Sermon 3198. What Christians Were and Are
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MAY 19, 1910.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 23, 1873.
"And were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." Ephesians 2:3.
"The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God,and joint heirs with Christ." Romans 8:16,17.
[See Sermon #339, Volume 6-THE SONS OF GOD.]
THESE two texts will furnish me with two familiar but most important themes-what Christians were and what they are. Thereare great and vital differences between what they once were and what they now are-and these are implied or indicated by thetwo expressions, "the children of wrath" and, "the children of God." There is so much instruction in each of our texts thatwe will proceed at once to consider them without any further introduction.
I. So, first, let us consider WHAT CHRISTIANS WERE.
The Apostle tells us that we "were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." "By nature," mark you, not merely bypractice, but, "by nature the children of wrath" The expression is a Hebraism. When a person was doomed to die, he would becalled by the Jews, "the child of death." One who was very poor would be called by them, "the child of poverty." So becausewe were, by nature, under the wrath of God, we are called "the children of wrath."
When the Apostle says that we "were by nature the children of wrath," he means that we were born so. David expressed whatis true of us all when he said, "Behold, I was shapened in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Our first parent,Adam, sinned and fell as the representative of the whole human race. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death bysin, and so death passed upon all men." If any object to this principle of representation, that does not affect its truthof it-and I would also remind them that by this very principle of representation, a way was left open for our restoration!The angels did not sin representatively-they sinned personally and individually-and, therefore, there is no hope of theirrestoration, but they are "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." But men sinnedrepresentatively, and this is a happy circumstance for us, "for as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so bythe obedience of One shall many be made righteous." As we fell through one representative, it was consistent with the principlesupon which God was governing mankind that He should allow us to rise by another Representative! At first, we fell not by ourown fault, so now, by Grace, we rise not by our own merit. Death by sin came to us through Adam when we were born, so didlife come to us through Christ Jesus. Thus our first text sets before us this terrible fact-as true as it is terrible, andas terrible as it is true-that we were by nature under the wrath of God from the very first. The whole race of mankind wasregarded by God as descended from a disgraced traitor! We were all born children of wrath.
This expression also implies that there was within us a nature which God could not look upon except with wrath The way inwhich some cry up the excellence of human nature is all idle talk. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperatelywicked: who can know it?" Our Lord Jesus Christ has told us that "out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." Everything that is evil lurks within the heart of everyone that is bornof a woman! Education may restrain it, imitation of a good example may have some power in holding the monster down, but thevery best of us, apart from the Grace of God, placed under certain circumstances which would
cause the evil within us to be developed rather than restrained, would soon prove to a demonstration that our nature was evil,and only evil, and that continually! You may take a bag of gunpowder and play with it if you care to do so, for it is quiteharmless as long as you keep the fire from it, but put just one spark of fire to it and then you will discover the force forevil that was latent in that innocent-looking powder! You may tame a tiger if you begin training it early enough. And youmay treat it as if it was only a big cat-but let it once learn the taste of blood and you will soon see the true tiger natureflashing from its eyes and seeking to destroy all that come within reach of its cruel claws! In a similar fashion to that,sin was originally latent within everyone of us and whatever better qualities God may, by His Grace, have planted there, itis still true that we were, by nature, "the children of wrath, even as others."
I need not say any more about the original sin of Adam, or about the sinfulness of our nature, for those of us who have beensaved know that our practice was according to our nature. Who can deny that the fountain was defiled when he is compelledto confess that polluted streams flowed from it? Can you look back with complacency upon the days of your unregeneracy? Ifeel sure that you cannot think of the sins that you committed, then, without weeping over them, and especially sorrowingover that sin which so many forget-the sin of not believing on the Son of God, the sin of so long rejecting the Savior, thesin of not yielding to the gentle calls of His Grace, the sin of bolting and barring the door of your heart while He stoodoutside and cried, "Open to Me, My sister, My love, My dove, My undefiled: for My head is filled with dew and My locks withthe drops of the night." But we would not rise and let Him in! What a horrible sin it was not to see the loveliness of Christand not to admire the infinitude of His love! Had we not been sinful by nature and by practice, too, our opposition or ourindifference would have been melted concerning the coming of Jesus-and we would have at once opened our hearts to receiveHim.
