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  1. One can be in union with God without being in fellowship with Him, and such is the temporal condition of unbelieving Israel (concerning God’s Son, but not God – Jhn 14:1). They are “fallen” (Rom 11:12) and “broken off” (v 20) from fellowship, but not “cast away” (vs 1, 2) from union; which fellowship which will eventually be restored (11:23-29; Eze 36:27; Jer 30:22 – with the remaining non-Messianic Jews existing at the Lord’s return, during the Millennium), but they it will continue to be only as a “people of God” and their fellowship not involve the sonship relationship as it does for the Messianic Jews who believe in the Lord Jesus before His return (Jhn 20:29). Our union with the Father is established within our union with Christ; but our fellowship with the Father and His Son is established gradually as we learn what’s involved; same as “living in the Spirit,” and eventually learning to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:24). Though our greatest desire is fellowship with God, (and there is a level of fellowship as “babes in Christ”), it requires time for Him to teach us what is involved and meant concerning “fellowship in the Gospel” (Phl 1:5). As our knowledge and understanding grows in His Word, we draw near to Him in fellowship, which is the overall goal and purpose of everything! Paul described Israel's restoration as a "mystery" (Rom 11:25). Only the believers in God prior to Christ’s coming were in union with Him, never those who did not believe in God.
  2. In seeking light from the Lord on this important subject of the “new man,” we must first be absolutely clear of the thought which is so general in Christendom, that God’s Son became a Man in order to repair and rehabilitate the first man—the race of Adam. The Lord Jesus Christ risen is absolutely unique, a Man of His own order, and in His death unto sin the first man was completely set aside in judgment, and the new man is therefor according to God. Consequently we must not be deceived by thinking that the human mind (must be the mind of Christ—NC) can form a correct conception of any trait of the new man, or that it can imitate the Lord Jesus Christ, though many read the Gospels with this object. Now our inquiry is: What is the new man? First of all it cannot be learned by any effort of the human mind, as its structure and nature are entirely beyond the conception of man. How then do we learn it? It is not by reading or mere study of the Scriptures that we learn it, important as that is. Basically, it is by association with the Lord Jesus Christ, by beholding His glory, and thereby being “changed into His image.” You cannot explain what you get, but you receive that which corresponds to Him; as you are with Him you acquire it. “That you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph 4:14) is addressed to the believer who is in conscious union with the Lord Jesus, seated in the heavenlies in Him (Eph 2:6). Now he comes out here in a new way, beginning with the mind: “renewed in the spirit of your mind”—not making works prominent, but in the renewed mind which is able to judge of the works that suit the Lord Jesus. “We have the mind of Christ.” The believer realizes the tastes of the new man by association with the Lord Jesus. It is important to see that we derive from Him, we are in Him, and He lives in us (via the Spirit of course—NC). He is altogether of His own order, and it is only by association with Him that His nature and mind become experientially known to us. It is so little known because personal fellowship is so little known. No one can tell what he acquires by association; but he knows that he has acquired a taste for the company of the Lord Jesus, and that when not in His company he has not that which suits his taste; he finds it very partially here among His own, and he is glad to return to His presence, and he knows the benefit of it. This draws the great line of difference between mere students of the Word and those who enjoy His presence, beholding His glory; the latter can form a conception of what suits Him which the former cannot. We see from Colossians 3:10, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him”—that we cannot be with Him without becoming enlightened; the Word comes with more definiteness to our souls; we are “renewed in knowledge,” etc. Thus we see that as we become more like Him by being with Him, we also become more intelligent in His mind; we know Him as life and put on “tender mercies, kindness and humbleness of mind.” May our hearts have the rich enjoyment of being in spirit with the Lord Jesus in glory. Everyone likes to think of Him as known in His great works, but how blessed the consummation of being partakers with Him in His glory (Jhn 17:22)! - J B Stoney
  3. The first stage of the believer’s life is to “desire the sincere milk of the Word that he may grow thereby” (1Pet 2:2); and as he grows, he is conscious of a new ability, and that is to fly. When you fly you enter on the second stage of spiritual development. Here you acquire for yourself, you can discriminate. “A spiritual man judges all things” (1Cor 2:15). In the first stage, someone else had to discriminate for you. Now you provide for yourself suitably. Flying is now the mode of your nature, you always move above the earthy; you seek the things above, you “set your affection on things above, and not on things on the earth.” “He being full of the Holy Spirit looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Act 7:55). Then comes the singing! I believe no bird sings until he can fly. I am sure that no believer sings his true note until he can rise up in the Spirit of God to the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. This stage then is when the senses are exercised to discern good and evil; and there is singing, which is expressing in true and full