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WordSword

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  1. Some useful information I found on this subject can be viewed searching “Redemption Planned” by Don Kistler, and I like the OT passage he includes that I believe is directly related: Zech 6:13. https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/redemption-planned/
  2. I think before any more comments or opinions can be made I feel there are a couple issues needing addressed. First and foremost is the teaching of “The Covenant of Redemption,” because its doctrine is the basis of my understanding Israel’s eschatology, and is the Covenant presumed to be the present. “The covenant of redemption is the eternal agreement within the Godhead in which the Father appointed the Son to become incarnate, suffer, and die as a federal head of mankind to make an atonement for their sin. In return, the Father promised to raise Christ from the dead, glorify him, and give him a people.” (Wikipedia®) If this doctrine is true (which is my belief for a while) then the new covenant (as mentioned earlier) of Israel shown in Jer 31:31 cannot be the proposed Covenant here mentioned in Christ’s Blood which presently and eternally exists in Christianity. The other difficulty (IMO) is that if “all Israel” and “the Israel of God” refer to all who are reborn in Christ among the Jews and Gentiles, there would need to be an explanation of the dominant usage of Jewish language presented with these terms in Scripture. Myself, I’ve been researching the doctrine of Israel’s end times in God’s plans for a few decades now, and I’m more conclusive than not in believing that the Everlasting Covenant (Heb 13:20) is between God and His Son and not God and man. There is still much information to take in for me to be completely decided on this issue and in the meantime I will only be trying to reply to directly-related comments to these concepts; which again, have no reflection on the essential doctrines of salvation.
  3. Now I see what others mean, and I just corrected the passage location, which is Jer 31:31 and not Eze. Thanks for the heads-up from you all!
  4. Hi! Not getting what you mean here. Also wanted to let you know that I like your signature-caption. I see it that the Spirit is the Tutor, He being the Author of the Word of God; and believers are at varying levels of understanding of the Tutor.
  5. Also wanted to mention that it would not seem correct to conceive that Jeremiah’s prophesy concerning Israel’s future “New Covenant’ could be the Christian’s present Covenant in Christ’s Blood (as some may think) because this Covenant that Jesus declared to the Jews (Luk 22:20; 1Co 11:25) is not between God and man (nowhere is this even alluded to), but between God and His Son (Heb 13:20). The Jer 31:31 prophesy is a future and eternal covenant between God and man--Israel.
  6. Just wanted to mention that all Jewish believers in God before Christ were saved (Jn 14:1), unless this comment doesn't seem related to the issue.
  7. Note to reader: It’s the hopes of this poster that viewers understand and apply the truths of Israel’s eschatology to their faith; and it is also acknowledged concerning the suspicion that most will find this doctrine unfamiliar, and so, initially difficult to understand or lacking interest. God bless us to know and receive all the truths of His Word! It’s becoming more obvious all the time that Christendom in general has yet to understand God’s permanent union with His people Israel. No doubt there will be confusion when thinking that believers of God among the Israelites are “cast away” when Scripture states otherwise. Some may, and understandably so due to its reading, direct attention to Romans 11:15 and see a contradiction to verse 2, but as it is often used, this is merely a hyperbolic expression giving the sense that “what if they were cast away,” or “even if they were cast away.” The reply in verse 15 is that the “receiving of them” would be “but life from the dead”; but verse 26 is the strongest proponent of this doctrine, unless one is bereft of conceiving the errant teaching (which some have) that all Christians now represent Israel. The most important instruction here concerns the truth that in the time of God’s rejection concerning fellowship with Israel, there is a copious presence of Scripture attesting to His promise that He “will not forsake His people” (1Sa 12:22). Even Protestantism has not understood this all important truth that concerns Jewish believers in God (but not yet in Christ - Jn 14:1); of which faith that can never be said concerning the majority of the world). Many within Christendom have gone as far as to devise an erroneous name for an erroneous system—Judeo-Christian! This also parallels the false concept that Israel is now all who are Christian, which greatly confuses the truths within God’s Word concerning Israel’s eschatology. “Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that God established with the Children of Israel” (Wikipedia). This is the first Covenant between God and the nation of Israel through Moses, the