Sermon 3269. A Frail Leaf
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 1911.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Will You break a leaf driven to and fro?" Job 13:25.
POOR Job! Who could have been brought lower than he? He had lost his possessions, his children, his health-he was coveredwith sore boils-and he was aggravated by the unkind speeches of his friends. In his deep distress he turns to God and findingno other plea so near at hand, he makes a plea out of his own distress. He compares himself to the weakest thing he couldthink of and then he says to God, the Great and the Merciful, "Will You, so glorious in power and so matchless in goodness-willYou break me, who am like a poor leaf fallen from the tree, sere and dry, and driven to and fro in the wind?" Thus he drawsan argument out of his own weakness. Because he is so low and insignificant and powerless, he lays hold upon the Divine strengthand pleads for pity.
It is a common figure he uses, that of a leaf driven to and fro. Strong gusts of wind, it may be in the autumn when the leaveshang but lightly upon the trees, send them falling in showers around us. Quite helpless to stay their own course, flutteringin the air to and fro, like winged birds that cannot steer themselves, but are guided by every fitful blast that blows uponthem, at last they sink into the mire to be trodden down and forgotten. To them Job likens himself-a helpless, hopeless, worthless,weak, despised, perishing thing-and he appeals to the awful Majesty on High and he says to the God of thunder and of lightning,"Will You put out Your power to destroy me? Will You bring forth Your dread artillery to crush such an insignificant creatureas I am? With all the goodness of Your great heart-for your name is God That Is Good-will You turn Your Almighty power againstme? Oh, be that far from You! Out of pity upon my utter weakness and nothingness, turn away Your hands and break not a leafthat is driven to and fro!"
The apprehension is so startling, the appeal so forcible that the argument may be employed in a great many ways. How oftenhave the sick used it, when they have been brought to so low an ebb with physical pain that life, itself, seemed worthless?Stricken with disease, stung with smart and fretted with acute pains and pangs, they feel that if the affliction continuesmuch longer, it were better for them to die then live! They long for the shades of death, that they might find shelter there.Turning their face to the wall, they have said, "O God, as weak as I am, will You again smite me? Shall Your hand again fallupon me? You have laid me very low. Why do You lift up Your rod again? Break not, I beseech You, a leaf that is driven toand fro!"
Not less applicable is the plea to those who are plunged into the depths of poverty! A man is in trouble arising from destitution.Perhaps he has been long out of work. Bread is not to be found. The children are crying, hungry, starving! The habitationhas been stripped of everything which might procure a little nourishment. The poor wretch, after passing through seas of trouble,finds himself no nearer a landing place than before, but-
"Sees each day new straits attend, And wonders where the scene will end." Passing through the streets he is hardly able tokeep his feet from the pavement or his skin from the cold by reason of his tattered garments. Homeless and friendless, likea leaf that is driven to and fro, he say, "O God! Will You continue this much longer? Will You not be pleased to stop Yourrough wind, mitigate the sharpness of the winter, ease my adversity and give me peace?"
So, too, with those who are in trouble through bereavement. One child has been taken away and then another. The shafts ofdeath flew twice. Then came sickness with threatening omen upon one that was still nearer and dearer. Still did not the desolationstay its gloomy portents. It seemed at length as though the widow would be bereft of her last and only
child and then she cried, "O God! I am already broken. My heart is like a plowed field-cross-plowed-till my soul is readyto despair! Will You utterly break me? Will You spare me no consolations, no props for my old age? Must I be altogether drivenaway before the whirlwind and find no rest?"
