Arthur House – An Ambassador Bound with a Chain

But, I would have you know brethren, that the circumstances in which I am have turned out rather to the furtherance of the glad tidings.

 

Now a word as to Philippians. Paul is writing to the saints at Philippi from prison an ambassador bound with a chain.  He, as we all know, had moved in service amongst the saints in the fullest way, more than any other servant or apostle of his day.  Now he is in prison, the bondman of Jesus Christ.  Nevertheless, he may have reflected in prison over the Spirit’s voice to him when moving up to Jerusalem, also the known feelings of the brethren as to it. But the Scripture read is full of the greatest encouragement that, even in these restricted circumstances Paul says, “But, I would have you know brethren, that the circumstances in which I am have turned out rather to the furtherance of the glad tidings.”  Again in 2 Timothy 2: 9 he says, ”in which I suffer even unto bonds as an evil-doer but the word of God is not bound.”  Therefore, we are to recognize with Paul that no external limitation can hamper or hinder the development and prosperity of the work of God.

At the end of the book of the Acts it is stated that Paul remained two whole years in Rome “in his own hired lodging, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, with all freedom unhinderedly.”  We may feel very concerned that those who may be specially used of the Lord are not now able to move about as heretofore, but any movement on our side to interfere with the limitations the Lord is permitting may have very serious consequences.

(Arthur House, Auckland, N.Z., 1941  “Words of Grace and Comfort”  Suggested by an American subscriber)

Golden Nugget Number 295

 

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W Johnson – Luke 10 – He took Him to an Inn – We have an Inn here; we have a Home there

Then he took him to an inn.  The moment a man is converted this world is turned into an inn to him.  We have an inn here; we have a home there

 

William Johnson (1850-1921)

Then he took him to an inn.  The moment a man is converted this world is turned into an inn to him.  We have an inn here; we have a home there.  If I were staying at an inn in this place, you might ask me how I was getting on.  How do you like your quarters?  Oh, I should say it is a very good stopping place but I’m hoping to be at home soon.  We are going to be off directly.  “He brought him to an inn”.  He made a stranger of him.

Do you know who the host is? The Holy Ghost.  The Lord said just as He was going away, speaking of the Father, “He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever”.  Every Christian is committed to the care of the Holy Ghost.

And what next?  “Whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again I will repay thee”.  I am coming back to fetch him.  The man was cured, carried, cared for and called for.

Thank God for the last.  The precious Saviour, the Son of God is coming to fetch us.  Christ shall do it all.  I am not looking to die.  I may fall asleep, but I’m not looking for that, but for the One who has cured me, carried me, cared for me and will call for me.

How many of you would like him to come to night?  Would like to hear his voice?  Every Christian on the earth will be caught up.  “The dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them” –  a glorious company –  “to meet the Lord in the air”.

 

(W Johnson,  Addresses and other Ministry, pp225-6)

Golden Nugget Number 292

 

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Edward Dennett – Rules or Communion

Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?

Edward Dennett (1831-1914)

In conclusion I may add that the essential thing in service is to have the mind of the Lord concerning that on which we are engaged.  It is impossible, therefore, to lay down absolute rules which will meet every case, but if I am in communion with Him who deigns to send me, the path will be plain, however difficult it may be to walk in it.  To be, however, in communion, I must be both obedient and dependent.  Our Lord thus said to His disciples – and surely also to us – “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it will be done unto you”, John 15: 7.  The order is significant: abiding in Him first, i.e. living in constant dependence upon Him, and then His words abiding in us, controlling and governing us altogether; yea, forming Christ Himself in us; that is, first state of soul, and then the walk, life, activity, formed by the Word.  Begin with Christ, and then there is not much difficulty in knowing what is suitable to Him in our path and service.  May I ask you then, dear brother, to look away from your own thoughts, from your own service, and from the thoughts and face of your fellow-believers, and let your gaze be directed singly to Christ as you cry, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).   For, “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (Matthew 6:22).

