Daily Wisdom

“For he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us.”

~ Eph 2:14

“He is our peace.” This necessarily springs from being reconciled and brought near by the blood of Christ. Sin has not only made us enemies to God; but made God an enemy to us. What peace, then, can there be between us while thus mutual enemies? Peace is between friends, not between foes. During this state of hostility and warfare, as there is no real peace, so there can be no felt or enjoyed peace. But the removal of the cause of the war brings about peace, first really and then experimentally. Christ has made peace through the blood of his cross (Col. 1:20). There is now no enmity on the part of God, for it was a ‘legal’ enmity. God always loved his people in Christ; and as he is unchanging and unchangeable, he never could or did hate them. But as a judge is an enemy to a criminal, even were that criminal his own son, so, as Judge and Lawgiver, God was an enemy to his own elect, viewed as law-breakers.

But when the law was fulfilled, and all the breaches of it atoned for by the obedience and death of his dear Son, then this law enmity was removed, and the anger of God against sin and the sinner pacified. Sin, therefore, being put away, the whole cause of that ‘legal’ enmity is removed.

And when we believe in the Son of God, and receive the atonement by his precious blood, then there is no enmity on OUR side; for the goodness, mercy, and love of God melt the heart into the sweetest humility, affection, and love to and before him.

Daily Wisdom

“And floods upon the dry ground.”

~ Isa 44:3

How often does the soul, born and taught of God, feel that it is this “dry ground!” It would gladly be fruitful in every good word and work; it would be adorned with every grace of the Spirit within, and with every good and godly fruit without. Let no one think that the child of God is careless or indifferent either as to inward or outward fruit. There is nothing too holy, too heavenly, too spiritual, or too gracious which the child of grace would not desire inwardly to experience and outwardly produce.

But he feels that he cannot by any exertion of his own produce this fruitfulness after which he sighs. As well might a barren field convert itself into a fruitful garden without being tilled by human hand or without rain from the sky, as a soul that feels and knows its own barrenness produce by its own exertions a crop of the fruits of righteousness.

But the Lord that knows the desire of the heart, and its inward mourning over its own barrenness, has given in the text a sweet and gracious promise, “I will pour floods upon the dry ground.” A partial shower would not be enough. The dry ground would soon absorb only a few drops of summer rain. Floods must come, either from the skies or from the streams of that river which makes glad the city of God, to produce this mighty change. These “floods” are the promises poured into the soul, the love of God shed abroad in the heart, the manifestations of Christ and of his atoning blood, the inflowings of grace as super-abounding over all the aboundings of sin, and the flowing of peace as a river into the contrite spirit.

Wisdom Today

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”

~ Phlm 1:25

It is the regenerating breath of the Lord Jesus Christ which makes the soul alive unto himself. This is manifest from his own language—“It is the Spirit who quickens; the flesh profits nothing—the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). Then for the first time “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is with our spirit.” For you will observe that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is not with our carnal mind—that ever remains the same, a body of sin and death, flesh—corrupt flesh, “in which dwells no good thing,” and therefore not the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

His grace is with our spirit, that “new man” of which we read that “it is after the image of God” created in righteousness and true holiness.” This is called our “spirit,” because it is born of the Spirit, as the Lord himself unfolded the solemn mystery to Nicodemus—“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” This is no subtle, thinly-drawn distinction, but a very important truth; for unless we see the difference between the two natures, the spirit and the flesh, the law in the members and the law of the mind, we shall always be in bondage, as looking for holiness in the flesh.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ being thus with our spirit, it breathes from time to time upon that spirit, moves and acts in it and upon it; for there is what I may call a gracious or spiritual union between the two. Thus we can no more live without the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ than the earth can live without the sun. He must shine, or we have no light; he must revive, or we have no warmth; and he must fertilize, or we bring forth no fruit. Thence time after time there is an outgoing of the single desire of the soul to the Lord Jesus Christ that his grace would be with our spirit; that this grace may be ever flowing forth into us, so as to make us new creatures, dispel all doubt and fear, break to pieces all bonds and fetters, fill us with love and humility, conform us to his suffering image, produce in us every fruit that shall redound to his praise, be with us in life and death, and land us safe in eternity.

Daily Wisdom

“Bow down your ear, O Lord, hear me—for I am poor and needy.”

