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Five Divine Declarations
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, AUGUST 24, 1902.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 15, 1878.
"Surely, shall one say, in the LORD I have righteousness and strength: even to Him shall men come; and all that are incensed against Him shall be ashamed. In the LORD all the seed of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory." Isaiah 45:24,26.
IF YOU carefully read the chapter from which our text is taken, you must notice the high style which God here adopts. He speaks like a king—no, more—He speaks like a God, as He is entitled to do, for He is God. David says, in the 29th Psalm, "The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty." We can hear that powerful, majestic voice in this Chapter! The Lord here speaks about men coming to Him, confessing to Him and obeying Him without inserting any "if as to their own will in the matter, or raising any question as to whether He can accomplish what He promises. Listen attentively to these words in the verse before our text, for they are very strong and forcible—"I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." The Lord lays unusual emphasis upon the irrevocable oath which He has sworn and says that He will never recall the word which has gone out of His mouth. He speaks with that same power which said, "Let there be light: and there was light." In a word, He speaks Divinely and, therefore, He can fulfill what He has declared.
"But," someone says, "men are free agents." Who denied it? "But men will not bow their knee before Him unless they are willing to do so." Who said they would? Yet, He who has the power to control the freedom of the human will— He who rules, not only over inanimate objects and over creatures whose wills are gladly subordinated to His, but even over souls that are naturally rebellious—still has a way of turning them according to His own mind! He speaks in the majesty of His Sovereignty and swears that every knee shall bow before Him—and that all shall acknowledge Him to be the only supreme Lord and Governor!
It is true that there are two ways in which men shall be made to bow the knee before God. Some of them will bow unwillingly when they shall feel the weight of His iron rod. Others shall bow joyfully before Him when they shall feel the power of His Grace. I am going to read my text in that sweet and merciful manner, and I think the context justifies us in so reading it. I want you to see how God's power over mankind is exerted in a way of Grace, although it is also true that His power is put forth in a way of Judgment towards those who reject His mercy. I read, with delight, the expressions of my text as the decrees, determinations, promises and declarations of the God of Grace, who affirms that men shall say, "In the Lord have we righteousness and strength. Even to Him shall men come and all that are incensed against Him shall be ashamed. In the Lord all the seed of Israel shall be justified and shall glory." There is no doubt about this great Truth of God—Christ did not die in vain—the Gospel has not been sent into the world for nothing! There shall be a people "saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation." There shall be a multitude that no man can number who shall bow before the Savior. There shall be an adequate reward for the travail of His soul which shall satisfy even the infinite heart of the great Son of God Himself!
I. There are five Divine declarations in the text. The first is this, that THERE SHALL BE A PEOPLE WHO SHALL ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRUTH CONCERNING GOD. Our version says, "Surely, shall one say, in the Lord I have righteousness and strength," but there are other readings which appear to be more accurate. "Men shall say, In the Lord
is righteousness and strength," would be quite as correct a rendering, or even more so. It means that there shall be a people who shall confess that in God there is righteousness and strength.
First, they shall see these to be His attributes. Everybody ought to be able to plainly see the evidences of God's strength. Many shudder in terror before the thunder of His power, yet they will not, or they cannot, see God's righteousness. They begin accusing Him, from one point or another, of being unjust in His dealings with the sons of men. So it always has been and so it will be as long as the ungodly are on the earth. But there shall still be a people who shall be able, because their eyes have been touched with Heaven's eye salve, to see that God's strength is always associated with righteousness. They shall perceive what human nature full often refuses to perceive—that God is as good as He is great and as just as He is strong! Even the terrible things, they shall see to be "terrible things in righteousness." They shall cease to question anything done by the Most High and they shall submit unreservedly to His Sovereign sway. This is one of the miracles of God's Grace, but it is a miracle that shall never cease so long as God sits upon the Throne ruling over
More than this, our text means that there shall be a people who will see that all their righteousness and strength must be found in God. Each of them shall say, "In the Lord I have righteousness and strength." Other men may fancy that they can find righteousness in their own doings, but the Lord's people know that the work of righteousness has been carried out to the full only by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and they are content to accept God's righteousness by faith in Christ Jesus—and so to become righteous before God as Abraham was, for he, "believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness." There shall never cease from off the face of the earth a people who shall feel that all their righteousness is found in "the Lord Our Righteousness," who justifies the ungodly, and they shall also find their strength in Him. They shall be conscious of their own weakness. They shall perceive that they have no strength to run in the ways of holiness by themselves, but they shall look to the Holy Spirit for help and shall trust in the Lord to uphold them and preserve them in the ways of integrity even to the end. I am addressing many a Believer who can say, "In the Lord I have righteousness and strength." You have neither righteousness nor strength apart from Him and you know it—and it is your delight to confess that you do not expect to find either righteousness or strength anywhere but in Him! Thus, you show that you are resting on Him, alone, and you are helping to fulfill the promise of the text that there shall always be a people who shall know and feel that their righteousness and strength are found only in the Lord.
