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Choice Quotes, Part 3

By G.V. Wigram

      Who understood the wilderness as He did? Who was ever such a thorough pilgrim, drinking of the brook in the way? "The Man of sorrows" knows well how to lift up your head. How the power of His sympathy in our hearts lifts up His people's heads! He won't forget His backsliding people on earth either.

      The heart of God is, with Christ, occupied with a people down here, having all power in heaven and earth to keep them standing in His strength. The Holy Ghost is down here; we have access to His heart; He has associated us with Himself and with what He is going to do in a way immeasurably deeper than Israel.

      If you take the world with Christ, it will not destroy the foundation, but it will be the destruction of all your joy and service. You will be "saved as by fire."

      Human religion never gives to the cross the place which God gives to it. How many go on year after year without ever having turned to Calvary, saying, "I know nothing connected with this world that I could possibly boast in, save the cross of that Nazarene who died on it at Calvary." Yes; and the only thing I have in the world to glory in, is that cross. What is there in that cross which enables me to glory in it? It is the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. The mind shrinks from the thought of death as a penalty; what was there to make this less startling in connection with that death on the cross? There is One now seated at the right hand of God, One who has the most absolute power, all power, and it is His cross: He is Lord of all, our Lord Jesus Christ, His second title, "Jehovah," His third "the anointed Son of man," and it is His cross. And when I turn to that cross, why do I boast in it? Why? but because I should have been eternally lost if He had not died on it. Why do I boast, why am I proud of that scene? but because I believe that He died there for me, and I am saved by it. Ah! I if I see that dark scene with such bright light shining behind it, and know that but for that death I should have been eternally lost, is there not good reason why I should glory in it? why I should think that there are no two pieces of wood in all the world like that cross! Ah, what is it that sets the heart free to glory in the cross? Can you say that Calvary is the scene which shows God has punished sin? Can you, say that there all your sin was put away? Then you can glory with me.

      God has presented His wisdom and His power in the cross. How does His power come out, not only in the effect of the cross, but in the cross itself! It never shone out so bright. Not the creation of a new heaven and earth could be such an expression of His power as that cross. That the infinite God, He who is the Almighty God, should have been down here on that cross! That no one less than the God who created all things, who had but to speak and it was done, -- that that Almighty God should become a man! What had Almighty God to do there upon that cross between two thieves, tied and bound to it, not by circumstances -- the nails could not keep Him there -- but by something stronger than all fetters, something that He cannot break through: "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God." The Son of God had become the servant of God. He, the very One by whom God had created all things, there was He, with power to put everything down, fettered, absolutely fettered as servant to the will of God, whose servant He had pledged Himself to be. Where did God's power ever shine out as it did there? Not only -- I repeat it -- the expression of Divine power in the fruits of the cross, but in the cross itself, that cross where He leaves Himself and everything in God's hands, to turn everything to His own glory. I know nothing like the moral glory shining out in connection with the cross. We hear of moral glory in the actions of different individuals. In Christ it was perfect. Because the power of God brought Him down to weakness, He gives up His spirit in perfect obedience; but God alone could do it. A man's life is not his own to give; but the Lord could give His life.

      God alone has a right to act as He pleases. He had an only Son, of whom He could say, "He is all my delight;" and if He would make that Son the One on whom all His wrath should fall, who could dare to say to God, "What doest Thou?" He is God, and He alone had a right to do what He liked and do it how He liked. If He had a plan in connection with that Son, He must have the cooperation of that Son to carry out His plan, and He had it. Christ came to the cross to die there.

      Satan has the power of death -- God put it into his hand -- but God used His Son to nullify it entirely. Satan might let his scythe come in, and one is not to be surprised if the whole world is mowed down. But how was God to stop the executioner, to whom He had Himself given the power, so that he should be unable to cut us down with any taste of death? "Absent from the body, and present with the Lord," being all the believer knows death to be. Satan does the work of destroying the body; but Satan could not accomplish it in connection with Christ He was the Prince of Life. He gave up His own life, Satan could not take it. He had power to give it up and power to take it again. If He had not died, the power of death would not have been taken from Satan. The marvellous wisdom of God was shown out there, and I can turn to the enemy and say, "Ah! Satan, there you are conquered. You have found more than a match in Him who died there."

      I see in the cross the power which meets everything in me. If I turn to the cross, saying, "How horridly unlike I am to that Christ who died there!" the answer is, it is because you are so that He died there. Was not the death of Christ the perfect expression of God's holiness? All the perfect attributes of God shine out through the cross of Christ. If Satan had got man into a position in which it was impossible for God to bless him, and all was broken up in connection with the first Adam, it was only that it might all drop into the hands of the last Adam. All was accomplished at the cross.

      Ah! that cross is a low place, a thing that stains all the pride of man. Have you ever known what it is to be brought down to death's door from conflict? I have known what it is -- passing week after week and never closing the eyes, simply because I wanted to do something, and Christ had done it all. Peace came to me in that cross, God saying, "My Son bore all your sin in His own body on that tree." What a thought! that the anointed Saviour, eighteen hundred years ago, suffered everything for me, and that it was only my own horrid self. will, wanting to do something, which kept me from getting peace in Him. It was not the suffering, earth gave Him, not the nails, the spear -- but something deeper far; the wrath of God was borne by Him, nailed to that cross, when He cried out, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" You cannot find the cross itself on earth now, but the record of it is in heaven. God is constantly reminded of it, by the presence of the Lamb that was slain, at His right hand.

