The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.Luke 2:40(NASB)
For to me to live is Christ. (Philippians 1:21)
That is the good news of the all-captivating Christ. When Christ really captivates, everything happens and anything can happen. That is how it was with Paul and with these people. Christ had just captivated them. They had no other thought in life than Christ. They may have had their businesses, their trades, their professions, their different walks of life and occupations in the world, but they had one all-dominating thought, one concern and interest - Christ. Christ rested, for them, upon everything. There is no other word for it. He just captivated them.
And I see, dear friends, that that - simple as it may sound - explains everything. It explains Paul... it explains these believers, it explains their mutual love. It solved all their problems, cleared up all their difficulties. Oh, this is what we need! If only you and I were like this, if we really after all were captivated by Christ! I cannot convey that to you, but as I have looked at that truth - looked at it, read it, thought about it - I have felt something moved in me, something inexplicable. After all, nine-tenths of all our troubles can be traced to the fact that we have other personal interests influencing us, governing us and controlling us - other aspects of life than Christ. If only it could be true that Christ had captured and captivated and mastered us, and become - yes, I will use the word - an obsession, a glorious obsession!
When it is like that, we are filled with joy. There are no regrets at having to "give up" things. We are filled with joy, filled with victory. There is no spirit of defeatism at all. It is all the joy of a great triumph. It is the triumph of Christ over the life. Yes, it has been, and because it has been, it can be again. But this needs something more than just a kind of mental appraisement. We can so easily miss the point. We may admire the words, the ideas; we may fall to it as a beautiful presentation; but, oh, we need the captivating to wipe out our selves - our reputations, everything that is associated with us and with our own glory - that the One who captivates may be the only One in view, the only One with a reputation, and we at His feet. This is the gospel, the good news - that when Christ really captivates, the kind of thing that is in this letter happens, it really happens. Shall we ask the Lord for that life captivation of His beloved Son?
I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more. § Who can forgive sins but God alone?
I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. § Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity. § Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity?
God in Christ forgave you. § The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. § Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace … Having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
O Lord, we have waited for You; the desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. § Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. § I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. § Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. § Now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. § Having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. § Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17).
All the "religions" of Christendom are mainly Judaistic, and the present-day Church is not far behind.
"The teachings of the kingdom (as illustrated in the Sermon on the Mount) have not yet been applied to any man. Since they anticipate the binding of Satan, a purified earth, the restoration of Israel, and the personal reign of the King, they cannot be applied until God's appointed time when these accompanying conditions on the earth have been brought to pass.
"The kingdom laws will be addressed to Israel and beyond them to all nations which will enter the kingdom. It will be the first and only universal reign of righteousness and peace in the history of the world. One nation was in view when the Law of Moses was in force on the earth; the individual is in view during this age of grace; and the whole social structure of mankind will be in view when the kingdom is established on earth.
"Christianity is totally opposed to Judaism, and any mixture of the two must result in the loss of all that is vital in the present plan of salvation. One made its appeal to the limited resources of the natural man and conditioned his life on the earth; the other sets aside the natural man, secures a whole new creation in Christ Jesus, and counsels that new being in his pilgrim journey to his heavenly home.
"The Jewish nation is the center of all things related to the earth. The Church is foreign to the earth and related to it only as a witnessing people. They are strangers and pilgrims, ambassadors whose citizenship is in heaven." -L.S.C.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile). . . for ye are all one (new creation) in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28).
“Except ye be converted, and become as little children… .” Matthew 18:3
These words of Our Lord are true of our initial conversion, but we have to be continuously converted all the days of our lives, continually to turn to God as children. If we trust to our wits instead of to God, we produce consequences for which God will hold us responsible. Immediately our bodies are brought into new conditions by the providence of God, we have to see that our natural life obeys the dictates of the Spirit of God. Because we have done it once is no proof that we shall do it again. The relation of the natural to the spiritual is one of continuous conversion, and it is the one thing we object to. In every setting in which we are put, the Spirit of God remains unchanged and His salvation unaltered, but we have to "put on the new man." God holds us responsible every time we refuse to convert ourselves, our reason for refusing is wilful obstinacy. Our natural life must not rule, God must rule in us.
The hindrance in our spiritual life is that we will not be continually converted, there are wadges of obstinacy where our pride spits at the throne of God and says - I won't. We deify independence and wilfulness and call them by the wrong name. What God looks on as obstinate weakness, we call strength. There are whole tracts of our lives which have not yet been brought into subjection, and it can only be done by this continuous conversion. Slowly but surely we can claim the whole territory for the Spirit of God.
For I have given you an EXAMPLE that you should also do just as I have done for you.
Kneeling down before the twelve, the Lord Jesus washed the feet of all His disciples. He knew one would deny Him, some were unbelieving and one would even betray Him, yet He girded Himself with a towel and washed the dirty feet of this motley crew.
It was the work of a servant to carry out this menial tasks of washing hot, dusty feet. It was the humblest of household tasks which was relegated to the lowest slave – and yet here was the Creator of the universe demeaning Himself to paint an example. What the Lord was doing in washing their feet was a reflection of His entire life. He had come from above to demonstrate the way that humanity ought to behave.
Every step He took and each pray He prayed was an object lesson in godly living: no man ever spoke the gracious words that this man spoke. His very actions and attitude were filled of with grace and truth. He would not destroy a bruised reed nor snuff out a flickering candle, and He humbled Himself before God and man as an example for us to follow.
Christ was the worthy example of the perfect Man and He demonstrated how we should act and react. Christ was the righteous model of what fallen humanity could now become – in Him. He gave us an example of righteous living – of gracious actions – of a worthy life. He modelled the only way that mankind can live a godly life – in Christ Jesus.
It is not that we copy Him by doing what He did but to live life in the way He lived… not to mimic His actions or parrot what He said but to live a life that is pleasing to God. Not to try to become Christ but to be Christ-like by walking in spirit and truth.
It is not necessaryread more
Abide in Me – and I abide in you….
We are all called to walk as Christ walked and live as He lived – to abide in Him. Some fail because they recognise the impossibility of the task and give up in despair. Others fail because they set out to achieve this impossible task in their own strength. A few just don’t understand what it means to abide in Him or to live as He lived, but it simply means to be comfortable in God’s presence – and He in yours: you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Romans 8:9
You are abiding in Christ if God’s Spirit DWELLS in you – is at home in your heart.. and Christ is abiding in you when His Holy Spirit is comfortable in your presence. Christ is our example who demonstrated how man should live in spirit and truth. Christ lived His life abiding in the Father – doing only what He saw the Father do. Christ lived in complete submission to the Spirit.. walking in the power of the Spirit – for the Spirit of God dwelt in Christ – God’s Spirit was at home in Christ.
He maintained close communion and unhindered fellowship with the Father. He relied on the Father instead of doing things in His own strength – His own way. He submitted to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in His life. He listened to the Father’s voice – preferring to do the Father’s will than His own. He was submissive to the Holy Spirit and sensitive to His inner promptings, and the Holy Spirit of God dwelt in Him and was comfortable in Him – was at home in Him.
We are all called upon to live as Christ lived and it is not an impossible task. We are all commanded to abide in Him and we are given the means to do so.. but we can only liveread more