THE SUBMISSIVE HEART……E. Dennet (1831 – 1914)

“Faith is a divine plant that only grows out of the soil of a broken will. 
 
Two lessons I have been learning:  first, to expect nothing but from the Lord; and, secondly, to take nothing, even though it be that on which you have set your heart, and even if it be brought to you, but to wait on the Lord until He puts it into your hands.  If ripe fruit, for example (I use “ripe fruit” figuratively), be hanging on a branch close to you, do not pluck it, but let the Lord, if it be His will, put it into your lips, and then you may enjoy it.
 
You are of no use to God until your will is broken. 
 
The calm of the soul which reposes in the will of God is unspeakable.
 
When you have learnt that your only home is God’s presence, and your only happiness is in doing God’s will there is nothing more that I can teach you. 
 
The more subject we are to the will of God the more we shall grow in holiness.
 
(Luke xxii. 42 etc.) You cannot expect and answer from God unless your will is gone.  You shut out answers to prayer because you have a will about the thing for which your are praying.
 
Madam Guyon used to say that the only difference she knew in places was where she realized most of the presence of God; so will it be with ourselves when we have no will of our own, and when we have but God’s presence.
 
If we knew the heart of God we would never question any of His dealings with us, nor should we ever desire His hand lifted off us till we had learnt all He would teach us. 
 
Paul says, ‘”Through evil report and good report,“ he did not stop to explain; a true servant of God has not time for that, and to defend yourself only leads to further charges.
 
We are never to seek to vindicate ourselves when it is a personal matter, but when the Lord’s name is dishonored for His glory we may speak.
 
You never find the Lord defending Himself.
 
Your character may not be vindicated down here.  Jesus died under a cloud.  He was never cleared in this world of the false accusations that had been made against Him. 
 
The will of God was the only law of Christ’s life.  He was never governed by human considerations or affections.  Are we set upon this –that the will of God should be our only law?
 
A soul who is in the secret of the divine mind must be content to be unappreciated and to walk alone.
 
If we are not in the path of God’s will we are not in the path of power.
 
Our true wisdom is in subjection to the will of our Lord.  To human eyes no plan of taking Jericho could have been more foolish than that which Joshua adopted; but it was God’s plan, and hence its complete success. 
 
 

SOLITARY WAY……An Anonymous Poem

There is a mystery in human hearts,
And though we be encircled by a host
Of those who love us well, and are beloved,
To every one of us, from time to time
There comes a sense of utter loneliness.
Our dearest friend is “stranger” to our joy,
And cannot realize our loneliness.
“There is not one who really understands,
Not one to enter into all I feel;
Such is the cry of each of us in turn.
We wander in a “solitary way,”
No matter what or where our lot may be;
Each heart, mysterious even to itself,
Must live its inner life in solitude.
And would you know the reason why this is?
It is because the Lord desires our love,
In every heart He wishes to be first.
He, therefore, keeps the secret key Himself,
To open all its chambers, and to bless
With perfect sympathy, and holy peace,
Each solitary soul which comes to Him.
So when we feel this loneliness, it is
the voice of JESUS saying, “Come to Me”;
And every time we are “not understood,”
It is a call to us to come again;
For Christ alone can satisfy the soul,
And those who walk with Him from day to day
Can never have a “solitary way.”And when
beneath the heavy Cross you faint,
And say, “I cannot bear this load alone,”
You say the truth.  Christ made it purposely
So heavy that you must return to Him.
Entreating you to come to Him again.
The Man of Sorrows understands it well,
In all points tempted He can feel with you,
You cannot come too often, or too near;
The Son of God is infinite in grace,
His presence satisfies the longing soul,
And those who walk with Him from day to day
Can never have a “solitary way.”
“They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way.” Ps. 107.4

HOW TO STUDY SCRIPTURE……C.H. Mackintosh

It is very difficult for anyone to attempt prescribing for another the proper method of studying Scripture  The infinite depths of Holy Scripture, like the exhaustless resources that are in God and the moral glories of the Person of Christ, are only unfolded to faith and need. This makes it so very simple. It is not cleverness or intellectual power we need, but the simplicity of a little child. The One who composed the Holy Scriptures must open our understandings to receive their precious teaching. And He will do so, if only we wait on Him in real earnestness of heart.

