Table of Contents
Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
Contents of Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
Meditations on Christian Standing
State, Vocation, Warfare, and Hope in various aspects
Before God, the Church, and the World.
A. Miller. Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
Chapter 1. The Christian’s Standing
Chapter 2. The Christian’s State
Chapter 3. The Christian’s Vocation
Chapter 4. The Christian’s Warfare
Chapter 5. The Christian’s Hope
Excerpt from Miller Meditations on Christian Standing Chapter 1
(this is only part of chapter 1) Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
The following brief “Meditations” have been written chiefly with the view of helping young Christians. The subjects embraced are both fundamental and practical; and all necessary to the complete understanding of Christianity.
As, the plenary inspiration and divine authority of the Scriptures are now so openly and daringly called in question by many, it is most needful for all, but especially for the young, to be well instructed and well-grounded in the truth of God. “It is written,” should be our watchword. One line of scripture is of more value than a thousand theories.
May the Lord, in His grace, be pleased to use what has been written, for His own glory, and the good of many souls. So prays, etc., A. M.
London. Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
Chapter 1. The Christian’s Standing.
There are two things with which every believer in Christ Jesus should be well acquainted; they are of the utmost importance to us, individually. We refer to what may be called the Christian’s standing and state; his standing before God in Christ; and the state, practically, which answers to that high and holy standing.
What theme can be more uplifting and strengthening to the soul that knows the Saviour? Let it be thine, O my soul, for a little while — yea, for ever. Meditate, I beseech thee, on this soul-elevating theme! Depend, in all simplicity, on the presence of the Holy Ghost, who only can reveal the Person and position of Christ, and make good to thee, experimentally, thy place in Him. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:1-2.) Already by faith, we possess and enjoy, in Christ, everything but glory. This is plain from the passage before us. Being justified — having peace — standing in grace — waiting for glory. We only wait for glory — “the glory of God.” And even with that we are now linked in the most blessed way, having Christ in the heart, the hope of glory. “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27. Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
The Person, work, and position of Christ necessarily become, with such a theme, the blessed objects of the soul’s happy meditations. His humiliation and glory, as the beloved Son of the Father, fill the whole vision of the soul. Fellowship with the Father and the Son is enjoyed. Love is created in the heart, by the contemplation of His love. In meditating on the Christian’s standing and state, Christ Himself must be the centre of our thoughts and of our worshipful adoration; the heart must overflow, through nearness to Him, in grateful praise. As we stand in Him, we must know his standing in order to know our own; and as we are loved in Him, we must know the Father’s love to the Son, before we can know His love to us. And surely, in the proportion that we enter into these blessed subjects, and are thus occupied with Christ, our state here below will be the reflection of our standing in Him above.
The two prayers of the apostle in his Epistle to the Ephesians most fully, and in order, bring before us the subject of our present meditations. Follow then, I pray thee, my soul, this divine order. And grant, O Lord, that I may see, in thy light, the wondrous depths and heights of thy path and glory, as the once suffering but now exalted Man; and that I may also taste the sweetness of thy love, and know the inward power of the Holy Spirit. Oh! that these fervent breathings of thy servant — so long uttered — so often read, but, alas, so little heeded — may yet be fully answered in my experience, and also in the happy experience of all who may read these meditations!
Mark then, my soul, that the apostle in Ephesians 1:15-23, prays that the saints might know their place, or standing, in the risen and glorified Man, Christ Jesus — that they might have a deep and real apprehension of their place before God in Him, as exalted above all principalities and powers. Consistent with this truth, the saints are exhorted in the last chapter of this Epistle, to maintain their standing against every foe. “Stand therefore,” says the apostle: he does not say advance; there is no higher or better place to reach. Hence the word is, “stand therefore … and having done all, to stand.” In Ephesians 3:14-21 he again prays that they might know, and be in that state of soul which answers to this standing. Hence, he says nothing in the second prayer about being exalted and glorified, but rather, that they might be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man — that Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith, and that they might be rooted and grounded in love. The latter is as clearly state as the former is standing. Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
“Secured in Christ, their Head on high.
The saints below may boldly cry —
Praise to our God, Amen!
To God in Christ all praise be given
For evermore, on earth, in heaven.
Amen! Amen! Amen!”
