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Living Unto Him

Why “the tree of knowledge of good and evil”? Did God want mankind to “become as one of Us, to know good and evil” (Gen 3:22)? Didn’t God know man would partake of that Tree? It’s common knowledge that there is much instruction through experience, so the final question to be asked is, could it be that God intended for man to know “good” (i.e. His holiness) through knowing “evil”?—which is being after Their “likeness” (Gen 1:26).

It is a certainty that the more we know concerning the ongoing indwelling of the sin nature (Rom 7:17, 20), the more understanding will result concerning His holiness, of which I believe He continues to teach us, in order to realize the immeasurable capacity of both thereby progressively revealing the depths of His holy nature, “so we can see how terrible sin really is” – Rom 7:13 NLT). A prominent manifestation of the indwelling of the “new nature” is that ever-present “desire and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil 2:12). This is also seen by the Spirit in His opposition to the sinful nature, “so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal 5:7); which can involve Him directing us away from the works of the old nature, which nature also at times interferes with this guidance in our lives.

As we are shown to realize more all the time, the presence and workings of our sinful nature (”old man”), we can also know that we are no longer considered as being in it (Rom 8:9), but rather as it in us, and we can also know the clear-conscience peace (1Tim 1:5, 19; 3:9; 2Tim 1:3; Heb 9:14; 10:2, 22; 13:18; 1Pet 3:21) of being reassured concerning the eternal guiltless (Rom 8:1) condition that God has positioned (Col 3:3) us in His Son and our Lord Jesus. Patience is of the utmost importance while we are being “conformed” through the trial and error of our souls. Not that when there is the lack of patience does it prevent our growth, but the application of patience provides for increased learning along the Way.

- NC

Living Unto Him

“He died for all, that they who live should not henceforth live into themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again” (2Cor 5:15). Now, there is never a question day by day that arises, to what brings out one of these two things, that is, whether we are living to ourselves or to Him “who died for us, and rose again.” And have I not to own the sad truth how constantly we have to rebuke our souls? How often, not to say in general, the first impulse of the heart is to take that view of everything which would minister to our pleasure or gratification, or importance? What is this but living to ourselves?

When any question comes before us, when anything, either in the way of an evil to be avoided, a loss to be shunned, or something to be gained, is it not our tendency to look how it will bear upon us and to give it that turn which will be for our profit or advantage in some way or other? I do not say always personally: it may be for our family, looking onward to the future or to the present. Now we are always wrong when we do it. Our Father would not have us to neglect the real food of those dear to us and dependent upon us; but the question is, whether we trust ourselves and ours to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are we adequate of what is best for our children? Are we the least biased and the wisest to decide on that which would be for, not the passing profit, but the good which endures forever? It comes to a very simple issue. We have two natures—one which is always grasping for something that will please and exalt itself, and the other which, by the grace of God is willing to suffer for the Lord Jesus, and clings to what is of Him. But, as Paul said, “not that which is spiritual is first, but that which is natural, then afterward that which is spiritual” (1Cor 15:46). So it is in our practical experience.

The thought that is apt promptly to rise when there is trial and difficulty, is the simply natural one, how to get out of it—not, how am I to glorify my Father in it, and turn it to the praise of the Lord Jesus. Then, again, if there is any prospect of improving circumstances, this is the first thought—that which is natural. Ought we not to be upon our watchtower in regards to this? We may not all be tried in the same way; for that which would be a gratification to one might not be so to another. But there is one sad things in which we all agree: we have an old man that likes and seeks to gratify itself; and we have hence a tendency to first indulge that life.

But let us come before the Lord Jesus—let us be occupied with Him, when either trouble or pleasure comes before us, and what then? That which is natural fades away: we judge it as crucified. We say, that is the thing that brings no glory to the lord Jesus—and what are we here for? Let us remember that our Father has done everything to fit us for His very presence: “He has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col 1:12). That remains eternally untouched.

The practical question for our souls is, whether our hearts, knowing the perfect goodness of our Father towards us, enter in this great thought—that He now sets the Lord Jesus, dead and risen, before us, in order that, in the presence of the holy angels as well as of men, yea, in His own presence, there may be the wonderful spectacle of beings who once lived for nothing but themselves, here, by the very image of the Lord Jesus before their souls, be lifted above themselves altogether.

May we bring this to bear upon whatever may be the circumstances through which we pass day by day? It is the main thing for the walk of every saint. No position can ever make amends for failure in the constant thought of the heart. May we search and see whether we are living to ourselves, or to Him who died for us and rose again?

- W J Hocking

Daily Devotional by Miles J Stanford: None But The Hungry Heart