The Fullness of God in One Body

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is.

Hebrews 10:25

What happens when we neglect corporate worship?

A part of the body of Christ is missing.  Imagine that one of your fingers separated itself from your body or could decide on its own that it would not respond to you?  Usually, more than one member neglects to attend worship on the Lord’s Day.  So, imagine a finger, a foot, and one of your organs missing.  You are hindered from a full capacity of life. Jerry’s left leg was amputated twelve years ago.  He still enjoys life, but he will tell you that it is not a full life.

So, too, the body of Christ comes short of what it needs to operate at its fullness.  True — worship is planned and carried on for those who are there, but let’s imagine what worship looks like when the whole body is present and actively participating in the worship to which He calls us.

Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you (everybody) the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Ephesians 1: 15-23

The church—each member—has its calling, as an heir of the riches of His glory.  It is our inheritance, as His saints. What Christ has secured in heaven is for all His body.  His fullness fills all members with all that we need to rule with Him in His kingdom. Christ as the authority and head over all things has given dominion and power to the members of His body.

Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:16-21 expresses the same truth.

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Now unto
him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

He is speaking of all believers, all members, of the body of Christ.  In this prayer, Paul is praying that our heavenly Father will give His Spirit–according to the riches of his glory to do the work in the hearts—in the inner man —–for what purpose? That they may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which is beyond (human) knowledge.

Can one member receive all?  Can one heart conceive of the love of Christ? No! It was never meant to be. It is beyond any one of us to know—to comprehend—such a love.  Christ, who is the fullness of the body, sends His Holy Spirit to fill each heart with its portion—its small measure. (Ephesians 4:16)  For who could hold such knowledge, such love as is ours in Christ.  It is His working to give each the portion of our inheritance allotted and to bring that measure together with the others.

When we neglect to meet with the other saints we not only fail to bring what we have received, but we miss the knowledge that we would have received from the other members. Some part of the love of Christ is withheld from the body, and we go lacking that which we could have received.

And so the members of the body of Christ go through the following days, weeks and years, wondering why life is not what it should be.  We are hungry and thirsty for something good, not understanding that all the fullness of life is in Christ; that our hunger and thirst will never be met outside the whole body of Christ, and we are withholding something that someone else needs. As members of one body, let us exhort one another for the faithful attendance to His worship and His Word.

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love
one toward another, and toward all men,
even as we do toward you:
To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable
in holiness before God, even our Father,
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
with all his saints.”

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Father, we need the gift of your Holy Spirit to fill and stir each of our hearts with a measure of Christ’s love. Move us to bring that portion to our worship today so that we may all know the fullness and glory of your presence. In Jesus’ name, I pray and thank you. Amen.
Fran

Images: Google

Heavenly Overtones

Music is designed with a melody that runs throughout the whole piece.  Other parts add harmony.  The melody is the beginning, and the ending.  It is what holds the piece together.  Lose the melody or make it a monotone—the same tone over and over— and it ceases to be music.  Overpower the melody and the music loses its meaning.

Music is a sound that began in heaven with God, our Father and Creator.  It is a major means that He provided to help us worship Him—“Holy, Holy, Holy”—one for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Ghost, is sung by the angels in heaven. (Isaiah 6:3  and Revelation 4:8)

Anthems are compositions for music that include all parts —melody, harmony, and sometimes, a descant.  A descant is a part that is sung by a higher range of voices.  It is not meant to overpower but provide an extra lift to the other parts.

Together all the parts speak to the senses to lift the spirit and the heart toward God.

In Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs we worship with Biblical texts and heavenly music (Ephesians 5:19).

I picture it according to His Word—the melody was begun in heaven with Jesus, His Son—“Holy, Holy, Holy”  from the foundation of the world.  He would not only be the beginning of music but the melody throughout the span of time here on earth, onward into eternity.

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes…”

The melody of heaven was here
~ He was wrapped in our humanity ~
to gather around Him those that would
add the harmony to Himself,
and provide the music for His family,
the music that the Father wanted to hear.

“On the same night, there were shepherds with flocks of sheep in the field. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them”

 ~ the music and the worship were about to begin.

And the glory of the Lord shone round about them with good tidings of great joy”

  ~ the prelude
the introduction to the first anthem of true worship.

To all people—unto you is born a Savior, Christ the Lord”

 the music begins.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God, and saying,  Glory to God in the highest”

 ~ the descant.

“And on earth peace.” Luke 2:7-14

Christ Jesus, our Lord, is the melody of heaven, the melody of life, as God has composed it, and plays it for us by His Spirit and through His Word.

