"For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.Matthew 7:14(NASB)
I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. (John 6:53 NLT)
Let us remember that this way is a way that is a constant offence to the flesh, to the natural man. The Jews strove with one another, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?" But not only did Jews, the religious people in their religious self-satisfaction, strive together, but it is also written, "Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it?" Even disciples could not go on sometimes. When they came face to face with the implications of such a saying, they were no longer willing to be associated with Him on a basis of that kind. The flesh loves to have it in itself to be doing, to be laying the plans, arranging the programs, organizing the work, superintending it, and getting it going. The flesh revels in that, and when you come and say to that whole order of things, "The way of God is the way of utter dependence and faith, with the Holy Spirit in entire charge, and you must keep your hands off and be willing to do only what the Lord tells you and no more," (that which is meant by the declaration, "I can do nothing out from Myself") it is an offence to the natural man, even in religious matters.
We come up against that constantly, do we not? It is the difference between meeting together as they did at Antioch to pray things out and get the Lord's witness as to His will, and having a committee meeting to discuss a proposal and make plans. If the natural man is not doing the whole thing, and arranging it, and ordering it, and running it all, he cannot think that progress can be made at all. Unless you come out with your plans, and announce your programs, and declare what you are doing, and present your statistics, the naturally minded Christian thinks that nothing is being done. It is possible to have wonderful things done without any of that kind of activity. We cite such things purely as an illustration. Application can be extended in many directions, but this is just to help out the thought. The whole accomplishment of God in Christ is on the basis of Divine Life mediated through faith. That is another way of saying that Christ has to be the basis of everything in a spiritual way. This is an offence to the flesh, but a satisfaction to the Spirit.
Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean. § Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. § [Hate] even the garment defiled by the flesh.
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. § For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
It is I; do not be afraid. § When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God … your Savior.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. § Immanuel, … “God with us.”
You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. § If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. § Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God" (2 Cor. 4:15).
Since He is both my God and my Father, and since all of the hardships He takes me through are specifically designed to conform me to the image of the Lord Jesus, how can I help but trust Him and rejoice in His faithfulness?
"It is well to remember that the deepest and truest spiritual qualities are not learnt or established in us by our happy or enjoyable times, but in the difficult ones! There is nothing wrong in times of great joy and spiritual blessing; in fact we long for more of them, and look back perhaps to some days of much blessing in our lives or in the work of the Lord; but in the securing of Christ in greater measure in our lives, we find that it is by the things which we suffer that we learn most. So let us give thanks for the joyful days, and learn all that the Lord intends by the days of waiting and difficulty." -C.J.B.H.
"Faith asks for no props from the men and things around it; it finds all its springs' in God; and hence it is that faith never shines so brightly as when all around is dark. It is when nature's horizon is overcast with the blackest clouds, that faith basks in the sunshine of the divine favor and faithfulness." -C.H.M.
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. 4:17).
“For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen.” 2 Corinthians 1:20
Jesus told the parable of the talents recorded in Matthew 25 as a warning that it is possible for us to misjudge our capacity. This parable has not to do with natural gifts, but with the Pentecostal gift of the Holy Ghost. We must not measure our spiritual capacity by education or intellect; our capacity in spiritual things is measured by the promises of God. If we get less than God wants us to have, before long we will slander Him as the servant slandered his master: "You expect more than You give me power to do; You demand too much of me, I cannot stand true to You where I am placed." When it is a question of God's Almighty Spirit, never say "I can't." Never let the limitation of natural ability come in. If we have received the Holy Spirit, God expects the work of the Holy Spirit to be manifested in us.
The servant justified himself in everything he did and condemned his lord on every point - "Your demand is out of all proportion to what you give." Have we been slandering God by daring to worry when He has said: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you"? Worrying means exactly what this servant implied - "I know You mean to leave me in the lurch." The person who is naturally lazy is always argumentative - "I haven't had a decent chance," and the one who is lazy spiritually is argumentative with God. Never forget that our capacity in spiritual matters is measured by the promises of God. Is God able to fulfil His promises? Our answer depends on whether we have received the Holy Spirit.
For by grace are ye saved. For by grace are ye saved through faith; – i.e.by means of exercising trust. For by grace are ye saved, and that not of yourselves. For by grace are ye saved, it is the gift of God.
I guess we are saved by grace. We only have to believe it to be true – by faith. But faith in what, or by faith in Who? Well God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved. For by grace are ye saved through faith in Him (trusting in Christ Jesus – with no add-ons) and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
Scripture was written nearly 2000 years ago. Interpretations of Scripture have flooded the world. Exegesis and explanation that range from the excellent to the abysmal. The result is a plethora of denominations with their own pet doctrine and explanations. The consequence is a generations of Christians that have a distorted view of God. Almost without exception you will discover some little “add-on” to grace. If there is the slightest addition to grace, it fails to be by grace alone.
Some additions to grace are easily discernible: “you must believe and……x.y.z”. Some adjuncts are clearly related to grace + works, which is not grace but law. Some distortions result from a bias, received from educational or denominational ‘indoctrination’. Some inaccuracies are founded on experiences, or treatment received from others.
One problem with a wrong understanding of grace is a distortion of Scripture. Another equally problematic result is a wrong perception of the character of God. The word of God is from God, and His word is truth and life. God’s method of grace as written in Scripture is perfect, but grace is frequently distorted by man’s interpretation.read more
Great is Your faithfulness.
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
God is faithful, by Whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:9
God has spoken to His people through His Word. The Bible is not the story of a people groping after God. It is the continual, progressive, self-revelation of God Almighty. It is an ongoing, step-by-step unveiling of God to His people. His Word contains both precepts and promises, poetry and prophecy. His Word is a love letter to every believer – which says I love you.
This love is not the frothy romance of novels – nor the passion of a paperback. It speaks of strength and stamina, pain and long-suffering patience. It speaks of heartache and endurance. It speaks of deep disappointment, and yet an abiding forgiveness. It speaks of love that never fails, despite the grossest betrayals. It speaks of tenderness, regardless of the most ruthless duplicity. It speaks of forbearance and grace, in spite of deception and disloyalty. It speaks of the deepest affection – a love that never gives up – that never ever fluctuates, no matter what. It speaks of His precepts and promises through poetry and prophecy.
Scripture is replete with promises fulfilled and vows completed :- The Lord visited Sarah – and He did unto Sarah as He had spoken. Joseph told his brothers – God will bring you up out of this land. The Lord fulfilled promises to Abraham, Hannah, Mary, Zechariah, Simeon. Similarly His people, the nation of Israel. We read in Hebrews 11:32 I have seen the affliction of my people..I have come to deliver them.. not one word of all the good promises the Lord has made to Israel had failed, all came to pass… And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets who through faith subduedread more