Sermon 834. The Universal Remedy (No. 834)
Delivered on Lord's-Day Morning, October 4, 1868, by C. H. SPURGEON, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
"With His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5.
I RECEIVED, one day this week, a short communication worded on this wise: "Wanted, a cure for a weak and doubting faith, especiallywhen Satan disinclines to pray." Anxiously desirous to prescribe cures for such maladies, and for any others which may vexthe Lord's people, I began to turn over in my mind what were the sacred remedies for such a case, and I could only rememberone, "The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." Our Lord Jesus is to us a Tree of Life, and by the leaves,I suppose, the Holy Spirit means the acts, words, promises, and lesser griefs of Jesus- all of which are for the healing ofHis people. Then my mind reverted to this kindred text: "With His stripes we are healed." Not merely His bleeding wounds,but even those blue bruises of His flesh help to heal us. Not alone the work of the nails and the spear, but the cruel handiworkof the rod and the scourge.
Out of all this throng of Believers, there are none quite free from spiritual diseases-one may be saying, "Mine is a weakfaith." Another may confess, "Mine is distracted thoughts." Another may exclaim, "Mine is coldness of love!" And a fourthmay have to lament his powerlessness in prayer. One remedy in natural things will not suffice for all diseases, and the momentthat the quack begins to cry up his medicine as healing all, you shrewdly surmise that it heals none. But in spiritual thingsit is not so-there is a catholicon, a universal remedy provided in the Word of God for all spiritual sicknesses to which mancan be subject to-and that remedy is contained in the few words of my text-"With His stripes we are healed."
I. I shall invite you, then, first of all, this morning, to consider THE MEDICINE ITSELF WHICH IS HERE PRESCRIBED-the stripesof our Savior. Not stripes laid upon our own backs, nor tortures inflicted upon our own minds-but the grief which Jesus hasendured for those who trust in Him. By the term "stripes," no doubt the Prophet understood here, first, literally, those actualstripes which fell upon our Lord's shoulders when He was beaten by the Jews, and afterwards scourged by the Roman soldiers.
But the words intend far more than this. No doubt with his prophetic eye Isaiah saw the stripes from that unseen scourge heldin the Father's hand which fell not upon the flesh of Jesus, but upon His nobler inner nature when His soul was scourged forsin-when eternal justice was the plower and made deep furrows upon His Soul-when the lash fell with awful force again andagain, and again upon the blessed Soul of Him who was made a curse for us that we might be made the righteousness of God inHim.
I take the term, "stripes," to comprehend all the physical and spiritual sufferings of our Lord, with special reference tothose chastisements of our peace which preceded, rather than actually caused, His sin-atoning death. It is by these that oursouls are healed. "But why?" you ask. First, then, because our Lord, as a Sufferer, was not a private person, but sufferedas a public individual, and an appointed Representative. Your sins, in a certain sense, end with yourself. But the sins ofAdam could not do so, for Adam stood before God as the representative of the human race-and everything that he did broughtits dire effects upon all his descendants.
Now, our Savior is the second Adam, the second federal Head and Representative of men. And all that He did, and all that Hesuffered goes to the benefit of all those whom He represented. His holy life is the inheritance of His people, and His sufferingdeath, with all its pangs and griefs, belongs to those whom He represented. They did, in effect, suffer in Him and offer inHim a vindication to Divine Justice. Our Lord was appointed of God to stand in the place of His people. A Divine decree hadgone forth sanctioning His substitution so that when He stood forward as the Representative of guilty men, God accepted Him,having foreordained Him to that very end.
So then, Beloved, let us never forget that all which Jesus endured came upon Him not at all as a private individual, but fellupon Him as the great public Representative of those who believe in Him. Hence the effects of His griefs are applied to us,and with His stripes we are healed. His blood, His passions and His death make atonement for us, and deliver us from the curse.And His bruises, smarts, and stripes, make up a matchless medicine to allay our sicknesses-
"Behold how every wound of His
A precious balm distils,
Which heals the scars that sin had made,
And cures all mortal ills.'"
Be it never forgotten, too, that our Lord was not merely Man, or else His sufferings could not have availed for the multitudewho now are healed by them. He was God as well as Man and it is the most mysterious and marvelous of all facts that God shouldbe manifest in the flesh, and seen of angels, and that in the flesh the Son of God should most really and certainly die, andbe buried, and lie for three days in the tomb.
