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will be hindered ; for then and then only, will that servant be able to follow his Lord fully. I may be told that would entail great sufferinggreat loss and pain to one's family and friends. Yes, surely; so did Mary's act, to the very disciples of the Lord. But I am bold to say, that there can be no testimony without suffering and loss in this evil world.
THOUGHTS FOR THIS DAY : GOD'S APPROACH TO US AND OURS
TO HIM. “THE day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." The judgment of death fell on man when he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. “By man came death.” But because of the evil and violence of men on the earth, it is written, “the end of all flesh is come before me.” repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth.” Hence he was not only doomed to die, but because of his
wicked works, there must be an end of man in the flesh. Thus we have man the sinner under the doom of death, and as in the flesh, intolerable to God.
We have now to see how the blessed God can approach him, and how man can approach God. Abel in faith sees that the only way of approach was by a victim, not chargeable with his offence, bearing the judgment of it, and at the time of bearing it, having a personal excellency. Therefore he brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.” Enoch in another day sets forth the faith that pleases God; not only believing in His existence, but in His nature to reward for seeking Him, the distinct contrast to what Eve had done; while Noah is practically saved, and begins a new history in divine favour in the place where he had been under judgment. In Abraham, righteousness by faith is declared. I need not pursue the expressions of faith, recorded, as it were, in a chain, in Hebrews xi., until Rahab, by faith, is in the land ; typically the Gentile in heavenly places. I adduce these witnesses of the true nature of approach, for it is helpful to see that God never left Himself without a witness, and in this way the history of their testimony is very interesting.
The law did not really offer an approach to the sinner. It expressed God's righteous demand ; and thus it became to fallen man “the ministration of condemnation." But consequent on Israel's idolatry -practical apostasy from God before the law was given, the offerings were appointed by the Lord from the tabernacle of testimony.
Now the offerings did set forth in type the manner and nature of our approach to God, and the ground of it; but in none of them was there definitely set forth the nature and scope of His approach to us. The offerings are of extreme interest, because they open out in detail the nature of our approach, when as yet there was no real ground for it. So much so, that if we had only the book of Leviticus, or if we were confined to our own approach
to God, we should measure ceptance with God by the measure of our growth in apprehension of what Christ, the true offering, is. For instance, a godly Jew after offering his burnt-offering went away with the sense in his soul, a true one too,
that he was accepted by God. “God testifying of his gifts.” An enjoyable sense I admit, but exclusively confined to himself as the offerer. It was all on his own side, even that he was formally accepted through that offering being accepted of God. There was nothing beyond the sense that he stood well with God at the moment. There was no idea that God could approach him. So that if a Christian limits the work and offering of Christ to the types, however fully they may set forth his acceptance, it is still merely an atom in comparison with the measure in which the blessed God can approach him. This latter is not set forth in the types. In the offerings from Abel down, the one great thing is that the offerer may obtain an acceptance with God. He
may, as I have said, be assured through grace, of acceptance, as were Abel, Noah, Abram, Manoah and others; but in none of these is set forth that the initiative is on God's side. It is on the side of the man, either without law or under law.
There is however distinct intimation on the part of God, that He desires the approach of man and rejoices in it. Numerous passages in the Old Testament express it. Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings." (Jer. iii. 22.) Ephraim my dear son, is he a pleasant child, for since I spake against him I do earnestly remember him still, therefore my bowels are troubled for him." (Jer. xxxi. 20.)
" And I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me! saith the Lord.” (Jer. xxx. 21.) “ Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts.” (Psa. Ixv. 4.) We also find several instances in the