Oh Blessed State

The New Testament talks a lot about being ‘in Christ.’ Reverend Octavius Winslow in his book, Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul, reflects on what it means for the believer to be ‘in Christ.’ I encourage you to let his thoughts settle deep down into your heart.

“To be ‘in Christ,’ is to stand accepted in His righteousness, to be justified by Him freely from all things; it is to be brought to the knowledge of our own vileness, sufficiency, and guilt; to be made to cast aside all self-dependence, that is, all works of human merit, and to come as the thief on the cross came, without any allowed confidence in anything of self, but as a poor, helpless, ruined, condemned sinner, all whose hope be ‘in Christ,’ is to be the subject of a living, holy, influential principle of faith; it is to be brought into the blessed state thus described by the apostle as his own:

‘I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me’ Galatians 2:20 (ESV).

To be ‘in Christ’ is to be one with Him; it is to be a member of His … body, of which He is the spiritual head, and the members are one. It is to have Christ dwelling in the heart; ‘Christ in you the hope of glory.’ … ‘Yes, it is to dwell in the heart of Christ; it is to rest there in the very pavilion of His love, to dwell there every moment, to be sheltered there from all evil, and to be soothed there under all sorrow.

Oh blessed state of being ‘in Christ!'”

~Octavius Winslow, 1808-1878

That Glorious Pursuit

We should never get over the fact that there was a day when God stirred our hearts to love Him and live for Him. A. W. Tozer helps us put things on pause for a moment to reflect on our new birth and the journey beyond.

“The moment the Spirit has quickened us to life in regeneration our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition. That is the heavenly birth without which we cannot see the Kingdom of God.

It is, however, not an end but an inception, for now begins the glorious pursuit, the heart’s happy exploration of the infinite riches of the Godhead. That is where we begin, I say, but where we stop no man has yet discovered, for there is in the awful and mysterious depths of the Triune God neither limit nor end.

Shoreless Ocean, who can sound Thee? Thine own eternity is round Thee, Majesty divine! To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too-easily-satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart.”

~A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.

~Ephesians 2:1-5 (ESV)

The One Far Distant

Some old books are a difficult read for me. The opposite is true when it comes to American pastor Edward Payson (1783-1827). Now that I think of it, most all of what I’ve read by him is probably from transcripts of his sermons, his letters, or possibly journal notes – so that may explain it. Regardless, it’s an easy read. I recommend anything of Reverend Payson’s that you might happen to come across.

“Suppose two persons equally desirous to gain your affections; one far distant, and not expecting to see you for a long time; the other always present with you, and at liberty to use all means to win your love, able to flatter and gratify you in a thousand ways.

Still you prefer the absent one; and, that you may keep him in remembrance,  you often retire by yourself to think of his love to you, and view again and again the mementos of his affection, to read his letters, and pour out your heart in return.

Such is now your case; the world is always before you, to flatter, promise, and please.

But if you really prefer to love God, you will fix your thoughts on Him, often retire for meditation and prayer, and recount the pleasant gifts of His providence, and especially His infinite mercy to your soul; you will read frequently His Holy Word, which is the letter He has sent you, as real as if it were directed to you by name.”

~The Complete Works of Edward Payson

The Soul’s Abiding Rest

“It is a vain idea of ours to suppose that if our circumstances were altered we should be more at rest.

My brother, if you cannot rest in poverty, neither would you in riches; if you cannot rest in the midst of persecution, neither would you in the midst of honor. It is the spirit within that gives the rest, that rest has little to do with any thing without.

Men have sat on thrones and have found them uneasy places, while others on the rack have declared that they were at rest. The spirit is the spring of rest, as for the outward surroundings they are of small account.

Let but your mind be like the mind of Christ, and you shall find rest unto your souls: a deep rest, a growing rest, a rest found out more and more, an abiding rest, not only which you have found, but which you shall go on to find.”

~Charles Spurgeon, 1834-1892

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock.”

~Isaiah 26:3-4 (ESV)

The Blessed Walk of Faith

“We walk by faith, not by sight.”

~2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)

This walk of faith takes in all the minute circumstances of every day’s history; a walking every step by faith; a looking above trials, above necessities, above perplexities, above improbabilities and impossibilities, above second causes; and, in the face of difficulties and discouragements, going forward, leaning upon God.

If the Lord were to roll the Red Sea before us, and marshal the Egyptians behind us, and thus, hemming us in on every side, should yet bid us advance, it would be the duty and privilege of faith instantly to obey, believing that, before our feet touched the waters, God, in our extremity, would divide the sea, and take us dry-shod over it.

This is the only holy and happy life of a believer; if he for a moment leaves this path, and attempts to walk by sight, difficulties will throng around him, troubles will multiply, the smallest trials will become heavy crosses, temptations to depart from the simple and upright walk will increase in number and power, the heart will sicken at disappointment, the Spirit will be grieved, and God will be dishonored.

Let this precious truth ever be before our mind: Walk by faith, not by sight.

~Octavius Winslow, Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul

Settle This Truth

“Reader, your calling is to dedicate yourself – your soul – your body – all that you are – all that you have – all that you can do – a sacrifice to God.

You may not keep anything from Him, who has given more than all heaven for your ransom. Settle this truth, then, steadily in your mind; that there is no acceptance for person, or services, except in the Beloved.

Words and works are worse than worthless, except when offered in faith, and through the merits, and for the sake of Jesus. That fruit is only rottenness, which is not sanctified by His blood, and consecrated to His glory.

Cement yourself, your every intent, – your every doing to Him.”

~Henry Law, Christ is All

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

~Philippians 3:14 (ESV)