Sermon 3389. The Soul's Awakening
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 15, 1914.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE NEWINGTON.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hearshall live." John 5:25.
I suppose that when a pearl-fisher is at the bottom of the sea and has gathered his bag full of oysters, he will sometimessee other oysters lying about which he would be very very glad to take up if he could. And I can imagine that when he hasbeen safely taken into his boat and has put away what he gathered the first time, he will be rather anxious to descend againsomewhere near that same spot to bring up those which he left behind. This, at least, is much like my own case. While readingthe Chapter and preparing the sermon for this morning, I thought there were so many pearls in the text I could not say muchabout this particular verse so I felt inclined to return to the same spot at once to see if we might not fetch up some freshgems!
Those of you who were present this morning will remember that we saw in the Chapter a three-fold gradation of life-givingin the Person of Christ. As here and there in the Old Testament dispensation, God had raised up some persons from the dead,so Christ, also, in the days of His flesh, had quickened whom He would-persons naturally dead He had restored to natural life.This is the first and, indeed, a very wonderful prerogative of live-giving for Christ to exercise to be able to raise Lazarusfrom the grave or to raise the young daughter of the ruler or to restore to the widow her departed son. The second form oflife-giving is that described in the verse before us. He was constantly giving through His voice spiritual life to those whowere spiritually dead. The third kind of life-giving we spoke of is that of the universal resurrection when all that are inthe grave shall hear the voice of the Son of God and shall rise to judgment. It is to the second that we propose to directour attention this evening-a form of life-giving which is going on now-not a matter of the past as was the raising of a fewin Christ's day. Not a matter of the future as the coming resurrection is, but a matter of the present-not so apparent tothe eye and to the ear as either of those mysteries, in so much that it is to a great extent invisible except to the man whois a participator in it, but just as real, just as miraculous and, in many senses, even more marvelous and Divine! Christis constantly raising the spiritually dead and giving them life. Oh that we may be enabled by God's Spirit to open up thisTruth of God to your understanding and may it be applied to your hearts! Our first endeavor shall be to describe-
I. WHAT IT IS TO BE SPIRITUALLY DEAD.
"The hour is coming," says the Savior, "and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hearshall live." What is it to be spiritually dead? You all know what it is for the body to be physically dead. The soul has departedand has left the body incapable, insensible, unable to preserve itself. The soul was like salt to it-that being gone, it soonbecomes putrid and obnoxious. Poor dead body! A most terrible and humiliating spectacle to see- especially to look upon itafter it has been lying for a while in the grave. We have, most of us, heard what it is to be morally dead. It does not happen,I hope, to very many, but there are some who seem to be dead to all moral feeling of right and wrong between their fellowmen-that is what I mean just now by morality. They have been so inured to theft, un-cleanness, drunkenness and, some few evento murder, that when they have been arrested, convicted, imprisoned- nothing seemed to move them to repentance! Even the dreadof the last terrible penalty of the law has not sufficed to-bring from some of them any kind of emotion. Those who have beenmost earnest to arouse their conscience have felt the most painful conviction that their moral faculties were totally defunct.They have become callous, seared as with a hot iron. It is an awful spectacle to see a man morally dead-blind to reason, deafto warning, numb to shame-thus morally dead. His passions raging without control, he becomes like some wild wolf of whom allthe district is afraid! Like a raging lion going about in quest of prey whom every man dreads to encounter and whom some thinkit only right to slay. May none of us ever fall into such infamy! Alas, it might be! Step by step, little by little, men havebecome outcasts from society and found their lodging in the very lairs of corruption though they were born in better circumstancesand trained with brighter prospects! May God grant we may never come to it ourselves!
