By G.V. Wigram
Could I take my place at a race-course, and say, "the Nazarene at God's right hand is coming, and in every thing those who are His are to be like Him and to be waiting for Him in separation from all the things of the world, because they are to go with Him to heaven when He comes?" He is jealous to have a people down here to live to Him.
Do many believers understand that the whole way through the wilderness is death and resurrection? We do not take it up in simplicity that all through the scene down here, the eternal life in us is to be evolved and developed by Christ.
Remark the emphasis is laid on the Lamb being in the midst of the throne. (Rev. 5: 6.) The light of the jasper and sardine stones discovered what John had not seen before, this Lamb, the person of the Lord, brought in so blessedly there. It will not do to separate the person of the Lord from any blessing of God. In Ephesians 1: 7, it is "in whom we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins." In whom presents the living person of Christ; in Him is the forgiveness of sins, and we can look here at the marks of redemption which He bears in His person, He is seen in the midst of the throne as the Lamb slain. To God's eye the proof of redemption is now there, ever in His own presence, in the person of His Son as the One who was dead and is alive. And He is the One in whom we can have thoughts in communion with the mind of God and are able to be in God's presence with all the light of that place thrown into one's soul, and why? Because the Lamb is there as the One who has brought one into God's presence. Can you say you are there because of that Lamb being there?
Those who shared in His rejection are to form the very brightest display of His glory.
Oh, what a wealth of glory in this acting of God in connection with Christ, whether as coming to take us to the Father's house, or as being put into the place of being made sin for us! What wealth of glory!
One day many in and of the world will say to God, "Ah, I have sung the gospel a thousand times set to fine music." That is how hearts become so hardened -- singing the gospel without a sense of the soul's need of it. But what can one think of the children of believers singing the gospel and its having no effect? It makes one tremble and one can only look to Christ for them, as the One who is the Life-giver.
The slain Lamb is on the throne of God: the blood not outside only, but inside on the mercy-seat; and it is the question whether the blood or my sins will have the ascendancy -- one or the other must have it.
"He is our peace." It is not only the sweet savour of Christ's work and the preciousness of the blood, but Christ Himself. The Lamb on the throne of the Almighty God, is my peace.
If you got into heaven, and found there only a sceptre and crown, you would not be happy, but if you found there Him who is the centre of all God's perfections, and could say, "He is my peace," you would be perfectly so.
If I am in the presence of evil, I can speak to God about it, brought nigh by Christ. Satan cannot go there, he can go lower and accuse the brethren, but Christ is there for me, and God is perfectly satisfied. Satan may come against me like a great wave, but Christ cannot let me be overcome.
As believers, we are cut off from all thought of futures, from making plans in connection with this world. I shall not be ready for Christ to come if I am settled down in Sodom and trying to heap up its dross. Whatever duty the Lord has meant us to be doing, each one should be found at when He comes.
When we get into glory there will be no longer hope for eternal blessedness with Christ, but the full position of our present hope. In the glory, the Spirit will always be permeating all, as the energy and medium of everything.
It is an awful sin that nominal Christianity commits in making so little as it does of the blood of God's Son. It is either something that I know was shed for me, or something repudiated by me; and the not accepting that blood as what God has declared it to be, is one of the solemn sins of the present day. I dishonour that blood if I do not believe that it has washed my sins away, if I do not see all guilt gone, if I am not quite at peace and free, in the presence of God, looking for the Eternal Lover of my soul who is coming to take me to be with Him as the One who bought me with that blood and saved me for ever. Saved thus, the dying thief went to the paradise of God with the same liberty as Christ Himself.
We have to judge our whole course down here in the light of His coming. To all I would say, are You in life and ways like people who wait for their Lord? Like the Thessalonians, occupied with that one thing, can we honestly say, "If thou, Lord Jesus, hast thine heart set on coming to gather thy children home, the sooner the better for us."
