GOD IS DETERMINED TO MAKE THE WORLD A WILDERNESS TO ALL HIS ELECT THAT THEY MAY NOT FIND THEIR HAPPINESS IN IT

GOD IS DETERMINED TO MAKE THE WORLD A WILDERNESS TO ALL HIS ELECT THAT THEY MAY NOT FIND THEIR HAPPINESS IN IT

J.C. Philpot

“They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.” Psalm 107:4

The true Christian finds this world to be a wilderness.

There is no change in the world itself.

The change is in the man’s heart.

THE WILDERNESS WANDERER thinks it altered—a different world from what he has hitherto known . . . his friends, his own family, the employment in which he is daily engaged, the general pursuits of men – their cares and anxieties, their hopes and prospects, their amusements and pleasures, and what I may call ‘the general din and whirl of life’, all seem to him different to what they were—and for a time perhaps he can scarcely tell whether the change is in them, or in himself.

This however is the prominent and uppermost feeling in his mind—that he finds himself, to his surprise – a WANDERER IN A WORLD which has changed altogether its appearance to him. The fair, beautiful world, in which was all his happiness and all his home—has become to him a dreary wilderness.

Sin has been fastened in its conviction on his conscience.
The Holy Spirit has taken the veil of unbelief and ignorance
off his heart. He now sees the world in a wholly different
light–and instead of a paradise it has become a wilderness – for sin, dreadful sin, has marred all its beauty and happiness.

It is not because the world itself has changed that the Christian feels it to be a wilderness—but BECAUSE HE HIMSELF HAS CHANGED.

There is nothing in this world which can really gratify or satisfy the true Christian. What once was to him a happy and joyous world has now become a barren wilderness.

The scene of his former . . pursuits, pleasures, habits, delights, prospects, hopes, anticipations of profit or happiness – is now turned into a barren wasteland.

He cannot perhaps tell how or why the change has taken place, but he feels it—deeply feels it. He may try to shake off his trouble and be a little cheerful and happy as he was before—but if he gets a little imaginary relief, all his guilty pangs come back upon him with renewed strength and increased violence.

God means to make the world a wilderness to every child of His, that he may not find his happiness in it, but be a stranger and a pilgrim upon earth.

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THE SACREDNESS OF TEARS 

THE SACREDNESS OF TEARS

Compiled by Michael Jeshurun

The Bible teaches that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Like it or not, we are all born sinners, which means we are all born unbroken. Yes, our DNA is infected with the sin of our forefather Adam. The word that best describes this condition of unbrokenness is pride. The word that best describes brokenness is humility.

We are all—every last one of us—more or less unbroken. The Christian journey is one of God bringing us out of tree of knowledge trash such as sinful, rule-based, self-righteous, self-sufficient, prideful dependence upon our own strength, wisdom and knowledge into the tree of life treasures of brokenness, humility, worship of and dependence upon Him. These are God’s highest desires for all of His children, and His desires are always what is best for us. They are highly prized by Him, and once we begin to understand and bear the fruit of them, we will prize them highly too.

Biblically, tears are an essential expression of brokenness. They are God’s provision for cleansing us of the unbrokenness that hinders and sometimes destroys our spiritual, mental and physical health and well being.

“Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure” (Psalm 80:5).
Ken Gire wrote in Windows of the Soul, “In each tear is distilled something of eternity, something of love and compassion and tenderness, all things that originate in heaven and come to earth as a sacrament to the soul, if only I am willing to take and to eat. The closest communion with God comes, I believe, through the sacrament of tears. Just as grapes are crushed to make wine and grain to make bread, so the elements of this sacrament come from the crushing experiences of life.

Many Hebrew words for grieving, weeping and lamentation actually mean “to distill”, which means to “separate and change from one substance to another”. This word beautifully describes God’s renewing work in the midst of our tears. In the life long metamorphosis of our souls, God is continually transforming us from the sin-marred image of Adam into the glorious image of Christ. The tears we pour out at the feet of Jesus, both joyful and sad, are the distillation of God’s eternal work in our lives.

