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“THE GRACE OF LIFE.”

THE called of God are heirs together of the grace of life, and in this grace they live unto their God, and unto one another, and have their conversation in this present world. This life is called, very blessedly so, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which hath made us free from the law of sin and death. (Rom. viii. 2.) The apostle saith, “ 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.” This life has a sacred and divine graciousness in it, and it is a blessed inheritance in which all believers in Christ are joint-heirs. “Heirs together of the grace of life.” – 1 Peter iii. 7. Bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord our God. (1 Sam. xxv. 29.) The grace of the believer’s life in Christ flows forth in faith and love, in prayer and praise to God, and it flows out in love to the household of God. The grace of this life is found moving us to be pitiful and courteous to our dear fellows in the gospel, to be bearing one another’s burdens, and often in prayer one for another. This grace of life is described in Gal. v. 22-25, as the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. These are the graces of the life of Christ in the soul; and in their season they are brought forth, for the Holy Spirit is the gracious new covenant nourisher of our life, and we very willingly can acknowledge that from him all our graces, all our fruit, is found. (Hosea xiv. 8.) Those who are truly born of God do in truth find fervent longings in their hearts that they may be fruitful in all the graces of life, and their complaints are frequent that so little of grace is felt and manifested in them unto God. For where there is no grace, no fruit, what tokens have we that we are alive unto God? Those who know not God are dead in trespasses and sins, alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their hearts. If, beloved of God, the Lord by his Spirit hath quickened us into divine life, this will be found to be an experimental reality, and this life in all the sacred power of it, in the grace of it, moves the quickened sinner unto God, and the beauty, the adornment of this grace of life is to “put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” – Col. iii. 12, 13. What a paradox are the children of God to themselves, for though they are heirs together of this life, yet in their corrupt Adamic nature they find all that is contrary. The apostle Paul saith, “I know that in me, (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.” – Rom. vii. 18. So there is a conflict going on in the child of God. But in this warfare we are more than conquerors, for the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, glorifies Christ in us as our all-sufficiency. We are moved with compunctions of conscience, with sighs and supplications unto our gracious God over the sinfulness of our flesh, but we are led by the Spirit of God to thoughts, in faith and love to muse upon Christ crucified, and our heart goes out unto him, to his precious blood and justifying obedience, and we find in the dear Lamb of God sacred solace, refreshing and hope. Sweet are thy forgivenesses, Savior dear, thou art the only balm of the sin-wounded conscience. Thy love and compassion, so immutable and free, pour these streams into my oft tried soul again and again. Thus I shall love thee and trust thee and adore thee. Let my Beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits, and the spices shall flow forth, and thou wilt sup with me, and I with thee. O truly in our Beloved there are consolations, comfort of love, fellowship of the Spirit, bowels of mercies. (Phil. ii. 1.) Jesus is precious! How sovereign and abundant is the grace of God unto us in him.

FREDERICK W. KEENE.
North Berwick, Maine.

Signs of the Times
Volume 84, No. 22.
November 15, 1916