J N Darby – Death – King of Terrors for the Unbeliever –

Man is condemned: he cannot deliver himself. But Christ has come in. The Prince of Life has come into death. What is death now for the believer?

IMPORTANT – The Bible says, ‘It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment’[i]  If you landed on this page because you are afraid of death, and do not have peace with God Click here first.

 

Death – The King of Terrors for the Unbeliever

John Nelson Darby

For the unbeliever, nothing can be more terrible than death.  It is the ‘King of Terrors’ (See Job 18:14).  It is the end of life of the natural man, the first Adam.  Everything in which man has had – his home, his thoughts, his whole being, is closed and perished forever.  ‘His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day, his thoughts perish’ (Psalm 146:4). It is the end to all his plans. This busy world forgets him: he is extinct.  Death is written on him, for he is a sinner: he cannot deliver himself.

But that is not all.  Man indeed, as man alive in this world.  Sin has come in; with sin Satan’s power, more sin and death.  The wages of sin are a terror to the conscience. Man has been unable to resist the master, Satan, who has exercised his dreadful rights.

God cannot help[ii].   Death is His judgment on sin.  Sin does not pass unnoticed, and the terror and plague of the conscience is witness to His judgment, the officer of justice to the criminal, and the proof of his guilt in the presence of coming judgment.  How terrible!

Christ’s Death for the Believer

Man is condemned: he cannot deliver himself.  But Christ has come in.  The Prince of Life has come into death.  What is death now for the believer?

So we see two aspects of death –

  1. Satan’s power:
  2. God’s judgment:

In being made sin for us, Christ has undergone death, passing through both Satan’s power and God’s judgment. Death with its causes has been met in its every way by Christ.  It is no longer a source of terror to my soul.  In every sense, it has lost its power.

Death is Ours

But death has much more than passed away. Paul says that death is ours, as all things are (See 1 Cor 3:22).  Death and judgment have become my salvation; sin and the wages of sin have passed away.  In a word, Christ, the sinless One, having come in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, has dealt with my whole condition, the first Adam under obligation to the law (see Rom 8:3).  I live before God now in the One who is risen.  What is the effect of this?

  1. Condemnation and judgment being over, my soul is accepted. The foods of water that engulfed the oppressive Egyptians was a wall of deliverance to the children of Israel (see Ex 14:22).
  2. In the power of Christ’s resurrection, I am quickened. He becomes my life. In the new man, I can dispense with the old, Christ having passed through death, I can consider myself dead.  ‘Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Rom 6:11).  We are free of ordinances.
  3. The old man dies; the new man can never die. It is Christ.  In dying, it quits what is mortal and leaves death behind.  ‘We … are absent from the body and present with the Lord’ (2 Cor 5:8 Darby).  Our old man never revives, but our mortal bodies will be changed, like unto His glorious body conformed to the image of God’s Son.  (See Phil 3:21 and Rom 8:29).   Having a new life, we are disencumbered from the old man which hinders and hems in our way.

Conclusion

Death is the ceasing of the old man in which we were guilty before God.  It is the ceasing of sin, hindrance and trouble. We have done with the old man righteously, because Christ has died for us, and now we live in the power of the new.

  • As to death: ‘To depart and to be with Christ is far better. (Phil 1:23)
  • As to judgment: Christ has borne it.
  • As to the power of sin: it is the death of the very nature it lives in.
  • As to actual mortality: it is deliverance from the old to be with Christ in the new man who enjoys Him.

Who knowing the proper gain of it, would not die?

Meanwhile, we live here to serve Christ.  To us to live is Christ. (See Phil 1:21).

 

A simplified summary by Sosthenes of J N Darby’s – ‘What is Death’ ‘ Collected Writings volume 17 – Doctrinal 1, page 302.

[i] Hebrews 9:27

[ii] Or should I say, ‘does not help’? – Sosthenes

George Cutting – Safety, Certainty and Enjoyment

Travelling from Time into Eternity – Which class are you travelling?

Read in connection with this page:  Do you have Peace?

Safety, Certainty and Enjoyment.

George Cutting.

George Cutting
(1843-1934)

“WHICH CLASS ARE YOU TRAVELLING?”

What an oft-repeated question! Let me put it to you my reader; for travelling you most certainly are travelling from Time into Eternity, and who knows how very, very near you may be this moment to the GREAT TERMINUS?

“Which class are you travelling?” There are but three. Let me describe them that you may put yourself to the test as in the presence of “Him with whom you have to do.”

1st Class — Those who are saved, and who know it.

2nd Class — Those who are not sure of salvation, but anxious to be so.

3rd Class — Those who are not only unsaved, but totally indifferent about it.

Again I repeat my question — “Which class are you travelling?” Oh, the madness of indifference, when eternal issues are at stake! A short time ago, a man came rushing into the railway station at Leicester, and while scarcely able to gasp for breath he took his seat in one of the carriages just on the point of starting.

“You’ve run it fine,” said a fellow passenger. “Yes,” replied he, breathing heavily after every two or three words, “but I’ve saved four hours, and that’s well worth running for.”

“Saved four hours!” I couldn’t help repeating to myself — “four hours well worth that earnest struggle! What of eternity? What of eternity?” Yet are there not thousands of shrewd, far-seeing men today, who look sharply enough after their own interests in this life, but who are stone blind to the eternity before them? In spite of the infinite love of God to helpless rebels, told out at Calvary, spite of His pronounced hatred of sin, spite of the known brevity of man’s history here, spite of the terrors of judgment after death, and of the solemn probability of waking up at last with the unbearable remorse of being on hell’s side of a “fixed” gulf, man hurries on to the bitter, bitter end, as careless as if there were no God, no death, no judgment, no heaven, no hell. If the reader of these pages be such an one, may God this very moment have mercy upon you and while you read these lines open your eyes to your most perilous position, standing as you maybe on a slippery brink of an endless woe.

Oh friend, believe it or not, your case is truly desperate. Put off the thought of eternity no longer. Remember that procrastination is like him who deceives you by it — not only a “thief, but a murderer.” There is much truth in the Spanish proverb, which says, “the road of ‘By-and-by’ leads to the town of ‘Never’. ” I beseech you unknown reader, travel that road no longer. “Now is the day of salvation.”