Not only were we "children of wrath" by descent, by nature and by practice, but had not God, in His long-suffering patience,spared us until we were converted, we would have had to endure the wrath of God forever in that dark realm where not a singleray of hope or one cooling drop of consolation will mitigate the miseries of any child of wrath who hears the dread sentence,"Depart from Me; I never knew you." We cannot bear even to think of the doom of those who have died impenitent! I confessthat my flesh creeps when I read those terrible Words of the Lord Jesus concerning the worm that never dies and the fire thatnever shall be quenched. And yet, instead of sitting in these seats at this moment, rejoicing in the good hope through Grace,we might have been there! Yes, and without any very great change in the order of God's Providence before our conversion, wemight have been there! We were sick with the fever and if only the disease had taken an unfavorable turn, we would have beenthere! We were shipwrecked-and if only the waves had washed us out to sea instead of washing us up upon a rock-we would havebeen there! Possibly some of us have been in battle and as, "every bullet has its billet," if one had found its billet inour brain or heart, we would have been there! Some of us have been in many accidents-if one of them had been fatal beforewe knew the Lord, we would have been there! All of us are in jeopardy every day and every hour-we are constantly being remindedof the frailty of human life, yet God spared us, by His Grace, and did not cut us off, as so many others were, while we wereunrepentant and unrege-nerated. Had He done so, we would, indeed, have been "the children of wrath" in the most terrible ofall senses, for we would even now have been enduring the wrath of God on account of our sin! Children of God, as you realizethe truth of what I have been saying to you, I trust that you will feel intensely grateful to the Lord who has so graciouslyinterposed on your behalf and delivered you from going down into the Pit!
Notice also that Paul says that we "were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." God's Grace has made a great differencebetween His children and others, but there was no such difference originally-they were "the children of wrath, even as others,"that is, in the same sense as others were children of wrath. I know that God's children have been from eternity the objectsof His distinguishing love, for there never was a period when He did not love those whom He had chosen as His own. But regardingus as sinners, unforgiven sinners, dead in trespasses and sins, we, "were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
We were also "the children of wrath, even as others" who remain unconverted. You have, perhaps, a daughter for whose conversionyou have long prayed. You have brought her to hear the Gospel since she was a child, but up to the present moment, it hasnot touched her heart. Do not forget that you, also, were a child of wrath, even as she is. You have a friend who ridiculesthe Gospel, even though he comes with you to listen to it. Yet you were an heir of wrath, even as he is-and if it had notbeen for the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, you, also, would have been only a hearer
and not a doer of the Word. You would have been like so many others in this congregation and you might have said, with Cowper-
"I hear, but seem to hear in vain. Insensible as steel."
But you are not "insensible as steel" now! You feel the power of the Word. It makes you tremble, but it also makes you rejoice,for you know that it is the Word of your Father in Heaven who has loved you with an everlasting love and who, therefore, withloving kindness has drawn you to Himself. While you remember all this with devout gratitude to Him who has made you to differfrom others and also to differ from what you, yourself, used to be, never forget that you were once a child of wrath, evenas others still are!
Yes, Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, you "were by nature the children of wrath, even as others" who still revel insin. As you pass along the street you see such sights and hear such language that you are shocked and horrified that men andwomen can so grievously sin against the God who made them, and who still permits them to live! Yet do not look down upon themwith an affectation of superior holiness and say, "What shameful sinners those people are in comparison with us!" But rathersay, "We, too, were by nature the children of wrath, even as others still are."
Yes, and to emphasize what I have previously said, "we were by nature the children of wrath, even as others" who pass awayimpenitent and in due time must stand before the Judgment Bar of God! They will stand shivering before that Great White Thronewhose spotless luster will reveal to them, as in a wondrous mirror, the blackness of their lives and the guiltiness of theirimpenitence! And when the King sits down upon His Throne, even though it will be the Lamb, Himself, who died for sinners,who will sit as their Judge-they will cry to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitson the Throne and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the Great Day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?" Thereis nothing so terrible to look upon as injured love. Fiercer than a lion leaping upon its prey is love when once it is incensed.Oil flows smoothly, but it burns furiously-and when the love of Jesus has been finally rejected-then the sight of Him whosehead was once crowned with thorns will be more terrifying than anything else to the eyes of those who have rejected Him. Theywill wish they had never been born and, indeed, it would have been better for them if they had never had an existence! Hadit not been for the Grace of God, their portion would also have been our portion, for by nature we were the children of wratheven as they were-and amidst that shivering, trembling crowd we would have taken our station. But, believing in Jesus, ourplace shall be at His right hand "when He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believe."We shall be among those to whom the King will then say, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared foryou from the foundation of the world." Yet, by nature, we were "the children of wrath, even as others."
