God’s Highest Dream

It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us in sending his Son to be the way to take away our sins. 1 JOHN 4:10

We have attempted to reach the moon but scarcely made it off the ground. We tried to swim the Atlantic, but couldn’t get beyond the reef. We have attempted to scale the Everest of salvation, but we have yet to leave the base camp, much less ascend the slope. The quest is simply too great; we don’t need more supplies or muscle or technique; we need a helicopter.

Can’t you hear it hovering?

“God has a way to make people right with him” (Rom. 3:21, italics mine). How vital that we embrace this truth. God’s highest dream is not to make us rich, not to make us successful or popular or famous. God’s dream is to make us right with him.

In the Grip of Grace

Handling Our Anxieties

Matthew 11:25-30

Gideon was a man who experienced great anxiety. Convinced God had abandoned the Israelites, He had to thresh grain in a winepress to keep it hidden from his enemies, the Midianites. He believed that his family was one of the weakest and that he himself was one of the least of men.

God then called Gideon—who in no way regarded himself as a man of strong capability—to lead the fight against the Midianites. Imagine his stress! But he obeyed and gathered his men, only to have the Lord send most of them home before the battle. Though this turn of events would give anyone anxiety, Israel was victorious because it was the Lord who won the battle. In the process, Gideon learned just how powerful and personal his God was (Judg. 6-7).

As Gideon discovered, knowing God intimately is one of the keys to dealing with worry. Those who handle anxiety well—inwardly and outwardly—know the Lord in a deeply personal way. They are the ones who calmly proceed while others are drowning in stress. When asked how they do it, they usually will respond, “Read the Word. Pray. Trust God.” These simple statements point to a way of life rather than a method. That way of life is centered on Jesus Christ and is spent learning to know Him in His fullness.

Man’s methods for handling anxiety serve only to distract or numb us from stress. God’s way is to reveal who He is through the Holy Spirit’s teaching and, in the process, replace our fretfulness with His peace.

The Doctrines of Salvation

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

The great theme of “salvation” (Greek soteria, Hebrew yeshua) is prominent in both Old and New Testaments. It basically means “deliverance” and can be used for local and specific “deliverances” from perils, as well as for the eternal deliverance of one’s soul. In the latter sense, it is used for deliverance from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin in daily life, and from the very presence of sin in the future life.

Salvation, of course, is found only through the Lord Jesus Christ, whose very coming into the world was to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The name Jesus means “salvation.” In fact, His name really was Yeshua, the word which often is translated “salvation” in the Old Testament. Devout Simeon, after waiting for many years, took the infant Jesus in his arms, exclaiming by the Spirit, “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation” (Luke 2:30).

The theme of salvation is “so great” (Hebrews 2:3), it embraces many major doctrines of Scripture. As a very sketchy summary, one may note that it includes the doctrines of atonement (Leviticus 17:11); of substitution (Isaiah 53:5); of imputation (Romans 4:6-8); propitiation (1 John 2:2); redemption (1 Peter 1:18); remission (Acts 10:43); justification (Romans 3:28); adoption (Ephesians 1:5); reconciliation (Romans 5:10-11); regeneration (Titus 3:5); sanctification (Hebrews 10:9-10); and glorification (Romans 8:30). When a person is saved, the blessings implied in every one of these great doctrines of salvation become his, whether Jew or Gentile, whether found in Old Testament prophecy or New Testament fulfillment. No wonder Paul was not ashamed of this great gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ, and neither should we be! HMM

And after the earthquake a fire; and after the fire a sound of gentle stillness

“And after the earthquake a fire; and after the fire a sound of gentle stillness.” (1 Kings 19:12, R. V., margin.)

A SOUL, who made rapid progress in her understanding of the Lord, was once asked the secret of her easy advancement. She replied tersely, “Mind the checks.” And the reason that many of us do not know and better understand Him is, we do not give heed to His gentle checks, His delicate restraints and constraints. His is a still, small voice. A still voice can hardly be heard. It must be felt. A steady, gentle pressure upon the heart and mind like the touch of a morning zephyr to your face. A small voice, quietly, almost timidly spoken in your heart, but if heeded growing noiselessly clearer to your inner ear. His voice is for the ear of love, and love is intent upon hearing even faintest whispers.

