CHRISTIAN LIFE

“Sometimes our Christian life and love are divided between
the two Adams.  It may be 60-40 in favor of the last Adam,
still it is shared.  But the Lord Jesus paid it all, gave His all,
deserves our all, requires all, because He is our ALL.
Ours is to be total separation–death to the old, life in the New.”
(Hungry Heart #7, pg.24)

The growing believer will be inconsistent but never carnal. 

Vern Peterman  taught that we “put off the old man” at salvation.
(Eph.4:22).  C.A. Coates spoke of the “path of faith.”  If
we learn to depend on the Lord (walk by faith) we are growing
and being conformed to the image of Christ.  We agree it takes
much time and we marvel at the Lord’s patience with us. 
The Scofield headings are helpful,
I think in this chapter 4:

“Because the truth taught is commended by the life.” (2Cor.4:1)

“Because not self but Christ Jesus as Lord is preached.” (2 Cor. 4:2)
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I hope sharing some quotes here are welcome and benefit.
These are random quotes by Arno Gaebelein on 2 Cor.4.

“The old man has to be kept constantly in the place of death, self
must be judged and broken to pieces, that the light may shine forth.”
(he referenced the ancients who had their pitchers broken so that the
light could shine through.)

“The power is manifested through the earthen vessels in trial and
affliction.  But God’s gracious power is manifested in all these
earthly and trying circumstances.”
“”Always bearing about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus
(made like Him, in that the man as such was reduced to nothing), in order      
that the life of Jesus, which death could not touch, which has triumphed
over death, should be manifested in his body, mortal as it was.  The
more the natural man was annihilated [annulled], the more was it evident
that a power was there which was not of man.  This was the principle,
but it was morally realized in the heart by faith.  Thus death wrought in
the apostle; what was merely of man, of nature and natural life,
disappeared, in order that life in Christ, developing itself in him on the
part of God and by His power, should work in the Corinthians by
his means.  [Paul] followed the Lord in all this and knew the fellowship
of His sufferings.  But through it the people of God were helped,
comforted and blessed.  In this sense life worked in them through the
self-sacrifice of the apostle.  And what sustains in all this?  It is faith.
And faith reckons on God who raiseth the death.”

To remain in our “crucified position”….our abiding position….how
restful to follow His leading.  There is less and less striving to “be”
like Christ….and trusting the Holy Spirit to produce His life in us.
Red flags go up when we hear that “pressing, striving to obey”
because we know that message is calling for “self” effort. 
And we need the message of His sufficiency and our resting in it.

NEEDED NEEDS…..J. B. Stoney

The circumstances in which we learn most are those which most expose our weaknesses. As a rule we are placed in circumstances which demand that which we are most defective in. We are set in such and such situations, not because we can handle them, or behave in them better than anyone else; but on the contrary, because we need to be invigorated by grace in the defects which they are fitted to expose. They disclose to us where we need grace, so that constantly we are failing where we are expected to excel. We are put there to cast us on the Lord, and to teach us that we can do nothing of ourselves.
If we could excel there, we should glory in our success, but when we find that we are placed in the very circumstances that, perhaps, more than any others expose our weakness, we then see that we have no hope of being able to stand or succeed, unless we obtain grace to do so. I am not placed where I could excel most, but subjected to those difficulties in which I can best know my need of grace, and best learn dependence.
If I could get on without grace, I should grow elated with myself. But when I find that unless the Lord maintains me I shall surely fail, then I am humbled as to myself while at the same time deepened in dependence which the demand of my circumstances has, in a way, forced on me; and having learned the blessing of dependence, instead of regretting the difficulties which made it necessary to seek help, I am the more cheered and encouraged to go on in them.
For learning or service every one is placed where there is demand on him. The boy at school is not in the easy circumstances of home or the playground. The horse in harness is not in the ease of being in the stable or at grass.
The situations we are subjected to are the ones in which we can best learn and be most useful. It is not because we have nothing to learn or nothing to do for others. If we had naught to learn, there would be no difficulty in the lessons required of us every day. The fact that there is difficulty in them proves that we are not proficient, and that it is necessary that we should be subjected to that which discloses to us what we require to learn, or to draw from us what we can render.
Your weakness is exposed that you may acquire strength, and having received of the Lord, you will then be called on to render unto others — to comfort others, as you have been comforted of God; so that whether learner or servant, you are always set in circumstances where there is exaction, and not ease. If the learner were to keep at the same lesson always he might feel his difficulty over, but so would his learning be over.
Are you learning? Are you useful? Whenever you are either, you will find that you are in exacting circumstances, and therefore not those where you are most at home and at your ease; but the more you turn them to profit, the more you are learning of grace, and the more useful you are in sharing what you have acquired.