But, says one, I am not indifferent as to the welfare of my soul. My deep trouble lies wrapped up in another word:

UNCERTAINTY

i.e. I am among the second-class passengers you speak of.

Well, reader, both indifference and uncertainty are the offspring of one parent — unbelief. The first results from unbelief as to the sin and ruin of man, the other from unbelief as to God’s sovereign remedy for man. It is especially for souls desiring before God to be fully and unmistakably SURE of their salvation that these pages are written. I can in a great measure understand your deep soul trouble, and am assured that the more you are in earnest about this all-important matter, the greater will be your thirst, until you know for certain that you are really and eternally saved. “For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul.”

The only son of a devoted father is at sea. News comes that his ship has been wrecked on some foreign shore. Who can tell the anguish of suspense in that father’s heart until, upon the most reliable authority, he is assured that his boy is safe and sound. Or, again, you are far from home, the night is dark and wintry, and your way is totally unknown. Standing at a point where two roads diverge, you ask a passer-by the way to the town you desire to reach, and he tells you he thinks such and such a way is the right one, and hopes you will be all right if you take it. Would “thinks” and “hopes” and “maybes” satisfy you? Surely not. You must have certainty about it, or every step you take will increase your anxiety. What wonder, then, that men have sometimes been unable either to eat or sleep when the eternal safety of the soul has been trembling in the balance!

To lose your wealth is much,
To lose your health is more,
To lose your soul is such a loss
As no man can restore.

Now, dear reader, there are three things I desire by the Holy Spirit’s help, to make clear to you; and to put them in scriptural language, they are these:-
1. “The way of salvation.” (Acts 16:17).
2. “The knowledge of salvation.” (Luke 1:77).
3. “The joy of salvation.” (Psalm 51:12).

We shall I think, see that though intimately connected, they each stand upon a separate basis; so that it is quite possible for a soul to know the way of salvation without having the certain knowledge that he himself is saved, or again, to know that he is saved, without possessing at all time the joy that ought to accompany that knowledge.

First, then, let me speak briefly of

THE WAY OF SALVATION

Please open your Bible and read carefully the thirteenth verse of the thirteenth chapter of Exodus; there you find these words from the lips of Jehovah — Every firstling of an ass you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will NOT redeem it, THEN YOU SHALL BREAK HIS NECK: and all the firstborn of man among your children you shall redeem.”

Now, come back with me, in thought to a supposed scene of more than three thousand years ago. Two men (a priest of God and a poor Israelite) stand in earnest conversation. Let us stand by, with their permission, to listen. The gestures of each indicate deep earnestness about some matter of importance, and it isn’t difficult to see that the subject of conversation is a little ass that stands trembling beside them.

“I am wondering,” says the poor Israelite, “if there cannot be a merciful exception made in my favour this once. This feeble little thing is the firstling of my ass, and though I know full well what the law of God says about it, I am hoping that mercy will be shown, and the ass’s life spared. I am but a poor man in Israel, and can ill afford to lose the little colt.”

“But,” answers the priest, firmly, “the law of the Lord is plain and unmistakable — ‘Every firstling of an ass you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will NOT redeem it, THEN YOU SHALL BREAK HIS NECK.’ Where is the lamb?”

“Ah, sir, no lamb do I possess.”

“Then purchase one and return, or the ass’s neck must surely be broken. The lamb must die or the ass must die.”

“Alas? then all my hopes are crushed,” he cries, “for I am far too poor to buy a lamb.”

While this conversation proceeds, a third person joins them, and after hearing the poor man’s tale of sorrow, he turns to him and says kindly, “Be of good cheer, I can meet your need;” and thus he proceeds: “We have in our house on the hilltop yonder, one little lamb brought up at our very fireside, who is ‘without spot or blemish.’ It has never once strayed from home, and stands (and rightly so) in highest favour with all that are in the house. This lamb will I fetch.” And away he hastens up the hill. Presently you see him gently leading the fair little creature down the slope, and very soon both lamb and ass are standing side by side.

Then the lamb is bound to the altar, its blood is shed, and the fire consumes it.

The righteous priest now turns to the poor man, and says: “You can freely take home your little colt in safety — no broken neck for it now. The lamb has died in the ass’s stead and consequently the ass goes righteously free, thanks to your friend.”

Now poor troubled soul, can’t you see in this God’s own picture of a sinner’s salvation? His claims as to sin demanded a “broken neck” i.e. righteous judgment upon your guilty head, the only alternative being the death of a divinely approved substitute.

Now, you could not find the provision to meet your case; but, in the person of His beloved Son, God Himself provided the Lamb. “Behold the Lamb of God”, which takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29).

Onward to Calvary He went, “as a lamb led to the slaughter,” and there and then “He once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18). “He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Rom. 4:25). So that God does not abate one jot of His righteous, holy claims against sin when He justifies (i.e. clears from all charge of guilt) the ungodly sinner who believes in Jesus. (Romans 3:26). Blessed be God for such a Saviour, such a salvation)

Do You Believe On the Son of God?

Well, you reply, I have, as a poor condemned sinner, found in HIM one that I can safely trust. I DO believe on Him. Then I tell you, the full value of His sacrifice and death, as God estimates it, He makes as good to you as though you had accomplished it all yourself.

Oh, what a wondrous way of salvation is this! Is it not great and grand and Godlike — worthy of God Himself? The gratification of His own heart of love, the glory of His precious Son, and the salvation of a sinner, all bound up together. What a bundle of grace and glory! Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has so ordered it that His own beloved Son should do all the work and get all the praise, and that you and I, poor guilty things, believing on Him should not only get all the blessings, but enjoy the blissful company of the Blesser for ever and ever. “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” (Ps. 34:3).

But perhaps your eager inquiry may be, “How is it that since I do really distrust self and self-work, I have not the full certainty of my salvation?” You say, “If my feelings warrant me saying that I am saved one day, they are pretty sure to blight every hope the next, and I am left like a ship storm-tossed, without any anchorage whatever.”

Ah, there lies your mistake. Did you ever hear of a captain trying to find anchorage by fastening his anchor inside the ship? Never. Always outside.