But to be spiritually dead-what is that? It is something like these two, but I think it is somewhat different. I must describespiritual death not in its essence, for that I cannot do, but in its outward signs. Now observe a spiritually dead man. Heis not dead in any other respect. He walks abroad and sees the fields full of abundant harvests. At night-fall he looks upto the skies and marks the glorious scenery of night. By day he climbs the mountains, beholds the valleys beneath in all theirsmiling beauty and gazes upward at the golden sun above. God is to be seen in all these-God manifestly the Creator, Preserverand Benefactor of mankind-but this man does not perceive Him. He sees no God. Perhaps he can stand like Byron under the shadowof Mont Blanc and write himself, "Atheos" without God where God is everywhere! Where God is in every breath of air, whereGod is in every flower beneath his feet, he sees not the footprints of the Almighty! He believes not in His secret Presence.Is the Great Eternal First Cause defunct, then, or is there no God? No, Sirs, the man's perception of God is all gone andthat is all that is gone! His power to realize spiritual things has failed or else his ears would hear the voice of God inthe sounding tops of the pines! His eyes would see the name of God written in golden letters in the midnight sky! His everysense would perceive God and his inmost soul drink deep of God-but he is dead and, therefore, he cannot! Watch that man inthe common events of Providence. Many mercies have come to his store-there are happy children climbing his knee, his wifeis in strong health and full of happiness-they have no need to look from where the next meal shall come. The stream of mercyflows hard by their door and this has been continued many years! They have long enjoyed uninterrupted prosperity! Now, allthis comes from God, and health and strength are peculiarly His gifts. The power to get and the power to enjoy our earthlygoods must both proceed from Him. But this man never sees God in it at all! He sometimes talks of luck and thinks himselfa fortunate fellow. Luck, chance and fortune-these seem to be his deity! Though the hand of God, wide open and full of bounty,is so spread out that one might think a bat or an owl might see it, yet this man perceives it not! The man is dead to theperception of spiritual things that the great Master-Spirit, Himself, is not perceived when He comes near loaded with favors!
As it is in Nature and as it is with the gifts of Providence, so especially it is in anything like outward religion. The manattends a place of worship-it may be he repeats his creed, joins in a form of prayer, or possibly he drops in where simplerworship is adopted and what does he do? He sings as others sing! He bows his head as others do in prayer. He listens as othersdo to the preaching of the Word, but it is a heavy dull monotonous service to him! He wishes it were over. He sees nothingin it. If he had his way and custom did not bind him at all, he would never he found wasting his time in such unprofitableproceedings as he thinks them to be! He is like the mouse in Church that thinks the Bibles and Prayer Books dry nibbling!He would rather be in the common ale-house, or at home reading novels, or walking out in the fields, or anywhere than in theplace of worship! Yet others sitting by his side have found the most profound pleasure in those sacred engagements which haveonly brought weariness to him! Unlike him, they have been carried as on eagles' wings up to Heaven! Their souls have beenfilled with joy and peace and they have said as they have retired, "Surely God was in this place and it was good to be here."Why is this? The things ministered and the man who ministered them were the same. Ah, the one was dead while the others lived!How shall the dead derive comfort? How shall the dead be charmed? How shall the dead be fed and instructed? God was in thesermon but the carnally-minded man, being dead, perceived Him not!
Nor, my dear Friends, is this spiritual death merely a failure to recognize the Being of God-it is equally seen in referenceto the moral obligations it involves. Man, by nature, is dead to the right and to the true, to the commandments of the Lordwhich enlighten the eyes and to the testimony of the Lord which makes wise the simple. He is probably alive to his obligationsto his fellow men because he has a clear understanding of their obligations to him. He generally keeps himself within thebounds of law and decency, but his greater obligations to his Creator-these cross not his mind-yet it is the very essenceof rectitude and truth that He who made all things should be served by those He made and that He who sustains life in allHis creatures should have honor from those creatures who owe their continued existence to Him! Why does the ungodly man notthink of this? How is it he can live for 30 or 40 years sustained by God and yet never giveto God the service of his heart-scarcelythinking about his God at all? How is it? Why, because the man is dead to spiritual obligations! It must be so or else hewould lament that he had not met those obligations and begin to repent that he had transgressed the bounds that his Makerset. The man is dead, Sirs-dead!