Tears are the language of the soul. When they are turned toward God, they are never wasted nor shed in vain. Though often shunned by man they are treasured by God. Psalm 56:8 says that God keeps our tears in a bottle and writes each one in His book.

God considers our precious tears an offering. Exodus 22:29 urges that we not “delay to offer the first of [our] ripe fruits, and of [our] liquors . . . “.

The primary meaning of the Hebrew word for “liquors” is “tears”. And we should not delay the offering of them! They are put into His bottle and are written in His book. I can almost see the fingers of God lovingly caressing each line in that weighty tome as He ponders our every offering and sacrifice of brokenness—love letters straight from our heart to His. Just let your heart ponder this for a moment. Our tears are treasures in heaven, for they represent our every moment of surrender to Him.

The great old theologian, Matthew Henry wrote of this verse, “God has a bottle and a book for his people’s tears, both those for their sins and those for their afflictions. He observes them with compassion and tender concern; he is afflicted in their afflictions, and knows their souls in adversity. Paul was mindful of Timothy’s tears (2 Timothy 1:4), and God will not forget the sorrows of his people. God will comfort his people according to the time wherein he has afflicted them, and give to those to reap in joy who sowed in tears. What was sown a tear will come up a pearl.”

[Gleaned from sources on the web]

ALL OF GOD’S ELECT SHALL COME TO CHRIST

ALL OF GOD’S ELECT SHALL COME TO CHRIST

 by C.H. SPURGEON

 All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”—John 6:37.

Look at the text before us. Here we have, in two small sentences, the sum and substance of all theology. The great questions which have divided the Church in all ages, the apparently contradictory doctrines which have set one minister of Christ against his fellow, are here revealed so simply and plainly, “that he may run that readeth it” (Habakkuk 2:2).

Even a child may understand the Words of Christ, though perhaps the loftiest human intellect cannot fathom the mystery hidden therein.

Take the first sentence of my text: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.” What a weighty sentence! Here we have taught us what is called, in the present day, “High Calvinistic doctrine”—the purpose of God; the certainty that God’s purpose will stand; the invincibility of God’s will; and the absolute assurance that Christ “shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.”

Look at the second sentence of my text: “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Here we have the richness, the fullness, the unlimited extent of the power of Christ to save those who put their trust in Him. Here is a text upon which one might preach a thousand sermons. We might take these two sentences as a life-long text, and never exhaust the theme.

It rests, you perceive, not on something which man does, but on something which God the Father does. The Father gives certain persons to His Son, and the Son says, “All that the Father giveth Me Shall come to Me.” I take it that the meaning of the text is this,—that, if any do come to Jesus Christ, it is those whom the Father gave to Christ. And the reason why they come,—if we search to the very bottom of things,—is, that the Father puts it into their hearts to come.

The reason why one man is saved, and another man is lost, is to be found in God; not in anything which the saved man did, or did not do; not in anything which he felt, or did not feel; but in something altogether irrespective of himself, even in the sovereign grace of God. In the day of God’s power, the saved are made willing to give their souls to Jesus.

Miss Much-afraid, and Mrs. Despondency, and Mr. Feeble-mind, shall as certainly come to the arms of Christ, as Mr. Great-heart, and Mr. Faithful, and Mr. Valiant-for-Truth. If one jewel were lost from Christ’s crown, then Christ’s crown would not be all-glorious. If one member of the body of Christ were to perish, Christ’s body would not be complete. If one of those who are one with Christ should miss his way to eternal life, Christ would not be a perfect Christ.

OBJECTION:

But suppose it should be one of those who are living in the interior of Africa, and he does not hear the gospel; what then?” He shall hear the gospel; either he shall come to the gospel, or the gospel shall go to him. Even if no minister should go to such a chosen one, he would have the gospel specially revealed to him rather than that the promise of the Almighty God should be broken.

