Sermon 2550. Joy in God
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, JANUARY 2, 1898.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 2, 1884.
"And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (or, asit should be, "the reconciliation"). Romans 5:11.
You notice, dear Friends, in reading this verse, the "not only so," and the, "also. " And, if you look back to the earlierverses of the chapter, you will see that there is a continual rising, as of one ascending a golden staircase. You get an,"also," and a, "not only so," and then a long succession of Christian attainments rising, one out of the other- "Tribulationworks patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope makes not ashamed," and so forth-from all which itclearly appears that the Christian life is one of continuous progress. It would be so without a break if we were more carefuland lived nearer to God. We would go steadily on from our spiritual childhood and youth and manhood till we became fathersin Christ and, by-and-by, perfect men in Christ Jesus, having reached the fullness of the stature of men in Christ Jesus.I am afraid that we, sometimes, sadly hinder that progress by our lack of prayer and our neglect of communion with God. Still,this is what true Christian life should be-a continuous going from strength to strength till we, every one of us, appear beforeGod in the Zion above.
Let each Believer ask himself how far it is so with him. It is to be feared that there are some who, after many years of Christianprofession, are not holier, or stronger in faith, or fuller of wisdom than they were 20 years ago! Some Believers seem tobe like the children of Israel in the wilderness-they go forward and backward-their path is very intricate and they make butslow progress towards the heavenly Canaan. Let us, Beloved, labor to grow in Grace! Let us cry to God to enable us to grow.Let us not be satisfied with what we have already attained, but let us always feel an insatiable craving to acquire more andmore of the good gifts of the Covenant of Grace, that we may have all things and abound, seeing that all things are providedfor us in Christ Jesus our Lord!
But I want, just now, to bring this thought especially under the notice of young beginners in Grace, for I am about to speakof an experience which belongs, rather, to the full-grown Christian than to the newly-born Believer, and it may be that Ishall cause trouble of heart to some of the little ones of the Lord's family while I speak of what is more commonly enjoyedby the greater ones and the stronger ones. I do not mean to do so, but quite the reverse. You, dear Friend, who have beenlately brought to Christ, must not judge and condemn yourself if you do not, as yet, possess all the Graces which belong tothe more matured saint. No one would think of condemning a child three years old because he was not six feet high! No onewould blame him because his little feet would not carry him upon a long journey. No one would expect from him the wisdom whichwe look for in his father. "You cannot put old heads on young shoulders, "says our proverb, and it is very true, and it wouldbe a pity that we should try to do so, for the old heads would be out of place upon young shoulders-let the whole man be ofthe same age. If, therefore, I talk at this time about a high and noble joy which you have not yet tasted, long for it-andgo the right way to gain it-but do not begin to say, "I do not know that joy and, therefore, I am no child of God. I havenot partaken of that delight and, therefore, I cannot be a sincere Believer in Jesus." If you do so, you will be acting veryunwisely-you will be acting toward yourself in a way in which a father would not think of acting toward his own child! Christianlife is a life ofprogress-it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we are going forward, and onward, and upward-and wehope to continue doing so until we behold the face of Him we love! And then "we shall be like He, for we shall see Him asHe is."
A second observation I want to make is that the Christian life has its own peculiar joys. If you look through the chapterfrom which our text is taken, you will see that it begins with a joy-"Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace withGod." That is a smoothly flowing current, fathomless and full of infinite sweetness! I do not know, if I had my choice ofthe state of heart in which I would wish to be between here and Heaven, whether I would not prefer continual peace to anyother condition of mind. It is a blessed thing, sometimes, to soar aloft, as on the wings of eagles, and to seem to play withthe young lightning that is at home with the sun! It is a grand thing to live even herein the very Presence of God and feelthat Earth has grown into a little Heaven! But I find that such an ecstatic state as that is frequently followed by deep depression.Elijah runs before Ahab's chariot, but the next morning he runs away from a woman and asks that he may die. Our great "ups"are not far off equally great "downs." We climb the mountains and then we slip down the cliffs. We descend into the Valleyof Humiliation soon after we have been on the tops of the Hills of Communion. If one could always be just quiet and peaceful,it would be best.
