Sermon 2872. The Lord's Supper
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25,1904.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON A LORD'S-DAY EVENING IN THE AUTUMN OF 1861.
"For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes." 1 Corinthians 11:26.
This solemn ordinance has been instituted and perpetuated to commemorate the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, but there isno ordinance to commemorate His life. One reason for this is because His death implies His life-when you commemorate His death,you testify that He lived. Another reason is that the Christian's life, better than any ordinance, is the proof that Christlived and the testimony to this world how He lived. A Christian should so act that worldlings would be compelled to ask, "Bywhat power, by what energy, is he actuated to live in a style so superior to that of his fellows?" The answer he should alwaysbe prepared to give is something like this, "I live thus because Christ so lived and it is no more I who live, but Christwho lives in me. The love of Christ compels me, so that I am sweetly and blessedly compelled to live, not unto myself, butunto Him who loved me and gave Himself for me." The proof that Christ came into the world should be that His followers areholy! Let their character be blameless and harmless, their conduct so devoted and so full of self-sacrifice that it shallbe a constant memorial of that Redeemer whose name they profess. If the mind of Christ is in His people, it will make themso far superior to other men that it must be inferred that some superior energy is in them and that superior energy is noneother than the love of Christ.
They should also so live that if any ask them how Christ lived, they may be able to say-not in words, for that might encouragepride, but in effect-"He lived as I live." It has been well said that ungodly men do not read the Bible, but they read itas it is translated into the lives of Christians. The actions of Believers are, to the worldling, the means of judging whatour religion really is. Men of the world do not sit down and study our creeds, but they trade with us in the common businessof life-and if we trade dishonestly, they judge that our creed is wrong and that our religion is not true. They do not wadethrough our Bodies of Divinity to balance our arguments and test their value by the rules of logic-they have a shorter andmore practical test than that. If our religion makes us upright in our conduct towards others and compels us to fear God inall that we do, then they pronounce our religion to be good. But if, on the contrary, we profess that we believe in Christand yet can habituate ourselves to foul and degenerate behavior, they at once conclude that our religion is a thing of nothing.Brothers and Sisters, I repeat it, that Christ did not institute a memorial of His life because He would have yoube the livingmemorials of Himself. He has not left us any ordinance in which His acts, His words, His thoughts can be set forth beforethe eyes of men in visible signs-He has done better than that for He has made you to be His signs and ordinances! "You areMy witnesses," says the Lord. If the Spirit of God is in you, you are the testifiers to the world of the holiness and thepurity of the Character of your Lord!
Our text tells us that the Lord's Supper was instituted by Christ as a memorial of His death. I am going to speak, first,concerning that of which the ordinance is a memorial-Christ's death. Then, to point out how the ordinance itself shows forththe Lord's death till He comes. And then, thirdly, to show how we, in this ordinance, rather than the ordinance itself-thatwe, in the ordinance, do show the Lord's death till He comes.
Allow me to observe, however, that the retrospect gives us only one aspect of this ordinance, for it also distinctly holdsout a very blessed prospect. We are taught, as often as we celebrate it, to look for our Lord's Second Coming. Our text containsa very strong and a very lively anticipation of His Second Advent and of His Personal'advent, too. Many
persons say that Christ is certainly coming again, but that He is coming spiritually. This way of putting the matter seemsto me to be a subterfuge. A man who is already here cannot be said to be expected to come. And it is certain that Christ is,at this moment, spiritually-present with His people. His own declaration is, "Where two or three are gathered together inMy name, there am I in the midst of them." He is never absent, spiritually, from His Church. He still walks among the goldencandlesticks. I cannot see, therefore, how it can be consistent with the ordinary meaning of language to say that He is tocome spiritually.
