Out of Darkness Into Light

by Rev. Asa Mahan, D.D

Trials of Faith and Victories “By the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of His Testimony.”

By Rev. Asa Mahan, D.D.

In the Word of Truth we read, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is staid on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee." In the same Word we have the following admonition and promise: --"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus." "These things," said our Saviour, "have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." In the midst of all earth's tribulations -— and none have more of them than believers -— "the redeemed of the Lord" are privileged to "return and come to Zion, with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads." Everywhere, and under all circumstances, they are expected to "obtain joy and gladness," while "sorrow and sighing flee away," and the days of their mourning are ended." In the experience of Paul, all the above declarations and promises were fully verified. Let us listen to his testimony: -— "Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." "And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." "As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." It is the revealed privilege of the saints of God to "glory in tribulation." Paul not only had such an experience, but has also clearly revealed to us the secret by which we may attain to the same experience. "We also believe, and therefore speak." " I live, and yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." Let us give our special attention to this subject for a few moments.

It is a fixed law of our nature that, when the mind is strongly exercised with some one engrossing subject, other and different objects have no power to reach and disturb the sensibilities and activities of our being. For several years prior to his death, for example, the celebrated President Dwight of Yale College suffered beyond measure from rheumatic and gout affections. As he sat, in excessive agony, before a fire one day, a live-coal fell upon his hand and burned into his flesh without his noticing the fact at all. The reason is obvious. All the sensibilities of his nature were so completely occupied by the causes of pain referred to, that the burning of his flesh even could not reach the sensitive department of his nature. This same principle holds true universally. Now, when "Christ dwells in the heart by faith," and is "formed within, the hope of glory," and "God dwells in us, and walks in us" as His conscious "sons and daughters," all our affections and activities come so completely under the divine control, and all our susceptibilities are so perfectly filled with "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding," that "things seen and temporal" have no power so to reach those susceptibilities as to disturb the fixed content of the mind, which has found its resting-place in the centre of the sweet will of God. Tertullian and other of the early Christian fathers affirm that the minds of the martyrs, when subjected to the most terrible tortures which their tormentors could inflict, were so completely occupied with the manifested love and glory of Christ, that they did not seem to be affected at all by bodily suffering. When we are out of Christ, all our susceptibilities lie open and exposed to the assaults of worldly tribulations, cares, and perplexities, and we are, of necessity, "like the troubled sea when it cannot rest," and are "weary, tossed with tempests, and not comforted." When we "are in Christ," and "Christ in us," however, "the world, the flesh, and the devil" have no more power over us than they had over Him. His peace is our peace; His rest is our rest; His content is our content; and our "quietness and assurance" are as undisturbed as His was. He overcame the world, that is, destroyed its power to draw the mind into sin, or to disturb its rest and peace, through the indwelling presence of the Father in His heart and mind. So we can "overcome the world" by having Christ dwell in us as the Father dwelt in Him. "As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." In the varied conditions and states of our earthly life, we cannot be content with the divine allotments, by resolving upon an acquiescence in the same, nor can we obey the command, "Be careful for nothing," by determining to "take no thought for the morrow;" nor have we any power of will to banish from our hearts the cares which may now pain and agitate us, or to prevent others coming in and disturbing our peace. If, on the other hand, we will, "by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make known our requests unto God," if we will open our hearts, and let Christ and the Father come to us, and "make their abode with us," and if we will wait for "the “promise of the Spirit," that "we may know the things which are freely given us of God," then we shall be so "filled with all the fulness of God" that it will be impossible for us to be "careful and troubled" about anything. "The love of Christ," "open visions of His glory," "everlasting consolations and good hope through grace," "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding," " joy in the Holy Ghost," and the repose of our wills in the sweet will of God, will then so completely control all our activities; and occupy all the susceptibilities of our nature, that worldly tribulations and cares will have no power over any department' of our mental being, so as to interrupt our joys or disturb the rest into which our immortal spirits have entered.

As darkness cannot abide the face of the sun, so "sorrow and sighing," discontent, and fear of what may happen, take their quick departure when "the Sun of Righteousness rises in our “hearts with healing in His wings." "If Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of (or in respect to) sin;" that is, all our evil propensities and tendencies, and all internal causes which disturb our peace, lie dead in His presence, and void of power to draw us from our allegiance to Him, or to disquiet our spirits, or shut the peace of God out of our hearts; while "the Spirit is life, because of (or in respect to) righteousness;" that is, all our moral and spiritual activities are quickened into active obedience to the will of God and the law of righteousness. So, also, when Christ is in you, reader, external tribulations will have no more power to approach your sensibilities and disturb the deep rest of your spirits in Him, than the hosts of the Syrians had to break through the fiery circle which surrounded the prophet of God. But if Christ be not in us, the world without, with its tribulations and "fiery trials," and the world within, with its warring lusts, carking cares, and bewildering perplexities, will make our sensitive nature their perpetual prey, and "sin will reign in our mortal bodies."

Taken from Out of Darkness Into Light, by Rev. Asa Mahan, D.D.; Hayman, Christy and Lilly, Ltd., London.

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