"THE Book of the generation of Jesus Christ." Such is the opening of the canon of New Testament Scripture, and the commencement of the Gospel by the evangelist Matthew. The Holy Ghost thus begins the genealogy of Christ from Abraham to Joseph, and then traces it out in such a manner as to cause infidelity to stumble, and poor weak faith to wonder. With some little experience of this way adapt the language of Cowper to the case, and sing,--
"Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His Word in vain;
God is His own Interpreter,
And He will make it plain."
The poor and needy sinner, as taught of God, reads this precious genealogy with a grateful and adoring heart, because there he sees "EMMANUEL, GOD WITH US." Not the Man Christ Jesus with God; but God one with us in the Son of His love. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." (John 1:14) "God was manifest in the flesh." (1 Tim. 3:16) Here we have the God-Man's pedigree according to the flesh. It is given without guile, with nothing overdrawn or overcolored. Genuineness is stamped upon every part of it. When poor, vain man writes his pedigree, he strives his utmost to bring in the names of the great and the grand. If we were writing ours, would we not try to give some renowned progenitor a prominent position? but if a grandfather or great-grandfather were a notorious character, and hung for murder or sheep-stealing, wouldn't we strain every nerve to keep him out of sight? Poor, proud mortals do swagger if they can only claim kindred with nobility; but Jesus needed and desired no such emptiness as this. The anxious disciple of Jesus notices with intense interest the leaving out of certain names from this declaration of His generation. The Holy Ghost has intentionally left out the names of three of royal blood--Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah--and in His amazing grace has added three, which, according to our weak conceptions, did not require to appear--THAMAR, RACHAB, and BATHSHEBA. Read their histories as recorded in the Old Testament--Tamar in Genesis 38, Rahab in Joshua 2, and Bathsheba in 2 Sam. 11, and may we not well adore the rich, uninfluenced, sovereign grace of JEHOVAH which notices, calls, and cares for the vilest of characters, gives their names a place in eternal union with Jesus, washes them from all sin in His precious atoning blood, and saves them in Him with an everlasting salvation?
"Salvation bestowed, without money or price,
The poorest and vilest herein may rejoice;
For pardon, acceptance, and life are so free
To TAMAR and RAHAB, BATHSHEBA and ME."
Let us notice the circumstances recorded in connection with the text. The fullness of the time had come when God must send forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. (Gal. 4:4,5) To suffer, satisfy, and save, He must become Man. "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:" Mary, who was espoused to Joseph, was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Joseph, a just and a generous man, but ignorant of the wondrous workings of the blessed Spirit in the formation of the sacred and sinless humanity of Jesus in the womb of his espoused wife, was minded to put her away privily, not being willing to make her a public example. He was a thoughtful man. Would to God we were more like him. While he was thinking, no doubt in sorrow and sadness, "the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS; for He shall save His people from their sins." Oh, what a precious announcement! There is something blessedly certain, definite and sure in this reason given by the angel to Joseph, why God Incarnate should be called JESUS. Heaven-taught ones glory in the fact. Gracious sinners bow in adoring gratitude at the revelation of it. See! Mark well every word of it--
Each word presents a precious subject for our consideration, there are volumes in every word.
