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WordSword

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  1. Amen, and thanks for your comment!
  2. Can you always, with permanent conviction, call Heaven your present possession? This is one among many Biblical truths from which believers are to appropriate for exhortation from the “comfort of the scriptures” (Rom 15:4). How eternal life is comprehended will determine whether or not there will be a walk in the encouragement of spiritual growth truths. Concerning the “New Heaven,” believers are considered presently there because of the surety of its inevitable occurrence. Though our present condition is earthly, our present position is heavenly (Eph 2:6), which answers to our Lord’s declaration that, “I go and prepare a place for you and I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” This concurs with the Lord’s action of being our heavenly “Forerunner” (Heb 6:20). NC Heavenly Dwelling The two great subjects of the testimony of the Holy Spirit are the sufferings of the Lord Jesus and the glories to follow. When these two connected truths are received into the soul by the teaching of the Spirit, they necessarily sever it from the absorbing power of earthly interests. Take the Cross, for example. “They are enemies of the Cross of Cross . . . who mind earthly things” (Phl 3:18, 19). On the other hand, take the resurrection. ”If ye then be risen with Christ . . . set your affection (the same as “mind” in the former quotation) on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:2). The great moral of the Gospel is heaven as a present enjoyable reality, as the home of our affections, the center of our interests. This is indeed a wondrous truth, but how little we know the actuality of it in our souls! The characteristic of our present calling is, that it is “heavenly.” We are addressed as “holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling.” Our true tabernacle is in heaven; our only Priest is in heaven. The epistle to the Hebrews sets forth the heavenly worship, which faith alone can recognize in direct contrast to earthly worship, which the senses could recognize. The priest of the Jews was a visible person; the sacrifices, tangible objects; the temple, a material structure: all beautiful and orderly and suitable to the system with which God Himself has connected them; but to faith, they are mere shadows of glorious and eternal realities (God began with visibly-aided proof and gradually minimized it to allow faith to be exercised in its greatest capacity before its time is gone, for soon we will walk by sight—NC). The heart of man naturally lingers about the shadows; and the full-blown evil of the Judaizing tendency (not that Judaism is evil but attempting the admixture of it with Christianity is—NC), with which the Apostle Paul dealt so sternly, is now become habitual to the thought of Christianity, and has helped to form that characteristic of “dwellers on earth.” Judaism has been taken as the pattern of what men call Christianity, and thus Christianity itself is regarded as a mere improvement or refinement of Judaism, instead of being regarded according to Paul as its direct contrast (opposite—NC). The new piece has been added to the old garment, “and the rent is become worse.” We are exhorted to walk worthy of the calling wherewith we have been called (Eph 4:1). This implies the knowledge of our “calling.” It is a “high calling.” The word rendered “high” is the same as that rendered “above” in Colossians 3. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” We are called of God from beneath to above, from earth to heaven. We are bodily on this earth and in this world, yet we belong not to either—“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Hence also the pilgrim and stranger character of the saint: heaven is his home, and oh, that we as ardently desired to be with the Lord Jesus where He is, as He desires to have us with Him! We are not as “those that dwell on the earth” (Rev 13:14). Moralists, philanthropists and politicians all recognize something valuable in Christianity, and use it as helpful to their own ends; and thus has Christianity been dragged down from its lofty eminence, till almost all that is distinctive is lost amidst so many elements which are foreign. The long continued attempt to apply Christianity to the world, merely as an aid to its civilization, has led to the loss of even the theory of the Church. In time it may well be that nothing will be so offensive to “the dwellers on the earth” as the assertion of the peculiar privileges and special hope of the Church. - Wm Kelly (1821-1906)
