From Morning and Evening:
Our Lord Jesus is His people’s representative. When He died for them—they had rest; He rose again for them—they had liberty; when He sat down at His Father’s right hand—they had favor, and honor, and dignity.
It is delightful to reflect how close is Christ’s union with His people. We are actually one with Him; we are members of His body; and His exaltation is our exaltation. He will give us to sit upon His throne, even as He has overcome, and has sat down with His Father on His throne.
He has a crown, and He gives us crowns too. He has a throne—but He is not content with having a throne to Himself, on His right hand there must be His queen, arrayed in “gold of Ophir.” He cannot be glorified without His bride.
Be content to live unknown for a little while, and to walk your weary way through the fields of poverty, or up the hills of affliction; for by-and-by you shall reign with Christ, for He has “made us kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign forever and ever!”
Worldlings may well be afraid, for they have an angry God above them, a guilty conscience within them, and a yawning hell beneath them! But we who rest in Jesus are saved from all these—through rich mercy.
It may be night in the soul—but there need be no terror, for the God of love changes not. Children of light may walk in darkness—but they are not therefore cast away, nay, they are now enabled to prove their adoption by trusting in their heavenly Father as hypocrites cannot do.
The only weapon to fight sin with—is the spear which pierced the side of Jesus!
You must be conquerors through Him who has loved you, if conquerors at all. Our laurels must grow among His olives in Gethsemane.
You call me to Yourself by saying “Come away!” and this is a melodious call indeed. To come to You is to come home from exile; to come to land out of the raging storm; to come to rest after long labor, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes!
But Lord, how can a stone rise, how can a lump of clay come away from the horrible pit? O raise me, draw me—and I will run after You! Your grace alone can do it. Send forth Your Holy Spirit to kindle sacred flames of love in my heart—and I will continue to rise until I leave life and time behind me, and indeed come away!
Christ is the great master-key of all the chambers of God. There is no treasure-house of God which will not open and yield up all its wealth—to the soul that lives near to Jesus.
I fear that the Christian church is far more likely to lose her integrity in these soft and silken days—than in those rougher times. We must be awake now, for we traverse the enchanted ground, and are most likely to fall asleep to our own undoing—unless our faith in Jesus is a reality, and our love to Jesus a vehement flame.
It is strange how little use we make of the spiritual blessings which God gives us—but it is stranger still how little use we make of God Himself.
Though He is “our own God,” we apply ourselves but little to Him, and ask but little of Him. How seldom do we ask counsel at the hands of the Lord!
Never lack—while you have a God to go to; never fear or faint—while you have God to help you; go to your treasure house—and take whatever you need—there is all that you can want.
Learn the divine skill of making God all things to you. He can supply you with all; or, better still, He can be to you instead of all. Let me urge you, then, to make use of your God. Make use of Him in prayer. Go to Him often, because He is your God.
Whatever your especial need may be—you may readily find some promise in the Bible suited to it.
Banquet your faith upon God’s own Word, and whatever your fears or needs, repair to the Bank of Faith with your Father’s hand-written note, saying, “Remember the Word unto Your servant—upon which You have caused me to hope.”
“Being justified by faith, I have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”--(Romans 5:1.) THERE is a word in the text which heads this page which ought to be very precious in the eyes of Englishmen. That word is “peace.”
There is such a thing as “peace with God.” It may be felt and known.
There are four things which I propose to bring before you, in order to throw light on the whole subject. 1. Let me show you the chief privilege of a true Christian:--“he has peace with God.” 2. Let me show you the fountain from which that privilege flows:--“he is justified.” 3. Let me show you the rock from which that fountain springs:--“Jesus Christ.” 4. Let me show you the hand by which the privilege is made our own:--“faith.”
This peace with God is a calm, intelligent sense of friendship with the Lord of heaven and earth. He that has it, feels as if there was no barrier and separation between himself and his holy Maker. He can think of himself as under the eye of an all-seeing Being, and yet not feel afraid. He can believe that this all-seeing Being beholds him, and yet is not displeased.
It is the want of this very peace which makes many in the world unhappy. Thousands have everything that is thought able to give pleasure, and yet are never satisfied. Their hearts are always aching. There is a constant sense of emptiness within. And what is the secret of all this? They have no peace with God.
The peace of the true Christian is not a vague, dreamy feeling, without reason and without foundation. He can show cause for it. He builds upon solid ground. He has peace with God, because he is justified.
Without justification it is impossible to have real peace. Conscience forbids it. Sin is a mountain between a man and God, and must be taken away. The sense of guilt lies heavy on the heart, and must be removed. Unpardoned sin will murder peace.
The true Christian is not justified because of any goodness of his own. His peace is not to be traced up to any work that he has done. It is not purchased by his prayers and regularity, his repentance and his amendment, his morality and his charity. All these are utterly unable to justify him.
Christ has stood in the place of the true Christian. He has become his Surety and his Substitute. He undertook to bear all that was to be borne, and to do all that was to be done, and what He undertook He performed. Hence the true Christian is a justified man. (Isaiah 53:6.)
Christ has suffered for sins, the “just for the unjust.” He has endured our punishment in His own body on the cross. He has allowed the wrath of God, which we deserved: to fall on His own head. Hence the true Christian is a justified man. (1 Peter 3:18.)
