Personal study for today is based on a Charles Spurgeon sermon.
Paul cannot pray enough for his brother Timothy.
Hang on tight to eternal life. Fight the good fight of faith for it.
We are all Christian soldiers. As a mom of US Army soldiers, I know my boys have to fight earthly battles of a different kind. But as Christians they, and we, will fight not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
When we “lay hold on eternal life," the fiery darts of the wicked are quenched by our shield of faith.
Social policy has its place but the surest way to raise men is to preach the gospel to them. This will change their character, and regenerated lives will soon result in altered social conditions.
Paul seems to say to Timothy, "Come to the all-important point, Timothy; and keep to it. Let others go in for this, and that, and the other; as for you, set before yourself the highest aim. Say to them, as I wrote to the Philippians last year from Rome, ‘This one thing I do ‘Lay hold on eternal life.’”
Spurgeon says, "What does it matter what I have preached to you unless you get eternal life? What does it matter how I have said this or that to you, unless you have received, at the hand of my Master, that life-giving stream, which shall be in you “a well of water springing up into everlasting life”? With all your getting, I beseech you, get the understanding of the great mystery of godliness, and become wise as to the life which is life indeed."
Lay hold on eternal life.
“Life is found alone in Jesus,
Only there ’tis offered thee,—
Offered without price or money,
’Tis the gift of God sent free;
Take it now, and happy be.”
This life is, in fact, the life of God in the soul. The Holy Spirit comes and breathes God’s life into dead men. There is nothing everlasting in itself but God, and there is no life that is everlasting except that which comes from the everlasting One.
“Take, with rejoicing, from Jesus at once
The life everlasting he gives:
And know, with assurance, thou never canst die,
Since Jesus, thy righteousness, lives.”
This eternal life is the life that is perfected in glory. Even in this world it goes on developing and maturing.
How do we lay hold on eternal life?
The very beginning of our hope is when the Lord leads us to believe that there is such a thing as eternal life; and that it is a tangible thing, not a dream or a vision; but a reality to be laid hold of.
There is life in Christ, which he can give you. There is life by the Holy Spirit, which he can work in you. "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:25-26)
Do you believe this? Then there is hope for eternal life!
Though you feel as if you did not feel at all; though you seem paralyzed, and unable to repent or to believe; this life shall be given to you if you look to Him who was lifted up upon the cross, that “whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
“Lord, I was dead: I could not stir
My lifeless soul to come to thee;
But now, since thou hast quickened me,
I rise from sin’s dark sepulchre.”
Faith comes by hearing. Attend church & fellowship regularly where the gospel is solidly taught.
Hearing comes by the Word of God. Find a Bible plan and stick to it. Join others for accountability. Ask the Lord what He would have you study in your alone time with Him too.
"Laying hold" isn't simply believing. Go further. That eternal life is God’s free gift put within their reach, and that they are to take hold of it for their own salvation, seems harder for some to grasp, than if it was the most intricate puzzle. Yet this is, perhaps, the clearest aspect of the great matter of salvation.
Christ took your death: take His life. He bore your ill: take His good. Go further. Lay hold on eternal life. You don't need to be worthy, because we never could be worthy enough. He gives Himself freely to our unworthiness.
Once you've laid hold - don't let go!
“Fight the good fight of faith.” Every now and then you will get an ugly knock, a bruise, a bleeding wound from your enemy. What are you to do? Always lay hold on eternal life again, and it will strengthen you, stanch your wounds, and make you once more strong in the day of battle.
Do not, therefore, ever give up hope. Do not be staggered by what you may have to suffer here on earth. In the midst of all the agony, stay your heart upon God, and upon the gift he has given you. “Lay hold on eternal life.”
“The King above in beauty,
Without a veil is seen;
It were a well-spent journey,
Though ten deaths lay between!”
If between now and the day we day we bear nothing but suffering, unkindness, or sickness, then we should bear it joyfully because we can say, "In heaven I have the Lord which cannot be taken away from me." Therefore lay hold on eternal life and comfort yourself with the knowledge that this is God's gift to you. Let it bear you up amid seas of grief.
Let everything else go; but lay hold on eternal life.
Let all that opposes go— friends, kindred, comfort, this present life; let them all go, if by the sacrifice we may more firmly lay hold on eternal life.
“I would begin the music here,
And so my soul should rise:
Oh, for some heavenly notes to bear
My passions to the skies!”
Spurgeon said, "Let us all live in those spiritual things which are the essential features of heaven. Often go there before you go to stay there. If you come down to-morrow morning, knowing and realizing that heaven is yours, and that you will soon be there, those children will not worry you half so much. When you go out to your business or to your work, you will not be half so discontented when you know that this is not your rest, but that you have a rest on the hills eternal, whither your heart has already gone, and that there your portion is in the everlasting dwellings."
Lay hold on eternal life.