Sermon 1738. "Glory Be Unto the Father"
DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 9 1883, BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenlyplacesin Christ: according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blamebefore Him in love."
Ephesians 1:3, 4.
LAST Lord's Day I finished the morning services at Exeter Hall with a sermon upon John's choice doxology, "Unto Him that lovedus and washed us from our sins in His own blood, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." [Sermon #1737, Volume29, John's First Doxology.] I felt, therefore, that it would be most fitting to open this series of services with anotherdoxology. And as the last was in praise of the Second Person of the Divine Unity, this is to the honor and glory of the adorablePerson of the Father. May God, who gave His servants a praiseful spirit so that their Epistles abound with doxologies, givethe same spirit of joyous thankfulness to us at this time, that we may all say from the very bottom of our hearts, "Amen,"to our text, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Of praise, we may say what was said concerning salt in the Scripture, "without prescribing how much." Oh to praise and praywithout ceasing! May the Holy Spirit work in us perpetual thanksgiving! Observe well that the same words are used in referenceto our wish towards God and God's act towards us-"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessedus." It is a very striking thing that our poor pebble stones of wishes should be valued so much that the same words shouldbe used in reference to them as in reference to the priceless diamonds of Grace which the Lord has bestowed upon us! We blessGod because He blesses us. "Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and forget not all His benefits."
Now, it is easy to understand how the Father of Mercies, from whom every good and perfect gift proceeds, really blesses us.But how can we be said to bless Him? And what is the distinction between that and praising Him? For there is a distinction,since we read, "All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, and Your saints shall bless You." Praise rises even from lifelessobjects, as they display the power and wisdom of their Creator. But intelligence, will and intent are necessary for blessingGod. Praise is the manifestation of our inward reverence and esteem-it adores and magnifies-but in blessing God, we thinkwell of Him and wish Him well and desire that others may do the same!
In blessing God there is the desire to do good to God even as He does to us-if it were possible! We fail in the power withwhich to accomplish such a desire, but it is well that it is in our hearts. God cannot actually receive anything from us forHis own enrichment or increase-for all things that we can do for Him are His, already-and they must be done in His strength,so that, when all is done, it must be said, "Of Your own have we given You." Neither can we add to His splendor or His happiness,for He is, by Nature, inconceivably glorious and infinitely blessed! But if such an increase were within our power, we wouldgladly render it. If all things were ours, we would lay them at His feet. And such things as we have, though we cannot givethem directly to Him, yet we give them to His cause and to the poor of His people.
What says the Psalmist? "O Lord, You are my God; my goodness extends not to You, but to the saints that are in the earth,and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight." We are happy that, in assisting needy Believer, we are blessing the Lord.There is also a considerable measure of blessing God in such prayers as these-"Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Yourwill be done in earth, as it is in Heaven." When we gladly ascribe unto the Lord, glory, power and dominion, we are blessingHim. When we wish other men to love and serve the Lord and do Him homage, we are blessing Him. When we desire to love Himmore, ourselves, and feel our hearts burn with aspirations after fellowship with Him, we are blessing Him. When we are zealousto make known the Truth of the Gospel which glorifies God, and to make known His Son in whom especially He is revealed, weare blessing God!
In sacred silence, when the heart cannot translate her emotions into words, and hardly into thoughts, we can bless the Lord.In rendering unto God such things as we can render and in always asking the still larger question-"What
shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?"-we are blessing Him. If we cheerfully await His bidding, andcount it a delight to stand with girded loins, crying, "What would You have me to do? Have You an errand for these willingfeet? Here I am! Send me," then we are, in effect, blessing our Lord! Can you sing from your soul-
"There's not a lamb among Your flock
I would refuse to feed!
There's not a foe before whose face
I'd fear Your cause to plead"?
Then are you in that state of heart in which all that is within you blesses God's holy name! Blessed be God! We would makeHim better known and so increase His manifest glory, wishing all the while that we could do a thousand times more!
May our hearts be, at this time, filled with high ideas of the goodness and greatness of the Lord-and so may our souls beready to burst forth in praise, eager for service, and bowed in reverent adoration. "Bless the Lord, O house of Israel: blessthe Lord, O house of Aaron: bless the Lord, O house of Levi: you that fear the Lord, bless the Lord! Blessed be the Lord outof Zion which dwells at Jerusalem. Praise the Lord." May we be stirred up to bless the Lord by the teaching of our text!
