Forgiveness of Sins Through the Blood of Jesus
Topics In This Chapter:
- Forgiveness To Be Obtained Now
- Forgiveness Necessary At The Outset
- Forgiveness The Spring Of Devotedness
THE GOD OF LOVE, dear reader, in His written Word, which gives an account of the rich mercy He has provided for the guilty, tells you that you may be saved. His Word assures you that you may be saved from guilt, sin, and wrath. And that Word also informs you that your salvation depends not on anything you may do, but on what God has already done. Good news about God have reached our world, and in believing these glad tidings. you shall be saved. This is the good news, "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us," (Rom. 5:8). "For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," (John 3:16). "Christ died for the ungodly," (Rom. 5:6). "He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in him," (2 Cor. 5:21). If, by simply believing the good news about what God through Christ hath done for sinners, we become "partakers of Christ," (Heb. 3:14), and are "accepted in the Beloved," (Eph. 1:6), it will become matter of personal consciousness and spiritual joy that "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace," (Eph. 1:7). "Be it known unto you therefore, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things," (Acts 13:38).
I beseech you to settle it in your mind that "forgiveness of sins" (Acts 13:38) lies at the very threshold of the Christian life. It is a blessing, needed and obtainable now. You must have forgiveness, or perish for ever; you must have it now, or you cannot have peace. It is surely a most delightful thought that you may have the guilt of all your past sins blotted out at once and for ever! God pardons freely and at once. He does not inculcate any preparation in order to pardon. One who knew the blessedness of enjoying His pardoning mercy testifies thus concerning it: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," (1 John 1:9); and this testimony was given on the ground of what he had affirmed in the same letter, that the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). He does not say, After you have repented more thoroughly, after you have spent days and weeks in agonising prayer, after you become more thoroughly instructed in divine things, and after you pass through years of "trouble and sorrow," then you may venture to hope for forgiveness. No; but, knowing that Christ died to put away sin, you are warranted, on simply taking the place of a sinner, and accepting of Jesus as your Saviour, to believe that, through the all-perfect merits of Christ, you are pardoned that very moment, and enjoy perfect peace with God; for God "justifieth the ungodly," (Rom. 5:5).
Peace with God through the forgiveness of all your sins may thus be obtained at any moment, seeing that you do not have to repent for it, work for it, or wait for it, but simply believe what God says regarding Christ "having made peace by the blood of his cross," (Col. 1:20). "And being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom, 3:24), - and being, fully satisfied that your sin has been forgiven you in a righteous way, being put away by "the precious blood of Christ," (1 Pet. 1:19) - God being "well pleased for his righteousness' sake," (Isa. 42:21)-"just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus," (Rom. 3:26) - "peace that passeth all understanding" (Phil. 4:7) will spring up spontaneously within your soul, like the fresh, flowing current of a perennial fountain.
