Thursdays With Oswald—Christ’s Incarnation Means Our Freedom

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.

Christ’s Incarnation Means Our Freedom

     Other religions deal with sins; the Bible alone deals with sin. The first thing Jesus Christ faced in man was this heredity of sin, and it is because we have ignored it in our presentation of the Gospel that the message of the Gospel has lost its sting, its blasting power; we have driveled it into insurance tickets for heaven, and made it deal only with the wastrel element of mankind. …  

     The revelation is not that Jesus Christ was punished for our sins, but that He was made to be sin. “Him who knew no sin” was made to be sin, that by His identification with it and removal of it, we might become what He was. … Jesus Christ went straight through identification with sin that every man and woman on earth might be freed from sin by His atonement. He went through the depths of damnation and came out more than conqueror; consequently everyone of us who is willing to be identified with Him is freed from the disposition of sin, freed from the connection with the body of sin, and can come out more than a conqueror too because of what Jesus Christ has done. … 

     The Holy Spirit will take my spirit, soul and body and bring them back into communion with God, and lead me into identification with the death of Jesus Christ, until I know experimentally that my old disposition, my right to myself, is crucified with Him, and my human nature is now free to obey the commands of God. 

From The Shadow Of An Agony

As we approach the time of year we celebrate the Incarnation of Jesus, it’s amazing to think that He didn’t come just to identify with our sin, but to be made sin! Without Jesus Christ’s death on a Cross in our place, there is no hope for us.

As we celebrate the First Advent, it’s a good idea to keep in the front our our minds what Christ’s Incarnation means for us. It means we can be freed from sin—free to obey God, and free to look forward to Christ’s Second Advent, where He will take away His saints to be with Him forever!

12 Quotes From “The Shadow Of An Agony”

the-shadow-of-an-agonyIn The Shadow Of An Agony, Oswald Chambers explores how we should process the hard events of our lives which seem to totally rock our neat and orderly world. Check out my book review by clicking here, and then enjoy a few quotes from this book.

“If Jesus Christ were only a martyr, His Cross would be of no significance; but if the Cross of Jesus Christ is the expression of the secret heart of God, the lever by which God lifts back the human race to what it was designed to be, then there is a new attitude to things.”

“The agony of a man’s affliction is often necessary to put him into the right mood to face the fundamental things of life. The Psalmist says, ‘Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I have kept Thy Word.’ The Bible is full of the fact that there has to be an approach to the holy ground. If I am not willing to be lifted up, it is no use talking about the higher heights. … No man can do wrong in his heart and see right afterwards. If I am going to approach the holy ground, I must get into the right frame of mind—the excellency of a broken heart.”

“Jesus Christ did not come to give us pretty ideas of God, or sympathy with ourselves; He came from a holy God to enable men, by the sheer power of His Redemption, to become holy.”

“No man is the same after an agony; he is either better or worse, and the agony of a man’s experience is nearly always the first thing that opens his mind to understand the need of Redemption worked out by Jesus Christ.”

“The attitude of the Bible to the human race is not a common-sense one. The Christian aspect deals with the a specimen of a human race which is a magnificent ruin of what it was designed to be. Supposing the view of the Bible to be right, to whom it is it ‘up to’ to right the wrong? The Creator. Has He done it? He has, and He has done it absolutely single-handed. The tremendous revelation of Christianity is not the Fatherhood of God, but the Babyhood of God—God became the weakest thing in His own creation, and in flesh and blood He levered it back to where it was intended to be. No one helped Him; it was done absolutely by God manifest in human flesh. God has undertaken not only to repair the damage, but in Jesus Christ the human race is put in a better condition than when it was originally designed.”

“We have been taken up with creeds and doctrines, and when a man is hit we do not know what to give him; we have no Jesus Christ, we have only theology. For one man who can introduce another to Jesus Christ by the way he lives and by the atmosphere of his life, there are a thousand who can only talk jargon about Him.”

