“But unto EVERY ONE OF US is given grace
according to the measure of the GIFT of CHRIST.” Eph. 4:7
Have you heard the cry of an anguished soul?
“Lord Thy lovely face I sough to see
But my soul sick Self hath hindered me.
I sought Thee in the night watch, Lord,
And stayed ’till morning light;
Oh must my cry forever be:
This sinful self doth hinder me?
MARVELOUS, MARVELOUS, grace of God ! The chains of Self have been BROKEN! You CAN be free!
Ought we not to prostrate ourselves before Him, seeking a heart that is able to receive the full measure of His grace? Not to a chosen few is the promise, but “unto every one of us” according to the measure of God’s gift of Christ. God will not offer what we cannot receive, so let us ask for faith to BELIEVE!
God’s salvation is THREE-FOLD! How much of it have you received ? The first manifestation of God’s wonderful grace to the sinner is: salvation from the PENALTY of sin. This wonderful gift of eternal life He freely offers to all who will repent and believe, “For the wages of sin is DEATH: but the GIFT of God is eternal life through JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.” Rom. 6:23
The second is salvation from the POWER of sin, and the third is yet to come: Salvation from the very PRESENCE of sin, ” when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption” and we shall have been caught up to meet the Lord in the air, “and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Cor. 15:54 ; 1 Thess. 4:7
But, it is about the second manifestation of God’s grace that we write: Salvation from the POWER of sin; this wonderful salvation which God freely offers to His own who are “in Christ.” Consider, as heart preparation, the beautiful illustration of marriage chosen by the Holy Spirit as a type of our union with the Lord Jesus Christ.
The sight of two being made one in holy matrimony is deeply moving, for it is the closest of all human relationships. The Groom has separated his Bride unto himself, fully expecting that his place in her heart will transcend all other human loves, both of family and friends. He in turn will love her as his own self, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh”; and in the sight of Almighty God she has become flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone in a union broken only by death. Eph.. 5:29 a
However, as time passes, differences in personality arise; faults hitherto hidden, become evident to both the loved and the lover, but because each is guilty, tolerance is developed one for the other and the love rises above the faults or seeks to help one another to an awareness and overcoming of the hindrance.
When you become the BRIDE OF CHRIST, you came to Him with a heart filled with that wonderful “first love.” You were sure it would never grow cold, but soon it became evident that something was hindering your love for Him. Unlike the bride and groom, the fault lay within you alone: … sin warring against God and His purpose for you. Could the fault be overlooked? Never! For Christ is holy,and cannot overlook sin, but by GRACE He provided a way:
1. The Christian’s OBJECT: Satan’s gigantic LIE, swallowed almost wholesale by the Bride of Christ is, that the Christian’s object is to SERVE Christ ! Beloved the Christian’s object IS CHRIST… to love Him and to know Him better day by day. The serving must come as a result of the “knowing.”
Paul the Apostle had ONE object in life: “That I may know HIM, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Phil 3:10,11.) All the mighty deeds of the Apostle came as a result of knowing Christ in a very real sense of the word.
How many times have you knelt before the Lord in fresh defeat, and cried “Lord, I love Thee, but not as I ought ?” Beloved the source of our defeat is SIN … the sin of the SELF-LIFE! The truth is, seeing one’s self as the source of sin is so painful that many a Christian has given up “knowing Christ ” in the real sense of the word and substituted service for Christ to fill the void.
Serve with ALL YOUR MIGHT; run as FAR AS YOU WILL, WORK till you drop from exhaustion, but you cannot escape YOURSELF! Let’s bring the skeleton, source of our defeat, out of the closet of our hearts; acknowledge it as sin against God and seek DELIVERANCE from Him!
2. The Christian’s COMMANDMENT: The Old Testament law and commandments were given to bring men to the KNOWLEDGE of sin; ( Rom. 3:20 b ) to repentance and salvation from the PENALTY of that sin through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To the CHRISTIAN, Jesus said: “A NEW COMMANDMENT I give unto you, THAT YE LOVE ONE ANOTHER: AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, That ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love for one another. ” John 13: 34, 35.
This New Testament law of love is God’s divine MIRROR, revealing to Christians the sinfulness of the self-life; bringing them to repentance and salvation from the POWER of sin.
