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Measured Proximity

He who measured my distance is the One who is the measure of my nearness! Many believers are in the shadows because they fail to abide (fellowship—NC) where He is; they are enlightened, but if they were near they would be established (encouraged—NC). When you are reconciled to the Father, you find that instead of being at the greatest distance you are now in the greatest nearness. You know the wonderful nature of your acceptance (Eph 1:6); you find that “when sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Many have no idea of the abounding (IMO, unlimited love and forgiveness—NC). They can speak of the forgiveness of sins; but if you commit fifty sins and are forgiven fifty, there is no abounding there, no excess.

“Grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:20; 21). You are brought into the happiest association with the Father, unto the home of His heart. The prodigal son wandered away, and had spent all that he had; then by the light of grace he came to himself and returned to his father. To his great surprise he found his father met him on the best of terms, “fell of his neck”, and covered him with kisses.

How could this be? Because the shepherd had gone out to “seek and to save that which was lost.” All the offense had been removed; God had been relieved; all that offended had been removed from the eye of God in judgment, and now His heart can come out in all its mighty volume and embrace the returning son. It is marvelous, and yet there is “much more.” The nearer you are to the Father the happier you are (Jas 4:8). You come in now in all the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. “And they began to make merry.”

If you believe even a little of grace, you will look—away from Adam (as no longer “in Adam” - 1Co 15:22), and look to the Lord Jesus Christ (2Cor 3:18); you will give the Father credit for the immensity of His grace, and then you will find that not only has all the offense been removed from His eye, but that the Father has been so fully glorified that the nearer you come to Him, the more assured you are of His love for you. Sin has caused the greatest distance between God and man; grace has brought the believer in Christ into the greatest nearness to Him. You must be conscious of the greatness of the distance; if you do not understand that, you will not understand the greatness of the nearness.

I remember saying many years ago to a dear man of God, “It was a wonderful thing that the Lord Jesus was thinking of us at that moment.” His reply was, “He was not so much thinking of you as He was thinking of His Father.” Much of the feeble sense of salvation in our soul arises from the fact that we are exclusively occupied with our own relief, instead of inquiring whether the Father, whom we have offended, has been relieved.

There must be a complete removal from before God’s eye of the man that sinned (i.e. “old man”—NC), the man in whom sin is. Root and branch must go in judgment, so that it is true of every believer that “our old man is crucified with Him” (Ro 6:6)—crucifixion (not dead but retained—NC) is the judicial termination of the man; and the Man who removed the distance has glorified the Father, and has been “raised up from among the dead by the glory of God the Father” (Rom 6:4). He glorified the Father on the Cross, hence the veil is rent; all has been thrown open on the Father’s side. I do not say that everyone enters in (those not knowing His forgiveness—NC), but the veil is rent and the door of heaven is thrown open. The Father is first relieved, to His endless satisfaction.

—J B Stoney

MJS daily devotional for Feb 10:

“‘God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord’ (1 Cor. 1:9). What believers need is the simple faith that the establishing in Christ, day by day, is God’s work—a work that He delights to do, in spite of all our weakness and unfaithfulness, if we will but trust Him for it. To the blessedness of such faith, and the experience it brings, many can testify. What peace and rest, to know that there is a Husbandman who cares for the branch, to see that it grows stronger; who watches over every hindrance and danger, who supplies every needed aid!

“What peace and rest, fully and finally to give up our abiding into the care of the Father, and never have a wish or thought, never to offer a prayer or engage in an exercise connected with it, without first having the glad remembrance that what we do is only the manifestation of what our Father is doing in us! The establishing in Christ is His work: He accomplishes it by stirring us to watch, and wait, and work.” -A.M.
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