Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Gospel Is The Sacrificing Knife!

"Only the Gospel can form a plaster to draw out the very core of contention from the heart. The apostle Paul testifies how he and his brothers were healed of malicious attitudes: "We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving diverse lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another" (Titus 3:3). And then Paul writes in some detail how that healing came: "But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:4-5). He was saying, "If this love of God to us in Christ had not appeared, if we had not been washed by His regenerating Spirit, we would still be paralyzed under the power of our lusts."

Mortification is a work of the Spirit. "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Romans 8:13). And the Gospel is the sacrificing knife in the hand of the Spirit, the "sword" God uses to kill sin in the hearts of His people (Ephesians 6:17).

Just as the Gospel lays the axe to strife and digs it up by its bitter roots, so it fills the hearts of men who embrace it with principles, leading to peace and unity. Some of these tenets are self-denial, long-suffering, and gentleness. Self-denial prefers that another be honored before himself. Long-suffering is that which makes one not easily provoked. And if gentleness is pushed by a wrong, it holds the door open for peace to come in again.

We can see a whole bundle of these sweet herbs growing in one bed: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Galatians 5:22-23). Now this fruit does not crop up in just every hedge, but only from Gospel seed."

-From The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare Published by Moody Press Chicago 1994 First Published in 1655