CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST……J.B. Stoney

STEM Publishing : Magazines : The Christian’s Friend : 1897 : Crucified with Christ

I believe the great hindrance to divine joy in the soul arises from the imperfect way the crucifixion of the old man is apprehended. The believer at first, for full peace, believes that God has raised from the dead the Lord Jesus Christ, who bore the judgment which lay on him, so that the man that was under judgment is really gone from the eye of God in judgment. The believer is now before God, not in the man who was under judgment, but in the Man who has glorified God in bearing the judgment; and, consequently, there is not a cloud between his soul and God, because the man who caused the distance has been removed in judgment.

Often a believer, though tasting of peace with God, when he finds the working of sin in him, tries to correct it as if he could alter himself, overlooking the great and stupendous fact that God Himself has removed the man in judgment in the death of His own Son; He has laid help upon One that is mighty – His own arm brought salvation – and if a believer is really at peace with God, it is because his old man has been crucified with Christ, and altogether set aside in judgment on the cross. If he were clear as to the fact of our old man being crucified with Christ, instead of trying to correct himself, he would look to Christ to set him free from the intrusion of the flesh “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” What becomes us now is to have Christ before us, and not the correction of the old man. The snare of trying to improve oneself is very common, and it is important to see that, however well-meaning it may be, it is really a denial that our old man has been crucified, and a revival of that which has been set aside in the cross. It is plain that if you are clear of the old man you can have no man before you but Christ. “If Christ be in you the body is dead because of sin”; and the more sensible you are of how ready the flesh is to intrude, the more you are cast upon Him.

It is inconceivable that one could have any just apprehension of God’s grace, and yet continue to expect anything from the flesh, or in any way to deal with it. It shows how little the revelation of His grace is really accepted in its greatness; because if I know that God Himself has in the cross removed the man who offended, how gladly should I accept His grace! What fruitless sorrow has one known for months and years in the attempt to improve oneself, until wearied out we cry, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Then we find there is only one relief, and that is found where we ought to have sought it at first. “I thank God through Jesus Christ our lord.” Nothing can be more certain for the believer than that one man is gone in judgment, and that Christ alone remains. When I have put on Christ – the best robe – the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Not only does the blessed God see me on this ground – one from which He never can change or be diverted – but I now, by the Spirit of God, see myself on that ground, and I can say, not only “our old man is crucified,” but “I am crucified with Christ”; and if I am crucified, how can I refer to myself in any sense? If we observe the history of Christians, we see them trying to improve themselves – their tempers and their evil tendencies – plainly showing that they do not believe in the absolute and simple revelation that “our old man is crucified with Him.”

Nothing is of deeper importance at the commencement of our Christian history than that we should accept, with some apprehension of its greatness, that the man that was under judgment is removed from the eye of God in judgment. We have to ponder, in order to realize the magnitude of it, and when we do believe it as a truth, another thing of equal importance is made known to us – that not only is the old man completely removed from the eye of God, but that by the Holy Ghost we are in Christ a new creation by the power of God. If we keep these two together we have a great start; one man is gone and Another is brought in, and this is established to us by the renewing of the Holy Ghost.

Now we enter on our new history. Properly, we are not occupied with the flesh; though the flesh is still in us, “we are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit”; and our attention is largely given to walking in the Spirit. We have now a new exercise, even to sow to the Spirit, and of the Spirit to reap life everlasting. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” This shows us how intent our eye must be on Christ; we have nothing to do with the man that is gone; and the more we realize this the happier we are – judicially freed of the one, and by the Spirit of God established in Christ. Everything we do now is done with reference to Christ; and not only is the body the Lord’s, but “he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” – we have to act according to His pleasure in the very management of the body, just as a slave would use his body according to the wishes of his owner.

It is remarkable that Romans 12:2 refers to the body: “Present your bodies a living sacrifice . . . . be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” But in 2 Cor. 3:18, We all beholding the glory of the Lord – are transformed; it is the same word (transformed) as in Romans 12, and is only used twice in Scripture in reference to us – once as to the body, and secondly as to what is imparted to us – what is received from Christ; we are “transformed into the same image.” This I might call the exercise of our daily life; our history here is not merely seeking to glorify Him in our bodies, but we should be growing in moral correspondence to Himself, and that by association with Himself; so that the two great truths we started with would be confirmed to us more and more every day – the old man gone from the eye of God completely and for ever, and we established in Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost for ever and ever. J. B. Stoney.

