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May 1

1 MAY – The Outworking of Salvation

If the Lord were to get to work to empty us of ourselves in order to make room for the Lord Jesus, the devil would begin to say: “You are under condemnation, God is against you, these very dealings of God with you are proofs that your salvation is not certain.” And so it is with a great many in whom the Lord begins to work out things. They allow the enemy to jump in and take hold of the very work of God and turn it against God by bringing up doubts in their hearts as to their salvation.

Do you see that? So often that is done, and the peril is there, running right alongside of the greatest blessing all the time. It is thus that the enemy tries to use God’s truth against God. Now the subjective side of God’s work demands for its effective outworking that we are settled once and for all as to our salvation; that comes first! If you have only the one side; the objective, and all your emphasis is upon that, you may be shallow and you may not grow spiritually. If you dwell only on the subjective, you become introspective and begin to doubt your salvation; your eyes are always turned in upon yourself, and the result is that you begin to look for something in yourself that can commend itself to God; and therein lies a denial of the perfect work of salvation accomplished by the Lord Jesus.

You see it is an undermining and undercutting of the whole of the work of Calvary. These two things must go together. On the one hand fully and finally in Christ we are as perfect in the hour when we believe as ever we shall be. On the other hand all that is in Christ is going to be made, not THEORETICALLY true, but ACTUALLY true in us by the Holy Spirit. But the second demands the first, and we must keep the balance. We must rejoice always in the fact that our names are written in heaven, that we are saved with a perfect salvation; but, on the other hand, we must remember that there is something that the Lord wants to do not to make salvation true, but to make the image of Christ an inward thing. That is the outworking of salvation.

So this balance is necessary, and we must give equal emphasis. It is a matter of the work of God in Christ, and the purpose of God in Christ: and these two things must both have their place.

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April 30

30 APR – The Perils of the Objective Apprehension

  1. The Peril of Shallowness. What Christ has done for us may be a matter of very great joy and rejoicing and satisfaction; but contentment in that realm and with that side alone may just prevent that deep work which is necessary, which comes by the complementary side of the truth of Christ’s work, the subjective.
  2. The Peril of Delayed Maturity. Closely related to this is the peril of making the Christian life static, settled, where it has reached the point of accepting all the objective truth by faith and staying there, and not going on beyond that in spiritual experience.
  3. The Peril of Contradiction. Their attitude says in effect, “I am saved, it does not matter what I do. I shall never be lost.” Their very certainty of salvation opens the door for inconsistencies and contradictions in their lives which never reach their conscience, simply because they say they have no more conscience of sin.
  4. The Peril of Truth Taking the Place of Life. Progress, of course, is recognized as necessary. No true believer would sit down and say, “Well, now there is no more progress to be made.” But for many who have so strongly taken up the position upon the objective work of the Lord Jesus in its perfection, the matter of progress is not a matter of life, it is rather a matter of truth; that is, to know more rather than to become more.
  5. The Peril of Missing The Prize. Salvation never was a prize. You can never win or earn salvation; it is a free gift. But to settle down with salvation in its fullness and its finality means for a great many a failure to recognize that there is a prize that of which the Apostle Paul spoke when he said: “I press on towards the goal unto the prize of the upward calling…” (Phil. 3:14). Paul was never in fear of losing his salvation. When he said: “Lest… after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected” (I Cor. 9:27), he was not thinking of losing his salvation, but he was aware that there was something that he could miss; he could fall short of something, that which he called “the prize”; and he related to its attainment a growth in his spiritual life: “Not that I… am already made perfect.”

