Beloved of our Lord,
"Ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will
of God, ye may receive the promise."
How many of us become weary and faint in the tests of our faith, not
recognising their necessity and import!
The will of God, as revealed in the Cross, has been accepted by us,
and our integrity in this consent to our own death is before Him. We
are conscious of nothing as against ourselves, for we have come to
His Light, and dwell in IT; and though the experience be a constant
humiliation on the one hand, on the other the Blood is speaking and
cleansing, and we have peace. Yet are we still hedged in, our path
is trouble-thronged and straitened. There is no break into service,
fruitfulness, the open ways of blessing, the prosperity of His
kingdom. What is the meaning of it all?
Beloved, this is it. Now is the vindication of God's grace in us. He
is able to say before principalities and powers concerning us, "Hast
thou considered My servant?" He knows the sacrifice is fully upon
the altar. But will that "love of God" as now within us keep us
bound there? Will Isaac, the son of promise, consent to his own
execution, so to speak? For this is the test of sonship, the trial
of His grace. The triumph of the Cross must first of all be made
manifest in us ere we can become the public proclaimers of that
triumph. Fear not therefore because of present straitening. The
works of our salvation are all complete. By one offering He hath
perfected to perpetuity them that are sanctified. We have free and
blessed access into this continual grace wherein we stand as in the
Presence of God in His Son, but to the glory-praise of His
grace this thing must be tested, tried, proved.
For this reason is it not added to the full declaration of our
salvation? "And not only so, but we exult in the tribulations also,
knowing that tribulation worketh patience."
It is well to correctly discern this word "patience." It is not the
"long-suffering" we usually designate as that virtue. The New
Testament discriminates between these two phases of Christ's grace
in us. Both words occur, for example, in Colossians 1:11. This
"patience" is steadfast endurance, fortitude, or literally "an
abiding-on-top" during trial. It is the unconquerableness of faith.
"Ye have heard of the patience of Job?" But Job was not merely
long-suffering. Indeed, one does not always discern that virtue in
his speeches. But he had the fortitude of his faith; he endured and
believed in God despite the confusions of his circumstance and the
contradictions to his former experience of God, and in this patience
he said, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." This is Biblical
patience, the steadfastness of saints. We also have need of it, and
more so as the conflict thickens.
Recently we saw a mighty battleship newly launched, a magnificent
and costly piece of worldly armament, perfect in all its parts and
fully equipped for service. But we were told that although perfect
it was going for its "trials." Its engines, its boilers, its guns,
and the whole fabric of the vessel had to undergo the strain,
prolonged and real, of a thorough testing. There would be heavy seas
and hard driving and utmost pressure, severe demands made upon all
its parts and equipment, before it could be passed into active
So with us. We also are on trial, and we have therefore need of
steadfast endurance, patience. And in this the apostle is quite
plain, as to the reason, for "patience" says he, works,
"experience," - or as the Revised Version has it, "probation." So we
are going through probation. The Lord sometimes allows the devil to
experiment upon us in this way: he experiences the truth of God's
grace in us, and we discover also with thankfulness that the faith
of the Son of God that weathered Calvary can meet other storms.
Wherefore, "Stand fast in the faith; quit you like men; be strong."
In your patience gain possession of your souls, for he that endureth
unto the END, the same shall be saved.
Yours in the joy of the Warrior,