      We shall go into heaven with faces radiant with glory, able to look right up, because of the cross. God forbid we should ever find anything in this world worth thinking of and glorying in, any standard on which our souls can rest, save that cross!

      The most awful point of view in which the world's religion is seen, is, as connecting itself with the cross. Could you take ecclesiastical systems, and plant the cross there; and say that all the lust of the eye and of the flesh and of the world which is in them, harmonizes with the cross? The real character of the cross becomes especially manifest in connection with what is ecclesiastical. In regard to Nonconformists, it is only a degree of difference; they are equally under the sanction of the world for their existence. Equally so in regard to government; I cannot separate between it and the beast (that is part of the statue in Daniel); the cross cannot be connected with it, cannot sanction that which all governments form a part of. That which marks off the people of God is the cross, and it behoves them to keep themselves apart from all civil governments.

      That cross has separated me from the world that crucified my Lord, just as much as if His body were now on the cross, marred and wounded by the world.

      It can never be true that we are crucified to the world unless the heart is in constant communion with the cross of Christ, with Christ crucified. The cross comes in, in everything, as a matter of daily experience. How is one to pass into the old age of a Christian? How find one's self laid aside, no longer with any energy? Surely only by the cross. How can one meet difficulties with a word, and be kept in perfect quietness? Only by the cross. How can we keep under such flesh as ours? Does the "old man" ever get to be better? Not a bit! but you must learn to be able to carry the cross, saying of everything that is evil, "I can have nothing to do with that, because my Lord was crucified on account of it."

      Many and various causes of sorrow are presented in the life of the blessed Lord on earth; one coming on another. and sorrow becoming more and more intense, up to the closing scene on Mount Calvary. Suffering, connected with testimony for God; whoever is for God, will be sure to suffer in such a world. Suffering, too, connected with grace -- pain in having to tell the devils to go into the swine, because of destruction of life. Sorrow at the grave of Lazarus. And at the end, suffering, because of grace. He cannot save Himself, He might have had legions of angels, but how then would grace have had its course? He keeps silence, and prays for His murderers. Then there was the peculiarity of sorrow, as being the One to solve that problem which seemed so impossible to solve -- how God and a sinner could go together. How could God find any one to show the bearing of Divine glory in connection with mercy towards one covered with sin, one who did not own Him? He did find One who was to be the perfect measure of what sin was in His presence. That One takes the cup of wrath from God's hand; and in that hour, God cannot look at the One in whom was all His delight, the only One whom He could eye and watch through the world. That hour of forsaking, when the "sword" was to awake, only came out at the cross. There was but the anticipation of its unsheathing at Gethsemane. Only when on the cross is the expression, never heard at any other time, showing the sense of the hiding of God's face, because He was unable to look at One who was bearing sin.

      I see there God's estimate of sin when it comes into His presence. That Son of His love had to be treated as if the whole mass of sin was His, and the whole weight of wrath for that sin came upon Him. He had to bear it all there, alone. He may be a Man of sorrows all through His life, but He has God with Him in it. Never till the cross, do we find the sense of God's distance from Him -- expressed in that cry, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" He never could taste that before, for only then was He bearing sin in His own body, in God's presence. Not one ray of light came from Him whilst the Son of His love was there, suffering, the Just for the unjust. Man tries to keep sin far away, out of God's presence, but Christ carried it right into His presence.

      I can measure a creature's sorrow, but when I come to that cross -- none can measure that sorrow. Everything was torn and rent within Him nailed there. Have I ever felt I could grasp Christ's mind? What a thought I get of it when I come to the cross! Say, can I understand what that mind was there? How span the infiniteness of that mind of "God manifest in flesh" in such a position? Utterly impossible that I ever could understand what He suffered there. Not one ray of light, not one smile, on the Sin-bearer -- for even the least sin is right against God. Superlatively perfect all through His life, yet never more perfect than at the cross, where He could say, "If God forsakes me, I will not forsake Him -- my God."

      What could have been in the mind and heart of God when He had to turn away from that only perfect One?

      If I understand what Christ was for me on the cross, there is no sin for me before God. If God had treated me as He did His Son, it would have been the withering up of me and the casting of body and soul into hell -- but I am standing in the presence of God, as one who has had the measure of my sin laid on Christ, and He has brought His own Divine thoughts into my being lifting my heart up to Himself.

      When our future in the wilderness is closed, there is Christ's future; and in the thought of that, hearts ought to extremely bright. To be able to say, "I am the Saviour's prize, I have fallen to His lot," makes everything bright, for He is Lord of all.