The Incarnation, with its after train of humiliation, is to be believed and accepted as an ever memorable display of condescension!From the highest Throne of Glory to the Cross of deepest woe the Savior stoops-neither cherubim nor seraphim can measure themighty distance! Imagination wearies its wing in attempting the tremendous flight! In every stripe that falls upon our Emanuelyou are to consider that it falls not merely upon a Man, but upon One who is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father! Thoughthe Deity suffered not, yet was it in so intimate a connection with the Humanity that it infused supernatural power into thehuman frame and no doubt added wondrous merit to all His bitter human foes.
Oh, what a Rock have we to rest upon-a Substitute covered with stripes-a Substitute appointed and accepted of God-and thatSubstitute Himself God, over all blessed forever, and therefore able to bear for us what we could never have borne exceptby lying forever in the lowest pit of Hell! Brethren, we all believe that our Savior's sufferings heal us of the curse bybeing presented before God as a Substitute for what we owe to His Divine Law. But healing is a work that is carried on within,and the text rather leads me to speak of the effect of the stripes of Christ upon our characters and natures than upon theresult produced in our position before God.
We know that the Lord has pardoned and justified us through the precious blood of Jesus. But the question this morning ishow these griefs and pangs help to deliver us from the disease of sin which before reigned within us. It was necessary thatI should mention, first, the justifying power of Jesus' blood, because apart from our belief in Jesus as a Substitute, andas Divine, there is no power in His example to heal us of sin. Men have studied that example and admired it, but have remainedas vile as before! They have criticized His beauty, but have not been enamored of His Person. It is only when they have restedin Him as Divine that they have afterwards come to feel the potency of those wondrous cords of love which His example alwayscasts around forgiven spirits.
They have learned to love Jesus, and then their admiration has become a practical thing-but mere admiration, apart from loveto Him and faith in Him-is a cold barren moonlight which ripens no fruit of holiness. Beloved, the stripes of Jesus operateupon our character, principally because we see in Him a perfect Man suffering for offenses that were not His own. We see inHim a glorious Lord, who, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor. We behold in Him the paragon of perfect disinterestedaffection. We see in Him a fidelity never to be excelled, when, through the pangs of death, He followed on to work out thepurpose of His heart-the salvation of His people.
And as we look at Him and study His Character as it is revealed by His griefs, we become moved, and the spiritual evils whichhad rule over us are dethroned-and through the power of the Spirit the image of Jesus Christ is stamped upon our natures.Jesus dying justifies us! Jesus smitten sanctifies us! His cruel flagellations are our refining! His buffetings are blowsat our sins! His bruises mortify our lusts!
Thus much, then, upon the medicine that heals us-it is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ as understood in our intellectsand beloved in our hearts-and especially those incidents of ignominy and cruelty which surrounded that death with deeper gloomand revealed the patience and love of the Substitute.
II. I shall ask you, now, for a briefmoment, to behold THE MATCHLESS CURES WROUGHT BY THIS REMARKABLE MEDICINE. Look at twopictures. Look at man without the stricken Savior. And then behold man with the Savior, healed by His stripes. I say, lookat man originally and apart from the Savior! Naked, he is driven out of Eden's garden, the inheritor of the curse. Withinhim lies concealed the deadly cancer of sin.
If you would see that evil which dwells in every one of us from our very birth developing itself upon the surface, you mightsoon behold it in all its horror near at home. A street or two would conduct you to sin's carnival, but perhaps it were betterthat you should not gaze upon a scene so polluting, in the gambling halls. In the haunts where drunkards congregate-wherethieves assemble amidst oaths and blasphemies, and lewd language, and lascivious acts-it is there that sin stalks forth asa full-grown monster.
In the moral and educated natural man, sin apparently sleeps like a coiled up viper. It is a thing, in appearance, littleto be dreaded-quiet and powerless as a poor worm. But when man is allowed to have his own way, before long he feels the viper'stooth-the poisoned fang envenoms all his blood and you see the proof of its deadly poison in overt and abundant sin. Men becomecovered with the visible blotches of iniquity, so that the spiritual eye can see in their character the leprosy upon them,and all manner of abominations, worse than the rottenness of the deadliest of fleshly diseases, constantly exuding from theirsouls.
