In speaking with young converts, I have very frequently longed for a suitable book in which the most important truths concerning the new life were presented briefly and simply. I could not find anything that entirely corresponded to what I desired. During the services in which I have been permitted to take part, I felt this need even more keenly. There I spoke with so many who professed to have found the Lord yet were still very weak in knowledge and faith. In the course of my journey, I have felt myself pressed to take my pen in hand.
Under a vivid impression of the infirmities and the distorted thoughts concerning the new life, with which almost all young Christians have to wrestle, I wished to offer them words of instruction and encouragement. I wanted to let them see what a glorious life of power and joy is prepared for them in their Lord Jesus, and how simple the way is to enjoy all this blessing.
I have confined myself in these reflections to some of the most important topics. The first is the Word of God as the glorious and sure guide, even for the simplest souls who will surrender themselves to it. Then, as the chief element in the Word, there is the Son, the gift of the Father, to do all for us. Then follows what the Scriptures teach concerning sin as the only thing that we have to bring to Jesus, as that which we must give to Him, and from which He will set us free. Further, there is faith, the great word in which our inability to bring or to do anything is expressed, and that teaches us that all our salvation must be received every day of our lives as a gift from above. The young Christian must also make acquaintance with the Holy Spirit as the Person through whom the Word and Jesus–With all His work and faith in Him–can become power and truth. Then there is the holy life of obedience and fruitfulness, in which the Spirit teaches us to walk.
It is to these six leading thoughts of the new life that I have confined myself. In ceaseless prayer, I have asked that God use what I have written to make His young children understand what a glorious and mighty life they have received from their Father. It was often very unwillingly that I took leave of the young converts who had to go back to lonely places, where they could have little counsel or help, and seldom mingle in the preaching of the Word. It is my sure and confident expectation that what the Lord has given me to write will prove a blessing to many of these young confessors.
While writing this book, I have had a second wish abiding with me. I have wondered what I could possibly do to insure that my book would not draw attention away from the Word of God, but rather, help to make the Word more precious. I resolved to furnish the work with footnotes, so that, on every point that was referred to, the reader might be stirred up still to listen to the Word itself, to God Himself.
I am hopeful that this arrangement will yield a double benefit. Many a one does not know, and has nobody to teach him, how to examine the Scriptures properly. This book may help him in his loneliness. If he will only meditate on one point or another and then look up the texts that are quoted, he will get
into the habit of consulting God’s Word itself on whatever topic he wishes to understand. But, this book may just as readily be of service in prayer meetings or social gatherings for the study of the Word. Let each person read the chosen chapter at home and review the scripture verses that seem to be the most important to him. Let the leader of the meeting read the chapter aloud once. He should then invite each person who desires to, to share the verse or point which has meant the most to him.
We have found in my congregation that the benefit of such meetings for bringing and reading aloud verses on a point previously announced is very great. This practice leads to the searching of God’s Word as even preaching does not. It stirs up the members of the congregation, especially the young people, to independent dealing with the Word. It leads to a more living fellowship among the members of Christ’s body and also helps their upbuilding in love. It prepares the way for a social recognition of the Word as the living communication of the thoughts of God which, with divine power, will work in us what is pleasing to God.
I am persuaded that there are many believing men and women who ask what they can accomplish for the Lord– who along this path could become the channel of great blessing. Let them once a week bring together some of their neighbors and friends to read aloud the texts for which they have been previously searching. The Lord will certainly give His blessing there.
With respect to the use of this book in private, I would like to request one more thing. I hope that no one will think it strange. Let every portion be read
over at least three times. The great poison of our conversation with divine things is superficiality. When we read anything and understand it somewhat, we think that this is enough. No, we must give it time so that it may make an impression and exercise its influence on us.
Read every portion the first time with consideration, to understand the good that is in it, and then see if you receive benefit from the thoughts that are expressed there.
Read it the second time to see if it is really in accordance with God’s Word. Take some, if not all, of the texts that are cited on each point and ponder them in order to come under the full force of what God has said on the point. Let your God, through His Word, teach you what you must think and believe concerning Him and His will.
Read it the third time to find out the corresponding place, not in the Bible, but in your own life, in order to know if your life has been in harmony with the new life, and to direct your life in the future entirely according to God’s Word. I am fully persuaded that the time and effort spent on such personal contact with the Word of God under the teaching of this or some other book that helps you in dealing with it, will be rewarded tenfold.
I conclude with a cordial, brotherly greeting to all with whom I have been permitted to mingle during the past year, in speaking about the precious Savior and His glorious salvation. Greetings also to all in other congregations, who in this last season have learned to know the beloved Lord Jesus as their Redeemer. With a heart full of peace and love, I think of all of you, and I pray that the Lord may confirm His work in you. I have not become weary of crying out to you: the blessedness and the power of the new life that is in you are greater than you know–are wonderfully great. Only, learn to trust in Jesus, the gift of God, and to know aright the Scriptures, the Word of God. Only give Him time to hold communion with you and to work in you, and your heart will overflow with the blessedness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly more than we can ask or think, to Him be glory in the Church to all eternity.
—For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotton Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” John 3:16.
“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Christ is our life” Colossians 3:3,4.
—We declare unto you the life, eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested unto us. God hath given us eternal life; and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life” 1 John 1:2; 5:11,12.