“The New Testament view of a saint is a more rugged type. You and I are a mixture of dust and Deity, and God takes that sordid human stuff and turns it into a saint by Regeneration. A saint does not mean a man who has not enough sin to be bad, but a man who has received from Jesus Christ a new heredity that turns him into another man.”

“Our guide as to what emotions we are going to allow is this—What will be the logical outcome of this emotion? If it has to do with sin and satan, then grip it on the threshold of your mind and allow it no more way. You have no business to harbor an emotion the outcome of which you can see to be bad; if it is an emotion to be generous, then be generous, or the emotion will react and make you a selfish brute.”

“When I receive the Spirit of God, I am lifted not out of reason, but into touch with the infinite Reason of God.”

“Any fool will give up wrongdoing and the devil, if he knows how to do it; but it takes a man in love with Jesus Christ to give up the best he has for Him.”

“Churchianity is an organization; Christianity is an organism. Organization is an enormous benefit until it is mistaken for the life.” 

“The stupendous difference between the religion of Jesus Christ and every other religion under heaven is that His religion is one which brings help to the bottom of hell, not a religion that can deal only with what is fine and pure.”

Every Thursday I share a section of the current Oswald Chambers book I am reading, in a series called “Thursdays With Oswald.” If you would like to be notified when these posts go live, just enter your email address in the box on the right, and then click “Sign me up!”

Thursdays With Oswald—Conscience

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.

Conscience 

     Conscience is that innate faculty in a man’s spirit that attaches itself to the highest the man knows, whether he be an atheist or a Christian. The highest the Christian knows is God: the highest the atheist knows is his principles. … 

     When conscience begins to be awakened by God, we either become subtle hypocrites or saints, that is, either we let God’s law working through conscience bring us to the place where we can be put right, or we begin to hoodwink ourselves, to affect a religious pose, not before other people, but before ourselves, in order to appease conscience—anything to be kept out of the real presence of God because where ever He comes, He disturbs. … 

     The majority of us have caught on the jargon of holiness without the tremendous panging pain that follows the awakening to holiness. The Spirit of God brings us to face ourselves steadily in the light of God until sin is seen in its true nature. If you want to know what sin is, don’t ask the convicted sinner, ask the saint, the one who has been awakened to the holiness of God through the Atonement; he is the one who can begin to tell you what sin is. … It is only as we walk in the light as God is in the light that we begin to understand the unfathomable depths of cleansing to which the blood of Jesus Christ goes (1 John 1:7). … 

     When a man begins his life with God there are great tracts of his life that he never bothers his head about, but slowly and surely the Spirit of God educates him down to the tiny little scruple. Every crook and cranny of the physical life, every imagination and emotion is perfectly known to God, and He demands that all these be blameless. … The marvel of the Atonement is just this very thing, that the perfect Savior imparts His perfections to me, and as I walk in the light as God is in the light, every part of bodily life, of affectionate life and of spirit life are kept unblameable in holiness; my duty is to keep in the light, God does all the rest.

From The Philosophy Of Sin

Quick question: What are you going to do the next time the Holy Spirit disturbs your conscience?

12 More Quotes From “The Place Of Help”

The Place Of HelpAs always, there are more quotes from Oswald Chambers’ books than I have space to share them. So here are a few more from The Place Of Help.

“If we are going to be used by God, He will take us through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for us at all, but meant to make us useful in His hands. There are things we go through which are unexplainable on any other line, and the nearer we get to God the more inexplicable the way seems. It is only on looking back and by getting an explanation from God’s Word that we understand His dealings with us.”

“The essence of Christianity is that we give the Son of God a chance to live and move and have His being in us, and the meaning of all spiritual growth is that He has an increasing opportunity to manifest Himself in our mortal flesh.”

“Temptation is a short cut to what is good, not to what is bad. satan came to our Lord as an angel of light, and all his temptations center around this point—‘You are the Son of God, then do God’s work in Your own way; put men’s needs first, feed them, heal their sicknesses, and they will crown You King.’ Our Lord would not become King on that line; He deliberately rejected the suggested short cut, and choose the long trail, evading none of the suffering involved (cf. John 6:15).”

