Romans 6:5 – A Precious & Very Great Promise

 ROMANS-6-5

“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” Romans 6:5

Call to mind now what was the likeness of his resurrection. It was an exceeding high exaltation, far above the human nature, “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named” (Ephesians 1:21). It was an exaltation even to the Divine nature, of which, says Peter, we also, who follow his steps as he set us an example, may become partakers (2 Peter 1:4). To follow in the Lord’s steps of humiliation and sacrifice, even unto death, is no light undertaking. It means the giving up of our will for the accomplishment of the Divine will.  R.1262, c.2, p.4.


Reprint No. 1262-1263 of the Original Watchtower & Herald of Christ’s Presence

FAVOR UPON FAVOR.

“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom, also, we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1,2

In the October issue of the TOWER we took a hasty view of God’s great favor, which all the world may enjoy, of justification through Christ. We saw what a blessed, full salvation, full restitution to all that was lost in Adam, is implied in that term justification. And while we do not now experience that justification in the actual restoration to perfection—mental, moral and physical; while we still suffer, from the fall, many weaknesses and sad deformities of character and person, while we are still subject to death and must sooner or later sink under its power; nevertheless, having by faith accepted the promise of actual justification, through Christ, we have peace with God; for we hold in our possession, so to speak, a check on the bank of heaven for full salvation, justification or restitution, payable to the bearer in God’s due time—the Millennial age.  And, therefore, we reckon ourselves, as God reckons us, justified freely from all things, our shortcomings being no longer imputed to us, being atoned for by the precious blood wherein we trust, and the righteousness of Christ counted to us.

Our sins were laid upon Christ, our Redeemer, and his righteousness is transferred correspondingly to our account. O how we have rejoiced over these checks when by faith we received them and began to realize their import! How often we have opened the blessed book of God and read that check over and over again—“God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him [Ah! that includes me, we said] should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16.)  Some of us shouted over it, and some of us wept over it tears of joy and gratitude.  And for this grace we will never cease to praise God through all eternity.

But now we want to consider this additional favor or grace of which the Apostle speaks, into which, also, we have access by faith in Christ, and in which those who have received it rejoice in hope of the glory of God—this, which some Christians call “the second blessing,” but which we regret to say many such but vaguely comprehend. What is it?  Can there be anything grander than what we have seen the grace of justification to be? anything more desirable than the pardon of our sins and our reconciliation and peace with God?  Can there be anything more desirable than the outcome of this reconciliation in the perfection of every physical, mental and moral power? than a body in the glow of health and beauty of form and feature, forever decked with the bloom of eternal youth? than a mind in full possession of all its powers, and trained, educated and disciplined beyond the range even of all the intellectual prodigies we have ever known? and a moral refinement gloriously reflecting the divine likeness and perfectly acceptable to God? Can there be any desirable grace beyond this and the perfect condition of the glorious earth whose now desert places shall then blossom as the rose?

From a human standpoint it would seem not.  Surely this is all the human heart could wish for or aspire to. And when “God shall wipe away all tears, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain,” surely all who love righteousness will be satisfied, and, as Isaiah says, “the whole earth shall break forth into singing.” (Isa. 14:7.) Praise the Lord! the prospect even now puts a new song into our mouths. But notwithstanding all this we learn that God has provided “some better thing” for the Gospel church. Paul speaks of this when, after recounting the faith and good works of the ancient worthies who lived previous to the Gospel age, and hence previous to the special call of this age, he says, “These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not [yet] the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”Heb. 11:40.

And it is concerning this that we read the expressions, “favor upon favor” (John 1:16. Diaglott), “exceeding great and precious promises,” “the prize of our high calling,” “the heavenly calling,” etc.  This high calling is a call to joint-heirship with Christ as his bride, to be partakers of his divine nature, to share his likeness, and glory, and honor, and to be associated as co-workers together with him in his high office, when, at the appointed time, his Kingdom shall come—even to sit with him in his throne as kings and priests unto God.  See Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 John 3:2; Rev. 3:21; 1:6.

The human mind staggers in its endeavor to comprehend such a height of glory; yet those whose hearts are deeply in love with the Lord can appreciate the exceeding favor of the invitation to be the beloved bride of Christ, to be made like him and to be in his glorious presence forever. Amazing grace! and the wonder grows when we reflect upon the high exaltation of Christ, even beyond the glory which he had with the Father before the world was—a glory of person which is “the express image of the Father’s person” (Heb. 1:3), a glory of wealth which places the whole universe at his feet as “the Heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2), a glory of power, of “all power in heaven and on earth,” a glory of office, too, which is second only to that of Jehovah, the great Emperor of the Universe (1 Cor. 15:27,28), and a glory of character which shines with all the luster of unsullied purity.

To aspire to such a height of glory without invitation would indeed be the height of presumption and folly.  But when invited to it, it is our privilege to accept the favor with thanksgiving and humble endeavor to fulfill the conditions of the call. This is the high privilege of the saints of the Gospel age; but strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto it, and few there be that find it.—Matt. 7:14.

