June 21: Press In Humble Faith

“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Romans 8:33

WHO in heaven; who on earth; who in hell? God will not; sin cannot; Satan dare not. Who? If there be in this wide universe an accuser of those whom God has justified, let him appear. There is none! Every mouth is closed.

“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” If there remain a sin unpardoned, a stain uneffaced, a precept unkept, by the Mediator of His Church, let it appear. But there is none! The work of Christ is honorable and glorious. It is a finished work. And on the basis of this complete atonement, God, while He remains just, is the justifier of him that believes.

Oh, embrace this truth, you who, in bitterness of soul, are self-accused and self-condemned before God! Satan could accuse, and the world could accuse, and the saints could accuse, but more severe and true than all, is the self-accusation which lays your mouth in the dust, in the deepest, lowliest contrition. Yet, as a poor sinner, looking to Jesus, resting in Jesus, accepted in Jesus; who shall lay anything legally to our charge, since it is God—the God against whom you have sinned—who Himself becomes your Justifier? May you not, with all lowliness, yet with all holy boldness, challenge every foe, in the prophetic words of Christ Himself-“He is near that justifies me: who will contend with me?”

This truth is an elevating, because a deeply sanctifying one. It exalts the principles, and these, in their turn, exalt the practice of the Christian. The thought that it is God who justifies us at an expense to Himself so vast, by a sacrifice to Himself so precious, surely is sufficiently powerful to give the greatest intensity to our pantings, and fervency to our prayers, for conformity to the Divine image. Deep sorrows, and sore trials, and fiery temptations we may have, and must have, if we ever enter the kingdom; but, what is sorrow, what is trial, what is temptation, if they work but in us the fruits of righteousness, fit us more perfectly for heaven, and waft us nearer to our eternal home?

Press, in humble faith, this precious truth to your heart; for God has forgiven all, and has cancelled all, and has forgotten all, and is your God forever and ever. “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, says the Lord.”

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November 5: Passing From Death To Life

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24

Let us consider what this condition does not imply. It does not include deliverance from the indwelling of sin, nor exemption from Divine correction, nor the absence of self-accusation; still less does it suppose, that there is nothing for which the believer deserves to die. All this exists where yet no condemnation exists. The battle with indwelling evil is still waged, the loving chastisement of a Father is still experienced, the self-condemnation is still felt, and daily in the holiest life there is still transpiring that which, were God strict to mark iniquities, merits and would receive eternal woe; yet the declaration stands untouched and unimpeached—”No condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”

The freedom of the believer is just what it is declared to be—entire exemption from condemnation. From all which that word of significant and solemn import implies he is, by his relation to Christ, delivered. Sin does not condemn him, the law does not condemn him, the curse does not condemn him, hell does not condemn him, God does not condemn him. He is under no power from these, beneath whose accumulated and tremendous woe all others wither.

The pardon of sin necessarily includes the negation of its condemnatory power. There being no sin legally alleged, there can be no condemnation justly pronounced. Now, by the sacrifice of Christ, all the sins of the church are entirely put away. He, the sinless Lamb of God, took them up and bore them away into a land of oblivion, where even the Divine mind fails to recall them. “How forcible are right words!” Listen to those which declare this wondrous fact. “I, even I, am He that blots out your transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember your sins.” “You have cast all my sins behind Your back.” “Having forgiven you all trespasses.” Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”

The revoking of the sentence of the law must equally annihilate its condemnatory force. The obedience and death of Christ met the claims of that law, both in its preceptive and punitive character. A single declaration of God’s word throws a flood of light upon this truth: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” The sentence of the law thus falling upon Surety, who was “made under the law, that He might redeem those who were under the law,” there can be no condemnation from it to those who have taken shelter in Him. Thus, then, it is evident that both sin and the law are utterly powerless to condemn a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The perfection of Christ’s satisfaction supplies the meritorious and procuring cause of our condemnation. No legal obedience—no personal merit or worthiness of the sinner whatever—is taken into the account of His discharge. This exalted position can only be reached by an expedient that harmonizes with the attributes of God, and thus upholds, in undimmed luster, the majesty and honor of the Divine government. God will pardon sin, and justify the sinner, but it must be by a process supremely glorifying to Himself.