“But suppose there should be one of God’s chosen who has become so bad that there is no hope for him? He never attends a place of worship; never listens to the gospel; the voice of the preacher never reaches him; he has grown hardened in his sin, like steel that has been seven times annealed in the fire; what then?” That man shall be arrested by God’s grace, and that obdurate, hard-hearted one shall be made to see the mercy of God; the tears shall stream down his cheeks, and he shall be made willing to receive Jesus as Saviour. I think that, as God could bend my will, and bring me to Christ, He can bring anybody.

Why was I made to hear His voice,

And enter while there’s room;

When thousands make a wretched choice,

And rather starve than come?

‘Twas the same love that spread the feast,

That sweetly forced me in;

Else I had still refused to taste,

And perished in my sin.”

 

OUR CROWN BELONGS TO THE LORD WHO GAVE IT

OUR CROWN BELONGS TO THE LORD WHO GAVE IT

C.H. Spurgeon

Will you wear a crown, believer? Will you accept one jot or tittle of the glory? O no, you will each of you disown anything like the Arminian’s proud boast of free selfwill! It will be grace, grace, divine grace, alone, in heaven! There will be no division and no discord in that eternal hymn. We will cast our crowns at once before Him, and we will say, “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thy name be all the praise.” [Psalm 115:1] Before the Throne of our Sovereign God our gratitude is mingled with humility.

It is said they cast their crowns before the Throne. They know where they got them, and they know to whom to ascribe the praise. Their crowns are their own, and, therefore, they wear them on their heads. Their crowns were Jesus’ gift, and, therefore, they cast them at His feet. They wear their crown, for He has made them kings, and they cannot refuse the dignity; but they cast the crown at His feet, for they are only kings by right received from Him, and acknowledge Him thus to be King of kings, and Lord of lords.
It was a custom, you know, in imperial Rome, for those kings who held dominion under the emperor, on certain occasions, to take off their crowns and lay them down before the emperor, so that when he bade them put them on again, they had fully recognized that their rights of kingship flowed only through him. So do they who are before the throne of God! With what rapture, with what joy, with what delight, do they cast their crowns there! To think they have a crown, and a crown to cast before Him!

Brothers and sisters, I am afraid when you and I get any graces, or have been made useful in Christ’s cause, we are glad for the thing’s sake; but we are not right, if so; we should be glad because we have something to cast at His feet. Have you faith? I must thank Him for faith, I must lay it at His feet and say, “Jesus, use my faith for Your glory, for You are its author and finisher.” If you and I shall, by divine grace, persevere to the end, and shall arrive at heaven, it will be a joy to think that we are saved, but we will lay it all at the door of divine love!

Why, then, you ask now, do they cast their crowns at the foot of the Throne? There are four answers which may very properly be given.

The first, no doubt, is for the reason of solemn reverence. They see more of God than we do, therefore are they more filled with awe and thrilled with admiration. From what we—who worship, as it were, in His outer courts and get but distant glimpses of His majesty and His mercy—from what we at present know of God we should be constrained to say, “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Your name give glory for Your mercy and Your Truth’s sake.” But where God more gloriously reveals Himself and where His attributes are more clearly seen, no doubt there is more overwhelming emotion and more intense reverence—therefore at once, and of spontaneous impulse—the soul pays all the homage that it can before the Throne of God.

I think it would seem to them as though it could not be that they could sit with crowned heads in the Presence of the King of kings! That head that once was crowned with thorns, when we see it adorned with the royal diadem, surely we should not bear to be crowned in the Presence of such an One! For what are we, and what is our Father’s house? God has done all He can for us, yet what shall we be as compared with Him, the Infinite and Eternal! And as compared with Christ, the ever-blessed who died for us? O, our reverence will always make us feel in the lowest state of self-abasement at the foot of the Throne!

