There is only one way. Christ is the way. "No one cometh unto the Father but by me."
Man is not the way, man can never make a way, nor does man ever know the way to the golden city. The city and the way to the city are altogether revelations from above.
Christ, who is the way, is not from below. He is from above. It is "He that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven," who is "the Great God our Savior Jesus Christ." *66
Man does not travel toward the happy city of pure delight. He travels away from it. The longer he walks the farther he gets away from this heavenly city. Children belong to the Kingdom of God. They play and frolic at the gates of the city. When they begin to walk alone they always walk away from the city, away from this happy Eden home. The farther they wander and the more they reason whether they walk alone or follow the crowd the farther they get from the city, until its light is but dimly seen or lost forever. The only way to reach the city is to turn back. "Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter the Kingdom of Heaven!'' *67 But the farther man walks alone, the older he gets, the richer he becomes; the more he studies with his natural mind, the more he passes turnstiles in his self-conceited course until, at last, the farther turnstiles refuse to move, that should turn him back to a simple faith. He finds no way of returning to a heart like "a little child."
"The world through its wisdom knew not God." *68 Man by study will never find God. The man who trusts the workings of his own mind or the minds of other men will never see the city of God.
*66 John 3:13, Titus 2:13
*67 Matt. 18:3
*68 I Cor. 1:21
Man on the merits of his character will never walk the golden streets. What a man is, what a man does, or how a man lives has nothing to do with his salvation. On the basis of how "good" he is, the best man on earth has no more hope of heaven than the worst man on earth. Man who trusts in his own character, his own moral goodness, is only a modern Pharisee with eyes blinded to the truth. The publican, the drunkard, the harlot will enter the city of God, while that good man will be cast into outer darkness where is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
"By grace" we are saved, "apart from works." Salvation is something God gives. It is not something man is or is not. Salvation is from above. It is not from below, or from within, or from among men.
That which is born from below is flesh and born by the will of man. Those born from below, no matter how wise or good or bad they may become, must be born again from above. They become the children of God "who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.'' *69 "Except one be born anew he cannot see the kingdom of God." *70 This birth, that every accountable man must have who will ever see God or sing the songs of the redeemed in the city beyond the sky, is a supernatural birth. It is altogether from above. Joining Church, singing hymns, reading or saying prayers, working in or for the church, preaching from the pulpit, or giving all one's body to be burned has nothing whatever to do with the new birth. The new birth is something that God gives by grace regardless of works.
The finest pulpit orator, the most formal churchman, the most protesting protestant has no more hope of heaven than the most reckless sinner, unless he be born again.
How to Find The Way Back Home
The Lord was so anxious to have me return that He made the way simple and plain. I was a sinner living selfishly and not alone for the glory of God. I had turned to my own way. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." *71 "There is none righteousno not one." "They have all turned aside." *72 I was among the number.
*69 John 1 :13
*70 John 3:3
*71 Rom. 3:23
*72 Rom. 3:11, 12
Jesus came from heaven to save "sinners," not "righteous people" with good characters. Thus I had my chance. I should have suffered the penalty of my sin, but Christ loved me and died in my stead. He bore my "sins in his body upon the tree." *73 Christ died on the Cross, the Sinless One, instead of the sinner. He "who knew no sin" died in my place on the cross where I should have died. I, the sinning Barabbas, the punishment deserving sinner, was set absolutely and unconditionally free. "He who knew no sin was made sin in our behalf." *74 God punished Jesus, so He will not punish me. Because He forsook Jesus He will not forsake me. All I had to be was to be a sinner. All I had to do was to do nothing.
I simply believed that Jesus did it all. He that believeth hath eternal life." *75 "He that believeth hath passed out of death into life." *76 To them that believe he gives "the right to become sons of God." *77 Having believed that Jesus did what He said He did and having accepted Him as my substitute and as my sin-bearer, He accepted me as His child. He sent His Holy Spirit into my heart, so that I was born from above. The Holy Spirit in my heart bore witness, crying, "Abba, Father." *78.
*73 I Peter 2:24
*74 II Cor. 5:21
*75 John 6:47
*76 John 5:24
*77 John 1:12
*78 Rom. 8:15, 16
Before that, I had worked. Now God worked in me to will and do His good will. The things I once loved I now hated, and the things I once hated I now loved. Now the more I try to be good the worse it goes. The more I believe God works in me and for me the better it goes.
The Lord has shown me the light of the city ahead. "I know Him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.'' *79 I shall surely enter by the gates into the city to share the joys of those who overcome by simple faith because of the blood of the Lamb.
Christ finished salvation. He died for the sins of the whole world. Eternal life is a "gift." "The free gift of God is eternal life." *80 This gift is free. All we have to do is accept it or reject it, take it or ignore it. We must be like one or the other of the thieves on the cross: either believe that Jesus is God and can save a sinner who acknowledges his condition, and spend eternity with Christ in Paradise, or be like the other thief and disbelieve that Jesus is God, and die in our unrepented and unforgiven sins away from God.
Christ saves any and all who are saved because of their belief. "Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.'' *81 Those who believe and are thus saved, Christ keeps. They hold not the Rock, but the Rock holds them. They do not hold Christ; Christ holds them. They are saved by grace through faith apart from works. They will be kept by grace through faith apart from works. "This is the victory that overcometh the world even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the son of God." *82.
*79 II Tim. 1:12
*80 Rom. 6:23.
*81 John 3:16
*82 I John 5 :4, 5.
The saved by grace and the kept by grace live lives of repentance, do the works of righteousness, and perform religious duties because they are saved already, but not in order to get saved. The work of value they do is because of what God has put in them from above.
The saved have become "partakers of the divine nature." *83 "If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." *84 "All of Christ's children have the Holy Spirit in their bodies and hearts and have been born again. "I no longer live but Christ liveth in me." *85 Christ within causes all my works that please him, "For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure." *86.
*83 Gal. 2:20
*84 II Peter 1:4
*85 Rom. 8 :9
*86 Phil 2:13
*87 I Cor. 2:10
The saved are heavenly citizens who love not the world nor the things of the world. They have as much of the "heaven life" now as they have of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the heaven life, the life of God, the eternal life. We have the "earnest," or down payment, of heaven.
Through the deeper experiences of the Holy Spirit, heaven may become more real than earth, so that the child of God may, at times, almost walk by sight as well as by faith on his pilgrim journey to the city whose builder and maker is God.
Our Adullam message is now complete. This testimony is sent forth, not because of any natural superior knowledge, but because of these things that have happened among us as "God revealed them through the Spirit." *87
The best we know we cannot write. The best to be known can only be known directly through the revelations of the Holy Spirit to one's own self. More we would write, but more we cannot now write. But what has been written, we have written that you may believe and that "believing you may have life in His name." Or, having life, that you may be encouraged to press onward until you receive more and more of the abundant life, the life through the baptism and fullness of the Holy Spirit, the life the Lord has planned for each of His children, the foretaste and fore-life of the Great City of the King, the city of God where all things are made new.
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