tones, the deep and overflowing satisfaction of which the heart enjoys in His presence where there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. The final stage is the believer having found everything in the Lord Jesus for himself, can now in true devotedness of heart serve Him—manifest Him in this scene, and be a blessing to others. “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” All the love and care rendered to the bird in its formative days now renders to the objects of its care. As it has received, so it bestows. It does nothing but as it has received, and this is true service. Now this stage requires a very peculiar manner and way, entirely different from anything known before. The bird that flies selects its own food and sings. It testifies of the goodness and favor conferred. When she builds her nest, where she may lay her young, her character and habits undergo a very marked change. She surrenders none of her former power, but instead of contenting herself with her personal blessings, she now devotes herself to objects outside herself, though they are a part of herself—and because of all her interest, burden and toil about them, dear to her own life. You had your stage of individual blessing and enjoyment; once known, it is yours forever; but now you are to grow in another direction. You must not, when others try and oppose you, retire into the sanctuary of your own heart and home, there to delight yourself in your possession. No, you are now to build a nest for the object, or objects of your care; and there may be but one egg in your nest at first. Until one is able to be a giver to everyone and a receiver in a begging way from none, one is not safe from expectancy here; that is, there will still be a possibility of reviving links to this fallen earth. But when one is so satisfied in the Lord Jesus, as to be free from the old man and his demands, and able to build a nest for others, such a sense of the superiority of the Lord Jesus is acquired that nothing here can captivate the heart; and all the trials and slights only extract more consideration for others. It is only when the heart is dead to this world, and alive with Christ in heaven, that it is proof against reviving, and then it is free to be occupied with His interests here. - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional for February 8: “By the daily ‘supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ’ (Phil. 1:19), the believer united to his Risen Lord ‘grows continually to a more perfect knowledge and likeness of his Creator,’ and grows up ‘after the image of Him that created him, in the sphere where ‘Christ is all, and in all.’ “The child naturally grows up in the likeness of his father, and the new life communicated to the redeemed grows up in the likeness of Him who is the Creator of the new creation if so be that the death with Christ is unflinchingly recognized, and ‘old things’ are truly allowed to pass away to make room for the growth of the new man ‘which is after God . . . created in righteousness, and holiness of truth’ (Eph. 4:24).” “How so many earnest and religious people belong to ‘the Old Adam Improvement Society.’ It is the recognition of the Christ-life, it is union with the Risen Christ that men need instead of the culture of the religious self-life.” -E.H. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  4. Various could be the imaginations of what man’s life might have been without the fall, but I believe one concept may be fairly certain. Man would not have known, nor partaken of God’s Son and Spirit in the presently needed capacity. There would be no need of being one in spirit with the Trinity, for man would then have no need of such union; as a union being “in” one far surpasses merely being “with” one (Christianity – being in God: Judaism – being with God). Surely it cannot be disagreed that God’s purpose for creating was to glorify Himself, and too spacious are the scriptural passages attesting to this truth to include here. It’s my understanding that the greatest of that which glorifies God, after creation, is His attribute of holiness (then love, etc.). I believe Adam may not have been familiar with the meaning of right and wrong until they were “contrasted” with one another, via the commands of that which he may do (Gen 2:16) and that which he may not do (v 17). The same concerns the knowing of God’s holiness via the contrast of evil, similar to the learning of light via first the presence of darkness (and creation was dark before it was lighted – Gen 1:2, 3). My perception of “Our image, after Our likeness” in verse 26 of the Bible’s first Chapter is that “image” refers to what God looks like (head, eyes, ears, arms, hands, etc.); and “likeness” refers to God’s autonomy (thinking, reasoning, choosing, etc.). God desires us to choose Him (Deu 30:19; 1Tim 2:4; 2Pet 3:9), and in so doing He prepares the believer to trustingly endure the infirmities and difficulties which must be encountered via the sin nature, in order to teach us that which is of His holy nature. Therefore, I think this answers to the reason of His foreknowledge and use concerning the pair on the ground choosing to partake of the apple on the Tree (pun, assuming an apple), through their enlightenment concerning “good and evil.” They could not (even today) know of God’s holiness without comparing it to evil, and so the serpent (per usual) brings forth an admixture of truth and error in saying, “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”; which is close to the truth that “ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil (which is a likeness of Him). One cannot misunderstand that God foreknew man would partake of the Tree (in His omniscience), and the intent of this article is to assure believers that He’s using everything—from the beginning of the present heaven and earth—to the new heaven and earth, for glorifying Himself, especially in believers, “according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself” (Eph 1:9). Believers are never left to themselves in anything (Jhn 14:16; Josh 1:5; Psa 37:25)! NC
