In His Letters to Timothy (continued)
Christ In Us (continued)
And that introduces another aspect of the Christian life; that, if you and I go on continually on the basis of Christ within, our joy increases. That can be put to the test. Stop going on with the Lord, and see what happens to our joy. Get away from the Lord, and see what happens to our blessedness. We shall begin to lament then -
"Where is the blessedness I knew
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul-refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?"
Ah, but God forbid that it should be necessary for any of us to sing that hymn. It is not necessary. Go on with the Lord Jesus on the basis of God's satisfaction with Him, and the blessedness increases. God's happiness enlarges in our heart. Christ is installed within as the pattern, standard, and basis upon which God works.
Now, here is something fundamental. Oh, how long we take to learn this! It is simple, I know, but it is fundamental, and it is a thing on which we are always tripping up. If we begin to try to go on the ground of what we are, God stops. if we get on to our own ground, what we are in ourselves - our miserable, wretched self, that God regards as a corpse and a stinking corpse - forgive me for saying that - because it has been dead for two thousand years (that may sound amusing, but really it is exceedingly serious): if you get off the ground of "Christ in you" on to what you are in yourself, God says, "I am going no further." All Divine operations cease. We can only continue as we begin. We begin in faith that Jesus Christ was our substitute, took our place with God and answered to God for us. That was our faith that brought us into Christ. We have to go right on to the end with the same faith in the Lord Jesus, and no faith in ourselves, and God will go on if we go on on His ground. The good news is that God is ready to go right on with increasing blessedness if we will only keep on His ground. His glory is in His Son, and He has no glory in man apart from His Son.
So Christ is our sphere, Christ is our center, and Christ is our model, and we are being conformed, says the Apostle, until Christ is fully formed in us. Simple, basic: God's glory in Christ being manifested in believers, in the Church, because believers are resting upon God's satisfaction with His Son. That and that only is the way of the glory of God and the expression of God's blessedness, God's happiness. That is the gospel.
You see, it all comes at last to focus upon this. What is the gospel? When you have said all that you can about it, it is included in, and compassed by this - God's perfect satisfaction, rest, tranquility, concerning His Son, made available to us. Oh, that you and I might live without conflict with God, because we abide in Christ! Brother, sister, when you begin to feel miserable about yourself, repudiate it. 'Yes, I know all about that. If I do not know all about that now, it is time that I did. I know all about what I am; I know where that will lead me if I begin to take that into account. I set that aside. It is a fact - God has done it - that, so long ago, in Christ I was crucified, in Christ I died, in Christ I was buried, in Christ I have been raised. It is all in Christ. That is where I stand." Maintain that position; abide in Christ. Get out of that on to any other ground, and the glory departs, the blessedness, the happiness, is arrested.
(continued with # 51)