Sermon 3488. Justification, Propitiation, Declaration

(No. 3488)




"Being justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God has set forth to be a propitiationthrough faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance ofGod. To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus."Romans 3:24-26.

I think, dear Friends, some of you will be saying, "There is that same old Doctrine again that we are so continually hearing,"and I am sure if you do say it I shall not be surprised. Nor, on the other hand, shall I make any sort of excuse. The Doctrineof Justification by Faith through the substitutionary Sacrifice of Christ is very much to my ministry what bread and saltare to the table. As often as ever the table is set, there are those necessary things. I regard that Doctrine as being onethat is to be preached continually, to be mixed up with all our sermons, even as, under the Law of God it was said, "Withall your offerings you shall offer salt." This is the very salt of the Gospel! Indeed, it is impossible to bring it forwardtoo often. It is the soul-saving Doctrine-it is the foundation Doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It is that by whichGod is pleased to bring many into reconciliation with Himself. As the schoolmaster takes care to ground his scholars wellin grammar, that they may get hold of the very roots of the language, so must we be rooted and grounded in this fundamentaland cardinal Truth of God-justification through the righteousness of Jesus Christ! Martin Luther, who used to preach thisDoctrine very vehemently and forcibly, yet declared that he felt as if he could knock the Bible about the peoples' heads ifhe could by any means get this Doctrine into them-for as soon after they had learned it, they forgot it! Over and over, andover again must the Christian minister continue to insist upon this Truth-that God was in Christ, reconciling the world untoHimself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. And forever and ever, as long as the world stands, must he continue to repeatthe Truth of God, that we are justified through the righteousness of our Redeemer and not by any righteousness of our own!

I do not intend at this time to try and preach a sermon, but rather give an "outline exposition" again of this Doctrine. Andif you turn to the text, I think we can very well divide it, and very properly, too, into three parts, and head it with threewords of, Justification, Propitiation and Declaration. Justification-"Being justified freely by His Grace through the redemptionthat is in Christ Jesus." Propitiation-"Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation though faith in His blood to declare Hisrighteousness for the remission of sins." And then we come to the third-the Declaration-to declare His righteousness for theremission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God! To declare, I say, at this time, His righteousness, that Hemight be just and the Justifier of him who believes in Jesus! First, then, here is something about-


The sense of this term is, in this place, and in most others, to declare a person to be just. A person is put on trial, heis brought before the judge. One of two things will happen-he will either be acquitted or justified, or else he will be condemned.You and I are all virtually before the judge and we are, at this moment, either acquitted or condemned, either justified orunder condemnation! It is not possible that any one of us should be acquitted on the grounds of our not being guilty, forwe must all confess that we have broken the Law of God thousands of times! It is not possible for any of us to be declaredjust on the ground of our own personal obedience to the Law of God, for to be just through our own obedience we must havebeen perfect-but we have not been perfect! We have broken the Law, we still continue to break it and, by the works of theLaw, it is clear we cannot be just-cannot be justified. The Lord, even the God of Heaven and

earth, has planned and promulgated a way by which He can be just and yet can declare the guilty to be just-a way by which,to use the words of our text, He can be just and yet the Justifier of him who believes. That way is simply this, a way ofsubstitution and imputation. Our sins are taken off of us and laid upon Christ Jesus, the innocent Substitute, "For He hasmade Him who knew no sin to be sin for us." Then, when this is effected, the righteousness which was worked out by Jesus Christis taken from Him and imputed-reckoned-unto us, so that the rest of the text comes true, "That we may be made the righteousnessof God in Him." We are found in Him not having our own righteousness which is of the Law, but the righteousness which is ofGod by faith. You see, we did not keep the Law of God, but broke it. We were, therefore, condemned! Jesus came and stood inour place, headed up the whole race that He had chosen, became their Representative, completely kept all the Law for them,also suffered the punishment due for all their breaches of the Law, becoming a Substitute, actively and passively obeyingthe Law and suffering its penalty! And now what He did is imputed to us, while what we did by way of sin was of old imputedto Him and He was made a curse for us-as it is written, "Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree." If you ask me how thiscan be a just thing to do, I reply, God has determined it and it is not possible that He should have determined anything thatwas not just!