It may be that you are quite clear that it is Christ’s death alone that gives SAFETY, but you think that it is what you feel, that gives CERTAINTY.

Now, again take your Bible, for I wish to say a little about how a man gets

THE KNOWLEDGE OF SALVATION

Before you turn to the verse which I shall ask you very carefully to look at, which speaks of how a believer is to KNOW that he has eternal life, let me quote it in the distorted way that man’s imagination often puts it. “Those happy feelings have I given unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life.” Now, open your Bible, and while you compare this with God’s blessed and unchanging Word, may He give you from your very heart to say with David, “I hate vain thoughts; but Thy law do I love.” (Ps. 119:113). The verse just misquoted is 1 John 5:13 “These things have I WRITTEN unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may KNOW that YOU HAVE eternal life.”

How did the first-born sons of the thousands of Israel know for certain that they were safe the night of the Passover and Egypt’s judgment?

Let us take a visit to two of their houses and hear what they have to say.

We find in the first house we enter that they are all shivering with fear and suspense. What is the secret of all this paleness and trembling? we inquire; and the first-born son informs us that the angel of death is coming round the land, and that he is not quite certain how matters will stand with him at that solemn moment.

“When the destroying angel has passed our house,” he says, “and the night of judgment is over, I shall then know that I am safe, but I can’t see how I can be quite sure of it until then. They say they are sure of salvation next door, but we think it very presumptuous. All I can do is to spend the long dreary night hoping for the best.”

“Well,” we inquire, “but has the God of Israel not provided a way of safety for His people?”

“True,” he replies, “and we have availed ourselves of that way of escape. The blood of the spotless and unblemished first-year lamb has been duly sprinkled with the bunch of hyssop on the lintel and two side-posts, but still we are not fully assured of shelter.” Let us now leave these doubting, troubled ones, and enter next door.

What a striking contrast meets our eye at once! Joy beams on every countenance. There they stand with girded loins and staff in hand, enjoying the roasted lamb.

What can be the meaning of all this joy on such a solemn night as this? “Ah,” say they all, “we are only waiting for Jehovah’s marching orders and then we shall bid a last farewell to the task-master’s cruel lash and all the drudgery of Egypt.”

“But hold. Do not forget that this is the night of Egypt’s judgment?”

“Right well we know it; but our first-born son is safe. The blood has been sprinkled according to the wish of our God.”

“But so it has been next door,” we reply, “but they are all unhappy because all uncertain of safety.”

“Ah,” responds the first-born firmly, “but we have
MORE THAN THE SPRINKLED BLOOD, WE HAVE THE UNERRING WORD OF GOD ABOUT IT.
God has said, ‘WHEN I SEE THE BLOOD I will pass over you.’ God rests satisfied with the blood outside, and we rest satisfied with His word inside.”

The sprinkled blood makes us SAFE.

The spoken word makes us SURE.

Could anything make us more safe than the sprinkled blood, or more sure than His spoken word? Nothing, nothing.

Now, reader, let me ask you a question. “Which of those two houses was the safer?”

Do you say No. 2, where all were so happy? Then you are wrong. Both are safe alike.

Their safety depends upon what God thinks about the blood outside and not upon the state of their feelings inside.

If you would be sure of your own blessing, then, dear reader, listen not to the unstable testimony of inward emotions, but to the infallible witness of the Word of God.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on Me HAS everlasting life.”

Let me give you a simple illustration from everyday life. A certain farmer in the country, not having sufficient grass for his cattle, applies for a nice piece of pasture-land which he hears is to be let near his own house. For some time he gets no answer from the landlord. One day a neighbour comes in and says, “I feel quite sure you will get that field. Don’t you recollect how that last Christmas he sent you a special present of game, and that he gave you a kind nod of recognition the other day when he drove past?” And with such words the farmer’s mind is filled with high hopes.

Next day another neighbour meets him, and in the course of conversation, he says, “I’m afraid you will stand no chance whatever of getting that grass-field. Mr. — has applied for it, and you cannot but be aware what a favourite he is with Squire — occasionally he visits with him, etc., etc.” And the poor farmer’s bright hopes are dashed to the ground and burst like soap bubbles. One day he is hoping, the next day full of perplexing doubts.

Presently the postman calls, and the farmer’s heart beats fast as he opens the letter; for he sees by the handwriting that it is from the Squire himself. See his countenance change from anxious suspense to undisguised joy as he reads and re-reads that letter.

“It’s a settled thing now,” exclaims he to his wife; “no more doubts and fears about it. The Squire says the field is mine as long as I require it, on the most easy terms. I care for no man’s opinion now. His word settles it.

Now many a poor soul is in a like condition to the poor troubled farmer — tossed and perplexed by the opinions of men, or the thoughts and feelings of his own treacherous heart! and it is only upon receiving the Word of God as the Word of God, that certainty takes the place of doubts. When God speaks there must be certainty, whether He pronounces the damnation of the unbeliever, or the salvation of the believer.

“Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89): and to the simple hearted believer HIS WORD SETTLES ALL.

“Has He said, and shall He not do it? or has He spoken, and shall He not make it good? (Num. 23:19).

“I need no other argument,
I want no other plea.
It is enough that Jesus died –
And that He died for me.”

The believer can add –
“And that God says so.”

“But how may I be sure that I have the right kind of faith?”

Well, there can be but one answer to that question, i.e.: Have you confidence in the right person? — i.e. in the blessed Son of God? It is not a question of the amount of your faith but the trustworthiness of the person you repose your confidence in. One man takes hold of Christ, as it were, with a drowning man’s grip; another but touches the hem of His garment; but the sinner who does the former is not a bit safer than the one who does the latter. They have both made the same discovery, viz.: that while all of self is totally untrustworthy, they may safely confide in Christ, calmly rely on His word, and confidently rest in the eternal efficacy of His finished work. That is what is meant by believing on HIM. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on Me HAS everlasting life.” (John 6:47).

Make sure of it then, my reader, that your confidence is not reposed in your works of amendment, your religious observances, your pious feeling when under religious influences, your moral training from childhood, and the like. You may have the strongest faith in any or all of these and perish everlastingly. Don’t deceive yourself by any “fair show in the flesh.” The feeblest faith in Christ eternally saves, while the strongest faith in anything else is but the offspring of a deceived heart — but the leafy twigs of your enemy’s arranging over the pit of eternal perdition.