Perhaps it is even more harassing in cases of mental distress for, after all, the sharpest pangs we feel are not those ofthe body, nor those of the estate, but those of the mind. When the iron enters into the soul, the rust thereof is poison."The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear?" You may be surrounded with all the comfortsof life and yet be in wretchedness more gloomy than death if the spirits are depressed. You may have no outward cause whateverfor sorrow and yet if the mind is dejected, the brightest sunshine will not relieve your gloom. At such a time, you may bevexed with cares, haunted with dread and scared with thoughts which distract you. You fear that your sins are not pardoned,that your past transgressions are all brought to remembrance and that punishment is being meted out to you in full measure.The threats rise up out of God's Book and seem to lift sharp swords in their hands with which to smite you. Time is dreadfulto you because you know it is hurrying you to eternity-and the thought of eternity stings as does an adder because you measurethe future reckoning by the present distress. At such a time, when you are faint with longing, ready to despair and drivento the verge of madness, I can imagine your crying out, "O Lord God of Mercy, I am as a leaf that is driven to and fro-willYou quite break me and utterly destroy me? Have compassion, and show Your favor to Your poor broken creature!"
Many a child of God may have used this, and if he has not used it yet, he may still use it. There are times when all our evidencesget clouded and all our joys are fled. Though we may still cling to the Cross, yet it is with a desperate grasp. God bringsour sins to remembrance till our bones, as David puts it, "are sorely broken by reason of our iniquity." Then it is that,all broken, we can turn to the Strong for strength and use the plea of the text, "Will You break a leaf driven to and fro?"And we shall get for our answer these comforting words, "A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench."
I. THE PLEA IS SUCH AS ARISES FROM INWARD CONSCIOUSNESS.
What plea is more powerful to ourselves than that which we draw from ourselves? A man may not be sure of anything outsidehim, for eyes and ears may deceive-but he is always pretty well assured of anything within him, for that which he perceivesin his own consciousness he is very tenacious about. Now, in this case, Job was quite certain about his own weakness.How couldhe doubt that? He looked upon his poor body covered with sores. He looked upon his friends who had perplexed and vexed himso much and he felt that he was, indeed, just like a sere leaf. I trust that many of us have been brought by God the HolySpirit into such a humble frame of mind as to feel that, in a certain sense, this is true of us. O God, if we know ourselvesright, we are alllike withered leaves! We once thought ourselves fresh and green-we reckoned that we were as good as others,we made a fine and verdant profession-but, lo, You have been pleased to deal with us and all the fresh verdure of what wethought to be our piety-the natural piety which we thought we possessed-has faded and withered and now we are convinced thatwe are altogether as an unclean thing, and that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags! No, the hope that we clung toas the leaf clings to the tree, we have had to give up. We are blown away from that. We were once upon the tree of good works-weseemed as if we had life and would always be happy there, but the winds have taken us away and we cannot hold on to our frailhope. We once thought that we could do everything- we now perceive that without Christ we can do nothing! We are cast forthas a branch separated from the vine-we are withered! What can a leaf do? What power has it to resist the wind? Just so wefeel now-we can do nothing-even the sin that dwells in us, like the wind, carries us away and we are like the leaf in thewind, subject to its power.
O my Brothers and Sisters, what a great blessing it is to be made to know our own weakness! To empty the sinner of his folly,his vanity and conceit is no easy matter. Christ can easily fill him with wisdom and prudence, but to get him empty-this isthe work! This is the difficulty. To make a man know that he is in himself utterly lost, ruined, and un-done-this is the Spiritof God's own work! We ministers cannot make a man see that, however diligently we may point it out. Only the Spirit of Godcan enlighten the heart to discern it and yet, until a man does see it, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, for thereare none within the pearly gates who were not once brokenhearted sinners! Who could possibly come there and sing, "Unto Himwho loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood," but those who once said, "Pardon my iniquity, for it is great"?