      Do you find a great deal in yourself which you cannot find in Christ? The answer is, "He is Lord of all." If when in the world, Christ never had such a care as this or that, why then have you got it? Lay aside everything that Christ could not be troubled with. Have we any plans of our own? we shall be sure to have trouble. His people should have the mind and thoughts of Him who is going before them in the wilderness; He is, and will be, Lord of all, but there must be a more simple faith in Him as a living Person for today. It won't do to know only of the love of Christ yesterday, tomorrow, and for ever: but we need to know it as the love of the living Christ today, who is sitting, at this very time, at the right hand of God in heaven, bearing all His people on His heart, making all our cares through the wilderness His. Unless you realize this, all will be too much for you. He may take from you a great many things which you cannot carry into the glory. How is it that people can leave their souls and their eternity with Christ, but not the things of time? It is from their not realizing Christ as a living Person, occupied with all that concerns them.

      Is there not light enough in heaven to cast down brightness on the little bit of wilderness I am passing over, and to light up all that remains of the threescore years and ten down here? Yes, the light does shine down; the eternal life I have is a present thing: glory is future, but the life of Christ in me connects me with the light above. Eternal life flows through our souls, and as we go through the wilderness, the Holy Ghost ministers to us all that God and Christ are.

      In connection with Christ as our Substitute, what a thought is His Divine glory! What! the Man before whom every knee shall bow -- the Man before whom all shall stand in the day of judgment -- that Man my Substitute! There is no place in the dust low enough, no word adequate to express what I feel, that such a Man should have taken my place and borne my judgment! He, as the Substitute, is my well-spring of life, and I am an adopted son in Him. I am also His servant, and I may share His sufferings as the Servant. Ours may seem a very insignificant path of service, but He may have the thought of its being just the path in which we may share His sufferings.

      If you go through the world as a child of God, and mark the sorrows of Christ with the thought of sharing them in some small measure, you will see if they do not in this aspect also become very precious to you, showing that what His life was down here, yours is to be. Are we to expect better fare, a smoother path, than our blessed Lord? If the thousandth part of His sorrows came on one of us, we could not bear it, it would destroy us; but we can, in our little measure, follow after and taste of His cup of sorrow.

      Is it not enough to wring my heart when I see Christ the Son of God becoming Son of man to bear all that He bore down here? And then He went back to God. Can I see Him here and see Him there, and not fall down and worship? Oh, what a revelation of God in that Nazarene! Can I know Christ and not know God? Impossible! And that Christ is my life, and the keeper of it. He is my anointed Saviour. I belong to Him. Is it in the sheep to keep itself? No, but in the Shepherd.

      Mark the inseparability of believers and Christ in the mind of God; when He leaves His Father's throne, His people are to be set with Him on His throne, and they are to be owned as He Himself is. God's thought is to express His delight in that Christ who has bought a people with His own blood; the Father's house is prepared for them and they are welcome there, even as Christ is. On earth the disciples went wherever Christ went. When He comes to take us home we shall be for ever with Him; and it will be as the saved ones brought near to God by His own blood.

      When I see a Christ come out of glory, bearing my sin in His own body, and going back again to glory, and going on for eighteen hundred years waiting and gathering poor sinners into the Father's house, there is something exquisitely beautiful! My heart is stolen away by everything Christ does. Is there no beauty in the walk of Him who did all for you? Don't you want to be like Him? Have you not a model before you that attracts the whole heart? How we should long to resemble this Christ and to have His mind! I have got a Christ in Heaven, and I desire to meet that Christ's thoughts in everything, and to be one with Him in the world where He was rejected and crucified.

      I can have intercourse with Christ at the present time. He lets the light of Himself, as a living person, into my heart. Are there not many who have never realized in their hearts the thought of Christ as a present living person? All, it makes a wonderful difference when we see Him as a living person with His eye upon us. I know there is a day appointed in the which He will come, and then I shall be with Him for ever; but I want, and I have, a living intercourse with Him now. He knows me and I know Him now.

      There is no way of showing that I love Christ save by keeping His word, having His word indwelling and showing subjection to His word in everything ever saying, "The Lord said so and so." How good it is of Him to have told me how to show my love! The Lord wants us to treasure up His word. The great end of my being is that I am to be a trophy of the power of the blood of Jesus Christ; but there is another thing: if I am in Christ and He in me, there is to be the treasuring up of His word, the keeping of His commandments. He says, "My Father and I can separate a heart that is treasuring up my words, and we can come and make our abode there, and give the sense of our love and presence there." But all will not have it.

      "If any man love me," etc. (John 14: 21-23). Here the Lord speaks of His love in a connection quite different from the love that all who believe "share even unto the end." Here it is a love manifested only to one who is walking in communion with Christ, treasuring up His word. John was one who loved the Lord and treasured up His word, and he had the consciousness given him of the Father's and the Son's love, so that He might have communion with the heart of God. Is there this intercourse between our hearts and, the heart of the Lord Jesus? Are we treasuring up His word? Is it dwelling richly in us? If the word of Christ governs the heart. it will push out all other things. Christ not only loved me when I was dead, so as to die for me, but He loves me as a disciple, and this love should make one's heart bright going through the wilderness, -- love leading us on with the present blessed consciousness of a living Christ occupied with us here in the wilderness. As soon as I realize the thought that Christ is not so absorbed up there as not to have a heart occupied with His people down here, I can say, "I may be toiling through many a wave below, but if His word is treasured up by me I am loved and prayed for, and the Father loves me, and Christ looks down on me in all brightness of love; as though He said, You began with my love, and are going on with it to the end, over every wave.