God, in the gospel, simply introduces to you the Lord Jesus Christ, and says, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” “You may,” He says, “with all confidence trust His heart though you cannot with impunity trust your own.”

“Blessed, thrice blessed Lord Jesus, who would not trust Thee and praise Thy name!”

“I do really believe on Him,” said a sad-looking soul to me one day, “But yet, when asked if I am saved, I don’t like to say Yes, for fear I should be telling a lie.” This young woman was a butcher’s daughter in a small town in the midlands. It happened to be market day, and her father had not returned from market. So I said: “Now suppose when your father comes home you ask him how many sheep he bought today, and he answers, ‘Ten.’ After a while a man comes to the shop and says, ‘How many sheep did your father buy today?’ and you reply, ‘I don’t like to say, for fear I should be telling a lie.'” “But,” said the mother (who was standing by at the time, with righteous indignation, “that would be making her father a liar.”

Now, dear reader, don’t you see that this well-meaning young woman was virtually making Christ a liar, saying, “I do believe on the Son of God, but I don’t like to say I am saved lest I should be telling a lie,” when Christ Himself has said, “he that believes on Me has everlasting life”! (John 6:47). “But, says another, “How may I be sure that I really do believe? I have tried often to believe, and looked within to see if I had got it, but the more I look at my faith the less I seem to have.”

Ah, my friend, you are looking in the wrong direction to find that out, and your trying to believe but plainly shows that you are on the wrong track. Let me give you another illustration to explain what I want to convey to you. You are sitting quietly at home one evening, when a man comes in and tells you that the stationmaster has been killed that night at the railway. Now, it happens that this man has long borne the character in the place for being a very dishonest man, and the most daring and notorious liar in the neighbourhood.

“Do you believe, or even try to believe that man?”

“Of course not,” you exclaim, “I know him too well for that.”

“But tell me how you know that you don’t believe him? Is it by looking within at your faith or feelings?”

“No,” you reply, “I think of the man that brings me the message.”

Presently, a neighbour drops in and says, “The stationmaster has been run over by a freight train tonight, and killed on the spot.” After he has left I hear you cautiously say, “Well, I partly believe it now for, to my recollection this man only once in his life deceived me, though I have known him from boyhood.”

But again, I ask, “is it by looking at your faith this time that you know that you partly believe it?”

“No,” you repeat: “I am thinking of the character of my informant.”

Well, this man has scarcely left your room before a third person enters and brings you the same sad news as the first. But this time you say, “Now, John, since you tell me, I believe it.”

Again, I press my question (which is, remember, but the re-echo of your own), “How do you KNOW that you so confidently believe your friend John?”

“Because of who and what JOHN is,” you reply. “He never has deceived me, and I don’t think he ever will.”

Well, then, just in the same way I know that I believe the gospel, viz. because of the One who brings me the news. “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His son … He that BELIEVES NOT GOD HAS MADE HIM A LIAR: because he believes not the record that God gave of His Son.” (1 John 5:9-10). “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:3).

An anxious soul once said to a servant of Christ, “Oh sir, I can’t believe!” to which the preacher wisely and quietly replied, “Indeed, WHO is it that you can’t believe?” This broke the spell. He had been looking at faith as an indescribable something that he must feel within himself in order to be sure that he was all right for heaven; whereas faith ever looks outside to a living Person and His finished work, and quietly listens to the testimony of a faithful God about both.

It is the outside look that brings the inside peace. When a man turns his face towards the sun, his own shadow is behind him. You cannot look at self and a glorified Christ in Heaven at the same moment.

Thus we have seen that the blessed Person of God’s Son wins my confidence; HIS FINISHED WORK makes me eternally safe; GOD’S WORD about those who believe on Him makes me unalterably sure: I find in Christ and His work the way of salvation, and in the Word of God the knowledge of salvation.

But if saved, my reader may say, “How is it that I have such a fluctuating experience — so often losing all my joy and comfort, and getting as wretched and downcast as I was before my conversion?” Well, this brings us to our third point, viz.

THE JOY OF SALVATION

You will find in the teaching of Scripture, that while you are saved by Christ’s work and assured by God’s word, you are maintained in comfort and joy by the Holy Spirit who indwells every saved one’s body.

Now you must bear in mind that every saved one has still within him “the flesh,” i.e. the evil nature he was born with as a natural man, and which perhaps shows itself while still a helpless infant on his mother’s lap. The Holy Spirit in the believer resists the flesh, and is grieved by every activity of it in motive, word, or deed. When he is walking “worthy of the Lord,” the Holy Spirit will be producing in his soul His blessed fruits — “love, joy, peace,” etc. (See Gal. 5:22). When he is walking in a carnal, worldly way, the Spirit is grieved, and these fruits are wanting in a greater or less measure.

Let me put it thus for you who believe on God’s Son:-
Christ’s Work and Your Salvation
stand or fall together.
Your Walk and Your Enjoyment
stand or fall together.

If Christ’s work could break down (and blessed be God it never, never will) your salvation would break down with it. When your walk breaks down (and be watchful, for it may) your enjoyment will break down with it.

Thus it is said of the early disciples (Acts 9:31), that they “walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost.”

And again in Acts 13:52 — “The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost.”

My spiritual joy will be in proportion to the spiritual character of my walk after I am saved.

Now, do you see your mistake? You have been mixing up enjoyment with your safety — two widely different things. When through self-indulgence, loss of temper, worldliness, etc. you grieved the Holy Spirit and lost your joy, you thought your safety was undermined. But again, I repeat it –

  • Your safety hangs upon Christ’s work FOR you.
    Your assurance upon God’s word TO you.
    Your enjoyment, upon not grieving the Holy Spirit IN you.

When as a child of God you do anything to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, your communion with the Father and the Son is, for the time, practically suspended; and it is only when you judge yourself and confess your sins that the joy of communion is restored.