Besides that, they shall not only know and feel it, but they shall be prepared openly to declare it, for the text says, "Surely, shall one say, in the Lord I have righteousness and strength." Some, who truly know the Lord, are very timid in confessing Him—they keep back much that they know concerning Him. But I thank God that there shall always be a people brave enough to "stand up for Jesus" whatever it may cost them! There were many such people when, to confess that righteousness and strength were in the Lord, alone, involved burning at the stake of the one who made such a confession. He who held the Lutheran doctrine of Justification by Faith was condemned to die. He was hunted as though he had been a wolf or a mad dog. His existence was thought to be obnoxious to the human race and, therefore, he was put to death in the most painful form. Yet persecution could not stop the confession of faith in Jesus, for, as fast as one was slain, another stepped forward to take his place! Through all the centuries that have passed since the death of Christ, the grand Truth of God that strength and righteousness are not to be found in men, and come not through the priest, or by human works, rites and ceremonies has never lacked men and women to come forward to state it plainly and boldly in the teeth of all mankind—nor shall it ever want for such witnesses while sun and moon endure!
Some may be cowards and turn their backs in the day of battle, but God has reserved unto Himself a people who will be brave for Him even to the end! And should Rationalism and Ritualism, in these evil days, devour the strength of the Church of God, yet has He reserved unto Himself hundreds of thousands whose knees have never bowed before these modern Baals and which will never so bow—for these men first confess their faith to God, alone, upon their knees in prayer, and afterwards boldly declare to the world, each one for himself, "Surely, in the Lord I have righteousness and strength."
I wonder how many of us really know this great Truth of God in our inmost souls, for this is one of the weightiest matters you ever heard about in all your lives. If you think that you have any righteousness of your own, you are sadly mistaken. If you fancy that you have strength of your own which will carry you to Heaven, you are living in grievous error. You shall faint and die, "as a snail which melts," if you trust in yourselves! There is no foundation upon which we
can build so as to secure the blessings of eternal salvation but Jesus Christ, the Crucified—and the only way to build upon that foundation is by simple trust in Him. If you are resting alone upon Him for righteousness, strength and everything that you need, it is well with you—but if you are not, may the Lord in mercy bring you to do so this very hour!
Every now and then, dear Friends, it is advisable for us to review our past lives—to look back and honestly, as in the sight of God, to make a summary of what they have been. Many a Christian has done this when he has been slandered. He has then looked over his past career to see whether there was any ground for the calumny cast upon him. And he has been truly happy if he has been able to sum all up by saying to the Lord, "I have kept Your precepts and Your testimonies." We frequently make these reviews of our lives in times of sickness. Then we are all alone and quiet—and being incapable of attending to our worldly business—we begin to turn our gaze within, to see how we stand before God. Possibly, we cannot raise ourselves up in our bed, to look out of the window, or, as we lie awake in the watches of the night, we mentally recall our whole career from our childhood even to that hour. And it is truly wise on our part to do so—it is then exceedingly beneficial to mark the evil and repent of it, or to note the good and thank God for it.
