12 Basking in Godly Affections

By John Thiel, Godly Affections That Motivate Series, mp3

Scripture reading: Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

We want to appreciate the releases that come to us when we take time out and bask and keep that beautiful sense that is gained by resting in the affections of the Lord with us when we have to meet the stresses and responsibilities of Christianity and life. The lot of the true Christian in following Christ carries an interesting burden, which needs to be released all the time.

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Christ suffered for us, and if we are going to follow in His steps we will suffer together with Him.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;

What does it mean to be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ?

Romans 8:17 …if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.

This is something which many Christians don’t take into account. They don’t consider that if they are going to follow Jesus they are going to have to suffer together with Him, with, at the end of the suffering, the ultimate result of being truly embraced in the wonderful heirship of the Godhead.

As we continue to be God’s people and follow Jesus like that into the time in which we live (which is called the sealing of the 144,000), there is an experience that we will go through. The 144,000, that we are to be part of, are a people who have an extra load in these last days, besides the suffering that is general in Christianity. They will have to come to a period of great tribulation. The responsibilities of the 144,000 are very broad – there is for them a warfare to wage against the special inroads of Satan in these last days. They will have to go through the period of persecution under the papal decree of the Sunday law, the time of Jacob’s trouble, the time of self-denial, a time of rejecting all the earthly pleasures that are surrounding us today and which are not God’s will for us.

So the stress reaches a higher level for the 144,000 than it ever did for general Christianity, and it is the path of the Christian in the last days. At times, as we have to face up to these sufferings and to meet up with the burdens of life in these last days (let alone the burdens of true Christianity in these last days), there is an overburden that calls for some kind of mechanism of internal release from the stress that keeps on heaping itself up upon our shoulders.

Present Repose?

We have a bliss in the future that we can obtain through Christ’s wonderful gift; we can have eternal life, heaven; but is there any present repose besides that comfort of future bliss? Is there something by which I can truly and totally release my stresses in these times of sufferings?

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have [present tense] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

In hope of the character of God. So as we travel along life we are being justified by faith, and this beautiful grace gives us peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, rejoicing in hope. It is important, if we will only believe it, that the atonement has taken out the stress of doubt about God’s smiles upon us who find ourselves out of the way of God’s perfect will so many times.

Release from Stress

The following are scriptures that give us tangible comfort as we embrace the atonement of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

This is the atonement. Jesus was made at one with us, to be sin for us. And He was made to be sin for us, not merely at the cross, but by the fact that He embraced us in Himself, by the fact that He was born with our sinful flesh. Jesus was made to be sin for us so that He could suffer with us in our sin and so that we could find justification to repose in this amazing mercy of God; because by the precious gift of Jesus Christ this comfort that we may bask in is present tense.

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:

You and I, because we believe in Jesus and are justified, are called sons of God.

1 John 3:1 …therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God,

Not in the future; now.

1 John 3:2 …and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

This is the hope. This is the reality of now. Now are we the sons of God. And we are to bask in that knowledge of this amazing mercy of God.

Psalm 103:13 Like as a father pitieth [his] children, [so] the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we [are] dust.

Now are we the sons of God; and in our dusty, human earthliness He does not condemn or repulse us. Instead, He has pity on us. In fact,

Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 

He pities us. We need to believe this. We need to believe that Christ has taken upon Himself our undone condition and that because of Him we are now the sons of God together with Him; that in spite of our earthliness Jesus is our personal Saviour and we can bask in that precious reality. What is the comfort that we find by believing this?

Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. {SC 62.2}

If you believe that,

If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned. {Ibid.

This is very personal. It is not general. It is each one of us personally. We who have sinned, who have marred God’s image in our sinful activities, if we will believe that we have been justified in Jesus, that He in the atonement has taken our sin, then we are accounted righteous; Christ’s character stands in place of our character, and we are accepted before God just as if we had never sinned. Do you believe that? For yourself, I mean; not just in general; not just as a theory; not just as a doctrine, but personally, when you feel so depraved because of the memory of your sins? I am accepted before God because Jesus has placed His perfection at my account, and I am accepted before Him as if that sin that I can remember in my memory never even existed. It is so important that we embrace this.

More than this, Christ changes the heart. He abides in your heart by faith. You are to maintain this connection with Christ by faith and the continual surrender of your will to Him; … Then with Christ working in you, you will manifest the same spirit and do the same good works –works of righteousness, obedience. {SC 62.3}

These become realities to us.

There are those who have known the pardoning love of Christ and who really desire to be children of God, yet they realize that their character is imperfect, their life faulty, and they are ready to doubt whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. {SC 64.1}

By believing in the pardoning love of Christ we can be comforted; but then comes this revelation of myself and I realise that my character is still imperfect, my life faulty, and that is present tense in my experience.

