There are plenty who say, "Lord, Lord," but who don't do the things that He says. It's easy to be profuse in our expressions, and readily swayed by gusts of emotion, and yet be heartless and loveless. But such do not love with sincerity. They resemble the shallow soil, where the seed soon fructifies, and as soon dies, because there's only rock beneath. For such the apostle had no words of benediction.
But wherever there's sincere love to Jesus, however weak and ignorant the disciple, there's a member of the mystical body, the Church, and one on whom our benediction may alight. You may not speak our Shibboleth or accept our creed; but if you sincerely love Jesus, we bid you welcome and wish you grace.
Spirit of God, baptize us in God's holy fire, that we may begin to glow with
the sacred flame, and be burning ones indeed
There are two processes at work in the earth...each rapidly nearing completion. Both are pictured as harvests in Rev. 14:14-20. In verses 15-16, we see one harvest portrayed symbolically as an angel with a sickle literally reaping a crop from the earth. The accompanying words include, "the time is come," and "the harvest of the earth is ripe." In this harvest we see God's work in His people completed.
This is followed by a second angel and a second harvest. This one is described differently. The angel was told to "thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe." This harvest was cast into "the great winepress of the wrath of God" (verse 19).
As much as we might long for the coming of Christ and final deliverance, it
won't come until precisely the right moment. God will not lose even one
of His own (II Pet. 3:9, John 6:37). In the meantime, we walk by faith and
not by sight (II Cor. 5:7) depending on God's grace (II Cor. 12:9) and
looking to the Captain of our Salvation, who has promised never to leave us
nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5).
"In your patience possess ye your souls" (Luke 21:19).
Dead to the World
"Far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world."
Paul speaks here of his only glory being that in Christ he has in very deed been crucified to the world and entirely delivered from its power. When he said, "I have been crucified with Christ" (Gal. 2:20), it was not only an inner spiritual truth, but an actual, practical experience in relation to the world and its temptations.
Christ had spoken about the world hating Him and His having overcome the world. Paul knows that the world, which nailed Christ to the cross had in that deed done the same to him. He boasts that he lives as one crucified to the world, and that now the world as an impotent enemy was crucified to him. It was this that made him glory in the cross of Christ: it had produced a complete deliverance from the world.
How very different the relation of Christians to the world in our day! They agree that they may not commit the sins that the world allows. But except for that they are good friends with the world, and have liberty to enjoy as much of it as they can if they keep from open sin. They don't know that the most dangerous source of sin is the love of the world with its lusts and pleasures.
As Christians, when the world crucified Christ, it crucified us with Him! When Christ overcame the world on the cross He made us an overcomer too. He calls us, now, at whatever cost of self-denial, to regard the world, in its hostility to God and His kingdom, as a crucified enemy over whom the cross can ever keep us a conqueror!
What a different relationship to the pleasures and attractions of the world the Christian has who by the Holy Spirit has learned to say: "I've been crucified with Christ; the crucified Christ liveth in me!" Let's pray to God fervently...that the Holy Spirit, through whom Christ offered Himself on the cross, may reveal to us in power what it means to "glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified unto me."
And let's remember, "If we've been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection…If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him" (Romans 6:5,8).