If we could see sin as it appears to the all-discerning eye of the Eternal, we should be more shocked at the sight of sinthan by a vision of Hell-for there is in Hell something which purity approves-the vindication of righteousness. It is Justicetriumphant-but in sin, itself, there is abomination, and only abomination! It is a something out of joint with the whole systemof the universe! It is a mist dangerous to all spiritual life-a plague-dangerous to everything that breathes. Sin is a monster,a hideous thing, a thing which God will not look upon-and which pure eyes cannot behold but with the utmost detestation.
A flood of tears is the proper medium through which a Christian should look at sin. If you would see what sin can do, youhave but to look into your own heart with an illuminated eye. Ah, what mischief lurks there! You hate sin, my Brothers andSisters, I know you do, since Christ has visited you with the day spring from on high. But with all your hatred of sin youmust acknowledge that it still lurks within you! You find yourself envious, you who hate envy! You find yourself thinkinghard thoughts of God, you who yet love Him and would lay down your lives for Him! You find yourself provoked to anger on asudden against the very Friend to whose call you would cheerfully yield your all!
Yes, we do the thing we would not through the power of sin. And sin degrades and debases us-we cannot look within withoutbeing shocked at the meanness to which our mind, in secret, descends. If you anxiously desire to see sin at the full, comehere and gaze down the fathomless abyss. Listen to those blasphemous curses! If you have the courage, hearken to those mingledcries of misery and passion which come up from Tophet, from the abodes of lost spirits! Sin is ripe there-here it is green.Here we see its darkness as the shades of evening, but there it is tenfold night! Here it scatters firebrands, but there itsquenchless conflagrations flame on forever and ever!
Oh, if we have but Divine Grace to be rid of sin, now, the riddance will save us from the wrath to come! Sin, indeed, is Hell-Hellin embryo, Hell in essence, Hell kindling, Hell emerging from the shell-Hell is but sin when it has manifested and developeditself to the fullest. Stand at the gates of Tophet and understand how full the disease for which Heaven's remedy is providedin the stripes of the Only-Begotten!
Now, Beloved, I said I would show you the cure, and I have but feebly talked of the disease, itself, to let you see the greatnessof the change by contrast. Observe, Beloved, you who have believed in Jesus, observe already what a change the stripes ofChrist have made in you! Since the dear hour that brought you to His feet, what different men have you been! Indeed, in yourcase, instead of the thorn, the fir tree has come up! And instead of the brier, the myrtle tree has come up. You who wereonce the blind slaves of Satan are now the rejoicing children of God. The things which you once loved, though God abhorredthem, you, now, also detest right heartily.
God's mind and yours are now agreed as to darkness and light. You no longer put the one for the other. How changed you are!You are a new creature alive from the dead. And what has done it? What, indeed, but faith in the Crucified and contemplationof His wounds? Yet in you, dear Friend, the healing is very far from being perfect. If you would behold perfect spiritualhealth, look yonder to those white-robed hosts who jubilantly stand without fault before the Throne of God! Search them throughand through, and they are undefiled. Let even the all-seeing eyes of God rest upon them, and they are without spot or wrinkleor any such thing!
How is this? Where washed they these snow-white garments once so much defiled? They answer, with joyful music, "We have washedour robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Ask them from where their victory came over indwelling sin-
"They with united breath
Ascribe their victories to the Lamb
Their conquests to His death."
They will all tell you that the perfect healing which they have received, and which today they enjoy before the Throne ofGod, is the result of the Savior's passion. "With His stripes," say the 10,000s times 10,000s, with a voice that is loud asthunder and as sweet as harpers harping with their harps-"With His stripes we are healed."
III. I want now for you to note, dear Brothers and Sisters, in detail, and yet so briefly as not to weary you, THEMALADIES WHICH THIS WONDROUS MEDICINE REMOVES. I shall not attempt to read you a full list, for theyare more than I can count, but they are never so many there is not one which the stripes of Jesus cannot heal!
I would remind you, first, that the great root of all this mischief-the curse which fell on man through Adam's sin-is alreadyeffectually removed. Jesus took it upon Himself, and was made a curse for us, and now there can fall no curse upon any ofthose for whom Jesus died as a Substitute. They are the blessed of the Lord, yes, and they shall be blessed-let Hell cursethem as it may. The curse has spent its fury. Like a thunderstorm which once threatened to sweep all before it, but is nowlulled to calm, Divine wrath has passed away and showers of mercy are now following it, making glad the thirsty heart! Brothersand Sisters, Christ has cured us already, most effectually, of the curse of God upon us!
