How sacredly, comfortingly the children of God are given to know the things of Christ. The Holy Ghost glorifies our precious Lord Jesus Christ, and guides us into all truth (John 10:13-15). As we journey along in the house of our pilgrimage, such things we are led into, and such things are wrought in us by the Comforter that we know God is true, and in the sweet confidence of our faith in Christ Jesus we can join with the apostle John and say: “We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). We are persuaded in our hearts that Jehovah’s everlasting covenant of grace is ordered in all things and sure; and, by the power of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts, while tasting the blessedness of the covenant, our hearts are saying, “This is all my salvation; and all my desire” (2 Sam. 23:5.) God’s promises are sure to all the seed. They are immutable, exceeding great, and precious, they are “yea,” and “amen” in Christ Jesus, and unto the glory of God by us. Oh, the blessedness of the times, when we are in sweet repose in the Lord our God, and the feet of our faith are set, rooted and grounded upon the “immutability of His counsel.’’ Surely what He hath promised He is able also to perform.
Well, quite recently, I was thinking of the abundant assurances given the people of God in the scriptures of the eternal inheritance of immortal glory to which they are predestined (Eph. 1 :11), and how the elect and ransomed of the Lord are by the gracious ministrations of the Spirit in lovely hope of this inheritance, incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you (saith the apostle) who are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5). And also, I was musing upon the resurrection of the saints at the last day, and that in the day of Christ our bodies, which are the members of Christ (1 Cor. 6:15), shall be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye, and fashioned like unto the glorious body of the risen and ascended body of our Lord Jesus Christ. “For this incorruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:51-55). We shall be glorified with our precious and glorified Head, and Husband and Savior, our precious Lord Jesus Christ. When Christ, who is our life shall appear, then we shall also appear with Him in glory. We shall be like Him, and see him as He is. We are predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son of God, and we shall therefore bear the image of the heavenly One (Col. 3:4; 1 John 3:2; Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49). But as I was in comfortable contemplations of eternal glory that shall be revealed in us, I found thoughts arising, insinuations invading, plaguing my soul that this hope of the resurrection, of the everlasting blessedness of heaven laid up for the redeemed, was all, perhaps, a fiction, that I was founding my hopes upon idle tales. What did I know of the hereafter, of heaven, of eternal blessedness, of the resurrection of our mortal bodies to immortality and glory, and of Christ descending from heaven, at the last trump, with the voice of the archangel and of the redeemed and glorified saints being caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and so, in immortal blessedness being forever with the Lord?
I mention again, I found thoughts roving abroad within me that, peradventure, all this hope, these expectations, these unseen glories were uncertain, that such a portion, such an inheritance was altogether too glorious for a vile sinner to inherit, that perchance it was all a fairy story, a pleasing delusion. But the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, came to my relief by bringing to my remembrance so many verities, the blessedness of Christ’s gospel, that my soul has experienced and which undeniably have been fulfilled in me, that I said as I pondered over the things of Christ that I have handled and tasted and felt, “These are not vanities, but divine realities!” Thus far, what I have experienced has been what is declared and promised in the everlasting gospel. Oh, I can indeed declare that the things of Christ are not cunningly devised fables! Then, I began to reckon, if this, in Christ’s gospel be true, if that, by heart felt experience, I know is so; if forgiveness of sins, if justification, if access unto the Father by the Mediator and High Priest Jesus Christ our Lord, has such sacred consoling blessedness to me, a poor vile sinner; if, with the apostle John, I have the right, the power to say (and I feel I have) “Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). If so many things pertaining to our pilgrimage I have proved to be portrayed, testified of, promised in the scriptures; if they have all come to pass, and have been fulfilled unto and in me; then will all matter that pertains unto eternity be found to be only a false vision? Can one part be true and another be a lie? Are all the things pertaining to our sojourn and our pilgrimage while in the world time? and that which relates to our expected end, our destination, our eternal blessedness unreliable? I said within me, It cannot be! If one part is true (which I verily know is so), then all is true. And I felt such thrill of sacred delight in my heart in the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is, saith the apostle Paul, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27). Contemplate our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They were found desiring a better country, and in faith they were journeying there-unto. Their pilgrimage was in expectation of everlasting rest, of immortal bliss, to find an eternal abode in the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Was this all vain? Would their expectation be cut off, would all prove to be a falsehood? Oh no! Our God did not mock them. He revealed to them the existence of the heavenly country and wrought in them desires after and to seek for the City that Jehovah had prepared for them. They believed in the Lord, and confessed themselves strangers and pilgrims upon the earth. Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He hath prepared for them a city (Heb. 11:10-16). I felt in my heart to be clinging to Jesus. His precious, cleansing blood is all my plea, and His obedience unto death, His righteousness is my beauty, my glorious dress. All my acceptance is in the Beloved, and sometimes, I am singing,
“My beloved Intercessor
Stands before the throne of God,
Pleading for a vile transgressor,
His atoning, precious blood.
Peace and pardon flow from thee.”
Seeing then, that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Let us, beloved of God, hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Surely the God of our hope hath not deceived us in filling us with all joy and peace in believing that there is a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory awaiting us in the heavens and our earnests, our foretastes thereof, are not a mockery.
Did not Christ, our dear Redeemer say, “Let not your hearts be troubled; ye believe in God: believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you; I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3). Oh, to have such knowledge of Christ, such heartfelt intimacy with Jesus, the Lamb of God, our dear Savior, that we may say with the apostle Paul: “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12). Then, though now we have tribulations, conflicts, trials, yet we are given supporting grace. The ministrations of the Holy Spirit console and uphold us, and we can say that hitherto the Lord has brought us through floods and fires, He has covered my head in the day of battle. In all things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.
Sometimes my heart is singing:
“My conquest is sure through His blood,
Though now there’s a warfare within,
And Satan comes in like a flood
To draw my poor heart after sin.
Fresh succor from Christ I receive,
Who did all my conflicts foresee,
And through His rich grace I believe
He saved a sinner like me.
My sorrows must soon have an end;
The day of my mourning must cease;
And I a blest Sabbath shall spend
With Jesus, the Author of peace.
My soul is e’en now on the wing,
His glory refulgent to see;
Where I shall eternally sing:
He saved a sinner like me.”
The Psalmist testifies of this truth in the Lord, saying, “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:24). Can the immutable and eternal decrees of God be frustrated, fail, be broken? Can what is written in Romans 8:28 come to nought? Ah never, oh no! Let us read these verses, “Whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called, and whom He justified them He also glorified.” It reaches from eternity to eternity. Then may we be found by the grace of our gracious God in “earnest expectation” waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Rom. 8:18-23).
Elder Frederick Keene