Tuesday, August 4, 2009



"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.



"For this God is our God for ever and ever."
—Ps. xlviii. 14.

On the west coast of Scotland, out in the Atlantic, lies the little island of lona. Such sights it has seen : Columba and his missionaries who went near and far; the boat anchored on the beach that brought some saint from Ireland; the tiny fleet which carried the body of a Scandinavian king to be buried in the holy ground; the famine and fire and slaughter of the heathen; Queen Margaret's happier time and fostering care. It is many a long year since she died. But the island survives, and the sea lashes its shores as it did before Columba came, and the unwearied sun rises morning by morning on St. Oran's Chapel and the waters of the Sound. Like island and sea and sun, God is to hearts that trust him—unchangeable, whatever else passes away.

I contrast Him with human teachers and friends. I look back on some whose speech used to thrill my being, and whose example moved me powerfully. I long for the touch of vanished hands and the sound of voices that are still. But my Lord Himself is here. I have His Word, living and active. I have His Spirit, convincing and comforting as ever. I can hearken to His accents, and find them impulse and rest, wine and balm, wisdom and might. He is better than the best of men. His eye is clearer; His arm is stronger; His feet are swifter; His heart is kinder. And He remains always.

I contrast Him with religious institutions and beliefs. Old doctrines are questioned, old forms of worship no longer held in the honour that was given them once. The sifting and scrutiny will do me good, if they compel me to enquire into the grounds of my faith and to cherish it more intelligently than I am accustomed to do. But, in any event, God stands sure. If I lost Him, I should lose everything. Because I cannot lose Him, I have abundant compensation for change elsewhere. The Father's glory cannot be shaken. The virtue of the Saviour's blood is undiminished. The Spirit's grace does not dwindle and perish. My Lord is untouched —Prophet, Priest, King, Lover and Beloved.

I contrast Him with spiritual frames and moods. Through many avenues sin returns to my regenerated life, and fear creeps in, and joy departs, and restlessness deprives me of strength and calm. Is there alteration in God as there is in me ? There is none whatever. He is untiring in His readiness to forgive, in His refusal to be driven from me by my unworthiness, in His power to use even my sins for my humbling and my sanctifying and my growth in grace. It is His patient love which makes my progress possible. It is the dew of the Lord which keeps green the field of my soul. He abides.

Through life and death, sorrow and sinning, He is my God for ever and ever.