Then, in the second verse, the Apostle says, "We rejoice in hope of the glory of God." That is no small joy, to be alwayslooking for His coming in whose Sovereignty we shall be made kings and, as the result of whose passion we shall be made priests,expecting to behold Him here, and then looking for the revelation of the Glory when we shall be "forever with the Lord." Oh,we have great joy whenever we think of Heaven! Sit down and turn over the passages of Scripture which relate to it. Thinkof the communion of saints that you shall enjoy and especially of the Beatific Vision of the face of Him "whom having notseen, you love-in whom, though now you see Him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." Whatmust it be to be there? We cannot, at present, tell, but the Apostle says, "We rejoice in hope of the glory of God." And sowe do!
Then, in the third verse, he tells us of another joy of which worldlings certainly never taste. "Not only so, but we gloryin tribulations, also." There is a secret sweetness in the gall and wormwood of our daily trials-a sort of ineffable, unutterable,indescribable-but plainly experienced joy in sorrow and bliss in woe! O Friends, I think that the happiest moments I haveever known have been just after the sharpest pains I have ever felt. As the blue gentian flower grows just upon the edge ofthe Alpine glacier, so, too, extraordinary joys, azure-tinted with the light of Heaven, grow hard by the severest of our troubles,the very sweetest and best of our delights. Then the Apostle tells us, in our text, that we have another joy, of which I amnow going to speak, "joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Let no man's heart fail him when he hears the experience ofthe tried people of God! It is true that we have troubles peculiar to the Christian state- there are some sorrows which arenot known outside the family of God. They are very blessed, health-giving, purifying sorrows and we would not wish to be withoutthem!
But still, sometimes they are very keen and cut the heart even to its very center. Though that is the case-and we admit thatit is-we also have some peculiar joys which no others realize. There are fruits in God's storehouse which no mouth has evertasted till it has been washed clean by the Word and by the Spirit of God. There are secret things which are not seen by thehuman eyes, however much enlightened by knowledge, until those eyes have been touched with Heaven's own eye-salve that itmay look and still may live-look into the Glory and not be blinded by the wondrous sight! Come, then, you who are temptedby the world's joys, and see where true joy is to be found! Turn away from that painted Jezebel-she will but mock and deceiveyou-
"Solid joys and lasting treasure, None but Zion's children know." If you, young people, give your hearts to Christ, you mustnot dream that you have come to the end of your delights- you have but begun them. Notwithstanding the trials of a believinglife, the ways of wisdom "are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."
Now, coming more closely to the text, I am going to answer three questions. First, what is joy in God?Secondly, how is thisthe evidence of reconciliation? "We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation."And, thirdly, why is it that this joy is said to be through our Lord Jesus Christ?
I. First, then, WHAT IS JOY IN GOD?
Now, my dear Friends, I have before me a topic which far exceeds my ability. I get out of my depth when I have such a questionas this to answer, "What is joy in God?" I shall be like the swallow that but touches the brook with its wing and then isup and away again. I can do no more than skim the surface of the subject, but I know that there is, to the Believer, a joy,first, in the very fact that there is a God. To the ungodly man, it would be a great delight if it could be proved that thereis no God. When he is at all serious and thinks upon the great problems which concern his own state, he is troubled with thethought of God, for, if there is a God, then sin must be punished. If there is a God, then a life spent in neglect of Himmust entail, somehow or other, chastisement and sorrow. The worldling would be glad if he could be thoroughly well assuredthat the idea of God is "a mere bugbear of priests to keep men in terror," as some say. There is a something within a manthat makes him feel and know that the world must have had a Maker. If it is so full of intelligence, a Someone, by His intelligence,superior to all the intelligence of mankind, must have made it-and the man gets troubled as he remembers that he has livedso many years-and yet has forgotten his Maker and broken His Laws.
