This 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.
No Fear Of Death
Death means extinction of life as we understand it; our dead are gone and have left an aching void behind them. They do not talk to us, we do not feel their touch, and when the bereaved heart cries out, nothing comes back but the hollow echo of its own cry. The heart is raw, no pious chatter, no scientific cant can touch it. It is the physical calamity of death plus the thing behind which no man can grasp, that makes death so terrible. …
Every attempt to comfort a bereaved soul apart from the revelation of Jesus Christ brings a vain speculation. We know nothing about the mystery of death apart from what Jesus Christ tells us; but blessed be the Name of God, what He tells us makes us more than conquerors, so that we can shout the victory through the darkest valley of the shadow that ever a human being can go through. …
Jesus Christ can deliver from the dread of death—“that through death He might bring to naught him that had the power of death, that is the devil” [Hebrews 2:14]. Death has no terror for the man who is rightly related to God through Jesus Christ. …
It is not within the power of human tongue or archangel’s tongue to state what an awful fact death is, and what a still more awful fact life is. But thank God, there is the greatest deliverance conceivable from all that life may bring and from all that death may bring. Jesus Christ has destroyed the dominion of death, and He can make us fit to face every problem of life, more than conqueror all along the line.
From The Fighting Chance
Through His death on the Cross and bodily resurrection from the grave, Jesus Christ has defeated Death for all who place their faith in this victory He won for us (see 1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
The Apostle Paul tells us that Christians grieve when a loved one dies, but we don’t grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). When one who knows Jesus as their Savior dies, we have a rock-solid, unshakable hope that they are fully alive with Christ in Heaven, and that we who also know Jesus as Lord and Savior will one day be reunited with them.
So for the Christian, death brings absolutely no fear!
When I saw both John Newton and Charles Spurgeon put William Gurnall on their “must read” lists (I’ll share their quotes in a moment), I thought, “I have to get this book!” Although The Christian In Complete Armour was written by Gurnall over 360 years ago, the words ring just as true for Christians today.
In summary, The Christian In Complete Armour is an intensive look at the spiritual warfare preparations that the Apostle Paul lists in Ephesians 6:10-18. Gurnall opens his book with these sobering challenges to Christians:
“All may have a desire to be successful soldiers, but few have the courage and determination to grapple with the difficulties that accost them on the way to victory.”
“The fearful are those who march for Hell (Revelation 21:8); the valiant are those who take Heaven by force (Matthew 11:12). Cowards never won Heaven. Do not claim that you are begotten of God and have His royal blood running in your veins unless you can prove your lineage by this heroic spirit: to dare to be holy in spite of man and devils.” (emphasis mine in both quotes)
So piece by piece, step by step, William Gurnall explains the value of each of the Christian’s armaments. He tells us what we can expect when we employ them as God intended, and what we should fear if we fail to make use of each and every piece of equipment God has made available for His soldiers.
John Newton said, “If I might read only one book besides the Bible, I would choose The Christian In Complete Armour.”
And Charles Spurgeon noted, “Gurnall’s work is peerless and priceless; every line is full of wisdom; every sentence is suggestive…the best thought-breeder in all our library.”
Although a very old text, James S. Bell, Jr. has done a marvelous work in preserving Gurnall’s message, but presenting it to us in modern-day English. This is an excellent work for every Christian soldier to have on their shelf.
I am a Moody Press book reviewer.
Horatius Bonar always gives lots of thought-provoking content in his commentaries, and his commentary on the Book of Revelation is no exception. Here are a few more quotes for you.
“What man needs, then, is Jesus; not mere knowledge or wisdom. What humanity—unconsciously and ignorantly, it may be—sighs for, is Jesus. What earth, ruined and accursed because of sin, groans for, is Jesus—nothing less than this. No other prophet or priest or king can meet the exigencies of the race and its dwelling, the earth, but Jesus only.”
“What is your hope? What is judgment to do for you? What is resurrection to bring? Look at the following alternatives, and ask which is to be yours: Everlasting gladness, or everlasting sorrow? Everlasting glory; or everlasting shame? Everlasting songs, or everlasting wailing? The marriage supper of the Lamb, or the perpetual banishment from all that is good and holy? The new heavens and earth, or the eternal wilderness, with its parched and burning wastes? The heavenly Jerusalem, with the Lamb as its light, or the blackness of darkness? The fruit of the tree of life and the waters of the celestial river, or the eternal hunger and the unquenchable thirst? (Luke 16:24). The first resurrection, or the second death? These are the alternatives before you; and there is no middle room.”
