#212, FAITH THAT WORKETH BY LOVE
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love, GAL 5:6.
In order to understand the teaching of the Scripture concerning saving faith, we must see the context in which our text is used. The context of this verse is the issue of circumcision. Circumcision is serving under the letter of the law. The apostle is telling us that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails us anything. It is not that we do or do not serve under the letter of the law; neither one avails anything. It is "faith which worketh by love" that availeth; that is what has value.
The word availeth, in our text comes from the Greek word ischuo which means "avail or forcefulness." Therefore, our text is saying neither circumcision nor uncircumcision are of any avail, i.e., of any account, or any benefit, or any profit, or any usefulness, "...but faith which worketh by love," is forceful, i.e., compelling, persuasive, powerful, convincing, satisfactory. Faith that works by love is well pleasing to the Lord, but there is nothing in the letter of the law, serving according to the scribes and Pharisees under their commandments of men which had any forceful or compelling effect before God.
Those who walk by saving faith, which is motivated by love, are not only well pleasing unto the Lord, but they have a great reward as we see in GAL 6:15-16. "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. [The new creature is pleasing to the Lord, and this is the only difference in language from our text.] And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." In other words, God gives a reward of peace and mercy for faith, which works by love. The Lord is pleased with that faith, the new man, the new heart filled with desires that come from the law of love.
True saving faith is motivated with an eye on this precious reward of peace with God. So many people have so many mixed feelings about what is salvation. Salvation is to have peace with God. It is reconciliation between God and the person. That is salvation; it is to be saved from self and sin and rebellion. It is to be saved from serving the prince of the power of the air. So true saving faith has its reward.
HEB 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Faith has its eye on this reward; it is the object of its faith. The reward is having peace with God and being reconciled to Him. It is coming under the mercy of God through the blood of Christ; it is peace. Faith has its eye on the reward, but the motivation is love, not following the letter of the law out of compulsion.
This reward is not to those who serve the Lord by the letter of the law out of compulsion, but it is to those who serve God in the spirit of the law from a motive of love as is evident by the context of our text. Circumcision avails us nothing, neither does uncircumcision. The Lord is not pleased with following just the letter of the law. We must serve in the spirit of the law.
Now lets note the context in which we find our text. GAL 5:1-4 says, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
The Lord is teaching us here that He has no pleasure in our serving Him in the letter of the law so as to merit something. He wants us to serve Him from our heart of love. We do His will from a motive of love. The reason for this becomes so apparent in COL 2:10-12; "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ." If we are circumcised, we are fallen from grace. We are already circumcised in the Lord Jesus Christ; He became a debtor to do the whole law, to fulfill the law for His church. If we become circumcised, we have nullified the circumcision of Christ on our behalf, and we come back under the law. Christ will profit us nothing. That is what our text is teaching us where it says, "but faith which worketh by love;" we must look unto the righteousness of faith. Righteousness is the obedience of the law; we look at that as faith looking unto the obedience of Christ. We are circumcised in Him.
Verse 12 continues, "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." We are complete in Christ; we are not only circumcised, that His obedience is imputed to us, but we are buried with Him in baptism where He stepped into the wrath of the Father to take away our sins. That was typified by the burnt offerings. Circumcision was typified by the obedience of Christ. We need both; we are complete in Him. We have His circumcision and His baptism. We also find we are raised with Him in His resurrection. We are complete in Him. His circumcision, baptism, and resurrection are imputed to us. Now we must be raised unto a newness of life. That is where we see faith working by love. It is not by merit, it is by love. The motive must be love.
Some people are preaching that we come under the covenant of circumcision, and it is not of any avail, i.e., of any account, or any benefit, or any profit, or any usefulness; in fact it is a detriment as Paul says in GAL 5:11, "And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased." For us to try to bring our children under the covenant of circumcision is of no benefit; it is a detriment because it nullifies the circumcision of Christ in our behalf and brings them under the law as a debtor to do the whole law. Paul is saying that if he preaches circumcision to you, i.e., if I will bring you under the circumcision covenant, then I can stop preaching Christ because He will avail you nothing anything from Him. You are fallen from grace; Christ avails you nothing. Paul is saying that we must not come under that circumcision covenant.
