We are living in the perils of the last days. All heaven is inerested in the characters you are forming. Every provision has been made for you, that you should be a partaker of the divine nature,having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Man is not left alone to conquer the powers of evil by his own feeble efforts. Help is at hand, and will be given every soul who really desires it. Angels of God, that ascend and descend the ladder that Jacob saw in vision, will help every soul who will climb even to the highest heaven. They are guarding the people of God, and watching how every step is taken. Those who climb the shining way will be rewarded; they will enter into the joy of their Lord.
How completely gratifying is that thought!
As I prepared to "pen" this blog post, I was pondering and praying as to how to start it. I knew what the topic was: Jacob's ladder and the ladder of grace (found in 2 Peter 1:5-7, but vv. 1-12 provide the bigger picture of what that ladder does for us). But how to begin was a question to which I had no answer.
God directed my eyes to a blue book called Messages to Young People, sitting on the bookshelf beside my bed. I hesitated, then recognizing His voice, I proceeded to pick it up and open it, falling to page 39, from which the above quote was taken. Imagine my amazement when the paragraph precisely correlated with what I intended to write about! Happy to know that I was not the only one who came to such a conclusion as Jacob's ladder referencing how Christian character develops, I began to copy the quote...
The beautiful thing about climbing the ladder of Chistian perfection is that it is not in our own strength at all. While we are to "work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling", we are assured that "it is God which worketh in you, both to will an to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).
In fact, the first rung of the ladder of grace is faith, which is graciously bestowed to us through the righteousness of God and through our Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1).
The next rung, virtue or right-doing, is also dependent on the power of God alone. Paul shows us this in Ephesians 2:10 when he says that God prevously odaned the good works which He wanted us to walk in. If God planned it, He will make provision for it to become reality.
The third rung is knowledge, for in order for us to do right, we need to know right and thus grow in our right-doing. Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them by Thy truth; Thy word is truth." On this rung also, God is needed.
The rung that follows is temperance. In Ephesians 5, Paul admonishes those who believe to "be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Ghost." Again, it is not my abstinence that keeps me temperate: it is the power of the Holy Ghost.
The fifth rung, patience, can only be attained to when I am fully strengthened with the might of His glorious power (Colossians 1:11).
The sixth rung is godliness. To the Corinthians the apostle wrote, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. My work is to look; God's work is to transform me by His Spirit.
The seventh rung is brotherly kindness. In the context of Philippians 2:1-4, verse five's admonition to have the mind of Christ is speaking of this brotherly kindness. "Let each esteem other better than themselves" (v. 3). But Paul does not just tell me to be like Jesus: he tells me to have Jesus in me.
The final rung of the ladder of grace is love. God is love, and he who loves must abide in God (1 John 4:8, 16). Shifting back to Jacob's dream, who is at the top of that ladder? God Himself; and from that top rung, He gives the promise of inheritance (Genesis 28:13-14). Notice 2 Peter 1:10-11...
"...Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
Yet even here, God never gives the idea that we are on our own, that it is our strength or power which will help us to attain. To Jacob He said, "And, behold I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither tho goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of" (Genesis 28:15).
And to this generation God says, "...He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
Be confident of this very thing, and add to your faith.