"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:11-14)
THE Apostle had been exhorting Titus to teach sound doctrine, and the things which became that sound doctrine, that the aged women, the young men, and all might know how to live in this present world, as you will find if you read the chapter down, that in all their actions they might be as a pattern of good works. To "exhort servants to be obedient unto their masters, and to please them well in all things...that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." And he grounds it on this: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." And then, what he bids us look for, what is set before us,--"that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." And so the purpose of redemption, with respect to those whom our Lord gave Himself for, is "that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
We will begin at the beginning, and look down these words that I have read as the Lord will enable. First, then, we come to the ground of his exhortation. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men." First, this "grace of God," which is thus said to have appeared, and which brings salvation, it "hath appeared to all men." This expression is sometimes used with reference to the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and sometimes with reference to what came by Him, as it is said, "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1:17) Whatever comes to us, comes to us in and through the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no mercy, no grace--no, not to any creature, elect or reprobate (and there is a very great deal of God's rich grace and mercy bestowed upon an ungodly world), there is none whatever but comes through and by the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ unto us. It all comes in Him, it is all for His sake. I know that expression is sometimes very much demurred at, that ungodly men receive of the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. But I think it is from the weakness of our understanding in the nature of things. Only just give a cursory glance, and you will see what is meant. Devils when they sinned were immediately cast down from heaven and reserved in chains of darkness without any mercy. Their full torment has not come, for the day of judgment has not yet come; still they are confined in chains of darkness.
We poor mortals sinned as they did, and fell; the sentence was not immediately executed upon us; God preserved our natural lives, some were preserved nearly a thousand years--all have food and raiment, all are under the divine government of Jehovah, and He uses them, and works all things together according to His will. They do not deserve food and raiment, God gives it; as His creatures they cry, and God hears them, and regards them, and sends them food and raiment. Look how He delivered the poor slaves in America some years ago; we do not hear there were many of them knew the Lord. Here is God's mercy. Now the Scriptures tell us the world is preserved until the whole election of grace is gathered in; and when the Saviour has done His work in gathering in His own elect, there will be an end of all His mercy to the world at large. He will deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father. The temporal mercies He bestows upon His own elect, the world at large share in, and often have the greater part of them, too; they are God's good things. "His tender mercies are over all His works." This is God's grace bestowed upon an unworthy race, who know Him not, and often use the very mercies that God gives to fight against Him with them.
But there is a special grace peculiar to God's own elect which only comes to them, and which comes unto them by Jesus Christ. It is in Him, and they receive of it in Him, and from Him they draw all that grace and mercy that they have. This grace, this mercy is heavenly, it is divine; they are God's thoughts which He had, His purpose which He had before the worlds were made; what I might call His ultimate purpose or design in all the works that He did.
You know God is said to have created man in His own image and likeness. Generally it is said by people that this image is that reasonable soul which man has in distinction from the brute creation, as well as that uprightness of soul. Notice man in his fallen state, and look at the difference between the brute creation and man. You will find man looks forward, he has a purpose and design in the things he does; he does not act as the brute creation, by natural instinct, but there is a purpose, a plan, and design in the works which man does in a general way; I know it is said of some they are like the beasts that perish, and do everything without thought or purpose; but it is not so in a general way with man.