The Jerusalem sinners had it brought home to them by the Holy Ghost sent down, that if they had indeed been the aggressors, there was the aggressiveness of love up there, and that through that blood which their hands had shed, there was alone forgiveness of sins.
If John knew that that blood had washed him, what shall I, one thousand eight hundred years later, say? Who was near me to tell me that that blood had another voice than that of Abel, and that that blood had washed me? Who? it was Jesus Himself. And there is not one of you who once writhed under the burden of sin who does not know that it was Jesus who washed you. And why? Because God delights in mercy. Why? Because God is love.
Is it a fact that Christ is my life? not merely that something in Him is given me and certain blessings are mine; but something that keeps my heart occupied with Him as the object of worship and adoration, and that something is His life in me here as a real thing. He, the Rock, the Fountain, -- the soul never can forget that all its springs are in Him.
A very dear one said, "I don't feel worthy to take His name on my lips." My answer was, "that is your measure of sin: the perfect One took the measure of it, and when bearing it, had not a ray of light, God's face was hidden; that was its measure. It is infinite and God alone knows it." I do not try to measure my sin except through the worthiness of Him who bore it: and I find Him saying, "If any poor sinner comes to heaven he will get from the Father the very welcome I have."
God tells you that He counts the hairs of your head; suppose I go to a sick-bed and find the mind of a saint anxious and troubled. What, I say, is your Father in heaven, the God of the sparrow, and not one can fall without Him? Put it home to your heart -- is that the Father you trust? If one points to a dead sparrow in the street and says, "without your Father that sparrow did not fall to the ground -- and he counts the hairs of your head."
If John at Patmos instead of seeing Christ had been looking at himself and his own conscience, he would not have had faith to get beyond saying, "I am pardoned and accepted through the blood." There he would have stopped;. but rays of glory were coming down from that Person which made his heart burst forth in further praise. Hope bent forward and carried John beyond Patmos: he looks into the face of the Beloved and. says, "There is a priesthood and a kingdom, and I am to be there, He has done it all for me."
Why did the Holy Ghost take His place outside the temple? Because Jesus had gone up on high, and the promise of the Father was to be fulfilled to a people outside, whom He loved; and the Holy Ghost took up everything for them. And why has there been a revival at the present time? Is the house better than before, or is evil thickening and everything growing more dark? Infidelity on the one hand and superstition on the other, and what new phase of evil may come in next none can foresee; and how can any of us count on going through it all and being kept? Ah! because of that One who never wearies. That One who can never forsake the church of God. The One who came down to reveal the worthiness of Him with whom His people are linked, and they can count on Him to keep them, in spite of all the evil, looking for deliverance out of it, the Spirit and the bride saying "Come!" Is the bride for the earth? What has she to do with the wilderness, save as Rebecca, passing though it? What gives her her whole character? certain position recognised, not by her but by Christ. Herself recognised by Him as that which without spot or wrinkle is to be presented to Himself. It will be a marvellous scene when Christ presents the church to Himself, when the last Adam takes that bride of His to share His glory. Ah! I not only that; but it is oneness with Himself that characterises us. What the heart feels to be so precious is the fact of our being looked at as belonging to Himself, and that the Father sees us not only in a relationship that links us up with the Son of His love in the glory, but such a relationship that He could not do without us. He, the Bridegroom, must have the bride up there. If you follow His course from the Babe in the manger to the death on the cross, and see Him now on the throne of God, the circumstances are very different, but ah! it is the same Lord Jesus; it is Himself, He Himself, who is the object, of love, and we know that we are for His own self in the glory. That is the distinctive thing, that is where the heart rests.
When, through faith, a poor thief cast himself off on that One nailed like himself to a cross, the next word he heard was that he was to go with that One to the paradise of God. Ah! He has a way of His own, and which of you could dare to stand up and judge the work of Christ? As Son of man He acted as God would have acted.
