are declared righteous from it; that they are cleared, before the Father, of all condemnation because of sin’s presence in this unredeemed body; and delivered from all sin’s former rights and bondage over them. “Justified from sin” is the key in Romans Six to Eight. It is the consciousness of being sinful that keeps saints back from that glorious life Paul lived. He shows absolutely no sense of bondage before the Father; but he goes on in blessed triumph! Why? He knew he had been justified from all guilt by the Blood of Christ; and he knew that he was also justified, cleared, from the thing sin itself; and therefore (though walking in an, as yet, unredeemed body) he was wholly heavenly in his standing, life and relations with God. Paul knew he was really justified from sin itself as from sins. The conscious presence of sin in his flesh only reminded him that he was in Christ—that sin had been condemned judicially, as connected with the flesh, at the Cross; and that he was justified as to sin because he had died with Christ, and his former relationship to sin had wholly ceased! Its presence gave him no thought of condemnation, but only increased his longing for the redemption of the body. 1. Many have turned truly to God, but not knowing the finished work of the Savior—that is, that He actually bare their sins and put them away—are never sure of their own salvation. 2. Others have appropriated gladly Christ’s finished work, as respects the guilt of their sins, and they no longer have apprehensions of judgment, knowing that He met all God’s claims against them on the Cross. But as to their relation to sin itself, it is an “O – wretched man” life that they live; for they see honestly their own sinfulness and unworthiness, but have never heard how they are now in a Christ who died to sin, and that they share His relationship now, dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:10, 11). 3. Thank God, there are those who have seen and believed in their hearts that their relationship to sin itself was completely changed when the Father identified them with Christ in His death unto sin. Their relationship to sin was broken forever; and they present themselves unto Him as alive from the dead, and, through an ever increasing faith, walk about on earth in newness of life; knowing that the same Father who declared them justified from the guilt of their sins through Christ’s shed Blood, has now declared that, in being justified with Christ in His death to sin, they are themselves declared righteous from sin itself! Relief from the guilt of sin, through the shed Blood of Christ comes first, and the conscience concerning judgement being relieved, the heart ever rests (fellowship—NC) in the Blood. But to have the Father tell us further, that we, having died with Christ, are declared righteous from sin itself, is a new, additional and glorious revelation, which sets us in the presence of our Father not only declared righteous from what we have done, but declared righteous from what we were—and as to our flesh, still are (what we were—“in the flesh” – Rom 7:5; what we still are—“flesh in us,” but us “not in the flesh” – Rom 8:9—NC)! We should have no more dejection and self-condemnation when we see our old man (flesh, e.g. sinful nature—NC); for we have been declared righteous from that old Adam-nature standing, as well as from what we have done. Very excellent and godly believers, not recognizing this blessed fact, have spent much time before God “bemoaning the sinfulness” (Jer 31:18) of their now revealed old man. But this was really not to recognize the Word of God that we have been justified from sin itself. For example, David Brainerd (https://en.wikipedia...David_Brainerd) bemoaned his sinful state: “Saw so much of the wickedness of my heart that I longed to get away from myself. I never before thought there was so much spiritual pride in my soul. I felt almost pressed to death with my own vileness. Oh what a body of death is there in me! Lord, deliver my soul.” Again, “Spent this day alone in the woods, I thought, and almost concluded, I had no power to stand for the cause of God, but was almost afraid of the shaking of a leaf.” George Whitefield used to say, “When I see myself I seem to be half devil and half beast,” and as he passed through the great crowds on his way to preach: “I wondered why the people did not stone so vile a wretch as myself.” It may be said, this is just the Seventh of Romans, and Paul had the same experience. Yes, Paul had it; and found that in him, in his flesh, there was no good thing. But, having come to this conclusion about himself, and agreeing with God as to the evil of the flesh (not the body, nor the spirit but the nature—NC), he found deliverance in Christ and afterwards rejoiced in Him alone. Paul’s attitude is the Divine example. He believed what he wrote—that he had been justified from sin itself. So that all struggles from self-condemnation were over. There is no hint in his epistles of a continued struggle, nor of the slightest consciousness of Divine condemnation because of the presence the flesh within. He walked in the awareness of justification not only from guilt, but from sin! Therefore, the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, rather than ill thoughts of his old man, filled his mind and