Friday, October 28, 2016

So what?

I have a friend who speaks at Bible conferences a lot. I don't know how many times I've heard him say we need reality in our lives. Not only for our own benefit, but as a testimony to those around us.

We started out talking about how my co-workers and my neighbors and my friends and my family and the people in the little gathering here don't need to see me – not even the best version of me. They need to see the life of Jesus in my mortal body (2 Corinthians 4:10–11). Let's give some thought to that in practical terms.

2 Corinthians 4:10–11 tells us two things about this manifestation:

  1. it's self-evident that it has to be Christ Himself they see, not my imitation
  2. the cost is death working in me
May I suggest that the very first step is to go to the Lord Jesus in prayer, asking Him to manifest His life in my mortal body? May I also suggest that we ask for His patience and His grace as we contemplate the cost of death working in us? It is His work to do, but there will be very real pain associated with it, and we'll need His grace in the face of it.

The principle we keep coming back to is "abiding in Christ" (John 15:4). How do we abide in Christ? Robert commented

I was asked at the weekend, 'what does it mean in practice to abide in Christ'? I think John's answer may well have been, it means to be at the table and lean on His bosom John 13:23.
Paul's answer to the same question would have been, 'But we all, looking on the glory of the Lord, with unveiled face, are transformed according to the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit' 2 Corinthians 3:18

Colossians 3:1 takes up this thread and talks about setting our affections on things above because that's where Christ is. We understand that if I continue to look for fulfillment and meaning down here, I'm not looking for it up there. This, too, has to be the work of God in my heart. Can I suggest we ask the Father to show us His Son? Can I suggest we ask Him to put Christ between my eyes and this world, to keep me from being distracted by the bright and shiny things here?

Exodus 24:9–14 tells us the story of Moses and the elders of Israel seeing God on Sinai, "they saw God, and ate and drank" (Exodus 24:11). Verse 14 is particularly interesting, because Moses specifically told them to wait there for him to return. But they didn't wait for him: they got impatient and turned to idols (Exodus 32:1–2). We do exactly the same thing when we decide The Man who brought us up out of bondage (Exodus 32:1) has been "up there" too long (Colossians 3:1–4). We soon start looking around for something down here we can turn into a god. So the New Testament tells us again and again, "He's coming back!" "Don't give up waiting!"

Let's not get tired of waiting for Him to come back down from up there (Philippians 3:20–21).

We come back to this theme of eating in God's presence in Joshua 5:8–12, where four things are associated with Gilgal:

  1. circumcision, a rolling away of the reproach of Egypt (Joshua 5:8–9)
  2. the Passover (Joshua 5:10)
  3. eating the old corn of the land, a type of Christ in resurrection (Joshua 5:11, Leviticus 23:10–13, 1 Corinthians 15:20)
  4. eating manna, a type of Christ in humility (Joshua 5:12, John 6:32–33)
For us too, there are these four things. We've discussed Romans 6:11 and Colossians 3:1–4 at length. We have died with Christ. But Gilgal reminds us more of Colossians 3:5–7. Here there is a mortifying, a putting to death. There is a real pain associated with Gilgal that's not associated with the Red Sea. And there is a real pain in Colossians 3:5 that's not in Romans 6:11. It's relatively pain-free to reckon myself to have died with Christ; it's not at all pain-free to put to death my members on the earth.

Here again, we need to go to the Father and ask Him for grace and courage.

But of course it's not all pain in Gilgal: there's eating too. There are three meals mentioned: the Passover, the manna, and the old corn of the land. If you look closely at the timetable in Joshua 5, there was just one day when they ate both the old corn of the land and the manna. We, too, have a very narrow window of opportunity to eat both. We'll never get beyond feeding on Christ in resurrection, but we can only feed on Christ in humility while we're here. The supply of manna ends when we're out of the wilderness.

When we eat with Christ, we can expect to get what my buddy Caleb calls "Luke 24 heartburn" (Luke 24:29–32). We all need that kind of heartburn, and we should all ask the Father to give us a really "bad" case of it. That kind of heartburn comes from lingering over the table with Him and contemplating Him "starting with Moses and the prophets" (Luke 24:27).

