Sermon 3474. Blessings Manifold and Marvelous
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 1915.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"He delivered me, because He delighted in me." Psalm 18:19.
THE experience of Believers has much in common. The language in which they are known to express it bears a close resemblance.You may often take the language out of one good man's mouth and put it into the mouth of another without committing any violence.The words of David will doubtless suit hundreds and thousands of you who fear the Lord. You will be able to lay hold of thissentence, full many of you, I hope, with the hands of appropriation and be enabled, by God the Holy Spirit, to say, as hesaid, "He delivered me because He delighted in me."
These words may suggest to us a pleasant fact to sing about-"He delivered me"-a precious Truth of God to think about, "becauseHe delighted in me." And a proper course to set about-since His delight in me has issued in my deliverance, let my delightin Him produce a response of gratitude! "He delivered me." Here is-
I. A FACT IN THE LIFE HISTORY OF THE SAINT which may well provoke the gratitude and inspire the song of him who has witnessedsuch amazing Grace! We need not disentomb the tale of David's rescue from peril-let us take our own narrative. And how canI invoke the memory of this better than by referring to some points in John Bunyan's wonderful allegory? As pilgrims to theCelestial City, we have often had to sing, "He delivered me." You remember well, when you resided in the City of Destruction,you breathed the same atmosphere, followed the same fashions and indulged the same lusts of the flesh that others did. Proneto sin, and prompt to participate in other men's sins, you mingled with them in their unhallowed pursuits. You were enemiesto God and yet you were on good terms with yourselves! You were at a distance from the great Sun of Righteousness and, insteadof sighing for the Light of God, you sought satisfaction in darkness. What you once were-an alien from God and a strangerto His House-you would now be, had He not delivered you! It was Divine Grace which made you restless and put it into yourheart to be uneasy. You saw that the wrath of God must rest upon the ungodly. You heard a voice in your ears, "Escape; escapefor your life! Look not behind you! Flee to the mountains lest you be consumed." If you have forsaken the drunkard's haunts,if you have broken off the swearer's profane tongue, if the pleasures of sin have ceased their fascination, you must ascribeit to your Redeemer and say, "He delivered me," for it is Grace that has rescued you from the destroyers!
Do you remember the time when you first set out as a pilgrim for the better country? You ran as best you could. Bright hopesand cheery prospects enlivened you as you thought of entering into the Celestial City. But all of a sudden you were bewilderedwith doubts and fears. You had fallen into the Slough of Despond! In that miserable plight some of you remained for months.It was my misfortune to be there for nearly five years-and I found it a terrible place! Fears of dying haunted us, and equalfears of living. A dread of Hell came over us and a dreary apprehension that we would soon be swallowed up as those that wentdown alive into the Pit! With what cold shudders, or with what hot tears some of you must recall that unhappy season whenyou cried with Job, "O, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come even unto His seat!" You had become the companionof dragons and of owls, and your soul chose strangling rather than life. It is not so with you now. Your face shines-the oilof joy is upon it! Your throat is no longer hoarse with groaning. You can sing a song to your Well-Beloved touching your Beloved.Who made the change? Why, dear Heart, I am sure you can say, "He delivered me! It was His kind hand that snatched me fromthe mire, lifted me up out of the horrible Pit, and set my feet upon a rock."
You have not forgotten, dear Friends-in fact, the felicities of Heaven can never be erased from your memory! O, the weightof that burden which pressed you down when your sins laid heavy on your soul. You walked despondingly
enough along the road. Christian worship had no charms to enliven you. Did you come where God's people were singing? You said,"I would, but cannot sing." Or if they prayed, you likewise excused yourself, "I would, but cannot pray." Your sins were soharassing that they haunted your mind, vexed your brain and terrified your imagination. What schemes to get rid of them, orto ease your heart of conscious guilt, you resorted to! And yet you got worse, rather than better. You tried to condone yourpast bad works by doing some fresh good works, but their defects were so palpable that they only aggravated your sore. Youresorted to ordinances and ceremonies and you discovered that they were mere quackery, a vile empiricism void of healing virtue,but full of deadly opiates! You seemed as if you would be bent double with your sins! You cried, "O God, my sins, my sins,my sins! How can I be delivered from them?"