While it is a confession of weakness, it is also an acknowledgment of God's power to push that weakness to a direful conclusion."Will You break me?" says the text-"Lord, You can do it. In one minute You could take away hope from every one of us now inthis House of Prayer." Some there are who are in the house of doom, where prayer can never be answered, and where Mercy'sproclamation can never be heard! God could break us. It is an easy thing for Him to destroy! And more, He is not only able,but He has the right to do it if He will, for we are such worthless creatures through our disobedience that we may say, inthe words of the hymn-
"If my soul were sent to Hell,
Your righteous Law approves it well." When we feel this, then let us make a proper use of our own consciousness, not to despondand faint, but to arise and go to our Father! So we shall come to God and say, "You can destroy me. You may destroy me justlyand I cannot resist You. I cannot save myself from Your vengeance, nor can I merit anything at Your hand. I am as weak aswater and altogether as perishing a thing as a poor withered leaf-but will You destroy me? I plead for pity. Oh, have pityupon me! O God, let Your heart yearn towards me and show me Your great compassion! I have heard that You delight in mercyand as Ben-Hadad of old, with the rope about his neck, went in unto the king and confessed that he deserved to die, so doI confess! And as the king forgave him, even so do You with me-a guilty culprit trembling in Your Presence!-
"Show pity, Lord! O Lord, forgive!
Let a repenting rebel live."
II. This is also A PLEA FULL OF PITY.
Though there is weakness, yet there is also power, for weakness is, for the most part, a prevalent plea with those who arestrong and good. I trust you could not see on your road home tonight a poor fainting woman, and pass her by. You could nothave brought in before your presence a half-starved child who could not drag its weary limbs along without feeling that youmust give relief. The mere sight of weakness draws pity. As a certain town was being sacked, one of the rough soldiers issaid to have spared a little child, because it said, "Please, Sir, don't kill me, I am so little." The rough warrior feltthe urgency of the plea. You may yourselves plead thus with God. "O God, do not destroy me! I deserve it, but oh, I am solittle! Turn Your power upon some greater thing and let Your heart move with compassion towards me!"
The plea gathers force when the weakness is confessed. If a man shall have done you some wrong and shall come and acknowledgeit, and bow down before you and confess it, why, then, you feel that you cannot take him by the throat, but you say, "Rise,I have forgiven you!" When weakness appeals to strength for protection and confession of guilt is relied on as an argumentfor mercy, those who are good and strong are pretty sure to be moved with compassion.
But, best of all, going from the positive to the comparative, and from the comparative to the superlative, how a confessionof weakness touches your heart when it comes from your own child. If your child has been chastised, has confessed his wrongand pleads with you, how you stay your hand! Or, if the child is sick and something is done to it which pains it, if whilethe operation is being performed he should look you in the face, and say, "Father, spare your child! I can bear no more!"you have already felt more than you can make him feel, forthwith your own tears blind you and you stay your hand. "Like asa father pities his children, even so the Lord pities them that fear Him." If you have faith to bring your weakness beforeGod with the sense of a child towards Him, you surely must prevail. Come, them, you timid trembling children of your Fatherwho is in Heaven, use this plea-"Will You break a leaf that is driven to and fro?"
III. This PLEA IS RIGHTLY ADDRESSED.
It is addressed to God. As I thought it over, it seemed to me as if I could use it with reference to each Person of the BlessedTrinity in Unity. Looking up to the great Father of our spirits, from whom every good and perfect gift comes down, it seemedto me that out of weakness I could say to Him, "Will You, whose name is Father, will You break a leaf that is driven to andfro? You are the God that made us-will You utterly destroy the earthen vessel which You have fashioned on Your wheel? Yourname is 'Preserver of Men.' Will You annihilate us and break us into shivers? Have You not revealed Yourself as delightingin mercy? Are You not the 'Lord God, merciful and gracious, passing by iniquity, transgression and sin'? Have you not said,' Come, now, and let us reason together; though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they arered like crimson, they shall be as wool'? O God, the Father of Heaven, will You break a leaf that is driven to and fro?"
And then, I thought I could address myself to the blessed Son of Godwho is also our Brother in human flesh, and say to Him,"Will You break-O You 'faithful High Priest, touched with a feeling of our infirmities'-'bone of our bone, and flesh of ourflesh'-Brother of our soul, by whose stripes we are healed-will You break a leaf that is driven to and fro? No, by Your thorn-crownedhead and Your bloody sweat, by Your Cross and passion, by Your wounds and by Your death cry, You cannot, will not, be unmercifuland unkind! Surely they who in confidence turn to You and lay hold upon You, shall find that Your strength shall be readyto help-for though Your arm is strong to smite-it is no less strong to save."