In reference to the pardon of your sins, there is no time to be lost, for "the Holy Ghost saith, To-day," (Heb. 3:7); and were you now refusing to listen, and dying in your sins ere tomorrow's sun arose, you would inevitably perish eternally, notwithstanding your conviction of sin, and anxieties of soul; for Jesus himself assures us that "he that believeth not shall be damned," (Mark 16:16). Besides, you can do nothing else that will prove satisfactory to yourself, or well-pleasing to God, until you have obtained the forgiveness of your sins. And as pardon of sin is the first thing that you feel in need of, so it is the first thing which is presented by the God of love for your acceptance; for God is still to be found "in Christ reconciling sinners unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them," (2 Cor. 5:19). Moreover, you will have your whole life and character affected in a most striking way by the scripturalness or unscripturalness of the views you now entertain of "the God of all grace," (1 Pet. 5:10), and the heartiness or hesitancy with which you embrace His pardoning mercy. As a man's position in the world is very materially affected by the character of his elementary education and early training, so is the position of even true believers in Christ materially affected not only in this world, but in the world to come, by their being thoroughly grounded or not grounded in the great elementary truths of the Gospel of the grace of God, which preaches present pardon and immediate peace "to every one that believeth," (Rom. 1:16). Your position, as well as destiny for time and for eternity, are now to be determined! It is, therefore, of the last importance that you should have thoroughly scriptural views and an intelligent experience of the grace of God as it is manifested to you, a sinner, in the person and work of His Son Jesus Christ. And again, the character of your service for God, and your success in winning souls, will very greatly depend upon the clearness with which you realise your own salvation through the blood of Christ at the commencement of your Christian course; for how could you labor faithfully to bring others to feel the constraining power of the love of Christ, unless you yourself felt assured that He had loved you personally and put away your sin? The most useful life must ever be that which is firmly based on a knowledge of Christ crucified as the sole ground of acceptance with God, and on being justified, and having peace "through our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us," (1 Thess. 5:9,10). It will be found that those who do most for God and their fellow-sinners are such as the Rev. Robert McCheyne, who knew himself to be forgiven by God and safe for eternity-of whom his biographer says, that "he walked calmly in almost unbroken fellowship with the FATHER and the SON" and who himself thus describes his own undoubted conversion in the only record he has left of it:-
"When free grace awoke me, by light from on high
Then legal fears shook me, I trembled to die;
No refuge, no safety in self could I see-
Jehovah Tsidkenu* my Saviour must be.
My terrors all vanishd before the sweet name,
My guilty fears vanish'd, with boldness I came
To drink at the Fountain, life-giving and free
Jehovah Tsidkenu is all things to me."
*Translation: the Lord our Righteousness
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How Our Sins Are Taken Away By The Blood of Jesus
Topics In This Chapter:
- Jesus The Taker-Away Of Sin For The World
- Jesus Answers All The Claims Of Justice
- Jesus Takes Away Our Sins Freely
THERE IS EVERY REASON why you should now intelligently and believingly behold the Lamb of God, "which taketh away the sin of the world," (John 1:29). You are not directed in this passage to a Saviour who has already " taken away the sin of the world," but to Him who "taketh away the sin of the world." The meaning plainly is, that Jesus is the God appointed Taker-away of sin for the world. We find him asserting this, when He says, The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins" (Matt: 9:6); "All power" (or authority) "is given me in heaven and on earth," (Matt. 28:18). Jesus is the only and the all-sufficient, as He is the authorised Taker-away of sin, for the world at large. The whole world is brought in guilty before God, "for all have sinned," (Rom. 3:23); and the true gospel of God is, that when any one belonging to our sinful world feels his sin to be oppressive, and comes straight to "the Lamb of God" with it, and frankly acknowledges it, and tells out his anxieties regarding it, and his desire to get rid of it, he will find that Jesus has both the power and the will to take it away; and on seeing it removed from him by "the blood of His cross," (Col. 1:20), "as far as the east is from the west," (Ps. 103:12), be will be enabled to sing with a grateful heart and "joyful lips:"
"I lay my sins on Jesus,
The spotless Lamb of God;
He bears them all, and frees us
From the accursed load."
You can never make an atonement for your past sins, nor by personal obedience procure a title to the inheritance of glory; but Jesus is willing to take away all your sins, and to give you His own title to the glorious kingdom, if you will only consent to intrust Him alone with your salvation.
"Well," you may perhaps resolve, "I will go to Him, and cast myself upon His mercy, and if I perish, I perish." Ah, but you need not go to Him in that spirit, for it throws a doubt upon the all-sufficiency of His completed atonement for sin, and His perfect, spotless life of obedience.
Jesus himself says, " God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," (John 3:16). These being the " true sayings of God," (Rev. 19:9), where, O friend, is there the least cause for you saying, with hesitancy and doubt "If I perish, I perish?" (Esther 4:16). The proper thought you ought to have in reference to the glorious Gospel is this - God has so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son to die for sinners, and He assures me that if I, a perishing sinner, believe in Him, I shall not perish, but have everlasting life; I believe His Word, and reckon that if He gave His Son to die for us when we were yet sinners, He will with Him also freely give us all such things as pardon and purity, grace and glory; and if, in accordance with His own gracious invitation, I rest my soul upon His manifested love in Christ Jesus, I believe that it will be as impossible for me to perish, as for God to change His nature, or to cancel the word of grace and truth, that the " blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin," (1 John 1:7).
