Growing in Grace Studies: II. Privilege and Experience

Theology Girl Studies

GROWING IN GRACE STUDIES
Blogging with TheologyGirl & ReformedWomen
Fall 2009
BOOK: The Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray
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 II. PRIVILEGE AND EXPERIENCE

 “And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have  is thine.” –Luke 15:31.

The words of the text are familiar to us all. The elder son had  complained and said, that though his father had made a feast, and had  killed the fatted calf for the prodigal son, he had never given him even a kid that he might make merry with his friends. The answer of the    father was: “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”   One cannot have a more wonderful revelation of the heart of our Father  in heaven than this points out to us. We often speak of the wonderful  revelation of the father’s heart in his welcome to the prodigal son,    and in what he did for him. But here we have a revelation of the  father’s love far more wonderful, in what he says to the elder son.

If we are to experience a deepening of spiritual life, we want to discover clearly what is the spiritual life that God would have us live, on the one hand; and, on the other, to ask whether we are living that life; or, if not, what hinders us living it out fully.

This subject naturally divides itself into these these heads:–I. The  high privilege of every child of God. 2. The low experience of too many of us believers. 3. The cause of the discrepancy; and, lastly, The way to the restoration of the privilege.

I. THE HIGH PRIVILEGE OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD.

We have here two things describing the privilege: –First, “Son, thou art ever with me”–unbroken fellowship with thy Father is thy portion;  Second, “All that I have is thine “–all that God can bestow upon His  children is theirs.

 “Thou art ever with me;” I am always near thee; thou canst dwell every  hour of thy life in My presence, and all I have is for thee. I am a  father, with a loving father’s heart. I will withhold no good thing from thee. In these promises, we have the rich privilege of God’s heritage. We have, in the first place, unbroken fellowship with Him. A  father never sends his child away with the thought that he does not care about his child knowing that he loves him. The father longs to  have his child believe that he has the light of his father’s countenance upon him all the day–that, if he sends the child away to school, or anywhere that necessity compels, it is with a sense of sacrifice of parental feelings. If it be so with an earthly father,  what think you of God?  Does He not want every child of His to know that he is constantly living in the light of His countenance?  This is the meaning of that word, “Son, thou art ever with me.”

That was the privilege of God’s people in Old Testament times. We are told that “Enoch walked with God.” God’s promise to Jacob was: “Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee    until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” And God’s  promise to Israel through Moses, was: “My presence shall go with thee,  and I will give thee rest.” And in Moses’ response to the promise, he says, “For wherein shall it be known that I and Thy people have found  grace in Thy sight? Is it not that Thou goest with us; so shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.” The presence of God with Israel was the mark of their separation from other people. This is the truth taught in all the Old Testament; and if so, how much more may we look for it in the New Testament? Thus we find our Saviour promising to those who love Him and who keep His word, that the Father also will love them, and Father and Son will come and make Their abode with them.

 Let that thought into your hearts–that the child of God is called to this blessed privilege, to live every moment of his life in fellowship with God. He is called to enjoy the full light of His countenance.  There are many Christians–I suppose the majority of Christians–who seem to regard the whole of the Spirit’s work as confined to conviction and conversion: –not so much that He came to dwell in our hearts, and there reveal God to us. He came not to dwell near us, but in us, that we might be filled with His indwelling. We are commanded to be “filled with the Spirit;” then the Holy Spirit would make God’s presence manifest to us. That is the whole teaching of the epistle to the Hebrews: –the veil is rent in twain; we have access into the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus; we come into the very presence of God, so that we can live all the day with that presence resting upon us. That presence is with us wheresoever we go; and in all kinds of trouble, we have undisturbed repose and peace. “Son, thou art ever with me.”

There are some people who seem to think that God, by some unintelligible sovereignty, withdraws His face. But I know that God loves His people too much to withhold His fellowship from them for any such reason. The true reason of the absence of God from us is rather to be found in our sin and unbelief, than in any supposed sovereignty of His. If the child of God is walking in faith and obedience, the Divine presence will be enjoyed in unbroken continuity.

 Then there is the next blessed privilege: “All that I have is thine.” Thank God, He has given us His own Son; and in giving Him, He has given us all things that are in Him, He has given us Christ’s life, His love,  His Spirit, His glory. “All things are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” All the riches of His Son, the everlasting King, God bestows upon every one of His children. “Son, thou art ever with me; and all that I have is thine.” Is not that the meaning of all those wonderful promises given in connection with prayer: “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, ye shall receive.”? Yes, there it is. That is the  life of the children of God, as He Himself has pictured it to us.

Next week:

“In contrast with this high privilege of believers, look at   THE LOW EXPERIENCE OF TOO MANY OF US.

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3 comments on “Growing in Grace Studies: II. Privilege and Experience

  1. Pingback: Growing in Grace Studies: II. Privilege and Experience « ReformedWomen

    • It is true that so often when I have read the account of the “prodigal son” the focus was placed on the wayward son and his repentance. But the words of the father to the elder son is equally worthy of notice. This chapter brings it out so well, that the father’s response was beautiful in declaring his unbroken fellowship with his son, and all that he had given him, and the lesson for us to realise God’s love for us, as our Father.

      This is exactly what I need to meditate on, the wonderful privilege of being God’s child, why do we live like “spiritual orphans” when God is our Father?

      It is very true that many christians regard the whole of the Spirit’s work as confined to conviction and conversion, but fail to realise that He also dwells in our hearts and reveals God to us.

      Another lovely chapter, and well worth meditating on over and over.

  2. Wonderful privileges and promises are set forth in this section of the book. The first Scripture brought to mind is “I Am with thee; I will never leave or forsake you; I Am with thee in spirit and presence, in thought and deeds, in My Word which is written upon your hearts, before you and behind you, above you and bearing you up with eagle’s wings. He is with us from beginning into eternity future, on earth and in heaven. What pure joy is this that our God and Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit abides in and with us. He never leaves or forsakes us even in our disobedience or lukewarmness because He has covered us in His righteousness and those sins are removed and forgiven never to be remembered again. We are free in His work of salvation to fellowship with Him, in His Presence, forever. That is privilege and promise indeed. How can we not walk away from this week’s lesson and not be filled with joy and a desire to be with Him, love Him and serve Him every moment of every day more faithfully? We can and we will by His grace! Thanks be to God for His forever fellowship in and with us.

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