There are two dangers to which believers are exposed: one is stopping short of the position grace gives;* the others is, losing the abiding sense of it in the soul. Both involve what is important as to position and condition. The latter should be governed by the former, and both maintained in consistency and grateful thankfulness to the Father of all grace, from Whom all blessedness comes, and to Whom all the fruit of it should return.
Alas, how little pure grace is known or understood with the love that gave rise to it, and the work of the Lord Jesus by which the grace of salvation has freely come. The grace that saves from death and judgment, with present forgiveness of sins, is much clouded with uncertainty; so that the fullness of grace in positioning us in Christ in heaven is rarely heard of, much less known and believed in as a present blessed reality.
No wonder therefore, that the ground of an earthly people is accepted, and Jewish things imitated; as if what was, should still be in experience and practice rather than what is, since the Lord Jesus has come and is gone back into heaven. Eternal redemption, eternal life, present seated position in Him, in the abiding rest of a complete salvation, are nevertheless for today, since the Gospel has given by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven. Happy are those who receive in their simplicity these blessed realities, as beyond all question!
It is well, for those who in any measure know what grace has freely and fully given in Christ, to be reminded of the responsibility such a position brings with it. Gentiles when under the profession of Christ, have become proud and boastful, indifferent to the true grace of God, yea, have turned it to fleshly purposes heavenly position may well give heed, lest they fall into the snare of practical indifference to the abiding sense of what grace should produce.
If heavenly life calls for heavenly ways and fruit, so also such a position claims the corresponding answer in separation from all that which is a denial of it, bearing in mind that those positioned in Christ on high are created in Him unto good works. To avert the danger of falling short, either of the place grace gives, or of its abiding effects, no brighter example can be given to follow, that the Apostle Paul, to whom its fullness was made known, and as it was received so was it manifested to others.
Grace abounded toward him to own himself the chief of sinners, the least of the Apostles and of all saints. “Not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” In motive and object Christ Himself governed him: a man in Christ his grand theme, in contrast the man in the flesh; and Christ in glory the One for Whom he has suffered the loss of all things, to gain Whom as His eternal portion would be his incomparable blessedness.
Such was grace to him for salvation and position, as Christ Jesus was his Savior, object and boast. May that same grace so work in us by the blessed Spirit of God to beget in some little measure a like answer to the praise of Him, Who, though on high, yet went lower than all, in order to provide at all cost to Himself a position not only in Him in the heavenlies now, but to be with Him in His own blessed likeness forever and ever. Amen!
- G Gardner
* “stopping short of the position grace gives”: this involves incomplete understanding that the forgiveness of all sin encountered in a believer’s life is expiated in Christ, and that apart from this knowledge believers cannot walk “with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb 10:22).
* “losing the abiding sense of it”: not having in the conscience the rest, security and encouragement which comes from understanding the permanency of grace. Even though this permanency is actual concerning all who are born again, a life of certainty in all the promises of God in Christ cannot be rested in apart from knowing this.
* “the latter should be governed by the former”: knowing that the “position” of forgiveness in Christ is complete and permanent provides encouragement and consistency in the growth of our faith, regardless of circumstance (feelings, opposition, etc.).
Excerpt from MJS devotional for March 20:
“The wilderness wanderers were maintained by manna, but those in Canaan flourished on “the old corn of the land.” The carnal Christian exists on the milk of the Word, while the hungry-hearted believer feeds and matures on the meat of the Word.”