Beloved, what does God’s mirror reveal to you? “Love is so patient and so kind; love never boils with jealousy; It never boast, is never puffed with pride; It does not act with rudeness, or insist upon its rights; It never gets provoked, it never harbours evil thoughts; Is never glad when wrong is done; But always glad when truth prevails. It bears up under anything, It exercises faith in everything, It keeps up hope in every-thing, It gives power to endure in anything, Love never fails” I Cor. 13 4-8 Chas. Wms. Trans.
Only the matchless love of Christ could do all this! Only Christ, living in you His marvelous RESURRECTION LIFE, could possibly fulfill God’s divine requirement: ” That ye love one another: AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.” Natural love can, at best, only imitate divine love, and then only under favorable circumstances, for it has its source in SELF!
Beloved, has your union with Christ produced the life that IS CHRIST? God offers such a life to you, and the COST was met by His Son.
3. The Christian’s PROVISION: The one who bore the GUILT of our sin, died and arose from the dead that we might be set free from the POWER of sin. The Lord Jesus Christ bore the pain and paid the price of SELF-CRUCIFIXION upon the cross of Calvary, for the self could never cast out Self; only the BLOOD OF CHRIST can break the chain and set you free!
… When we accept Christ as our personal Saviour, God neither removes nor attempts to improve … [the flesh], but by His death and resurrection forever BROKE ITS POWER, and lives to set us free! Hear the word of God: “KNOWING THIS, THAT OUR OLD MAN IS CRUCIFIED WITH HIM, that the body of sin might be destroyed ( dethroned),that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is FREED from sin.” (Freed from sin’s power) Romans 6:6,7.
If you are a Christian, it is because you believe that the blood of Christ is sufficient to save you from the penalty of your sin. Will you BELIEVE that the blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient to save you from the POWER of sin, sufficient to save you from YOURSELF?
“Jesus saith unto him, if thou canst BELIEVE all things are possible to him that BELIEVETH.” Mark 9:23
4. The Christian’s Application: One day you trusted your soul to Christ, but the … [flesh] has hindered your love for Him. Beloved, you cannot hope to “know Him in the power of His RESURRECTION,” until first you know Him in DEATH … death to SIN and SELF! There must come a moment when you consent in your heart to literally [reckon yourself to have died] upon the cross with Him!
Will you RIGHT NOW, by faith place your self upon the cross of Calvary, and cry to Jesus: LORD, Thou dids’t die for me; I do now reckon myself to be crucified with Thee and do now believe Thou art my very LIFE!”
“I AM CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST: Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but CHRIST LIVETH IN ME: And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal. 2:20
5. The Christian’s ASSURANCE: The word of God does not teach “sinless perfection,” but rather victory over all known sin. It is not that we CAN no longer sin, but that we NEED no longer sin! In John 2:1 we read: My little children these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
SIN is not dead, but on the authority of God’s word, by faith in your union with Christ in His death and resurrection, YOU are dead to sin! “For ye are DEAD, (to sin) and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, WHO IS YOUR LIFE, shall appear then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” Col. 3:3,4.
“For in that He (CHRIST) died, UNTO sin once: But in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be DEAD INDEED UNTO SIN, but ALIVE UNTO GOD through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:10, 11
6. The Christian’s HIGH CALLING: CHOSEN in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world: COMMISSIONED to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth; but CALLED to be like Christ! Beloved, this is the “High calling of God in Christ Jesus” for EVERY BELIEVER!
“And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON.”
This conforming, the making us in the likeness of Christ, is the work of God the Holy Spirit, so let us yield ourselves unto Him “as those that are ALIVE FROM THE DEAD,”and our members as “instruments of righteousness unto God.” Rom. 6:13. Through the Word of God, prayer, and circumstances, He will be about the business of conforming us to the image of God’s Son, “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His RESURRECTION.” Rom. 6:5.
In thought, word, or deed, may your object be: “That I may know HIM, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death (to sin) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (His RESURRECTION LIFE in me.) Phil. 3:10,11.
” I AM CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST: Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but CHRIST LIVETH IN ME: And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal. 2:20
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