  5. For a saint to have solitude is of the deepest importance, because it is then the heart renews its acquaintance with the Lord Jesus, who only has entrance into our most solitary retreats. When we are thoroughly alone and apart, He loves being our sole companion; it is, so to speak, the time for Him to be like the ray of light which permeates into the dark cavern wherever it can; and to the inmate of the cavern never was light more prized. I believe there are two things learned in solitude that cannot be gained otherwise—one, that I see myself apart from everyone and everything, a very necessary matter; and the other, that I see the Lord in quite a peculiar light, in a singular and unique way, apart from everything and everyone. His individuality, blessed be His name, comes out to me in solitude in a way it never does in a crowd. Canticles give you very much the idea of this: what one is to oneself when quite alone, and what He is to one thus alone. When I am alone with Him, He obtains His singularly pre-eminent place; not just as a Savior, though He is ever that to faith; but He is known to the heart as the sun. He “rules the day” (Gen 1:16), so that when all other objects are visible, He is still entirely preeminent, and the sense of His supremacy, well-known and well-sustained, is the most effectual resource for the heart all the day long and abides with it through its most anxious encounters. In solitude with Him, the value and resource He is to the heart is learned, and when busied in responsibilities, it turns to Him as the needle to the pole, or as the flower to the sun. Where the soul has acquired the sense of His sovereignty in its solitude, when it has to return to others and to duties, everything falls in relation to Him. He is first, and things and people assume and derive importance, not as to whether they are pleasing or otherwise, but as they relate to Him. If you make the claims on you as being the sun of your system instead of the Lord Jesus, whatever seems to come short throws your day into darkness, because the claims are not answered to as you desire them to be, and there is the sense of an eclipse. If the Lord were the distinct known magnet to you, every responsibility would be less anxious, and you would fulfill each better; and instead of being saddened and disappointed, you would hear Him saying, “She has done what she could” (Mar 14:8), and with this you would have a weight that would render whatever you did more appreciated. It is not the amount one does, nor the consciousness of one’s own usefulness which makes one happy in serving, but the assurance that one would be called on and used in case of need. Love never likes to see its object needing, for it serves because it loves. Do not try to arrange your world with only a lamp in your hand; for if you had a sun, all would be easy enough! It is in solitude with the Lord Jesus that one learns to find Him as the sun. When the heart has found its rest and satisfaction in Him, it can turn to Him naturally and continually in every circumstance. - J B Stoney
  6. The most confirming evidence in my life that “the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom 8:16), is seeing the ever-present desire in me to please God. If this is not always what means the most to you, it’s most likely you have yet to be reborn, for in every believer, “God works in you to will and do His good pleasure” (Phl 2:13). Though with our new nature (new man) we “will” to please God more than all things, the desire of our old nature (old man) is yet ever attempting self-opposition, which the Spirit’s opposition manifests (Gal 4:17). As I continue to “walk circumspectly” (Eph 5:15), I find myself often occupied with awareness of my old man, which observation seems sensible, it being the closest opposition of three (self, Satan and society); and I’m beginning to believe that the other two, especially the Devil, can only approach through the old nature, for the new nature which is after Christ (Col 3:10) is impeccable (1Jhn 3:9). I find that the more active I become with fellowship and service in God, the more I am shown an increased understanding of the depth in the decadency of my sin nature (old man). It’s not that it becomes more degenerate, but rather more of the capacity of its decadency is increasingly revealed to me, for it’s as bad as it will ever be and cannot get any worse. “Putting off the old man” (Col 3:9; Eph 4:22) during opposition for me means reminding myself to “cast” the “care” of it on the Lord (1Pe 5:7) by realizing He’s just using it to continue to teach me to exercise my faith in knowing that He uses it, and “all things,” to my advantage (Rom 8:28); which is “according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11). The greater the “patient endurance” (Heb 6:15), the greater the glorification of God! Resting Above (Eph 2:6) NC