Golden Nugget Number 290

(Edward Dennett, Foundational Ministry.  Suggested by an English subscriber)- From a letter ‘Why so-called ‘Brethren’ cannot unite with other Christians in Service’

Short Biography of Edward Dennett

 

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I became in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day

 

‘I John, your brother and fellow-partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and patience, in Jesus, was in the island called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus.  ‘I became in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day’ (Rev 1:9-10)

 The verses read in Revelation 1, bring under our notice John in a way that indicates the position at the end of the dispensation.

Though deprived of the privileges of fellowship, so long enjoyed with the saints, John is in exile for the testimony – a matter that might well be raised with each one of us in our movements and locations.

If he is in greatly restricted circumstances outwardly, he indicates the great possibilities for us in our day should conditions become similar.  That is what is available by way of abstraction – “I became in the Spirit”– no doubt carrying him away from the physical circumstances of the island and giving him access to that which is entirely unrestricted, as the sequel shows.  So, we read in ch. 4:1

‘I saw, and behold, a door opened in heaven. . . and I heard . . . saying, Come up here.’

What a wonderful reaction from the contracted circumstances of Patmos – entering in through an opened door into heaven, to have unfolded all that the Revelation indicates, terminating in the wonderful sight in the twenty-first chapter!

“Come here, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the Spirit, and set me on a great and high mountain, and shewed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of the heaven from God, having the glory of God.”

We have no recorded word that John, personally or through others, attempted to interfere with the circumstances the Lord allowed to come upon him, and I would earnestly commend to all the acceptance of limitations which may be imposed upon us by conditions ordered or allowed by God.

Golden Nugget Number 289

(Arthur House, Auckland, N.Z., 1941  “Words of Grace and Comfort”  Suggested by an American subscriber)

 

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Be like a Tree that has its Roots in Heaven, and its Branches down Here. 

Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish

Roots in Heaven – Planted in the House of the Lord

 It is a simple question for every heart in this room….You say you are clear about Christ’s death and resurrection.  Are you?  Do you mean to tell me you are in the liberty of His life, when your heart is indifferent as to where He is…?  I could not believe it while you are engrossed with the things of this life.

Hence the argument of the apostle is, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God,” Col. 3:1.  I put a plain question to every one of you, how much of the things above have you sought today?  You belong to another sphere altogether.  You have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Be like a tree that has its roots in heaven, and its branches down here.  You say, that is a miracle.  Very likely; nevertheless, in reality your roots are in heaven, and your branches down here.  No doubt they are fretted and nipped by the atmosphere here, but nothing can touch the roots up there.  “Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God”,” Psalm 92: 13.  Planted inside, they flourish outside.

 

(J B Stoney, NS vol.1 p300.  Suggested by an English subscriber.)

Spiritual Apathy – A Plague worse than Coronavirus

Why are you indifferent to that which is of vastly greater importance than plagues like coronavirus — your eternal salvation?

Please God, the worst of Corvid-19 may be over.  The death rate is falling; in many countries lockdown is being eased – hopefully soon in Britain where at the time of writing over 30,000 people have died.  But there is a deadening plague which continues and by its very nature is ignored – spiritual apathy.  How many millions have it – and those of us who have a living relationship with the Lord, how many of us just acquiesce?
This is an abridged version of a paper by Charles Coates[i].  It is undated, but indications are that it was in the late 1930’s.  Britain had come through the great depression and things were pretty good.  There were worrying developments in Germany, but they were not causing problems in Britain.  Chamberlain had a meeting with Hitler, signed a treaty and said, ‘It’s peace in our time’ (See 2 Kings 2:19).  How can you make peace with an evil man?  Yesterday we celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE Day.  Coates was taken to be with the Lord five months after VE Day;  I was born four weeks after that day.

Coates said:

Charles Coates

It has been estimated that over seventy-five per cent of the inhabitants of this country have no concern about the salvation of their souls. They are not atheists or infidels, nor do they make any profession of being saved; they are simply indifferent to the whole matter. If the thought of having to do with God comes into their minds, they solace themselves by a comparison of their own state with that of their fellows, and they conclude that as they are not worse than others, and perhaps better than many, there is no reason why they should have any concern as to their spiritual state. Any occasional alarm is speedily stilled by the thought that God is merciful — a sentiment which in the mind of an indifferent sinner means that he likes to think of God as One whose judgment of sin is not much more severe than his own. It is to this large body of people, and to each individual in it, that the following plain words are addressed.