affections! The trouble with most of us is, we do not believe we are utterly bad. Or if, like Brainerd or Whitefield, we see and admit it, we do not see ourselves where the Father sees us—only in His Son. Since you are in Christ, you stand in Him—in Him alone—even as He is before the Father. The presence of sin in the flesh has no more power to trouble your conscience, than have your sins: for both were dealt with at the Cross. Your old man was crucified, sin in the flesh was condemned (not forgiven – Rom 8:3) at the Cross, and Paul definitely declares that we have been made to be “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col 1:12). - Wm R Newell Excerpt from MJS devotional for March 13: “The Lord Jesus’ miracles did not have a character changing effect upon the people who saw them or participated in them. They were but for a testimony to who He was. With all His miracles, in the end the principle of unbelief has not been rooted out of a single individual! Though they saw all that He did, the deep-rooted unbelief was untouched. The amazing thing—even with the disciples themselves—was that they were still capable of deep-seated unbelief. ‘O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe....’ ‘He upbraided them with their unbelief....’ With all they saw, it did not touch character, it did not touch their nature.” -T. A-S. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  11. Israel never presented so much as a single note of praise until the whole congregation stood, in the full power of an accomplished redemption, on Canaan’s side of the Red Sea. Exactly so it is now. The believer must know where the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ have forever set him, ere he can be an intelligent worshiper, an accepted servant, or an effective witness. For the believer there is now no guilt, no curse, no wrath, and no condemnation. Yet, he must be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ; but even there the question of sin is not raised. The Cross of the Lord Jesus has settled that forever; so that it is written of those that believe, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb 10:17). The believer’s whole course must indeed be manifested before the Bema; but the Judge Himself has put away all the believer’s sins, and is their righteousness, so that the reward-seat cannot but be friendly to them. The Lord Jesus surely will not condemn His own work. The righteousness that was required, God Himself has provided. He surely will not find any flaw therein. The light of the judgment seat will be bright enough to disperse every mist and cloud which might tend to obscure the matchless glories and eternal virtues which belong to the Cross, and to show that the believer is “clean everywhere” (Jhn 13:10; Eph 5:27). It is because these foundation truths are not laid hold of in the simplicity of faith, that many of the Father’s children complain of their lack of settled peace—the constant variation in their spiritual condition—the continual ups and downs (which can be changed to only up-and-ups—NC) in their experience. Every doubt in the heart of a believer is a dishonor done (though unknowingly and non-intended—NC) to the Word and the work of the Cross. It is because he does not, even now, bask in the light which shine from the Cross, that he is ever afflicted with a doubt or a fear. Yet, those things which so many have to deplore—those vacillations and the wavering—are but trifling consequences, comparatively, inasmuch as they merely affect their experience (but not their place in Christ—NC). The effect produced upon their worship, their service and their testimony is far more serious where the Lord’s honor is concerned (again, though committed in ignorance—NC). But, alas, this latter is but little thought of, generally speaking, simply because the personal salvation (after imparted—NC) is the grand object—the aim and end—with the majority of Christians. We are prone to look upon everything that affects ourselves as essential; whereas, all that affects the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in and by us is counted non-essential. Then too, the believer proves himself false to the Lord Jesus to the same degree that he has fellowship with the world. We are dead to the world (even in attempting worldly fellowship there is an “enmity” – Gen 3:15 - maintaining separation—NC) and alive to and in the Lord Jesus in glory. We are at once partakers of His rejection by earth and His acceptance in heaven; and the joy of the latter makes us count as nothing the trials connected with the former. To be cast out of the world without knowing that we have a place and a portion now in heaven, would be intolerable; but when the glories in the presence of my Father fill my vision, even a little of the world goes a long way (e.g. significant negative affect—NC)! - C H Mackintosh Excerpt from MJS devotional for March 1: “When we reflect on the innumerable ‘things’ about us—forces seen and unseen of the mineral, vegetable, and animal worlds; on man at enmity with God; on Satan, and his principalities and powers, in deadly array; on the uncertainty and even treachery of those near and dear to us, and even of professing Christians, and of our own selves—which we cannot trust for a moment; upon our unredeemed bodies; upon our general complete helplessness in ourselves—then, to have God say, ‘All things are working together for your good,’—reveals to us a Divine providence that is absolutely limitless.” -W.R.N. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  12. Hi Wayne and thanks for your reply and your compliment on the author's material. Amen, "His commandments are not grievous" (1 Jhn 5:3).
