Sermon #1823                                                                                                               Miscellaneous Sermons

 

      Title:                     Confronting Heresy

 

      Text:                     Titus 2:11-3:11

      Date:                    Monday — December 8, 2009

                                    The Preachers’ School

                                    Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

      Introduction:

 

A friend once asked me, “Do you make a distinction between doctrinal error and damning heresy; and if you do what is it?” That is a good question and deserves a clear answer. While I do not find such a distinction made in the Scriptures between the use of the words “error” and “heresy,” the word “error” as we commonly use it is a much milder word than the word “heresy.”

 

In the New Testament distinctions were made between error and heresy. For example, Peter was in grave error in the dissimulation he made at Antioch. By his actions, he gave the appearance that believers should still be held under the yoke of the law; and, for this error, Paul publicly rebuked him (Galatians 2:11-21). However, his error was not damning heresy. Had he taught that men gain salvation or improve their relationship with God by obedience to the law, that would have been damning heresy (Galatians 5:2, 4).

 

The Distinction

 

This is where we must draw the line of distinction: — Doctrinal error is the misinterpretation or application of any biblical teaching. Damning heresy is any doctrine or practice that is contrary to salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Obviously, any teaching that allows the worship of false gods, denies the deity of Christ, his virgin birth, or vicarious atonement is damning heresy. But there are other forms of heresy far more subtle and dangerous.

 

Š      To teach sprinkling for baptism is grave error, but not necessarily damning. — However, to make baptism a condition of grace to any degree is damning heresy.

Š      To substitute grape juice for wine in the Lord’s Supper is serious error, though not damning to the soul. — But to make the Lord’s Supper a sacrament by which grace is conferred upon a sinner is damning heresy.

Š      The list could be greatly enlarged. But there is one test by which damning heresy can always be identified. — Any doctrine that teaches, or any religious practice that leads people to believe that salvation is in anyway conditioned upon, dependent upon, or determined by the worth, work or will of the sinner is damning heresy and is deadly to those who embrace it.

Š      Arminian, free-will, works religion is as damning to the souls of men as Judaism, Islam, Catholicism or Satan worship.

 

Our Responsibility

 

As God’s servants, as preachers of the Gospel, it is our responsibility to expose heresy by instructing men in the truth of the gospel and to reject those who will not obey the truth as self-condemned heretics (Titus 2:11-3:11).

 

“The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

 

“15 ¶ These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”

 

“3:1 ¶ Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. 3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”

 

“9But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; 11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” (Titus 2:11-3:11)

 

God’s servants in every age have had to deal with false prophets in their midst. The church of God, from its very beginning, has been was troubled by heretics; and faithful men have had to confront heresy, confront it head-on, with blunt-force boldness…

  • For the Honor of God.
  • For The Truth of God.
  • For the People of God.

 

John tells us that even in his day many antichrists had gone out deceiving the souls of men. Peter tells us of those same men, who brought in damnable heresies. Jude calls them “certain men” who crept in unawares. Paul warned Timothy about “Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred,” overthrowing the faith of some teaching them that the resurrection of believers was already a past event. Even in those earliest days, there were preachers who crept in wherever the gospel was preached, preacher who pretended to be the messengers of Christ, who endeavored to make shipwreck of the faith.

 

Throughout the ages, some of the best known and most highly reputed preachers and theologians were utter heretics. In fact all the heresies I have seen in my life time, every assault upon the gospel of God was taught by some blasphemer within the first two centuries of church history.

  • Legalism
  • Baptismal Regeneration
  • Denial of the Trinity
  • Denial off the Resurrection
  • Denial of the Second Coming
  • The Resurrection is Past

Isn’t it amazing how that the things we deal with today, both in your country and mine reflect the past. For those who are even slightly aware of Church history, it is like looking in a mirror.

 

Gnosticism

 

One of the most common heresies of the early church was known as “Gnosticism.” The Book of Colossians was specifically written to confront and utterly dismantle the Gnosticism that had crept into the early Church. Let me be crystal clear. The word “Gnostic” means “knowing one.” Gnostics claimed special and superior knowledge. They taught that what we call salvation is attained by learning, by special knowledge.