But I am now to speak of diseases which we have felt and bemoaned, and which still trouble the family of God. One of the firstwhich was healed by the stripes of Christ was the mania of despair. Ah, well do I remember when I thought there was no hopefor me! How was it possible, my heart asked, that my sins could be forgiven consistently with the justice of God? That questionI propounded to my soul again, and again, and again, but no answer could I find from within. And even when I read the WordI perceived not-though it is most clearly there-the answer to that great question.
But, Beloved, when I first understood that Jesus Christ stood in the place of all those that believe in Him, and that, ifI trusted Him, my sins were all forgiven because they had been already punished in the Person of my blessed Substitute, thenI had no longer occasion for despair! Then I listened to the Word of the Gospel, feeling, "There is hope for me, even forme!" When I understood that there was nothing expected from me in order to salvation, but that all must come from Jesus-thatI was not to be wounded, nor to be made to smart-but that He had been struck and had been made to bleed on my behalf. WhenI understood that my life must be found in His death, and my healing in His wounds-then hope sprang up-bright-eyed hope, andmy soul turned unto her Father and her God with loving expectations!
Was it not so with you? Beloved, did you ever have a comfortable confidence in God until you had seen the stripes of Jesus?If you are wrapped up in a peace that did not come from Christ's stripes, I implore you get rid of it, for it is a presumptionwhich will surely destroy you! The only sure, solid, everlasting peace that can ever come to a palpitating human bosom heavingpainfully under the pressure of sin is that which springs from looking at that blessed Son of God who on the Cross pouredout His life-floods that we might be saved by Him! For the mania of despair the stripes of Christ are the true remedy.
Then if we suffer afterwards from any hardness of heart, and there is a complaint of the soul well-known as the stony heart,there is no obtaining tenderness except by standing long, yes, remaining always at the foot of the Cross. When I feel myselfinsensible to spiritual things (and I blush to say that it is no unusual feeling). When I would, but cannot pray. When I would,but cannot repent. When, "If anything is felt 'tis only pain to find I cannot feel," I have always found that I cannot flogmyself into feeling by the threats of God, nor by the terrors of the Law. But when I can come to the Cross, just as I didyears ago, a poor guilty one, and believe that the Redeemer has put all my sins away, black as I am-and that God neither can,nor will, condemn me, hardened as I feel myself to be-ah, then the sense of blood-bought pardon soon dissolves a heart ofstone!
I do not believe there is anything that can so effectually make the ice within us melt and so speedily thaw the great glaciersof our inner nature as the love of Jesus Christ. Oh, but that will touch you! It will create a soul within the ribs of death!There is a secret spring within the heart upon which the finger of the crucified hand is placed, and the soul arises fromits deadly slumbers. Christ has the key of the house of David and He can open the door so that neither man nor devil can shutit. And out of that opened heart shall proceed godly thoughts, heavenly aspirations, sacred passions and Heaven-born resolves.The best cure for indifference will be found in the stripes of Jesus!
See the bloody sweat drops, O Believer, and will you not melt? See Jesus kissed of the traitor, led away with a rabble guard,slandered by deceitful witnesses, tried by cruel adversaries, buffeted by soldiers, defiled with spit-see Him afterwards houndedalong the streets of Jerusalem, and then fastened to the transverse beam. Behold Him bleeding out His blessed life for loveof us who were His enemies, and if this tragedy does not melt you, what will? O God of Heaven, if we feel no tenderness inthe Presence of Your dying Son, of what Hell-hardened steel must our souls be made?
At times Believers are subject to the paralysis of doubt, and as my friend has said just now in his request for a remedy,that paralysis may be attended, also, with a stiffness of the knees of prayer. And when these two complaints go together wesuffer under a complicated disease for which it is not easy to prescribe. And yet it is easy for the Lord to do so! See herethe remedy-"With His stripes we are healed." The blood of Christ is a deadly thing to unbelief. A sight of the Crucified strikesUnbelief dumb, so that it cannot mutter a single questioning word, while Faith begins to sing and to rejoice as she sees whatJesus did, and how Jesus died!