“I will declare thy name (the Father) unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. Behold, I and the children which God hath given me.”  (Hebrews 2:12-13)

~ the harmony of His family.
Now He has a full choir.

The Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs that we learn throughout our childhood are the anthems that are carried into heaven with us, as we join that celestial choir. Others are added along the way as He gives us a repertoire.  The only soloist is the one who carries the melody—Christ, Himself.

As we live by the Spirit and walk by the Spirit, He opens our ears to hear the melody and to follow Him.  Our off-keys and monotones are tuned to harmonize with other voices.  And walking humbly with Him in the obedience of faith, loving the Lord, our God, and our neighbor, we are surrounded by the heavenly overtones echoing His praise in heaven and earth. In our devotion to Christ, He opens our hearts to hear compositions we have never heard or sung before, especially during the difficult circumstances of life.

I pray that we know the Lord as our strength and song (Exodus 15:2).

I pray that we would experience “the new song as He fills us with His Spirit (Psalm 149:1).

On the Lord’s Day, we go to His House with a great expectation of hearing the melody—a strong and sure foundation for our worship—hearing the other parts, and the distant sound of the descant of the angels in affirmation that our worship is accepted.

I pray that each day we will practice our singing, individually, and in family worship, so that we are prepared for worship on the Lord’s Day—all in preparation for the great day when we see Him and praise Him in all His glory with the angels.

Our Father has composed the music
and directs the choir.

Let us sing with full hearts
to His glory and our joy.

“Holy,—-Holy,—-Holy,

The LORD of hosts:

The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Fran ~ Lord’s Day 9/23/07 (Article from Waiting Is Not A Game ~ Articles and Stories of Faith. Unpublished)

Praying For Our Nation ~ Week 3


our-father-which-art-in-heaven
supreme-courtThis week we want to meditate on and pray the third petition for us and our nation.

capital“What do we pray for in the third petition? In the third petition we pray, that God, by His grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey, and submit to his will in all things, as the angels do in heaven.” Shorter Catechism

Dear Father, you teach us in your word that all secrets belong to you. We have learned that you have a secret will and a revealed will, which leaves all things in your hands.

As Jesus taught us, we pray that you reveal your will to us through your Word, and in time your secret will concerning the future of this nation. As we watch and wait to know who will be the next President of this country, open our hearts to your Word for us as your children, so that we may know and trust that all things work according to your will.

First, believing that we need you to work in us as your people, we pray that, as your will is done in heaven, we may know the rule of Christ over us and in the center of our lives, our families, and our churches. As the angels worship and adore Him, serving in obedience to Him, please move in our hearts to seek your will through a new, reviving, transforming work in us. Let Christ, through your church, be the light that is needed in this darkness.

Move the hearts of those who will rule this nation to know you and your will in their lives. Have mercy upon us as we place all our hope in you.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Let All The World in Every Corner Sing

Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!
The heavens are not too high, His praise may thither fly,
The earth is not too low, His praises there may grow.
Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!

(Arrangement by Paul Mealor includes other lyrics)

Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!
The church with psalms must shout, no door can keep them out;
But, above all, the heart must bear the longest part.
Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!

George Herbert 1633

Sheet Music:  Arrangement by Paul Mealor

HUMILITY in Daily Life ~ Chapter 6

Growing up in the church I often heard of symbolisms of the cross of Christ. The one I remember was the vertical post as representative of the relationship between God and the believer; the horizontal bar representing the relationship between believers. Christ and His sacrifice there are seen as the center of both relationships, working in both directions.

In this sixth chapter, as in other chapters of Humility (PDF) there is an emphasis on relationships and power within relationships.

Love and Humility
Reference is made to the book of 1 John regarding love as God means it be. Though we say that we love God it is not the love of God if it is not evident in our relationships with others.

The same thing is true of humility. As both love and humility are His attributes, revealed in Christ and His work on the cross, “humility before God is nothing if not proved in humility before men.”

These are both the work of Christ’s life possessing us, working by His Holy Spirit of love and humility in us.

In particular Murray points in this chapter to our relationships within the church; to those in fellowship with Christ. How difficult it seems to serve and worship together with a heart of humility. Like children of “little faith” there is a lack of compassion and gentleness. Have we not all experienced this ~ from both sides?   I have been the brunt of sharp words. These do not grieve me as much as knowing that I have spoken things that were not necessary, nor to the glory of God. These cut more than any others. When I think of the cross I am reminded that Christ’s sacrifice was to deliver me from my selfish nature; and to show His love to others.