What our text teaches is that if we are in Jesus Christ "...faith which worketh by love," i.e., obedience of faith which is motivated by love is forceful, i.e., compelling, persuasive, powerful, convincing, satisfactory. It is sufficient to meet Gods requirements; do not add to it or subtract from it. We are not to add any legalistic requirements like following the ceremonial law.
In MAT 22:37-40 Jesus teaches us, "...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." On these two commandments of love hang all the gospel. It is loving God above all, holiness, is the first table of the law; righteousness is the second table of the law. The Lord wants our exercise of saving faith to be motivated by our love for Him and our neighbour.
A hearty desire to serve the Lord from a motive of love is very well pleasing in the eyes of the Father, and it has a great reward. We see this in JOH 14:21; "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." Do you see the emphasis on keeping His commandments out of love for Him? By the act of keeping His commandments, we pass the test. It proves we love Him. It is very pleasing to the Lord when we love our neighbour and do things for them out of love. Our actions should not be based on merit or trying to prove something. The motive of our heart is to help others because we love them and the Lord. Our reward is the love of the Father and Christ, and in His salvation He will manifest Himself to us.
When the Lord Jesus made that statement, His disciples didnt catch the distinction between this exercise of saving faith and the world. We can see that by the question that followed. JOH 14:22 says, "Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?" He did not see the need for a motive of love; that is not the motive of the world. Therefore, Jesus will not manifest Himself to the world. Judas did not catch that distinction, so he asked the question, and Jesus went on to explain how delighted the Father is with those who are exercised by the "...faith which worketh by love." JOH 14:23 says, "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." There is the reward.
The Apostle James tell us in JAM 5:16, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
What is effectual prayer which availeth much, i.e., which is so forceful? JOH 15:7-10 tells us that, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Fathers commandments, and abide in his love."
How do we have prayer that will get beyond the ceiling? Lets use an illustration of a family to understand the basic principle involved. If a family has a child that is rebellious and absolutely refuses to do what he is told, is every little request granted? It is quite reasonable to see that the child who is disobedient doesnt get everything he asks for. Do you see what the Lord Jesus is saying? Do you want your prayers effectual? Do what you are told, listen to His Word. Obey. "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." That is effectual prayer. 1JO 3:22 says, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
Do we want to see mountains moved or kingdoms subdued or miracles? Then we need effectual prayer. Then we must listen to what the Lord tells us. "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed." We are to be the righteous, those who obey the law of love and love their neighbour as themselves, if we want our prayers to be effectual.
There is a connection between faith and obedience that we must recognize. Do you want to be able to come to the Lord and by faith move mountains? Obey Him. Now follow with the next verse. "Herein is my Father glorified, [That is why He will hear us.] that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. [Now Jesus defines again what constitutes continuing in His love.] If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Fathers commandments, and abide in his love." Is this teaching legalism? No. It is teaching "Faith which worketh by love." That is the power, the exercise of saving faith.
Can a person claim saving faith and live a carnal life? No. Do you want your prayers to be heard? Then you obey the Word of God out of love. The motive must be love. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."
"Faith which worketh by love," is first pure. It is so important to understand the exercise of saving faith. Now lets consider JAM 3:11-18. Sometimes you can read a passage of Scripture many times but never see it as it applies to you personally. Lets see how this applies to every one of us. "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh." Can I have a hearts desire and pleasure in sin, cherishing it, and serve the Lord? No. Can my tongue blaspheme man and bless God? Is that pleasing to the Lord? No. Now lets see where wisdom is found. "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom." We cannot have a double standard, serving God and mammon. We cannot serve sin, the world, and Christ. There is no such thing as faith without obedience. They cannot be separated.
"But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." We may claim faith with a heart that cherishes sin, but it is not saving faith. If our heart is filled with bitterness, strife, confusion, and evil, we may not claim saving faith. "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
First, love is pure; our hearts must be cleansed from everything that is not pure. Then we start seeing the fruits of the Spirit; the wisdom from God is "peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." Then we see that "the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." The fruit of righteousness means the fruits of a person that is living according to the second table of the law; one who exercises the commandment, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them...," MAT 7:12. That is the person who loves his neighbour as himself. This fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. They are peace makers and peace lovers, and they have the fruit of righteousness.