Moreover, they are, no doubt, actuated by sincere humility. Reverence to God always brings a humble opinion of one’s own self. Here below, Beloved, we sometimes murmur at the Divine will when His appointments cross and foil our inclinations. Were we more humble and less self-opinionated we should utterly distrust ourselves and put implicit confidence in Him. We should at once cast our wills at the Lord’s feet. Here we set up our own opinion in opposition to the revealed will of God. We would not do that if we knew ourselves, but we should lay our judgment at the foot of the Throne. But up there they judge righteous judgments and, knowing God and beholding His Glory, they shrink into nothing and lay themselves at His feet—much more do they renounce their will.

They feel, they know, they confess that any honor or desert they have has been obtained through the Grace of God— that they must fully, heartily, unreservedly ascribe to Grace that which they dare not arrogate to themselves. Doubtless, also, they do this for another reason, namely, because of their profound gratitude. They bless God that they are where they are and what they are. If you ask those before the Throne, they will tell you that not only do they owe their crowns to Grace, but every single gem in their crowns. They have not one single star in their diadem but what the Lord put there and there is not a single sparkle of any crystal sapphire that is in their coronet but what they may trace the flashing gleam to the Sovereign Grace of God.

Therefore, how could they keep anything to themselves? Gratitude constrains them to lay their crowns where their crowns came from. And, above all, they are actuated by intense affection. They love their Lord, and loving their Lord they do anything to adore Him. Self-denial is the name we give on earth to that Grace which not only ignores but consumes one’s self in the fervor of zeal, in the passion of love. What word would answer for the like?—Though the greater vehemence of those in Heaven I cannot tell. They are glad to fling their richest goods, their choicest trophy, their most cherished treasure at His feet—they love Him so. Here we love ourselves and cherish some fond attachment to our fellow creatures, also. And our hearts are stolen away by some earthly object. But there they love God intensely, continually, undividedly, without a flaw—and consequently they cast everything down before Him—and they lay their crowns at His feet.

As we see what they do, let us consider what we should do, and anticipate what we shall do when we join that august assembly. I would like to have a bright crown, bright with many gems of souls turned to righteousness, for they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as stars forever. But I think the sweetness will be to have a bright crown to lay at His feet, not for the sake of wearing it but giving it, if thereby a saved one might give honor to His Savior. You will notice they do not attempt to put the crown upon the Lord’s head. No, we cannot add to His splendor! He is infinitely glorious! Without creatures, without servants, without saints He is glorious—we cannot add to His Glory—we can but lay our crowns at His feet. We cast them at the feet though we cannot put them on the monarch’s head.

And would not we wish to have as bright a crown as possible for the sake of placing it there? O, fight, you soldier of Christ, and bear hardness that your crown may be a precious one! Pray, minister of God, that you may preach with all your heart and soul and strength, that your diadem may be a sparkling one! Dear Sister in your tent, or dear Brother out in the battle, be valiant for God, for we all agree in this, that whatever the crown shall be, at His dear feet we cast it!

BELIEVERS NOT SAVED BY THEIR DECISION

BELIEVERS NOT SAVED BY THEIR DECISION

preacher Gary Shepard

Believers are not saved by their “decision.” No, they are saved because God decided upon them, chose them in Christ and blessed them with all spiritual blessings in Him before the world began. He redeemed us by His blood and calls us. Yet, as believers in Christ and servants of the living God in this world, we have many decisions in this life. These decisions, some big and some small (so we think), do not determine anything but they do reveal many things. You see, it is our decisions concerning the things of this life that prove to be the test of our faith. Decisions concerning family, work, recreation, worship, etc. Actually, every decision in life! In making these decisions there are a number of things we as believers should consider:

1. Will I be acting according to God’s plain commands and statements in His Word? The Spirit of God never leads us to act contrary to the written Word. “He that is of God hears God’s words” John8:47

2. Will my decision be for the glory of God above all things? “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1Co 10:31

3. Will what I choose to do really work for my spiritual and eternal good? “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” 1Co 10:23“Set your affection on things above ”

4. Will the course of action I choose encourage or be a good example for the people of God? “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Ro 14:19

5. Will my decision work for the good of Christ’s church in this world and the advancement of His gospel? Will it encourage the one He has sent to feed and watch over my soul?