Many godly people set apart special seasons for making these examinations. It would be well if we all reviewed each day before we fell asleep. Some folk, if they knew themselves better, would not brag as loudly as they now do. A keener eye might, perhaps, make their tongue less talkative. Some persons like to go through this process with peculiar rigor on their birthdays, or upon the anniversary of their conversion, or at the close of some notable period of time. Whenever it is done, it is well. And happy, thrice happy, is the man who closes up his account of himself in the words of our text—"In the Lord I have righteousness and strength."
When we come to die is another time for making this review. Looking back from the shelving bank of the great river, our eyes gaze along the whole track which we have traversed. We see that goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our life, but we also see that we have not always kept to the King's Highway, but have often gone astray like a lost sheep. We are blessed, indeed, if, notwithstanding all that, we can still feel that the set and current of our being has been towards that which is right, so that we can join with the Psalmist in saying, "I have kept Your precepts and Your testimonies: for all my ways are before You."
I urge you young people who are beginning your Christian life to begin on a sound foundation, searching the Scriptures to know what is the will of God, and yielding yourselves up entirely to the sway of God the Holy Spirit, that you may not have a broken life, running for a while in the wrong direction, so that you have to go back and start afresh. There are some men whom I know who seem to pick up every novelty that they come across, but they soon drop it and go off after something else. These are the people who need new prophets to arise every week. I said to one individual of that kind, when I met him in the street—and he was a preacher, too—"Well, what are you now!" He said to me, "Why, you asked me that question the last time you saw me." I said, "I know I did, but what are you now!" He was something very different from what he had been when I met him six months earlier! And a year later, when I saw him again, I saluted him in the same way. I said, "Dear Friend, what are you now?" He was very angry with me and said that it was a shame that I should ask him that question. But I replied, "Well, never mind—what are you now?" And when he told me, I found that he had again changed his denomination! What he is or where he is now, I do not know—probably something quite different from what he had been before.
You might as soon measure the moon for a suit of clothes as measure some men's doctrine. They seem to be perpetually waxing or waning. They box the compass. They shift like the wind. That is a poor life, when it comes to the close, in which the man has been "everything by starts, and nothing long." My dear young Friends, give yourselves up to the teaching and guidance of the Spirit of God and resolve that if you do err, it shall be unintentionally, for you wish to be right—you desire to know and to do nothing save what the Lord taught you and the Lord bade you do.
II. The second declaration of the text is that men will not only acknowledge the Truth concerning God, but that THEY WILL ACT UPON IT—"Even to Him shall men come."
I must remark again how the Lord speaks here like a God—"Even to Him shallmen come." Someone asks, perhaps, "Suppose they will not come, what then?" Yes, but they willcome, for He makes them willing in the day of His power. "But suppose," says the objector, "that, having heard the Gospel, they reject it." Then they shall hear it again, and yet again and, at last, they shall yield to its entreaty, for they shall come! When God says, "Men shall come," You may depend upon it that His, "shall come," will carry the day! Christ said, "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me" and
"shall come" will win the victory! Not by violating the freedom of men's will, nor by treating them otherwise than as free agents, yet does God prevail over them so that they do come and submit themselves unto Him!
Notice the wording of this gracious declaration. "Even to Him shall men come," The glory of it lies in the fact that they rest in nothing but Himself. The bulk of men stop short of coming to God in Christ Jesus—and content themselves with reading the Bible, or saying prayers, or attending places of worship. But my text says that there is a people who shall get beyond all that—"Even to Him shall men come." If you would be saved, you must get to God in Christ. Short of that, you are lost. Many go to priests and think that all is well with them. And many go to rites and ceremonies, and suppose that all is well with them, yet it is not. I tell you, prodigal son, it will never be well with you till you come to your Father! You must get your head on His bosom, make your confession to Him and receive His kiss of forgiveness, or else you will never have peace in your soul. Christ said to the men of His day, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. But you will not come to Me, that you might have life." There was the fatal flaw—they read their Bibles, but they would not come to Christ, though even the Old Testament Scriptures pointed them to Him! And many a man, when we bid Him come to Christ, says, "I will pray about it." Pray, by all means, but praying will not save you—you must come to Christ, as our text says, "Even to Him shall men come."