To such I would say, Do not draw back in despair. We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, {Ibid.}

What does Inspiration say? “We shall often…” But you hate making mistakes, don’t you? And when you fall again you beat yourself internally and you make yourself feel horrible. But here we are told, You shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of your shortcomings and mistakes.

…but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. {Ibid.}

We are not cast off, even though we have failed Him again and we punish ourselves for it. Don’t be discouraged. “Do not draw back in despair.”

No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Said the beloved John, “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1. And do not forget the words of Christ, “The Father Himself loveth you.” John 16:27. He desires to restore you to Himself, to see His own purity and holiness reflected in you. And if you will but yield yourself to Him, He that hath begun a good work in you will carry it forward to the day of Jesus Christ. {Ibid.}

Hasn’t He taken us out of the past darkness? Well, if I still have some darkness now, He has begun the good work and He is going to finish it. So keep on going forward encouraged.

Pray more fervently; believe more fully. As we come to distrust our own power, let us trust the power of our Redeemer, and we shall praise Him who is the health of our countenance. {Ibid.}

Our health is dependent upon this. So although I may have sinned and spoiled my peace by my character deficiencies, yet because God has covered us in Jesus Christ and His righteousness stands in the place of our character, and since He is a pitiful Father and remembers that we are dust, He does not scold us because we have erred.

Basking in God’s Affections

His lips, as a fountain of righteousness flow,
To water the gardens of grace;
From which their salvation the Gentiles shall know,
And bask in the smiles of His face.

I come to God in true contrition and I am not to see Him as saying, Why did you fall again? No; He looks upon me and places the righteousness of Christ upon me and smiles. Although I have so miserably failed my God, this is the response that I find in Him:

…no sooner does the sheep go astray than the shepherd is filled with grief and anxiety. He counts and recounts the flock. When he is sure that one sheep is lost, he slumbers not. He leaves the ninety and nine within the fold, and goes in search of the straying sheep. {COL 187.4}

Is that not how we feel? Don’t we feel that we are lost? When I have sinned and my sin is before my face, I feel separated from God. I am in the thicket, like the sheep that has been stranded. I don’t have the sense of God’s presence. But what is here conveyed? He slumbers not. He leaves the ninety and nine within the fold, and goes in search of the straying sheep.

The darker and more tempestuous the night and the more perilous the way, the greater is the shepherd’s anxiety and the more earnest his search. He makes every effort to find that one lost sheep. {Ibid.}

As I am struggling around in the darkness of my storm, Jesus is there, in the atonement. And He demonstrates to us that He is looking for me in the darkness of my storm, of my strayed condition.

With what relief he hears in the distance its first faint cry. {COL 188.1}

The soul cries out, O God! and He hears it. And what does He feel? Relief!

Following the sound, he climbs the steepest heights, he goes to the very edge of the precipice, at the risk of his own life. {Ibid.}

Is this not the story of His redemption experience?

Thus he searches, while the cry, growing fainter, tells him that his sheep is ready to die. {Ibid.}

What a perfect illustration. As we are struggling with our sins we even feel that we can’t cry out to God anymore. My cry goes fainter, and He knows that I am ready to die.

At last his effort is rewarded; the lost is found. Then he does not scold it because it has caused him so much trouble. He does not drive it with a whip. He does not even try to lead it home. In his joy he takes the trembling creature upon his shoulders; if it is bruised and wounded, he gathers it in his arms, pressing it close to his bosom, that the warmth of his own heart may give it life. With gratitude that his search has not been in vain, he bears it back to the fold. {Ibid.}

Thank God, He has presented to our imagination no picture of a sorrowful shepherd returning without the sheep. {COL 188.2}

But you have to believe this. A lovely story, isn’t it? And we love the wonderful, comforting concepts of the story; but when it comes to my experience, when I am overwhelmed with my sense of shortfall, my failure, I am reluctant, strangely, to apply it to me in my present experience. It is a strange mental exercise.

We are to take in this story in all its dimensions. When I have gone astray, I am to bask. Bask in what? In the fact that He actually picks me up and puts me close to His bosom in my undone condition. As my heart is affected by this amazing gift of God in Jesus Christ, my affections are drawn to Him. He doesn’t rebuke me? He doesn’t react upon me in any way of scolding me? No, He just smiles that I am crying to Him; He brings me close to His bosom, and my affections are stirred for Him. What am I meant to do? Bask.

To know this full salvation and really take it in is the purpose of this message, and of all the subjects we have gone through on the theme of affections.

