austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

February 8

8 FEB – The Cross Comes Against the Reduction of Divine Things

When things have become less than God intended they should be, God brings in the Cross. And the history of Christianity is the history of that tendency to reduce both God and God’s things to his own human measure; bringing everything of God, and God Himself, within the compass of man; man reducing God to himself in measure; making God less than He is, and the things of God less than they really are. We can see how that has gone on and is all the time going on, as a trend, as a tendency, as some working. And we are always near that peril of things becoming less than God meant them to be. God intended something very great; and here is loss, or the peril of loss – reduction; things becoming smaller, losing something.

There is a large lesson for us to learn, and ever bear in mind, that, with all that God gave to Israel, and all that God is willing to lavish upon us, it is not for ourselves, it is not to end in ourselves. Nor is it to be allowed to make us just something in ourselves, that ‘We are the people’. It is a trust ― a trust for all men. The apostle Paul recognized that; and what a tremendous thing his recognition of it meant in his own case, when you think of him as a typical Israelite. His vision and ministry embraced ‘all men’:“that we may present every man” ― not, every Jew! ― but “every man perfect in Christ” (Col. 1:28). He is the man who brings in the immensity of things, is he not? … the immensity of Christ; the immensity of the Church. If there is one thing about the Church that is so evident in the New Testament, it is its greatness. How great it is! It takes its character and its dimensions from the Lord Jesus. Any who have seen the greatness of Christ can never tolerate a ‘little’ church, a ‘little’ fellowship, a little exclusive thing that is an end in itself. It must have a universal vision and a universal heart. To get that, any tendency to become something less will be met by the Cross, and there will come in hopelessness, despair, arrest, a sense of no way through, and a great deal of inward suffering and trouble and perplexity.

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