It Is Hard For Those Who are Rich to be Humble
“The humble man seeks at all times to act on the rule, In honor preferring one another; Serve one another; Each esteeming others better than himself; Submitting yourselves one to another.”
“It is often asked ~ how can we count others better than ourselves, when we see that they are far below us in wisdom and in holiness, in natural gifts, or in grace received?”

Some who are more knowledgeable in the truths of the Bible lord it over others. This is the nature of all men who are without Christ; and to be delivered from it must be the power of the Spirit of Christ working His nature in us. We are rich in the things of God not to be “puffed up” in our knowledge, but to “reveal the humility of Jesus to our fellowmen.

Without realizing it we, in our wisdom and knowledge of God, are sometimes promoting ourselves instead of Christ.

Many have the “virtues of boldness, joy, contempt of the world, zeal, and self-sacrifice while the deeper and gentler virtues are scarcely thought of or valued. ~ the more divine and heavenly graces, more distinctly connected with the cross and the death of self.”

Repetition and References
There is much repetition in this chapter, as well as in the whole book. This is true of the whole word of God. We keep seeing the same things over and over. As you read this chapter you will notice those statements and references. Pinpoint the particular statement that you want to remember. If we take time to meditate and memorize what we read, we can as we continue to pray for it, receive understanding and the authority of it working by the power of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives.

“Let us be content with nothing less than taking each of these texts as the promise of what God will work in us.”

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7

 The Main Point
The main verse repeated in this chapter is good to remember; to pray for; and anticipate.

“Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forebearing one another, and forgiving one another, even as Christ forgave you.” (Colossians 3:12-13)

In this verse is the symbolism of the whole of the cross of Christ. Where He stretched out His arms and died to forgive us we too are clothed in His righteousness, love, and humility; and enabled to reach out, not only in fellowship to our brothers and sisters in Christ, but to all men. It is to those with whom we live daily that are the witnesses of our humility. Caring for my mother and Jerry has been and continues to be a means for God’s working in me; but I still fall very short of this grace, and long for His working the love and humility of Christ within me.

Prepared and Waiting
At this point we are halfway through the book. So far we have a knowledge of true humility, the conviction of our need, the desires and the prayers for the humility of Christ. As we are now in preparation we continue to pray and wait for the “supernatural, heavenly, divine, spiritual, reality” (Waiting on God by Andrew Murray).

“Have full assurance that where He is enthroned in the heart, His humility and gentleness will be one of the streams of living water that flow from within us.”

imagesDear Father, you have brought us to the point of fervently praying and diligently seeking to have the nature and disposition of Christ, the power of His love and humility poured out from heaven into vessels that you have chosen for your honor. We desire this sweet and lowly gentleness that is the mark of the Lamb. We relinquish all to you for the work and power of your Holy Spirit in us. Enable us to look on every brother or sister who tries or vexes us as your means of grace, as your instrument for our purification.

“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray.   Amen.

A Year for Humility  ~ The Preface

Image John 7:38

Humility in the Teaching of Jesus ~ Chapter 4

How important are the teachings of Jesus in the world today?

The writer of the book of Hebrews began with these words, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
Hebrews 1:1-3

On the mount of transfiguration Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (exclamation point!)
Matthew 17:1-13

How often are we like Peter, thinking of what we can do for God. He wants us to listen and hear and obey. Like Peter, our human nature of pride excludes our paying attention when we should.

Jesus is quoted in John 6:63; “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
He was the Word of God in human flesh speaking the words by which we needed to live. He was that seed planted in the ground, to die, to bring forth new life in us. That seed must be planted in fertile soil. The heart filled with the humility of Christ is the only medium in which His life lives and grows.

As important as Jesus’ example of humility are His teachings on humility. We skim over the things that seem less important, especially when they are not a main emphasis of the churches teaching. Andrew Murray points to this in his writings in Humility. (PDF)

In the fourth chapter we have the doctrine of humility spelled out very clearly by Jesus; and it behooves us to study these, to memorize them and to meditate on these until they are part of our daily lives. We will see that these teachings are not the usual things that we learn, even in church.

From last month’s study and our meditations on Isaiah 53 we should come into this chapter with grateful hearts for Jesus’ humility, His suffering and His sacrifice for us. We should be willing to daily look to Him as the author and finisher of our faith. If He is our Lord and Savior, having died to take our sins upon Himself, to make us righteous before the Father, we should be continually studying His words and His teachings. As is the master, so is His servant. If our faith is real we will be seeking His kingdom and His righteousness first and foremost in this life.