Observe further, in thy meditations, and carefully note as of all importance, that these two prayers are founded on the two great relationships in which God stands to Christ, and, consequently, to us in Him. This is the key to the better understanding, not only of the two prayers, but of the whole Epistle. The apostle commences with this twofold relationship, and has it in his mind all through the Epistle: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He is our God and Father in Him. Immediately after our Lord arose from the dead, He made known this great truth. It is based on accomplished redemption. “Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God.” (John 20:17.) Blessed fruit of the Saviour’s death and resurrection! Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
The first prayer is addressed to “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The second, to “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ And we find that the main thought in each prayer answers perfectly to these titles. Power and glory, as displayed in the risen Man, characterise the first. Relationship and love characterise the second. The Father loves the Son, and as Son He has His own place without being exalted. It is as man, once humbled for our sins and having glorified God in putting them away, that He is exalted, and we in Him. Love and glory are the happy themes of the truth now before us. Love to the Son — glory to the Man — and we, loved and glorified in Him, and as He is. Blessed truth! Precious to our souls! What grace! What love! What glory! Can anything but praise be heard throughout eternity? Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
But the fulness of these wondrous truths will be better seen as we meditate on the different parts and petitions of the two prayers.
Ephesians 1:15-16. “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” How much to say of an assembly of saints — of whom could the apostle say as much now? But Christ had His right place in their hearts, and the saints, as a consequence, had theirs. These two things go together. Faith in Christ — love to the saints. The one is the fruit of the other. The saints will have a very small place in our hearts if Christ has not His own place there. Viewed in this light, “Love unto all the saints,” becomes a true test of our nearness to Christ, by faith. Merely to love those that suit us — whose disposition and ways are agreeable to us, would not answer to the description here given of the Ephesians. Not that we could love all Christians alike, that would be impossible; but we are to love all as the children of God, and for what we see of Christ in them. We must look at them from His point of view, not our own. True, we may have our special friends amongst the saints of God, and it may be profitable to have such; but we must be careful in manifesting our special affection for some, lest we should wound or discourage others. Largeness of heart and true affection should be cultivated for the whole family of God. Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
But knowest thou, O my soul, the secret of reaching and maintaining this Christ-like condition — “Love unto all the saints” — not unto some, observe, but unto all the saints? There is only one way, we believe, of manifesting this rare feature of our practical Christianity. Know, then, that we must ourselves be living sufficiently near the Lord to see the saints in His light, and learn His thoughts about them. This, and this alone, rest assured, will lift thee above all that may be unlovely in the saints; and from being occupied with self, which always hinders our love to others. Outside of God’s presence we are selfish. It is only when in His presence that we lose our selfishness. “If we walk in the light as God is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.” (1 John 1:7.) God must have the first place, if we are to love one another as His children.
Take an example: The great apostle of the Gentiles was imprisoned at Rome. Everything in his circumstances was calculated to depress and weigh him down. But they did not, they could not. And yet what position could be more trying? Cut off from his friends — from visiting the churches — from the work of the gospel — in old age — in want. And more, trial from a very different quarter came upon him; many, taking advantage of his imprisonment, became very prominent in the work of the gospel, though in a wrong spirit; “supposing,” as he says, “to add affliction to my bonds.”
But for his unselfish, large, loving heart, this must have been a great grief to him. But the glory of Christ, and the conversion of souls, were dearer to the apostle than his personal liberty, and his share in the work; therefore, as one far above their influence, he could say, “What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” “Many who” — as one has beautifully said — “in the presence of his power and his gifts, were necessarily powerless and insignificant persons — could make themselves of some importance when, in the unsearchable but perfect ways of God, this mighty instrument of His grace was set aside; they could hope to shine and attract attention when the rays of this resplendent light were intercepted by the walls of a prison.
Jealous but hidden when he was present, they availed themselves of his absence to bestir themselves — whether false brethren or jealous Christians, they sought in his absence to impair his authority in the church, and his happiness. They only added to both. God was with His servant; and instead of the self-seeking, which instigated these sorry preachers of the truth, there was found in Paul a pure desire for the proclamation of the good news of Christ, the whole value of which he deeply felt, and which he desired above all, be it in what way it might.”
In writing to his beloved Philippians from the prison at Rome, his heart overflows with joy and love, in spite of everything. His joy in God abounds, and his love to the saints. The children are loved for the Father’s sake, and when this is the case, all are loved. “I thank my God,” he says, “upon every remembrance of you. Always in every prayer of mine for you all, making request with joy.” A stream of love flowed from that dreary dungeon to the refreshing of the churches — of all the saints; and which has been flowing ever since, to the refreshing of the saints in all ages. Instead of being cast down or terrified by his enemies, he nobly rose above them all, and had his eye and his heart more effectually turned to Christ and to His saints than ever. What but conscious nearness to the Lord could give such holy victory? The enemy might be permitted to take his liberty from him, and to cast him amongst common criminals; but he could not take his Christ from him, or his love to the saints. Noble example! Blessed lesson for our souls! May we seek to learn it, and faithfully to follow it!
