Page images
PDF
EPUB

ianity confers. Unless the Lord Jesus Christ be our hope and trust, because we feel our need of being interested in His great salvation, we know nothing of Christianity to a saving purpose. Without Him we are lost, without Him we must perish everlastingly. He came to save us from perdition. But if our cry be not, Lord, save us, we perish,52 we shall obtain no relief from Him. As the Son of God, He is the Saviour of sinners. But it is not enough for us to hear of Him as such; we must apply to Him for ourselves, or He will not be our Saviour; we shall not know Him in this gracious character. His name was called Jesus, because He should save His people from their sins. He was Emmanuel, God with us, 5 for this purpose. As the Christ, He was anointed of God to this end; the Spirit was given to Him without measure, in human nature, to qualify Him for doing and suffering, or accomplishing all the will of God; in consequence of which He finished the work which was given Him to do ,53 and has “opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers” in His name. God so loved the world,53 as to give to mankind this Saviour; and He has commanded that the children of men should receive Him as such, should put their trust in Him and be saved. The consequence is, when a man truly believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, with'all

52 Matt. viii, 25; i. 21, 23.

53 John xvii. 4; iii. 16.

his heart, he becomes interested in His great salvation and all its blessings; his sins are forgiven him through faith in the redemption of Christ, because the Lamb of God suffered the punishment which our sins deserved, and put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.54 He is accepted with God through faith in Christ, his Mediator and Advocate; he is reconciled to God, at peace with Him, justified before Him, by faith. He is adopted into His family, so that he calls upon God, in the spirit of adoption, crying, Abba, Father. He is made a partaker of the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit, whereby he is conformed to the Divine image, and is strengthened to resist all his spiritual enemies. And he is enabled to look forward to eternity with a good hope through grace, and to rejoice in hope of the glory of God,** which by sin he had forfeited.

It is the commandment of God, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, in order that all this blessedness may be our portion. Let us seek His grace, that we may be enabled so to do. Great is the blessedness of believing in Christ. May we enjoy it to the glory of God, and our own consolation and salvation. Who has such reason to be happy as the humble believer in the Lord Jesus Christ? It is his privilege to look up continually to God as his Father, and to look forward to heaven as his home; and to know that all things shall work together for good to him, both here and hereafter. While he casts all his care upon God, he possesses peace and consolation in the midst of all the changes and uncertainties of this mortal life ; and he looks beyond them all to the rest which remaineth for the people of God in His eternal kingdom and glory.

54 Hebrews ix. 26.

55 Romans viii. 15; v. 2.

How important is it that this blessedness should be our portion. Let us not rest satisfied without obtaining it. It is to be enjoyed now by the believer in Jesus. Let us then ask ourselves, Do we obey the Divine command here set before us? Do we believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God? Do we put our trust in Him as all our salvation and all our desire? If so, do we enjoy the comfort of it? Does our faith make us happy? It is designed to produce this effect. Does it make us holy? If not, it cannot be faith unfeigned.57 Does it lead us to love Him, who hath loved us and hath given Himself for us, se and to devote ourselves to His service in heart and lip and life? This is the object proposed by it. May we not only make an outward profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but enjoy its consolations, and adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour

56 Rom. viii. 28.

57 1 Tim. i. 5.

58 Eph. v. 2.

ye also love

in all things, 59, that His name may be glorified in us and by us.

There is another thing, however, respecting which God has given us commandment. His commandment is not only that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ; which is the first and great commandment; but also that we should love one another, as He gave us commandment. This our Saviour enforced upon all His disciples, on all who believe in His name. He said to them, This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. And again, A new commandment I give unto you,

That

ye

love one another; as I have loved

you,

that one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another. 60 The children of God should love one another as members of the same family, who all call upon God as their Father. It

may
be
proper

however to remark, that it was not intended by this exhortation, that the relative situations in life of believers in Christ should be altered, but that all the members of His mystical body should have a fellow-feeling for each other, or a mutual kindness and sympathy arising from the spiritual relationship in which they stand to each other as members of that body, of which Christ is the Head. When the apostle Paul speaks on this subject, of believers being one body in Christ, he says respecting this sympathy among them, Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.61 That love should be manifest among Christians, which leads them to be kind one to another, and tender hearted 102 to put on, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, and above all charity, which is the bond of perfectness.63 All these gracious feelings are to be manifested as occasion requires. These are the dispositions which true Christianity inculcates; and where its influence is felt, they will be exhibited to the praise and glory of God. The text mentions,

59 Titus ii. 10.

60 John xv. 12; xiii. 34, 35.

Secondly, The consolation derived from obedience to the commandments of God. He that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. God is pleased to take up His abode in the hearts of His believing and obedient people, according to His gracious promise, I will dwell in them and walk in them. He admits them to the enjoyment of communion and fellowship with Himself; and He graciously manifests His presence to them as He does not to the world. He draws nigh to their souls, and enables them to draw nigh to Him in prayer and praise; so

61 1 Cor. xii. 26.

62 Eph. iv. 32.

63 Col. iii. 12, 14.

« PreviousContinue »