We must never lose sight of the weighty fact that it is as we act on what we know that our knowledge shall increase. It will never do to sit down like a bookworm to read the Bible. We may fill our intellect with biblical knowledge, we may have the doctrines of the Bible and the letter of Scripture at our finger-tips without one particle of unction or spiritual power. We must go to Scripture as a thirsty man goes to a well; as a hungry man goes to a meal; as a mariner goes to a chart. We must go to it because we cannot do without it. We go, not merely to study, but to feed. The instincts of the divine nature lead us to the Word of God as the newborn babe desires the milk by which he is to grow. It is by feeding on the Word that the new man grows.

Hence we may see how very real and practical is this question of how to study Scripture. It is intimately connected with our entire moral and spiritual condition, our daily walk, our actual habits and ways. God has given us His Word to form our character, to govern our conduct and shape our course. Therefore, if the Word has not a formative influence and a governing power over us, it is the height of folly to think of storing up a quantity of scriptural knowledge in the intellect. It can only puff us up and deceive us. It is a most dangerous thing to traffic in unfelt truth; it brings on a heartless indifference, levity of spirit, insensibility of conscience, which is appalling to people of serious piety. There is nothing that tends so to throw us completely into the hands of the enemy as a quantity of head knowledge of truth without a tender conscience, a true heart, an upright mind.

The mere profession of truth which does not act on the conscience and come out in the life, is one of the special dangers of the day in which our lot is cast. Better by far only to know a little in reality and power, than profess a quantity of truth that lies powerless in the region of the understanding, exerting no formative influence upon the life. I would much rather be honestly in Romans 7 than fictitiously in chapter 8.  In the former case I am sure to come right, but in the latter there is no telling what I may come to.  As to the question of making use of human writings to help us in the study of Scripture, great caution is needed. No doubt the Lord may and does make use of the writings of His servants, just as He uses their oral ministry for our instruction and edification. Indeed, in the present broken and divided state of the Church,  it is wonderful to mark the Lord’s rich grace and tender care in feeding His beloved people with the writings of His servants.

But, we repeat, great caution is needed, earnest waiting on the Lord, that we may not abuse so precious a gift, that it may not lead us to trade on borrowed capital. If we are really dependent upon God, He will give us the right thing; He will put the right book into our hands; He will feed us with food suitable for us. Thus we receive it from Himself and hold it in communion with Himself. It is fresh, living, powerful, formative; it tells on the heart and shines in the life; and we grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Precious growth! Would there were more of it!

Finally, we have to remember that Holy Scripture is the voice of God and the written Word is the transcript of the living Word. It is only by the Holy Spirit’s teaching we can really understand Scripture, and He reveals its living depths to faith and need. Let us never forget this.

THE LIFE OF FAITH…… J.G. Bellett

 
In the “life of faith” we do not merely look for the principle of dependence on God or confidence in Him. It signifies much more. It is a life of large and various energies. According to God, or Scripture, faith is that principle in the soul which not only trusts Him and believes Him, it is also that which apprehends His way, acts in concert with His principles and purposes, receives His promises, enjoys His favor, does His bidding, looks for His kingdom, in His strength gains victories, and by His light walks in light. Thus it is ever exhibiting a life according to Him, or formed by communion with Him.