Remember Joshua’s words to the people: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Jos 24:15 God give us grace to serve YOU!

THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT

THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the GOD OF ALL COMFORT; Who comforteth us in ALL our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. [2Cor 1:3,4]

“I have long perceived the truth of what the apostle says in 2 Corinthians 1:4 – It is God’s way to take His people, AND ESPECIALLY HIS SERVANTS, through trying and painful experiences, in order that they may USE to His glory the consolation wherewith He has comforted them.

It is those who know most of the plague of their own heart, who are best fitted to speak a word in season to weary souls. It is out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, and it is he who has passed through the furnace who can best deal with those now in the fire.”

[Quoted from A.W. Pink’s – “Studies in Saving Faith”]

WHAT OLDER DIVINES SAID CONCERNING ‘SELF-EXAMINATION’

WHAT OLDER DIVINES SAID CONCERNING ‘SELF-EXAMINATION’

Compiled by Michael Jeshurun

 “Examine yourselves whether you are in the faith, prove your own selves” ( 2 Corinthians 13:5), yet that is the very task which the great majority of professing Christians refuse to undertake, and if it is pressed upon them, they see no need for engaging in it, firmly assured that all is well with them spiritually. It is natural for us to think well of ourselves, yet just to the extent that we are influenced by self-esteem will our judgment be prevented from forming a true estimate of ourselves. And while self-love and self-flattery rule our hearts, we shall decline this essential duty of self-examination. Pride produces presumption, so that its infatuated victims are secure in their conceit that they are heirs of Heaven, when in fact they have neither title nor meetness to it. Those thus bewitched cannot be induced to prosecute a course of self-examination, nor will they tolerate a searching and probing ministry, be it oral or written.”  [A. W. Pink]

The writer has met many people who profess to be Christians, but whose daily lives differ in nothing from thousands of non-professors all around them. They are rarely, if ever, found at the prayer-meeting, they have no Family Worship, they seldom read the Scriptures, they will not talk with you about the things of God, their walk is thoroughly worldly; and yet they are quite sure they are bound for heaven!  Inquire into the ground of their confidence, and they will tell you that so many years ago they accepted Christ as their Savior, and “once saved always saved” is now their comfort. There are thousands of such people on earth today, who are nevertheless, on the Broad Road, that leadeth to destruction, treading it with a false peace in their hearts and a vain profession on their lips.  [A.W. Pink]

I commend solitude to any of you who are seeking salvation, first, that you may study well your case as in the sight of God. Few men truly know themselves as they really are. Most people have seen themselves in a looking-glass, but there is another looking-glass, which gives true reflections, into which few men look. To study one’s self in the light of God’s Word, and carefully to go over one’s condition, examining both the inward and the outward sins, and using all the tests which are given us in the Scriptures, would be a very healthy exercise; but how very few care to go through it!  [C.H. Spurgeon]

Make up your spiritual accounts daily; see how matters stand between God and your souls (Psalm 77:6). Often reckonings keep God and conscience friends. Do with your hearts as you do with your watches, wind them up every morning by prayer, and at night examine whether your hearts have gone true all that day, whether the wheels of your affections have moved swiftly toward heaven. [Thomas Watson]

When a man has judged himself, Satan is put out of office.  When he lays anything to a saint’s charge, he is able to retort and say, “It is true, Satan, I am guilty of these sins, but I have judged myself already for them; and having condemned myself in the lower court of conscience, God will acquit me in the upper court of heaven.”  [Thomas Watson]

Men compare themselves with men, and readily with the worst, and flatter themselves with that comparative betterness. This is not the way to see spots, to look into the muddy streams of profane men’s lives; but look into the clear fountain of the Word, and there we may both discern and wash them; and consider the infinite holiness of God, and this will humble us to the dust.  [Robert Leighton]

 Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination (July 4, and 13, 1723). [Jonathan Edwards]

Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself – also at the end of every week, month and year. [Jonathan Edwards]

Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or not; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of.  [Jonathan Edwards]

In light of the sober possibility of profession without possession, the New Testament exhorts us to examine ourselves, to see if we are in the faith, to make our calling and election sure (2 Cor. 13:5). We have a moral obligation to encourage others to do likewise.  [William Webster]

I CANNOT KEEP MYSELF SAVED

I CANNOT KEEP MYSELF SAVED

C.H. Spurgeon

Salvation is the work of God. It is HE ALONE who quickens the soul “dead in trespasses and sins,” and it is He also who MAINTAINS THE SOUL in its spiritual life. He is both “Alpha and Omega.” “Salvation is OF THE LORD.” If I am prayerful, GOD makes me prayerful; if I have graces, they are God’s gifts to me; if I hold on in a consistent life, it is because HE upholds me with His hand.

I DO NOTHING WHATEVER TOWARDS MY OWN PRESERVATION, EXCEPT WHAT GOD HIMSELF FIRST DOES IN ME.

WHATEVER I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone. Wherein I sin, THAT IS MY OWN; but wherein I act rightly, THAT is of God, wholly and completely. If I have repulsed a spiritual enemy, the Lord’s strength nerved my arm. Do I live before men a consecrated life? It is not I, but CHRIST who liveth in me.

Am I sanctified? I did not cleanse myself: God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies me. Am I weaned from the world? I am weaned by God’s chastisements sanctified to my good. Do I grow in knowledge? The great Instructor teaches me. All my jewels were fashioned by heavenly art. I find in God all that I want; but I FIND IN MYSELF NOTHING BUT SIN AND MISERY. “He only is my rock and my salvation.”

Do I feed on the Word? That Word would be no food for me unless the Lord made it food for my soul, and helped me to feed upon it. Do I live on the manna which comes down from heaven? What is that manna but Jesus Christ himself incarnate, whose body and whose blood I eat and drink? Am I continually receiving fresh increase of strength? Where do I gather my might? My help cometh from heaven’s hills: WITHOUT JESUS I CAN DO NOTHING.

As a branch cannot bring forth fruit except it abide in the vine, no more can I, except I abide in Him. What Jonah learned in the great deep, let me learn this morning in my closet:

“Salvation is of the Lord!” Hallelujah!

DON’T THROW IN THE TOWEL YET CHRISTIAN

DON’T THROW IN THE TOWEL YET CHRISTIAN

A.W. Pink

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” [Galatians 6:9]

Regeneration is but the commencement of the saving operations of the Holy Spirit, and those who are the favored subjects of them are assured that, “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ” [Phi 1:6], causing them to grow in grace and become fruitful branches of the Vine.
Yet the divine work of grace in a soul is not carried forward MECHANICALLY without any concurrence on the part of its subjects. It is a fatal error to conclude that because the work of salvation and sanctification is a divine one — that WE have no responsibility in connection therewith. Scripture teaches the very OPPOSITE: we are exhorted to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling — BECAUSE it is God who works in us [Phi 2:12-13]. Grace is bestowed not to encourage IDLENESS — but to energize unto holy activity. The Spirit of God does not produce APATHY — but stirs those He indwells unto a diligent use of means. The one who was loudest in owning, “But by the grace of God I am what I am,” hesitated not to add, “but I labored more abundantly than they all!” [1 Corinthians 15:10].God always deals with His people as rational and accountable creatures. Unto those who believed on Him, the Lord Jesus said, “If you CONTINUE in my word, then are you my disciples indeed” [John 8:31], and not merely by lip profession. The apostles returned to their converts, “confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them TO CONTINUE in the faith,” warning them that they “must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” [Act 14:22].