man of God. I say “first” because there will be a last and “New Covenant” with them, which when established will be eternal and solely between them and God; and which will be separate from the present and eternal Covenant between God and His Son (Christianity, which is nowhere written or said to be between God and man, but for man). This doctrine of the two eternal peoples of God was revealed (which is seemingly the most discrete doctrine in the Word of God) after Christ’s coming through the Apostle Paul’s writings in unison with OT prophecies concerning it. Of course, what one may conclude concerning these teachings has no bearing on any essential doctrine of salvation; and myself, I believe its teachings will be mostly unknown and difficult to understand until the Millennium. NC Judaism or Christianity? The Lord Jesus Christ is the center of the counsels of God, and hence of prophecy, which treats of the earth and His government of it for His own glory. Such is the importance of Israel, from whom, as according to the flesh, came Christ who is over all, God blessed forever! They are His people by a choice and calling which cannot fail in the end, though there may be and has been a fall and a long continued disowning of them in God’s righteous judgment of their apostasy (which I think is not an apostasy of Israel because they never have accepted the truths concerning Christ to depart from it—NC). But mercy will restore them ere long, humbly, joyfully, welcoming the Messiah they have long rejected. This has been feebly seen, nay, generally denied, throughout Christendom for ages. Scarcely any error is more patent throughout the Fathers (so called—NC) than the substitution of the Church for Israel in all their system of thought. Every Father, whose writings have come down to us, is a witness of the same allegorizing interpretations, not only the Alexandrian school of Clement and Origen, but Justin Martyr, Iranaeus and Pseudo-Barnabas. The Latins followed in the same wake, not Augustine and Ruffinus and Jerome only, but Tertullian, Cyprian and Lactantius. Not one held the restoration of Israel to their land, converted nationally (Isa 45:17; Rom 11:26—NC); the millenarian portion expected that the risen saints would reign with Christ in Jerusalem rebuilt, adorned and enlarged, not that the Jews should be restored and blessed in the land. The medieval writers naturally adopted the same view. So did the Reformers without exception, as far as I am aware. All fell into the error of putting the Church into the place of Israel, and so of leaving no room for His earthly people, besides His heavenly saints and glorified Bride. They neglected the warning of the Apostle Paul, and assumed that the Jewish branches were broken off that the Gentiles might be grafted in, and forever (not into the earthly place but the “heavenly places - Eph 2:6”—NC). They did not take heed to the prophetic word, as Peter exhorts (2Pe 1:19), but applied systematically the predictions of Israel’s blessings in the last days to the Christian Church. Still less did they appreciate the day dawning or the day star rising in their heart. Catholics, Protestants, had no real light, no spiritual intelligence, as to the hopes of Israel (Act 28:20 – God’s eternal earthly representatives—NC) as distinct from those of Christians (heavenly representatives—NC). Is it not as solemn as it is startling to see thus beyond just question the immediate, universal and lasting departure of the Christian profession from prophetic truth? The divine glory in Christ for all things in heaven and on earth being the blessed and revealed purpose of God (Eph 1:10); and when this is forgotten, false hopes spring up. Man, self, becomes the end, instead of the Lord Jesus; the true light is lost, and darkness ensues in the just retribution of God. The effort to make the Church all, instead of preserving the true dignity of the Church as the heavenly spouse of the Lord Jesus, lowers her to the position of earthly Israel, a people reigned over, not reigning with Him, His inheritance, not heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (it’s been said that Israel has a priesthood, but Christians are a priesthood - 1Pe 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6; 5:10). The future acts of God as revealed in the prophetic Word are the expressions of the principles on which He will govern the world; and so His Word is the means by which alone we learn these principles fully. If we fail to ascertain them thus, we form our own thoughts of that which God gave us, prophecy whereby we know His mind. Our business is to gather of what and whom God speaks; and no greater delusion can befall us than to imagine that, because all Scripture is for our profit all must be about ourselves. The purpose of God as to the Jews is in its place as truly the object of faith as His counsels concerning the Church (God knowing Israel’s future unbelief concerning Christ ordained them to be under heaven, and the believer’s place in Christ with Him in heaven—NC). Thus, the apprehension of His various ways for glorifying His Son is essential to real understanding