by Mike Ratliff
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:17-18 ESV)
Much of the heresy being taught and preached by the apostates in our time is the product of a wrong view of Christ. Their knowledge of Jesus Christ is flawed, incomplete, or man-made. On the other hand, we should not despair that this is happening because our faith is not in any man, but in Christ Himself who promised to build His Church and the gates of Hell would never be able to prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). Therefore, when we see well known Christian leaders compromise and the largest Churches and groups of Churches in our time be those who have butchered the Gospel or who major on things other than it, we must look to God in faith, which was given to us at our New Birth, and commit ourselves to being where He wants us to be and doing what He wants us to be doing.
God Himself gives the right knowledge of Jesus Christ to those whom He saves. Through this knowledge He works in us to wean us away from slavery to the flesh and the things in this world that are only distractions with no eternal value. How does this work?
Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches afar. (Isaiah 33:17 ESV)
The more you know about Christ the less will you be satisfied with superficial views of Him; and the more deeply you study His transactions in the eternal covenant, His engagements on your behalf as the eternal Surety, and the fulness of His grace which shines in all His offices, the more truly will you see the King in His beauty. Be much in such outlooks. Long more and more to see Jesus. Meditation and contemplation are often like windows of agate, and gates of carbuncle, through which we behold the Redeemer. Meditation puts the telescope to the eye, and enables us to see Jesus after a better sort than we could have seen Him if we had lived in the days of His flesh. Would that our conversation were more in heaven, and that we were more taken up with the person, the work, the beauty of our incarnate Lord. More meditation, and the beauty of the King would flash upon us with more resplendence. Beloved, it is very probable that we shall have such a sight of our glorious King as we never had before, when we come to die. Many saints in dying have looked up from amidst the stormy waters, and have seen Jesus walking on the waves of the sea, and heard Him say, “It is I, be not afraid.” Ah, yes! when the tenement begins to shake, and the clay falls away, we see Christ through the rifts, and between the rafters the sunlight of heaven comes streaming in. But if we want to see face to face the “King in His beauty” we must go to heaven for the sight, or the King must come here in person. O that He would come on the wings of the wind! He is our Husband, and we are widowed by His absence; He is our Brother dear and fair, and we are lonely without Him. Thick veils and clouds hang between our souls and their true life: when shall the day break and the shadows flee away? Oh, long-expected day, begin! – C.H. Spurgeon from Spurgeon’s Evening by Evening for Nov 16.
I heard a preacher once pray from the pulpit for Jesus not to return that day because he had other things he wanted to do. I could not believe it. He prayed another time for God not to take him home yet because he was too much in love with this life. Again, I was speechless. The ones truly in love with their Saviour want to know everything about Him and the more they know about Him, the more they know Him, and the more they want to be with Him. I have fallen in love with Revelation 22:20.
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20 ESV)
This should be our prayer to our Lord every day. If, however, it causes you to fear or dread His return then this is a sign or marker that your knowledge and love of our Saviour is not where it needs to be. The true disciple of Christ is one who is crucified with Him. He has taken up his or her own cross and followed Him.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26 ESV)
The disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ has the viewpoint that he or she is apprehended by our Lord and their entire purpose in this life is to serve Him and be part of the triumph in Christ. It is enough to be in the train of the conqueror.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:14-17 ESV)
The proper perspective of a servant of God must not simply be as near to the highest as he can get, but it must be the highest. Be careful that you vigorously maintain God’s perspective, and remember that it must be done every day, little by little. Don’t think on a finite level. No outside power can touch the proper perspective.
The proper perspective to maintain is that we are here for only one purpose— to be captives marching in the procession of Christ’s triumphs. We are not on display in God’s showcase— we are here to exhibit only one thing— the “captivity [of our lives] to the obedience of Christ” ( 2 Corinthians 10:5 ). How small all the other perspectives are! For example, the ones that say, “I am standing all alone, battling for Jesus,” or, “I have to maintain the cause of Christ and hold down this fort for Him.” But Paul said, in essence, “I am in the procession of a conqueror, and it doesn’t matter what the difficulties are, for I am always led in triumph.” Is this idea being worked out practically in us? Paul’s secret joy was that God took him as a blatant rebel against Jesus Christ, and made him a captive— and that became his purpose. It was Paul’s joy to be a captive of the Lord, and he had no other interest in heaven or on earth. It is a shameful thing for a Christian to talk about getting the victory. We should belong so completely to the Victor that it is always His victory, and “we are more than conquerors through Him . . .” ( Romans 8:37 ).
“We are to God the fragrance of Christ . . .” ( 2 Corinthians 2:15 ). We are encompassed with the sweet aroma of Jesus, and wherever we go we are a wonderful refreshment to God. – Oswald Chambers from My Utmost For His Highest for October 24.
Chambers hit this nail on the head perfectly. This is the right obedience based upon the right knowledge of God that comes only to those who are crucified with Him, held captive by Him, and live accordingly. This is the triumph in Christ because He is going to return in the perfect point in His timing and it will be glorious. I deeply desire to be one of those simply in the train of the conqueror, being found obedient to Him in all parts of my life for my life belongs totally to Him.
λεγει ο μαρτυρων ταυτα ναι ερχομαι ταχυ αμην ερχου κυριε ιησου
Soli Deo Gloria!