Further the natural man is dead to eternal things. How quick-eared he is to the things of time-how swift to perceive theirvalue and in what haste to grasp them if he can! But ah, the eternal realities which God has revealed in Scripture the manneither cares to hear about them nor, hearing them, do they excite any desires within his spirit! Alas, my Hearers, we havesometimes had to warn you of the judgment to come. We have had to take down the shrill-sounding trumpet and blow an alarm!We have had to tell you that there is a dreadful Hell into which the wicked, dying impenitent, must be cast! How is it thatmen are not stirred by a theme so truthful and so dreadful? Because they are dead! They would be awake enough if they wereafraid that their house should be on fire and that they, themselves, might be burned with the natural element! Yet the spiritualdanger far more to be apprehended arouses them not-because they are dead to it. At other times it has been our delight tospeak of Heaven, to picture the pearly-gated city with all its azure brightness, with its bejeweled foundations and to talkof its inhabitants, all blessed forever, who walk in the light of their glorious King! And surely it were enough to make thecold marble heart glow with warmth! But no, the thing moved not men. Some little joy of earth would whet their appetite farmore quickly! It is because to the spiritual Heaven revealed in Scripture men are altogether dead and care not for it! OhSirs, 'tis sad, 'tis sad, 'tis very sad that to the fleeting shadows we should be wide awake but to that substantial Truthof God we should be sound asleep-that after the poor gewgaws and child's bubbles of this mortal state, we should be all agog-butas to the solid joys and lasting pleasures of an eternal world, we show no desire! This again is a mark of spiritual death!
I must hurry on to mark a few more indications of this spiritual death. Prayer is one of the most blessed engagements andoccupations of men while they are out of Heaven-to ask of the All-Bountiful One the mercies which they need. But there aresome here tonight who never pray-who never really ask of God what they require. They take the attitude of supplicants, perhapsas a matter of habit, but there they are like kneeling corpses! They do not pray-they are dead to prayer. Open this Book,this holy Bible, before them. There was never such another-no angel ever gazed upon a page more rich with glory than this!This Book it is that opens to us immortality and gives us the news of eternal love! Set the natural man down before it. Itis to him a mere history or a dry book of dogmatic matters! He sees nothing in it that can charm him, nothing that can interesthis spirit. The man is dead, Sir! To the sightless eyeballs, the brightest jewels flash back no radiance. He is dead! Yes,to Christ, Himself, the man is dead for when He is preached-Christ, the Father's Son, the virgin's Child, the condescendingSavior, the ascending Conqueror, the exalted King crowned with Glory- why the people of God delight to hear of Him! To themthe savor of Jesus' name is like ointment poured forth! But exhibit this Savior to the natural man and he perceives nothing!How could he? He is dead-dead in trespasses and sins! All the outward phenomena that you will discern in the best naturalman indicate that whatever kind of light there may be in him, the Light of God that deals with God, with the spirit-world,the world to come, is not there! He is unconscious of these! He has no fellowship with them. He is dead and a prey to corruption!When we have paused a minute we shall endeavor to describe-
II. THE WORD WHICH JESUS BRINGS TO THE DEAD.
"The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God." Our Lord Jesus Christ is, in Scripture,especially in the Gospel of John, called, "the Word." Here His voice is spoken of but what is a voice apart from the personthat utters it? What is the Word which Jesus speaks by which dead men are quickened? Is not Jesus Christ, Himself, the Wordof God to man? The distinct articulate manifestation of Deity is Jesus Christ! Now, let me show you this. Jesus Christ came,once upon a time, from Heaven. He condescended to become a Baby, to be nursed in a manger, to hang on a woman's breast. Hewas God! What did that say-that Child, that Baby-Human, yet Divine? Why, it said this, "God has pity upon man and has notleft him. He is about to establish an intimate relationship between Himself, the great and the glorious, and man, the weakand the pitiable-a union not at first between God and fully developed man, but between God and the Baby, as if it should besaid the weakest and feeblest of all that bear the name of manhood may take comfort, for God has come down and taken a Baby'sform into union with Himself!" That meant pity! It meant mercy! It meant fellowship and it meant hope to the race of man!To this end Jesus passed a life in the midst of all our sorrows, infirmities and took upon Himself our sickness!