Amazingly blessed though the doctrine be, that Christ is the Head of a body, it does not, even in that, exhaust all the blessedness of our position in Him: it is part of the mystery -- not all of it. You cannot compare the title, Head of a body, with that of Son of the Father; that is beyond all dispensations, it takes us up as those given by the Father to the Son before all worlds, with the title He had with the Father from everlasting to everlasting. I am as a Son in the same connection with God as Christ Himself, and all things are ours as associated with Him in glory.
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." As a potter moulding the clay into a vessel, so is He forming us to walk -- according to the works unto which we were created anew in Christ Jesus -- His life working in us. In this secret power working in the soul for the development of the new nature; in the uncovering of the heart, so that with open face beholding the glory of the Lord we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, how completely God has met His own glory. God saying, I have an only-begotten Son, the end of all that is abolished, and my plan in bringing Him into the world as a man, was to show out what I am, and that if a brand is to be plucked out of Satan's hand, I only am He who can do it; and if I have called one like Saul of Tarsus, one like John Bunyan-called the chiefest of sinners, who shall lay anything to their charge? Ah! cannot you and I say, "Who shall lay anything to our charge, if that God of grace does not?" We have an accepted sacrifice, our consciences are perfect, God says that the blood on His throne satisfies Him, and we say that the blood on our consciences satisfies us. Ah! but more than that -- He not only bowed to take up Saul of Tarsus who would have mowed down all he could find belonging to the Nazarene, but to take such as he, as a vessel to mould and fashion for His own service and glory.
How could a Jew understand a man coming into the world, in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, saying, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;" and from this Man all divine power constantly flowing out?
Are your souls, I would ask, familiar with that grace of the Father in having chosen and accepted you in the Son of His love before the foundation of the world? Do you find in it power that separates you from the world? I believe we are now in a very peculiar stage of its history, the powers of darkness letting loose a vortex of evil of every kind, and many a child of God will be caught in it if not walking with God. Some, like Lot, may have to be dragged up out of Sodom. Not that God will not keep His people, in one sense; but it is not only that, He also wants them to have the experience of what His love is, in such largeness that it will keep their hearts fresh with heavenly streams, fresh in blessed and divine thoughts. They who know all that Father's divine love, have a fountain overflowing from heaven. Are you drinking of it?
Did it not all begin with Him? You know it did, in that He chose you in the Son of His love, before the foundation of the world; and what joy it is to know that He wants to have you in the heavenly city: His love not satisfied save by your being associated with His Son in glory. Oh, if you know what a portion is yours as one who is to, be associated in heavenly glory with Christ, walk in the power of it and of the Father's delight in Him. He wants you to remember as you walk that He took you up before the foundation of the world, and He will not be satisfied, in the largeness of His love towards you till you are in the divine glory with His Son. Oh! the freshness of joy your heart will have as the result of communion with Him in heaven!
The early Christians knew that any and everything in them had been met by Christ, and took their ground as a redeemed people. This gives its character to the love of the brethren: if you love me you will look and see whether I know that I have eternal life, that all my sins are put away, and whether I am walking in the power of it to the Father's house and glory.
Can you say that "all your goods are packed up and gone before?" Do any know that state of having nothing but what is of and through Christ? Ah! will there not be droppings enough of blessings from Christ! I cannot help being a pilgrim down here: if asked to go to court, my answer must be "No, all my things are packed up and gone" -- a full expression of what the apostle felt as he looked up and saw everything there.
The secret of all blessing and progress, after a soul has been brought to taste of blessings in Christ, is the being led into intercourse with God as He has revealed Himself in scripture, knowing Him as the living and true God in action in scripture. Standing then face to face with Him we see what poor things we are, and what the blessing for us in this book -- called truly God's library.
