The Faithfulness Of Jesus

Notice: My friend in “the valley” has reached an impasse. A complete train wreck so to speak of his life. I am fighting to save him. I will resume shortly.

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,
consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,
who was faithful to Him who appointed Him,
as Moses also was faithful in all His house.

When I started this blog, I felt as if I was buried alive. Because of my health, I was unable to do much of anything. Fast-forward a few years and because of the spiritual exercise involved in blogging I reached a place where I was digging out of the pit. All of a sudden, my friend in “the valley” began slipping away and handed his life over to me completely. Now I was more buried than ever before.

I grew up on a farm, and I remember being amazed by the process of growth in small plants. Have you ever watched a delicate leaf dig its way up through hard soil? That struggle is what makes it into a strong and resilient crop.

I cannot imagine going through life without the faithfulness of Christ to hold me. As I yield myself to His instruction, He is consistently trustworthy and loyal to me and to His promises. And I find myself more resilient than ever.

We go into a little Old Testament history in this lesson that will help us better understand the next. The following excerpt titled “Christ and Moses” is from Andrew Murray’s classic The Holiest of All:

Moses and Aaron together represented God in Israel; the one as apostle or messenger, the other as high priest. In the person of Jesus the two offices are united. As High Priest He is merciful as Aaron; as Apostle of our profession He is faithful as Moses. Moses was the great apostle or messenger of God, the Old Testament type of Christ as prophet. He had access to God, and brought the word of God to the people.

Christ is the great Apostle or Prophet of the New Covenant. He ever spoke of Himself as the one whom the Father had sent; in Him, the Son, God speaks to us. As Apostle He is God's Representative with us, making God known to us; as High Priest, our Representative with God, bringing us into His presence.

As High Priest He stands linked to us by His mercy and compassion, as He now, having died for us, helps us in our temptation and weakness; as Apostle He pleads for God with us, and proves Himself entirely faithful to Him. We need to consider Christ Jesus, not only as a High Priest in His mercy, but as the Apostle of our profession who was faithful to Him that appointed Him, as also was Moses in all his house.

Faithfulness is trustworthiness. As we see Jesus faithful to Him who appointed Him, our faith and trust will rise into perfect and joyful assurance that He will indeed most faithfully fulfill all God's promises in us, that in us too He will be faithful as a Son over His own house. Nothing gives such strength to faith as resting on the faithfulness of Jesus. The glory of Jesus is the glory of Christianity; is the strength and glory of the Christian life.

Selah.

A Heavenly Life

“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,
consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,”

I wrestled with whether to move on to the next chapter in our study, or spend yet another week considering Jesus. Considering Jesus won. This is always a safe place to default when the “race” we are running gets to be too much for us. Through worship, we keep “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2) He will be faithful to carry us. (More on this later.)

Last week we began to explore the roles that Jesus plays in our real and present lives as our Apostle and High Priest. Next week we will take a closer look at how Jesus’ life compares to these figures in the Old Testament. I cannot help but think that God is trying to show us something special here, something with eternal value. Something I do not want to miss.

For these reasons, we will continue to take this segment slowly. The following excerpt begins with a review from last time and is titled “Consider Jesus,” in Andrew Murray’s classic The Holiest of All:

Christians, at Pentecost, were people who by the new birth entered into the heavenly kingdom or state of life. And the kingdom entered into them. And they were partakers of a heavenly calling, because the spirit and the life and the power of heaven was within them.

It is to such men the invitation comes. Holy brethren! Partakers of the heavenly calling! Consider Jesus! If you would know what it is to be holy and to live holy, consider Jesus who makes holy! If you would know the privileges and powers that belong to you as partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus! He is God, the King of heaven! He is Man who has ascended to heaven as your Priest and Savior, has opened it for you, and can communicate its life and blessedness. Oh, consider Jesus! Set your heart on Him; He will make you holy and heavenly.

There is more than one of my readers who mourns that he knows so little what it is to live a holy and a heavenly life. Listen, God's word speaks to you—Holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling! Consider Jesus! This is your weakness: you have looked at yourself and your own strength; you have not studied Jesus! This will be your cure: each day, each hour, consider Jesus, and in Him you will find all the holiness and the heavenliness you need.

In the latter part of the Epistle all the glory of Jesus as He entered heaven, and opened it for us, as He became a minister of the heavenly sanctuary, and leads us to dwell in the Father's presence, will be opened to us. But let us even now, from the commencement, hold fast the truth that the knowledge of Jesus seated in heaven is the power of the heavenly calling and the heavenly life.

Do not think that you know all that can be told about Jesus. Believe that there are wonders of heavenly joy to be revealed to you if you know Him better: His divine nearness and oneness with you, His ever-present indwelling to succor and lead you, His power to bring you into the Holiest of All, into the Father's presence and love, and to keep you there, will be revealed.

Selah.