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April 29

29 APR – Perfect Salvation Comes with Believing

In the day in which we believe in the Lord Jesus on the ground of the perfection of the work of His Cross, we receive perfection of salvation, and enter into all that salvation to its very last degree. We shall never, though we were to live for centuries on this earth, we shall never in Christ be one little bit more perfect than we are in Him in the very moment that we believe. All that is made good to us in the day that we believe. There are no questions, no hazards, no risks, the thing is settled, it is ours; full and complete in Christ. The Blood of the Lord Jesus has dealt with the whole sin question, root and branch, once and for all, for us. The question of condemnation has been forever settled. You cannot have anything more utter than this NO condemnation! “There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” It does not say: ‘There is no condemnation to those who have faithfully been going on with the Lord for years’. It says: “to them that are in Christ Jesus.” And when are you in Christ? You are in Christ the moment that you believe in relation to His work on the Cross for your salvation, and in that very moment you enter into the place of NO CONDEMNATION, and freedom from condemnation cannot be more complete than that.

The tremendously important thing is for us to have that settled in our own hearts. We are saved, we are forgiven, we are delivered from condemnation. In Christ we are perfect. He is our perfection, and that perfection of His is ours through faith. The people who have the purest, clearest, fullest heart-grasp of that are the happiest people, the people who know joy. The people who have not grasped that are disturbed people, they have not the fullness of joy, they are always afraid, anxious, worrying about their salvation, doubting; and the enemy plays many tricks with people who have not settled that once and for all.

Now that is the blessed truth of what is objective in salvation for the believer as in Christ. That salvation of ours in its perfection has been put beyond the reach of anything that can throw a doubt upon it, or raise a question about it beyond the touch of anything that can bring it into uncertainty.

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April 28

28 APR – The Objective Side of Salvation

We know that He is there in heaven, and we know that a very great deal is said in the Word about His being there; but why is He there? In the first place: How did He get there? Now you will notice if you look into the Word that whenever the heavenly side of the ascension of the Lord Jesus is presented, that is, whenever the matter is looked at from above, it does not speak about His going up or His ascension, but it speaks about His being received up. In the first chapter of the Book of the Acts it is recorded that as the disciples were looking up into heaven after the Lord Jesus had been taken up from among them, two angels appeared and said to them: “men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? This Jesus, Who was received up…” (the Authorized Version says taken up). That is an angelic, or a heavenly, standpoint, and the word “received” represents something more than just the fact that He ascended to heaven. It carries with it this fact, that it would be impossible for the Lord Jesus to be received in heaven if He had not perfectly accomplished the work which He came from heaven to do. But it was because He had perfected the work which He came to do, and there was nothing more to be added to it, that heaven received Him, and it was a great reception!

Psalm 24 gives us some idea of what that reception was: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors: and the King of glory will come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” You see, it implies the work that He has done by His Cross, in overthrowing all His and our enemies, meeting all the demand of human need in the matter of salvation, perfecting our salvation. And so He is received up, and is at the right hand of God; and the right hand is always in Scripture the place of strength and honour. He is at the right hand of God because the work which He came to do was finished. That is, our salvation has been perfected by and in the Lord Jesus. There is nothing whatever for Him to add to it. That is the most elementary thing to say, and yet it is so foundational. So many of the Lord’s people have not yet entered into the joyful appreciation of that, that the Lord Jesus really has given the last stroke and the last touch to our salvation; that when heaven received Him, heaven set its seal to the perfected work of His Cross; and that He is there in possession of a salvation which has not still to be accomplished but which is final, full, complete, utter.

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April 27

27 APR – Christ in Heaven and Christ Within

We feel the importance of saying a word with regard to Christ in heaven and Christ within the believer, that is, what is objective and what is subjective. It is tremendously important that we should keep a proper balance of truth. A very great deal of our trouble is because of there being an unbalanced emphasis upon some aspect of truth. It is good to know the truth, and it is good to rejoice in it, but it is just possible that even truth may get us into trouble. There are many perils lying in the direction of truth, even spiritual truth, and there are not a few of the Lord’s people who have fallen into those perils. It is not that they suffer from want of light, but they are suffering very much because they have not got their light properly adjusted and balanced.

Preponderance on any one side will always lead to spiritual injury, and very often to disaster. The history of many instrumentalities which have been raised up and used by the Lord is eventually the sad story of a loss of power and effectiveness because of striking an unbalanced emphasis, of putting some side of truth in a place out of proportion to that which is complementary to it.

