As we study the Bible, which “word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” let us be sure that we are “rightly dividing the word of truth.” While all God’s Word is for us “and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”—while it is all for us, it is not all about us. For example, God’s word to Adam was that “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Surely this Scripture, like all other Scripture, “is profitable” to us, as we observe the effects of Adam’s disobedience to it, yet it is not spoken directly to us, for we are not in the Garden of Eden in the beginning of human history, as Adam was. So let us be “rightly dividing the word of truth,” plowing a straight furrow, cutting a clean line. Let us apply to Israel what God has said to them, and let us apply to the church what God has said to us, in wholehearted obedience. Then we can say with the psalmist, “How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”
God’s Word is clear unto the man Whose heart is to obey it, Bringing life and hope and blessing From each verse of Holy Writ.
God’s Word teaches us clearly that in this present age, since Calvary and Pentecost, there is no such thing as a true believer in Christ who does not have the indwelling Holy Spirit, and “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Because we are “in Christ,” God “hath anointed us” by His Spirit, so that we may understand spiritual truth. “Ye have an unction [anointing] from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.” Moreover, God by His Spirit “hath also sealed us,” and we who know the Saviour are exhorted to “grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” of our bodies. Having “believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.” The Spirit in us is God’s guarantee of our coming glory.
Redeemed by the blood of Jesus, Indwelt by His Spirit now, I would praise His name forever; I would in His presence bow.
If we Christians would know the blessing of constant fellowship with the Lord, we must be “of a contrite and humble spirit,” “for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” “I say … to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” “What hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” Let us never forget that “the Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit,” and that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” Thus “saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.”
The one who is self-sufficient Goes on in his haughty way, But he who trusts the Saviour Finds new blessings every day.
“Simplicity and godly sincerity.” How much these things are needed by God’s people in the world today. It is a day of extremes, with much activity and movement, and little spirituality, with so-called “super” churches and movements, holding forth great statistics. We do well to remember that “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence.” The Christian life is not lived nor Christian work accomplished “with fleshly wisdom.” It is “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Beware “lest by any means … your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
Human wisdom cannot prevail In work that’s done for the Lord; It must be done in His own strength, By those who trust in His Word.
Because we who know the Saviour “are bought with a price,” we are told to “therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” In Christ “we have redemption through His blood,” so we are to leave off those things belonging to the old life, to be “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,” and to live now for His glory, for we “should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” “Ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” And as we are constantly “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,” we shall experientially find that “He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” “Every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.”
Laying aside deeds of evil And living godly each day, Sustained by His grace and power, Each step of our pilgrim way.
Paul had just been writing about “our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.” “But,” he continues, “we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us.” Thus he connects the deliverance which God has wrought for him with the prayers of his Corinthian friends, “ye also helping together by prayer for us.” Never will we know, until that hour when all the saints are safely home with the Lord, what God has wrought in our lives by the prayers of other saints. Paul, in prison, wrote to the Philippians about his situation and said that “I know that this shall turn to my salvation [deliverance] through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” God’s Word has much to say about our praying one for another. Thus we “bear … one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
As we remember each other Before the throne of His grace, God undertakes for us richly, For each one in his own place.
The Lord Jesus Christ took our sins, that He might give us His righteousness. “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Our Lord “His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.” “Now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested … even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference.” “Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us … righteousness,” that I may “be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
Clothed in the righteousness of Christ, No more does my sin appear; “Accepted in the Beloved,” I have nothing now to fear.
There come times in our Christian lives when we must proceed with godly determination. Some unpleasant duty faces us, some task must be performed, and we feel that we are not fitted for it. Some word needs to be spoken, and we find ourselves reluctant to do it. At such times, regardless of our feeling and fears, we must move forward. Paul, with his heart heavy because of the carnality of the Corinthian believers, “determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” Later he wrote to them that “I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.” Having determined these things in his heart, he proceeded to fulfill them. It is recorded of our blessed Lord that, “when the time was come that He should be received up, He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” We hear Him speaking prophetically, through Isaiah, saying, “The Lord God will help Me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” May we who know Him determine to do His will. “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”
The task is not mine, but the Lord’s, That which He calls me to do; I yield myself to His leading, And He will carry me through.
“The house of the Lord” was where the Lord had said that “there will I meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat.” David’s desire then was to be in the Lord’s presence, to be in fellowship with Him. The same desire is expressed by Paul when he said “that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death,” and “I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Many of us who know the Lord have a desire to go with the Lord, to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” but, unlike David, we do not constantly “seek after” such fellowship. We allow ourselves to be “choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life.” If we would “follow on to know the Lord” in intimate fellowship, we must continually “seek those things which are above.”
If we would know His presence near And reflect His beauty too, Then we must count all things as loss That would hide His face from view.
“As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” for “of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures,” and “it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare Thy name unto My brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee.” So “the Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” Our Lord said that “I go to prepare a place for you. … And … I will come again, and receive you unto Myself.”
Born into the family of God By faith in our precious Lord; So then the world knows us not; It knows not Him nor His Word.