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What parents could there be that would desire their child to earn love and favor from them in place of merely receiving it? These can never be earned since love and favor are antecedent to anything children do, and seeing that this acceptance is unattainable by any action (other than faith concerning salvation), all things received are all things “given” (1 Tim 6:17).

Surely in all things God has the best in mind for His children, in that what was established in reference to “works” (first covenant) by man is incomparable to that which is established by grace in Christ. When the subject is our relationship with God it is always better to receive than give (i.e. Luke 10:42), for as we know there is nothing other than love and gratitude (praise) the creature can offer to the Creator.

- NC


After the fall, and until grace reigned, everything was on the ground of work*. Able offers the firstling of his flock; it is his work - no doubt a work of faith; faith in God led him to do the right thing, by it was his act. But now, the light of grace does not lead the awakened soul to offer, but to accept the fullness of the offering which has been made. Now gift or grace is in quite a different way than work. Each blessing is provided, and the believer is free to accept in faith, not doing any act to secure it. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3).

Let us look at the difference between Israel entering the land, and the man in Christ. Everything depended on their act. They must go in and possess the land. True, God brought them in, but they had to act in order to possess, and those who went in without faith did not remain possessors.

Now the believer is united to the Lord Jesus, and is in full title and ownership of the heavenly places before he enjoys any of it. True, as he accepts in faith the portion which grace has given him, the greater is his sense of possession and consequently of his enjoyment. In the one case the act was necessary in order to obtain possession; in the other, there was as much title before enjoying possession, as there was consequent to possession. If I only possess heaven in proportion to my act of faith as in the case with Israel respecting Canaan, I have no right of possession but as I secure it; my sense of owning the land is only as I set foot on it.

Hence I am necessarily anxious of my progress; my possession depends on it; whereas with a believer now, he has full title before he lays hold of any of it, and every apprehension of his portion only stimulates him the more to advance, and to be in association with Him who is there. It is the vastness of the blessing which he has in association with the Lord Jesus, which makes him long to apprehend it more, as Paul says, “That I may apprehend that for which I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:12).

It is the breath and length, and depth and height, which occupy him who has the Lord Jesus dwelling in his heart by faith. He does not depend on his own progress for assurance of possession, but he is so assured of the unsearchable riches of Christ as his position, that he dwells on it in faith; and thus, as the greatness of his possession is realized, he longs to enter still more into what he is sure is his.

We all know the tendency there is in our hearts, and often in proportion to our earnestness to be on the line of attainment, instead of being simple recipients; and it is well for us to note the difference in state which the effort to attain produces, from that which grace or the acceptance of gift produces. One who is in the former is never even; he is elated at any sense of his progress, and depressed if he becomes conscious of his losing ground; though generally he is too well pleased with his own engrossment of desire to advance, and obtain more.

In the other, in proportion as the grace is simply held, there is a great evenness. There is ever a sense of being far behind in enjoying the vastness of what has been conferred; and there is the greatest thankfulness for a sight of it, while with each new acquisition, there is the sense that “the draught which lulls our thirsting awakes out thirst anew.” The one is like a man making a fortune; while the other is exploring the vastness of the gift bestowed on him; one necessarily is occupied with what he is doing; the other is praising the Lord for what He has done and shared with him.

- J B Stoney

Poster’s Opinion:
* “the ground of work”: or “works,” though now (OT) man (Israel - as representative of mankind) placed on trial due to the fall, works are what then and now manifests those who are of faith in God. Works have always been the life-flow concerning the evidence of faith, and faith is always the life-flow concerning the enablement of works!

Miles J Stanford Daily Devotional: None But The Hungry Heart