I. Here we have, first of all, GOD THE FATHER VIEWED ARIGHT. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Whenthe Divine Father is viewed aright, He becomes the object of our gratitude, not of our dread. Instead of trembling beforeHim as before an austere judge, we rejoice in Him as a tender Father. He is no more to us the Thunderer of Sinai, but theFather of our spirits. Among the ignorant, it is too much the custom to ascribe every mercy to the Lord Jesus Christ and tothink that He is all kindness and gentleness, while the Father is full of stern justice and severity-but it is not so! Godis Love and that Love dwells equally in each of the sacred Three. Our Lord Jesus Christ comes to us by reason of the loveof the Father-"thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift." "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son."
In every act of the Lord Jesus, He reveals the tenderness and Grace of the Father to us. He says, "He that has seen Me hasseen the Father," and, "I say not that I will pray the Father for you, for the Father Himself loves you." "Behold what mannerof love the Father has bestowed upon us." The love of the Father is, in all respects, equal to the love of the Son! We mustnever, for a single moment, set one Person of the Holy Trinity before another in our minds. We must believe in "the love ofthe Spirit," and speak of, "our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God, even our Father which has loved us." Let us never fallinto the mistaken idea that the atoning Sacrifice of Christ was intended to make an angry God willing to be merciful! Farotherwise-Jesus dies not to create mercy in God's heart, but to open a way for the exercise of the mercy which was there fromall eternity!
To our apprehension, God may seem changed when we realize the great reconciliation, but in very deed He was always full ofGrace. God's love went forth towards His chosen before the Savior died and because He loved them, therefore He gave His Sonto die for them. Let us see, in this death of our Redeemer, not the cause, but the result of God's love! And let us magnifythe Father who spared not His own Son, but freely delivered Him up for us all. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, butthat He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Is not the Father, from this point of view, the objectof our love, praise and blessing? "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Let us cast out the fear whichhas torment-let us no longer stand afar off, but draw near unto God with childlike confidence and hearts aglow with ardentlove. May the Lord direct our hearts into the love of God!
Next, if we would view the Father aright we must regard Him as the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a wonderful title.We often sing -"Praise the God of Abraham"-and truly it is blessed to view God as the God of Abraham, but how much more asthe God of our Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus, after His resurrection, called Him, "My Father, and your Father: my God, and yourGod." And when He was in the act of expiring, He cried, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" To our Lord Jesus as Man,the Father was God, and He worshipped Him and served Him. How frequently Jesus drew near to God in prayer! How constantlyHe rendered obedience to Him!
Our Lord also says of Himself in the 22nd Psalm-"I will declare Your name unto My brethren: in the midst of the congregationwill I praise You." Thus did our Mediator bow before the Throne of God and admit to the Truth of God then present, "My Fatheris greater than I." I delight to think that God is now dealing with His people as the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, for whatblessings are there which God would not give to the Son of the Highest, that holy Thing that
was born of Mary? How greatly must God bless Him, the perfect Man, Christ Jesus, of whom it is written in the Psalm: "Youloves righteousness and hate wickedness: therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows."
God, I say, is dealing with His own chosen as He deals with the perfectly obedient One! By the obedience of Jesus, many aremade righteous and treated as such-and we are among the many who are accepted in the Beloved! It is the God of Jesus Christwho has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, and to Him Paul prayed for the Ephesians, "That the Godof our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him."You remember how the tribes of Israel were blessed by the God of Jacob for their father's sake? Even so are we blessed bythe God of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the measure in which He would bless His spotless Son, Jesus! Think, then, ofthe infinite Jehovah as the God of our Lord Jesus and, therefore, the God of His redeemed people.
The text title is, "The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," which may respect the double affiliation of Christ. First, as toHis Godhead-there is that mysterious Sonship which we cannot understand, but which is, nevertheless, clearly revealed. Heis the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as Jesus is God. And then there is that second Sonship which belongs to Christ as Man,in which, again, He is said to be the Son of God. "God sent forth His Son, made of a woman." The Father thrice said, "Thisis My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The great work of expiation is over and, "now is the Son of God glorified."And the Father manifests His unbounded love to His Son-let it, then, be a matter of great joy to us that the Father lovesHis people even as He loves His Son-and blesses us as He blesses Him!
