"Faultless before the presence of His glory."—Jude 24.
Revolve in your mind that wondrous word, faultless!" We are far off from it now; but as our Lord never stops short of perfection in His work of love, we shall reach it one day. The Saviour who will keep His people to the end, will also present them at last to Himself, as "a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy and without blemish." All the jewels in the Saviour's crown are of the first water and without a single flaw. All the maids of honour who attend the Lamb's wife are pure virgins without spot or stain. But how will Jesus make us faultless? He will wash us from our sins in His own blood until we are white and fair as God's purest angel; and we shall be clothed in His righteousness, that righteousness which makes the saint who wears it positively faultless; yea, perfect in the sight of God. We shall be unblameable and unreproveable even in His eyes. His law will not only have no charge against us, but it will be magnified in us. Moreover, the work of the Holy Spirit within us will be altogether complete. He will make us so perfectly holy, that we shall have no lingering tendency to sin. Judgment, memory, will—every power and passion shall be emancipated from the thraldom of evil. We shall be holy even as God is holy, and in His presence we shall dwell for ever. Saints will not be out of place in heaven, their beauty will be as great as that of the place prepared for them. Oh the rapture of that hour when the everlasting doors shall be lifted up, and we, being made meet for the inheritance, shall dwell with the saints in light. Sin gone, Satan shut out, temptation past for ever, and ourselves "faultless" before God, this will be heaven indeed! Let us be joyful now as we rehearse the song of eternal praise so soon to roll forth in full chorus from all the blood-washed host; let us copy David's exultings before the ark as a prelude to our ecstasies before the throne.
And I will strengthen them in the Lord: and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord. (Zechariah 10:12)
A solace for sick saints. They have grown faint, and they fear that they shall never rise from the bed of doubt and fear; but the Great Physician can both remove the disease and take away the weakness which has come of it. He will strengthen the feeble. This He will do in the best possible way, for it shall be "in Jehovah. " Our strength is far better in God than in self. In the Lord it causes fellowship, in ourselves it would create pride. In ourselves it would be sadly limited, but in God it knows no bound.
When strength is given, the believer uses it. He walks up and down in the name of the Lord. What an enjoyment it is to walk abroad after illness, and what a delight to be strong in the Lord after a season of prostration! The Lord gives His people liberty to walk up and down and an inward leisure to exercise that liberty. He makes gentlemen of us: we are not slaves who know no rest and see no sights, but we are free to travel at our ease throughout Immanuel's land.
Come, my heart, be thou no more sick and sorry; Jesus bids thee be strong and walk with God in holy contemplation. Obey His word of love.
And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul that thou mayest live. (Deuteronomy 30:6)
Here we read of the true circumcision. Note the author of it: "The Lord thy God." He alone can deal effectually with our heart and take away its carnality and pollution. To make us love God with all our heart and soul is a miracle of grace which only the Holy Ghost can work. We must look to the Lord alone for this and never be satisfied with anything short of it.
Note where this circumcision is wrought. It is not of the flesh but of the Spirit. It is the essential mark of the covenant of grace. Love to God is the indelible token of the chosen seed; by this secret seal the election of grace is certified to the believer. We must see to it that we trust in no outward ritual but are sealed in heart by the operation of the Holy Ghost.
Note what the result is-"that thou mayest live." To be carnally minded is death. In the overcoming of the flesh, we find life and peace. If we mind the things of the Spirit, we shall live. Oh, that Jehovah, our God, may complete His gracious work upon our inner natures, that in the fullest and highest sense we may live unto the Lord.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Called by the name of the Lord, we are nevertheless erring men and women. What a mercy it is that our God is ready to forgive! Whenever we sin let us hasten to the mercy seat of our God, seeking pardon.
We are to humble ourselves. Should we not be humbled by the fact that after receiving so much love we yet transgress? O Lord, we bow before Thee in the dust and own our grievous ingratitude. Oh, the infamy of sin! Oh, the sevenfold infamy of it in persons so favored as we have been!
Next, we are to pray for mercy, for cleansing, for deliverance from the power of sin. O Lord, hear us even now, and shut not out our cry.
In this prayer we are to seek the Lord's face. He has left us because of our faults, and we must entreat Him to return. O Lord, look on us in Thy Son Jesus, and smile upon Thy servants.
With this must go our own turning from evil; God cannot turn to us unless we turn from sin.
Then comes the triple promise of hearing, pardon, and healing. Our Father, grant us these at once, for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake.
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32)
Gracious promise! It is a great joy to me to confess my Lord. Whatever my faults may be, I am not ashamed of Jesus, nor do I fear to declare the doctrines of His cross. O Lord, I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart.
Sweet is the prospect which the text sets before me! Friends forsake and enemies exult, but the Lord does not disown His servant. Doubtless my Lord will own me even here and give me new tokens of His favorable regard. But there comes a day when I must stand before the great Father. What bliss to think that Jesus will confess me then! He will say, "This man truly trusted Me and was willing to be reproached for My name's sake; and therefore I acknowledge him as Mine." The other day a great man was made a knight, and the Queen handed him a jeweled garter; but what of that? It will be an honor beyond all honors for the Lord Jesus to confess us in the presence of the divine Majesty in the heavens. Never let me be ashamed to own my Lord. Never let me indulge a cowardly silence or allow a fainthearted compromise. Shall I blush to own Him who promises to own me?