NONE OF SELF, ALL OF THEE……T. Monod

  1. Oh, the bitter pain and sorrow
    That a time could ever be,
    When I proudly said to Jesus,
    “All of self, and none of Thee.”
    All of self, and none of Thee,
    All of self, and none of Thee,
    When I proudly said to Jesus,
    “All of self, and none of Thee.”
  2. Yet He found me; I beheld Him
    Bleeding on th’ accursed tree,
    And my wistful heart said faintly,
    “Some of self, and some of Thee.”
    Some of self, and some of Thee,
    Some of self, and some of Thee,
    And my wistful heart said faintly,
    “Some of self, and some of Thee.”
  3. Day by day His tender mercy,
    Healing, helping, full and free,
    Brought me lower while I whispered,
    “Less of self, and more of Thee.”
    Less of self, and more of Thee,
    Less of self, and more of Thee,
    Brought me lower while I whispered,
    “Less of self, and more of Thee.”
  4. Higher than the highest heaven,
    Deeper than the deepest sea,
    Lord, Thy love at last has conquered:
    None of self, and all of Thee.”
    None of self, and all of Thee,
    None of self, and all of Thee,
    Lord, Thy love at last has conquered:
    None of self, and all of Thee.

HAVE I NOT COMMANDED THEE?……C.H. Mackintosh

“Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid,
neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee wither-so-ever thou goest.”
Joshua 1:9

“Here lies the true secret of stability and peace, at all times, and under all
circumstances.  The authority of God for the ground we occupy, and His presence
with us thereon—the word of the Lord, as the warrant for what we are doing, and
the light of His countenance in the doing of it.  Joshua could never have faced
the difficulties of his day, without these two things; and, although we may not have to
meet the same things that lay in his path, yet, we may rest assured of this,
we shall never get on, in this our day, without the
word of God as our authority,
and His presence as our strength.  No doubt, those who are enabled to go
through the sifting and testing, with God, will reap a rich harvest of blessing;
but we must go through it.  It is being made manifest, just now, in a very special
way, whose faith is standing merely in the wisdom of men, and whose in the
power of God.  All that is hollow is being exposed, and will be so more and more;
but God will keep those whose hearts are true to the
name of Jesus.  “Thou wilt
keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”

This is the soul’s unfailing refuge, at all times.  “and now, brethren, I commend you
to GOD, and to the WORD of his grace.”  Nothing but God Himself and the word of His
grace could stand, in an evil day, or enable a soul to stand.

There is something perfectly beautiful in the jealous care of the apostle Paul lest any
should lean upon him, or upon anything save the living God Himself….”For this cause
also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God
which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth,
the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1Thess.2:13).

Be able, in the calm dignity of a faith that rests only in the power and on the authority
of God, to give a reason for the path that you tread, the work you do, the niche you
fill.  This is not highmindedness or haughtiness, dogmatism or pride, self-confidence
or vainglory.  It is the very reverse.  it is self-abnegation and confidence in God.
“With the lowly is wisdom” (Prov. 11:2).  Precious truth!  May we all remember it!
It is the lowly mind that really possesses heavenly wisdom.  It is not the learned,
the astute, the long-headed, or clear-headed among men that can thread their way
through the labyrinths of the present moment; no, it is the lowly, the simple, the
self-distrusting, the childlike, the unpretending.  These are they who will have
wisdom to guide them, in the darkest times–these are they who will possess peace
in their souls and stability in their ways.  May God’s Spirit lead us into these things!”
(from Short Papers on Scripture Subjects, Vol.1, C.H. Mackintosh).