Paul shows us that through Christ we have access by faith into this grace, even as through him also we by faith had access to the grace of justification. He also shows that before we have access to this grace we must have received the grace of justification.  Then, believing that “faithful is he that hath called us, who also will do it,” and fully relying on his grace, we earnestly seek to know and fulfill the conditions. These conditions, those especially who are fully consecrated to God, are anxious to learn. And such have already taken the first steps, at least, in fulfilment of the conditions. We have already accepted thankfully the grace of justification, by faith in Christ our Redeemer; and this gives us a reckoned standing in God’s sight. That is, we are henceforth reckoned as holy, as though actually justified, and treated from that standpoint. The Apostle says we are “holy and acceptable to God.” (Rom. 12:1.) And being thus justified, holy (through Christ’s imputed righteousness), and therefore acceptable to God, he says: “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God [manifested in the grace which justified you], that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,…which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1.) There is the condition of the high calling, briefly stated—That we present our bodies, our justified humanity, a living sacrifice. And you will remember that this is just what our Lord Jesus did, saying, “A body hast thou prepared me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God.” (Heb. 10:5-7.)  As he offered his life a sacrifice for sin, so we are invited to sacrifice our life faithfully, unto death, as he did; and in so doing we are counted in with him as part of the sin-offering, though our sacrifice would have no merit whatever of itself, because apart from him we ourselves would be under condemnation. But being first justified by faith in him, we are acceptable sacrifices to God, as the Apostle states. And in this privilege of sacrificing ourselves now consists the special advantage of justification by faith during the present age, rather than in the future.

In fulfilling the condition of the high calling, then, we will be doing just what Jesus did, remembering that he left us an example that we should follow his steps. (1 Pet. 2:21.)  Remember, too, the Apostle’s words—“If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; if we suffer, we shall reign with him.” “If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”2 Tim. 2:11,12; Rom. 6:5.

Call to mind now what was the likeness of his resurrection. It was an exceeding high exaltation (Phil. 2:9), far above the human nature, “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named.” (Eph. 1:21.) It was an exaltation even to the divine nature, of which, says Peter, we also, who follow his steps as he set us an example, may become partakers. (2 Pet. 1:4.)  To follow in the Lord’s steps of humiliation and sacrifice, even unto death, is no light undertaking.  It means the giving up of our will for the accomplishment of the divine will.  Our sacrifice is not the giving up of our sins: those we fully renounced when we received the grace of justification, before we were acceptable as sacrifices.  Our sacrifice must, therefore, consist in our self-denial of those things to which as natural men we have a right. Our first consideration in all that we do must be, What will be most to the glory of God and the advancement of his cause.

If we realize that we can glorify God somewhat by one course at slight inconvenience or expense of our own will, and yet more by another course of greater expense [R1262 : page 6] or humiliation, then the latter is the one to which we are committed by our consecration.  [R1263 : page 6]

Amidst the noisy clamorings of our old (human) nature, insisting on its own will and way, to some extent, at least, it is often difficult to even discover the right course in view of our consecration. But persistently to silence the old nature, and studiously to search and determine the will of the Lord in all that we do, is the finding of the “narrow way” that leads to life—to that divine life to which the saints of this age are called. “And few there be that find it,” says the Lord. How few even of those who made the covenant seem thus to studiously search for the way and humbly to walk in it.

“Oh! ’tis a pathway rough to choose,
A struggle hard to share,
For human pride would still refuse
The nameless trials there.

“But though we know the gate is low
That leads to heavenly bliss,
What higher grace could God bestow
Than such a hope as this?”

There is only one way for any to do who would keep in this narrow way of sacrifice even unto death, and that is what Paul directs, Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”—”lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” and considering him, how he endured, lest we be wearied and faint in our minds. (Phil. 3:13; Heb. 12:1-3.)

If we keep looking at the things behind, we lose sight of the heavenly things and begin to over-estimate the earthly, and to correspondingly discount the heavenly. In other words, we begin to be conformed to this world.  The Apostle says, “Be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed;” let your minds be continually turned heavenward.

However difficult and thorny the path may be, forget not the privilege of walking in it. We may not repine and wish it were otherwise; for he that putteth his hand to the plow, and looketh back, is not fit for the kingdom. (Luke 9:62.) If our Lord had to be so severely tested to prove his worthiness of high exaltation, we should not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try us, as though some strange thing had happened unto us. (1 Pet. 4:12.) We must “endure hardness as good soldiers,” and wait patiently for “the glory which shall be revealed in us. And for our encouragement let us bear in mind the exceeding great and precious promises:—“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne;” “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life;” “Fear not, little flock; it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom;” “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” Glorious, indeed, will be that second blessing when fully realized; and even now, as by faith the prospect of its inheritance looms up before us, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, reckoning that the sufferings of this present time, for Christ’s sake, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

 —————

2 Peter 1: 1-15 (KJV)

1Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

And beside this, giving all diligence [earnest and persistent application of effort], add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;

14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.

15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

 

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2018/08/31/romans-65-a-precious-very-great-promise/

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,281 other followers

 

 

 

A Lily of Christ

SONGS 6, 3-bsd

“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies”
(Song of Solomon 6:3, KJV).

Once on earth did live a pure white lily,
The sweetest flower of all God’s family.
With head bent low, in reverent humility,
He was fixed to a cross, to free you and me!

White lilies are found in fields and valleys,
Among thorns they grow, graceful and lovely,
From fruitful bulbs, with fragrance alluring,
White and clean as Christ, thus so endearing.

To become a white lily with open face,
Turn fully to God, receiving His grace,
His favouring breeze with gladness embrace,
Christ’s lily, growing bright, in whatever our place.