My Brother, you believe that Christ is to come spiritually. Suppose that is true, what will be the result? Why, the Gospelwill be better preached, more sinners will be converted and may I not also add that the ordinances will be better observed?Do you think that if Christ should come spiritually into this world, as you say He will, this ordinance would be taken away?"No," I think I hear you say, "certainly not. If Christ shall come spiritually, Believers will be more attentive to His commandsthan they ever have been-they will be still more strictly obedient to His Word and will." Just so, but my text says they areto show His death, "till He comes." That seems to me to infer that, when He comes, the ordinance will be no longer observed.When He is here in Person, I can see adequate reasons why the memorial of His First Advent should be dispensed with. But ifHis Second Advent is not an absolute reality, I can see neither Scriptural nor logical reasons why this ordinance should ceaseto be observed at His spiritual coming, whatever that expression may mean!
It is well for us to always be "looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior JesusChrist." There are some who say that Dr. Watts did not believe this Doctrine, but he has expressed it most triumphantly inhis paraphrase of Scripture where he writes-
"Nor does it yet appear
How great we must be made.
But when we see our Savior here,
We shall be like our Head.
A hope so much Divine
May trials well endure,
May purge our souls from sense and sin
As Christ the Lord is pure."
I. First, I have to try to show you WHAT THE LORD'S SUPPER SETS FORTH. It sets forth "the Lord's death."
There is no ordinance to set forth His birth. The Roman Catholic Church invented a feast day and called it Christ-Mass andother churches have imitated the custom-but there is no ordinance, delivered unto us by the Lord Jesus, or His Apostles, tocommemorate His Nativity! Nor do I find, in the Scriptures, any record of an ordinance to commemorate His circumcision, orHis first preaching, or His riding in triumph into Jerusalem, or even any ordinance to commemorate His Ascension into Glory.We generally regard the keeping of the first day of the week as a commemoration of Christ's Resurrection and of His appearanceto His disciples when He showed them His pierced hands, feet and side. But even that can scarcely be called an ordinance.So, of all that Christ did or suffered, there is no ordinance enjoined upon us but that which relates to His death. Now, whyis this?
It is, first, because it was for His death that Christ was most despised. Therefore, for His death let Him be most honored!It was the Cross of Christ that was His shame-it was to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness. And it ishere that the enemies of Christ always begin their attacks. They deny His Divinity because He died. They mistrust His powerto save on the very ground for which we are able to trust to it-because He died. Usually, the battle against Christ and HisChurch rages most fiercely around His Cross. His adversaries, led by the great master-spirit of evil, all seem to say, "Fightneither with small nor great, save only with that great Doctrine of the Atonement, for that is as a king in the hosts of Israel."Those who preach the accursed crusade against Christ have, for their watchword and rallying cry, "Against His Cross! AgainstHis Cross!" Therefore it is, most blessed Master, that You have provided this ordinance to be, as it were, a shield to Yourown Cross, so that, if every minister should cease to preach Your atoning death, the silent bread and the voiceless wine should,louder than a thousand thunders, tell the world that Jesus died and that only through His broken body and His poured-out blood,sinners receive eternal life!
Christ's death, too, is chosen for special celebration because it is the most important part of all that He did or suffered.We would not depreciate His life, His Baptism, His work, or His Resurrection, but His death is the center of all.
All the Doctrines of the Gospel revolve around Christ's death as the planets revolve around the sun! Take away the sun fromthe solar system and you have dislocated everything. All the stupendous wheels would cease to move. Remove Your Cross, O Christ,and the keystone of the arch of the Truth of God is gone! Take away Your death, O Jesus, and it is death to all that You havetaught, for all that You teach derives life from the fact that You have died! O my dear Brothers and Sisters, whatever errorsmay creep into the Church, they will be important only as they mar the luster of the Cross! I think it is the bounden dutyof every Christian to be ready to die for the Truth of God. You know that our forefathers readily gave their lives for thedefense of Believers' Baptism. Still, not in the least depreciating Believers' Baptism, I say that if it is worthwhile forone to die for that, it is worthwhile for tens of thousands to die, in one tremendous hecatomb, in defense of the fact thatJesus died! As this is the chief point of the adversaries' attack, so must we always regard it as the most important bastionof defense! Here, Christian, turn your eyes the most frequently. Here let your thoughts dwell the most intensely. Here liesthe source of all your hopes! Here you shall find the wellspring of all your joys! Think it not unimportant, then, that Christhas given to His death so solemn and yet so simple a memorial.
