September 22: The Blood Of The New Covenant

“This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28

The atoning blood of Christ possesses a pardoning efficacy. Through this blood, God, the holy God—the God against whom you have sinned, and whose wrath you justly dread, can pardon all your sins, blot out all your transgressions, and take from you the terror of a guilty conscience.

Oh what news is this! Do you doubt it? We know it is an amazing fact, that God should pardon sin, and that He should pardon it, too, through the blood of His dear Son, yet take His own word as a full confirmation of this stupendous fact, and doubt no more—”The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Oh yes—blessed declaration! it cleanses us from all sin—”all manner of sin.” We ask not how heavy the weight of guilt that rests upon you; we ask not how wide the territory over which your sins have extended; we inquire not how many their number, or how aggravated their nature, or how deep their dye; we meet you, just as you are, with God’s own declaration, “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin.”

Many there are who can testify to this truth. “Such were some of you,” says the apostle, when writing to the Corinthian converts, who had been fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners; “such were some of you, but you are washed.” In what had they washed?—where were they cleansed? They washed in the “fountain opened to the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and uncleanness.”

To this fountain they came, guilty, vile, black as they were, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleansed them from all sin. Mourning soul, look up—the fountain yet is open, and open too for you. Satan will seek to close it—unbelief will seek to close it—yet it is ever running, ever overflowing, ever free. Thousands have plunged in it, and emerged washed, sanctified, and saved.

To this fountain David, and Manasseh, and Saul, and Peter, and Mary Magdalene, and the dying thief, and millions more, came, washed, and were saved; and yet it has lost nothing of its sin-pardoning, sin-cleansing efficacy—sovereign and free as ever! Oh say not that you are too vile, say not that you are too unworthy! You may stand afar from its brink, looking at your unfitness, looking at your poverty, but listen while we declare that, led as you have been by the Holy Spirit to feel your vileness, for just such this precious blood was shed, this costly fountain was opened.

This “blood of the new testament” is peace-speaking blood. It not only procured peace, but when applied by the Holy Spirit to the conscience, it produces peace—it gives peace to the soul. It imparts a sense of reconciliation: it removes all slavish fear of God, all dread of condemnation, and enables the soul to look up to God, not as “a consuming fire,” but as a reconciled God—a God in covenant.

Precious peace-speaking blood, flowing from the “Prince of Peace!” Applied to your heart, penitent reader, riven asunder as it may be with godly sorrow, it shall be as a balm to the wound. Sprinkled on your conscience, burdened as it is with a sense of guilt, you shall have “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

It is through simply believing that the blood of Christ thus seals pardon and peace upon the conscience. Do not forget this. “Only believe,” is all that is required; and this faith is the free gift of God. And what is faith? “It is looking unto Jesus;” it is simply going out of yourself, and taking up your rest in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ—this is faith. Christ has said, that “He saves to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him;” that He died for sinners, and that He saves sinners as sinners: the Holy Spirit working faith in the heart, lifting the eye off the wound, and fixing it on the Lamb of God, pardon and peace flow like a river in the soul.

Oh, stay not then from the gospel-feast, because you are poor, penniless, and unworthy. See the provision, how full! see the invitation, how free! see the guests—the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind! Come then to Jesus just as you are. We stake our all on the assertion, that He will welcome you, that He will save you.

There is too much efficacy in His blood, too much compassion in His heart for poor sinners, to reject you, suing at His feet for mercy. Then look up, believer, and you shall be saved; and all heaven will resound with hallelujahs over a sinner saved by grace!

May 12: Firm & Unshaken

“In whom also, after that you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” Ephesians 1:13

Although it is most true that the moment a sinner believes in Jesus he becomes actually an “heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ,” and enters into the family as an adopted child, yet the clear and undoubted sense of this vast mercy may not be sealed upon his heart until after years. He may long have walked without the sweet sense of God’s adopting love in his heart, and the frame of his spirit, and the language of his soul in prayer, has been more that of the “son of the bond-woman” than the “son of the free-woman;”he has known but little of the “free spirit,”- the spirit of an adopted child- and he has seldom gone to God as a kind, loving, tender, and faithful father.

