“The eye of the Lord Jesus is never off us! ‘He withdraweth not His eyes
from the righteous.’ Let us remember that the flesh never can be made
any better; but the Lord Jesus is continually thinking of us to do the needed
thing. What does He do? He puts down the flesh. How does He deal with
us? He makes nothing of us; and that is not at all pleasant.

The Lord Jesus took care by this thorn in the flesh that Paul should be
a person in some way contemptible. Paul asked three times that it should
be taken away. Not at all, the Lord says: I have given it on purpose;
I must make nothing of Paul, that I may be everything to him. Do you say
you are in Christ before the Father, and loved as Christ is loved? I reckon
myself dead, if I talk of my place before the Father; I bear about the dying
of the Lord Jesus, if I am to manifest His life in this world. [For we which
live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of
Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 2Cor. 4:11]. Nature,
of course, does not relish that; but, if we are to manifest the life of the
Lord Jesus in our mortal bodies, the flesh must be put down.

Reckon [count on being true] yourselves to be dead unto sin [nature], because
in Christ you have died. When you go down to this world, the only possible
dealing with the [sin nature] is making nothing of you. This is not power,
but it is the way the Father deals with us to give power, whether
to an apostle or to the giver of a cup of water. If you are in Christ, one
wants nothing but Him from you. The thorn is not strength in itself, but
preparation for power. Suppose Paul despicable in his ministry: well,
there never was such a work done before. Then there must be something
besides Paul here: it must be Christ. Ah! says Paul, ‘I glory in my
infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’

The Lord Jesus’ strength is made perfect [perfected, matured] in our
weakness. He cannot make it perfect in our strength! I am as weak as
water—a poor weak thing. God has chosen that no flesh may glory in
His presence. Where a person is nothing, ‘My strength is sufficient.’
Where is His strength made perfect? In a person who has no strength
at all: then it must be the Lord Jesus. When I am made nothing of,
‘I glory in my infirmities.’ There is what the Christian is.

My Father says that I have died, and am now alive unto Him, and loved
as His beloved Son is loved. My position is in Him, and in Him only.
Experience contradicts this. So I have to find out that the flesh is a judged
and crucified thing. ‘I have been crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live.’
If in point of fact the flesh is there, it is a judged thing.

The Lord keeps me then; He sends a thorn, if needed, to put me down
completely. When the flesh is practically put down in its place of death,
then Christ’s strength is made perfect in my weakness, for there can be
no doubt that it is His strength. Are your hearts content that the [sin nature]
should be put down? Can you glory in infirmities that the power of Christ
may rest upon you?

If we seek to have the life of the Lord Jesus manifested in us, if we are
conscious that He is our blessed portion….we want more depth — all of us –
showing us what the flesh is, and what the Lord Jesus is. The time is
coming when we shall see all the rest was worse than vanity, stunting
the life of Christ in us, instead of mortifying our members on earth.
May the Father give us to see the Lord Jesus that we may now say
with Paul, ‘I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge
of Christ Jesus my Lord.’” (William Kelly….edited by lkp)


There are vast numbers who think that the Lord Jesus, besides
bringing pardon, is simply a means to strengthen them to keep
the law. But this is sad and fundamental ignorance of
Christianity. Is a believer then at liberty to break the law?
God forbid! It is one thing to be a debtor to do the whole
law, and another that God can make light of any breach
of the law. Is there nothing possible between these
two conditions—debt to the law and freedom to break it?
Neither consists with a Christian. He who is free to do his
own will is a lawless, wicked man. He who is under the law
to do it, describes the proper condition of the Jew and
nobody else.

The Christian stands on entirely new ground. He is saved
by grace and is called to walk in grace. The character of
righteousness that God looks for in him is of another sort
altogether; as it is said in Philippians, “being filled with the
fruits of righteousness” –not which are by the law, but
“by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God” (Phil.1:11)-
by the Lord Jesus under grace and not under law. And this
is not a question solely of justification. This has to do with
the responsibility of the believer to do the will of God; and
the Lord Jesus, not the law, is the measure and source of the
Christian life and walk, which makes all the difference possible.

It may be asked, Was not Christ under the law? Yes, assuredly, but
He died unto it and is now above it. The Christian, the Gentile,
never was under it; and being positioned in the Lord Jesus
risen, now that he believes, he stands on heavenly ground, to
which the law does not apply. For this reason every Christian
is regarded by God as alive from the dead, to bring forth fruit
unto God (Rom.7:4). The law only deals with a man as long
as he lives; never after he has died. “But ye have died, and
your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). And this is not
at all what is said of us after a “second blessing,” “extreme
unction,” or any other step of true or imaginary perfection.

The Christian life begins in Christ in heaven! We are
identified with the Lord Jesus dead and risen, seated
together at the right hand of the Father. It is no longer
the law dealing with me to try if it can get any good out
of me. I have relinquished all by receiving the Lord Jesus,
and I take my stand in Him dead and risen again—and
as one alive from the dead in Him, I yield myself unto the
Father. This is the foundation truth of Christianity—that
God has done with mere dealing with the flesh. He has
another man, even a new man, the Lord Jesus risen from
the dead; and the believer has received Him, and is
received in Him.

A young Christian may be cast down after receiving the
Saviour, through the sense of evil he finds in himself.
He wonders how this can be. He knows how the Lord
Jesus deserves to be served, and is conscious how little
he serves Him as he ought; he is filled with sorrow about
himself, and perhaps begins to doubt whether he be
a Christian at all. He has not yet learned his lesson.
He has not mastered what his baptism set forth, the
value of having a Saviour who is dead and risen. He
is occupied still with something of the old man; he
looks at it and expects to get better, hoping that
his heart will not have so many bad thoughts, etc.,
as he used to have; whereas, the only strength of the
believer is being occupied with the Lord Jesus, and
all that is lovely before the Father.

The saint, in proportion as he enjoys the Lord Jesus in
glory, lives above himself. When he becomes
engrossed with what takes place within him, he is
cast down. How many go on months and years,
expecting some good to come out! It is not that
they are not born of God; but they are so under the
effect of old thoughts and notions, acquired from
catechisms, religious books, sermons, disciplers, etc.,
that they do not enter into the full liberty wherewith
the Lord Jesus makes free.