But, moreover, there was an original reason for it, for our first ruin came upon us through our first parent, Adam. Our firstfall was not our doing, but the doing of the man who stood as our representative! Perhaps had we, each one of us, at the firstseparately and distinctly sinned, without any connection with him, redemption might have been as impossible to us as we havereason to believe it is to fallen angels! But inasmuch as the first sin was in connection with the federal headship of thefirst Adam, it became possible and right that there should be a salvation through a second federal headship, even Jesus Christ,the Second Adam. "As by man came death, so by Man also comes the resurrection from the dead." As by man sin came into theworld and the race perished, so by the second glorious Man, Christ Jesus, Divine Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternallife! But you need not question the justice of the plan. The Sovereign against whom you have offended deigns to accept it-andwhat God accepts we need not hesitate to rely upon! If the offended One is satisfied to proclaim us just, we may be perfectlysatisfied with what He shall do toward us, for if He justifies, who can condemn? If He acquits, who dare accuse? We may boldlysay, if once we are acquitted, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?"

Now notice what the text says of this plan of Justification. It tells us that, as far as we are concerned, it is given tous freely/Being freely justified, God forgives the sinner's sins gratis, freely-not on account of any repentance of his, meritoriouslyconsidered-not on the ground of any resolutions of his which might bribe the Eternal mind-not on account of penance, or sufferingendured or to be endued, but He puts sins away freely because He chooses to do it-for nothing! Without money, without merit,without anything that could move Him but His own grand Nature, for He delights in mercy-"Being freely justified."

And then to make it still clearer, it is added, by His Grace, which is not a tautology, though it is a repetition. We arejustified, not by any debt due to us, not because God was bound to justify, but because out of His own abundant love and richcompassion He freely makes the guilty to be pardoned and the unrighteous to be justified by the righteousness of Christ! Iknow it has been said by some that we make out that there is no such thing as free pardon and free justification because weset the righteousness of Christ as the procuring cause of both. I grant you we do! But we equally strenuously hold the pardonto be free, and the Justification to be free, though it is through the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus- free to us, freeso far as the heart and mercy of God is concerned-and only through Redemption-because God must be just, He must be righteous,He cannot separate sin from the penalty! He is a Sovereign, but He never, in His Sovereignty, violates righteousness! Andit would be a sovereign act of unrighteousness if He passed by sin without awarding to it the punishment which He threatenedshould follow it-an act which it is not possible for God to do, for He must be just and He has, Himself declared He will byno means clear the guilty! Still, the justification is free to you, free to every soul that will have it, free to every manthat believes in Jesus!

Now note this justification is put before you as being through the Redemption, which is in Christ Jesus. There is a pricepaid-it is through the Redemption. There is an intervening suffering and an intervening obedience. We are not justified freelywithout Redemption, nor justified by His Grace without the intervention of the atoning Sacrifice. Oh, how men labor to getrid of this! There are certain persons who think themselves philosophic, who will do all they can to throw dirt into the faceof this Doctrine of Substitution, but it is the very soul, head, foundation, corner, and keystone of

the entire Gospel! If it is left out, I hesitate not to say that the Gospel preached is another gospel, which is not another,but there are some who trouble you-

"In vain the guilty conscience seeks Some solid ground to rest upon. With vain desire the spirit breaks, Till we apply toChrist alone! Till God in human flesh I see, My thoughts no comfort find. The holy, just, and sacred Three Are terrors tomy mind! But if Emmanuel's face appears, My hope, my joy, begins! His Grace forbids my slavish fear, His love removes my sins."

We cannot give up the Doctrine of Redemption, the redemption which is in Christ Jesus! This is it, Soul-listen to it-you arejustified freely, but it cost the Savior dearly! It cost Him a life of obedience! It cost Him a death of shame, of agony,of suffering-all immeasurable! There was your cup of wrath which you must drink forever, and which you could never drain tothe bottom! It must be drunk by someone! Jesus drinks it, sets the cup to His lips, and the very first drop of it makes Himsweat great drops of blood falling to the ground! But He drinks right on, though head, and hands, and feet are all suffering-drinksright on, though He cries, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Drinks right on, I say, until not one black drop ordreg could be found within that cup and, turning it upside down, He cries, "It is finished! It is finished," as He gives upthe ghost. At one tremendous draught of love, the Lord has drunk condemnation dry for every one of His people for whom Heshed His blood! "Justified freely by His Grace through the Redemption which is in Christ Jesus." There was a Redemption bysubstitutionary suffering, a Redemption by vicarious obedience, a Redemption by interposition of Christ on our behalf-

"To bear, that we might never bear His Father's righteous ire."