 

The Gnostic heresy basically focused on and promoted three things

  1. Matter is evil.
  2. Since matter is evil, the Lord Jesus only appeared to be a man. Man.
  3. Ultimate, saving knowledge is possessed only by those who agreed with them.

In a word, the Gnostics denied everything supernatural, except their own brains. They talked about Jesus as Lord and as God, but denied that he came in the flesh (See John’s Gospel and his 1st Epistle). They talked about the Spirit, but denied that there is anything about the new birth. They even talked about the resurrection; but the resurrection was to them nothing but an elevated state of learning and knowledge.

 

Modern Gnostics

 

There are a few brilliant fools today, claiming to preach the gospel, who deny the new birth, who deny that the believer receives a new nature by God’s mighty operations of grace. They claim to have “new light.” But their new light is the old darkness of pagan Gnosticism.

 

(Colossians 2:8) “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

 

Understand, — Gnosticism is the teaching that salvation is arrived at by acquired knowledge, not by divine regeneration. This philosophy of vain deceit denies the necessity of the new birth, denies that the believer is given a new nature by the Spirit of God, denies that righteousness is imparted and that we are made partakers of the divine nature in regeneration.

 

Gnostics speak of God’s saving grace as nothing but a “principle” (an accepted philosophical rule). Gnostics vainly imagine that they are the spiritually elite, that they are the only ones who have true, saving knowledge. They look upon those of us who believe God’s revelation of himself in his Word and trust Christ as our Wisdom as well as our Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption as ignorant people, without spiritual understanding. In essence, Gnostics are people who, as Paul puts it, who know “Christ after the flesh,” by mere carnal reason, which is to say they are people with religious knowledge who are totally void of grace and spiritual life, groping in darkness.

 

Saving Knowledge

 

(2 Corinthians 5:14-16) “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: (15) And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (16) Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”

 

Š      In 2 Corinthians 5:14 Paul declares that all who are born of God are constrained, motivated, and ruled by the love of Christ.

 

Š      The love of Christ rules in our hearts, he tells us in verse 15, because we have been born again.

 

Š      We have been born again because Christ died for us. His death as our Substitute obtained and guaranteed our new birth.

 

Š      And, being born of God, we live, not unto ourselves, but unto Christ, who died for us and rose again.

 

Then, in verse 16, the inspired writer tells us that our knowledge of Christ is not a carnal apprehension of the intellect, but the gift and revelation of God the Holy Spirit. — Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”

 

Be sure you understand what the Spirit of God tells us here. Our knowledge of Christ is not a carnal apprehension of the intellect, but the gift and revelation of God the Holy Spirit. Being born again by the omnipotent grace and irresistible mercy of God the Holy Spirit, all who are taught of God, know Christ after the Spirit, and not after the flesh.

 

In the 1600s John Owen wrote, “Of all the poison which at this day is diffused in the minds of men, corrupting them from the mystery of the gospel, there is no part that is more pernicious than this one perverse imagination, that to ‘believe in Christ’ is nothing at all but to ‘believe the doctrine of the gospel!’” Yet, that horrible heresy is taught and promoted by many today.

 

Will Worship

 

Will worshipping Arminians have long taught that faith in Christ is nothing but and act of the will, mental assent to the historic facts of the gospel. When I was a seven year old boy, I was conned into a profession of faith by will worshipping fundamentalists, who told me that salvation would be mine if I would simply believe “God’s plan of salvation.” Giving assent to what I was told, a “soul-winner” put his arms around me, with tears in his eyes, and announced, “Praise the Lord, son, you’re saved! You are born again.” But I didn’t know God from a gourd.

 

Such deception is common among fundamentalists. But today there are some who claim to believe the gospel, or what we refer to as the doctrines of grace, who teach the same heresy, utterly denying the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ. Theirs is a much more subtle and dangerous heresy.

