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Blood of Christ
Consequently, it required God's interposition in the way recorded by the apostles. "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee (Mary); the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). Thus God "sent forth His Son made of a woman made under the law" (Gal. 4:4). Being made of a woman, he was of our nature -- our condemned and weak and mortal nature: but being begotten of God and not of man, he was in character spotless "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners". Sin had hold of him in his nature, which inherited the sentence of death from Adam: but it had no hold of him in his character: for he always did those things that were pleasing to his Father. When he died, "he died unto sin once". But God raised him because of his obedience, and "being raised from the dead, he dieth no more: death hath no more dominion over him" (Rom. 6:9,10).
"Wherefore 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). So we may triumphantly enquire with Paul in Rom. 8:33: "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 ever at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us".
It was a spiritual necessity that he should partake of our nature. It is expressly said that he did, and John says that any man who denies it, as many did in his day and many have done since, denies the truth and is indeed anti-christ. He is strong in maintaining that Jesus came in the flesh, that is, the flesh of the children, the flesh of David--flesh mortal because of sin. Why does he take this strong ground? Because the denial of it cuts at the root of God's arrangement of wisdom and righteousness. It destroys the very principle that made it impossible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sin. The object was that God's righteousness might have full play in advancing to our salvation. Christ could not righteously die if death had no dominion over him, and it could not have this dominion except through Adam, through Abraham, David, and his mother, for he had no sin of his own: it was the sin of others that was on him. It was his mission to take this away: how could he do this if it were not on him? "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all", a figure of speech, because God proposed to forgive us all for Christ's sake. Still, in this very real sense, our sins are considered as being laid on him, and the beginning was made by making him of the same death-inheriting nature from Eden. The whole process was conducted in harmony with God's plan of righteousness in every item. The plan required that the sufferer while himself in the channel of death so far as nature was concerned, should himself not be a sinner, that he should be the Lamb of God, without spot, undefiled. Such an one could only be provided by what God did. God went out of His way to provide such a man. The man produced through Mary, by the Spirit of God, combined the two essential qualifications for a sacrifice; he was the very nature condemned in Eden,and therefore wrong was not done when he was impaled upon the cross. "It pleased the Lord to bruise him." Would
it please the Lord to do iniquity? Nay. Therefore, it was right. But how could it be right unless he were the very condemned stock?
Some say, "We are shocked at the idea of Christ being under the dominion of death in any sense or way". Well, then, you must be shocked at what Paul says -- "Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God". Thus it is the apostolic definition and declaration that death once had dominion over him. Surely, there is no need for being shocked, when the meaning of the matter is perceived. On the contrary, the spiritual understanding can see and admire and bow down, and worship through Christ, at the spectacle of God's love advancing without the compromise of God's dignity. Some people may say, "God is love, and does not stand upon His dignity". What do such people think of this then? -- "If ye offer the lame and the sick is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor: will he be pleased with thee or accept thy person? saith the Lord of Hosts." "Cursed be the deceiver that hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and offereth unto the Lord a corrupt thing; for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen." By which illustration -- and it is God's own illustration -- we are let into the idea that God expects to be honoured as the first condition of acceptable approach, as He says, "A son honoureth his father and a servant his master. If then I be a Father, where is mine honour? If I be a master, where is my fear?" It is a universal rule that etiquette must be observed in human intercourse; it is empty mostly, but there is a real etiquette which is essential. There are ways of acting that are inconsistent with authority. Here, then, is God, the great, the holy, the wise, the omnipotent; and here are we, the small, sinful, foolish, and the weak creatures of His hand, who have set Him at nought, and whom, if He were to stand upon His rights, He would destroy in a moment, and have nothing more to do with us. How can He be so kind and gracious and long suffering, and permit us to approach Him, without vindicating
His righteousness and asserting His greatness? He cannot; He does not. It is in Christ crucified that we are invited. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself", but not without condemning sin in a federal representative. The human race is, as it were, crucified in His son. In Christ crucified, man is put down, man is killed; God is exalted and glorified.