And now let me wake up your tender recollections. Do you remember how Christ was evidently set forth crucified before youreyes-how you saw One hanging upon a tree in agonies and blood-and how, as you looked to Him, you felt the cords that boundyou begin to crack, and the burden that oppressed you presently roll away? Do you remember how you turned round to seek forit, but it was gone? You sought for it, but it could not be found! You saw, as it were, an open sepulcher, the very sepulcherwhere once the Savior lay-into that your sins had rolled-there had they been buried forever! Oh, you can sing as you thinkof this, "He delivered me! He delivered me!" 'Twas the mighty hand of the Savior that lifted that intolerable load from offyou and set you free, so that you could exultingly say, "I am forgiven! Through the Savior's precious blood I am forgiven!His death my ransom price has paid!"
Since that time your song has swollen and become more sweet and loud. You have added many fresh stanzas to it, but the refrainis still the same, "He delivered me! He delivered me!" A grievous distress befell you when, after you lost your burden, youmet with one called, "Adam the First," or, "Old Adam." Do you recollect his inviting you to his house? With pleasant, winsomespeech, he told you that the road you were going was very rough-that heavy toil and hard fare must be looked for through thewhole course of the pilgrimage-and that he would recommend you to indulge yourself with the bounties of nature, rather thandeny yourselves with the austerities of faith. He invited you to go home with him and he would let you marry one of his threedaughters and then he would make you his heir! Did you not accept his invitation and go home with him and see his three daughters?The wonder is that you did not marry one of them. Their names you know. The Lust of the Flesh-she was the eldest, and veryagreeable in her manners. The Lust of the Eyes- she was the second, and the more you gazed at her, the more she fascinatedyou! The youngest born, but by far the most imposing in stature and deportment, was The Pride of Life. You went home to theold man's house and when you saw those three daughters, your heart began to beat, and your thoughts were fixed on their dowries.Then he said, in his patronizing manner, "All these things will I give you, and you can still be a pilgrim. You can be a Christianwithout observing any strict vows of sanctity! Little blemishes and trivial inconsistencies will pass unnoticed if you clotheyourself with the mantle of a comely profession. Scruples of conscience may be easily quieted. If you are as good as yourneighbors, they cannot upbraid you." But you were given Divine Grace to run away! You shut your ears against the enticingwords-you escaped! How was it, then, that you did not fall a victim to the lust of the flesh, to the lust of the eyes, orto the pride of life? What reason can you assign but this-"He delivered me!" How marvelous your deliverance! Your steps hadwell-near gone-your feet had almost slipped-but in the moment when you would have perished, he interposed! Therefore, letHis name be praised!
Since that, do you recollect going through the Valley of Humiliation, and fighting with Apollyon? We have not merely to contendwith a trinity of sensual lusts, but we have to wage war with Satan, himself! Some of the younger disciples here do not knowwhat this means, but the veterans in the army understand Bunyan's description. Well do some of us remember when we stood footto foot with the great adversary, hour after hour, and how at last we fell-and his foot was upon us and he said, "Now willI destroy your soul." At that very moment, when the dragon's foot seemed to crush all life out of you, you were enabled tosay, "Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; though I fall, yet shall I rise again." How was it that you escaped out of such a terribleconflict? Must you not sing very sweetly and very loudly, "He delivered me! He delivered me! Blessed be His name!"
Amidst all your travels, have you never passed through the Valley of the Shadow of Death? Have you not experienced the gloomof darkness where your spirit was so desponding that you did not know what to do? Though you had been a Christian for manyyears, you could not discern the hope of your calling! Though you had come to the full assurance of understanding, you couldnot take hold of one Covenant Promise with the slightest confidence! Though you had
been known aforetime to sing, "My Beloved is mine, and I am His," He hid His face from you! You sought Him, but you foundHim not. In sermons you found no refreshment. In prayer no communion. You were reduced to such a low state of mind that youseemed as though you were counted with them that go down into the Pit. You were so haunted with gloomy doubts and fears, thatyou cried out, "Your wrath lies hard upon me and You have afflicted me with all Your waves." Through that perilous and gloomyvalley you walked! Out of that valley, at last, you came into the bright clear sunshine! And when you sat down and lookedback upon the place of dragons and the land of terrors, you could sing, "He delivered me." Yes, Lord, You have delivered mysoul from death, my eyes from tears and my feet from falling! Unto Your name be all the praise!