But how do they come to Him? They come, first, by repentance. They come weeping because of their sins. They also come by faith—they come trusting in Jesus and disowning all other confidences. They come just as they are—naked, filthy—"poor, wretched, blind"—acknowledging that they are undeserving, ill-deserving, Hell-deserving sinners. But they come to Him—to God in Christ Jesus—and they look up to Him and they cry, "Jesus, save me! Father, I have sinned! Have mercy upon me, for Christ's sake!" Neither will they rest until they do come there. I hope I am addressing many in whom this prophecy has been fulfilled—"They shall come to Him." When it is fulfilled in any of you, admire the Grace that drew you, otherwise you would never have come! Sing, from your very hearts, those sweet verses by Dr.
"Why was I made to hear Your voice,
And enter while there's room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?
'Twas the same love that spread the feast,
That sweetly forced us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin."
What confidence it gives me, when I am preaching, to feel—I do not know who it may be, but I am sure that some soul will come to Christ and will come to Christ just now—for, if it is the true Gospel which is preached, with a pure motive and in simple terms, there is no question about the success of it! The Lord has said, "My Word shall not return to Me void." It will not go back to Him without having accomplished His Divine purpose of love and mercy! Jesus is drawing you, so yield to Him, Beloved! Pray from your hearts the prayer, "Draw us; we will run after You" and so, in your case, my text shall be blessedly true, "Even to Him shall men come."
III. The third Divine declaration might be read in another light, but I prefer to keep to the strain of mercy. It says
that THOSE WHO DO COME SHALL BE ASHAMED OF THEIR FORMER OPPOSITION—"All that are incensed
against Him shall be ashamed."
There is never a soul that comes to Christ that does not soon begin to be ashamed—with a blessed and holy shame— of having been angry with God. Is it not a very shameful thing and enough to make us blush scarlet and crimson, that we should ever have been "incensed" against God? It is most ridiculous, as well as terribly wicked, that such puny creatures as we are should ever think of being angry with God! I recollect hearing a little child say to his big father, "I am mad with you." "Yes," I thought, "and if you had been my boy and had talked to me like that, I would have tried to take some of the madness out of you." He was in such a fury that he could scarcely stand! And there is many a man who, compared with God, is far smaller than that little child was in comparison with his father, yet who, nevertheless, talks to God as if he were His equal and is not ashamed to acknowledge that he is angry with God.
There are some who are angry with God's Providence. They have said that they will never forgive Him for some action of His which has offended them—as if they could forgive HIM! They have impudently stood up before Him as though they would—
"Snatch from His hand the balance and the rod, Rejudge His judgments, be the God of God."
They have dared to summon the Eternal to their bar! They have been "incensed against Him." Ah, but when they come to Him and when they find righteousness and strength in Him, how ashamed they are of all their former anger! They hardly like to be reminded that they ever thought or said such hard things—and they are heartily ashamed of themselves.
Some are incensed against God because of His Law and its penalty. Have you not heard them say, "It is too severe, too stringent! Men cannot be expected to keep such a perfect Law as that"? Some of them almost foam at the mouth, like madmen, when they talk of the punishment of sin. When God says, that "the soul that sins, it shall die." And when His dear Son speaks of a worm that dies not and a fire that never shall be quenched, I scarcely dare repeat the blasphemies that even professed ministers of the Gospel have dared to utter against the righteous and holy God—and the terrible doom which surely awaits the ungodly! But when those who have been angry at the plain declarations of God concerning the punishment of sin are brought to Him, they are utterly ashamed of themselves! When they really come to know Him—when they find righteousness and strength in Him—they would gladly eat their own words if they could and they will bare their backs to His rod and feel that if He were even to destroy them, He would be fully justified! Many and many a Christian has had a broken heart when he has been forgiven as he has mourned that he could ever have been so rebellious against his God.
