The Lord has designed that His people be a testimony unto Him, whether it be His earthly people Israel in the Old Testament or the church of the New Testament, His heavenly people, “that they might be unto Me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory.” Our Lord Jesus Christ “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” and “thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto Himself.” Thus “ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ … written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart,” and so we “have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but, by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” Be intent on “having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Thus shall you “show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
Our lives a witness ought to be Of His mercy and His grace, That others might see Him in us, And thus long to seek His face.
The Lord has stored up His goodness “for them that trust in [Him] before the sons of men.” “Thou shalt hide them in the secret of Thy presence from the pride of man: Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.” Graciously “He performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with Him,” and “since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him.” “Thou, O God, hast prepared of Thy goodness for the poor.” “Many, O Lord my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to usward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” And all this is for “them that trust in Thee before the sons of men,” those who are willing, if need be, to “be reproached for the name of Christ,” those who are willing “to go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” So “blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.”
Great is the goodness of the Lord, To those who fear His great name; Good things He has prepared for them, He who is ever the same.
The Lord will not give His glory to another, whether it be “graven images” or whether it be some man, even a Christian. Any service truly done for Him is “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” We can only glorify Him as we abide in and thus draw spiritual strength from Him who said that “as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.” So “where is boasting then? It is excluded.” For a Christian to boast of his labors and accomplishments for the Lord is no less “the pride of life” than for a rich man to boast of his riches. Sad to say, many Christians fail to “give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.” There are preachers who, instead of “being ensamples to the flock,” are “being lords over God’s heritage” and trying to build a little kingdom around themselves, like “Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them.” The Lord says that “My glory will I not give to another,” and “for Mine own sake, even for Mine own sake, will I do it: for how should My name be polluted? And I will not give My glory unto another.” “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
Have you done some service for Him, And that by His help and aid? Would the flesh glory about this, As if by you it was made?
There are many voices today claiming knowledge in the things of God. Some speak of so-called visions, others claim to have power to heal, still others speak of experiences. How shall we discern what is right and what is wrong? How may we obey the Scripture to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good”? Is there a standard by which we may measure spiritual things? Indeed there is such a standard, and it is the Word of God, and “if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.” Not only does the Holy Spirit confess “that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh,” that “God was manifest in the flesh,” He also turns our hearts and affections to Christ and not to Himself, even as our Lord Jesus Christ said of the Holy Spirit that “He shall not speak of Himself; but … He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.” Examine every teaching that comes your way by “the law” and “the testimony.” Does it exalt an experience, a man, or self? It should exalt only Him, our Lord and Savior.
Test all things by the Word of God, Whether they be false or be true; He is worthy of all honor; To Him all our praises are due.
When we partake of the Lord’s supper, as every true believer in Christ is privileged to do, it presents to us a backward look at “the Lord’s death” and a forward look for His appearing, for we “eat this bread, and drink this cup … till He come.” It also gives us an inward look, for “let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” There is nothing either miraculous or mysterious about the Lord’s supper. It “shows,” that is, by it we “declare,” we “preach,” we “speak of” His “death till He come.” It is a simple continuation of what our Lord did on the night before the cross, when He “took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” We take the Lord’s supper, not because it has merit, but because we love Him who said, “This do in remembrance of Me.” We look back and remember that “the Son of God … loved me, and gave Himself for me,” we look ahead to the time when “we shall see Him as He is,” and we look into our hearts and pray, “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.”
We gather around His table To remember His work for us; We look forward to His coming, And back to His work on the cross.
We are not reading here of the glories of heaven, and we cannot now understand what it will be like when we are there in the Father’s house with our Lord. Certainly, our understanding of these things is very limited. But our verse is not speaking of future things, but of present ones, for the next verse says that “God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” He is telling us that human eyes cannot see, nor human ears hear, nor human hearts understand “the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” and which He has revealed to us in His Word. These things must be “revealed … unto us by His Spirit,” for “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Human wisdom will not suffice; the Holy Spirit must open the Word to our hearts, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know.” That is why we have the often repeated admonition: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith,” for He, “the Spirit of truth … will guide you into all truth.”
Not by our might nor our wisdom, But by the Spirit of God, We learn in God’s Word of Him, Who has cleansed us by His blood.
God wants His people to be filled, not with self, but with Himself, “being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God,” and thus “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” To “be filled with the Spirit” means to be controlled by the Spirit, to be subject to His leading in all things. And He always leads us by the Word, not by our fickle frames and feelings, causing us “to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith … that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” When we are “filled with the Spirit,” it results in “speaking to [among] yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs … giving thanks always.” And the same results are seen being filled with the Word. “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.” So, in order to “be filled with the Spirit,” “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
Would you “be filled with the Spirit,” To know and do God’s will? “Let the Word … dwell in you richly”; Its light will lead you on still.
Why should the saved person ever seek “great things for thyself” in a world that is headed toward destruction? Yet, sad to say, some of God’s people do seek “great things.” Let us keep close in our hearts that “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” The world will give us its friendship at a price, but “know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” The world will give us its fame, for a price. But if you seek it, do so remembering that “all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever.” And the world offers its fortune, but “wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” So why “seekest thou great things for thyself” in this world that despises and rejects our Savior? Rather, “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
Great in the world that knew Him not? Well-known where His name is denied? Rather let me bear His reproach, For nothing on earth shall abide.
Blessed is that Christian who recognizes that all his blessings are in Christ and for Christ’s sake. There is no blessing apart from Him. He “of God is made unto us wisdom,” for He is “the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” In Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” and He is “the only wise God our Savior.” He is our righteousness also, and God “hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” In Christ “He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,” even “the righteousness of God … by faith of Jesus Christ.” Furthermore, “Christ Jesus … is made unto us … sanctification.” We are “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,” for “we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” And He “is made unto us … redemption,” “in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” “Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood.” Let us, then, not look at ourselves or to ourselves anymore, but let us look at Him and to Him.
He has been made to me wisdom; In His own righteousness I stand; He has set me apart to God, My Redeemer at God’s right hand.
The first half of Romans 5 tells us of the blessings we have because we have been “justified by faith.” Because we have trusted Christ as Savior, we have been “justified,” pronounced righteous by God. More than that, by Him “we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand” and may now “come boldly unto the throne of grace.” We also “rejoice in hope of the glory of God,” as we anticipate our Lord’s coming for us and our entrance into His glory. Further, we can “glory in tribulations also,” knowing that God permits them to come for His glory and our blessing. Then “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us,” and “we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.” Furthermore, we are daily “saved by His life” of intercession, from the snares of Satan, the lusts of the flesh, and the allurements of the world. But all these things, as wonderful as they are, are not an end in themselves. They lead us to Him whose grace has provided all this, and “we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We joy in Him, not just what He has done for us. “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain”!
Great gifts He has provided us; Great grace to us He has shown; We worship Him for who He is, For He is worthy alone.