God has a plan and purpose for each of His blood-bought children which is to be like Jesus.. and it is by faith in God that He performs this change – and He takes His time! God uses life’s circumstances, (good and ill). to prepare us for ultimate maturity and though we are accepted in Him, we need to be conformed into His likeliness. And so God has built His universe upon certain unchangeable principles and precepts -life principles -relational principles -business principles -national principles. As with the dispensation of Law, there are specific of principles for the age of grace… for we are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14
Principle of Need
But one, comprehensive, universal, foundational principles – is ‘need‘… Whether sinner or saint, saved or unsaved, Jew or gentile, God has built ‘need‘ into man. The unsaved sinner needs a Saviour. He has a “God-shaped hole,” as C.S. Lewis called it. The unsaved sinner has the need of a Saviour and the Spirit convicts him of this need. When the unsaved sinner has been born again this initial need is satisfied – and from that day he is accepted in Christ.. as perfect in God’s sight as His only begotten Son. The saved saint similarly has ‘need’, without which spiritual growth will fail. He is accepted in the Beloved fully and perfectly, for time and through eternity.. but now he is to start being conformed into the likeness of Christ and God uses one, comprehensive, universal, foundational principle –’need‘.
Ingredient of Faith
One essential ingredient for faith, growth, and service rests on God’s principle of ‘need‘.. and God uses this inbuilt operative of the human heart, to develop faith. God uses this innate function of man’s soul, to turn him from self to Christ. When others fail us, it is to the open arms of His comfort that we fly. When things go wrong, it is to the one source of His supply that we turn. When life’s circumstances shatter our hopes, we discover our ‘need‘ of Him.
Expression of Faith
One illumined saint expressed it this way:- “The reason our Father creates and allows needs in our lives is to turn us from all that is outside of Christ.. to centering us in Him alone. “Not I, but Christ.” This God-breathed principle is uniquely established in the life of each believer. This living truth is specially fashioned according to our individual requirement. Christ talked of this principled truth in Matthew, by saying :- according to your faith be it unto you. Matthew 9:29 – and likewise.. according to our ‘need‘ of Him, so God will supply… all we need.
Word of Faith
This truth is well set out in the following words of truth… J.B. Stoney says: “The soul never imbibes the truth in living power, but as it requires it. As for our growth, ‘need’ causes us to reach out.. to reach out and appropriate by faith, from our Lord Jesus, all that we require. And in the matter of service, in witnessing and helping others, we must watch and wait for the hungry, needy heart – if there is to be abiding fruit. The true value of anything is known only when it is wanted. Wisdom and philosophy never “found out” God. He makes Himself known to us through our needs. It is necessity that finds Him out. I doubt much if we have ever learned anything solidly… except we have learned this.”
Paradox of Helplessness
But how contrasting is this God-given principle to the status-quo of human thinking! Independence is what we are taught and self-reliance is what we all crave – and how we recoil from the perceived humiliation of helplessness. How true that Christianity turned the world upside down. But how!!!!
Strength in Weakness
This most astounding reality was expressed by the apostle Paul. He wrote:- Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10. Paul the apostle to the gentiles learned this important lesson, of our need of God, and He expresses it in the following words :- My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in your weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Life Through Death
At the soon coming of the Lord the believer whose life has been sown in dishonour; will be raised in glory. And that sown in weakness; will be raised in power. But first, we must die to self – if we are to be raised into His likeness.
18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
13 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.
2 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.
3 I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.
4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.
5 They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.
6 Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt:
8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.
9 Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.
14 And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.
15 Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.
16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.
17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.
18 Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children.
19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.
21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.
22 And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.