Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.Hebrews 13:12(NASB)
Without Me, you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
The Cross simply says that an order, though it be religious, well-motivated, or good-intentioned, but nevertheless proceeding from man in his natural state (not necessarily in defiance of God or in conscious rebellion against Him, but just the expression of man's natural state as he is), the Cross says that this entire order is set aside. God has judicially judged it and put a ban upon it. In the Cross of the Lord Jesus God has said finally: 'You in your natural state cannot serve Me, and cannot bear any fruit to My glory! It is possible to go out and work, labor, and die of the strain of trying to serve God and yet it still remains true that you cannot, out from yourself, by any natural resource, bear fruit unto Me.' The only thing that can ever get through to God's end, and that can be Life – eternal, Divine, heavenly Life – is that which proceeds from the Holy Spirit.
How sweeping that is! How that analyzes and dissects everything! Of the things we say, for example, it continually presents the interrogation: 'Was that spoken in the Holy Spirit?' It is not enough to ask ourselves: 'Did I mean it well? Did I intend it for the Lord?' but: 'Was it said, was it done, in the Holy Spirit, or did I do it?' It is not a question of motive or of intent, but of the source from which we did it. We have daily to recognize that our lives must be subject to the Holy Spirit, and when we are aware that there has been something of our own will, we have to be faithful before God about it.
So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you. § Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.
Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world… At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me. § When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.
Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. § I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. § I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. § My peace I give to you.
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . . and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea.
For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! … I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some.
Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart § My word … shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please. § Neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
Put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man" (Eph. 4:22, ASV).
Positionally, in the finished work of the Cross and resurrection, we have been cut off from the old man through death, and have been born into the new Man by the new birth. "Ye have put off the old man...and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him" (Col. 3:9, 10). Experientially, day by day, our part is to choose against the old ("put off") in favor of the new ("put on"), thus allowing the Holy Spirit freedom to apply the finished work of the Cross (Rom. 6:11). "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2:20, ASV).
"The flesh need not be an ugly form of life, indeed it can be apparently very nice, but it is alien to this new life in the Spirit. It belongs to another race; it is not the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. So we are told that the Holy Spirit is in open conflict against the self-life (Gal. 5:17).
"It is equally true that the flesh lusts (strives) against the Spirit, but He is well able to take up the challenge. He will not quietly accept this rival to the rule of Christ, so He stands, with His great weapon of the Cross, to render inoperative everything which is a menace to the life of Christ in us. He calls us to cooperate with Him in this matter by reckoning, for only so can the excellency of Christ be manifested in the believer." -H.F.
"Put on the new man" (Eph. 4:24).
“The friend of the Bridegroom.” John 3:29
Goodness and purity ought never to attract attention to themselves, they ought simply to be magnets to draw to Jesus Christ. If my holiness is not drawing towards Him, it is not holiness of the right order, but an influence that will awaken inordinate affection and lead souls away into side-eddies. A beautiful saint may be a hindrance if he does not present Jesus Christ but only what Christ has done for him. He will leave the impression - "What a fine character that man is!" That is not being a true friend of the Bridegroom; I am increasing all the time, and He is not.
In order to maintain this friendship and loyalty to the Bridegroom, we have to be more careful of our moral and vital relationship to Him than of any other thing, even of obedience. Sometimes there is nothing to obey, the only thing to do is to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ, and to see that nothing interferes with that. Only occasionally do we have to obey. When a crisis arises we have to find out what God's will is, but the greater part of the life is not conscious obedience but the maintenance of this relationship - the friend of the Bridegroom. Christian work may be a means of evading the soul's concentration on Jesus Christ. Instead of being friends of the Bridegroom, we may become amateur providences, and may work against Him whilst we use His weapons.
How wonderful to know that the love of God is towards us, in Christ Jesus. How comforting to know that we are accepted by God because of His Beloved Son. How precious to know that we have peace with God and the peace of God.. But it has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with Christ Jesus.
I sometimes think we’ve missed the enormity and privilege of our saved status. I sometimes think we don’t appreciate the honour our heavenly position grants us, when from eternity past God looked down and saw our foul, fallen state – a God-rejecting, rebellious, sinful race, bedecked with a necklace of pride. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
And He, in an inconceivable act, chose to give His dearly Beloved Son.. to save us.. before the world was made – in the unimaginable realm of His TriUnity of love.. before the race was created, in the indescribable sphere of His gracious wisdom. God planned to give His perfect Son, so that imperfect man could be eternally saved.
Once He set His heart on redemption, it exploded into myriads of additional graces: Love; Joy; Peace; Long-suffering; Kindness; Goodness; Faithfulness; Gentleness; Self-Control. And He scripted it in advance in His Holy Word for our learning and understanding.. and chose us to sit with Him on His throne and to be garmented with righteousness. But too often the familiar word does not permeate our outer shell of independence – and too frequently the well-rehearsed story becomes routine, religious reading.
And inevitably we are dispassionate of the enormity of our saved status. And sadly we become indifferent to our privileged, heavenly position. And like the Israelites, we also start to murmur with dissatisfaction of our lot – almost dismissive of the great price that our Salvation and acceptance cost Him.
Too often we also fluctuate between two extremes – mountain-tops or deep valleys.read more
In John chapter 15 the Lord Jesus tells us to: abide in Me, and I in you. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. This is My commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. These things I command you, that you love one another. John 15:4ff
Some years ago I read of a saint who studied John chapter 15, for many long years, extracting a wealth of choice jewels and prize treasures from this one chapter. Some time ago for one whole summer following in his exemplary, in-depth deliberations, I too would reflect and ruminate on these verses for many days at a time – to search out God’s nuggets of love… for me. Meditating on precious phrases became a means of daily nourishment – and provender. Oh, believer! walk with me briefly to discover some of the wonders of His abiding love.
Just gaze on, Jesus the true Vine and divine Sustainer, Who pleads:-abide in Me, Rejoice in the Father, the heavenly Husbandman – the surety for our growth and fruiting, Who removes those unfruitful areas in each precious life…to bring forth fruit, more fruit, much fruit. Just gaze on Jesus and rejoice in the Father, Who challenges every jot and tittle of the life of the believer – until He produces…
A life of entire consecration, to the glory of His name. A lesson of perfect conformity, to the nature and character of the lovely Lord Jesus. Absolute dependence on Him, Who alone is our strength, sustenance, and supplier. Undoubting confidence in Him, producing a life yielded to Him alone. Oh, believer! – what sweet mysteries are revealed in this one truth, abide in Me and I in you, for without Me you can’t do anything at all. Oh,read more