July 21 - THE HIGHEST HOLIEST MANHOOD
"I knew a man in Christ."
—2 Cor. xii. 2.
I Knew a man in Christ: He died and was buried in Christ. He travelled with his Saviour through Golgotha and the Sepulchre. The world used to divert his affections and activities away from God ; but to-day he is separated by a river of blood from the territory where it is supreme, the blood of the everlasting covenant. The flesh was accustomed to break his truces with conscience and his treaties with heaven; but Jesus drove a nail through it, and now he reckons himself to be dead indeed unto sin. His old life is crucified with his Lord.
I knew a man in Christ: He stands before God justified in Christ. The rays of the Father's love, which fall on Jesus, embrace him in their scope and sweep, while the stroke of the Father's judgment is as far removed from him as it is from One in Whom He discovers no spot or flaw. His justification does not rise and fall with the tides of his own feeling ; it is not a thing of degrees. The standard of his Lord's meritoriousness, by which it is determined, is an absolute standard. In Christ he is always whiter than the snow, always the child of the King.
I knew a man in Christ: He lives his daily life in Christ. Is Jesus Prophet, Priest, Monarch ? He is a prophet too, leading and teaching others. He is a priest, who never ceases invoking the mercy of God for kinsfolk and neighbours and the wide world. He is a monarch, ruling over his own spirit, and over outside circumstances, and over the fear of death which holds many in bondage. He seeks to reproduce his Lord's life, and he does it in his Lord's power. For Jesus inhabits him, and governs him from within even more than from without.
I knew a man in Christ: He grows on and up to his perfection in Christ. Night after night the crescent moon advances to its full-orbed roundness and beauty. Month after month, and year after year, this man puts on Jesus Christ. He keeps his own individuality ; and yet he shines with Another's light and loses himself in Another's diviner grace. By continuous trust, and humble prayer, and the willingness to lift and carry the cross, he is gradually and surely refined into the image of his meek and majestic Lord.
I knew a man in Christ: He will ultimately be glorified in Christ. He will be caught up into Paradise, not for one transcendent hour, but for the ages of ages, to see the flowers which bud and bloom there, and to hear the words which it is not lawful to utter. And his heaven will be Christ—Christ's throne on which he sits, Christ's praise which he sings, Christ's sevenfold purity which he shares, Christ's face which is his brightest flower and chiefest good. The Lamb is all the glory in Immanuel's land.
I knew a man in Christ: Let that man, O Lord, be I myself. For only in Him can I reach my truest,strongest, richest, holiest manhood.