Now God had His purpose and ultimate design in the works of His creation, and in all the works of His providence, and this is called in Scripture by this expression, "The grace of God." We see God permitted man to fall, He permitted sin to enter into this world. He had a purpose and design in it, and God is never frustrated, He cannot be; He works all things together to bring about the purpose of His will, and the Scriptures tell us how good that will is, it is the good will and pleasure of our God, and He had purposed it to His own eternal glory; yea, more, "to the praise of the glory of His grace." This His grace was, as the Scriptures tell us, that we should be brought into such a nigh union and fellowship with Himself that is, and ever was, inconceivable by us creatures. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit." (1 Cor. 9,10) We could not have conceived such a thought till God revealed it, and put it there, that we should be brought into such a nigh union with His Son. And He brought it about by the ruin which the adversary of our souls designed for the marring and spoiling of all God's works, and our temporal and eternal ruin. Therefore God gave His Son, and prepared Him a body, flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone, so that the Son of God became incarnate, took our nature into union with His own, became One with us, that there might be a bond of union between us. He is One with the Father, One in divine nature, and we become one with Him through His assumption of our nature into union with His own Person. Thus God brings us into union with Himself through the Person of His Son; and the Scriptures call it "adopting grace." "Predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace." (Eph. 1:5,6)
We have this fact clearly brought before us, that it was not the creature's worth, or comeliness, or anything whatever, that brought this about, or for which it was brought about, because the house was demolished first--it was defiled and ruined, and brought into such a state of sin and corruption and what God made us as creatures, that we debased to the lowest hell, and defiled in every sense; so we became children of disobedience. The Son of God did not take this human nature when man was a perfect creature; it was when man was a sinful creature, body and soul depraved. "God commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8)
What we understand by grace is the free unmerited favor bestowed upon us by God; and His will is not changeable like ours, acted upon by circumstances, He is unchangeable in His thought and purpose. But He would show His glory, and that it should be "to the praise of His glory" that God alone should be exalted, extolled, and thought of by us.
If you look at this aright, you will see how it cuts off all creature works, all creature thoughts, everything with respect to the creature in what he is, in what he does, in what he passes through; all is cut off, all comes to an end. We were sinners in the lowest depths of sin and wretchedness ere God made known what His purpose was, or hinted at it to our race--we were "children of disobedience." And when, in the fullness of time, Christ came, we were still the same in the lowest depth. He took our nature, not a sinful nature, it was a nature that God prepared for Him, yet flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. We were sinners, and it is all God's work, the execution of His own eternal purpose and decree, which was before time began, but was hidden from all creatures till it was manifested.
The work that Christ did was to redeem us from this ruin to Himself, not to bring us again or remold us into Adam's estate, not to give us such a life as Adam had, which was a life that might die, and which did expire--he lost it. But now the grace of God, which brings salvation, brings us into union with that Person who lives through the union of the divine and human natures in One Person. We have life in Jesus Christ, who came to redeem us to Himself. When man was created, "God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul." Now God gives us life in the Person of His Son, the resurrection life of our Lord Jesus Christ. He came to redeem us to Himself. He paid the price of our redemption from the state in which we were, and He has given us another life. "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son." (Col. 1:13) That human nature of our Lord rose by virtue of that union with the Son of God, and now it lives in this life to support His life, as food to eat; He needs them no more. He died to redeem us, that we should live in Him, and the Scriptures tell us we are "begotten again by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (1 Pet. 1:3)
Here is that blessed Man in all His glorious perfection, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth." (1 Pet. 2:22) His delight was to do the will of God, and He gave obedience in every respect, and He was God who did it, as well as man. He did it for us, and could impute it to us.
No, my friends, He lives to die no more, sin can no more come nigh Him, there is no more temptation or trial can possibly be brought against Him to prove Him. He was tempted here, He was tried to the uttermost, till He said, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt." "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." He stood; He cannot be tried now; He is far removed from them all, and lives for ever; He is entered into that immortal state of glory as a Man through His resurrection from the dead; and now we have in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ a righteousness in all its perfection, a completeness, without spot, or stain; no temptation nor trial can ever come nigh Him; and this God's rich grace calls us unto.