“The first book of Scripture and the last fit well into each other; the first two chapters of Genesis and the last two of Revelation fit together like the two halves of a golden clasp set in gems. Enclosed between the two is the history of six thousand years. And what a history! What a beginning, and what an ending! It began with the new, and it ended with the new—the strange checkered ‘old’ lying mysteriously between. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ ‘I saw new heavens and a new earth.’”
“Such is the love of God. It is the love of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Father chooses in His own sovereignty; the Son washes in His own blood; the Spirit purifies and prepares by His mighty power. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us! It is free love; sovereign love; eternal love; unchanging love; boundless love; love which not merely delivers from wrath, but which makes the delivered one an heir of God, nay, the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
“Our title to all this surpassing and eternal glory is simply the blood of the Lamb. He has bought it for His Church; and it is hers forever. The nightless day, the unsetting sun, the incorruptible life, the undefiled inheritance, the new name, the heavenly city, the everlasting kingdom— all are hers; hers through ‘the blood of the everlasting covenant.’ She is to walk worthy of it here—worthy of such a crown, such a heritage, such a city, such a Bridegroom, such a joy. ‘Be holy;’ ‘be perfect;’ ‘walk worthy of the Lord.’”
“Christian parents! For which of the two worlds are you training your children? For this world, or that which is to come? Be assured that the same training will not do for both.”
Corrie ten Boom was an amazing woman! To experience the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp, and still retain such a sweet, godly spirit is indeed a miracle of God’s grace. This beautiful spirit of hers come through loud and clear in her book I Stand At The Door And Knock (you may read my book review here). Below are just a few of the many quotes which I highlighted as I read.
“You see, if you and I want to be used, we needn’t rely on ourselves, because it is the Holy Spirit who does it. And that is why we can be at peace in our day-to-day lives. The fact that we wish to be used is a gift from the Holy Spirit in itself.”
“A piece of good advice is to forgive anyone immediately—and I mean immediately— if they say or do something against you. Then the devil won’t have a chance to keep a shadow in your heart.”
“Holiness can bring about a new conflict. We need to take care. The devil wants to lead us into the energy of our inner selves. Preaching yourself, relying on yourself, boasting about your faith, taking pride in your own experiences. And then the devil will say, ‘Revel in your own experiences.’ But that is not right. You should not rely on your past experiences. It may strengthen your faith, but holiness is living out the Jesus Christ living in you.”
“Imagine, when I had a watchmaker’s shop, you came to me and you bought a gold watch with a gold strap. Imagine that when I wrapped it up for you, I removed the gold strap and hid it. When you came home, you saw that you only had a watch. What would you do? You would say to everybody, ‘Don’t ever buy something from Corrie ten Boom; she doesn’t give you value for money.’ If you and I do not give ourselves entirely to the Lord, we do not give Him the value He has paid for us on the Cross. We were bought at a very high price. That Cross was horrendous. It was an extremely high price to pay for you and me.”
“In my short-sightedness, I thought I had to do everything with my own power, according to my abilities. But everything depends on Hisability, Hispower.”
“The devil may laugh at our plans. He smiles when we are up to our eyes in work. But he quakes when we pray. When we are faithful intercessors he often says to us, ‘Shouldn’t you stop? You have been doing this for such a long time, and can’t you see, the Lord doesn’t listen.’ But he is a liar. Not one of our prayers is lost. … satan laughs when we try hard. He mocks our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.”
“While I was imprisoned during the war, I knew the Morse code, but it didn’t really help me. What actually supported me was every text and every Christian song I knew by heart. Learning Bible texts and Christian songs by heart is a preparation which we can all do today.”
“Lord Jesus, please forgive us that we so often live a life poor in You, while You suffered so heavily on the Cross so that we would become the King’s rich children. Holy Spirit, open our eyes. Give us a vision, an understanding of our wealth.”
“Religion is no security. The Antichrist will be very religious. A world religion will develop, and he himself will become its god.”
“Jesus said, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.’ Our citizenship is in heaven. We are heaven dwellers. Our home is there.”
“The Bible says, ‘Be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18), which means not only do I have the Holy Spirit, but also does the Holy Spirit have me?”
“We should not rely on our capacities, but on God’s capacities. We shouldn’t draw from our limited resources, but from His immense power.”