As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:57)
We live by virtue of our union with the Son of God. As God-man Mediator, the Lord Jesus lives by the self-existent Father who has sent Him, and in the same manner we live by the Savior who has quickened us. He who is the source of our life is also the sustenance of it. Living is sustained by feeding. We must support the spiritual life by spiritual food, and that spiritual food is the Lord Jesus. Not His life, or death, or offices, or work, or word alone, but Himself, as including all these. On Jesus Himself we feed.
This is set forth to us in the Lord's Supper, but it is actually enjoyed by us when we meditate upon our Lord, believe in Him with appropriating faith, take Him into ourselves by love, and assimilate Him by the power of the inner life. We know what it is to feed on Jesus, but we cannot speak it or write it. Our wisest course is to practice it and to do so more and more. We are entreated to eat abundantly, and it will be to our infinite profit to do so when Jesus is our meat and our drink.
Lord, I thank Thee that this, which is a necessity of my new life, is also its greatest delight. So, I do at this hour feed on Thee.
Jesus has made the life of believers in Him as certain as His own. As sure as the Head lives the members live also. If Jesus has not risen from the dead, then are we dead in our sins; but since He has risen, all believers are risen in Him. His death has put away our transgressions and loosed the bonds which held us under the death sentence. His resurrection proves our justification: we are absolved, and mercy saith, "The Lord hath put away thy sin, thou shalt not die."
Jesus has made the life of His people as eternal as His own. How can they die as long as He lives, seeing they are one with Him? Because He dieth no more, and death hath no more dominion over Him, so they shall no more return to the graves of their old sins but shall live unto the Lord in newness of life. O believer, when, under great temptation, thou fearest that thou shalt one day fall by the hand of the enemy, let this reassure thee. Thou shalt never lose thy spiritual life, for it is hid with Christ in God. Thou dost not doubt the immortality of thy Lord; therefore, do not think that He will let thee die, since thou art one with Him. The argument for thy life is His life, and of that thou canst have no fear; wherefore rest in thy living Lord.
He that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded. (Proverbs 13:13)
Holy awe of God's Word is at a great discount. Men think themselves wiser than the Word of the Lord and sit in judgment upon it. "So did not I, because of the fear of God." We accept the inspired Book as infallible and prove our esteem by our obedience. We have no terror of the Word, but we have a filial awe of it. We are not in fear of its penalties because we have a fear of its commands.
This holy fear of the commandment produces the restfulness of humility, which is far sweeter than the recklessness of pride. It becomes a guide to us in our movements: a drag when we are going downhill and a stimulus when we are climbing it. Preserved from evil and led into righteousness by our reverence of the command, we gain a quiet conscience, which is a well of wine; a sense of freedom from responsibility, which is as life from the dead; and a confidence of pleasing God, which is heaven below. The ungodly may ridicule our deep reverence for the Word of the Lord; but what of that?. The prize of our high calling is a sufficient consolation for us. The rewards of obedience make us scorn the scorning of the scorner.
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. (Psalm 126:5)
Weeping times are suitable for sowing: we do not want the ground to be too dry. Seed steeped in the tears of earnest anxiety will come up all the sooner. The salt of prayerful tears will give the good seed a flavor which will preserve it from the worm: truth spoken in awful earnestness has a double life about it. Instead of stopping our sowing because of our weeping, let us redouble our efforts because the season is so propitious.
Our heavenly seed could not fitly be sown laughing. Deep sorrow and concern for the souls of others are a far more fit accompaniment of godly teaching than anything like levity. We have heard of men who went to war with a light heart, but they were beaten; and it is mostly so with those who sow in the same style.
Come, then, my heart, sow on in thy weeping, for thou has the promise of a joyful harvest. Thou shalt reap. Thou, thyself, shalt see some results of thy labor. This shall come to thee in so large a measure as to give thee joy, which a poor, withered, and scanty harvest would not do. When thine eyes are dim with silver tears, think of the golden corn. Bear cheerfully the present toil and disappointment; for the harvest day will fully recompense thee.
To be left uncorrected would be a fatal sign: it would prove that the Lord had said, "He is given unto idols, let him alone." God grant that such may never be our portion! Uninterrupted prosperity is a thing to cause fear and trembling. As many as God tenderly loves He rebukes and chastens: those for whom He has no esteem He allows to fatten themselves without fear, like bullocks for the slaughter. It is in love that our heavenly Father uses the rod upon His children.
Yet see, the correction is in measure": He gives us love without measure but chastisement "in measure." As under the old law no Israelite could receive more than the "forty stripes save one," which ensured careful counting and limited suffering; so is it with each afflicted member of the household of faith-every stroke is counted. It is the measure of wisdom, the measure of sympathy, the measure of love, by which our chastisement is regulated. Far be it from us to rebel against appointments so divine. Lord, if Thou standest by to measure the bitter drops into my cup, it is for me cheerfully to take that cup from Thy hand and drink according to Thy directions, saying, "Thy will be done."