But the child of God, the regenerate man who feels within him the Nature of God and kinship to the Most High, could not bearthe idea of there being no God. Atheism is a black Egyptian night to a soul that once has known God. If we ever come to havejoy in Him, anything which robs Him of His Glory makes us grieve. But to prove that there is no God would be to prove thatwe are orphans! It would prove to us our everlasting poverty and wretchedness! It would be to us an infinite catastrophe ifwe could ever be convinced that there is no God! Happily, we have no fear of any such a calamity. We delight to know thatthere is a God and that God is everywhere. Our highest joys are experienced when we are in His most immediate Presence! Andif we ever do anything which we should not do, if we are conscious of His Presence, we know that it is wrong-and we have togrieve for doing it. But when we live as in His sight. When we truly walk with God, then we live like Enoch, who "had thistestimony, that he pleased God." Then do we realize the truest form of happiness and joy. So, first, we have joy even in thefact that there is a God.
But we have joy, most of all, in the knowledge that this everlasting God has become our Father We take no delight in the universalfatherhood which comes of creation-that is a poor thing and belongs as much to dogs and cats as it does to us, for they areas truly created by God as we are! And that sort of fatherhood, of which I hear men talk, is the portion of those who blasphemeGod and live in utter rebellion against Him. It is not that of which the Apostle wrote, "If children, then heirs; heirs ofGod, and joint-heirs with Christ" Sirs, until God renews your nature, you are children of the Wicked One-not children of theMost High! Neither have you any right to talk about the fatherhood of God towards you. "You must be born again" and only whenyou are born again and have believed in Christ, are you God's children, for "as many as received Him, to them gave He power"-theright, or privilege-"to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, norof the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." But that fatherhood which comes of the spirit of adoption withinyou-because you have been born into the family of God-in this you may, indeed, rejoice!
Now, can you not, and must you not, if you have believed in Christ, joy in God as you feel that He is, through His aboundingGrace, your Father? Whatever He does, He is your Father. When He smiles upon you, He is your Father. If He frowned upon you,He would still be your Father. I have told you before what the old Welsh preacher answered when his friend said to him, "Whileyou are preaching, this morning, may you have the smile of God resting upon you!" "Yes," he replied, "my dear Brother, I hopethat I shall have it. But if I do not have the light of God's Countenance, I will speak well of Him behind His back." So weshould-when we do not have the Lord smiling upon us-we should speak well of Him behind His back. Let us be resolved to saywith Job, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." If He should take away every comfort which I have, I am so persuadedthat it will be a Father's love that will dictate the action, that I will still praise Him and magnify Him, do what He may.It is joy, indeed, when you can say that if the Lord is strong, He is strong for you. If He is wise, He is wise for you. IfHe is unchangeable, He is unchangeable to you and whatever He is and whatever He possesses, He has made Himself over to youto be your possession, saying, "I will be their God, and they shall be My people." This, then, is joying in God-first rejoicingthat there is a God and then delighting in Him as our Father!
When we once reach this point, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we rejoice in every attribute of God-wede-light in Himas He is revealed. I fear that in these days many men are very busy trying to construct a god for themselves such as theythink God ought to be-and it generally turns out that they fashion a god like themselves, for that saying of the Psalmistconcerning idols and idol-makers is still true-"They that make them are like unto them, so is everyone that trusts in them."These modern manufacturers of gods make them blind because they are, themselves, blind, and deaf because they are deaf, anddead because they are spiritually dead. No, Beloved, there is no God but the God revealed in Holy Scripture, the God of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob-the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! And the excogitation of another godhead, which hasbeen the business of the sages of the present day, is all a mistake and a delusion! God can only be seen in His own light.He must be His own Revealer and no man can know God except God shall reveal Himself unto him.
I trust that many of us can say that we do rejoice in God as we find Him in the Scriptures. Some quarrel with God as a Sovereignand no doctrine makes them grind their teeth like the glorious Truth of Divine Sovereignty. They profess to want a god, buthe must not be on a throne! He must not be King, he must not be absolute and universal Monarch! He must do as his creaturestell him, not as he, himself, wills. I adore that God who says, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will havecompassion on whom I will have compassion." Such a God as He is needs no limitation! Let Him do as He wills, for it is notpossible that He should will to do anything that is unjust or unholy! Let us joy and rejoice in Him as an unlimited Sovereign!