  7. The most effective service is to stand openly for God when the opposition is at its height. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him” (Isa 59:19). To stand for God when there is no one to help, when everyone is opposing, manifests my dependence and confidence in my Father, as well as that I am so led by His Spirit in true devotedness, that the more I see him assailed, and His name dishonored, the more I must lose sight of everyone (concerning primary support—NC) and stand for Him. Devotedness always does the greatest service. In the beginning of his course Moses learned to stand for God, alone and unsupported, in the face of universal opposition. It is a great thing for a man of God when he really has known the solitude of light, which he only enters on when entirely excluded from every influence of man, then it is he sees and becomes acquainted with the One who is Life (Col 3:4). There is never a full and true sense of the vanity of all human things, and the greatness of the personal company and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, until solitude is known. Assuredly, the greatest service is when one is able to count upon the Father, and act for Him, as thus known to oneself in the teeth of all opposition; expulsion from man is not the same thing as opposition from him, but one prepares us for the other. You will always find that where this devotedness is, there is neither an imitation of what others have done, nor is there looking for countenance or support from others—but a course of action quite original and singular, yet eminently effective, not only in answering to the heart’s devotion, but for the glory of the Lord and the service of the people generally. The most fruitful service is the most needed at the time. The falling away of others does not dishearten the one who is truly devoted. Gideon’s great army is reduced from 32,00 to 300, but he is as valiant as ever; he does not spend his time lamenting over the great defection, but he says, “As I do, so shall ye do.” “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant,” not, he who can give a withering description of our falling away, and the errors which have crept in, and the laxity which is tolerated. No. Rather it is he who, while seeing that everything is most deplorable, can come in, in some new distinct way, and act from the Lord, which like Samuel’s prayer (1Sam 7), must obtain from the Lord a marked intervention and relief from the enemy. We learn from the Lord Jesus’ ways that though He could see the utter ruin and failure around, He does not content Himself with seeing things in their desperate condition. No! He is the very One who uses the present misery as an opportunity, in His devotedness to His Father, to do the most effective service. I have never known complainers who were really devoted. What a time it was for Moses when he faced the whole of Israel, when he came down from the mount and saw them wholly given to idolatry. He thought of no one but God; he feared not the wrath of man; he stood for God in a new unprecedented way, without any direction, but simply from the devotedness of his heart. When he has stood singly and openly for the Lord, then he could afford to stand in the gate of the camp and say, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotion for January 23: “A malingering student will make a poor servant; a diligent student will make a good servant. ‘Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed’” (2 Tim. 2:15). “If you begin with serving (as many do nowadays), you will never truly sit at His feet; whereas if you begin with looking unto Him you will soon serve well, wisely and acceptably. When the serving quiets the conscience, and the sitting is overlooked and neglected, the enemy gains an advantage, for it is at the sitting that the conscience is enlightened, and the pleasure and mind of the Lord become better known. I never met with anyone who, making his service prominent knew what it was to sit at the Master’s feet; but, thank God, I know indefatigable workers who enjoy sitting at His feet above any service. It is clear that those who abide in Him will be most competent to serve, and most in His confidence, which, after all, is the clue to all effective service” -J.B.S. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  8. “I live by the faith of the Son of God.” Meaning, not that faith which Christ, as man, had, but that of which He is the Author and Object, by which the just man lives; not upon it, for the believer does not live upon any of His graces, no, not upon faith, but by faith upon Christ, the Object; looking to Him for pardon, righteousness, peace, joy, comfort, every supply of grace, and eternal salvation: which Object is described as "the Son of God." - John Gill “For Me to Live is Christ” (Phil 1:21) “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 5:20 - NLT). “I live,” because of course, the person—the individual—remains still the same. It is not Platonic mysticism, no pantheistic absorption into “the ocean of being.” Men we are, and are ever to be; whatever change we pass through in new birth as to spirit and soul, whatever change awaits the body at the time when the Lord Jesus shall call us to be with Him, we shall never lose our essential identity with what God created us to be at first. We are the same persons all through—the same individuals. The fall did not unmake us as men; our new birth does not unmake us on the other side. We never lose our essential manhood; our individuality is never changed. But it is “no longer I” (old I - Ro 8:9—NC) because of the blessed fact of my death unto sin in the Lord Jesus on the Cross, and because of His risen and ascended life for me in heaven which I by faith have laid hold of. I have come into the infinite blessedness of my Father’s thoughts and actions concerning me. Him, whom God has accepted for me and as me, I have learned to accept in the same way for and as myself. As the life which He has given me is His very own life (Col 3:4), and has in Him its source and spring, as “life hid with Christ in God” (Col 3:3), so “in me Christ lives” down here. I have by faith realized identification with Him and as His—part of Himself: “for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Eph 5:30). His peace, His joy, are mine; His life and Spirit are mine; His pursuits, objects, and interests are mine; the love of His Father is mine; His present rejection and future glory are mine also; and all this in the power of a love wherewith He has at His own personal cost, set me completely free from all that I but now had title to, or which had title to me. I have now rest for my heart. I am no more at the impracticable work