SPIRITUAL GROWTH…..C.H. Mackintosh

“It required the protracted period of forty years in the wilderness to teach the
children of Israel “what was in their hearts” (Deut. 8:2) and it is one of the
grand results of the course of discipline through which each child of God
passes, to lead him into a more profound knowledge of his own weakness
and nothingness.  “We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should
not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead” (2 Cor.1:9).  The more
we are growing in the sense of our infirmities, the more shall we see our need
of clinging more closely to Christ–drawing more largely upon His grace, and
entering more fully into the cleansing virtue and value of His atoning blood.
The Christian, at the opening of his course, never knows his own heart; indeed,
he could not bear the full knowledge of it; he would be overwhelmed thereby.
“The Lord leads us not by the way of the Philistines lest we should see war,”
and so be plunged, in despair.  But He graciously leads us by a circuitous route,
in order that our apprehension of His grace may keep pace with our growing
self-knowledge.”   C.H. Mackintosh  (Abraham and Lot)

TRIALS FOR OUR GOOD

When going through suffering (trial, discipline) isn’t our first reaction – “take this away from me” instead of “take me through it”?????
Isn’t our first reaction – “my will be done” instead of “Thou will be done”????

Years ago, a pastor friend made a statement about a mutual friend: this friend reminded
the pastor of Jonah….who was more interested in his own will…his own comfort (see Jonah 4)
than God’s will. My reply was: “Well, Lord, keep the worms coming!”

No doubt most have the initial reaction to a trial: a desire to escape or to be delivered from
the trials. We are not convinced or confident in God’s word that “all things work together for good.”
Some go to great lengths to change the circumstances rather than view it from God’s hand.
If we endure and depend upon the Lord though we are mystified how these trials can
be from the Lord, we learn to stand upon God’s word though seemingly there is no
evidence of good coming from them. We can look back and see over and over He has
“proved” His will in our lives (Rom.12:2). The continuous pressure of the trials are revealing:
we learn the sin nature will never change….and any emotional response out from the sin
nature will not change. The weight of the pressure drives us to the Lord for His remedy.
We learn the workings of Roman 6 truths….and the freedom from the grievous power of
the sin nature ….yielding to it brings us down to “death” (Rom.8:13). How many trips
to this situation until we learn the freedom and joy of God’s solution! We know in
theory it would be best to respond with faith immediately to the trial. I don’t know
about other believers, but this has taken me many years to learn. I dislike the idea
of the “bit and the bridle” being necessary to bring me along in my growth…but
that is what I needed. I thank the Lord He did not give up on me! John 12:24-25. lkp

BITS OF WISDOM……

Many Bible teachers place “reliance upon the Spirit to overcome the old nature by
means of the new nature. This leads the believer to seek the filling of the Spirit
in order to overcome sin and the old nature and to be conformed to the image
of Christ. Thus the Biblical means of freedom from the domination of sin is
passed over, leaving the old man [sinful nature] free to block true spiritual progress.” mjs

A few of these folks do teach the believer’s crucified position, but they fail “to
teach the application of that positional crucifixion! Instead of counting upon the
finished work, [they call] upon the will, thereby abandoning the struggling believer to
the rigors of Romans Seven. [They] offer no rest through reckoning upon our death
and resurrection with Christ, but only the civil war of ceaseless conflict and life-long
warfare with sin and the old nature.” mjs

“The Cross and the Christ-life are inseparable.”
“Grace and growth are inseparable.”