      If the life of Christ is sustained down here by us, nothing can minister to it so much as the thought of the living feelings and affections that are in Christ, "if I do so and so, what will Christ feel? "

      I have got something that gives me power to live, not according to the flesh but the Spirit. In everything, from the greatest to the least, there is nothing out of which we cannot get an occasion to glorify God. Some one once said he wanted a larger sphere of service, because he had so few opportunities where he was. My answer was, "Your life is an opportunity." The apostle Paul said to Timothy, "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." If full of Christ, grace would be sure to flow forth in all circumstances, but whether it be the youngest or the most mature Christian, it can only flow forth as the eye is fixed on Jesus. Where was all to meet Timothy's need? In Christ; and is not the heart of Christ as fresh as ever to the people of His love? If the eye is fixed on Him, looking for grace, we shall be full of the joy of the Holy Ghost.

      If you knew practically the blessed free giving of Christ (there is no end of the stream of grace flowing from Him), nothing down here would affect you unduly; you could not say "this or that looks very black;" it would not be black, looked at on Christ's side. There is a Christ's side of everything down here.

      As one connected with Christ Himself, you will find plenty of affliction. Do you, say that your path is so full of difficulty and trial? Well, thank God for it, saying, "As Christ's path was strewed with thorns and briers, so would I have mine to be." Are there none? Where are you? What! going by a short cut of your own into Canaan? I am often cheered when told that my path as a Christian is a hopeless path. Well, I say, then my path is like Paul's. Enough for me to find affliction in connection with a living Christ. How can I use anything of the world? How gather for myself one flower fit to carry into God's presence, save as standing in communion with a living Christ? Satan may give me a stigma, but that will only mark whose I am and where I am.

      Oh, what a difference it makes in the sorrows of this life, if, instead of looking at them as something against us, we have fellowship with Christ in them. Would you like to be snatched up with dying embers clinging to your feet, saved so as by fire, rather than make up your mind to suffer with Christ? All who are laid on the foundation will be saved, but if walking inconsistently, it will be "so as by fire." If walking consistently, receiving the reward.

      The Christian may say, "I have power to reject Satan, the world, and self, because I have got eternal life. I am standing in a strength that is just the same for me that it was for Paul. The evil may be increased, the days darker, but God is the same, and eternal life in Christ is what I have got; and if I walk in separation from evil, as one who possesses that, I have the sweetness of this thought cheering me, -- the Lord knows me as His own."

      How is it in the present time that we don't find Christians satisfied with what God reveals in His word? Just think of the difference between the early Christians and Christians now! Then they began with Christ as having borne their sin, being raised from the dead, and in the glory, where He had a place prepared for them. And whatever they might be, He knew no change -- the same yesterday today, and for ever. That was where the early Christians were, and it gave them a spring of joy all the way, and enabled them to bring that glory into all their circumstances as pilgrims and strangers. That glory never left Paul's mind, and in all that he had to pass through, his soul was always delighting in it. It led him captive all the way.

      Have our hearts ever been up there with that Christ in glory? Have we known a risen Christ as the starting-point of blessing? Is that Son of God taken up to heaven (earth-rejected), claiming us as those wanted as witnesses for Himself, and in connection with His work and service to be carried on? One may have all sorts of experiences of one's own feebleness, but nothing will keep the soul save really knowing the Lord Jesus in Heaven as the One who has separated us unto Himself. There is then the sense of His claim over us, -- we His and Himself ours.

      When God has given me salvation in Christ it is no longer the question of what God thinks of me as a person, but what He thinks of the fruits of the work of the Son of His love. I must have both parts, first as to what I was, then as to what I am. As to what I was, the blood shed on the cross is my measure; as to what I am, God has so connected me with Christ that I am become the righteousness of God in Him. Am I to say, I may live as I like? What! with the Christ who died for me claiming every thought of my heart, that living Christ, looking at me all the day long! Oh! what a change it is when I know the yearning of Christ's love as He looks on me, saying, "You are espoused to Me." Christ wanting to have me all to Himself! Paul could say, "the love of Christ constraineth me;" not an outside restraint, as when he was bound with fetters to a soldier, but a constant hold of Christ on the heart. Led captive by that Christ, the anointed Man, Paul could say, "Christ not only looked out of heaven on me and took away the thick veil on my heart, and let the light shine in, but He is the One who loves me, and that love of His binds me as a fetter and makes me go whither He would." He says, "I died for you individually, that you individually may know you are mine, and you are to live to me." Here I get the love of Christ to myself, so as to be able to say, I must not live to myself, but to Him who loved me and gave Himself for me.

      If a new Gospel were found, saying that Christ had ceased to care how His people walked, would it be a sorrow to you? Or if any one were to discover a new epistle to unfold beyond what we already have, the way to live more to Christ, would it not be joy? It ought to be joy to meet with brethren able to show you the force of passages of Scripture which teach you that Christ wants everything to be done by you according to the power of the life given you in Him.