As we remember in previous chapters we are talking about relationship ~ relationship to God through discipleship in Christ.  Humility, as we have been learning, is the root of our life in Christ. Without it there is nothing to be gained by what we say and do. We must read, and we must remember what Jesus still teaches today through the written word of God.

The Doctrine of Humility
Jesus is the only true teacher. We cannot look to man for this doctrine, but only to Jesus Christ. Let’s examine the main teachings from Murray’s nine points in this chapter.

From Matthew 5:3-5 we understand that the “poor in spirit” may be poor physically, but the meaning has to do with the heart and the spirit of a person. This person knows that there is nothing good in him. He, unlike Simon Peter, (before He understood Jesus’ teachings) has nothing to give, but must constantly look to God for all things. The “meek” are not looking for anything for themselves, but all for God and others. God will give heaven and earth to these.

There are two examples that Jesus uses.
1. In Matthew 11:29 He is the example. It is in His own Spirit of meekness that He gives us rest for our souls. Peace with God is through our humility in Christ.
2. In Matthew 18:4 Jesus uses the example of a little child as the “greatest imagesin the kingdom of heaven.” This “little child” would have been quiet in the middle of these proceedings, listening; in awe of Jesus. “This little child” was still dependent.

There are examples of those who needed humility.
1. His disciples often disputed about and asked for the prominent places in His kingdom. The “chief among” them, and the “greatest among” them would be the “servant. Even as the Son of Man came to serve.”
His teachings were those of the kingdom of heaven. We who are His, His children, His people, are His servants. Our glory is to be His servant, as we practice servanthood here on the earth.

2. The Pharisees were used to the chief places. In Matthew 12:11 Jesus was emphatic; “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”   And in Luke 14:7-11, in the parable of the guest who would be invited to come up higher He said, “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” He spoke the same thing after the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. (Luke 18:14) “In our worship of God everything is worthless that is not pervaded by deep, true humility toward God and man.”

The doctrine of humility is all about the kingdom of God. Unbelievers live in their own worlds, but we are called with a holy, high, and heavenly calling to live with and for God, not for ourselves. The new heart that is ours in Christ is the new wineskin that receives the new wine of Christ’s life and His humility.  (Ezekiel 36:25; Luke 5:38)

Murray points out that we don’t think low enough; perhaps, that one may think humility is not becoming to a man. Can we be too humble? We must receive Christ as He is and live by His teachings here if we are to live with Him eternally. We understand by Jesus’ teachings that true humility is the only way and means to heaven; the reality is by being the servant of all.

Humility, as it is the mark of Christ the heavenly, will be the one standard of glory in heaven. The lowliest is the nearest to God.” If we think of any glory at all, it will not be until we enter the portals of glory with Christ; and then it will be the glory of being His servant.

“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:” Hebrews 12:25

 “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Jesus Christ is not only the mediator but also the means of all life. In Him we see our lack and need of humility; and more than this we see and receive from Him what He is and teaches us to be. God’s word came to us in Christ, and does not return to Him void, but fulfills in us His servants all that He planned in our creation and redemption. As we long and pray for His spirit of humility we look for its precious fruit according to His promises.

word-will-not-return-void“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Dear Father, I praise you for your commands of what you planned for us to be, and for the promises that come with them. Rule in our hearts and give us such a longing for Christ and His teachings that we discipline ourselves by His words; knowing the authority of your word commanded in us by your Holy Spirit. Make us to know the joy of humility. In our service to you and others let nothing be too menial or vexing.

“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray.   Amen.

 But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe;
Here Lord I give myself away; Tis all that I can do.
(Alas!, and Did My Savior Bleed ~ Isaac Watts 1707)

Related Article: Humility in the Life of Jesus ~ Chapter 3

 

 

 