The Holiness Of God

“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,
consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,”

Only Andrew Murray can turn scripture into a poetic story. In case you do not know, the “Holiest of All” in the Old Testament is the innermost court of the tabernacle and the temple where the High Priest met alone with God once every year.

He would go into the closet and stand before God. He stood in the presence of God based on a blood sprinkled mercy seat. It is one of my very favorite subjects in the Bible and the reason I was drawn to this study.

I could not help but spend another week considering all that Jesus is as our Apostle and High Priest. May Murray's insight change us all. The following excerpt titled “Consider Jesus” is from Andrew Murray’s classic The Holiest of All:

Holy brethren! The word holy had also been just used. He that sanctifieth, maketh holy, and they who are sanctified, made holy, are all of one. We saw how holiness is the common mark of Christ and His people: their bond of union, and the great object they both aim at.

One of the great mysteries the Epistle is to reveal to us is that our great High Priest has opened the way for us into the Most Holy Place or the Holiest of All. In Hebrew it is the Holiness of Holinesses. There we have boldness of access, there we are to have our dwelling encircled by the holiness of God.

We must know that we are holy in Christ; this will give us courage to enter into the Holiness of Holinesses, to have God's holiness take complete possession, and fill our whole being. It is Jesus who makes holy: it is we who are to be made holy: what more natural than that the thoughts should be coupled together: holy brethren, consider Jesus.

Holy brethren! Partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus! What is elsewhere spoken of as a holy calling is here named a heavenly calling. That does not only mean a calling from heaven, or a calling to the heaven, whence the call proceeds. No, there is much more in it.

Heaven is not only a place, but a state, a mode of existence, the life in which the presence of God is revealed and experienced in its unhindered power. And the heavenly calling is that in which the power of the heavenly life works to make our life heavenly.

When Jesus was upon earth the kingdom of heaven was nigh at hand; after He had ascended and received the kingdom from the Father, the kingdom of heaven came to this earth in power, through the descent of the Holy Spirit.

Christians, at Pentecost, were people who by the new birth entered into the heavenly kingdom or state of life. And the kingdom entered into them. And they were partakers of a heavenly calling, because the spirit and the life and the power of heaven was within them.

Selah.

Possession Of The Son

“Therefore, holy brothers and companions in a heavenly calling,
consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession;”

Recently, I read a story about a man by the name of Hudson Taylor. He was a master missionary. While he never wrote a book on missions or church planting, he did write a very small commentary on the Song of Solomon. The key to his success was that he loved his Lord, and he believed that you could only cultivate love in aloneness with the one you love.

A. W. Tozer was one of the few men who preached consistently on the need to be a worshiper of God, telling the church that worship was the missing jewel in her crown.

C. S. Lewis believed that God communicates His presence to men in the process of worship. And Oswald Chambers called worship “the great essential of fitness.” He went on to say, “If you have not been worshipping…, when you get into work you will not only be useless yourself, but a tremendous hindrance to those who are associated with you.”

Worship is a vital element of our freedom in Christ. I love the idea of worship being a jewel in our crown. The following excerpt titled “Consider Jesus” is from Andrew Murray’s classic The Holiest of All:

Consider Jesus! This is the central thought of the verse, and of the passage of which it is a part, as it is indeed of the whole Epistle. It is the one aim of the writer to persuade the Hebrews that, if they but knew aright the Lord Jesus as the faithful, compassionate, and almighty High Priest in heaven, they would find in Him all they needed for a life such as God would have them lead.

Their life would be in harmony with their faith, in harmony with the life of Him whom their faith would apprehend. The words might have been taken as the title of my book: Consider Jesus! It is indeed the keynote of the Epistle.

The word consider, from the root of the Latin word for Star, originally means to contemplate the stars. It suggests the idea of the astronomer, and the quiet, patient, persevering, concentrated gaze with which he seeks to discover all that can be possibly known of the stars which the object of his study are.

And Jesus, who is God, who became man, and perfected our human nature in His wonderful life of suffering and obedience, and now dwells in heaven to communicate to us its life and blessedness—oh, what reason there is for saying, consider Jesus.

Gaze upon Him, contemplate Him. For some increased knowledge of the stars what devotion, what enthusiasm, what sacrifices are often times witnessed. Oh, let the study and possession of the Son of God waken our devotion and our enthusiasm, that we may be able to tell men what beauty and what glory there is in Jesus.

Selah.

A Living Faithful Helper

“For because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted (tested and tried), He is able [immediately] to run to the cry of (assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried [and who therefore are being exposed to suffering].” 
Hebrews 2:18 Amplified Bible

I once heard that unless you can explain something simply you do not know it well enough. My goals for this blog include being able to explain salvation (or as Murray likes to say “so great a salvation”).

I have never mentioned before that I am dyslexic. It is very difficult for me to learn from books. I comprehend slowly, and retain little. Thankfully, scripture is “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12). I have found that the word of God transfers off the page and into our hearts regardless of whether we understand everything about it. However, to explain something to others requires deep understanding.