God the Father loved sinners so much as to send Jesus to die for them. Jesus loved sinners so much as to lay down His life for their redemption. The Holy Spirit loves sinners so much that He has written a record of God's manifested love to them in Jesus Christ, and He Himself has come down in person, to reveal that love to their souls, that they may be saved. And if you, O anxious one, will now agree to God's method of transferring all that Divine justice demands of you to Jesus, "who was made of a woman, made under the law," who perfectly obeyed and pleased the Father in His holy life, and in death endured and exhausted the penalty due to sin, you will obtain pardon, peace, grace, and holiness; the full tide of the love of God, which passeth knowledge, will flow into your soul, and, in the spirit of adoption, you will cry, "Abba, Father," (Gal. 4:6), feel the constraining influence of the love of Christ, and live to the glory of "Him who died for us and rose again."
That I may make the method of a sinner's salvation so "plain, that he that readeth it" (Hab. 2:2) may have his mind's eye so full of its meaning, "that he may run" at once to Jesus Christ, as his Divine sin-bearer, I will present the following homely and unmistakable illustration :-While standing, one day on the platform of the Aberdeen Station of the North-Eastern Railway, I observed a carriage with a board on it intimating that it ran all the way from Aberdeen to London. The doors of it were open, the porters were putting passengers' luggage on the top of it, and a few individuals were entering, or about to enter, its different compartments. They looked for this particular carriage as soon as they had passed through the ticket-office, and on seeing "London" on it, they threw in their traveling-rugs, entered, and, seating themselves, prepared for the journey.
Having furnished themselves with tickets and railway guides, and satisfied themselves that they were in the right carriage, they felt the utmost confidence and I did not observe any one of them coming out of the carriage, and running about in a state of excitement, calling to those around them, "Am I right? am I right?"
Nor did I see any one refusing to enter, because the carriage provided for only a limited number to proceed by that train. There might be 80,000 inhabitants in and around the city; but still there was not one who talked of it as absurd to provide accommodation for only about twenty persons, for practically it was found to he perfectly sufficient. Trains leave the city several times a-day, and it is found that one carriage for London in the train is quite sufficient for the number of passengers; and on the particular day to which I now refer, I noticed, that so ample was the accommodation, that one of the passengers had a whole compartment to himself. The carriage is for the whole city and neighbourhood, but carries only such of the inhabitants as come and seat themselves in it from day to day.
God, in His infinite wisdom, has made provision of a similar kind for our lost world. He has provided a train of grace to carry as many of its inhabitants to heaven, the great metropolis of the universe, as are willing to avail themselves of the gracious provision.
When we call you by the preaching of the gospel, the meaning is, that all who will may come, and, passing through the booking-office of justification by faith alone, seat themselves in a carriage marked, "From Guilt to Glory." Whenever you hear the free and general offer of salvation, you need not stand revolving the question in your own mind, "Is it for me ?" for just as the railway company carry all who comply with their printed regulations, irrespective of moral character, so if you come to the station of grace at the advertised time, which is " now,"-for "Behold now is the accepted time," (2 Cor. 6: 2),-you will find the train of salvation ready; and the only regulation to be complied with by you, in order to your being carried by it, is that you consent to let the Lord Jesus Christ charge Himself with paying for your seat, - which cannot surely be anything but an easy and desirable arrangement, seeing you have no means of paying for yourself.
Were you coming to the railway-station with no money in your pocket, and anxious to travel by a train about to start, in order to be put in possession of a valuable inheritance left to you by a friend; and were any one to meet you at the door of the ticket-office, and say, "I will pay your fare for you," you would not feel anything but the utmost satisfaction in complying with such a regulation; and is it not an easy matter for you on coming to the station of mercy to submit to the regulation of the gospel, to let Jesus pay your fare for the train of grace, that you may take your seat with confidence, and be carried alone, the new and living way to everlasting glory?