Then why so indifferent to that which is of vastly greater importance than all these things put together — your eternal salvation? A friendly voice asks you the question which once rang on the startled ear of Jonah — ‘What meanest thou, O sleeper?’ (Jonah 1:6).
Beware! The signals of Holy Scripture are all against you, and another warning reaches you now as you speed along to eternity. ‘When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them … and they shall not escape’ (1 Thessalonians 5: 3).
In the year of the Great Plague (1665) 90,000 persons died in London. With the earliest symptoms of the disease all indifference fled. Many went mad with terror and ran screaming through the grass-grown deserted streets, as if to escape from the pursuit of death. Have you no symptoms that might justly fill your conscience with alarm? ‘The thought of foolishness is sin’ (Proverbs 24:9).  ‘To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin’  (James 4:17). ‘God shall judge the secrets of men’ (Romans 2:16). The plague of sin is in your heart; your members are yielded as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; and the end of these things is death. Have you never been astounded at the evil thoughts of your own heart? or are you so thoroughly accustomed to them as to be ‘abominable and filthy’, and to drink ‘iniquity like water’? (Job 15: 16). In any case it is high time for indifference to be thrown off as a dangerous and deadly thing.
Sad, sad, that bitter wail — ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved’ (Jeremiah 8:20).
‘God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent’ (Acts 17: 30).
‘God … will have all men to be saved’ (1 Timothy 2: 4). It is at an infinite cost that God has secured for Himself in righteousness the title of SAVIOUR GOD. The Son has been given; Jesus has died; and the whole universe can see at the cross of Christ that God is neither indifferent to sin, nor to the need of His poor creature who has fallen under its power. Then let indifference be banished from your heart. Turn in true repentance to God, and receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. For your life hangs on a thread; the record of your sins is on high; and the blackest midnight is brighter than the darkness of a Christless grave. ‘If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved’ (Romans 10: 9).

My Comments

If 75% of Britons were not concerned about salvation in the 1930’s.  What is the percentage of spiritual apathy now?
What word is going out to people?  Are they hearing the gospel?  We don’t hear much, but then almost all the media is secular, liberal and anti-Christian.  But concerned Christians are speaking out.  They see the gospel under attack, and they are not afraid to say so.  Of course, I have not seen or read every message, but a surprisingly large group of voices are from within the Church of England – even from bishops and members of the Synod.  Others are from evangelicals – Baptists and Free Church.  What I don’t see are similar messages from charismatics and community churches.  Like Sardis (Protestantism) – ‘Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead’ (Revelation 3:1) – concerned with form, liturgy, organisation and outward works.  I have just listened to a well-known American preacher[ii]. describing the Church of Scotland as an ecclesiastical corpse.  Thank God that in Sardis there were a few genuine Christians who had not defiled their garments.
We hear platitudes.  Yes, by all means talk about the love of God.  But first lay the conviction of the need of man – lost, sinful and deserving eternal judgment.  Met by the One who died – not just a sacrifice for our sins, but to settle the whole question, knowing that man in the flesh cannot please God.
Some preacher pointed out – Preachers say ‘Chose for Jesus and pray’ – No! ‘Cry to Jesus in faith and repent’.  ‘There is joy is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth’ (Luke 15:10).

Some interesting articles:

Crisis of faith – Damian Thompson – The Spectator 13 June 2015
Andrea Williams ‘What has become of the Church of England?’  – You-tube video – Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern and general synod lay member
 

Beliefs and stand of Rod Thomas, Bishop of Maidstone –  I have spoken to Mr Thomas personally.  He told me of his early life – see Wikipedia.

