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THE TURNING-POINT OF OUR LIVES.

THE TURNING-POINT OF OUR LIVES.

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Published by glennpease

Eph. iv. 17.

" / say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye
henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk"

Eph. iv. 17.

" / say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye
henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk"

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Published by: glennpease on Jan 19, 2013
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THE TURNING-POINT OF OUR LIVES.EDITED BY THE REV. HENRY NEWLAND,Eph. iv. 17." / say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that yehenceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk"THE lesson of this Sunday is seen in its Collectthat without God we are not able to pleaseHim, but that God the Holy Ghost does,under certain conditions, direct and rule thehearts of men. It is evident, therefore, thatif we are under these conditions we are ableto please God, and that to say we are notable to please Him when He has held outconditions in which we may please Him, ismere faithlessness the very worst descriptionof self-deceit, because it is taking a Gospeltruth, and making that very truth the groundfor deceiving ourselves.This, therefore, is the point carried out bythe Gospel and Epistle. The Gospel describes350 THE TURNING-POINT OF OUR LIVES.the turning-point of a man s life, the Epistle aman s conduct before and after that point.In the Gospel, a man afflicted with thepalsy is brought before Christ ; brought, youobserve, by his believing friends, not comingfrom his own belief, or trust, or hope. TheLord, seeing their faith, not the man s faithwe do not know whether he had faith or notbut seeing the faith of the friends, saith tothe sick of the palsy, " Thy sins be forgiventhee." Can we not see in this the child incapable of faith himself brought to the Fontby the faith of those about him ?You will observe that this forgiveness is toall intents and purposes the same as that of Baptism, it is the washing away of sin. Peoplewonder sometimes when they see how carefulthe Apostles were to baptise, and how indispensable they evidently considered Baptismwith water and in the Name of the Father,Son, and Holy Ghost to the salvation of theirconverts, and then remember that our LordHimself never baptised at all, and in many
 
cases forgave sins without visible or waterBaptism. If these people remembered thatthe outward visible sign or form in Baptismis of no value whatever in itself, but derivesits whole efficacy from the Word of Christ,which made it what it is, they would cease toTHE TURNING-POINT OF OUR LIVES. 351wonder that the Almighty God Himself dispensed with it. Christ could wash away sinsin any way that He pleased, but we can washaway sins by that means only which He gaveus for doing it. Water is not indispensablefor God in His own proper person, but it is indispensable for man, because God gave himno other means.The man, then, was baptised by God s Baptism, and the difference between his state before and his state after was exactly this, thatwhereas before he was able to do nothing of himself, afterwards he was able to perform allthe ordinary duties of life ; his sins were forgiven him, therefore he was able to do thosethings which, since he had been under thepow r er of the disease, he had been unable todo ; and, as soon as he was able, he received acommand from Him to go and exercise thepower he had thereby acquired " take upthy bed, and go into thine house."In histories such as this, which are recordedfor the express purpose of revealing doctrine,we must be particular in noticing a numberof little things which in other records wouldseem matters of course. No speech of ourLord s is a matter of course; He might havesaid, and it was most natural that He shouldhave said, Arise, and follow Me, or Arise, and352 THE TURNING-POINT OF OUE LIVES.show these people that you are healed. WhatHe did say is, "Arise, take up thy bed, andgo to thy house." We serve God by doingthe common duties and offices of life with theSpiritual strength w r hich He has given us todo them with.All our Sunday lessons are derived from aportion of the Gospels and the Epistles takenconjointly, because the Epistles are specimensof the way in which the Apostles set the
 
Lord s doctrine before the people. In veryfew instances indeed did Jesus Himself teachthe people; in most cases His teaching wasdirected towards His disciples alone. Hewould be on earth for a short time, He therefore occupied Himself mainly in preparingthose who would supply His place. Hencewe find, " Jesus Himself baptised not, but Hisdisciples;" "Jesus gave thanks, and brake"the five barley loaves and two fishes, and gavethem, not to the multitude, but " to the disciples, to set before the multitude ;" and afterwards He tells them to make disciples of thismultitude, and of other multitudes, " teachingthem whatsoever I have commanded you."The Epistles, therefore, show us the wayin which those Apostles received this typicalteaching of their Lord, and the way in whichthey explained it. We are very apt to think THE TURNING-POINT OF OUR LIVES. 353that the Gospels are easier to understand thanthe Epistles. It is not so. It is easier to understand the facts, it is easier to understandthat Christ did heal, and that Christ did perform this or that miracle ; but the inner meaning and doctrine of these facts we should notunderstand at all, nor even see that there wasan inner meaning in them, unless the Apostleshad set it before us. The Gospels are easyto us only because the Church, having theEpistles and the general teaching of the Apostles, is able to lay them before us plainly.The Epistle for this day, therefore, is acomment upon this text. St. Paul addressesthe Ephesians, and beseeches them that henceforth, that is to say, from the time they havepassed this turning-point of their lives, theyshould not walk as other Gentiles walk, in theemptiness of their minds, for that is the truemeaning of the word which we render " vanity."In them it might be excusable, because theirminds were empty, which, of course, meansempty of grace; because their understandings had not been enlightened, in the onlyway in which they could be enlightened, byunion with God. They could not thereforefeel the incongruity of all this, and thereforethey naturally enough would "give themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all

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