I think the Master also appointed this ordinance because His death is, after all, the most comforting thing in the whole Gospelsystem. Where do you go, you of the weeping eyes, when your heart is breaking-where do you go for comfort but to the placewhere comfort was not-namely, to the Cross of the dying Savior? Where do you go, poor breaking Heart, when the woes of thislife swell and gather till your soul is near to bursting-where do you go but to that spot where misery reached its climax?It is strange that the masterpiece of misery is also the masterpiece of comfort. The darkest spot in the whole world is yetthe source of all our light! The dying of the Savior gives us life! His wounds heal us! His agonies bring us peace! His torturesyield us ease! The Good Shepherd knew that if His sheep desired to have green pastures, they would find them at the Cross,so He appointed this ordinance to bring them there. Well did He understand that if they would lie down beside the still waters,they must come to that place where the blood flowed from His blessed brow, and hands and feet, and side.
You have said with the spouse, "Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth," and He does it in this ordinance. You havesometimes asked Him to bring you into His banqueting house and that His banner over you might be love. But that banner hasnever floated from any mast but the Cross and, therefore, He has brought you there. You have asked that you may sit underHis shadow with great delight and that His fruit may be sweet to your taste. This is His fruit-His broken body and His shedblood-so He brings you here. You have said, "I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs there." Your Lordknows that you cannot do this except you view His Cross as that palm tree, springing up in a desert land and bearing all mannerof delightful fruits. You will need no further arguments, Brothers and Sisters, to convince you of the wisdom and tendernessof Christ in bequeathing to you this most comforting ordinance that so His death may be held in perpetual remembrance!
II. Now I go on, in the second place, to show you HOW THE BREAD AND WINE IN THIS ORDINANCE SET
FORTH THE DEATH OF CHRIST.
You can hardly fail to notice how the ordinance is adapted universally to keep in memory the fact it commemorates. You recollectwhat happened to the woman who looked back after she came out of Sodom. The Lord would have us "Remember Lot's wife," so Heturned her into a pillar of salt. But that memorial is only to be seen by those who pass that particular spot. Now, supposethat the Master had said to His disciples, "Erect for Me a bronze column. Let it be in the form of a cross and write uponit that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried"? It would not haveappealed to our observation anything like so forcibly as this ordinance, which is not restricted to any time or place. Thismemorial has been seen in the darkness of the catacombs of Rome, where only a tiny taper afforded light to the worshippingassembly. This memorial has been seen among the heather on the Scottish hillside where the lightning flash lent its kindlybeam to the minister as he read the Sacred Word. This memorial is seen, today, in the far-off isles of the sea. From Northto South, from East to West, this is the standing memorial of Him who died! Better than storied urn, or animated bust, orrare marble, or precious metals, or jewels unrivalled for their worth is this blessed memorial because it can be seen everywhere,in every land!
This is also an admirable memorial seeing that it is perpetual Monuments of brass wear out. The teeth of Time devour the ruggedgranite, itself. Though you build, for a king, a monument like the pyramids of Egypt, yet shall his name be forgotten andeven Pharaoh may lack a wise man to decipher the inscriptions on his tomb and recount the story of his
mighty acts. Not so is it with this blessed ordinance-it can never wear away, it is always new. I may say to it, "O sacredEucharist, you have the dew of your youth!" This memorial is as fresh, more than 1,800 years after its institution, as itwas when, in the upper room, the disciples first celebrated it in anticipation of their Master's approaching death! So, whencenturies have followed centuries, and Time himself shall have become bald and his scythe shall have lost its edge- when yonsun shall have grown dim with age and the moon shall be pale with fading weakness-even then shall this ordinance be as freshand as new as ever! It is perpetual because the command of our King cannot be repealed! It is never to be set aside till theneed of testimony shall have passed away-till Christ Himself shall come to reign among men!