Then let us rejoice in Him as perfectly holy. The holiness of God is an attribute that may well fill us with awe. To the eyesof ungodly men, it shines like "the terrible crystal" of which Ezekiel speaks, but, in the Word of God, whenever the songrises higher than usual, you will generally find that it is a hymn in praise of the holy God. Yes, this is the song of Heaven-"Theyrest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." The wholeness ofthe Divine Nature is seen in His holiness. There is in Him no defect, no excess-He is altogether just such as a holy soulmust delight in.
I trust also, dear Friends, that you and I can joy in God as to His justice. The justice of God makes men dread Him till theybecome His children. There are some, today, who pretend to preach the Gospel, but who really are preaching "another Gospelwhich is not another." And they try to set forth the littleness of sin and, as for the justice of God, it seems to be ignoredby them! Their effeminate deity is not worthy to be known by the name of God! But our God is terrible in His justice and Hewill, by no means, clear the guilty-and conscience tells every man this. But the Believer in Jesus, when he sees what Goddid that justice might be satisfied-and that love might freely flow to the unworthy when he beholds Christ crucified, thegreat Father piercing His Son with sharpest smart that He might justly put away the sin of His people-then he comes to delightin God's justice! Instead of threatening him, God's justice becomes the guardian of his salvation with a drawn sword protectinghim from condemnation! Happy is the man who can say of every attribute of God that he adores it-the man who would not haveturned back at the Red Sea and not refused to sing unto the Lord who had triumphed gloriously in His righteous vengeance uponthe ungodly! Bow your heads before God as He is, as He declares Himself to be in His own Word, for if you do not, you arenot reconciled to Him! But if you are truly reconciled to Him, you will accept Him without question in all those points thatseem dark and mysterious. You will believe those doctrines which sometimes grate upon the ears as you hear of them, and youwill say, "Though I cannot understand, I adore. And when I tremble before the Lord so that the joints of my bones are loosedand I fall prostrate at His feet, yet even in those dread mysteries I feel that I love and I joy in God."
Beloved Brothers and Sisters, what a blessed and transcendent joy this joy in the Lord is! Sometimes you joy in your children,yet they die and then you sorrow. At other times you rejoice in those who are grown up and are prospering, but perhaps theytreat you with ingratitude and then, again, your joy is gone. You joy in your health and that is a great blessing-but yousicken and your joy departs. Some rejoice in their riches, but wealth takes to itself wings and flies away. You may joy ina choice friend, but after a while you may be forsaken and forgotten. You may joy, perhaps, in past achievements and theremay come to you a joy in your prospects for the future-but there is no joy equal to joy in God! Suppose I have nothing inthe house but God? Suppose there is nothing for me to rely upon but God, nothing that I can call my own but God? Well, isthat a little thing? Are not all creatures but the visions of an hour? But the Creator is the substantial All in All, so thathe who has God has all that he can possibly need! God, to His people, is the fullness out of which all their needs shall besupplied. What a mercy it is that when we can joy in nothing else, we can joy in God! We can joy in His power, for He canhelp us. We can joy in His faithfulness, for He cannot fail us. We can joy in His Immutability, for He changes not and, therefore,we are not consumed. We can joy in every thought that we have of Him, for altogether and observed from every point of view,He is the delight of His people!