And what did that mean? Why it meant compassion. A beautiful word, that-compassion-a united passion, a fellow-feeling, a kindredsuffering! It seemed to say, "God is not indifferent to your woes. Oh, sons of men! You have fallen through your sins, butGod pities you! God feels for you! He is no flinty-hearted Jupiter who sits serenely on his throne amidst the pains and agoniesand eternal death of his creatures! No, but He has come down to you! He has taken upon Himself, Manhood, that He may sufferwith man and let man see that He has not left him, but that He feels for him! And after He had lived a life of holiness whichwas, indeed, comparatively but a small part of His work, our Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself up to die!Into the Garden He wentand there the wrath of God was laid upon Him till that precious cluster was so crushed in the awful press of the Divine Wraththat great red drops of bloody sweat were distilled from every pore like the red juice from the cluster! He went to Pilate'sHall, to Herod's tribunal, to be mocked and scourged and spat upon and, at last, in extreme agony He offered up His life onthe accursed tree! What did He say to us then? He said this-"God is just. I come down to you poor mortal men and, taking uponMyself your nature and taking also your sins as your Substitute, I have to suffer." Christ Jesus' suffering is a loud wordfrom God to this effect, "I pity you men, but your sins I must punish. I cannot pass them by. If they are laid upon My Son,I must prostrate My Son beneath their load. I cannot wink at sin though it is laid upon the perfect Substitute, for even thereI must hunt it to the death! It is an accursed thing and must not be tolerated. I must stamp it out of My universe."
This is God's Word. He says, "Justice as well as compassion. Pity but pity consistent with severity." Moreover Jesus roseagain from the dead and now He ever lives at the right hand of God and His Holy Spirit has come and animates, at this time,the preaching of the Word with Divine energy! Christ now declares to us God's Word after this fashion, "Whoever believes thatJesus is the Christ, is born of God. Whoever will trust in the Incarnate Son of God and fully rely upon the merits of Hiswondrous suffering shall be saved. God wills not the death of the sinner, but had rather that he should turn unto Him andlive! And everyone that will turn unto the living God and trust His Son to make propitiation, shall be saved from the damningpower of sin and have everlasting life." Christ, the Living One, is God's Word to us that we shall be delivered from the wrathto come if we trust in Him, even as He, Himself, was delivered when He rose again from the dead and ascended into Glory!
My dear Friends, the Gospel which I preach again, tonight, is that which I have always preached and always will preach untilI have a fear lest I should preach till you are almost nauseated with the repetition! Yet if it were so, I could not helpit, for no other name do I dare to preach, nor is there any other foundation that I dare to lay and bid you build on it butthis! Jesus Christ, the Son of God has come! Here on earth He lived and died and suffered for the sake of mankind. God isa God of Love, but He is also a God of Justice. There is a way in which He can be just and yet tender to you. If you trustHis dear Son, your sins shall not destroy you! Christ's sufferings shall stand instead of yours and you shall live! If youwill now accept Christ. If you now will lean fully on Jesus. If you now will fling away both your love of sin and your loveof your own righteousness and come and rest where God would have you rest, God shall be reconciled to you and you shall beHis child and you shall live forever and ever! I must now close with third point-