And, oh, what a simple memorial this is! Priest of Rome, go to your sacristy and put on your millinery-your red, your blue,your silver, your scarlet and your fair white linen-play the harlot, for such you are before the eyes of men in all your wantonfineries! Prove yourself to be the true descendant of her of Babylon by the gaudiness of your apparel! But know, O priest,that we need none of your enchantments for the right observance of this ordinance! You sons of toil, you can come here withyour garments still covered with the dust of your labor. What need we to fulfill to the letter our dear Master's own injunctions?What but a piece of bread and a cup of wine? Oh, how shamefully have men mimicked this ordinance! How they have invented strangedevices to make that appear wonderful which was wonderful enough in itself, because, like everything sublime, it was simpleand majestic in its own simplicity!
This simple ordinance has sometimes made me smile at the useless artifices of the foes of Christ. I have smiled at the thoughtthat our Master has given us a memorial so simple that we can observe it even when our adversaries are most opposed to us.I have broken the memorial bread and sipped the wine in Venice, beneath the Austrian sway, where, to have held a public Protestantservice would have involved imprisonment! But how could they have stopped us? There were four of us in our own inn-might wenot do there as we pleased? No one knew why we needed a small piece of bread and a cup of wine-and we four sat around thetable and I avow that it was as much the Lord's Supper as it is when thousands of us assemble here to keep the sacred feast!
If we were in Rome itself, in a room at the Vatican, though the Pope himself were in the next room, we might observe thisblessed ordinance and he would never know that we had done so unless we chose to tell him! How could he deny us bread? Thatwould be scant hospitality! And how could he deny us wine? And having bread and wine, we need no altar and we need no priest.Wherever two or three Christians are met together, there may they celebrate the Supper of their Lord! It is as valid withouta minister as with one and just as really the Lord's Supper though there are no ordained presbyters or learned Doctors ofDivinity to preside at the table! Blessed memorial of the death of Jesus, they cannot put an end to you! We can laugh to scornall the priests and the soldiers of Rome. If we had built a memorial pillar, they might have pulled it down. The sons of Moabmight have stopped up our wells and cast down our towers, but who can destroy this simple ordinance? Persecution would nomore avail to put an end to the Lord's Supper than would the swords of Pharaoh's soldiers have availed to put an end to theplague of flies! The craft or skill of man can never put an end to the simple memorial of bread and wine-all that he can dois but to parody or pervert it.
I think, too, that this is a very blessed memorial. The broken bread sets forth the broken body of our Lord and the wine,being separate from the bread, shows how His blood flowed from His body. The sign itself most touchingly sets forth the refreshingqualities of the blood which flowed from His head, hands, feet and side. The point I want to emphasize is that Christ hasinstituted a memorial of His death which requires, to carry it out, Christian hearts and, therefore, hearts full of love toHim and faith in Him. If you wish your name to be remembered, you may say, "It is my desire that men should keep my birthday."So they may and, in a hundred years' time, the recollection of the fact of your birth will have dwindled down into a merefable! How many institutions we still have, the origin of which we do not know? But suppose you could have an institutionkept up only by those who love you and suppose, in addition, that you had the power to always preserve in the world some heartsthat would love you? What a blessed memorial that would be! In coming to the Table of our Lord, we meet not as a company ofmen who have no regard for Christ, no compelling love to kindle our passions to a flame! Why, His very name makes our heartsleap for joy!-
"Sweeter sounds than music knows Charm me in Immanuel's name."
His death is, to us, the most delightful topic of meditation. We come not to the Table of our Lord as the slaves of Pharaohwere flogged to build the pyramids, but we come cheerfully, joyfully, delighted to remember Him, feeling it to
be less a duty than a privilege and far more a pleasure than merely a service. This Supper is, virtually, the outward andvisible sign of ten thousand times ten thousand broken hearts that have been bound up, tearful eyes that have been made toflash with holy joy, aching consciences that have been eased and hearts that could sooner cease to beat than cease to love!So it is, indeed, a blessed and choice memorial of our Savior's death which can never be forgotten by His loved ones. III.Now I come to my last point, and that is, perhaps, the most practical-HOW YOU AND I ARE TO SHOW
OUR REDEEMER'S DEATH IN THIS SUPPER.
