Horatius Bonar On The Last Days

Horatius Bonar“Evil has not diminished; the human heart has not improved; sin has not been dried up; evil men and seducers wax worse and worse; and the last days are the worst. Errors multiply; infidelity is leavening society, and working its way into the Church of God. The Bible is assailed; the gospel is denied; the Cross is ridiculed; the blood is repudiated; the authority of Christ—Prophet, Priest, and King—is disowned. satan, too, still works death still triumphs; pain and disease are still at large, working woe and havoc in God’s creation. Does not this look like weakness? Does it seem as if evil had got the upper hand entirely? Yet, in spite of all these strange phenomena in Christ’s own history and that of His Church, the apostle declares, ‘He is not weak;’ He is not weak in Himself; He is not weak to us. Whatever may be the cause of these anomalies, it is not weakness, and never has been so. The weakness is only in appearance; and even that appearance is but temporary.

“Yes, says the apostle, He is mighty. Whatever appearances may say; whatever we might be tempted to infer from the power of the world and the weakness of the church; from the prevalence of evil and the scantiness of good; from the depression of His friends, and the elevation of His enemies—He is mighty—mighty in Himself, and in all things pertaining to Him. His Word is mighty; His gospel is mighty; His purposes are mighty; the arm with which He wields the world’s scepter, and holds satan’s bridle, is mighty. He is mighty over the world, and in the world; mighty over the church and in the church, and in behalf of the church; so mighty, that no weapon forged against her, or against one saint, shall prosper; so mighty, that she is entirely safe—secure in the midst of danger, and wiles, and power. All His strength is ours; it belongs to the Church; it belongs also to each member of His body. We are strong in the Lord.” —Horatius Bonar, in Light And Truth: Revelation

Thursdays With Oswald—Is Your Christianity Actual Or Only Ideal?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Is Your Christianity Actual Or Only Ideal? 

     Christianity is not adherence to a set of principles—righteousness, goodness, uprightness—all these things are secondary. The first great fundamental thing about Christianity is a personal relationship to Jesus Christ which enables a man to work out the ideal and actual as one in his own personal life. … 

     We are not built for mountains and dawns and artistic affinities; they are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff of life, and this is where we have to prove our mettle. A false Christianity takes us up on the mount and we want to stay there. “But what about the devil-possessed world?” “Oh, let it go to hell! We are having a great time up here.” … It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, and the mountains are meant for inspiration and meditation; but a man is taken there only in order that he may go down afterwards among the devil-possessed and lift them up. … 

     God won’t clear up our social conditions; Jesus Christ is not a social Reformer, He came to alter us first, and if there is any social reform done on earth, we will have to do it. … 

     If we cannot live in the demon-possessed valley, with the hold of God on us, lifting up those who are down by the power of the thing that is in us, our Christianity is only an abstraction.

From The Shadow Of An Agony

Jesus Christ did not stay on the mountaintops with His Father, aloof from the needs of people. He went away for times of refreshing, but always came back to the messiness of people’s lives.

Can the same be said of our Christianity? Are we content with merely knowing we are going to Heaven? Or are we daily going into the valleys to rescue those oppressed and held captive by the devil?

Ideal Christianity wants to be alone with Jesus on the mountain. Actual Christianity—that Jesus modeled for us—meets with Christ on the mountain only to be strengthened for the work in the valley. 

Is your Christianity actual, or only ideal?

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