In the glorious gospel of God's grace Jesus Christ is preached to us as God's gift to us, and God's purpose to us in Him is set forth to us in this glorious gospel. Thus we see Him; and the gospel of God's grace is said to call us, to beget us again. "I have begotten you through the gospel." (1 Cor. 4:15) God is said to beget us again by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; and to call us by His gospel "unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord." (1 Cor. 1:9) The fellowship is having an interest in Him, a oneness with Him. He is God's beloved Son, and He comes and opens to us the heart of God the Father, and His love to us in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ, by the glorious gospel of God's grace, that we have a life there, which is in heaven: "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." (Col. 3:4) Our life is in Jesus Christ in heaven above, our righteousness is there, our inheritance is there, and God calls us to it. "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will." (Eph. 1:11)
This is all God's own doing, all of the riches of His grace to us. Who would have thought it, that ever God would prepare a heaven from everlasting, and call us to it; as He says to His people, "Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world?" An inheritance prepared for them in eternal glory in heaven above, before ever they had an existence, only in the purpose of God's will. This God calls us to; it is a revelation of His sovereign grace, of that goodwill and pleasure of His, the riches of God's glory.
There is a glory that shines forth in the manifestation of that hatred He has of everything that is contrary to Him; but how dim! how obscure! how little we see of God in that to what we do in this! The one is the putting away of all that would obscure His glory, banishing it, stamping upon it, pouring out His wrath upon it. But the other is His delight, His own personal self made known to us. God gives us all these things, and shows us in such a way that it springs from Himself; and, to make us plainly and clearly see it, He permitted all the beauty and glory of the creature to pass away; what He had put upon it as a creature He permitted to be totally depraved and ruined, sunk as low as it could sink, that we should see it is God's rich grace indeed. What fools we are to look for anything in ourselves to recommend us to God. God's delight is in His Son, who is "the brightness of His glory and the express image of His Person." (Heb. 1:3) The gospel points Him out to us. The law shows us we are sinners, but it never has, nor ever can, show to us the true hatefulness of sin. The law may lash and terrify us, and show us that we are sinners and deserve God's wrath; but that it can show the hatefulness of sin is quite another thing. If it could, would devils and the damned be in the state they are, blaspheming God continually? No. It shows the sin and God's wrath against it, but not in the full and clear light that the gospel does. The gospel shows that God's hatred against sin was such that none but the Son of God could put it away.
Now, having the life of Jesus Christ communicated to us, we have the spirit of Jesus Christ, which is a spirit of holiness, and which can delight in God. It is that which gives us eyes to discern the beauty and glory there is in Jesus Christ, and that is the grace which crucifies our sins, and we become dead to the world, and all its lusts and affections by the death of Christ, and dead to the law too, but alive to God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. That life we live is not a life of sense. As natural creatures we were living a life of sense. "The woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise." God does not renew the old Adam nature; "the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." (Rom. 8:10) It is not renewed here, but there will be a renewing, and this will be at the resurrection of the dead, when "this mortal shall put on immortality," when all this corruption shall be put off, and immortality put on. Then comes the renewing of the body, and the senses will be so capacitated for beholding the glory of Jesus Christ that we are to be ever with Him, and like Him, but not till then. Until then there is a renewing in the spirit of the mind, and so you see, instead of a life of sense, it is a life of faith. The mind being renewed, as the Scriptures say, "the flesh profiteth nothing." And therefore we make a mistake when we look so at the things of time and sense, and are so perplexed and tried by them, sometimes thinking when sore temptations come that God has forsaken us, and all is wrong; and then again thinking that all is right. Satan gets an advantage over us through so doing. These trials come for the destruction of the flesh. "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. 3:3) "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Gal. 2:20)
Our life now is a life of faith on the Son of God, and this faith hears what God says concerning His Son Jesus Christ, and it looks unto that, and looks to Him in that testimony. There is our life, and there only; we only find peace and rest to our souls there; we only find peace and quietness in our mind and conscience, when tried and perplexed, by looking there--as one has said, "When we come to lose ourselves in Jesus quite." That is the only place, and there is our only life. Faith lives upon the testimony which God has given concerning His Son Jesus Christ, that hope which He gives us in Him. We live by faith on things unseen; we see it by faith, and look forward to that which lies before.