Some people are very particular about the way in which the Lord's Supper is administered, but, as long as everything is donedecently and in order, I think that should be enough for us. I was staying, once, with a gentleman-a Dissenter-who had becomemore than a little formal. He was telling me that he had done a great deal of good in his parish and, among other excellentthings, he recounted one with an air of enthusiasm which made me laugh. He said, "When I came here, these people used to bringthe wine for the sacrament in a black bottle and, as I am sure that I could not celebrate the Lord's Supper if the wine camefrom a black bottle, I have provided something better." I thought it would have been a great deal better if he had asked thepeople whether they had brought black hearts, for a black bottle does not signify much-but a heart that is not right in thesight of God is the thing that needs to be taken away. If you and I have our hearts right, we need not mind how simple themode in which the ordinance is administered!
But now, what are you and I to do in observing this ordinance? We are to show the Lord's death. Then, if we are to show it,we must show it to somebody. To whom? Why, first, to ourselves. My soul, be not content unless, in the bread, you discernthe Lord's body for yourself. Do not eat and drink, as the Apostle says, "unworthily, not discerning the Lord's body." Takeheed, O my Soul, that you are not satisfied with eating the bread unless, by faith, you realize that the body of Christ wasoffered up for you-unless your faith can so participate in the merit of that Sacrifice that the eating of the bread becomesto you a lively picture of your participation in the results of Christ's death! Mind, too, that the wine sets forth His bloodto you. Brothers and Sisters, these symbols are but as the veil before the Holy of Holies-you must look beyond the symbolsto that which is within the veil-or else, of what use are the signs to you? The bread is nothing, the wine is nothing-thatwhich the bread sets forth is everything/Feed on that! That which the wine portrays is everything-see to it that you are apartaker of that!
What multitudes of professors are quite content with the outward sign! I fear that the Lord's Supper, through being so grosslymisused, has deceived many. See how eagerly they send for a clergyman when they lie dying! Men who have scarcely ever entereda church or chapel in their lives-men who fear not God and have no saving interest in the death of Christ-desire to have thisbread in their mouths at the last! Let that dying impenitent know this bread shall be a swift witness against him! Not beingborn of God and having no right whatever to this ordinance, he ate and drank unworthily and so ate and drank condemnationto himself! If any of you have imagined that this ordinance can save your souls, let me correct that error at once! It mayruin them, but it cannot save them! You must get right away to Christ, right away from this ordinance. It is not as unrenewedsinners, but as saints-as Christ's disciples, as His saved ones-that you are to partake of this feast! You must come to Christfirst, as a sinner, just as you are.
I have read, or heard, sermons which proved that the minister was not at all clear which was Christ-the bread upon the CommunionTable or the Savior upon the Cross. There is a sermon upon this text-"Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy ladenand I will give you rest"-in which the preacher invites his hearers to come to the Lord's Table. That is the very worst placeto which they could come! They must first come to Christand then, after they have found acceptance in Him, they may come toHis Table. But they must not be invited to His Table until they have come to Him and trusted in His atoning Sacrifice! TheLord's Supper is a curse, not a blessing, to unbelievers, so let none of us think of feeding upon Christ in the sign untilwe have Christ in reality in our hearts.
Next, we are to show Christ's death to others. Some of you will be spectators while the rest of us are observing this ordinance.As we shall, in one great host, break bread together, we shall say to you, "We do, each of us, believe that Jesus died forour sins, according to the Scriptures. We have put our confidence in His death as making reconciliation for us before God.We personally avow our own vital faith in Him and we declare to you, whatever may be your judgment concerning Him, that Heis all our salvation and our desire." The very poorest among the communicants will be a preacher. When you, dear Friend, takethe bread and the wine, you will preach a sermon. I believe that the word used here has in it, in the Greek, the idea of preaching.You will say, by partaking of this ordinance, "I believe in Jesus Christ, in His broken
body and His poured-out blood." I hope that will be an appeal to the consciences of you who will be looking on at the ordinance,asking you whether you also believe in Christ-and though the appeal will be a silent one, I pray you to answer, "Yes," or,"No," to it. As you see us partake of the bread and the wine, imagine that you hear a voice coming up from the Communion Tableand saying to each one of you, "Soul, Soul, when will you, too, believe in Jesus? When will you cast yourself on Him, thatHe may be your All-in-All?"