Your child has been guilty of some misdemeanor. He shows upon his countenance the evident mark that something is wrong with him. Half an hour before this he was enjoying a walk with you around the garden admiring what you admired, enjoying what you enjoyed; in other words, he was in communion with you, his feelings and sympathies were in common with yours.

But now all this is changed, and as a naughty, disobedient child, he stands in the corner, the very picture of misery.

Upon penitent confession of his wrong-doing you have assured him of forgiveness, but his pride and self-will keep him sobbing there.

Where is now the joy of half an hour ago? All gone. Why? Because communion between you and him has been interrupted.

What has become of the relationship that existed between you and your son half an hour ago? Has that gone too? Is that severed or interrupted? Surely not. His relationship depends upon his birth; his communion, upon his behaviour.

But presently he comes out of the corner with broken will and broken heart, confessing the whole thing from first to last, so that you see he hates the disobedience and naughtiness as much as you do, and you take him in your arms and cover him with kisses. His joy is restored because communion is restored.

When David sinned so grievously in the matter of Uriah’s wife, he did not say, “Restore unto me Thy salvation,” but “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.” (Psalm 51:12).

But to carry our illustration a little farther.

Supposing while your child is in the corner, there should be a cry of “House on fire!” what would become of him then? Left in the corner to be consumed with the burning, falling house? Impossible.

Very probably he would be the very first person you would carry out. Ah, yes, you know right well that the love of relationship is one thing, and the joy of communion quite another.

Now, when the believer sins, communion is for the time interrupted, and joy is lost until with a broken heart he comes to the Father in self-judgment, confessing his sins. Then, also he knows he is forgiven, for His word plainly declares that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).

Oh, then, dear child of God, ever bear in mind these two things, that there is nothing so strong as the link of relationship; nothing so tender as the link of communion.

All the combined power and counsel of earth and hell cannot sever the former, while an impure motive or an idle word will break the latter.

If you are troubled with a cloudy half-hour, get low before God, consider your ways; and when the cause that has robbed you of your joy has been detected, bring it at once to the light, confess your sin to God your Father, and judge yourself most unsparingly for the unwatchful, careless state of soul that allowed the thief to enter unchallenged.

But never, never, NEVER, confound your safety with your joy.

Don’t imagine, however, that the judgment of God falls a whit more leniently on the believer’s sin than on the unbeliever’s. He has not two ways of dealing judicially with sin, and He could no more pass by the believer’s sin without judging it than He could pass by the sins of a rejecter of His precious Son. But there is this great difference between the two, viz. : that the believer’s sins were all known to God, and all laid upon His own provided Lamb when He hung upon the Cross at Calvary and that there and then, once and forever, the great “criminal question” of his guilt was raised and settled — judgment falling upon the blessed Substitute in the believer’s stead, “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” (1 Peter 2:24).

The Christ-rejecter must bear his own sins in his own person in the lake of fire forever. Now, when a saved one fails, the “criminal question” of sin cannot be raised against him, the Judge Himself having settled that once for all on the cross; but the communion question is raised within him by the Holy Spirit as often as he grieves the Spirit.

Allow me, in conclusion, to give you another illustration: It is a beautiful moonlit night. The moon is at full, and shining in more than ordinary silvery brightness. A man is gazing intently down a deep, still well, where he sees the moon reflected, and remarks to a friend standing by: “How beautifully fair and round she is tonight; how quietly and majestically she rides along!” He had just finished speaking when suddenly his friend drops a small pebble into the well and he now exclaims: “Why the moon is all broken to shivers, and the fragments are shaking together in the greatest disorder.”

“What gross absurdity!” is the astonished rejoinder of his companion, “Look up man! the moon hasn’t changed one jot or tittle; it is the condition of the well that reflects her that has changed.”

Now, believer, apply this simple figure. Your heart is the well. When there is no allowance of evil, the blessed Spirit of God takes of the glories and preciousness of Christ, and reveals them to you for your comfort and joy, but the moment a wrong motive is cherished in the heart, or an idle word escapes the lips unjudged, the Holy Spirit begins to disturb the well, your happy experiences are smashed to pieces, and you are all restless and disturbed within, until in brokenness of spirit before God, you confess your sin (the disturbing thing), and thus get restored once more to the calm sweet joy of communion.

But when your heart is all unrest need I ask, Has Christ’s work changed? No, no! Then your salvation has not altered. Has God’s Word changed? Surely not. Then the certainty of your salvation has received no shock.

Then, what has changed? Why, the action of the Holy Spirit in you has changed, and instead of taking the glories of Christ and filling your heart with the sense of His worthiness, He is grieved at having to turn aside from this delightful office to fill you with the sense of your sin and unworthiness.

He takes from you your present comfort and joy until you judge and resist the evil thing that He judges and resists. When this is done, communion with God has again been restored.

The Lord make us to be increasingly jealous over ourselves, lest we “grieve the Holy Spirit of God, whereby we are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).

Dear reader, however weak your faith maybe, rest assured of this, that the blessed One who has won your confidence will never change.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and FOREVER” (Heb. 13:8).

The work He has accomplished will never change. “Whatsoever God does, it shall be FOREVER: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it” (Ecc. 3:14). The word He hath spoken will never change.

Thus the object of my trust, the foundation of my safety, the ground of my certainty, are alike ETERNALLY UNALTERABLE.

Once more let me ask, WHICH CLASS ARE YOU TRAVELLING? Turn your heart to God, I pray you, and answer that question to Him.

“Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).

George Cutting (1834-1934)

 

 

The Complete Work of Christ on the Cross – And the error as to the Abandonment

I am sure that Jim Taylor (JTJr) and his followers did not, or do not, deny Christ’s atoning work. But what does that error lead to? It leads to the making of the ‘abandonment’ the standard for separation. Instead of the work completed on the cross, they say that there was no communion until the resurrection. ‘No communion’ then is made to affect the relationships even between believers not walking in the same pathway and even in families. It is a complete despisal of God’s grace.

And we all know of the heartache that ensued.

