The True Church!
(George Everard, "The True Church!" 1885)
"For it is we who are the true circumcision . . .
who worship by the Spirit of God,
who glory in Christ Jesus, and
who put no confidence in the flesh." Philippians 3:3
There is a vast difference between the Church as seen by the eye of man — and by the eye of God.
The Church, as seen by man, is the mixed mass of . . .
the true and the false,
good coin and base,
the genuine and counterfeit people of God.
The Church, as seen by God, is the unmixed company of those whose hearts are right before Him. It is the flock who hear the Shepherd's voice, and follow in His footsteps. It is those who are cleansed in His blood from guilt, and renewed in the inner man by the working of His Spirit.
In the above passage, we have three distinct marks of God's people. The Jew gloried in circumcision, and accounted the Church of God to be limited to such as had received this rite. But Paul goes deeper. Those who have but the outward circumcision may be very far from God. But the true circumcision, the circumcision of the Spirit — this marks the Church of the saved.
Then he names three points. And if you would know whether you are a member of the mystical body of Christ, the Church of the living God whose names are written in Heaven — try yourself by these three marks:
1. "Who worship by the Spirit of God."
Is this your worship?
Are your prayers and praises offered by the aid of the Holy Spirit?
Do you come to God as a child to a tender Father?
Do your hearty desires go with the words you utter?
Do you thoroughly believe that the ear of God is open to your petition, and do you look for an answer in His own time and way?
2. "Who glory in Christ Jesus."
Do you glory in Christ as . . .
your wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption?
being the Rock, the Resting-place, the Refuge of your soul?
being your great High Priest, your Shepherd, your King, your Redeemer?
the source and spring of your happiness, as well as your salvation and your hope?
Do you glory . . .
in His changeless love,
in His unshaken fidelity, and
in His Almighty power to save and help?
3. "Who put no confidence in the flesh." Is this the case with yourself? Have you cast aside all confidence in all that is merely external? Have you learned to put away all confidence in ordinances, duties, church work, and all that is merely on the surface? Have you refused to rely in the least degree on your zeal, or good feelings, or works, or gifts, or self-improvement, or prayers — that to you, Christ alone may be all in all?
Here was Paul's ground of rejoicing — is it yours?
Are you a member of that Church of God's true saints, whose marks are such as these?