I have heard this personality of holy grief stigmatized as being morbid, self-conscious, and even selfish, but I take leave to say that those gentlemen who thus speak are strangers to spiritual facts and know nothing about them. Their opinion is not worth the breath they spend in uttering it, for, if they did know the Truth about this matter, they would understand that there is nothing selfish in a man's praying to be rendered unselfish—and that is a main part of our prayer! And there is nothing selfish in an individual confessing before God that he has been selfish—and that is a large part of our confession. How shall a man do good to another until he has been made good himself? Is it not the very height of benevolence to my fellow creatures that I should begin by wishing to be made fit to be of service to them? And how can that be until I first have been personally cleansed and have personally known the value of true religion in my own soul? I charge you, dear Friends, that instead of that "broad-hearted philanthropy" of which we hear so much—which consists in talking fine nonsense about the good other people ought to do—you had better begin by getting your own hearts right with God so that you may be taught to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength—and to love your neighbors as yourselves—for then and not till then are you in a right condition to learn what is true philanthropy! Be sorry first, that afterwards you may not be sad. Repent first, so that you may get close to God, that afterwards you may go and close in with your fellow men and live and die to serve them for Jesus' sake!
There are others who are incensed against God because of the great plan of salvation. Some are even incensed against the Savior Himself. The preaching of the Deity of Christ makes some men gnash their teeth! They cannot endure that blessed fact. But, oh, when He saves them by His Grace, there is no quarrel, then, with the Divine Savior! Emmanuel, God With Us, is very precious to the Believer. Away goes all Socinianism—the soul loathes it and cannot even bear to think that it could have fallen so low as to think or say anything derogatory to the dignity of the ever-blessed Son of God! Some are incensed against the blood of Christ—they are so delicate that they do not even like to hear about it. They can sin without compunction, but the Divine way of cleansing from sin offends them! Some men positively rave at the Atonement. Substitution, the vicarious expiatory suffering of Christ in the sinner's stead, they cannot endure! But when the Lord breaks their hearts with the hammer of His Word and when He makes them see their sin as it is in His sight, I guarantee you that the precious blood of Jesus becomes to them the dearest thing in earth or Heaven! And they rejoice in it, for it gives them access to God and peace and pardon! Some of those who have most reviled the Gospel have, when they have been converted, been the most faithful preachers of it!
That grand Truth of God of Justification by Faith—that a sinner is saved not by works of righteousness which he has done, but according to the free Grace of God, through Jesus Christ—oh, how fiercely some hate it! They do not call themselves Papists, but Protestants, and though this is the central truth of Protestantism—the very core of Lutheran-
ism—yet do they object to it and revile it! They do not act so when the blessed Spirit of God brings them to the Father by way of Jesus Christ and His atoning Sacrifice. "Then are they glad because they are quiet," for they are brought to the Fair Havens of Gospel security and joy!
Beloved, if you are incensed against God about anything, it is foolish and wicked on your part to be in such a condition! I pray God, of His great Grace, to speedily bring you out of it and when He does, He will make you to be ashamed of yourselves! What a melting thing the love of Christ is! Stout-hearted sinners are sometimes not even moved by the thunderbolts of God, but when they see the wounds of Jesus, that sight brings them to their knees! When they find that He loved them even while they were rejecting Him. That He died for them when they were dead in trespasses and sins. That He had their names engraved upon the palms of His hands and upon His heart even when they were blaspheming Him, and that in "free Grace and dying love," there is a shelter provided even for them—then do they bite their lips and cover their eyes and turn unto the Lord with deep humiliation of spirit.
1 heard someone say, once, that God might forgive his sin, but that he would never forgive himself—and I think that is the feeling of all who have been enraged against God, but who have been brought as penitents to His feet. Now that they love Him, they are grievously ashamed of their past conduct and they will never open their mouths in boasting any more. As I look round this place, I notice some who once were very strongly opposed to our dear Lord and Master. Ah, my Brothers and Sisters, I know who they are who now love Him most and desire to serve Him best—it is you who were formerly exceedingly angry with Him. See that persecuting Saul of Tarsus when the Lord lays His pierced hand upon him—what a loving, gracious, pleading Paul, the Grace of God makes of him! Oh, that the Lord Jesus would lay hold of somebody this very moment! I am greedy for the souls of some of you who might become my Master's best servants. Even if you are saying, "We want Him not! We hate His religion and the cant that, we believe, always goes with it," you are the very ones whom I pray Him to lead captive, in silken chains of blessed bondage, as trophies of the Irresistible Grace with which His almighty Love wins the hearts of His greatest enemies and transforms them into His faithful friends and willing servants forever and ever!