What was your position when in the hand of Satan? It was an awful position-your soul driven hither and thither in Satan's power. But, how blessed! His power came in who says, "I will have mercy on whom I will." Ah, He will act worthily of Himself. If there is absolute power in wickedness, there is absolute power in blessing as the contrast; and why? There is a Man sitting in heavenly glory, and in connection with that Man the earth and heavens were formed, and God began to deal with men for the sake of that One. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, but when it was the question of introducing that One, it was not till four thousand years after. In John's Gospel (John 1) we read, "In the beginning" -- not the beginning of this world or of the angels, but in the beginning. He, who never had a beginning: He, the eternal Son, who was with God and was God, was there. When we look down here, everything is gnarled and sin-worn. The earth had its beginning when God by His eternal power created it. The gospel had its beginning when He who was in the beginning came into the world: He, the one who created and originated everything.
How much is lost by souls who look at the power of Satan only, and have not the thought that the eyes of God are always on those that are His -- who have not the thought, when hardly bestead, that God likes the weak ones' company, and has His pleasure in walking with even a few poor sheep, that His delights are with a feeble few. Do you realise it? Do you find, when the tabernacle shakes and all seems going to pieces, that God has His pleasure walking with you because you are His?
A Roman Catholic would say it is indeed impossible that man could help in creation; but when it comes to the salvation of the soul, he says it is impossible to be saved unless man puts forth all his strength and energy. What strength did Saul of Tarsus put forth? Why did God shine into Saul's heart to unveil the most beautiful object in His own sight, and to show out all the brightness of His glory in the face of Christ? Why did He? Because He wanted to give to another all that which delighted Himself; and it was just like Him to do so.
It is important to look at the opening of the scripture (Gen. 1, 2) as to the question of man's responsibility and position before God, ere sin came in, and his position now, as a sinner. Have you man's innocency before he fell? Why is it that death, from that hour to this, is stalking through the world? Why is it that sin so runs through the very. being of man that it is like the chords of the hand, and that as it springs up in us we cannot divide between what is of the Spirit and what is of the flesh, without Him who is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart?
Oh! I would ask myself, and ask it more and more, whether fellowship with the mind of Christ stamps me. The only way to be genuinely humble is to be ever seeking to do God's will, and having His mind in every thing and nothing of our own. All else will be a fictitious humility, and will fall to the around. I feel it to be of exceeding importance in the present day, in connection with the increase of service, that we should have fellowship with the mind of God, and an abiding in, and a walking with, Christ; as the One by whom and through whom God can alone work. All you do will then be in harmony with the mind of Christ: and all the rest He will cast behind His back.
With the consciousness of who and what He was, the only thing with Christ was, "Lo, I come to do Thy will." Is it true of you that the will of God is your only thought in everything? In every difficulty, every thing that harrows your heart, how does that word bear upon it? What is it, in all that is seen in your soul by the Lord Jesus Christ? In your individual walk with Him, you cannot tell what He reads in your soul. Can you bear the scrutiny of His eye?
The first Adam was a figure of Him who was to come; the counterpart, but infinitely more, was found in Christ. Whilst Adam slept, God took out the rib, out of which He formed Eve: and thus the eternal Son came to die that in His death might be found eternal life for all that are His.
No change in a subordinate changes a superior. It is true that I am full of sin, but can God give up His claim to the creature? He cannot deny that He made man; He cannot deny His goodness. His character comes out in goodness, as clouds drop fatness. No! God cannot deny Himself the claim He has on me if I am His creature. The relationship is broken on the creature's side, but I am brought into relationship a great deal nearer by that word of the Lord Jesus, "I go to my God and your God, to my Father and your Father. As a fallen creature I did not dare call Him my God. I knew that He had created me; but there was sin in me and hell before me, and all within me trembled at the thought of a holy God.
Is there nothing marvellous in a ruined creature being able to say, "My God?" I could not have said it till Christ came. Yes, I, a ruined creature, am brought in Christ, more intensely near God than Adam innocent was.
And how are you and I walking in such a place? Are you I ask, walking as a people who have their spring in God-a people who are temples of the Holy Ghost, and children of the Father, walking as those who are not living to self?
