1. The New Life
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." -- John 3:16
"For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Christ is our life." -- Col. 3:3, 4
"We declare unto you the life, the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us. God gave unto us eternal life; and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath the life." - 1 John 1
How glorious, then, is the blessing which every one receives that believes in the Lord Jesus. Not only does there come a change in his disposition and manner of life; he also receives from God out of heaven an entirely new life. He is born anew, born of God: he has passed from death into life. (John 1:12-13; John 3:5, 7; John 5:24; 1 John 3:14; 1 John 5:1)
This new life is nothing less than Eternal Life. (John 3:15-16, 36; John 6:40, 51; John 6:25-26; Romans 6:11, 23; Romans 8:2; 1 John 5:12, 13) This does not mean, as many suppose, that our life shall now no more die, but shall endure into eternity. No: eternity life is nothing else than the very life of God, the life that He has had in Himself from eternity, and that has been visibly revealed in Christ. This life is now the portion of every child of God. (1 John 1:3; 1 John 3:1; 1 John 5:11)
This life is a life of inconceivable power. Whenever God gives life to a young plant or animal, that life has in itself the power of growth, whereby the plant or animal as of itself becomes large. Life is power. In the new life, that is, in your heart, there is the power of eternity. (John 5:10, 28; Hebrews 7:16; Hebrews 6; 2 Cor. 7:9; 2 Cor. 8:4; Col. 3:3-4; Phil. 4:13) More certain than the healthful growth of any tree or animal is the growth and increase of the child of God, who in reality surrenders himself to the working of the new life.
What hinders this power and the reception of the new spiritual life is chiefly two things. The one is ignorance of its nature, its laws and workings. Man, even the Christian, has of himself not the least conception of the new life that comes from God: it surpasses all his thoughts. His own perverted thoughts of the way to serve and to please God, namely, by what he does and is, are so deeply rooted in him, that, although he thinks that he understands and receives God's word, he yet thinks humanly and carnally on Divine things. (Joshua 3:4; Isaiah 4; Matthew 16:23) Not only must God give salvation and life; He must also give the Spirit to make us know what He gives. Not only must He point out the land of Canaan, and the way thither; we must also, like the blind, be led every day by Himself. The young Christian must try to cherish a deep conviction of his ignorance concerning the new life, and of his inability to form right thoughts about it. This will bring him to the meekness and to the childlike spirit of docility, to which the Lord shall make His secret known. (Psalm 25:5, 8-9; Psalm 143:8; Isaiah 42:16; Isaiah 64:4; Matthew 11:25; 1 Cor. 1:18-19; 1 Cor. 2:7, 10, 12; Hebrews 11:8)
There is a second hindrance in the way of faith. In the life of every plant and every animal and every child there lies sufficient power by which it can become big. In the new life, God has made the most glorious provision of a sufficient power whereby His child can grow and become all that he must be. Christ Himself is his life and his power of life. (Psalm 18:2; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 38:3; Psalm 34:8; John 14:19; Galatians 2:20; Col. 3:3, 4) Yet, because this mighty life is not visible or cannot be felt, but works in the midst of human weakness, the young Christian often becomes of doubtful mind. He then fails to believe that he shall grow with Divine power and certainty. He does not understand that the believing life is a life of faith whereby he reckons on the life that is in Christ for him, although he neither sees, feels, nor experiences anything. (Habakkuk 2:4; Matthew 6:27; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38)
Let every one then that has received this new life, cultivate this great conviction: it is eternal life that works in me: it works with Divine power: I can and shall become what God will have me be: Christ Himself is my life: I have to receive Him every day as my life given by God to me, and He shall be my life in full power.
O my Father, who hast given me Thy Son that I may have life in Him, I thank Thee for the glorious new life that is now in me. I pray Thee, teach me to know aright this new life. I will acknowledge my ignorance and the perverted thoughts which are in me, concerning Thy service. I will believe in the heavenly power of the new life that is in me: I will believe that my Lord Jesus, who Himself is my life, will by His Spirit teach me to know how I can walk in that life. Amen.
Try now to apprehend and appropriate the following lessons in your heart; --
1. It is eternal life, the very life of God, that you have now received through faith.
2. This new life is in Christ, and the Holy Spirit is in you to bring over to you all that is in Christ. Christ lives in you through the Holy Spirit.
3. This life is a life of wonderful power. However weak you may feel, you must believe in the Divine power of the life that is in you.
4. This life has need of time to grow in you and to take possession of you. Give it time: it shall surely increase.
5. Forget not that all the laws and rules of this new life are in conflict with all human thoughts of the way to please God. Be very much in dread of your thoughts, and let Christ, who is your life and also your wisdom, teach you all things.
2. The Milk Of The Word
"As new-born babes, long for the spiritual milk that is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation" -- 1 Peter 2:2
Beloved young Christians, hear what your Father has to say in this word. You have just recently given yourselves to the Lord, and have believed that He has received you. You have thus received the new life from God. you are now as new-born infants: He would teach you in this word what is necessary that you may grow and wax strong.