The Old Testament story linking Jesus’ sacrifice for us was never explained to me as a new Christian. And because of the dyslexia I did not know how to go about connecting the dots. When I set out on this journey to find freedom in Christ huge parts of the big picture were missing for me.

I believe that frequently the gospel presentation is incomplete. I cannot help but think that if I can find a way to explain it simply, maybe it will help other people experience a deeper salvation as well. And that is what leads to freedom in Christ.

I love how Andrew Murray digs deep to discuss every angle. I do want to point out that the word succor here means so much more than simply help. It also means relief, comfort, and even rescue.

The following excerpt is titled “A High Priest Able to Succor,” from Andrew Murray’s classic The Holiest of All:

This is the greatest and most blessed part of His work in bringing us to God, that, as the Leader in the path of suffering and perfection, He inspires us with His own dispositions, and, by the mighty operation of His Spirit within us, gives us His help in every time of need. The one thing we need is, to know and trust Him fully.

To know Him as High Priest who not only has opened a way to God for us to walk in, and not only in heaven prays for us, but who undertakes to keep us so in fellowship with Himself, and under the covering of His power, and in the experience of His full redemption, that temptation can never conquer us.

His divinity secures to us His unfailing and never ceasing presence. His humanity assures us of His sympathy and compassion. More ever-present and more mighty than the temptation, His unfailing love is always near to give the victory. He can and will do it.

Our High Priest is a living, faithful helper: let us trust Him. Salvation is not a thing He gives us apart from Himself. Full salvation is nothing but Jesus Himself, most compassionately and most faithfully watching over us in daily life, most really and fully giving and living His life in us.

The abiding, indwelling presence of Jesus, able to succor, is the true secret of the Christian life. Faith will lead us into the experience that Jesus is and does all that is said of Him.

Selah. 

Union With Himself

“For it is clear that He does not reach out to help angels,
but to help Abraham’s offspring.” Hebrews 2:16 HCSB

God has to provide all the right circumstances for me to be able to create a blog post. A few weeks ago, He clearly stopped providing. As hard as it was for me to relent, I knew I could trust Him. I was beyond swamped in caring for my friend in “the valley.” Thankfully, I have managed to bring order out of chaos.

I will only be blogging once a week until I can successfully manage my obligations as a helpmeet to my husband, keeper of two homes (including the caregiving of my friend), and my cancer therapy. I will continue to post on Wednesdays aiming for morning, but the timing is always in God’s hands.

I am excited to say that in the absence of writing I found the creative energy to resume the design of my new blog site. The designer I originally hired was not the right person for the job. Please join me in praying for a new designer so I can move on with the plans.

Andrew Murray had me quite confused over some of his material at the end of chapter two in Hebrews. It prompted me to resume studying under a teacher who has guided this same study repeatedly for many years. You can find his website here. He recommends reading the book of Hebrews daily (or at the very least weekly) while working through this study. He points out any errors in Murray’s teaching in his live audio sessions (many of them are online; the others are available by request).

I am thrilled to be engaging in this study once again. We find ourselves reviewing in this excerpt titled “A High Priest Able to Succor” from Andrew Murray’s The Holiest of All:

In the first chapter we saw the writer quoting text after text from the Old Testament, in order that he might bring us to the full apprehension of the truth and the meaning of our Lord's divinity. In this chapter we see him in the same way, time after time, reiterate the fact of our Lord's humanity, lest we should not fully realize all that it means.

So it is here. He had just said, since the children were sharers of flesh and blood, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same. It is as if He feels the insufficiency of the words, and therefore once again repeats and confirms his statement: For verily not of angels doth He take hold, but He takes hold of the seed of Abraham. Man may have been made lower than the angels, but this honor have they not, that He took hold of them—He takes hold of the seed of Abraham.

And how doth He take hold? There is no way in which God can take hold of a creature other than by entering into him with His life and spirit, so imparting His own goodness and power, and bringing him into union with Himself. So did Jesus take hold of man. He entered into humanity and became one with it. And so he takes hold of individual souls by entering with each into personal union and fellowship.

Selah. 

The Divine Fellowship

Notice: Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am resigned to take a short time off. God willing, I will be back Wednesday, June 11th, 2014.

“For the One who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father.”

My friend in “the valley” kept nearly everything you could imagine. Books on subjects I never knew existed; military journals from Libya; thousands of photos of planes, trains, and various histories; and every piece of correspondence received as an adult. As I comb through his belongings and feel his life slipping away, I cannot find one single book that I gifted to him about Christ. From a man who saved everything he clearly rejected Him.

I have had many conversations with him regarding my concerns. Recently, I suggested he go to a Bible study in his new senior residence (unbeknownst to him the lovely home is run by Mennonites). He started ranting about why he did not think it was appropriate to have someone teach him what he or she “thought” about the Bible. And how every teacher on television, along with every preacher in a church taught something different.

