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"He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."
1 John 2:6
VICTORY IN CHRIST
DAILY VICTORY IN CHRIST
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6). And the apostle John wrote, "He that hath the Son hath life" (1 John 5: 12). Paul wrote, "For to me to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21). "Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20). "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13).
The active exercise of living faith in Christ is the one great essential to obtaining and maintaining an experience in the Lord that will bring increasing satisfaction in this life and ultimate deliverance from this world when Christ comes. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6). "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4). "God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith" (Romans 12:3). Faith is a gift of God to every man-rich and poor, high and low, free and bond, wise and simple. It is man's duty to nourish and exercise this faith. Though it be as small as a grain of mustard seed, it can grow and be used to move mountains of evil and build temples of righteousness.
However, it is not merely faith, but primarily the object of true faith that counts most. Faith in God, in Christ, in the promises of the Holy Scriptures, and in all God's plans and agencies for the accomplishment of His purposes is what we need. It is what we must have if we are to be victorious. Let us now see how faith makes us righteous and holy in God's sight.
1: HOW MAY A SINNER BECOME RIGHTEOUS?
Romans 5:1 "Being justified [forgiven and made righteous] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Acts 13:38-39 "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
If you will read the story of the Pharisee and the publican in Luke 18:9-14, you will note that the publican sought forgiveness of sin. "God be merciful to me a sinner," he cried. Jesus adds this comment, "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified." In other words, the "forgiveness" that the publican sought, Jesus called "justification." This includes also the merciful gift of righteousness, which God counts to the credit of the repentant sinner for the simple reason that he has no acceptable righteousness of his own! The great store of righteousness upon which God draws, when imputing (counting) this undeserved credit, is the righteous life of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A man may have been unjust, but by faith he may be counted as just. When an unjust man is thus accounted as a just man, he is "justified." He is forgiven all past sins. God gives him credit as a righteous person (through Christ). Then he has peace. He is counted as though he had never sinned at all.
This justification comes by faith in the blood of a righteous Christ.
Romans 3:24-25 "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God."
1 John l:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
The cleansing from unrighteousness is through the blood of Christ.
The sinner is condemned to eternal death for the violation of God's eternal law. The substitute death of another sinner would not atone. No angel of glory could die to save man. Since the divine law is as sacred as God Himself, only one equal with God could make atonement for its transgression.
So Jesus came, lived a sinless life, and "died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3); and it is He "whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [satisfaction] through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God" (Romans 3:25). Thus do we exercise faith in the blood of a righteous Christ whose righteous life answers for our unrighteous and unjust past. "To declare, I say, at this time, His righteousness: that He [God] might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).
John 6:37 "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out,"
Any man, who will, may come to Christ. Whosoever will, may come. And no sincere seeker will be turned away.
Matthew 11:28 "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,"
At conversion, Christ satisfies the claims of the sacred, unchangeable law by counting His righteousness to the sinner's credit. The past is forgiven, not because the sinner has obeyed God's law, but in spite of the fact that he has not obeyed. "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28)
The gracious gift of forgiveness God offers free. It is ours to exercise faith to the point of taking the gift. "Lay hold on eternal life" (1 Timothy 6:12). This is a definite spiritual action and transaction. We give God our sins and He gives us forgiveness. It is by faith that the just shall live (Romans 1: 17).
"Do we then make void the law through faith?" This is a very good question. Paul answers, "God forbid: yea, we establish the law" (Romans 3:31). We are forgiven that we might from henceforth be obedient children, walking blameless in all the commandments of the Lord. This life of victory begins by faith in Christ's righteousness. It continues by faith in Christ's righteousness. It ends by faith in Christ's righteousness. It is Christ, Christ, Christ; first, last, and always. He alone is the Saviour, in the beginning, through life, and at death. And faith in Him is the connecting link.
2: WHAT NEW RELATIONSHIP DOES THE CHRISTIAN ENJOY?
