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First Things First

“For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

Before our thoughts turn to service to the Lord, and our work for Him, it is very necessary to have our hearts occupied with His service toward us. While you may be wondering, “What can I do for the Lord?” the answer is, “You must pause and see and believe what the Lord has done for you. You must stand still and see the salvation of God.” Consider these words of divine and evangelistic sweetness: “To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5).

If you are concerned about the eternal destiny of your soul, perhaps you think that “I must do this, I must do that, and I must do the other.” Let me tell you, with deepest earnestness, that you must cease altogether from your own doings, cease from your own reasonings, and cease from your own feelings. Be assured of this: forgiveness of sins is not found in feeling or thinking or reasoning or doing at all: it is only to be found in pausing and gazing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is received through hearing and believing. It is looking off from yourself and your service to Christ and His service. It is ceasing from your restless and worthless doings, and resting in full, unquestioning confidence in the one offering of Jesus Christ, which has perfectly satisfied and perfectly glorified God as to the great question of your sin and guilt.

Here lies the divine secret of peace: peace in Jesus, peace with God—eternal peace. If you are occupied with your doings for Christ, you will never get peace. But, if you will take God at His word, and rest in the Savior He has provided, you shall possess a peace which no power of earth or hell can ever disturb. Remember that your first great duty, your primary and all-important work, is to believe in Jesus—to rest sweetly in Him, and in what He has done for you on the cross. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent” (John 6:29).

It is absolutely vital to understand that all true Christian service begins with the possession of eternal life, and is rendered in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, in the light and authority of holy Scripture. May the eternal Spirit fill our hearts with genuine love for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so that our one grand and undivided purpose may be to live for Him and to wait for that moment when we shall see Him as He is, and be like Him and with Him forever.

—C. H. Mackintosh