 

I am aware, and have had correspondence with persons who are with the Exclusive Brethren and related systems.  I sorrow over those who have been side-tracked into sectarian error, claiming their way, and their apostolic leadership, is the one and only right Christian path.  My concern is not so much that they eschew normal relationships with other Christians, but that they adhere to a corruption of the wonderful gospel of the grace of God.  We might just feel sorry for them, but it is serious.  Paul said, ‘But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed’ (Gal 1:8-9).  I am seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and of others who are familiar with these groups of Christians, as to how to help our brethren in the spirit of grace.

It has been said that if we go astray, we start by going astray as to the gospel.  It is easy to look at a wrong system and judge it by the outward works.  Indeed, the Lord said, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them’ (Matt 7:20).  You see a system marked by legality, authoritarian leadership standing between the person and the Lord, and the rejection and despisal of others for whom the Lord paid an enormous price.  Persons caught up in that system must feel obliged to follow it in order to assuage their guilt. If so, they cannot have peace with God.  They must be defective in their appreciation of the glad tidings.

Do they believe that our sins were borne by our Lord Jesus and His whole atoning work was complete when He suffered being forsaken by God in the three hours of darkness on the cross?   Or did the ‘abandonment’ – the word used by Taylor – extend to the resurrection, three days later.  If the latter were true, then our Lord would have gone into death with sin upon Him.  He could not have therefore been the ‘offering without blemish’ (Lev 9:2).  He could not have atoned for our sins.

James Taylor Senior (1870-1953)

I believe, and this is supported by scripture – ‘His own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree’ (1 Peter 2:24), that He laid down His life in communion with His Father.  James Taylor Senior (1870-1953), whose ministry was totally different from his son’s, said , ‘On the cross you can understand that the thought of relationship ceases when He was abandoned. When the abandonment is over He prayed to the Father and said, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit’ (Luke 23:46).  But during the forsaking there could be no link. You could not have atonement if there were.  That would be in the three hours.   ‘Thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.  I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee’ (Psalm 22:21-22).  The answer to God hearing Him from the horns of the unicorns is resurrection. The cry would be after the three hours of darkness. God would not leave Him in the meshes of the power of evil here.  He was heard from that point.

He was completely forsaken, and this cannot be emphasised too much. He, as bearing sin, was under God’s displeasure at that time; there was total abandonment, otherwise there could not be a true dealing with sin.  At our best, none of us judges sin rightly.  The idea in atonement is that sin was measured not only by God, but by Man.  On the cross the Lord fully measured sin according to what it is in God’s account; we never could do that.  At the cross you have a Man estimating it infinitely. He estimated it according to God’s estimate of it, and removed it accordingly; so that it is only on the cross you have a true estimate and judgment of sin.’

The message is clear, even if the language is a bit difficult.

I am sure that Jim Taylor (JTJr) and his followers did not, or do not, deny Christ’s atoning work.  But what does that error lead to?  It leads to the making of the ‘abandonment’ the standard for separation.  Instead of the work completed on the cross, they say that there was no communion until the resurrection.  ‘No communion’ then is made to affect the relationships even between believers not walking in the same pathway and even in families.  It is a complete despisal of God’s grace.

And we all know of the heartache that ensued.

J N Darby – French Letter No. 149 – God’s Testimony convinces the Soul of Sin

149

Plymouth – 17th June 1846

To Mr B R

I do not know how much you would have official news, since I am not written to in French on our side; but I am not the less aware of your goodness. Thank you very much. I am just as aware that I do not merit anything like this from my dear brethren but happily affection is not merited. It grows in the good ground of the grace of our God. I have taken up again my work on the translation[1]. But there is no lack of business which has accumulated during my illness; perhaps God has desired that this work should be interrupted.

And now, in reply to your question about evangelisation, I rejoice at the thought that you are occupied with souls; this always does us good ourselves. One would not know how to answer in a categorical way to such a demand, because I would act differently in different cases. In general, the gospel is set in its simplicity before the soul, without committing it to prayer, like our dear brother R desires it, because souls always put something between themselves and their salvation, and attach to this something of importance, as to all that they do. One would desire something in the soul before it is loved and washed; this is the case with most evangelical Christians, while it is necessary to present Christ as wisdom, justification and righteousness[2]. So that, generally speaking, I agree with R. But this is where another principle enters, not only in the case of an atheist, but rather with others. I present Christ to the soul; in consequence of which it is exercised by it, but not yet set free. Here therefore, I add something that you seem to me to leave out in what you say to me, whether on your part, or as being the views of R.

It is not only “believe and thou shalt be saved”, for God’s testimony convinces the soul of sin. This is a fact, and a fact which must be come to absolutely if the soul is truly penetrated by the gospel. It is not the presentation of faith as the means of salvation which does this, but the revelation of Christ to the conscience, of Christ who as light makes the soul aware of what is within. Faith in this sense produces the healthy, but sorrowful conviction, but not peace. Often, there is quite a long interval (I do not say there has to be; for this is not the case when the Spirit acts in power) between the conviction of sin and being set free. There is another effect of faith to present; not only the person of Jesus who has already produced the conviction of sin of which we speak, but the efficacy of His work. It is this which must always be put forward, but which still answers in this case to a need produced.   But here the effect of faith is presented to the soul, to know the propitiation and love which has been given to it. I do not urge the soul to pray for faith. But what does not seem to me to have its place in your thoughts, or in those that you give me of R, is the conviction of sin. To stop there with the teachers urging them to pray – that is bad. I agree here with dear brother R. But I seek this firm conviction in my discussions with a soul and, if it is not there, I try to produce it by the truth. It makes one cry: this soul prays (not: ‘must pray’). To this cry, the fullness of the gospel is the answer. The sins of which it weeps are not imputed to it because of the blood of Christ. What I seek with a heathen or a nominal Christian is the conviction of sin. I seek it in announcing pure free grace and the efficacy of God. Where this conviction is found, I present what grace has accomplished. It is very important to present all this as an accomplished thing on which one believes, without which it would be a question neither of prayer or anything else. But if I find some obstacle, something which hinders the soul making progress, whatever sincerity there may be (and this happens sometimes), things which the Spirit of God must drive from the heart before giving it peace – then I could urge it to pray. In the state of mixture and confusion where we are, this is what happens. Only care must be taken not to put prayers or whatever between the soul and Christ, for faith is only the view which one has of Him. ‘Faith’, in Scripture, often means the doctrine which faith embraces, or the system of faith, in contrast to law.