III. THE MODE BY WHICH THIS WORD IS APPLIED.
"The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear." I have told you what they will hear. They will hear the Word ofGod! But who will speak it? Who is it that alone can speak it to purpose? Why-"When the dead shall hear the voice of the Sonof God, they that hear shall live." Whenever any dead soul lives, it is through the Word, but it is not through the voiceof the preacher. That is but an instrument and nothing more! The real voice that makes dead souls live is the voice of ChristJesus! What, is it so? Does He actually speak to every soul that is saved? He does! I do not mean in fancy as though you heardvoices in the air, but I mean that this Word which I have just now preached to you must come home to your heart and your conscienceand be applied by the Holy Spirit so that you prove its power and feel its energy. Through the Holy Spirit, it is that thevoice of Christ is heard in the soul! But while I speak to you thus, some will say, "What, then, can we do with sinners aswe have not the voice that can raise them?" Why you can pluck your Master by the skirt and say to Him, "Good Lord, speak theWord! Speak the Word!" When I come into this pulpit, the prayer that rises to my heart always-I hope I can always say withoutguile-is this, "Lord be here to speak, Yourself, through me." I am persuaded that though I preach to dead sinners ten thousandyears, never will one be saved by my voice. Why, then, do I preach to sinners knowing them to be dead? Because I am simplythe instrument of Christ and He speaks through His voice with His own Spirit, which is as His voice, and the dead do hearand they are made to live-not without the instrumentality, not through the instrumentality, alone, but by the voice of JesusChrist! I ask you, then, dear Brothers and Sisters who are alive to God, to pray that Jesus would speak while the preacherspeaks. Be lifting up your hearts and silently crying-
"Oh, let the dead now hear Your voice! Bid, Lord Your banished ones rejoice! Their beauty this their glorious dress Jesusthe Lord our righteousness.!'
What encouragement there is in this for you, my Brothers and Sisters! However feeble you may be in yourselves, yet if it isthe voice of Christ you have to rely upon, what power there is in that! You may go to your class and say, "I cannot teachthese troublesome boys and these inattentive girls! How can I hope to see them saved?" Ah but your Master can speak throughyou and He can do what you cannot! Though it is true that old Adam is too strong for young Melancthon, he is not too strongfor the mighty Savior whose voice does not merely speak to the living, but to the dead-and all who hear that voice shall live!Bend your ear, then, and bow down your heart! Attend to the voice of Christ seeing that thereby, alone, the dormant facultiescan be quickened and a lively interest excited!
Yet while Christ speaks to the dead, power is communicated to them that they may have it and use it, call it their own andexercise it. "The dead shall hear," and do notice, " They that hear shall live." You must not imagine that man is passivein the matter. What does it say, "Draw us, " and we will be drawn? No, but, "Draw us and we will run after You'" There comesan activity. I have heard some speak of faith and repentance as the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Most truly so they are, butwhy speak of these gifts as though the sinner had nothing to do to repent and to believe? Always remember that it is youwhomust repent and believe. The Holy Spirit will not repent for you! What would He repent about? He never did wrong. And theHoly Spirit will not believe for you. What would He believe for? He is God, Himself! The fact is that the Apostle has expressedit exactly when he says, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that works in you to will andto do of His own good pleasure." Christ gives the voice but the man hears. There is something done-there is a something tobe received. It is no great act to hear a sound when it is made. It is no great act to receive mercy when it is presented.Yet the hearing is a miracle, for the dead hear! And the receiving by faith is a miracle, for none do this but those to whomit is given-yet it is done by man. Faith and repentance are gifts of God-the voice that saves is the voice of Christ but thepoint of personal salvation is reached when the man actively hears and receives the Truth of God!
I pray you, then, my dear Hearers, if you would be saved, be diligent in hearing the Gospel! I would urge you to frequentthose places of worship most where there is most of Christ preached. Do not seek after eloquence, oratory, gaudy periods orgrotesque observations that might amuse you. You have something else to do on the Lord's Day besides being amused and havingyour ears tickled! There is a soul in you that will either be saved or lost-and this day is given you peculiarly that youmay listen to the Gospel which saves you! Hunt out the Gospel in your locality! Follow it wherever you may hear it preached.I entreat you to hear it, but do not think that the mere hearing it with your outward ears will be enough! Alas, such a hearingmay involve responsibility and bring you no blessing. I pray you ask the Lord as you go up to the House of Prayer to openyour inward ears to quicken you from your spiritual death and give you to derive profit. I do believe, my dear Friends, thatfew will miss a blessing who hear a Gospel minister anxiously desiring to get a blessing. In these waters, men shall catchwhat they fish for! And if you seek earnestly after God's blessing, you shall find it! Thirst for it! Pant for it! Long forit! You already have the beginning of it, for to desire Grace is an evidence that you have Grace in a measure! And to earnestlyseek Christ is already to have something from Christ-a foretaste of the feast they enjoy who find Him!