Without reservation the follower of Christ will say to Christ, as Thomas did, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28). Jesus has a perfect righteousness to be honored. He said, "Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am" (John 13:13). As our Lord and Master, Jesus bids us follow Him.
Matthew 4:19-20 "He saith unto them, Follow Me . . And they straightway. . followed Him."
Luke 14:33 "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple."
Too many hear the good news of escape from hell and of a way to heaven, and "with joy" receive it. They want to escape trial and suffering; they have visions of beautiful mansions on high that they will occupy by and by. But they are not concerned with relating themselves to Christ as followers and disciples. They are not prepared to acknowledge Jesus as "my Lord and my God." Jesus gave up heaven, came down here, and risked eternal loss that we might gain heaven. He who would accept this sacrifice intelligently and wholeheartedly will give up this world in order to follow the Saviour (Philippians 2:5). This means sacrifice. But think--think of the promise:
Matthew 19:29 "Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life,"
For all that we give up, God will return a hundredfold. He takes away, but only to give more and better in return.
Matthew 7:24-25 "Whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them. I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock."
If we hear and obey, we shall be built upon the solid rock, Christ Jesus, not otherwise. Between these two extremes lie all the shades and colors of professed Christianity,
3: WHAT IS THE SECRET OF SPIRITUAL POWER?
After the transaction has been made in which faith claims forgiveness for past sins, and after the soul by faith makes a complete surrender of all to Christ as Lord and Saviour, to do God's will and obey all His commandments, the next step is to have faith in Christ as a living Saviour with power to deliver you and, yes, to keep you from the power of sin, To learn this is to discover the secret of spiritual power. It is not enough to believe in the death of Christ. It is not enough to surrender to Christ. We must believe that Christ is a risen, all-powerful Saviour, who can and will bring victory over sin into the life through His indwelling Spirit. All of this is made possible through His resurrection victory, Paul said, "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection" (Philippians 3:10).
Here are promises of power made by the risen Saviour.
Matthew 28:18, 20 "Jesus came and spake unto them, saying. All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. . And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,"
Luke 24:49 "Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."
Acts 1:8 "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you."
Hebrews 7:25 "He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them."
Hebrews 12:1-2 "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith."
This power, as in the case of all other blessings, comes through active faith. "This is the victory that over cometh the world, even our faith" (1John 5:4). A living faith means a confiding trust, by which the soul becomes a conquering power. And by all means, hold on! "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). In this way, dear friend, we enter upon the life of victory. In this way we receive spiritual power for an abiding life of conquest in the Saviour!
4: HOW DOES THE BIBLE HELP OUR FAITH?
There is yet something important we must mention to help you. Faith, to be strong, must be fed. The Word of God is the food of faith, The Bible is heaven's pantry; on the shelves are stored, in unlimited quantity and almost infinite variety, the foods that nourish Christian faith and experience, and abundant delicacies to delight the soul of the Christian (Jeremiah 15:16). "Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb" (Psalm 19:10).
But it is so easy to keep on trying to live while neglecting to feed upon this heavenly food, Often the cares and pleasures of this life consume our time and energies to the neglect of God's Word. Sometimes, even in the work of God, it is possible to grow nervous and anxious, to work in haste, if not in fury, to do God's service while at the same time neglecting to nourish the soul and the spirit with daily, regular feeding on God's Word, The importance of daily Bible reading may be seen by the following:
1. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
Romans 10:17 "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."
2. The Christian feeds upon, and lives by, the Word of God.
Matthew 4:4 "He answered and said, It is written. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
3. His Word is a heavenly light.
Psalm 119:105 "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
4. It is powerful to resist evil.
Hebrews 4:12 "The Word of God is quick, and powerful. and sharper than any two-edged sword."
5. His Word is the sword of the Spirit.
Ephesians 6:17 "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."
In the wilderness of temptation, Jesus wielded the "sword of the Spirit" with swift and telling strokes: "It is written. . It is written." "It is written" (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). "Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him" (Matthew 4: 11). Oh friend, know this Book. Know it well. Use it in temptation to conquer the world and sin. Use it when overwhelmed with sorrow and fear and worry. Use it when doubt and unbelief assail you. Every promise has power; every command, wisdom; every warning, deep meaning. Become known as a Bible-believing. Bible-practicing Christian.