Again, it comes across me sweetly, "O blessed Spirit! Could You break a leaf that is driven to and fro? You are no eagle-youdid descend on Christ in Jordan as a dove-your influences are soft and soothing. Your name is, 'The Comforter.' You take ofthe things of Christ, not to blast us, but to bless us therewith. You are not a destroying Spirit, but a quickening Spirit,not a terrifying but an enlivening Spirit-will You break a leaf that is driven to and fro?"
Yes, I address You, You Triune God, You who are so full of mercy, and love, and Grace, and truth, that those who have knownYou best have been compelled to say, 'Oh, how great is Your goodness which You have laid up for them that fear You! Oh, thedepths of Your loving kindness!' is it possible that You can cast away a poor, broken-hearted trembler, a poor, fearing, doubtingone who would gladly be saved, but who trembles lest he should be cast away?"
IV. THIS PLEA IS BACKED UP BY MANY CASES OF SUCCESS.
We will not give many, for we have not time, but there is one case which we will mention. There was a woman whose life wasexceedingly sorrowful. She was an Eastern wife and her husband had been foolish enough to have a second mistress in the house.The woman of whom we speak, a holy woman, a woman of refined and delicate mind, a poetess, indeed, of no mean order-this poorwoman, having no children was the constant butt of her rival, whose sneering spiteful remarks chaffed and chafed her. Heradversary, it is said, "vexed her sore to make her afraid." Though her husband was exceedingly kind to her, yet as with asword that cut her bones did she continually go. She was a woman of a sorrowful spirit, her spirit being broken. Still, "shefeared the Lord exceedingly," and she went up to God's House, and it was in God's House that she received what was to her,perhaps, the greatest blow of her life! If it was from her rival that she received the harshest word, it was from the HighPriest of God that she received this hardest blow! As she stood there praying, using no vocal sound, but her lips moving,the High Priest-an easy-going soul who had brought his own family to ruin by his slackness-little knowing her grief, toldher that she was drunk! Being a woman to whom the thought of such a sin was as bitter as gall, it must have smitten her aswith the chill blast of death, that God's Priest had said she was drunk! But, as you will all remember, the Lord did not breakthe leaf that was driven to and fro. There came to her a comfortable promise. Ere long that woman stood there to sing! Themercy of God had made the barren woman to rejoice and to be the joyful mother of children! The song of the Virgin Mary wasmodeled after the song of Hannah-that memorable poem in which she sang of the Lord who had filled the hungry with good things,while the rich He had sent away empty. In that case the Lord did not break the leaf that was driven to and fro!
In later years-to take an example of another kind-there was a king who had sinned desperately, slaying God's servants withboth hands. But he was taken captive by a powerful monarch and thrown into prison-such an offensive prison that he was amongthorns-in mental as well as in material darkness. Then, troubled in spirit, tossed to and fro, and without power to help himself,Manasseh sought the Lord and he found the Lord-he prayed unto the Lord and the Lord heard him! Out of the low dungeon He didnot break the leaf that was driven to and fro!
Take a later case, in our Savior's time. The picture of those proud Pharisees hurrying into our Savior's Presence a poor fallenwoman is even now in your mind's eye. Yes, Sirs, she was taken in adultery. There was no doubt of it. She was "taken in thevery act," and there she stands-no, she kneels-all covered with blushes before the Man who is asked to judge her! And youremember His words? He never said a word to excuse her guilt-the Savior could not and would not condone her shame! Nor wouldHe, on the other hand, lend Himself to crush the woman who had sinned, but He said- "Where are those, your accusers? Go andsin no more!" Let His words come unto you, poor leaf, driven to and fro! Oh, if there should be such a leaf as that drivenhere tonight, driven in, perhaps, by stress of weather! Men despise you-from your own sex you get faint pity-but Jesus, whenyou appeal to Him-will not break such a leaf that is driven to and
Shall I tell another story of the woman who came behind the Master, in the press, and stole a cure by touching His garment?She thought she would receive a curse, but He said-"Be you of good cheer. Your faith has made you whole. Go in peace." Itwas poor faith-it was very much like unbelief, but yet it was rewarded with a rich acceptance, for He will not break a leafthat is driven to and fro!