Do you understand this, Sinner? Do you understand this? If you do not, then God help you to grasp it now, for it is a thingof the present-is it not here a present participle?-being justified freely, that is, now, justified now! O Sinner, you arenow condemned, but if you now will look to Jesus standing as the Victim in your place. If you will nowtrust in Jesus dyingin your place-you shall nowbe just, your sins shall nowbe forgiven-the righteousness shall nowbe yours and you shall knowthe meaning of that text, "There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after theflesh, but after the Spirit." Do you see, then, what justification means? Oh, may you enjoy it! It will make you leap forjoy if you do! And now the second word is-

II. PROPITIATION-a reference here to the Mercy Seat, the covering in-in our own words it is a reconciliation, a somethingby which God is propitiated-an Atonement by which God and man are made one, a propitiation-a something which vindicates theinjured honor of God, which comes in to make amends to the Divine Law for human offenses.

Now concerning this propitiation, let us speak, and may the Holy Spirit give us utterance. You say, O Sinner, "How shall Icome before God? How shall I draw near to the Most High God?" What would you give to be saved? All that you have, you wouldfreely present-if you had bullocks and sheep upon a thousand hills and their blood could cleanse you-you would pour it outin rivers! You ask again, "What is the propitiation I can bring?" God tells you. Here He tells you that He has provided aPropitiation in the Person of His dear Son. And I would have you notice first of all who it was that provided it-whom Godhad set forth. Admire the love of this-that the God who was angered, is the God who finds the Propitiation! Against God thesin was leveled! God Himself finds the way of being gracious towards sinners. How safe it must be to accept a Propitiationwho God, the offended One, Himself proposes! Notice next that it is said that God has set this forth. The margin has it, "Hasforeordained it." The Atonement of Christ is not a new idea-it is an old determination of the Most High and it is no closesecret! God has published it-set it forth. By His Prophets in His Word-by His preachers in all your streets-God has set forthChrist to be the Propitiation for human sin! It is His own arranging, His own-and the publication to you tonight is by Hisown authority! Oh, regard this and you who seek His mercy leap to think that it comes to you certified in such a way!

But then notice that the main point in this Propitiation is the blood. "Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth to be a propitiationthrough faith in His blood." Some cannot bear to hear about the blood of Jesus and yet, under the old Law it was written,"It is the blood which shall make atonement for sin." And again, "Without shedding of blood there is no remission," and again,"The blood is the life thereof," and again, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you," that is to say, that which makesAtonement for human sin is not the life of Christ as an example-nor the actions of Christ as a vindication of righteousness-butthe suffering of Christ-the death of Christ. Everyone knows that this is what is meant by the blood. In the blood-shedding,Jesus suffered! His body suffered-inwardly His soul bled, His spirit suffered-His soul-sufferings were the soul of His sufferings!Then came death. Death was the penalty of sin. Jesus died, literally died-and the heart's blood came forth, mingled with waterfrom His pierced side. God is pleased to pardon us because Jesus suffered-and the main point of comfort is the Cross-the Crossof the Crucified, the dying Savior! Do not let your minds wander away from this, you that are seeking peace with God. Yourhope is not so much at Bethlehem as at Calvary. Your consolation is not to be found in the Second Advent but in the FirstAdvent-and the death that closed it. You are not to look to Christ in His Glory for your comfort, but to Christ in His humiliation!Christ in His expiatory sufferings as your only hope! The blood, the blood, the blood-it is there the propitiation lies-andto that our faith must turn our eyes. It is so. Yes, it is so-

"My sins deserve Your wrath, my God! Your wrath has fallen on Your Son!"

