Monday, June 20, 2011

"His Faithfulness"

    The Christian life is a life of commitment, of God's commitment to us.  "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).
    This does not, of course, preclude the necessity of our corresponding response to God.  "When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face, my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek" (Psalm 27:8).  Nevertheless, in the relationship of the Divine and the human, the devotion of the Former must be continually emphasized as first, foremost and primary.  The response of the latter must be continually acknowledged as dependent and derived from the faithfulness of God's working upon and within us to enable our devotion.  We "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" because and only because "it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).
    Failure to understand and maintain this perspective of grace received and assimilated by faith leads to two primary spiritual pathologies of failure.  Those given to discipline will become proud of their own consistency in exercising the outward forms of devotion to God - consistent prayer, Bible reading, participation in spiritual activity, outward acts of apparent obedience to the text of Scripture - "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof" (II Timothy 3:5).  Others less regimented end up despairing of achieving consistent faithfulness, succumbing either to a nominal Christian experience at best, or almost none at worst.  Both sad paths lead to carnality in attitude and practice because they proceed from carnality in understanding and belief.  "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6).
    Just as our new birth involved trust in God's past, present and future redemptive working on our behalf, so does a consistent life of godliness involve the same confidence.  "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Colossians 2:6).  Our faithfulness is ever and forever the fruit of His faithfulness received and acknowledged.  Such truth progressively delivers us from both pride and despair.  Most importantly, we remain connected to the dynamic source of Christ's life beyond life whereby we are both rightly humbled and righteously energized.  Our Lord Himself experienced such Another-enabled devotion in His earthly life - "I live by the Father" - and He calls us to the same blessed dynamic of grace by faith in our own spiritual pilgrimage...
"As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me."

(John 6:57).

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