Take a Stand

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

When Jesus and the apostles worked miracles of healing, they often told people to “stand” regardless of how they were healed. Jesus healed a man’s withered hand and told him, “Arise and stand here” (Luke 6:8). When Paul healed a lame man he said, “Stand up straight on your feet” (Acts 14:10). Standing up in new physical life became a metaphor for standing up in new spiritual life.

When Jesus confronted Paul on the road to Damascus, He told him, “But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared . . . to make you a minister and a witness” (Acts 26:16). Paul stood and later said, “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand” (Acts 26:22). Throughout his ministry Paul used the image of standing to illustrate what it means to be strong in the Gospel of the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:1). But standing for God can be dangerous: “And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour?” (1 Corinthians 15:30) We must be clothed in God’s armor to stand victoriously (Ephesians 6:11, 13-14).

If you have been raised up in new life in Christ, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

I put the Scriptures above all the sayings of the fathers, angels, men and devils. Here I take my stand. Martin Luther

Recommended Reading: Ephesians 6:11-14

God’s Grace and Holiness

Titus 2:11-12

One of the grandest expressions of the gospel is contained in Titus 2:11, where Paul tells us, “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.” How could there be any better news than that? What was invisible for many centuries and what was once unavailable has now come into view. Moreover, this grace has appeared not simply for the benefit of a chosen few but for “everyone.” It is what the apostle elsewhere calls “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16).

With such power at our disposal, we are sometimes disappointed when we find there are a number of painful chapters in the book of grace. To most people, the word “power” suggests instant transformation and easy accomplishment. We often forget that grace is a schoolteacher who has appeared with very specific instructions.

In Titus 2:12, we learn the lesson plan. This teacher has appeared, “instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” We can learn to say no to sin and worldly appetites. We can learn what holiness consists of, and we can find sensible ways to acquire and display it. What’s more, we can do it here and now, even when the cultural climate seems unreceptive. And it is only through God’s grace that we can even attempt to live a righteous life.

Such learning may take time, but progress in this school is just as much a tribute to God’s grace as are the instant changes that sometimes occur right after a person gets saved.

Logical Milk

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” (1 Peter 2:2)

This exhortation is directed to young Christians who have only recently trusted God’s enduring Word, preached to them in the saving gospel of Christ.

Because of this miracle of regeneration just experienced, a new Christian must now “[lay] aside [the verb form here means to ‘lay aside once and for all’] all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies” (1 Peter 2:1) and partake—as babes—of the “milk of sincerity.” The word for “sincere” means, literally, “without guile,” so he/she must now build all future progress in his/her new life—not on guile, but on guilelessness!

The phrase “of the word” is especially noteworthy. This is not the usual word for “word” (Greek, logos), but a closely related word (logikos) from which we get our words “logic” and “logical.” It is used only one other time in the New Testament, where it is rendered “reasonable” in the classic passage dealing with “your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

Thus, Peter is talking about partaking of a spiritual milk which is both logical and without guile. This can be nothing else (as seen in the context) than the incorruptible, eternal, regenerating Word of God, and the living Word (Jesus Christ) revealed therein.

Now, the Lord Jesus is surely logical, for He is “the truth” (John 14:6). In this same chapter, Peter also notes that Christ was without guile (1 Peter 2:22). These attributes must be equally true of His written Word. The Scriptures are not full of secret meanings which only specially trained interpreters can fathom. They are sincere, meaning precisely what they say! Neither are they naive and unscientific, but fully logical and correct in everything they say. Therefore, they are genuine spiritual nourishment for babes in Christ and will certainly enable them to “grow thereby.” HMM

Trying to Decide

(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) —2 Corinthians 6:2

This is so desperately a matter of importance for every human being who comes into the world that I first become indignant, and then I become sad, when I try to give spiritual counsel to a person who looks me in the eye and tells me: “Well, I am trying to make up my mind if I should accept Christ or not.”

Such a person gives absolutely no indication that he realizes he is talking about the most important decision he can make in his lifetime—a decision to get right with God, to believe in the eternal Son, the Savior, to become a disciple, an obedient witness to Jesus Christ as Lord.

How can any man or woman, lost and undone, sinful and wretched, alienated from God, stand there and intimate that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and God’s revealed plan of salvation do not take priority over some of life’s other decisions?

Lord, give us boldness to share this vital message with anyone with whom we come in contact who may be facing a Christless eternity. Amen.

God Still Speaks through Those Who Can Weep

Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned to mourning…. James 4:9

The Bible was written in tears and to tears it will yield its best treasure. God has nothing to say to the frivolous man.

It was to Moses, a trembling man, that God spoke on the mount, and that same man later saved the nation when he threw himself before God with the offer to have himself blotted out of God’s book for Israel’s sake. Daniel’s long season of fasting and prayer brought Gabriel from heaven to tell him the secret of the centuries. When the beloved John wept much because no one could be found worthy to open the seven-sealed book, one of the elders comforted him with the joyous news that the Lion of the tribe of Judah had prevailed.

The psalmists often wrote in tears, the prophets could hardly conceal their heavyheartedness, and the Apostle Paul in his otherwise joyous epistle to the Philippians broke into tears when he thought of the many who were enemies of the cross of Christ and whose end was destruction. Those Christian leaders who shook the world were one and all men of sorrows whose witness to mankind welled out of heavy hearts.

There is no power in tears, per se, but tears and power ever lie close together in the Church of the Firstborn! By the law of just compensation, the heart of the religious trifler will be destroyed by the exceeding brightness of the truth he touches. Tearless eyes are finally blinded by the light at which they gaze!

Our Inner Sights

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling. EPHESIANS 1:18

Revival and blessing come to the church when we stop looking at a picture of God and look at God Himself! Revival comes when, no longer satisfied to know about a God in history, we meet the conditions of finding Him in living, personal experience.

Conversely, revival cannot come if we are far removed from God. It cannot come if, instead of hearing His voice, we are content with only an echo!

Put those deficiencies together and you have the reason why we are dissatisfied and empty. You have the reason why there is so little of vivid, vibrant joy in the things of God.

I hold fast to the opinion that our God is ever trying to reveal Himself to us. There is no way for sinful men and women to find their way into God’s presence unless He reveals Himself and appears to us. I do not mean that God is trying to appear to our physical eyesight. Rather, He is trying to appear to the eye of our soul through an inner consciousness. Never apologize for your inner eyes! They are the real eyes for discerning the nature of issues important to God.

Lord, there are so many difficult but important decisions to make in life. Sharpen the eyes of my inner soul to be able to discern Your presence and guidance in my life.