But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:13(NASB)
Creation was subjected to frustration but not by its own choice. (Romans 8:20 GW)
In searching for a sentence that will serve as a window through which what we have in view can be seen, the one that seems most potent is "The Curse of the Earth Touch." To understand what is meant by those last three words is to have an explanation of an immense amount of history; spiritual and temporal.... The nature and features of the curse, as the Bible everywhere reveals, are frustration, thwarting, bafflement, discontent, abortion, confusion, travail, breakdown, and an ever-defeated struggle against despair and death.... Why is it that so many things which have greatly served the purpose of God have eventually fallen apart; broken up; and have little more than a great past to live upon? Why is it that the Lord Himself has not circumvented this and preserved intact these instruments and vessels that He has used? Why is it that division upon division follows almost endlessly the course of many things which have been very jealous for an utter position as to Bible truth? These and many such questions have but one answer. That answer is the earth touch.
Somewhere, somehow, that blighting contact has been made. There has been a gesture towards this earth. Man has put his hand on heavenly things and tried to bring them on to this earth. It might be a 'New Testament Church' of a composite nature: certain things taught, enacted, and done in conformity with the record in the New Testament; a certain order, technique, and construction; these things have been drawn together for a creed, a form of procedure, and made the 'basis,' the form and standard, the 'constitution' of a body, an institution, a society: man's mind and man's hand defining, controlling and holding. The verdict of history is that God will just not commit Himself to any such thing.... The Apostles did not take a 'Blue Print' of New Testament churches wherever they went. The outcome of their work was a crisis, a climax to an old creation and the fiat of the new. What followed of order and knowledge was organic, not organized; spontaneous, not imposed; Life, not legality; and – above all – heavenly, not earthly. It was only when man pulled this down on to the earth that things went wrong.... Oh, this earth touch! How deadly it is! When will the Lord's people understand the essential meaning of their union with Christ in Heaven!
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity. § No eye pitied you … but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born. And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you … ,“Live!”
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—praise to our God.
When we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. § God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. § The Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You! § Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. § Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things. § Singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. § Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
"As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly" (1 Cor. 15:48).
Christians have a poor self-image simply because they are thinking and looking upon the condemned and crucified first-Adam life within, instead of being occupied with their glorified Last-Adam life above. "Beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory" (2 Cor. 3:18).
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new' (2 Cor. 5:17). Does this not mean a new sort of creature, as the Word implies? Do we go back to Adam, the innocent man in the garden in which God set him to dress and keep? No, that would be no creature new in kind. Adam even, pure and good before his fall, was yet of the earth, earthy.
"Is the Lord Jesus but the first man set up afresh? No, He is the second man, the Lord from heaven.' He is a heavenly man, the Last Adam - head of a new race; beginning of a new creation - and you and I who believe are in Him,' seen and accepted before the Father in His Beloved.' The full image of Him we have not yet: true. That will be ours in the day of His coming. The thing we are!" -F.W.G.
"A sinner in himself, the believer has, by faith, taken upon him the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is in Him,' he has been made the righteousness of God in Him. He is accepted in the Beloved' (Eph. 1:6). Faith alone gives him all this comeliness. He has been recreated in the Lord Jesus. This is the beauty of the believer; and he is lovely in the eye of the Lord Jesus. So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty; for he is thy Lord, and worship thou him' (Ps. 45:11)." -J.C.B.
"And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (1 Cor. 15:49).
We never know the joy of self-sacrifice until we abandon in every particular. Self-surrender is the most difficult thing - I will if… I - Oh, well, I suppose I must devote my life to God. There is none of the joy of self-sacrifice in that.
As soon as we do abandon, the Holy Ghost gives us an intimation of the joy of Jesus. The final aim of self-sacrifice is laying down our lives for our Friend. When the Holy Ghost comes in, the great desire is to lay down the life for Jesus, and the thought of sacrifice never touches us because sacrifice is the love passion of the Holy Ghost. Our Lord is our example in the life of self-sacrifice - "I delight to do Thy will, O my God." He went on with His sacrifice with exuberant joy. Have I ever yielded in absolute submission to Jesus Christ? If Jesus Christ is not the lodestar, there is no benefit in the sacrifice; but when the sacrifice is made with the eyes on Him, slowly and surely the moulding influence begins to tell.
Beware of letting natural affinities hinder your walk in love. One of the most cruel ways of killing natural love is by disdain built on natural affinities. The affinity of the saint is the Lord Jesus. Love for God is not sentimental, for the saint to love as God loves is the most practical thing.
"I have called you friends." It is a friendship based on the new life created in us which has no affinity with our old life, but only with the life of God. It is unutterably humble, unsulliedly pure, and absolutely devoted to God.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Many hundreds of years before the Son of the Most High was supernaturally begotten in the womb of a young virgin, the prophet Isaiah prophesied that a special child – Who would be Son of the Most High, would be born.. bringing Salvation to all people. The keynote of Isaiah’s forty years ministry was – Salvation is of the Lord, and his message called for Israel to repent of their sins… to return to the Lord and be saved., and this truth is confirmed multiple times in Scripture – that Jesus Christ is God.
The Creator God of Genesis is the Word made flesh, Who came to dwell among man. The Saviour God of Israel is the Man Who was nailed to a cross as God’s gift to man – for there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved – for salvation is found in none other.. and the government of the earth shall be upon His shoulder. The Psalmist sings: The Lord is king forever – while in Revelation we read that, the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ – and He will reign forever and ever.. for He is God of gods, Lord of lords and King of kings.
Every eternal, almighty attribute of the Godhead was glimpsed in the Lord Jesus. No surprise that shortly before His crucifixion His disciples confessed, Now are we sure that You know all things. Nor is it surprising that as Christ ascended into heaven He comforted His disciples by saying, Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
No surprise that He could claim, before Abraham was, I Am – and boldly stated – all authority in heaven andread more
Have you faced death to self – the crucifixion of your soul? Only if you have, will you see life and living in its true perspective. Only then will a peculiar nobility, with its roots in humidity be displayed in you.. as a stately strand of godly meekness, ribbons through into your entire character. Death to self often comes through suffering and there are two outcomes of suffering.
A man’s heart and soul may be perfected through suffering – or suffering may make that same man’s soul bitter and rebellious. For through suffering we come to an end of self – to the extremity of me – or, through that same suffering selfishness may increase as “I” takes control – and God, not the old sin nature is blamed for the problems and pain that engulf us.
We must eventually become disappointed and disillusioned with all self-effort, if we are to not to become disappointed and disillusioned in God – but one of the other will happen. The moral calibre of man is displayed in his everyday conduct and activity. In simple, commonplace tasks and in social gatherings and activities.
A man’s character is displayed in his words and in his attitudes. A man’s spiritual temperature is not displayed in public prayers or preaching, but at the supermarket checkout, the restaurant table, behind a steering wheel! – at the end of a telephone.
A man’s profound, solitary spiritual life is between himself and God alone, but life’s superficial activities may replace a Christ-centered life with a self-centred one, Am I willing to permit God to dominate both my profound and shallow activity? Am I prepared to allow Him to influence both spiritual and superficial things?
It was once written… No one ever becomes spiritual without being fanatical for a season. The shallow intercourse of our lives falls away and people object to us, because if we are right then they are wrong. It is the swing of the pendulum to the opposite extreme of what the liferead more