Since then, my dear fellow traveler on the road to Canaan, you have had many remarkable deliverances. Cover up your face andbe ashamed! I feel that I may well blush, as I confess to wandering in Bye-Path Meadow. Do you remember going over the stilebecause the road was rough? You thought if you went just on the other side of the hedge, it would be so much more pleasant.Do you remember being lost at night? Do you remember, above all, the Giant Despair, who locked you up in his dungeon? Do youremember with sorrow, how wandering from the right way soon brought on sickness of heart and despair? You, Mr. Much-Afraid,have good reason to sing, "He delivered me," when you remember how you were fetched out of the dungeon! And you, Mr. Ready-to-Halt,you, too, lay shut up there, but He delivered you! He who slays despair and puts doubts to flight, He came to your rescue,even though your own sins had brought you into that sad plight. Laud His name as you recollect what wonders He has done foryou-and what loving kindness He has shown towards you!
And now, it may be, some of us are going through the Enchanted Ground. I sometimes think that such is the condition of a greatmajority of pilgrims, now-a-days. The Enchanted Ground was a place where men felt drowsy and had a tendency to slumber andsink into a long and eternal sleep. Is that your temptation, Friend? I know it is mine. I have a sluggish, drowsy soul. Iwish I could keep awake and vigorous in my Master's service, but the tendency of my drowsy spirit is to get cold and inert.And I suppose it is the same with most of you. How is it, then, that you have not gone to sleep, that you have not given upall diligence and lost all heart for God's ways? Surely you must say, "He delivered me!"
I would not detain you longer, however, on this retrospect, except that I have two more scenes to bring before you. Did youever stand and look at that hole in the hill, of which Bunyan speaks, and which he says was the backdoor to Hell? He saysthat, although Ignorance appeared to have gone almost all the way to Heaven, he was bound and taken back. Some of us haveseen, in fact, that which he so touchingly describes in metaphor. We have known members of Christian Churches who have heldan honorable position in the eyes of their fellow men, for 10 or 20 years, prove themselves to be detestable hypocrites, proneto manifold vices and to reprobate every good work! They have not taken, like drunkards and swearers, the broad road downto the Pit, but they have committed their transgressions in secret-worn the masks of profession, kept company with saints-andgone by the back door to meet the doom of sinners! I shudder as the procession passes before my mind's eye, of ministers,deacons, Elders and influential professors, who have gone through that backdoor. What to say, I know not. My soul is boweddown. "O God, I had gone there myself, had You not delivered me!" I think you must all feel the same if you know anythingof the corruptions of your own heart. Even you, my venerable Brothers and Sisters, who have been preserved so many years inthe wilderness, if it were not for the Grace of God, you, too, concerning faith, had made shipwreck-and so have perished,even in the harbor's mouth!
We shall soon reach the last struggle. Jordan is only a narrow stream which parts us from the land of spirits and we shallsoon pass through it. But its floods are cold and it is not easy for flesh and blood to anticipate dying with complacency."But be of good courage, Beloved," we have said up to this time, "He has delivered me." He who has been our Helper will notforsake us. Be assured we shall sing that at the last, and should the angels who meet us on the other side ask how we enduredthe struggle of the death pang, we will, each of us, bear the same testimony-"He delivered me!"