IV. The fourth Divine declaration is that THE LORD'S PEOPLE SHALL ALL BE JUSTIFIED. "In the Lord all the seed of Israel shall be justified."
What is meant by our being justified? It means that we are made and constituted just before God. "But," someone asks, "can that be done? Can an unjust person be made just in the sight of God?" Yes, it is done, as our text says, "in the Lord."
The Prophet here means to teach us that the Lord Jesus Christ stands in the sinner's place and puts the sinner in His place. This was done, in God's purpose, from all eternity, as John Kent sings—
"Then, in the glass of His decrees, Christ and His bride appeared as one! Her sin, by imputation, His, While she in spotless splendor shone." And it is actually done, in time, as each of the chosen ones is, by Grace, led to believe in Jesus. Then is the righteousness of Christ received by faith and it becomes ours—and we stand before God justified through Christ's righteousness. Perhaps you ask, "Can I, who have been sinful all my life, become righteous in God's sight?" Yes, Beloved, if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you shall, for His sake, be accounted righteous. That long list of your sins which now so greatly troubles you, shall be cancelled. There shall be written at the bottom of it, "Forgiven," and you shall be as clear of sin, in God's sight, as if you had never sinned! And, inasmuch as you cannot enter Heaven without merit, the merit of Christ shall be set down to your account and you shall stand "accepted in the Beloved," perfect in Christ Jesus! There shall come to you, also, a change of heart and a change of life, so that you shall become a just man or woman or child. But, still, that great declaration will be true, "The just shall live by faith," so the justification which you are to have before God will never be your own justification, except by imputation—and it will always be because you have taken the spotless robe of Christ's righteousness and have wrapped it around you—that you will be accepted of God.
I hope, I believe, no more—I feel certain that I am addressing some of the poor of the people—some who have no confidence in themselves, no righteousness of their own, no power for prayer or anything that is good apart from the Holy Spirit. Well, then, come to the Lord Jesus, who is the David of our dispensation, and dwell beneath His shadow! Trust yourselves with Him. Repose in His promises. Rest in His Atonement. Rely upon His intercession. Rejoice in His
eternal love. Look for His coming. It is a grand thing to feel a bit of rock under your feet, and if you are on the Rock of Ages, you are safe for time and eternity. A dear Brother reminded us in prayer, before this service, that we may tremble on the Rock, but the Rock never trembled under us. Another reminded me of a remark I made some time ago, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Jehovah." "Well," I said, "that is going to Heaven in a third-class carriage—the better way is to go to Heaven first class, so—'I will trust, and not be afraid,'" letting no fear come in at all, but depending entirely upon what God has declared in His Word and feeling that it must be fulfilled, for nothing can prevent God's carrying out His purpose! Nothing can hinder Him from keeping His promise. So, dear Friends, with good Dr. Watts, let us, each one, say to the Lord—
"A guilty, weak, and helpless worm, On Your kind arms I fall; Be You my strength and righteousness, My Jesus, and my All."
Every soul that believes in Jesus belongs to the true seed of Israel, so in Him shall every such soul be justified! What a grand thing it is to be justified! A justified man need not fear to live, or to die, for, "there is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." No, more—such a man may, without fear, go right up to the bar of God, Himself, in that last tremendous day, for what says the Apostle? "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us." Do you all know what justification means? Have you all received it? You recollect what Martin Luther did when he was going up those stairs—the Santa Scala—in Rome? I have stood, two or three times, at the foot of that staircase and seen the poor devotees going up and down, on their knees, saying a prayer on each step and so trying to win Heaven by merit. As Luther was doing this, there suddenly flashed into his mind this text, "The just shall live by faith." Up he sprang! There was no more going up and down the Santa Scala for him! He had found another and a better way of salvation and this is the way which we preach to you—and which our Master has bid us preach to every creature in all the world—"He that believes on the Son has everlasting life." "He that believes on Him is not condemned." "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned."
