Presuming On God's Grace
Victory in the Christian life is all of grace. No works of our own are needed to accomplish it or can possibly accomplish it. We learn that we may "let God do it all," and He abundantly vindicates His pledge that He will as we trust Him.
Now comes the peril of presuming on God's grace: substituting presumption for faith, license for liberty.
We used to think that the more we studied the Bible the more victorious we should be. We used to think that the more time we spent in prayer the more victory we could have. We see now that even these good works cannot accomplish our victory, but that simple faith in the sufficiency of God's grace is the secret.
Very well then, we are tempted to think, we need not be so careful now to take the same amount of time for our Bible study, or for our prayer life because "Christ is doing it all." Down into defeat we go the moment we have been deceived by that lie of Satan.
True, victory is by faith, but faith must be fed, and faith cannot be fed apart from daily nourishment from the Word of God, and daily time alone with God in prayer. The new experience of freedom from the power of sin through the sufficiency of Christ should result in more time with His Word, more time with Him in prayer, not less. We cannot know continuance in victory if we presume on God's grace and neglect our opportunities of fellowship with him.
Never, never, never during this life dare any Christian neglect the written Word of God. A young Christian who had seen Christ as Victory and was rejoicing in the new blessings of freedom and power, was talking with a veteran Christian minister about it all. This was the sound word the older man spoke: "Now keep close to the Word of God."
He went on to tell the younger man how, time after time in the history of the so-called "higher life" experience among Christians through the Christian centuries, one after another either of individuals or of groups of Christians, had gone on to the rocks and down into wreck through supposing that they had, by Christ and the Holy Spirit within them, all that they needed, and could therefore safely pay little attention to the Bible.
We must not sag below God's will, moreover in the ordinary duties of life in our relationships with our fellows. Those who have found the joy and blessing of the deep things of God are often careless in keeping appointments with their fellowmen, careless about answering letters, careless about money matters – not involving honesty, but just exactness and thoughtfulness.
The Christian who is trusting Christ for full victory dishonors Christ if he does not establish and maintain a reputation for being utterly dependable, in his contact with other human beings, in every relationship. Failure to keep an appointment on the minute, to be scrupulously exact in the fulfillment of every small as well as large obligation, cannot be excused on the ground that God's larger interests overrule the lesser matters.
There are no "lesser matters" with God. The Holy Spirit is a Person of orderliness, and punctuality, and efficiency. If our lives are not conspicuous for this it is because He is not really allowed to control. God keeps sun and moon, earth and stars, moving in dependable and orderly ways. Should we not let Him do as much for us who are members of the Body of Christ?
– Excerpted from the booklet Perils Of The Victorious Life by Charles G. Trumbull (1872-1941). Trumbull succeeded his father in 1903 as editor of The Sunday School Times magazine.