HOW TO GROW FROM FAITH TO FAITH, AND FROM GLORY TO GLORY.
BY REV. W. E. BOARDMAN.
ye have received Christ Jesus our Lord, so walk ye in Him." The way to
grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is to go on as
we began. There is no stepping onward in any other way.
How did we receive our Lord Jesus Christ?
We ventured on Him to save us, and gave up all thought of salvation in any
How are we to make progress from faith to
faith, and from glory to glory? By venturing on Christ for it, as we
ventured on Him at first for salvation.
What followed the venture upon Christ for
salvation? The revelation of Him by the Spirit to us, in the wonders of
His self-sacrificing love for us in giving Himself to die that we might
live. And with this knowledge of Christ came also such an in-letting into
the grace of God our Heavenly Father as filled us with adoring wonder.
More of the grace of God and of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ
came to us in a day—aye, in an hour—than could be gained by a whole
eternity of self-effort in any, or all ways, conceivable to us. It was a
grand first revelation to us of the True God and of His Son Jesus Christ,
the first in-breathing of eternal life.
Are our souls longing for more? Are we
conscious of the need of a deeper in-letting into the grace of God and of
fuller know- ledge of Christ? How is it to be received?
How but by venturing on Christ for all
the fulness of God in our souls as we did in the first place for
What follows when this is done?
The revelation of Christ to our souls as
the Risen Saviour, in His Living Presence and Power with us now—in the
beauties of holiness, to save us from sin, fill us with the Holy Spirit,
and keep us in perfect peace, and multiply grace and peace unto us,
according to the riches of God's glory.
Those who have found themselves at a
standstill after receiving Christ for salvation from death and hell, and
have made little or no progress in the mastery of besetting sins and in
the grace of God, by the most strenuous effort and vigilant watchfulness,
have, by giving up all hope of progress in this way, and venturing upon
Christ for salvation from sin, and for the fulness of the Spirit, come, in
an hour; into such fulness of grace and knowledge of Jesus, that their
amazement has been even greater than in that first hour of the revelation
of Christ in His dying love to their souls. In a moment they have been
shown their own mistake in the past about the way to grow in grace, in
contrast with the true way, which is God's way for us. And in that same
moment there has burst upon them, or dawned upon them more gradually, the
grace of God in its fulness, and the knowledge of Jesus in another, and to
them new relation, which has made Him doubly precious to them, and brought
their thoughts and affections, and will, into such sweet abiding captivity
to Him as they had not before thought possible this side of heaven.
One day there came into a little circle
of earnest Christians who were gathered to wait together on the Lord in
prayer and conversation, that they might renew their strength, or exchange
it for the Lord's strength, a veteran Christian man who had grown grey and
risen high in his country's service. The fact came out afterwards that he
had been wonderfully taught of the Lord, apart from all distinctive human
teaching or testimony on this subject. As one and another spoke of the new
step of faith which the Lord had led them to take, and of the wonders of
His grace and truth open to them, the fire burned in the heart of this
good man, and as face to face in water, so his heart answered to theirs in
experience, until at last, though a stranger to all in the circle, known
by name to only one or two, he could not but speak. He asked a very simple
question, "Is not this the way to grow in grace? "
The new voice and the question arrested
all. Some were a little startled. They would have been less startled,
though much pained, if the question had been, "Is not this incompatible
with growth in grace? "So often is it that this misconception of it is
thrust by the enemy of all truth into the minds of those who hear about
it. Yet in a moment one answered emphatically, "Yes, indeed, this is the
way to grow in grace, the only true way." To this answer the whole circle
gave spontaneously the most hearty assent.
Yes, the Apostle has put the way of
Christian progress truly in two of his most remarkable sayings, "from
faith to faith" and "from glory to glory."
There is a faith that ventures upon
Christ, and really receives Him as a Saviour from eternal death. And there
is a transfiguring power in the Gospel when it presents the Saviour in the
glory of His dying love for the sinner, which changes, the believing
sinner himself into the same image. And there is a deeper, fuller faith
which ventures upon the same glorious Saviour for salvation from sin and
for the fulness of the Spirit, and receives all it ventures for in Christ.
And in Christ, as presented in the gospel as in a mirror in the glory of
His presence and power, there is a transfiguring efficacy that changes the
believer into the same glory of the resurrection-life, and fits him to
live with Christ in all the walk, work, worship, and warfare of daily
life, holy, harmless, and undefiled, amidst a crooked and perverse
The glory into which we are brought, and
by which we are transfigured, is in Christ, not in us, and is ours in Him
by having Him revealed in us. The process set forth by the Apostle is that
of progress from faith to faith in Christ, not in ourselves; and so from
one glory in Christ to another. It is not that of bringing us step by step
onward by self-effort into a perfected self, but in a perfect
self-renunciation and in the reception of a perfect Saviour.
Satan would eagerly catch us up in our
escape from his dominion, and entangle us in the meshes of a good self or
a perfect self, if he could, and make us think of the glory of a perfected
self, instead of the glory of a perfect Saviour; and so divert our
testimony for Christ and His glories from Him, and turn it to egotistic
boasting of our own glories. Our glory is not our own, but Christ's, and
our glorying must all be, not in ourselves, but in Him. He is made of God
unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption," by being
revealed in us from faith to faith, in His glories from glory to glory. He
is all our glory; we have none of our own.