“God expects His children to be so confident in Him that in a crisis they are the ones upon whom He can rely. … God expects of us the one thing that glorifies Him—and that is to remain absolutely confident in Him, remembering what He has said beforehand, and sure that His purposes will be fulfilled.”

“God has never promised to keep us immune from trouble; He says ‘I will be with him in trouble,’ which is a very different thing.”

“The Bible characters never fell under weak points but on their strong ones; unguarded strength is double weakness.”

“Do we trust in our wits or do we worship God? If we trust in our wits, God will have to repeat the same lesson until we learn it.”

“The coming of Jesus Christ is not a peaceful thing, it is a disturbing thing, because it means the destruction of every peace that is not based on a personal relationship to Himself.” [Matthew 10:34]

“The peace that Jesus gives is never engineered by circumstances on the outside; it is a peace based on a personal relationship that holds all through. ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: … in Me … peace.’”

“God is a holy God, and the marvel of the Redemption is that God the Holy One puts into me, the unholy one, a new disposition, the disposition of His Son.”

“In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord teaches us not to look for justice, but never to cease to give it. That is not commonsense, it is either madness or Christianity.”

“When the love of God is in me I must learn how to let it express itself; I must educate myself in the matter; it takes time. Acquire your soul with patients, says Jesus [Luke 21:19]. Never give way to this spirit—‘Oh well, I have fallen again, I will stay down now.’ Have patience with yourself, and remember that this is salvation not for the hereafter, but for the here and now.”

You can read the first set of quotes from The Place Of Help by clicking here.

My review of The Place Of Help is here.

And be sure to look for “Thursdays With Oswald” to read quotes and thoughts from the current Chambers’ book I am reading.

12 Quotes From “The Place Of Help”

The Place Of HelpAs always, any Oswald Chambers book I read is thoroughly highlighted. There is always so much great content! On this blog, I have a weekly series called “Thursdays With Oswald” where I share quotes and thoughts from his book I’m currently reading. Be sure to check that out. Below are just a few of the quotes I noted from The Place Of Help. (By the way, you can read my review of this book by clicking here.)

“This is the age when education is placed on the very highest pinnacle. In every civilized country we are told that if we will educate the people and give them better surroundings, we shall produce better characters. Such talk and such theories stir aspirations, but they do not work out well in reality. The kingdom within must be adjusted first before education can have its true use. To educate an unregenerate man is but to increase the possibility of cultured degradation.”

“Not what the disciple says in public prayer, not what he preaches from pulpit or platform, not what he writes on paper or in letters, but what he is in his heart which God alone knows, determines God’s revelation of Himself to him. Character determines revelation (see Psalm 18:24-26).”

“Our Lord never gives private illuminations to special favorites. His way is ever twofold: the development of character, and the descent of Divine illumination through the Word of God.”

“The voice of the Lord listened to in darkness is so entrancing that the finest of earth’s voices are never afterwords mistaken for the voice of the Lord.”

“Jesus Christ distinctly stated that He came to do the will of His Father. ‘I must work the works of Him that sent Me.’ His first obedience was not to the needs of men, but to the will of God. He nowhere chose the altar of His sacrifice, God chose it for Him. He chose to make His life a willing and obedient sacrifice that His Father’s purpose might be fulfilled. … ’For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake,’ as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:5. We are the servants of men, says Paul, not primarily because their needs have arrested us, but because Jesus Christ is our Lord.” 

“If you become a necessity to a soul you have got out of God’s order, your great need as a worker is to be a friend of the Bridegroom. Your goodness and purity ought never to attract attention to itself, it ought simply to be a magnet to draw others to Jesus.”

