The Heart Truly Won and Confidence Fully Restored

Ephesians 5:17‑21  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
One thought was particularly on my mind in reading this portion-the astonishing grace implied in such an exhortation as this: " Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." This is not a mere duty. I need not say we cannot deny the duty part; but it is evident that the Holy Ghost supposes that the saints will feel and understand it is rather the directing of the heart than the exacting something from it. There is great difference between these two things; so legal are our hearts naturally, that even with the knowledge of God we have, we are apt to clothe the words of our God to us under the form of a law to which we have to bend, instead of seeing that such being the goodly portion God has given us, this thanksgiving always for all things is naturally the expression of the heart taught of the Holy Ghost. It is indeed pure unbelief, wherever the heart is not thus able. The hindrance lies here: we can readily acknowledge that if God were giving us nothing, but what we could see and own as the fruit of His love—Christ, and the Holy Ghost to make Christ known that then we can thank Him for all things, for Himself—He has created us for Himself.
The exhortation in Colossians is, " Whatever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him." But here the Holy Ghost goes much further. " Giving thanks always, for all things, unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." It is not giving thanks in all things that we do. It is more. No matter what God does, or permits to be done, I am entitled by faith to receive it as a blessing to my soul, and for this therefore give thanks, having full confidence in His love, knowing that,
His love is as great as His power,
And knows neither measure nor end!"
Whatever the trial may be, disappointment, scorn, detraction, the thousand influences, that come from an evil world: it is not that I am to thank for these, but for the blessing that God, my Father, designs for me through them. We are called of God to be outside the camp with JESUS. We find things there to try our faith, things that test us, whether we have come out for one another, or because of certain truths received and enjoyed in common; or whether it is that we may be where JESUS is, sharing HIS reproach, having fellowship with HIS sufferings. And if we see that God has given us this portion (see Phil. 1:2929For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; (Philippians 1:29); 1 Peter 4:13, 1413But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. (1 Peter 4:13‑14)), we can say that God Himself could not have given us anything better; His own heart is the source and measure of our blessing, and " His riches in glory in Christ Jesus," (Phil. 4:1919But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)) that which He has before Him to draw upon when supplying our need. He has not called us out to a partial blessing, but to a complete one. He calls us to enjoy what He is to us in JESUS—to learn His love more and more. He is leading on His saints in this: that through which we learn it, involves the crushing of nature, the denial of self, and if there is one single thing, however small, in which we should like to have a little reserve, it is the very thing we have to pass through and yield. For God desires we should know our full blessing. If we are looking after the well-watered plains, as Lot did, we may be suffered to get them, but there we shall have sorrow, as Lot had. And we see cases like his now. Indeed for one Abram we see fifty Lots.
But when the heart is made up to cleave to JESUS, let what will come; where Christ is known as the portion now for us, for walk as well as for salvation, God would have us to know not only that He has written this, but there its not one word that He will not make good to the heart that desires it. God has sent the Holy Ghost to be in us, and what can there be beyond the power of the Holy Ghost? The flesh? Whatever the strength of the flesh may be, the Holy Ghost is stronger. There is no such thing as that we must fail. It is not so in the mind of God. There are not certain things in which we may not expect to get the victory. Therefore the Lord grant that in looking at Christ we may always have good courage that this word may be before our hearts continually, by night and by day, whenever we are able to think at all. God would have our hearts to enter into this goodly portion, that there is not one thing He allows about us, but what He turns into a stream of blessing, if we only look at it in the presence of JESUS.
What fills my heart with gladness?
'Tis Thine abounding grace
Where can I look in sadness,
But, JESUS, on Thy face?
My all is Thy providing,-
Thy love can ne'er grow cold;
In Thee, my Refuge, hiding,
No good wilt Thou withhold.