Ephesians 1:17. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.” The connection between teaching and praying is most intimate and beautiful. We naturally turn from teaching or preaching to prayer. It is God’s way of relieving the heart. But for the relief which is found in prayer, the heart would, soon sink beneath the solemn responsibility of ministering in the weighty matters of the soul. Eternal things maybe seen in such a light, and realised in such power, from earnestly pressing their importance upon others, that a weight the most solemn and depressing may be left on the mind. Hence the need of a burden-bearer. Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
If we attach eternity to the destinies of our hearers, we invest them with an interest, an importance, and a magnitude, which are altogether overwhelming. Compared with Eternity, everything which can be reckoned by time dwindles into utter insignificancy. How, where, can relief from the pressure of such thoughts be found? Only in prayer. The testimony, the souls, the eternal results, and the conscious short-comings too, must all be cast upon God.
To this divine refuge — this place of repose and strength — the great apostle now turns. For the moment he takes the place of intercessor. And now, mark, I pray thee, my soul — carefully mark — the character of this divinely inspired prayer. Thou hast here the apostle before thee, both as a teacher and as an intercessor. Blessed example! — it is worthy of thy closest study. And first, observe the perfect harmony there is between his prayer and the truths he had just been teaching. He says nothing in his prayer about the forgiveness of sins, or that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Why is this? thou mayest inquire. The answer is, that the tone of his prayer is not below the tone of his teaching. Some seem to pull down in their prayers what they have confessedly been building up in their teaching. Not so the apostle. He is perfectly consistent. He seeks to bind up more closely in prayer what he has built up as a teacher. Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
The difference, we are ready to admit, between the tone of the teaching and the prayers, to which we have referred, may flow from a sense of unworthiness on the mind of him who is ministering in the things of God. And this, in its own place, is to be admired; but, nevertheless, we may falsify the word of God, and contradict our own statements by praying according to our feelings, or a supposed becoming humility. Intelligence in the word is to be looked for; it is our only safe guide, and the medium of the Holy Spirit’s action. At the same time, the prayer may be a truer index of the state of the heart in the presence of God, than the doctrines which have been advanced. The Lord knows. O my soul, judge thyself! — solemnly, constantly, judge thyself! And may He enable all His servants so to judge themselves, that they may be true and real before Him and before the congregation. We now turn to the lesson taught us by the apostle.
Having addressed the saints at Ephesus as the children of God, and as blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, he could not consistently pray that they might know that God loves them, and that they were forgiven. He had taught them these blessed truths in the plainest and fullest manner. He had assured the Ephesians, and through the same epistle he assures all Christians, that they are the children of God, according to the good pleasure of His will — that they are before Him as the very delight of His heart — that they are pardoned and accepted in the Beloved — that the Holy Spirit dwells in them, both as a seal of their present salvation, and as an earnest of their future glory. Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
These blessed truths are not only revealed to faith, but they are sealed home to the Christian’s heart, through the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. “In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with [not by, observe, but with] that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” In beautiful harmony with these and other great truths which he had taught the saints, he prays that God may give them the spirit of wisdom to understand these marvellous revelations of His grace, and that they might rise, in faith, to the height of His thoughts and counsels about them. This is the burden of his prayer.
But are Christians, let me ask, not to confess their sins and shortcomings to God their Father? Most assuredly: that is just what they need to do constantly. And they cannot walk with God unless they do; but they should never lower, by unscriptural expressions, the ground of their standing in His presence. Our standing in the presence of God is in virtue of the work of Christ, and according to the riches of God’s grace; and, as these can never fail, we can never lose the place they give. Besides, it is “to the praise of the glory of his grace” that we are there. But, though we may be deeply conscious of failure as Christians, we should never take the ground of poor, unpardoned sinners before God. This would be to deny our calling and to bring darkness, confusion, and weakness into our souls. God says we are before Him as His children, pardoned and accepted in the Beloved. We are no longer on the ground of sinners before God, but as children before the Father.
In conversion, the ground is changed. When born of God, we cease to be on the ground of sinners before Him, and are ever after on the ground of children in the family. True, we do not cease to be sinners, in the sense that we sin daily and hourly in thought, word, and deed. The thought of foolishness is sin; and who is not troubled with foolish thoughts? But we are to confess our faults as children before the Father, and not as sinners before God. In faithfulness to God and His word, we ought to maintain the ground on which He has set us. Not, of course, that the sin of the child is any the less, but, on the contrary, more grievous, for it is against more light, love, and grace. And, rest assured, the better we understand our calling in Christ, the deeper will be our humiliation on account of failure, and the more unreserved our confession of it. True holiness should characterise the children of God. As it is written, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Or, in other words, the Christian’s state should always answer to his standing. When it is not so, there is too good reason for humiliation and confession.