A FEW WORDS ABOUT GRACE……William R. Newell

The Nature of Grace:
1. Grace is God acting freely, according to His own nature — as Love; with no promises or obligations to fulfill; and acting of course, righteously — in view of the cross.
2. Grace, therefore, is uncaused in the recipient: its cause lies wholly in the GIVER, in GOD.
3. Grace, also is sovereign. Not having debts to pay, or fulfilled conditions on man’s part to wait for, it can act toward whom, and how, it pleases. It can, and does, often, place the worst deservers in the highest favors.
4. Grace cannot act where there is either desert or ability. Grace does not help — it is absolute, it does all.
5. There being no cause in the creature why Grace should be shown, the creature must be brought off from trying to give cause to God for His Grace.
6. The discovery by the creature that he is truly the object of Divine Grace, works the utmost humility: for the receiver of grace is brought to know his own absolute unworthiness, and his complete inability to attain worthiness: yet he finds himself blessed – on another principle, outside of himself!
7. Therefore, flesh has no place in the plan of Grace. This is the great reason why Grace is hated by the proud natural mind of man. But for this very reason, the true believer rejoices! For he knows that “in him, that is, in his flesh, is no good thing; and yet he finds God glad to bless him, just as he is!
The Place of Man under Grace:
1. He has been accepted in Christ, who is his standing!
2. He is not “on probation.”
3. As to his life past, it does not exist before God: he died at the Cross, and Christ is his life.
4. Grace, once bestowed, is not withdrawn: for God knew all the human exigencies (needs) beforehand; His action was independent of them, not dependent upon them.
5. The failure of devotion does not cause the withdrawal of bestowed Grace (as it would under Law) . For example: the man in I Cor. 5:1-5, and also those in 11:30-32, who did not “judge” themselves, and so were “judged by the Lord, — that they might not be condemned with the world!”
The Proper Attitude of Man under Grace:
1. To believe, and to consent to be loved while unworthy, is the great secret.
2, To refuse to make “resolutions” and “vows;” for that is to trust in the flesh.
3. To expect to be blessed, though realizing more and more lack of worth.
4. To testify of God’s goodness, at all times.
5. To be certain of God’s future favor; yet to be ever more tender in conscience toward Him.
6. To rely on God’s chastening hand as a mark of His Kindness.
7. A man under Grace, if like Paul, has no burden regarding himself; but many about others.
Things Which Gracious Souls Discover:
1. To”hope to be better” is to fail to see yourself in Christ only.
2. To be disappointed with yourself, is to have believed in yourself.
3. To be discouraged is unbelief, — as to God’s purpose and plan of blessing for you,
4. To be proud, is to be blind! For we have no standing before God, in ourselves.
5. The lack of Divine blessing, therefore, comes from unbelief, and not from failure of devotion.
6. Real devotion to God arises, not from man’s will to show it; but from the discovery that blessing has been received from God while we were yet unworthy and undevoted.
7. To preach devotion first, and blessing second, is to reverse God’s order and preach Law, not Grace. The Law made man’s blessing depend on devotion; Grace confers undeserved, unconditional blessing: our devotion may follow, but does not always do so, — in proper measure.

GROWTH THROUGH THE TRUTH……J.N. Darby

The writings of J. N. Darby: 

STEM Publishing:

Growth through the Truth

1 Peter 2: 1-6

J. N. Darby.

<12019E> 179

In one sense, as here taught us by the Spirit of God through the apostle, the healthful position of the saint is ever that of the “new-born babe”; whilst in another sense we are, of course, to be making progress so as to become young men and fathers in Christ. As to practical position of soul in receiving truth from God, it is that of the new-born babe: “as new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” This is the place in which, as believers, we are set by the Spirit, in order that we may grow up into Christ.

But if we are to grow by the sincere milk of the word, it is not by the exercise of our minds upon the word, nor yet even by great study of it merely; we need the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and in order to this, there must be the exercising of ourselves unto godliness – the “laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,” so that the Holy Spirit be not grieved. Has the Christian envy, guile, hypocrisies, allowed to work in his heart? There can be no growth in the true knowledge of the things of God. Therefore he is called upon to be ever a “new-born babe,” coming to receive, in the consciousness of his own weakness, littleness, and ignorance, and in simplicity of heart, food from the word of God.