This is Heaven's etiquette, and the appointed manner of approach for sinners, combining supremacy and love. "I am a great King." He will forgive and be forbearing if we bow down in the presence of His vindicated righteousness -- a righteousness in which kindness and justice converge, which cannot be said for substitution. It would not be righteous to put to death one on whom death had no claims. It would not be kindness to say to us, "I will let you go free if that man will die?" The kindness, wisdom, and righteousness of God are all obscured by any idea of that sort; but the Scriptural idea is a masterpiece, a triumph of divine wisdom. God says now: "If you will recognise your position, repent, and come under that man's wing, I will receive you back to favour and forgive you. My righteousness has been declared in him; I have crowned him with everlasting days; because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity, and was obedient unto death, I have crowned him with life eternal. It is in him for you if you will submit and believe in him and put on his name, which is a confession that you have no name of your own that will stand. Obey his commandments, and I will receive you and forgive you for his sake, and ye shall be my sons and daughters." This is a splendid issue of kindness and wisdom. It is a different thing from the dry legality that would give us the blood of Christ as a sort of precious stuff, with which to touch ourselves and be pure. God operates in the whole transaction. We are cleansed from sin by this beautiful means, that God forgives us because of what Christ has done, if we will accept him and be baptised. In baptism we are provided with a ceremony in which we are baptised into his death, and in which, by a figure, we are washed from our sins in his blood. There is a connection in this view of the
case, between what God offers us in Christ and our own acts. That is, the cleansing result of the atonement is dependent upon our compliances. You remember the expression -- "If we walk in the light the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin". If we do not walk in the light, it has no power which shows that the blood of Christ is not the magical thing represented by orthodox religion; nor the automatic legally operative thing to which it is degraded by some theories, nor the powerless thing thought of by mere moralists, who put the blood of Christ entirely on one side. It is the ritual element in the act or ceremony which the living, loving, wise Author of the universe has established as the basis of reconciliation between Himself and those who have wandered far from Him into the ways of death. It is He who applies the results of faith being exercised in His appointment. It is the expression of His justice in the process of justifying those who believe.
The object of this sacrificial declaration of the righteousness of God is also made clearly manifest in its practical applications. It was "for (or in order to) the remission of sins that are past", that is, where men believe -- "Remission", not as a legal right accruing, but as the gift of grace, "through the forbearance of God". There would be no "forbearance" if a legal claim had been discharged. God "forgives for Christ's sake" (Eph. 4:32). This is the literal issue of the whole matter. God's supremacy having been vindicated, a foundation has been laid on which He can offer forgiveness without the compromise of wisdom and righteousness. He does not offer it, or allow it, apart from submission to the declaration of His righteousness in Christ crucified. There must be the most humble identification with that declaration. Baptism in our age is provided as the means of that identification. The believer is "baptised into his death" (Rom. 6:3), and buried with him in baptism (Col. 2:12), and receives the forgiveness of all his sins "through the forbearance (the kindness, the graciousness) of God", who is pleased with our conformity to the form of humiliation He has provided. The whole sacrificial institution and our endorsement of it in baptism is comparable to a form of apology presented by the Majesty of
Heaven as the condition of our receiving His mercy unto life eternal. The object secured is the triumphant assertion and recognition of God's supremacy and man's abasement as a dependent beneficiary. Thus law and mercy are reconciled.
Thus the meaning of the death of Christ falls easily within the definition that has been supplied to us in the words of inspiration. That definition satisfies all the demands of the understanding, reconciling every apparently discordant element in the case. It occurs twice in the course of Paul's letter to the Romans -- in two different forms that exhibit the whole case. Both forms have been frequently on our lips in the course of these remarks; but they bear repeating. In the first, he says it was to "declare His (God's) righteousness for (and in order to) the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God" (chap. 3:25), and in the second, he says it "condemned sin in the flesh" (chap. 8:3). The crucifixion of Christ as a "declaration of the righteousness of God" and a "condemnation of sin in the flesh", exhibited to the world the righteous treatment of sin. It was as though it was proclaimed to all the world, when the body was nailed to the cross: "This is how condemned human nature should be treated according to the righteousness of God; it is fit only for destruction". The shedding of the blood was the ritual symbol of that truth; for the shedding of the blood was the taking away of the life. Such a declaration of the righteousness of God could only be made in the very nature concerned; a body under the dominion of death because of sin. It would not have been a declaration of the righteousness of God to have crucified an angel or a new man made fresh from the ground. There would have been confusion in such an operation. This is why it was necessary that Jesus should be "made of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Rom. 1:3), that he might partake of the very flesh and blood of man (Heb. 2:14). It was that nature that was to be operated upon and redeemed in him. It was needed that he should at the first "come in the flesh". This is where the gnostic heresy of the first century condemned by John (1 John 4:3) was so disastrous to the scheme of God's wisdom in Christ. They denied that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh, which obscured the lesson taught and the object aimed at in the sacrifice of Christ. This also is the effect of the orthodox doctrine of substitution.
There is another aspect of the death of Christ which it is not needful to enter into in this place. It is the aspect involved in Paul's statement that "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, as it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree". The foregoing remarks have dealt mainly with the hereditary death taint derived from Adam, but there was, addition to this, the condemnation of the law of Moses, under which Christ could not be brought by birth; he was born under the law but not condemned by the law unless he broke the law. If he had broken the law, he would have ceased to be an acceptable sacrifice for the sins of the world. Yet, if the curse of the law did not come upon him, he could not take that curse away. What we might call the difficulty of this cause was met by the mode of his death, in which, without any delinquency on his part, but rather by an act of obedience, he was brought under the curse of the law by the mode of his death, brought under that curse without fault, but rather by virtue, and redeemed from it by resurrection. So much is sufficient to say on that point in this place.