Notice our text says faith "worketh" by love, i.e., not with "bitter envying and strife in your hearts," which we all have by nature of the fall. We must subdue and overcome these things; "faith worketh by love."
The exercise of saving faith is to mortify these qualities. This is indispensable to receiving the promise we see in ROM 8:13; "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." It is through the Spirit of Christ, the spirit of the law, and the spirit of love.
If faith worketh by love, what work is done by faith? What is the work of saving faith. COL 3:5-8 says, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth." The work of saving faith is to subdue these things; it means crucifying the old man of sin, mortifying the members of the body of sin.
By the grace of God we can subdue these evils of our fallen human nature however, it is a lifelong war. GAL 5:17 says, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."
All of the fruits of uncleanness that come against the spirit of the law must be put off. Anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy communication all come against the spirit of the law. You can be angry and vindicate yourself against your neighbour in your heart even though you have not done so in fact. You may have kept the letter of the law, but you have broken the spirit of the law by the fact that you are angry. You must mortify that wrong attitude. EPH 4:23-27 says, "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath [Put off the wrong attitude]: Neither give place to the devil."
The exercise of saving faith which worketh by love is to crucify that old man of sin under the second table of the law. We see this in GAL 5:24-26, "And they that are Christs have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. [in the spirit of the law and loving God above all and our neighbour as ourselves.] Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."
Satan loves to use the truth out of its context by teaching partial truths. One can take a profound truth out of context and make a bald-faced lie. It happens every day, and it does happen on the pulpit. Satan uses the truth of God to make a lie.
For example, Satan loves to teach the partial truth that it is only by the blood of Christ that we can be saved. ROM 5:9 says, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." That is positively true! That is the Word of God! But if it is used out of its context with other truths it can be used to make a blasphemous lie! One can use that to say that if one has accepted Jesus, His blood justifies them without repentance, thus continuing in sin, they think they are saved, and have eternal security.
Being justified in His blood is only half of salvation; it is two-fold. Satan would like to convey the impression one is saved when they are not. Justification alone is not sufficient unto salvation.
The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in us to cleanse us from our sin is as essential as the blood to remove the guilt of sin. We need a two-fold salvation; we need to be purged from the guilt of our sin and purged from corruption and filth of our sin. If the penalty is taken away, but we continue on in the pollution of sin, we are not saved. HEB 10:26 says, "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins." Why? We have taken the blood of Jesus and put it under the soles of our feet, trampling upon it. We will be counted worthy of death.
Justification cannot be separated from sanctification. We need the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit to deliver us from the pollution and power of sin as well as well as justification by the blood of Christ to save us from the penalty of sin they are co-essential! JOH 3:5 says, "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." I see a lot of people that claim they are justified by the blood and know nothing of being born of water and the Spirit. The spirit of the law means nothing to them.
Unless we understand that work of regeneration, wherein the new man is created within us with new desires, we have no more salvation than one who has never heard the name of Jesus. This is the teaching of the gospel. "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Water signifies cleansing, washing; we must be cleansed by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Without this one cannot enter into the service of God meaning you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. A right motive is required to serve God. He will not accept your service until your heart and attitudes have been changed, becoming a new creation with love as your motive.
As long as a person is serving God legalistically under the letter of the law, you have not entered the kingdom of God. For example, a person would not commit a murder because the law says that one shall not kill, but that same person thinks nothing of blasting his neighbour with hatred and contempt. You cannot enter the kingdom of God until you have been regenerated by the work of the Holy Spirit.
TIT 3:5 tells us, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." We are saved by the washing of regeneration as well as by the blood of Christ. We need both. The new man must be created within us.
Salvation is clearly two-fold: It consists of being justified in a legal sense, and then experiencing "...the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost," through sanctification. We need both. We must be able to stand justified before the courts of heaven before the law, legally pardoned, which takes away the guilt of our sin, but we must also be delivered and redeemed from sin. Until we have both, we do not have salvation.