Even as Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh because of his love to Joseph, even so, the great Father lays His mighty hand inbenediction upon all His chosen and blesses the very least Believer as He blesses His Son Jesus! He who has highly exaltedHis Son, Jesus, to whom He stands in a double sense in the relation of a Father, has also prepared a throne in Glory for allwho are in Christ. "The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!" How endearing and attractive is the name! If we can view the Fatherin that light, we shall be able to approach Him with firmer confidence! We shall rejoice in Him with greater joy!
Note that the text contains a possessive pronoun-it says, not, "The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ," but, "of ourLord Jesus Christ," who is ours in this particular sense, that He is our federal Head, just as the first Adam, even the Adamwho headed up the race and in whom we stood or fell. Jesus Christ, the second Adam, headed up and comprehended within Himselfall the chosen-and we who can claim that Christ is ours are, for that reason, able to claim all that belongs to Christ, forour heavenly Bridegroom endows us with all His possessions. "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell;and of His fullness have we all received, and Grace for Grace." Jesus says, "All things that the Father has are Mine," andthe Spirit says, "All things are Yours" and, therefore, we may rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!
Believers, are you not one with Christ? Then Christ's God is your God, Christ's Father is your Father! "You are members ofHis body, of His flesh and of His bones." For this cause did He leave His Father and cleave unto the Church, that He mightbe one flesh with her. All Believers are heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. This is the true view of the Father-Heis our Father, our God, our Savior's Father, our Savior's God! Let us delight ourselves in Him and magnify and bless His name!
II. We come, secondly, to notice THE BLESSING WHICH COMES FROM THE FATHER AS VIEWED BY FAITH. "Blessed be the God and Fatherof our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." The blessing of Godthe Father has fallen from all eternity upon all who are in Christ, and that in the most copious manner, for the one blessingincludes "all spiritual blessings." This is a very pleasant thing to me because there can be no blessing like that of God."I know," said one of old, "whom He blesses is blessed." Satan may curse you; you may already be suffering the curse of theFall; but, if God blesses you, what of all that? Let the Lord say, "I have blessed Him," and who can stop it, or who can reverseit?
The blessing of God makes you rich, safe, happy. When He commands the blessing, it is life forevermore. Why, it means an infiniteblessing, the blessing of one Omnipotent to fulfill His Word; Omniscient to carry it out in every place; Immutable, so thatit never can be reversed; eternal, so that it shall stand forever and ever! The blessing of God! What must it be? As is God,such is His blessing! Who that dives deepest into it, can fully comprehend all its meaning? The
blessing of God the Father is a true and real blessing-He speaks not a lie nor a vanity. Has He said, and shall He not doit? Has He commanded, and shall it not stand fast? The blessing of God! How sure, how effectual! Oh, to receive it!
He that has it, though he is in poverty, he is rich! Though he is in sorrow, he is consoled! Though in shame, he has honor!Though he lie dying, he shall revive-though he were dead, yet shall he live! Such a blessing as this is enough to turn a dungeoninto a paradise, a Hell into Heaven-and if it falls upon the most desponding and despairing, it must make their hearts dancefor joy!
I have already told you this is the blessing of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I would remind you that itwas the custom of fathers to give blessings to their sons. All through the Old Testament we find patriarchs, when about todie, calling their children together, and pronouncing a blessing upon them. I should have liked to have received the blessingof Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob-but what must be the blessing of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as He lays His hand uponeach one of our poor unworthy heads and says, "Surely, blessing I will bless you"? Jacob could not bless the beloved Josephafter the fashion in which the Lord blesses His beloved Son and those who are in Him! You could not desire a greater blessingthan you have at this day, for the text says, "He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ."
