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.
When we hear a name, we think of the person who bears it, his character and works, what he is, and what he does. So it is with the name of our Lord, “that worthy name by the which ye are called.” To us who know Him, His “name is as ointment poured forth,” giving forth to us the fragrance of heaven. In His name alone is salvation, and “neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” And in that name is safety and security for the believer, for “the name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe,” and “let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because Thou defendest them: let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee.” “Our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.” In “that worthy name,” we have access into God’s presence, for our Lord said that “whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” “Holy and reverend is His name,” for “God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name.” “His name shall be called Wonderful,” “and they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee: for Thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.”
His name is above all others, And by it lost men are saved; By it we are blessed and guarded, For it our hearts ever crave.
God is not like us. We forget what we would like to remember, and remember what we would like to forget. Not so with God. Concerning the sins of all those who have trusted His Son, He says that “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” But concerning what we do for Him and His people, by His enabling grace, not one thing will be forgotten, “for God is not unrighteous to forget.” Our Lord said that “whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in My name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” He will not forget His people. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” Nor will He forget our prayers, for “He forgetteth not the cry of the humble.” And He will not “forget your work and labor of love.” It may be a labor of prayer for God’s people, as Paul told the Colossians that Epaphras was “always laboring fervently for you in prayers.” Be it what it may, “whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.”
Only “a cup of cold water,” Given in the name of the Lord, Will meet us in His own presence, Worthy to receive a reward.
The true measure of a Christian’s love for the Lord is his love for the Word, for our Lord said of the Scriptures that “they are they which testify of Me.” He also said, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments,” and “if ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” The psalmist declares that “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee. … I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways. I will delight myself in Thy statutes: I will not forget Thy word.” When our resurrected Lord walked with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, “He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” So, dear Christian, “desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts.”
“Thy words were found and I did eat,” And sweet to my taste were they found, Giving me counsel and courage, And causing His grace to abound.
The Christian should be careful indeed in choosing his friends, for there is no doubt that “evil” fellowships and company corrupt one’s morals and thus his whole life. To be sure, in the daily business interactions of life, we cannot help having contact “with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolators; for then must ye needs go out of the world.” But this is far different from having such people as our intimate friends, and we are to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” So “walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path,” for “what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God. … Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,” so “that thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.” Choose for your friends those to whom you can say, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” Be “a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts.”
Walk, then, with those who love His name, Who seek His honor and praise, Whose hearts are right with God and men, Who seek Him in all their ways.
Having said that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” John now tells us that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” Then he says parenthetically that “we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.” This statement could only be made by John, his brother James, and Peter, who had been with the Lord Jesus on the mount of transfiguration, when He “was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light.” Peter wrote about it years later, that “we … were eyewitnesses of His majesty,” and that they heard the Father’s “voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” When our Lord came to earth, He laid aside, for the time, His glory, and “being in the form of God … made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” Now He is back with the Father “with the glory which” He had “before the world was.” And we who know Him are privileged to look upon Him in glory. “We see Jesus … crowned with glory and honor.” And as we by faith gaze upon Him as revealed in the Word, “we … are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
He sits in the highest glory, The Son of God most holy; We gaze upon Him and adore, Soon to be there evermore.
God does not always allow His dear children to be flourishing and prosperous and healthy, or even active. He who says that “I am God … declaring the end from the beginning” knows what the future, both time and eternity, holds for us, and He permits those trials and sorrows and adversities which He deems best for us. How well it is pictured by the mother eagle, who, when her brood of eaglets reaches the stage where they need to learn to fly, “stirreth up her nest” and pushes out her offspring. As they fall screaming into the air, trying to use their yet not fully developed wings, she “fluttereth over her young,” and as they go downward, she “spreadeth abroad her wings” and, flying under them, “taketh them, beareth them on her wings.” And “so the Lord” deals with His people. He permits our comfortable circumstances to be stirred up; He thrusts us into situations with which we can’t cope. “The brook dried up,” or “there was given to me a thorn in the flesh.” But the Lord intervenes, saying, “I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself,” assuring us that “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles.”
Are you weary and discouraged, And seem helpless in your need? Our Lord will come to your rescue; He’s a deliverer indeed!
“Under the shadow of Thy wings.” What a blessed picture of refuge and protection. This assurance of His care is for all who have come to Him for salvation, “under whose wings thou art come to trust.” We know that we are kept and hidden by Him, and in times of trouble we can confidently pray, “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” “Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of Thy wings.” And “because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.” “He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” “How excellent is Thy loving-kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.” “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. … He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”
“Under His wings shalt thou trust”; Protection He will provide; “In the covert of Thy wings” I shall thus be satisfied.