If we want to know the gospel and be saved, we must know Jesus as our Sin-bearer; for "Christ crucified is the sum of the gospel and the richness of it. Paul was so taken with Jesus that nothing sweeter than Jesus could drop from his pen and lips. It is observed that he hath the word Jesus five hundred times in his epistles "(Charnock 1684) "Jesus" was his constant subject of meditation, and out of the good treasure of the heart his mouth spoke and his pen wrote. He felt that Christ was made of God unto him "wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption," (1 Cor. 1:30), and glorying in the Lord and in His cross, he determined not to know anything among those to whom he preached and wrote, " save Jesus Christ and Him crucified," (1 Cor. 2:2). That faith which is not built on a dying Christ is but a perilous dream: God awaken all from it that are in it!
Christ alone is our salvation-
Christ the rock on which we stand;
Other than this sure foundation
Will be found but sinking sand.
Christ, His cross and resurrection,
Is alone the sinner's plea;
At the throne of Gods perfection,
Nothing else will set him free.
"We have all things, Christ possessing;
Life eternal, second birth;
Present pardon, peace, and blessing,
While we tarry here on earth;
And by faith's anticipation,
Foretastes of the joy above,
Freely given us with salvation,
By the Father in His love.
"When we perfect joy shall enter,
'Tis in Him our bliss will rise;
He's the essence, soul, and centre
Of the glory in the skies:
In redemption's wondrous story,
(Plannd before our parents' fall),
From the Cross unto the Glory.
Jesus Christ is all in all"
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The Blood Of Jesus, Not Conviction Of Sin, The Foundation Of Our Peace
Topics In This Chapter:
- Conviction Not To Be Desired As An End
- Christ Bore Our Sin On The Cross
IF THE HOLY GHOST be awakening you to a true apprehension of your danger as a rebel against God's authority,-a guilty, polluted, hell-deserving sinner,-you must be in a deeply anxious state of mind, and such questions as these must be ever present with you , -"What must I do to be saved? What is the true ground of a sinner's peace with God ? What am I to believe in order to be saved ?" Well, in so far as laying the foundation of your reconciliation is concerned, I wish you to observe that you have nothing to do ; for the Almighty Surety of sinners said on Calvary, "It is finished.," (John 19:30). Jesus has done all that the Holy Jehovah deemed necessary to be done to insure complete pardon, acceptance, and salvation to all who believe in His name. If you take Jesus as your Saviour, you will build securely for eternity. " For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ," (1 Cor. 3:11). He is the foundation-stone of salvation laid by God himself, and on His finished atoning work alone you are instructed to rest the salvation of your soul, and not on anything accomplished by you, wrought in you, felt by you, or proceeding from you. It is of the last importance to be clear as to the fact that it is the work of Christ without you, and not the work of the Spirit within you, that must form the sole ground of your deliverance from guilt and wrath, and of peace with God. You must beware of resting your peace on your feelings, convictions, tears, repentance, prayers, duties, or resolutions. You must begin with receiving Christ, and not make that the termination of a course of fancied preparation. Christ must, be the Alpha and Omega, He must be EVERYTHING in our salvation, or He will be nothing. Beware lest you fall into the common mistake of supposing that you will be more welcome to accept of Christ that you are brought through a terrible process of "law-work." You are as welcome to Christ now as you will ever be. Wait not for deeper convictions of sin, for why should you prefer conviction to Christ ? And you would not have one iota more safety although you had deeper convictions of sin than any sinner ever had.
