The Christian Life
THEREFORE being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice
in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing
that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and
hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy
Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ
died for the ungodly." Romans 5:1-6.
"Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given
to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages
and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known
what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in
you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all
wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labour,
striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." Colossians 1:25-29.
A solemn responsibility rests upon the men who teach God's Word. They are not to try to
work the Holy Spirit; they are themselves to be worked by the Holy Spirit.
We greatly desire that at this time the Holy Spirit may show every professing Christian
the fullness and perfection of Christ's atoning sacrifice. It was a whole and entire
sacrifice that Christ made for the sins of the world. We are living and working and
breathing in a low atmosphere. Now and then we get glimpses of Christ, but much
selfishness is manifested. Our failure to appropriate the grace of Christ leaves us
defective and faithless, unable correctly to represent Christ. By clinging to self,
ministering to our selfish interests, we dishonour God, and the Sacred Word [that] we
minister is made to taste of the uncleansed vessel through which it is communicated. Self
is so largely revealed that the sacredness of the truth is lost sight of.
Will not those who profess to be Christians walk in the light of the Sun of
Righteousness showing by their life and character that they realise the value of the
atoning sacrifice of Christ our Saviour? The truth is not to be rendered lustreless by a
manifestation of our own unsanctified, selfish spirit. The truth must shine forth in the
life; then Christ is glorified. Emptied of self we must be, else we cannot show that
Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. The Lord would have self hidden, for when it
appears, souls are misled. The preciousness and importance of truth must appear, and will
appear, when self is hid with Christ in God; then Jesus will be revealed in our lives. Our
characters will be moulded after the divine similitude. Then the Holy Spirit will control
the human agent. Men will possess the attributes of Christ.
The minds of many are clouded with unbelief because those who unite with the church as
the chosen of God do not reveal the virtues that are the fruits of the Spirit. Joining the
church is not a sure evidence that a man has joined himself to Christ. The new birth is a
rare experience in this age of the world. This is the reason why there are so many
perplexities in the churches. Many, so many, who assume the name of Christ are
unsanctified and unholy. They have been baptised, but they were buried alive. Self did not
die, and therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ.
Thousands who claim to be religious are not Christians. Paul was very strict in
carrying out his religion, but he was not a Christian until Christ revealed Himself to him
and talked with him, showing him that he was persecuting his Master in the person of His
saints. Then Paul was converted. He became one of the sect he had despised and hated; and
for his love of Christ he received the same cruel treatment that he had once co-operated
with others in giving.
The churches have an abundance of the religion and zeal that Paul had. Many persecute
those who differ from them in religious matters. But no true Christian will persecute one
who conscientiously differs from him in faith. Those who try to force the consciences of
their fellowmen do it because Christ is not abiding in their hearts. They do not realise
that they have the attributes of Satan, but he delights to make them his instruments to
bear witness against God's chosen ones. They strive to make them observe rites that have
no foundation in the Word of God. When these persecutors have the Spirit of Christ, they
will hear and receive the words of Christ "Touch not mine anointed, and do my
prophets no harm." 1 Chronicles 16:22. Christ and Him crucified will absorb the whole
"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies,
kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and
forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you,
so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of
perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called
in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with
grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name
of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." Colossians 3:12-17.
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing
that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord
Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there
is no respect of persons." Verses 23-25.
What does God require? Perfection, nothing less than perfection. But if we would be
perfect, we must put no confidence in self. Daily we must know and understand that self is
not to be trusted. We need to grasp God's promises with firm faith. We need to ask for the
Holy Spirit with a full realisation of our own helplessness. Then when the Holy Spirit
works we shall not give self the glory. The Holy Spirit will graciously take the heart
into His keeping, bringing to it all the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. We
shall be kept by the power of God through faith.
When we are daily under the control of God's Spirit, we shall be commandment-keeping
people. We may show to the world that obedience to God's commands brings its own reward,
even in this life, and in the future life eternal blessedness. Notwithstanding our
profession of faith, the Lord by whom our actions are weighed, sees but an imperfect
representation of Christ. He has declared that such a condition of things cannot glorify
It means much to commit the keeping of the soul to God. It means that we are to live
and walk by faith, not trusting in or glorifying self, but looking to Jesus our Advocate
as the Author and Finisher of our faith. The Holy Spirit will do His work upon the heart
that is contrite, but never can He work upon a self-important, self-righteous soul. In his
own wisdom such a one would mend himself. He interposes between his soul and the Holy
Spirit. The Holy Spirit will work if self will not interpose.
