Day By Day By Grace

May 11
More on Bondage versus Liberty
But their minds were hardened. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2Co_3:14-17)
The new covenant of grace, which depends upon living by the Spirit of the Lord, produces liberty: “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” The old covenant produces bondage in those who attempt to live under it, because it provides no resource for meeting its demands. In our last meditation, we looked at the bondage of secrecy that results from living by man’s sufficiency. Spiritual blindness is another bondage that comes from living under the law.
The Israelites were blinded by a veil that resulted from hardness of heart. “But their minds were hardened. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament [that is, the old covenant] .” This hardness was related to self-sufficiency. John, the Baptist, held forth the righteous standards of God and called the people to repentance for their sins. “And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Luk_3:3). John was aware that many held a self-sufficient reliance in their ancestry (their blood-line link with Abraham). “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’ ” (Luk_3:8). Jesus also encountered this same hardness of heart as He preached. “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free’? ” (Joh_8:33). Like the self-righteous Pharisee, these people thought they were better than others and had no need for repentance. “He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous . . . the Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men’ ” (Luk_18:9, Luk_18:11). Many people today rely upon their religious heritage to give them an acceptable standing with the Lord.
Such hardness of heart leaves them blind. They cannot see as God sees. God tells them of their need, but they will not reach out to the Him for help. How tragic this is, because He alone is able remove their blindness. “When one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away in Christ.”
O righteous Lord, I repent of the self-righteousness in my life. I want my heart to be soft before You. I do not want to stagger around in a veil of blindness. Lord Jesus, I humbly turn to You, in Your holy name, Amen.

Our Daily Walk

May 11
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked. But his delight is in the law of the Lord.” — Psa_1:1-2.
THE BLESSED, or Happy, man is described negatively (Psa_1:1). There is a gradation in the attitude, the sphere of influence, and the condition of his companions. In attitude, we may begin by walking, advance to standing, and end by sitting. If we would avoid the sitting, let us guard against walking or standing. In the sphere of influence, the beginning of backsliding is when a man listens to counsel; he then drifts into the path trodden by sinners, and finally is hardened enough to sit where scornful talk surrounds him on every hand. The condition of evil companions. We should be repelled if we were to be plunged suddenly into contact with the scornful, but our moral interests may not be specially outraged by the counsel of the wicked. Indeed, the advice which wicked men give sometimes resembles closely what our heart suggests and our taste prefers. It is so specious, so apparently sensible and natural, that we are captivated by it. Only gradually do we slide from those who forget God to those who set His law at defiance or openly blaspheme Him.
Our motive in going amongst ungodly men must be carefully considered. If it is to help and save them, as our Lord did, no harm will come to us. But if we go into the way of sinners for our own amusement, need we be surprised if the bloom pass off the fruit, and the fine edge from the tool? Let us examine ourselves. Are we startled and shocked now, as we used to be, by an indecent illusion or a blasphemous word? Is there a coarsening process at work? Even where we are not injured by worldliness, we may suffer by contact with the low ideals of our fellow-Christians. Let us watch and pray; let us consider one another and exhort one another day by day, lest any be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Heb_3:13).
The Blessed, or Happy, man is also described positively (Psa_1:2). This delight comes as naturally as appetite for food, when the soul is in a healthy condition. Under the inspiration of that delight, we shall meditate on God’s Word continually, storing it in the heart, and reciting it when travelling, or in darkness.
Remember that the Lord knows the way you take. He is sensitive to every jolt and lurch, to the stony hills and the easy valley, to the foes that lie in wait. In His keeping you will never become as the light chaff, or the perishing way of the wicked written in the dust.
We commend ourselves, and those we love, to Thee, dear Lord. We put our hand in Thine, that Thou shalt lead us by the untrodden” way. AMEN.