There comes a time also when love ceases to speak if not responded to, or believed in. He is love, and if you would know Him and His voice, give constant ear to His gentle touches. In conversation, when about to utter some word, give heed to that gentle voice, mind the check and refrain from speech. When about to pursue some course that seems all clear and right and there comes quietly to your spirit a suggestion that has in it the force almost of a conviction, give heed, even if changed plans seem highest folly from standpoint of human wisdom. Learn also to wait on God for the unfolding of His will.

Let God form your plans about everything in your mind and heart and then let Him execute them. Do not possess any wisdom of your own. For many times His execution will seem so contradictory to the plan He gave. He will seem to work against Himself. Simply listen, obey and trust God even when it seems highest folly so to do. He will in the end make “all things work together,” but so many times in the first appearance of the outworking of His plans,

“In His own world He is content
To play a losing game.”

So if you would know His voice, never consider results or possible effects. Obey even when He asks you to move in the dark. He Himself will be gloriously light in you. And there will spring up rapidly in your heart an acquaintanceship and a fellowship with God which will be overpowering in itself to hold you and Him together, even in severest testings and under most terrible pressures.—Way of Faith.

He Himself hath suffered being tempted

“He Himself hath suffered being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18

It is a common-place thought, and yet it tastes like nectar to the weary heart—Jesus I was tempted as I am. You have heard that truth many times: have you grasped it? He was tempted to the very same sins into which we fall. Do not dissociate Jesus from our common manhood. It is a dark room which you are going through, but Jesus went through it before. It is a sharp fight which you are waging, but Jesus has stood foot to foot with the same enemy. Let us be of good cheer, Christ has borne the load before us, and the blood-stained footsteps of the King of glory may be seen along the road which we traverse at this hour.

There is something sweeter yet—Jesus was tempted, but Jesus never sinned. Then, my soul, it is not needful for thee to sin, for Jesus was a man, and if one man endured these temptations and sinned not, then in His power His members may also cease from sin. Some beginners in the divine life think that they cannot be tempted without sinning, but they mistake; there is no sin in being tempted, but there is sin in yielding to temptation. Herein is comfort for the sorely tempted ones. There is still more to encourage them if they reflect that the Lord Jesus, though tempted, gloriously triumphed, and as He overcame, so surely shall His followers also, for Jesus is the representative man for His people; the Head has triumphed, and the members share in the victory.

Fears are needless, for Christ is with us, armed for our defence. Our place of safety is the bosom of the Saviour. Perhaps we are tempted just now, in order to drive us nearer to Him. Blessed be any wind that blows us into the port of our Saviour’s love! Happy wounds, which make us seek the beloved Physician. Ye tempted ones, come to your tempted Saviour, for He can be touched with a feeling of your infirmities, and will succour every tried and tempted one.

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Hebrews 1:14

Angels are the unseen attendants of the saints of God; they bear us up in their hands, lest we dash our foot against a stone. Loyalty to their Lord leads them to take a deep interest in the children of His love; they rejoice over the return of the prodigal to his father’s house below, and they welcome the advent of the believer to the King’s palace above. In olden times the sons of God were favoured with their visible appearance, and at this day, although unseen by us, heaven is still opened, and the angels of God ascend and descend upon the Son of man, that they may visit the heirs of salvation. Seraphim still fly with live coals from off the altar to touch the lips of men greatly beloved.

If our eyes could be opened, we should see horses of fire and chariots of fire about the servants of the Lord; for we have come to an innumerable company of angels, who are all watchers and protectors of the seed-royal. Spenser’s line is no poetic fiction, where he sings—

“How oft do they with golden pinions cleave
The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant
Against foul fiends to aid us militant!”

To what dignity are the chosen elevated when the brilliant courtiers of heaven become their willing servitors! Into what communion are we raised since we have intercourse with spotless celestials! How well are we defended since all the twenty- thousand chariots of God are armed for our deliverance! To whom do we owe all this? Let the Lord Jesus Christ be for ever endeared to us, for through Him we are made to sit in heavenly places far above principalities and powers. He it is whose camp is round about them that fear Him; He is the true Michael whose foot is upon the dragon. All hail, Jesus! thou Angel of Jehovah’s presence, to Thee this family offers its morning vows.