CHRIST IS PRECIOUS ~ Part 2 ~ Octavius Winslow

But this personal representation of the Lord Jesus involves also the preciousness of His manhood. His personal alliance with our nature, His condescending stoop to our humanity, is not the least endearing feature to the heart of His believing saints. We have claimed for the Son of God absolute deity; we now claim for Him perfect humanity. Flesh, real and substantial, yet, “harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb 7:26) was He “made.” A humanity identical with His people in all but its original and actual sinfulness. “Who knew no sin” (2 Cor, 5:21). Yet, what a sin-bearer was He! All the transgressions of His elect met upon Him! But He could only bear sin as He Himself was essentially free from its taint. Had there been the remotest breath of pollution adhering to Him— had one drop of the moral virus circulated through His veins, it had rendered Him utterly and forever incapable of presenting to the justice of God an atonement for sin. He then had needed, like the high priest of old, to have offered first “for his own sins, and then for the people’s” (Heb. 7:27). How precious, then, beloved, is our Lord Jesus as “bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.” Think of His perfect humanity—a humanity free from sin, and therefore capable of dying for the ungodly—a humanity laden with sorrow, and therefore capable of sympathizing with the afflicted. Precious to our hearts as God—precious as Man—precious as both united in one—inconceivably and eternally precious is He, Whose name is “Wonderful” (Isa 9:6) to His believing saints. Tell, oh tell how precious is that humanity of the Son of God that partook by actual participation and still bears by the most perfect sympathy all the sinless weaknesses, infirmities, temptations, and sorrows of His people. Precious humanity! to which, when other human friendships are changed, other human love is chilled, and other human sympathy is exhausted, you may repair and find it an evergreen, a perennial stream, a gushing fountain of unchanged affection, tenderness, and sympathy, meeting and satisfying to their utmost capacity your hearts’ deep pantings. Precious humanity! that dries each tear, that bears each burden, that is touched with each infirmity, that soothes each sorrow, and that succors each temptation of His people. “In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Heb 2:17-18).

Oh, love the Lord, then, all ye His saints; laud Him, all ye His people! In all your deep grief, your lonely sorrows, your sore trials, your fiery temptations, your pressing wants, your daily infirmities, repair to the succourings, and the sympathies, and the intercessions of His humanity, and learn how precious Jesus can be to the hearts of His suffering and sorrowing ones. Upon this rock of Christ’s complex person, God has built His Church; and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.

Precious is the Lord Jesus in His work…Look at the groundwork of our salvation. “Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation”(Isa. 28:16). Upon such a foundation, we look for a superstructure in all respects worthy of its costliness and capability. We find it in the work of Jesus. Oh, what a superstructure is it—nothing less than the salvation of His Church! Such a work was worthy of God, and of all the glory, wisdom, and power embarked in its accomplishment. Nowhere have we such a perfect view of the divine glory as through the medium of the cross. That magnificent sky that spreads above us, studded and glowing with countless myriads of worlds, pales before the subdued glory, the softened splendor of the cross of Christ.

Nowhere does Jehovah-Jesus appear to the spiritual, believing mind so exalted as when He stoops, so glorious as when in eclipse, so holy as when bearing sin, so loving as when enduring its punishment, so triumphant as when vanquished upon the cross! Oh, study not God in the jeweled heavens, in the sublimity of the mountain, in the beauty of the vale, in the grandeur of the ocean, in the murmurs of the stream, in the music of the winds. God made all this, but all this is not God. Study Him in the cross of Jesus! Look at Him through this wondrous telescope, and although, as through a glass darkly, you behold His glory—the Godhead in awful eclipse, the Sun of His deity setting in blood—yet that rude and crimsoned cross more fully reveals the mind of God, more harmoniously discloses the perfections of God, more perfectly unveils the heart of God, and more fully exhibits the glory of God, than the combined power of ten thousand worlds like this, even though sin had never marred, and the curse had never blighted it. Study God in Christ, and Christ on the cross. Oh, the marvels that meet in it—the glory that gathers round it—the streams of blessing that flow from it—the deep, refreshing shadow it casts in the happy experience of all who look to Jesus and live—who look to Jesus and love—who look to Jesus and obey—who look to Jesus and embrace that blessed “hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Ti. 1:2).

A worthy structure this of a foundation so divine! What could be more worthy of God, Whose essence is “love,” than the salvation of His people? In nothing could He appear more like Himself. Upon no platform could He so honorably and completely withdraw the veil from His perfections, and stand forth in His full-orbed majesty, “mighty to save” (Isa. 63:1) as this. Humble believer in Christ, you are saved! Happy saint of God, you shall be in heaven! Christ has paid your debt, opened your prison, broken your chains, and set you free from the Law’s curse, from sin’s condemnation, and from death’s penalty, and you will be forever with the Lord! Is not this enough to make your whole life, clouded and checkered* though it is, a sweet psalm of praise—thus learning the first notes of the song that will employ your tongue through eternity?

P *checkered – uneven or inconsistent and characterized by periods of trouble.