My sins turned away Your face-You have turned away Your face from Him. My sins deserved death-He has died. My sins deservedto be spit upon-to be mocked-to be cast out as felons. All this He has endured as if He were my sin, and is it not so? "Hehas made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." Brothers and Sisters,I do declare my conscience never knew any peace until I understood this Truth of God, but ever since then I have no Rock Ibuild on but this-Christ in my place, and I in Christ's place! I am safe in Him and He was chastened, bruised, wounded, slain,instead of me! He it is. Propitiation through the blood. But the text says, " Through faith in His blood." So, then, thisshows you that no propitiation has had any effect with regard to us until we have faith in the blood! I can never know thatGod has blotted out my sin until I have faith! And what is faith but trust? And then, when I trust the blood of Jesus, mysin is all forgiven me in one moment. When I humbly rely upon my Savior's finished work, "Though sins were as scarlet, theybecome as wool; though they were red like crimson, they are whiter than snow." Do you know-I hardly know how to talk aboutthis Truth of Propitiation. It makes my heart so leap for joy that I cannot find words to tell you! I do know that I, andthat you, and that every Believer under Heaven is as clear before God of every sin as if he or she had never sinned! And isaccepted before God as if his whole life had been perfect obedience-and all because that Propitiation blood and the dear meritsof our once Crucified, but now Glorified Redeemer stands in our place! If I might have a perfect righteousness of my own,I would not-I would sooner have my Lord's, for my righteousness, were it perfect, were but the righteousness of a man-butHis is the righteousness of God and man, God-Man! Oh, it is not merely immaculate and complete-it overflows with merit!TrulyI say again, could we have a righteousness of our own, it were wise to leave it and to have the righteousness of Jesus Christwrapped about us by an act of faith, that we might forever stand not only accepted, but, "accepted in the Beloved." Why, itis the very glory of the acceptance that the acceptance comes to us in Christ!

Thus have I dwelt as well as our short time allows upon the Propitiation. And now a word about-


The great objective, it appears, of the Redemption, and of the Gospel, is to show how God is just and yet the Justifier ofsuch as believe. And Paul very properly divides the effect of Christ's death into two parts. First, he says that that deathdeclared God's righteousness as to the sins that were past, through the forbearance of God.

Before our Savior came into the world, there had passed over the world some thousands of years. Our chronology talks aboutfour thousand years. I do not know that. I never did believe in the chronology which is appended by human judgment to ourBibles. It may be, or it may not be correct. However, it may be four thousand years. During that time a very large numberof sinners lived and a large number of sinners were saved. The transgressions of the Patriarchs, the transgressions of Israelunder the Law, were remitted and these persons were justified by faith, and accepted-but how? There had been no offering ofblood. True, the bullocks and the lambs were offered, but these could never put away sin. These were brought often, as ifto show that the work was not done. The text tells us that this was through the forbearance of God. In the foresight of theAtonement to be offered, God remitted-passed over, as the word is-the sins of

those of His children who lived before Christ was sent-before the penalty was endured by the Substitute! It is a gloriousthought, this Atonement of Christ acting forward, before it was finished, before it was presented-and multitudes enteringHeaven and enjoying happiness as Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the saints did, when, as yet not a drop of that bloodwhich saved them had been shed, not a pang of the agony which made up the Atonement had yet been endured! Now had God passedover all this sin, and no Atonement was, after all, presented, His justice would not have been declared. But our Savior ultimatelycoming and suffering, all was a declaration of the righteousness of God concerning the sins that were past. It was proventhat He had in His mind's eye this great Sacrifice when He passed by sin-that He had not unjustly remitted it without demandingthe penalty.

But then the Apostle gives us the other half of the great result of Christ's death! He says, "To declare, I say, at this time,His righteousness." That is, today-while we read this passage. "To declare, I say, at this time, His righteousness, that stillas for us who live after the Passion, He might be just and the Justifier of him who believes in Jesus." The atoning Sacrificeof Christ looks forward, and will look all down the ages till He comes!-

"His precious blood shall never lose its power

Till all the ransomed Church of God

Is saved to sin no more."

All the sins of His people, both past and present and to come, were laid on Christ-the whole mighty mass of all the sin ofall His people that ever have believed, or ever shall believe on Him-all were transferred to His head and laid on Him! AndHe suffered for them all. And He made an end of all their transgressions and brought in everlasting righteousness for themall! Here is the grand Truth of God, the grandest Truth of Inspiration!

Now I shall spend the last few minutes of our time in reminding you that I have not, Beloved, been beating about the bush,nor preaching to you a Doctrine that may or may not be true! I have not been holding up to you some angle of an eccentriccreed. Behold before you that which will be a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death! Not with words of man's wisdom,but in simplicity have I tried to tell you God's way of pardoning and justifying men. At your peril reject it! As you shallanswer for it before my Master's bar in that day when He shall summon you to give an account, oh, I beseech you by the livingGod-accept the Propitiation which God sets forth! Here are no harsh terms! Here are no rigorous conditions! There stand thewords, "Believe and live!" As it is written, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved: He that believes not shallbe damned." I have told you what this believing is. It is an unfeigned act of reliance upon the Incarnate God suffering inyour place. If you believe on Him, or trust Him, that is the indisputable evidence that He was a Substitute for you-that theload of your guilt is gone-that the stone that lay at the door is removed and you are saved! Go not about, I pray you, toseek another righteousness. All the righteousness you need, Christ presents you freely with! Do not say that you are guilty-itis true you are-but this mode of salvation was meant for the guilty! Object not because you feel unfit. All the fitness thatis needed is that you do but confess you are unfit and take freely what God presents you! No sin of yours shall ruin you ifyou believe, but no righteousness of yours shall save you if you will not believe!

