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Unclaimed Blessings

Anyone can live in respect and kindness towards others. To do so is merely to put to use the natural abilities that all have in their earthly makeup of thoughts and feelings that are acceptable. Morality is generally related to the conduction of response between mortals; godliness is generally the conduction of response between mortals and God!

To get the attention of the world, God began with directing a certain group of peoples (Hebrew and Jews) in morality, and to those among them who loved Him and were obedient, He “showed mercy” (Exo 20:6). Anybody can be morally good without God, but nobody can be godly without Him; and the godly will be—at the least—morally good, and walk in the goodness of God, leading them to live in perpetual “repentance” (Rom 2:4).

It is often mistaken that the morality of a believer effects the forgiveness of God, instead of realizing that our conduct is merely evidence of the Spirit’s fruit. For Israel, forgiveness was effected for believers (Jn 14:1) solely in the atoning sacrifice of the sin offering of animals, which typified the final atonement in Christ (e.g. Num 15:25); and for believers now, forgiveness is the sole work of the literal Cross of Christ, and conduct is the evidence. -NC

Unclaimed Blessings

The Lord Jesus has set before us an inheritance of blessings—“spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). But we are slow to take advantage of it. We think, perhaps, that it is presumption, or for our future in heaven; or some may fancy that, instead of venturing on such a subject, it would be more practical to be dwelling upon our ordinary duties (e.g. thinking moral conduct alone is sufficient—NC). But this would not be enough, because it is not Christianity. It is not the measure of what the Lord Jesus has called us to now.

There are certain things that all saints from the beginning of the world have walked in. It never was right at any time for a saint to lie, or to do anything immoral. In all dispensations there are certain moral duties that necessarily are inseparable from life in God. But this is not Christianity. A saint my do all that and still not enjoy the life that is in Christ Jesus (incorrect Biblical growth-doctrine delays learning, that it is the Life of Christ which remains in us that is available for our practical source of sustenance used in responding to all things. I say “delay” because it’s just a matter of time until the Spirit eventually teaches us anything He desires us to know, understand and apply - Pro 28:5; 2Ti 2:7—NC).

To be really Christian is to enter into the calling that is now ours through the death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is what is represented by the passing of the Jordan. It presents the same death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus that had been previously given in the passing of the Red Sea, though in a different point of view. The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus as seen there is His separating His own from the world—His bringing them out of Egypt. But all that may well be, and we may not have the least enjoyment of our heavenly blessings (i.e. not being encouraged by knowing in this life, that the certainty of heaven is ours now—NC).

We may thank God that we are delivered—that we are not going to be cast into hell. But is that enough? It is not. If we stop short there, if we do not enter further into our heavenly blessings, Satan will, at one time or another, gain a complete victory over us (concerning our encouragement—NC), as he did the Israelites. For instead of their conquering and driving out their enemies (our main enemy is discouragement from the old man, which God drives out as we cast it on Him—NC), we read of Canaanites, Perizzites, Jebusites, etc. who kept their possessions in peace in spite of Israel (e.g. Jdg 1:21, 27-36); and so it is with many a child of God. They are deceived by evil that does not appear as such, and is not considered so because it is not moral evil. For even a mere man (natural man—NC) is bound not to sin morally.

But a growing Christian is a person who has his eyes and heart-affections fastened upon the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. Anyone can judge an outwardly immoral thing, but very few know that what even some godly people are doing is entirely contrary to the Holy Spirit and to the Father Himself. There are many so-called religious practices that are sins (done in ignorance of the wrongs—NC), and these are what the Christian ought to have his eyes opened to. God works this in us by giving us to know that we have got a heavenly inheritance. The Lord Jesus, by His death and resurrection, not only has brought us out of Egypt and into the wilderness, but into heaven itself in spirit. We are even now seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus—and have been so since the day we were born again!

We have got now the stamp of heaven upon us, we are sealed by the Spirit (Eph 1:13; 4:30), an our Father is looking that we may walk in the sense of this great privilege, making advances, gaining victories and wresting what the Lord Jesus has given us out of the hands of the enemy. We ought to be seeing what the inheritance is that the Father has assigned to us, and whether our worship and our walk are really according to Him, and suitable to the position in which He has placed us.

If you make morality you standing (law), you will be sure to fall below what you propose. Whatever we put before us as our criterion there will always be a falling short. If we have the Lord Jesus in the glory as our Object (criterion—NC), we shall prove the power of His resurrection, not only in lifting us up when we are conscience of our exceedingly shortcomings (old man—NC), but in strengthening us “to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phl 3:14; after receiving salvation, the “mark” is to learn to “walk as He walked,” i.e. keeping the Father first in all things - 1Jo 2:6; and the prize is “the crown of life,” which represents what we already have in Christ - Jas 1:12; Rev 2:10—NC).

—Wm Kelly

MJS devotional excerpt for 2-21:

“Christian progress is not a question of attaining to some abstract standard, or of pressing through to some far-off goal. It is wholly a question of seeing God’s standard in God’s Word. You advance spiritually by finding out what you really are in Christ, not by trying to become what you hope to be. That goal you will never reach, however earnestly you may strive.” –W N


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