Brethren Archive

The Christian’s History

by Inglis Fleming

A Christian’s history is an interesting study for every believer. To trace the ways of God with the soul must ever result in the thanksgiving and praise to Him who has “called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

And “in that day,” when we know as we are known, and when we see everything as God Himself views it, our acclamations of adoration will be louder and fuller still.

When Thy blood bought bride, Lord Jesus,

Is complete;

When each soul is safely landed,

At Thy feet;

What a story in the glory,

She’ll repeat.”

Let us consider for a little our history as Christians as presented in the Epistle of Peter, which has been called “The Glory and Suffering Epistle.” First of all then our Ancient History. There are those who boast that they can trace their genealogy back to the times of William the Conqueror or to even earlier times. But such dates are but recent ones when the Christian’s ancient history is under consideration.

It was “before the ages of time” that the Christian’s history began. In the thoughts of “the God of all grace” we were “elect according to the foreknowledge of God,” yes, we were “chosen in Christ, before the foundation of the world.” If we allow our minds to go back as far as it is possible in that vast eternity before time began to be we were


That is we were “marked out beforehand” to be conformed to the image of the Son of God (Rom. 8:29).

Then it was the “Lamb . . . was fore-ordained” to suffer (1 Pet. 1:19) in order that in righteousness we might be brought to God now and to glory soon.

It is good for us to entertain such thoughts as these. They render the things of the world and of sense small by comparison, and enable us to have a wider horizon than is usual if only matters connected with this passing age engage our attention.

The question, “How long have you known the Lord?” is asked oftentimes, and many are the answers given. But if we enquire, “How long has the Lord known you? One answer suffices, “Before the ages of time altogether.”

But coming to our modern history, we read through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. Having been born into the world and lived his sinful life, each believer has been the subject of the action of the Spirit of God.

Just as of old the Holy Ghost brooded over the chaotic darkness of the waters when the earth was to be formed for man’s occupation and as the theatre for the display of the grace of God, so truly He has wrought with each Christian and each has been born anew by His operation. Thus we are sanctified to God for His service and pleasure, to obey after the pattern of Christ’s obedience, delighting to do the will of God. The sprinkling of the blood of Christ has set us apart for the service of God.

The believer is


in his conscience so can now serve the living God. If he had guilt upon his conscience he could not be happily in the presence of God, but in infinite grace “Christ has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).

As cleared entirely from every stain of guilt and from every charge before the Throne of God, Christians can be happy as having been made


They are part of the “holy priesthood” to “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God, by Christ Jesus,” and part of the royal priesthood to “show forth the excellencies” of God. High honour is this! An honour that is eternal. When all need of ministry to others as known now is a thing of the past we shall join in our song of praise to the “Lamb as it had been slain” saying “Thou art worthy for Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood . . . and hast made us kings and priests unto God and we shall reign on (over) the earth.”

Well may we exclaim as we consider our privilege, “Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:5-6).

As being in the world, but chosen out of the world, and though not of the world sent into the world (John 17:18) we are but “strangers and pilgrims” on earth. Thus we are exhorted to “abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,” to refuse all that which would hinder our true and full entrance into the thought of God for us while here.

Our journey at best is but short. We are


as passing through and not dwellers in this world. We are journeying to our country and our home. As strangers here we are absent from the land to which we belong. We are away from our home. “I am a stranger with Thee and a sojourner as all my fathers were,” cried David (Ps. 39:12), and others confessed plainly that they sought a country and were but strangers and pilgrims in the place where they were found. Thus it was that God was “not ashamed to be called their God” (Heb. 11:13-16).

Turning now to the future history of the Christian we think of the eternal glory to which “the God of all grace has called us” (1 Pet. 5:10). The sufferings of the present period are but temporal—the glory to which we go and for which we wait is eternal. In that eternity of joy and privilege there will be forms of service of which we can have but little apprehension now. But we know that “His servants shall serve Him, and His name shall be upon the foreheads (Rev. 22:3-4).


of the glory we are to be, owing all to the grace of God, and to the atoning death of His beloved Son.


“For ever our still wondering

Shall o’er o’er His beauties rove

To endless ages we’ll adore,

The riches of His love.”


S.T. 1938

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