A glorious blessing is given to all who believe in the Lord Jesus. Along with a change in his disposition and manner of living, he also receives an entirely new life from God. He is born anew. Born of God. He has passed from death into life. 1
This new life is nothing less than eternal life. 2 This does not mean, as many suppose, that our life will no longer die, enduring into eternity. No, eternal life is nothing else than the very life of God. It is the life that He has had in Himself from eternity and that has been visibly revealed in Christ. This life is now the inheritance of every child of God. 3
This life is a life of inconceivable power. Whenever God gives life to a young plant or animal, that life has within itself the power to grow. The plant or animal as of itself becomes large. Life is power. In a new life–in your heart–there is the power of eternity. 4 More certain than the healthful growth of any tree or animal is the growth and increase of the child of God who surrenders himself to the working of the new life.
Two things hinder this power and the reception of the new spiritual life. The one is ignorance of its nature–its laws and workings. Man, even the Christian, cannot conceive of the new life which comes from God. It surpasses all of his thoughts. His own distorted thoughts of the way to serve and to please God–namely, by what he does and is–are deeply rooted in him. Although he believes that he understands and receives God’s Word, he still thinks humanly and carnally on divine things. 5 God must give salvation and life. He must also give the Spirit to make us understand what He gives. He must point out the way to the land of Canaan. We must also, like the blind, be led by Him every day.
The young Christian must try to cherish a deep conviction of his ignorance concerning the new life, and of his inability to form correct thoughts about it. This will bring him to the meekness and to the childlike spirit of humility, to which the Lord will make His secret known. 6
There is a second hindrance in the way of faith. In the life of every plant and every animal and every child of God, there lies sufficient power by which it can become big. In the new life, God has made the most glorious provision of a sufficient power. With this power His child can grow and become all that he must be. Christ Himself is his life and his power of life.8 Yet, because this mighty life is not visible or cannot be felt, the young Christian often becomes doubtful. He then fails to believe that he will grow with divine power and certainty. He does not understand that the believing life is a life of faith. He must depend on the life that is in Christ for him, although he neither sees, feels, nor experiences anything. 9
Let everyone then that has received this new life cultivate these great convictions. It is eternal life that works in me. It works with divine power. I can and will become what God will have me be. Christ Himself is my life. I have to receive Him every day as my life, given to me by God, and He will be my life in full power.
Father, You have given me Your Son so that I may have life in Him. I thank You for the glorious new life that is now in me. I pray that You will teach me to properly know this new life. I will acknowledge my ignorance and the distorted thoughts which are in me concerning Your service. I will believe in the heavenly power of the new life that is in me. I will believe that my Lord Jesus, who Himself is my life, will, by His Spirit, teach me to know how I can walk in that life. Amen.
1) John 1:12,13; 3:5,7; 5:24; 1 John 3:14; 5:1
2) John 3:15,16,36; 6:40,51; 11:25,26; Rom. 6:11,23;8:2; 1 John 5:12,13
Try to understand and plant the following lessons in your heart:
1. It is eternal life, the very life of God, that you have now received through faith.
2. This new life is in Christ, and the Holy Spirit is in you to convey to you all that is in Christ. Christ lives in you through the Holy Spirit.
3. This life is a life of wonderful power. However weak you may feel, you must believe in the divine power of the life that is in you.
4. This life needs time to grow in you and to take possession of you. Give it time, it will surely increase.
5. Do not forget that all the laws and rules of this new life are in conflict with all human thoughts of the way to please God. Be very much in dread of your own thoughts. Let Christ, who is your life and also your wisdom, teach you all things.
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation” 1 Peter 2:2.
Beloved young Christians, hear what your Father has to say in this word. You have just recently given yourselves to the Lord and have believed that He has received you. You have received the new life from God. You are now as newborn infants. He will teach you in this word what is necessary so that you may grow strong.
The first point is: you must know that you are God’s children. Hear how distinctly Peter says this to those just converted: “You have been born again,” “you are newborn infants,” “you are now converted,” “you are now the people of God.”1 A Christian, however young and weak, must know that he is God’s child. Only then can he have the courage to believe that he will make progress and the boldness to use the food provided in the Word. All Scripture teaches us that we must know and can know that we are children of God.2 The assurance of faith is indispensable for a healthy, powerful growth in the Lord.3
The second point which this word teaches you is: you are still very weak, weak as newborn children. The joy and love which a new convert sometimes experiences do indeed make him think that he is very strong. He runs the risk of exalting himself and of trusting in what he experiences. He should nevertheless learn much about how he should become strong in his Lord Jesus. Endeavor to deeply feel that you are still young and weak.4 Out of this sense of weakness comes the humility which has nothing in itself.5 It therefore expects all from its Lord.6
The third lesson is: the young Christian must not remain weak. He must make progress and become strong. He must grow and increase in grace. God lays it upon us as a command. Concerning this point, His Word gives us the most glorious promises. It lies in the nature of the thing–a child of God must and can make progress. The new life is a life that is healthy and strong. When a disciple surrenders himself to it, the growth certainly follows.7
The fourth and principal lesson, the lesson which young disciples of Christ have the most need of, is: it is through the milk of the Word that God’s newborn infants can grow. The new life from the Spirit of God can be sustained only by the Word of God. Your life, my young brothers and sisters, will largely depend on whether you learn to deal wisely and well with God’s Word, whether you learn to use the Word from the beginning as your milk.8
See what a charming parable the Lord has given us here in the mother’s milk. Out of her own life does the mother give food and life to her child. The feeding of the child is the work of the tenderest love. The child is pressed to the breast and is held in the closest fellowship with the mother. The milk is just what the weak child requires, food–gentle and yet strong.