–       See also. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpo8Z8SwwLo – Revd. Stephen Rae explains why in a context of increasing theological liberalism, he posted the Southwark Declaration on Canterbury Cathedral.
–       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h69JRixrNhI – A Ugandan Bishop (Alfred Olwa) commits his Diocese to the One True Gospel

Some Good News

We can thank God that there are indications that Covid 19 is causing some to turn to God.  Here are a few snippets from, the press
The number of searches on Google for the word “prayer” have greatly increased over the past few weeks as the coronavirus has garnered headlines -Jeanet Sinding Bentzen- In Crisis, We Pray: Religiosity and the COVID-19 Pandemic.
More Christians worshiped, prayed, and shared Scripture online in the past week than ever before, as COVID-19 precautions shut down in-person church gatherings across the US and around the globe. – When God Closes a Church Door, He Opens a Browser Window  – Christianity Today 15 March 2020
In the thick of COVID-19 concerns, Bible publishing companies report increased sales . . . yndale reports that engagement on its New Living Translations Facebook page – home to Bible verse memes – has tripled since last March and is up 72% from just last month.  LifeWay Christian Resources also saw an increase in sales of 62 percent last week compared to the previous year.  “We believe this is no accident, as people often go to the Bible as a source of hope in times of crisis and uncertainty,” said Ben Mandrell, LifeWay CEO. “People draw hope from Scripture because in it they see a God who is with us during our suffering – Christian Headlines 8 April 2020

Christian Zoom Meetings

In these very unusual times, we cannot gather together normally.  But the Lord

loves His church and will not let His sheep go unfed.   My wife and I have found blessing in attending ‘Zoom meetings’. They cannot be regarded as formally constituted assembly occasions according to 1 Cor 14:23 – ‘The whole church be come together into one place’ – (of course, due to the breakdown it can only be a few Christians gathering in the light of the whole).  We enjoy bible readings with up to 20 screens, or larger scale preachings.  Many recipients of this letter attend a preaching of the gospel (16:30 BST Lord’s Days) arranged by some in Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland where last week about 120 screens (maybe 300 persons) streamed in, and we were able to see one another over several pages.  Some we had not seen for a few years, from the UK and Continental Europe, North America and even Australia and New Zealand.  Also audio only –  Preachers Corner, arranged by some in Worthing, Sussex (18:00 BST Lords Day.   If you are interested in the ‘Zoom meetings, please send me a private email (daniel@roberts.at).

I trust you have found these thoughts encouraging – and comforting.  May you be kept well, and free of Covid 19.
Your brother in Christ
Sosthenes
[i] ‘What Meanest Thou’. CAC – Volume 21 – 21 A Sure Foundation and other Gospel Papers and Addresses page 7

James Taylor Sr. – Breaking Bread at Home

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, and the restrictions that we are all under. Many households are breaking bread together at home.

 

I am grateful for our brothers David Brown and Paul Martin for reprinting a paragraph from James Taylor Sr.’s ministry about meeting and breaking bread at home.  It was printed in the light of meeting rooms and churches being closed due to the Covid 19 pandemic, and the restrictions that we are all under. Many households are breaking bread together at home.

Should not breaking bread in the home should be normal, not exceptional.  At the outset we are told ‘And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved’ (Acts 2:46-47).

In Rome there was clearly a gathering in the home of Aquila and Priscilla.  It would also sound like there was in the homes of Aristobulus, Narcissus, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Philologus and others.  They would not have been independent of one another, but doubtless served the Lord in worship, prayer and the study of the word.  And I think the occasions would have been simpler.  Like we are seeing at the moment.  May this simplicity continue!

I ruminate:  Tomorrow, Lords Day, my wife and I will break bread together in our home in Strood, Kent.  We normally break bread in a very small gathering a sister’s house in nearby Gillingham.  We are not allowed to visit her due to current restrictions.  How many other households in our town will gather and simply remember the Lord at home, breaking bread – and offering up thankful praise and worship to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?  I know a few – there will surely be others.  What’s more some will normally gather in one place – home, church or chapel; others gather elsewhere – sadly due to the division amongst Christians, of which I have had part.  But the Lord will be present in them all – it is His promise:  ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’ (Matthew 18:20).  Does the Lord recognise the division?  Is the body divided?

