There are experiences known by the called of Jesus Christ which they but little understand. Christ is FELT to be their Saviour and Friend, their only consolation, but at times so variable are their frames and feelings in these matters. There are little seasons when in simplicity, in nearness they are with Jesus; at other times in their soul's apprehensions they are at such a distance; and, falling into unbelief, into bondage of spirit, they feel to be sundered from Him, and, in this suspension of intimacy with the dear Saviour, feel almost as though there had never been real nearness and dearness of union to Him. And in our changed estate, in our unbelief, our ignorance, thoughts arise that Jesus Christ, the Saviour, the immutable Lover of His Church Himself has changed; that His love has waxed cold, that He is indifferent, that the Lord has wearied of us, no more cares for us. Oh how sinful, how shameful are all such imagination! We become wretched, we are in confusion of spirit, we are cast down. Surely the children of God need to be taught of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost all their days. We have need of the Interpreter, the One among ten thousand, the Messenger of the covenant, (Job 33:23; Mal. 3:1) to show to us the signification, the causes, and what is to be the outcome, the fruit of all the vicissitudes that we undergo in the house of our pilgrimage.
Oh, how gracious in our faith our God is! He is ever mindful of His covenant, and though we are so changeable, helpless, worthless, in ourselves considered, yet thus He speaks, "O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me." (Isa. 44:21)
While we are in the house of our pilgrimage we are instructed and drawn to follow on to know the Lord, and unto us in all new covenant graciousness His goings forth in our behalf are prepared as the morning. He comes unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain upon the earth (Hos. 6:3). And who are we whom He in such riches of mercy deals with? We are sinful mortals upon the earth; we travel through the wilderness; there we find scorpions, and fiery flying serpents. Our sins, our iniquities, inward vilenesses, we are made to know our own the plague of our heart. (I Kings 8:38). Ah, this is the sore and grief of Israel. II Chron. 6:29) And blessed are we when we are inclined to spread forth our hands and to look unto the God of our mercy with all entreaty for that mercy and grace that come alone from the throne of God and the Lamb. There are many self-sufficient professors of Christ's name and they are ever self-satisfied. They can well supply themselves with all they need who are never poor and needy, emptied and empty, feeble and sore-broken. They know no weakness, they never fall down in the dry parched land, and find none to help. But the true child of God, the wayfaring man, Zion's pilgrims, find the way at times is in rough places. Our souls are much discouraged because of the way. (Numbers 21:4)
We faint in the day of our adversities and find to our dismay that we have to confess our strength is small (Prov. 24:10). How shall such weak, such sinful, sin-plagued, yes, and shamefully plagued with an evil heart of unbelief, how shall such unworthy creatures pursue their way to heaven, triumph over the hindrances, vanquish our foes, the world, the flesh and the devil? "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." Oh let me sing with the Apostle, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 8:28,29).
ye beloved ones in our precious Christ, do we not learn in every manner of the way that we are feeble and that it is not with us to make the wilderness to rejoice therein with joy and singing? But our Redeemer is strong, and in all graciousness he comes into the wilderness, shows Himself our Saviour and Friend, gives us again to taste the riches of His grace, tells to hearts the divine consoling mystery of His cross, and again as in the days of our youth we sing in the wilderness the grace and triumphs of our Emmanuel over our sins.
Not Withstanding all the vicissitudes of my soul this abides a divine mystery. Christ in my heart, the hope of glory! We are called unto eternal glory by Christ Jesus as vessels of mercy afore prepared unto glory. God hath predestinated His chosen to be conformed to the image of His Son, and when He shall appear and descend from heaven we shall ultimately be like Him for we shall see Him exactly as He is. Oh, how blessed to have this hope in us, and thus in our hope to be found in earnest expectation of glorious liberty of the children of God. "Looking for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Faithful is He who hath called us unto this predestinated glory, who also will accomplish it. Now we are in hope of righteousness, in hope of the resurrection of the dead, in earnest expectation of the glorious liberty of the sons of God - waiting for our adoption - to wit: the redemption of the body. How consoling! How sweet! How blessed! is the hope of the resurrection of the just to immortality and incorruption. This mortal shall put on immortality and this corruption shall put on incorruption. "We look for our Lord Jesus Christ from heaven who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself. (Phil 3:21) Then we shall be satisfied for we shall be conformed to the image of our dear Redeemer, and dwell forever with Him in immortal bliss. Oh! what an unspeakable mercy for a poor vile transgressor to be blessed with such a glorious hope!
By Frederick W. Keene, 1936
- Sovereign Grace & Pilgrim,