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Charles Trumbull

Victory in Christ

6. "'Is' The Secret of Victory"

"The secret of victory is not praying, but praising:
not asking, but thanking.
"

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A fact is often a more useful thing, for immediate needs, than a promise. That is why God has given us, in His Word, so many clear statements concerning facts that we need to know, along with His precious promises.

It is a very precious truth, on the one hand, that if we ask God, in the name of the Lord Jesus, to do certain things, He will do them. He has pledged His word to us for this, and He is the truth: He keeps His word. But there are certain circumstances in which it is even more valuable for us to know, not that He will do a certain thing if we ask Him, but that He is doing it anyway, and therefore we do not even need to ask Him. God’s promise to do, upon our request, is one rich part of our Christian life; but there is a sense in which certain facts that God declares are so, whether we ask or not, make an even richer part of our life.

At a series of meetings on the Victorious Life, held in Toronto, the speaker told of the way of deliverance from certain temptations that come like a flash of lightning in their instantaneous unexpectedness, when there is not time to pray or ask the Lord for deliverance. At such times our safety lies, not in a prayer for deliverance, for there is not time for that, but rather in the fact that Christ is delivering us without our asking Him; and in such an instant, as always, we are to thank our Lord for deliverance, not ask Him for it. For the Lord does not say to us, “My grace will be sufficient for thee whenever thou askest for it.” He says, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” That wonderful word is not a promise: it is a statement of fact.

Some time after the meetings the speaker received a letter from a Christian worker in Toronto, who had for years known about the truth of victory by faith, yet who had been unsatisfied and hungry in his spiritual life. Now he wrote: “Your word of illustration about the fraction of a second being insufficient for the framing of a prayer touched the point of my difficulty. The great big “IS” goes with me as my guardian, and I am experiencing something new. You know my head troubles me so that I can go to but few meetings and do little evening work, and my nerves have been frazzled and jangling; but I know He can and will take care of the things that crop up suddenly.” Yes, He will do this because He is doing this.

That little two-letter verb “is” in our Lord’s wonderful word to Paul and through him to every member of the body of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” is a veritable rock of ages. The writer of this editorial, finding marvelous strength and safety and deliverance in it, was turning it over in his mind one day, and thinking of the sufficiency of Christ.

He was clinging to, or rather resting on, that word “IS”—and then he thought to himself: “But have I any right to make so prominent that meaningless little verb ‘is,’ and depend so much upon it, when it seems as though I ought to think rather of some more important word, like the name of Christ?”

Instantly there dashed into his mind what it seems must have been the reply of the Holy Spirit Himself: “But the verb ‘is’ is the same verb as that which God says is His own name, ‘I AM.’ And it that little word ‘is’ is part of the very name of God Himself, you need not fear to think a great deal of it and rest confidently and wholly upon it.”

Praise God for His wonderful name! Praise God that He is! The man of victorious faith simply believes that God is, and that all that God says is so, is so, To believe this pleases God; for “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Think, for a moment, of the meaning of the name “Lord,” or “Jehovah.” When Moses asked God what name he should use for Him to the Children of Israel, God replied: “I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14). The word Lord, or Jehovah, means literally, “He that is who He is, therefore the eternal I AM.”

Other elements entering into the name Jehovah give us, as its meaning, “The self-existent One who reveals Himself.” And this name Lord or Jehovah is preeminently God’s redemption name. It is used in Bible passages which specially refer to the redeeming and saving work that God does for fallen, sinful man.

It is no accident, surely, that a central, vital word in that marvelous statement of fact, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” is the little verb “is” which is a part of the very name and being and redemptive-love of God.

Jehovah God, our Redeemer God in His marvelous covenant relations with us, is the eternal Christ, slain from the foundation of the world, whose outpoured life is the grace of God working omnipotently in our behalf, without our asking, without our seeking, without any conditions. God is, whether we believe this or not. Christ’s grace is sufficient for us, whether we believe it or not. But His grace cannot become experimentally effective in our lives so long as we make God a liar and say that what He declares to be a fact is not a fact. The moment we believe in this God-declared fact, there is a sufficiency of omnipotence successfully at work in our lives that makes us more than conquerors and leads us in triumph.

All of God’s omnipotent sufficiency in His saving and delivering and keeping power for men is in Christ. Christ is more than a promise: He is a fact, the eternal Rock of Ages upon whom we may rest everything. God’s grace is Christ; and the grace of God in Jesus Christ is sufficient. Are we thanking and praising Him for this?

