The New Birth: 6. in the Light - Confession

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 6
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The question remains, what is the sphere and measure of walk for the new man? It is a deeply interesting one. May the Lord give us to apprehend it.
The blow of judgment which fell on God’s dear Son on the cross, rent the veil which was between God and the sinner. The same blow which disclosed and expressed, at the same moment, the love and the righteousness of God, removed forever the sins and sinful condition which shut out His people from His presence. Thus the Christian who possesses eternal life in Christ, has been introduced into the presence of God in Light!
The sphere of his walk then, is the presence of God in the light! God has cleansed him, and begotten him anew for such a sphere; and now the standard and measure of his ways is nothing less than the Lightwithin the veil! Everything inconsistent with God’s presence in the light is judged as of the “old man”; thus the “new man” rejoices in liberty, in the presence of God. He was “once darkness;” now he is “light in the Lord”; and the exhortation is, “walk as children of light.” The light makes manifest all that is not of God in his ways.
What a wondrous measure is this? Yet the new man rejoices that no less a standard is given of God.
Called into fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ, how could there be this fellowship, except in the power of eternal life? Impossible. Fellowship is the property and outgoings of eternal life. The Christian can walk in no other place; he can have no other standard than this. The life he possesses in Christ brings him to the presence of God in light. The light does not judge him, as questioning his title to be there. The brighter the light the clearer the title is seen to be. But the light makes him judge himself for all that is inconsistent with it. When the flesh is at work in one way or another (even if the action is purely inward), if there is anything whatever that the conscience ought to be exercised about; the soul is not, cannot be, in the enjoyment of communion with God in the light, because the effect of the light is to bring the conscience into exercise. But when the conscience has nothing that is not already judged in the light, the new man is in action with regard to God.
The possession of an evil nature never makes the conscience bad in God’s presence. It is only when it is at work in any way, that then the conscience becomes defiled. The cloud is felt, preventing the soul’s enjoyment of communion in the light. Here then comes in God’s blessed dealing with that which is made manifest in His presence, where there is failure in our ways as Christians. It is the advocacy of Christ (1 John 2:22And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)), bowing the heart in self-judgment and confession of sins. Just as a man with his dress soiled or in disarray, enters a room full of light and mirrors, instinctively arranges his dress — the light discovers whatever was astray; so, one cannot help confessing when, in the light, there is the slightest soil; anything which the light reveals: “for whatsoever doth make manifest is light”; and God is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:99If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)).
Alas, when the sinful nature is yielded to, and permitted to appear in the shape of “sins”; the conscience is defiled and unhappy; the Spirit is grieved; and the more sensitive the conscience, the more keenly it feels the stain. Here it is that we learn what has produced this bowing of the heart and conscience before God about the sin. The Advocacy of Christ has been in exercise. Not because I have repented of the sin, and judged myself about it; but because I had sinned, and it needed that my soul should be bowed for the failure before the Lord. A living person — Jesus — deals by His word and His spirit with my heart and conscience, makes me feel the sin, and bows my heart in confession to Him who is “faithful and just to forgive,” and “to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is, “If any man sin (not (“repent of his sin”), we have an Advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:22And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)). He forgives the sin, and cleanses the heart from the remembrance of that which had caused the sorrow and distress of soul.
True confession is a deep, deep, painful work in the soul. It has not merely to do with the actual failure, but with the root of the matter, which, unjudged, had produced the sin. Peter’s case, in John 21, gives an illustration of this dealing of Christ, when he needed a sense of his sin, not heretofore possessed. Peter had “wept bitterly” over the sin (his denial of Christ), yet the roots were unreached, and liable to break forth again. The Lord deals with him — not charging him with the sin, or even making mention of it. “Lovest thou me more than these?” Hast thou still that overweening confidence in thyself? For he had boasted that if all others would deny Him, yet he would not. The Lord did not look to the stream, but to the source; He laid it bare, exposed it to Peter’s heart and conscience. The root was reached, and all was out before His eye. The spring was laid open, judged, and dried up. Blessed dealing of One who loves us perfectly, and cares too much for us to spare us when we need to learn ourselves. Nothing charged upon us, as imputed to us, but nothing allowed — to allow it, were not love — were not God. The heart adores Him when it sees His ways. But O, how little do souls profit by His ways! By and bye it will be seen how He had vindicated His own care — and how the exercised souls profited by them, and the careless ones lost by the way.
How wonderful is the place, the calling, the sphere of walk, of the Christian! Walking in the Spirit, outside flesh and self, in and by the life of Jesus. The light of God’s presence, its sphere, where no soil of sin, no spirit of the world can ever come. His whole being is open and simple in His presence; finding no motive for concealment from Him now, even if such were possible.
God Himself the resource of the heart, against all that is within. Thus the “light” is “armor to the soul.” It learns to be peremptory with itself, in refusing all that is not of God: it thus walks in the joy of uninterrupted fellowship with Him. It has the consciousness too of being well pleasing to Him. The eye is not turned inward to look for fruits there, but outward and upward to Him. It lives by another. Christ is before the soul distinctly and undistractedly. Flesh is detected in its roots — the fruits need not appear to learn what it is. It is seen as that which would break the communion and separate the heart from the joy of walking with God, and is refused. Things around are seen in their true value. The soul grows in His presence — not as contemplating its growth, but as not having yet attained, or being already perfected, in full and actual conformity to Christ in glory, it presses on towards the mark for the prize of its high calling of God in Christ.
Beloved Christian reader, we have got a life which connects us with heaven now, but which is to be displayed while we are here on earth. We have members to mortify, but no recognized life below (Col. 3). It is fashioned in us by the putting off of self — living in the denial and non-recognition of self. Its issues and outgoings are only those which God can own. The life of Jesus here was a life of perfect dependence, of undivided obedience; His perfect will was surrendered — “not My will, but Thine be done.” He is our life (Col. 3:44When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)) — “He that is joined unto the Lord in one Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:1717But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17)). His words tell us what He was when here — they were Himself! (John 8:2525Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. (John 8:25)). They are they by which we live; they form and fashion us in conformity to Him. When we are not formed by them, we are checking (restraining) the outgoings of our life! stunting our growth up to, and in Christ!
The Lord give us, with steady growth, to go on from day to day, growing in grace and in the knowledge of Him. The life within us springing up to its source, in the brightness of the Father’s presence where He is, until we are fully conformed to Him, body, soul, and spirit, and with Him forever! Amen.
Glasgow: Bible and Tract Depository, n.d.