The Lord always keeps His simple dependent ones thus. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.” But then the knowledge of God always humbles; the more we know of Him, the more shall we know of our own emptiness. “If any man think he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” Just as the babe is constantly receiving nourishment from the mother, so need we to be constantly receiving spiritual nourishment from the word of God. When the word is received by us in faith, we become strengthened; we grow thereby in the knowledge of God, and of His grace. The apostle Paul, having heard of the faith of the Ephesians in the Lord Jesus, prays “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,” would “give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” etc. Having “tasted that the Lord is gracious,” we come to His word and receive from Him that which we need to comfort, nourish, and refresh our souls. The word always comes with savour from Himself; it is known as “the word of his grace.” I may study the word again and again; but unless I get into communion with Him by it, it will profit me nothing – at least at the time.

God reveals not His things “to the wise and prudent,” but unto “babes.” It is not the strength of man’s mind judging about “the things of God,” that gets the blessing from Him; it is the spirit of the babe desiring “the sincere milk of the word.” He says, “open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” The strongest mind must come to the word of God as the new-born babe.

And so too in speaking of God’s truth; whenever we cannot “speak as the oracles of God,” through the power of communion, it is our business to be silent. We should be cautious not to trifle with unascertained truth. Nothing hinders growth more than this – trifling with unascertained truth: we then act as masters and not as learners. Our position as regards the truth of God must be ever that of new-born babes desiring the sincere milk of the word that we may grow thereby.

But there is nothing so hard for our hearts as to be humble – nothing so easy for them as to get out of this place of lowliness. It is not by precepts merely that we are either brought into this state, or preserved there; it is by tasting “that the Lord is gracious.” It is quite true that God is a God of judgment – that He will exercise vengeance on His enemies; but this is not the way in which He stands towards the Christian. He is made known unto us as “the God of all grace”; and the position in which we are set is that of tasting that He is gracious!

How hard it is for us to believe this, that the Lord is gracious! The natural feeling of our hearts is, “I know that thou art an austere man.” Are our wills thwarted? we quarrel with God’s ways, and are angry because we cannot have our own. It may be perhaps that this feeling is not manifested; but still at any rate there is the want in all of us naturally of the understanding of the grace of God, the inability to apprehend it. See the case of the poor prodigal in the gospel: the thought of his father’s grace never once entered into his mind when he set out on his return, and therefore he only reckoned on being received as a “hired servant.” But what does the father say? What are the feelings of his heart? “Bring forth the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it . . . for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” This is grace, free grace.

So too in the case of the woman of Samaria (the poor adulteress, ignorant of the character of Him who spake with her, “the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” and therefore the suited one to meet her need): the Lord says to her, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” Hadst thou only understood what grace is, thou wouldst have asked, and I would have given!

It is not only when there is open rebellion against God, and utter carelessness and unconcern about salvation, that there is this darkness of understanding as to grace. Our natural heart has got so far away from God, that it will look to anything in the world – to the devil even – to get happiness; anywhere but to the grace of God. Our consciences, when at all awakened to a sense of sin, and of its hatefulness in the sight of God, think that He cannot be gracious. Adam, had he known the grace of God, when he found himself naked, would at once have gone to God to cover him. But no, he was ignorant of it; he saw his state, and he sought to hide himself from God amongst the trees of the garden. And so it is with us. The consciousness of being naked before God, apart from the understanding of His grace, makes us flee from Him.

Nay, further, as believers in Jesus, when our consciences come to be exercised, and we feel that we must have to do with God in everything, we may not have the distinct sense of the Lord’s being gracious; and there will then be not only a deep sense of our responsibility but at the same time the thought that we have to answer to God’s requirements, and shall be judged of Him according to the way in which we do so. There is a measure of truth in this the requirements of God must be met; but then the wrongness is in thinking that, if we do not find in ourselves what will please God, He will condemn us because of it.

182 On the other hand there is sometimes the thought that grace implies God’s passing by sin. But no, quite the contrary; grace supposes sin to be so horribly bad a thing that God cannot tolerate it. Were it in the power of man, after being unrighteous and evil, to patch up his ways, and mend himself so as to stand before God, there would then be no need of grace. The very fact of the Lord’s being gracious shews sin to be so evil a thing, that, man being a sinner, his state is utterly ruined and hopeless, and nothing but free grace will do for him – can meet his need.

