Friday, October 30, 2009
The Exchanged Life - J. Hudson Taylor
I just listened to an audio book on my way up and to Atlanta (yes about a 9 hour book) on the biography of James Hudson Taylor. What a man of God...so humble, so full of love and yet it wasn't until he was 37 (which is my age) that God opened his eyes to the reality of the exchanged life. It came about by a missionary that Hudson trained and brought from England to China...the letter from his younger friend was the catalyst that God used to open his eyes to this wonderful truth.
So much in his letter could be said by me and the fact that for over 10 years I tried and tried and tried to achieve what was already done, oh what unbelief. Unfortunately, we have many today that do not understand their union and identity with Christ. They try and try and try hard to do what is already done. Victory is a gift of the Grace of God and our job is to stop striving for victory (which is an act of unbelief) and rest in the finished work of what Christ has ALREADY accomplished. Below is the letter that Hudson wrote his sister after God opened his eyes to the truth, by the way, was 20 years after he trusted the Lord and after about 17 years of serving him on the mission field. The question must be asked...what will you do with this truth...believe it and rest or not believe it and keep striving for what is already yours.
"I feel as though the first glimmer of the dawn of a glorious day had arisen upon me. I hail it with trembling, yet with trust- as to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. The last month has been perhaps the happiest of my life; and I long to tell you a little of what the Lord has done for my soul- Perhaps I shall make myself more clear if I go back a little- My mind has been greatly exercised for six or eight months past, feeling the need, personally, and for the mission, of more holiness, life, power, in our souls. But personal need stood first and was the greatest. I felt the ingratitude, the danger, the sin of not living near to God. I prayed, agonized, strove, fasted, made resolutions, read the Word of God more diligently, sought more time for meditation and prayer - but all was with effect. Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me- each day brought its register of sin and failure, of lack of power- then came the question Is there no rescue? Must it be thus to the end - constant conflict and instead of victory too often defeat? How, too, could I preach with sincerity that to those who receive Jesus, to them gave He that power to become the sons of God (i.e. God-like) when it was not so on my own experience?-
I hated myself. I hated my sin; and yet, I gained no strength against it. I felt I was a child of God: His Spirit in my heart would cry: 'Abba Father'; but to rise to my privileges as a child, I was utterly powerless."
"All the time I felt assured there was in Christ all I needed, but the practical question was how was I to get it out?- I knew full well that there was in the Root abundant fatness; but how to get it into my puny little branch was the question. As the light, gradually dawned on me, I saw that faith was the only prerequisite, was the hand to lay hold on His fullness and make it my own. But I had not this faith! I strove for it but it would not come; tried to exercise it, but in vain. Seeing more and more the wondrous supply laid up in Jesus, the fullness of our precious Savior-my helplessness and guilt seemed to increase. Sins committed seemed but as trifles compared with the sin of unbelief, which was their cause, which could not, or would not, take God at His Word, but rather made Him a liar. Unbelief was, I felt, the damning sin of the world-yet, I indulged in it.
"When my agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never know it before. McCarthy, who had been exercised by the same sense of failure, but saw the light before I did, wrote: 'But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One.' As I read I saw it all, 'If we believe not, He abideth faithful' (2Tim 2:13). I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed!) that He had said: 'I will never leave you.' (Heb 13:5) Ah, there is rest I thought! I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I'll strive no more. For has He not promised to abide with me?
"But this was not all He showed me, nor one-half. As I thought of the vine and branches, what light the blessed Spirit poured direct into my soul- I saw not only that Jesus would never leave me, but that I was a member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. The Vine, now I see, is not the root merely, but all- root, stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit; and Jesus is not only that: He is soil and sunshine, air and shower, and ten thousand times more than we have every dreamed, wished for, or needed. Oh, the joy of seeing this truth! I do pray that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened, that you may know and enjoy the riches freely given us in Christ."
"Oh, my dear sister, it is a wonderful thing to be really one with a risen and exalted Savior; to be a member of Christ! Think what it involves. Can Christ be rich and I poor? Can your right hand be rich and the left poor? Or your head be well-fed while your body starves? Again, think of its bearing on prayer. Could a bank clerk say to a customer: 'It was only your hand wrote that check, not you,' or 'I cannot pay this sum to your hand, but only to yourself?' No more can your prayers or mine be discredited if offered in the name of Jesus (i.e. not in your own name, or for the sake of Jesus merely, but on the ground that we are His members) so long as we keep within the extent of Christ's credit - a tolerably wide limit"...