We owe our salvation not only to the Son, but to all three persons of the Trinity. Salvation is not of Christ alone. It is of the Trinity.
First, it was the Father; we owe our salvation primarily to God the Father who chose His elect unto salvation through regeneration by the Holy Spirit, purchased by the obedience and sacrifice of His Son. See what we read in 1PE 1:2, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."
That verse speaks of foreknowledge as an intimate relationship as in a marriage union. It is speaking of intimacy of love that God the Father had for His people. We were elected through sanctification of the Holy Ghost unto obedience of faith. Do you see now how all three persons of the Godhead are involved in salvation? There we see God the Father chose, due to His intimate relationship of love that He had for His people, and sent His Son and the Holy Spirit. See that it was "through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." The Father was the author of our salvation. He sent His Son; He gave Him that we might be sanctified through His Spirit.
Salvation is of the Trinity. It is not alone of Jesus Christ. We must not overlook the tremendous sacrifice that the Father made in giving us His Son. What love! Now He is willing to come and take up His abode in us that you and I become the temple of the Holy Spirit. He comes to such a wretch as you and I that He may come into our heart to sanctify us, cleanse us, and purge us from all sin. It is all to make us meet for the Masters use. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. A person cannot be complete without it. We must see the preciousness of the Trinity working out the plan of our salvation.
It was also the choosing of the Father to save us through the sanctification of the Spirit. Salvation is clearly two-fold. 2TH 2:13 says, "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." Again we see the Trinity.
God has saved me by "...the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost," therefore it is the presence of His "fruit," the Holy Spirit, in my life and in my heart that furnishes the unquestionable evidence of my salvation. The Holy Spirit has come for the washing and regeneration of my soul; then I see His fruits springing up in my soul. That becomes my evidence of salvation.
GAL 5:18-21 says, "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." The Lord sends His Holy Spirit into my heart to purge all those evils of the flesh from my heart.
Now lets continue reading and see the fruits of the Spirit in GAL 5:22-24; "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christs have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
When those fruits of the Holy Spirit take root in our heart, we have the evidence of faith which works by love. The fruit of the Spirit is love which yields a whole new crop of attributes. Like farming, one must first go in and clean the weeds out or they will choke out the crop. We must cultivate first; that is the preparation of the heart that the Holy Spirit does. He plows up the weeds of iniquity; He cleans them out. Then the seeding of the good crop can take place, planting new plants in our soul. They are "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance."
There is no law against those virtues. When we bear these fruits of the Spirit, that is faith in exercise which worketh by love. The next verse follows so beautifully. "And they that are Christs have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts," GAL 5:24. The fallow ground filled with weeds must be prepared, a seedbed readied. That seedbed is the work of the washing of regeneration of the Holy Spirit. Now there is a completely different crop, and our evidence of salvation. "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit," GAL 5:25.
Our text says, "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." Working the letter of the law could give us all these things in a legalistic way, but the Lord wants it in the heart. He wants those fruits to grow in the plowed soil of our hearts. Love must be seeded in the seedbed of a right motive; it must be out of a motive of love for God and our fellow man that we are long-suffering, peaceful. One can bite their tongue and be long-suffering while the irritating person is there, but that is not the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit wants us to be patient and gentle because it springs from the fountain of love.
Certain men in the apostolic church taught that "Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved, " ACT 15:1. They demanded that one must come under the covenant of circumcision and serve according to the Law of Moses, the ceremonial law, or they could not be saved. That teaching brought all of the apostles together for a church meeting.
After much disputing about this matter Peter stood up and explained that the cleansing of the heart was not through circumcision but through faith. Circumcision is a symbol of the cleansing of the heart as we see in COL 2:10-11. "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ." Removing the foreskin is the type of removing of uncleanness of the heart. Peter pointed out that in the ceremonial law circumcision was only a symbol. We need the heart to be cleansed. The symbol is not enough. The heart was not cleansed through circumcision but through faith, which worketh by love.
