The fifth cluster which grows upon the tree of life, is what Christ has merited by His sufferings. The sufferings of Christ we may consider in a twofold way; one was to satisfy divine justice, and the second, to merit for us all blessings.
He has purchased the church by His precious blood--"Feed the church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28) The church also is called His "purchased possession"--"Which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." (Eph. 1:14) And as Christ has purchased his church, so His blood was meritorious.
Christ has merited everlasting life for His people. In the fall we forfeited it, but Christ by His sufferings has inherited it for us; and so, it is in His power to give eternal life. We had no right to a heavenly inheritance, but for His sufferings.
Nearness of position, also He has merited for us. By nature we were strangers and enemies to God, and are now made nigh by the blood of Christ--"But now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ;" (Eph. 2:13) "redeemed them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
The gift of the Holy Ghost with his gracious assistance and comfort has He also merited. "I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name." If Christ had not suffered, we could not have enjoyed the blessed Spirit--"Nevertheless I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send Him unto you." (John 16:7)
Forgiveness of sins flows through the same channel--"In whom we have redemption through His blood the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." (Eph. 1:7) In one word, all we have, and all we shall enjoy to all eternity, is merited by Christ. By nature we have no right to the least of God's mercies. What plea can we make with God? Could I expect, or challenge heaven upon my own obedience, or upon the ground of my righteousness? Could any fallen man dare say to God, I have done this or suffered that, therefore I claim heaven, and thy mercy is due to me? Oh no, poor sinner; we have no more than we deserve, it will not be heaven or mercy, but hell and wrath.
A stranger has no right to an inheritance; but if he is adopted into the family, then he has a legal right, and his title is good, and adoption denotes free favor. This is the case with a child of God, being adopted into the family, he may go humbly to His Father, and say Lord, show me mercy, give me the Holy Spirit, forgive all my sins, give me eternal life, and a right to thy kingdom. If the Lord should ask, Who are you? and what right have you to all these things? the poor sinner would reply, Lord, I have nothing of my own to show but the blood of thy beloved Son, the dignity of His person, and His active and passive obedience; it is His merits alone that I plead, and not my own. And you may be sure, poor soul, that you will speed well with such a plea.
The Lord is faithful and just; He has promised thus much to His Son, to do these things for the redeemed, according to the agreement in the eternal council--"When thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord, shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied." (Isa. 53:10,11) The Father will never forfeit His promise to His Son. Christ cannot be disappointed, after His sufferings and bitter agonies. You may depend upon it there is nothing so safe and secure as those blessings that depend upon Christ's merits. Christ himself is God, equal with the Father. As God He will bestow these blessings on His people for whom as Mediator He intercedes--"Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me." (John 17:24)
"The Father dearly loves the Son,
And rates his merits high:
For no mean cause He sent Him down,
To suffer, bleed, and die.
"The blessings from his death that flow,
So little we esteem;
Only because we slightly know,
And meanly value Him.
"Oh could we but with clearer eyes,
His excellencies trace;
Could we his person learn to prize,
We more should prize his grace."