I would call your attention very particularly to the fact that it is here stated that God has already given the blessing.Strictly speaking, I suppose it should be read, "God blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus" and He continuesto do the same. Do you seek a blessing from God? He has pronounced it already upon you! Do you require anything? You haveit-it is given to you in the Covenant of Grace! Like when the Lord blessed Abraham, He gave him the land of Canaan, so hasHe given to you all Covenant blessings. You have only to ask of the Lord and He will give you to enjoy each blessing accordingas it will be for your good. No good thing will the Lord withhold from you! All you now have to do is, by prayer and faith,to grasp and enjoy the mercy, for He has said-"For this good thing will I be enquired of by the house of Israel to do it forthem."
"Alas!" says one, "I have some blessings, but need many more." This is your unbelief, for all spiritual blessings are pronouncedupon you. Yours are the precious things of Heaven, the dew and the deep, which couches beneath. The chief things of the ancientmountains and the precious things of the everlasting hills are yours and no part of your inheritance shall be torn away fromyou. The Eternal Father has pronounced a boundless blessing upon you as you are in Christ Jesus! He has spoken it and He willmake it good! When, therefore, you are in need, bow the knee and say, "My Father, You have given me this already in Christ.Now, therefore, fulfill this word unto Your servant, whereon You have caused me to hope." When Jacob rose up from his father'sbedside, he knew that Isaac's blessing was upon him, and even so the benediction of the Father is on every Believer.
Rise up, you heir of Heaven! Shake yourself from the dust, for the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed youout of the fullness of His heart and you are blessed, indeed! The benediction is as comprehensive as your needs-if you lackall things, behold, all things are here! Notice the Apostle, here, dwells mainly upon all spiritual blessings. Does he, therefore,exclude temporal mercies? No, Brothers and Sisters, the greater secures the lesser! Doubtless Paul thought the comforts oftime and sense to be so secondary compared with spiritual blessings in heavenly places that he thought it no wrong to omitthem or consider them to be included while he lifted up his praise in this verse to the Father for His spiritual gifts-forHe that gives us the gold of spiritual blessings will never deny us the silver of temporal blessings!
He that gives us Heaven will surely give us all that is necessary on the road there. Abraham gave gifts to his sons by Keturahand sent them away. But to Isaac, he gave the inheritance which is described as, "all that he had." Spirituals are the bestgifts-the heritage given to the first-born. Delight yourselves in spiritual things, for this will mark the distinction betweenyou and the carnal man who has his portion in this life, whereas the Believer's motto is, "The Lord is my portion." Look atthe worldling. If his barns are full of corn and his presses bursting with new wine, then he is happy, for he cares not forspiritual things and his soul's poverty does not trouble him. You and I are of another quality-spirituals are our first demandand without them we are undone! Our covetousness is for much of the Spirit's gifts and Graces- much love, much faith, muchholiness, much communion with the Father and the Son! The temporals we can leave with our heavenly Father, who knows thatwe have need of all these things.
We shall have enough spending money on the road to Glory, for He who has guaranteed to bring us there will not starve us onthe way! Spiritual blessings are such as concern our spirit, which is our nobler part. They have a fullness about them whichcan never dwell in the disappointing riches of earth. And they are of a substantial and enduring nature which widely separatesthem from the shadows of mere carnal delight. Every mouth may eat of the bread of the body, but truly blessed are they thateat bread in the Kingdom of God! Every dog, as he runs, may drink of the Nile, but to drink of the river of the Water of Lifeis another matter! Spiritual blessings are for spiritual men, for they only can appreciate or even perceive them-they area prepared portion for a prepared people! They range from the first painful sense of sin up to the sinless perfection of eternalGlory-and all these blessings are pronounced upon the head of each heir of salvation! Shall we not praise and magnify theFather for this?
These are the good and perfect gifts which are from above-and come from the unchanging Father of Lights-to Him be glory inthe Church throughout all ages forever and ever. These blessings are ours, personally, for He has blessed us. It is not uponthe clouds that the blessing falls, but upon individuals. "He loved me and gave Himself for me." The Lord has said to Hispeople, "You are the blessed of the Lord and your offspring with you." Personal appropriation is the main thing that we need;all else lies ready to our hand. Nothing more could be provided, nothing more needs to be desired. We need faith to take toourselves the heavenly provision and, for lack of it, we go hungering in the midst of plenty!