A man may see sin to be a deadly thing, and he may see that nothing that defiles can enter into the presence of God: his conscience may be brought to a true conviction of sin; yet this is not tasting “that the Lord is gracious.” It is a very good thing to be brought even to that, for I am then tasting that the Lord is righteous, and it is needful for me to know it; but then I must not stop there: sin without grace would put me in a hopeless state. Peter had not “tasted that the Lord was gracious” when he said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” and therefore he thought that his sin unfitted him for the presence of the Lord.

Such too was the thought of Simon the leper, respecting the poor woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Ah, if this man had been a prophet (if he had known the mind of God), he would have sent away this woman out of his presence, “for she is a sinner.” And why? Because he did not know that the Lord was gracious. He had a certain sense of the righteousness of God, but not the knowledge of His grace. I cannot say that God ought to be gracious; but I can say (if ignorant of His grace), that He ought to cast me, as a sinner, away from His presence, because He is righteous. Thus we see that we must learn what God is to us, not by our own thoughts, but by what He has revealed Himself to be, and that is “the God of all grace.”

The moment I understand (as Peter did) that I am a sinful man, and yet that it was because the Lord knew the full extent of my sin, and what its hatefulness was, that He came to me, I understand what grace is. Faith makes me see that God is greater than my sin, and not that my sin is greater than God. “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” As soon as I believe Jesus to be the Son of God, I see that God has come to me because I was a sinner and could not go to Him.

183 Man’s ability to meet the requirements of the holiness of God has been fully tried: but the plainer the light came, the more did it shew to man his darkness; and the stricter the rule, the more did it bring out his self-will. And then it was, “when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” – “when we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This is grace. God, seeing the blood of His Son, is satisfied with it; and if I am satisfied with it, this is what glorifies God.

But the Lord that I have known as laying down His life for me is the same Lord that I have to do with every day of my life; and all His dealings with me are on this same principle of grace. Do I want to learn what His love is? it is taught in the cross; but He gave Himself for me in order that all the fulness and joy that is in Him might be mine. I must be a learner of it still – a new born babe desiring “the sincere milk of the word that I may grow thereby.”

The great secret of growth is the looking up to the Lord as gracious. How precious, how strengthening it is, to know that Jesus is at this moment feeling and exercising the same love towards me as when He died upon the cross for me! This is a truth that should be used by us in the most common everyday circumstances of life. Suppose, for instance, I find an evil temper in myself, which I feel it difficult to overcome: let me bring it to Jesus as my friend, virtue goes out of Him for my need. Faith should be ever thus in exercise against temptation, and not simply my own effort; my own effort against it will never be sufficient. The source of real strength is in the sense of the Lord’s being gracious.

But the natural man in us always disallows Christ as the only source of strength and of every blessing. Suppose my soul is out of communion, the natural heart says, I must correct the cause of this before I can come to Christ: but He is gracious. And, knowing this, the way is to return to Him at once, just as we are, and then humble ourselves deeply before Him. It is only in Him, and from Him, that we shall find that which will restore our souls. Humbleness in His presence is the only real humbleness. If we own ourselves in His presence to be just what we are, we shall find that He will shew us nothing but grace.

184 But though “disallowed indeed of men” – of the natural heart in every one of us – who is this that says, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded”? It is God; He laid this corner stone, not man; and He says, This is what I think of Christ. By learning of God, through His teaching me by the Holy Spirit, I come to have the same thoughts about Jesus that He has. Here I find my strength, my comfort, my joy. That in which God delights and will delight for ever is now my joy also.