How beautiful -- when perhaps there may be no outward manifestation-a heart turning round to Christ in every thing! In the morning saying, "I have to rise, but I shall do it with Thee: whether I eat or drink I have to do it unto Thee." It is an unseen life, but have you as the very clue to everything you do, as it was to Paul, "To me to live is Christ?" Do you like Christ to know what your secret, private walk is?
The Father's love, the Saviour's love is upon you. and you ought to have the joy of the Holy Ghost over in your heart.
The secret of all joy is to know that I have a great work to do, that is, to live for Christ, and to feel that I have not time for myself. I have time only to live to, and to manifest Him down here.
If I saw Paul, he would not tell me that he had more of Christ than I have; though he knew a great deal more of what it was to suffer for Christ than I.
The Lord draws every soul alike; a pure spring of water will fill every vessel alike, whatever the size or shape of the vessel.
The Lord could look into my heart to fill it with Himself. He sees if its affections wane. He is ever turning to see what each heart wants, identifying each one with Himself -- all the largeness of what He is belonging to each believer, however little his faith intelligence may be.
If I am in Christ all His fulness is mine, and of His fulness have we all received, not one and another getting a bit, but all sharing equally.
Here am I like a poor piece of wood on the water, driving here and there, and how could I have been kept floating so long, but that His fulness dwelt in me, and all He has to give is mine? He heaps one thing after another, not sufficiency only but superabundance, as when He broke up the five loaves and fishes, and twelve baskets full remained over and above to those who had eaten.
Oh what a blessed thing it is to know that I have Christ Himself in me! What an amazing spring of blessedness to me to realise this as my link with a scene which is to be filled up with His glory!
As Lamb of God He is the One to remove sin from the world. He is seen now as the Lamb slain in the midst of the throne; but the highest glory is to be displayed hereafter, the sin of the world having been taken away, and the new heavens and earth created -- the Lamb by His blood purging out the sin of the world, and filling the earth with fields of glory; not a thing in the New Jerusalem or the new heavens and earth incompatible with God being there. He can be there because the blood that was shed when they cleft Him, the only begotten Son of His love, on the cross, made this earth the place where the waters from the smitten Rock flowed out.
None but God perfectly understands the value of the blood of Him whom they crucified. I understand that it has perfectly cleansed my conscience, and by it that I have perfect liberty to go into the holiest; but as to the value of that blood, and what that cross is, I leave it to God. God only knows all the fulness of it, and all its means.
If my heart knows Christ, Christ is the answer to everything. I begin and go on with Christ, matchless in His beauty; and He goes on with me. I desire to be His, and nothing but His.
Whatever the mind works from and to, will be found connected with that word, "Keep yourselves from idols." If Christ is lost sight of, as the end of all a believer is doing, even were it writing out scripture, or whatever it be, it becomes idolatry. In any work that is being done, if Christ is not before the mind, he who is doing that service is doing it apart from Christ, and helping on a system which God does not think fit for Him to dwell in.
Turning to Paul's life, where can we put a note of interrogation? We can put our mark to the failure of many -- to where Abraham told a lie -- to where David fell -- and with Paul you will find where he went beyond the measure, but he was so closely following his Master that all his failure was found in going beyond in devotedness. Where did you put your mark on self yesterday? Did the water of life fill you? How often did an arrow from the enemy get between the joints of your harness so as to entangle you in your walk?
Are we dwellers on earth, or in spirit in heaven? Are we so busy and taken up with this scene down here that it looks as if we were of it, or have we Christ's character? He was so completely separate that He could find no joy here. This world ought not to be the place where your heart finds its aliment and occupation. It will not be so if the Spirit occupies you with the things of Christ, and your heart is set on Christ; He in heaven will be your object, and the things of the world cannot then lay hold of your affections.