Ah, my dear Friends, we keep on preaching and you keep on coming and going, Sunday after Sunday, but how is it with you? Areyou saved or not? A man opens a shop for the sale of medicines and I will suppose them to have great medicinal virtue. Thereis a plague in the district and he asks himself, "Are these drugs, after all, what they profess to be?" If men keep on dying,he will, as an honest man, begin to get anxious and to enquire. And if he meets with persons who are talking of other things,he will say, "Nonsense! Put them aside a bit. I want to ask you about something of more importance. Are these drugs of minetrue shots with which to do battle with the plague? Are these the weapons with which to chase away this horrible disease andavert the threat? Is the plague increasing in your street or is it dying out?" Oh I wantto push these questions home to youtonight! I know I preach the Word of Christ. I am sure I have told you the Gospel of His salvation. The voice of Christ Icannot imitate nor would I if I could. 'Tis His to use His own voice. His tongue and His tongue, only, is like a two-edgedsword which can cut and cure, kill and heal at the same time! How is it with you? Are you saved? Are you awakened? Are youseeking? Are you finding? Or are you, after all, just hearing and hearing and hearing again and again to no purpose? Ah, Iwould to God that I were not the preacher to such as you and that you were not my hearers, for I cannot bear that I shouldbe adding to your condemnation! That I should be hardening you- for so it must be-hardening your hearts with the very Truthof God that ought to soften them! I pray the Master bring you into a different state and give you to lay hold on these things,for if they are not true, it is time I had done preaching them! But if they are true, it is time you had received them! Ifthey are not true, it is time that these services were given over, for they are awful farces! But if this Book is true andChrist's Gospel is true, it is time that you did not make farces of them but that you turned unto God with full purpose ofheart! The Lord save you for Jesus' sake. Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: EPHESIANS2; MATTHEW 11:1-6.
Verse 1. And you has He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins. What a great change, then, has taken place in thepeople of God! It is described as being similar to the resurrection of the dead. And do you suppose that this took place withouta man's knowing it? Do you think that we are wrong in stating a wide difference between the quickened ones and the dead? Ithink not. In fact, those addresses made to congregations in which there is no distinction made between the living and thedead in Zion are deceptive. And prayers that are meant to suit congregations of mingled character-where some are dead in sinand others alive unto God-are, on the very face of them, an attempt at an impossibility! As great as is the distinction betweenthe dead in their graves and living men that walk the streets, so great is the difference between the regenerate and unregenerate!Do you think that in reading this verse, dear Friends, you could apply it to yourself, "and you, and you, and you, has Hequickened who were dead in trespasses and sins"?
2. Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air,the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. Those who are not saved have a life of evil. They are dead towardsGod, but they are alive towards Satan. An unregenerate man's heart is Satan's workshop in which he forges divers devices ofevil-the spirit that works in the children of disobedience!
3. Among whom also we all had our conversation in timespast in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the fleshand of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath even as others. No difference by nature between the brightest saintin the Church of God and the blackest sinner of the camp of Satan-all fallen, all desperately depraved at our very original!What wonders of Grace are those who are saved! Let them taken care that they never fail in praising that Grace of God!
4-7. 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). And has raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly placesin Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His Grace in His kindness toward us throughChrist Jesus. God's great objective is to display His Grace-to let all the universe know what a gracious God He is-thereforedid He pitch upon us who were dead in sin even as others! Therefore does He quicken us and, therefore, having quickened us,does He go on to raise us up from one point to another until He makes us sit with Christ upon His Throne! Oh Beloved, if allthe ages are to learn the Grace of God from His dealings towards us, let us learn it and let us talk much of it and exultmuch in it! Who is a gracious God like unto our God?
8. For by Grace are you savedNot by your own merits! Not by priestcraft! Not by your own free will. "By Grace are you saved."This is the great summary of the Gospel! Let this Doctrine be preached and we shall soon see the errors of Rome fly beforeit! "By Grace are you saved."