Even so, the very life and power of God is found in His Word.9 Through the Word, His tender love will receive us into the gentlest and most intimate fellowship with Himself.10 From the Word, His love will give us what is needed for our weakness. Let no one suppose that the Word is too high or too hard for him. For the disciple who receives the Word and trustfully relies on Jesus to teach him by the Spirit, the Word of God will prove to be as gentle, sweet milk for newborn infants.11
Dear young Christians, would you continue standing, would you become strong, would you always live for the Lord? Then hear this day the voice of your Father-“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word.” Receive this Word into your heart and hold it firmly as the voice of your Father. Your spiritual life will depend on your use of the Word of God. Let the Word of God be precious to you above everything.12
Above all, do not forget, the Word is the milk. The sucking or drinking on the part of the little child is the inner, living, blessed fellowship with the mother’s love. Through the Holy Spirit, your use of the milk of the Word can become warm, living fellowship with the living love of your God. Long very eagerly for the milk. Do not consider the Word something hard and troublesome to understand-in that way you lose all delight in it. Receive it with trust in the love of the living God. With a tender motherly love, the Spirit of God will teach and help you in your weakness. Always believe that the Spirit will make the Word in you life and joy-a blessed fellowship with your God.
Precious Savior, You have taught me to believe Your Word, and You have made me a child of God by that faith. Through that Word, as the milk of the newborn babes, You will also feed me. Lord, for this milk I will be very eager. I will long after it everyday.
Teach me, through the Holy Spirit and the Word,to walk and converse everyday in living fellowship with the love of the Father. Teach me to always believe that the Spirit has been given to me with the Word. Amen.
7) Judg. 5:31; Ps. 84:7; 92:13,14; Prov.4:18;Isa.40:31; Eph. 4:14; I Thess. 4:1; II Pet. 3:18
8) Ps. 19:8,11; 119:97,100; Isa. 55:2,3; 1 Cor. 12:11
9) John 6:63; I Thess. 2:13; Heb. 4:12
10) John 10:4
11) Ps. 119:18; John 14:26; Eph.1:17,18
12) Ps. 119:14,47,48,111,127
1. What texts do you consider the best for proving that the Scriptures teach us that we must know we are children of God?
2. What are the three points in which the sucking child is to us an example of the young child in Christ in his dealing with the Word?
3. What must the young Christian do when he has little blessing in the reading of God’s Word? He must set himself down through faith in fellowship with Jesus Himself and believe that Jesus will teach him through the Spirit, and so trustfully continue in the reading.
4. One verse chosen to meet our needs, read ten times and then laid up in the heart, is better than ten verses read once. Only as much of the Word as I actually receive and inwardly appropriate for myself is food for my soul.
5. Choose for yourselves what you consider one of the most glorious promises about making progress and becoming strong, and learn it by heart. Repeat it continually as the language of your positive expectation.
6. Have you learned to understand well what the great means for growth in grace is?
“Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul” Deuteronomy 11:18.
“Son of man, all My words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart” Ezekiel 3:10.
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” Psalm 119:11.
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby”(1 Peter 2:2). Every young Christian is taught that he must receive the Word of God as milk–as the living participation of the life and vine of God–if he is to grow. On this account it is of great importance to know how we must deal with the Word. The Lord says that we must receive it and lay it up in our heart.1 The Word must possess and fill the heart. What does that mean?
The heart is the temple of God. In the temple there was an outer court and an inner sanctuary. So it is in the heart. The gate of the court is understanding. What I do not understand cannot enter into the heart. The Word enters into the court through the outer gate of understanding.2 There it is kept by memory and reflection.3 Still it is not properly in the heart. From the court there is an entrance into the innermost sanctuary. The entrance of the door is faith. What I believe, that will I receive into my heart.4 Here it becomes secure in love and in the surrender of the will. Where this takes place, there the heart becomes the sanctuary of God. His law is there, as in the ark, and the soul cries out, “Thy law is within my heart.”5
Young Christian, God has asked for your heart, your love, your whole self. You have given yourself to Him. He has received you and would have you and your heart entirely for Himself. He will make your heart full of His Word. What lies in the heart is dear because it is filled with joyful thoughts. God would have the Word in the heart. The Lord and His might are where His Word is. He considers Himself bound to fulfill His Word. When you have the Word, you have God Himself at work in you.6 He wills that you would receive and lay up His words in your heart. Then He will greatly bless you.7
How I wish that I could bring all young Christians to simply receive that Word of their Father, “Lay up these My words in your heart.” I wish they would give their whole heart to become full of God’s Word. Resolve then to do this. Take pains to understand what you read. When you understand it, always take one or another word to remember and consider. Learn the words of God by heart. Repeat them to yourself in the course of the day. The Word is seed and the seed must have time, must be kept in the ground. Likewise, the Word must be carried in the heart. Give the best powers of your heart, your love, your desire, the willing and joyful activity of your will, to God’s Word.
“Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:1,2). Let the heart be a temple–not for the world and its thoughts but for God and His thoughts.8 If you faithfully open your heart to God’s voice, hear His Word and carry it with you, you will discover how faithfully God will open His heart to you and hear your prayer.
Dear Christian, read once again the words at the beginning of this section. Receive them as God’s Word to you–the Word of the Father who has received you as a child, of Jesus who has made you God’s child. God asks of you, as His child, that you give your heart to become filled with His Word. Will you do this? What do you say? In this manner of power, the Lord Jesus will complete His holy work in you.9 Let your answer be distinct and continuous, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart.” “How love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). Even if it appears difficult for you to understand the Word, continue to read it. The Father has promised to make it a blessing in your heart. But you must take it into your heart first. Believe that God will then, by the Holy Spirit, make the Word living and powerful in you.