of trying to be what I am not; I am all I desire to be (1Jhn 4:17—NC). Only, sense and experience do not present to me my true self at all. My life is in Christ Jesus, thus I am in Him and only faith recognizes this, which also recognizes the Cross of the Lord Jesus as that wherein my old man was judged and set in death for God. My “old man was crucified with Christ”; my “new man” is the one in Christ alone. Here the perpetual sunshine settles down upon my soul. God is for me—with me—and must ever be. No cloud in there of His putting; no hiding ever of the Father’s face. I may turn away—true, I may forget, but I have only to turn to Him again to find undimmed, His glorious face shining upon me in His own Beloved, and in His presence I am ever welcome and at home. The Spirit who has come to take of the things of Christ and show them to my soul comes not to fill me with my own righteousness, or gladden me with my own beauty, or set up another object before me outside of the Lord Jesus whom I love and before whom I stand in glory (Jhn 17:22). The Lord Jesus, and He alone, is faith’s Object; for it knows no other objective. Ought I to have faith in myself? Ought I to have an object there? The Cross of Christ then, is the death of the old man; His grave its burial, that burying my dead out of my sight, I may be free to be occupied with Him who is not dead, but living, and in Whom I live. - F W Grant Excerpt from MJS devotional for January 16: “The true hope makes all the difference to us in our ministry. Our expectations have been personally proven. It makes possible joy in the midst of sorrow, confidence in the midst of defeat. It changes our attitude toward those to whom we minister. We see them not as they are at the moment but as we know the Lord is going to make them. Then patience and forgiveness are easy, for we already see the Lord’s finished work. It changes our prayer for them. We ask not for some little progress or partial blessing for them but for the Lord’s complete victory. It changes our teaching ministry to them. Instead of fearfully giving a little more of God’s truth, we confidently declare all the counsel of God. There is ever before us the joy of the finished work which we know the Lord is going to accomplish.” -A.M. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  9. Hi and God bless! I believe the issue of predestination is always a good opportunity to share something I think might be significant relating to it. Myself, I find that God's omniscience helps explaining much of this subject. Instead of us considering that God chooses I think it might be able to be considered more so that He knows what we will be choosing prior to bringing us into this life. Therefore when He is creating us to enter this life He knows whether or not He is creating, or "fitting" us "to destruction" (Heb 9:22); and to me I can relate His foreknowledge of this with the idea that He is choosing us before we are choosing Him—via His allowance of our choices. I believe the most significant determination concerning our end has to do with our personal choices and this can be seen in God's "command" (Gen 2:16, 17) concerning the "tree of Knowledge of good and evil." It's clear to see that God desired them to make a personal choice concerning this Tree, which stood within the same area as the "tree of life" (v 9). I see the concept of choice through the entirety of Scripture, i.e. Deu 30:19. Concerning our prayers, He knows everything we are going to prayer for, and of how He's going to answer. Wishing you well in Christ!
  10. It’s commonly known that nobody can avoid the problems of this life, but what is uncommon is knowing that those who are reborn can avoid allowing problems to escalate into “trouble” (Jhn 14:1, 27). If our walk is in obedience to His command here, it will manifest we are exercising our faith in that He “works everything together for good to them who love God” (Rom 8:28). Thus, there’s nothing valid within the life of the believer that could be considered trouble since all is used for our instruction in “being conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom 8:29; 2Cor 3:18); and there’s no occurring situation that can detract from maintaining joy in the Lord Jesus, unless we are often absent-minded in our gratitude as to where we always stand in Him concerning “eternal salvation” (Heb 5:9) and the present provisions therein (2Pet 1:3). Those who “have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb 5:14) can always know that regardless of what difficulty or discouragement God allows us to encounter, especially those self-incurred, are solely for our learning to believe that in His foreknowledge He has preplanned them to benefit our good, which are always related to “growing up into Him in all things” (Eph 4:15). To me, it’s merely a matter of being still and patiently waiting it out! I believe the “peace” Christ has “left” to us (Jhn 14:27) well enables one to “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2Tim 2:3); and I think the above mentioned instructions are most consistently accomplished when exercising our title to continue “casting all your care upon Him” (1Pet 5:7), because you know God will always work it out. - NC