 

They tell us that faith in Christ is nothing but agreement with “God’s testimony.” They laugh at what the apostle Paul calls “the mystery of the faith,” asserting that there is nothing mysterious about it. Being too deceptive to openly assert what their doctrine is, they continue to use terms like “regeneration,” “the new birth,” “effectual calling,” “the new nature,” “the new man,” and “Christ in you.”

 

Yet, everything they teach denies the work of God the Holy Spirit in chosen redeemed sinners, teaching that salvation is arrived at by acquired knowledge, not by divine regeneration, by an act of the will, not by the revelation of grace. This philosophy of vain deceit…

  • denies the necessity of the new birth,
  • denies that the believer is given a new nature by the Spirit of God,
  • denies that righteousness is imparted to us,
  • and that we are made partakers of the divine nature in regeneration.

These modern Gnostics speak of God’s saving grace as nothing but a “principle” (an accepted philosophical rule).

 

They look upon those of us who believe God’s revelation of himself in his Word and trust Christ as our Wisdom, as well as our Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption, as poor, ignorant people, without spiritual understanding. Recently, one of these deceivers described that which the Scriptures call a God given light shining “in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” “a mystical, religious experience that takes place in ecstatic ignorance”!

 

Deceivers are never honest men! The liberals of the mid 1900s, at first, were not manly enough to openly state that they did not believe in blood atonement, regeneration and the resurrection. They made it a point to use such words frequently. But, with their “enlightened” understanding, they gave those clearly defined biblical terms new definitions.

 

Carnal Knowledge

 

That is exactly what is happening in our day. Many, who talk much about faith in Christ and imagine that no one possesses it except those who bow to their shrines, openly assert that, “Mental assent itself is equal to faith.” That is Gnosticism in its very essence. That is freewillism of the most deceptive form. It is the assertion that salvation is nothing but a man’s decision to agree with irrefutable facts!

 

That which they have arrived at by their imaginary “brilliance of intellect” the Holy Spirit calls knowing “Christ after the flesh,” by mere carnal reason. They are people with religious knowledge, who are totally void of grace and spiritual life, groping in the darkness of their invented light.

 

Saving Knowledge

 

Most people presume that knowledge is the basis of faith. But the Scriptures assert exactly the opposite. Hebrews 11:3 declares, “Through faith we understand.” The Scriptures nowhere teach or imply that through understanding we believe. No! — “Through faith we understand.” Through faith we see, perceive and comprehend all things spiritual. And this faith, which gives spiritual understanding, is the result of the new birth, without which no man can see the kingdom of God (John 3:5-7).

 

(John 3:1-8) “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: (2) The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (3) Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (4) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? (5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (8) The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

 

Faith in Christ is the basis of spiritual knowledge and understanding. Spiritual knowledge is the result of faith in Christ. As we’ve heard Bro. Henry Mahan say so many times, “You don’t get to Christ by doctrine. You get to doctrine by Christ.” Saving knowledge is not what you know, but who (John 17:3).

 

(John 17:3) “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

 

Three hundred years ago, the heretic Robert Sandeman insisted that to teach (as the Scriptures demand) that in regeneration the heaven born soul is made partaker of the divine nature and that this new, righteous nature imparted to God’s elect by grace is vital to salvation, is to teach men to look for righteousness in themselves, rather than in Christ.

 

Like his successors today, Sandeman insisted that the new birth is nothing more than giving assent to doctrinal facts. Another heretic’s name may be more familiar to you than Sandeman’s. — Alexander Campbell, founder of the Arminian, works denomination called “the Church of Christ,” wrote, “Sandeman was like a giant among dwarfs.” —

 

Heed Paul’s warning. — “Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit.” Any man who denies the necessity of the Spirit’s work in us, teaching that faith in Christ is nothing but learning doctrine, is an utter heretic, a man to be marked and avoided.