I. A GLORIOUS PERSON--"HE."
II. A GLORIOUS CERTAINTY--"SHALL."
III. A GLORIOUS FACT--"SAVE."
IV. A GLORIOUS POSSESSION--"HIS."
V. A GLORIOUS INHERITANCE--"PEOPLE."
VI. A GLORIOUS DISTANCE--"FROM."
VII. A TERRIBLE POSSESSION--"THEIR."
VIII. AN AWFUL ENTAIL--"SINS."
We will, in humble prayer to God the Holy Ghost for guidance, consider--
I. A GLORIOUS PERSON--"HE." Who is He? He is the one Object of interest, adoration, and praise in Old Testament vision and prophecy. The Creator, Preserver, Upholder, and Monarach of all. He is thus introduced by John: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) God equally and eternally with the Father and with the Holy Ghost. He was God in covenant before the worlds were framed. He was the Voice or Word of the LORD to Adam in Eden revealing Himself as the Seed of the woman and the Bruiser of the serpent's head." (Gen. 3:8,15) In covenant He was set up as the Head and Representative of grace, in communication He is revealed as the fullness of grace and glory in His real human body. But the question will arise, Why the necessity for the union of Godhead and Manhood in one person? The necessity was in the glorification of God in the salvation of His elect. In their salvation two things were necessary which no awakened sinner is able or willing to give. Perfect obedience to God's law he is not able to give. Perfect satisfaction for sin he is not willing to render, which could only be by an eternity of suffering in hell. Jesus was able and willing to obey, suffer, and satisfy. God could not suffer. Man could not satisfy. Here we see the necessity for the union of the two natures in one person. The God-Man Christ Jesus obeyed, suffered, satisfied, and thus glorified His Father in the salvation of His people. He was "the Mighty God." (Isa. 9:6) He was a "Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." (Isa. 53:3) He who as God was the Lawgiver, as Man became the Lawfulfiller. He was anointed and appointed to His soul-saving offices of Prophet, Priest, and King. As Prophet, He is able, willing, and determined to teach His disciples the way of salvation. As Priest, He is bent upon saving, interceding for, and blessing His people. As King, He asserts and maintains His right in them, and over all things for them. He is God over all, blessed for ever, yet, "EMMANUEL GOD WITH US." God, humbled to the nature, wants and necessities of His eternally-loved ones. Deity clothed in humanity. A sovereign God descending to the depths of His people's sins, sufferings, and sorrows, to save the lost, strengthen the weak, supply the needy, uphold the weary, and prevent their falling into hell. GOD, mighty to save; MAN, lowly to sympathize. With the right hand of His Godhead He brings the Father to His people. With the left hand of His manhood He brings His people into loving and living communion with the Father.
"Earth--heaven--O Christ! in Thee combine,
And thus I dare to call Thee mine,
My Brother and my God in one."
II. A GLORIOUS CERTAINTY--"SHALL." Blessed be God, our Jesus knows nothing of chance, contingency, or accident. He was appointed to the glorious work of saving His people in an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure. (2 Sam. 23:5) All the covenant promises of God in Him are Yea and Amen, (2 Cor. 1:20) and sure to all the seed-royal of heaven. (Rom. 4:16) Look at the terms of the covenant in which poor and needy sinners find sweet acceptance with the Father! They are all, "I will," and "they shall." See Heb. 8:10-12, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after these days, saith the Lord, I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousnesses, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." Did Christ suffer, bleed, and die at the hands of wicked men" It was by "the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God." (Acts 2:23) It is unspeakably precious to find one's soul resting upon the covenant settlements, unfailing designs, and unbending decrees of an immutable God. In them were eternally secured the full salvation, sure preservation, and eternal glorification of all the beloved and elect of God. Oh, the preciousness of these blessed, potent "shalls and wills!" In them can be found no doubt, hesitancy, or uncertainty; nothing vague or indistinct; but everything perfect, positive, permanent. It was this that caused the Saviour to say, "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37) As we behold, contemplate, and experience the overflowing of the Fountain of covenant love, we may well sing,--
"There's not an 'if' to foul the stream,
Or 'peradventure' here.
Free in the Fountain Head,
The source from whence it came,
In 'wills' and 'shalls' of Gospel grace
Eternally the same."
III. A GLORIOUS FACT--"SAVE." Mark you! "He shall SAVE." What is salvation? It is complete deliverance from the curse and condemnation of God's righteous law, from the guilt and power of sin, from the pride and folly of self, and from all evil in the world. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, That Christ Jesus came into the world TO SAVE SINNERS." (1 Tim. 1:15) The Father sent Him into the world for this very purpose, and before He returned to His glory-home He either fulfilled His commission, or He did not. If He did not, then there must have been failure, imperfection, and incompetency; and when He said, "IT IS FINISHED," there must have been a lie in His mouth. But there could be no failure or imperfection in Him or in His work, therefore the lie must be in the mouths of those who preach and maintain that bankrupt, helpless man has his part to do. Jesus said to His disciples at the well of Samaria, "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work." (John 4:34) In rendering an account of His stewardship, He was faithful to Him that appointed Him, (Heb. 3:2) and could with confidence say, "I have glorified Thee on the earth, I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." (John 17:4) When He died, God was glorified, justice was satisfied, the law was magnified, hell was defeated, and all God's elect were saved. Our text does not say, "He shall do all that is necessary for sinners to be saved if they will." It is not, "He shall perform a work by which sinners may avail themselves of certain offers, proffers, or conditions, to save themselves." It is not, "Christ should come into the world to try an experiment by which sinners might have a chance to work their way to God's favor, and eventually to heaven." It is not, "Christ has done His part, and we must do ours, if we intend to be saved." Oh, no! Blessed be God, in His unfailing purpose it is "He shall SAVE;" in the perfect work of the Son it is, "He hath SAVED;" by the gracious indwelling and witness of the Holy Ghost it is "We are SAVED;" and when we arrive at home in glory, our song, with all the saved ones, will be, "Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." (Rev. 7:10) Salvation is a glorious certainty, an accomplished fact, to be experienced in all its blessed reality by the whole ransomed Church of God, whom He took to Himself in covenant before all worlds. Burnt into the experience of every truly-taught child of God is Jonah's confession, "Salvation is of the Lord;" and so is that precious declaration by Peter, in Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