Nothing on this earth is more chiefly desired,
Than to serve with joy as God may require,
Running the race with patience, nothing other aspired,
Daily, devotedly, even if tired.

LORD grant your wisdom, to do what is right,
Refrain from the wrong and walk in Christ’s light.
Diligently watch and pray, for victory’s gain —
As Christ’s holy name, we ever proclaim!

Our cross we bare and press forward, on —
Our crown not to lose, but to overcome!
Assured that the battle is ours to be won,
And then, finally, the rest surely will come.

Thus praising Jehovah, wholeheartedly!
As a sacrifice, living, pleasing to Thee,
By grace, we endure, all faithful to be,
Sealed thine everlasting, this is our plea! 

 

To be a lily of Christ, let us each strive to be: simple and sincere in humility (Philippians 2:3); sweet and fragrant in gentleness, compassion, mercy, and long-suffering towards all; and joyful in hope (Romans 12:12), enduring patiently (1 Peter 2:20, 2 Timothy 2:24) with contentment (1 Timothy 6:6). May we be at peace, in the valley that God has planted us in to be watered by His steams of living water, found in the Word of God, delivered to the saints by God’s grace and mercy in order for God to be glorified, honored, and praised BY ALL in due time (1 Timothy 2:6, 1 Peter 4:11).


******* 

I AM MY BELOVED’S, AND MY BELOVED IS MINE
(Song of Solomon 6:3).

The following words are from the Reprints (R4783) of The Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence (which can be freely accessed from the Harvest Truth Data Base website at the following link and under the subheading “ZWT” (Zion’s Watch Tower): http://www.htdb.one/).

RIGHTLY understood we find the Bible to be a love story of surpassing interest. No earthly love story will compare with it. First, we have the Father’s love for our race, which, originally created in his likeness, fell by disobedience under just condemnation. What a wonderful story of parental Love blended with Divine Justice is conveyed to us in the narrative of how God so loved the world while we were yet sinners, that he gave his Only Begotten Son to be our Redeemer, that he might restore again to Divine favor and blessing whosoever wills to return after learning of his loving provision.

How different this view of the Divine character and Plan from the one which once terrorized us—when we thought of God as almighty in power and knowledge, but destitute of love and sympathy; when we thought of him according to the universally accepted false teachings as having, with cold indifference, sat in the councils of eternity, before the creation of the earth or our race, and there planned our creation and everlasting destiny; that he there deliberately arranged (“according to the council of his own will,” as the catechism expresses it) that he would place us as a race under such unfavorable conditions that only a mere handful, comparatively, would ever attain to a life of bliss, either in the present world or in that which is to come. Deciding also that the vast majority, ignorant (whom the God of this world hath blinded), steeped in inherited sin and degradation, born in sin and shapen in iniquity, should, nevertheless, be so constituted and preserved that they could never end their miserable existences; and, withal, providing, we were told, a great place for their eternal torture, from which would ascend for ever and ever, alike futile and unheeded, their prayers, their curses and their groans.

RELIEF TO KNOW THAT GOD IS REALLY A GOD OF LOVE

What a relief do we experience as finally we awake to a better knowledge of God and of his precious Word, to find that all these teachings of the Dark Ages were but a horrible nightmare, as unreal as they were cruel and unjust—as unscriptural as they are contrary to every reasonable conception of every reasonable mind, of the proper exercise of Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power—the Divine attributes. We are reminded of the nursery tales of childhood, told to children by parents and nurses who, with grossly mistaken ideas of wisdom and propriety, used them as a lash of terror with which to secure a frightened obedience. As the bugaboos of infancy faded from memory, or at least ceased to inspire terror, as we grew older and began to take note of the deceptions which had been practiced; so as children of a larger growth we have learned that many of the “terrors of the Lord”—which, however severe, are reasonable and just—have been distorted by theologians and others who would fain exercise a terrorizing influence upon the world, to restrain from evil. We have learned, in the language of Scripture, that “their fear toward me is taught by the precepts of men,” and not by any of the Divine precepts—Isaiah 29:13.

Oh, what a relief it has brought to our hearts to know God as really and truly a God of love, who is not only willing to save unto the uttermost, but able to save unto the uttermost all who put their trust in him! and who is so willing thus to save that he has made abundant [R4783] provision that every member of Adam’s race must come to a clear knowledge of his grace and to a full opportunity—by obedience to the extent of his ability—to attain eternal life through Christ Jesus.

It does us good at times to look back and view, not only the horrible pit and miry clay of sin out of which Jehovah lifted us when he placed our feet upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, but also to remember his mercy toward us in the anointing of our eyes, now in the end of the Age, that we may see wonderful things in his Word; that we may realize how he has graciously brought us “out of darkness into his marvelous light,” in permitting us to brush away the veil of superstition, misunderstanding and mistranslation which has befogged his Word, beclouded our understanding and bedimmed our view and appreciation of the great Father of lights, from whom cometh every good and every perfect gift—James 1:17.

NOT ONE, BUT MANY INDIVIDUALS CHOSEN TO BE BRIDE OF CHRIST

But our text deals specially with another part of this great love story of the Scriptures. Our loving Father, having provided a redemption for ALL our race through Christ Jesus, did more: he highly honored and glorified our dear Redeemer as a reward for those things he endured faithfully through obedience to the Father (Philippians 2:8-11), and in addition to this arranged to select a Bride and joint-heir in glory for his Son, our Lord Jesus. It was not an individual that was chosen to be the Bride, but many individuals, and yet in all, compared with the world, a “little flock,” the “elect Church,” called and in process of selection and perfection, to be “the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife.”