My Father who has said to me, “My son, give Me your heart,” I will give You my heart. Now that You charge me to lay up and keep Your Word in that heart, I answer, “I keep Your commands with my whole heart. ” Father, teach me to receive Your Word in my heart everyday so that it can exercise its blessed influence there. Strengthen me in the deep conviction that even though I do not yet fully understand its meaning and power, I can still depend on You to make the Word living and powerful in me. Amen.
1) Deut.30:14; Ps.1:2; 119:34,36; Isa. 51:7; John 5:38; 8:31; 15:7; Rom.10:8,9; Col. 3:16
2)Ps. 119:34; Matt. 13:19; Acts 8:30
4) John 5:38; Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:10,17
5) Ex. 25:16; Ps. 37:31; 40:8; Col. 3:16
6) Gen. 21:1; Josh. 23:14
7) Deut. 11:10; 28:1,2; Ps.1:2,3;119:14,45,98,165; John 17:6,8,17
8) Ps. 119:69; John 15:3,7; 17:6,8,17
9) John 14:21,23; 1 John 2:14,24; Rev. 3:8,10
1. What is the difference between the reading of the Word to increase knowledge and the receiving of it in faith?
2. The Word is as a seed. Seed requires time before it springs up. During this time it must be kept silently and constantly in the earth. I must not only read God’s Word, but ponder it and reflect on it. Then it will work in me. The Word must be with me the whole day, must abide in me, must live in me.
3. What are the reasons that the Word of God sometimes has so little power in those who read it and really long for blessing? One of the principal reasons is surely that they do not give the Word time to grow. They do not keep it and reflect on it in the believing assurance that the Word itself will have its working.
4. What is the first characteristic of His disciples that Jesus mentions in the high-priestly prayer (John 17)?
5. What are the blessings of a heart filled with the Word of God?
“Blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a performance of the things which were told her from the Lord” Luke 1:45.
“I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me” Acts 27:25.
“Abraham was strong in faith, being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was able also to perform” Romans 4:20,21.
God has asked you to take and lay up His Word in your heart. The Word is taken and received into the innermost depths of your heart through the avenue of faith. Let the young Christian take pains to better understand what faith is. He will, then gain an insight into the reasons why such great things are connected to faith. He will have a perfect belief in the idea that full salvation is dependent upon faith.1
Let me now ask my reader to read over the three texts which stand above. Find out what the principal thought is that they teach about faith. Please, do not read beyond them. First read these words of God and ask yourself what they teach you about faith.
They help us to see that faith always attaches itself to what God has said or promised. When an honorable man says anything, he also does it. So it is with God. Before He does anything, He reveals it through His Word. When the Christian becomes possessed with this conviction-established in it-God always does what He has said. With God, speaking and doing always go together. The deed always follows the Word. “Hath He said, and shall He not do it?” (Numbers 23:19).2 When I have a Word of God in which He promises to do something, I can always be sure that He will do it. I simply have to believe the Word and wait upon God. God will fulfill His Word to me. Before I feel or experience anything, I hold onto that promise. I know by faith that God will make it good to me.3
What then is faith? Nothing other than the certainty that what God says is true. When God says that something exists, then faith rejoices although it sees nothing of it.4 When God says that He has given me something, that something in heaven is mine, I know by faith that it truly is mine.5 With faith, I am able to believe God when He says that something will come to pass, or that He will do something for me.6 Faith secures those things that are, but that I have not yet seen, and that are not yet, but will come. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith always asks only for what God has said, and then relies on His faithfulness and power to fulfill His Word.
Let us review again the words of Scripture. Of Mary we read, “Blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a performance of the things which were told her from the Lord.” All things that have been spoken in the Word will be fulfilled for me. Therefore, I believe them.
It is reported that Abraham was fully assured that God would fulfill what He had promised him. This is the assurance of faith–to be assured that God will do what He has promised.
It is written in the Word about Paul, “I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” It stood fixed with him that God would do what He had spoken.
Young disciples in Christ, the new and eternal life in you is a life of faith. And do you not see how simple and blessed that life of faith is? Every day I go to the Word and hear what God has said that He has done and will do.7 I take time to house in my heart the Word in which God says that. I hold it firmly, entirely assured that what God has promised He is able to perform. And then, in a childlike spirit, I await the fulfillment of all the promises of His Word. And my soul experiences–Blessed is she that believed, for the things that have been spoken to her from the Lord will be fulfilled. God promises-I believe-God fulfills. That is the secret of the new life.
Father, Your child thanks You for this blessed life of faith in which we have to walk. I can do nothing, but You can do all. All that You can do has been spoken in Your Word. Every Word that I take and trustfully bring to You is fulfilled. Father, in this life of faith, so simple, so glorious, I will walk with You. Amen.
1) 2 Chron.20:20; Mark 9:23; Heb. 11:33,35; 1 John 5:4,5
2) Gen. 21:1; 32:12; Num. 14:17,18,20; Josh. 21:45; 23:14; 2 Sam. 7:25,29; Ps. 119:49
3) Luke 1:38,45; John 3:33; 4:50; 11:40; 20:29; Heb. 11:11,18
1. The Christian must read and search the Scriptures to increase his knowledge. For this reason, he reads one or more principal passages daily. He reads the Scriptures to also strengthen his faith. To achieve this he must take one or two verses and make them the subject of special reflection.