~ Ps 86:1

Whatever deliverance a man may have experienced, let him have been delivered from the lowest hell, and have had his feet placed upon a rock, yet all his life long he will have this experience wrought in him by the Holy Spirit—to be “poor and needy.” And only so far as he is poor and needy, will he want to know anything experimentally of the riches of Jesus Christ, or to taste the consolations which the Spirit of God alone can communicate to the parched and thirsty soul. How many we find in our day, who are “rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing,” and yet they are always speaking and boasting of the riches of Christ. But what can they know of Christ’s riches? His riches are for “the poor and needy;” his blood is for the guilty; his righteousness is for the naked; his perfect work and finished salvation is for those who continually stand in need of his powerful arm to save them from the lowest hell. And, therefore, whatever notions men may have about Christ’s riches, and Christ’s blood and righteousness, and Christ’s glorious salvation; there are none who prize it, who pant with unutterable longings after it, who really desire to live upon it as the very food of their heart, who are crying unto God continually for the sweet manifestations of it, who are restless and uneasy and dissatisfied without the sweet enjoyment of it—there are none who thus breathe and thus feel, except those who are spiritually “poor and needy,” being stripped and emptied and despoiled of everything that the flesh can boast of, and everything that nature can exalt itself with.

Daily Wisdom

“And establish you in every good word and work.”

~ 2 Thess 2:17

The living family of God need to be established in the truth, so as not ever to be “children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.” It is not sufficient for a building to be raised—it must be established before we can know whether it will stand. The most anxious moment of the builder is to see how it will settle; how the walls will bear the roof, and every part stand firm and good without bulging or slipping. When the scaffolding is taken away from a newly-built arch, how the architect looks to see whether it will settle well and the extent of the drop, if there be any.

So in grace. It is not merely making a profession that will serve. Many a building stands well as long as the scaffolding remains; many an arch looks firm while the scaffolding supports it. So many seem to stand well in early days, when upheld by zeal and earnestness, or strengthened by the support of others. But how will the soul stand when helps are removed? Will it be established in the faith, or fall into some error or some gross evil, and thus, like an arch badly built, drop into ruin when the scaffolding is taken away?

How we continually see those who once seemed firm in the truth now greedily drinking down some deadly error presented to their lips under the charm of a plausible novelty; and others fall headlong into some open sin, or get entangled in some delusion. O that the Lord would establish you, me, and all who desire to fear his name firmly and deeply in his precious truth, that we may never fall a prey to evil or error, but may have a religion of his own maintaining; that the work upon our heart may be the genuine work of God first and last; a building of his own raising and his own establishing, that it may stand firm amid the storms of time, and endure for all eternity!

Daily Wisdom

“He that has received his testimony has set to his seal that God is true.”

~ John 3:33

We can only set to our seal that God is true in any one point of doctrine, experience, or precept when we feel an inward witness that God indeed has declared it. Thus, upon every manifestation of God’s goodness to the soul, every application of Christ’s blood to the conscience, and every revelation of God’s distinguishing grace, it is only as we receive Christ’s testimony, experience the inward approbation of it, and feel its sweetness and blessedness that we can set to our seal that God is true. This, we may be well assured, is the only way to know the power and reality of true religion, to understand the Scriptures, and enjoy a convincing testimony that God is our God, Christ our Savior, the Holy Spirit our Teacher, heaven our eternal home, and that our soul is saved in the Lord Jesus Christ with an everlasting salvation.

And with what divine certainty can such a soul sometimes speak. Sometimes, indeed, we cannot believe anything; it seems as if there were nothing in God’s word that we could set our seal to. All seems a mass of confusion, and our ignorance appears so great that we cannot set our seal to any vital truth. But when the blessed Spirit is pleased to testify of the things of God, and we, receiving the testimony of Jesus Christ, walk in the light of that testimony, then there is a holy certainty of and heavenly acquiescence with God’s truth. This divine faith will bring us through all our trials and sorrows, and though we may be dragged through a very hell of temptation, yet shall we know God is true. Here, then, is the grand trial of faith; first to receive Christ’s testimony, and then to hang upon that testimony, in spite of all opposition from within and without, from feeling its weight, power, and sweetness.

Daily Wisdom

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

– 2 Cor 12:9

How mysterious are God’s dealings! That such a highly-favored man as Paul should come down from the “third heaven” to the very gates of hell (that is not too strong an expression, for “the messenger of Satan” came from hell), that he should sink in soul-feeling to the very gates of hell, there to be buffeted by “the messenger of Satan;” and all to teach him a lesson that heaven did not teach him—the strength of God made perfect in weakness! Do you not think, that if WE are to learn our weakness, we must learn it in the same way? How did Paul get his religion? And must we not get ours, in our feebler measure, through the same channels, by the same means, and by the same inward teachings?

If we are to learn the secret of Christ’s strength, it is not by making daily advances in fleshly holiness, and getting stronger in SELF day by day. It is not by old nature being so mended and improved, as bye and bye to be shaded off into grace, just as the colors in the rainbow are so harmoniously blended that you can scarcely tell where the one ends and the other begins. For this is what is really meant by “progressive sanctification,” that the old nature is so gradually softened and blended into grace, that we can scarcely tell where the old man ceases and the new nature commences. Did the Apostle learn Christ’s strength in that way? No; but by being buffeted by Satan’s messenger, and thus being beaten out of his own strength, he found Christ’s strength made perfect in his weakness.