Of all the plots and peculiarities of love stories which have been conjured up by human brains, none will compare with this story of how Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her—redeeming her with his own life; and how, being rewarded with excellent glory by the Father, these who would be his companions, are invited to share his cross, his suffering, his death, and to be received up into glory with him, to share his love and his throne and the Father’s favor. We will not go into details here; we have done this before and our readers are familiar with every feature—so, instead, we pass on to consider some of the conditions of acceptance with the Bridegroom, and how we may make our calling and our election sure to this position of honor and blessing to which he has invited us.

ONLY A FEW CAN SAY FROM THE HEART, “I AM MY BELOVED’S”

Our text briefly, yet very pointedly, states the entire matter.

(1) “I am my Beloved’s.” There is no possibility for any one to get into this special elect class, “the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife,” without knowing it. There is therefore no possibility that heathen philosophers or others who lived and who died without a personal knowledge of Christ as their personal Savior, can ever be members of the elect Church, the Bride; all who are of it will be able to say, “I am my Beloved’s.” Very manifestly also, for the same reason, many who are Church members “in good and regular standing,” have neither part nor lot in this matter; for only a few can say, from the heart, truly, “I am my Beloved’s.” This union with the Beloved (Christ) implies that the step of justification through repentance and faith in the precious blood has first taken place; because only the justified are “called.”

(2) It is implied that the one who can say, “I am my Beloved’s,” has not only heard of Christ but has made a definite, positive compact or contract with him. And this contract—to be his in every thought and word and deed, to the extent of our ability, if he will accept us and be our Bridegroom, is our marriage vow or covenant.

The Scriptures assure us that in the present time, while evil prevails and the God of this world blinds the minds of the vast majority, none can come to the Lord Jesus, except as the Father draws them (John 6:44). The Father is not drawing all mankind now, but only believers. He is leaving the general work of drawing the worldly for the next Age, the Messianic Age, when Christ and the Church glorified shall, as God’s agents, cause the whole earth to be filled with the knowledge of the Truth. Whenever the Truth reaches the heart and understanding its influence is to draw, although the drawing may be resisted not only in the present Age, but also in the Age to come (Acts 3:23). But, it is only the few who are being drawn to Christ by a knowledge of the Truth now, because only a few have a knowledge of the Truth. And while many resist the truth and refuse the opportunity of union with the great Bridegroom, some have gladly accepted and given themselves wholly to the Lord, thus sealing the covenant binding themselves to him and by his grace binding him to them.

IF FAITHFUL IT IS THE PRIVILEGE OF EACH TO SAY, “MY BELOVED IS MINE”

It is proper that each one should decide for himself positively, whether or not he has ever accepted the Divine invitation to give himself (Proverbs 23:26; Romans 12:1) [R4784] to the Lord, to be ultimately accepted as a member of his Bride if he continue faithful to his engagement to the end. If we are faithful, and so long as we continue to be faithful, it is our privilege to look up with confidence and be assured of the second part of our text, “My Beloved is mine.” And if we will, it is possible for us to continue in this attitude, “faithful unto death”; and so doing we may know that in the resurrection we shall be with our Lord, and be like him, and share his glory and his throne—Revelation 3:21.

How much is implied in this statement, “My Beloved is mine”! We are reminded of the Scripture which declares, “He that hath the Son hath life”—eternal life. More than this, the Apostle assures us that those who have Christ, who can truly, Scripturally say, “My Beloved is mine,” are really possessors of “all things.” For since Christ is the heir of all things, if we have become associates with him, then, indeed, “all things are yours (things present and things to come) for ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Corinthians 3:22,23). If it lifted from us a great load to know that our sins were graciously forgiven through the merit of the precious blood, how much more of a load of care does it lift from us to know that we are vitally united with the illustrious Son of the great King of the Universe—the Son in whom the Father is well pleased and whom he has made his sole associate in the glory and dominion of the Universe.

Nor does this promise of blessings in Christ apply merely to the future. The glories and honors truly are not now, but by and by to be revealed; but the Bridegroom’s care, protection, provision and comfort belong to his betrothed even now, while we are in this tabernacle; so that while we are passing through the “valley of the shadow of death,” we need fear no evil, for he is with us, and his rod and staff comfort us.

All who abide faithful to him, all who truthfully can say, “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine,” have not only the promise of the life that is to come, but also [R4784] the promise of this present life. They hear the Master’s voice saying, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the Age,” and in the end of the Age he is to be specially near, specially precious, and is to reveal himself to his faithful in an especial manner, even before she is so changed as to behold him in his glory.

ALL THE “EXCEEDING GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES” BELONG TO THIS CLASS

It is the privilege of these to apply to themselves, and to realize as properly theirs, all the “exceeding, great and precious promises” of the Divine Word. These may hear the voice of the Lord, saying, I will be with thee in six troubles and in the seventh I will not forsake thee. “My grace is sufficient for thee.” “Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee.” Indeed, we are assured and “know that all things shall work together for good to them that love God, to the called ones according to his purpose [to be the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife]Job 5:19; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Psalm 50:15; Romans 8:28.