Convictions of sin are precious ; but they bring no safety, no peace, no salvation, no security, but war, and storm, and trouble. It is well to be awakened from sleep when danger is hanging over us ; but to awake from sleep is not to escape from danger. It is only to be sensible of danger, nothing more. In like manner, to be convinced of your sins is merely to be made sensible that your soul is in danger. It is no more. It is not deliverance. Of itself, it can bring no deliverance ; it tells of no Saviour. It merely tells us that we need one. Yet there are many who, when they have had deep convictions of sin, strong terrors of the law, congratulate themselves as if all were well. They say, Ah, I have been convinced of sin; I have been under terrors; it is well with me; I am safe. Well with you ? Safe ? Is it well with the seaman when be awakes and finds his vessel going to pieces upon the rocks amid the fury of the whelming surge? Is it well with the sleeper when he awakes at midnight amid the flames, of his dwelling? Does he say, 'Ah, it is well with me; I have seen the flames?' In this way sinners are not unfrequently led to be content with some resting-place short of the appointed one. Anxiety to have deep convictions, and contentment with them after they have been experienced, are too often the means which Satan uses for turning away the sinner's eye from the perfect work of Jesus, who himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree. Our peace with God, our forgiveness, our reconciliation, flow wholly from the sin-atoning sacrifice of Jesus.
Behold, then, O Spirit-convinced soul, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world! In His death upon the cross, behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world! In His death upon the cross, behold the mighty sacrifice, the ransom for the sins of many! See there the sum of all His obedience and sufferings! Behold the finished work!--a work of stupendous magnitude, which He alone could have undertaken and accomplished ! Behold our sacrifice, our finished sacrifice, our perfected redemption, the sole foundation of our peace, and hope, and joy. He His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree," (1 Pet. 2:24). It is not said that our duties, or our prayers, or our fastings, or our convictions of sin, or our repentance, or our honest life, or our alms deeds, or our faith, or our grace--it is not said that these bore our sins; it was Jesus, Jesus himself, Jesus alone, Jesus, and none but Jesus, 'bore our sins in His own body on the tree. Rest, then, in nothing short of peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Christ has done the mighty work;
Nothing left for us to do,
But to enter on His toil,
Enter on His triumph too.
His the labour, ours the rest;
His the death, and ours the life;
Ours the fruits of victory,
His the agony and strife."
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A Letter About The Blood Of Jesus
Topics In This Chapter:
- What Is Justification?
- Looking Unto Jesus, We Can Die In Peace
AN EMINENT AUTHOR1 wrote to a dying man, " I urge you to cast yourself at once, in the simplest faith, upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved. All your true preparation for death is entirely out of yourself, and in the Lord Jesus. Washed in His blood, and clothed upon with His righteousness, you may appear before God divinely, fully, freely, and for ever accepted. The salvation of the chief sinners is all prepared, finished, and complete in Christ, (Eph.1:6; Col. 2:10). Again, I repeat, your eye of faith must now be directed entirely, out of and from yourself, to JESUS. Beware of looking for any preparation to meet death in yourself. It is all in Christ. God does not accept you on the ground of a broken heart-or a clean heart-or a praying heart-or a believing heart. He accepts you wholly and entirely on the ground of the ATONEMENT Of His blessed Son. Cast yourself, in childlike faith, upon that atonement-' Christ dying for the ungodly, (Rom. 5:6) - and you are saved! Justification is a poor, law-condemned, self-condemned, self-destroyed sinner, wrapping himself by faith in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is unto all, and upon all them that believe, (Rom. 3:22). He, then, is justified, and is prepared to die, and he only, who casts from him the garment of his own righteousness, and runs into this