John 14:30 'The Prince Of This World Cometh, And Hath Nothing In Me' -- What Believer Can Say These Words?

Excerpted from commentary by H.A. Ironside 'Daniel the Prophet' ch. 1; 1911 "In Daniel 1:1-2 we find the fulfillment of what God had previously declared (through Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other prophets) would soon take place...Even though Israel had been His chosen people, because of their sin He was going to give them over to the power of their enemies...".  And so it had come to pass. The Babylonians came, destroyed Jerusalem (587 BC), and the Jews suddenly found themselves captive in Babylon:

'But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank' - Daniel 1:8

The first chapter of the book of Daniel...is introductory. It sets forth the appropriate moral condition of one who desires to be enlightened in the ways and counsels of God. In it we read of a little company of faithful men maintaining a state of separation to God from evil. They remained faithful in a day when everything seemed to be against them, and it appeared as though there was none on earth to whom they could turn for help. These four devoted young men - Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah - set themselves against all the evil of the kingdom of Babylon. They refused to defile themselves; these were the men to whom God could communicate His mind.

If you want enlightenment in divine things, see to it that you walk in the power of an ungrieved Spirit; for “the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him” (Psalms 25:14).

The four youths already mentioned were distinguished among the rest of their captive brethren. They were taken by the king’s orders to be trained to administer in state affairs and fitted for positions of trust and confidence.

The test came. These young men were to eat of the king’s meat, which was dedicated to idols and thus abhorrent and defiling to a godly Jew. But the king had given his orders, and it might have seemed as though these Hebrews had no choice in the matter. Many would have argued in this way and said there was no individual responsibility in such a case. Nebuchadnezzar’s authority was derived from God. They had only to obey since the Lord Himself had put them under Nebuchadnezzar’s power. But Daniel and his young companions did not view it this way. They looked on the king’s command as a trial of their faith. Would they keep themselves from the unclean in the land of the idolater? Would they be just as particular about being true to God as if they were in their own land? Would they honor His Word and glorify Him by being subject to that Word, though captives in the country of the oppressor?

They stood the test in a most marked way, as did the apostles in a later day, who said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

I have heard Christians refer to certain precepts in the Scriptures as non-essentials. But we may rest assured there are no non-essentials in our Bibles. “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psalms 12:6). When people talk of non-essentials in regard to anything in God’s Word, it is well to ask, “Essential or non-essential to what?” Regarding the soul’s salvation, undoubtedly the one great essential is faith in His blessed Son; His finished work alone avails to put away sin and procure peace with God. But if it is a question of what is essential to the enjoyment of communion with God - essential to obtaining the Lord’s approval at the judgment seat of Christ - then it is well to remember that in everything the believer is sanctified to the obedience of Christ. We should seek to imitate Daniel, who had “purposed in his heart” (Daniel 1:8) that he would not defile himself. Paul and Barnabas urged the early Christians “that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord” (Acts 11:23). This is the only way to be kept from defilement. Anything that defiles the conscience breaks the link of communion with God and hinders our advance in spiritual things. There can be no true progress if this inward monitor is not preserved. “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck” (1 Timothy 1:19) is a solemn word worthy of being carefully pondered.

These Hebrew young men were given spiritual enlightenment above all the men of their times because of their carefulness in maintaining a good conscience. They had an understanding in divine mysteries that others could not grasp because it remains true in all dispensations that spiritual things “are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

It is of serious importance that we bear this principle in mind in these lukewarm Laodicean times. We live in days when everything that once was deemed important is perceived as a matter of indifference. The truth for which many martyrs shed their blood is considered hardly worth being contended for. These are days when the claims of God as set forth in His faithful Word are openly set aside even by those who profess to owe everything to the cross on which the Lord Jesus died. Latitudinarianism is the prevailing order, and few ask with intention to obey, “What saith the scripture?” (Romans 4:3) Is it any wonder that a host of false teachings is coming in like a flood, and thousands on every hand are being swept away from their moorings?

Once good conscience - that is, a conscience controlled by the Word of God in all things - is put away, shipwreck of the faith is almost certain to follow. It is not a question of shipwreck of faith in Christ; but by putting away a good conscience people make shipwreck of the faith. The term the faith means “the faith of God’s elect” (Titus 1:1), the truth He has revealed. Concerning this Paul wrote, “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience” (1 Timothy 3:9). It is the same as that spoken of by Jude, who wrote exhorting believers to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).

It is an axiom proven by experience and supported by Scripture that the only way we can advance in the truth is by maintaining a good conscience. Allow one unjudged thing - that which you know is contrary to the Word of God or is not in line with God’s will for you - to exist in your life and you will soon find your spiritual eyes become darkened; your spiritual susceptibilities will become deadened. No real progress will be made in your soul, but rather a steady decline. Instead there needs to be faithfulness in separation from that which is opposed to the mind of God. When His Word is allowed to sit in judgment on all your ways, you will learn that “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18).

It is written of these four young men that “God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams” (1:17). What a lesson for us - that purity of heart and faithfulness to God come before enlightenment in divine mysteries! If you attempt to reverse these things, you need not be surprised if you fall into all kinds of error. If you try to put knowledge before heart-purity; if you try to put a grasp of scripture truth before conscientious living in the presence of God, you are almost certain to have a fearful fall awaiting you. The many who have failed in this area should be a warning to us.

In view of all this, may we who are redeemed by His precious blood ever remember this word: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). Thus we will stand, like Daniel and his friends, apart from the world’s defiling ways.

1John 5:19 '...and the whole world lieth in wickedness'

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Per your commentary, "I have heard Christians refer to certain precepts in the Scriptures as non-essentials. But we may rest assured there are no non-essentials in our Bibles. “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psalms 12:6). When people talk of non-essentials in regard to anything in God’s Word, it is well to ask, “Essential or non-essential to what?”

Amen!!! How did this mind set start? In the seminaries? I have heard this stated by many pastors within just the last few years and it has always disturbed me. It is an incredibly arrogant position to take. No humility and reverence for God's Word. Who is it that decides what is essential and what is not? Many a Christian has fallen due to a "non-essential." It is quite obvious who is behind this mind set. The enemy is a sly one.