Today the great lack in souls is not in apprehending the new place into which the believer is brought. What is at the bottom of all individual and corporate failure is the lack of understanding and realization of our new position. “I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land . . . unto a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8).

We are not according to our Father’s pleasure, nor are we in simple restfulness as to our acceptance, if we do not enter by faith into the new place to which He in His grace has brought us. A further fact is, that we have no place but that; and when we get a glimpse of it, it alters immensely this place; this world through which we are passing, and all things in it, appear in another color altogether.

Can you say, “Heaven is my place, and I have no other home? No doubt, it is a wonderful thing to know that I am a saved sinner on the way to heaven. But is that all? No, I am a saved sinner fitted for, and brought into a new position now. Delivered from my sins? Yes. From judgment? Yes. From the world, the place under judgment to which I belonged? Yes. Thank God that is all true of each believer.

But there is more. Our Father brings us into a new place, and fits us for it; and everything He does for us is in keeping with the place into which we are brought (walking according to the Christian lifestyle—NC). I am made meet for it now; it is not that I shall be, but now while I am here. “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in Light” (Col 1:12).

As newborn believers we are not clear concerning our new place. When we began first we were Arminian trying to get it. Now we are Calvinistic; we say, “We have it all, and that will do.” But that is not all! The Spirit of God has yet to make it good to us in experience. It is all ours, long ago accomplished on the Cross for us.

I can look up the shinning way and see it all done; but if we are not in it, if it has not been made good to us by the Spirit of God, there is no joy, no practical reality. The Holy Spirit dwells within to lead us into the actual experience, the present enjoyment of what the Lord Jesus has done for us, to lead our hearts into the apprehension of what we are, and what we have in Him, in that place where He is now. If there were more heavenly acquisition, there would be more surrender of things here. If your acquisition is daily, your surrender will be daily.

In Exodus and Joshua, we find the two great parts of the work of Christ typified; the one, by the Red Sea; the other by the Jordan. In the first we have the Lord Jesus dying for us; in the second, we have our dying with Him. Where does the crossing of the Jordan bring us? Exodus 15:17 tells us. “Thou shat bring them in and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.”

In Colossians, the Red Sea and the Jordan coalesce. We are brought to God by the Lord Jesus dying for us; but there is the other aspect, and one which we have to learn practically, even that we have died with Him. We have died “with Christ from the rudiments of the world” (Col 2:20). Our history in Adam is ended, and now we have a new life and position. Our death with Him puts us outside of everything here. His death for us removes all between God and us; our death with Him removes all between us and God.

At the Red Sea, the enemy’s power was completely broken. In Jordan I have died with Him; I am free of Satan and the flesh where they both are, and introduced into a new scene. There is not a thing against me; all was ended in the Cross of Christ. I am clear of every single thing that barred me from the presence of my Father. You might say, “I do not feel it; but I am not asking you to feel it, but to believe it! The thief on the cross, a man who was a scandal to the Jew, and off scouring of society, was taken from the very lowest depths of shame and misery, and put into the brightest and most blessed place in company with the Lord Jesus that day; he was in the new place that fit!

There is no question about there being a beautiful place for the believer, but Christians limit it to its being theirs when they die. Scripture shows that it is ours now! They say, “You get heaven when you die.” No such thing. You have it now. It is not your death that entitles you to it, but the Lord Jesus’ death. There is not a single shade that was between us and the Father, the Son has removed it in His death for sins and unto sin. None can be truly happy and restful until they have a new place now, and that it is where the Lord Jesus is in glory.

Peter in his epistle speaks of “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1Pet 1:8). That is not when we get to heaven, but now. It is a wonderful thing to know it down here. But how few rise up to the blissful apprehension of what is theirs! How often Scripture is reduced to the level of the thoughts and experiences of man! The salvation effected for us by our Lord Jesus Christ as truly gives title and fitness for a place in heaven now, as it delivers from hell. You rejoice that you are out of hell, but why do you not rejoice that you are in heaven; surely “your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col 3:3).

It is a wonderful thing to find that I have a place—one of unbounded joy and delight. Many and great efforts have been made by earnest-minded Christians to be heavenly, and to reach this. They have struggled to get rid of earthly things, refusing this thing, and that thing, in order to attain a heavenly state. But that is not God’s way. Get hold of your position there. Do you think a person can be much occupied with this place, if he has the joys of that place and Person in his heart?

Thank God we are heavenly, we are brought to that new place; we have the Spirit within us on this earth to bring us to the joys of heavenly places to which we belong, to fill and overflow our hearts whilst we journey through this old place. No one can be clear of the attractions and pleasures of the old place, without first knowing and tasting the joys of the new. And if we look around on the church today, what has been her ruin? Is it not from choosing an earthly portion, and not apprehending that her true and only portion is heavenly?

Does she not even teach that if souls are walking in the favor of God, they will be blessed with earthly blessings? Woe betide you if you seek earthly blessings! The truth is, that the more thoroughly we are for the Lord Jesus above, the more thoroughly He will preserve us from the power of earthly things here below. I am to represent the heavenly Man in the place where He has been rejected, and my joy and rest are in the place where He is accepted—both He and I!

When a believer has a real understanding that he belongs to that new place, the Holy Spirit of God centers his heart in the Person occupying that place. I used to pity those who are alone in the world. I pity no one now who has a room where he can find himself isolated from everyone, to be with the Lord Jesus; here he can have his feathers oiled to come out, and face all the roughness here.

- J B Stoney (1814-1897)

MJS devotional excerpt for Aug. 26

It is the Holy Spirit alone who can draw us from the flesh and its earthly environment. He does it in the practical sense by manifesting to our hearts, via the Word of God, the risen Lord Jesus Christ in our heavenly environment. “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Rom. 13:14).

“When the Lord Jesus’ love is before you, you find this love is drawing you from darkness to light. He begins by showing His desire for your spiritual advancement, and not by advancing you in earthly position.

The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.’” -MJS