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The Clarion Herald

    "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called", (Eph.4:1).

    Human merit has no place in the obtaining of salvation; that is a FREE GIFT - rooted in the undeserved bestowment of God's loving favor. However, this principle may be so warped, and wrested from its biblical setting, as to become the source of great evil. Alongside it one must recognize the equally - biblical concept of WORTHINESS in the Christian life - and its personal results for time and eternity. To divorce character from the blessedness of divine acceptance is to violate the human conscience and the word of God. Though all blessings are ultimately rooted in divine grace, it is equally true that one gets, in the coming age, exactly what he has fitted himself for during this present life!
    How vastly important, therefore, that we consider the Christian calling, and the life that is worthy of it, (Eph. 4:1; comp. I Thes. 2:12; Col. 1:10). When considering the teachings of the word on this matter it becomes increasingly evident that the Christian life is
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    "As the Father gave me commandment, even so I do", (John 15:31).

    As the God-man Jesus had omnipotence slumbering in His arms - the hoarded resources of eternity within His grasp! He had only to "speak, and it was done". But, as an example to His people, His entire life on earth was one impressive act of subordination and dependence.
    At Nazareth He was "subject to His parents". There He remained in deliberate obscurity - occupying their lowly dwelling for thirty years - willing to continue in a state of seclusion until the Father's summons called Him to His appointed work. At His baptism (of which He certainly had no personal need) He said to the bewildered John, "Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness". Thus did He pledge to deliver Himself up to death in behalf of sinners! And the same beautiful spirit of filial subjection is brilliantly conspicuous midst His powerful deeds. "Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me; and I know that Thou hearest me always; but because of the people which stand by I said

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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald

it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent me". And even among His own disciples His language is the same: "I am among you as He that serveth". So, with an act of submission, He closed His earthly pilgrimage and work of love: "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit!"
    What a splendid example is our beloved Lord Jesus! "God only wise" - the Self-existent One, to whom all power is committed; the Sinless One, on whom "the Spirit was poured without measure" if He manifested such constant dependence on His heavenly Father, how earnestly ought we - weak, erring and fallible creasures that we are - to seek each day to follow His example. As the servant sets his eyes upon his Master, or the child upon its parent, so should our eyes be fastened upon the Lord our God! With what unquestioning obedience ought we to do His will!
    The child of God must ever beware

of self-dependence. To think that he standeth is the first step toward spiritual disaster. The real secret to spiritual strength is to walk in the moment-by-moment consciousness of being "kept by the power of God!"
    Our blessings will be sweetened, and our sorrows lightened, when we learn to regard both as coming from the loving hand of our heavenly Father. If, sometimes, we are constrained to go where we are not naturally inclined; if all should appear as darkness and tempest - frowning providences and contrary winds; how blessed to know, as we embark upon the unquieting element, that "the Lord has bidden us!"
    So attuned was he to the mind of Christ, that the apostle Paul would not speak of taking an earthly journey without the expression of that purpose being prefaced by: "if the Lord will". What manifold trials, heartaches and sins would be avoided if that same attitude regulated our daily lives! It would lead to calm contentment with our lot - silencing every disquieting suggestion with the consciousness that this is what the Lord has ordained for us. It would teach us to cease our aspirations after great things, while humbly awaiting the will and purpose of our wise Provider. Thus would we learn not to get ahead of our Heavenly Guide, but to follow Him with a meek, gentle and expectant spirit: "Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty, neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in

things too high for me ... my soul is even as a weaned child!"

THE CALL .... Continued
to be conformed to a certain VOCATION - Christian conduct being, in some measure, WORTHY of the ideal that is set before it.
    In Ephesians 4:1 one hears a heavenly summons - spoken with a voice of urgency and apostolic authority. God summons His people to a worthy walk "by his own glory and virtue", (2 Pet. 1:3; I Pet. 2:9). One misses the deepest meaning of any revelation of the divine majesty unless he hears within the heavenly summons to "Be ye holy, for I am holy!"
    Every manifestation of God's person, will or purpose - whether in the creation around us, in the voice of conscience, in the mysteries of our own personal lives, or in the development of God's purposes in human history - ALL THESE REVELATIONS bear within them the summons for men to draw near to God and mold their lives into His glorious likeness. The varied aspects of divine self-revelation are designed to draw men to nobleness, goodness and godliness.
    In writing to the Philippians, Paul describes this summons to a worthy walk as "the high calling of God which is in Christ Jesus", (Phil. 3:14) - a prize toward which the people of God are to press onward with holy vigor! In Christ one may behold the perfect pattern of what God intended men to be,

and called us to be. In Him is found a marvelous motivation to obey this summons. From His lips it comes - not as the harsh demand of an authoritative despot, but as the kind and gentle invitation of a loving friend, (Matt. 11:28-30).
    There is something gloriously unique about the Christian ideal; the manifestation of the ideal carries within it the very POWER that is necessary to perform it. When Christ summons, He inclines the hearing ear - enabling the trusting soul to OBEY and BE what it is commanded. It is to the Christ-life that every child of God is summoned. Through consideration of His substitutionary death in behalf of fallen men, the heart is inclined to obey the summons. And it is only in "the spirit of Christ" (an attitude of total dependence on God) that one is enabled to walk worthy of this "high calling of God in Christ Jesus"!
    The only kind of life that is "worthy" of this calling is that set forth by Paul in Ephesians 4; it will be characterized by: lowliness, meekness, longsuffering and loving forbearance in dealing with one's fellow-body-members. There will be an earnest effort to maintain a "spirit of unity" in the bond of peace. It will be a life that is liberated from selfishness, delivered from the arrogancy of pride, and changed into the royal gentleness of holy love.
    The "worthy walk" is one that PLEASES GOD, (Col. 1:9-12). It will be a life that: conforms to God's will, is fruitful in all goodness,

progresses in its acquaintance with God, is joyfully strengthened for all patience and longsuffering, and is thankful IN EVERY SITUATION!
    This is, quite clearly, the walk to which we are summoned before God. And unless our conduct is in harmony with this summons (however eloquently we may philosophize concerning "free grace"), we have no right to resume upon that mercy in which we claim to trust!
-- condensed from MacLaren


by Pastor Roy M. Reed

    I've been a pastor for more than forty years, during which time I've tried everything known to persuade church members to be faithful to attend church. I've fussed, coaxed,
begged, bribed, and teased. Now I'm convinced that church members go where they want to go and do what they want to do. Wherever their hearts go their heels follow.
    I am not surprised when many church members drop out of church, but I am concerned. Jesus said: "If you love me, keep my commandments." He also said: "Ye are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you." People show who they are and what they love by where they go. I can't help wondering about so many of our church members who are willing to drive ten miles or more to a football game, or forty or more miles for recreation on Saturdays, but can't find time to attend Sunday School and church twice on Sundays. We have too many one-service-a-week church members. We have a mixture of people who are uncommitted, disinterested, and undisciplined; people who have not really given their lives and their love to the Lord who saved them.
    When a person really becomes committed to the Lord no one has to invite him (or her) to God's house. I thank God for the faithful few and I earnestly pray that their number will increase.
    L.M. Branch talked to a lady complaining about a clique that ran the church - made all the decisions, made all the motions, held all the offices, etc. His advice to her was: "JOIN THE CLIQUE!"
    "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together ... but exhorting one another", (Heb. 10:25).