  11. Note: It's my opinion that the intention of the title of this article does not mean the Christian's walk will be without works, but rather that the obtaining of salvation is without works, and that any works intended otherwise are work-less (vain labor). Scripture often plainly testifies that God’s law to the Jewish nation was not to justify, for “by the deeds of the Law nobody shall be justified” (Rom 3:20). Man’s guilt being revealed to him incurred accountability for condemnation (Jhn 9:41; 15:22, 24). This is all of which gives rightful place concerning “the righteous requirement of the law” (Rom 8:4)—to condemn for disobedience (Eze 18:4, 20), “for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom 3:20). Thus, even if the Decalogue could have been perfectly followed by its recipients it would yet have been useless labor in effecting forgiveness (though establishing earthly morality), because this was obtained only via the sin sacrifice of the high priest for his and the people’s sins that were committed unintentionally (Num 15:24-31). Willful disobedience has always evinced unbelief! Concerning retaining redemption, it’s sensible to note that if works could retain it, they could also serve to effect it; for that (Who) alone which effects salvation is that alone which retains it. -NC Work-less Walk It is a fearful thing to turn back to the merciless and unfulfillable demands of the law from the grace that is ours by faith in Christ. How is it possible? First we must see how irrational it is, that we may never allow our reason to be played tricks upon buy the madness of Satan. To strive hopelessly in the face of abundant achievement, freely procured for us, is surely to stand forth in all the disreputable glory of petty and perverse pride. The sheer presumption is laughable if we could stand out from ourselves and see it. That we do not see this when we are fixedly intent upon our narrow legalism indicates that we have lowered our sights to view only a part of God’s impossible demands by the law, and have exalted that above Christ; failing to realize that law-keeping cannot stand before Christ, inasmuch as He will not allow His perfect keeping of the law in life and in death to be set alongside our ridiculous efforts. This is to vie with Him where we have no hope of qualification (effecting and retaining salvation—NC); and so great is the gulf fixed between His achievement and ours that in all honor it would be as though He must withdraw as soon as a competitor appears on the scene. To see the gracious Savior bending over us with the lavish dainties of His grace, and then some ragamuffin come and wave away the luscious food with a contemptuous, “No thank you, I have my crust and my watery soup!” The tragedy is not that he tried himself—in certain circumstances that would be good—but that he deprived himself of grace so rich that only an empty stomach could hope to have sufficient capacity for it. The two are mutually exclusive, because for God to admit man’s aid in His own salvation (other than showing it—NC) is to admit that which he most needs to be saved from, his pride. Allow that, even a grain of it, to enter His heaven and the whole would be defiled (Gal 5:9). The great thing therefore in discerning Christianity is to be able to distinguish the categorical difference between that which is done in love of Christ and that which is done in exaltation of self and its particular codification of God’s law. The two are as opposed as heaven and hell, as God and the Devil; and happy is that man and that church which can discern the difference between things that look alike; or rather between things which may both belie their true nature, the evil appearing far more religious that the good. Christianity does not need to put on airs. So true faith rests and does not run around in circles seeking to impress others with its religiosity. When the time comes for expression, it looks up to the Father who alone works in its heart, and He sends down His gracious enablement and the humble child of God, who looks far less religious than the supposed ardent doer of works, becomes incandescent with the life of Christ. Yet no halo appears—it is just that God’s servant has become radiantly alive. All this wonderfully natural miracle is lost on the laborious law worker: he is on his own. He must do it all himself. Nor is there any expectation of the Lord stepping in by His Spirit and doing the work. It is all grinding work, and no gracious operation of the Spirit, and it is that which makes Jack the legalist such a dull, obtuse and bitter boy. Those who recommend new converts to get busy immediately have forgotten the long experience of that new convert Paul in the Arabian Desert (where Damascus lies - Gal 1:17—NC). Only he who has learned to rest and wait is fit for service. One may prefer the hard-working man and think he is the right type—thousands do—but he has made one mistake. He has shut God out of his universe. True, he hopes to meet Him in heaven—at least as an equal. But someone had that idea before him—the Devil. - Wm Still Excerpt from MJS devotional for January 9, 2019: “The world, the flesh, and the devil say, Be powerful. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit say, Be powerless — “for My strength is made perfect in [your] weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). - MJS “There would be little harm in trying to imitate Christ if such an endeavor did not hide from us what our Lord really desires; and so keep us back from ‘life more abundant.’ Christ has come Himself into our hearts to dwell there, and what He wants is to live His life in us, as the Apostle Paul says, ‘For to me to live is Christ.’ Christ was the very source and mainspring of all he was and did. What a wonderful thing this is! We would be driven to despair if Christ had simply left us an example to follow or imitate, for we have no power within ourselves to do it. We must have a new source—a new spring of action, and Christ Himself wants to be just that for us.” -E.C.H. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  12. I didn't see an alert for this OP but noticed it today on the front page, so I'm chiming in late. My favorite commentator on Hebrews 6 is still (after 40 years of study) John Gill, of course. Hebrews 6 Bible Commentary - John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible WWW.CHRISTIANITY.COM Study Hebrews 6 using John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible to better understand Scripture with full outline and verse meaning. Blessings!
