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Christians know life in Christ, but what of its liberty in the walk. It’s in the walk that intents of the heart are manifest, and it’s the walk that is used more than all to reveal the testimony of the soul. For some time now (about the last century of so, and becoming more obviously present in my opinion) Christendom has been exposed to numerous teachings which have no parallel with the fundamental growth-truths of Scripture, resulting in an often-seen-lack of enthusiasm concerning their position in Christ. As the Spirit of God and of Christ continues to teach believers who seek growth in Christ (Eph 4:15) they will increasingly become more active towards being encouraged in apprehending the all-important truths contained within their “eternal salvation” in Him (Heb 5:9)!
“Face To Face”
Beloved, let us sit down and consider how long it will be before we shall see Him face to face! His face, His own, even His who is chiefest among ten thousand, the altogether lovely—our Lord Jesus Christ. Some of us are but young, others are grey-headed. Even should He not come in our lifetime, it cannot be long before “we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (1Jo 3:2).
It will do you good, dear brother, sister, to sit still in your chambers and to meditate upon the greeting, the meeting, so close at hand. Perhaps it shall be that, lying upon your bed, the flesh failing, the body perishing, your last hour shall come, the final moments of which shall be the soul’s straining to catch a sight of Him. Then shall He smile upon you, and your loved ones shall see His beauty beaming upon your dying countenance, and shall watch your responding smiles of greeting, as your spirit hasted away to be “forever with the Lord.”
What is this life? A vapor that appeareth for a short time, and then vanishes away. Yes; but it is our time of learning the Lord Jesus, and growing in fellowship with Him. True, of many of us our spring-time is past—the early sweetness of our affectionate devotedness to Him gone by (Rev 2:4, i.e. unknowingly declining in enthusiasm concerning our position in Christ, a normality which is to be guarded against—NC). What have we penned? Is it true? Is it so that we love Him not as we once did (though our desire is to love Him more, which increases with continued fellowship in worship Word—NC)? Is the measure, as well as the manner, less? He knows all things, let Him answer; we will be silent. But the early freshness is gone; like the bloom of childhood from our cheeks; we are getting into years, and the years, each one of them, nearer home, nearer to the Lord Jesus.
Those who have lived to middle age have lived long enough to have their hearts broken. This, it would seem, is one great object for which we are allowed to live a handful of years in life’s school. We have seen our parents die, we have seen our children’s spirits wing their way home; and we have seen and felt His presence by the dying couches of the aged and the young.
Yet we have lived long enough to have our hearts bound up by His hand, beloved, as we are broken by the sorrows of life. And each succeeding year heaven becomes not only nearer, but dearer to our hearts; more treasures are stored there yearly, as the years roll by, and each period of time teaches us what we could never have conceived of the Lord Jesus, had it not been for sorrow.
He is so real, as a person who is the Beloved of our hearts; so near a Friend who sticketh closer than a brother. Hence, we say again, let us sit down, and count up the longest time that it possibly can be before we shall see Him face to face. We know the shortest time it may be—“a moment, the twinkling of an eye”; yes, we may be winging our way home before the next tick of the clock, for He will come, and will not tarry. But the longest, how long shall it be? Sit down in your solitude, alone with the Lord Jesus, and consider His greeting, and your meeting of His eye!
What is life? It is the privileged moment for glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ on this earth. Here we are set to walk as He walked—to shine as lights in the world for Him—to hold forth the Word of life and to be His epistles, known and read of all men. Is it too much to say that many of the Lord’s people have a veil between their affections and His heart? A something exists. They are not bright and shining.
Peace, this through His Blood, they have; but His peace does not fill their hearts. It is of no use disguising the truth—many of God’s people are not at this hour in personal fellowship (when considering our peace—NC) with the Lord Jesus Christ. The spiritual countenance lacks expression. The features of Christianity are there, but the spiritual eye lacks luster, the soul is not close to the risen Lord Jesus in glory (all of which tends to lessen in us through the years—NC).
This is not heaven upon earth (which could be when sufficiently heavenly minded—NC), nor is it longing after Himself. Spiritual intelligence (alone—NC) is not spiritual affection, and without its love the lamp is dim. And with such thoughts, again we say, come, sit in your chamber alone; meditate upon the hour beyond this life and this world, when we shall see Him face to face and be like Him. What a remedy this is for present spiritual ailments! Some have one nostrum for the soul’s condition, then another, but all fail, save Jesus only.
We can thank God for the doctrines, and thank Him more that each doctrine is a door opening into the very presence of the Lord Jesus. Are we outside these doors? Many are (maturity requiring more time than we often estimate—NC)! They know well what they are like. There is that of wood, and that of silver and that of gold; there is knowledge of His spotless humanity, of His redeeming Blood, and of His Father’s glory through Him. But open the door of His humanity, and behold Himself. Before you is the perfect Man; open the silver door of redemption, and behold His once streaming wounds; open the golden door, and see Him where He is in the glory on high.
It is the Lord Jesus only with these hearts of ours; let us seek more of His blessed personal company. His presence will shed its holy glow over our very beings. It is but a little while, and we shall walk with Him in white; and now, in this day of Christian “walk in the Spirit,” our words shall speak the one language of heaven, if only we are in His presence.
Ah, fellow Christian, our souls sigh out, “what a change there would be in us if the Lord Jesus formed our hearts.” The strife of tongues would cease, pride would vanish, sin would be confessed and overcome, and men would take knowledge of us that we had been with Jesus. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God you whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it” (1Th 5:23, 24).
— H F Witherby
"None but the Hungry Heart" by Mile J Stanford devotional excerpt for January 22:
“Almost every believer makes the same mistake as the Galatian Christians. Very few learn at conversion at once that it is only by faith that we stand, and walk, and live. They have no conception of the meaning of the Word about being dead to the law, freed from the law—about the freedom with which Christ makes us free (Rom. 7:6). Regarding the law as a divine ordinance for our direction, they consider themselves prepared and fitted by conversion to take up the fulfillment of the law as a natural duty. They cannot understand that it is not to the law, but to a living Person, that we are now bound, and that our obedience and growth are only possible by the unceasing faith in His power and life ever working in us (Phil. 2:13).” -A.M.