KNOW the facts: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the
body of sin might be [annulled], that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

RECKON on the facts: “Likewise reckon [count on being true] ye also yourselves
to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

YIELD: “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto
sin [nature]: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead,
and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”

“I find there are three great stages in the Christian history. First, the greatness of my
salvation. Second, the attractiveness of Christ, Himself. He is my life. I count all
things but rubbish that He might be my gain [in experience]. Very few come to this stage,
but those who do, are in the third stage –here for Him; they could not be otherwise.” JBS

“People are glad enough to find peace, rest, deliverance from fear of judgement…; but to
part with their very self, to be supplanted by the indwelling Christ Himself, to have another
Person exhibit His excellence and His glory, to have His will, His wisdom, His sufficiency
only exhibited and carried out at all times, is very, very different. This is the end of the
gospel which Paul preaches, and it is unutterable glory to the heart that accepts it.” Wm. Newell

SPIRIT-TAUGHT AND SPIRIT-WROUGHT……L.L. Letgers

If we fail to rely upon the Holy Spirit for the practical day-by-day
realization of the identification truths, we will fall short of Romans 8,
and find ourselves bound in the struggle of Romans 7.

“If some of you who have been the Lord’s for a long time cast a
glance over your past history, you will be able to recall occasions
when He spoke and you obeyed instantly. But you can recall
other occasions when He spoke and you failed to respond; yet
strangely, after a time you just found yourself in the way of
obedience.

Such is the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s government in our lives.
Even if we are totally unable to obey and cannot even exercise
faith, a day comes when the resistance has vanished and we
are trusting the Lord Jesus in simplicity of heart. It is the tireless
energy of the indwelling Spirit that has accomplished this.

Our union with the Lord Jesus is a union of life. We were
raised with Him, we are made alive in Him. True, our bodies
are to be changed, and those who have died in Christ are to
be raised as to their bodies, but now we are raised with and
are made alive in Him.

The trouble is that many are not aware of this wonderful fact
and position; all of it seems so far away and unreal. If we will
believe God’s Word and begin to thank Him for the truths that
He tells us, the Holy Spirit will ere long begin to make these
truths living realities in our lives.” –L..L. Letgers
(None But The Hungry Heart, #7, pg.8)

“BEING MADE CONFORMABLE UNTO HIS DEATH” Phil. 3:10……Lilias Trotter

“As with the seed that is buried once for all, but then disintegrated through
a gradual process that sets free the new life, even so does our Father
deal with our old nature  by delivering it to death with the Lord once for
all, and then bringing about its mortifying in detail through the 
circumstances of daily life, until the power of the old man has lost its
hold on us.” 

BE YE TENDERHEARTED

“Christ… is our life… Christ is all and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity (love), which is the bond of perfectness” (Col. 3:4,12-14).

Here is one of the great basic truths of Christianity. The Christian has Christ as his life. Christ is all, not simply is his all, but Christ is all. There is no true Christian character at all in our life except only as Christ, who is our life, produces it. The stream flows out in our manners and actions but the spring is Christ Himself, who is our life, dwelling within the heart by faith. Therefore it goes without saying that this life in us should be characterised by that same divine tenderness that was ever seen in Him as He walked down here in this scene. What is this list here— bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forgiveness, love —if not a perfect portrait of Christ? And this is presented here as being what the Christian is to put on and display in his walk and ways for Christ is his life. It was natural for Christ, for it is His nature. It is not natural in the Christian; it is something he has to put on by surrendering himself fully to Christ and letting Him take over our life fully into His own hands and reproduce there His own character of divine tenderness. It is much easier to convince one of his natural sinfulness than to convince one of his natural hardness and utter destitution of heavenly and divine tenderness. The very essence of the new life is a divinely imparted tenderness and sweetness of spirit. Without this, even the most strict Christian life is a misrepresentation of Christ, who is our life.