These promises of the Lord have been well summed up in the expression of the poet:—

“In every condition, in sickness, in health,
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth,
At home and abroad, on the land or the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply;
The flames shall not hurt thee—I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”

What a blessing of peace, quietness of spirit, ability to endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ, and sustenance and strength in time of trial, lies behind these precious assurances of the Bridegroom to those who can see and realize unquestionably, “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine,” no tongue can express. It has in the past permitted his faithful ones to pass through many dark and trying experiences with a fortitude that has surprised the world, which has seen them in the fiery furnace, but has not seen that there is with them the form of the Son of God (Daniel 3:25). They have endured as seeing him who is invisible (Hebrews 11:27). The poor world who know not this invisible Friend above all others, and are unacquainted with this Heavenly Bridegroom, and know not his sustaining grace in every hour of trial are, indeed, to be greatly pitied. They must largely bear alone those burdens which the Lord’s people, his betrothed, are privileged to lay at the feet of the great Burden Bearer, whose invitation is, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28-29).

But, if the case of the world is a sad one, because it knows not our Bridegroom, how much worse is the case of those who having once known him, and having once experienced his tender care and helpfulness in all of life’s affairs as a Counselor and Guide, have wandered off, having lost their first love; having forgotten that they were purged from their old sins, and become deaf to the “exceeding great and precious promises” pertaining to the present as well as to the future life; and are now striving merely for the things which perish, and which at most are but for a moment (2 Corinthians 4:17,18). These are in a much worse condition than the world.

As the Apostle declares, “It had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment”—2 Peter 2:21.

Let us who have named the name of Christ, who have assumed his name, abide in him—by continuing in faith, in love and in zeal, to walk in his footsteps and thus make our calling and our election sure.

====================

Further Suggested Reading

“The Song of Solomon” by Br. David Rice. The Beauties of the Truth Periodical http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTMAY02.PDF

“Notes on the Song of Solomon” by Br. Anton Frey. These study notes are from the “BIBLE STUDY LIBRARY” CD which can be purchased from The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Bookstore at the following link: https://herald-magazine.com/bookstore-2/

“Notes on the Song of Solomon” by Br. Frank Shallieu. These study notes are also from the “BIBLE STUDY LIBRARY” CD. (Same link as above.)

“The Song of Songs A short series of devotional meditations – No. 1 by Br. F. A. Shuttleworth, Scot., The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, April 1958. Here is the direct link: http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1958_4.htm#_Toc36391359

“I Am My Beloved’s, and My Beloved Is Mine.” The Dawn Magazine, Sept. 1989, in the Christian Life and Doctrine section.
http://www.dawnbible.com/1989/8909cl-4.htm

“SONG OF SOLOMON 2:1, 2, 16; 4:5 – The Rose of Sharon & the Lily of the Valleys.” BIBLE Students DAILY.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/12/15/song-of-solomon-21-2-16-45-the-rose-of-sharon-the-lily-of-the-valleys/

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,281 other followers

ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART A: What is Jesus All About?

ACTS 23,6-HOPE & RESURRECTION - Part A - What is Jesus All About.jpg

What is the Good News of the Bible all about?  One 5-letter word,  JESUS!

It is this good news about Jesus, that Philip explained about to the Ethiopian eunuch whom he was sent to minister unto (possibly by a vision or a dream), and to whom he explained the passage of Isaiah 35 (which the eunuch had been reading on his way home from Jerusalem).

“(34) And the eunuch said to Philip, ‘About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ (35) Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:34,35).

Philip baptized the eunuch while on the road that went from Jerusalem to Gaza, before being suddenly taken away by “the Spirit of the Lord,” and the eunuch did not see his again, but went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:36-39).

What is Jesus all about?

Jesus is all about the “repentance and forgiveness of sin”these being the exact words of Apostle Peter “and the other Apostles” as documented by Luke in Acts 5:30-31 when they had been summed to stand before the High Court officials of the Sanhedrin and were questioned by the High priest (who was Caiphas at that time—John 18:24) about why they were not obeying the strict orders given of not to “teach in this (Jesus’) name” (Acts 5:28).

Jesus is also all about the hope and resurrection of the dead.

Let us explain this by taking a look at the Apostle Paul’s experiences and words:-

When the commander in Rome was made aware by the Apostle Paul himself that Paul was a Roman citizen, he summoned Paul to stand before the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin (comprised of Pharisees and Sadducees) to find out why Paul had been accused and flogged by the Jews the day before. Then after stating to the Sanhedrin that he had “fulfilled his duty to God in all good conscience to this day” he was hit in the mouth by those standing near him in the crowd, as ordered by Ananias, (Acts 23:1-3)who was the Father-in-law of Caiaphas (the High Priest) and had also been a high priest himself, hence still carried this title and still had his opinion count heavily amongst the Sanhedrin.

And now, perceiving that no speech of his could affect his hearers, the Apostle Paul “cried out,” “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question” (Acts 23:6).

It was not just the Apostle Paul who taught about this glorious doctrine of hope, as we read in Acts 4:2. Other Apostles such as Peter and John also “taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” This “greatly disturbed” the priests, the temple guard and the Sadducees (Acts 4:1).

Do we likewise share the good news about the resurrection to those around us?

Do we help people recognize God’s loving and merciful character helping destroy the false beliefs of a God who would eternally punish and send his creation to a place of burning hell fire to be tortured for eternity or purgatory (which is not even a word in the Bible)?