This is God's way to save men. Will you set up another? Will you dare play Antichrist with Christ? He has declared His righteousnessin the Substitution of the Savior. Do you fail to see that righteousness, or seeing it, will you not admire it? Will you notadopt the plan which manifests it? Accept it, Sinner! It is all a Brother's heart and voice can say, accept it! Oh, if youknew the joy it would bring you, you would accept it now! I bear my witness personally. Burdened with sin, utterly lost, asmuch as you, I heard this gladsome news! I heard the message which said, "Look unto Me and be you saved, all you ends of theearth." I did look. I was as unfit as you-as undeserving as you-but the moment my eyes caught sight of the great Surety onthe ground of Gethsemane, bleeding for me, and on the Cross dying for me-I saw that if God had punished Him for me, He couldbe just, and yet never punish me! No, that if Christ were punished in my place, to punish me after Christ had died for mewould be injustice altogether! And tonight I hide myself beneath the wings of Jesus, the great Surety, and my only shelterin the storm-

"Rock of Ages cleft for me Let me hide myself in Thee."

In His pierced side my soul does find a shelter from the blast of Divine Wrath. It is peace now.'lt is joy now! It is salvationnowwith me! Why should not it be so with you? You did not come here to find Him. No, but God brought you here to find you!Is it not written, "I will call them a people who were not a people, and her beloved who were not be-

loved." "I am found," He says, "of them that sought Me not." Oh, may He be found by you tonight! You did not know the wayto be saved-you do know it now. Do not add to your guilt by knowing what you don't practice, but now, NOW trust Him! Oh, maythe Holy Spirit work faith in you. "'Tis but a little faith," says one. Little faith will save you, but Christ deserves greatfaith! Oh, He is a true Christ-He cannot lie. Oh, can you not lay hold of Him? Do you see but the hem of His garment? Is itbut a raveled thread that hangs out? Touch it, touch it with your finger and you shall be made whole! What if you cannot believeas you should? Believe as you can! Say with him of old, "Lord, I believe; help You my unbelief." Lift up the cry of the publican,"God be merciful-be propitiated'towards me, a sinner! Jesus, I will have You! Have me!"

The Lord grant it, and may many in this place be saved tonight, to the praise and the glory of His Grace wherein He has madeus accepted in the Beloved. Amen and amen!


Thus speaks the Lord Jesus-Verse 1. I am the true vine. Many questions have been raised about which is the true Church. TheSavior answers them, "I am the true vine." All who are united, really united, to the ever-living Savior are members of thetrue Church. Find them where you may, if they are one with Christ, they are His-they are parts of the Divine Vine-they belongto His Church.

1. And My Father is the vinedresser It is the Father's province, by the Holy Spirit and by the works of Providence, to seeto the prosperity of the Church. "My Father is the vinedresser." All preachers, all teachers are but, so to speak, the pruningtool in the hand of the great Vinedresser. "My Father is the vinedresser."

2. Every branch in Me that bears not fruit He takes away. It is a necessary part of vine dressing to remove the superfluousshoots. Too much wood making which does not lead to fruit bearing is but a waste of strength. And so in the Church there arethose that bear no fruit and, for a while, they appear to be fresh and green-and they who are the under vinedressers darenot take them away. But the Father does it-sometimes by removing them by death, at other times by permitting them openly toexpose their own character until they are amenable to the discipline of the Church and are removed.

2. Every branch in Me that bears not fruit, He takes away and every branch that bears fruit-What of that? "He purges it (prunesit) that it may bring forth more fruit." "I cannot understand," said one to me the other day, "why I am so very sorely afflicted.I have been searching myself to discover what sin can have been the cause of it." Now, Beloved, if that is your question,tonight, there may be a sin to be put away and, if so, God forbid that I should prevent your searching! But remember, on theother hand, affliction is no evidence of sin, but oftentimes of the very contrary! It is the fruit-bearing branch that getsthe pruning. You are so good a branch that God would have you better. You have such capacities for bearing fruit that He wantsto see those capacities developed. The lapidary does not place upon the wheel the stone that is not precious, but that whichis, and so your affliction is no mark, therefore, of your lack of Grace, but of your having it! "Every branch that bears fruit,He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit."