I said this was a hope to cultivate, that you might sing for joy in the article of death when heart and flesh fail. I hopethat you will. Let me encourage you, Christian people, to sing a great deal more than you do. Of old London, in the Puritantime, it was said that you might have heard songs and prayers in well-near every house as you walked at the breakfast hourfrom St. Paul's to Eastcheap. Family worship was then the prevailing custom! It would not be so now in any town in England-themore the pity. I hear the waggoner in the country, and the costermonger in the city, humming a tune or singing a song. Whyshould not you, my Friends, enliven your listless intervals with a hymn? The world has its popular music-why should not westir up some soul-inspiring melodies? Soldiers go to battle with martial airs-let us go to our battle with the songs of Zion!When the sailors are tugging and pulling at the rope and weighing the anchor, they send up a cheery shout and they work betterfor it, too. Christian Friends, while you work, lighten the toil with sacred song! Serve God with gladness! I have often beencharmed at eventide on the canals at Venice to hear the gondoliers sing in chorus some glorious old chant. So, Christians,as you steer your vessels to Heaven, and tug at the oar, sing as you row, sing as you work! Sing, for you have much to singabout! Be glad, and praise the Lord who has delivered you! And now we have-
II. A PRECIOUS TRUTH TO THINK ABOUT.
"He delighted in me." "He delivered me because He delighted in me." Deliverance from sin, deliverance from evil propensities,deliverance from spiritual enemies-all such deliverances bear evidence of God's love to us. Temporal mercies betoken the freenessof the Divine bounty, but they are never bestowed as the earnest of God's special love. Such inferior gifts He often lavishesin abundance upon those who are not His people. Spiritual blessings He reserves for His own redeemed, regenerate family! Theirvalue is enhanced by their significance, because they are proofs of His eternal love towards us. While they grant us safeconduct through the wilderness, they guarantee to us eternal life when these pilgrimage days are over and done. If you haveexperienced the kinds of deliverance I have been describing, you have many tokens of His good will and the tenderness withwhich He delights in you.
I shall not talk much about this, but I hope you will think much about it. How much He delights in you it is not possibleto say. The Father delights in youand looks upon you with doting love-like as a father takes pleasure in his child, so doesHe rejoice over you. And Jesus delights in you. He saw in you the recompense of His agonies, the purchase of His blood, thepartakers of His Glory. And the Holy Spirit delights in you. He has formed your heart anew and made you a temple for Him todwell in and, therefore, He watches you with jealous care. Does it not seem well-near incredible that God should ever takedelight in His creatures? He is so eternally happy in Himself, so infinitely blessed, so supremely glorious. Surely His delightscannot be enhanced or diminished by the welfare or the adversity of such worms as we are! Yet He certainly delighted in Davidand He most surely does delight in every one of those who put their trust in Him! Nor does He merely say that He delightsin us, now, but He assures us that He did delight in His people long before the world was made! He wrote their names in Hisbook. He ordained them. In His decrees He had them before His mind's eye. He delighted in them before ever He laid the foundationof the earth, or stretched the canopy of the skies! Why was this? Some suppose that it was because He foresaw they would begood and deserving of His esteem. I cannot see anything that is attractive in rebellious men, in sinful mortals! I dare sayyou can all join with me in echoing the sentiment of our hymn-
"What was there in me that could merit esteem, Or give the Creator delight? 'Twas even so, Father, I always must sing, Becauseit seemed good in Your sight."
The reason for God's delight we cannot tell. It is hid in God's eternal breast. This only we know, that He delights in usbecause we are the objects of His choice. From among the dense masses of mankind He chose us. In Infinite Sovereignty He said,"They shall be Mine in the day when I make up My jewels." He ordained us to be vessels of honor fitted for the Master's useand He predestinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son. Moreover, He delights in us because, in addition to havingchosen us, He has boughtus. Christ has paid too dearly for His people not to love them. When He looks into the face of thepenitent sinner, He sees the reflection of His own tears and languish, yes, and of His bloody sweat! He sees His own woundsand recollects the price they cost-and the purchase He paid.
They are precious to Him because of the power He has exerted upon them in making them His workmanship. We prize a thing sometimesthat has not any intrinsic value, for the sake of the skill and workmanship bestowed upon it. The Holy Spirit has put outthe force of His Omnipotence to construct a Christian. It takes as much Divine Energy to make a saint as to create a worldand, therefore, God rejoices in every one of His elect as being the work of His hands-the very choice design of His heart.
