Where you walk today;
Not seeing that your highway (where
The simple safely go)
Jesus, you alone are that unseen way
Which I would rather love
Than the clear marked path that I can
With reason understand,
And will to walk.
Take me captive in your captivity and lead
Me in the savor
Of your triumphant victory; your slave,
Enslaved by the beauty
Of your holy love
And unchanging grace. Jesus, lead me
Blind until I come
To see the beauty of your face, face
To face, when you my Christ
Have washed my eyes.
Never speak of the Cross as a principle; it is the work of a Person in suffering and death. The Cross without the Person is nothing, except our damnation.
The truth of the cross is the grace of God. It cannot be any other way, or it would not be the truth of who God is.
ambiguity: vagueness or uncertainty of meaning.
God very often does not show us the meaning of our lives as they relate to the present or our desires for the future. He keeps things secret so that we will come to realize that we find all the meaning of our lives in Him, not in the fulfillment of our desires, even those desires that He has built into our call and purpose in life.
But "God is faithful, who has called us into the fellowship of His Son..." "And surely our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son..." "All my springs are in thee!"
Our only real call is to fellowship with God, receiving His love and loving Him in return. Everything else, EVERYTHING else is secondary - important more or less, but secondary. We set God aside and pursue our dreams and desires and wonder why we are unfulfilled.
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, and without walls. Proverbs 25:28
But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. James 1:25
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. James 2:8
So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. James 2:12
Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, and instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. Romans 2:17-20
Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. Romans 3:31
For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all… Romans 4:13-16
But the fruit of the Spirit is love… Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Therefore the law is holy,and the commandment holy and just and good. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. Romans 7:12,14,22
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. …that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:2,4
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10 [Matthew 22:34-40]
And yet I show you a more excellent way. 1 Corinthians 12:31
The law of liberty is God’s established declaration of our freedom in Christ – therefore Paul, in Romans 8:1-4, speaks of one law that sets us free from another law. Law either enforces bondage or it enforces freedom. Both the perfect law of liberty and the royal law of love enforce, on our behalf, the freedom from the bondage of our flesh which is subject to law which restricts it.
Thus the law of Moses, in Romans 7, is described by Paul as being holy, just, good, and spiritual. In Romans 8:3 he clearly states that the weakness and inability of the law to justify and liberate the ungodly was not in the law but in the flesh. For this reason when Old Testament saints such as David, Samuel, Joshua, Ezra, etc., meditated on the law they found liberty in it because they did not attempt to live under it by their flesh but they lived by it through the understanding of grace that it gave them.
Moses, immediately upon receiving the law from the hand of God, implores God that He would continue to give him the grace that He had been so freely giving up to that time. Moses well understand that the deliverance of Israel from Egypt was not occasioned by any merit that the children of Israel could show either nationally or individually. It was the grace of God that delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh, and it was the grace of God that provided for them in the freedom of that deliverance.
Joshua was specifically directed by God to meditate on the law day and night for the assurance of fulfilling the will of God for his life. This could only be possible if he perceived and understood the grace that was inherent in the law. What victory he demonstrated by his faithfulness to the law. How paradoxical this is to those of us who generally demean the law as being in itself something that is contrary to grace and liberty. The godly men and women who lived before Christ esteemed the law more than their necessary food. Today we have a tendency to despise it because we do not fully understand the depth of our depravity that completely nullifies the law.
Yes, the law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. But the “failure” of the law to justify was the success of the law to bring us to Christ. The reason Moses and David could fulfill the will of God for their lives was not because they rejected the law but because they rejected their flesh which the law condemned. They realized that it must be of grace and not of works, lest any man should boast in himself. It seems that the Old Testament saints had a much greater orientation to grace than most Christians have. Having meditated fully on the law as law they saw the impossibility of any hope of living under it in their own ability and wholly appropriated the ability of God to enable them to live unto Him under the law.
Christ states this clearly in His expression of astonishment that Nicodemus, who was a teacher in Israel, should be so thoroughly ignorant of the grace of God. Paul likewise addresses the Jew in Romans 2 with the inconsistency of having the law and not understanding grace; teaching others that in which they themselves fall so far short and condemning the others when they also fall short. Romans 1:1-3:23 is an indictment not of the law but of our flesh. Paul said, the flesh being what it is, the law could only condemn anyone that thought they would be justified by the ability of their flesh to fulfill the righteousness of God.
Without this understanding of the law as the mediator of the grace of God in that it clearly reveals that grace is the only possible means of acceptance and victory with God, we will not have a clear understanding of grace as grace. Grace is grace by necessity. Where there is no necessity there is no grace. “If it be of works, then it is no more grace.” Any other concept of the grace of God is mere mental gymnastics on the part of the person, or worse, it is another gospel, be it from man or angel. And the result of that concept of grace will be a severe disqualification of that person to fellowship with the living God. “Anathama, Maranatha!”