      Paul was not as a vessel broken, and another formed by the potter out of the same clay. No; it was a new thing altogether. He was a new creature in Christ, old things had passed away. Nothing as regards the flesh was changed in Paul, but the mastery of the flesh was. The law of sin and death is not taken out of the flesh, but I am delivered from it, brought out of the position where all is death into that where all is life. I have eternal life in me to give me power to live unto Christ "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;" is not that a blessed truth? Are you walking in the power of that life, in the light of eternity?

      Life down here is to most people a life of vexation, of trial; the heart wears out under it, or else there is a sort of stoicism, and as troubles come like the sparks that fly upward, people say, "We have got to endure it, and we must." But how different this experience from that of the Christian who can say, "Show me any sharp flint scorched by the sun, and I can turn it over and find moisture underneath." How different when all things are seen to be of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by giving us His Son! A person gets the heaven-side of things who finds God in everything. It is a blessed thing that as there is not a sparrow falls to the ground, nor a flower that blossoms, without the Father, so, as sorrows turn up, and thorns and briers come in our path, to know that the Father is in it all; to be able to say in everything, "there is my Father," and so, passing on quietly without care, knowing that every detail of life is watched by a Father's eye.

      And when He comes to unroll our whole life since we believed, will it grieve us for Him to know it all? When you have failed in any way, and God has brought the sense of it to your soul, do you want not to settle it till a future time? or is it not a positive relief not to cover it up, but to feel that the thing has been judged? Nothing will do but making a clean conscience before God, not letting a spot remain, but confessing and taking the whole blame; rejecting the thing and condemning it in yourself first.

      The Lord Jesus has given me eternal life. I am in the light, and it discovers sin in me; but that does not touch the life, because it is in the Lord Jesus that I have it. My blessing is in the person of Christ; in my own person I am a poor sinner, and if I had not got Christ as mine to the end, I could have no confidence whatever.

      Can God raise any question as to the entire contrast that I am to the beauty and exquisite perfection of Him who is my life? In His whole course there was the flowing out of a moral character perfectly beautiful. Ever going about doing good -- the will of God the only thing He did, or cared to do -- and man seeking to put Him to death all the time He was here. Am I like Him? No; but ah, if I have eternal life in Him I shall get that character. He has power to form a hidden man in the soul -- the new man in Christ, -- and He has power to make this vile body fit for the presence of God.

      I am sure if your soul is calmly in the habit of looking at the Lord Jesus as your eternal life, you must have the throbbing of joy in your heart, saying, "I have got something too large for my heart to hold, -- the thought of that Christ up there, and my eternal life being in Him." Ah! if we get to the sphere in which that eternal life is to be displayed, we find a range of glory beyond what the heart can take in. Do you see that Lord Jesus at God's right hand, as the Rock smitten for you? Is it that One who bare God's wrath for your sin, in whom your life is? What perfect rest that gives! Oh, let your heart be in communion with that One in whom your life is, and you will find that you have a portion, a fulness of joy, in Him, that no circumstances down here can interfere with.

      It is not the question of the life of the body. When Christ has given eternal life, the body may drop off; the life, the soul, goes to Him: it is better to depart and be with Christ. If I look round I see everything down here fitted for the body; but the life of the body and the life Christ gives are entirely distinct. When Christ was on the earth, what could He lay hold of and say, "That will do for Me"? Only poor sinners. If He looked at Herod's crown, He could turn from it, saying, "That is not the thing for Me." He walked here as a pilgrim with the mind of God. He had the Father's will as the clue to guide, and nothing else. And if people are connected with Him, they will find this world a place strange to them. I shall have to realize that this is not my rest, that it is polluted. I have my portion, but it is not down here. Christ enables the disciple to know the place where He is, and to have all his pleasure in walking there, separated unto Himself. Our fellowship is with the Father and the Son.

      It is only as the soul is in communion with God, that it gets a taste of the glory, and it becomes brighter and brighter as the night grows darker down here. If the Lord's people make up their minds to have the same sort of life here that He had, they will be content to be like persons on a journey, who will find excuses to leave a case here and another there by the way, in order not to be hindered in passing quickly on; and to be like Jonathan, who only stopped to dip his spear in the honey, to get refreshed for the work he had to do. It is only by keeping the eye fixed up there where Christ is, that we get a taste of glory.

      The world won't follow Christ as the crucified One. At the death of Christ, the whole orderly system down here got stamped by God as under judgment, and responsible for the death of Christ. By the cross, the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Nothing is so important as for Christians to take the place they ought to be in, of entire separation from what God, in the Scripture, calls "the world." As to our bodies, we are to take care of them in order to serve the Lord more; but there is such a thing as the lust of the flesh and of the mind, to be watched against.

      I got all my blessing by the cross; but, to enjoy it, everything must be viewed in the light of the cross, so as to have God's thoughts about it. I have to walk as a witness that nothing is worth thinking of but the crucified One. I know the world as a judged thing, and how can I seek anything in it? Once I was in it like a child seeking pleasure, following a butterfly. What an astonishing thing for an immortal creature to be chasing a butterfly! But when God came in saying, "I have quickened you and given you Christ, and now you are to be occupied only with the cross of my Son, and you and I can both be occupied with the same thing" -- how wonderful the change

      What soul in nature ever thought it worthwhile to sit down and muse over the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ? But a quickened soul knows that face to be covered with glory. Oh when one turns and sees the radiancy of the light of the glory of God in the face of that Lord Jesus, one must have something of the Divine mind, or one could not enter into it. It is God who has given the power to the believer to see the glory of God in that face.

