The Growth Step

The more we consciously know what the eternal life is, and the more assured we are that the only liberty of this life is in the Lord Jesus in glory, the more we shall realize that the enablement for our daily walk and thought must be apart from ourselves. Our flesh profits nothing*, and in ourselves we are absolute weakness*. We may say that the believers, who have reached the knowledge of liberty in the risen Lord Jesus, has had engraved upon the heart, “In my flesh dwells no good thing,” and walking in true liberty finds their strength in the Lord Jesus, altogether apart from their own powers.

Nothing of sight or sense can contribute one single particle of strength to the new man*. Spiritual life draws not its support from the exterior world, it has to do with the Father in heaven. Faith in the facts is the unseen and divinely given power in believers which lifts them out of themselves and up to the Father. Faith detaches them from earthly things and influences; and, by faith, their way and their thoughts develop a heavenly character.

Many believers who are thoroughly well assured in the soul that faith in the Lord Jesus is the only possible way by which a sinner can find pardon and peace, fails to believe that faith in Him is the only way by which they themselves can live to the Father. Such believers have faith in the Savior from the doom of sin, but not faith in Him as their strength form the power of sin. They have faith that the Lord Jesus has magnified the claims of divine righteousness respecting the sins they have committed, but not faith that the Lord works righteousness and growth in them (Phl 2:13—NC). The evidence of a man’s faith lies in its fruits.

A sinner comes to the Savior, the Sacrifice for sinners on the Cross, and receives forgiveness; a saint comes to the Lord Jesus, the risen Lord in glory and finds enablement for living to the Father. The life of faith is not simply looking once to the Lord Jesus for salvation, but going on with Him hour by hour. Being justified by faith, as we live day by day on the principle of faith. We do not receive life from the once crucified Lord, and then go on in our own power: “As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: (Col 2:6)—by faith. Every day believers need the Lord Jesus as their strength; and living by faith, they are living apart from their own resources, and by the Son of God, who loved them and gave Himself for them.

The lesson of dependence is not learned all at once; and in this sense, as there is growth in the knowledge of the Father and the Son, there is growth in the way of reliance. Let believers cast themselves upon the Lord for the passing moment, for the difficulty of the hour, for the condition of the soul for all the thousand and one little things that make up one day of living here on the earth, and they will soon find what the Lord Jesus is for them.

The Lord Jesus is “in you all,” He is the life of each believer. Let the realization of the soul be compared to the condition of those groping about in the dense, dark fog; still we know that it is clear daylight above the fog, and all we want is to get up high enough. Now, that fact is, we are risen with Christ—then may we set our affection on the things above where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father; and though the secret power is unseen, that faith in Him will lift the spirit of the believer into the clear light where He is. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” (1John 2:7).

- H F Witherby

Poster’s opinions:

*”Our flesh profits nothing”: “flesh” in this context refers to the “old man” or sinful nature, not the physical body; view definition IV in this link:

*“in ourselves we are absolute weakness”: e.g. the believer cannot produce that which is spiritual but is used only to manifest or “bear” it (John 15:8); and this is only by the Spirit of God (Zec 4:6).

*”the new man”: though inheriting a new nature results in a new person, the word “man” is in reference to the nature itself, not the person possessing it; which nature is created from Christ’s image (Col 3:10) and cannot be effected by man.