Taylor said:

The Lord brought in a Paul. The saints at Damascus were not prepared for such an one; Ananias was not; the Lord prepared him afterwards, but he was not prepared at first. Are we prepared to be small enough and to retain our smallness in order to avoid inflation by any circumstances? You see, beloved brethren, how easily we may be taken unawares if we are not prepared.

James Taylor Sr (1870-1953)

At Pentecost Peter stood up and preached, and there were three thousand souls added that day. Is there the least suggestion that the hundred and twenty had no accommodation for them? No indeed, there was preparation, for the Lord had foreseen it. No doubt Peter knew that the Holy Spirit come down from heaven meant much. The Lord chose Peter and John, He had fitted them for such a service, and He put them forward, and so the three thousand are added. You say, Where did they meet, for there could be no hall in Jerusalem large enough to hold them, but the Holy Spirit says they broke bread in the houses; the Lord had been working in the saints’ houses during His ministry and had prepared them. Such a service as the Lord’s in Peter’s house, as He stood over his wife’s mother, is needed in our houses; He touched her, and the fever left her, and she arose and ministered to them. He rebuked the fever, and it left her, and she served them, not only Him. When those three thousand were brought in there was great need of such service, indeed, all would be taxed in service. Doubtless there were many houses where Jesus had worked and they would be ready for the breaking of bread. If they broke bread in their houses, their houses must have been available, and they were all in it, wives and daughters would be ready. The breaking of bread is a family thought, and so they broke bread in the houses.

Ministry of James Taylor, Volume 18 page 393.  Address entitled ‘Preparation’, Dudley 1926

Reprinted in “Notes of Ministry” No 570 May 2020.

G V Wigram – I have a Saviour

G V Wigram (1805-1879)

I have a Saviour. He is in heaven and I upon earth. He has saved, is saving, and will save me from all that He can find to save me from, until, having saved me from and through all, He will safely deliver me up faithfully to Him who entrusted me to Him, to be my Saviour, even His Father and God. Possessed of such an One, I need to have nothing in mine own hand.

I have a Saviour! Yes! I have not only a Saviour God, but God has given to me the Christ, His Christ, and He is my Saviour.

In what details, O God! my God! (in and through Jesus Christ), wilt Thou this day enable me to work out with fear and awe, the deep sense of Thy presence and nearness upon me, mine own deliverance.

For verily it is Thou only that energisest in us the being, willing, and acting energetically, according to Thine own good pleasure. (See Phil. 2:13)

Golden Nugget Number 284

(Memorials of the Ministry of G V Wigram Vol I)

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The Presence of the Holy Spirit

The presence with us of the Spirit is the outstanding pledge of the faithfulness of God

Alfred J Gardiner 1884-1976
I believe the presence of the Holy Spirit is one of the most outstanding examples of the faithfulness of God…He came down at Pentecost, has remained with the church all through that long period of departure from the truth…and now recovering the truth with a view to our being guided into all the truth. The presence with us of the Spirit is the outstanding pledge of the faithfulness of God and the pledge too, that if only we will hold ourselves available to Him, we can be led into all the thoughts of God.

A J Gardiner, Ilford, 1951

Golden Nugget Number 283

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J B Stoney Condensed – Establishment in Liberty

We will not make spiritual progress till we know establishment in liberty. The Corinthians and Galatians had fallen from liberty. It was the natural mind in Corinthians and religiousness in Galatians.

James Butler Stoney

We might admire truth, but we will not make spiritual progress till we know establishment in liberty. The Corinthians and Galatians had fallen from liberty. It was the natural mind in Corinthians and religiousness in Galatians.

The Natural Mind – Corinthians

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord

2 Corinthians 3: 7 – 18

The Corinthians were led away by their natural minds, they gloried in their own wisdom, were not beholding the glory and were not in liberty.