V. I close with the last three words of the text—"In the Lord all the seed of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory."
Those who find righteousness and strength in the Lord, THOSE WHO COME TO CHRIST AND ARE JUSTIFIED IN HIM, SHALL GLORY.
What does the text mean when it says that they shall glory? Sometimes, when I have been preaching in Wales or among Methodists—when I have set before them good, rich, Gospel Truth, perhaps two or three have shouted, at the same time, "Glory!" And though it has not increased the solemnity of the service, it has added a good deal of vivacity to it. And, really, when we see what Divine Grace has done for us, we often feel inclined to cry out, "Glory! Glory be to
Have not many of you felt the glory in your soul, even if you have not uttered it with your mouth? All your sin gone, Jesus Christ as your Savior, your soul forever secure in His hands—and all that granted to you by Divine Grace, simply through believing—surely, you must have felt the glory within your soul? The devil has said to you, "That is too good to be true," but you have believed it, notwithstanding what he said, and you have felt as if you needed to be enlarged to be able to hold so much joy and blessedness! Do you ever sit down alone and think over what the Lord has done for you? If you do and you have the full assurance of faith, I am sure you will glory in the Lord, and you will say like those delivered from captivity, "Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing...The Lord has done great things for us; whereof we are glad."
But the Lord's true people will not keep that glory all to themselves. They shall so glory that they shall speak about it to others. I should not wonder if when they tell what the Lord has done for them, some should think that they are intrusive. I wish we were more so. Some of them shall so glory in God that they shall, sometimes, imprudently cast their pearls before swine—but they had better even do that than keep their pearls concealed and never let them show the brightness which God has given them. "They shall glory." That is to say, they shall speak of the Lord's love with flashing eye and smiling countenance. They shall speak of it as of a priceless treasure, as of something worth more than all worlds. They shall wonder that other people do not think as much of it as they do. They shall often feel sad at heart because the worth of Christ is not more widely known among men, but, as for themselves, "they shall glory." And they shall so glory
that nobody shall be able to stop their glorying, for, when they are ridiculed, they shall only glory in that, also! And when others sneer at and try to depreciate their Lord, they shall only the more firmly believe and rejoice in Him who is All in All to them! I am sure, dear Friends, that if Christ is really yours, you must glory in Him and boast about Him— and sometimes make other people wonder why you talk so much about Him!
Those who truly know Christ will glory in Him alone. They will glory neither in their church, nor in their creed, nor in their good works, nor in the earnestness with which they serve the Lord—but only in Him, according as it is written, "He that glories, let him glory in the Lord." Oh, yes, we will glory in the Lord when we lie sick and all things are melting away from us. We will say to those around us, "Now do we find Jesus near! Now do we find Him dear! We must bid 'good-bye' to the dearest friends, but He sticks closer than a brother to us." We will glory in the Lord with our last breath! We will be propped up in our bed, as many a saint has been, to tell those around us yet once more what a precious Christ—what a blessed Christ we have—and what a glorious salvation we have found through His precious blood!
And will we not glory in Him alone when we enter those pearly gates above? What will our disembodied spirits say to our comrades who have gone on before? What shall we have to tell them but the story of the great love and the amazing mercy, and the abundant power and Grace of God in Christ Jesus? I think that if we are in Heaven for ages before our bodies rise from the grave, we shall have nothing to talk of or think of but Him! And when this poor dust of ours shall, at His coming, rise again and we shall be able, with spirit, soul and body, to speak, again—what shall we speak of except His Glory? Oh, we will glory in Him! We will glory in Him! Well may each saint say with the gracious Countess of Huntingdon—
"Then loudest of the crowd I'll sing, While Heaven's resounding mansions ring With shouts of Sovereign Grace."
May every soul now here, be thereto do it, for Jesus sake! Amen.
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