The Believer’s Standing and State
W. J. Burrows, New Zealand
Our purpose In this and subsequent articles under the above heading, is to reach those younger in the faith with a message that will encourage them to determine with true purpose of heart that the passing days, he they few or many, shall be marked by loyalty to the Word of our absent Lord, and untiring allegiance to His interests down here.
IN the disposition of our lives, they may be Christ-centred or self-centred. It is sadly possible to have a saved soul, and a lost life (in the sense in which the words are popularly understood). We may regard the salvation of God as a wise provision for the future, and yet live in such fashion as to yield little or no response to the present claims of the salvation-bringing grace of our God.
We believe we are correct in stating that the great underlying purpose of the amazing grace and power of the gospel, is not merely to procure enjoyment of heavenly conditions hereafter, but also to teach us to
soberly, righteously and godly in this present world " (or " age ")—not merely patterns of correct faith and sound orthodoxy, but the living exponents of the " faith which worketh by love." See Titus 2. 11-16 and Gal. 5. 6. Anything less than this is but a well-dressed scarecrow and a base imitation of what spiritual life ought to be.
Now concerning our theme, we purpose considering, briefly, the subject of the believer's standing and stale. In John 14. 20 we have six monosyllables from the lips of the Lord Jesus—" ye in me," that is standing; and " I in you," that is state. Confusion as to standing and state will land us in a morass of spiritual difficulties. Standing is absolute, state is relative. Standing is fixed and permanent ; like the law which regulates (he rising and setting of the sun. State is transitory and changeful; the spiritual barometer which registers the rise and fall of the mercury.
" I knew a man in Christ," says Paul, in 2 Cor. 12. 2— that is standing. " Caught up into paradise " (v. 4)—that is state. Paul, before Agrippa, bore his testimony : " such as I am," standing " in Christ," " except these bonds," state—the circumstances of imprisonment, Acts 26. 29.
We must begin with what is positive. " Look from
THE PLACE WHERE THOU ART
was the word of God to Abraham in den.13. 14. Altitude determines attitude. The father kissed the unwashed face of the returning prodigal and gave him a new standing— " shoes on his feet," and then " they began to be merry," Luke 15.
Briefly, blessedly, and emphatically stated, the believer's standing before God is that of being " in Christ," beyond condemnation, accusation, and with no possibility of separation. See Romans 8. Such is the wondrous operation of the amazing grace of our God that the believer now stands before Him in all the acceptability of His own Son, Eph. 1. 6. Blessed, heart-warming fact, beyond question or contradiction. The implications which flow from it are immense and eternal.
But our standing and state must approximate if we would live normal Christian lives, Alas, there is a vast difference between Christian experience, and the experience of Christians ! Where are we now in our present experience of spiritual life ?—that is our state. We may wear
THE CORONET OF GRACE
upon our heads, but our feet may grovel in the mire of doubtful things. By title we may belong to the peerage of heaven; in present experience we may resemble the prodigal—
" The fatted calf is dressed for me,
But the husks have greater zest for me."
But, said a young brother recently "I know what I ought to be; tell me how to be " Here are
THREE GOLDEN RULES
that will make for spiritual prosperity all the days, until (ravelling days are done : —
1. " Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly." Col. 3. 16. Saturate your whole being in the precious Word of God. Assimilate its principles and precepts by prayerful meditation.
2. "Grieve not the holy Spirit of God." Eph. 4. 30. Let Him fill and thrill your soul with occupation with Christ. Get to know something of what is meant by " the communion of the Holy Ghost." 2 Cor. 13. 14. Beware of the enemies who cut your lines of communication and rob you of heavenly supplies.
3. " Wait upon the Lord." Isa. 40. 31. Remember constantly how dependent you arc. Cultivate the habit of prayer. Remember that " the Christian upon his knees sees more than the philosopher on his tiptoes!"
" My conception of prayer," said the late Dan Crawford, of African memory, " is that of buckets on an endless chain—they go up empty, to express my need ; they come down full, to express His bounty 1" God delights to give. He never shuts the door upon our requests ; even though we go to Him " at midnight "—see Luke 11. 5-8.
May the foregoing serve to lead us into the "green pastures " and " the paths of righteousness, for his name's sake."
Thus we close, and we wish you all a happy and prosperous time, in the highest and best sense of the word— 3 John 2.