But now the Divine Sealer- the eternal Spirit of God- enters afresh, and impresses deeply upon his soul the unutterably sweet and abiding sense of his adoption. Oh, what an impression is then left upon his heart, when all his legal fears are calmed- when all his slavish moanings are hushed, all his bondage spirit is gone- and when, under the drawings of filial love, he approaches the throne of grace, and cries, “My Father!” and his Father responds, “My child! You shall call me, My Father; and shall not turn away from me!”

The sealing of the Spirit does not always imply a rejoicing frame. It is not necessarily accompanied by great spiritual joy. While we cannot forget that it is the believer’s privilege to be “always rejoicing,” “rejoicing evermore,” and that a state of spiritual joy is a holy as it is a happy state, yet we cannot suppose that the “sealed” are always in possession of this “fruit of the Spirit.”

It is perhaps more a state of rest in God- a state of holy quietude and peace, which, in many cases, seldom rises to that of joy. There is an unclouded hope, a firm and unshaken resting on the finished work, a humble reliance on the stability of the covenant and the immutability of God’s love, which is never moved even when there is no sensible enjoyment, and when comfort seems to die. It is a state corresponding to that which David thus expresses- “Although my house do not be so with God; yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although He make it not to grow.”

Perhaps more akin to Job’s frame of soul when he exclaimed, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” Sensible comforts may be withdrawn, joy maybe absent- the Sun of Righteousness casting but a faint twilight over the soul- and yet, such is the power of faith grasping the cross of Christ- such the firm resting of the soul upon the stability of the covenant- upon, what God is, and upon what He has promised- that, without one note of joy, or one ray of light, the believer can yet say, “I know in whom I have believed.”

And why, we ask, this strong and vigorous reliance?- why this buoying up of the soul in the absence of sensible comfort? We reply, because that soul has attained unto the sealing of the Spirit. This forms the great secret.

August 7

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives give I unto you.” John 14:27

Peace also is a fruit of spiritual-mindedness. What peace of conscience does that individual possess whose mind is stayed upon spiritual things! It is as much the reward as it is the effect of his cultivated heavenliness. The existence of this precious blessing, however, supposes the exposure of the spiritual mind to much that has a tendency to ruffle and disturb its equanimity and repose. The Christian is far from being entirely exempt from those chafings and disquietudes which seem inseparable from human life. To the brooding anxieties arising from external things- life’s vicissitudes, mutations, and disappointments; there are added, what are peculiar to the child of God, the internal things that distract- the cloudings of guilt, the agitations of doubt, the corrodings of fear, the mourning of penitence, the discipline of love.

But through all this there flows a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God. It is the peace of the heavenly mind, the peace which Jesus procured, which God imparts, and which the Holy Spirit seals. A heavenly mind soars above a poor dying world, living not upon a creature’s love or smile- casting its daily need upon the heart of a kind Providence- anxious for nothing, but with supplication and thanksgiving making known its requests unto God- indifferent to the turmoil, vexations, and chequered scenes of worldly life, and living in simple faith and holy pleasing on Christ. Thus detached from earth, and moving heavenwards by the attractions of its placid coast, it realizes a peace which passes all understanding.

And if this be the present of the heavenly mind, what will be the future of the mind in heaven? Heaven is the abode of perfect peace. There are no cloudings of guilt, no tossings of grief, no agitations of fear, no corrodings of anxiety there. It is the peace of perfect purity- it is the repose of complete satisfaction. It is not so much the entire absence of all sorrow, as it is the actual presence of all holiness, that constitutes the charm and the bliss of future glory.

The season of sorrow is frequently converted into that of secret joy- Christ making our very griefs to sing. But the occasion of sin is always that of bitter grief; our backslidings often, like scorpions, entwined around our hearts. Were there even- as most assuredly there will not be- sadness in heaven, there might still be the accompaniment of happiness; but were there sin in heaven- the shadow of a shade of guilt- it would becloud and embitter all. Thus, then, as heaven is the abode of perfect peace, he who on earth has his conversation most in heaven approximates in his feelings the nearest to the heavenly state. Oh that our hearts were more yielding to the sweet, holy, and powerful attractions of the heavenly world! Then would our conversation be more in heaven.