of His Word. Here, as everywhere, a single eye is essential. With the Lord Jesus before us, the whole body will not fail to be full of light (Mat 6:22). Is not this to take away Scripture from the Christian? Quite the contrary! To understand it according to God is the truest and richest gain; to misapply it to ourselves in Gentile conceit is ruinous (concerning our understanding—NC). Yet there is no instruction in the past or future history of Israel as revealed in the Bible which is not for, though not about, the Church (because the entirety of Scripture “is profitable” - 2Ti 3:1—NC). That such scriptures concerning the Jew may have been written so as to bear an analogous application to the Gentiles is not denied (e.g. God bringing both peoples to Himself—NC); but the application calls for the utmost caution and a “right dividing of the “Word of Truth” (2Ti 2:15), because each economy or dispensation has its own peculiarities, and in not a few things there are confessedly decided and intended contrasts. It is an error therefore to read the Church in Judah and Israel, Zion and Jerusalem; and the effect of this alchemy which the Fathers originated (as I believe most were Gnostics, which number well more than those listed in the second paragraph of this article—NC) and handed down to both popery and Protestantism alike have been not only to rob Israel of their proper hope, but to lower that of the Church incalculably. Yet no maxim of interpretation can compare with this most misleading identification for importance, antiquity, or widespread reception. Since the Apostles, perhaps beyond every other tradition, has this been accepted always, everywhere, and by all. Fathers, Romanists, Reformers, have alike applied it habitually in their comments, as well as practice. But these are points of detail, all of which together are a trifle compared with the one grand principle which effaces Israel from prophecy and instills the Church in their stead. What can be thought of the judgment that could overlook an error so transcendent, vitiating all sound exposition of both Old Testament and New from Genesis to Revelation? One can account for it by two considerations: first, a quite superficial estimate of the evil involved in this old and general error; secondly, a very exaggerated feeling against those who looked for a personal Antichrist among the Jews and a future revival of the Roman Empire before the age ends, lest it should weaken Protestantism in the face of the popish reawakening in our day. There is no adequate sense of wrong which has been already done the truth for nearly eighteen centuries (this article written circa 1830’s) and the darkening influence which Judaizing the Church has wrought far and wide in Christendom, among the Orientals, Greeks, Latins, as well as Protestants more recently, throughout all its history save the first century. The feverish doubt caused by a few fanciful essayists like Drs. Maitland, Todd, Burgh, Messrs, Tyso, Dodsworth and the like, were slight indeed compared with the original paralysis in the distinct perception of the Christian’s heavenly privileges in union with the Lord Jesus Christ on high, or in the just recognition of God’s fidelity to Israel. What an indignity religion puts on every person of the Godhead alike, on the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ, when it drags souls back to the dread distance of Judaism (the Law was a great “veil” between God and Israel, due to its right to condemn via revealing Israel’s sins to them—NC). — Wm Kelly (1821 – 1906)
  8. Believers function by two natures: I the old man and I the new, but “live” and “walk” only after one (Gal 5:25), because nobody can have two masters (Mat 6:24). It’s not merely in the desire to sin, but also in the willingness to sin that confirms the “dominion” of sin (Ro 6:14) in the “natural man”! Believers, in the presence of desiring sin via the old nature, will not to sin via the new; and believers are what they are after the new nature, not the old, because though it is in us—we are not in it, “but in the Spirit” (Ro 8:9). This answers to Paul’s “I’s” in the Seventh of Romans: “it is no longer I (after the new man) who do it, but sin (I in the old man) that dwells in me”; “if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (vs 17, 20). It’s the new man—the “I myself” (Ro 7:25)—that we are after, and by which God always considers us, it being the “nature” by which we are “partakers of the divine nature” of Christ (2Pe 1:4). “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1Jn 3:9). The “seed” within the believer is the “new man” or new nature from Christ, which is where we do not sin, and is the “no longer I who do it” (Ro 7:17, 20). Where we sin is in the old nature, which is the “sin that dwells in me”; of which we are free concerning its guilt and dominion, and from which God completely separates our souls. Regardless of discouraging and disappointing times, and from where they came (which are only faith-strengthening exercises), I am never in that which I “serve after the flesh,” but always in that which “with the mind I myself serve” (Ro 7:25).