5: WHY IS PRAYER SO ESSENTIAL TO VICTORY?
"Ask, and it shall be given you," said Jesus. "Every one that asketh receiveth" (Matthew 7:7-8). So it is clear that God has made prayer the means for receiving spiritual blessings that we would not otherwise receive unless we asked. We may well-remember three things.
1. James l:6 "Let him ask in faith."
2. 1 John 3:22 "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments."
3. Proverbs 28:9 "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination."
The promise is made that "they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" (Isaiah 40:31). "He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). So ask, friend, and receive. Pray morning, noon, and night as David and Daniel did, and learn the sweetness of communion with God in the secret place of power. Oh, yes, and don't forget to always pray in Jesus' name.
6: WHY IS EVERY CHRISTIAN CALLED TO BE A WITNESS?
Christian service is necessary for soul prosperity. "Take My yoke upon you," said Jesus (Matthew 11:29). All life is action. We cannot be ever receiving and never giving. By faith we receive forgiveness and appropriate power. We feed on the Word of God and pray for this and that, but we must surrender, not only to do the will of God as between ourselves and Him, but to do His will toward others. Every soul is born into God's kingdom as a missionary. Every Christian should be a soul winner. Moody said that if a man will read the Word of God fifteen minutes a day, pray sincerely fifteen minutes a day, and spend fifteen minutes a day talking definitely to help some soul to Christ, or heavenward, he will enjoy a good experience. Not only the ministers but the laymen should work to make others Christians. Think about the following texts:
Mark 16:15 "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel"
God needs you to help spread abroad the story of the saving gospel and the speedy return of Jesus. If you love Him, the saving truth cannot be sealed up in your heart. It will overflow in blessing to others.
James 1:27 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world:"
Only "faith which worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6) will purify the soul and keep the channel of blessing open. The true Christian will have a special care for the widows, the fatherless, and the poor (Matthew 25:34-40). page 7
Matthew 25:21 "Well done, thou good and faithful servant:"
These words of commendation are spoken to servants-faithful servants-who have worked for Christ. These soul-winning Christians are the ones whom He will take to heaven with Him when He comes again. They have exercised the faculties of the soul and become strong even as the muscles of the body become strong by exertion.
7: WHY IS ACTIVE CHURCH FELLOWSHIP IMPORTANT?
He who by choice and without a justifiable reason habitually absents himself from church services and fellowship will not maintain a warm, glowing Christian experience. As a coal drawn from the fire onto the hearth soon loses its heat and glow, so the Christian who loses heart contact with other Christians is likely to lose his warmth of experience and find his ardor and zeal growing cold. When one is regular in church attendance, the fact that he may regard some of the members as hypocrites will not discourage him. He will do his best to elevate the percentage of true saints by being loyal himself. Jesus said:
"Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I" (Matthew 18:20). "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" (Hebrews 10:25), said the writer of Hebrews.
In these Bible lessons, we have prayerfully presented to you the Christ of the church, who alone can save; the hope of the church, which is the second advent of Jesus our Lord; the foundation of the church, which is the Word of the living God. If you will build upon that Word, your temple of faith will endure forever. If you build upon the shifting sands of human tradition and desire, your house of faith will go down in ruin. You are the builder, and you must decide on the foundation as well as on the house itself. God bless you now and be with you always.
VICTORY IN CHRIST
"It is not the will of God that His people should be weighed down with care. But our Lord does not deceive us. He does not say to us, 'Do not fear; there are no dangers in your path.' He knows there are trials and dangers, and He deals with us plainly. He does not propose to take His people out of a world of sin and evil, but He points them to a never failing refuge. His prayer for His disciples was, 'I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.' 'In the world," He says, 'ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world' (John 17: 15, 16:33).
