"I have heard the taunting of Moab And the revilings of the sons of Ammon, With which they have taunted My people And become arrogant against their territory.Zephaniah 2:8(NASB)
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son. (Hebrews 1:1,2 ESV)
It says that in times past God spoke "in many ways," not only in different portions, but in different manners. It would take too long for us to go back to the Old Testament to see all the manners in which God spoke. He spoke by a thousand different means: sometimes by words and sometimes by acts. The manners were indeed "diverse." However, the statement here is that at the end He speaks in one way, one all-inclusive way, and that is in His Son. God's Son is His one inclusive way of speaking at the end. On the one side, no one is going to get anything from God apart from Jesus Christ. God will absolutely refuse to speak other than in His Son. If you want to know what God wants to say to you, you have to come to His Son. On the other side, in Jesus Christ we have all that God ever wants to say....
Yes, we have far more of God's speaking in His Son than we have yet come to understand. We have nothing apart from Jesus Christ, and we need nothing apart from Him. You can read everything that has ever been written on Christian doctrine and still be the same man or woman. God's ways are very practical, and He teaches us by experience. That experience is sometimes very difficult and is called here "the training of sons." May the Lord Jesus just impress our hearts again with these things! God is still speaking in His Son, and His speaking is in order to get companions of His Son. Companions of this heavenly calling and of Christ, who will go into the hard school and have to learn many hard lessons, but in learning them they will come to understand how great is their inheritance in the Lord Jesus.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. § “In those days and in that time,” says the Lord, “the iniquity of Israel shall be sought, but there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found; for I will pardon those whom I preserve.” § You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. § Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity?
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. § He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. § The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
By the grace of God I am what I am. § Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth. § It is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. § Where is boasting then? It is excluded. § Christ Jesus … became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption … “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
You He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. § You were washed … you were sanctified … you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
The Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort" (2 Cor. 1:3).
Affliction provides opportunity for us to learn more of our Father in His mercy, as well as providing a deeper understanding of what others may be called upon to go through.
"Many saints have been happy to assert that they would not have missed for anything the exercises of prolonged illness and suffering! They have thereby learned the grace and sympathy of the Lord Jesus, and they have been the subjects of so much tender interest and consideration flowing from the spiritual affections of His saints, that they have been conscious of infinite gain and enrichment.
"And surely the development and exercise of such affections as these, eternal in their nature, though called into activity by circumstances connected with conditions of weakness and trial, is a greater triumph of divine love and power than restoring the sick ones to health. It is a real loss for the attention of believers to be turned from the spiritual dealings of the Lord Jesus with His own, and from all that is the moral result of those dealings, to be concentrated upon the thought of bodily healing and self-centered experiences." -C.A.C.
"There is a great difference between going to the Lord Jesus in our troubles, as to the best Physician and Friend, and knowing Him as the One who loves me best, the Bridegroom. In the former we turn to Him when anything is the matter; but in the latter, if we are true to it, we could never leave Him." -J.B.S.
"Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them who are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God" (2 Cor. 1:4).
“If Thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.” Mark 9:22
After every time of exaltation we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they are where it is neither beautiful nor poetic nor thrilling. The height of the mountain top is measured by the drab drudgery of the valley; but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mount, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the sphere of humiliation that we find our true worth to God, that is where our faithfulness is revealed. Most of us can do things if we are always at the heroic pitch because of the natural selfishness of our hearts, but God wants us at the drab commonplace pitch, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship to Him. Peter thought it would be a fine thing for them to remain on the mount, but Jesus Christ took the disciples down from the mount into the valley, the place where the meaning of the vision is explained.
"If Thou canst do any thing . . ." It takes the valley of humiliation to root the scepticism out of us. Look back at your own experience, and you will find that until you learned Who Jesus was, you were a cunning sceptic about His power. When you were on the mount, you could believe anything, but what about the time when you were up against facts in the valley? You may be able to give a testimony to sanctification, but what about the thing that is a humiliation to you just now? The last time you were on the mount with God, you saw that all power in heaven and in earth be longed to Jesus - will you be sceptical now in the valley of humiliation?
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
Throughout our Christian life, a process of progressive sanctification takes place. Often this is called growing in grace, maturing in our spiritual life – discipleship. Christian discipleship is misunderstood today but is closely linked to sanctification. But if Christian discipleship is misconstrued – ones whole theology becomes distorted.
Many teachers consider discipleship as integral to the initial stage of salvation… making discipleship a requirement of salvation – an add on to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ..” But salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Discipleship like sanctification is a term that must be seen in its proper context so that we can understand what the Lord Jesus meant, when He challenged His followers:- “Whoever does not come after Me and carry his own cross – cannot be My disciple” “Whoever does not forsake all he has and come after me – cannot be My disciple”
Sanctification like justification and glorification is the gracious work of the Holy Spirit. Only believers can be sanctified, for God will never set apart the unsaved unto Himself. Oh! God may use an unbeliever to forward His sovereign plans and purposes, as He did with Pharaoh – but they can never be conformed into the image of the Lord Jesus. They can never gain spiritual understanding and maturity for that is the unique right and privilege of the body of Christ.
Spiritual understanding is spiritually discerned. It is a beautiful, free gift of grace, which is extended to all who trust on Christ Jesus. It is only the believer in Christ that can be sanctified and set apart unto the Lord – BUT not all Christiansread more
The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart”
God is seeking a man; a corporate body; a race; a peculiar people – a new creation. God is seeking a man after His own heart.. a man made in His image and likeness. God wants a man to communicate His thoughts and character to a dying world in sin: and God made man in His own image to have dominion and to rule His earth Genesis 1:26. – but from the get-go, man failed the simple test of loving obedience to his Creator.. so Christ was sent to be that Man after God’s own heart – walking in loving obedience.
The Incarnate Lord, was sent from heaven – to become God’s pattern, for humanity. Christ was sent by the Father to show how a man after God’s own heart should live. His life was lived in spirit and truth – submitted to the Father, in loving obedience. He was the example- the life-pattern for all who would become God’s children, by faith – they were not to copy what He did, but to live they way He lived – in submission to God.
And God’s children became that new man in Christ; a corporate man; a race; a creation. God’s children became the Church, the new creation, which is His body the Church, the fullness of Him” Ephesians 1:23. For 2000 years the church of Christ has been quietly growing into a corporate body, and God is bringing that new creation in Christ into His planned fullness: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: Ephesians 4:13.
The thoughts God thinks are good thoughts – the very essence of his moral beauty. The desires of God’s heart reflect the substance of His righteousness and truth. The will of God translates into His noble qualities of love, grace, justice andread more