      The Apostle Paul felt it was a great thing to keep saints in occupation with that glory, beholding it with open face. Are you occupied with it? Surely Christians have got their world as well as the men of the earth -- a world in which is that face of Jesus Christ seen unveiled, and there is no disappointment connected with it as the heart's object. That face entirely satisfied the heart of Paul. He was one of all others who had the greatest sight of that unveiled face. The light of the glory of that face never passes away. Having had it unveiled, it leaves something in the soul as a deposit. It shines into the heart that we may be changed into the same image from glory to glory. A certain assimilating power is put forth, so that the soul -- as He unfolds and develops it -- passes from glory to glory. A seed will germinate after two thousand years, and we may see the plant unfolding, and the glory of the plant is quite a different thing from the seed. What is given to the believer is the incorruptible seed, which, after it is received, gives perfect rest for eternity to the soul; but it has to work, and it goes on gradually unfolding in the believer what was received from Christ, changing him into the same image from glory to glory. Not by his own faithfulness, but the faithfulness of that Christ, watching the seed of His own planting, and gradually unfolding that which He had communicated, to make the expression of what He had given the rule of the life.

      He was the One to fill the woman of Samaria's heart -- but it is He who must supply the water springing up unto eternal life. That is His present work among His people; and the certainty that they have Him working with them is one of their greatest securities as they go through the world. To be able to say, "I have received of Him the incorruptible seed, which nothing can destroy or pluck out, and He Himself is watching over it day and night." What a thought, that there is One at God's right hand dealing with poor things down here, because He has pledged His word that all who believe in Him have eternal life, and that none shall pluck them out of His hand. "They shall not come into judgment." Can the head judge the members? My feet may get soiled by my careless walk down here, and they ought not to be so; Christ will wash them again and again but He does not judge me. I have been quickened and raised up together with Him, and that identifies me with heaven and the centre of heaven itself, for it makes me a part of His body.

      We want something to link our hearts up there with the Lord -- the constraining power which Paul felt: the love of Christ should be the constraint upon us as to our walk, and this is the simple doctrine of being co-planted with Christ.

      The mark of a new creature in Christ is not the having a better heart, for that remains the same as ever, but the looking at everything as having God for the centre, and not judging of things as though man were the centre; seeing where God is; looking down deeper to the springs of love in God, flowing to us through Christ the fountain; all one spirit with the Lord. How different are God's thoughts from man's as to walk! God looking at the One He raised up, and saying: "I have not a word against those who believe in Him; their guilt has been all rolled away, they are one spirit with Him whom I love up here; He is the head, those poor things down there are as His hands and feet: I love them, and have given them one spirit with My Son." Are these God's thoughts about us? Yes; and if we did but make them our thoughts too, we should have bright faces and happy hearts passing through this wilderness. What then were all my adverse circumstances? What all that tries me? If God be for me, what is all that is against me? The primitive christians when spoiled of their goods, took it joyfully; they lost everything, gave up everything, and had power to go forth with happy hearts, rejoicing in the Lord. Every necessity in us is only something for God to find grace in Christ to meet it.

      Have you weighed that expression, "Heirs of God"? What! are you heirs of God -- joint-heirs with Christ? your names linked up with Christ's name in one lot or inheritance, as in the promised inheritance of the Jews? Each lot had a name attached to it. God has a lot, and from it Christ comes forth; your name is linked with His, and you are to share whatsoever is in that lot. Oh, what a lot it is! One lot has fallen to us -- to suffer with Him here and partake with Him of His glory hereafter.

      Your sorrow ought not to be the world's sorrow, but Christ's; singing for joy in the midst of it, because identified with Him. There is no sorrow we can suffer in association with Christ that has not sweetness in it.

      Is Christ looking on you or me, saying, "There is a poor thing as unlike Me as Saul of Tarsus was, but through grace he has learnt to cast away his own righteousness as filthy rags, and become a debtor to God, to have all his sins washed away in My blood; and he is identified with Me by the Spirit of life flowing down to him, and I shall soon come down to change and conform him to My own glorious body." It is not enough to the Lord Jesus that His blood has freed our consciences from guilt and saved us, but He must have us with Himself, our bodies fashioned like His own. Whose counsel and plan was to give power, that a poor sinner, kept here for a time in continual weakness, should come forth in the end, having a glorious body, conformed to the image of God's dear Son? Oh, it is a plan altogether above man! There is ad answer in Christ's body for all the weakness in ours.

      Nothing so sets the heart at liberty as seeing the Lord, in resurrection, our Fore-runner in heaven. How could He take us up there if He had not washed and quickened us?

      If there is a portion so blessed for me, it is because I am to bring glory to Christ: He is to have ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of mirrors to reflect His glory. When He appears, all will be told out that was shut up and hid with Him in God.

      He knows where every, separate little heap of dust rests -- the dust of a Peter and of a Paul, -- all to be raised in a moment and made glorious bodies like unto His own. Then it will come out in a volume, the whole sum and substance of the gospel of the glory shut up in Him.

