Part 8: Kept by the power of God

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)

Here we have two wonderful, blessed truths about the keeping by which a believer is kept unto salvation. One truth is Kept by the power of God; and the other truth is Kept throgh faith. We shall look at both sides – at God’s side and His almighty power, offered to us to be our Keeper every moment of the day; and at the human side, we having nothing to do but in faith let God do His keeping work. We are begotten again to an inheritance kept in Heaven for us; and we are kept here on earth by the power of God. We see there is a double keeping – the inheritance kept for me in Heaven, and I on earth kept for the inheritance there.

1. Kept by the power of God

   A. This keeping is all-inclusive

What is kept? You are kept! How much of you? Your whole being! Does God keep one part of you and not another? No! Some people have the idea that this is sort of vague, general keeping, and that God will keep them in such a way that when they die, they will get to Heaven, but they do not apply that word kept to everything in their being and nature. And yet, that is what God wants.

Suppose I borrowed a watch from a friend, and this friend told me: “When you go to America, I will let you take it with you, but mind you keep it safely and bring it back.” Suppose I damaged the watch , and had the hands broken, and the face defaced, and some of the wheels and springs spoiled, and took it back in that condition, and handed it to my friend; he would say: “Ah, but I gave you that watch on condition that you would keep it.” “Have I not kept it? There’s the watch.” “But I did not want you to keep it in that general way, so that you should bring me back only the shell of the watch, or the remains. I expected you to keep every part of it.” And so, God does not want to keep us in this general way, so that at last, somehow or other, we shall be saved as by fire, and just get into Heaven. But the keeping power and the love of God applies to every particular of our being.

     B. He will delight to keep you

Some people think they never can get so far as that every word of their mouth should be to the glory of God. But it is what God wants of them, it is what God expects of them. God is willing to set a watch at the door of their mouth, and if God will do that, can He not keep their tongue and their lips? He can; and that is what God is going to do for them that trust Him. God’s keeping is all-inclusive, and let everyonewho longs to live a holy life think out all their needs, and all their weaknesses, and all their shortcomings, and all their sins, and say deliberately: “Is there any sin that my God can not keep me from?” And the heart will have to answer: “No; God can keep me from every sin.”

     C. An almighty keeping

God is almighty, and the Almighty God offers Himself to work in my heart, to do the work of keeping me; and I want to get linked with Omnipotence, or rather, linked to the Omnipotent One, to the living God, and to have my place in the hollow of His hand.

Have you ever thought that in every action of grace in your heart you have the whole omnipotence of God engaged to bless you? When I come to a man and he bestows upon me a gift of money, I get it and go away with it. He has given me something of his; the rest he keeps for himself.But that is not the way with the power of God. God can part with nothing of His own power, and therefore I can experience the power and goodness of God only so far as I am in contact and fellowship with Himself; and when I come into contact and fellowship with the whole omnipotence of God, and have the omnipotence of God to help me every day.

     D. Continuous and unbroken

People sometimes say: “For a week or a month God has kept me wonderfully: I have lived in the light of His countenance, and I cannot say what joy I have had in fellowship with Him. He has blessed me in my work for others. He has given me souls, and at times I felt as if I were carried heavenward on eagle wings. But it did not continue. It was too good; it could not last.” And some say: “It was necessary that I should fall to keep me humble.” And others say: “I know it was my own fault; but somehow you cannot always live up in the heights.”

Why is this? Can there be any reason why the keeping of God should not be continuous and unbroken? Just think. All life is in unbroken continuity. If my life were stopped for half an hour, I would be dead, and my life gone. Life is a continuous thing, and the life of God is the life of His church, and the life of God is His almighty power working in us. And God comes to us as the Almighty One, and without any condition He offers to be my Keeper, and His keeping means that day by day, moment by moment, God is going to keep us.

If I were to ask the question: “Do you think that God is able to keep you one day from actual transgression?” I am sure you would answer “yes” or “I think so”. Well, ii God is able to do it an hour or a whole day, why not two days or longer? The fact is that God with His almighty power is more than able to do all this. Knowing this, it’s time to look at the next part of this truth.