V. Once more, my text is A FAINT PLEA WHICH INVITES FULL SUCCOR.
"Will You break a leaf that is driven to and fro?" O Job! There is much wrapped up in what you have said!
He meant this-"Instead of breaking it, You will spare it; You will gather it up, You will give it life again." It is likethat text, "A bruised reed He will not break." Oh, it means more than that-it means that He will heal its bruises. "A smokingflax He will not quench." That is good, but it means more! It means that He will stoop down to it and with His soft breathHe will blow that smoking flax into a flame-He will not let it go out! He will preserve its heat and make something more ofit. O you who are brought to the very lowest of weakness, use that weakness in pleading with God, and He will return untoyou with such a fullness of blessing that you shall receive the pardon of sin! You shall be accepted through the righteousnessof Christ! You shall be dear to the heart of God! You shall be filled with His Spirit and you shall be blessed with all thefullness of God!
My Lord is such an One that if a beggar asks a penny of Him, He gives him gold! And if you ask only for the pardon of sins,He will give you all the Covenant blessings which He has been pleased so bounteously to provide for the necessities of Hispeople! Come, poor guilty one-needy, helpless, broken and bruised-come by faith and let your weakness plead with God throughJesus Christ!
VI. WE MAY USE THIS PLEA-MANY OF US WHO HAVE LONG KNOWN THE SAVIOR.
Perhaps our faith has got to be very low. O Lord, will You destroy my little faith? I know there is sin in it. To be so unbelievingas I am is no little crime, but Lord, I thank You that I have anyfaith. It is weak and trembling, but it is faith of Yourown giving. Oh, break not the poor leaf that is driven to and fro!
It may be your hope is not very bright. You cannot see the golden gates, though they are very near. Well, but your hope shallnot be destroyed because it is clouded. You can say, "Lord, will You destroy my hope because it is dim?" No, that He willnot!
Perhaps you are conscious that you have not been as useful, lately, as you once were, but you may say, "Lord, will You destroymy usefulness because I have been laid aside, or have not done what I ought to have done in Your service?" Bring your littleGraces to Christ as the mothers brought their little children, and ask Him to put His hands upon them and to bless them. Bringyour mustard seed to Christ and ask Him to make it grow into a tree, and He will do it! But never think that He will destroyyou, or that He will destroy the works of His own hands in you!
Oh, that I could so preach as to give the comfort to you which I have felt in my own soul while musing over these words! Iwish that some who feel how lost, how empty and how ruined they are, could now believe in the great and the good heart ofmy Lord Jesus Christ. Little do they know how glad He will be to save them. You will be glad to be saved, but He will be moreglad to save you. You will be thankful to sit at the feast, but of all that come to the banquet, there is no heart as gladas the heart of the King! When the King came in to see the guests, I know there were gleams of joy in His face which werenot to be found in the faces of any of the guests. He has the joy of benevolence! Perhaps you have sometimes felt a thrillof pleasure when you have done some good to your poor fellow creatures. Now, think what must be the joy of Christ, the joyof the Father and the joy of the Holy Spirit-the joy of doing good to those who do not deserve it, the joy of bestowing favorsupon the wicked and the unthankful, the joy of showing that He does good because He is good-not because youare good, but becauseHe is good! Thus the Lord God will leap over the mountains of your sins, your prejudices and the rivers of your iniquities,that He may come unto you and display the full Glory of His loving kindness and His tender mercy!
Oh, that some might now for the first time be drawn to Jesus, put their trust in Him and find pardon and peace!
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM 130:1-8; 1 JOHN 1:1-10; 2:1-2.
