Wherever faith has led to the power of holiness in the lives of God’s people, there are two things evident; firstly, there is the death of self and secondly, there is a sense of the presence of God; these things are related and one will only follow the other. God will not occupy a camp in which the enemy is not vanquished.
These are truths that are known in the innermost being of every person born of the Spirit of God; but, like many truths of the Word, they require a response so awful that we shrink back and they lose all power, leaving them to lie bedridden in the dormitory of the soul where they become knowledge, rather than wisdom. But, as Cowper wrote;
Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one, have oft times no connection. Knowledge dwells in heads replete with thoughts of other men; wisdom in minds attentive to their own.
Knowledge, a rude unprofitable mass, the mere materials with which wisdom builds, till smoothed and squared and fitted to its place, does but encumber whom it seems to enrich.
Knowledge is proud of that he has learned so much; wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
Religion has invented a faith in which the self can flourish alongside God; where minor amendments to behaviour are sufficient to enjoy the promise of salvation and eternal life; but this is like killing the tree and still waiting under it for the fruit to fall; it defies the reality of truth and replaces it with another truth which is not truth at all.
God’s promise to His people is that He will be with us always (Matthew 28:20) and the believer must experience that presence if He is to hear God’s voice and know His will and walk in His ways. But today, most Christians look back to see the past filled with God and look forward to see the future filled with God, but the “now” is empty except for ourselves; the One who was can be seen, the One who will be can be seen, but where is the One who is? To recapture this living presence of God is the only thing that will revive the heart, restore the soul and renew the mind.
We cannot love a God who is no more than a deduction from a text, compounded of theology and logic but having no ears to hear, eyes to see or heart to love. Personal intimacy with God is the most pressing need in Christianity today. The apostle John wrote what is translated as; “In Him was life” (John 1:4), but if you examine the Greek you will find that “life” is in the nominative and is the subject of the verb “was”, thus, a better translation would be “life was in Him”. But neither does such a translation convey the whole truth; the verb “was” is in the imperfect tense, conveying the information that it took place in the past but is not finished; in other words, life was in Him, is in Him and will be in Him; indeed there is no life apart from Him.
God did not create man and then cast him away to work things out for himself; on the contrary, He has given us eternal life but we must take hold of it in this life; it is not something that we pick up at our last earthly gasp on the way through the pearly gates; this is empty worldly philosophy. Eternal life is in Him, and only in Him, flowing in and out like the breath of life, being pumped and kept going only by that true heart, which is Christ Jesus Himself.