The first point is: you must know that you are God's children. Hear how distinctly Peter says this to those just converted: (1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 2:2, 10, 25) 'You have been born again,' 'you are new-born infants,' 'you are now converted,' 'you are now the people of God.' A Christian, however young and weak he is, must know that he is God's child. Then only can he have the courage to believe that he shall make progress, and the boldness to use the food of the children provided in the word. All Scripture teaches us that we must know and can know that we are children of God. (Romans 8:16; 1 Cor. 3:1, 16; Galatians 4:6, 7; 1 John 3:2, 14, 24; 1 John 4:13; 1 John 5:10, 13) The assurance of faith is indispensable to a healthy powerful growth in the Lord. (Ephes. 5:8; Col. 2:6; 1 Peter 1:14, 19)
The second point which this word teaches you is: you are still very weak, weak as new-bon children. The joy and the love which a young convert sometimes experiences do indeed make him think that he is very strong. He runs the risk of exalting himself, and of trusting in what he experiences. He must nevertheless learn much of how he must become strong in his Lord Jesus. Endeavour to feel deeply that you are still young and weak. (1 Cor. 3:1, 13; Hebrews 5:13, 14) Out of this sense of weakness comes the humility which has nothing (Matthew 5:3; Romans 12:3, 10; Ephes. 4:2; Phil. 2:3, 4; Col. 3:12) in itself, and therefore expects all from its Lord. (Matthew 8:8, 15, 27, 28)
The third lesson is: the young Christian must not remain weak; he must grow and increase in grace; he must make progress and become strong. God lays it upon us as a command. His word gives us concerning this point the most glorious promises. It lies in the nature of the thing: a child of God must and can make progress. The new life is a life that is healthy and strong: when a disciple surrenders himself to it, the growth certainly comes. (Judges 5:31; Psalm 84:8, 92:13, 14; Proverbs 4:18; Isaiah 40:31; Ephes. 4:14; 1 Thes. 4:1; 2 Peter 3:18)
The fourth and principal lesson, the lesson which young disciples of Christ have most need of is: it is through the milk of the word that God's new-born infants can grow. The new life from the Spirit of God can be sustained only by the word from the mouth of God. Your life, my young brother, will largely depend on whether you learn to deal wisely and well with God's word, or whether you learn to use the word from the beginning as your milk. (Psalm 19:8, 11; Psalm 119:97, 100; Isaiah 55:2, 3; 1 Cor. 12:11)
See what a charming parable the Lord has given us here in the mother's milk. Out of her own life does the mother yield food and life to her child. The feeding of the child is the work of the tenderest love, in which the child is pressed to the breast, and is held in the closest fellowship with the mother. And the milk is just what the weak child requires, food gentle and yet strong.
Even so is there in the word of God the very life and power of God. (John 6:63; 1 Thes. 2:13; Hebrews 4:12) His tender love will through the word receive us into the gentlest and most intimate fellowship with Himself. (John 10:4) His love will give us out of the word what is, like warm soft milk, just fitted for our weakness. Let no one suppose that the word is too high or too hard for him. For the disciple who receives the word, and trustfully relies on Jesus to teach him by the Spirit, the word of God shall practically prove to be gentle sweet milk for new-born infants. (Psalm 119:18; John 14:26; Ephes. 1:17-18)
Dear young Christian, would you continue standing, would you become strong, would you always live for the Lord? Then hear this day the voice of your Father: 'As new-born babes, long for the spiritual milk that is without guile.' Receive this word into your heart and hold it fast as the voice of your Father: on your use of the word of God will your spiritual life depend. Let the word of God be precious to you above everything. (Psalm 19)
Above all, forget not this: the word is the milk; the sucking or drinking on the part of the little child is the inner, living, blessed fellowship with the mother's love. Through the Holy Spirit your use of the milk of the word can become warm, living fellowship with the Living Love of your God. O long then very eagerly for the milk. Do not take the word as something that is hard and troublesome to understand: in that way you lose all delight in it. Receive it with trust in the love of the living God. With a tender motherly love will the Spirit of God teach and help you in your weakness. Believe always that the Spirit will make the word in you life and joy, a blessed fellowship with your God.
Precious Saviour, Thou hast taught me to believe Thy word, and Thou hast made me by that faith a child of God. Through that word, as the milk of the new-born babes, wilt Thou also feed me. Lord, for this milk shall I be very eager: every day will I long after it. Teach me, through the Holy Spirit and the word, to walk and hold converse every day in living fellowship with the love of the Father. Teach me always to believe that the Spirit has been given me with the word. Amen.
1. What texts do you consider the best for proving that the Scriptures teach us that we must know we are children of God?
2. What are the three points in which the sucking child is to us a type of the young child in Christ in his dealing with the word?
3. What must a young Christian do when he has little blessing in the reading of God's word? He must set himself through faith in fellowship with Jesus Himself: he must reckon that Jesus will teach him through the Spirit and so trustfully continue in the reading.
4. One verse chosen to meet our needs, read ten times and then laid up in the heart, is better than ten verses read once. Only so much of the word as I actually receive and inwardly appropriate for myself, is food for my soul.
5. Choose out for yourselves what you consider one of the most glorious promises about making progress and becoming strong; learn it by heart, and repeat it continually as the language of your positive expectation.
6. Have you learned well to understand what the great means for growth in grace is?
—New Life, The