Verse 1. Out of the depths have I cried unto You, O LORD. The most eminent of God's saints have been in the depths. Why, then,should I murmur if I have to endure trials? What am I that I should be exempt from warfare? How can I expect to win the crownwithout first carrying a cross? David saw the depths and so must you and I. But David learned to cry to God out of the depths.Learn, therefore, that there is no place so deep but prayer can reach from the bottom of it up to God's ear, and then God'slong arm can reach to the bottom and bring us up out of the depth! "Out of the depths have I cried unto You, O Lord." Do notsay, "Out of the depths have I talked to my neighbors and sought consolation from my friends."-
"Were half the breath thus vainly spent To Heaven in supplication sent, Your cheerful song would oftener be Hear what theLord has done for me!"
2. LORD, hear my voice: let Your ear be attentive to the voice of my supplications. Now a main part of prayer must be occupiedby confession and the Psalmist proceeds, therefore-
3. If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?That is to say, apart from Christ, if God exercises His Justiceto its utmost severity, the best of men must fall, for the best of men, being men at the best, are sinners even at their best!
4. But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared. If there were no mercy, there would be no love in any humanheart-and that would be an end to religion if there were an end to forgiveness! Here let us observe that the best of men darenot stand before an absolute God-that the holiest of God's saints need to be accepted on the footing of a Mediator-to receiveforgiveness of sins.
5. I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, and in His Word do Ihope. There is a waiting of expectancy. We believe that Heis about to give us the mercy, and we hold out our hands for it. There is a waiting of resignation, we know not what God maydo nor when He may appear, but we wait. Aaron held his peace. It is a great virtue to wait for God when we know not what Hedoes, but to wait His own explanations and be content to go without explanations if He does not choose to give them.
6. My soul waits for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.Andmany a mariner has watched for the morning with an awful anxiety, for he could not know where his vessel was until the dayshould break! Many a weary patient tossed upon the bed of pain has waited for the morning, saying, "Would God it were morning,for then, perhaps, I might find ease." And you know that sometimes the watchers upon the castle top, who have to be guardingthe ramparts against the adversary by night, watch for the morning. So does David's soul watch. Lord, if I may not have You,permit me to watch for You. Oh, there is some happiness even in waiting for an absent God! I recollect that Rutherford said,"I do not see how I can be unhappy, for if Christ will not love me, if He will but permit me to love Him, and I feel I cannothelp doing that-the loving of Him will be Heaven enough for me." Waiting for God is sweet, inexpressibly delightful-
"To those who call, how kind You are, how good to those who seek! But what to those who find? Ah, this, nor tongue nor pencan show The love of Jesus, what it is, none but His loved ones know!" Happy are they who, having waited patiently, at lastbehold their God!
7. 8. Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption and He shall redeemIsrael from all his iniquities.He shall do this in a double and perfect way-He shall redeem us from the effect of all ouriniquities through the atoning Sacrifice and from the presence of all iniquity by His sanctifying Spirit. They are withoutfault before the Throne of God! "I will purge their blood that I have not cleansed, says the Lord that dwells in Zion." Maymy soul have a part and lot in this precious promise!
1 John 1-Verse 1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon,and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life. The fact that Christ was really in the flesh, that He was no phantom, noshadow mocking the eyes that looked upon Him, is exceedingly important and, therefore, John-(whose style, by the way, in thisEpistle is precisely like the style which he uses in his Gospel)-John begins by declaring that Jesus Christ, the Son of God,who in His eternity was from the beginning, was really a substantial Man, for he says-"We have heard Him"-hearing is goodevidence. "Which we have seen Him with our own eyes"-
certainly eye-sight is good, clear evidence. "Which we have looked upon"-this is better, still, for this imports a deliberate,careful, circumspect gaze! But still better-"which our hands have handled," for John had leaned his head on Jesus Christ'sbosom and his hands had often met the real flesh and blood of the living Savior! We need have no doubt about the reality ofChrist's Incarnation when we have these open eyes and hands to give us evidence!