 

(2 Corinthians 5:17) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

 

Therefore” is a connecting word. It connects this statement with that which precedes it. “Therefore” is a word of conclusion. Paul is saying, “This is the conclusion, the only logical and reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from what I have just written.” This is the conclusion of his argument, the conclusion of the things he has declared for the instruction, comfort and edification of God’s elect.

 

His conclusion is, that all old things, even those of Divine appointment, having served their purpose and having waxed old, must pass away forever as of no value whatever to the new creation work of grace performed by God in the salvation of our souls.

 

Ceremonies

Priests

Holy Places

Holy Days

Holy Sabbaths

Holy Feasts

Symbols

Ceremonies

Laws

Carnal Ordinances

Old Motives

Old Ways

 

Someone has well said, that the cross of Christ is God’s monument erected over the grave of all carnal ordinances, sensuous ceremonies, fleshly sacrifices, earthly types and fleeting shadows.

 

If any man be in Christ

 

Therefore, if any man be in Christ.” — To be in Christ is to be one with Christ. — “In Christ.” We are in Christ? — To be in Christ is to be

Š      In His hands as my Surety.

Š      In His Loins as my Head and Representative.

Š      In His heart as my Priest.

Š      In His Body as my Mediator.

 

(1 Corinthians 1:30-31) “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

 

I often hear God’s people, who know better, speak contrary to the revelation of Holy Scripture. Sadly, God’s people talk contrary to the revelation of God in Holy Scripture because preachers are far too careless in the way they handle, or mishandle the Book of God. Always cling to chapter and verse. There is nothing so convincing as “Thus saith the Lord.”

 

Sometimes people talk about being “Put into Christ;” but God’s elect were and are eternally in Christ, so there can be no such thing as putting into Christ. John Gill wrote, “faith does not put a man into Christ, but makes him appear to be in him.” The gift of faith makes it manifest that he is in Christ.

 

There’s a secret being in Christ from everlasting. All who are loved by Him, espoused to Him, chosen and preserved in Him are in Him secretly. He is their covenant Head, Surety and Representative. They are in Him, united to Him and one with Him, from everlasting. As Christ is one with the Father and the Father is one with Him, so we are one with Christ and Christ is one with us. As the head is in the body and the body is in the head, so we are in Christ and Christ is in us.

 

Š      All God’s elect are in Christ by sovereign purpose, chosen, blessed and accepted in Christ.

Š      We are in Christ by special purchase, by blood atonement, redeemed, reconciled to God and righteous..

Š      Then, at the appointed time of love, God the Holy Spirit makes it manifest that we are in Christ spiritual power, by the gift of life and faith in Him.

 

‘Twixt Jesus and the chosen race

Subsists a bond of sovereign grace,

That hell, with its infernal train,

Shall ne’er dissolve nor rend in vain

 

Hail! sacred union, firm and strong,

How great the grace, how sweet the song,

That worms of earth should ever be

One with incarnate Deity!

 

[One with Christ Jesus as He lived

My righteous Representative,

One with my Savior crucified,

I died with Jesus when He died!]

 

One in the tomb, one when He rose,

One when He triumphed o’er His foes,

One when in heaven He took His seat,

While seraphs sang all hell’s defeat.

 

This sacred tie forbids their fears,

For all He is or has is theirs;

With Him, their Head, they stand or fall,

Their life, their surety, and their all.”

— John Kent

 

This is a living union. If any man be “in Christ” he is justified and accepted. (Ephesians 1:6). If any man be “in Christ” he is alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22). If any man be “in Christ” his sin is put away, for him death is abolished and life and immortality brought to light through the Gospel. If any man be “in Christ” he has every blessing of God stored up for that man in Him.

 

If you are in Christ and I am in Christ, as we are one with Christ, so we are one in Christ. In Christ all outward distinctions forever cease. In Christ all are of one mind and one spirit. — “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Galatians 6:15). The Holy Spirit tells us plainly that the middle wall of partition, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances which stood as a barrier between Jew and Gentile, was broken down by the death of Christ, and now God looks upon mankind as divided into two classes only — the elect and the reprobate — the redeemed and the unredeemed, — “To make in Himself of twain (elect Jew and Gentile) one new man” (Ephesians 2:15). Blessed be God, there is now no distinction whatever between the two.