Advertisements

WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS

Isaac Watts was born in 1674, the first of nine children. His father, a well–educated deacon in the dissenting Congregational Church of Southampton, England, was imprisoned for being a dissenter.
Watts had a bright and inquiring mind. By the age of twelve he had studied four languages in addition to English. He spoke very easily in rhyme, to the point of being an irritation to his father, who threatened him with a spanking if he continued. When Watts continued, his father carried out his threat, after which Issac responded, “O father, do some pity take, and I will no more verses make.”
At the age of 15 he complained to his father about the dull and uninspired singing by the congregation. (What might he think today?) His father challenged him to write something better. He preceded to write one new hymn per week for the next two years. Most of them from the Psalms, including “Jesus Shall Reign,” and “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.”
Later he began to write hymns based on Biblical facts and doctrine. In 1707, at the age of thirty-three, he wrote, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” Watts ultimately composed over 600 hymns.
Have you surveyed the cross lately?

When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Lord of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the cross of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.
See, from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns composed so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were an off’ring far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my heart, my life, my all.

THE NEW PLACE……J.B. Stoney

In Exodus and Joshua we find the two great parts of the work of Christ typified; the one, by the Red Sea; the other, by the Jordan. In one, we have Christ’s dying for us; and in the other, we have our dying with Him.

Where does the crossing of Jordan bring us? Exodus 15:17 tells us. “Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, the place that thou, Jehovah, hast made thy dwelling, the Sanctuary, Lord, that Thy hands hast prepared.” In the epistle to the Colossians the Red Sea and the Jordan coalesce. We are brought to God, but there is another thing, and one which we have practically to learn, even that we have died with Him.

In Colossians 2:20, we have “died with Christ from the elements of the world.” We have ended our history, and practically we have a new place. His death puts us outside everything. His death for us removes all between God and us; our death with Him removes all between us and God. At the Red Sea the enemy’s power was completely broken. In Jordan I have died with Him, I am free from Satan and the flesh where they both are, and I am introduced into a new scene.

There is not a thing against me; all was ended in the cross of Christ. I am clear of every single thing that barred me from the presence of God. A person says, “I do not feel it”; I am not asking you to feel it, but to believe it. The thief on the cross, a man who was a scandal to the Jew, an offscouring to society, was taken from the lowest depths of shame and misery, and put into the brightest and most blessed place in company with Christ that day; he was in the new place that “day.”

CONSECRATION……Andrew Murray

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him……(Phil. 3:7-9)
There are Christians who look on the blessedness of spiritual life as consisting in the privilege of ever receiving; they know not how the capacity for receiving is only kept up and enlarged by continual giving up and giving out – how it is only in the emptiness that comes from the parting with what we have, that the Divine fulness can flow in. It was a truth our Savior continually insisted on. When He spoke of selling all to secure the treasure, of losing our life to find it, of the hundredfold to lose who forsake all, He was expounding the need of self-sacrifice as the law of the kingdom for Himself as well as for His disciples.
It is not enough that, when once you are truly converted, you have the earnest desire to have your life devoted to the service of the Lord. The desire is good, but can neither teach the way nor give the strength to do it acceptably. Incalculable harm has been done to the deeper spirituality of the Church, by the idea that when once we are God’s children the using of our gifts in His service follows as a matter of course. No; for this there is indeed needed very special grace. And the way in which the grace comes is again that of sacrifice and surrender.
And such surrender of all for Christ, is it a single step, the act and experience of a moment,or is it a course of daily renewed and progressive attainment? IT IS BOTH. There may be a moment in the life of a believer when he gets a first sight, or a deeper insight, of this most blessed truth, and when, made willing in the day of God’s power, he does indeed, in an act of the will, gather up the whole of life yet before him into the decision of a moment, and lay himself on the altar a living and an acceptable sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). Such moments have often been the blessed transition from a life of wandering and failure to a life of abiding and power Divine. But even then his daily life becomes the unceasing prayer for more light on the meaning of entire surrender, the ever-renewed offering up of all he has to God.
Nature shrinks back from such self-denial and crucifixion in its rigid application to our life in its whole extent. But what nature does not love and cannot perform, grace will accomplish,and make to thee a life of joy and glory. Do thou but yield up thyself to Christ thy Lord; the conquering power of His incoming presence will make a joy to cast out all that before was most precious. And the secret of a life of close abiding will be seen to be simply this: As I give Him wholly for myself; and as I lose myself and all I have for Him, He takes me wholly for Himself and gives Himself wholly to me.