II. Now I must turn from that sad, solemn knell-"Children of wrath, even as others," to the joyous peal that rings out fromour second text which tells us WHAT CHRISTIANS ARE-what we now are if we have believed in Jesus- "The Spirit itself bearswitness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."
It is such a wonderful thing that those who were the children of wrath should now be the children of God and that there aretwo witnesses to it. First, our own spirit says that we are the children of God and then the Holy Spirit comes and says, "Yes,and I also bear witness that you are the children of God."
Now, Beloved, do you realize that God has worked this great miracle of mercy in you? Does your spirit bear witness that youare now a child of God When you go out of this building and look up at the stars, will you say to yourself, "My Father madethem all"? Will you feel that you must talk to your Father? And when you go to your bed tonight, should you lie sleepless,will you begin to think of your heavenly Father as naturally as a little child, when it lies awake in the dark, thinks ofits mother and calls to her? If you are a true Believer, this is the case with you. The Spirit of adoption is given to youby which you are enabled to cry, "Abba, Father." Do you not also know what it is, sometimes, when you are sitting down quietlyby yourself, to think, "The God who made the heavens and the earth, and who upholds all things by the Word of His Father,is my Father"? Then very likely a flood of tears will come as you stand silently before the Lord just as the lilies do, forat times there is no form of worship that seems possible to our joyous spirit except standing still and letting the love ofthe heart silently breathe itself out before the Lord like the fragrance of flowers ascending in a gentle breeze. In sucha frame of mind as that, your spirit may well bear witness that you are a child of God!
Then comes the Holy Spirit, the Infallible Witness, and through the Word and through His own mysterious influence upon ourheart, He bears witness that we are the children of God. Two witnesses were required, under the Law of God, to establish acharge that was made against any man. And under the Gospel, we have two witnesses to establish our claim to be the childrenof God-first, the witness of our own spirit-and then the second and far greater Witness, the Holy Spirit, Himself! And bythe mouth of these two witnesses shall our claim be fully established. If our own spirit were our only witness, we might hesitateto receive its testimony, for it is fallible and partial. But when the Infallible and impartial Spirit of God confirms theunfaltering witness of our own heart and conscience, then may we have confidence toward God and believe without hesitationthat we are, indeed, the children of the Most High God! One of the points on which the Holy Spirit bears witness with ourspirit that we are the children of God is this-"We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren."When we really love those who are God's children, it is strong presumptive evidence that we are, ourselves, members of Hisfamily! And when we truly love God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit-when we have a compassionate love to thesouls of men and an intense love of holiness and hatred of sin, and desire for God's Glory-all these are the further witnessto the Spirit with our spirit that we are the children of God.
Then, as there are two witnesses that we are the children of God, so are there two ways in which we become the children ofGod.
First, we are the children of God by adoption. When God asked Himself the question, "How shall I put the children of wrathamong My children?" He answered Himself by saying, "I will do it by adopting them into My family." We were far off from Godby wicked works, "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, andwithout God in the world." Yet, by the Grace of God, we have been adopted into the Divine family!
Now you know that a child may be adopted into a nobleman's family, and yet he will not really be one of the nobleman's kindred.So there is a second way in which we become the children of God, that is, by regeneration. We are born into the family ofGod as well as adopted into it, and thus we become "partakers of the Divine Nature." So Peter writes, "Blessed be the Godand Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrectionof Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in Heavenfor you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." Adoption givesus the privilegesof the children of God. Regeneration gives us the Nature of the children of God! Adoption admits us intothe Divine family. Regeneration makes us akin to the Divine Father-it creates us anew in Christ Jesus and puts into us a sparkfrom the eternal Spirit, Himself, so that we become spiritual beings. Before regeneration, we are only body and soul-but whenwe are born-again, born from above-we become body, soul and spirit. Being born of the Spirit, we understand spiritual thingsand have spiritual perceptions which we never possessed before.
Becoming the children of God, we are entitled to all the privileges of childhood. It is the privilege of a child to enjoyits father's love, its father's care, its father's teaching, its father's protection, its father's provision and last, butby no means least, its father's chastening. Whatever a child receives as its right from its father, we also receive from ourFather who is in Heaven. "If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall yourheavenly Father give to you who are His children every blessing that you can possibly need while you are here on earth, andHeaven itself to crown it all?"