When Christ spoke to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus concerning Himself, He began with Moses. “The law came by Moses.” Christ spoke to them from the law about Himself. The one by whom grace and truth came spoke about Himself from the one by whom the law came. What a contrary thought to the average believer. How can grace be gotten from the law. It is like Samson’s riddle in Judges 14:14:
“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”
Samson says that from that which would bring death there came life.
This is Christ’s understanding of the law. For this reason Paul says in Galatians 4:4-5: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Christ was born under the law because in the mind of God there is no conflict between law and grace. Both alike express His nature, and both alike bring man to an understanding of who God is and how He works on behalf of man.
5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
“On these two commandments hang all the Law and Prophets.” What a statement that is. All of divine revelation in the Old Testament is based on the simple commandments to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is the finest and highest point of the law and it is the place where man must necessarily realize the futility of the flesh and the fullness of the grace of God.
But Paul continues speaking about the law in 1 Timothy 1 and says that there are those who have left the purpose of the law and have begun to teach it without understanding what it is they are talking about. They do not see how the law promotes love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith. So instead of revealing the grace of God they impose the obligation of man upon their listeners.
Paul uncovers their error by asserting the reality of the law, that as a moral code of conduct it is not made for the righteous. The righteous do not need a moral code to direct and correct their flesh because they have totally abandoned any attempt to be righteous. The law has brought them to Christ and He is their righteousness.
The righteous still live in the purpose of the commandment, but they do so, not by the works of the law performed by their flesh, but by the law of the Spirit of life which sets them free from the law of sin and death. The law of sin and death operates in their members if they live in their flesh, and so the law of Moses must condemn what their flesh is and what it produces.
If they will live, then, in agreement with the law of Moses it will only be as they live in law of the Spirit of life. Then they are being led by that same Spirit, and the law of Moses and the law of the Spirit of life are fulfilled in them because in Christ there is no distinction between the two. God has never changed His mind about the law which He gave by Moses. Man must change his mind about his ability to fulfill that law through his own ability and efforts.
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” John 14:22-24
“The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life.” John 6:63
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3
The mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16), is that God would make Himself known, not mystically, but concretely by those means that we can hear, see, and touch (I John 1:1-2; Romans 1:20). Mystical experience is subjective and easily counterfeited*.
The word of God is the concrete expression of the person, nature, and purpose of God in Christ. But not the gnostic, new age Christ of our own subjective design that fits our personal temperaments and preferences. “Take heed that no one deceive you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ’ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5). Paul speaks of those “who did not like to retain God in knowledge” (Romans 1:28). These people will be deceived because they have left the concrete revealed knowledge of God and they substitute in its place their own subjective concepts of God, or the non-existence of God (Psalm 14:1).
The fact that God has given us His word, not in mystical revelations to our mind, but in concrete words that have real, absolute meaning is one of the greatest gifts of grace that we have. How uncertain we would be of God’s truth without it. How nebulous and diluted would our concept of reality be. How lost would we be in our own empty imaginations about who God is, and what He has done for us.
“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
They will pass through it hard-pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward.
Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness” (Isaiah 8:20-22).
“…having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;
who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
But you have not so learned Christ (Ephesians 4:18-20).
The ignorance that leads to despair is only remedied by receiving the absolute word of God.
__________________________________________________________* There is also the mystical aspect of the Holy Spirit speaking to our human spirit, but He does not “reveal” any new truth, nor does He produce any effect that is contrary to the word of God. He teaches us according to word of God, and causes us to understand it, believe it, and live by it. In this way He makes known to us who Jesus Christ is.
I have nothing to offer God except my broken heart and contrite spirit. “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation…” Psalm 116:12.
I can only be an empty vessel, and I am a broken one in my humanity. It is enough. He will gather the vessels and fill them with oil, like the widow whose sons were to be sold. He will fill them with the oil of His Holy Spirit, and that oil, and that oil alone will heal them.
“Neither is there in salvation in any other…” Acts 4:12. The Spirit of Christ sheds abroad in our hearts the love, the very nature, of God.
Oh to be just a vessel that has been broken so self has all run out and been lost. A vessel that is unable to fill itself; unable to satisfy itself. A vessel that is satisfied in not being self-satisfied. A vessel that so filled with the oil of Christ that it has no need to be self-conscious.
Mary Magdalene was so concentrated on the person and love of Christ that she washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, even before Christ washed the feet of the disciples. She was so easily moved by the Holy Spirit that she thought exactly like Christ thought. And she washed His feet because of His love for her – she had been such a broken and soiled vessel and He had healed her and cleansed her – she could only love Him.
How He longs for us to learn His love that way. “For God so loved the world…” – SO LOVED the world that hated Him.
"I have loved you from all eternity, because I have loved you, because I AM love; therefore I have drawn you to Myself with loving-kindness throughout all the days of your life." Jeremiah 31:3
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” I John 3:1