Well now, dear Friends, if we have come as far as that, we can also say that we joy in God in all His dealings with us. "Thatis hard work," says one. But when you perfectly joy in God, you joy in everything that He does! Suppose you had a dear friendwho came to your house and suppose you should say to him, "anything that there is, you may enjoy, or you may take. I willgive you anything you can ask for or desire. I owe my life and all my prosperity to you." Well, if you did miss this and thatof your treasures which you might like to have retained, when you heard that your friend had them, you would be quite content.According to that good old parable, when the master went into the garden and took a very choice rose, the gardener did nottrouble himself at the loss of it when he knew who had plucked it. He was so glad that the master admired it, that he couldeven rejoice that it had gone! Now, dear Friends, can you not get to this point, that if the Lord brings you comforts, youwill not rejoice in them so much as in Him who brings them? You say that you can get as far as that, but if the Lord takesaway your comforts, can you come to this point, that you will not sorrow over them, but that you will joy in Him who tookthem away? The drops are gone, yes, but there is the fountain always flowing. Though the sunbeam is hidden from your eyes,the sun is always shining. Therefore always rejoice in God, your All in All, and say, "Yes, I will rejoice in all His dealingswith me." Looking back on the whole of my own life, I desire to bless God for everything that He has ever done for me. I desireto praise Him for every cut of the rod, for every blow of the hammer, for every melting in the furnace, for the crucible andthe burning heat. Everything has commenced and continued and concluded as it ought to do, according to His infinite love andwisdom and I, therefore, joy in all that God does to me and bless His holy name!
Then I think that we also learn to joy in all God's requirements of us and in all His teachings. In all that He tells us andin all that He reveals to us of the world to come, we learn to joy in God. Thus, as I told you, I have only touched the surfaceof this great subject. I pray the Holy Spirit will reveal to you all that there is in the blessed Trinity in which we canrejoice. This God is our God and He has said, "Delight yourself, also, in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of yourheart." There is no fear of your delighting too much in Him, so let your hearts be filled with joy! Take down your harps fromthe willows and touch every string with sacred delight as you joy in God!
II. I was, next, to have answered the question, HOW IS THIS JOY THE EVIDENCE OF OUR RECONCILIATION TO GOD? I have occupiedso much time over the first part of my theme that I must not dwell upon this portion of the subject. But it must be clearto you that any man who can truly joy in God is reconciled to God. That God is reconciled to him is certain, or else the manwould not be reconciled to God, for no sinner was ever beforehand with God. And if I love God, I may be sure that He longago loved me. But one of the most glorious evidences of a man being reconciled to God is when he rejoices in God!
Suppose he becomes obedient to certain outward precepts that he may be and yet be very sorry that he has to be obedient tothem? Suppose he begins to repent and mourn to think that he has sinned-he may do that and yet there may be in his heart thewish that he could have his full of sin without fear of punishment. But when a man feels, "There is no one in the world thatI love as I love God. There is none that I adore as I adore the Lord. For Him I would live, for Him I would die. He is everythingto me. He is the source of my delight and the spring of all my joys"-why, that man is perfectly reconciled to God! You cansee that the enmity in his heart is slain. You can see that now God's purposes are his purposes and God's desires are hisdesires. That which God hates, this man hates. That which God loves, this man loves. You can see that he is perfectly reconciledto God because he rejoices in God!
As for that part of the reconciliation which has to do with God, Himself-about that no question can possibly arise! The difficultynever was as to how to reconcile God to a sinner, but to reconcile the sinner to God. The Lord Jesus Christ has done perfectlythat which enables God, with justice, to manifest mercy to the guilty. That is done-you may take that for granted. And youcan be sure that it is done in your case when this lesser matter of reconciling you to God is most assuredly accomplished,as it is when you, "joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
III. My last question is, WHY IS THIS JOY SAID TO BE THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST?
Why, first, because it is through Him we have received this reconciliation. No man can rejoice in an unreconciled God. Aslong as you look up to God and see Him bound by the justice of His Nature to punish you for your sin, you cannot delight inHim-you are filled with dread and dismay. But when you see Christ making a full Atonement for sin.
When you know that because you have believed in Him, you have the sure evidence that He made Atonement for your sins in particular,and put them away, then you feel that you are reconciled to God. God, apart from Christ, must be the object of dread to theguilty, but God, in Christ Jesus, upon the Throne with the Covenant rainbow round about Him- that God becomes our joy anddelight!
