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be with Him. If the Head, as in John xiv., be in heaven, the body will be with Him. If He be in glory, as in Colossians, reigning, we shall reign with Him, and be with Him for ever. When He delivers up the kingdom to the Father, He will not deliver up His body, Did any man ever give up His body? The kingdom will have answered its end; not so the body.
What sublime and elevating truth is this ! How it links us in, not only with the eternal future, but brings us back to see what we were, in the purpose of God, in the eternal past-joint heirs with the Son, who was with the Father. John says, “ We beheld His glory;" not His glory as man, but “as of the only begotten of the Father.” Ah, it is with that glory also we are to be associated. The Head cannot have His primal glory without its casting its radiance specially on the body. Of one glory He says, " The glory which thou gavest me I have given them;" but in regard to the essential glory He says, “ Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory."
Nearer or dearer to God than all this we cannot be ; and all that we want is to bow the head before Him, to adore and worship. As to our walk and life, we must take our true standing as the members of Christ's body. The world that rejected the Head rejects the members; that is, if true to Him. He promises you nothing now from the world but tribulation. Israel will have much here—the kingdom, the whole earth, a new Jerusalem! Abraham looked for a city, which city, as seen in Rev. xxi., will yet come down from God out of heaven ; and the Messiah, for His Israel, is to have the throne of David; but where are we? We have no throne, no
; kingdom here; but we shall reign with Him over the earth, like those who were with David in the
and who shared his honour when he came to the throne. So shall we share the glory of Jesus. We shall come with Him in His glory, and shall reign with Him. Wonderful position-to form the body of Christ ! Nothing, not one iota, lower! This surely is wonderful, to be as He is! Is it not melancholy that there are dear Christians not knowing, and therefore not living in the enjoyment of this truth? And sometimes it happens that when told of it, they care not for it. Alas, how shameful ! that when God's love is put out to me I do not care to know it! I draw into the narrow shell of my own prejudices rather than take it!
Imagine a poor man who got his living by taking alms of the passers-by. A lawyer tells him he is worth ten thousand pounds! What cares the man now for the alms ? But, oh, how are we still, as it were, content with our own former poverty, instead of exulting in our priceless portion. What I want is, with the Colossians, to be brought into the knowledge of His will, to know what I was in His purpose, and to be filled with a knowledge of His will. I have only to know the will, and whatever I find as mine there, I am in it at once.
This is the present privilege of every believing sinner.
And will not the Lord, beloved, care for His body? “ Saul, Saul," He said, “you are touching me-you are afflicting me." Oh! how close is the connexion between the Head and the members! Can the body suffer pain, and the Head not feel it? or the members be in a wrong position, and the Head not sooner or later deal with them? Sometimes, when they sin a sin unto death, He takes them up home into heaven. If mixed with the world, and in a wrong position, He, in simple love, takes them out of it. What better care could He take of His members ? Great is His love. If the hand be cold, He will warm it; if in pain, He will devise means to alleviate it, or will suffer with it.
Ah! beloved, believe me, whatever may be thought or said to the contrary, this whole truth is a practical truth. It is a deeply sanctifying truth. For how does this position of ours bear upon our life! The Head is holy; we must be holy. The Head is not of the world; we are not of the world. The Head is in heaven; we must be heavenly. The Head has no place with the ordinary course of this present, evil world, (age,) and, as members of the body of Christ, we should have none. Should we go where the Head would not go ? But the Head could not go where, alas ! many Christians go. You are walking, perhaps, in some wrong way with the world that rejected the Head. Holding the Head” will put you right in every circumstance. Would He be here ? Would He do this? This should guide me.
What wonderful Christians it would make of us! Ah! it is a high standard, I know, and few there be that even think of
Yet it is our standard ; not I am a professor, and I must walk as such, or I am a minister, and must walk as such; such walk, at best, must be defective; but I am as Christ, and must walk as He walked. Says John, “ As Christ is in this world, so are we;' and being as He is, we must walk even as He walked.
And now as we have one life and are one body, so we have one Spirit. Not one Spirit for the Head and another for the body. The Head was anointed with the oil of gladness, and it ran down to the body. The Holy Ghost dwells in us : “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost ?” He said to His disciples, “Behold, I send the promise of my Father unto you;" and the Holy Ghost baptized them into one body at Pentecost, so that we have not to ask for the Holy Ghost to come. The Spirit is in the Head and in the members; and He it is who reveals to the members the fulness in the Head. Oh! it is His work to bring all this wondrous truth to our mind, and so give it to be life and power within us, that our live being formed thereby, we may glorify God. It is thus,
too, when we walk according to what He through the Word reveals, that He dwells within us an unhindered and an ungrieved guest.
This subject bears on the question of our communion. What is communion? It is not so much our telling out before God what we are as to ourselves; it is the rather our telling out before God what Christ is. In communion we participate with God as it were in the delight which He feels in Christ; in our measure we delight as He does in the fulness that dwells in Him.
And the scene of such communion is not here—it is where Christ is, in heaven. There, in the true sanctuary, our Divine Head is seated before God, in divine perfectness, for us. We are as He is perfect in His perfectness, complete in His completeness—well-pleasing to God for His sake. In such scene is perfect rest
As in the holiest, Aaron, through the blood, was at perfect rest before the Divine holiness, so we who, through the blood of Jesus, are made nigh, are where sin and sorrow and death have no placehaving been left outside, where the Sacrifice for sin once and for ever has been made.
But, oh! the fulness of the Head, and the Comforter, and the walk, and the life, and even the communion with God, where Christ now is-all make way for the promise, “I will come for you." “ And surely I come quickly.” We shall not always be separated from our Head—not always here ! We are to be with Him in glory. But we must be first gathered. And the very next thing we have to expect is, that all the members of the body will be gathered to the Head. “I go away,” He said, “and if I go and prepare a
” ; place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself, that where I am, there ye may be also. The Lord HIMSELF will come. And then, having received us to Himself, when He appears in His glory, we also shall appear with Him in glory. “Even so come Lord Jesus; come quickly.'
GRACE: WHAT IS IT?
“By grace ye are saved.”—Ep. ii. 5.
THESE words, form a parenthesis, having its place in the midst of the most wondrous truths, relating to our oneness with Christ Jesus, and the way in which God hath saved us.
It was not after we were made alive to our condition as sinners that He came in and saved us, but when we were dead in sins.
It was in the condition of " dead in sins” that He found us, when we had no thought of Him, or had any love for His name. This He did in and by Christ. We have died—had our doom for sin-in His death on the tree. And as He was raised again from the dead, we are quickened together with Him, and are raised up together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. As death on the tree closed the door for ever on the trespasses and sins for which He died, and as His open grave
showed a life without sins, so are we freed from sins, and our life is hid with Christ in God.
But it is not with the truths in the midst of which these words stand that I would now treat, but with the words themselves, which declare on what ground it is that God can and does give so great a salvation, viz., that it is simply and only on the ground of grace. . But, oh, how little do we understand what Goďs
And how slow are we to perceive that grace is for the sinner, simply and solely as a sinner