I've heard this time and time again, but I still fail really to practice it... Can I start to see time spent with the Savior as an investment? The very best use of time is to spend it with Christ.

Those are some simple suggestions for "where to go from here". They're simple, but hopefully practical.

Links worth sharing

Several people have emailed me with links and quotations over the last few weeks that seem appropriate to share.

S. sent several links related to Election. The first is a letter by J. N. Darby:

This fresh breaking out of the doctrine of free-will helps on the doctrine of the natural man's pretension not to be entirely lost, for that is really what it amounts to. All men who have never been deeply convinced of sin, all persons with whom this conviction is based upon gross and outward sins, believe more or less in free-will. You know that it is the dogma of the Wesleyans, of all reasoners, of all philosophers. But this idea completely changes all the idea of Christianity and entirely perverts it.
The entire letter is on the STEM website.

Another from S. was this gem: an article entitled "Early Brethren Leaders and the Question of Calvinism" by Mark R. Stevenson. It's very interesting. The article considers current teaching among "open brethren" in comparison with "early brethren" when it comes to the question of Calvinism. It's more academic than I'd normally read, but it definitely grabbed my attention.

Rodger sent a link to an article on "New" and "Old" in Scripture:

It may be helpful to point out that there are four new things in Christianity — the new covenant, the new man, the new birth and new creation. In contrast to the new covenant we read of the old covenant, and in contrast to the new man we read of the old man. Yet we do not read of old birth in contrast to new birth, nor old creation in contrast to new creation. The reason being that when God styles a thing old He has done with it. In the cross of Christ both the old covenant and the old man were brought to an end judicially in view of the bringing in of the new covenant and the new man, but God has not yet done with the first birth or the first creation. We sometimes use the expression "old creation," but this term is not found in Scripture. The nearest approach to it is in Hebrews 1:11, "they shall wax old," but the actual term "old creation" is not used. We are thus still connected with the first birth and can glorify God in it; and He will yet fill the first creation with His glory as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14.
Again, the whole article is on the STEM website. This one caught my attention because I frequently use terms like "old creation".

I've been meaning to post this quote about J. N. Darby by William R. Newell from Romans Verse-by-Verse:

We know what debt under God all those who have the truth today owe to Darby, through whom God recovered more truth belonging to the Church of God, than through any other man since Paul, and whose writings are today the greatest treasure of truth and safeguard against error known to instructed believers.
Romans Verse-by-Verse, Chapter 12 (last checked 2016-10-28).

I wrote a blog post for my friend Scott's Digital Sojourner about reading Collected Writings of J. N. Darby. I should have included that quote, although it's likely I hadn't found it yet. Romans Verse-by-Verse is an incredible book, but it took me several years to read it through. In fact, I was given the book in 1996 and didn't finish reading it until 2015 or so...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Among my struggles has been catching glimpses of what Scripture says about the Christian life and seeing the contrast with what so many of us (including me) seem to think the Christian life is. As I've mulled this over, one recurring them has been the whole issue of Acceptance.

I mentioned to Alan in an email that I'm pretty sure I don't believe in the "Final Perseverance" in the Calvinistic sense, and I'm slowly realizing I don't even believe in "Eternal Security" in the more evangelical sense. Of course I don't mean to say that a child of God can perish, but I think both of those concepts falls far short of what Scripture actually teaches.

Romans 4:6–8 quotes Psalm 32:1–2 to establish the doctrine of justification by faith alone (what my buddy Steve calls Solifidianism). What is "the blessedness" of the man whom God justifies? It's that God will not at all count his sins against him (Romans 4:7). For the man whom God has justified (the ungodly man, v. 5), there is no sin that God will remember (see Acts 13:39). No matter what terrible sin I commit, God won't count it against me.

Think about that! It's not that God will one day forgive his sins, nor even that he's the kind of person whom God repeatedly forgives. It's that he is the kind of person whose sins God doesn't count.

Leviticus 1–7 outline the laws of the offerings. There are five offerings mentioned: the burnt offering (chap. 1), the grain offering (chap. 2), the peace offering (chap. 3), the sin offering (chap. 4), and the trespass offering (chap. 5). The next two chapters (Leviticus 6–7) then run through those offerings again, detailing the laws associated with them.