Brothers and Sisters, there is no need for this! We do not do well to sit with the lepers at Samaria's gate when we have butto awaken ourselves and find abundant provision for ourselves and all the King's household. Furthermore, note well that ourheavenly Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Spiritual blessings are heavenlythings-they come from Heaven, they lead to Heaven-they are of a heavenly nature and are such as are enjoyed in Heaven itself!You may read the text either as heavenly places or heavenly things, and be equally correct. It is a wonderful thing that,even here on earth, the saints enjoy and experience heavenly blessings, for a new nature is a heavenly thing-love, joy inGod, rest, safety and acceptance in the Beloved are all heavenly things. If you read it, "places," it is equally true thatHeaven and all its mansions are ours and we have already taken possession of them in Christ Jesus, our Representative andForerunner!
When God made the Covenant with Abraham which gave him the land of Canaan, Abraham had not yet a foot of land that he couldcall his own-and when he died, he only possessed a cave for burial! But yet, in truth, according to the decrees of Heaven,the land of Canaan belonged to Abraham and his seed, for had not the Lord said, "Unto your seed have I given this land, fromthe river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates?" They had the title-deeds of it, though, for a while, the Canaanitesheld it as tenants upon lease. Now, all the spiritual blessings which belong to the heavenly estate at this moment are theproperty of the heirs of Heaven-and God has said to each one of them-"Lift up your eyes and look from the place where youare, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which you see, to you will I give it."
The blessings laid up in reserve for those who love God are secured to them in the Covenant made with Christ and we wait onlyfor the time when the Lord our God shall surely bring us into the purchased possession. All things necessary for the heavenlylife are already secured to the people of God in Christ Jesus, in whom, also, they have obtained an inheritance. My Brothersand Sisters, does not this lift you up and make you feel yourself to be a different person? You thought you had only a littleDivine Grace, but all spiritual and heavenly blessings are yours! You never dreamed that you could touch Heaven so closely-butHeaven has a wide sweep and is to be found not only in Glory above, but in Grace be-low-for God has made us kings even now!We are already in the kingdom of Heaven and upon heavenly manna we are fed at this day! Where Christ is, there is Heaven,and He is in our hearts!
The sun is above, but inasmuch as his light and heat are here, we say that we sit in the sun and bask in the sun. Even so,though the Presence of Jesus is in Glory, yet we enjoy on earth that sacred Revelation of God which is the center and essenceof Heaven! Present Grace is Heaven begun in the soul-he that dwells in love, dwells in God and God in him- what more can Heavenbe? Even now, "He has raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." That which God hasgiven to us is not bounded by the narrow horizon of this present visible world, but He has given to us all heavenly thingsmost richly to enjoy! The boundless glories of eternity even now belong to us by virtue of the Father's benediction whichHe has pronounced on us in Christ Jesus!
Here let me enquire whether you belong to the company upon whom the Divine blessing rests. Are you seeking to be saved byyour own works? Then you are not saved by Grace through Christ Jesus! Are you without faith in Christ? Then the heavenly blessingdoes not belong to you. The inheritance is secured to a seed who are, by faith, the children of faithful Abraham, born notafter the flesh but after the Spirit. Can you say, I believe in Jesus Christ and fix my trust upon the promises of a faithfulGod? Then take possession of the Covenant provision and be glad in the Lord. We must not fail to note that the plenitude ofspiritual and heavenly blessings only comes to us in Christ. It is not in ourselves that these gifts are vested-we hold themby virtue of our union with the Lord Jesus. He is that golden case in which the treasures of the Covenant are enclosed andsecured.
He is our Trustee, holding the heritage for us and this is the form of our tenure-"joint-heirs with Christ." How precious,then, is our union with Him! Of what vital importance is it to be bound up in the bundle of life with Him! As without Himwe can do nothing, without Him we can possess nothing. In Him we have already received a thousand blessings in actual experienceand in Him there is laid up a boundless supply for future enjoyment. At the thought of this let our hearts sing hallelujahs!In the spirit of sonship let us reverence the Father of our spirits who is also the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation.Blessed, forever blessed, be the Lord God of Heaven and earth, for His unutterable goodness to His chosen in the Person ofHis dear Son. Let us sing unto Him-
"O measureless might!
While angels delight
To hymn You above,
The humbler creation,
Though feeble their lays,
With true adoration
Shall lisp to Your praise."
