It is sadly possible for us to be “speaking the truth,” but not “in love,” and “though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” There are some things which are true, but which are better left unspoken. We who know the Lord are told that “above all things have fervent charity [love] among yourselves: for [love] shall cover the multitude of sins.” We are also told to be “laying aside … all evil speakings,” that is, things spoken with intent to hurt others, even if such things are true. “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” And the same principle of “speaking the truth in love” applies to our proclamation of God’s Word, which “word is truth.” The Word of God is not our personal weapon to be used thoughtlessly or carelessly. It is “the sword of the Spirit … the word of God.” We are not to speak it in a contentious way, but rather to be “speaking the truth in love,” regarding it “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God.” Thus shall the truth of God be usable as we speak it, and thus shall we, “speaking the truth in love … grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”
When we speak “the truth in love,” God clothes it with His power; Results will be eternal; It brings forth bud and flower.
“Blessed are they which hear the word of God, and keep it.” “If any man be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh unto the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” The Lord told Ezekiel of the professed believers of his day that “they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.” And “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” God has given us His Word, not merely for information, but for the transformation of our lives, and “blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in His ways.” So “order my steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”
The Word of God is full of power, To cleanse and keep and guide; God asks for our obedience, No matter what betide.
Thus said our blessed Lord. He also said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled,” “for He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” We read that our Savior also said that “if any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Our reaction ought to be that “I stretch forth my hands unto Thee: my soul thirsteth after Thee, as a thirsty land.” “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” And His answer is that “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty,” and “the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought … and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”
He, the Fount of living waters, Bids us come to Him and take; He will quench our deepest longings; He our deepest thirst will slake.
God’s Word contains many “ifs,” telling of certain things that will be done “if” certain conditions are met. The above verse having to do with our salvation is a good example. “Thou shalt be saved,” then, “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead.” After we are saved, too, there are many applicable “ifs” in our lives. Our Lord said that “if ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Furthermore, it is said to us Christians that “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,” for “if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” But also, thank God, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And, “if any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.” Our Lord said, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments,” and “if ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
God’s Word is full of promises For those who trust and obey; “The Lord will give grace and glory” And will help us day by day.
God wants His children to be “obedient children.” “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” God desires His children to obey His Word, for “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” and “the entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple,” “that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.” God’s will is “that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,” but rather that we “walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor.” “And 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.”
The Christian should always obey, For blessing from the Lord; Thus will his life be filled with joy, With peace and sweet accord.
“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city,” and “he that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.” “It is an honor for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling,” and “a man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again,” for his temper gets him into continual trouble. So “he that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.” Therefore “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” On the other hand, “he that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” So “above all things have fervent charity [love] among yourselves: for [love] shall cover the multitude of sins,” for “hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” So “if thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.”
Words spoken in haste and anger Carry with them hurt and sting; The one who speaks them shall reap them; Sadness to his heart they’ll bring.
“We are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight).” “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed,” for “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Moses “endured, as seeing Him who is invisible,” and we likewise, for “we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” And “though now ye see Him not,” except by the eye of faith, one day faith will be changed to sight, “for now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is,” for “they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.”
“We walk by faith,” and “not by sight”; We do not yet see our Lord, “But we know … when He shall appear,” “We shall see Him,” says the Word.
Ever since “as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,” this world has been “the valley of the shadow of death.” Even “the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope.” Now, apart from the saving work and grace of Christ, all men are “dead in trespasses and sins.” And for us who know the Lord, even “if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin.” Death is stamped on everything in this life, and every true believer can truthfully say that “I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” But I need “fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” His word to us is, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” Meanwhile, “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me,” “for,” He tells us, “as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” “We went through fire and through water: but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.”
He keeps me safely every day, And He guides me by His grace; I need fear no evil ever, Since I shall see His face.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is not only identified in the New Testament as “the good shepherd [who] giveth His life for the sheep,” but also as “our Lord Jesus Christ, that great shepherd of the sheep,” who was “brought again from the dead … [to] make you perfect in every good work to do His will,” and as “the chief Shepherd [who] shall appear” to give to His faithful servants “a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” In the past, He is the Good Shepherd, dying for us; in the present, He is the Great Shepherd, living for us; in the future, He is the Chief Shepherd, coming for us. “Ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” And how gracious and tender is His shepherd care for those for whom He died. “He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice.” “And ye, My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God,” and “I will feed My flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God.” Every true believer in Christ can say with all confidence, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
The Good Shepherd laid down His life That we from sin might be free; The Great Shepherd arose from death; The Chief Shepherd will come for me.
It is sometimes hard for us to realize that “the old man” in the Christian “is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” and to “know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” “The old man” or “the flesh” in a Christian is no different than the flesh in an unsaved person. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” and can never be made otherwise. And while it is blessedly true that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new,” along with that new nature there is still in us “the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” But that “old man” has been dealt with in the cross of Christ. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him,” so that now we are told to “reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh,” and “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”
The flesh and the Spirit battle To control my life each day; When all is yielded to Jesus, The Spirit leads in His way.