Then the Apostle goes on, and shows us that this teaches us "that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world."
There is a religion taught in our day that tends to stir up these worldly lusts; but this doctrine teaches us that we should deny these things. What a blow that gives against our murmuring at God's dealings with us in this time-state! God is all-wise, and He works all things to bring about His own eternal glory. When we come to see the glory of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ--as John says, they saw Him--it changes us into His image. So that, like the saints of old, they rejoiced "that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name," and took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing in themselves that they had in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
Things do not happen haphazard, and yet at times they come suddenly upon us. God works all things to bring about His own eternal purpose, and they are all in the design of God. And when we come to look at the glory that is the ultimate result, it makes us forget the stormy seas we have to pass through to reach it. These trials that God permits in His all-wise dispensation, these stormy seas, are not our abiding place; there is a haven of eternal rest for us. So that it teaches us "that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
We were looking a little at the two former of these verses this morning; but one thing was passed over in silence, an expression which, together with one in the Epistle to Timothy, has been ofttimes quoted in what I think a perverse manner. That in Timothy--"Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." This--"That bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men." As though this was that universal salvation so much spoken of by many, and not the particular salvation which I think the Scriptures so clearly hold forth.
Some look at these things as though it were salvation for our faith; which is a great delusion. Faith receives it, but it is the free gift of God. God has ordained it to come in that way, so that it should be entirely distinct from works. Faith is not a work; it hears what God says, it believes what God says--but it is no work. The faith that we have in God no creature can see or have a knowledge of but God Himself. The effect of it may be seen; and so faith brings forth good fruits, which are evidences of that faith we have in God.
The words here, "That bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men," you find varied in the margin--"That bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared," and refers to what the Jews rebelled so against: "That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs...and partakers" with them "of His promise in Christ." That the partition wall should be broken down, and no distinction between Jew and Gentile, but all one in Christ Jesus. So the prophet says, that all flesh should see the salvation of God; and again, "That Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth." It is this spread of the Gospel, the Gospel being made known among all nations and people that is meant. It hath appeared here amongst us; "The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared;" it is made known and revealed. What is meant in the Scriptures generally by a thing being revealed or made manifest, is its being made known. The secrets that were hidden in God's breast were not known--when He tells them they are revealed. So it is this Gospel that comes.
I said this morning something about our being begotten by this Gospel. We are not begotten by the law; that is what is written in every man's heart by nature. God wrote it there at the Creation, and it still remains written there in a more or less clear manner; as the Apostle says of the Gentiles, "These, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another."
That law does convince us of sin, and condemns us, and it will show us our sinnership in a very great measure; but it does not show us the grace of God--it never points nor leads to that. I know some say otherwise, by quoting what the Apostle remarks, "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ." (Gal. 3:24) That refers to the law given in the wilderness, which was the Gospel in figure.
It is the glorious Gospel of God that begets us again to a newness of life, that Gospel that preaches the grace of God in Jesus Christ. It is God's thoughts, and the effect of His thoughts; not merely telling us what was in His mind, but how He executed the purpose of His mind, by sending His Son in our likeness to redeem us to Himself, showing that it was of the richest, freest grace. He never mentioned it till man had fallen; then, in the fullness of time, the Son of God took our nature to deliver us from our lost estate, and He wrought such a salvation that He made an end of sin, and redeemed us from the curse, under which we were, unto Himself.
This Gospel teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. And the way it does it is, by not only setting the thing before us (that it does), but, by so doing, it begets another life in us, the life which is in Jesus Christ, which God enlightens us with, called the enlightening of us with the light of life; so that we see, and know, and taste of these things in the soul. The Scriptures speak of it so--"If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." It is a different thing to tasting "the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come." There is that desire after the things, as a newborn babe desires the milk of its mother's breast. And on the other hand, there is a beholding of the heinousness of sin, that it is hateful in God's sight, and also is hateful in our own sight, and what we once loved now we come to abhor.