The question, you will see, is not that the Christian is any better in himself than he ever was, but that his position is changed. His standing before God is no longer in the first Adam but in the last Adam — the risen Christ. And he is expected to walk even as Christ walked. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Indeed, the scriptures speak of the Christian as if it were just possible for him to sin.
“If,” the Apostle John says, “IF any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” The possibility of sinning is barely admitted. Such is the dignified manner of scripture, when speaking of the children of God: though, when speaking of our old nature, it affirms there is no good thing in it. And it is worthy of notice that he does not say, “If any man repent and pray for pardon, he will be forgiven;” but, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father.” Nevertheless, we ought to repent, and repent deeply, when conscious of failure. But, in the meantime, Christ sees to our interests in heaven, and the Holy Ghost sees to our interests on earth, so that we are well cared for; adored be the goodness of our God! What a mercy that we are in Christ’s hands!
How often we may sin and never be conscious of it; but Christ sees it at once, and meets the need in virtue of His blood, so that the sin never reaches the throne of God. All praise be to His blessed name! The work of Christ has set us as children in the Father’s presence, and fitted us to be there; and the advocacy of Christ maintains us holy, and without blame, before Him in love. The Lord give us to be in the intelligence of scripture, both in teaching, preaching, and praying; and may we stand firm on the great truth, that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.
“GREAT ADVOCATE, Almighty Friend,
On Thee do all our hopes depend;
Our cause can never, never fail,
For Thou dost plead, and must prevail.
In every dark distressing hour,
When sin and Satan join their power,
Let this blest truth repel each dart,
That Thou dost bear us on Thy heart.”
The apostle refers in his first prayer to “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory.” The mighty power of God, as displayed in the exaltation of Christ, and of the Christian in Him, is the prominent thought in this prayer, but not the only one. The thought suggested by the expression, “Father of glory,” is sweet to the heart of the child. While we connect the idea of power with the title “God,” affection is inseparably associated with the title “Father.” This is most precious to the heart — it sweetens everything. While meditating in wonder and delight on the bright scene of glory which is before us, the happy thought crosses the mind, My Father’s love is the spring of all that glory — the fountain of all that perfect blessedness. He is “the Father of glory.”
Great indeed and wonderful is the effect of God’s power as here seen by the eye of faith. It is called, “the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” But who can speak of the happy combination of love and glory? Yet, surely, even the brightest glory is but the outward manifestation of love. Nevertheless, they go well together — we would not have them separated; and thank God, they never will be: but all will allow that love is the deeper, closer thing. Both will be seen in the millennium. Then the heavens will not be so high above the earth as they now are. They will be, as it were, together. Jacob in vision saw them united as by a ladder, and the many glories encircling the Messiah were seen from earth’s point of view. Then the church will be seen in company with Christ, according to His own word in John 17 “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
Here all is plain as to the future. The glory which the Father gives the Son, the Son gives to us, that the world may know that the Father sent the Son, and that He loves us, as He loves the Son. When the world sees us in the same glory with Christ it will then know that we are loved with the same love. Wondrous, blessed truth! The soul can only bow in worship, while meditating on the grace that shines in these bright scenes of love and glory. “But what will it be to be there!” True, my soul, but what of the Father’s house? Ah! that is the inner circle, the home of love. What is enjoyed there the world can never know. It will see the glory outside the house, but it can never gaze on the family scenes inside. Is this thy place, O my soul? It is the children’s place, I answer, and we are all the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus. His word can never be broken. All who are the children of God now, will be in the children’s home then. Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
“O LORD! my pilgrim spirit longs
To sing the everlasting songs
Of GLORY, LOVE, and power;
When heaven and earth and all things yield,
My Saviour will be still my shield,
For He has to my soul revealed
Himself my strength and tower.”
Who — O who could rest without the full assurance of an eternity of love and glory? Pray, dear reader, is this thy blessed hope? It is, surely, worthy of all thy thought — all thy attention — all thy determination; and all sacrifice too, even unto life itself, rather than lose that home of love — that eternal glory. One word settles all, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:35-36.) May the Lord grant unto thee; and unto all who read these pages, His own richest and everlasting blessing, and may we all meet at last in that eternally happy home. Now believe! Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
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Miller Meditations on Christian Standing
|Date:||January 15, 2017|
|Date:||January 15, 2017|