  9. What is to be said of Israel’s eschatology—God’s first-loved on the earth (the Christian being His first-loved in heaven)? Israel is one of the prime examples of God’s faithfulness to His promises to man, which are a show off His love. The most significant emblem of His love is confirmed within the permanency of His work in a soul. A covenant made with God is never broken on His side. Those to whom He vows His love and promises will ever find them working on and in the souls of His recipients (e.g. Jer 31:1, 3, 31-33; Eze 36:26, 27), “drawing” them ever closer. This will be during the salvation of “all Israel” (Rom 11:26, 27), occurring in the final dispensation remaining on this old earth—the Millennium. “The people of God”—those among the unbelieving Jews—have been out of fellowship with Him since the coming of Christ, due to their rejection of Him; but nowhere is it written that they are out of union with Him. In fact, God’s unceasing show of repeatedly bringing them back to Himself is a demonstration of the inseparable union of His Covenant with them; and this same truth is the same concerning those within the son-ship of Christ! NC Heavenly Body In Ephesians 2 we have the description of the Gentile in a most deplorable condition of distance from God, and separation from all that He had chosen upon the earth. But the Cross of Christ has annihilated all such distinctions. It has proved that the favored Jew was, if possible, more iniquitous than the poor Gentile. They had rejected and crucified their own Messiah; and if there were any among the Jews more urgent for His death than others, it was the priests, and so it always is (most Jews still disbelieve that Jesus is the Son of God—NC). We need to take care what we sanction at the present hour. The Lord has brought out what His Church is. But the will of man has raked up the law of commandments out of the grave of Christ, and enacts it over again. This is what is found all through the Church today. It is inconceivable, except though realizing the wiles of Satan, how Christians can take up the peculiar institution of God to His people, in the face of such a chapter as this, where we find that all this is gone, even for the Jews who believe, by the authority of God. What a solemn proof of the present condition of the Church of God! The truth is plain enough: “Having abolished is His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances, for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one Body by the Cross, having slain the enmity thereby” (Eph 2:15, 16). To this figure of “one new man” Christians answer. You will find that such a state of things never was known during OT times, nor even during our Lord’s life on earth. It is only after His ascension that Jew and Gentile are united upon earth, and worship the Father on the same level. This is the Body of Christ, which is the Church. It is not merely that they are all believers, but they are members of Christ in heaven and of none another on earth. Of course, when we get to heaven, it will still be the Church; but it began here, and that with Christ crucified and ascended to heaven. When He thus takes His place there, the work follows of forming the Body, in union with the Head. All distinctions are gone, as far as its own sphere is concerned. The nature of the Church is most plain from this: “That He might reconcile both unto God in one Body by the Cross, having slain the enmity thereby”—which enmity was in the commandments of the law, which straightly and wholly separated one from the other. But Christ “came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and them which were nigh.” All is attributed to Him, because founded on the Cross; and it is Christ, by the Holy Spirit, who now proclaims this heavenly peace to the Gentiles once afar off, as well as to the hitherto favored Israel. Where this truth is known, men may preach Christ more or less, may be descanting much in general on the promises of God; but a Jew would do that; and to them especially it will be given by and by to sing the song that “the mercy of the Lord endures forever”—the great burden of the millennial Psalms. The practically Jewish position taken by most Christians makes them turn the Psalms of David into the staple of Christian communion, and the expression of their own condition before God. All Scripture is, of course, given of God for the profit and blessing of the believer. But am I to offer a bull and a goat, because of