You will find the Scriptures speaking of two wills or two minds in the heaven-born soul--the minding of the flesh is death, the minding of the Spirit is life and peace. "If ye live after the flesh ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Rom. 8:13) These are the two minds. Those that walk after the flesh, after the course of this world, they walk in their corruption; and they that are Christ's crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts, they mortify the deeds of the body that they may live--they deny them. "Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." When we come to behold the Person of Christ, and to see the glory which shines forth in Him, that changes us into His image and we become like Him. When we see the blessedness of this, we hunger and thirst after it: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled." As the Apostle says, "That I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." (Phil. 3:8,9)
Now he goes on to explain how this is done in a further manner. That "we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
Then he explains in the next verse what He has done for us, and what He purposes to make us: "Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." He shows us in the first place how this denying of ungodliness and worldly lusts is effected in us. It is not by looking back, by seeing either what we have been or where we have come from. These things are very well in their place. But we find when the children of Israel came out of Egypt and looked back, there was something bad befell them. They lusted after the leeks, the onions, and the garlic, and God was wroth with them. It is not then by looking back; we cannot live last year over again, there is another year opening before us; and the heavenly wisdom is learned, and strength is gained, by looking forward--so the Scriptures say.
There is a hope set before us; as it was said of the Lord Jesus Christ, there was a joy set before Him, which enabled Him to endure the cross and despise the shame, and now He is set down at the right hand of God; and we are bid to look to Him. So it is said there is a hope set before us, and that hope is eternal life: "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." (Titus 1:2) That is what He thus sets before us, and, as we were looking this morning, that eternal life is in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has gone to heaven for us, and there it is kept secure. "Your life is hid with Christ in God." He certainly quickens us, He certainly dwells in us, but it is by faith. We hear of it, and believe it, and faith brings it home; "it brings distant things nigh," and we see it, not with our bodily eyes, but with the eyes of our understanding.
The things we see around us are necessary to us for the time being, but only for that; we cannot take them away with us, and if we have them only, we shall perish with them. When we come to God, and spread our wants and wishes before Him, and tell Him our desires, sometimes we are very foolish, and anxious for God to do certain things for us; but God opens to us the riches of His grace, and shows to us this, which is more than a counter-balance for all loss. He shows to us His mercy in letting us be thus afflicted; that the world is full of trouble, and there is a greater sorrow to come; that they that are of the world, and love the world, God will curse when He comes to judgment. God made all things for Himself, they were to glorify Him, to fulfill His sovereign will, to be for His everlasting glory; and He mercifully chastens us, and makes us feel the bitterness of all things here below, which we naturally love and delight in, to wean us from them, and to fix our affections on those things which are above, where no sorrow, sighing, nor tears are ever found.
God's design is to mould us into His image and likeness, and when we come and spread our wants and desires before Him, He brings us to this point--to bow our heads before Him and say, "Thy will be done."
You notice people who speak so much of God giving answers to their prayers, and granting their desires; you watch their conduct--there is not that loosening of their affections from the things of this earth, and setting their affections on things above; their eyes seem holden from that eternal state of glory which God sets before us. The light of the glorious Gospel of God enlightens the minds of His elect, but of the wicked we read, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Cor. 4:4) Did it never strike your minds that this is something very solemn and searching?
The Lord makes us, while we are in this time-state, bearers of His image; so we are said to follow Him in tribulation, to suffer with Him, to be hated as He was hated, despised as He was despised; and they that deny Him, and shirk this, as many do, He will deny them when He comes to His glory. They that suffer with Him shall be glorified together with Him. The hope of eternal life that God gives, the beholding of that glory which He sets before us, the Scriptures tell us, is a counter-balance to all the sorrows that ever happen to us. There is a mighty power of God put forth in it, by which He keeps and preserves His saints. We look for strength here in this or that way, and for God's delivering mercy to come in this or that way, but the Scriptures say, "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:5) Now, if this "salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" is that by which God Almighty preserves us--for we know nothing about it only as we are led to do so by the eye of faith--it is not applications, impulses, or impressions, it is "the eye of our understanding being enlightened; that we may know what is the hope of His calling," "and the fellowship of His sufferings." "So faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God"--God's revealed will; and these things being set before us, faith mixes with them, and that preserves and delivers us from the snares and temptations that surround us in this present evil world.