When was the last time we explained to someone:

  • the truths about the Ransom—the whole foundational doctrine behind the forgiveness of sin for every single human that ever lived …
  • the two salvations …
  • the truth about the soul—that it IS mortal …
  • God’s plan of restitution …
  • the truth about hell?

Are we also, today, “prisoners in the chains of Christ”… (mentally perhaps) because of  boldly sharing what is Godly truth because it is too glorious to keep just for oneself? (Acts 17:32)

Do not worry that you are mocked!

This is what the sufferings of Christ are all about and those who suffer for righteousness sake, are blessed “for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory(2 Corinthains 4:17).

How gloriously logical these words are, and give sense to the questioning mind and thus provide hope and comfort that, “If there be no resurrection of the dead, then they that are fallen asleep in Christ are perished” (1 Corinthians 15:13, 18).

Like the early Christians, we too, are scattered all over the world and either alone or in small groups of two or three we preach Jesus and the resurrection.

Let us tell the world
there is a better day coming!

Let us tell others that there is coming a time when there shall be no more death or dying but a resurrection from the dead that will ultimately bring mankind back from the dead!

Dear friends,

Armageddon is actually a great thing, coming and here is why…

It is a sifting out and cleansing process … it is how the world is to be bleached out from all unrighteousness and the JUDGEMENT OF GOD has begun with His Own house—the Church (1 Peter 4:17)—causing GODLY JUSTICE to change the heart and mind of the one called by God from one that was ignorant in much, to one that UNDERSTANDS WHAT GOD EXPECTS and is reckoned as RIGHTEOUS in ALL so that one can be in HARMONY with GODLY RIGHTEOUSNESS for it is a “terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

It is part of the HOPE of the precious promises in the Bible. It involves the resurrection of the dead in the resurrection!

This death and dying condition we all find ourselves in, is unnatural.

Have you ever come across a dying loved one who says they feel like they are twenty six years old yet they are in an eighty plus year old body? 

People are caught in this trap they can’t escape from. Yet death today is inevitable. It was purchased by Jesus’ sacrifice but death will be overcome!

The hope that will be accomplished IS a resurrection from the death.

This will ultimately bring mankind back to God.

The Bible so beautifully explains how God will unlock the prison house of the grave and release ALL mankind from the prison house of death.

The hope that will be accomplished is a resurrection from the death.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

 

Suggested Further Reading

ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART B. Will Mankind Resurrect With the Same Mind?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/05/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-b-will-mankind-resurrect-with-the-same-mind/

ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART C. The Order of the Resurrection Process. https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/11/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-c-the-order-of-the-resurrection-process/

ACTS 3:19-21 – The Restitution of All Things
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/02/acts-319-21-the-restitution-of-all-things/

Epoch Periods In God’s Plan
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/16/epoch-periods-in-gods-plan/

The Resurrection of the Dead. Faithbuilders Fellowship, Nov. – Dec. 2008 (Journal Section). http://www.2043ad.com/journal/2008/06_nd_08.pdf

Life After Death. Dawn Bible Students Association.
http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/life.htm

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/03/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-a-what-is-jesus-all-about/

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,281 other followers

 

How Can we Handle Our Sufferings in Christ, in a Jesus Way?

Romans-5-3-5-_-suffering - with addres.jpg

Let us begin with a zap of JOY … that Jesus kind of joy that a child of God can feel from the words of Hebrews 12:11, which provide great reassurance that any painful experience allowed by God (which may include the pain endured from the sufferings in Christ), will actually NOT HARM the New Creature in Christ begotten within us, but rather, it will work out something wonderfully beneficial to the Old Mind (i.e. it will destroy it even more) and to the New Mind it will actually be a stepping stone to maturity and growth in Christ.

So here are the apostle Paul’s edifying words to us from Hebrew 12:11:

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

How positively encouraging!

Do we suffer for preaching about Christ’s Gospel?

Are we ridiculed at work for speaking up for the Truth?

Perhaps we have lost our job because of it?

Do we fear standing up for Jesus?

Do we fear being ridiculed by what others think of our interpretation of Bible Scriptures, hence we remain the quiet ones to keep in a comfort zone?

Are we embarrassed to be seen by all as Christ’s representatives?

Are we laughed at and labelled as “crazy” or “brainwashed” or “unbalanced” when we speak of the Gospel of Christ?

Or perhaps we are labelled by names from our past failures which we later recognized, grew from and changed our course of behaviour?

Do we fear being passionate about the Truth because of feeling we won’t cope when told we are going overboard or that we spend too much time on studying the Bible?

Do we too, not experience attacks from the Adversary? 

Do we not all experience the works of ignorance. Because of our imperfections of the flesh, we are not able to perfectly understand nor perfectly be understood.

Would you all not agree, that if we could read the hearts of each other, much unkind judgment would be prevented.

Since we cannot read the heart, it is good to err on the side of love between our brethren and pray (even more perhaps than use words) about the details which only the Heavenly Father perfectly understand and will never distort.

God is the perfect judge as we are not perfect yet in the full sense of the word “perfect;” only “reckoned” as righteous through Christ’s robe of imputed righteousness (Romans 4:22, 23).

Often the scripture is quoted “you will recognize them by their fruit” (Matthew 7:16), but have you experienced a situation where we in all sincerity of heart, give a testimony about the Gospel of Christ, yet it would seem that one, perhaps in an ecclesia meeting cannot see the fruits of God’s character in us and we are told to stop speaking?