I believe that in the world in general men talk a great deal more about God than they do about Jesus Christ. At least, theyspeak about, "Providence," and about "the Almighty" and so forth. And there are some who say, "Yes, God is good. He has beenvery good to me." And in common parlance you hear much about God. But, ah, my dear Hearer, well as that may be, it is allignorant misunderstanding until you see God in Christ Jesus! For you unconverted people there can be nothing about God thatcan be comforting to you until you see Him revealing Himself by His own Son, the great Sacrifice for sin. "Behold the Lambof God, which takes away the sin of the world." No man comes unto the Father but by Christ. He that has seen Christ has seenthe Father, but he who knows not God, knows not Christ, however frequently he may speak about Him. So that it is God seenthrough Jesus Christ to whom we are reconciled and in Him we joy, in the reconciled God who has at His side-
"The Maun oflove, the Crucified"
of whom we sang just now.
Furthermore, we only joy in God being reconciled to us when we have been, ourselves, viewing the Lord Jesus Christ. Is thereanything that makes a man love God like a sight of Christ? You may, when you are well trained, love God for all His goodnessin Creation and Providence, but the heart is never truly tuned to love until it comes to Calvary. And I believe that afterwards,the waves of love never rise to Atlantic billows except when the wind blows from Calvary. When I behold Him who is the Best-Belovedof the Father, an Infant in His mother's arms, a sorrowing Man toiling over the rough roads of Palestine. When I behold Himas a bound Victim led to the slaughter and willingly yielding up His life in a cruel and shameful death that He may redeemus from the curse of the Law of God, then my heart clings to the heart of God as a child clings to its mother! Blessed beGod the Father, since we have beheld God the Son and our hearts have been renewed by God the Holy Spirit!
We can joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no joy in God except as you see Jesus Christ intimately knit withHim and with yourself. Do not try to go to God by any other way than through this golden gate of the great Sacrifice of yourredeeming Lord! But just now sit here and joy in God-and then go home and still joy in God. Perhaps when you reach your doorthere will be some bad news for you. If so, still joy in God. Possibly when you get home there will be an ungodly husband,there, and no peace or comfort in the house-still joy in God! Perhaps when you sit down to your evening meal the questionmay arise, "Where will the next one be found?" Yet still joy in God. Say, with the Prophet, "Although the fig tree shall notblossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flockshall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in theGod of my salvation."
If you have, between here and Heaven, no source of joy but your God, it shall be with you as when the rock was smitten inthe wilderness and the stream followed Israel through all their journeys! But if you have all that heart could wish for andyet do not joy in God, you have not tasted what true joy is-you have only the pretense and the mockery of an adulterated delight.But if you get just a sip of true joy in God, though it is but as a drop by the way until you get to the wellhead in the homecountry, you shall be cheered and comforted in a manner that worldlings cannot understand! I would that some of you wouldcome and trust the Lord. You cannot joy in Him till you have trusted Him. But if you trust in Jesus as your Savior, you shallgo onward, step by step, till even God Himself shall be an infinite delight to your every thought! God bless you, for Christ'ssake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: ROMANS 8:19-39.
Verse 19. For the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. The whole Creation isin a waiting posture, waiting for the glory yet to be revealed.
20, 21. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who has subjected the same in hope,because the creation, itself, also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the childrenof God. Everything here is blighted and subject to storm, or to decay, or to sudden death, or to calamity of some sort. Itis a fair world, but there is the shadow of the Curse over it all. The slime of the serpent is on all our Edens. "The creationitself was made subject to vanity," but it "also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious libertyof the children of God."
22. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. The birth pangs of the Creation areon it. The living creature within is moving itself to break its shell and come forth.
23. And not only they, but ourselves, also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves,waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. That is our state now. At least it is the condition of the mostof us. Some of our brethren have gone ahead so tremendously that they have passed out of the world of groaning altogether-theyare perfect! I regret that they are not in Heaven-it would seem to be a much more proper place for them than this imperfectearth is. But as for us, our experience leads us, in sympathy with the Apostle, to say that we are groaning after somethingbetter. We have not received it yet. We have the beginnings of it. We have the earnest of it. We have the sure pledge of it,but it is not, as yet, our portion to enjoy-we are "waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body"-for, thoughthe soul is born again, the body is not. "The body is dead," says the Apostle, in the 10th verse of this chapter, "becauseof sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness." There is a wonderful process through which this body shall yet pass-andthen it shall be raised, again, a glorious body fitted for our regenerated spirit-but as yet it remains unregenerate.