old it was commanded? To imitate Leviticus is one thing; to understand it is quite another. By faith “we establish the law” (Rom 3:31), but we are not under it. So, speaking about my walk as a Christian, Paul says that sin shall not have dominion over me, for I am not under the law, but under grace (under grace the old man cannot work in the believer to choose it, i.e. “dominate,” because God “works in you” to ever please Him instead—NC). The Christian is under the law for nothing whatever, because he is in Christ dead and risen. The Lord Jesus was under it once. He passed out of its realm on the Cross; and my association with Him begins thenceforth. I am united to the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven, not on earth (His presence is at the right hand of the Father, but His “life” – Col 3:4 - is here by the Spirit—NC). What has He in heaven to do with the law? Hence we are said to be under grace, not law. One’s walk is amazingly lowered where a mistake is made about it; and Satan tries to bring in the law after believing, if he cannot pervert it to hinder believing. Here, then, it is peace that is preached “to you who were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by on Spirit unto the Father.” There, instead of the law, which drew a distinction between Jew and Gentile, the Holy Spirit unites them on a common ground, and puts them in a common relationship as sons, having to do with the Father. This is our position. When God was acting as a governor, He chose a nation; He had His own servants. But now, when He has a family, all that order of things vanishes. He has His children, and wants to have them near Him. The end of all Jewish form of holy places and days, of priesthood and of sacrifice, was the Cross of Christ. God is no longer dealing with men by a visible and sensual religion. The Holy Spirit sent down from heaven leads the children of God to “draw near” to their Father. How can a Christian acknowledge that this is what God had given to guide him, and yet be found taking part, were it only by his presence, in that which is positively Jewish? What God has provided for the Jew, and what He enjoins upon the Christian are very different things. What He presses upon the Christian is far more cutting to the old man and more honoring to Christ than anything that He ever did or will give to Israel. The Father has brought us as His family to Himself, and through Christ we “have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Eph 2:18)—we both—Jew and Gentile. How far are we carrying that out? Are we to sanction the unbelief that turns back to “the weak and beggarly elements of the world” (Gal 4:9, which is a continuation of verses 2-4, and is in reference to “the law of commandments contained in ordinances” - Eph 2:15; esp. those in the ceremonial law “because they could not give life, righteousness, peace, joy, comfort, and salvation” (John Gill – i.e. Heb 7:19)? Or are we cleaving only to the glorified Lord Jesus, worshiping “the Father in the Spirit” (Jhn 4:23)? We may suffer, if faithful to grace and truth; but happy are we, if it be so (1Pe 3:14). Scripture confines the Body, the Church, to that which followed the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus, and makes it depend on the Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9; 1Pe 1:11) sent down to form them into one Body upon the earth. “In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph 2:21, 22). God had once a dwelling-place on earth—the temple; and there He dwelt, not by the Spirit, but in a visible manner (angel - Exo 23:20; Num 20:16—NC). Now He dwells on earth in a more blessed way still, even through the Spirit. The Holy Spirit constitutes the saints divine habitation and unites them as one Body. What a truth! It is plain that the Father intends that we should walk faithfully in the truth, and according to “Christ who is our Life” (Col 3:4). — William Kelly (1821 – 1906)
