From May 9
Unbelief is not a negative but an active thing. Of course, our tendency is to think of unbelief as just a negative condition in which a man does not believe, but according to the Bible that is an utter fallacy. Unbelief is terribly positive and active, a state and condition of the soul, with a very definite mentality.
From May 11
The Gospel starts by proclaiming that it is a way of salvation. Its message is not something that man has thought of or achieved, but something that comes out of the mind of God. It is something that God shows and gives, that He has revealed; it is altogether from His side, and man contributes nothing to it.
From May 12
Christ is the Son of God, and He has come into this world not only to teach and to work miracles. The real purpose of His coming was that He might die on the cross. God sent Him, says the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in order to “taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). He said He came to bear the sins of mankind in His own precious body on the cross on Calvary’s Hill. There He was punished for our sins. That is the message; that is the thing that “babes” have understood. These things are as simple as that, that God in Christ was making a way of salvation through the cross. Therefore what have we to do? We have nothing to do but to believe that and to accept it as a free gift. For God’s way of salvation is that all my sins and failure and shame have been put upon the Son and dealt with and punished.
From May 14
We all start by assuming that our knowledge of God is all right, and if someone tells us that is the first problem, we feel it is almost insulting. This is surely the central cause of so many of our subsequent difficulties—namely, that we assume we know God, that we assume this great knowledge is something at which we start. We say, perhaps, that we know a certain amount of the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe we have enjoyed certain experiences—“Well, of course with regard to God, I have always believed in Him; I have always been in the position of a believer.” But my whole suggestion is that it is just there that we fail—and fail completely. Let me remind you of some of the statements that our Lord made with respect to this important matter. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18)—revealed Him, manifested Him. “There shall no man,” says God to Moses, “see me, and live” (Exodus 33:20). We think that we know everything about God and that there is no difficulty about our belief in God. My dear friend, ponder a statement like that—you have never seen God! No one can see God and live. God is incomprehensible to man; He is beyond him in His greatness and in His infinity. Consider what our Lord says in John 17:25: “0 righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.” There it is once more. He again makes the dogmatic statement that the world as it is, as the result of sin, does not know God, and never has.
From May 22
When the disciples came to our Lord and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples,” He replied, “When ye pray say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Luke 11:1-2). You must start, said our Lord, with a right conception of God. Now is this not where we all tend to go astray? So often our initial error and trouble is that our ideas of God are so loose. Let us be quite frank and honest about this. Most of us, before we listen to Jesus Christ, rather feel that we are in a position even to criticize God: “Why should God ... ? Why this? Why that?” We are, we think, the judges even where God is concerned. Now what our Lord tells us at the beginning is, “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5). Can you imagine God, can you picture Him? God is utterly and absolutely holy, so much so that we cannot imagine Him, eternal in His holiness and His absolute perfection. That is what our Lord taught about God, and we must start there. We have to realize that if to know God is the first essential thing in rest and peace, we must begin by knowing something of His nature and character, and that is what our Lord always taught about Him. Take His own attitude toward the Father. Look at the time He spent in prayer; observe the way in which He was always careful to say that He did nothing of Himself, that the works He did were those the Father had given Him to do, and that all the words He spoke were those that the Father gave Him.