24. For we are saved by hope. Hope contains the major part of our salvation within itself.
24-26. But hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not,then do we, with patience, wait for it Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities. That same Spirit who gave us the spiritof adoption. That same Spirit who set us longing for something higher and better, "also helps our infirmities." And we haveso many of them that we show them even when we are on our knees.
26. For we know not what we shouldpray for as we ought: but the Spirit, Himself makes intercession for us with groans whichcannot be uttered There seems to be a good deal of this groaning. It is only in Heaven that there are-
"No groans to mingle with the songs
Which warble from immortal tongues." But down here a groan is, sometimes, the best wheel for the chariot of progress! We sigh,and cry, and groan to grow out of ourselves, and to grow more like our Lord. And so we become more fit for the glory whichshall be revealed in us.
27. And He that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because He makes intercession for the saints accordingto the will of God. That is the whole process of prayer. The Spirit of God knows the will of the Father and He comes and writesit on our hearts. A true prayer is the Revelation of the Spirit of God to our heart, making us desire what God has appointedto give us. Hence the success of prayer is no difficulty to the man who believes in predestination. Some foolishly say, "IfGod has ordained everything, what is the use of praying?" If God had not ordained everything, there would be no use in praying,but prayer is the shadow of the coming mercy which falls across the spirit-and we become, in prayer, in some degree, giftedlike the seers of old. The spirit of prophecy is upon the man who knows how to pray! The Spirit of God has moved him to askfor what God is about to give!
28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, "All things." That is a very comprehensive expression,is it not? It includes your present trouble, your aching head, your heavy heart-"all things." "All things work.." There isnothing idle in God's domain. "All things work together.." There is no discord in the Providence of God. The strangest ingredientsgo to make up the one matchless medicine for all our maladies. "All things work together for good"-for lasting and eternalgood-"to them that love God."" That is their outward'character.
28. To them who are the called according to His purpose. That is their secret character and the reason why they love God atall.
29. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son that He might be the first-bornamong many brethren. Oh, what a glorious privilege is yours and mine if we are, indeed, children of God!
We are, in some respects, children of God in the same sense as Christ Himself is-He is the First-Born and we are among His"many brethren."
30. Moreover whom He did predestinate; them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified,them He also glorified. Notice that personal pronoun, "He-how it comes at the beginning and goes on to the end. "Salvationis of the Lord." This is so often forgotten that, trite as it may appear, we cannot repeat it too often-"Whom Hedid foreknow,He also did predestinate. Whom He did predestinate, them Healso called, and whom He called, them He also justified: and whomHe justified, them He also glorified." You might suppose, from the talk of some men, that salvation is all of the man, himself-thatis free agency pushed into a lie-a plain Truth of God puffed into a lie! There is such a thing as free agency and we wouldmake a great mistake if we forgot it. But there is also such a thing as Free Grace and we would make a still greater mistakeif we limited that to the agency of man! It is God who works our salvation from the beginning to the end!
31. What shall we then say to these things?If God is for us, who can be against us?If God is that great working One who doesall this, who can be against us? "Why, a great many," says one! But they are nothing, nor are all put together anything atall compared with Him who is on our side!
32. 33. He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not, with Him, also freely give us allthings? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? God that justifes?No, that is impossible! And if He does notlay anything to their charge, what cause have they to fear?
34. Who is He that condemns? It is Christ that died?What? Die for them and then condemn them? Nobody can condemn them butthe Judge! And if He is unable to condemn them, in consequence of what He has already done for them, then none can. But thisis not all.
34. Yes, and furthermore, is risen again who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Will Heblow hot and cold-first intercede for them and then condemn them? It cannot be!
35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? "Quis separabit?" That should be our motto in every time of trial-"whoshall separate us from the love of Christ?"
35, 36. Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ForYour sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter They have all had their turn, but didany of them, or all of them put together, ever divide the saints from Christ?
37-39. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death,nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor anyother creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Blessed, forever blessed,be His holy name! Amen.