Yet more, He delights in us because there is a relationship established'whereby we are made partakers of a Divine Nature.This is a Truth of God to be spoken of very reverently. The angels are not related to God-they are His creatures-but MAN isnext-of-kin to the Deity! He whom the heavens adore as God Over All, blessed forever, has taken our
nature and is a Man like ourselves! The Lord Jesus Christ, who counted it not robbery to be equal with God, took upon Himselfthe form of a Servant, and identified Himself with our circumstances! The Son of Man is the Son of the Highest! In Christthere is a relationship, a kindred, an affinity between man and God-the Creator and the creature whom He created in His ownimage! Hence the delight He takes in us.
But to go farther, there is an alliance yet closer predicted in Scripture, wherein Christ, being married to His Church, shalldevelop the great mystery, whereby, as husband and wife are one flesh, so there shall be an eternal indissoluble union betweenChrist and His Church. Oh, mysterious union! Blessed cause of delight! Like the head delights in the members, after such mannerthe Lord Jesus delights in every saved sinner who is vitally united to Himself!
The day, Beloved, comes on apace when Christ will prove His delight in all His people, by calling their bodies from the graveand reuniting their souls with their risen frames! They shall be clothed upon with His glorious majesty and made to sit uponHis throne with Himself. Then the world will know that, though they were "despised and rejected of men," as He was, they werethe delight of God-and He will forever delight in them! "Because He delighted in me, therefore He delivered me."
I cannot convey to you the full sense of these manifold and marvelous blessings. I can only talk about them. But I pray Godthe Holy Spirit to make the reflections as sweet to you as they have been to me. My heart seems to leap at the thought thatthe Most High should take any delight in me. I know He has delivered me, all honor to His name! I know I am no longer whatI once was, glory be to His dear love! He has saved me from my sins and I draw an inference, the correctness of which I cannotdoubt, that He would not have delivered me if He had not delighted in me! Do draw that inference, each one of you, for yourselves.If God has delivered you, He delights in you! But there are some of you who never were delivered. You are still in bondage,still the slaves of sin. Yet, remember, the Gospel is still preached to you. "Whoever believes in the Lord Jesus Christ shallbe saved." Trust Christ, poor Soul, and you shall be delivered, and that deliverance shall be to you the evidence that youwere the objects of God's electing love, and that you shall be written on His heart forever! A word to the wise. One wordto the wise is enough, though twenty words to the foolish would be of no use. Here is-
III. A RESOLUTION TO BE ACTED UPON. You sang it just now. I want you to act it out in your lives-
"Loved of my God, for Him again With love intense I burn! Chosen of Him ere time began, I choose Him in return."
It is the least you can do if He delight in you, to delight in Him. Brothers and Sisters, I am afraid there are many of uswho do not take a delight in our religion. Then I should advise you to challenge the quality of your profession, for thoughgenuine religion does not always yield delight, that is only because of the infirmity of the creature. True Grace in the heart,a conscience void of offense-in a word, the life of a consecrated man should be a perennial fountain of joy! Some people goto their place of worship because they think they ought. Their legality holds them in constant bondage. "You shall not. Youshall not," is the burden of their creed. They never rejoice. Their eyes never sparkle-they never think of going up to theHouse of God with the festive joy of those that welcome the holiday. Ah, my dear Friend, I advise you to see whether you havea sound conversion, for those who truly love God exalt in His name. What if they have their troubles, still their faith andtheir fellowship are the blessings, not the bane, of their mortal existence. What if they have their cares and anxieties,still the cheer and palliatives are never wanting while they can cast their care upon Him who cares for them! His serviceis their solace. Their sorrow is that they cannot serve Him more! Christian, delight yourself in the Lord, and you shall havethe desire of your heart!