"In His Sermon on the Mount, Christ taught His disciples precious lessons in regard to the necessity of trusting in God. These lessons were designed to encourage the children of God through all ages, and they have come down to our time full of instruction and comfort. The Saviour pointed His followers to the birds of the air as they warbled their carols of praise, unencumbered with thoughts of care, for 'they sow not, neither do they reap.' And yet the great Father provides for their needs. The Saviour asks, 'Are ye not much better than they' (Matthew 6:26)? The great Provider for man and beast opens His hand and supplies all His creatures. The birds of the air are not beneath His notice. He does not drop the food into their bills, but He makes provision for their needs. . Will not the Author of our being, the Preserver of our life, the One who formed us in His own divine image, provide for our necessities if we but trust in Him?
"Christ pointed His disciples to the flowers of the field, growing in rich profusion and glowing in the simple beauty which the heavenly Father had given them, as an expression of His love to man. He said, 'Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.' The beauty and simplicity of these natural flowers far outrival the splendor of Solomon. . Jesus asks, 'If God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, 0 ye of little faith' (Matthew 6: 28, 30)? . . This lesson of Christ's is a rebuke to the anxious thought, the perplexity and doubt, of the faithless heart.
"The Lord would have all His sons and daughters happy, peaceful, and obedient. Jesus says, 'My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.' 'These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.' John 14:27; 15:11.
"Happiness that is sought from selfish motives, outside of the path of duty, is ill-balanced, fitful, and transitory; it passes away, and the soul is filled with loneliness and sorrow; but there is joy and satisfaction in the service of God; the Christian is not left to walk in uncertain paths; he is not left to vain regrets and disappointments. If we do not have the pleasures of this life we may still be joyful in looking to the life beyond.
"But even here Christians may have the joy of communion with Christ; they may have the light of His love, the perpetual comfort of His presence. Every step in life may bring us closer to Jesus, may give us a deeper experience of His love, and may bring us one step nearer to the blessed home of peace. Then let us not cast away our confidence, but have firm assurance, firmer than ever before. 'Hitherto hath the Lord helped us,' and He will help us to the end (1 Samuel 7: 12). Let us look to the monumental pillars, reminders of what the Lord has done to comfort us and to save us from the hand of the destroyer. Let us keep fresh in our memory all the tender mercies that God has shown us,-the tears He has wiped away, the pains He has soothed, the anxieties removed, the fears dispelled, the wants supplied, the blessings bestowed, thus strengthening ourselves for all that is before us through the remainder of our pilgrimage.
"We cannot but look forward to new perplexities in the coming conflict, but we may look on what is past as well as on what is to come, and say, 'Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.' 'As thy days, so shall thy strength be.' Deuteronomy 33:25. The trial will not exceed the strength that shall be given us to bear it. Then let us take up our work just where we find it, believing that whatever may come, strength proportionate to the trial will be given.
"And by and by the gates of heaven will be thrown open to admit God's children, and from the lips of the King of glory the benediction will fall on their ears like richest music, 'Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world' (Matthew 25:34).
"Then the redeemed will be welcomed to the home that Jesus is preparing for them. There their companions will not be the vile of earth, liars, idolaters, the impure, and unbelieving; but they will associate with those who have overcome Satan and through divine grace have formed perfect characters. Every sinful tendency, every imperfection, that afflicts them here has been removed by the blood of Christ, and the excellence and brightness of His glory, far exceeding the brightness of the sun, is imparted to them. And the moral beauty, the perfection of His character, shines through them, in worth far exceeding this outward splendor. They are without fault before the great white throne, sharing the dignity and the privileges of the angels.
"In view of the glorious inheritance that may be his, 'what shall a man give in exchange for his soul' (Matthew 16:26)? He may be poor, yet he possesses in himself a wealth and dignity that the world could never bestow. The soul redeemed and cleansed from sin, with all its noble powers dedicated to the service of God, is of surpassing worth; and there is joy in heaven in the presence of God and the holy angels over one soul redeemed, a joy that is expressed in songs of holy triumph." Steps to Christ, 122-126