Sidor som bilder

The apostle gives his reasons why the affection of Christians should be set on things above. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. So he says to the Romans, We are buried with Christ by baptism into death; we are planted together with Him in the likeness of His death; our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed. We are dead with Christ, and we believe that we shall also live with Him. And therefore he declares respecting believers in Christ, Sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law, but under grace; and he that is dead is freed from sin. He who is dead with Christ, is dead to sin, so that he cannot live in it, or take pleasure in it.

The spiritual

life which is derived from Christ, by which the souls of believers are united to God, is a hidden life, it is concealed from the view of the world, the people of the world know nothing of it, understand nothing about it, cannot tell who is possessed of it, or who is not. It is a matter entirely between the believer and his God. But if we have received spiritual life from Christ, it will lead us to seek for the enjoyment of communion with God as our greatest pleasure. This is the way in which the life of God in the soul discovers itself. The soul which is alive to God cannot be satisfied without continual intercourse with Him. It breathes itself out, as it were, in prayer and praise to the God of its mercies.

The heart which is quickened and renewed by Divine grace is raised upwards to God and heaven. Through Christ it has access by the Spirit unto the Father,45 and there reposes its desires and affections; and from thence receives all its impulses, whereby it is manifested to be a new heart, and is enabled to praise and glorify God, and also to direct the conduct in life, so that the believer seeks to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

The apostle proceeds to give another reason for his exhortation: When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. He, from whose grace the spiritual life of His people is derived, and by whom it is maintained and supported day by day, while they are sojourning in this world; who came to visit us in great humility, and suffered, bled, and died for our redemption; will appear again, not in a state of humiliation, but with power and great glory. Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time, unto their salvation,46 according to His promise to His disciples, I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you: I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.47 Christians are therefore directed to be looking for that blessed hope, even the

45 Eph. ii, 18.

46 Heb. ix. 28. 47 John xvi. 22; xiv. 3.

glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,* when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, in that day, to be waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm them unto the end, that they may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ,5o for then shall they also appear with Him in glory. When the mind of the beloved disciple was directed to this glorious subject, he was filled with the most transporting joy, so that he exclaimed, Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.51 Then His believing people shall be glorified together with Him.

Surely here is sufficient inducement to lead us to seek diligently, and to set our affection on the things above. But, oh! how slow of heart are we to believe all these things, and to consider that the great end of our existence is not the occupying of a station in this world. The circumstances in which we may be placed in this life, are of very little moment in comparison with what will be our condition in eternity. Did we meditate

48 Titus ii. 13. 49 2 Thess. i. 10. 50 1 Cor. i. 7,8. 51 1 John iii. 1, 2.

more on the things which God hath prepared hereafter for them that wait for Him and serve Him here on earth, we should be persuaded that the things of this life, however important they may seem to be, are not worthy to be compared with things eternal.

Earthly things are, however, those on which the affections of all mankind are naturally set. Their whole attention is absorbed by the cares or the pleasures of this world, and they give their minds to nothing beyond it. The great inquiry of numbers is, What shall we eat, or, What shall we drink, or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? The minds of others are occupied by things respecting this world, which are very useful in society, but were never designed to be the sole object of pursuit to an immortal being. The things of the earth do indeed require our attention in some degree. We have duties to perform as inhabitants of this world, which are not to be disregarded or neglected. The Christian is to fulfil all the relative duties of life as a good member of society. But in the midst of all this, his heart is to be given up to God, his desires and affections are to centre in things above. He is not to take the opinion of the world for his guidance in the things of God, but to be governed and directed by the word and will of God. He is to be dead to the earth, or to those things which are earthly, sensual, and devilish; to be dead to sin,

so as not to live in the practice of what is forbidden in the word of God. The apostle accordingly exhorts us, Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. All our natural inclinations and desires after these things are to be mortified; and the practice of them is to be totally renounced, since it is added, For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. All who live in the indulgence of these things, are under the wrath of God, and it is declared respecting them that they shall not inherit the kingdom of God. The Colossians were reminded that these were their practices as heathens, In the which ye also walked sometime, or formerly, when ye lived in them; but they had, through Divine grace, in consequence of believing the gospel of Christ, put off the old man with his deeds, and had put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him, where Christ is all in all.

It would be happy indeed if those practices which are stated to involve the most fatal consequences, were unknown in countries professedly Christian. But, alas! the most transient observation evinces that this is not the case. How great is the number of those who are the servants of the world and the flesh, even while they call themselves Christians. How many, who bear this

« FöregåendeFortsätt »