  13. When the believer in Christ learns that the forgiveness given at rebirth will never be subject to change, the concept of the permanency of faith and salvation come clearer into view and the walk is less difficult due to the right to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us . . .” (Heb 12:1). We cannot know the freedom from sin’s reign if we do not walk in the knowledge that it all has been completely dealt with in the Cross. Only when we consider any sin to remain that has not been addressed by the Blood will we walk in our own misjudgment of its full cleansing, even though all the sin has been completely addressed and absolved in the Cross. Only when we know this truth can we always “cast all your care upon Him” (1 Pet 5:7); disallow “your heart to be troubled” (Jhn 14:1, 27); know “you are clean through the Word (Jhn 15:3),” and realize we are ever one with the Father, the Lord Jesus, and one another (Jhn 14:20; 17:21). -NC Long Gone A great many souls are thinking how they stand with God, instead of thinking how God stands with them. When the prodigal came to the father his thoughts were all about what he had done and what he was. He soon found what his father had done and how he felt. There is the sense of how God stands towards us, and how everything about us is removed from His eye, before we know in our soul that everything is removed from our own vision. Do you believe all is gone before the eye of your Father? Yes! Is all gone from before your eye? Ah, that is another matter? It is a great thing to get peace by the work of the Lord Jesus, but it is even greater to have the enjoyment of it. That is what the prodigal son wanted; he knew there was nothing between his father and himself when his father kissed him; but what troubled him was, he was not fit for his father’s house. Many a one knows peace with God who does not know deliverance from himself, and hence he does not enjoy his peace. I know it myself, I have gone that road. When I saw Christ had borne my judgement, and all was gone from before the holy eye of God forever, I said it was beautiful; it was profound blessing—but then when I looked at myself I was not a bit happy. The fact is, at the time I was trying to improve the “flesh,” the “old man.” For deliverance from the reign of the Adam-life you must have more than justification; you need to see that the old man is gone (permanently powerless concerning damnation - Rom 8:1; and permanently powerless concerning domination - Rom 6:12, 14—NC) from your eye, as clearly as you see that it is gone from God’s eye. It must be by the Spirit and the Word that you learn it; it is only by the Spirit that you can see that it is judicially gone. Peace is that I see that my Adam-life is gone from the eye of my Father through the work of the Cross. It is clear that my conscience is truly awakened as to what is due to God, because of the sentiments of my new nature, that begin to find that “in me (that is in my flesh) dwells “no good thing”; and I long, as seeing what would suit me, to be delivered from the “body of this death” (Rom 7:24 - referring to “the body of sin” – Rom 6:6, along with its “members” – Col 3:5—NC) and not to now improve it, but to be delivered from it. It is then that I rise in delight of heart to the full work of the Cross. Nothing can afford me full freedom from the old Adam-life but the scriptural knowledge that my Father has removed it entirely from His own eye in the Cross of His Son. The Lord Jesus made Himself a sacrifice for sin, thereby removing it from before the Father according to the measure it was in His mind. He was made to be sin and suffered for it fully, because He alone knew what it was in God’s sight. Now as He has removed it according to God’s estimate, it is evident that it must be gone according to mine, however much my sense of it may increase. Therefore it is of immense importance that I should believe that God has removed in the Cross everything in me that could offend Him; that it is now judicially true for the believer that the end of all flesh (sinful nature—NC) has come before God. For then I am not only clear of it before Him through faith in Christ, but as the old man has been crucified with Christ, I have nothing to work on or improve. I have only to reckon it as in the place of death, where God has placed it. I must know that through grace I am in Christ before I can survey and apprehend the dignities of this great position; and as I do so, I begin to connect myself with the heavenly places. I cannot understand His glory until I have known His grace, and as I am enjoying His glory, I am in the place where He is. Thus the highest blessing is contingent on the apprehension of the fullness of His grace. - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional: “The Lord Jesus Christ is the Christian’s very life (Col 3:4), and the Holy Spirit dwells within our spirit to manifest Him (Rom 8:18), to work out all that is in Him and to reproduce Him in us. We must remember that there is something in the sight of God that is higher than work. There is Christ-likeness. That is our Father’s purpose, and it is His work.” -A.M. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  14. The Lord Jesus having accomplished the work of redemption, the Father has introduced redeemed man into His presence, and set him in glory (for oneness with God and the saints; Jhn 17:22—NC). Having proved man to be a sinner, He was not content to simply “take away sin,” but He would see him as His own, and enable him to enjoy all His grace in perfect peace, giving him to understand that His righteousness was accomplished in and by His Son. Souls convinced of sin enjoy all the fullness of the sovereign grace of God, because there is no more question of sins for them. By the ministry of the Holy Spirit this effect is produced; there is the consciousness of the perfect righteousness of the Father Himself without conscience of sins. Can you say that there is no question of sins for you? Is this question entirely at rest, and your relation to the Father founded on that? Have you recognized that your responsibility, your relation to the Father, is based upon the accomplished righteousness of the Lord Jesus (1Cor 1:30—NC)? If so, you are happy and blessed. Formerly you were a sinner (no longer considered as such by God—Rom 8:9. Though believers yet sin, there are no Scriptural references describing a believer as a sinner—NC), but now you can say, My Father loves me. I do not speak of your thoughts; but you have made the discovery that you are the Father’s child by faith in His Son, that your responsibility as a sinner is closed. Is your heart thus at large? Do you consider before Him that you have been crucified with Christ, and that sin is gone for you? I cannot have the feelings of a bride towards one whom I dread as my judge. I need the consciousness of being in the presence of my Bridegroom, according to that loving-kindness which is better than life (Psa 63:3—NC). Is your Father your daily resource in your faults and sins, even when you have committed them? Do you believe that His love can do that? This is where the Apostle Paul regards the believer as set; and, when the contrary happens, the Jewish position is more or less taken by the heart. If I have not full confidence in my Father, I must seek something outside, instead of having recourse to Him to receive strength and to restore my soul to fellowship with Him. If the Father is your resource, you will not seek the law. The touchstone for the believer is, whether his resources are in the Father or in himself. Perhaps, like the Jews, he seeks to offer sacrifices. If believers, then we are under grace, and it is of moment for us to be clear as to the position into which the Lord Jesus has brought us. There we are blessed in His presence; there also we are in possession of the precious things which are promised us—“all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” For it is not the promises which constitute our joy and peace, but the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we have them all “Yea, and Amen” (2 Cor 1:20), in virtue of the work which has been wrought and accepted. May the Father strengthen us more and more in the consciousness of His love, which has saved us, and brought us into His presence to enjoy all that He is for us. The Lord Jesus will be the Object of all our thoughts. May we have it simple and settled before us, that it is no more our old selves that live, but Christ that lives in us as our new Life; that nothing is lacking in the accomplishment of the requirements of the Father, and that our position is based eternally upon His love and life. - J N Darby Excerpt for 2-13 by MJS: “When the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, it is to remove self from the throne of our hearts. When the Holy Spirit fills us, it is to place the Lord Jesus on the throne of our hearts. Ours is the choice—”not I, but Christ” (Gal. 2:20); His is the work, for He is “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:2). http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/day/2017/02/13/
  15. There is never a chastising or discipline of God with those in Christ that results in punishment (Heb 12:5-9, chiefly 10, 11), difficulty usually but never from being in trouble with Him or losing His favor with you who are in Christ. The Spirit’s opposition to our “sinful nature” (Gal 5:17) may at times feel to us that God is against us personally but we are to remember that this address is always against the “old man,” to keep us from doing that which we would otherwise be doing in accordance to our old man. In my assessment, the believer’s doing of God’s “pleasure” (Phil 2:13) is contained in the desire He “works” in us, which to put His desires first. Even though there will always be times of doing “the evil that I desire not” (Rom 7), the issue is that the believer in the new nature does not desire it, thus any wrongfulness done is unintentional because it’s being done against the will and desire of the believer, e.g. as a “captive” (vs 23) or unwilling subject, unlike that of a willing subject, who does not act as a captive to it because it’s his desire and thus not against his will. Since He