  10. No matter how well maintained we are at disallowing our problems to escalate into “troubles” (Jhn 14:1, 27), there will always be prearranged difficulties in the way. Though sovereignly controlled (Ro 8:28), they will require “enduring” (2Ti 2:3), by “casting all your care on Him” (1Pe 5:7); and the greatest result here is that “your heart” will be “kept” and “ruled” via “the peace of God” (Phl 4:7; Col 3:15). May God’s Spirit give us to thoughtful (especially in the trials that must come and go) of our position (presently and eternally in the “Father’s hand” - Jhn 10:29), more than of our condition (infirmities - Heb 4:15). Though it is the enduring of our condition that produces the greatest growth in Christ’s image, and is also by which we glorify God the most, we are to be mindful, as much as lies within us, on the Father and the Son, and on where They are—which is where we will unfailingly be (Col 3:1, 2). NC Life There, Death Here There are two things which constitute a saint’s happiness according as they are known simultaneously. The one is, that he has a home and life outside this scene (Eph 2:6); the other, that he has a grave and dies in this scene (2Co 4:11). If I have no a home—a retreat, known to my soul in heaven, and an assured sense that the Lord Jesus is my life there—I must, like the raven, though once in the ark, seek for something to solace me here. The real reason why I find it hard that my only possession here should be a grave, is that I have not an abiding realization of my home in heaven, of enjoying life there in all its wondrous perennial virtues and delights (if we understand rebirth to be permanent—NC). If I do not walk in the truth, the path of wisdom, I am made to encounter rebuffs and rebukes (Heb 12:6) in order to force me into the way, which is the one of pleasantness and peace. The truth is, we have a home in heaven and the Lord Jesus is our life there; and if this be not simply enjoyed, there will be an attempt to modify the desolation here (which is to be endured, not avoided - 1Co 13:7; 2Ti 2:3; Heb 6:15—NC), and an inability to interpret the varied inroads which death makes on us (for our good—NC). It is plain that if I have a home and life outside this scene, I cannot have either in it. Consequently, as I enjoy by faith the one, I see that it is only consistent that there should be neither here, and I become a Caleb, and find a throne in Hebron, where my Father Abraham had only a grave! There is death before quickening (which lies between this body and the one “that shall be” 1Co 15:37—NC), though we through Christ enjoy the quickening (spiritual death and resurrection at rebirth—NC) before we die morally; but it is as we die, that we are confirmed in life. The proof that I enjoy my home and life in heaven is shown in the way that I accept the grave here. If I am walking by faith, nothing visible will suit me, for the visible comes not within the domain of faith. A man who has emigrated and found a new home, and happy associations, does not lament that the sea rolls between him and his former domicile of sorrow and privation; but if his satisfaction in the new home flags, he will sigh for the old. So it is with the saint, when his faith and enjoyment in his home above wane, like Israel in the wilderness, he remembers and longs for the “choice” things of Egypt (Num 11:5). Every growth begins in summer, and the stronger it grows in summer, the better it is prepared for winter. The defect in souls is, not that they bear the winter so badly, but that they have enjoyed the summer so little. They have not made their own of the season and clime which is suited for them, and without which there is no growth, so they are not prepared for the winter. Hence there is an effort to assuage the bitterness of winter when it comes, instead of having, like the ant, prepared in summer for the trials of winter (Pro 6:6-8). The growth is in summer—the endurance is in winter. Summer is my home and lifetime (heavenly life—NC), winter is the testing (earthly life—NC) time. If I have known the bright happy sunshine of the summer, I am invigorated and ready for the dark bleak days of winter. Fine days in winter add really nothing to my growth. It is when winter is past and the rain and snow over and gone, that the flowers appear and singing of the birds is heard. It is the one who does not know that the summer is his only season, his only time for growth and fruitfulness, that pines for mild weather in winter. Properly you are the dove who has found a retreat in the ark, and from thence you can fly out and survey the wave of death rolling over the earth, and accepting it, return again to the ark, and to the hand that is stretched out to receive you to the retreat which He has formed for you, and you for it. — J B Stoney
  11. Thanks for sharing your comment and complement! As you can see in my prologue, I too continue to often recall this and the other materials that are used for our spiritual growth. God bless!