But then your resolution will not only be to delight in God, but to show it. He delighted in you and, therefore, He deliveredyou. You delight in Him and, therefore, you serve Him. What can you do to express your gratitude? You are saved-how can youextol His great salvation? Perhaps you are doing a little, but can you not do more? Is there not some fresh thing that youcan do for Jesus? Can you not get new crowns for His head, Beloved? Let us give Him fresh praise and if there is any freshbranch of usefulness, any new mode of serving Him which we have not yet tried, let us ask for Grace to try it now! And asfor the good old works in which we have been engaged, oh, for fresh fire that we may do
them better! I would that we served God with more vigor. It is not more preaching we need, but more fiery preaching! It isnot merely to multiply the number of our prayers, but the need of more earnest pleadings, more fervent intercessions. Theservice that we render is too languid and heartless-we need to summon our whole heart, and soul, and strength in untiringefforts to do His will and speed the triumph of His glorious Gospel! By the vision of the thorn-crowned head. By the fivewounds of Him who died in agony. By the mangled, murdered body of your blessed Lord suffering unto death for you, I do imploreyou, the servants of God, to lay yourselves as living sacrifices upon the altar of Jesus Christ! You do, some of you, professto love Him, but you never speak of Him! You say you serve Him, but what do you do? You profess to "love your God with zealso great that you could give Him all," and what, after all, do you give Him? Oh, how much outward religion is nothing butinward hypocrisy! How much of our talk about religion is mere gossip! God save us from vain talk and impart to us a livingenergy, so that our deeds may proclaim our faith! Oh, may we spend and be spent in the Master's service till we shall-
"Our body with our charge lay down, And cease at once to work and live."
As for those who know not God, they have no capacity to serve Him. My prayer to God for you is that He may bring you to seeChrist Crucified. When you put your trust in Him, you shall be delivered. Then you shall sing, "He delivered me because Hedelighted in me." And after that it shall be your welcome mission to go and tell what great things He has done for you. Maythis be the joyous occupation of all of us! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: EPHESIANS2.
Verse 1. And you has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. These were your grave clothes. You were wrapped upin them. No, this was your tomb! You were shut up in it, as in a great stone coffin-"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. You were once no better than the workshop of the devil. He is thespirit that works in the children of disobedience, as the blacksmith works in his forge. When you hear foul language, whenyou see bad actions, these are the sparks coming out of the chimney that let you know who is at work within, down below. Whata dreadful thing it is-a man dead to all that is good, but alive through the indwelling of the devil that is within him! "Thespirit that now 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. Not children of God, even as some profanely assertwhen they talk about the universal fatherhood of God. You were children of wrath, even as others. And the best of men wereno better than others by nature. They were as dead, as much under the influence of Satan, as much under the influence of thelusts of the flesh as others are who are left where they are. It is only Sovereign Grace that makes us to differ. "Were bynature," not by error-by nature! Not by a mistake, not by a few actions, but by nature, the children of wrath, even as others!See what you used to be? Let this make you humble. See what you would have been? Let this make you grateful. "You has He quickened."He has put life into you. He has made you quit your graves. He has made you come from under the dominion of Satan and thedevices of your own heart. Will you not bless His name tonight?
4. 5. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us even when we were deadin sins, has quickenedus together with Christ Wonder! The life that quickens. Christ quickens all the members of His mystical body, and this hascome to us through the riches of God's mercy. Whatever God has, He has in abundance, but of His mercy we read that He hasriches of it-and truly all those riches of mercy He has shown in our case. We cannot but have riches of gratitude for suchriches of mercy!
5. By Grace you are saved.See, Paul puts that in a parenthesis. It was not necessary to the sense, but he knew that therewould come a time when men would not like this Doctrine, so he puts it in, "By Grace are you saved." They cannot bear it and,therefore, they shall have it. They shall have it when the sense does not seem to demand it. To make it quite clear, he willinsert it. "By Grace you are saved."
6. And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. We are not only raised fromthe dead with Christ, but we are spiritually raised into the heavenly places with Him. It is a great thing when a man learnsto look up from earth to Heaven. It is a greater thing when he learns to look down from Heaven upon earth-to have you sittingat the right hand of God, and then to look down on all the things of this present life as far below you!
