The final result of abiding in Christ’s word is, we shall be made free. Jesus said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” We are free from falling. There never comes a time, when a man is free from falling, considered abstractly; that is, when he may not fall; or when he loses his free agency and becomes a mere machine, and is compelled to remain true to Christ. Jesus the lover of our souls values our love all the more because we love Him and serve Him from choice; that is for loving Him when we have the power not to do so. It is impossible that there is a moral agent in the universe who could not turn his back upon God if he so desired. And yet all those who do not want to fall but continue in Jesus’ word, are as practically free from falling as if they could not. An honest man has the abstract power to steal, but it is certain he will not do so on account of the fact that he is honest. I could commit murder, but I am as sure I will not, as if I could not, and so I feel perfectly free from that danger.
In the same way, a Christian who knows enough to obey the word of Jesus, in the matter of taking the Holy Ghost as his teacher, is certainly free from the danger of falling. He can say with Paul, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day.”
A Spirit-led Christian does not fight an uncertain battle, nor run a race of doubtful victory. He is not as a man walking a tight rope, balancing himself with each step for fear of falling. He does not serve a tyrant who stands with drawn sword, ready to cut off the head of his wretched subjects for each manifestation of human frailty, nor does he live with cringing fear of at last being cast out; for his continuance in the school of Christ has taught him that, the Lord’s yoke is easy and His burden is light.
We are also free from dread and fear of all kinds. Companionship with Jesus, real personal acquaintance with Him; the consciousness of the indwelling Holy Spirit and fellowship with the Father; make the past like a blissful dream, but we know it to be a reality; while the present brings such a fulfillment of God’s promises, that we are glad to have a chance to trust Him for the future. Without anxious thought or foreboding care, glad even not to know what the future will develop, except by faith to know, that the highest good possible awaits us; and therefore with confidence and lively hope, we greet each new day, knowing that He who has delivered, will deliver; and so we live out in glorious reality, the teachings of the ever adorable Jesus. “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. . . . Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they. . . . Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.”
And as we are free from doubt and fear concerning time; so likewise there is nothing to fear for eternity. God will be the same loving Father after death as before; and those who know Him here, will experience no shock, when they meet Him there. Death, that King of Terrors to the wicked and the half-hearted, has ceased to be any terror to those who walk with God. They have the experience each day, “O death where is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory?”
We are also free from doubt. And not only in the way in which that expression is generally used, but in the sense that, having implicit confidence in the words of Jesus, concerning the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we no longer have any doubt of ourselves. That slavish teaching which bids Christians doubt their own integrity, and to believe their hearts are impure, even though their consciousness is to the contrary, does not enter into the experience of those who continue in the word of Jesus. Many sincere persons there are who so doubt themselves, that through the unscriptural doctrines which they have learned they tincture their holiest thoughts with sin, and stand in doubt of their noblest motives, and are thus always in bondage. This is at once dishonoring to God, going back on the promises of Jesus, and a disparagement of the Holy Ghost who alone can convince of sin. “But whom the Son maketh free are free indeed,” from this form of doubt.
And giving all praise to the wonderworking power of God, we are free from sin. The New Testament standard of a Christian man is one who does the whole will of God. As I have intimated elsewhere, sin in a sense to bring guilt, must be an avoidable act; for God does not condemn for acts over which His children have no control; and “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” To be free from sin is to obey God; it is to walk in the Spirit, and thus not fulfill the lusts of the flesh; and the converse of this statement is true; to walk in the Spirit, and thus obey God, is to be free from sin. Here then is Christ’s plan for keeping converted, “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And as Peter says, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things ye shall never fall.”
To sum up the whole matter I would say that, the real secret of walking with God in the full-orbed light of justification, is in Christ’s word. “I will send you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.”
He comes His grace to impart;
A willing guest, While He can find one humble heart
Wherein to rest.
He breathes, that gentle voice we hear
As breeze of even; That checks each fault, and calms each fear,
And speaks of Heaven.
And all the good that we possess,
His gift we own; Yea, every thought of holiness,
And victory won.
Blest Spirit of strength and grace,
Who weakness cures; Thou makest our hearts thy dwelling-place,
And victory insures.”
“Our blest Redeemer, ere He breathed His last farewell,
A Guide—a Comforter bequeathed, With us to dwell.
He came in tongues of living flame To teach, subdue;
All-powerful as the wind He came, As unseen too.