Nor, by this ordinance, do we set forth Christ's death only to ourselves and to others, but also to God Himself. We do, asit were, plead the merit of Christ's broken body and shed blood every time we observe this ordinance. We bring before God,not a sacrifice, as though the one Offering needed to be repeated-but a memorial of the finished and perfect Sacrifice whichwas once and for all offered for the sins of men. Brothers and Sisters, it is a solemn thing to think that every time we cometo the Communion Table, we bring before the Eternal Father the memorial of the death of His only-begotten and well-belovedSon!
We bring that memorial, too, before the holy angels hovering, as they undoubtedly are, over every Christian assembly. We sayto each of them, "He who was seen of angels" is our hope! Tell the glad tidings through all the golden streets that the deathof Christ is still remembered in this lower world! Speed on your swift wings to Heaven and let it be known in your gloriousdwelling place that there are men and women, saved by the precious blood of Jesus, meeting to commemorate His death."
And, Brothers and Sisters, in this ordinance we show Christ's death even to the devils in Hell. There is nothing which theyfear so much as the death of Christ. The breaking of the bread and the pouring out of the wine are like the flaunting of avictorious banner in the face of the beaten foe. It is the flashing before the eyes of Satan of the sword that smote him inthe days of old and that will make him tremble again even now! Earth and Heaven and Hell are gathered around us as we meetat the Table of our Lord and we poor, puny men become a spectacle unto the three worlds. We are said to be men wondered at,but how much more wonderful is that which is visibly set forth in this ordinance-the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ!
O my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I pray you to see to it that you now show His death to your own conscience. Does it accuseyou? Then, show it the wounds of Christ and it shall be well with you. Does the Law of God condemn you? Show it your bleedingMaster and it will at once absolve you. Show Christ's death to your unbelief and, surely, it will vanish away. Show Christ'sdeath to your heart and, surely, it must melt with love to Him. Show Christ's death to the weeping eyes of your repentanceand the tears shall be wiped away and you shall see your pardon bought with blood! Show Christ's death to the weak, Leah-likeeyes of your faith and it shall strengthen them till they shall see even the hidden mystery and discern the substance which,by mortal eyes, cannot be seen. Show Christ's death to your wretched and miserable spirit that has been troubled and burdenedwith the cares of this world and it must leap for joy, and cast all its burdens away! Show the death of Christ to your oldsins which have been coming back to you, today, and it will drive them all away. Show Christ's death, in fact, to the eyesof your heart, the eyes of your emotions, the eyes of all your powers of body and soul-and thus you shall be like he who said,"I shall see Him," though you shall not need to add, as he did, "but not now." You may say, "I shall behold Him," but youwill not need to spoil it by adding, as Balaam did, "but not near," for Christ shall bring you into His banqueting house andHis banner over you shall be love!
Sinner, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and remember that He said, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." Saint,come to the Table of your Lord and feast upon the emblems of His dying love, remembering that blessed are they who believeon Him, for there shall be a performance of those things which were told them by the Lord.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: ROMANS 8:18-39.
Verse 18. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall berevealed in us. Paul made "the sufferings of this present time" into a matter of simple arithmetic and careful reckoning.He added them all up and saw what the total was. He seemed to be about to state a proportion sum, but he gave it up and saidthat the sufferings were "not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed." Did they stand as one to a thousand?No, otherwise they had been worthy to be compared! Did they stand as one to ten thou-
sand-or one to a million-or one to a million of millions? If so, they would still have been worthy to be compared- but Paulsaw that there was no proportion whatever between them. The sufferings seemed to be but as a single drop and the glory tobe as a boundless ocean!