Thus far, we have considered the human side of the atonement, as we might express it. We have not ignored the divine side by any means, but there is a closer and a higher view of the divine side that is essential to a complete view of the case. It is a view that is a little difficult to formulate in a palpable manner for the reason appearing in Isaiah 55, that God's ways and thoughts are as high above ours as the heaven is high above the earth. Because this is the case, and because the whole work of atonement or reconciliation through Christ is a work of God, it necessarily embodies ideas too high and too subtle for mortal mind to easily to apprehend or appreciate.
Nowhere does this aspect of the case come out more strikingly than in the beginning of Paul's epistle to the Corinthians. Here, in the first chapter, there occur the following beautiful verses: "Not with the wisdom of word, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross, is to them that perish, foolishness, but unto us who are saved, it is the power of God .... We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block and unto the Greeks foolishness,
but unto them who are called, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God ... God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty, and base things of the world and things which are despised hath God chosen, yea and things which are not to bring to nought things that are, that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, that according as it is written "He that glorieth let him glory in the Lord" (1 Cor. 1:17, 23-31).
The great feature of these declarations is that Christ is the work of God in a sense in which man is not, that the glory of the triumph wrought out in Him may be to God, and that human nature may have no room for the complacent self-credit which is so common with man. To see the full force of this idea we must realise the Divine side of Christ. In all the discourses of Christ, the Father is brought forward as the great initiator and operator in the case. This is his style of language: "I came down from Heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me" (John 7:38). "I am not come of myself" (John 6:28). "The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works" (John 14:10). "I am come in my Father's name" (John 5:43). "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). "He that sent me is with me" (John 8:29)."He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, shew us the Father?" (John 14:9). So with the apostles: Paul speaks (Eph. 1:5) of the Father, "having predestinated us, unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ TO HIMSELF according to the good pleasure of His will." Again he says (Rom. 3:23), "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified FREELY BY HIS GRACE through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus". And again, in the 11th chapter of the same epistle, at the 32nd verse: "God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy, upon all." Again, in his second letter to the Corinthians (5:18,19), he tells us that God hath reconciled us unto HIMSELF by Jesus Christ; and that God was in Christ, reconciling the world UNTO HIMSELF. And again, in his letter to Titus (3:4): "The kindness and love of GOD our SAVIOUR toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to HIS MERCY, He saved us".
And in chap. 2:11: "For the GRACE OF GOD that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men".
It is the grace of God then, -- the act of God -- that we see in the introduction of Christ upon the scene to open a way for mercy conformably with wisdom and justice. This required that he should appear in the nature of Abraham and David, which was sinful nature. How then, some say, was he, with sinful flesh, to be sinless? God's relation to the matter is the answer. God did it. The weak flesh could not do it. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, that the glory might be to God. The light in his face is the light of the Father's glory. As to how the Father could be manifest in a man with an independent volition, we need not trouble ourselves. We are ignorant as to how the Father performs any of the myriad wonders of His power-- so small a matter as the modus operandi of the germination of the grain in the field, to its multiplication twentyfold is a mystery. We know a thousand things as facts, but we are utterly ignorant of the mode of invisible working by which these facts have their existence. We receive them, though we do not understand them. If it be so with things in nature, our inability to define or conceive the process need be no difficulty in the way of receiving a heavenly fact, not only commended to us on the best of all testimony, but self-manifest before us. For who can contemplate the superhuman personage exhibited in the Gospel narrative without seeing that the Father is manifest in him? When did ever man deport himself like this man? When spoke the most gifted of men like this? Is he not manifestly revealed to be the moral and intellectual image of the invisible God? Is he not -- last Adam though he be -- is he not "the Lord from heaven"? But what are we to say to the plain declaration emanant from the mouth of the Lord himself, that the beholder looking on him, saw the Father, and that the Father within him by the Spirit (for as he said on the subject of eating his flesh, it is the Spirit that maketh alive: the flesh profiteth nothing) -- was the doer and the speaker? the answer of wisdom is, that we must simply believe; and true wisdom will gladly believe in so glorious a fact. What if our understanding be baffled? Shall we refuse to eat bread because we fail to comprehend the essences in which the flour subsists? A
childlike faith is alone acceptable in this matter. The words used by Jesus to his disciples we may presume to be applicable to us, if they are true of us: "The Father Himself loveth you because ye believe that I came out from God". Those who make the mistake of the Pharisees, and "judge after the flesh", stand back in gloomy quandary and talk of "mere man": others who think to make a great mystery "simple" and plain, speak of the flesh of Christ as a mixture of human with "divine substance". Wisdom takes her stand between the two, and seeks to dive no deeper than the testimony that God was manifest in Jesus, and that Jesus was of our nature, and "touched with the feeling of our infirmities", as Paul declares, and "tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin".