If we prayerfully and patiently endure with a sincere purity of heart intention, in seeking for righteous communication and to share the joys of the gospel, then GOD OPENS A DOOR OF BLESSINGS TOO NUMEROUS TO COUNT, (even if the flesh does experience sufferings for righteousness sake) from which the new mind in Christ rejoices in, thanking the Heavenly Father for each test of our faith, obedience and loyalty to Him.

In Hebrews 5:7-10 we read,

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.”

Let us not think that the comments of others are to intentionally harm us.

It is good to remember that WE HAVE ALL SINNED (Romans 3:23) and to remove first the plank in our own eyes before we try to remove it in our brothers.

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

“Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

If we feel wronged by our brother’s words, let us not retaliate with words of defense, but after taking it to our Heavenly Father in prayer, silently watch our Heavenly Father work things out PERFECTLY, praying for their victory and ours, in Christ—since we each have professed to belong ONLY to Christ, and wish ONLY THE BEST towards all our brethren in Christ, knowing that each of our beloved brethren struggle in their own unique ways to more than overcome the flesh, the world, and the adversary.

GOD is our best defender who can read the hearts of all, and allows each experience to work out perfectly what He so desires, in us.

The apostle Paul encourages our thoughts to be on “whatever is TRUE, whatever is HONORABLE, whatever is JUST, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is COMMENDABLE, on that which is EXCELLENT and on anything WORTHY OF PRAISE” (Philippians 4:8).

The above verse is a wonderfully perfect tool to remember using to clean out our minds from any negative thoughts!

Something about Fault-Finders

Are we fault finders?

In Titus 1:15,16 we are given a description of such.

“Unto the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and unfaithful is nothing pure; but both their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to have known God, but by their works they renounce Him, being abominable and disobedient, and to every good work worthless” (Titus 1:15,16).

The “pure” can see the true, pure hearts of God’s sincere “little ones,” in spite of the weaknesses of the fallen flesh. They can see righteousness in the Divine law and arrangement. While “the defiled” may identify with the cause of God, but whose doctrines and manner of life are in conflict with the gospel because they are fault-finders and unbelieving — “and unfaithful” (Diaglott).

Can we ever fall into a fault-finder category and be labelled as unfaithful too?

We sure can, IF our consciences become perverted, where we end up being unable to see anything or anybody in a proper light. This leads to losing the spirit of love which thinketh no evil!

In Reprint 5746 of “The Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence,” Brother Charles Taze Russell describes these fault-finders in the following words:

They could find fault with everything–nobody could do anything just right, no doctrines were right. We have all met people of this character—people who see nothing pure, nothing good, anywhere, and who are denouncing others all the time and this is how their consciences become defiled. At first the conscience of such would to some extent reprove them. But gradually, if they yield to this wrong heart attitude, their consciences become corrupt and hardened, so that they do not realize that they are prevaricating, misjudging, do not see how unjust, impure and blind they have become. “They profess to have known God,” says the Apostle—knowing something in an intellectual way about His Plan and Word—”but by their works they deny Him.” Their works are contrary to God’s Word, which instructs that all should seek to do all the good they can, to see all the good they can, and to give generous judgment to others.

The Apostle is not saying here that such have necessarily become immoral and vile in that they have become delvers into all kinds of sin and vice. We are not to read into his words anything that is not there. But he does say that so far as any good work is concerned they will defile it, injure it. Better would it be that they keep away from the Lord’s work entirely. They have allowed the bitter spirit to work in them until everything takes on the color of their own minds. They do not recognize to what an extent they are unjust, unrighteous, in their thoughts, their words, their conduct. They are injurious to every good work.

There are lessons of warning here for all of us, lest we should be led astray by the spirit of the Wicked One and become mere fault-finders, accusers of the brethren—not giving our time, our hands, our feet, our tongues, to doing good, to blessing and UPBUILDING the brethren, but rather to tearing down. In proportion as any one does this, he is worthless, yea, worse than worthless, to the Lord and to His Cause!”

The above words by Pastor Charles Russell are truly a GREAT WAKE UP CALL to every true Christian. They are humbling thoughts and truths to apply to each of us as we ALL fall into the trap at one time or another with thoughts that should rather be positive towards all our brethren in Christ, but which the flesh often prefers to ignore.

Here is also a lovely verse about our beloved Elders in Christ :-

“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching(1 Timothy 5:17).

Here are a list of suggestions in preventing and overcoming the evil surrounding fault-finding:

1. Thank our Heavenly Father for the experience as it is the “fiery trials” that test our loyalty to God best and develop AGAPE love most. (See text for “Songs in the Night,” March 12th.)

2. Focus on the Christ-like qualities we see in our brethren, just like we would wish others to focus on the Christ-likeness they see in us (Philippians 2:3; 4:8).

3. ListenJesus also remained silent when Pilate questioned him (Matthew 26:63).

4. Continually ask God for His help (Psalm 121).

5. Wait for God. Trust in God to deliver and bring justice (Exodus 14:14; 2 Chronicles 20:17).

6. If God inspires the conscience to do so, reply using gentle, kind words (Isaiah 30:21).

“Speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:2).

A beneficial reply to criticism:

“Thank you Sister/ Brother. Please pray for me.”

This statement shows not only our appreciation for our fellow brethren in Christ communicating their best interests for our highest spiritual welfare, it also reflects our faith in God’s power through prayer as well our joy and gratefulness in the sacrificial offerings of our fellow yoke-bearers in Christ, keeping them also in our fervent prayer (1 Peter 3:17).