III. Thirdly and briefly, let us observe THE FIRST OUTFLOW OF THESE HEAVENLY BLESSINGS. The fountain of eternal love burstsforth in our election-"According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world." Consider these words, oneby one. The first is, He has chosen-God has a will and a choice in the matter of salvation! Some people do not like this doctrine,but they must have it whether they like it or not, or else they must reject the Words of Inspiration! Is man's will to bedeified? Is the whole result of the scheme of salvation to depend upon the creature's choice? God forbid! The Father has madea choice of some men unto eternal life-these He has given to His Son Jesus-all these the Lord Jesus has redeemed with Hisown blood and pledged Himself to bring them to Glory. Has He not said, "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me?"
God has made a choice, then, and you who are Believers in Christ may rest assured that you are the objects of this choice.The Lord Himself gave you your faith and brought you into living union with Jesus! Do you not bless Him for this? It seemsto me that here is something for which to praise and bless the Father world without end! Carefully note that election shapeseverything-the Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings. "According as He has chosen us in Christ." All the Graceof earth and the glory of Heaven come to us in accordance with the eternal choice. There is not a single gift that comes fromthe blessed hand of the Divine Redeemer but is stamped with the mark of God's electing love! We were chosen to each mercyand each mercy was appointed for us. If we will not have the Father's election, we cannot have His blessing, for His giftsare plainly stated to be according to His choice-they come because of the choice and they prove the choice-they should, therefore,remind us of our election and call forth our sweetest songs. They should make us ask with David "Why all this to me?" A manwho is elect of God ought to sing the praises of God both day and night, for he is chosen to show forth the praises of Jehovah!
The next words are, "He has chosen us." Herein is Grace, indeed! What could there be in us that the Lord should choose us?Some of us feel ourselves the most unworthy of the unworthy and we can see no trace of a reason for our being chosen. So farfrom being choice men in our own esteem, we feel ourselves, by nature, to be the very reverse. But if God has chosen us, thenlet our hearts love Him, our lips extol Him, our hands serve Him and our whole lives adore Him-
"Loved of my God, for Him again With love intense I burn! Chosen of You before time began,
I choose You in return."
Then we are told He has chosen us in Christ Jesus. He first chose Christ as the Head and then looked through Christ upon usand chose us to be members of Christ's mystical body. We are, none of us, chosen apart from Jesus Christ, but we are chosenin Christ, loved in Christ, given to Christ, united to Christ and accepted in Christ. This is a blessed way of being chosen,for none can separate us from Christ and, consequently, till the Father changes His choice of Christ, He cannot and will notreverse His choice of His people! Until Christ ceases to be God's elect, the Father can never cast away those who are chosenin Christ Jesus!
Moreover, we are told the time when this choice was made-"Before the foundation of the world." This is the earliest conceivableperiod. When this earth was fitted up for man, we know, for the Scriptures inform us, but how many ages elapsed before itwas furnished for our race, we do not know. Yet long before that period the Father had chosen His people! The foundation ofthe world may mean its first creation, when it was spoken out of nothing-that must be ages of ages ago, but before that theFather chose us! Remember those Words, "who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works,but according to His own purpose and Grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." Before sun and moonhad been created, or any of the visible things were formed, God had set His heart upon His people in Christ and ordained themto eternal life in Him!
God's love is no novelty. His choice is no sudden act. Blessed doctrine! I know of none, which, if rightly considered, hasa greater tendency to draw out the intense affection and reverent admiration of human hearts. Did the Lord of Glory chooseme from before the foundation of the world? Then, by His Grace, I choose Him with all my heart to be my Lord, my All! DidHe love me from of old? Then, by His Grace, I will love Him with all my soul and strength- and pray that my heart may be enlargedto love Him more! This is mentioned here in order that you may bless the Father-let there now flow from your hearts a mightystream of gratitude which shall cover your whole being and bear your lives along in the channel of obedience. Come, my Heart,bless the Father at this moment and never cease from His praise while life and being last, or immortality endures!