  12. Amen Sower! Thanks and God bless!
  13. Thanks for sharing your comments and God bless!
  14. In the beginning years of our rebirth we find that God meets our earthly needs and we are much drawn and thankful to Him for it, and we continue to learn that He will ever meet them during the remnant of our earthly time! But once spiritual growth of the Word begins to become more understood concerning our faith, we soon find a greater element than just our needs being meet. We go from learning to always trust God for our needs (physical and esp. spiritual needs), to being given the blessing of realizing that our connection to Himself is all that is needed to be abundantly supplied in all things; and thus our continued growth teaches us, as much as lies within us, to be mindfully stayed on God (Isa 26:3; 31:1; 48:2) via ever knowing all is used by Him for the increase of our fellowship with Him now and for eternity! Believers can be so heavenly minded that they will have no earthly “trouble,” just problems waiting to be solved (Jhn 14:1, 27; 16:22). Regardless of how discouraged and disappointed we will be at times (whether from self or another), we are supposed to wait it out for the love of the Father, in knowing all things hear are merely His instruments of teaching and exhorting us to maintain the contemplation that “He has (already) made us accepted in the Beloved (Eph 1:6). NC Father-love In John 17:26, the Lord Jesus concludes His prayer to His Father with, “that the love with which Thou hast loved Me may be in them.” It is something inconceivable that we are as much the objects of the Father’s love as His own blessed Son, the One who pleased Him in every detail, glorified Him in every act and word on earth. The Lord Jesus is educating us unto the same love that He has Himself; and nothing gives one such dignity as the knowledge that he is loved by one superior to himself. There are two aspects of the Gospel. As with the man who fell among thieves, you say I have received great comfort; oil and wine He has poured in. He has healed my wounds; my poor heart and conscience are wonderfully relieved by the grace of God. But that is not all; if you stop there you do not speak of God at all; you are speaking of His goodness to you. If you limit yourself to that you are limiting yourself to your own feelings about it, and the effect it has upon yourself only, and of the relief it has brought you from the terrible distress of a wounded heart. Now the prodigal son says, “My father kissed me.” The first notice he had of grace reaching him—though not the first work of it he had—was the father falling on his neck and kissing him. When it comes to that side, what would such a soul say? He would say, “Well, I know at least how my father feels about me”; I know how He received me; I have the knowledge of the Father. So the very first action of grace towards the prodigal was to show him the will of the Father. This makes a very great difference between what he could say, and what the man who fell among thieves could say. To a soul that talks to me only of how happy it is as knowing the finished work of Christ, I can but answer, “Well, that is all very good, as long as it is smooth water; but when it gets rough, what will you do? I can say I am “anchored” in the love of God, and, though I may swing on my moorings, I can never be moved, for I am in safe anchorage (Heb 6:19). All here comes to me from one spring, and that spring is the heart of my Father. You must connect your heart with the love and not with the benefit (love beings not things - 1Jo 2:15), otherwise you have not got established. I am not only clear of everything that was against me, but I am brought into a new kind of love—the love of my Father. It is not merely His gifts, His power and greatness, but it is the knowledge of what He is in Himself to me. The Lord Jesus would acquaint us with the love of the Father as that which makes us superior to all that is in the world. Then you will say I am not looking around for anything; I do not want things here to tell me of that love, for I interpret all by that love. Souls are hindered by dwelling on the different ways in which God’s love has met them in different circumstances; but it is not circumstances, it is the Lord Jesus who is to educate me into the Love of the Father. May our hearts get such a lesson in the love of the Father, that instead of being depressed by trying circumstances, or elated by what are called providential interpositions, we may know that we are the objects of this wonderful love, and are being educated into it by the only One who knew it in all its power as He walked below through this wilderness world. - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional for December 17: “It is a mistake to measure spiritual maturity merely by the presence of gifts. They may be present and they may be valuable, but the Spirit’s object is something far greater—to form the Lord Jesus Christ in us through the work of the Cross. It is not merely that a man does certain things or speaks certain words, but that he is a certain kind of man. In the long run it is what we are, and not simply what we say or do—and the difference lies in the formation of the Lord Jesus within.” http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  15. Believers can only live by faith in the Word, as the Spirit teaches us (1Co 2:13), thus we learn more all the time go by what God thinks about us and everything over what we think about us and everything. He knows our primary difficulty will often be thinking too much of about ourselves and not thinking enough about Him and what His Word says. Every single difficulty leads to excessive self-dependence, which He uses to teach God-dependence over everything. Many are often hindered in believing God uses everything for the good of our faith and life in His Son because they relate the promise of Rom 8:28 to according to how well we think we are living according to His Word, but this promise has no relation to what we think or do, because it leads us--we don't try to steer it. It's all always on Him and this truth must be relied upon at all time concerning all things! We find comfort in knowing that He knows we always desire to put Him first regardless of how what occurs, which is what He is always"working in you" (Pgl 2:13). The "magnum-opus" of all of the faith God will be teachings us is this---ever waiting on Him via trusting Him always for our "good."
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