God says, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”; “mine elect in whom my soul delighteth”; and, working these (His) thoughts into my soul, I too see Jesus to be precious, and find my delight in Him. Thus He who was crucified for me – who “bare my sins in his own body on the tree” – is precious to God and precious to me. God could find no rest save in Jesus. We may look throughout the world, we shall find nothing which can satisfy our hearts but Jesus. If God looked for truth, for righteousness, all He could desire He found in Jesus; and He found it in Him for us. Here is that which gives comfort to the soul. I see Jesus “now in the presence of God for us “; and God is satisfied, God delights in Him.

It is Christ Himself in whom God rests, and will rest for ever; but then Jesus, having borne and blotted out my sins by His own blood, has united me to Himself in heaven. He descended from above, bringing God down to us here: He has ascended, placing the saints in union with Himself there. If God finds Jesus precious, He finds me (in Him) precious also.

Jesus, as Man, has glorified God on the earth: God rests in that; as Man, having accomplished redemption, He “has passed into the heavens,” “now to appear in the presence of God for us.” It is Jesus who gives abiding rest to our souls, and not what our thoughts about ourselves may be. Faith never thinks about that which is in ourselves as its ground of rest; it receives, loves, and apprehends what God has revealed, and what are God’s thoughts about Jesus, in whom is His rest.

It is not by human knowledge or intellect that we attain to this. The poor ignorant sinner, when enlightened by the Spirit, can understand how precious Jesus is to the heart of God, as well as the most intellectual. The dying robber could give a better account of the whole life of Jesus than all around him, saying, “This man has done nothing amiss”; he was taught by the Spirit.

185 Are we much in communion with God, our faces will shine, and others will discover it though we may not be conscious of it ourselves. Moses, when he had been talking with God, wist not that the skin of his face shone; he forgot himself, he was absorbed in God. As knowing Jesus to be precious to our souls, our eyes and our hearts being occupied with Him, they will be effectually prevented from being taken up with the vanity and sin around; and this too will be our strength against the sin and corruption of our own hearts. Whatever I see in myself that is not in Him is sin; but then it is not thinking upon my own sins, and my own vileness, and being occupied with them, that will humble me; but thinking of the Lord Jesus, dwelling upon the excellence in Him. It is well to have done with ourselves and to be taken up with Jesus. We are entitled to forget ourselves, we are entitled to forget our sins, we are entitled to forget all but Jesus. It is by looking to Jesus that we can give up anything, that we can walk as obedient children: His love constrains us. Were it simply a command, we should have no power to obey.

The Lord give us thus to be learners of the fulness of grace which is in Jesus, the beloved and elect One of God, so that “we may be changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

May we, beloved, in searching into the truth of God, having “tasted that the Lord is gracious,” ever be found as new-born babes desiring the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby.

SERMON ON THE MOUNT and the grace believer……L.K.P.

An issue has been raised regarding the context of the Sermon on the Mount. Is there only application to the millenial kingdom in these chapters in Matthew? Here are a few excerpts that may help in understanding the differences we discern between the merit system seen in the Sermon on the Mount in comparison to the life under grace as taught in the epistles.

“Having announced the kingdom of heaven as “at hand”, the King, in Matt.5-7, declares the principles of the kingdom. The Sermon on the Mount has a two-fold application: (1) Literally to the kingdom. In this sense it give the divine constitution for the righteous government of the earth. (Isa.11:4-5; 32:1; Dan.9:24). In this sense the Sermon on the Mount is pure law, and transfers the offense from the overt act to the motive (Matt.5:21, 22, 27, 28). The Jews reduced “righteousness” to mere ceremonialism, and the Old Testament idea of the kingdom to a mere affair of outward splendor and power. [T]he Sermon on the Mount in its primary application gives neither the privilege nor the duty of the Church. These are found in the Epistles. Under the law of the kingdom, for example, no one may hope for forgiveness who has not first forgiven (Matt.6: 12, 14, 15). Under grace the Christian is exhorted to forgive because he is already forgiven (Eph.4:30-32). But there is a beautiful moral application to the Christian. It always remains true that the poor in spirit, rather than the proud, are blessed, and those who mourn because of their sins, and who are meek in the consciousness of them, will hunger and thirst after righteousness, and hungering will be filled. The merciful are ‘blessed’, the pure in heart do ‘see God’. These principles fundamentally reappear in the teaching of the Epistles.” (Scofield notes on Matt.5-7)

