"To come near to Christ is to come near to one another..."
But how are we to do this?? Reading on...
"The secret of true unity in the church and family is not diplomacy, not management, not a superhuman effort to overcome difficulties, though there will be much of this to do...but UNION with CHRIST. Picture a large circle, from the edge of which are many lines all running to the center. The nearer these lines approach the center, the nearer they are to one another. Thus it is in the Christian life. The closer we come to Christ, the nearer we shall be to one another." AH p179
Ahhhh....so THIS is the secret. How come we as churches and we as families seem to do everything but this??? It's all about better communication techniques, better understanding, better ways of loving (all important for sure)...but we miss the most important, and that is Christ. We must be more closely united with Christ!!!
Recently I've been reading through the book Steps to Christ again. What a beautiful book it is, with so much practical gospel and encouragement for us today.
So far I've only gotten through the first few chapters titled: God's love for man, The sinner's need of Christ, Repentance, and Confession, and it only gets better as you go. But even in these first few chapters, there is so much convicting truth.
Let me share a few quotes that have really encouraged me, or helped me share with others more effectively. They are powerful...
- "God is love" is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire of springing grass. The lovely birds making the air vocal with their happy songs, the delicately tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air, the lofty trees of the forest with their rich foliage of living green, all testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God, and to His desire to make His children happy. pg 10
- The father loves us, not because of the great propitiation (death of His Son), but He provided the propitiation because He loves us... pg 13 [Wow!]
- Jesus did not suppress one word of truth, but He uttered it always in love...pg 12
- It is impossible for us of ourselves to escape from the pit of sin in which we have sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them...There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. The power is Christ...pg 18
- Christ is the source of every right impulse. He is the only one that can implant in the heart enmity against sin. Every desire for truth and purity, even conviction of our own sinfulness is an evidence that His spirit is moving upon our hearts. pg 26
- If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better. How many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ. Do you expect to become better through your own efforts?? We must come to Christ [now] and just as we are... pg 31 (I am reminded of "But God commendeth His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Rom 5:8)
- Beware of procrastination. Do not put off the work of forsaking your sins, and seeking purity of heart through Jesus. Do not make the faults of others an excuse for your own neglect of duty. The Lord has not given us an erring human pattern. [No...we can look only to] the spotless Son of God as our example...pg 32
- Sin, however small it may be esteemed, can be indulged in only at the peril of infinite loss. What we do not overcome, will overcome us, and work out our destruction. pg 33
- As you see the enormity of sin, as you see yourself as you really are, do not give up in despair. It was sinners that Christ came to save...Christ died that we might be forgiven. The merits of His sacrifice are sufficient to present to the Father in our behalf. Those to whom He has forgiven most will stand nearest to His throne and praise Him for His great love and infinite sacrifice. [Yes] it is when we most fully comprehend the love of God that we best realize the sinfulness of [our] sin. pg 35
Wow... "Lord help me!" is all I can say, for my sins are great.
"Search me oh God and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalms 139:23,24
But I can praise Him too...for He hath made a way!
"For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of GOD is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom 6:23