2. Do not allow yourselves to be led astray by those who speak of faith as something great and unintelligible. Faith is nothing more than the certainty that God speaks the truth. Take some promises of God and say to Him, “I know for certain that this promise is truth, and that You will fulfill it.” He will do it.
3. Never mourn over unbelief as if it were a weakness which you cannot help. As God’s child, however weak you may be, you have the power to believe because the Spirit of God is in you. Keep this in mind–no one understands anything unless he has the power to believe. He must simply begin and continue to say to the Lord that he is sure that His Word is truth. He must securely hold the promise and trust God for the fulfillment.
“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
“Receive with meekness the implanted, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).
“We also thank God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but, as it ‘is in truth, the word of God, which effectively worketh also in you that believe” (I Thessalonians 2:13).
“For the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12).
The new life of a child of God depends so much on the correct usage of God’s Word, that I will once again speak of it with my young brothers and sisters in the Lord.
It is a great thing when the Christian realizes that he can receive and accomplish all only through faith. He has to believe. God will look to the fulfilling of what is promised. Every morning the Christian must trust in Jesus and in the new life given to him. Jesus will see to it that the new life works in him.
But now he runs the risk of another error. He thinks that the faith that does such great things must be something great–that he must have a great power in order to exercise such a great faith.1 And, because he does not feel this power, he thinks that he cannot believe as he should. This error may prove to be a loss to him throughout his life.
Hear how distorted this thought is. You must not bring this mighty faith to get the Word fulfilled. Instead, the Word comes and brings you this faith which you must have. “The word is quick and powerful.” The Word works faith in you. The Scripture says, “Faith is by the word.”
Think on what we have said of the heart as a temple-of its two divisions. There is the outer court, with understanding as its gate or entrance. There is the innermost sanctuary, with the faith of the heart as its entrance. There is a natural faith–the historic faith-which every man has. It is with this that I must first receive the Word into my keeping and my consideration. I must say to myself, “The Word of God is certainly true. I can stand upon it.” In this way, I bring the Word into the outer court. From within the heart, desire reaches out to the Word, seeking to receive it into the heart. The Word now exercises its divine power of life. It begins to grow and shoot out roots. As a seed in the earth sends forth roots and presses still deeper into the soil, the Word presses inwardly into the holy place. The Word thus works true saving faith.2
Young Christian, please understand this-the Word is living and powerful. Through the Word you are born again. The Word works faith in you. Through the Word comes faith. Receive the Word simply, with the thought that it will work in you. Keep yourselves occupied with the Word and give it time. The Word has a divine life in itself. Carry it in your innermost parts, and it will work life in you. It will work in you a strong faith, able for anything.
Be resolved never to say, I cannot believe. You can believe. You have the Spirit of God in you. Even the natural man can say, “This Word of God is certainly true or certainly not true.” If, with desire in your soul, you say, “It is true. I will believe it,” the living Spirit-through whom the Word is living and powerful will work this living faith. Besides, the Spirit is not only in the Word, but is also in you. Although you do not feel as if you were believing, know for certain that you can believe.3 Begin to actually receive the Word. It will work a mighty faith in you. Depend on God’s Word, it can surely be trusted to work faith in you as you receive it.
And not only the promises, but also the commands, have this living power. When I first receive a command from God, I do not feel the power to accomplish it. If I simply receive the Word as God’s Word, and trust in its workings, the commandment will work in me the desire and power for obedience. God’s Word works for those who believe. When I weigh and firmly hold the command, it works the desire and the will to obey. It strongly urges me toward the conviction that I can certainly do what my Father says. The Word works both faith and obedience. The obedience of the Christian is the obedience of faith. I must believe that through the Spirit I have the power to do what God wills. In the Word, the power of God works in me. The Word, as the command of the living God who loves me, is my power.4
Therefore, my young disciples in Christ, learn to receive God’s Word trustfully. Even though at first you do not understand it, continue to meditate on it. It has a living power in it, and it will glorify itself. Although you feel no power to believe or to obey, the Word is living and powerful. Take it and hold it fast. It will accomplish its work with divine power, The Word inspires and strengthens our faith and obedience.
Lord God, I begin to conceive how You are in Your Word with Your life and power, and how that Word itself works faith and obedience in the heart that receives and keeps it. Lord, teach me to carry Your every Word as a living seed in my heart, in the assurance that it will work in me all Your good pleasure. Amen.
1) Luke 17:5,6; Rom. 10:6-8
2) I Thess. 2:13; Jas. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:23
3) Deut. 32:46,47; Josh. 1:7,9
4) Gal. 6:6; 1 Thess. 1:3; Jas. 1:21
1. Do not forget that it is one and the same to believe in the Word, or in the person who speaks the Word, or in the thing which is promised in the Word. The very same faith that receives the promises also receives the Father who promises, and the Son with the salvation that is given in the promises. Please see to it that you never separate the Word and the living God from each other.
2. Also, see to it that you thoroughly understand the distinction between the reception of the Word as the “word of man” and as the “Word of God, which works in you that believe.”
3. I think you now know what is necessary to become strong in faith. Exercise as much faith as you have. Take a promise of God. Say to yourself that it is certainly true. Go to God and say to Him that you rely on Him for the fulfillment. Ponder the promise, and cleave to it in conversation with God. Rely on Him to do for you what He says. He will surely do it.