It is not just a matter of being all-round, that is, of having everything and being in everything; but in the constitution of a body we find that one law is balanced by another. All the laws, of course, are necessary, and it is important to give due place to every function in our bodies; but there run parallel laws and functions, one balances the other. There is that which is complementary to something else. These two things are, as it were, twins, running together, and to over-emphasize or over-develop one means to throw the whole order out, and to bring about quite serious limitation and weakness, and to make things far less effective than they should be.

So it is in spiritual matters. There are always balancing truths. There is one thing, but there is something which goes with it, and which keeps it in its right measure, and causes it to fulfill its purpose and to serve its end most effectively. There is this order in the Divine creation. One thing is necessary to another to make that other fulfill its purpose to the full. That is where balance has to be observed and maintained.

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April 26

26 APR – Christ Loved the Church

When Adam and Eve followed Satan’s counsel, their union with the Lord was broken; it brought an end to the communion; it marred the likeness and made impossible its full expression; independence came in for theirs was an independent act: Satan had tempted them to act on their own, without any relationship to God at all and that all meant that faith in God was destroyed. It was something that happened in the nature. It was not just an act, but something that entered into their very nature; and so that is how we find the race.

The Lord lays His hand upon those who are to form the bride of Christ. He brings them to the place where they have to make this decision and take this position ‘I die to all that which happened long, long ago; I die to broken union, to interrupted communion, to spoiled likeness, to all independence and unbelief. I repudiate it, I put it all away; I say that belongs to a creation which I hate, and I want that to be done with, dead and buried. In Christ union is restored, communion begins again, the likeness, conformity to the Son, is taken up by the Holy Spirit; I am from this time utterly and wholly dependent upon the Lord, not to live unto myself but henceforth “unto him who for their sakes died and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15), and henceforth my faith is in Him.’

“Christ loved the church,” and He gave Himself, for one thing, to purchase her; for the other thing, to effect that death of herself, on her behalf. We cannot kill ourselves, but the Lord Jesus has done it for us. He has died to all that other condition for us, and has risen to all this thought of God for us. So that in His death we died to all that happened in Eden, and in His resurrection we rise to all that God ever intended that bride to be. “Christ… loved the church, and gave himself up for it… that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing.”

That brings us to this further stage, that we are together as the Church, as the bride, on resurrection ground, and ours is no longer an independent life, even as Christians.

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April 25

25 APR – Features of the True Church

The Father appointed all things for His Son. Those ‘all things’ were to be the joint inheritance of His Son and His Son’s bride, the Church. That comes out very clearly in the New Testament (Eph. 5:25-27). That bride was in the race of mankind, created as we are told in the book of Genesis. That bride would have to be of a certain order, a certain character, a certain kind, to be suitable to that Son. She would have to be a very special bride, she would have to be made for Him most suitable.

Then we have the story of Adam and Eve, and we know what happened through their surrender to Satan. Something spiritual happened in them, a change took place in their very nature. God had made them, firstly, for union with Himself; then for communion with Himself; and then for likeness to Himself; and in dependence upon Himself; leading to the last thing, absolute and implicit faith in Him. Those are the five things which characterize the Church according to God’s mind:

(1) Union with God, vital union, the union of one life;

(2) Communion with God, intercourse, fellowship, oneness of mind;

(3) Likeness to God, in His own image and after His likeness, taking character from Him, He giving His character and His nature to the Church; then

(4) Dependence upon Him so complete that there is no life apart from Him. (It is one of the great tests of marriage union and I should say, taking it from a man’s standpoint, a most difficult one for a wife to be absolutely dependent upon a man for every penny. There is a revolt against that in our times, but God meant it to be like that with His Church, just absolute dependence, having nothing apart from Him, drawing everything from Him.)

(5) Perfect faith in Him.

Those five things must characterize the bride of Christ.

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