Even among intensely devoted Christians nothing is more rare to find than a continuous, all pervading spirit of tenderness. Tenderness of spirit is preeminently divine. It is not the delicacy and soft sensibility of a mere gentle make-up which some persons naturally possess, neither is it the courtesy of manner which results from high culture and beautiful social training, though these are valuable in life. It is a supernatural work throughout the whole spiritual being. It is an exquisite interior fountain of God’s own tenderness opened up in the inner-man inundating the soul, saturating the manners, words, and tones of the voice: refining and moulding the whole being after the image of Him who was infinitely meek and lowly in heart. It cannot be borrowed, or put on for special occasions; it is emphatically supernatural, and must flow out incessantly from the inner fountains of a life of intimate fellowship with the meek and lowly Jesus. Without this Christ-like tenderness of spirit, the most vigorous life of righteousness and good works, rigid purity of morals, missionary zeal, profuse liberality, ascetic self-denial and blameless conduct utterly fail to display the spirit of Christ.

It is impossible to see the infinite excellence and necessity of real heavenly tenderness of heart unless it is specially revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. What inexpressible tenderness and gentleness of nature were always seen in Christ. What beauty is to the rainbow, what perfume is to the rose, what harmony is to music, all this and much more is what tenderness of heart is to Christianity. Without tenderness of heart the most intensely righteous and devoted life is without beauty and attractiveness. It is possible to be very, very devoted, staunch, persevering in all Christian duties, bravely defending the truth, mathematically orthodox, blameless in outward life, and very zealous in good works, and yet to be greatly lacking in tenderness of heart that all-subduing love, which incessantly showed itself in the eyes, voice and, ways of the Lord Jesus.

Many Christians seem loaded with good fruits, but the fruit tastes green; it lacks flavor and mellowness. There is a touch of vinegar in their sanctity. Their purity has an icy coldness to it. Their personal testimonies are straight and definite, but they lack that tenderness of love. Their-prayers are intelligent, and strong and pointed, but they lack heart piercing pathos. They speak eloquently and explain with utmost nicety but they lack that love that sighs and weeps,—that all-consuming love. Real tenderness of spirit is seldom acquired except through suffering. It matters not what shape the trial may be, whether an unutterable sorrow for sin, or extreme poverty, or great physical pain, or relentless persecution, or the wear and tear of a thousand daily annoyances, or the agony of unrequited love, of life-long loneliness, or
heart-breaking disappointment, these or any other forms of sorrow may be the means of producing in a soul that is in communion with Christ this heavenly tenderness.
Divine tenderness of heart has a behavior which is heavenly. It feels for the poor, seeks to deliver the oppressed, enlightens the deceived, lifts up the fallen, restores the erring, recovers the straying. 0It instinctively avoids wounding the feelings of others by talking on unpleasant things, wrangling in an argumentative way, referring to painful and mortifying subjects. It cannot scold, or scowl, or threaten, though it will not fail to give an earnest and loving warning or reproof when necessary. It does not quarrel. It instinctively buries and forgets all bad things. It feels all things from God’s standpoint, and lives but to receive and transmit the spotless sympathies and affections of the Lord Jesus. It understands the words of the Holy Spirit, “Be ye tenderhearted, forgiving one another.” “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour” (Eph. 4:31, 32; 5:2).

Again it enters into the feeling of the Apostle when he entreats the believers, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3). Tenderness and gentleness are the characteristics of the new nature. Lowliness, forgiving, and forbearance are the behavior of the divine nature so fully manifested in Christ. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6).

Unknown Author (From “Grace and Truth”, June 1949)