4. The Spirit and the Word always go together. I can be sure concerning all of what the Word says that I must do it and can do it through the Spirit. I must receive the Word, and also the command, in the confidence that it is the living Word of the living God which works in us who believe.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3:16.
“Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” II Corinthians 9:15.
God held the world so dear that He gave His only begotten Son for everyone who will trust in Him. And how did He give Him? He gave Him in His birth as man, in order to be forever one with us. He gave Him in His death on the cross as surety, in order to take away our sin and curse. He gave Him on the throne of heaven, in order to arrange for our welfare, as our Representative and Intercessor over all the powers of heaven. He gave Him in the outpouring of the Spirit, in order to dwell in us–to be entirely and altogether our own.1 Yes, that is the love of God. He gave His Son to us, for us, and in us.
Nothing less than His Son Himself. This is the love of God. It is not that He gives us something, but that He gives us Someone–a living person-not one or another blessing, but Him, who is all life and blessing–Jesus Himself. He does not simply give us forgiveness, revival, sanctification, or glory–He gives us His own Son, Jesus. The Lord Jesus is the beloved, the equal, the bosom friend, the eternal blessedness of the Father. And it is the will of God that we should have Jesus as ours, even as He has Him.2 For this reason He gave Him to us. The whole of salvation consists of this–to have, to possess, to enjoy Jesus. God has given His Son, given Him wholly to become ours.3
What do we have to do? To take Him, to receive and to take possession of the gift–to enjoy Jesus as our own. This is eternal life. “He that hath the Son hath life.”4
How I wish that all young Christians would understand this. The one great work of God’s love for us is, He gives us His Son. In Him we have all. Therefore, the one great work of our heart must be to receive this Jesus who has been given to us, and to consider and use Him as ours. I must begin every day anew with the thought, l have Jesus to do all for me.5 In all weakness or darkness or danger–in the case of every desire or need–let your first thought always be, I have Jesus to make everything right for me. God has given Him to me for this purpose. Whether your need is forgiveness, consolation, or confirmation, remember, the Father gave you Jesus to care for you. Whether you have fallen, or are tempted to fall, into danger, remember, Jesus has been given to you for your care. Whether you do not know the will of God in one matter or another, or whether you are unsure of your strength and courage to do His will, remember, Jesus will care for you.
For this reason, rely every day on this gift from God. It has been presented to you in the Word. Appropriate the Son by faith in the Word. Take Him again every day. Through faith you have the Son.6 The love of God has given the Son. Take Him and hold Him steadily in the love of your heart.7 It is to bring life, eternal life, to you that God has given Jesus. Take Him up into your life. Let your heart and tongue and whole walk be under the might and guidance of Jesus.8
Young Christian, so weak and so sinful, please listen to that word. God has given you Jesus. He is yours. Taking is nothing else but the fruit of faith. The gift is for you. He will do all for you.
Lord Jesus, today and every day, I take You. In all Your fullness and in all Your relations, without ceasing, I take You for myself. You are my Wisdom, my Light, my Leader. I take You as my Prophet. You, who perfectly reconciles me and brings me near to God, who purifies and sanctifies me and prays for me, I take as my Priest. You, who guides and keeps and blesses me, I take as my King. You, Lord, are all, and You are wholly mine. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift. Amen.
1) John 1:14,16; 14:23; Rom. 5:8; 8:32,34; Eph. 1:22; 3:17; Col. 2:9,10; Heb. 7:24,26; 1 John 4:9,10
2) Matt. 11:27; John 17:23,25; Rom. 8:38,39; Heb. 2:11,Tim. 1:12
3) Psalms 73:24; 142:6; John 20:28; Heb. 3:14
4) John 1:12; 2 Cor. 3:5; Col. 2:6; 1 John 5:12
5) John 15:5; Rom. 8:37; I Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:3,2:10; Phil. 4:13
6) John 1:12; 1 John 5:9,13
7) 1 John 4:4,19
8) 2 Cor. 5:15; Phil. 3:8
1. Often ponder the word “give.” God gives in a wonderful way–from the heart, completely and for nothing–to the unworthy. And He gives effectively. What He gives He will truly make our possession, inwardly and entirely. Believe this, and you will have the certainty that Jesus will come into your possession with all that He brings.
2. Also ponder the word “take.” Our great work is to take Jesus, to hold Him firmly, and to appropriate Him when received. That taking is nothing but trusting. He is mine with all that He has. The secret of the life of faith is to take Jesus–the full Jesus-as yours every day.
3. Let the word “have” weigh heavily with you. “He that hath the Son hath life” (1 John 5:12). What I have is mine, for my use and service. I can have the full enjoyment of it.
4. Especially notice what God gives and what you take. What you have now is nothing less than the living Son of God. Do you receive this?
“Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it; that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle; but that it should be holy and without blemish” Ephesians 5:25-27.
Jesus’ work for the sinner was so great and wonderful that it was necessary for Him to give Himself on the cross for that work. Jesus’ love for us was so great and wonderful that He actually gave Himself for us and to us. Jesus’ surrender is so great and wonderful that all which He gave Himself for can be truly and entirely ours. For Jesus, the Holy, the Almighty, has taken it upon Himself to do it. He gave Himself for us.1 And now the one necessary thing is that we should rightly understand and firmly believe in His surrender for us.
To what end, then, was it that He gave Himself for the Church? Hear what God says. The aim of Jesus is that He might sanctify the Church so that it would be without blemish.2 He will attain His aim in the soul as long as the soul falls into His will, makes His will its most important consideration, and relies on Jesus’ surrender of Himself to do so.