Who could not pray as he sees Jesus' blood upon the Mercy Seat? Who could not pray when considering the new and living waywhich Christ has opened by His blood? A view of the veil of the Savior's body torn by His death, will, if anything, inducemen to pray. I think I could use arguments which might be blessed to drive men to their knees, such as the danger of a prayerlessspirit. Such as the enriching influence of the Mercy Seat. Such as the delights of communion with God and many other things,but after all, if the Cross does not draw a man to his knees, nothing will. And if a contemplation of the sufferings of Jesusdoes not constrain us to draw very near to God in prayer, surely the chief remedy, itself, has failed. There are some saintswho have numbness of soul-the stripes of Christ can best quicken them-deadness dies in the Presence of His death and rocksbreak when the Rock of Ages is seen as split for us-
"Who can think, without admiring?
Who can hear, and nothing feel?
See the Lord of Life expiring,
Yet retain a heart of steel?"
Many are subject to the fever of pride, but a sight of Jesus in His humiliation, contradicted of sinners, will tend to makethem humble. Pride drops her plumes when she hears the cry, "Behold the Man!" In the society of One so great, enduring somuch scorn, there is no room for vanity. Some are covered with the leprosy of selfishness, but if anything can forbid a manto lead a selfish life it is the life of Jesus, who saved others-Himself He could not save. Misers, and gluttons, and self-seekerslove not the Savior, for His whole conduct upbraids them. Upon some the fit of anger often comes. But what can give gentlenessof spirit like the sight of Him who was as a lamb dumb before her shearers, and who opened not His mouth under blasphemy andrebuke?
If any of you feel the fretting consumption of worldliness, or the cancer of covetousness-for such rank diseases as theseare common in Zion-still the groans and griefs of the Man of Sorrows, the Acquaintance of Grief, will prove a cure. All evilsfly before the Lord Jesus, even as the shadows vanish before the sun. Lash us, Master, to Your Cross! No fatal shipwreck shallwe fear if fastened there! Bind us with cords to the horns of the Altar! No disease can come there- the Sacrifice purifiesthe air. Through Hell itself might we go, Savior, all unharmed with its pestilent vapor, if we could but have Your Cross beforeour eyes!
It were not possible that all the blasphemy of devils and of the vilest of men could pollute our spirits for so much as amoment if Your blood were always sprinkled on the tablets of our hearts, and Your deep humiliation always present in our minds.Forgetfulness of the stripes lands us in disease-but the sweet remembrance of the passion and a blessed absorption in themystery of the Master's death will surely cast out all evils from us-and keep us from returning to them.
IV. I must now pass on to yet a fourth point. Observe carefully THE CURATIVE PROPERTIES OF THE MEDICINE OF WHICH WE HAVE BEENSPEAKING. You have heard of some of the diseases in detail as well as the cure on a large scale. Now observe the curativeproperties of the medicine-for all manner of good this Divine remedy works in our spiritual constitution. The stripes of Jesus,when well considered, arrest spiritual disorder. The man is brought to view his Lord as suffering for him, and a voice saysto his rising lusts, "This far shall you come, but no farther. Here at Calvary shall your proud waves be stayed."
My feet had almost gone, my steps had well-near slipped had not my Master's Cross stood before me as a most effectual barrierto stay me in my fall. Many a man has gone post haste onward unchecked by any power until a vision ofthe Man, the crucified Man, has appeared before his eyes-then he has been brought to a blessed halt. Read the memorable lifeof Colonel Gardiner, for what happened to him literally has happened to tens of thousands spiritually- they have been enlistedto sin and sold to Satan-but a sight of the Savior slain for sinners has made them pause-and from then on they have no longerdared to offend.
Now, it is a great thing for a physician to find a remedy which will hold the disease within bounds so that it reaches notthe direst stage of malignity. And this the Cross of Christ does! It binds in chains the fury of unhallowed passion. Whata miraculous power the griefs of Jesus have upon the Believer! Though his corruption is still within him, yet it cannot havedominion over him because he is not under the Law but under Grace. It is a happier fact, still, that sin shall, before long,be utterly abolished. But to stay it, meanwhile, until it is eradicated is no small thing.
This medicine, in the next place, quickens all the powers of the spiritual man to resist the disease. "With His stripes weare healed," because a sight of Jesus Christ quickens our newborn nature. It forbids us to live at the poor, dying rate sonatural to our sluggishness. We cannot have Christ before our eyes and yet go slumbering on to Heaven as though spiritualwork were but a dream, or mere child's play. He that has really gone into the hall where Christ was scourged and seen thestreams of blood as they poured down His furrowed shoulders, and felt that they were all for him, has had his spiritual pulsequickened and his whole spiritual life stirred! This fire has helped to burn sin out of its nest. This power within the soulhas set up a counter-action and pushed back the advancing powers of iniquity.