There is no point down here, nothing to hold us save being linked up with Christ where He is. We want that Nazarite power-so to be associated with Christ up there, that be it what it may that leads captive down here we can let it go and be occupied only with Christ all the way on to the glory where we are to be with Him.
When God has brought people into this relationship, His love does desire that they, as His people, should serve Him; but how? Ah! He says, Give a cup of cold water -- keep your garments clean -- go and visit the sick and the widow, and keep yourselves unspotted from the world.
What proof have I that God is Love? When sin came in as a complete barrier between Him and fallen man, He gave His only-begotten Son to move it all away. I ask, is it moved out of your way? Is there nothing to hinder your being in the bright light in God's presence? No! not a single. impediment if Christ is up there as your propitiation. Do I know that I am perfectly spotless; not a single thing against me in God's sight? If not, I do not know the love that sent Christ to die for sinners. It is of immense importance to get that at your back as something to stand against in the field of battle. How am I to walk as a man in whom is the eternal life, if I do not know that God cannot see a spot on me? Impossible that He could, if Christ has washed me in His blood! But are you going to walk in the world with this eternal life in you, and yet saying "I like," and "I dislike?" If so, you will not know the happiness it gives to like only what Christ likes, and to dislike all that is contrary to Him.
No human mind could say, "The Lord Jesus is in heaven and I am in Him." Men of the world would laugh at you for saying it. Yet it is a fact, and the believer can say it is so, because it is revealed in the word, and he has tasted it in his own soul.
Never take a penknife, because you think statements in the word are too large, to cut them down to your own tiny measure.
We find constantly that where Satan gets power over a soul is from fragments of truth being presented, which do not satisfy the soul and do not lead on to glory.
To my mind there is nothing more exquisitely beautiful than the thought that God should covet to be the object of the affections of this poor little heart of mine. He might have called me and left me to die at the eleventh hour; but oh! what grace that He should say, "You must choose me as I have chosen you; you must live to me as my Son lived." It is touching grace. Shall my answer be that I cannot do it? If God is working in me is it difficult? If He created me in Christ Jesus unto good works to walk in them, shall I say there is no power? God's word is power. When the Lord said, "Take up thy bed and walk," did not faith know and act upon the mighty power of Him that spake?
The eternal life I have in Christ is a thing apart from what God made the soul of man in Eden. Christ could not be Son of man without being the resurrection of the whole human race, each one to be raised according to whether he honoured or dishonoured God down here, the one to eternal glory, the other to the judgment of the great white throne and the lake of fire; either joy without end or misery without end. He raises them in His own eternity, and the eternity of the wicked is as eternal as God Himself is, and the eternity of the blessed the same.
The life breathed into the soul was good, as connected with a creature in the garden of Eden; but the first action of the eternal life in the soul is the bringing of him who has it into fellowship with Father and the Son. Until Saul of Tarsus had this life, how utterly impossible to him would have been that first thought that Jesus of Nazareth was Jehovah!
When you look at that eternal life, go back millions and millions of ages, that Life was there, and never was there a beginning of that Life. But think of seeing that Life displayed in perfect beauty! A beauty calculated to draw the worship and awaken every feeling of adoration and love in the soul; not a step in the way but I have to say, "Why am I such an utter contrast to that Christ?" All is so adorable and beautiful in the life of Christ, yet I can say "that Life is mine!"
It may be that there is a great deal of the world about you, a great deal that will have to drop off. You can only write a few ciphers about yourself; I do not want you to have a good opinion about yourself, but of Him whose glory is so transcendent that He finds not the heart to condemn those who know Him as their Saviour.
It is not my being able to understand that Christ of God; I have known Him these forty-five years -- and what can I say, Ah, Lord! Thy Father knows all about Thee. He raised Thee and laced Thee at His own right hand, that our fail and hope might be in Thee.