I therefore present Christ as He as an object of faith, and where the Holy Spirit acts in power, the knowledge of the Lord displaces and replaces every obstacle; the soul is set free.

Cases arise where I would urge one to pray, because of something which makes an obstacle. In general, one hardly needs to urge such a soul. As to election, it is not a matter of this in preaching the gospel. I preach Christ, God will act in His counsels of grace. I do not preach Christ dying for the elect, although among believers it may be important to develop the special links between His death and the elect. Without this, their thoughts about His work are vague, lacking stability and mixed with the work of the Holy Spirit in their souls. I announce Christ as propitiatory victim for sin, the glorious Son of the Father and One with Him, His sufferings and His glory, and this on account of sin. I show them perhaps the darkness of the soul, in showing them what He is, Him, [both] light and grace. And I announce to them that whoever believes is saved, pardoned, and enjoys eternal life.

I explain, as needed, efficacy for those who believe because, in nominally Christian countries, this is what is needed, and efficacy announced shows them that they do not believe it. To God’s children, election is useful to make them humble, for all is grace; to reassure them, for grace is efficacy and flows from a source that does not dry up, from a counsel which does not waver. Here the work and joys of the Holy Spirit can be preciously developed.

Here I am, dear brother, at the end of my letter for this occasion. The more there is simplicity, the more there will be blessing. It is Christ that must be preached, Christ the Saviour of souls, and of sinful souls in their needs and their sorrows, the fruit of God’s free love.

May God be blessed; I have good news in general of the work in Switzerland and France.

The difference of the preaching now is that the story is generally known; one has to announce the efficacy, and the glory, but at the beginning this story presented the glory of it to souls by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now, it is necessary to attract attention. The effect of it will always be the same, where the Holy Spirit acts.

Farewell, beloved brother. May God direct you and strengthen you. Greet the elderly ones, T, G, and all our precious brethren. It is only by a letter from G that supposed I already knew that I have learned that our beloved Tapernoux has gone in peace. He is happy. I long ardently for the time; yes, ardently. However, one fulfils one’s day as a hireling. Assure his widow and his family of all my sympathy. Yes, he is happy! Oh! may that day come when we will all be reunited in the presence and glory of Jesus, without sin.

Yours affectionately

Plymouth – 29th June 1846

 

I am sending you a notebook. I fear it betrays a little haste, because in getting over illness, I have found a mass of letters and business awaiting me, and I have been a bit crushed with fatigue.

 

 

[1] the Lausanne version – see note in Letter No 147

[2] possibly referring to 1 Cor 1: 30

Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013

Click here for original – If you have any comments on the translation, feel free to let me know.

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

Darby on Romans 4 – Christ’s resurrection as sealing His work

Law requires power in man to fulfill it. A dead person has no power; resurrection is by God’s power, and Abraham believed that. If God spoke, the thing was certain. That is why his faith was imputed to him for righteousness. When man justifies God not himself, God justifies him. Abraham believed that God was able to perform what He had said; we believe that He raised Christ from the dead – delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification.

RomeThere is more in Israel’s history than the law.  Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness. (See Rom. 4:3). He was reckoned righteous because of his faith.   Also, David said, ‘Blessed is the man whose iniquity is forgiven, whose sin is covered; blessed the man to whom the Lord imputeth no sin.’ (Psalm 32:2). No sin was imputed to him. He was held to be wholly clear of it before God; it was forgiven and covered. The responsibility of man was fully met, and he knew it.

Faith was counted for righteousness to Abraham. Circumcision was only a seal of the righteousness he had already before he was circumcised.   Therefore he became the father of all who believe (including uncircumcised, believing Gentiles), and more than that, the father of those truly separated to God – circumcised in spirit, not in letter.

The promise to Abraham that he would be the heir of the world was a matter of law, but of the righteousness of faith. Promise is not law: promise and faith go together. If promise had been on the basis of law, faith would have been void – man could not have had an inheritance because of transgression. But the inheritance is of faith, not law, that it might be by grace. Faith just believes in grace.

When Abraham received the promise, as far as having offspring was concerned, he was as good as dead. But he believed what God had said as to his seed. So we have another important principle: grace and promise on the part of God, and faith, and the redemption that is in Christ, on the part of man.   God’s power comes in; God raises the dead, and makes them to be as He calls them. This applies to Abraham’s seed, to the Gentiles’ blessing, and to Christ’s physical resurrection.

Law requires power in man to fulfill it.  The law being given to the sinner, wrath was the consequence of its imposition.  A dead person has no power; resurrection is by God’s power, and Abraham believed that. If God spoke, the thing was certain.  That is why his faith was imputed to him for righteousness. When man justifies God not himself, God justifies him. Abraham believed that God was able to perform what He had said; we believe that He raised Christ from the dead – delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification. God glorifies Himself in grace by granting  divine righteousness to man, when he had no human righteousness before God.

As to ourselves, righteousness is imputed to us, as we believe on the God who raised up Christ from the dead. We do not merely own Christ’s work, but God’s acceptance of that work, and His power to quicken the dead. As John said, ‘God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.’ (Matt 3:9).   God demonstrated His power in raising up Christ from death, the state into which our sins had brought Him through grace. Of course, God could not leave Him in death, for He was satisfied as to the matter of sins, and righteously raised Him from the dead – in public testimony.

 A simplified summary of part of the introduction to John Nelson Darby’s  Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans 

Darby Simplified – The First Man and the Second

The moment I, as a poor sinner, look by faith to Jesus as my divine sin-bearer, all my sins are gone – they are put out of God’s sight for ever. Christ is in heaven – He could not take my sin there. I am pardoned through His blood, peace having been made through the blood of the cross. And the glorified Man is in heaven, appearing in the presence of God for us – of His Father and our Father, of His God and our God.

