It is written of our blessed Lord, "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." It is the purpose of God that we, as we are indwelt by the Spirit of His Son, should likewise love righteousness and hate iniquity. I see that there is a place for us in Christ Jesus where we are no longer under condemnation but where the heavens are always open to us. I see that God has a realm of divine life opening up to us where there are boundless possibilities, where there is limitless power, where there are untold resources, where we have victory over all the power of the devil. I believe that, as we are filled with the desire to press on into this life of true holiness, desiring only the glory of God, there is nothing that can hinder our true advancement.
Peter commences his second epistle with these words, "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." It is through faith that we realize that we have a blessed and glorious union with our risen Lord. When He was on earth Jesus told us, "I am in the Father and the Father in me." "The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works." And He prayed to His Father, not only for His disciples but for those who should believe on Him through their word, "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me." Oh what an inheritance is ours when the very nature, the very righteousness, the very power of the Father and the Son are made real in us. That is God's purpose, and as we by faith lay hold on the purpose we shall be ever conscious of the fact that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. The purpose of all Scripture is to move us on to this wonderful and blessed elevation of faith where our constant experience is the manifestation of God's life and power through us.
Peter goes on writing to these who have obtained like precious faith, saying, "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord." We can have the multiplication of this grace and peace only as we live in the realm of faith. Abraham attained to the place where he became a friend of God, on no other line than that of believing God. He believed God and God counted that to him for righteousness. Righteousness was imputed to him on no other ground than that he believed God. Can this be true of anybody else? Yes, every person in the whole wide world who is saved by faith is blessed with faithful Abraham. The promise which came to him because he believed God was that in Him all the families of the earth should be blessed. When we believe God there is no knowing where the blessing of our faith will end.
Some are tied up because, when they are prayed for, the thing that they are expecting does not come off the same night. They say they believe, but you can see that they are really in turmoil of unbelief. Abraham believed God. You can hear him saying to Sarah, "Sarah, there is no life in you and there is nothing in me, but God has promised us a son and I believe God." And that kind of faith is a joy to our Father in heaven.
One day I was having a meeting in Bury, in Lancashire, England. A young woman was present who came from a place called Ramsbottom, to be healed of goiter. Before she came, she said, "I am going to be healed of this goiter, mother." After one meeting she came forward and was prayed for. The next meeting she got up and testified that she had been wonderfully healed, and she said, "I shall be so happy to go and tell mother that I have been wonderfully healed." She went to her home and testified how wonderfully she had been healed, and the next year when we were having the convention she came again. To the natural view it looked as though the goiter was just as big as ever; but that young woman was believing God and she was soon on her feet giving her testimony, and saying, "I was here last year and the Lord wonderfully healed me. I want to tell you that this has been the best year of my life." She seemed to be greatly blessed in that meeting and she went home to testify more strongly than ever that the Lord had healed her. She believed God. The third year she was at the meeting again, and some people who looked at her said, "How big that goiter has become." But when the time came for testimony she was up on her feet and testified. "Two years ago the Lord graciously healed me of goiter. Oh I had a most wonderful healing. It is grand to be healed by the power of God." That day someone remonstrated with her and said, "People will think there is something the matter with you. Why don't you look in the glass? You will see that your goiter is bigger than ever." That good woman went to the Lord about it and said, "Lord, you so wonderfully healed me two years ago. Won't you show all the people that you healed me." She went to sleep peacefully that night still believing God and when she came down the next day there was not a trace or a mark of that goiter.
God's word is from everlasting to everlasting. His word cannot fail. God's word is true and when we rest in the fact of its truth what mighty results we can get. Faith never looks in the glass. Faith has a glass into which it can look. It is the glass of the perfect law of liberty. "Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." To the man who looks into this perfect law of God all darkness is removed and he sees his completeness in Christ. There is no darkness in faith. There is only darkness in nature. Darkness only exists when the natural is put in the place of the divine.
Not only is grace multiplied to us through knowledge of god and of Jesus christ, but peace also. As we really know our God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, we will have peace multiplied to us even in the multiplied fires of ten thousand Nebuchadnezzars. It will be multiplied to us even though we are put into the den of lions, and we will live with joy in the midst of the whole thing. What was the difference between Daniel and the king that night when Daniel was put into the den of lions? Daniel knew, but the king was experimenting. The king came around the next morning and cried, "Oh Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?" Daniel answered, "My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths." The thing was done. It was done when Daniel prayed with his windows open toward heaven. All our victories are won before we go into the fight. Prayer links us on to our lovely God, our abounding God, our multiplying God. Oh I love Him! He is so wonderful!