  13. Sorry for this late reply, it didn't show a notification and I just now saw it. I want to thank you for your sincerity in just wanting to know truth and appreciate your replies! You make a very interesting point, and I believe since all have the sin nature there will be desire to sin. For those unsaved they not only desire it but also will it, but those reborn never will it (Heb 10:26). Note this passage does not say "if we sin," but "if we sin willfully." Every sin of the regenerate (reborn) is against the will (though served out of desire of the old heart), but the unregenerate's sins are in agreement with the will. The desire to sin cannot be avoided due to the sin nature (old man) but due to the new nature, believers do not sinning willfully, and this is the point of significance. Sin's "dominion" (Rom 6:14) is not in the sinning but in its ability to cause you to sin willingly, as in before we were reborn. Also, in unbelievers there will not be the desire concerning repentance for sin (evincing sin against the will), but as we see in Peter's case he eventually manifested repentance (Mat 26:75). This is exhibited in Paul's declaration of being "captive to sin" (Rom 7:23). Those dominated by sin are not captives to it because they willingly "serve sin." Thus, when Paul claimed that "with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh (sin nature) the law of sin" (Rom 7:25), he did not mean willfully serving sin. It can also be noted here that he willfully "served the law (principle - faith in Christ) of God, which can never be said of an unregenerate; neither does an unbeliever consider himself in this condition "wretched" and seek to be "delivered" from it (v 24), nor ever "delights in the will of God" (v 22). Blessings!
  14. My position is in heaven, and my path upon earth is that which belongs to, and is consistent with, this place I have in the Lord Jesus in glory. My path ought to be the expression that. What was the Lord Jesus’ path in this world? Even as the Son of Man upon earth, He was ever “the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 1:18; 3:13—omnipresence of Christ—NC). Every atom of His life was the manifestation of this blessed One in heaven; and so is it with us, so far as we are consistent in our “walk in the Spirit.” The Lord Jesus who is in heaven, and who gives me this position in light, in the presence of the Father, is the One that is in me here on earth. So the Apostle Paul says, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2Cor 4:11). The life of the believer on earth is the manifestation of the Life of the Lord Jesus (Col 3:4), in Whom he is though He is in heaven: he is to be the manifestation in this world of that One. Where we fail, where our life does not manifest Him, there comes the Word of God, which is the expression of it, and searches us; and thus there is sanctification by the truth. The Word brings Him to me where He is not shown forth in my life, and judges it. But the place where the Lord Jesus keeps us is in the Holiest of All. He has sanctified Himself in the presence of the Father for us, and that is the position where He keeps us. We may forget Him, we may and often do fail in appreciating the position in which He has set us, and in walking according to it (due to the old man, thus unintentionally—NC); but in the Holiest of All He keeps us, in unmingled, untiring enjoyment of what is there. There in perfect love and in the light, as my Father is in the light—sin put away, and ourselves as new creations made the righteousness of God in Him. I have nothing to think about as to my competency to be there. I am there, and I cannot be there except as now being perfectly cleansed as a new creature in Christ Jesus. All sin now blotted out, and there consequently, as thus positioned, I enjoy the unclouded favor of my Father. Presently, here in this world, the Lord Jesus is to be manifest in me. But in the midst of all the trials and difficulties of the way, we find these two means which our Father uses to carry us on—the Word, “sharper than any two-edged sword,” which judges everything that is contrary to the Father, and the intercession of the Lord Jesus which meets all our weakness and failure. He has trodden the path which we have to tread and has met the same temptations in that path. Now our very weakness, if we are kept in dependence upon the Spirit, is but the continual exercise of affection for the Lord Jesus, and the drawing out of His affection towards us. - J N Darby Excerpt from MJS devotional for January 2: "Christian growth is the becoming real in ourselves, of what is already true of us in the Lord Jesus. 'I am the vine, ye are the branches’, He says. But the vine furnishes the branches, not only with the principle of life, but with the type of life. No pressure or molding from without is needed to shape them to the pattern of the parent stock. Every minutest peculiarity of form, and color, and taste, and fragrance is determined by the root, and developed from it. A true believer, therefore, will ask no better thing of the Lord than that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in his body (2 Cor. 4:11). For such a manifestation will, by a necessary principle, be the unfolding within him of every needed element of joy and sorrow, of suffering and triumph." -A.J.G. "Straining, driving effort does not accomplish the work God gives a man to do; we must partake of Christ so fully that He more than fills the life. It will then be not overwork but overflow." – MJS http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  15. Have you ever been so busy desiring to do for others (admirable and honorable in its proper place) that its undertaking has often inadvertently reduced your