The Toronto friend who is “experiencing something new” because he is resting on the fact of Christ’s sufficiency, resting in Christ Himself the eternal “Is,” has drawn a Bible bookmark showing that brief but all-sufficient text of II Corinthians 12:9. It is reproduced . . . [on the cover of this issue], and the relative importance of that wonderful verb is plainly to be seen. Moreover, it is to be noted that the pronoun “My,” referring to our Lord Jesus Christ, is much larger than the pronoun “thee.” Even though your needs are terribly great, so great as to leave you hopeless, Christ and His grace are infinitely greater. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).

There is a blessing in the way the text is presented in this Bible bookmark, especially as printed in two colors, with that central verb “IS” in bright red, the color of the precious redeeming blood of our Lord Jesus.

It is worth while to repeat the familiar story here, of the circumstances that revolutionized the life of one of the best known Christian ministers of Great Britain, whom God has made a tower of strength for the past forty-five years in giving the message of victory at the great Keswick Convention.

It was back in 1874 that a young Church of England vicar, the H. W. Webb-Peploe, with his wife, went to a seashore place with their youngest child, then a year old. At this place Mr. WebbPeploe met Sir Arthur Blackwood, and when the older man learned the calling of the younger, he held his hand tightly as he asked, “Have you got ‘rest’?”

“Yes, I hope so,” replied the young minister.

“What do you mean by that?” came the further question.

“That my sins are all forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ, and that He will take me Home to Heaven when I die.”

“Yes, but what about the time between? Have you rest in all your work as a clergyman, and in your parish troubles?”

“No, I wish I had,” said the young minister honestly.

“I want the same,” said Sir Arthur; “and today the great Oxford Convention begins. [The Oxford Convention was the forerunner of the Keswick Convention.] Mrs. Trotter is going to write to me every day an account of the meetings; you and I can meet and pray that God will give us this blessing of the rest of faith which they are going to speak of there. God is not confined to Oxford.”

For three days the two men met together, and then Mr. Webb-Peploe’s little child was suddenly taken away by the Heavenly Father. The young earthly father took the little body home, and reached there much wounded in feeling through contact with people who did not understand his circumstances. After the funeral, he began to prepare a sermon to preach to his people. He took for his text the passage found in the lesson for the day, II Corinthians 12:9—“My grace is sufficient for thee.” He spent some two hours in working on the sermon, and then he said to himself: “It is not true; I do not find it sufficient under this heavy trouble that has befallen me,” and his heart cried out to God to make His grace sufficient for his hour of sore need and crushing sorrow.

As he wiped the tears away from his eyes he glanced up and saw over his study table an illuminated text-card that his mother had given him. The words read, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” the word “is” being in bold type and in a different color from all the other words in the text.

And Prebendary Webb-Peploe said forty years later, as he told the incident, that he seemed to hear a voice saying to him: “You fool, how dare you ask God to make what is? Believe His word. Get up and trust Him, and you will find it true at every point.”

He took God at His word, he believed the fact, and his life was revolutionized. He entered into such an experience of rest and peace, such trust in a sufficient Saviour, as he never before had dreamed could be possible. Within a month the governess in the family said to Mrs. WebbPeploe, “The farmers are remarking how much changed the vicar is: he does not seem fretful any more, but seems to be quiet and gentle about everything.”

And from that day to this, now forty-five years later, many another has praised God that the life of this minister of the Gospel is a testimony to the sufficiency of the grace which God declares is a fact.

The secret of victory is not praying, but praising: not asking, but thanking. All eternity will not be long enough to finish praising and thanking our Lord Jesus Christ for the simple, glorious fact that His grace is sufficient for us.

“Christ Who Is Our Life” “I AM.”

Who art Thou, Lord?
I Am—all things to thee;
Sufficient to thine every need;
Thou art complete in Me.
I Am—thy Peace, thy Joy,
Thy Righteousness, thy Might;
I Am—thy Victory o’er sin,
Thy Keeper day and night.

I Am—thy Way, thy Life;
I Am—the Word of Truth;
Whate’er thy lack,
I Am—to thee
El Shaddai, Enough.
I Am—thy Life within,
Thine Everlasting Bread;
Eat of my Flesh, drink of my Blood,
I Am—What dost thou need?
         - Adah Richmond
 


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