IV. Fourthly and lastly, our text reminds us of another cause for praise, namely, the DESIGNED RESULT OF ALL THIS BLESSING-"Thatwe should be holy and without blame before Him in love." It is God's eternal design that His people should be holy-and Hehas pursued this purpose at infinite cost. This is the design of all the blessings which the Father has given us in Christ.All these favors are a call to us to be holy-and each one has a tendency to promote our sanctification. When you grow in Grace,faith, hope, joy-all that growth is towards holiness. Always think of that and bless God for your Graces by manifesting theirinfluence in your conduct. Bless God for increased knowledge and deepened experience, for He has designed, by these, to sanctifyyou more fully to Himself!
There is something practical in every gift that comes from the Father's hands and you should pray to Him that you may, byeach one, conquer sin, advance in virtue and perfect holiness in His fear. The ultimate end of election is the praise of theglory of Divine Grace, but the immediate and intermediate end is the personal sanctification of the chosen. We are chosenunto holiness! The Father chose us to Himself that we might be without blame before Him in love. He would have us blameless,so that no man can justly find fault with us. He would have us harmless, so that our lives may injure none but bless all.Holiness is, however, more than this. We are called to be made whole by being healed of the disease of sin and by having allour broken powers reunited into one harmonious whole. This restored nature is to be wholly consecrated to God and thus tobecome holy before God. Oh that we may realize God's objective in election even at this time and so make our calling and electionsure! Let us mightily strive after this and never rest till we have it.
But notice where and what kind of holiness this is-holy and blameless before Him. I have met with several people who say theyare perfectly holy, but I believe they are under a delusion! And I feel sure that those who watch them will not long thinkthem perfect. This perfection of theirs is according to their own vain ideas and conceited notions-not according to the judgmentof the Lord who searches the heart! Perfection in the flesh is a lie! I believe it to be one of the grossest falsehoods everpalmed on foolish minds! It would be something to be holy and blameless before the devil as Job was. It would be somethingto be perfect before the eyes of men who are so ready to criticize us-but to be blameless before Him who reads our thoughtsand sees our every failure in a moment-this is an attainment of a far higher order!
Oh, to be spotless and faultless! Let us bless God that He is aiming, every day, to make us holy and blameless before Himself!And He will do it, for His purpose never fails. He has worked it, in a large measure, in all His saints, and He will
perfect that which He has begun! This is the goal towards which we are running, that we may attain to the complete likenessof Christ. Courage, Brothers and Sisters, it is yet beyond us, but He that has begun the good work in us will perform it untothe day of Christ! We shall, one day, be without fault before the Throne of God!
To conclude, we are to be holy and blameless before Him in love. Love is the anointing oil which is to be poured on all theLord's priests-when He has robed them in their spotless garments they shall partake of the unction of love. When He has deliveredus from all sin, one choice thing shall be seen in us, and that is love, abounding love. "God is Love; and He that dwellsin love dwells in God, and God in Him." As we love, we live unto God. Perfect life will be perfect love. Judge of your sanctificationby this-Do you grow in love to God? Do you also increase in love to the Brethren? If your heart grows hard with the proudnotion that you are somebody by reason of your high attainments, and that the poor little saints around you are unworthy,even, to unloose the laces of your shoes, you are not growing in holiness!
Do you love poor sinners? For if your heart does not grow tender, you are not growing holy. What a blessed thing it wouldbe to be saturated with love! They said of Basil, that he was a pillar of fire because of his zeal. I wish it could be saidof us that we were flames of fire because of our love. Oh, to love our neighbor as ourselves, thinking no evil! "Oh," saysone, "we would be taken advantage of!" That would be no harm compared with being hardened by selfishness. "But we should beill-treated and defrauded." Suppose we were? It would be better than being miserly and cruel. The worst of ills is hate-thebest of blessings is love. When we become incapable of selfishness and get right away from unkindness of heart and uncharitablenessof thought, Christ will be living in us and we in Him-and then we shall be fulfilling the purpose of electing love and thedesign of the innumerable spiritual blessings which are already given us in Christ Jesus.
To this let us all aspire. Let brotherly love continue. Let us love each other more than we have ever done and join our handsanew in a firm league of concord. Let us love the universal Church of Christ. Let our hearts burn with ardent affection towardsthe perishing multitudes of men, that we may bring them to put their whole trust in Jesus and live! May the Father deal withus according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus, and to Father, Son and Holy Spirit be glory forever and ever. Amen.