We tend to think first about the trespass offering, which was offered for deliberate offenses (Leviticus 6:1–5). This is the offering you were to make if you defrauded your neighbor. If we think about it a little more, we might think about the sin offering, which was offered for sins of inadvertence (Leviticus 4:1–3). In those two offerings we might see a picture of our sins and our sin. But God doesn't start with either of those two offerings: He starts with the burnt offering. What is the burnt offering, it's the offering of acceptance (Leviticus 1:3).

God accepts us before He deals with our sin (what we are), or our sins (what we have done).

The order is preserved in Ephesians. In Ephesians 1 the order is:

  1. God chose us in Christ (v. 4)
  2. God has accepted us "in the Beloved" (v. 6)
  3. we have redemption and forgiveness (v. 7)
So first we were chosen, then we were accepted, then we were forgiven.

That's not to say that God doesn't forgive our sins. It's not even to say that there is a time gap between acceptance and forgiveness. But from God's perspective, our being accepted is foundational truth. It's not that we have some sort eternal security safety net: rather, we have been accepted right at the start. Before we take the first step in that new creation, we have been accepted by God.

Ephesians 1:6 brings in a truth we don't see in Leviticus: we are accepted in Christ. We aren't called to an autonomous life, we're called to a dependent life. We're not called to be good, but to bask in His goodness.

And now we're back once more to the fundamental truth of the Christian life. Regardless of how we actually live, the entire Christian experience flows from our being in Christ. If our experience differs from the high calling of the epistles, it's because we have not been content to "abide" in Him (John 15:4). If we find our lives lacking in fruit, the solution is to abide (John 15:5).

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A form of Godliness

It would be a terrible mistake to think I'm sitting at the end of the path, telling people how to arrive like I have arrived. Let's be clear that I write about things I've glimpsed, not things I've mastered.

Scripture warns about "a form of piety" without its power (2 Timothy 3:1–5). The more godly the path we attempt to walk, the more we need to be careful of this warning. We might remember Peter stepping out of the boat (Matthew 14:26–32). Had he stayed in the boat, he would have had no trouble staying above the water. But once he stepped out the boat, he was in a place where only Divine power could keep him up.

There is a path the vulture's eye hasn't seen (Job 28:7). We can't find it on our own. God doesn't really command us to do things we can do: He only really commands us to do what we can't. That's precisely why Jeremiah 17:5–9 warns against confidence in man. God's not interested in what man can do, but in what one Man has done. The more closely we try to walk with that Man, the more dangerous it will be to attempt it in anything but His power.

Here's an example: I've heard many, many talks about church order among "brethren". With very few exceptions, what I've actually seen are attempts by sincere believers to maintain proper church order in the power and energy of the flesh.

Of course church order is important, or Scripture wouldn't bring it up. Reading 1 Corinthians 14:26 was a real pivot point in my life, because I realized I'd never actually seen it practiced. Church order is absolutely part of the Whole Counsel of God, and learning about it should be life-changing.

But 2 Timothy 3:5 specifically warns about getting the form right while not having the power. It's warning about people who try to do the right thing from the wrong source. That's the error of the Galatians: thinking it's possible to start out in the power of the Spirit and finish in the power of flesh (Galatians 3:3).

J. N. Darby wrote:

[O]ur worship falls back into the flesh; our prayers (or praying well) form what is sometimes called a gift of prayer, than which nothing often is more sorrowful (a fluent rehearsal of known truths and principles, instead of communion and the expression of praise and thanksgiving in the joy of communion, and even of our wants and desires in the unction of the Spirit); our singing, pleasure of the ear, taste in music, and expressions in which we sympathise – all a form in the flesh, and not communion in the Spirit. All this is evil; the Spirit of God owns it not; it is not in spirit and in truth; it is really iniquity. ("Worship in the Flesh", Synopsis, Leviticus 3)

It's a very serious danger, but it's subtle. You can only fall into it when you're trying to do the right thing.

If you spend any time at all among "brethren", you'll hear guilt trips about silence in the meetings. For some reason, the very same people who most loudly condemn denominational churches for having clergymen ("they're not being led of the Spirit") hesitate least to pressure younger men to speak up. I'll be honest, the majority of times I've seen a younger man cave to the pressure and speak up in the meetings, I wished he'd kept silent.