The stripes of Jesus Christ also have another curative effect-they restore to the man that which he lost in strength by sin.There is a recuperative power in this sacred medicine. He brings my wandering feet back to the ways which I forsook, and theway back is by the Cross. He restores my soul, and the food He gives me to feed upon is His own flesh and blood. After sinhas brought us into sickness, and sickness into weakness, there is no restorative under Heaven that is equal to living ina constant daily sense of the vicarious sufferings of Jesus Christ. His sweet love so clearly shown in His torments at Golgothaencourages us! We feel that with such a Savior always caring for us, we have no need to be alarmed.
This medicine also soothes the agony of conviction. Anguish of heart vanishes when Jesus is seen as bearing the chastisementof our peace. He who gets to Christ's Cross and trusts in Him feels that sin is still present in him, and mourns over it,but yet he rejoices because he understands that Christ has overcome his enemies and led them captive at His chariot wheels."I shall overcome," he says, and the sharpness of the present struggle is not felt. "My sin is forever put away," he says,for Jesus died, and there is no room for remorse, or terror, or despair. Drink of the spiced wine of atoning love, and rememberyour misery no more, O you sin-burdened heir of immortality!
But best of all, the stripes of Christ have an eradicating power as to sin. They pull it up by the roots. They destroy thebeasts in their lair. They put to death the power of sin in our members. I know not how near to perfection in this life aBeliever may be brought, but God forbid that I should set up some low degree of Divine Grace as being all that a saint canreach this side of the grave! I dare not limit my Master's power as to how far He may subdue sin even in this life in theBeliever, but I expect never to be perfect till I shuffle off this mortal coil. Yet the grand result is none the less glorious!Absolute perfection is our heritage-we shall be freed from the least tendency to evil-there will remain in us no more possibilitiesof sinning than in the Person of our Lord Himself!
We shall be as pure as the thrice holy God Himself! As immaculate as the ever-sinless Savior! And all this will be throughour Master's stripes! Sanctification, after all, is by the blood of Christ. The Holy Spirit works it, but the instrumentalityis the blood. He is the Physician, but the sufferings of Christ are the medicine. Sin is never destroyed except by faith inJesus. All your meditations upon the evil of sin, and all your shivering at the punishment of it, and all your soul-humblingand prostrations will never kill sin. It is at the Cross that God has set up a mighty gallows upon which He hangs sin forever,and puts it to death! It is there at Golgotha, and only there. The great execution ground, the Tyburn of our iniquity, isthere where Jesus died.
Wrestling Believer, you must go to your Lord's agonies and learn to be crucified with Him unto sin, otherwise you shall neverknow the art of mastering your evil passions and being sanctified in the spirit. I have thus tried to open up the healingforce which dwells in the stripes of Jesus.
V. Now just a moment or two in the fifth place-I am afraid you will think my divisions are very many and very dry,but still that I cannot help-I want you to review, for a minute, THE MODES OF THE WORKING OF THIS MEDICINE.
How does it work? Briefly, its effect upon the mind is this. The sinner, hearing of the death of the Incarnate God, is ledby the force of the Truth of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to believe in the Incarnate God. The cure is already begun.The moment the sinner believes, the axe is laid at the root of the dominion of Satan. He no sooner learns to trust the appointedSavior than his cure has certainly commenced and will shortly be carried on to perfection. After faith comes gratitude. Thesinner says, "I trust in the Incarnate God to save me. I believe He has saved me." Well, what is the natural result? The soulbeing grateful, thankful-how can it help exclaiming-"Blessed be God for this unspeakable gift!" And, "Blessed be His dearSon who so freely laid down His life for me!" It were not natural at all. It were something less, even, than humanity, ifthe sense of such favor did not beget gratitude!
The next emotion is love. Has He done all this for me? Am I under such obligations? Then I will love His name. The very nextthought to love is obedience. What shall I do to please my Redeemer? How can I fulfill His commandments and bring honor toHis name? See you not that the sinner is getting healed most rapidly? His disease was that he was altogether out of unisonwith God, and resisted the Divine Law, but now look at him! With tears in his eyes he is lamenting that he ever offended!He is groaning and grieving that he could have pierced so dear a Friend, and put Him to such sorrows! And he is asking, withlove and earnestness, "What can I do to show that I loathe myself for the past, and that I love Jesus for the future?"