  3. During your times of light, moderate or severe trials do you look unto self to find what you may have of the Lord to endure, or have you learned that there is nothing within you personally—not even the new nature—that delivers through trials. Knowing what to do in our times of stress is only half the resolution; knowing how to practice what is known brings the answer, and “Casting all your care upon Him” (1Pe 5:7) is always the proper procedure. Any other means is looking unto self for the answer, and regardless the appeal that self-reliance may possess, it’s always nothing more than a temporary delay at most. It’s also important to note that the “trying of your faith” needs the proper response—so you’ll be able to continue to be properly trial-conformed (1Pe 1:6), as this gradually increases in difficulty, but never beyond “that you are able.” Consistently putting all that we care about, pleasantries and difficulties, into God’s keeping means you’re believing His Word concerning everything in your life, that “He careth for you.” So, the protocol is first “what”; cast everything on our Father. Then “how”; trusting that He is using “all things”—“to work together for good” to you (Rom 8:28). The greatest significance in this truth is in knowing that it is solely dependent upon our position in Christ, and never the condition of our walk, which will always be progressing “in the Spirit.” The maturity of our “walk in the Spirit” varies between all and is merely an indicator of where we are concerning the level of conformity to His Word, and not a means of His deliverance, because the point of deliverance through a trial proceeds from Himself, in providing its understanding to us. You will eventually know you’re not following God’s protocol when the resolution-times for closure often seem too lengthy. Sure, God’s teachings of conformity concerning our lifestyle (walk) are hard, but not “grievous” (1Jo 5:3), because He will always “make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1Cor 10:13); and the relief (escape) is always a matter of faith in His written Word. It’s from the trials we learn the most concerning our walk. The two primary factors concerning their application are that they will always come and go; and they contain in one degree or another the element of “hardness,” which continues to conform and manifest our walk of faith “as a good solder of Jesus Christ” (2Ti 2:3). It is in the difficulties that we are brought to see if we are trusting in the “arm of flesh” (2Ch 32:8) or the arm of God. Myself, I’ve learned the former always eventually leads in succession to the latter, as God will have it no other way for us. NC
  4. Hi, and appreciate your comment, which I strongly agree with! But I believe the truth of faith in Christ results in being redeemed can be use only in a limited capacity when not mixed with the primary growth-truth, that faith and salvation are permanent, which is a major interference in our growth in Christ. I say "interference" and not hindrance because it is always a matter of time before it is learned by all reborn.
  5. It’s not in redemption that one “changes . . . from glory to glory,” for once applied it fully saves; which will show in our permanent lifestyle. It’s our earthly walk that manifests in escalating glories all that we already are (1Jo 4:17), and all that we already have (2Pe 1:3) in Christ! The present “divine nature” indwelt by the believer will not be any newer than it is now. Therefore the primary differences in the resurrected saint’s essence will be the absence of “the old man,” and the newness of the finally “redeemed body” (Rom 8:23). NC “Follow After Love” “I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor 11:2). Paul’s song accounts for all that is in Solomon’s Song. The Father looks upon the believer as altogether lovely. A sinner in himself, he has, by faith, taken on him the beauty of the Lord Jesus. He is “in Him.” He is “accepted in the Beloved.” Faith alone gives him all this comeliness. He has been baptized into the Lord Jesus, and put Him on. This is the beauty of the believer; and he is lovely in the Lord Jesus’ eye. Indeed in this form of beauty there can be no spot. The very “best robe” in the Father’s house is on Him. For it is the Lord Jesus Himself that the believer is arrayed with. Such harmonies are there between the Son of Solomon, the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles. We are naturally prone (due to the indwelling old man—NC) to be suspicious of any offer to make us happy in our Father. Because our moral sense—our natural conscience, tells us of our having lost all right, even to His ordinary blessings. Yet, in the revelation of God, faith reads our abundant title to be near Him and happy with Him, though our natural conscience