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The Object of Affection

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We only touch the positive blessings of Christianity when we reach the Lord Jesus. It has sometimes been said that souls may have blessing without having the Blesser, but this is hardly the truth. Of course one may have a measure of relief and the assurance of eternal security because we trust the shed Blood and finished work of the Savior, but when we come to divine favor and the positive blessings of Christianity, they are all linked with and inseparable from a Person.

Our Father would thus connect our every thought of blessing and life with His Beloved Son, and would lead us into the wondrous thought that we are bound up with Him. And the blessings we have in union with Him infinitely transcend everything in this world. I am sure that if we esteem the blessing and favor of our Father greater than anything on earth, the One who ministers that favor to us must acquire supremacy in our affections. We bow before Him in affection—He becomes our heart’s “Object, bright and fair.”

We have to learn that death is on things here. We may learn it on the privilege line or on the experiential line, but it must needs be learned. “They went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.” We have to learn that there is nothing here to minister to us (concerning our spiritual sufficiency—NC); there is no refreshment here—not a blade of grass or a drop of water for the lambs and sheep of the Shepherd’s flock.

We may think in our folly that if we had this or that it would minister satisfaction to us. We may set our eyes on some pleasant prospect; certain things may seem full of promise; we may turn aside to quench our thirst at what appears to be an attractive pool—only to find that it is a delusive mirage. Our Father will not have us to find satisfaction in things which are here (though we are “richly given all things to enjoy,” we cannot find any elements in them that sustains us in our faith, which comes only from God, in Christ, through the Spirit—NC).

As children of Adam we “were but dead men” (2Sam 19:28), and we rejoice to know that before God our history as belonging to that race has terminated. “Our old man has been crucified with Him.” But this is a fact with an intensely practical bearing, for when it is really accepted, the body of sin (not the physical body but the sinful nature, which is a “body of death” – Rom 7:24, with its “members” – Col 3:5—NC) is annulled, and henceforth we do not serve sin (in the “mind” of our new nature - Rom 7:25—NC). That is, when we recognize that as children of Adam we are under judgment, and that we have gone as such from the eye of God in judgment, the body of sin is annulled for our hearts (“not in the sinful nature” - Rom 8:9—NC). That life in which the totality of sin is found is recognized by us as a condemned thing (Rom 8:3). And when this is the case its power over our hearts is broken.

The knowledge of doctrine gives no power. One might be very well up in the doctrine of deliverance, and know absolutely nothing of its reality and power. It is as our hearts are under the sway of the grace which is ministered to us through our Lord Jesus Christ, and as we are knit to Him in affection by the Spirit, that we touch and taste a new life, and are severed in heart from everything that constituted the life of our “old man.” Thus the body of sin is annulled for our hearts, and we do not serve sin (“serve”; willfully commit—NC).

We are not “dead to sin” by faith (but “by grace . . . through faith”—NC), or by the mere acceptance of truths and doctrines. It is as the Spirit of God attaches us in affection to the Lord Jesus in the place where He is that we discern the true character of everything here. Our life is not in this sphere; it is bound up with the Lord Jesus in glory, and we can in simplicity of heart take account of ourselves as being “dead to sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:11).

- C A Coates

Excerpt for MJS devotional for May 22:

“Promises and blessings have mainly to do with the milk of the Word. In order for a believer to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, he must fellowship with Him in the Word. There is general Bible study, and there is feeding upon the Lord Jesus in the Word of life. The former serves for foundation, the latter is needed for growth.” - MJS

"People may receive ‘blessings’ and temporary ‘deliverances’ in answer to prayer, for God is merciful to His children and His Spirit refreshes and blesses us even apart from the real walk of faith. But it is of greater benefit finally to us, and much greater glory to God, if we simply accept His Word and learn to walk in the power of it by naked faith; which asks no longer certain ecstasies, but being sure of God’s truth because it is His truth, maintains an attitude of faith therein; attitude—a fixed heart.” – W R N
None But The Hungry Heart

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