Then the Apostle further says, "and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ." Now, in this country,it is not always true that, if children, then heirs, because we have laws, (of which some may approve, though I fail to seethe justice of them), which make one son to be the heir just because he happens to be the first-born. It is not so in God'sfamily! It is, "if children, then heirs," that is to say, all the children in the Divine family are God's heirs! The lastone who ever will be born into the family of God will be as much an heir as the first who said, "My Father, who are in Heaven."And the least of the children of God-Little-Faith, Ready-to-Halt and Miss Much-Afraid, are just as much the heirs of God asFaithful, Valiant-for-Truth and Mr. Great-Heart, himself! "If children," that is all, "if children, then heirs." Are theytrue-born children of God? Have they the faith which is the characteristic mark of all who are in God's family? Are they trulyconverted? Have they been born-again, born into the family of God? If so, then it follows of neces-
sity that, "if children, then heirs." Does not this Truth of God encourage poor Miss Despondency over there, and you, Mr.Fearing, and friend Little-Faith over yonder?" If children, then heirs." Not, "if big children," nor, "if first-born children,"nor, "if strong children," but simply, "if children, then heirs"! If you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby youcry, "Abba, Father," you are an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ!
There is another remarkable thing in the family of God. If we, who were by nature the children of wrath, become by Grace,the children of God, we thereby become, all of us, the heirs of all that God has! Now, this can never happen in an earthlyfamily. If the father were rich and all his children were his heirs, one son would have one farm and another son would haveanother farm. And each of the girls would have so many thousands of pounds for her dowry, but each one of them could not haveall that there was-it would have to be divided between them-one would have what the others had not, and could not have anythingthat they had. But, in God's family, all the children are heirs of all that is His. My dear Brother or Sister in Christ, ifyou have a choice privilege that is yours because you are a Christian, I rejoice that you have it, but I have it, too! Andif I have a precious promise that belongs to me because I am one of the Lord's children, you may be thankful for it, for itbelongs equally to you! No child of God can keep Christ all to himself, for He is the portion of all His people! Some dearbrethren whom I know would like to plant a very prickly hedge around their little gardens, so as to keep all their Christianprivileges to themselves-but God's birds of paradise can fly over those hedges and share in all the good things they are intendedto enclose!
"If children, then heirs, heirs of God." You, my dear Brother or Sister, have Christ, and I have Christ! You have the Spirit,and I have the Spirit. You have the Father, and I have the Father. You have pardon, you have peace, you have the righteousnessof Christ, you have union with Christ, you have security in life, you have safety in death, you have the assurance of a blessedresurrection and of eternal glory, but so have all those who have believed in Jesus! There is the same inheritance for allthe children of God-not a part for one, and another part for another. The Covenant is not, "Manas-seh shall have this portionof the promised land, and Issachar that portion, and Zebulun that other portion." But to every Believer the Lord says, "Liftup now your eyes to the North, and to the South, to the East, and to the West, for all this goodly heritage have I given toyou by a Covenant of salt forever."
There is another thing about this inheritance that makes it still more precious to us, and that is that everyone of the heirsshall certainly inherit it-and that is more than you can say about any earthly inheritance. If you know that somebody hasmade a will in your favor, do not reckon that the estate or money is really yours until you are actually in possession ofit, for "there is many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip." The will may be revoked and the new one may leave you out, or theremay be a flaw in it so that the estate will get into Chancery, and remain there for the term of your natural life. Even ifthere is no doubt that you are the heir, there may be many who will dispute your right to the inheritance. But if you arereally a child of God, not even the devil, himself, shall be able to rob you of your heavenly inheritance! Satan may denythat you are an heir of God, but your heavenly Father will say, "Yes, he is, indeed, My child, and heir to all I have. I rememberhis first tear of penitence and I have preserved that in my bottle. I remember his first true prayer, his first look of faith,his first note of praise-they are all registered in My records that none can erase. I have his name here in the Book of Lifeof the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and it can never be blotted out! Yes, he is My child and My heir-all thatI have belongs to him." There is a day coming when all Christ's sheep shall pass again under the hand of Him that counts them-andin that day, not one of the whole redeemed flock shall be missing! As the long roll of God's ransomed family is called, itshall be asked, "Is Little-Faith here?" And he will answer to his name not at all in the trembling way in which he used tospeak when he was upon earth. When it is asked, "Is Miss Much-Afraid here?" she will reply, in jubilant tones, "Glory be toGod, I am here!" No matter how weak and feeble you may be, if you are a child of God, you shall certainly be there and theinheritance shall assuredly be yours!