IV. A GLORIOUS POSSESSION--"HIS." It is a profitable study and blessed employment to mark well those precious personal pronouns as they flow from the heart and lips of Jesus, and are recorded by God the Holy Ghost in the word of the truth of the Gospel. Look at them! HIS--MY--MINE. His people--His portion--His possession. My chosen--My redeemed--My sheep--My treasure--My glory. Mine elect--Mine inheritance. See how Jesus looked up into the face of His Father, and, on the ground of accomplished redemption and faithful service, could say, "All Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them." (John 17:10) Looking upon them as He beholds them in grace-union with Himself, free from all sin, comely in His comeliness, and complete in Him, He says, "My sister, My love, My dove, My undefiled." (Song 5:2) With fond and unwearied affection He leads, defends, and pastures His flock. He acknowledges them as His own. Listen! "I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine." (John 10:14) Those who have experienced His tender care and delivering mercy can sing with Kelly--
"When the foe desired to have me,
Jesus said, 'This sheep is Mine;'
And resign'd His life to save me;
Jesus, what a love is Thine!
All victorious in its course,
Nothing can withstand its force."
In His sweet intercession He claims them as His Father's bequest to Him, and waits with eager delight for the full accomplishment of His commanding prayer, "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; for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world." (John 17:24) Oh, how precious is that heart-cheering testimony: "And they shall be MINE, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up MY jewels." (Mal. 3:17)
V. A GLORIOUS INHERITANCE--"PEOPLE." "The people of God are the peculiar property of Jesus. "He shall save His PEOPLE." A people elected, selected, and separated to Himself in the counsels of eternity, therefore a peculiar people. (1 Pet. 2:9) A people of every kindred, and tongue, and nation of this sinful world, therefore "a people scattered and peeled." (Isa. 18:7) A people bought from Satan, slavery, and sin by the blood of their Surety and Saviour, therefore a redeemed people." (Luke 1:68) A people to be quickened and regenerated by the sovereign power of God the Holy Ghost, according to the covenant-declaration of the Father to the Son: "Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power." (Ps. 110:3) Look at that statement of the Holy Ghost by the Psalmist, in Psalm 148:14, "He also exalteth the horn of His people, the praise of all His saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto Him." How near?
"So near, so very near to God,
I cannot nearer be;
For, in the person of His Son,
I am as near as He."
Here we see a people separated from the corrupt mass of Adam's fallen race, reserved, redeemed, regenerate; a people distinct, their number definite, yet surpassing all human calculation. As we are privileged to behold the scattered, yet gathered, ones as they appear in oneness with their Saviour and Sovereign, we cannot forbid the cry of joy and adoring gratitude: "Happy art Thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the Shield of thy help, and who is the Sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places." (Deut. 33:29)
"O Israel, who is like to thee,
A people saved, and called to be
Peculiar to the Lord?
Thy Shield! He guards thee from the foe;
Thy Sword! He fights thy battles too,
Himself thy great Reward!"
A people who shall surround Him in glory with songs of everlasting praise and joy.
VI. A GLORIOUS DISTANCE--"FROM." There are some words which in themselves mean nothing, yet indicate something. This word denotes distance, or absence, and if we see it in connection with God's salvation--that salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory--our hearts must bubble up with joy and gratitude in the contemplation of what we are delivered from. Let us look at a few portions of God's blessed Word. See Gal. 3:13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth of a tree." Turn to Gal. 1:4, "Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Now look at Psalm 109:31, "He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul." Now turn to Luke 1:71, "That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us." Do you not love the experience of Psalm 34:6, "This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles." Then again, the heart rejoices in the abounding of grace as revealed in Rom. 5:9, "Much more, then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." With testimonies so precious, we delight to sit and listen to the covenant commands from the exercised heart of the Psalmist: "Let Israel hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities." (Ps. 130:7,8) But let us look at a few passages where distance is declared. See Ps. 103:12, "As far as the East is from the West, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us." Who can utter the lovingkindness of the Lord in thus conveying to an irrecoverable distance from us all our transgressions, sins, and iniquities. This distance cannot be traced or discovered. See Jer. 50:20,"In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve." Hezekiah knew something of this graciously-appointed distance when he said, "Thou hast loved my soul from the pit of corruption; for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back." (Isa. 38:17) Think of that! All the sins of all God's accepted children cast behind His back. If His countenance smiles on me, then there is a full Deity, a glorious God, between me and my sins. Think of distance in the light of immensity and infinity. Look here! "Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:19) In the contemplation of truths so vast, with bubbling hearts we may sing--
"O Love, how high Thy glories swell,
How great, immutable, and free!