“Suppose you talk about depending on God and how wonderful it is, and then others see that in your own immediate concerns you do not depend on Him a bit, but on your own wits, it makes them say, ‘Well, after all, it’s a big pretense, there is no Almighty Christ to depend on anywhere, it is all mere sentiment.’ The impression left is that Jesus Christ is not real to you.” 

“The highest Divine love is not only exhibited in the extreme amazement of the tragedy of Calvary, but in the laying down of the Divine life through the thirty years at Nazareth, through the three years of popularity, scandal, and hatred, and furthermore in the long pre-incarnate years (cf. Revelation 13:8).”

“The Cross is the supreme moment in Time and Eternity, and it is the concentrated essence of the very nature of the Divine love. … The Self-expenditure of God for His enemies in the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, becomes the great bridge over the gulf of sin whereby human love may cross over and be embraced by the Divine love, the love that never fails.” 

“Christian experience does not mean we have thought through the way God works in human lives by His grace, or that we are able to state theologically that God gives the Holy Ghost to them that ask Him—that may be Christian thinking, but it is not Christian experience. Christian experience is living through all this by the marvelous power of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost working in me does not produce wonderful experiences that make people say ‘What a wonderful life that man lives’; the Holy Ghost working in me makes me a passionate, devoted, absorbed lover of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“It is not the baptism of the Holy Ghost that changes men, but the power of the Ascended Christ coming into men’s lives by the Holy Ghost that changes men. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the evidence of the Ascended Christ.” 

“There is only one Lover of the Lord Jesus and that is the Holy Ghost; when we receive the Holy Ghost He turns us into passionate human lovers of Jesus Christ. Then out of our lives will flow those rivers of living water that heal and bless, and we spend and suffer and endure in patience all because of One and One only.”

More quotes from this book coming soon…

O Holy Night & O Holy Day

O Holy NightIn 1847 an unnamed parish priest sent an unusual request to Placide Cappeau, the commissioner of wines in a small French town: “You are well known for your poems. Would you consider writing a poem for our Christmas mass?” Cappeau was both intrigued and honored, and he soon penned an essay called Cantique de Noel.

Cappeau felt that his poem was more worthy of a song, than just merely a poem, so he turned to his friend Adolphe Adams. Adams was a classically trained musician, but he was also a Jew. Adams said to Cappeau, “You’re asking me to write a melody for a poem that celebrates a man I do not view as the Son of God, and a poem that celebrates a day I do not celebrate?” But because his friend Cappeau had requested it, he gave it his best effort. Three weeks later, Cantique de Noel was first heard for the first at the Christmas Eve midnight mass.

Cantique de Noel quickly became popular throughout France. But when it was discovered that the lyricist Cappeau had left the church to become a socialist, and the musical composer Adams was a Jew, the Catholic Church banned the song from being sung in any of its churches. Still the song grew in popularity.

During the build-up to the American Civil War, an abolitionist named John Dwight was especially moved by a line in Cantique de Noel: “Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, and in His name all oppression shall cease.” Dwight published his version of Cantique de Noel in his abolitionist magazine with the new title O Holy Night. The song quickly caught on in America.

The opening words of O Holy Night speak to our hearts today, as much as they did to those present at the First Advent—long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. To pine for something means to long painfully for something just out of our reach. It’s what the psalmist in ancient Israel capture too when he wrote, My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God (Psalm 84:2). There is a longing in all of us to know the Lord!

That’s why Christ’s First Advent is such a blessed, joyous event! In the second stanza we sing—In all our trials born to be our Friend; He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger. Indeed the writer of Hebrews tells us why Jesus was born as a human (Hebrews 2:14-18), and why we can approach him confidently (4:15-16).

Christ’s Incarnation allows us to put our faith in Him. When we do, we experience the Atonement. I like to remember this word by saying it at-onement. In other words, the Heavenly Father now sees us at-onement with His Son—when He looks at us, He sees Jesus. That’s why God forgets our forgiven sins (Hebrews 8:12)!

