No amount of sacrifice on the part of man can put the basis of human life right: God has undertaken the responsibility for this, and He does it on redemptive lines. Imagine a man seeing hell without at the same time perceiving salvation through Jesus Christ—his reason must totter. Pseudo-evangelism makes an enormous blunder when it insists on conviction of sin as the first step to Jesus Christ. When we have come to the place of seeing Jesus Christ, then He can trust us with the facing of sin.
Our faith is in a Person Who is not deceived in anything He says or in the way He looks at things. Christianity is personal, passionate devotion to Jesus Christ as God manifest in the flesh.
Reflection Questions: Why is it important for people to see Jesus before facing their sin? How can anyone recognize hopelessness without first seeing hope?
Quotations taken from Baffled to Fight Better and Approved Unto God, © Discovery House Publishers
We all need someone who can make real to us the ideas we had of God but have forgotten; the only One who can do this for us is the Spirit of God. Isaiah brings back to the people first of all the memory of who God is; you cannot have faith in anyone you have forgotten. It is not God’s promises we need, it is himself. “His presence is salvation.” Once that Presence comes, all the inner forces of hope are rallied at once.
Whenever I say “I want to reason this thing out before I can trust,” I will never trust. The perfection of knowledge comes after the response to God has been made. The whole of the New Testament exposition in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is in order that we might know where we have been placed by Almighty God’s Redemption.
Reflection Questions: At Christmas we say, “God’s presence is more important than presents.” Do I really want His presence more than His presents? What gift of knowledge do I want more than God himself?
Quotations taken from Notes on Isaiah and God’s Workmanship, © Discovery House Publishers
Think of the worst man you know, not the worst man you can think of, for that is vague. Have you any hope for him? Does the Holy Spirit convey to you the wonder of that man being presented perfect in Christ Jesus? This test determines whether you are learning to think about men as Jesus thought of them. The Holy Spirit brings us into sympathy with the work Jesus has done on behalf of men in that He is “able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him.”
The gifts of the Spirit are built on God’s sovereignty, not on our temperament. What does it matter to the Lord Almighty what your early training was like! What matters to Him is that you don’t lean on your own understanding, but acknowledge Him in all your ways. The great stumbling-block that prevents some people being simple disciples of Jesus is that they are gifted—so gifted that they won’t trust in the Lord with all their hearts.
Reflection Questions: In what ways do I limit God by thinking of certain people or situations as hopeless? What natural talents do I trust more than God?
Quotations taken from Conformed to His Image and Approved Unto God, © Discovery House Publishers