Hear this word of God, “Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a people for His own possession, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). Jesus gave Himself in order to prepare for Himself a pure people, a people of His own, a zealous people. When I receive Him, and when I believe that He gave Himself for me, I will certainly experience it. I will be purified through Him. I will be held securely as His possession and be filled with zeal and joy to work for Him.
And notice how the operation of this surrender of Himself will result in His having us entirely for Himself–“that He might present us to Himself,” “that He might purify us to Himself, a people of His own.” The more I understand and contemplate Jesus’ surrender of Himself for me, the more I give myself again to Him. The surrender is a mutual one–the love comes from both sides. His giving of Himself makes such an impression on my heart, that my heart, with the self-same love and joy, becomes entirely His. Through giving Himself to me, He takes possession of me. He becomes mine and I become His. I know that I have Jesus wholly for me, and that He has me wholly for Himself.3
And how do I come to the full enjoyment of this blessed life? “I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).4 Through faith, I reflect on and contemplate His surrender to me as sure and glorious. Through faith, I believe it. Through faith, I trust in Jesus to confirm this surrender, to communicate Himself to me, and to reveal Himself within me. Through faith, I await–with certainty-for the full experience of salvation which comes from having Jesus as mine, to do all for me. Through faith, I live in Jesus who loved me and gave Himself for me. And I say, “No longer do I live, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20). Christian, please believe with your whole heart that Jesus gives Himself for you. He is wholly yours. He will do all for you.5
Lord Jesus, what wonderful grace is this, that You gave Yourself for me. In You there is eternal life. You are the life, and You give Yourself to be all that I need in my life. You purify me, sanctify me, and make me zealous in good works. You take me wholly for Yourself and give Yourself wholly for me. Yes, my Lord, in all You are my life. Make me rightly understand this. Amen.
1) Gal. 1:4; 2:20; Eph. 5:2,25; I Tim. 2:6; Titus 2:14
3) Exodus 19:4,5; Deut. 26:7,18; Isa. 41:9,10; I Cor. 6:19,20; I Peter 2:10
4) John 6:29,35; 7:38; 10:10,38
5) Matt. 8:10; 9:2,22; Mark 11:24; Luke 7:50; 8:48; 17:19; 18:42; Rom. 4:20,21;
1. It was in His great love that the Father gave the Son. It was out of love that Jesus gave Himself (Rom. 3:16; Eph. 5:26). The taking, the having of Jesus, is the entrance into a life in the love of God. This is the highest life (John 14:21,28; 17:23,26; Eph. 3:17,18). Through faith we must press into love and live there (1 John 4:16-18).
2. Do you think that you have now learned all the lesson and how to begin every day with a childlike trust? I take Jesus this day to be my life and to do all for me.
3. Understand that to take and to have Jesus presupposes a personal communion with Him. To have pleasure in Him, to gladly hold conversation with Him, to rejoice in Him as my friend and in His love–this leads to the faith that truly takes Him.
“As many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become children of God, even to them that believe on His name” John 1:12.
What is given must be received, otherwise it does not profit. If the first great deed of God’s love is the gift of His Son, then the first work of man must be to receive this Son. And if all the blessings of God’s love come to us only in the ever-new, ever-living Son of the Father, then all these blessings enter into us daily through the always new, always continuing reception of the Son.
You, beloved young Christians, know what is necessary for this reception because you have already received the Lord Jesus. But all that this reception involves must become clearer and stronger–the unceasing, living action of your faith.1
Within this action lies the increase of faith. Your first receiving of Jesus rested on the certainty provided by the Word–that He was for you. Through the Word your soul must be further filled with the assurance that all that is in Him is literally and truly for you, given to you by the Father; He is to be your life.
The impulse to your first receiving was based on your want and necessity. Now, through the Spirit, you become still poorer in spirit, and you see how much you have need of Jesus for everything, every moment. This leads to a ceaseless, ever-active taking of Him as your a11.2
When you first received, it was by faith in that which you could not yet see or feel. That same faith must be continually exercised in saying, “All that I see in Jesus is for me. I take it as mine, although I do not yet experience it.” The love of God is a communicating–a ceaseless outstreaming of His light of life over the soul. It is a very powerful and genuine giving of Jesus. Our life is nothing but a continuous blessed understanding and reception of Him.3
And this is the way to live as children of God. To as many as receive Him, to them He gives the power to become children of God. This holds true, not only of conversion and regeneration, but also every day of my life. If to walk in all things as a child of God and to exhibit the image of my Father is indispensable, then I must take Jesus, the only begotten Son. It is He who makes me a child of God. The way to live as a child of God is to have the heart and life full of Jesus. I go to the Word to learn all the characteristics of a child of God.4 After each one of them I write–“Jesus will work in me; I have Him to help me to be a child of God.”
Beloved young Christian, I implore you to learn to understand the simplicity and the glory of being a true Christian. It is to receive Jesus in all His fullness and in all the glorious relations in which the Father gives Him to you. Take Him as your Prophet, as your wisdom, your light, your guide. Take Him as your Priest, who renews you, purifies you, sanctifies you, brings you near to God, takes you, and forms you wholly for His service. Take Him as your King, who governs you, protects you, and blesses you. Take Him as your Head, your example, your Brother, your life, your all. The giving of God is a divine and an ever-progressive, effectual communication to your soul. Let your taking be the childlike, cheerful, continuous opening of mouth and heart for what God gives–the full Jesus and all His grace. To every prayer the answer of God is Jesus. All is in Him, and all in Him is for you. Let your response always be, “Jesus, in Him I have all.” You are and you live, in all things, as children of God through faith in Jesus.