Think what Spirit dwells within thee;
Think what Father’s smiles are thine;
Think that Jesus died to win thee,
Child of Heaven, canst thou repine?

I am to actually bask in the fact that His smiles are upon me, to bask in His smiles. In spite of the deep sense of my condition, my earthliness, and my shortfall of character deficiencies, it says, Now are we the sons of God – in that very condition that is not yet perfect.

In God’s Presence

When are the times that we feel most depraved and unworthy? Daniel was here having a vision from God:

Daniel 10:8 Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me:

Why?

Daniel 10:8 …for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.

When Daniel was in vision and he saw the representation of Jesus, His body like the beryl, and His face as the appearance of lightning, his comeliness was turned in him into corruption, much like Isaiah when he saw the throne room of heaven. When Isaiah had this vision he said, I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell amongst a people of unclean lips. The corruption becomes prominent in my eyes when I am in God’s presence; I retain no strength.

Daniel 10:9 Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.

Daniel completely collapsed.

Daniel 10:10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and [upon] the palms of my hands. 11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved,

What did Daniel just feel? All his beloved comeliness was gone within him, and now this angel touches him and says to him, O Daniel, greatly beloved,

Daniel 10:11 …understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. 12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

What a beautiful representation this is. What was Daniel doing? He was setting his heart to understand, he was chastening himself. As you and I set our hearts to understand, the Lord draws near to us; and what happens to us? As the Lord draws near, you feel totally depraved. Your comeliness is turned inside of you to corruption, because you are in the presence of the Lord. So every time you feel like that, recognise this that you are in the presence of the Lord.

Job went through a similar experience as well. You will not see yourself as you really are until you see yourself in the presence of God. Then you will see what a corrupt person you are. This is what Job felt when God drew close to him and spoke with him:

Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor [myself], and repent in dust and ashes.

This is not a negative experience, although to human beings it feels like a negative one. This is an experience that is the presence of God drawing near to me; because He has pity on me. He loves me, and I am to embrace the sense of His presence in basking.

Psalm 42:3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where [is] thy God?

This is yet another dimension, because while the true Christian is going through this torment of his character deficiencies, people then point out to him his failures and in their gossip they question his dependence upon God.

Psalm 42:10 [As] with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where [is] thy God?

“You claim to be a Christian, a true believer, but look at you.” They will dig out our corruptions. So you have this burden as you are overwhelmed by the sense of God’s purity and of your own unworthiness, of your comeliness turning in you into corruption, and the words of the enemy (of the people around us) cause you to weep. In this consciousness and awareness it is imperative that we open our hearts to the atonement of Jesus and to the words that He can say to us because of it.

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things?

What will I say to my own sense of uncomeliness and the sense of what gossipers around me are saying about me?

Romans 8:31 …If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth.

Do you believe that you are justified by your faith in Jesus?

Romans 8:34 Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

If we sin we have an advocate. We are not to sin, but if we sin we have an advocate. Who is going to make any condemnation upon me if in my besotted condition I make my sins but I come to God in contrition? Who is he that condemneth when God says, I am glad you are crying to Me? Remember, the Shepherd’s anxiety is relieved when He can hear the cry. What a story. What a mind, what a heart! This heart of God we are called upon to bask in. Remember the story of Mary Magdalene? She was right there, afraid that she was going to be stoned by those men that she revered as the ministers of God; and they took her and brought her before Jesus, whom she revered even more. But what did Jesus say?

John 8:7 …He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

She really believed that she was going to get stoned. This is often how we feel. When we read God’s word we often read it in the same way that Mary looked upon Jesus, I’m condemned; I’m hopelessly lost because of my terrible sin. But no; no one threw a stone. And when she looked up, Jesus said to her, Where are those thine accusers? Then she said, They’re not here.

John 8:11 …And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee:

Psalm 37:32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him. 33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.

What a meditation. Are we not judged as sinful? Are we not judged as being imperfect in our characters? But as we come to God in the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our substitute we are justified; and therefore, when the wicked watch the righteous and say, You are lost; and they condemn us and discipline us, when they are themselves a church that has gone astray, like the Pharisees had, we are not condemned before God. As I saw this aspect of God’s justification in my contrition in my own experience I just began to bask. And then if the circumstances tend to press too heavily upon you, you tend to forget it. That is why it is so important to have these things brought to our memory time and time again, so that as the Lord declares me to be His righteous son because Jesus has taken my place, I may bask in that. We must bask!