Ten thousand sins, as black as hell,
Are swallowed up, O Love, in Thee."
VII. A TERRIBLE POSSESSION--"THEIR." In the day that Adam fell, all his posterity fell in him, and thus became sinful and sinners. But, as they are born into this world, they remain unconscious of their sins and iniquities until awakened, or, rather, quickened by God the Holy Ghost. Then they are led to see their sins carried by a gracious Sin-Bearer into the land of never-ending forgetfulness. (Levi. 16:20-22) It is a blessed privilege to know for myself that "He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." Though the people of God are saved from sin, and enjoy that precious truth, "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth from all sin," (1 John 1:7) yet, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Every living child of God who enjoys the sweets of salvation, knows too that sin is an evil and bitter thing. David, as he experienced its guilt and power, cried to the Lord, "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done evil." (Ps. 51:4) Do you mark that Sin is a personal matter between a living soul and its God. The godly remnant, mourning over iniquity, transgression, and sin is thus described in Ezek. 7:16, "But they that escape of them shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity." Do you meet with them in the great congregation? Their united confession is, "We have offended against Thy holy laws." "Our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up to the heaven." (Ezra 9:6) Isaiah cried with the sin-distressed ones of his day, "Our sins testify against us, our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them." (Isa. 59:12) As the sin-burdened child of God approaches Him, he is wholly occupied with his own sins and iniquities which hide the face of Him whom his soul truly loves. Mark well the petitions of the living in Jerusalem: "For Thy name's sake, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great." (Ps. 25:11) "Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities." (Ps. 51:9)
"Not on me, Lord, not on me,
I am all iniquity!
Look on Thine anointed One,
Who before Thy glorious throne,
On His breast bears my poor name,
All my load of sin and shame,--
Look on Him, my Surety."
It is in this way, and by this road, that the Holy Ghost leads the elect and redeemed family into the blessedness of transgressions forgiven, sin covered, and iniquity not imputed. See Psalm 32:5, "I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin." Blessed be His name!
"No heights of guilt, or depths of sin,
Where His redeemed have ever been,
But sovereign grace was underneath,
And love eternal strong as death."
VIII. AN AWFUL ENTAIL--"SINS." To the child of God that is the most awful word in creation. It is allied with Satan and self against the sovereignty of JEHOVAH. One has well said, SIN "rendered reason a bewildered maze. It made the heart a nest of unclean birds, a spring of impure streams, a whirlpool of tumultuous passions, a hot-bed of ungodly lusts, a den of God-defying schemes. It is the malady, the misery, the shame of our whole race. It is the spring of every tear. Each sigh which rends the breast, each frown which ploughs the brow, each pain which racks the limbs, are cradled in its arms. It is the mother of that mighty monster--death. It digs each grave in every graveyard. Each widow and each orphan tastes its gall. It fills each hospital with sick. It strews the battle-field with slain. It is the care of every grief. It is the worm which gnaws the root of peace." Every living child of God knows full well that by nature SINNER is his name, SIN is his nature and the element he glories in, while SINS are the make-up of his daily and hourly practice. When he thinks upon his natural birth, he cries, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." (Ps. 51:5) Does he look within, to search and try his ways? A heart-searching God cries loudly, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9) while in thunder tones an inward voice proclaims, "Thou shalt see greater abominations than these." (Ezek. 8:15) What are our lives when seen apart from Jesus our sin-bearing Surety? One ever-accumulating pile of sins and enormities against God. Full, overflowing fountains of sin, rivers of iniquity, oceans of corruption are all that we can claim as flowing from ourselves. The experience of this, by the teaching of the blessed Spirit, causes the heart to tremble and the spirit to quail at the thought of God's hatred and abhorrence of sin. Here I cry, "Lord, remember not the sins of my youth," of my manhood, of my waking, of my sleeping hours. Unbelief, infidelity, pride, rebellion, ingratitude--a whole troop of aggravated sins pursue me, and Satan, eager for prey, seems ready to grasp me, and hell to devour me. The troop thickens! Transgression after transgression, sin after sin, iniquity after iniquity swell the ranks which rush at Satan's beck to hunt down to condemnation, death, and hell, my oppressed and panting soul. Thoughts of secret sins perplex me, sins against the Father's love, sins against my Saviour's grace, sins against the counsels and comforts of my Indwelling Friend, sins against God's righteous law, sins against His everlasting covenant, sins against His patient, uncomplaining forbearance with me, sins against His sweet and precious name, sins against His gentle, loving spirit! sins prevail against me, and I cry, "O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me." (Isa. 38:14)
"When Thy statutes I forsake,
When my graces dimly shine;
When Thy covenant I break,
Jesus, then remember Thine,--
Check my wanderings
By a look of love Divine."