3. Now you arepruned. For so it should be.

3. Through the Word which I have spoken unto you. While Christ was with His disciples, He kept His vine continually prunedby the Word which He spoke. That word cut off the non-fruit-bearing branches, for we read that after that saying there weresome that went back and walked no more with Him, for they said, "'This is a hard saying; who can bear it?" That was the Wordof God pruning off the useless branches! And there were others who were grieved by His Words. These were good people, andit did them good. It was a godly sorrow that led to bringing forth fruits meet for repentance.

4. Abide in Me and I in you. There is the great canon of the Christian life! Hold fast to Christ. Not only live with Him,but live in Him. "Abide in Me." And oh, let Jesus not be merely your companion now and then, on holy occasions, but let Himabide in you! Make your heart a temple-let Him find His sweetest rest-His home, in you!

4. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; neither can you, except you abide in Me. It iskeeping in Christ, then, that is the vital matter! There is the root of the whole business, to be one with Jesus by vitalunion, deriving the sap of our life entirely from Him!

5. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in Me, and I in Him, the same brings forth much fruit. This doubleabiding gives a double harvest! Christ in Me, and I in Christ-I must be fruitful. Oh, Beloved, look well to this. I am afraidwe get at a distance from Christ. There is more danger of this in old professors than there is in young beginners. The youngbeginner is often warm of heart. The very novelty of the thing keeps him near his Master, but oh, take care of slackening!You that have been pilgrims a long time, take care of slackening! It is so easy to grow cold in this cold world-and it isso hard to maintain the holy spiritual fervor, without which there is no spiritual health.

5. He that abides in Me, and I in Him, the same brings forth much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing. Not "you willdo less," or, "you will do least," but you can do nothing-nothing good, nothing spiritual, nothing acceptable, if severedfrom Jesus!

6. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered: and men gather them, and cast them into the fire,and they are burned. And oh, how many come to this end! They seemed to be all that the fruit-bearing branches are, but theywere never saved souls, for saved souls always bring forth fruits of righteousness! Their salvation is proved by their fruitfulness.But though these appeared to be all that the others were, after a while they were discovered and cast into the fire and burned.

7. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you. My very words. You must treasure up Christ's teaching. You must obey Hisprecepts. If you do this, "You shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you." In this Chapter we are taught onceor twice that the power of prayer depends very much upon the closeness of our communion with Christ- and the completenessof our obedience to Him. We are saved by faith in the Redeemer, but the joy of salvation, the very dignity and glory of it,will only come to those men and women who jealously watch themselves, and zealously obey their Lord and Master.

8. 9. Herein is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, sohave I loved you. What a glorious word! I scarcely know a text more deep, more full than this. After the same manner as Godthe Father loves the Son-after that same sort does the Son love us! Hear the words again, "As the Father has loved Me, sohave I loved you; continue you in My love." He confirms us in it and bids us live in the enjoyment of


10. If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love. You shall know it. You shall live in it-it shall be the air youbreathe.

10, 11. Even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you that My joymight remain in you. Christ would have His people happy-happy, however, with a holy joy which is not, therefore, a dim andsecond-rate joy. It is the very joy of Christ God's people are to enjoy!

11-16. That My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is My commandment, That you love one another,as Ihave loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends ifyou do whatever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knows not what his master is doing: butIhave called you friends; for all things that Ihave heard of My Father, Ihave made known unto you. You have not chosen Me,but Ihave chosen you, and ordainedyou, that you shouldgo and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whateveryou shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you. A second time He puts this remarkable prevalence of prayerside by side with walking in the Lord's commandments! Oh, you that miss success in your life and work, may you not trace yourfailure to your forgetfulness of God? Shall God do your will, if you will not do His? Shall He wait on you, if you will notwait on Him? Will He not (must you not expect that He will) walk contrary to you if you walk contrary to Him? May His Spiritmake you pure in life, for then shall you be successful at the Mercy Seat!

17. These things I command you, that you love one another. Jesus, send us this spirit of love, we beseech you!