Our Saviour is in glory, and we are drawn out of the ruin here to Christ where He is. That is the gospel of the glory. It is a ministration of righteousness from the glory. The glory of God is the expression of all His attributes. In much of Christendom the gospel does not go beyond the Passover – pardon for sins – Christ’s death on the cross. But being in the food resurrection is a step further. When I see Christ risen, I am justified and have peace with God. In Romans, the apostle brings me to the Person – that is deliverance:

As I look on the Lord’s glory we are transformed (2 Cor 3:18). Now, seeing Christ in glory, we brought into moral correspondence with Him. I cannot enjoy the gospel of the glory unless I am in liberty. The word transformed (μεταμορφούμεθα/metamorphoumetha/Strong 3339) – changed into another form or metamorphosised[i]. When I behold Him in the assembly, His things totally absorb me. It is like the queen of Sheba: when she came to Solomon and saw his glory, she was so entranced that there was no spirit left in her. So it is in beholding the Lord’s glory, self is displaced.

Merely reading the Bible will not conform me to be like Him. The two disciples going to Emmaus had a wonderful exposition of Scripture, but it was not which changed their course. Everything changed when the Lord made Himself known to them. Scripture corroborates our enjoyment.

Religiousness – Galatians

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Galatians 4: 28 – 5: 1

In Galatians it was religiousness. They had put themselves back under the law. They had begun in the Spirit, but were now seeking to be made perfect in the flesh. That is religiousness.

When Isaac was weaned, Abraham made a feast: all in the house were doing honour to Isaac – that is all except Ishmael, a youth of fourteen, who mocked. Sarah says he must be cast out. The first great thing in is that If Christ is to have an acknowledged right to everything that I have, I have to get rid of the religious man. Nobody has liberty till he has parted with one man (Adam), and is in another (Christ). Then he is able to say, ‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me’ (Gal 2:20). Nothing is more difficult than to say honestly that I have done with the old man – he is eclipsed. Man tries to improve himself, he does not like to be eclipsed.

Traditional doctrine says in effect, ‘Get Isaac to improve Ishmael’. There are beautiful traits in man but none of them acknowledge Christ. Ishmael was Abraham’s son, brought up in Abraham’s house, but he persecuted the heir of promise. Finding hat the best quality in my nature does not like Christ, is an even more painful experience than that of Romans 7,. Flesh will always be flesh: I cannot improve it . As J.G. Bellett said, ‘You may sublimate the flesh as much as you like, it will never yield spirit.’[i]

There are two things:
1. I acknowledge Christ – the true Isaac – in His place.
2. I do not tolerate Ishmael.

A person in liberty rejoices in Christ Jesus and has no confidence in the flesh; he shrinks from the flesh. Everything must come divinely. The more effective a man is, the more correctly will he quote Scripture.

I might say, If I put Ishmael out of the door he will come in at the window. However, I have the Holy Spirit within me, resisting the flesh, so as not to do fleshly things. I have a power in me that keeps the door like a policeman. It is more than self-control. It is positive: ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Galatians 6:14). There is not a word about sins in this passage, it is pure liberty – a new creation.

Conclusion

Now I can say, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me“. And now comes the practical course – “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God“, etc. It is transcendent!


[i] I cannot find the citation of this from Bellett. According to Stem Publishing, the expression was used by Charles Mackintosh and Walter Woolston . Both must have been quotes but this was not acknowledged. John Gifford Bellett predated both of the above by 25 and 50 years respectively.

[i] Strong’s note to this word: STRONGS NT 3339: μεταμορφόω

μεταμορφόω, μεταμόρφω: passive, present μεταμορφοῦμαι; 1 aorist μετεμορφώθη; to change into another form (cf. μετά, III. 2), to transfigure, transform: μετεμορφώθη, of Christ, his appearance was changed (A. V. he was transfigured), i. e. was resplendent with a divine brightness, Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2 (for which Luke 9:29 gives ἐγένετο τόεἶδος τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ ἕτερον); of Christians: τήν αὐτήν εἰκόνα μεταμορφούμεθα, we are transformed into the same image (of consummate excellence that shines in Christ), reproduce the same image, 2 Corinthians 3:18;