I then said, “what if the only real way to God is Jesus, and the Bible is all about Jesus.” He then said he did not need someone peering over his shoulder to study it. To which I replied, “I bought you a Bible, how about you study it for yourself?” I convinced him how fascinating the history is (he was a history major). I am thrilled to say he accepted my challenge. After 20 years of suggestion, I could not be more thrilled to be his coach.

We had a very long hard day yesterday; therefore, our lesson today is brief. Andrew Murray titles the following excerpt “Jesus Calls Us Brethren” from the classic The Holiest of All:

The word Holy is one of the deepest in Scripture. It means a great deal more than separated or consecrated to God. The Triune God is the Thrice-Holy One: Holiness is the deepest mystery of His Being, the wondrous union of His righteousness and His love. To be holy is to be in fellowship with God, possessed of Him.

Therefore the Spirit specially bears the name of Holy, because He is the bearer to us of the love of God, and the maintenance of the divine fellowship is His special work. Jesus is the Holy One of God, who makes us holy in filling us with His Holy Spirit.

The difference between Jesus and us is great—the oneness is greater. He and we are of one, together partakers of God's life and God's holiness. Let us give abundant heed to so great salvation.

Selah.

The Soul's One Desire

“For in bringing many sons to glory, it was entirely appropriate that God
--all things exist for Him and through Him—
should make the source of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

I love this lesson; it may be my favorite yet. Last night I had to do something dreadful for my friend in “the valley.” I knew it was going to take me at least a couple of hours. I put on this attitude as a shawl before I left and even though it took four hours instead of two, it went surprisingly well. In fact, it was a pleasant experience.

Today I attended the funeral of one of my doctors. Since being diagnosed with cancer, I have watched three of my doctors’ die of the same disease. When I look at this startling fact, I am speechless. Several other people that I have been cheering on in their battle with cancer are slowly losing their fight, as well.

I am deeply humbled to have lived as long as I have despite my condition. While I hope for my healing, I will cling to this verse in a new light. I encourage you to do the same. Andrew Murray titles the following excerpt “For Whom and Through Whom Are All Things” in his classic The Holiest of All:

"All for God" "All through God." Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to make these our watchwords. In all aspirations after a closer walk with God, in all efforts after a purer, truer, higher life, they are the two poles between which the soul ought to move. They are the sure marks of that true scriptural mysticism, which has such attractions for all hungry souls, who long to know and please God perfectly.

All for God! Absolutely, without a moment, a thought, a word, a person, a possession, excepted; wholly for God, this becomes the soul's one desire. It has seen that God is worthy of this, that He claims it, and that in the very nature of things, nothing less can satisfy the heart God made to be filled with Himself.

All through God! The clearer the aim becomes to be all for God, and the deeper the soul sinks into its own emptiness and impotence, under the conviction that with man it is impossible, the sooner does faith rise to see that we can not only say, but that we do dare to say, All for God! Because we may also say, All through God! God Himself will work it in us.

This is the God who has revealed Himself to us in His Son. It became Him, for whom all things and through whom are all things, to make the Leader of our salvation perfect through sufferings. Let us worship Him! Let us adore Him! Let us offer Him the sacrifice of full allegiance and childlike dependence, as the words ring through heart and life— All For God! All Through God! God Is All.

The practice of the presence of God is a most needful and most blessed spiritual exercise. As the soul bows in stillness and lowliness, and worships in silence, it gets into the right spirit for recognizing its own nothingness, and realizing that God is all—that all is for Him, and all through Him.

All for God: that is consecration. All through God: that is faith. This was the spirit in which Christ yielded Himself to God: consecration and faith.

This was the God who perfected Christ. To know and honor God in this character is the secret of perfection, for in such He can do His work. This is the God who is leading many sons to glory; to know and honor Him is the path to glory. To reveal this God and His claims, to show how to give up everything to Him,—this was what Christ came for. This is the life He brought us, the path He opened, the salvation He gives.

Selah.

Living Wholly For God

“For in bringing many sons to glory, it was entirely appropriate that God
--all things exist for Him and through Him—
should make the source of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

My friend “in the valley” is beyond frustrated. He has libraries established in his name at universities and museums yet he struggles to make sense of the life he lived. How the things he did and the places he went are somehow meaningless now. I watch him struggle alone, without God to give him peace, joy, strength, and victory. The dark spirit world that served him all these years provides nothing now beyond a selfish suffering. 

Jesus came to set us free from a life of self. I hope that it is not too late for my friend. Living for God is man's highest goal, privilege, and purpose. In the living and in dying we can have the “power of the heavenly life” to comfort and guide us.

The following lesson is lengthy; it is necessary to lay a foundation. I encourage you to read it more than once to fully grasp what Murray is saying. The excerpt is titled “For Whom and Through Whom are All Things” from Andrew Murray’s classic The Holiest of All:

The apostle might have written: "It became God to make the Leader of our salvation perfect through suffering." Not without good reason does he introduce here the character in which God acted in perfecting the Son as Leader of our salvation. When man sinned and fell from God, he lost together the two blessed truths in which his relation to God had stood. His holy allegiance to God, having all things for Him, his blessed dependence on God, having all things through Him; instead of these came the reign of self, with its life for self and through self.