We still haven't learned this lesson: it's not enough to do the right thing, we have to do it the right way. At the slightest provocation, we rest on the power of flesh. We still haven't learned Jeremiah 17:5–9. We allow our embarrassment goad us into trying to act when we should be sitting quietly, waiting on the Lord. I've heard Robert talk about Isaiah 40:30–31, pointing out that it's a promise. Think about that for a few moments. And then think about this: waiting on the Lord isn't easy. We're all willing to wait for about as long as it takes for the guy at the drive-through to make us a burger. But the Lord isn't on the drive-through schedule: He might make us wait a lot longer. Are we willing to wait for His timing?

Here I am putting the "assembly" back into "Assembly Quest".

Again, I am talking about something I have rarely seen, and even more rarely experienced. I'm not telling you to live like me, I'm telling you we both need to learn to wait on the Lord. And once the Lord has shown us something from His word, once we have seen a truth we need to live out, then we step into the truly dangerous realm: the place where we're tempted to have a form of godliness without its power.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The one you feed

Alan gave me permission to quote one of his emails:

This mode of "the one we feed grows" teaching sometimes goes further and states that, when we feed one exclusively, the other grows weaker and weaker. This is, in my opinion, very dangerous doctrine because, while the nature that is "starved" may grow less prominent in our daily consciousness, the flesh nature undergoes no change whatsoever – it is utterly and irreversibly corrupt. I can tell you from sad experience that, if I assume that my flesh nature has become significantly "weakened", and I indulge it in any way (letting my thoughts run in an improper direction, for example), I very soon find that it is not only not weakened, but that it re-asserts itself with full ferocity! This is truly the fruit of not believing what the Word says, and is literally walking in death (because the "old man" IS dead!).

Thursday, October 20, 2016


So we've discussed how the New Testament, especially the Epistles, has two underlying assumptions when it discusses the Christian life:

  1. we have experienced new birth
  2. we are abiding in Christ
That is, the commands in the New Testament were never intended for those who haven't been born again; and they really can't be obeyed by our own efforts.

So really the Christian life is the work of God in me, as opposed to my efforts. But we've already discussed how Christianity is really a sort of active passivity: I can't do it myself, but God expects me to be onboard.

There really is human responsibility in the New Testament: I'm not going to experience what God has for me in Christ if I just decide to sit on my sofa with football and beer and wait for Christ to work in me. That might be a better approach than what most Christians are trying, but it's not really what we're called to.

I've tried the "football and beer" approach to Christianity. It doesn't work, because it denies my identification with Christ. Scripture says I have died with Christ (Galatians 2:19–20, Colossians 3:3). It says I've died to sin (Romans 6:11), to the Law (Romans 7:4), and to the world (Galatians 6:14). If I just sink into the world, then I'm really denying that I've died to it. How do I expect my life to look, if I deny in practice what Scripture asserts is the starting point? I've put myself into a position God will not bless.

No, I'm not speaking out against football or baseball or even hockey. But I am saying that if we live like we're alive in the world, then find ourselves in Romans 8:12–13. We find ourselves returning to what we've supposedly left behind. I can say from personal experience that it's possible to go from Romans 8:3 to Romans 8:13 shockingly quickly.

Colossians 3:1–4 is a powerful description of the Christian life. It starts out with the command to "seek those things above, where Christ is." Why? Because my life here has ended. My life is up there now, and I ought to be paying attention to that.

Several years ago I was talking with my daughter about baptism. She was probably six or seven at the time, and I was telling her that baptism really means "I'm done with this world". She said to me, "So what you're saying is that we're here on a business trip, not a vacation."

Think about that: we're here on business, not on a holiday. Yes, we live here. Yes, we have certain responsibilities here. Yes, there is even a sense of godly worldliness (1 Corinthians 7:32–34). But we're not called to make this our home, nor our source of joy, nor our source of meaning. We're here on business, not pleasure.

Robert pointed out 2 Corinthians 3:18. As far as I know, that's the only verse in Scripture that actually tells us how to be like Christ. What does it say? If you want to be like Christ, you need to look at Him. (And someday we'll get a really good look, 1 John 3:2.) Isn't that just what Colossians 3:1 is saying?