7. That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His Grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.Brothersand Sisters, we are to be a show, an exhibition, in which God will exhibit the riches of His Grace in His kindness towardus through Christ Jesus. Angels will count it a high joy to study the life of a regenerate man, to see him rise from deathin sin to the Glory of God in Christ Jesus! What is so precious in God's esteem ought to continually excite our praise.
8. For by Grace are you saved. There it is again! Paul rings that silver bell in the deaf ears of men. "By Grace are you saved."
8, 9. Through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not ofworks, lest any man should boast We would besure to boast if we could. We are a boasting people! Man is a poor mass of flesh, and he is largely given to the corruptionof pride. He will boast if he can.
10. For we are His workmanship.If there is any good thing in us, He put it there. It is not for us to boast. It is for Himto boast if He pleases.
10, 11. Created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. Therefore remember-Oh,that is a good word for us, "Remember." We are so apt to forget. "Remember"-
11, 12. Thatyou, beingin timepast Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by those who are called the Circumcisionin the flesh made by hands; that at that time you were without Christ Had you to do with Christ? The Jews call you uncircumciseddogs! What had you to do with the Messiah? Was not the Messiah for God's Israel? You did not belong to Israel.
12, Being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the Covenants of promise. The Covenant was in Isaac.You are not the children of Isaac. You are not descended from Abraham. You were strangers from the Covenants of promise.
12. Having no hope. Either here or hereafter.
12, 13. And without God in the world. But now-Oh, what a contrast-
13, In Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off, are made near by the blood of Christ You are brought near to Israel! Youare brought still nearer to Israel's God! Now you are not aliens. Yon are not strangers from the Covenant You have a hope,you have a God!
14, 15. For He is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us. Having abolishedin His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of two, one new man,so making peace. There is no Circumcision and Uncircumcision now, for that is done away with. There is now no Israel accordingto the flesh, and Gentiles who are not of God, for there is a spiritualIsrael, to which we belong, as well as those of Abraham'srace. He has swept out of the way all the ordinances which divided us, and we are now one in Him!
16, 17. And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Cross, having slain the enmity thereby. And came andpreached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were near To the Gentile and to the Jew, to the atrociously wicked,and to those who were religious after a fashion-He has brought them both in by the Cross.
18. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father Here you have the Trinity in a single line of Scripture,and it needs the Trinity to make an acceptable prayer! Through Him, (that is, Christ), we have access by one Spirit unto theFather, and now, today, the Church of God is one in prayer, whether Jew or Gentile. We come to God by the same Mediator, helpedby the same Spirit. We have answers of peace from the same Father!
19. Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of GodThere are many here whom we do not know. We have not seen their faces before, but if they are in Christ and we are in Christ,we are very near of kin! There is an old saying that blood is thicker than water, and depend upon it that when there is theblood of Christ sprinkled upon us, it makes very near kinship! When we are bought with the same price, quickened by the samelife, and are on the way to the same Heaven, we are very near of kin! We are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints and all the household of God! They make a great fuss when they give a man the key of the City ofLondon. There is a fine gold box to put it in. You have got the key of the New Jerusalem and your faith, like a golden box,holds the deeds of your citizenship. Take care of them and rejoice in them!
20, 21. And are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ, Himself, being the chief cornerstone:In whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord. The Church is a framed house. It hasan Architect. Some seem to think that it is a load of bricks. They have no church officers. There are none set apart to thiswork, and none to the other. It seems to be just a heap of stones thrown down any way. But a true Church is, by the Spiritof God, a building fitly framed together. One is a door, another is a window. One lies low and hidden in the foundation. Anothermay have a more prominent position in the wall. And it should be so with us-that we should each have a place that God hasappointed him, and keep to that place. Lord, build up Your Church upon earth at this time!
22. In whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit We are not built to stand like a carcass.It is a ghastly sight to see houses in London nearly finished, but never occupied-but it is the glory of the Church of Godthat it is inhabited! It is a habitation of God through the Spirit. Holy Spirit, dwell more evidently in Your Church! Keepopen house for all poor sinners who come to Christ and glorify God!