2. (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which was withthe Father, and was manifested unto us).That same eternal Being who is Very God of Very God, and is worthy to be called essentiallyLife, was made flesh and dwelt among us, and the Apostles could say-"We beheld His Glory."
3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you- See how he does hammer this nail as if he will drive it fast! Howhe rings this bell that it may toll the death-knell of every doubt!
3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us. But John, what is thevalue of fellowship with you-even you and your brethren-a parcel of poor fishermen? Who wants fellowship with you-hooted,despised, mocked and persecuted in every city-who wants fellowship with you?
3. And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ What a leap from the fisherman to the Father'sThrone! From the poor, despised son of Zebedee up to the King of Kings! Oh, John, we would have fellowship with you now! Wewill have fellowship with your scorn and spitting, that we may have fellowship with you and with the Father and His Son, JesusChrist!
4. And these things write I unto you that your joy may be full Some Christians have joy, but there are only a few drops inthe bottom of their cup. But the Scriptures were written, and more especially the Doctrine of an Incarnate God is revealedto us, that our joy may be full! Why, if you have nothing else to make you glad, the fact that Jesus has become Brother toyou, arrayed in your flesh, should make your joy full!
5. This, then, is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is Light, and in Him is no darknessat all.Not alight, nor thelight, though he is both, but that He is Light! Scripture uses the term, light, for knowledge, forpurity, for prosperity, for happiness and for truth. God is Light and then, in his usual style, John, who not only tells youa Truth of God but always guards it, adds-"in whom is no darkness at all."
6. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not speak the truth Mark here, this doesnot mean walking in the darkness of sorrow, for there are many of God's people that walk in the darkness of doubts and fearsand yet they have fellowship with God! No, they sometimes have fellowship with Christ all the better for the darkness of thepath along which they walk, but the darkness here meant is the darkness of sin, the darkness of un-truthfulness. If I walkin a lie, or walk in sin, and then profess to have fellowship with God, I have lied and do not speak the truth.
7. But if we walkin the light, as He is in the light-Not to the same degree, but in the same manner-
7. We have fellowship, one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from allsin. So you see thatwhen we walk the best-when we walk in the light, as He is in the light-when our fellowship is of the highest order, yet stillwe need daily cleansing. It does not say-mark this, O my Soul-it does not say, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleansed," but,"cleanses." If guilt returns, His power may be proved again and again-there is no fear that all my daily slips and shortcomingsshall not be graciously removed by this precious blood! But there are some who think they are perfectly sanctified and haveno sin-
8, 9. If we say that we have no sins, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithfuland just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Oh, those words, and more especially that gloriousword, "all"! This must include the vilest sin that ever stained human nature, the blackest grime that ever came from the blackheart of man! And now John is very careful when he strikes a blow, to hit completely. He has already smitten those who saythey have no sin, and now he smites those who say they did not, at one time, have any-
10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, andHis Wordis not in us. 1 John 2:1-2
Verse 1. My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not. He is anxious that they should not sin. He knowsthey do, and that if they say they do not, they lie. Still the Christian's objective is sinless perfection, and though hewill never have it till he gets to Heaven, that is all the better because he will always, then, be pressing forward and neverreckoning that he has attained it!
1, 2. And if any man sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. And He is the Propitiation forour sins: and not for ours, only, but also for the sins of the whole world. By which is meant, not only that Jesus Christdied for Gentiles as well as Jews, and for some of all nations, but that there is that in the Atonement of Christ which mightbe sufficient for every creature under Heaven if God had so chosen every creature! The limitation is lying not in the valueof the Atonement, itself, but in the design and intention of the Eternal God. God sent His Son to lay down His life for Hissheep. We know that Christ redeemed us from among men, so that the redemption is particularly and especially for the elect.Yet at the same time the price offered was so precious-the blood was so Infinite in value- that if every man that ever livedhad to be redeemed, Christ could have done it. It is this that make us bold to preach the Gospel to every creature, sincewe know there is no limit in the value of the Atonement, though we also know that the design of it is only for the chosenpeople of God!