      Do you understand that the Lord Jesus has certain things belonging to Himself connected with the heavens, -- a portion peculiar to Himself, which He shares with the Church in the heavenlies -- of which He has made us partakers? Do you know your title? Has your soul tasted what. a place the Father's house is? Have you got to wait your actual entrance there for this? Oh no; grace has made you a fellow-heir (one lot), grace has linked your life up with the Lord Jesus -- hid now in God with Him, sitting on the Father's throne. This is not a hope but a certain thing; His leaving the Father's throne to come and take us up, that is the hope which presses warmly on His heart. Does it so on yours? Does that hope enter into your present portion? Does it press on your heart daily and hourly that in a little while you are to enter into the inheritance, and to be a fellow-heir with Him?

      With regard to conscience, how do I stand? I know that looking at myself I could not have a hope. How could a person have it without peculiar views of God's grace! What! has God chosen me? What a God He must be to have a thought about a thing like me! not looking at what I was, but at what He has made me: that heavenly inheritance prepared, and the Father giving me a title to enter in. Oh what riches of grace! What blessed hopes He puts before me, amid the ruins of this wilderness! What a God! How impossible to stand on that ground without knowing something of the wonders of God's grace, a little of the length, and depth, and breadth and height of that love that passeth knowledge. What a happy people these fellow-heirs will be when they get home! More touching still to one's poor heart -- so narrow, so hard, to hear God saying, "you are not only to find rest up here with My Son, but all that He has shall be yours! further still, all that He is -- you are now one body with Him, accepted in Him; He in you and you in Him." Do you think that God looks on you poor feeble ones, as you look on yourselves and on one another, with all your shortcomings and slips and falls? No; He looks at us in the body of Christ. What makes saints go on so pertinaciously looking at themselves as individuals instead of at the body? The reason is that the heart does not like the idea of being nothing -- lost and merged in the body: God's grace having made us one with Him, that as He is we are, His grace flowing down, building us together for an habitation of God: but we don't like to go for nothing. It is sin, positive sin, the sin of unbelief, to look at ourselves merely as separate individuals, and not as in the body, as we are up there with Him. What would not be the effect if such a thought were received in simplicity? What would it not be to our hearts, so narrow and so occupied with our own individual experiences, to realize ourselves in such a position? The eye of God coming down upon me as I am, individually, makes me cry, "Unclean! unclean!" makes me loathe myself in dust and ashes: but to know that that eye turns to the heavenly places, fixed on one body, and sees not me in myself, but me in the body, as I am in Christ -- how blessed!

      The very smallest space between the head and the members would destroy life; how close then must be the union!

      What becomes of all our guilt when Christ is looking into our hearts, saying, "I have separated you from guilt; I was crucified, I have died, and you have died with Me unto sin, and are alive unto God, raised up with Me, and sitting in heavenly places in Me"?

      Do you know Christ? If you do, it will make you loathe and detest yourself; and the better you know Him, the greater will be your self-loathing. But if you do know Christ, your conscience is a purged conscience, it has to do with the blood of the Lamb slain. God has deeper thoughts of that blood than man has. The mercy in the bosom of God none can tell or know but the Christ who Himself carried out that mercy in His own body on the tree to its utmost extent. Oh God! Thy Son bleeding and dying on the cross could alone understand what that mercy is.

      A thousand affections flow from Christ's heart to His members, not from fellowship with any more particularly, although down here He might have felt it more with John than with James or Peter; but up there every member of His body can comprehend by individual experience the surpassing love ever occupied in nourishing and cherishing its object. It is only the power of Christ in His own living person that can keep, sustain, and nourish, and at the end present it to Himself a glorious body without spot or wrinkle. When it comes to risen life and our being up there in heavenly places, we must needs have One to care and act for us there -- a Master, every moment occupied and dealing with us.

      We are apprehended of the Lord Jesus distinctly, not for what we are, but for what we shall be. It is impossible when we come to know Christ, to stand still; we pass on from childhood to manhood and to fatherhood. Every separate saint is being prepared for a prepared place in the Father's house. Seeing this, it becomes impossible to settle down here the question of self and all connected with it as dung and dross -- the question of work -- the setting Christ before you, pressing on towards the mark of the high calling of God in Him; these questions can only be settled in view of our heavenly position, our life up there. Are you saying: "Christ loves me, and I must press on till I see Him, nothing can satisfy me till I can get to Him"?

      Christ has seen exactly where I shall be in the glory; the jewel will not be lost which is to be put into His crown. The believer can walk in this world as one who is apprehended of Christ for glory Are your hearts occupied with Him in the glory? It will be as a stream of heavenly blessing ill all troubles. Is it the thought of my soul that I am up there with the Son of God in the glory which He has apprehended me for? My citizenship is there amid all the wretched shortcomings of my own heart. Up there the child of God may have present rest and peace. If I have a consciousness of my fellowship with Him in life up there, there will be a throbbing of joy in my heart, flowing from its living communion with the Christ in heaven, which is to flow on for ever and for ever; and which I date back to the quickening in His grave, His life then flowing to us.