It was from this life of self Jesus came to redeem us, to bring us back to God, to know and honor Him as the God and Father, for whom are all things and through whom are all things. In doing this he opened again the only way which could lead to glory. He did it first by showing us in His life, as Man, how men ought to live for God and through God. And then by delivering us through His death from the dominion of sin, and winning for us the power of the heavenly life.

For whom are all things, and through whom are all things. It was in this character that God perfected Christ through sufferings. It was in this character that Christ revealed and honored God in His sufferings. It is to win and bring us to know and love and serve God in this character that Jesus is Savior.

For whom are all things. Throughout His whole life there is nothing that Jesus sought to impress more distinctly on His disciples than this, that He was the Father's messenger and servant; that there was no thought of doing His own will or seeking His own honor; that He only sought and did what would be for the Father's pleasure and glory.

He gave us the example of a man on earth living absolutely and entirely for God in heaven. His life on earth was the exhibition here in the flesh, the translation into human language, of the divine claim —"All things for God." His allegiance to God was absolute. He proved to us that man's destiny and blessedness and everlasting glory are to be found in this: Living wholly for God.

Through whom are all things. Of this too Christ's life was the exposition. He was not ashamed continually to say that He could do nothing of Himself, and that only as the Father showed Him or spoke to Him, could He work and speak. He counted this His blessedness and His strength— not to be able to do anything of Himself, but in continual dependence to wait on God and His working in Him. He knew and taught us that the man who has said in whole-hearted devotion to God, “All things for God," may confidently say too, "All things through God."

Selah. 

The Only Path To Glory

“For in bringing many sons to glory, it was entirely appropriate that God
--all things exist for Him and through Him—
should make the source of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

I have mentioned before that I feel as if I am living this study as a character in the book. The present section has been exceptionally difficult. Each time I turn around, I find more burdens added to the already heavy load I am carrying.

Serious matters, such as finding out my best girlfriend may have only a few months to live. And the insurance company of my friend “in the valley” telling me none of the recent bills to the doctors or hospitals will be paid because of an error I made. 

I started thinking over my life since I committed it to Christ over 25 years ago. Initially, I had a “Damascus Road experience” which is described as a conversion that is dramatic and startling. From the very beginning, I opened my heart wide to accept the life of Christ in me. There was no way you could ever convince me that Jesus was not the answer to every need I had.

However, if you knew the story of my life since conversion, and some of the terrible things that have happened to me, you might wonder how I could trust a God who could allow such things to occur. I believe that my difficulties in large part were due to my old nature -- I was a mess.

The work that was necessary for me to change could only be accomplished Jesus’ way. His process of purification involves yielding obedience to the pressure He allows. The contrast in my life now, compared with how it used to be is proof of God’s transforming power. 

I also trust that He knows what He is doing in my life today. Just this week I felt a release in my soul that made me a little less selfish; a little less rigid; a little more loving. And more free to do what I know is right.

And that my friends is true freedom. The freedom of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right. The following excerpt is titled “The Leader of our Salvation,” from Andrew Murray’s classic The Holiest of All:

The Lamb of God has no salvation and no perfection to give us but His own meek spirit of entire dependence and absolute submission to God. The meekness and humility that it was needful God should perfect in Him are as needful for us. We must suffer and be crucified and die with Him. Death to self and the world, at the cost of any suffering or self-denial, this is the only path to glory the Leader of our salvation has opened up to us.

And remember who this Leader is—the Son of God, the divine Maker and Upholder of all things. Not only the Son of Man as a Leader outside of us, influencing us by example and instruction, by authority and kindness does He guide us. No, but as the Son of God who works in us by His Spirit, yea who Himself dwells within us. Even as it was God who worked in Him and perfected Him, will He, as God, now work in us and perfect us.

Selah.

The Power Of Sanctification

“But we do see Jesus--made lower than the angels for a short time
so that by God's grace He might taste death for everyone—
crowned with glory and honor because of His suffering in death.“

As a historian, my friend “in the valley” kept nearly everything you could imagine. If you have ever watched one of those hoarding television shows, you can imagine the chaos. Moving his belongings out of his home of 25 years was a dark and trying experience.

I finally emptied what remains into his double-wide storage shed, cringing at the job that remains before me. I am beyond exhausted. My personal and professional lives are unraveling after months of putting things off. The pressure is intense.

While I have one foot in the previous lesson, and one foot in the present, I trust God and the path that He has chosen for my ultimate good and His glory. I have peace and joy knowing I am right where He wants me to be: in the power of sanctification.