 

A New Creature

 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” — If anyone is in Christ, in the blessed experience of grace, if anyone is in Christ in this living and vital union of God’s making, he is a new creature, or a new creation.

 

What is it to create? It is not making or forming a new thing out of an old one. It is not changing something. It is not transforming an object. It is not converting something from one thing to another. A new creature is not an old creature renovated, adorned and beautified. It is not the flesh with its corruptions and lusts trimmed and trained; but it is the new and Divine nature with its spiritual blessings, immunities and privileges. It is not taking old Adam and washing, clothing and adorning him, making him religious and very pretty to the outward eye. It is not that.

 

It is a new creation altogether. Therefore if I am in Christ Jesus, I am a partaker of a new nature — a partaker of the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), a partaker of His resurrection life (Ephesians 2:6), and all this according to the Father’s promise before all worlds (Titus 1:2).

 

(Titus 1:2) “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”

 

Life was promised to Christ for His people, and at the set time of love He communicates it to His own by His Spirit through the ministry of His own Word. Exactly how this is brought to pass, I daresay, few if any really know. The poor, broken-hearted, heavy-laden sinner finds himself trusting Christ. When he is questioned by those who seek to judge the validity of professed grace in others, most can only answer in the words of the blind man recorded in John 9:25: — “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”

 

Once I was blind and dead to God’s Christ, to God’s covenant and to God’s salvation. I was blind and dead to precious, sin-atoning blood, justifying righteousness, regenerating grace, restoring mercy and that peace of God which passeth all understanding. But now in union with the Lamb I love to dwell upon those glorious things that are found in Him alone. In Him, by Him and through Him I delight in electing love, redeeming grace and regenerating mercy. I love to experience the revivings of grace that flow to my soul through the wounds of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit to my heart.

 

A new creation” is found only in union with Him who was made sin for us, that they “might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” A new, Divine nature, (2 Peter 1:4) not a mere influence, but a real existence in living union with a risen, exalted and glorified Christ is what Paul is describing. This new creature is not a new principal, but a new person, “Christ in you!

 

This is always attended by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but the new creature is not the Holy Spirit. It is born of the Spirit. It was the Spirit of God who formed the sacred humanity of our Lord Jesus in the virgin’s womb; but He is not that humanity. What a glorious union this is! — One with the Person of a glorified Christ! Words cannot be found better suited to describe this union than the words of our most glorious Christ in His prayer to the Father in John 17:21-23.

 

“That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are One. I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in One; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.”

 

This is glorious oneness. As the Divine Three are equally, eternally and essentially One, so are the members of Christ one with Him, their living Head. This is a marvelous and mysterious oneness which can never be fully known until we stand perfect and complete in the light of His glory. Then we shall know even as we are known. As the Three Persons in the Godhead are One, so are the partakers of the new creation one with Christ. He appears in heaven for us, and blessed be His holy name, “as He is so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). If we are one with Him by His Father’s electing love, His own redeeming blood and His Spirit’s regenerating grace, then His Father is our Father, His righteousness our righteousness, His nature our nature, His home our home and His glory our glory.

 

Old Things Are Passed Away

 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away.” — Blessed be God, that old thing SIN, which, in my unregenerate state, maintained its authority over me, is gone, passed away. How did it pass away? I can only answer you in the language of God’s blessed Word.

 

(Isaiah 53:6) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

 

(Hebrews 9:26) “For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

 

By the faith of God’s own giving I see by the Father’s own act, all my sin passed away from me to my adorable Surety and Savior, and an end made of it by His sin-atoning death.