blessed City of Refuge - the Lord Jesus - and hides himself there from the revenger of blood, exclaiming, in the language of triumphant faith, There is NOW NO CONDEMNATION to them that are in Christ Jesus,' (Rom. 8:1). Look to Jesus, then, for a contrite heart -look to Jesus for a clean heart-look to Jesus for a believing heart-look to Jesus for a loving heart-and Jesus will give you all. One faith's touch of Christ, and one divine touch from Christ, will save the vilest sinner. Oh, the dimmest, most distant glance of faith, turning its languid eye upon Christ, will heal and save the soul. God is prepared to accept you in His blessed Son, and for His sake He will cast all your sins behind His back, and take you to glory when you die. Never was Jesus known to reject a poor sinner that came to Him empty and, with nothing to pay.' God will glorify His free grace in your salvation, and will therefore save you, just as you are, without money and without price,' (Isa. 65:1). I close with Paul's reply to the anxious jailer, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,' (Acts 16:31). No matter what you have been, or what you are, plunge into the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness,' (Zech. 13:1), and you shall be clean, 'washed whiter than snow,' (Ps. 51:7). Heed no suggestion of Satan, or of unbelief. Cast yourself at the feet of Jesus, and if you perish, perish there! Oh no! perish you never will, for He hath said, 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,' (John 6:37). 'Come unto ME,' (Matt. 11:28), is His blessed invitation ; let your reply be, Lord, I come! I come! I come! I entwine my feeble, trembling arms of faith around Thy cross, around Thyself, and if I die, I will die, cleaving, clinging, looking unto Thee!' So act and believe, and you need not fear to die. Looking at the Saviour in the face, you can look at death in the face, exclaiming with good old Simeon, 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation,' (Luke 2:29). May we, through rich, free, and sovereign grace, meet in heaven, and unite together in exclaiming, Worthy is the Lamb; for He was slain for us!"' (Rev. 5:12).
"How glorious Is THY NAME
Through all the ransom'd host,
O WORTHY LAMB, who came
To seek and save the lost!
Thou art, beyond compare,
Most precious in our sight!
Than sons of men more fair,
And infinite in might!
Thy perfect work divine
Makes us for ever blest;
Here truth and mercy shine,
And men with God do rest."
1Some time ago, the Rev. Dr Winslow of Bath received a letter from a youth, apparently near death, asking him to reply to it in the columns of our periodical, which he did, and the above quotation contains the most important part of his reply. The subjoined are Dr Winslow's note to the author, and the youth's interesting note to Dr. Winslow:-
"MY DEAR SIR,-A few days ago, I received the following note. Will you allow a brief reply to the all-important question it contains, through the columns of your wide. spread and most useful journal? I write hurriedly, and on a journey, but I will endeavour to make the apostle's reply to the awakened jailor my model for point and conciseness. And oh may the same Divine Spirit apply the answer with like immediate and saving result!-
" TO THE REV. DR. WINSLOW,
" DEAR SIR, - You would greatly oblige a sinner, if you would write a piece .for September, and tell him what he must do to prepare to die-what is the preparation required by God - and when he is fit to die. By your doing so, you will greatly oblige a young person person who feels that his time is short in this world. Now what is justification? And when is a sinner justified?"
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Salvation Through The Blood Of Jesus, The Gift Of God
Topics In This Chapter:
- Saved Only by the Love and Mercy of God
- Invited to Lay Hold of a Proffered Boon
- An Absolute Offer of Jesus Necessary to Faith
- A Christ Offered for Everything
DEAR READER: - AS I AM ANXIOUS that the one grand theme-salvation through the blood-shedding of Jesus alone-should be set before you in a variety of aspects, that, if you miss it in one, you may realise it in another, I would now present it as a gift of grace. " "For by grace are ye saved," (Eph. 2:8). "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord," (Rom. 6:23). "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life," (John 3:16).