Father, open the eyes of my heart to understand what it is to be a child of God and to live always as a child, through always believing in Jesus, Your only Son. Let every breath of my soul be faith in Jesus, a confidence in Him, a resting in Him, a surrender to Him, so that He may work all in me. Amen.
1. By the grace of God, you now know that you have received Jesus and are God’s child; you must now take pains to make His salvation known. There is many a one who longs to know and cannot find out how he can become a child of God.
2. Endeavour to make two things plain to him. First, that the new birth is something so high and holy that he can do nothing in it. He must receive eternal life from God through the Spirit. He must be born from above. This Jesus teaches (John 3:1-8).Then, make it clear to him how low God has descended to us with this new life, and how near He brings it to us. In Jesus there is life for everyone who believes in Him. This Jesus teaches (John 3:14-18). And Jesus and the life are in the Word.
3. Tell the sinner that when he takes the Word, he then has Jesus and life in the Word (Rom. 10:8). Take pains to tell the glad tidings that we become children of God only through faith in Jesus.
“They gave their own selves to the Lord” 2 Corinthians 8:5.
The chief element of what Jesus has done for me–always does for me–lies in His surrender of Himself for me. I have the main element of what He would have me do in my surrender to Him. For young Christians who have given themselves to Jesus, it is of great importance to always hold fast–to confirm and renew this surrender. This is the special life of faith which says again every day, “I have given myself to Him. I will follow and serve Him.1 He has taken me. I am His and entirely at His service.”2
Young Christian, hold firm your surrender and continue to make it firmer. When a stumbling or a sin recurs after you have surrendered yourself, do not think that the surrender was insincere. No, the surrender to Jesus does not make us perfect at once. You have sinned because you were not thoroughly or firmly enough in His arms. Adhere to this, even though it is with shame, “Lord, You know I have given myself to You, and I am Yours.”3 Confirm this surrender again. Say to Him that you now begin to see better how complete the surrender to Him must be. Every day, renew the voluntary, entire, and undivided offering up of yourselves to Him.4
The longer we continue as Christians, the deeper our insight into God’s Word will lead us to surrender to Jesus. We will see more clearly that we do not yet fully understand or contemplate it. The surrender must become more undivided and trustful. The language which Ahab once used must be ours, “My Lord, O King, according to thy saying, I am Yours, and all that I have” (1 Kings 20:4). This is the language of undivided dedication–I am thine, and all that I have. Keep nothing back. Keep back no single sin that you do not confess and turn from. Without conversion there can be no surrender. Lay upon the altar all of your thoughts, your utterances, your feelings, your labours, your time, your influence, and your property.6 Jesus has a right to all–He demands the whole. Give yourself, with all that you have, to be guided and used and kept, undivided and blessed. “My Lord, O King, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have.”
That is the language of trustful dedication. It is on the Word of the Lord–which calls upon you to surrender yourself–that you have done this. That Word is your guarantee that He will take and guide and keep you. As surely as you give yourself does He take you. And what He takes He can keep. Only we must not take it out of His hand again. Let it remain fixed with you, that your surrender is in the highest degree pleasing to Him. Be assured of it, your offering is a sweet smelling savour. Not on what you are or what you experience or discover in yourselves do you say this, but on His Word. According to His Word you are able to stand on this–what you give He will take, and what He takes He will keep.
Therefore, every day let this be the childlike joyful activity of your life of faith. Surrender yourselves continually to Jesus, and you are safe in the certainty that He, in His love, takes and holds you securely. His answer to your giving is the renewed and always deeper surrender of Himself to you.
According to Your Word, my Lord and King, I am Yours, and all that I have. Every day, this day, I will confirm it. I am not my own, but am my Lord’s. Fervently I implore You to take full possession of Your property so that no one may doubt whose I am. Amen.
1) Matt. 4:22; 10:24,25,37,38; Luke 18:22; John 12:25,26; 2 Cor. 5:15
2) Matt. 28:20
3) John 21:17; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thess. 5:24; 2 Tim. 2:13; 1 John 5:16
l . Ponder once again the words giving and taking and having. What I give to Jesus, He takes with a divine taking. And what He takes, He has and thereafter cares for. Now it is absolutely no longer mine. I must have no thought of it. I may not dispose of it. Let your faith find full expression in adoration. Jesus takes me. Jesus has me.
2. Should a time of doubting or darkness overtake you, and your assurance that the Lord has received you has come to be lost, do not allow yourself to become discouraged. Come simply as a sinner and confess your sins. Believe in His promises that He will by no means cast out those who come to Him, and begin simply on the ground of the promises to say, “I know that He has received me.”
3. Do not forget what the chief element in surrender is-it is a surrender to Jesus and to His love. Fix your eye not on your activity in surrender, but on Jesus who calls you, who takes you, and who can do all for you. This is what makes faith strong.
4. Faith is always a surrender. Faith is the eye for seeing the invisible. When I look at something, I surrender myself to the impression which it makes upon me. Faith is the ear that hearkens to the voice of God. When I believe a message; I surrender myself to the influence, whether cheering or saddening, which the words exercise on me. When I believe in Jesus, I surrender myself to Him, in reflection, in desire, in expectation, in order that He may be in me and do in me that for which He has been given to me by God.