You will note, as you read these first two verses of the first chapter of the second epistle of Peter, that this grace and peace is multiplied through the knowledge of God, but that first our faith comes through the righteousness of God. Note that righteousness comes first and knowledge afterwards. It cannot be otherwise. If you expect any revelation of God apart from holiness you will have only a mixture. Holiness opens the door to all the treasures of God. He must first bring us to the place where we, like our Lord, love righteousness and hate iniquity, before He opens up to us these good treasures. When we regard iniquity in our hearts the Lord will not hear us, and it is only as we are made righteous and pure and holy through the precious blood of God's Son that we can enter into this life of holiness and righteousness in the Son. It is the righteousness of our Lord Himself made real in us as our faith is stayed in Him.
After I was baptized with the Holy Ghost the Lord gave me a blessed revelation. I saw Adam and Eve turned out of the garden for their disobedience and unable to partake of the tree of life, for the cherubim with flaming sword kept them away from this tree. When I was baptized I saw that I had begun to eat of this tree of life and I saw that the flaming sword was all round about. It was there to keep the devil away. Oh, what privileges are ours when we are born of God. How marvelously He keeps us so that the wicked one touches us not. I see a place in God where satan dare not come. Hidden in God. And He invites us all to come and share this wonderful hidden place where our lives are hid with Christ in God, where we dwell in the secret place of the Most High and abide under the shadow of the Almighty. God has this place for you in this blessed realm of grace.
Peter goes on to say, "According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue." God is calling us to this realm of glory and virtue where, as we feed on His exceeding great and precious promises, we are made partakers of the divine nature. Faith is the substance of things hoped for right here in this life. It is right here that God would have us partake of His divine nature. It is nothing less than the life of the Lord Himself imparted and flowing into our whole beings, so that our very body is quickened, so that every tissue and every drop of blood and our bones and joints and marrow receive this divine life. I believe that the Lord wants this divine life to flow right into our natural bodies, this law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus that makes us free from the law of sin and death. God wants to establish our faith so that we shall lay hold on this divine life, this divine nature of the Son of God, so that our spirit and soul and body will be sanctified wholly and preserved unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When that woman was healed of the issue of blood, Jesus perceived that power had gone out of Him. The woman's faith laid hold and this power was imparted and immediately the woman's being was surcharged with life and her weakness departed. The impartation of this power produces everything you need; but it comes only as our faith moves out for its impartation. Faith is the victory. If thou canst believe, it is thine.
I suffered for many years from piles, till my whole body was thoroughly weak; the blood used to gush from me. One day I got desperate and I took a bottle of oil and anointed myself. I said to the Lord, "Do what you want to, quickly." I was healed at that very moment. God wants us to have an activity of faith that dares to believe God. There is what seems like faith, and appearance of faith, but real faith believes God right to the end.
What was the difference between Zacharias and Mary? The angel came to Zacharias and told him, "Thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son." Zacharias was there in the holy place, but he began to question this message, saying, "I am an old man, my wife is well stricken in years." Gabriel rebuked him for his unbelief and told him, "Thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words." But note the contrast when the angel came to Mary. She said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." And Elizabeth greeted Mary with the words, "Blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord." God would have us to lay hold on His word in like manner. He would have us to come with boldness of faith declaring, "You have promised it, Lord. Now do it." God rejoices when we manifest a faith that holds Him to His word. Can we get there?
The Lord has called us to this glory and virtue; and, as our faith lays hold on Him, we shall see this in manifestation. I remember one day I was holding an open-air meeting. My uncle came to that meeting and said, "Aunt Mary would like to see Smith before she dies." I went to see her and she was assuredly dying. I said, "Lord, can't you do something?" All I did was this, to stretch out my hands and lay them on her. It seemed as though there was an immediate impartation of the glory and virtue of the Lord. Aunt Mary cried, "It is going all over my body." And that day she was made perfectly whole.
One day I was preaching and a man brought a boy who was done up in bandages. The boy was in irons and it was impossible for him to walk and it was difficult for them to get him to the platform. They passed him over about six seats. The power of the Lord was present to heal and it entered right into the child as I placed my hands on him. The child cried, "Daddy, it is going all over me." They stripped the boy and found nothing imperfect in him.
The Lord would have us to be walking epistles of His word. Jesus is the Word and is the power in us, and it is His desire to work in and through us His own good pleasure. We must believe that He is in us. There are boundless possibilities for us if we dare to act in God and dare to believe that the wonderful virtue of our living Christ shall be made manifest through us as we lay our hands on the sick in His name.
The exceeding great and precious promises of the Word are given to us that we might be partakers of the divine nature. I feel the Holy Ghost is grieved with us because, when we know these things, we do not do greater exploits for God. Does not the Holy Ghost show us wide-open doors of opportunity? Shall we not let God take us on to greater things? Shall we not believe God to take us on to greater manfestations of His power? His call for us is to forget the things that are behind, and reach forth unto the things which are before and to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.