The true Christian will continually sense these oppressing things as he looks into the face of God, because it says the nearer you come to God the more sinful you will see yourself. So as I am traveling closer and closer to God, the continual sense of my earthliness, weakness, and sinfulness is accentuated to me. But if I fail to bask continually in the mercies of the Father, I, as a Christian, will walk in a constant sense of depression and subconscious stress. Have a look at your own life. Have you lived like that? with an undercurrent of depression and stress? “I’m not meeting up with my expectations; my character is too deficient; I’m not going to make it…” It is a backdrop of negativity constantly sapping us of our joy, our light, and of the glory that we are to bask in.

Basking – What Does It Mean?

What does it actually mean to bask? This is the part that we don’t even dare to do when we see ourselves – to actually revel, as someone lying and basking in the sun, to absorb the sunlight and the warmth. This is what basking means. Is not Jesus compared with the sun?

Malachi 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

If you want healing you will lie and bask in the sun. You will bask in the healing rays of the health message. And this is the health message. I will cure you, He says, from sin. If I am going to be cured, am I going to hold on to the dark cloud, or am I going to let the Sun of righteousness penetrate me? I am to yield my whole body, soul, and spirit, and expose myself without one stitch of my own covering, to drink in this love and healing, to embrace the affections that God is raising here. And if I will do this, if I will bask in the warmth of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and let the warmth of Jesus touch my sheeplike heart that is wounded because I have gone astray and I am still smarting under the earthliness of my mistakes, does it feel wrong?

I have had to deal with this many times. You know, when you are being self-condemned over your own mistakes and sins, to feel free feels like there’s something wrong. Have you gone through that? It doesn’t feel right that I should be happy and cheerful; I should be mourning and upset about me. It feels wrong. But I am told that I should let the Sun of righteousness permeate my senses and give me healing. I am to bask without any stitch of my own righteousness, nothing to cover me by! Nothing. Open up entirely.

Arise

As the Sun of righteousness is shining upon me, His justification is of such a nature that God says, If the wicked do this to you, I will protect you; you are not condemned. As we take all this in and we realise that we are so far off the mark in our character and earthliness, and as we look at Him and we see our earthliness even more, we should let Him touch us and bask in the touch. Bask in the touch of the angel that touched Daniel and lifted him up. Bask. And what will be the sure result of doing this? I am under the illumination of the Sun of righteousness; He is shining upon me; and in the stressful areas of life I am called upon to repose, to enjoy, and to bask. What does He say? Arise. This is what He said to Daniel, Get up, Daniel, you are greatly beloved.

Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people:

What is that darkness? It is sin. It is what we see around us – people wallowing around in the madness of sin and earthliness.

Isaiah 60:2 …the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

His glory. By beholding Him I will feel my comeliness turn into corruption, but I keep on looking. And as my affections are turned to Him and stay there, and I bask in those affections that He is mine and I am His now, in spite of all my sins, what is the outcome? The glory of the Lord will be seen upon me. And in the gross darkness, when everyone else is giving up because it is so negative, here stand some people whose faces shine and whose life is still shining, even though the enemy has seen them having done wrong and has condemned them. But in spite of it, they shine, and they keep on going, and they don’t stop. This is what is written will happen. And the good work that the Lord has done in the beginning He will carry through to the end. The sure result of this activity is further described:

The less we see to esteem in ourselves, the more we shall see to esteem in the infinite purity and loveliness of our Saviour. A view of our sinfulness drives us to Him who can pardon; and when the soul, realizing its helplessness, reaches out after Christ, He will reveal Himself in power. The more our sense of need drives us to Him and to the word of God, the more exalted views we shall have of His character, and the more fully we shall reflect His image. {SC 65.2}

That is a strange one, isn’t it? We will reflect His image more and more fully as we place ourselves under His merciful ray of love; and this will cause us to reflect Him perfectly. Have we tried so hard to reach that perfect character? Yet the more we try to reach it the more we fail. But when we stop looking at our imperfect character and look at His perfect character and let it shine and we bask in it because He is shining upon us and our light has come; when His mercy and justification has penetrated us because we have opened ourselves to it, that which we desire so much in our character will be reflected.

So let us cease holding on to the darkness of our faulty earthliness. Let us bask in the light that shines upon us. And let Him touch you and raise you up, as He did Daniel, and as you rise up at every given situation of seeing your comeliness turning in you into corruption, let Him touch you, and touch you again, and touch you continually, until the constant focus upon this wonderful light will be reflected of you, unconsciously to yourself. I pray that our affections to God will become paramount so that we will let those affections govern all our human interactivity.

Amen.

Posted on May 11, 2017, in Divine Service Sermons, Godly Affections That Motivate Series, Sermons by John Thiel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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