"Not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." That glory is not yet fully revealed. It is revealedtous, but not yet inus. What, then, shall we do in the meantime? Why, wait with patience and bear our appointed burden untilthe time comes for us to be relieved of it-wait, however, with hope-wait, too, as we must, quietly enduring the pains andpangs which precede so glorious a birth! In this respect, we are not alone, as the Apostle goes on to say-
19-22. For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was madesubject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason ofHim who has subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself alsoshall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the wholecreation groans and travails in pain together until now. We live in a world that is under a curse-a world that was made subjectto bondage through human sin. What does this cold mean? What do these fogs mean? What do the general mourning and sighingof the air all through the winter mean? What do the disturbances, convulsions and catastrophes that we hear about on all handsmean? It is the creation groaning, travailing, waiting-waiting till there shall be a new Heaven and a new earth, because theformer things shall have passed away.
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. Our soul has been delivered from the Curse. The redemption ofthe soul is complete, but not yet that of the body. That must suffer pain and weariness and even descend into the tomb, butits day of manifestation shall surely come! At the appearing of our Lord from Heaven, then shall the body itself be deliveredand the whole creation shall also be delivered, so we wait in a travailing condition-and we may well be content to wait, forthese pangs within us and around us all signify the glorious birth for which we may wait in hope.
24, 25. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for it? Butif we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. This is our attitude and our condition now- waitingfor the glory which is to be revealed in us and accepting the sorrow which is appointed to us as an introduction to the joywhich is to come to us, mysteriously, through it. But while we are waiting, we are not without present comfort.
26. Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities for we know not what we should pray for as we ought but the Spirit Himselfmakes intercession for us with groans which cannot be uttered. You must, I am sure, as children of God, often have felt thatSpirit within you groaning in prayer what you could not express. How often have you risen from your knees feeling the utterinadequacy of words to express the desires of your heart! And you have felt that you had larger desires than you have beenable to interpret. There have been mighty pangs within you telling of the Presence of this wrestling Spirit.
27. And He who searches the heart knows what is the mind of the Spirit When you do not know your own mind, God knows the mindof the Spirit and that is the very essence of prayer. He "knows what is the mind of the Spirit,"
27. Because He makes intercession for (or, in) the saints according to the will of God. Whatever the Spirit of God promptsus to pray for, is according to the mind of God, for it is not possible that the Holy Spirit should ever be otherwise thanin perfect accord with the Divine Father. The eternal degrees, if we could read them, would convey to us the same Truth asthe impulses of the Spirit in our heart. And this is the true explanation of prayer-that what God intends to do, His Spiritleads His people to ask Him to do and thus there is no conflict between the eternal Predestination of God and the earnestentreaties of His people. They are, in fact, the outcome of that very Predestination.
28-30. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to Hispurpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be thefirst-born among many brethren. 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. These great Truths of God must never be separated. Any one of these thingsbeing true of us, it is most certain that the rest are also true. Now, my dear Brothers and Sisters, you cannot read God'sforeknowledge, neither can you enter into the secrets of Predestination, but
you can tell whether you are called, or not. You can know whether you are justified by faith, or not. And if you get holdof those links, you have got a grip of that endless chain which is firmly fastened to the granite rock of eternity past andwhich is also fastened to the rock of the glorious eternity which is yet to be revealed!
31-33. What shall we then say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He that spareddnot His own Son, butdelivered Him up for us all, how shall He not, with Him, also freely give us all things? "Who shall lay anything to the chargeof God's elect? God that justifies?For so we think it ought to be read. That is another question. Can God lay anything toour charge after having justified us? Will He contradict Himself?
34. Who is he that condemns?There is only One who can, for there is only one Judge, and that Judge is Jesus. So, the Apostleputs it again in the form of a question-shall He condemn us?
34. It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercessionfor us. Shall He condemn us? It is altogether impossible!
35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness,or peril, orswordl What a long list of ills! They seem to make up a Jeremiah's roll of sorrow. Can they separate us from thelove of Christ? They have all been tried-have they ever succeeded?
36. As it is written, For Your sake we are killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter But did theysucceed in separating saints from the love of Christ even in the days of martyrdom?
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. "Therefore, comfortone another with these words."