There's a lot more to be said, but this seems like the place to stop for now.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A new place, new rules

We established that new heart is necessary for a Christian walk. That's the underlying assumption of the Epistles, we are new creations.

Now, as we read the New Testament with the assumption of new birth, we find a surprising feature: a new heart is necessary, but it's not sufficient. It's not just that God has given us new hearts and set us back to live better. No, God has placed us into an entirely new position: He's put us in a new place where the old rules just don't work.

When Moses brought the people to the Jordan river, he warned them that the rules for Canaan aren't the rules for Egypt (Deuteronomy 11:10–15). In Egypt they got crops by carrying water from the river out to the fields to water them. That won't work in Canaan, he warned. You can't force crops to grow in Canaan like you can in Egypt. In Canaan you depend on God for the crops: you rely on Him to bring the rains.

To use that language, we've come into a new land too: a land where human effort doesn't work. We've come to a place where we depend on God to send us the rains in season. So when we survey our lives and we don't see a lot of fruit there, we shouldn't decide we need better irrigation equipment. We need to heed Moses' warning: the rules are different here. What worked in Egypt won't work in Canaan.

Adam's creation is all about human effort: it's a lot like Moses described Egypt. If there's no water you just need to go out there and get some. The new creation's not like that. In fact, that sort of thing is counter-productive in the new creation.

So how do we get fruit in this new creation? The Lord Jesus said it very simply, "He that abides in me and I in him, *he* bears much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:4–5). In this new place where we've been brought, fruit is solely the result of abiding in Christ.

And so we're back to Philippians 3:9. What does it mean to be "in Christ?" It means to have nothing of our own to offer to God. It means we stand before God and say, "Christ is my righteousness". That's where fruit comes from in the new creation.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A new heart

Scripture insists that fallen man needs an entirely new start to walk with God. It's not enough to have forgiveness of sins, nor justification, nor redemption, nor even atonement. Israel under Law had all these, but it wasn't enough. Isaiah 5 describes God as the owner of a vineyard, looking for fruit in it. Finding none, He asks, "What more could I have done?" (Isaiah 5:4). The fruit God was looking for from Israel needed something more. It needed a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26).

Israel's history under the Law was an experiment demonstrating that fallen man can't please God (Romans 3:20). God gave the nation His Law with the promise that if they kept it they would be blessed (Exodus 19:1–6). By the time they got from Sinai to the Jordan, they had proven they could not. Darby comments on the beginning of Deuteronomy:

That which strikes one in the first chapters is, the pains that Jehovah takes to present all possible motives to that poor people to lead them to obedience, in order that they may be blessed. These things, which ought at least to have touched the heart, served, alas! only to prove its hardness, and to shew that, if man is to be blessed, God must give him a new heart, as it is written in the chapter which closes the second part of His exhortations to obedience: "Yet Jehovah hath not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day" (chap. 29: 4). (Synopsis, Volume 1)

When we come to the time of the Babylonian Captivity, the prophets are declaring that God will give a New Covenant. Jeremiah describes the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31–40. He says it will be "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day of my taking them by the hand, to lead them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke" (Jeremiah 31:32). Ezekiel's description of the New Covenant (Ezekiel 36:24–38; Ezekiel 37:15–28) hinges on God giving the people "a new heart" (Ezekiel 36:26), Jeremiah talks about God writing His laws on their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33).

(Interestingly, Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 37, and Hosea 14 all say the New Covenant will be made when God brings back Ephraim and the ten tribes, restoring all twelve tribes of Israel back into a single nation.)

So by the end of the Old Testament, it's plain from Israel's history under Law that we need a new heart to obey God. Fallen man – even justified, forgiven, delivered, instructed, and rebuked fallen man – can't do it. There needs to be a new creation.

When the Lord Jesus speaks with Nicodemus, He insists a man can't see God's kingdom unless he's been born again (John 3:3). When Nicodemus cavils on this point, the Lord Jesus tells him a ruler of Israel ought to know that a new birth is needed (John 3:10). Why does the Lord Jesus say a ruler of Israel ought to know this already? Because the Old Testament explicitly teaches the need of a new birth: that's the whole point of Deuteronomy 29:4 and Ezekiel 36:26.