Where is our dependence? Where is our help? God's Word tells us: "The Comforter,
which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all
things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John 14:26. The Holy Spirit is ready to co-operate with all who will receive Him and be
taught by Him. All who lay hold on the truth and are sanctified through the truth are so
united with Christ that they can represent Him in word and action. They have put on
Christ, and they possess a power that enables them to reveal the truth to others. May the
Holy Spirit speak to the hearts of God's chosen people, that their words may be as choice
as gold, as they give the bread of life to those in transgression and sin.
"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he
that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself
to him. . . . Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words:
and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He
that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the
Father's which sent me." John 14:21-24.
If through the imputed righteousness of Christ we strive to keep God's commandments, we
shall not be fractious [inclined to make trouble] when things do not please us. We will
say, "I am not my own, I am bought with a price. I am the property of Christ, who has
bought me with His own blood." "Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your
spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:20.
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it
abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the
branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for
without me ye can do nothing." John 15:4-5. We show that we are fruit-bearers by pure
words, unselfish planning in the meekness and lowliness of Christ, by softened hearts full
of sympathy, love, and compassion.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are
Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit,
let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one
another, envying one another." Galatians 5:22-26.
God's people are justified through the administration of the "better
covenant," through Christ's righteousness. A covenant is an agreement by which
parties bind themselves and each other to the fulfilment of certain conditions. Thus the
human agent enters into agreement with God to comply with the conditions specified in His
Word. His conduct shows whether or not he respects these conditions.
Man gains everything by obeying the covenant-keeping God. God's attributes are imparted
to man, enabling him to exercise mercy and compassion. God's covenant assures us of His
unchangeable character. Why then are those who claim to believe in God changeable, fickle,
untrustworthy? Why do they not do service heartily, as under obligation to please and
glorify God? It is not enough for us to have a general idea of God's requirements. We must
know for ourselves what His requirements and our obligations are. The terms of God's
covenant are: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy
soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as
thyself." Luke 10:27. These are the conditions of life. "This do," Christ
said, "and thou shalt live." Verse 28.
Christ's death and resurrection completed His covenant. Before this time, it was
revealed through types and shadows, which pointed to the great offering to be made by the
world's Redeemer, offered in promise for the sins of the world. Anciently believers were
saved by the same Saviour as now, but it was a God veiled. They saw God's mercy in
figures. The promise given to Adam and Eve in Eden was the gospel to a fallen race. The
promise was made that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, and it
should bruise His heel. Christ's sacrifice is the glorious fulfilment of the whole Jewish
economy. The Sun of Righteousness has risen. Christ our Righteousness is shining in
brightness upon us.
God did not lessen His claim upon men in order to save them. When as a sinless offering
Christ bowed His head and died, when by the Almighty's unseen hand the veil of the temple
was rent in twain, a new and living way was opened. All can now approach God through the
merits of Christ. It is because the veil has been rent that men can draw nigh to God. They
need not depend on priest or ceremonial sacrifice. Liberty is given to all to go directly
to God through a personal Saviour.
It is God's pleasure and will that the blessings bestowed on man shall be given in
perfect completeness. He has made provision that every difficulty may be overcome, every
want supplied through the Holy Spirit. Thus He designs that man shall perfect a Christian
character. God would have us contemplate His love, His promises, given so freely to those
who have no merit in themselves. He would have us depend fully, gratefully, rejoicingly,
in the righteousness provided for us in Christ. To all who come to God in His appointed
way, He freely listens.
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are
changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
2 Corinthians 3:18. Beholding Christ means studying His life as given in His Word. We are
to dig for truth as for hidden treasure. We are to fix our eyes upon Christ. When we take
Him as our personal Saviour, this gives us boldness to approach the throne of grace. By
beholding, we become changed--morally assimilated to the One who is perfect in character.
By receiving His imputed righteousness, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit,
we become like Him. The image of Christ is cherished, and it captivates the whole being.
The Lord abides with the contrite soul. "For thus saith the high and lofty One
that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him
also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to
revive the heart of the contrite ones." "Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my
throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where
is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things
have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a
contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." Isaiah 57:15; 66:1-2. Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 50-55.