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But, it may be, some will ask to have such terms as these explained to them: united to Christ-possessed of Christ-having Christwhat is it we mean ?
Let me say first, we use such terms because they are such as God in his holy word teaches us to use. It is there we read of having Christ, of winning Christ, of being made partakers of Christ, of being joined to the Lord.
Plainly the expressions are scriptural. And to whom are they applied ? To such as have real faith in Christ. And that is the very thing which the words imply; a true, spiritual belief in the Lord Jesus, such as is the work of God the Holy Ghost in the hearts of all his people, and by which they do lay hold upon the Saviour, receive him as their Saviour, take Him as their only hope, and, to use Christ's own gracious illustration of the matter, they do feed on him in their hearts. This it is to have the Son of God. A sinner feels that he is perishing. God, in the gospel of his grace, sets Jesus before him. He bids him trust in Jesus for salvation. The sinner, taught of the Spirit, obeys. He does cast himself on Christ. He does rely on Christ alone to save him. Now that is feeding upon Christ. It is taking the bread—the bread of life-which God presents. Christ is received into the soul, and then that soul hath Christ. It is by this simple faith we appropriate the Saviour, and He
And therefore we have life. “He that eateth me,” said Jesus, “even he shall live by me.”
• He " shall never
Our souls are spiritually possessed of Jesus ; and having Him they live, they live for ever. that believeth in me,” saith Jesus, die.”
Happy assurance this, beloved brethren, for those of us, and I trust they are not a few, who have sought to Jesus as their way, their only way, their only true and saving way of coming unto God. Let such of you as know that, by the grace of God, this is what they have done, and still are doing, and yet would do more and more, let such, I say, thank God for this sure ground of confidence which the Lord' by his own word now hath given them. Oh, how safe are they ! Their life, What is it? It is Christ. Where is it? It is “hid with Christ in God." And it is their's to exult in the thought, “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory.”
HEBREWS XI. 6.
WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD.
To please God is, or ought to be, the first concern of man, If I know that there is a God, a God who made me, a God who has shewn to me his will, a God to whom I must soon give account, and upon whose favour or whose frown hangs my eternity of bliss or woe, surely I cannot but feel that of all things the question most essential to my welfare is this
How shall I please God ?' s Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God.”
The sacred Scriptures alone can give the answer, and they do so most distinctly. Our text is an instance. There we read a plain positive declaration to the point. The Apostle St. Paul, writing by the Holy Ghost, tells us that one thing there is without which we cannot please God : whatever else we have, if that one thing is wanting, all is vain, our souls are lost.
Brethren, let us give heed then to the statement before us. May the Spirit of God Him
self enable us to do so. I trust we shall find the consideration of it most profitable to us.
What then is this one thing that is so indispensably necessary ? It is faith. " Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
We often speak of faith ; and very commonly the term is used in a way that shews, I fear, much ignorance as to what faith really is. Men talk of it frequently as though it was no more than a set of sentiments, notions, opinions, a bare theory, as though there was nothing practical about it; as though it had no influence in the direction of our lives and conduct.
Let it then be our first object to understand what the Holy Scriptures mean by faith. What did the Apostle mean by it in the passage
The whole chapter to which the text belongs furnishes us with instruction on this point. It sets out with a definition, an explanation, of what faith is : and then almost all that follows is devoted to a striking illustration of the subject, by a variety of examples. Let us glance at the statements made.
The Apostle's definition of faith is this, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” You observe here what things faith has to do with—“ Things hoped for, and things not seen ;” that is to say, blessings promised, or truths revealed, for which we have no other warrant, no guarantee, save that of God's word. We do not see them : but God declares them.
Now these things faith takes and gives a reality, a substance, to them, and teaches us to regard them with as much certainty, and as much to live under their influence, as though we had them before our eyes, or in our hands. Faith is that simple and firm belief of God's word which rests as sure that what He says is true, and is as confident that what He promises will be done, as though already every particular were verified by our own personal experience.
But this will appear more distinctly as we proceed to notice the examples of faith, or some at least of those examples, which the Apostle brings forward to illustrate his meaning.
There is the case of Noah. The Apostle mentions it in the verse next after our text. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house.” Almighty God told Noah that a flood was coming. That flood was a thing unseen. There was nothing to betoken it. All the ground that Noah had for apprehending its approach was God's word. But that was enough. He was as fully persuaded that a deluge was at hand, as though already the heavens were opening, the torrents falling, and the dry land disappearing from before his eyes. What therefore did Noah do? He prepared his ark. The Lord had commanded it; he obeyed the command; and for years he went on, notwithstanding all the scoffs and jeers of the men of that generation, making ready for the evil day. He saw the flood, not with the eye of sense, but with the