PEACE AND JOY IN TIME OF TRIALS……E.C. Hadley

The Purpose of Trials

Trials teach us submission to the Lord and deliver us from our own ways. They are God’s way of developing patience in us. About the purpose of trials in our lives, James wrote: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).

If everything went just the way we wanted, we would have nothing to be patient about. Patience requires setting aside our own will. Therefore trials show just how much we are willing to give up our own will to accept God’s will for us.

What God Allows

We must never forget that, whatever our circumstances, God has allowed them for our good. God’s choice for us sometimes seems very hard to bear. But this is because we are not fully surrendered to Him or because we lack confidence in His love and wisdom. God is either choosing the very best for us in what He allows in our lives, or else He deliberately chooses for us what He knows is not in our best interest. Would we dare charge God with the latter? Never!

In His providential dealings with us He either orders or allows all that comes into our lives. He has the almighty power to prevent anything from happening, so if it happens, He has allowed it. Therefore, complaining is the same as saying that we know what is best for us better than God does, or else that God does not care enough to give us what is best. One is pure pride, the other is distrust of His motives.

Who’s in Charge?

We sometimes think, “Doesn’t the devil also have a hand in what happens to us?” That is very true, as we see in Job’s case. But we also see how the devil could not go beyond what God allowed (Job 1:12; Job 2:6); and what He allowed He used for even richer blessing in Job’s life than before.

The devil is powerless to do anything without God allowing it. He is only a creature, as are all his hosts of demons. God is above them, no matter how mighty they may be. So even if we see the devil’s hand in what happens, we must not forget to see God’s hand above the devil’s. God only allows him to go as far as it suits His sovereign purposes, to turn it into blessing for His people.

The Long View

“All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28), and that includes even what the devil is allowed to do. Do not forget that God is working with a view to our eternal good and not simply with regard to this present time.

We so often look at things from a “here and now” perspective while God works with eternal results in view. God may choose a hard road for us, not because He delights in our suffering hardship along the way, but because of the eternal blessing it will bring us.

“Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress” (Ps. 4:1). Distress is not sent from God for the sake of suffering but for the sake of enlargement. In times of distress, God sympathizes with His own. Paul referred to Him as “the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation” (2 Cor. 1:3-4). And Paul’s troubles were not light, for he says, “We were burdened beyond measure — so that we despaired even of life” (2 Cor. 4:8). However, with eternity in view, he refers to them as light afflictions “working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17).

Five Necessary Things

Five things are necessary to have peace and joy in time of trial:

1. Keep your mind on the Lord: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3).

2. Keep in touch with God by prayer: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7).

3. Meditate upon the Word: “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).

4. Yield your will to God: “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Heb. 12:11).

5. Know that the Lord will sustain you: Last, but not least, let us not forget that even though our trials or circumstances may continue for a long time, the Lord says, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor. 12:9). He will sustain the soul that submits to Him and leaves all in His hands.

A Cause for Rejoicing

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love” (1 Peter 1:6-8)

QUOTE……A.C. Gaebelein

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe
also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it
were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place
for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again,
and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
(John 14:1-3)

“We are not to wait for the apostasy, the great tribulation, great
earthquakes and disasters but for Himself.

To wait daily for Him is the true Christian attitude, which is a mighty
power in the Christian life, walk and service. How we shall be
weaned away from the passing things of this age, how we shall
look upon all in its true light and be faithful witnesses for our Lord,
if we walk in this daily expectation of meeting Him.

And this we need. The Lord Jesus Christ must become more real
to our hearts. Our fellowship with Him, our trust in Him, our walk
in Him, our waiting for Him, all must become more real. The Holy
Spirit in His power will accomplish this in our lives. In the awful
darkness, which is setting upon this age, only such can abide
faithful who cling closer to the Lord and who wait for His coming.
The Lord grant this to all His people.”

(excerpt from The Lord of Glory, A.C. Gaebelein)

THAT I MAY KNOW HIM

“I find when I sit down with people quietly to have a talk that they begin at once to speak of the trials of the way. And after that, if I say, Suppose we change the subject and talk of the things of God – then I find that they can talk of nothing but His mercies to themselves, but it is all His temporal benefits they talk of. And they go no higher than this. How few can say, The Father has shown me wonderful things lately about the Lord Jesus Christ.” – J.B. Stoney