ensures that our ultimate motives are always “His good pleasure,” there leaves only that which is of our Father’s loving-training school, and since He already knows what all will do in every situation it is always for others to learn from concerning every trialing situation. In Job’s case (and all who are in Christ) He knew he would manifest an overall acceptable representation of Him (33:10), thus discrediting Satan’s claims against Job, which also demonstrates God’s antecedent preparation of Job’s life to learn from it. This is the same care and outcome God maintains for all who are His in Christ. One evidence manifesting our learning here is that we will find ourselves wishing we would learn to take each difficulty (general hardness) with less surprise and hardness, so that we might strengthen and manifest our faith more in remembering to take them lighter via by the forethought of knowing God has already “worked” it out for our “good” (Rom 8:28). Being mindful, that antecedent to every trial small or great, God has beforehand prepared us not only to “endure” it (1 Cor 10:13), but more importantly to learn from it unto the strengthening of our faith (1 Pet 1:7) in our Father and our Lord Jesus. “We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy” (Jam 5:11 NLT). - NC Death Wish It should be borne in mind that, while it is God’s purpose in His dealings with Job to vindicate His own estimate of His servant, it is at the same time, shown us how He educates or disciplines that servant so as to render him worthy of this estimate. “That which I feared greatly has come upon me.” This must ever be the case when the soul has no better security for the love than the evidence and presence of its gifts. The gifts are thus a snare to us, and Satan’s imputation against us is often in a measure true; our ground of rest and quietness of spirit before our Father being His kindness and mercies to us, and not simply the knowledge of His love to us in His Son. This is very evident from the grief and despair many of His people fall into when they are deprived of any particular mercy. They had rested in the gift more than in the Father, and the gift was to them an evidence of His love; the love itself was not the rest of their heart. Job’s discipline is administered in order to set aside self, and introduce the heart into its true relation, with self apart from God. Hence the effect of the discipline is to expose the secret workings and feelings of the old man, which otherwise would not have been detected or known, and, if not known, not renounced. Job felt himself now a hapless one, with misery all around him, having outlived every enjoyment on earth, and he cursed his day. What had he lived for, and what should he live for? Little he knew the place he was occupying before God, or how God was preparing him, through terrible sufferings, to vindicate His own estimate of him to Satan—and ultimately, to ourselves. We have now to examine how God effects this, His blessed purpose, noting the course which a soul under discipline from the Father necessarily takes in order to arrive at simple dependence and rest in Him. The first thought, and the bitterest one, after awakening to a full sense of one’s misery, is to curse one’s day; a terrible impression, and one that can lead to suicide when God is not known. But when the Father is known, as in Job’s case, it is the beginning of healthy action, not in the discontent and wretchedness which it discloses, but because the sense of death, utter exclusion from everything is known and felt. I may give way to rebellion and discontent in learning the utter wretchedness of man on earth, but the sense of this is necessary to full self-renunciation. I ought not to blame my Father for it, but I need to realize it as man’s true place (actual condition without God—NC). Death, because of such present misery, is preferred. To live in it has no attraction for the heart. This Job feels. He knows that God seeks to make him a witness of dependence upon Himself against Satan, yes, and himself (e.g. old self or sinful nature—NC). But this is the Father’s way. Discipline may have the effect of making us feel that death is preferable to life, but it is working out the Father’s purposes on our behalf. Job knew that he had done nothing to deserve his trial; but what he had to learn was that he was entitled to nothing. We are not aware often of the severe process of soul which we must pass through before we are prepared to hear of the Father from His own side. We may have to weary ourselves in very darkness before we are ready to hear the word of light; for light come from the Father only: He (the Lord Jesus) is the “light which lights everyone which comes into the world.” - J B Stoney MJS devotional for Feb. 7: http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/ Devotional excerpt: “It is only natural to feel that our need requires immediate victory, but the truth is that we cannot come to maturity apart from the Holy Spirit’s processing and development of our life, day by day. A quick and easy victory would cripple our usefulness in these two ways: we would not understand the all-important principle of processing; we would not appreciate the needs of others. If we are unable to share, we abide alone like the grain of wheat that does not die.”