Every single command in the New Testament must be understood in light of this: God is not interested in the "good works" done from an unregenerate heart. God's not impressed by unregenerate men and women, even if they're good. Every single command in the New Testament assumes new creation as the starting point.

There's more to it, of course; but this is the starting point. Have you been born again?

(Since I mentioned Isaiah 5, let me recommend a message by H. E. Hayhoe, "Key to the Old Testament". He says Isaiah 5 is the key to understanding the whole Old Testament. That message is worth your time.)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The best of me

A couple years ago I was struck with the thought that my family, friends, and co-workers don't need to see me. They don't need to see the very best version of me that exists, or even the best version that could exist. They need to see the life of Jesus in my mortal body (2 Corinthians 4:11).

There's no shortage of "ministry" out there telling Christians how they can live better. But for the most part, it leads to attempting to improve what we were in Adam. What the New Testament – especially the Pauline epistles – teaches is not that Christ has come to improve Adam's race, but that Christ has come to replace it (2 Corinthians 15:45–49).

Of course we're still in Adam's world, and we're still in Adamic bodies. A day is coming when the Lord Jesus will come to take us out of this world (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18) and change these bodies to be like His (Philippians 3:20–21). But right now we have a distinct and unique place in God's purpose: God has been pleased to put something of immense value into "earthen vessels" (2 Corinthians 4:6–7). Scripture tells us exactly why: because He wants it to be obvious that it's His power and not ours that's on display (2 Corinthians 4:7).

There is an underlying assumption to all this: "they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:8). What God knows – what He demonstrated in sending His Son – is that Adam's race is not merely guilty, but also lost. It's not just that Adam's race is sinful, but they are hostile to God (Romans 8:7). When we try as Adam's children to please God, we find we cannot. We need to take our place with Christ – dead and risen with Him – before we can "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).

For many years I thought those statements were figurative – perhaps even romantic. Now I accept them as very literally true. God sees me as having died with Christ: my life as a child of Adam has come to an end. If I want to live the life that pleases God, I need to understand that it's got to be life from an entirely new source, on an entirely new principle. The life that pleases God is the life of His Son. It's not that I imitate Christ, it's that He Himself is to be my life (Colossians 3:4). The Lord Jesus said there's no pleasing God unless we "abide in Him" (John 15:4). This isn't a metaphorical description of the Christian life: it's an all-too-real summary of what we were as children of Adam. Without an entirely new life from an entirely new source, we can't please God.

Christ and Adam are divided by death. Christ has died (Romans 6:1–4), and death is now between Him and Adam. So if we want to please God, we need to be with Christ, not with Adam. This isn't some metaphorical exhortation to "die to self". This the plain statement that as far as God's concerned, I have died with Christ. As far as God's concerned, I was crucified with Christ (Romans 6:11). The question for me isn't whether I have to die, but whether I'm willing to accept God's estimation that I have already died.

The prevalent concept of Christianity among evangelical Christians is that God has forgiven us all our sins, and now we live to please Him. We fail often, of course, but when we confess our sins, He forgives us our sins (1 John 1:9).

That's not what the Scripture teaches.

Scripture teaches an entirely new life, the life of Jesus manifested in fallen bodies of men and women who have given up trying to find something in themselves that pleases God (Philippians 3:9). Being in Christ – having no righteousness of our own – we look to Him to be everything for us (1 Corinthians 1:26–31). We accept that our life has ended, and we are now in an entirely new realm (Colossians 3:1–4). We are content to "abide in Him."

If you scratch below the surface, there's a little Pelagius in all of us. We all believe at some level that we can please God. But Scripture insists we can't. And even when we know better, we find ourselves having once more having looked for good in ourselves.

What we need is the life of Jesus manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Corinthians 4:11). There is a cost to that: "death works in us" (2 Corinthians 4:9 – 12). God's not interested in my life and Christ's life: He's interested in Christ's life instead of mine.

There are some practical concerns coming out of this: we'll save those for another post.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

I found this today and thought it worth sharing after some of the recent comment threads:

The love of Christ to saints is explained by this, they are individually dear to Christ because they are the Father's gift to Him, and He makes known to them the Father's name.
("Jesus Glorified and the Spirit Given", New Ministry by F. E. Raven, Volume 1, p. 12)