When anyone obtains peace of conscience through Christ, it then becomes him to make pleasing God his great business.
If there be a spot of guilt on the conscience it spoils the heart for heavenly music.
It is not a little matter for our consciences to be readily judging all self-will, and to see whence it comes and how abominable it is to God. The natural conscience never sees the filthiness of pride; we can only see it by the Spirit of God revealing Christ to us. If we walk in integrity before God, we do not rest in a conscience that does not accuse us, though we cannot do without it.
The Church of God cannot be reached with the truth for lack of a heavenly conscience.
The heavenly conscience is always judging thus: “Is this like Christ?” “Is the Lord in fellowship with me in this?”
A believer who neglects the Scriptures must certainly be a sufferer, going on in what is not like Christ, and .thinking himself quite right.
The heavenly conscience should judge in a moment, not needing any consideration at all, just as the eye discerns the light of day without effort or question.
Keep your conscience as you keep your eyesight, with great care. How we watch against the least speck of dust!
I would have my soul as a looking-glass in which God can see His Son.
There may be a hardening of the conscience which makes it insensible to the guilt of sin.
The more tender in conscience I am, the more tender I am towards the faulty and weak ones.
We should be the first to find fault with our own work, and the last to find fault with the work of others.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue”; we do more good or evil with our words than with anything.
How best can we be under the power of unbelief? By talking to ourselves and bewailing it. How can we get rid of unbelief? Talk of it at the mercy-seat with the God of grace; tell Him the worst; tell Him the truth, just as it is.
It is impossible for faith to be what it should be without the constant reading of the Word.
Trial and Discipline
In my trials I often pray that when God does send delivering grace it may honour my faith and not rebuke my unbelief.
There are perpetual fogs of unbelief rising up in the soul unless the beams of God’s truth scatter them.
Which do we most think of—getting out of the furnace or pleasing God in it.
Faith always carries with it its title to be heard; the perfect token of faith is that we speak to none but Cod.
In any trial I always cut matters short if only I say, “Thou didst it.” If in a little provocation we are ready to say, “Thou didst it,” we shall never be ruffled.
The Lord “sat down to meat” (Luke 7:36), and did not take offence at the way in which Simon treated Him. He was too great and too lowly to take offence. That should be our mind as those who are one with Christ; love is “not provoked.”
There is great reason for the manifold ways in which we find ourselves tried, sharply and sorely, and often by continuous trial. I pray to be conformed to Christ, and my flesh is full in itself of all evil in seed or root; there is not a sin that my flesh is not capable of if unrestrained — hence the need of discipline. Suppose I walk in integrity before God, I shall always find in myself that which can account for the heaviest discipline. I may not know the particular reason, but I can always find sufficient reason for any trials God may send me.
Our greatest difficulties are not outside but inside. Did you ever see any iniquity of which you were not capable? The open iniquity of the worst is as nothing compared with the iniquity which is shut up in the best. The sharpest conflict is in the soul of him whose life is the most blameless. Keep a spiral spring pressed down, it resists. It is by resisting the flesh that we learn its guilt experimentally.
The third heaven could not change the flesh (2 Cor. 12). In glory we shall need no thorn: now each one needs it in some way to help grace. We should begin where Paul ended: “My grace is sufficient for thee.” We need ballast, and our obligations are according to the revelations we receive. Had not a thorn been given to Paul he would have made one out of his pride.
Philippians is an epistle of fellowship; the bane of fellowship is pride and self-will. Philippians 2:12 means working out our salvation from all that is unlike Christ and like Satan, and “work out” means “accomplish thoroughly.”
Conflict and Obedience.
Those who are called to the warfare of Ephesians 6 are contending for obedience according to the mind of Christ. The strife between ourselves and Satan is not about our title. We contend for obedience without reserve, and communion and friendship are inseparable from the soul’s obedience. The state of the Church shows that obedience without reserve has been set aside.
The obedience of love to the Word is friendship with the Lord. If I obey I am a friend of the Lord’s, and my heart is tender towards that heavenly Friend; but His heart is much more tender towards me than mine is towards Him. His heart is more pained by my lack of friendship than I am by my failure. He has far more pleasure in my company than I have in His.
It is very much now with the people of God as in Judges 2, when Israel made a league with the Canaanites; they were not defeated, but they gave up the fight. The great fault with us is not that we are so low, but that we make a league with that which displeases God, and we give up the conflict.
Let us, each one for himself, seek to be what the whole Church should be; the Lord will own it in His day, and will value it the more, because there are so few to hold up our hands.
Every sunset should see me a more apt disciple at the feet of Jesus.
Full obedience to God and to Christ will always bring trial.
The greatest success is being like Christ and pleasing God, and none can hinder this but ourselves. I am a blameless child, not because I succeed in my service, but because I am always aiming at pleasing God.
Pilgrims in the World
In the world we are pilgrims—in it, not of it. As the sons and daughters of the first man we have ceased to be. We are dead and buried, whatever the warfare within to remind us of what we once were. Now we have come down, not only from God’s footstool, but from God’s very bosom, where is our place with our ascended Lord, and whatever inducements we have to look for His coming, surely the chief is that we may know His unsearchable love in His sufferings unto death.
Let us be thankful for the kind, tender, patient way of God in training us for glory.
To be well-pleasing children we have nothing to do but to walk in fellowship with the Father and with His Son, to walk in separation from the world, and, like Abraham, to pitch our tent outside and away from Sodom.
The Lord always brought things of Eternity into Time; He was the Man of Eternity.
Let each one see to it that he is doing his work in the corner of the vineyard where he is placed; then it will be easy to go to any other corner of it, for we shall look upon the whole world as a foreign land.
Let us fear the patronage of the world more than its persecutions.