What is confession of Christ? Light shining in and coming out. Saul was entirely dark, and Christ let all the glory in Himself shine into him. What was the effect? Was it merely like a sunbeam that swept across his path and vanished? No! it was the revelation that the Nazarene was the Son of God, and he immediately began to preach it. He had become connected with a system the centre of which was Christ in heaven. Saul was a poor earthen vessel, but so full of Christ that all His thought was that Christ should be magnified, whether by life or by death. Confession was seen flowing out in His life, just as life in Christ had flowed in. He was as clay in the hand of the potter, but he was the expression of the life, of the glorified Head in heaven, with all his weakness.
You cannot be like Christ, but you can walk like Him. I would not for worlds lose that God should say," I am jealous that you should walk like my Son." Do you say it is too much love on. His part? Ah! do not you love to be set by Him as His child with the Son of His love? He would not have you in any other place than that of a son. He lets me know that He never thinks lower of me than of the Son of His love. I in Him and He in me; that is where He has set me.
According to the measure of God's love, so is His jealousy as to the walk of His children. He cannot say of any who are in Christ, "They joined to, idols, let them alone." No! He would say, "I cannot let them transgress, I must come in as a Father and chastise, till I see their ways and walk changed."
That which is poured into a vessel accommodates itself to the size of the vessel. So if God's truth is poured into a vessel, it just carries the fulness God fits it to hold. He filled Jeremiah for the very work He had for him to do.
If we are told of the thorn in the flesh, the apostle does not say what it was. Christ's Spirit in Him did not make him write it, but he looked at everything that discouraged him in the presence of the glory; if it was the question of his own weakness, the Lord meant that too to be carried up there: in everything to be glorying in the Lord.
There will be perfect ease in service, if the ground of it be nearness to the Lord.
Is the peace of God in the soul disturbed by things down here? No, never! If waters break in stormy currents against a rock, the rock is unmoved; it is only the waters that are disturbed.
The peace of one who is bid in the cleft of the Rock nothing can disturb.
Mark the expression in Philippians 4: 18: "An odour of a sweet smell:" it is a strong word. What! a purse of money "an odour of a sweet smell, well pleasing to God?" Yes. It would have been, "Thy money perish with thee," if presented without love to Christ as the motive; but even in a cup of cold water there is an odour of a sweet smell, if given for Christ. How, He will surprise His people by the way in which He counts and notes every little thing done for His sake!
Do I feel love to the God who gave His Son to die for me, and is love to Him who by that death, enabled me to call His God my God, the motive that enables me to empty myself out of everything for Him?
The Philippians were stripping themselves for Paul, but his heart was so simple that he could accept it all, saying, "My God shall supply all our need." He could not refuse their last bit of bread, because he knew that his God would supply them.
It requires the mind of Christ to accept what one does not require, because given for His sake. I once declined taking something from a poor widow; I was not up to the mark. She wanted the gospel preached, and came up to help with her two mites: and one ought to take care not to refuse any the blessed privilege of identifying themselves with the work and interests of the Lord.
God does care to supply all your need, but He has a plan of His own, a plan in which He has everything to satisfy the heart to overflowing. He will supply all the present need of His people, and then give them riches in glory by Christ Jesus for evermore.
People are fond of speaking of themselves, but when occupied with Christ there will be very little space for self. I used to try to get the measure of my sins, but I never found the immeasurableness of the fact that God had to hide His face from the Son of His love, never found it till seeing Him forsaken on the cross, I said to myself, "Do you know the volume of that scene? Two thieves, and Jesus the eternal Son of God hanging on the cross between them! The whole of the wrath due to my sins was met there. He who hung there knew the holiness of God, and He settled the whole question by bearing the whole penalty."
There is the strongest contrast between the whole life and standing of man as a creature, and the eternal life: life that was with the Father. The life of the creature is seen displayed in its most perfect form in man in Eden, body, soul, and spirit; but the perfection of existence, past all dispensation will be when Christ raises all believers as men in His own eternity and in His own likeness.