      If I love God, I want to be holy as He is holy; the desire of sanctification has no limit at all. Is it a wonderful thing that the effect of God letting me know His plan of associating me with Himself hereafter, should be the desire for association with Him now? Has that Christ who has brought His love to you piecemeal, as you could bear it, -- has He no jealousy, think you? No desire to see your heart's affection linking itself around the God who has associated you with Himself? Does He see the pulse of thought through you beating for God? You cannot hide yourself from Him. He, the Good Shepherd, leading and watching every individual sheep; not one lock of wool taken from a single sheep that He does not see. Does He see rolling through your minds unceasing thoughts of Himself and the glory awaiting you? your heart dwelling up there and your walk corresponding; or, like Jacob, halting on the thigh because the flesh needs crippling?

      God has spread an expanse of glory -- all wrapt up in Christ for us: are our hearts there? God has described and told us of the golden city; Christ the light and the joy of all there: He would have us occupied with that which is the centre of His thoughts, and that is Christ. Are we following in His wake? Is His Christ the centre of our thoughts, and the hope of His coming connected with every motive and act? There may be failure -- there may be something which cannot cling to me in the presence of Christ, but He won't let me off that hope. What is your hope for tomorrow? Is the future of your mind at all like His? A poor feeble reflection it may be, but it must be a hope having its spring from that which is the centre of God's thoughts, and that is Christ.

      Has it ever come into your mind what a sort of thrill the delight of God in Christ must cause in heaven? And is it indeed true that we are accepted in the Beloved, and that God loves us as He loves Christ, because we are in Him and He is in us? What in you can interfere with the delight of God in His Son? His delight in believers is not in themselves but in connection with Christ and redemption. His blood has washed all my sin away, my soul is in Him -- one with Him; all my guilt and misery judged on the cross. Oh, it makes one feel very little; it sinks one into insignificance as being nothing and Christ everything: God looking on His Son with ever the same delight, seeing His members and loving them as such! It is pure grace from first to last.

      I may see what appears very attractive down here; but, looking up there, I see Christ, and I feel that till He comes down, earth cannot be blessed. This world to me without Him is only a wilderness: there is no rest here. All blessing -- even for the earth -- is shut up in Christ; all happiness, all true joy, hid in the person of the Lord. You cannot get anything like real happiness without Him. Oh, how much happier a way of learning that our rest is not here, is that thought that nothing can make us happy till He comes, than to be vainly seeking rest while He is absent, filling our mouths with sand and gravel.

      "I am the bright and morning star." Does God desire to see the Lord Jesus as the bright and morning star? When the hour is come, God will give the word, and Christ will leave His throne, to bring up His bride. But the morning star is not for God -- it is a hope for a people in the dark night. This title does not come in once in the Old Testament; there we find the Sun of righteousness. But this bright and morning Star comes to usher in the morning without clouds.

      The Lord knows what the hearts of His people want here -- it is Himself, His own blessed person. Ah! is the Lord Jesus looked for by us as the bright and morning star? It is not the glory, but Himself that is set forth. "I am the bright and morning star;" and, oh, it is Himself that I want. What would glory be to me without my Lord?

      Just observe the sort of glory here. What is this bright and morning Star as to glory compared with the Sun of righteousness? Oh, but they who love Christ know the sweetness of this title; all their heart's affections are bound up in His person, that it is which their hearts are set upon. How sweet it is in the midst of all the evil of this wilderness scene to connect the hope of His coming with "I am the bright and morning star," and the spirit and the bride say "Come!"

      In 2 Cor. 11: 2, we get just the true idea of the bride. Do you know anything of such a thing as a body, a people, affianced to Christ?

      If the marriage of the bride, the Lamb's wife is to be, and you and I are a part of that affianced body, where can creature title come in?

      How that name of Bride supposes all affections on the part of Christ! If He looks down and sees one here and there, poor feeble things in themselves indeed, but all they are part of that body and He has washed them in His blood, what can He see in them but failure! but He has given them the Spirit and made them one with Himself, He will have a bride fit for God's own dwelling-place. If you do not know the personal love of Christ to His bride you cannot invite Him to come.

      God did not stop when He had taken the bone out of Adam, but builded a woman; and so He not only calls and washes poor prodigals, but builds out of poor prodigals a bride for His Son: making them the members, the flesh and bones, of His Son. It will be a part of His glory to have a bride formed out of poor prodigals.

      The bride may have all sorts of precious things -- but she herself is for the Lord.

      What! I, a poor thing, a leaf in the wilderness carried here and there, can I say "Come, Lord!" Ah, but if God has given me the Spirit and made me one with my Lord, I can. If He had merely shown me all the glory, it would have had no effect, but the Spirit of God brought the truth to bear on my heart: the Spirit of the living God always bringing a fresh taste of the love of Christ to my heart.

Back to G.V. Wigram index.

See Also:
   Choice Quotes, Part 1
   Choice Quotes, Part 2
   Choice Quotes, Part 3
   Choice Quotes, Part 4
   Choice Quotes, Part 5
   Choice Quotes, Part 6
   Choice Quotes, Part 7
   Choice Quotes, Part 8
   Choice Quotes, Part 9
   Choice Quotes, Part 10
   Choice Quotes, Part 11
   Choice Quotes, Part 12
   Choice Quotes, Part 13
   Choice Quotes, Part 14
   Choice Quotes, Part 15


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