NO SECOND CLASS SAINTS!
We are very apt to regard the apostolic saints as if they were “saints” in a more especial manner than the other children of God. All are “saints” whom God has called by His grace, and sanctified by His Spirit; but we are apt to look upon the apostles as extraordinary beings, scarcely subject to the same weaknesses and temptations as ourselves. Yet in so doing we are forgetful of this truth, that the nearer a man lives to God the more intensely has he to mourn over his own evil heart; and the more his Master honors him in his service, the more also doth the evil of the flesh vex and tease him day by day. (Source: Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, July 7)
I’d never quite thought of it this way until reading this quote, but its very true. The more we grow spiritually the more sensitive we become to our sin and failures. Thus the more we grow the further from God we seem to be because we become more aware of just how far we fall short. Yet somehow we think it must be different for those Christians past and present whom we admire and look up to. But the truth of the matter is that they, like we, saw our own shortcomings more clearly as time goes on. They, like us, would realize all the more the great gap between where they were and where they wanted to be.
That should give us hope. If they felt as we do about the sin in their lives, then the same victory that they had is available to us as well. It is the same God Who called them that also calls us, the same Holy Spirit indwelling in us, the same Jesus in heaven interceding for us. In their day they never would have thought of themselves as anything special. They felt their failures as keenly as we feel ours.
Spurgeon concludes: We have the same light that they had, the same grace is accessible to us, and why should we rest satisfied until we have equaled them in heavenly character? They lived with Jesus, they lived for Jesus, and therefore they grew like Jesus. Let us live by the same Spirit as they did, “looking unto Jesus,” and our saintship will soon be apparent.
I don’t know about you, but it helps me to better face my own struggles knowing that my ‘heroes’ in the faith have gone through the same thing. It also reminds me that the same resources that were available to help them overcome are available to us as well! So let’s follow their example and keep moving ahead for Jesus!
Romans 1:7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Philippians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
Thank God for all He has done and is doing to make you more like Jesus. Renew your commitment to keep your eyes on Him and live for Him.
by Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer, Christian Training Organization