and our sense of the fitness of things would have it otherwise. Faith feeds where the moral sensibilities of the natural mind would count it presuming to tread. The Song of Solomon opens with strong and fervent desire toward Himself; reaching forth to apprehend Him in some more intimate manner that had been preciously understood. It is as though the saint has been conscious of being in a lower condition than would now satisfy. For at times the soul rests itself simply on the firm ground of doctrines, such as “the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth from all sin.” It is the simple and sure power of such truth that alone answers, at times, the need of the soul. But again, at times, the ground under our feet, as believers, is understood and rested on and it is the Lord Jesus Himself that the heart desires. She had been keeping the vineyards (Son of Solomon 1:6)—attending to things abroad—but now was learning that her own vineyard had been neglected; and the deeper things of personal fellowship are longed for. The saint is leaving Martha’s and taking Mary’s place, hungering to feed under His own eye and from His own hand, not another’s. Now it is conscious of being more at home, more about its own vineyard; as though it had left the Martha place, “busy about with many things” (Luk 10:40—still unnecessarily preoccupied with much of this life—NC) and assuming the Mary place at the feet of the Lord Jesus in personal fellowship. There is a great influence upon the soul to be occupied with such affections (Christ’s fellowship—NC). It strengthens and sanctifies—for all question of our standing is anticipated, and our energy in meeting temptation is increased, and thus the liberty of our soul is secured. For how can the thought of condemnation or the temptation to defilement be entertained, when the believer is seeking to reach more into the light and joy of such communion and fellowship as this? Does it not lead him into more than a mere escape from the spirit of bondage, or from practical sin (sin commissions—NC)? Is it not the divine method of making him more than conqueror? “For we all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (The Scriptures are “as a mirror” of Christ, which shows us what we are to look like – Jam 1:22, 23. Thus the more we look into it, the more we will remember how we are supposed to look. 2Cor 3:18). - J G Bellett (1795–1864)
  6. Death in Christ is antecedent to life in Christ, and not only is this death a single occurrence but renders one to remain so concerning the curse of sin. Thus believers do not die to the sin nature but “are dead” to it; and this death intends not the absence of its presence in us, nor immunity to its effects, but rather the freedom from sin’s dominion and damnation (Rom 6:14; 8:1). The evidence of our death in Christ is the work of the Spirit’s mortification shown in our walk (Rom 8:13), all for the purpose “so we also should walk in newness of life” in Christ (Rom 6:4). NC Heavenly Life-Source It goes without saying that the believer has eternal life. But it should be carefully observed that he is never said to have it in himself (it’s here that so many have yet to grasp the full implications of eternal life, in considering that the lifestyle effects eternal life, but the order is that eternal life effects our lifestyle—NC). “This life is in His Son” (1Jo 5:11 – and not in what we do, but what we do manifests the presence or absence of eternal life—NC). Having eternal life, we have it, therefore, only in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is this fact which guarantees to us its absolute security, assures us that we can never be lost, for whoever would rob us of it, must first pluck us out of His hands; nay more, must pluck Him from His seat at the right hand of the Father. Christ is our life (Col 3:4). Our life is not here. This, indeed, is the statement of Paul. “Ye have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). He had just been pointing out our responsibilities (vs 1, 2) as connected with our having died and risen with Christ. As dead with Him, we are not to act as alive in the world (Col 2:20). He has died out of this scene, has no present place in it; He is, as far as this world is concerned, a dead man. We, therefore, commence our Christian life by taking the place of death. We are buried with Christ in baptism (Col 2:12); and God’s estimate of us is that we have died. Hence our responsibility to walk accordingly, to mortify our members which are upon the earth, etc. (Col 3:5). Scripture teaches us that the Father has so completely associated us with His Son, that He count us with Him as dead to sin (Rom 6); dead to law (Rom 7; Gal 5:23); and dead to the world (Gal 6); and hence faith accepts and reckons upon His estimate as true. We have been brought through the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus out of this scene into a new position and place—so completely, that it can be said of us, “Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Rom 8:9). Our life, therefore, is not here—it cannot be, for we have died to the world—but it is hid with Christ in God. How blessed for us if we did but accept the full consequences of this truth! What an immense gain if we only started on the Christian life by accepting death upon all around us! How it would lift us out of our circumstances, if we looked steadfastly away from all that we see, up to where the Lord Jesus is, and remember that our life is there; that He is our Life. What power it would give us over “the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”! We need to judge ourselves in these things, for we shall find the secret of much of our weakness and failure lies in seeking our life in the things of this world. Having died and risen with Christ, the believer’s life-associations should be connected with the place into which he has been brought; even as Paul says, “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil 3:20). Only then—when this truth is accepted—shall we know the joy of continual occupation with the Lord Jesus at the Father’s right hand. It may be added, the object of all the Father’s dealings with us now is to bring us under the influence of this truth. If we will find our life in things down here, He must bring death upon them, and thus lead us to see through many a grief and bitter sorrow, that the Lord Jesus—and He alone—is the life of the believer. As one of old has said, “He often dims the brightness of this scene that we may behold the glory above”; and the source of that glory is in the face of the Lord Jesus (2Cor 4:6). - Edward Dennett (1831–1914)
  7. When the light first breaks in on the soul, it is sweet to it, to the new life and nature. It is the work of the Spirit; but in order to promote it, and to enjoy what the light confers, I must practically prefer it to everything else. If I do not give it first place and absolute attention, it remains inactive, like a light in a dark lantern; hence it is said, “we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard” (Heb 2:1). If you have had a glimpse of the unsearchable riches of Christ, have you been diverted by it from other things which claimed your attention and interest or have you gone on as usual? Can you sit and talk as usual, dress as usual, read the books you used to read? In a word, though you have tasted something great, has it no peculiar effect on you? Has it produced no marked alteration in your feelings about things? If not, it really does not control you, and this is the secret of why you do not advance. If it (the knowledge of the Lord Jesus) controlled you, in spite of yourself and without perceiving it, you would retire daily more and more form usual things, because more and more engrossed with Him. You would not make any arrangements to break away from this or that thing, but in seeking to know more of Christ, like a bird ascending to the sky, you would leave earthly things behind. The sky and air would be more beautiful to you as you ascended, and the things you had separated from would not be accounted of. What is the good of things if they are not used? As you use them, you must distance yourself from the lower associations. If you will not break from the common, you will never enjoy the uncommon. It is here where so many are detained. They wish for wings—they admire flying but the moment they find that flying will distance them from the old haunts and old tastes, they are content to hop, and not fly; they are sluggards, they “desire and have nothing” (Pro 13:4). The fact is, the more we grow up in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, the more we must separate from that which is contrary to Him. The babe in Christ can mix with those, and can do things with impunity, which would make the mature in Christ miserable. Spiritual sensitivity increases with growth. The babe can endure an atmosphere which would be insupportable to a young man in Christ. It is the contrary way between the new creation and the old. In the latter, the young require the most attention and care and delicate nursing; but in the new, it is as there is growth that one must be increasingly watchful of every incongruity, because the organization is so high and holy that the more it is developed, the more it is necessary to ward off everything that would grieve and hinder it. When fruit trees are in blossom, that is the most precarious time and the moment they are nearest having fruit is the one in which they must be best sheltered from ungenial weather, far more so than at any other period of their existence. You have thought you could enjoy the uncommon and yet retain the usual, but you cannot. In proportion as you hold to the one, you weaken the other. - J B Stoney
