Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Precious faith

"I pray not that you should take them out
of the world."

--John 17:15

It is a sweet and blessed event which will
occur to all
believers in God's own time--the going home to be
with Jesus.

In a few more years the Lord's soldiers, who are now
"the good fight of faith" will have done with
conflict, and have
entered into the joy of their Lord. But
although Christ prays
that His people may eventually
be with Him where He is, He does

not ask that they may be taken at once away from
this world to
heaven. He wishes them to stay here. Yet how frequently
does the
wearied pilgrim put up the prayer, "O that I had wings like a
dove! for then would I fly away and be at rest;" but Christ does
not pray like that, He leaves us in His Father's hands, until,
like shocks of corn fully ripe, we shall each be gathered into
our Master's garner. Jesus does not plead for our instant
removal by death, for to abide in the flesh is needful for
others if not profitable for ourselves. He asks that we may be
kept from evil, but He never asks for us to be admitted to the
inheritance in glory till we are of full age. Christians often
want to die when they have any trouble. Ask them why, and they
tell you, "Because we would be with the Lord." We fear it is not
so much because they are longing to be with the Lord, as because
they desire to get rid of their troubles; else they would feel
the same wish to die at other times when not under the pressure
of trial. They want to go home, not so much for the Saviour's
company, as to be at rest. Now it is quite right to desire to
depart if we can do it in the same spirit that Paul did, because
to be with Christ is far better, but the wish to escape from
trouble is a selfish one. Rather let your care and wish be to
glorify God by your life here as long as He pleases, even though
it be in the midst of toil, and conflict, and suffering, and
leave Him to say when "it is enough."

* 05/02/PM

"These all died in faith."
--Hebrews 11:13

Behold the epitaph of all those blessed saints who fell
asleep before the coming of our Lord! It matters nothing how
else they died, whether of old age, or by violent means; this
one point, in which they all agree, is the most worthy of
record, "they all died in faith." In faith they lived--it was
their comfort, their guide, their motive and their support; and
in the same spiritual grace they died, ending their life-song in
the sweet strain in which they had so long continued. They did
not die resting in the flesh or upon their own attainments; they
made no advance from their first way of acceptance with God, but
held to the way of faith to the end. Faith is as precious to die
by as to live by.

Dying in faith has distinct reference to _the past_. They
believed the promises which had gone before, and were assured
that their sins were blotted out through the mercy of God.
Dying in faith has to do with _the present_. These saints were
confident of their acceptance with God, they enjoyed the beams
of His love, and rested in His faithfulness. Dying in faith
looks into _the future_. They fell asleep, affirming that the
Messiah would surely come, and that when He would in the last
days appear upon the earth, they would rise from their graves to
behold Him. To them the pains of death were but the birth-pangs
of a better state. Take courage, my soul, as thou readest this
epitaph. Thy course, through grace, is one of faith, and sight
seldom cheers thee; this has also been the pathway of the
brightest and the best. Faith was the orbit in which these stars
of the first magnitude moved all the time of their shining here;
and happy art thou that it is thine. Look anew to-night to
Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith, and thank Him for
giving thee like precious faith with souls now in glory.

Charles Spurgeon

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