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Transformation

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The Lord Jesus is not now on earth. He has ascended into heaven. What a very peculiar position then is mine hear! Sensible of the worthlessness of the first man, and of the absence of the Second. My own life—that of the first man, I have; the One I love—the Man who has glorified God upon the earth—I find no longer here. How can I get on?—only as united to that One in the glory. He is my Christian Life. Once with Him I can walk here, not to cultivate my old life, but to manifest His, which is mine in Him.

Thus the Lord Jesus says, “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth” (Jn 17:19). His sanctification as expressed in these words is positional. He has ascended into glory, and is wholly apart from this scene, that we might by the Holy Spirit be associated with Him there, and this is our moral sanctification.

But how am I led into this association? See Stephen in Acts 7:55, “being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” Now there was a new and distinct action of the Spirit, enabling Stephen’s soul to penetrate through everything, and to find the Lord Jesus where He is, even in the glory of God. It was a new thing brought out at that moment. It was, in a sense, contrary to Stephen’s own preaching, for he had been preaching that Christ was to come down—to return (all thought Christ was about to “restore again the kingdom to Israel”—NC)

In chapter One of Acts the disciples were distinctly told not to gaze up into heaven, but now Christ’s rejection was completed, and there was no longer any possibility of His return to earth to take His rights, and the Holy Spirit takes an altogether new line of action. He reveals the Lord Jesus in the glory to the saint, and links the soul of the believer with Him there, all hope for the earth being cut off.

Now every new revelation determines the character of the action of the Holy Spirit during any given period or dispensation. When everything has failed on earth, He directs me to where there is no failures, He turns my eye and heart to heaven. He accomplishes in me the very same action that He did in Stephen.

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col 3:2, 3). It is the strangest of all anomalies that we should be left here to live, where our life is not. Tell me where your eye is, and I’ll tell you what your conduct is. “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2Co 3:18).

There we get the moral consequences of personal fellowship—one spirit with the Lord Jesus, the glory claims me as its own. I can behold the glory of the Lord with unveiled face, and be transformed thereby “into the same image.” I have no shrinking from the glory, my heart rests in it. I can look upon that glory as one with the blessed One who is there, and who has made for me a free entrance into it by the ministration of righteousness and of the Holy Spirit.

If I am not in conscious union with the One who is there, I cannot “hate” the life that is here (Jhn 12:25; 1Jo 2:15). He has ended the first man (old man; sin nature after Adam—NC) on the Cross, and now I am free in the life of the blessed One in the presence of my Father.

—James Butler Stoney (1814-1897)


Excerpt from MJS online “None but the Hungry Heart” devotional for 10-15:

“When we truly hate ourselves (old man; evil - Pro 8:13—NC), we are prepared to rejoice in the blessed fact that we have been crucified with the Lord Jesus—that sin in the flesh was condemned (not forgiven) when He died unto sin, that our whole history as in the flesh closed before the Father in His Son’s death—and that this is our title to be free. I have now a righteous title to have done with myself because I have died unto sin in the Lord Jesus’ death.

“To prepare me for this I learn the necessity for death in my own experience, but the death of the Lord Jesus is my title to be free. It is by the appropriation of His death that I reach liberty and newness of life; that death has severed me from all that I was as in fallen Adam. ‘I have been crucified with Christ.’ I am free from myself, and free to have the One who is my Christian life before me.”—Charles Andrew Coates (1862-1945)



Hymn lyrics by C A C:

SON of God, in heaven we view Thee
Of God's love the Object meet;
While, Lord Jesus Christ, 'tis through Thee
All our blessing is complete.

As Thy brethren we surround Thee,
Firstborn of a heavenly race;
He who has with glory crowned Thee
Called us to this blessed place.

From the triumph and the glory
Of Thy rest in love divine,
Comes to us the wondrous story,
How God's purpose made us Thine;

How by dying Thou hast freed us
From the man of sin and shame,
That, unhindered, Thou might'st lead us
Now to know Thy Father's name.

And responsive to Thy longing,
We would now abide in love;
Know Thy joy, as those belonging

To Thyself in heaven above.
 

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