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Christ's Secret of Success
"He that spared not His own Son ... shall He not with him freely give us all things?"
"WE are often reminded that the way to the Kingdom is no easy path: the difficulties are frequently emphasized, the never-ceasing struggle between the flesh and the spirit brought home to us, and the possibility of final failure constantly stressed. Doubtless there is wisdom in having our attention directed to the principle that only by persistent effort will victory be achieved. "To him that overcometh" will Christ award the coronal wreath.
To concentrate always on present difficulties and to emphasize constantly the possibility of failure, is, however, not wise; nor is it the method recommended to us in the Scriptures. The victory secured by Christ himself -the greatest victory ever achieved - would never have been gained had he thought only of the struggle and the possibility of failure. Christ's secret of success rested on a foundation other than this. It was "for the joy set before him that he endured the cross, despising the shame", with the glorious result that "he is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).
Paul likewise reveals to us the secret of his success. "This one thing I do", he says, "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13).
We cannot afford to dispense with the means of success which Christ and Paul found so essential: indeed, we are admonished in this matter to be "like-minded" with Paul, and to "consider Jesus, lest we be wearied and faint in our minds".
The joy set before us! What glorious visions crowd into our minds if we allow our thoughts to dwell on this theme! Partakers of the Divine nature: equal unto the angels: made unto our God kings and priests, reigning in righteousness, ruling in judgment over a redeemed world and a ransomed earth. What greater joy could be ours than that summarized in the words, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things: and I will be his God, and he shall be my son" (Rev. 21:7).
The contemplation of the joy set before us is enhanced by the thought that it will be bestowed in no grudging spirit. Because of our constant recognition of the difficulties of the way and of the possibility of failure in the day of Christ, we may be in danger of conceiving the idea that God's bestowal of the reward must necessarily be a matter of grave concern and even of hesitating doubt. We need have no such fear. The Scriptures assure us that if we succeed in overcoming there will be no limitation of Divine graciousness in granting the reward for faithfulness.
"Fear not, little flock", says Christ to his disciples, "for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." What encouragement to greater endeavour do these gracious words supply!
Do we sometimes think, even whilst we allow the possibility of success in the day of Christ, of being grudgingly admitted to the Kingdom "by the skin of our teeth"? Peter has a higher conception of the Divine grace, and lifts our earthbound thoughts to a loftier plane: "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ". There is no limit to God's grace: no suggestion of frugality or economy: these limitations belong to men, not to the Creator of heaven and earth.
Do we still hesitate to believe these things? Are we amongst those of "little faith"? When we think of our weakness and sin, our constant failure and repeated stumblings, we are moved to say, "Impossible! these things are not for us! "But that is not God's view. Listen to the marvellous declaration with which Jude closes his epistle:
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.""
Brother F.W. Turner
Meditations - Chapter 6
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