I have not yet done with this expression, "heirs of God." Paul does not say that the children of God are heirs of Heaven.Our inheritance is much bigger than that, for Heaven has its bounds, but God has none. Heaven and earth shall pass away, butGod never will! We are heirs, therefore, of unending bliss, for we are "heirs of God." There is no one here, there is no oneon earth, there is no man or angel in Heaven who can tell the full meaning of this expression, "heirs of God." The words aresimple enough for even a child to utter, but only God fully understands what they mean. And we shall go on learning throughouteternity all that is included in those three short words. To have God Himself as our inheritance, to be able to say, "TheLord is my portion," is a thousand heavens in one! And all the children of God are the heirs of God-no one of them will everhave to say, "My portion will have to be stinted because my elder brother has taken such a large share"-but everyone shallhave God to enjoy here on earth, and then to enjoy forever in Heaven!
Finally the Apostle says, "and joint heirs with Christ." It always adds to our enjoyment of any pleasure if we have someonewhom we greatly love to share it with us. Then how much more shall we enjoy our heavenly inheritance because we are to occupyit with Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, to whose Incarnation, life, death, Resurrection and intercession we are indebtedfor it all! Oh, who would not be a child of God, to have such bliss forever and to enjoy it in such blessed Company? Yet isthere anyone here who despises his inheritance? Is there anyone here like Esau, "who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright,"and who, "afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, thoughhe sought it carefully with tears"? Is there someone here who was once a professor of religion, who has gone back to the worldin the hope of getting a better living or a little praise among men? Poor Soul, pour Soul, how I pity you! But, O child ofGod, have you been kept faithful even to this hour? Then let Naboth rather than Esau be your model! Ahab offered Naboth abetter vineyard than his own, or the worth of it in money if he would sell it, but he would neither exchange nor sell hisinheritance even though his refusal to do so cost him his life- and it would be better for us to die a thousand deaths thanto think of parting with our heavenly inheritance! Happily, if we are really the children of God, He who has, by His Grace,made us His children, will keep us His children! And He will both keep us for the inheritance and keep the inheritance forus!
There is, however, such a danger of being only children of God in name, and not in truth, that we shall all do well to giveheed to the Apostle's warning, "Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of youshould seem to come short of it." Having put our hand to the plow, let us not even thinkof looking back, but may we be provedto be the living children of the living God by walking in His ways until we come into His blessed Presence to go no more outforever for His dear Son's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: EPHESIANS2.
Verse 1. And you has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. [See Sermons #127, Volume 3-spiritual resurrection;#2267, Volume 38-LIFE FROM THE DEAD and #2388, Volume 40-ONCE DEAD, NOW ALIVE.] Then you owe your very life to Him! You weredead, you were like a corrupt carcass, but His life has been breathed into you. "You has He quickened." Then you are no longerdead-you are a living soul before the living God-and as you owe this to Him, praise Him with all the life you have! You "weredead in trespasses and sins." 2, 3. Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to theprince of the power of
the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience: among whom we, also, all had our conversation in timespast in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath,even as others.It does us good to remember what we used to be. There was no reason in us, by nature, why we should be madethe children of God. There were in us no distinguishing traits of character by which we were separated from our fellow sinners.We ran in the same course. We were possessed by the same spirit. We worked the same works. We had the same nature. We wereunder the same condemnation-"children of wrath, even as others."
4, 5. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickenedus together with Christ, (by Grace you are saved). [See Sermons #2968, Volume 52-"his great love"; #805, Volume 14-
RESURRECTION WITH CHRIST and #2741, Volume 47-SALVATION BY GRACE.]
"By Grace you are saved." I know that you feel that it is so. Our quickening out of our death in sin must have been by Grace-andas God has done it-unto Him must be ascribed all the glory of it! There can be no merit in those who are dead in sin thatthey should be quickened out of their sin! This must be the work of the Lord, alone, and unto Him be all the praise. He "hasquickened us together with Christ," so that our life is mystically linked with the life of Christ, as He said to His disciples,"Because I live, you shall also live." Until He can die, those who are one with Him cannot die.
6. And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.It is all in Him and it hasa sevenfold sweetness about it because it is in Him. To live unto God is a wondrous mercy, but to live togetherwith Christis an unspeakable honor! To be raised up into the heavenly places would be a surpassing blessing, but to be raised
up there together with Christ, and to be made to sit there with Him, is a gift that is above the superlative! I know not howelse to speak of it.
