Acceptance Not Connected With State; the Place of Law; Man Lost Already

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Dear brother,
There is nothing surprising in your experience, in a case in which there is a tendency to fall back upon oneself, and when the conscience is really engaged in it. It does not appear, from what you tell me, that you were much exercised before being brought to believe. In such a case experience has to be passed through after conversion. In my own case, I went through deep exercise of soul before there was a trace of peace, and it was not till after six or seven years that I was delivered.
Now, when there is not at first the experience of what one is, and there is much turning in on oneself, we must pass through it; and if there is carelessness Satan uses it to throw everything into uncertainty, to make us ask if we have not been deceiving ourselves, to give us the idea that we have committed the sin against the Holy Ghost (a very common experience, although the thought even is not found in the word). But it is always in such cases that one has not given up connecting the state of the soul with the question of acceptance. Now, any one who does that is under law, and he who is under law does not believe himself to be already lost. He may accept this as a truth and in relation to his guilt; but that means that we have deserved condemnation, so that we dread condemnation; and it is quite another thing from believing that we are already lost. When we connect our state with the question of acceptance, a better state would get us out of the difficulty. The law always supposes the possibility of a state which would give peace, of a "salvable" state: now such a state does not exist. If we are already lost, it is no longer a question to be resolved. Moreover, this condition may be prolonged, because if one is not in the presence of God, we do not openly and really come to the consciousness of our state; and this must be in order to have solid peace; for no state, either existing or hoped for, is the righteousness of God.
When this work is complete, we give up looking at ourselves in order to solve the question as to whether we are in the favor of God—though not in order to cultivate piety, and to walk in communion We are accepted in the Beloved, the righteousness of God in Him: He appears in the presence of God for us; we have the consciousness of our relationship—we cry, Abba, Father, in the same relationship with God as Christ, in divine favor. We seek to keep close to God, to our Father; we seek not to grieve the Holy Spirit; we seek to please Christ and not to displease Him; but all this according to the relationship and the favor in which we are, as "the elect of God, holy and beloved." The affections have to do with the relationship, not our judgment as to the relationship with the affections. " Thou shalt love"—that is always law: it is not, "God so loved." We are made perfect in love by dwelling in Him; and "we love him"—not, we ought to love Him—"because he first loved us." Love, for a superior, consists in a deep consciousness of His love which binds the heart to Him, and makes us feel how little (when the 'ought' comes in) we love Him as we ought to love Him. We feed on Christ: we judge ourselves as to all that is not pleasing to Him, we desire to be devoted to Him because we owe ourselves to Him. Save this judgment of self, and watchfulness, always necessary, we think of Him and not of ourselves: by judging ourselves, we ward off what is evil; by thinking of Him, we make progress. We have the consciousness that nothing separates us from Him, from the love of God in Him. I draw a conclusion, a just and holy one (Rom. 5), that if I am reconciled by His death I shall be saved by His life. Yea, we joy in God; and if I say too God is for me, nothing shall separate me from His love, fully manifested in Christ—that is where I am. What happiness! This is the joy now which will also be our joy forever.
Let us exercise all diligence, all watchfulness: let us watch and pray, that we may not be deceived by the enemy; we need this. There is all the more need of it if we have been at a distance from God, in order that we may acquire renewed strength in His love. But when we have done with ourselves, as having no good in ourselves, we no longer look for it. Only we must get there; then we know that by the cross of Christ, we have done with sin in the flesh, for it has been condemned and judged there as a whole. Then we think of love and of God, instead of thinking of ourselves; we feed on the Bread which came down from heaven, we become attached to Christ, we feel that He is precious, that He is everything to our souls. But, I repeat, we are occupied with what is in Him, not with what is in ourselves. That is far better.
Peace be with you, dear brother; seek His face, and that diligently, but begin with confidence in Him; He is worthy of it. He being what He is, if you were the woman that was a sinner, you might have it.