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of Him who is the Lord our righteousness. Thus it is that they who were sinners condemned already live by faith. They walk with God. They converse with Him. His presence is with them. All through the wilderness His faith is their strength and stay. It is their breast-plate—their shield—the victory by which they overcome the world, the flesh and the Devil. By it they walk as pilgrims and strangers and absent from their Lord and far from their Father's house. By it they stand in the grace and favor of God, purify their hearts, fight manfully against all sin and labor earnestly in every good word and work. By its powers they are kept until their appointed change comes. And by it they are supported and comforted, when passing through the dark valley of the shadow of death.
Such and so great is that faith which is not our own, nor from ourselves, nor of our own creating. It is of the operation of God. It is the gift of God—the faith of God's elect.
There is another blessing pertaining to life and godliness of which God the Father is the ultimate source and that is our sanctification. As the Lord our God is holy so also must we be holy and so also are all whom he calls and justifies sanctified and made the people of his holiness. They eschew evil. They do good. The old man is sanctified and the new quickened so that being dead unto sin they are made alive unto holiness. In thus drawing himself, and away from all that is in the world that is not of the Father, God restrains us by the principle of fear and allures us by the principle of love. By the fear of the Lord we depart from evil. By it we are humbled, kept from pride, self-confidence and high-mindedness and led to walk in reverence before Him. This is the very beginning of wisdom. In this lies our strength and confidence, our deliverance from all other fear, our watchfulness, circumspection and prayer. Through this cometh also riches and glory and life. The fear of the Lord is called the believer's treasure, by it he has communion with God. They experience His goodness. For the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him and trust in his mercy. He delighteth in them and will fulfill the desire of their hearts.
But the end of the commandment is love flowing from a pure heart, a good conscience and faith unfeigned. Love to God and to our neighbour is therefore the fulfilling of the law. And it is from God we receive grace to love Him and his law. He circumcises our heart that we may love Him. It is when His love is shed abroad in our hearts we love Him who first
loved us and we are enabled to keep ourselves in the love of God. For God is love and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in Him.
Having implanted in the believing heart that love which is the mightiest impulse to all willing and cheerful obedience, God of his abundant mercy enkindles within the soul a living hope by which it is saved in all its time of danger and distress. This hope is as an anchor within the veil beyond the reach of windy storm or tempest. Thither our forerunner has entered who is able to save to the uttermost, and who has this deep hope in the inheritance which is reserved for us in heaven.
And as faith gives substance to what is yet only promised, and an assured certainty to what is as yet invisible, and hope ever reacheth forth unto the things that are before looking not at the things which are seen and temporal, so patience quieteth all present discontent. We possess our souls in patience. We do not make haste, are not over anxious. We know that he who shall come, will come—that he is faithful who has promised and cannot deny himself. Though he tarry therefore and we are troubled on every side yet me wait. We are growing in hope because the Father hath loved us and hath given us everlasting consolation. Yea, He who is the God of hope fills us with all joy and peace in believing in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Thus it is by the grace of God in which we are permitted to participate and have fellowship, we are enabled by faith to believe all things—by love to cleave to Him—by obedience in all things—and by hope to realize the fulfillment of all things, and thus does God seal us unto the day of redemption. Having effectually called, justified and sanctified us by his unspeakable grace He gives us assurance that we shall never be forsaken by Him. The seed implanted in our souls is immortal and can never die. It remaineth in us and endureth for ever. Christ also our advocate makes intercession for us that our faith fail not-gives us repentance and godly sorrow. We are thus renewed by repentance early, renewed by faith and kept by the power of God unto salvation.
The reality and blessedness of this communion with the Father is set forth in Scripture by many sweet and precious similitudes by which God would have us solace, strengthen and encourage our hearts. It is walking with God. It is dwelling
. with Him. He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit. It is following Him. It is being ever near and present with God and having God with us as He was with Joseph in Egypt, with Enoch, with Noah, with Daniel in the Lion's Den. It is to have God as our rock of defence, our Sun and shield, our strong tower to which we may continually resort and find God a very present help in every time of need.
The way by which this communion with God is maintained is prayer in which we converse with Him, pour out our complaints as children into the bosom of a father and receive from Him grace and mercy according to our need. To this affectionate and confiding intercourse God calls us by His many commands and frequent instructions, and His gracious assurancesand by the inward monitions of the Holy Spirit helping our infirmities and pleading in us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
*“The fruits that come unto us by this holy exercise are more than can be told; there being infinite occasions, from day to day, of making request to the Lord, and filling our mouths with new songs of praise for our salvation."
In these and many such ways are believers made partakers of the divine, changed into the divine image from glory to glory, and have the spirit of adoption shed abroad in their hearts by which they cry Abba Father.