time of fellowship with them, which detracts from keeping up with knowing them? We all continue to change in our lives concerning what we evaluate things to be, e.g. something we determine as important now may not be as such latter, or maybe even become more important, thus requiring us to keep up with one another as to what our desires are. Of course God never changes, but the depth of knowing Him more— which is only through His Word—will ever continue, and the more He teaches us to know Him, the greater will be our success in “being about” His “business” (Luk 2:49). Continuing to read God’s Word and asking Him for more understanding of it initiates and perpetuates “drawing close to God” (Jam 4:8) more than all other things, and the closer we get to know Him, the greater we get to serve Him. The object is to put wanting to know Him better (Word-time) before wanting to serve Him more. FYI: I’ve learned that that continuing to read and re-read the Scriptures, God causes increased spiritual growth. The majority of the spiritual growth truths lie within the Pauline Epistles, and I’ve found that just returning to where you left off well aids a persistent and life-long reading in the Scriptures. NC Know To Grow “That I may know Him” (Phl 3:10). It is of the greatest importance for the Lord’s own to recognize fully that, above all other things, His object is that they should know Him. This is the all-governing end of all His dealings with us. This is the greatest of all our needs. It is the secret of strength, steadfastness and fruitful service. The primary objective of the Father’s dealings with us is that we may know His Son. This explains all our trials, sufferings, perplexities, weaknesses, predicaments, bafflings and pressures. While the refining of the spirit, the development of the graces, the removal of dross are all purposes of the fires, yet above and through all is the one object—that we may know the Lord. Our minds are so often occupied with service and work; we think that doing things for the Lord is the chief object of life. We are concerned about our life-work, our ministry. We think of equipment for it in terms of study and knowledge of things. Soul-winning, or teaching believers, or setting people to work for the Lord, are so much in the foreground. Bible study and knowledge of the Scriptures for efficiency in the matter of leading in Christian service as being the end in view are matters of pressing importance with all, and this is all well and good, for these are important matters (in their proper order); but back of everything the Lord is more concerned first about our knowing Him than about everything else. It is very possible to have a wonderful grasp of the Scriptures, a comprehensive and intimate familiarity with doctrine; to stand for cardinal verities of the faith; to be an unceasing worker in Christian service; to have a great devotion to the salvation of others, and yet, alas, have a very inadequate and limited personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (all of which is best after entering a sufficient knowledge of Him—NC). So often He has to take away (halt—NC) our work that we may discover Him more. This is the one thing that will remain when all else passes. It is this that will make for the permanence of our ministry after we have been taken Home. While we may help others in many ways and by many means so far as their earthly life is concerned, our real service to them is based upon our knowledge of the Lord Jesus (our knowledge is directly related to our fellowship, where we can be in union with Him but not necessarily in fellowship, even though we may be occupied with service—NC). We want instructions and commands; the Lord intends for us to have a “mind.” “Have this mind in you” (Phl 2:5); “we have the mind of Christ” (1Co 2:16). The inspired statement is that “His anointing teaches you concerning all things” (1Jhn 2:7). We are not servants, we are sons (Gal 4:7). There is an appalling state of things among the Lord’s people today. So many of them have their life almost entirely in that which is external to themselves. Personal, inward spiritual intelligence is a very rare thing. To know the Lord in a personal way means steadfastness when others are being carried away—steadfastness through times of fiery trial. Those who really know Him do not put forth their own hand to try to bring things about. Patient confidence is an essential and inevitable fruit of this knowledge, and in those who know Him there is a quiet restful strength which speaks of a great depth of life. In the Lord Jesus Christ “are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden” (Col 2:3), and the Father’s will for us is to come to an ever-growing realization and personal appreciation of Him in “Whom all fullness dwells” (Col 1:19). - T A S Excerpt from MJS devotional for December 27: “Let no one imagine that he can be effectively used in the Lord’s service, or even make progress in the Christian life, without some measure of real entrance into the valuable principle: ‘When I am weak, then am I strong’ (2 Cor. 12:10). It is absolutely essential in forming the character of the true servant of the Lord Jesus. Where it is not known and felt, there is sure to be unsubduedness, unbrokenness, and self-occupation in some form or other. On the other hand, where one has been brought into this principle, there will always be a measure of brokenness, softness, and tenderness of spirit; and not only so, but also largeness of heart, and that lovely tendency to rise above those petty, selfish considerations, which so sadly hinder the work of God.” – C H M http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
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