“In examining the beatitudes, we shall find that this portion in general gives the character of Christ Himself. I think there is moral progress in the verses, one leading to the next as an effect of it. Thus, in the Sermon on the Mount, we find the description of that which was suitable to the kingdom of heaven, and even the assurance of reward in heaven for those who should suffer on earth for His sake. This description as we have seen, is essentially the character of Christ, Himself. It is thus that a heavenly spirit [Christ] expresses itself on earth. When it shall be established hereafter in power, the world will be governed according to these principles.” [Regarding disciples], ” they were to act in grace, even as their [heavenly] Father acted…..in which all would correspond morally to the character and the will of their Father. Many of these principles are always true….in spirit we ought to manifest its’ features; but the special and literal application [of the Sermon on the Mount] is that which I have given [in previous teaching].” (Volume 3, J.N.Darby’s Synopsis of the Bible)

“A righteous man would be characterized by humility and selflessness. He might go “the extra mile” to maintain peace -he would not strike back, demand repayment or refuse to comply. Instead of retaliating he would do the opposite and would also commit his case to the Lord who will one day set all things in order. (cf Rom.12:17-21; 1Pet.2:23). Since His love extends to everyone, Israel too should be a channel of His love by loving all. Such love demonstrates that they are God’s sons (Matt.5:16). Loving only those who love you and greeting only your brothers is no more than the tax collectors and pagans do. (Matt. 5:44-47).” Bible Knowledge Commentary, pg.31

[Christ]: “He teaches the law in its fullest and deepest spiritual meaning. It condemns every human being. Thousands of unsaved….have made this first discourse of our Lord in the gospel of Matthew the standard for what they call “their religion”. The words show the sinner his ruin and his corruption. (compare Matt.5:43-48 and Eph. 5:1). The standard for the heirs of the kingdom is then HIS own moral perfection” (Arno Gaebelein, Matthew Commentary)

“It is the divine nature of which each believer is a partaker (2Peter 1:4) which enables him to approximate the character portrayed in this searching discourse. God’s choicest blessings are for those who manifest the same spirit of reverence for Him, and meekness and compassion for others. Thus, and thus only, that which is beyond the reach of the natural man is fulfilled in those who have received a new life and nature through trusting in Christ as their Saviour.” (see Rom. 8:4) (H. A. Ironside, Matthew Commentary)

“A reminder…..maybe in order, which asserts again that the believer is provided in this [Church] age with righteousness which is a gift from God made possible through the sweet savor aspect of Christ’s death and on the ground of the believer’s position in Christ. (Titus 3:4-5). [“Concerning the nine Beatitudes, attention should be given to the fact that in contrast to the nine-fold self-earned blessing of the kingdom, the believer under grace is to experience a nine-fold blessing which is produced in him by the direct power of the indwelling Spirit. It will be seen that all that is demanded under the law of the kingdom, as a condition of blessing, is under grace, divinely provided.” (Chafer’s Systematic Theology Vol.4, pg.219). **************************************************************************************************

Our Lord Jesus Christ did not destroy the law (see Matt.5:17-18);

In this Church age the purpose of the law is explained in :1Tim.1:8-10; 2Cor. 3:6-7a; Rom.7:7,13.

If Law is “ministration of death”, how can believer live by it? (2Cor.3:6-9)

Church age believers died to the law , Rom 7:1-6;

Not under law: Rom.6:14,15; Gal.5:18; 1 Cor.9:21; Col.2: 14

Made a “new man”: Eph.2:15

Now filled with the fruits of righteousness by Jesus Christ: Phil.1:11

Free from the law of sin and death: Rom.8:2

Our part is to walk by means of the Holy Spirit: Rom.8:4