Guide me into your truth and teach me. For you are the God who delivers me; on you I rely all day long.
[Ps 25:5 NET]
By what steps do we usually embrace the truth as it is in Jesus? First of all, for the most part, we receive it as a doctrine; the judgment being more or less informed, the eyes of the understanding being enlightened to see it in the word. The doctrine for some time may be floating in our mind; but after a time, as the Lord leads us more into a knowledge of our own hearts, and into a deeper feeling of our necessities, he lets down the truth from our head into the heart, and it then becomes a truth. It is very sweet to have a doctrine turned into a truth.
But after a time, we need something more than a truth; we need it as a blessing. When we are brought into pressing straits and severe trials, we need the doctrines which we first received into our minds as truths, now to be blessed by a divine application to our souls. Thus, what we first knew in our judgments as a doctrine, is afterwards received in our conscience as a truth, and then is applied to our very heart of hearts as a blessing; and so we find God’s word, and eat it, to the joy and rejoicing of our souls.
Thus it is with respect to Christ’s ascension. We receive it first as a doctrine, as a great and glorious part of the scheme of salvation; then we begin to see, as we are led, more and more into a knowledge of it, what a wonderful truth it is, to have a Mediator at the right hand of God; to have an Intercessor pleading by the efficacy of his atoning blood and justifying righteousness, for poor, needy, guilty souls. This draws out the faith, hope, and love of the heart to this ascended and interceding Mediator; and then, as the Lord the Spirit reveals the virtue and efficacy of this glorious Mediator in the guilty conscience, the truth becomes a rich, unctuous, and savory blessing.
So that so far from experience casting out the doctrines of grace, it only leads the soul into a vital acquaintance with them; and we might as well think of saving our lives by drawing the bones out of our body, as of blessing our souls by casting out the doctrines of grace; yes, we daily feel more deeply the need of the doctrines being brought into our heart by divine power; we feel them more to be the stay and support of our soul, as my arm when raised is stayed and supported by the bones which God has placed there.