Christ has paid the debt the Christian owed, by His own blood. He has reckoned for it, and discharged it to the uttermost farthing by His own death. God is a just God, and will not require his debts to be paid twice over. Hence the true Christian is a justified man. (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 1:18-19.)
Christ has obeyed the law of God perfectly. The devil, the Prince of this World, could find no fault in Him. By so fulfilling it He brought in an everlasting righteousness, in which all His people are clothed in the sight of God. Hence the true Christian is a justified man. (Daniel 9:24; Romans 10:4.)
Christ, in one word, has lived for the true Christian. Christ has died for him. Christ has gone to the grave for him. Christ has risen again for him. Christ has ascended up on high for him, and gone into heaven to intercede for his soul. Christ has done all, paid all, suffered all that was needful for his redemption. Hence arises the true Christian’s justification,--hence his peace. In himself there is nothing, but in Christ he has all things that his soul can require. (Colossians 2:3; Colossians 3:11.)
Oh, believe me, there is no peace with God excepting through Christ! Peace is His peculiar gift. Peace is that legacy which He alone had power to leave behind Him when He left the world.
There is scarcely any point in Christianity so important as the means by which Christ, justification, and peace, become the property of a man’s soul.
There is but one thing needful in order to be justified by His blood, and have peace with God. That one thing is to believe on Him.
True saving faith is not the possession of everybody. The opinion that all who are called Christians are, as a matter of course, believers, is a most mischievous delusion. A man may be baptized, like Simon Magus, and yet have “no part or lot” in Christ. The visible Church contains unbelievers as well as believers. “All men have not faith.” (2 Thessalonians 3:2.)
True saving faith is not a mere matter of feeling. A man may have many good feelings and desires in his mind towards Christ, and yet they may all prove as temporary and short-lived as the morning cloud and the early dew.
True saving faith is an act of the whole inner man. It is an act of the head, heart, and will, all united and combined. It is an act of the soul, in which,--seeing his own guilt, danger, and hopelessness,--and seeing at the same time Christ offering to save him,--a man ventures on Christ,--flees to Christ,--receives Christ as his only hope,--and becomes a willing dependant on Him for salvation. It is an act which becomes at once the parent of a habit.
True faith has nothing whatever of merit about it, and in the highest sense cannot be called “a work.” It is but laying hold of a Saviour’s hand, leaning on a husband’s arm, and receiving a physician’s medicine. It brings with it nothing to Christ but a sinful man’s soul. It gives nothing, contributes nothing, pays nothing, performs nothing. It only receives, takes, accepts, grasps, and embraces the glorious gift of justification which Christ bestows, and by renewed daily acts enjoys that gift.
Saving faith is the hand of the soul. The sinner is like a drowning man at the point of sinking. He sees the Lord Jesus Christ holding out help to him. He grasps it and is saved. This is faith. (Hebrews 6:18.) Saving faith is the eye of the soul. The sinner is like the Israelite bitten by the fiery serpent in the wilderness, and at the point of death. The Lord Jesus Christ is offered to him as the brazen serpent, set up for his cure. He looks and is healed. This is faith. (John 3:14-15.) Saving faith is the mouth of the soul. The sinner is starving for want of food, and sick of a sore disease. The Lord Jesus Christ is set before him as the bread of life, and the universal medicine. He receives it, and is made well and strong. This is faith. (John 6:35.) Saving faith is the foot of the soul. The sinner is pursued by a deadly enemy, and is in fear of being overtaken. The Lord Jesus Christ is put before him ,as a strong tower, a hiding place, and a refuge. He runs into it and is safe. This is faith. (Proverbs 18:10.)
There is seldom life in the heart when all is still, quiet, and in one way of thinking. Believe me, a true Christian may be known by his warfare as well as by his peace. These very doubts and fears which now distress you are tokens of good. They satisfy me that you have really got something which you are afraid to lose.
Let doubts and fears drive you to the throne of grace, stir you up to more prayer, send you more frequently to Christ. But do not let doubts and fears rob you of your peace. Believe me, you must be content to go to heaven as a sinner saved by grace. And you must not be surprised to find daily proof that you really are a sinner so long as you live.
Our justification is a fixed, changeless, immovable thing. But our sense of justification is liable to many changes.
To keep up a lively sense of peace, there must be constant looking to Jesus. There must be constant communion with Jesus. We must use Him daily as our soul’s Physician, and High Priest. There must be daily conference, daily confession, and daily absolution.
He that would have peace must be always prepared for war.
There must be constant following after holiness in every relation of life, in our tempers, in our tongues, abroad and at home. There must be a constant labouring after humility. Pride goes before a fall. Self-confidence is often the mother of sloth, of hurried Bible-reading, and sleepy prayers.
There must be constant boldness in confessing our Lord before men. Them that honour Christ, Christ will honour with much of His company. When the disciples forsook our Lord they were wretched and miserable. When they confessed Him before the council, they were filled with joy and the Holy Ghost. There must be constant diligence about means of grace. Here are the ways in which Jesus loves to walk. No disciple must expect to see much of his Master, who does not delight in public worship, Bible-reading, and private prayer.
Lastly, there must be constant jealousy over our own souls, and frequent self examination. We must be careful to distinguish between justification and sanctification.