Then the third stanza of O Holy Night begins to tells us how we live out the at-onement every day by loving one another, enjoying His peace, living free and helping others get free too, singing joyfully to God day after night after day after night!

The First Advent was a holy night. But because Christ’s Atonement it makes us holy. So all our nights are O holy nights, and all our days O holy days, and all our work O holy work, and all our relationships O holy relationships!

Christ’s First Advent changes EVERYTHING for those who put their faith in Him. Is that you? Are you living in Christ’s at-onement? If not, you can be today by simply asking Him to come into your life.

You can check out some of the other Christmas carols we have looked at here. And check out the video of this message too—

11 More Quotes From “Our Portrait In Genesis”

The Complete Works Of Oswald ChambersOswald Chambers’ book Our Portrait In Genesis is an excellent companion book when you read the book of Genesis from the Bible. I’ve already shared a few quotes from this book here, and here. Below are a few more I found highlighter-worthy.

“Degeneration and backsliding are by no means one and the same. Degeneration begins in almost imperceptible ways; backsliding in the Scriptural use of the term is a distinct forsaking of what I know of God and a deliberate substitution of something other (cf. Jeremiah 2:13). … If I maintain my right to my natural self I will begin to degenerate and get out of God’s purpose. … If I refuse to sacrifice the natural, the God-life in me is killed.”

“To experience conviction of sin is not a cause for misgiving, but an occasion for understanding the impossible things God has done in the Redemption.”

“All through, a personal crisis ought to serve as an occasion for revealing the fact that God reigns, as well as compelling us to know our own character.”

“We have the notion that it is only when we are pure and holy that God will appear to us; that God’s blessing is a sign that we are right with Him. Neither notion is true. Our Lord took care to say that God makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends His rain on the just and on the unjust. God’s blessings are not to be taken as an indication of the integrity of the character blessed, yet on the other hand the discernment of God’s character is determined entirely by the individual character of the person estimating God. ‘With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful’ (Psalm 18:25). The way I discern God’s character is determined by my own character. God remains true to His character, and as I grow in integrity I discern Him. Jacob’s undeservedness, and the fact that God continually blesses him, are brought out very clearly all through his life.”

“‘I can’t understand why I have no confidence in God’; the reason may be a matter of digestion, not enough fresh air, or sleep, too much tea—something slight. It is the shallow things that put us wrong much more quickly than the big things. The great object of the enemy of our souls is to make us fling away our confidence in God; to do this is nothing less than spiritual suicide. When we experience misgiving because we have sinned there is never any ambiguity as to its clause, the Holy Spirit brings conviction home like a lightning flash.”

“Prayer in distress dredges the soul (cf. Psalm 107). It is a good thing to keep note of the things you prayed about when you were in distress. We remain ignorant of ourselves because we do not keep a spiritual autobiography.”

“That is always the test of the reality of sanctification, not so much that I have received something, but that I have ceased to be my old self.”

“The warrior of God is not the man of muscle and a strong jaw, but the man of un-utterable weakness, the man who knows he has not any power; Jacob is no longer strong in himself, he is strong only in God, his life is no longer marked by striving, but by reliance on God. You cannot imitate reliance on God.”

“Authority never comes from you, but from God through you, therefore let God introduce or withhold as He chooses.”

“Beware of saying, ‘Oh well, it doesn’t matter much what I think about in secret’; it does, for the opportunity will come when what you think about in secret will find expression and spurt out in an act. The Bible always speaks of sin as it appears in its final analysis. Jesus does not say, ‘You must not covet because it will lead to stealing’; He says, ‘You must not covet because it is stealing.’ He does not say, ‘You must not be angry with your brother because it will lead to murder’; He says, ‘You must not be angry with your brother because it is murder.’”

“Four times over in this chapter [Genesis 39] is this statement made, ‘the Lord was with Joseph.’ It is the presence of God that is the secret of victory always. The fear of the Lord creates an atmosphere in which impure thoughts and unholy desires die a natural death.”

You can also read my review of this book by clicking here.

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