The Hindrances of Natural and Earthly Associations — A Timely but Hard Word by Thomas H. Reynolds

 

When we come to traverse the path of companionship with Him, we find that we have a great many hindrances, and among the greatest of these are earthly associations. We all have a tendency to gravitate to worldly associations. God has called us to another sphere, as Peter says that He has “called us to His eternal glory.” It is not that God has not called us to happiness down here in fellowship with His own. Neither is it that He does not care for me, for I have ten thousand mercies, but you cannot expect much in this world where Christ has been rejected. The moment the call of God comes into our souls it must be a displacing power, and that is what we shrink from. When God came to Abram He not only said, “I will bless thee” (that was a great thing), but there was first, “Get thee out.” We have to hear this, and we have to leave the things that are here. The blessing is brought to us, but the moment it comes we find we will have to move, and that is what we don’t like. We find it is, “Arise, depart, this is not your rest.” It is not enough to say the time will come when we shall have to move, and we will settle down here until then. You will not get an entrance into heavenly things now, if that is where you are. I would like everyone to have the sense of the call of God, and that that call must necessarily displace us here.

In I Corinthians we are said to have been called into the fellowship of God’s Son. We so little understand this and we try to have two sets of associations. I do not mean merely our relations, though we may have to break with them, as the Lord said. It is a blessed thing when there are natural relations and one can go on with them in the Lord. But, beloved friends, there is this great thing that we have been called out of the system of associations in this world to have a part with Christ. The great mischief with the Corinthians was that they were turning back to their old associations. I suppose they went with their relatives and friends, even to feasts and idol temples, and therefore the apostle brings in the Lord’s supper to show the ground of a new association into which they had been brought by the death of Christ. We see the effect of the old associations. They were even denying the resurrection, because that takes us out of this world altogether. You can understand how a man who was living in this world could fall into the snare of the idolaters and say, “Let us eat and drink for to-morrow we die.” It is terrible to think how low a saint may fall. They were just indulging natural tastes. It was caused by the evil communications which corrupt good manners, and getting into associations apart from the fellowship of God’s Son.

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