But the believer has also communion with our Lord Jesus Christ who as God manifested in flesh is the only Mediator between the Father and us. He is the way, the truth and the life, so that no man cometh to the Father but by Him. By God we are therefore called unto the communion of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. From the bosom of the Father, Christ came forth as our prophet to reveal unto us all God's will, all truth necessary to be believed and all precept essential to be obeyed. This He does by those Scriptures which He caused to be written for our instruction, by the ministry which He instituted, by the sacraments which He ordained, by the command, grace, and divine power with which He accompanied them, making even the dead to hear his voice and live.
As our priest Christ offered up a sacrifice to make reconciliation for our sins. He makes intercession as our advocate with the Father. And by His mighty power He worketh in our hearts, making us priests unto God and blessing us with all spiritual blessings in Him. In all these respects we are made
Ainsworth, p. 117.
partakers of His grace. He reconciles us unto God by His death, having obtained eternal redemption for us. He having entered into the heavens to appear in the sight of God for us, still makes request for us to God and presents us holy and justified clothed in His apostles' righteousness. And as in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead, He is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance and remission of sins. He communicates all things pertaining to life and godliness. These He merited by sacrifice, obtains by intercession and imparts by His own sovereign and divine gift.
Applying Christ as thus set forth to us in the Scriptures to ourselves by faith, His sufferings, death and burial, His obedience and righteousness, His resurrection and glorious victory over sin, Satan, death and hell are ours so that we by the blood of Jesus are made priests unto God, an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifice acceptable unto God by Jesus Christ. Through Him we are emboldened to enter through the veil unto the holy place by the new and living way which He hath consecrated for us. Yea, boldly may we go unto the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. There we are permitted to present unto His Father and ours, the one offering of His sacrifice upon the cross that by His stripes we may be healed, that by His death we may be restored to life, that by His body we may be sanctified, that upon the head of this Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, we may lay the burden of our iniquities, and that by His curse we may be made the heirs of blessing and of all the riches of God's grace. Thus also we offer up unto God as our reasonable service our bodies, souls and spirits as a living sacrifice. This honor, which Christ confers by His word and Spirit, hath all the saints. They are incorporated into Him, have communion with Him in all the means of His grace. Looking by the eye of faith through these visible, earthly elements, seeing and feeding upon Christ, having our life by Him, dwelling in Him, and He in us united, we shall be raised up at the last day unto life eternal, then to be presented in blessedness before God His Father.
But there is still another aspect in which we participate in the rich grace of Christ our Saviour. For not only as our Prophet does He shew us our sin and wretchedness, and our righteousness and happiness, and not only as our Priest and Sacrifice does He impart to us the gift of sanctity and of nearness unto God, but as our King He upholds, He upholds and preserves us in this holy and happy estate against all His and our enemies by that mighty power and sovereignty whereby He is able to subdue all things unto himself. In this aspect of His divine and mediatorial character Christ is called the Messiah, the Governor, the Captain, the Ruler, Michael the great Prince, Potentate, the Mighty One, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the head over all things to his church, unto whom is given all power in heaven and in earth and everlasting communion, and honor, and a kingdom is within us, upheld by the sceptre of His word, by the almighty working of the Spirit. For His people Christ overcame the world, the flesh and the Devil, and is now able to preserve the souls of his saints and to save to the uttermost, being able to keep that which is committed unto Him against the day of judgment.
And as Christ confers upon His people the honor and privilege of becoming themselves priests unto God, so does He make them kings to reign with Him upon the earth, that, as He sitteth and ruleth upon His throne so they, being made kings and priests unto God, may have power given to them to subdue their own sins and corruptions, to keep themselves unspotted from the world, obtain victory over it, are freed from its bondage and servitude and enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God, Nor is this all. Through our Lord Jesus Christ they resist the devil, overcome him by the blood of the lamb, and the word of their testimony. Being begotten of God they keep themselves so that that wicked one fleeth from them and toucheth them not. And thus having reigned with Christ on earth, by faith in Him and strength imparted by Him, they shall hereafter judge the world and even the angels and shall reign with Him in glory forevermore.
Thus does Christ give strength and power to his people, yea, even to the faint and feeble. He is the head and they the members of His body receiving from Him life, motion, activity and all good things. He is the vine and they the branches living upon his sap and fatness. He is the husband and they joined to the Lord and one spirit with Him, married to him by faith, cherished and nourished by Him, are members of His body, His flesh and His bones.
*"Whatever righteousness and holiness was in Christ manifested in the flesh, either by nature or by action, the same is made ours by grace and imputation. On the contrary, whatsoever sin and unrighteousness is in us by nature or action, the
*Ainsworth, p. 136.