As one English reformer, Thomas Becon, said:
Here God, who is infinite and unspeakable, gives after such a manner as passeth all things. For that which He gives He gives not as the wages of desert, but of mere love.This sort of giving, which has its spring in love, makes this gift more excellent and precious. And the words of Christ are plain that God loveth us. And as God, the Giver, is exceedingly great, so is the gift that He giveth, which is His only Son. Let us understand that God is not said to be angry with the world, but to love it in that He gave His Son for it. God is merciful to us and loveth us, and of very love gave His Son unto us, that we should not perish, but have everlasting life. And as God giveth by love and mercy, so do we take and receive by faith and not otherwise. Faith only - that is, trust in the mercy and grace of God - is the very hand by which we take this gift. This gift is given to make us safe from death and sin. And it is bestowed upon the world, and the world signifies all mankind. Why shouldest thou not suffer thyself to be of this name, seeing that Christ with plain words saith, that God gave not His Son only for Mary, Peter, and Paul, but for the world, that all should receive Him that are the sons of men? Then if thou or I should receive Him as if He did not appertain to us, truly it would consequently follow that
Christ's words are not true, wherein He saith He was given and delivered for the world. Wherefore hereof appears that the contrary thereto is most assuredly true, that this gift belongs as well unto thee as to Peter and Paul, for as much as thou also art a man as they were, and a portion of the world. . . . Whatsoever I am, God is not to be taken as unfaithful to His promise. I am a portion of the world, wherefore if I take not this gift as mine, I make God untrue. But thou wilt say, 'Why does He not shew this to me alone? Then I would believe and think surely that it appertained to me.' But it is for a great consideration that God speaks here so generally; to the intent, verily, that no, man should think that he is excluded from this promise and gift. He that excludes himself must give an account why he does so. I will not judge them,' saith He, but they shall be judged of their own mouth.' . . . We are saved, then, only by the mercy of God; and we obtain this grace only by faith, without virtue, without merits, and without works. For the whole matter, that is necessary to the getting of everlasting life and remission of sins, is altogether and fully comprehended in the love and mercy of God through Christ."
Blessed be God our God!
Who gave for us His well-beloved Son,
His gift of gifts, all other gifts in one.
Blessed be God our God!
He spared not His Son!
Tis this that silences each rising fear,
Tis this that bids the hard thought disappear;
He spared not His Son!
Dr. Chalmers wrote the following words in a letter to a friend:
I must say that I never had so close and satisfactory a view of the gospel salvation as when I have been led to contemplate it in the light of a simple offer on the one side, and a simple acceptance on the other. It is just saying to one and all of us, There is forgiveness through the blood of my Son: take it and whoever believes the reality of the offer takes it.
It is not in any shape the reward of our own services; . . . it is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is not given because you are worthy to receive it, but because it is a gift worthy of our kind and reconciled Father to bestow.
We are apt to stagger at the greatness of the unmerited offer, and cannot attach faith to it till we have made up some title of our own. This leads to two mischievous consequences. It keeps alive the presumption of one class of Christians, who will still be thinking that it is something in themselves and of themselves which confers upon them a right to salvation; and it confirms the melancholy of another class, who look into their own hearts and their own lives, and find that they cannot make out a shadow of a title to the divine favour. The error of both lies in their looking to themselves when they should be looking to the Saviour. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth,' (Isa. 45:22).
The Son of man was so lifted up that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life, (John 3:14,15). It is your part simply to lay hold of the proffered boon. You are invited to do so; you are entreated to do so; nay, what is more, you are commanded to do so. It is true you are unworthy, and without holiness no man can see God; but be not afraid, only believe! You cannot get holiness of yourself, but Christ has undertaken to provide it for you. It is one of those spiritual blessings of which He has the dispensation, and which He has promised to all who believe in Him.
God has promised that with His Son He will freely give you all things, (Rom. 8:32), -that He will walk in you, and dwell in you, (2 Cor. 6:16), - that He will purify your heart by faith, (Acts 15:9), - that He will put His law in your heart, and write it in your mind, (Heb. 8:10).
These are the effects of your believing in Christ, and not the services by which you become entitled to believe in Him. Make a clear outset in the business, and understand that your first step is simply a confiding acceptance of an offer that is 'Most free, most frank, most generous, and most unconditional.
If I were to come as an accredited agent from the upper sanctuary with a letter of invitation to you, with your name and address on it, you would not doubt your warrant to accept it. Well, here is the Bible, your invitation to come to Christ. It does not bear your name and address, but it says Whosoever that takes you in; it says all - that takes you in; it says if any - that takes you in. What can be surer or freer than that?"