"Looking for that blessed hope." That eternal life that God gives us is in Jesus Christ, and we only become possessors of it by faith; for our bodies will die, and we shall return to dust. There will be a time come when there will be a resurrection from the dead, when the body will be raised incorruptible. Our Lord raised His dead body from the tomb, and He will raise us up by His mighty power. Then redemption's work will be complete, and we shall be capacitated to understand spiritual things: then the body will be raised and fashioned like to His glorious body, and then that eternal life will have a reality, by the accomplishment of that, which we only have by faith whilst we live here on earth. So God hides His mighty power in that way.
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." I look at it myself as referring to the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, though God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and the eternal Spirit are all One. Generally when God the Father is spoken of it is said, "The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ;" and with the Son and the Holy Ghost there is a distinction made. I apprehend myself it refers here solely to the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because we are told that God, the Father, "hath appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained." (Acts 17:31) And He will come "in the glory of the Father with the holy angels" to judge the world in righteousness. Then all the secrets of all hearts will be opened. The Scriptures describe it as though a record will be kept in books--the books will be opened. When the Lord of glory comes He will judge; He knows the secrets of all hearts, and the secrets of all men will be revealed, and every man will be judged according to the deeds done in his body, whether they be good or bad.
Notice this: men in general live unto themselves and for themselves. If there is any profession of religion, there is a selfishness in it; it is themselves they look at. So a worldling--he for himself loves the world and the things of it; and men under a profession of religion have a like self-love going on in another way. Thus you see all that vain religion among Papists and amongst Arminians--themselves they are seeking in it, and all they do is for themselves; they have no right view of the glory of the Person of Jesus Christ, and no sight nor knowledge of the grace of God.
Now, where God Almighty puts this new life, this new spirit, and gives a sight of the glory of Jesus Christ--you know how it was with Paul; he cast himself and his works all away, and accounted himself a poor, dead creature; and, in what he did, he had an eye to God's glory. And yet he could not understand all he had to pass through, but he wanted to commit that judgment unto the Lord, and that He should have the sway and rule in his heart's affection.
Now God is a searcher of hearts, a trier of reins, and the religion of Jesus Christ will bring us into subjection to the will of God in Jesus Christ; it will bow us to that pleasant yoke. This is what will be opened at the last day--the desire to be conformed to the will of God in Jesus Christ, the desire we have to His name and the remembrance of Him--these things will be opened, and then it will be seen.
Men may misjudge us, and we may have to suffer for it; men may condemn us--they condemned the Apostles and the saints in all ages; and they condemned the Lord of Glory; "but He that judgeth us is the Lord."
Says the Apostle, we look for "that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." What a deal we have to suffer in this time-state through people misapprehending why we do these things; but God will open them and manifest them. Then, the Scriptures tell us, the Lord Jesus Christ will so appear to have been in His saints, that it shall be openly seen and known of all, that Christ dwelt in their hearts by faith; for, when He thus comes, it will be "to be admired in all them that believe." Then He will be admired, He will be seen, and the world at large will sanction God's judgment. The saints of God will glorify His holy name; and then His honor, praise, and glory will shine forth, and be manifested, and all flesh shall see it. God's judgment will be openly manifested as a righteous judgment in the sight of all men; and it will be seen it is not what men think, but what God thinks. He knows the mind of the Spirit, and He knows the desires and motives in what we do, and these He will make publicly manifest, and will reward every man according to his works: "Come, ye blessed!" and "Depart, ye cursed!" Then in the next verse he shows the purpose that Christ came for: "Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."