To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Until we can believe that we are accepted in the Beloved.. we believe the opposite. Until we can accept that we are complete in Him.. we will think we are incomplete. Being accepted in Christ and complete in Him is the fixed status of all believers. But chose to disbelieve the truth, and you will build up a lie in your mind.
All those that are born from above are already complete in Christ. Accepting that we are complete in Christ is just believing the Scripture as truth. Believing that we are accepted in Christ is simply trusting God’s word, as fact.
Circumstances of life and wickedness in the world may seem to scream the reverse, but you must never base your faith in Christ Jesus on your feelings – nor must you allow the circumstances of life to influence your trust in God.
Feelings will lie, and circumstances can fabricate the truth of God’s word. Your faith is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and His righteousness – and because you are in Him, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to you.
Until His Word is trusted Christian maturity in our lives will be hindered. The kissing cousin to faith in God’s word, is appropriating the truth in our heart. The counter side of the coin of trust is a practical reception of the word of God.
To appropriate God’s Truth is to take as an actuality what is already yours. To appropriate His Word, is to accept as a practical reality what belongs to you. To appropriate Scripture is to take on board what is already ours as a gift from God. It is to hear God and operate on it as an unfailing reality. It is to receive and act on His word as fixed, factual truth. It is appropriate – is to take, accept, receive, and act upon God’s unfailing word.
William Newell succinctly writes the following on appropriating God’s word. "Paul does not ask a thing of the saints in the first 3 chapters of Ephesians but just to listen while he proclaims that wondrous series of great and eternal facts concerning them. It is not until he has completed this catalogue of realities about them – does he ask them to do anything at all! And when he does open his plea for their high walk as Christians, everything is based on the revelation before....
"Given the facts of their high character and destiny as saints Paul says; ‘I therefore … beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called’ Ephesians 4:1 Let us cease laying down to the saints long lists of ‘conditions’ of entering into the blessed life in Christ; and instead, as the primal preparation for leading them into the experience of this life, show them what their position, possessions, and privileges in Christ already are. Thus shall we truly work with the Holy Spirit, and thus shall we have more, and more abiding fruit of our labours among the people of God."
So the QUESTION is… WHAT is the secret of getting to the point where we truly take God’s word as fact? How do you move to the realm of appropriating His word as fixed, factual reality? IS it possible to hear and appropriate God’s word, so as to act on it as absolute truth? YES – it is possible to hear and appropriate God’s word.
Austin Sparks reveals the ways, means, and method to appropriate the word of God. We are to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we have been called. And the result of the work of Christ’s cross, and as the grand issue of His resurrection... eternal life is received already by those who believe. But while that life is itself victorious, incorruptible, indestructible, the believer has to come by faith to prove it, to live by it, to learn its laws, to be conformed to it.
There is a deposit in the believer, which in itself needs no addition, so far as its quality is concerned. So far as its victory, its power, its glory, its potentialities are concerned, nothing can be added to it. But the course of spiritual experience, of spiritual life, is to discover, to appropriate, and to live by all that the life represents and means.
Sparks is basically saying that all we are and have in Christ is already ours. To appropriate it is simply to believe it to be true and then act on that truth. It is to change from asking for what’s yours already – to thanking Him for it! It is actually accepting what is already yours in Christ, with thanksgiving and praise.
I know this may sound superficially simplistic, feebly facile, or nauseatingly naive. I know this is quite likely to meet with words like, "I just don’t understand …" but appropriating our birthright and position in Christ is really very simple. It’s a move from a murmuring mentality for what you want – to grateful thanks for all the riches of God’s grace – you already have, in Christ. Murmuring and complaints are always linked with loss of fellowship and unbelief. Thanksgiving and confession is always linked with fellowship and trust in God.
When Israel murmured in unbelief, they damaged their fellowship with God. When Israel confessed their sins, they returned and renewed fellowship with Him. When Israel functioned on feelings, they lost fellowship with God and murmured. When Israel functioned on circumstances they lost fellowship and blamed God. But when Israel functioned by trusting God’s Word, they returned into fellowship.
Murmurings and complaints develop a lack of trust in the truth of God’s word. Feelings or circumstances paint a false picture of our relationship with God, but fellowship with God rests on confessing our sins and believing His Word – fellowship counts on God’s word as a fixed factual truth.
Until we can believe that we are accepted in the Beloved, we will be defeated. Until we can accept that we are Complete in Him, we will be incomplete. Believing that we are accepted in Christ is simply trusting His Word as fact. Accepting that we are complete in Christ is believing the Scripture as truth.
The only possible response to being accepted in the Beloved is to worship and praise. The only practical reaction to being complete in Christ is grateful thanks. We should praise, worship and thank the Lord with every fibre of our being – and to confess that we have not loved Him to the very depth of our being. When Christ is in the centre of our life – appropriating scriptural truths is simple.
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