Salvation is a deliverance wrought by the divine work on the Cross, so as to bring us out of one position into another. It is true we are morally changed, but we want more than that—though whoever has got that will surly have all the rest (knowing right and wrong gives understanding of good and evil—NC). But supposing I have the new life, with its desires after holiness, what is the effect? It gives me the consciousness of all the sin that is in me. I want to be righteous, but then I see that I am not righteous (righteous in Crist but not in self—NC); and I bow under the power of indwelling sin, and the knowledge of such holiness which I have learned to desire, only to find out that I have not got it (holiness is imputed, not imparted because of the sin nature, and this suffices us for forgiveness and joyous satisfaction via the Cross—NC).

I say, what is the good of my knowing holiness in this way, if I have not got it? It is no comfort to me. Here we have been speaking of God’s righteousness; but when I look, I find I have no righteousness (it’s all Christ’s imputed to us—NC). Where can I find a resting-place for my spirit in such a state as this? It is impossible; and the very effect of having this new life, with all its holy affections and desires after the Lord Jesus, brings me to the discovery of the lack of what the new life cannot itself impart (it being imputed we cannot claim to be righteous in self—NC). I have got the hungers of this new life—all its holy and righteous desires; but the thing yearned for I have not got (self-righteousness; we want to be righteous in our selves but this can’t be, still possessing the old man, and hence the need for Christ’s imputed righteousness—NC).

It is the desire of my new life. Oh that I could be righteous; but then I am not righteous. In that way the Father meets us with a positive salvation. He meets us and quickens us into the desire and want of holiness, giving us a new life and nature capable of enjoying it. But that is not all. When I have got that life, have I got the thing I want (righteousness in myself—NC)? No. I strive, and think, Oh! If I could get more of this holiness, but still I have not got it. I may hate the sin, but the sin is there that I hate (Ro 7:17, 20).

I may long to be with my Father, to be forever in the light of His countenance, but then I see that I have got sin, and know that the light of His countenance cannot shine upon my sin; I want a righteousness fit for His presence, and I have not got it. It is thus God meets us at the Cross. He not only gives the life and nature that we want, but He gives us the thing we want (Christ’s righteousness imputed—NC); and not only so, but in Christ He gives us both the perfect object (Christ’s righteousness—NC) and life!

We have borne the image of the first Adam, in all the consequences of his sin and ruin, and we shall bear the image of the Last Adam. But the Father lays down first this great truth for our hearts, “As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” It is what we are now (in Christ—NC)! There, I find what my heart, as quickened by God, wants; and I learn what blessedness is in Christ, by whom the Father has revealed it to us. He has given us a righteousness in the Lord Jesus, who is the blessed accepted Man in the presence of the Father.

Now, as regards my soul and eternal life, the Father has come and brought us into this position, making the Lord Jesus to be my righteousness (1Co 1:30) and Life (Col 3:4). He has brought me in, “through faith” (Eph 2:8) and in the truth of my new life, into this wondrous position in Christ. The realization of it is another thing, and may be hindered through failure or infirmity. You begin to search, perhaps in yourself, and find such and such a thought contrary to Christ. But I say, that is the old man! If you take yourself by yourself, there is not righteousness before God, and therefore you cannot stand an instant in the Father’s sight. I must look at the Lord Jesus to see what I am, and I say, “As is the heavenly, such are they that are heavenly;” and this what I am in the presence of my Father. There is no veil: we are to walk in the light, as God is in the light.

—John Nelson Darby (1800-1882)

MJS daily devotional for Dec 8

“You might be secretly attempting to correct and improve yourself, and suffering a good deal of private vexation and disappointment on account of the futility of your struggles. It was at a moment when I was utterly discouraged, and ready to give up the whole thing in complete despair, that the Father showed me how I was attempting to work upon the old material which He could only condemn, and had, and that my disgust and despair as to myself were only a feeble echo of His.

“My Father was not looking for any good in me, and had the Lord Jesus Christ before Him, the perfect and infinitely acceptable Object of His heart. And I, in my nothingness, had ceased to look for good in myself, and began tasting the deep joy of being in Christ, and free to have Him as my Object; while as to life, I entered in some degree into the blessedness of knowing that it was ‘not I, but Christ liveth in me.’“ -C.A.Coats

The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.’” -MJS