The following excerpt titled “Jesus Tasting Death for Every Man” is from Andrew Murray’s classic The Holiest of All:

HERE we have the one great reason why it was meet that Jesus should be made a little lower than the angels. It was that He might taste death for every man. In the counsel of divine grace, and in the great plan of redemption, this was one of the first objects of the incarnation—the birth was for the sake of the death. Without that wonderful birth,—THE WORD, that was God, made flesh,—the death would not have profited us. Without that wonderful birth the death would have availed us little.

What God hath joined together let no man put asunder. Let us beware of exalting the one at the expense of the other. The birth and the death are two inseparable parts of the one process by which He was perfected as the Firstborn from the dead, and became our Deliverer and King. The humanity and humiliation of Jesus was needful for His death for or on behalf of every man.

And what was the meaning of this death? And wherein lies its efficacy? In Scripture there is a twofold aspect in which the death of Christ, as our Head, is set before us. The one is that He died for sin, bearing its curse, and suffering death as God's righteous judgment on account of it. His death opened up the way to God for us. It did for us what we cannot and need not do; it wrought out a finished salvation, which we have but to accept and repose upon.

According to the other aspect, He died to sin. His death was a proof of His resistance to sin and its temptation, of His readiness rather to give up life than yield to sin; a proof that there is no way of being entirely free from the flesh and its connection with sin, but by yielding the old life to death, in order to receive afresh and direct from God a life entirely new. In this view His death was an act of infinite moral and spiritual value,—the consummation of the work God wrought when He perfected Him through suffering.

The former aspect, the death for sin on our behalf, has its value from the second, which reveals what constitutes its true nature and power. And, even so, the faith in the death for sin, must lead us into the death to sin. The one view is that of substitution: Christ doing what l cannot do. The other that of fellowship: Christ working in me what I see in Himself. The former is a finished work, and gives me boldness at once and forever to trust God. The latter is the power of sanctification, as the death and the life of Christ work in me.

Selah.

The Glorifying Of Jesus

In my last post, Andrew Murray highlit the “one great lesson” the Hebrews and all Christians require. He calls it a “great salvation” and describes how we can experience the love, presence, holiness, joy, and power of God within us. He then explains that once we have a clear vision of this in our hearts and minds we have everything we need.

Because of my cancer battle, my life is always especially trying. Through Bible study for this blog, I have learned how to live in the peace and joy promised in Christ. However, for the last several months I have had the additional burden of becoming caregiver for a dear friend with severe dementia. A former history professor and historian, he handed 82 years of chronicled living over to me to sort out (and another 100 years or so of family history).

Between all of the sorting, caregiving and other obligations, I find myself spread too thin. Taking on his circumstances along with mine is honestly too much for me. However, God knew what He was doing by increasing the pressure in my life. He was preparing me for this lesson.

Because of what Andrew Murray has explained, my life has changed. Even though the circumstances remain the same, I have found solace in Hebrews 2:8-9. This “great lesson” will forever be anchored in my heart and soul. And I want this for you, as well.

We begin with a review of Murray’s "great lesson" before reaching his conclusion. The following excerpt is titled “We See Jesus Crowned with Glory and Honor” and is from Andrew Murray’s classic The Holiest of All:

Amid all sin and weakness, all darkness and doubt, all failure and perplexity, hold fast this one truth, engage in this one exercise of faith: We see not yet all things subjected to man, but we see Jesus crowned with honor and glory. This gives peace, and victory, and joy unspeakable.

And if you would know how thus ever to have the heart turned to Jesus, remember, He came to save His people from their sins. It is the heart that is weary of itself and its sins, that fully accepts the fact of the utter corruption and the utter helplessness of all that is of the old nature and of self, that will find itself attracted with strong desire to this mighty Redeemer. In such a heart Jesus, the crowned One, will not only be a distant object, but, by the Holy Spirit, an indwelling presence.

The coming of the Holy Spirit is inseparably connected with, is our only proof of, the glorifying of Jesus (John 7:38-39; 16:14; 17:10), [it] is our only real participation in the blessings that flow from it. Let all our worship of Him, crowned with glory and honor, be in the faith that the Spirit glorifies Him in us, so that our whole inner being is filled with His presence.

Jesus, made a little lower than the angels. Jesus, because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor. Look not only at the glory, but look well at the place of its birth, at the way in which it was gained. It is in the way in which you are walking now. Learn to welcome humiliation and suffering as the seed, the power out of which the glory is brought forth, as the way in which Jesus in glory is preparing you for the glory.

We see Jesus crowned with glory and honor. Let every experience of the contrast— we see not yet all things subject to man—become a call and a motive and a help to turn to Jesus. Let us take time and gaze and worship until our whole soul is filled with the faith: this life of humiliation is the bud of the glory everlasting: Jesus in glory is proof that it is so, the pledge that it will be so with us. Be this our life: We see Jesus, because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor.

Selah.

This Mighty Redeemer

Our lesson happens to be perfect for Easter. Andrew Murray is making a strong point here (he loves to do that). He calls it “the secret of the life of faith.” I must say it has certainly changed mine.