  8. The Christian in Romans Seven might have tasted the unsatisfying pleasures of the world during his unsaved days. Now he had turned his back on the world and his face to the Father, yet never was there (he felt) so disconsolate a being. The misery increases till he bursts out with “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me?” Thus is the case of one who had seen the Lord Jesus as the hope of his soul, who had been born of God, yet nevertheless, had no sense of deliverance (which progressively manifests in our walk of all that we already are in the Lord Jesus—NC). The Father patiently lets him feel his own inward evil till he looks quite out of himself to the Lord Jesus as his Deliverer, not alone from guilt or wrath, but “from this body of death.” It is not sins, it is sin, which harasses him so much the more because his conscience is awakened (law provides knowledge of sin but not deliverance from it; law enhances awareness of the severity of sin, hence “sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful” Rom 7:13; in order that “that the offence might abound” 5:20—NC) The first answer to this problem is, that my Father has already in His love brought in a full deliverance for my soul; by-and-by He will bring in an equally complete deliverance for my mortal body (Rom 8:23). Thus a real present deliverance of grace comes first, and this becomes the pledge of all that follows in glory. As far as the soul is concerned, emancipation is complete; but it is so only for the inner man – not yet for the outer. Accordingly, Paul states in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation,” because he looks to, rests, and is in the Lord Jesus alone. This is, in part, the answer to the soul’s confession of misery and cry for a Deliver (the lost need saved and the saved need delivered—in their walk—continuously from the sin nature—NC). Awakened to feel that it is not merely pardon that he wants, but also deliverance from the old man (Rom 6:12, 14), he finds that deliverance in Another (always knowing no guilt while trusting more on the fulfillment of Christ’s efficacy—NC). He had thought that, having found pardon in the Savior, he must deliver himself by the inward working of the Holy Spirit; but he learned, when most wanting Him, that He did not help him; he found somehow or other, that the Spirit was making him miserable with himself. The reason is manifest: because he had put himself under law in the spirit of his mind, and the Spirit will never give power, but rather make a man confirm his weakness as long as he is trying to put law in the place of the One who is Life (Col 3:4). He came to earth from heaven to glorify the Lord Jesus, not the law. The lack of deliverance was learnt in groans; thence he is driven to turn to the Deliverer; whereon, in spite of the indwelling old man being still as bad as ever, having thanked God, he concludes, “there is therefore now no condemnation,” not for those for whom Christ died, but “to them that are in Christ Jesus.” We are now by grace positioned in Another, even the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ, in order to give us our place in the very presence of our Father. Nothing could be more blessed. “Hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6). - Wm Kelly (1821–1906) Don’t forget the daily devotional: http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  9. Often what God calls "good" is beyond our understanding, but to be direct, we can only choose to believe Romans 8:28, and that it refer's to the believer. Nobody can understand why God allows many of the hardness believers encounter, only that regardless of what happens, He works it to them according to His Word in this passage.
  10. Hi, and appreciate your instructional reply! I like using the word "evil" because we don't always know what is truly bad. You're correct in saying God doesn't cause evil in any form (Jas 1:13), but has prearranged all to result ultimately in good. The crux of the article has much to do with the difference between predestination and predetermination. What we choose determines our outcome, and God knowing what our outcome will be is what we will be predestined for according with our choice. "Therefore choose life" (Deu 30:19). For example, He knows what all will choose prior to birth, thus He knows that not choosing life means He is "fitting" (creating) one "to destruction" (Rom 9:22).