 

That old thing, THE CURSE OF THE LAW, passed away. How? — “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13). In thus becoming a curse for us He became the “end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:4). “The end of the law” — What an expressive term! What does it mean? It means that He went to the end of all the law’s requirements in the perfect obedience He rendered to its precepts, that He went to the end of all the law’s penal threatenings which He silenced by the sufferings He endured. What is the end of a debt? The payment. Christ, the heavenly Bridegroom, took and paid every debt owed by His bride, and in the sweet experience of this we sing,-

 

“Complete atonement Thou hast made,

And, to the utmost farthing, paid

Whate’er Thy people owed;

How, then, can wrath on me take place,

If sheltered in Thy righteousness

And sprinkled with Thy blood!”

 

By the application of that precious blood to my heart, every question of sin between me and my God is settled, every transgression over which my chastened spirit has grieved is removed, is passed away.

 

That old thing, CONDEMNATION is passed away. All that was due to me was borne by my sinless Surety by Him who said, to sin, law, condemnation and death, which sought and found Him, — “If ye seek Me, let these go their way” (John 18:8).

 

That old thing of fleshly fear, DEATH, passed away. “Christ hath abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel; and when Christ who is our Life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory.” Death may be dreaded, but can never be felt or experienced by a sinner in living union with Christ. “Old things are passed away.”

Š      My old notions of salvation by merit, salvation by my fleshly co-operation, salvation by my doing something and Jesus doing the rest, passed away.

Š      My old degrading views of Christ passed away.

Š      And now in the light of His glorious Gospel, I see Him altogether lovely, His salvation perfect, His righteousness complete, His intercession effectual and His glory sure.

He is the Author and the Finisher of my faith, and the Performer of all things for me in the presence of His Father and mine. We now notice,—

 

All Things New

 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” — Yes, a Christian, a believer is a new man, with a new life, in a new world. He experiences life in a risen and ascended Christ and immortality in spiritual union with Him.

 

(John 11:25-26) “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (26) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”

 

(Galatians 2:20) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

 

Here is a wonderful paradox — dead, yet in full possession of a life that can never die. The time of dissolution must and will come to all who are not to remain until the coming of the Lord. But this will be a ceasing of death, ceasing to die and a beginning to live unfettered and free in the eternal embrace of our covenant God in Christ! It is this which cheers our souls under many dark and trying dispensations and gives us a gracious lifting of heart in the midst of earthly bondage and causes us to rejoice in spirit when the hearts of all around us are bowed down. The living in Jerusalem know that neither law, nor sin, nor Satan, nor condemnation, nor death, nor hell, nor all combined, can ever affect our interest in God, nor God’s interest in us.

 

In Christ Jesus the new creature enjoys the blessings of this world, even of a world in ruins, yet possessing beauties and blessings rich and rare to the sanctified mind and spiritually illumined eye. The possessor of life in oneness with Christ, though he may not possess an ounce of this world’s goods, can look upon all things with joy and say, “All things are mine, for I am Christ’s and Christ is mine!”

 

All things are become new.” LIFE instead of death! —Salvation instead of slavery! — RIGHTEOUSNESS instead of sin! — JUSTIFICATION instead of condemnation! — ACCEPTANCE instead of banishment! — PEACE instead of enmity!

Š      New affections fixed upon things above.

Š      New hopes entering within the veil.

Š      New relatives: God my Father, Christ my Brother, The Holy Ghost my Friend and Companion, The saints my associates, Heaven my home.

 

The new creature has all things new!

Š      A New Nature

Š      A New Covenant

Š      A New Name

Š      A New Record

Š      A New Relationship

Š      A New Understanding

Š      A New Mind

Š      A New Heart

Š      A New Will

Š      A New Father

Š      A New Brother

Š      A New Family

Š      A New Rule

Š      A New Husband

Š      A New Hope

Š       

JEHOVAH Three-in-One and One-in-Three my exceeding and eternal joy. And blessed be His holy name, He has put a new song in my mouth and given me a new heart, by which I can praise Him for bringing me up from the pit of corruption, setting my feet upon the Rock of eternal ages, ordering my goings, holding my hand and keeping my feet in the way.

 

May the Lord add His blessing to His Word for His own name’s sake.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

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