A preaching on Genesis 3 by John Nelson Darby

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

After covering the basics of the gospel, Darby said that sin must be put away perfectly. The sinner brought back to God must be spotless. Christ did not enter heaven again until He had settled the whole question of our sins and of sin itself. The moment I, as a poor sinner, look by faith to Jesus as my divine sin-bearer, all my sins are gone – they are put out of God’s sight for ever.   I am pardoned through His blood, peace having been made through the blood of the cross. And the glorified Man is in heaven, appearing in the presence of God for us – of His Father and our Father, of His God and our God. No sin there

Man has a Conscience

Man is by nature a ruined sinner, shut out by sin from the presence of God with no way back in his present state. The last Adam brings us back, not to an earthly paradise, but into the very presence of God in heaven. God does not bring a sinner back to innocence, but to the “righteousness of God”.   The believer is “made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

Man has a conscience – he knows good and evil. Even if a godless man steals, his consciences tells him that he has done wrong.

Now look at Satan’s temptation. He wanted to make God’s creatures think that God had been keeping something that would be for their good back from them – that He was jealous of their becoming as Himself. Satan’s great lie was, “Ye shall not surely die.” (v.4) It is his constant aim to make men believe that the consequence of sin will not be all that God has said it would be.

The Woman’s Sin

The woman listened to Satan; she lusted. Her heart was away from God, so she followed her own way – just like men do now, trying to make themselves comfortable away from God. Would you to meet God just as you are? God would say ‘Come and be judged’. So you would hide from God, as Adam and Eve did. Not only did they hide themselves from God, they hid themselves from themselves and from one another: the covering of the fig-leaves was just to hide the shame of their nakedness. And when they were hiding away from God, they were away from the only source of blessing. The light had come in and they wanted to get as far from it as possible.

Let us look at the character of their sin. They believed that the devil had told the truth, and that God did not. Satan wanted them to think that God was keeping from them the very best thing they could possibly have. And men are still believing the devil’s lie – hoping to get into heaven their own way, when God has said that nothing defiled shall enter in. Men are looking to Satan for happiness, instead of believing God. They cannot believe that God wants to make him happy.

Now I may say, ‘I have done very little wrong.’ But I am still making God a liar. All Adam did was to eat an apple. What harm was there in eating an apple? Alas! Adam and Eve cast off God, and that was the harm. Whether it was eating an apple, or killing a man, as Cain did later, the principle was the same. It was casting aside God’s authority, and making Him a liar.

Adam hides himself from God. He wanted to get out of His presence?  But the God of love brings the knowledge of the harm into man’s conscience. He does that in love, for if He were dealing with men in judgment He would have left them under it.

God called to Adam. When God speaks, it awakes the conscience; but this is not conversion. God speaks to show man to himself, and bring him back to blessing. His conscience is awakened and that brings him back to the presence of God. You would not hide from a policeman if you have done nothing wrong. But you try to hide yourself from God, because you have done what you know He hates, and that separates you from Him. Man cannot bear to meet God. Innocence, once gone, can never be restored.

The Effect of Sin

Sin has made man get away from God, and it has forced God to drive him from His presence. Man is out of paradise: toil, suffering, sorrow, sickness and death tell us that. And there is only one way back to God, and that is through the Second Man. Christ comes in by the door into the sheepfold, so there is no getting in some other way. He is the door, and whoever enters must come by Him. The flaming sword shut every other avenue to the tree of life. There was no possibility of creeping up to it by some unguarded path.

We also try to excuse ourselves. Adam laid the blame on the woman. “The woman whom thou gavest me, etc.” (v.12) It was as much as saying, ‘Why did you give me this woman? It was your gift caused the sin’. But Adam is condemned by the very excuse. “Because thou hast hearkened etc.” (v.17). Our excuses become our condemnation.

God does not comfort Adam or his wife. He shows man his sin to convict his conscience, not to make him happy. If my child has been naughty, do I wish him to be happy about it? No, I want to forgive him, but he must first feel his sin. God must have us see that we have sinned against Him. We justify God in condemning us. To see sin as God sees it is repentance. It is “truth in the inward parts.” It is holiness and truth in the heart.

God’s Way

God did not leave these poor condemned sinners without comfort. He said to the serpent, “The seed of the woman shall bruise thy head.” It was a new thing that God was bringing in – a new person and a new way. Christ was ‘the seed’. Blessing would come by the Seed of the woman through whom the curse had entered. This was perfection of grace. If sin had come in, sin had to be put away entirely. He who shut man out from heaven has fully provided that which shall shut him in again. We brought back to God through the precious blood of Christ. Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. That is God’s grace.

God commends his love to us, in that, we being still sinners, Christ has died for us.” (Rom. 5:8 Darby) We do not want a good Adam, – but a great God and Saviour. In the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, see all the wrath of God for sin was laid upon Jesus.

Sin must be put away perfectly. The sinner brought back to God must be spotless. Christ did not enter heaven again until He had accomplished this. “When he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down,” (Heb 1:3). When all was finished, He took the throne of righteousness. Adam was cast out of the earthly paradise; Christ, as the last Adam, is in the heavenly paradise.

God justifies me when He says, ‘My Son has been given for your soul, and died for sin’. I am clothed with Christ; I am become the righteousness of God. What more could I have or want? I do not know Him fully, but He has redeemed me; and I am in Him that is the life. He is in me, and I in Him; and where He is, there I shall be in due time. I am still in the body, and bear about with me the bondage of corruption; but Satan’s power is crushed. The serpent’s head is bruised. He has been overcome: Christ went down under the full power of him that had the power of death; and He came up from it triumphant, for it was not possible He should be held by death.

He has overcome

We are told, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). We are not to overcome him (we could never do that), but when he meets Christ in me, he cannot stand that, he must flee.

The Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven in love, devoted Himself to God for our salvation. He drank the cup of wrath for sin; He tasted death, shut out from God’s presence that He might bring us back into the presence of God without judgment and without sin. This makes us happy and blessed for ever. He knew what the holiness of God was, and what His wrath was; and therefore He knew what He was delivering us from. How I shall hate sin, if I have seen Christ agonising for mine upon the cross! This changes my heart.

The moment I, as a poor sinner, look by faith to Jesus as my divine sin-bearer, all my sins are gone – they are put out of God’s sight for ever.  Christ is in heaven – He could not take my sin there. I am pardoned through His blood, peace having been made through the blood of the cross. And the glorified Man is in heaven, appearing in the presence of God for us – of His Father and our Father, of His God and our God.