My faith is not new or weak, nor am I backslidden as Murray suggests. However, I have recently been stretched beyond every imaginable limit in my body, soul, and spirit. Just when I thought I could not bear another ounce of pressure the suggestion Murray brings appeared to me as a life raft.

It is as simple as this: “We see not yet all things subjected to man, but we see Jesus crowned with honor and glory" (Hebrews 2:9). When you are at the end of your rope, look to Him on the throne. See His crown; the glory fills you with everything you lack.

The following excerpt is titled “We See Jesus Crowned with Glory and Honor” from Andrew Murray’s classic The Holiest of All:

The Epistle is about to expound to us the great mystery, why the Son of God was made a little lower than the angels. It was that, by the grace of God, He might taste death for every man, and so open up again the entrance into God's presence and favor. The necessity and meaning of His sufferings and death it will present to us in three different aspects.

The first (v. 10), that in suffering and death Christ Himself must be made perfect, so that as our Leader He might open up to us the path of perfection, and prepare that new nature, that new way of living, in which we are to be led to glory.

The second (14, 15), that through death, making propitiation for sin, He might destroy the devil, with his power of death, and give us a perfect deliverance from all fear of it.

And the third (16-18), that in what He suffered, He might be made a merciful and faithful High Priest, able to secure our perfect confidence, and to give us the succor we need.

But before the writer thus unfolds the meaning of Christ's humiliation, he first points to His glory. It is this which constitutes the excellency of the New Testament, which gives our faith its power of endurance and victory; we see Jesus now at the right hand of the Majesty of God.

Let us hold this fast as the chief thought of the Epistle, as the one great lesson the Hebrews, and all feeble backsliding Christians, need: Jesus, who suffered for us; Jesus who in His suffering as our Leader, opened a way to God for us; Jesus who sympathizes with us—this Jesus is crowned with honor and glory. To see Him is to know that we have all we can need.

Would you, my reader, give more abundant heed to the great salvation? Would you experience how completely Jesus is able to save? Do you long for just as much of the love and the presence, the holiness and the joy and the power of God in you as there is in Jesus for you?

Here you have the secret of it all! Amid all sin and weakness, all darkness and doubt, all failure and perplexity, hold fast this one truth, engage in this one exercise of faith: We see not yet all things subjected to man, but we see Jesus crowned with honor and glory. This gives peace, and victory, and joy unspeakable.

And if you would know how thus ever to have the heart turned to Jesus, remember, He came to save His people from their sins. It is the heart that is weary of itself and its sins, that fully accepts the fact of the utter corruption and the utter helplessness of all that is of the old nature and of self, that will find itself attracted with strong desire to this mighty Redeemer. In such a heart Jesus, the crowned One, will not only be a distant object, but, by the Holy Spirit, an indwelling presence.

Selah. 

Crowned With Glory And Honor

“For in subjecting everything to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him. But we do see Jesus — made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace He might taste death for everyone — crowned with glory and honor because of His suffering in death.” 

For the past three months, I have been scouring the system set up for the elderly in this country. The learning curve is enormous (ginormous), and nobody plays by the same rules. You have to be very careful about every detail. Mismanagement is the norm, and it is all profit driven. If they find out there is little in it for them, they will blow you off like dust in the wind.

Integrity is rare. It does not matter if it is a hospital, a rehab, or a home health care agency, you must constantly advocate for the safety and care of your loved one. My blood boils at times, and I am tempted to become angry. 

Thankfully, this lesson speaks directly to my heart. As a character in the book, I am living this study. The following excerpt titled “We See Jesus Crowned With Glory And Honor” is from Andrew Murray’s classic The Holiest of All:

What a glorious contrast! We see not yet all things subjected to him, that is, to man: but—what is far better —we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor. When we look round upon this world, with all its sin and misery, it does indeed not appear as if man was destined to be higher than the angels, and to have dominion over all the works of God's hands.

But when we remember that Jesus became Man, that He might taste death for all men, and that He, a Man upon the throne, now lives as our Surety, our Redeemer, and our Head, it is enough if we see Him crowned with glory and honor. In that we have the pledge that He will one day bring man to that glory and honor too. In that we have the assurance that He is using all that glory and honor even now on our behalf. We see not yet all things subjected to man, but —we see Jesus crowned with honor and glory. Blessed contrast!

The right knowledge and use of this antithesis is the secret of the life of faith. We see not yet all things subjected to Him — how exactly this expresses the disappointment and failure which is often the experience of the believer when his first joy and hope begin to pass away. He finds that sin is stronger than he knew; that the power of the world and the flesh and self are not yet made subject to him as he had hoped.

At times it is as if he feels that the promises of God, and the expectations they raised in his heart, are vain. Or else, if he acknowledge that God is indeed faithful to fulfill them, the way for one who is as weak as he is, and in his circumstances, to obtain these promises is too hard. The promises of God, to put all things in subjection to us and make us more than conquerors, are indeed most precious, but, alas, ever again the bitter experience comes—man sees not yet all things subjected to him.