ACT 15:8-9 says, "And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; [He is talking about the Gentiles who were not of the circumcision.] And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." The Gentiles became the evidence that faith was the form of purification that the Lord wanted. Gentiles were not circumcised; they were not under the letter of the law, but they had their hearts purified by faith and received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
As I have explained before, you cannot separate faith from obedience. Unbelief means you do not put enough trust in Christ to be willing to obey Him. So to believe means that you have enough trust and confidence in Christ to be able to obey Him. That is faith. Our hearts are purified through faith.
"Faith which worketh by love," is motivated by love for God to cleanse their hearts. It is love under the first table of the law, that desires to please God. 1PE 1:22 says, "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." It is obeying the truth through the spirit of the law, which is love; that generates a true love for our brethren. That is saving faith.
There is no salvation without this cleansing of the heart. You cannot claim salvation if this cleansing does not occur. JER 4:14 says, "O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?" You cannot be saved without the purification of the heart.
"Faith which worketh by love," delights in the will of God. ROM 7:22 says, "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man." That involves the first table of the law of love which is to love God above all. We are to delight in His will; then we can take His yoke upon us. Jesus says, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light," MAT 11:30.
If children are properly trained, they learn it is a privilege to be able to work. I often punished my children by not allowing them to work. That is contrary to many schools of thought today, but since work is a privilege, they delight to do my will. If they had been rebellious, and in need of punishment, they had to stay in the yard all day. It was grievous to someone who understands what it means to delight to do the Fathers will. They recognize what a displeasure they have been to be denied the privilege to work. It is a good way to train children.
One time a lady said to me that she saw my children and what they accomplished. "How did you get that into them?" So I explained to her that it was a privilege to work. I did not tell my children they were not able to do something. If they thought they were able to do it, I told them to try it. If they needed help, I helped them. They always had a challenge in front of them because if they could master this, they could try that. It is a pleasure to do the will of God, and we delight to do His will.
Those who have "Faith which worketh by love," long to spend eternity with a pure Saviour. They want that purity because they have been purified. They see the pollution of all the things of sin. They see the preciousness of having their hearts cleansed. Sin becomes obnoxious; sin becomes horribly sinful. They have a longing desire to spend eternity with a perfect Saviour, a pure Saviour.
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure," 1JO 3:2-3. If you have that hope within you, that you will spend eternity with your blessed Lord, it is a delight to do His will.
The more we try to purify the ugly monster, "self," the more we see he must be destroyed. You cannot purify that old monster. You need the new man. The old man must be crucified, not purified. After the old man is cut down, the new man, who is created after righteousness and true holiness, is pure. That is what we want to see growing in us. MAT 5:8 says, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." That doesnt mean that the old man of sin is completely gone; the pure in heart are those who have new desires. The new man that is created in the heart desires to do what is right. Then we often have to say with the Apostle Paul, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin," ROM 7:24-25.
It is through Jesus Christ that we gain the victory over the old man of sin. It is by that new man that is being raised up and resurrected, and walking after the newness of life.
"Faith, which worketh by love," is an absolute prerequisite to entering that dwelling place where nothing that defileth can enter. It is not a matter of choice. REV 21:27 says, "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lambs book of life." As the tree falls, so it shall lie. If our hearts are still cleaving to the things of this world when we breathe our last breath, in no way will we enter into the presence of our Lord.
Those who understand the washing of regeneration and being cleansed in the blood of Christ are those who have been justified by His blood. We need to be cleansed as well as we need to be justified.
Our text says, "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." We must examine our heart. Do we see that working of saving faith? Do we see an internal struggle, spiritual warfare, where the Spirit is striving against the flesh? Is the Spirit subduing the flesh? Is the flesh being crucified and mortified? Do we struggle before the throne of grace? How much do we labor in prayer to be saved from sin?
God told Adam in Paradise that he would labor by the sweat of his brow because thorns and thistles would come up in the fields. The field that we see the Holy Spirit cultivating must have all the evil plants weeded out. Do we labor? Do we sweat? Do we understand what it means to exercise faith, which worketh? It is an active faith. It is faith which "worketh by love." Amen.
These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion. For a list of sermons on cassette please visit our on-line tape catalog. See also, our sermon notes.
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