2. Kept through faith

     A. Utter importance and helplessness before God

At the bottom of all faith there is a feeling of helplessness. If I have a bit of business to transact, perhaps to buy a house, the comveyancer must do the work of getting the transfer of the property in my name, and making all the arrangements. I cannot do that work, and in trusting that agent, I confess that I cannot do it. And so faith always means helplessness. In many cases it means: I can do it with a great deal of trouble, but another can do it better. But in most cases it is utter helplessness; another must do iit for me. And that is the secret of the spiritual life. A man must learn to say: “I give up everything! I have tried and longed, and thought and prayed, but failure has come. God has blessed me and helped me, but still, in the long run, there has been so much of sin and sadness.” What a change comes when a man is broken down into utter helplessness and despair like this, and says: “I can do nothing!”

Do you want to enter what people call “the higher life”? Then go a step lower down. There is a story of a gentleman who was invited to to go see some works where they made fine shot, and the workmen did so by pouring down molten lead from a great height. The gentleman was supposed to be taken up to the top of the tower to see how the work was done. The gentleman came to the tower, he entered by the door, and began going upstairs,; but when he had gone a few seps, the workman called out: “That is the wrong way! You must come down this way; those stairs are closed off!” The workman took him downstairs a good many steps, and there an elevator was ready to take the gentleman to the top. The gentleman said: “I have learned a lesson that going down is often the best way to go up!”

Oh yes, God will have to bring us very low down; there will have to come upon us a sense of emptiness and despair and nothingness. It is when we sink down in utter helplessness that the everlasting God will reveal Himself in His power, and that our hearts will learn to trust God alone.

     B. Rest

In the beginning of the faith-life, faith is struggling; but as long as faith is struggling, faith has not attained its strength. But when faith in its struggling gets to the end of itself, and just throws itself upon God and rests on Him, then comes joy and victory.

Once, a nobleman came from Capernaum to Cana to ask Jesus to heal his child. The nobleman believed tha Christ could help him in a general way, but he came to Jesus a good deal by way of an experiment. He hoped Christ would help him, but he had not any assurance of that help. But what happened? When Jesus said to him: “Go thy way, thy child liveth,” that man believed the word that Jesus spoke; he rested in that word. He had no proof that his child was well again, and he had to walk back seven hours journey to Capernaum. He walked back, and on the way met his servant, and got the first news that the child was well, that at one o’clock on the afternoon of the previous day,at the very time that Jesus spoke to him, the fever left the child. That father rested upon the word of Jesus and His work, and he went down to Capernaum and found his child well; and he praised God, and became with his whole house a believer and disciple of Jesus.

It is a great thing when a man comes to rest on God’s almighty power for every moment of his life, in prospect of temptations to temper and haste and anger and unlovingkindness and pride and sin. It is a great thing in prospect of these to enter into a covenant with the omnipotent Jehovah, not on account of anything that any man says, or of anything that my heart feels, but on the strength of the Word of God: “Kept by the power of God through faith.”

     C. Fellowship with God

Many people want to take the Word and believe that, and they find that they cannot believe it. Oh no! You cannot seperate God from His Word. No goodness or power can be received seperate from God, and if you want to get into this life of godliness , you must take time for fellowship with God.

People tell me: “My life is of such scurry and bustle that I have no time for fellowship with God.” A missionary once told me: ” People don’t know how we missionaries are tempted. I get up at five o’clock in the morning, and there are natives waiting for their orders for work. Then I have to goto the school and spend hours there; and then there is other work, and sixteen hours rush along,  and I hardly get time to be alone with God.”

There is the want! I pray that you will remember two things. I have not told you to trust the omnipotence of God as  a thing. and I have not told you to trust the Word of God as a written book, but I have told you to  go to the God of omnipotence and the God of the Word. Deal with God as that nobleman dealt with the living Christ. Why was he able to believe the word that Christ spoke to him? Because in the very eyes and tones and voice of Jesus, the Son of God, he saw and heard something which made him feel that he could trust Him. And that is what Christ can do for you and me. Leave your heart, and look into the face of Christ, and listen to what He tells you about how He will keep you. Look up into the face of your loving Father, and take time every day with Him, and begin a new life with the deep emptiness and povertyof a man who has got nothing, and who wants to get everything from Him – with a deep restfulness of a man who rests on the living God, the omnipotent Jehovah – and try God, and prove Him if He will not open the windows of Heaven and pour out a bøessingthat there shall not be room to receive it…

 

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