7. 8. That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His Grace in His kindness toward us through
Christ Jesus. For by Grace are you saved through faithl. [See Sermons #1064, Volume 18-SALVATION ALL OF GRACE and #1609, Volume27- FAITH-WHAT IS IT? HOW CAN IT BE OBTAINED?] It must be all of Grace
because of the greatness of the favor bestowed. A man dead in trespasses and sins cannot deserve to be made alive. And whenhe is made alive, he cannot deserve to be raised up to sit with Christ in the heavenly places! That is too great a gift tocome to us by the way of the Law-it must come to us emphatically as the gift of the Grace of God in Christ Jesus! "For byGrace are you saved through faith"-
8. And that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. "Not of yourselves." What do those people mean who keep on crying upthe power of the human will, the wonderful dignity of human nature and all that kind of foolish talk? Salvation is not ofourselves! "It is the gift of God," not a reward which we have earned, but a free gift which God bestows according to theriches of His Grace!
9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.God will not have a boaster in Heaven! He will not have the creature exalting himselfin His Presence. The command, "Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth." is backed up by this reason, "forI am God, and there is none else." Therefore unto God, Himself, must be the praise and glory for all who are saved.
10. For we are His workmanship. [See Sermons #1829, Volume 31-THE SINGULAR ORIGIN OF A CHRISTIAN and #2210, Volume 37-THEAGREEMENT OF SALVATION BY GRACE WITH WALKING IN GOOD WORKS] Salvation cannot be of works, for if we have any good works, itis because we are God's workmanship.
10-12. Created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. Therefore rememberthat you being in time past, Gentiles in the flesh-who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcisionin the flesh by hands-that at that time you were without Christ Certainly we were poor sinners of the Gentiles, having noparticipation whatever in the old Mosaic dispensation.
12. Being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel For us there was no paschal lamb, for us there was no high priest at Jerusalem,no altar smoked with a sacrifice for us-we were "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel"-
12. And strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. That is where the whole Gentileworld stood! And this is experimentally where you and I stood till Sovereign Grace interposed for our salvation. What knewwe about the Covenants of promise? We knew nothing and we did not care to know anything! What did we know about a hope? Wewould have died without a hope if God's mercy had not come to us! What knew we, or what cared we about a God in the world?We may have thought that there was a God in Heaven, but as actually operating upon the daily life of man, we knew no suchGod! We were "without God in the world."
13. But now. Oh, what a blessed, "but"! How much hangs upon it! Think of what God has done for you by His Grace! "But now"-
13. In Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ. What a power there must be aboutthat
blood-that God not only hears it speaking in Heaven, that it makes a way of access for all the saints, that it cleanses fromall sin-but that it brings the far-off ones near! We will never cease to speak of the precious blood of Jesus! There are certainpeople who cannot bear to hear it mentioned, but a bloodless theology is a lifeless theology, and a ministry that can do withoutmentioning the blood of Christ has no power to bless the sons and daughters of men.
14. For He is our peace. We find in Christ, peace with God, peace with our own conscience, peace with all mankind!
14. Who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us.So making Jews and Gentiles one-
15. Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the Law of Commandments contained in ordinances; so as to create in Himselfone new man from the two, so making peace. Our Lord Jesus Christ was a Jew, yet I venture to say that there was nothing Jewishabout Him. He was the model of what man ought to have been and His words and His actions made Him worthy to be called cosmopolitan.He belongs to all mankind. He is the Man in whom all races are summed up!
And when we come to Christ, there is a link between us and the ancient people of God. I do not care about Anglo-Israelism,what I care for is Christo-Israelism-to belong to the Israel of God in Christ Jesus!
16-17. And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Cross, having slain the enmity thereby; and came and preachedpeace to you which were afar off, and to them that were near Christ is the Preacher of peace as well as the Maker of peace-andno man ever knows the peace of God unless Christ preaches it to him.
18, 19. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father Now therefore-Here is another sweet "now."
19, You are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. A part ofthe family of the great Householder, even God! Citizenship is well enough in its place, but citizens do not always know oneanother. But we are of the household of God-we are brought into an intimate relationship with one another through our ElderBrother who makes us to be the children of the great Father in Heaven!
20, 21. And are built upon the foundations of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ, Himself being the chief cornerstonein whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord. We are put so close together, if weare really in Christ, that we are like the stones of the temple-so united as to become one. In Christ Jesus our union is notonly that of relationship, but we enter into a perfect unity with one another and with the Lord.
22. In whom you also are being built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. That is the most wonderful
Truth of all-that God Himself should come and dwell among His people and in His people, and that, being sanctified by Grace,we become the dwelling place of the Most High! God grant that it may be so! Amen.