For this God is our God forever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death. Psalm 47:14
THE natural man is a god to himself. Yes, he has his gods many. Whether it be self-righteousness, self-gratification, the world, wealth, family, in whatever form it appears, “other lords have dominion over him,” to the exclusion of the one true and living God. The nature of the human mind is such, that it must love and worship some object supremely. In his state of innocence, Jehovah was the one and supreme object of the creature’s love and adoration. Seduced from that state of simple and supreme affection by the tempter’s promise, that if they ate of the fruit, forbidden of God, “they should be as gods,” in one moment, they threw off their allegiance to Jehovah; renounced Him as the object of their supreme love, the center of their holiest affections, and became gods to themselves.
The temple was ruined, the altar was thrown down, the pure flame was extinguished; God departed, and “other lords” entered and took possession of the soul. But what a change does grace produce! It repairs the temple, rebuilds the altar, rekindles the flame, and brings God back to man! God in Christ is now the supreme object of his love, his adoration, and his worship. The idol self has been cast down, self-righteousness renounced, self-exaltation crucified. One stronger than it has entered, cast out the usurper, and, “creating all things new,” has resumed His rightful supremacy. The affections, released from their false deity, and renewed by the Spirit, now turn to, and take up their rest in, God. God in Christ! how glorious does He now appear! Never did the soul see in Him such beauty, such excellence, such blessedness as it now sees. All other glory fades and dies before the surpassing glory of His character, His attributes, His government, and His law.
God in Christ is viewed as reconciled now; enmity ceases; hatred has passed away; opposition grounds its weapons; hard thoughts of His law, and treason thoughts of His government, subside; love kindles in the soul, and in one precious Christ, the one Mediator, God and the sinner meet, embrace, and blend. Truly they become one. God says, “You are mine.” The soul responds, “You are my God. Other lords have had dominion over me, but henceforth You only will I serve, You only will I love. My soul follows hard after You; Your right hand upholds me.”
God in Christ is his Father now. “I will arise and go unto my Father,” is the first motion of a renewed soul. “Father, I have sinned against You,” is the first confession rising from the broken heart. The Father hastens to meet and embrace his child, and clasping him to his bosom exclaims, “This my son was dead, and is alive again.” Reconciled, he now looks up to Him truly as his father. “You shall call me My Father; and shall not turn away from me.” Does God speak? it is the voice of a Father he hears. Does God chasten and rebuke? it is from his Father he feels. Are his hopes disappointed, his plans crossed, his cisterns broken, his gourds withered? “My Father has done it all,” he exclaims. Blessed spirit of adoption! sweet pledge and evidence are you of the new creature.
God in Christ is now the object of confidence and trust. Trust in a reconciled God and Father was no mark and portion of his unrenewed state. It was then trust in self, in its imagined wisdom and strength and goodness. It was then trust in the arm of flesh, in second causes. Now the soul trusts in God; trusts him at all times and under all circumstances; trusts Him in the darkest hour, under the gloomiest dispensation; trusts Him when His providences look dark and lowering, and God seems to hide Himself; yes, trusts Him “though he slay.” Oh, how safe he feels in God’s hands and under His government now! His soul, his body, his family, his business, his cares, are completely surrendered, and God is all in all.
Reader, this is to be born again.