8. Through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Neither the faith nor the salvation are of ourselves.They are both the gifts of Divine Love-both worked in us by the Divine Spirit. It is the gift of God!
9, 10. Not of works lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship. No good man can boast of his works because thoseworks are the work of God. Without Him, we could not perform good works! So that even when we possess them, we are His workmanship.Shall the vessel on the wheel exalt itself as if it made itself? No, the potter must have the credit for all the skill ofthe making of the vessel. And if, therefore, there shall be in our character marks and lines of Grace and Truth-unto God bethe glory for them, for we are His 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 those who are called the Circumcisionin the flesh made by hands. That at the time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangersfrom the covenants ofpromise having no hope and without God in the world This is where our fathers were. This is where weare by nature! We have not got even as far as the Jew who had a Covenant according to the flesh to plead and had receivedthe sign of it while yet a child! But we-we were altogether foreigners and aliens from the Most High!
13. But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ. Oh, rejoice in this! Youfar-off ones made near, lift up your hearts in thankfulness for what the Lord Jesus has done for you by His blood- made nearby the blood of Christ!
14. For He is our peace who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us. Christ is peacebetween Jew and Gentile-peace between both of them and their God. I have heard of a poor bricklayer who when at work on ascaffold, fell from a great height and was taken up and was dying. They sent for a minister of the Gospel who began addressinghim in such terms as this, "My dear man, you are evidently near to die and therefore I exhort you to make your peace withGod." He knew but very little of it compared with what the poor bricklayer knew, for opening his eyes, he said, "Make my peacewith God, Sir? That I could not do, but I thank God it was made for me in the Everlasting Covenant of Grace in the Personof the Lord Jesus Christ 1,800 years ago! I have no peace to make!" It is peace already made! And we have but to accept it,for He is our peace who has made both one and broken down the middle wall of partition between us!
15. 16. Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himselfof two, one new man so making peace. And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Cross having slain the enmitythereby. No enmity now should exist between Jew and Gentile. None does exist between the Believer and his God. The enmityis dead forever, for Christ has died.
17, 18. And came and preached peace to you which were afar of and to them that were near. For through Him we both have accessby one Spirit unto the Fathe. In this verse you have the whole Trinity and all the Trinity in unity are necessary for prayer."Through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
19. Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God.How blessedly Grace annihilates all national distinction! Cowper spoke of nations which, like kindred drops, would have meltedinto one if they had not been divided by a range of mountains or intersected by a narrower faith. But in the Gospel of Gracewe do melt into one! Whoever loves the Lord is a co-patriot with all who love Him! Distinctions of nationality sweetly sinkwhen we come to know the Savior. We are fellow citizens with the saints and of the householdof God!
Verses 1-5. And it came to pass when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teachand preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison, the works of Christ, he sent two of hisdisciples. And theysaid unto Him, Are You He that should come or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show Johnagain those things which you do hear and see: The blind receive their sight and the lame walk. The lepers are cleansed andthe deaf hear. The dead are raised up and the poor have the Gospel preached to them. These were Christ's seals and proofs-Johnneeded not to seek others. These were the very works of which prophecy had said would be the marks of the Messiah! If, thenthese marks were found in Him, He left John and his disciples to draw the inference that He was, indeed, the One who was tocome! Christ is always best known by His works and, especially in His people, He is seen in their lives. There are two greatprecepts for the conquest of the world for Christ-the first is preach the Gospel-but the second is live the Gospel and ifwe do not live the Gospel, we shall not succeed in preaching the Gospel! In fact, those members of our churches who do notlive the Gospel, undo through all the week what the preacher of the Gospel endeavors to do on the Lord's Day! It is a finething to preach with your mouth, but the best thing in the world is to preach with your feet and with your hands-in your walkand in your work! And if you are enabled to do this, the people will be able to say very little against the preaching of theGospel when they see the result of it in those who accept it! God grant that we may be all preachers in some way or another!6. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Mt.