Old Traill of London said:
"We glory in any name of reproach (as the honourable reproach of Christ) that is cast upon us for asserting the absolute boundless freedom of the grace of God, which excludes all merit, and everything like it; the absoluteness of the covenant of grace, for the covenant of redemption was plainly and strictly a conditional one, and the noblest of all conditions was in it.
The Son of God's taking on Him mans nature, and offering it in sacrifice, was the strict condition of all the glory and reward promised to Christ and His seed, (Isa 53:10-11), - wherein all things are freely promised, and that faith that is required for sealing a mans interest in the covenant is promised in it, and wrought by the grace of it, (Eph 2:8). That faith at first is wrought by, and acts upon, a full and absolute offer of Christ, and of all His fulness; an offer that hath no condition in it, but that native one to all offers, acceptance: and in the very act of this acceptance, the acceptor doth expressly disclaim all things in himself, but sinfulness and misery.
That faith in Jesus Christ doth justify (although, by the way, it is to be noted that it is never written in the Word that faith justifieth actively, but always passively, that a man is justified by faith, and that God justifieth men by and through faith; yet admitting the phrase) only as a mere instrument, receiving that imputed righteousness of Christ for which we are justified ; and that this faith, in the office of justification, is neither condition, nor qualification, nor our gospel righteousness, but in its very act a renouncing of all such pretences.
We proclaim the market of grace to be free (Isa. 55:1-3). It is Christ's last offer - and lowest, (Rev. 22:17). If there be any price or money spoken of, it is no price, no money. And where such are the terms and conditions, if we be forced to call them so, we must say that they look liker a renouncing, than a boasting of any qualifications or conditions. Surely the terms of the gospel bargain are, Gods free giving, and our free taking and receiving.
It is quite natural for us, born as we are, under the law, and brought up under the restraining influences of religion and civilisation, to suppose that we can be saved only by conforming to certain rules and implementing certain conditions. It is difficult to lay aside the performing of all duties as a means of being accepted graciously by God, and to submit to be sought and saved simply as lost sinners, by a loving Redeemer, who delivers us from guilt, corruption, and perdition, "without money and without price," (Isa. 55:1).
An eminent writer of last century says truly:
The gospel is much clouded by legal terms, conditions, and qualifications. If my doctrine were, Upon condition that you did so and so-that you believe, and repent, and mourn, and pray, and obey, and the like then you shall have the favour of God -I dare not for my life say that is the gospel. But the gospel I desire to preach to you is, Will you have a Christ to work faith, repentance, love, and all good in you, and to stand between you and the sword of Divine wrath? Here there is no room for you to object that you are not qualified, because you are such a hardened, unhumbled, blind and stupid wretch. For the question is not, Will you remove these evils and then come to Christ ? but, Will you have a Christ to remove them for you? It is because you are plagued with these diseases that I call you to come to the Physician that He may heal them. Are you guilty? I offer Him unto you for righteousness. Are you polluted ? I offer Him unto you for sanctification. Are you miserable and forlorn? I offer Him as made of God unto you complete redemption. Are you hard-hearted? I offer Him in that promise, I will take away the heart of stone,' (Ezek. 36:26). Are you content that He break your hard heart ? Come, then, and put your hard heart into His hand."
I'VE FOUND THE PEARL OF GREATEST PRICE!
My heart doth sing for joy;
And sing I must, A CHRIST I HAVE!
Oh what a Christ have I!
MY CHRIST He is the Lord of lords,
He is the King of kings;
He is the Sun of Righteousness,
With healing in His wings.
MY CHRIST He is the Tree of Life
Which in God's garden grows;
Whose fruits do feed, whose leaves do heal;
My Christ is Sharons Rose.
CHRIST IS MY MEAT, CHRIST IS MY DRINK,
MY MEDICINE AND MY HEALTH;
MY PEACE, MY STRENGTH, MY JOY, MY CROWN,
MY GLORY, AND MY WEALTH.
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