Walking that “narrow” way, which is the ONLY ONE “which leads unto life” [Mat 7:14], is not the easy matter which so many vainly imagine. Rather does it call for self-denial, godly fear, circumspection, and persevering effort. “AS you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord — SO walk in him” [Col 2:6] must be heeded by us if we are to make a good continuance. HOW did we “receive Christ Jesus the Lord”? By ceasing to fight against Him, and throwing down the weapons of our rebellion. By determining to end a life of self-will, giving ourselves up to Him freely and wholly, consenting to be His forever. By penitently confessing our sins and trusting in His redeeming blood. By coming empty-handed to draw upon His fullness.

How did we “receive” Him? As He is freely offered in the Gospel: “able also to save them to the uttermost all who come unto God by him” [Heb 7:25]. As a whole Christ: a PROPHET to teach, a PRIEST to atone, a KING to reign over us. As a COMPLETE Savior: to deliver from the penalty of sin, cleanse from its pollution, free from its power; to sanctify as well as justify, purify, and ultimately glorify. “SO walk you in him”: continue as you began — in subjection to, in dependence upon Him.

A Gospel FAITH — must issue in Gospel PRACTICE. “Walking in Christ means living OUT OF SELF, in conformity to Him. Only thus do we obtain evidence of having SAVINGLY “received” Him.

The GENUINENESS of faith is always seen in what it PRODUCES. Alas, the WALK of most professing Christians gives the lie to their TALK. A good continuance is only made possible by our regular use of those means of grace which God has appointed for His people.
If the WORD is neglected — the soul will be starved. . . .

If MEDITATION is not practiced — the heavenly manna will not be digested.

If PRAYER be omitted, or performed formally and mechanically — fresh supplies of grace will not be obtained.

Unless the love of God is kept constantly before the heart — the affections will soon cool.

Unless we draw daily upon Christ’s mediatorial fullness — we shall be feeble and incapable of wrestling with our foes.

Unless we tread the path of obedience — Satan will quickly overcome us.

There must also be a RIGHT USE of the means, or they will profit us nothing. The Word itself does not nourish — unless faith be mixed with it [Heb 4:2]. They must be used in a spirit of humble dependence on God, for they avail not apart from His BLESSING upon them. Put them not in the stead of Christ. Trust not in the mere use of them, as though your diligence therein ensured success. Yet they MUST BE USED patiently and perseveringly: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” [Gal 6:9]. Amen!

THE GREEN TREE 

THE GREEN TREE

Jim Byrd

“For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” [Luke 23:31]. 

These words were uttered by our Savior to those who wept for Him as He made His way toward the place of crucifixion. Christ is the green tree, full of the sap of life, delightful and well-pleasing to the Father. He was pure in His nature, without sin in His life, harmless in His actions and perfect in all His ways. In and of Himself, He was not deserving of being cut down and cast into the fire of divine wrath. The agonies which awaited Him were brought about because the sins of His people were imputed to Him.

The innocent Lamb of God had taken responsibility for the redemption of those given Him by the Father in the covenant of grace and the time had now arrived when He would retire our indebtedness by enduring divine wrath in our stead. Though He was the sinless One, yet when He bore our transgressions, He would not be spared the sword of judgment and He “DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.” [1Cor 15;3] We are assured from the Word of God that when Christ offered Himself as the sacrifice for our offenses, His people were redeemed by His precious blood [1 Peter 1:18-19]. The just vengeance of God which fell upon the Shepherd who died as the Substitute for His sheep, will never fall upon those in whose place He died.

Now, if these things happened “IN A GREEN TREE,” that is, if the Father dealt so severely with Him Who had no inward guilt, no sins of His own, what will happen to those who leave this world laden with guilt and sin reigns within them? They are as dry trees, fit only to be cast away and forevermore endure the fiery indignation of God.

In the destruction of the wicked we see the just consequence of having no Substitute, no Sin-Offering and no Mediator. What unspeakable horror awaits those who die clinging to their self-righteous rags and despising the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ! The cross-death of the Son of God stands as solemn proof that the God of the Bible must and will punish sin.