Now he goes a step farther and he burns with hatred against the sins which slew the Lord. "Did my sins slay Christ? Was itmy iniquity that nailed Him to the Cross? Then I will have vengeance upon my sins-there is not one that I will spare. Thoughit nestle in my bosom, I will tear it out! And if it shall entrench itself so that I cannot drive it forth except by losingan eye or an arm, it shall come forth-for not one of this accursed crew will I harbor within my spirit!" Now the man's sacredzeal and burning indignation are issuing a search warrant, and he is going through and through his nature to search for sin,crying meanwhile, "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there is any wicked way inme, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Now, Beloved, do you not see that all the healthy faculties of the new-born nature are by the griefs of Jesus set stronglyat work, and even though sin may still remain within, there is a vitality about the new-born nature which will certainly castout those baser powers, and, by God's Grace, make the man meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light?
VI. It is scarcely necessary for me to say anymore except to remark, in the sixth place, that this medicine deserves to becommended to all of you, this morning, because of ITS REMARKABLY EASY APPLICATION. I have shown you how it works, and whatit cures, and whom it cures.
Now, there are some material medicines which would be curative, but they are so difficult in administration, and attendedwith so much risk in their operation, that they are rarely, if ever, employed. But the medicine prescribed in the text isvery simple in itself, and very simply received-so simple is its reception that, if there is a willing mind here to receiveit, it may be received by any of you at this very instant, for God's Holy Spirit is present to help you. How, then, does aman get the stripes of Christ to heal him?
Why, first he hears about them. Now, you have heard often of my Lord's stripes. Next, faith comes by hearing. That is, thehearer believes that Jesus is the Son of God, and he trusts in Him to save his soul. Then, having believed, the next thingis, whenever the power of his faith begins to relax he goes to hearing again, or else to what is even better, after once havingheard to benefit, he resorts to contemplation. He resorts to the Lord's Table that he may be helped by the outward signs.He reads the Bible that the letter of the Word may refresh his memory as to its spirit. And he often seeks a season of quiet,such as David had when he sat before the Lord, closing his eyes and shutting up his heart to all beside the things of Heaven.
He views Christ groaning in the garden. He pictures Him upon the bloody Cross. He sees Him suffering-and so acquires for himselfall the benefit which can be drawn from the stripes of the Crucified. All you have to do, poor Sinner, is simply trust andyou are healed! And all you have to do, O backsliding Believer, is but to contemplate and to believe again! Beloved, we mustlet the old image be stamped fresh upon our soul! We must have the picture cleaned, as it were-it has been turned with itsfront to the wall-turn it round and sit and study it again! Renew your old acquaintance with the sweet Lover of your soul.Return to the love of your Espousal. Repair to Calvary. Tarry in Gethsemane. Live with Jesus wherever you may be-in retirement,considering, meditating, reflecting upon what He has done for you. This is the simple mode of application.
VII. All I have to say in conclusion, is, since the medicine is so efficacious, since it is already prepared and freely presented,I do beseech you TAKE IT! Take it, Brothers and Sisters, you who have known its power in years gone by! Let not backslidingscontinue, but come to His stripes again! Take it, you Doubters, lest you sink into despair-come to His stripes again! Takeit, you who are beginning to be self-confident and proud! You need this to bring you on your faces, again, in prostrationbefore your Lord!
And, O, you who have never believed in Him! On this morning of clear brightness after the rain, may the Lord give you, also,to come and trust in Him, and you shall live! "Oh," wrote one to me this week, "I have believed that Jesus died for me, butit does not keep me from sinning in anyway whatever! Our minister says that if we believe that Jesus died for us we shallbe saved." No, no, but that is not the Gospel, and such a belief is not faith at all! I do not wonder that a poor creatureshould have tried such a Gospel and found it fail. Do not these men say that Christ died for everybody, and then declare thatif you believe He died for you, (which He must of necessity have done if He died for everybody), then that will save you?And yet there are scores and hundreds who are proof to the fact that it does not save them-because they can believe this universalredemption and live as they did before!
This is faith, namely to trust Jesus Christ. It is the only saving faith. You cannot rely on Him and remain unhealed! Youcannot take Jesus for your confidence and remain just as you were! There is a potency about Christ, as applied by faith, whichchanges the character, and makes the sinner a new man to the praise and glory of God! May my Lord bless you for His own sake.Amen.