How, then, could a creature-satisfaction, the most perfect that man, or the most peerless that angel could offer, secure this result? Impossible! But the case, strange and difficult though it is, is met, fully, adequately met, by the satisfaction of Jesus. The Son of God became the Son of man. He presents Himself to the Father in the character of the church’s substitute. The Father, beholding in Him the Divinity that supplies the merit, and the humanity that yields the obedience and endures the suffering, accepts the Savior, and acquits the sinner.

Hence the freedom of the believer from condemnation: “There is, therefore, now no condemnation.” It is the existence of a present condition. It is the enjoyment of a present immunity. It is the simple belief of this fact that brings instant peace to the bosom. A present discharge from condemnation must produce a present joy. Christian! there is now no condemnation for you. Be yours, then, a present and a full joy.

September 11: No Longer Condemned

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

HOW strong the consolation flowing from this truth to the believer in Jesus! No condemnation is the ground of all comfort to the suffering Christian. What a mighty breakwater is this condition to the rolling surge of sorrow, which else might flow in upon and immerse the soul!

Let it be your aim to improve it on every occasion of suffering and trial. God may afflict, but He will never condemn you. Chastisements are not judgments; afflictions are not condemnations. Sickness, bereavement, and low estate, based upon a condition of non-condemnation, you can welcome and patiently bear, since they are not the forecastings of a coming storm, but the distillings of a mercy-cloud sailing athwart the azure sky of a soul in Christ.

The fiery trials which purify our faith have not a spark in them of that “unquenchable fire” that will consume the condemned hereafter. Oh, what are crosses and the discomforts of this present world, if at last we are kept out of hell! and oh, what are the riches, and honors, and comforts of this life, if at last we are shut out of heaven!

At the bottom of that cup of sinful pleasure which sparkles in the worldling’s hand, and which with such zest and glee he quaffs, there lies eternal condemnation; the death-worm feeds at the root of all his good. But at the bottom of this cup of sorrow, now trembling and dark in the hand of the suffering Christian, bitter and forbidding as it is, there is no condemnation; eternal glory is at the root of all his evil. And in this will you not rejoice? It is not only your holy duty, but it is your high privilege to rejoice.

Your whole life not only may be, but ought to be, a sweetly-tuned psalm, a continual anthem of thanksgiving and praise, pouring forth its swelling notes to the God of your salvation; since beyond the cloudy scene of your present pilgrimage there unveils the light and bliss of celestial glory, on whose portal you read as you pass within—No Condemnation.

Unless, then, you either distrust or disparage this, your joyous condition and blessed hope, you must, in the gloomiest hour, and from the innermost depths of your soul, exultingly exclaim—”He is near that justifies me; who will contend with me?

Let us stand together. Who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord God will help me! who is he that shall condemn me?”

December 9

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1, 2

WHAT a ground of rejoicing have the saints of God! You may see within and around you—in your soul, in your family, and your circumstances—much that saddens, and wounds, and discourages you; but behold the truth which more than counterbalances it all—your freedom from condemnation. What if you are poor—you are not condemned. What if you are afflicted—you are not condemned! What if you are tempted—you are not condemned! What if you are assailed and judged by others, you yet are not forsaken and condemned by God; and ought you not then to rejoice? Go to the condemned cell, and assure the criminal awaiting his execution that you bear from his sovereign a pardon; and what, though he emerge from his imprisonment and his manacles to battle with poverty, with sorrow, and contempt, will he murmur and repine, that in the redemption of his forfeited life there is no clause that exempts him from the ills to which that life is linked? No! life to him is so sweet and precious a thing, that though you return it trammeled with want, and beclouded with shame, you have yet conferred upon him a boon which creates sunshine all within and around him. And why should not we “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,” for whom, “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” there is now no condemnation? Christ has “redeemed our life from destruction;” and although it is “through much tribulation we are to enter the kingdom,” yet shall we not quicken our pace to that kingdom, rejoicing as we go, that “there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”? “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

Be earnest and diligent in making sure to yourself your discharge from the sentence and penalty of the law. Sue out the great fact in the Lord’s own court by fervent prayer and simple faith. Your Surety has cancelled your debt, and purchased your exemption from death. Avail yourself of the comfort and the stimulus of the blessing. You may be certain, yes, quite certain, of its truth. No process is more easy. It is but to look from off yourself to Christ, and to believe with all your heart that He came into the world to save sinners, and assurance is yours. The order is—“We believe, and are sure.” Oh, do not leave this matter to a bare peradventure. Make sure of your union with Christ, and you may be sure of no condemnation from Christ.