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Monday, September 29, 2014

Into the Heart of God

Oneness with God In His Repudiation of This World

2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23

We have announced that in these gatherings our subject is going to be: "Into the Heart of God," and when we speak about the heart of God, we mean friendship with God, for friendship means that the one has entered into the heart of the other. It is a matter of heart relationship.

It is a wonderful thing that that is possible between man and God! It was God who said of David that he was "a man after My heart" (Acts 13:22), and we have read that three times in the Bible Abraham was called "the friend of God." Indeed, God Himself said of him: "Abraham, My friend" which means that he had entered into the heart of God. That entering was progressive. It did not happen all at once, but was a lifelong movement, a spiritual pilgrimage which ended in the heart of God. It had eight distinct stages - there were eight different movements in the life of Abraham which ended right there in the heart of God, and we shall hope to consider some of these stages.

First of all, however, let us remind  ourselves that the Word of God reveals that there is a spiritual pilgrimage. Peter said: "Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims" (Peter 2:11), and the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews put it in this way: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things make it manifest that they are seeking after a country of their own ... But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly" (Hebrews 11:13, 14, 16). You see what that says: They all died in faith, not having received the promises. They had seen them and greeted them from a long way off. All these heroes of faith mentioned in that eleventh chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews are still looking for  country, that is, waiting for their inheritance, and chapter twelve makes it quite clear that although they have left this earth, they are one with us in 'looking." They "all died in faith, not having received the promises ... God having foreseen some better thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:1, 40). So Abraham is still "looking" with us for the heavenly country.

There is a whole group of New Testament words which describe the believer as a pilgrim and a stranger, and these many Greek words relate to people in the Roman Empire who had no settled abode anywhere. They were just visitors to the place. They had come to stay for a night, for a week, for a month, or for a year, but no matter how long they stayed, they did not belong to the place. They had no permanent residence there, and our New Testament is built upon that truth. All these Greek words are taken over and applied to Christians. When Peter said: "I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims," he did not say: 'Be pilgrims and sojourners,' but "you Are."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)

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