  11. Hi and thanks for the input! Yes, understanding omniscience is foreknowing all final outcomes.
  12. Have you ever thought that what occurs is supposed to occur or it wouldn’t have occurred? Myself, I believe all that happens is supposed to happen because not only was it foreknown to happen but has also been allowed to happen! This is an example of providential care of the only omniscient God, and please also realize something I believe has additional instruction, that He has always known it—from eternity past. Therefore for those who are reborn, all that occurs in their lives is orchestrated by God to “work together” for their “good.” That is not to say that all things are good, because the majority of this life holds that which is evil, but the evil (esp. in the believer’s life) is worked together with the good and always results in good—“to those who are the called according to His purpose.” The implication here is this, dear believer, that whatever we encounter, we can know that God has complete control of it and has already caused or meant it to, without fail, result to our benefit! What does all this good God “works” to us address the most? Our faith, which ever continues to grow in strength, through understanding and knowing that, for those who are His, all is controlled to address our faith in Him and His Word; and it’s the condition of our faith in Him that determines the degree of our practical love for Him, because “faith performs by love” (Gal 5:6), thus the greater the faith, the greater the manifestation of love which supplies it. This provides for the believer great encouraging assurance that we can welcome every day in knowing that whatever awaits us is not only foreseen and allowed, but also has already (“from everlasting to everlasting” – Psa 41:13; 90:2; 103:1; 106:4) been controlled to work for good to believers. There is nothing a believer will do that can turn aside the Father’s loving providence of causing all the evil to result—to us—for good (Gen 50:20). NC
  13. If the need of man were the sole measure of the grace of God, then man only would be thought of, the work of the Lord Jesus would be simply for man, and the power of God expended merely in rescuing man and securing his relief. Man would be the object and end of it all, and not God. Whenever the heart drops into its own thoughts, which is always the case when we are acting in the flesh and in our own strength, and not the Spirit, it will reduce grace to man’s level, making his benefit the exclusive object. It will be said that the soul’s need must necessarily occupy it first. That is quite true. But he who is most relieved is most drawn to the One who has relieved him. The more intensely I have felt the need of relief, and the greatness of the favor conferred, the more I am attached to the Deliverer. He that is forgiven much, the same loves much (Luk 7:42, 47). If the only object of grace were to relieve man, then man could be relieved without nearness of God, and this is really the effect of confining the heart exclusively to the fact of relief and favor. Too often, the believer being relieved from judgement, pursues his course as a man on earth with the sense of relief; but the Lord Jesus, the Man in heaven, may not be his object, nor his aim to represent and manifest Him here. The grace of God could never have limited itself to man’s need, seeing that the greatest thing the Father can confer is nearness to Himself. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1Pe 3:18). That’s not just when we die, or at the Rapture, “but now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off are made near by the Blood of Christ” (Ep 2:13)! If grace were only to relieve man of the misery which sin has brought in, he might be a vastly improved man, and a happy man; but then God would not and could not form any part of his happiness. He might feel indebted to Him for His mercy, but if grace effected nothing more than this he would not be brought to God, and though there might be joy in the sense of forgiveness, there would be no joy in God, no separation from the man in the flesh, no walking in the Spirit and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. Many of those who minister the Word find it easier for their own consciences to confine their preaching and teaching to man’s need. We cannot present truth beyond our own experience with a good conscience. A servant has no real effect in presenting God’s side to souls, unless he be there in measure and purpose himself. He cannot go beyond his light, but when he has refused or avoided the light in order that he might retain the world, he excuses his own state by designating is as “too high,” and unusable for souls. The one who is most for God will be most sustained by God; but the minister, in preaching or teaching, who will command the ear of men, and allow himself most of the world, is the man who confines himself to that which merely meets man’s need, and which the natural conscience will accept. So that broadly, popularity and a low level of truth, which will awaken sentiments of merely man-centered religion, always go together, and the riches of the grace of the risen Lord Jesus Christ are not really known because the glory of the grace has been neglected or refused. - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional for July 4: “Exhaustive effort brings home the necessity of strengthening rest. The believer will not be ready to enter into his spiritual rest until he is utterly worn out by his unsuccessful efforts to conquer sin and the old man. There is no rest for the “wretched man” of Romans 7—that struggle must lead to the rest of Romans 8. “The heart of man naturally seeks rest, and seeks it here. Now, there is no rest to be found here for the believer; but it is written, ‘There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God’ (Heb 4:9). “To know this is both full of blessing and full of sorrow: sorrow to the flesh; because it is always seeking its rest here, it has always to be disappointed; blessing to the spirit, because the spirit, being born of God, can only rest in God’s rest, as it is said, ‘If they shall enter into My rest’ (Heb. 4:5). What God desires for us is to bring us into the enjoyment of all that which He Himself enjoys.” -J.N.D. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  14. I agree, and the closer we get to Christ's time of return, the farther many get from the truths of the Scriptures concerning growth in our faith.
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