7. Let us ask ourselves what would bring our Heavenly Father grandest JOY? What words and what actions would best represent our Head–the Captain of our Salvation? (Hebrews 12:2).

8. Saturate our mind with spiritually edifying and positive Scriptures, which are filled with the precious promises of God so that we continuously seek the highest welfare of our co-laborers in the Vineyard of our Master and Head, our Lord Jesus. Some wonderfully beneficial Holy Scriptures to meditate upon, include:

  • “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
  • “Think of others as better than yourself” (Philippians 2:3).
  • “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor” (1 Corinthians 10:24).
  • “Pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

9. Consider our Brethren in Christ as are “our joy”, “our crown” and “our hope” as did the apostle Paul (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

10. Realize our own shortcomings (Matthew 7:1-5), and copy the forgiveness that our Lord, Jesus Christ had towards all (Ephesians 4:32).

We “ALL fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

May we rest in the assurance that if we do our very best to keep a pure conscience before God and seek to only do what is righteous and pure and loving and just, GOD will deliver us in due time.

It is far better to boast about one’s own weaknesses (2 Corinthians 11:30) and make the strengths in our brethren shine out gloriously if in their presence.

With kind and gentle words, prayers, patience and even at times silence towards those who may attack us for Truth sake, let our confidence be in our trust in the LORD’s strength which HE DOES gives us, and let us defend the Truth where it warrants this, just like Christ Jesus did.

May we not let our hearts turn bitter or cold.

“A soft [gentle] answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

The fallen angels know if they cannot harm us by using those in the world, they surely will try to plant discord amongst our closest within the Church. Our prayers for each other is so important.

Having agape love towards all our brethren in Christ is necessary to be of the body of Christ. Our Lord Jesus is the best example of this, laying down his life as a ransom for ALL; being crucified by the ignorant actions of his very own (John 1:11).

We all need encouragement from each other.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

By asking God to daily show us His will, we may be lead to glorious faith-building and faith strengthening experiences. Here are some examples of how we may edify each other:

  • Share Scriptures from the Word of God with those in your own home;
  • Send an email or card sharing some of the precious promises of God in it from Scripture;
  • Volunteer your time in the gospel witnessing work;
  • Write a poem and share it at the next Testimony Meeting in your ecclesia to edify those present;
  • Go to the local supermarket and hand out some tracts or booklets sharing the Good News about the Kingdom and God’s divine plan for mankind;
  • Be a Daniel. Dare to stand alone. Dare to start a project and finish it which would be spiritually edifying those who have a listening ear to the Word of God.

All for Jesus! The time is short!

The more tests that are overcome now, the grander the shine! To become the shiniest diamonds in character then the tests of character development in Christ are to be passed in often unfavourable conditions for the flesh. The members of the high calling are in training to be kings and priests who belong to their head—Christ Jesus, and they will help the world of mankind up the highway of holiness so each lesson learned now and each experience that is overcome now, is a lesson that will be most beneficial for the future.

May our presence have a most pleasantly refreshing, calm, soothing effect on all in Christ who would be in our midst so that Jesus’ presence may be what is felt by all.

Suffering – Learning from our Savior

Since Christ suffered for us (1 Peter 2:18-25), the saints are also exhorted to suffer and accept trials with the same spirit as did Jesus. Our Lord, who committed no sin, was in all respects perfectly holy. He was entirely innocent and suffered without having committed any crime. As Jesus suffered unjustly, his body members should regard it as being no strange thing when they too undergo similar sufferings and persecutions.

The scriptures tell us that there was no guile, deceit, hypocrisy or insincerity found in Jesus’ mouth, for he was in all respects what he professed to be. Though he was condemned as an impostor, that charge was wholly untrue. Jesus was reviled and spoken of as a deceiver, charged with being in league with Beelzebub, “the prince of devils,” and accused as a blasphemer against God (Luke 11:15). Although he was falsely accused by his malefactors, Jesus did not revile those who reproached him.

Jesus seldom used harsh language and showed no anger. He calmly stood and bore it all, for he came to endure all kinds of sufferings in order that he might set an example for us and make an atonement for our sins. Such should be our course as well when faced with similar attacks.

The words in 1 Peter 2:25“Ye were as sheep going astray,” alludes us to the words in Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” This thought in a broader sense expresses the condition of the human race before God recovers them through the plan of salvation. A flock wandering without a shepherd or guide is in a pathetic condition, and so was it for the prospective body of Christ before being sought out and brought into the true fold by accepting the value of the shed blood of the Good Shepherd.
In 1 Peter 4:12-17, the apostle warned his readers about the coming of a more intense period of persecution, stressing the importance of patience and mental readiness.

Peter intimates that the Church should not regard it as being strange or unusual for the people of God to suffer as did Christ, because later they will be glorified together with him in God’s coming kingdom. He also admonishes the Church not to become perturbed concerning matters unrelated to Christ, but to rejoice in their afflictions, knowing they will be counted as a blessing.

The people of God should always place their lives completely in God’s hand, believing that because God is their Creator, He will be their preserver.

God withholds no good thing from those who love Him and walk uprightly. He who is employed in God’s service will always have God’s protection.

This post’s URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/05/30/how-do-we-handle-sufferings-in-christ-in-a-jesus-way/

TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,281 other followers

Save

Save