Here we can pause to sound forth the eternal praises and unceasing honors of JEHOVAH THE SPIRIT. It is He, and He alone, who has taught us to mourn over the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and to rejoice in the knowledge and felt realization of the exceeding preciousness of Jesus' person, love, blood, righteousness, and salvation. It is He who testifies of Jesus to the spiritual understanding. (John 15:26) It is He who reveals Jesus to the heart which He has opened to embrace Him. (John 16:14,15) It is He who glorifies Jesus in the salvation, justification, and life of the whole election of grace. It is by Him that JESUS appears, mighty to save. JESUS! who fought and grappled hard with sin, and death, and hell. Sin was put away, death was destroyed, hell was disappointed of its prey, God was glorified, the law was magnified, justice was satisfied, Christ was exalted, and the whole Church of God saved in Him with an everlasting salvation. As the members of the One Body are led into a feeling and intelligent enjoyment of this great and glorious salvation, Satan looks on with fiendish glee. But,
"When sins and fears prevailing rise,
And fainting hope almost expires,"
the merciful and faithful High Priest will not be wanting with His sweet assurances of sin forgiven and sinners saved. Do accusers abound before whom my tempted and temptest-tossed soul cannot stand? The Daysman, the Umpire, the One who can argue, the all-prevailing Advocate appears in court. He speaks with authority. He pleads the power of sin-atoning blood, His death-destroying death, His perfect, peace-speaking righteousness. His pleas prevail, JEHOVAH smiles, and the pardoned and accepted sinner cries with sacred joy and sweet assurance, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Rom. 8:33,34)
"He shall save His people from their sins." In the experimental accomplishment of this salvation the intercession of Jesus forms to small part. Before it, devils cannot stand. In the presence of the Intercessor, sins cannot exist. Because of His intransmissible priesthood, "He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Heb. 7:25) Sins in the heart and in the daily walk are keenly felt, and cause the halting pilgrim many a groan; but Jesus is ever ready to save, and high at hand to bless. Are our weary feet soiled with the mire and mud of this world's pollution? We are led to experience and acknowledge that "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7) Did Peter lie, and curse, and swear? Jesus was there, and, with His look of love, wrought true contrition in Peter's soul, and brought tears of godly sorrow from his eyes. "He shall save" is as true today as when the angel spake these blessed words to Joseph. It is a salvation without supplement, a deliverance without denial. Look at it! It was Jacob's hope: "I have waited for Thy salvation, O LORD." (Gen. 49:18) It was Moses' exultation: "The LORD is become my salvation." (Exo. 15:2) It was David's confidence, for speaking of Christ in covenant, he said, "This is all my salvation, and all my desire, although He make it not to grow." (2 Sam. 23:5) God's salvation is great, everlasting, full, and free. It was planned by the Father in love, performed by the Son in grace, and applied by the Spirit in mercy. It is wholly of God from first to last, and in its design, execution, and communication, no created being can claim a part.
In Jesus, God's salvation, the elect, redeemed, and regenerate one appears--
"Clean every whit." (John 13:10)
"Perfect in Christ Jesus." (Col. 1:28)
"Complete in Him." (Col. 2:10)
"Holy and without blame." (Eph. 1:4)
"Accepted in the Beloved." (Eph. 1:6)
"Without blemish, wrinkle, or any such thing." (Eph. 5:27)
"As He is." (1 John 4:17)
"Without fault before the throne of God." (Rev. 14:5)
In the contemplation of such a SALVATION, such a SAVIOUR, such a GOD, the heart throbs with grateful adoration; and when blessed with the sweet witness of the Spirit, it sings to HIS honor, praise, and renown, who consummates in eternal glory that salvation designed by JEHOVAH the Father, in the counsel of peace, before the worlds were made, accomplished by Himself in His obedience unto death, and revealed by His blessed Spirit to the sin-sick and sorrowing hearts of elect vessels of mercy in the set time of favor. May you and I daily experience the preciousness and power of this glorious declaration,