Blessed the man who knows, then, in living faith to say: But we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor. Blessed the man who knows to look away from all that he finds in himself of imperfection and failure, to look up and behold all the perfection and glory he finds in Jesus! Yes, blessed the man who finds his delight and his life in meeting every disappointment and every difficulty with the blessed: “But— we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor.” This is all I need! This satisfies the soul, and gives it peace and joy and strength.

Selah.

A Work Done Within Us


“He [Jesus] came and proved what the life of man was meant to be—how humility and subjection to God were the sure path to glory and honor. He came and glorified a life of humiliation as the training school for the exaltation to the right hand of God; fulfilling man's destiny in Himself as Son of Man, He, as Son of God, fulfilled it for us too.” Andrew Murray

My friend in the valley is a giver in every sense of the word. I watched him give nearly everything he had to others in need. He did not even have a decent chair to sit in, until now. However, he has fallen through the cracks of society. His income is too high to qualify for aid, but too low to pay for the care he needs. His body and mind are a crippled shell of his former self.

However, what Murray emphasizes in this lesson about humility and subjection to God not only solidifies what God has already shown me in my own life, it gives me hope for my friend. Because even though he has a heart of gold, his heart is missing its chief ingredient, Jesus. But as a broken man he is in the perfect position to receive all that Christ has to offer.

Andrew Murray taught me the most about humility when I studied the Beatitudes. His way with words continues to astound me. The following excerpt titled “The World Made Subject To Man, Not To Angels” is from Andrew Murray’s classic The Holiest of All:

It was by His union with us in our life in the flesh, by His identifying Himself with our nature, that Jesus was able to claim and to work out and enter into possession of the glory God had promised to man. It is by our receiving His nature, and identifying ourselves with Him in this life on earth and in heaven, that what He has achieved for us can really become ours.

Let us here, at the very outset of our Epistle, get well hold of the truth that what Christ does for us as our Leader, our Priest, our Redeemer, is not anything external. All that God works in nature in heaven or on earth, in the stars or in the trees, He does from within, by laws that pervade their whole existence.

All that Adam wrought in us is from within, by a power that rules our inmost life. And all that Christ does for us, whether as Son of God or Son of Man, is equally and entirely a work done within us. It is when we know that He is one with us and we with Him, even as was the case with Adam, that we shall know how truly our destiny will be realized in Him. His oneness with us is the pledge, our oneness with Him the power, of our redemption.

Thy destiny, O man, is to sit with Jesus on His throne. Live as one preparing for it. Cultivate a royal spirit. Abide in Him: He will abide in thee.

Selah.


The Destiny Of Man

“For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying:

‘What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
 You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.’

For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews 2:5-9

I am exhausted. My journey through the valley with my friend has been especially rough this week. Thankfully, Andrew Murray does an amazing job of teaching this lesson. We do not have to miss a beat in our study even though I can barely participate. I hope you find this as fascinating as I do.

The reference to the Psalm here is from Psalm 8. The following excerpt titled “The World Made Subject To Man, Not To Angels” is from Andrew Murray’s classic The Holiest of All:

As the Son of God Christ is more than the angels. As the Son of Man Jesus is more than the angels too. He was indeed, as man, made a little lower than the angels, and yet, because to man the world to come, of which the Spirit of Christ in the prophets spoke, had been made subject, he had a place of honor and dominion greatly excelling them. Not only the divinity but the humanity of Christ will prove how. infinitely superior the new dispensation is to that which was given by the ministry of angels.

For not unto angels did He subject the world to come, that world to which the Psalm looks forward, the kingdom of the Messiah, the kingdom of heaven upon earth. The Psalm does not speak directly of the Messiah, but of man and his destiny. But it is applied most justly to the Messiah, because in Him the Psalm and man find the fulfillment of what is promised.

The Psalmist first speaks of man's littleness and the wonder that God should notice him. What is man that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that Thou visitest him? He then points out how high the place is which man occupies. His nature is little less than divine. Thou madest Him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedst him with glory and honor. And universal dominion is assigned to Him. Thou didst set him over the works of thy hands. Thou didst put all things in subjection under his feet.

Our Epistle points out how this promise, though not yet true of man, has received its fulfillment in Jesus. Now we see not yet all things subjected to man, but we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor. What was true of man in promise, we see fulfilled in Jesus: what we see in Jesus, will be made true of man.

What wonderful thoughts the Psalm suggests. How glorious is the destiny of man! Created in the image of God, he was to bear God's likeness in this too, that as king he was to be ruler of all. The whole world to come was made subject to him.

Man has received from God a life, a nature, a spirit, capable of partaking of His own life and spirit. His will and His holiness, capable of likeness to and fellowship with Himself, even to the sitting on His throne, and sharing with Him the dominion over all creation. What a destiny!

Selah.