Some experience distress at the association of Jesus with sinful flesh in any sense. They seek relief in the expression of Rom. 8, that God sent His own Son "in the likeness of sinful flesh". Let us consider this. What about this "likeness"? Moses informs us (Gen. 5:3) that Adam begat a son in his own image and likeness. You would not say the word "likeness" means that Seth was, in any wise, different from Adam. There is the word "image". Suppose the word "image" had been used in this remark of Paul's: "sent His Son in the image of the earthy nature". We should then have had this argument -- "Ah, you see it is only the image; it is not the nature itself". Whereas, Paul says concerning ourselves in 1 Cor. 15:49: "We have borne the image of the earthy, and shall also bear the image of the heavenly". Shall we say we have not borne the earthy? Do not we bear the earthy? Yes. Therefore in apostolic language "earthy" and "the image of the earthy" mean the same thing. Upon the same principle, sinful flesh and the likeness of sinful flesh mean the same thing. And we shall find that the same they are.
And now we have to consider in what sense did Christ come in sinful flesh. There are two things involved in these expressions that require carefully separating in order to understand their bearing on the questions that have been raised. Sin, in the primary and completest sense, is disobedience. In this sense, there was no sin in Christ. But
where is the source of disobedience? In the inclinations that are inherent in the flesh. Without these, there would be no sin. Hence it is (because they are the cause of sin) that they are sometimes spoken of as sin. As where Paul speaks in Rom. 7 of "Sin that dwelleth in me" and "The motions of sin in my members" etc. These inclinations are so described in contrast to the Spirit nature in which there are no inclinations leading to sin. It is only in this sense that Christ "was made sin", which Paul states (2 Cor. 5:21). He was made in all points like to his brethren, and therefore of a nature experiencing the infirmities leading to temptation: "Tempted in all points like them but without sin". All this is testified (Heb. 2:17; 4:15). He has also come under the dominion of sin in coming under the hereditary power of death which is the wages of sin. He was in this sense made part of the sin-constitution of things, deriving from his mother both the propensities that lead to sin and the sentence of death that was passed because of sin. He was himself absolutely sinless as to disobedience, while subject to the impulses and the consequences of sin. The object was to open a way out of this state, both for himself and his brethren, by death and resurrection after trial. It pleased God to require the ceremonial condemnation of this sin-nature in crucifixion in the person of a righteous possessor of it, as the basis of our forgiveness.
There are those who, without intending it, place themselves in antagonism to the testimony in affirming that, while Jesus came in the flesh, it was not in flesh "sinful in its tendency as ours". The testimony is that he was "tempted in all points" as ourselves, which could not have been the case in the absence of the susceptibilities which our correspondent denies. The very essence of temptation is susceptibility to wrong suggestion. The victory lies in the opposing considerations brought to bear. The truth of the matter does not depend upon the word "likeness" or any other single term, but upon the combination of statements made -- which are all in language plain enough to be free from obscurity. At the same time, it has to be pointed out that the word "likeness" in the Greek has the force of resemblance so complete as to be sameness. This is illustrated in the statement that Jesus was made in "the likeness of men" (Phil. 2:7). The extent of the likeness is defined as extending to "all points" and "all things" (Paul's words -- Heb. 2:17;
4:15). What can we say but that he was a man, and not the mere likeness of a man?
But then, it is said, "Surely he was made superior to man in some respects". Unquestionably. He was not a mere man -- not a mere Jew -- not mere flesh. He was the flesh of Abraham in a special form. Objectors well say that "a mere ordinary man would have failed". True, but wherein did the extra-ordinariness consist? It is here where they get on to the wrong line. They make Christ of different stuff -"flesh not sinful in its tendency". They should rather realise that he was the same stuff specially organised and specially used, having the same inherent qualities tending to temptation and death; but qualified to overcome both by the superior power derived from his paternity. Much of the difficulty in the understanding of this subject arises from a wrong assumption on what we may call the natural history side of human nature. It seems to be imagined that all human beings are necessarily on the same level of moral imbecility. This is far from the case, as we know from experience. All human beings would be equally incapable on all points if all were equally left untended from the cradle. They would all be speechless idiots without exception if suckled and cradled up by beasts, as has happened in rare instances. But the difference made by instruction and training makes all the difference in the world between two men both equally human: one shall be a stolid brute, and the other verging upon the grace and intelligence of angelhood.
But this is not the only difference. Though all men are equally human on certain main points, there are fundamental differences arising from parentage. Two boys -- one an Indian cross-bred, and the other a European -- may be brought up in the same family, sent to the same school, and will turn out totally different men -- one stupid and barren and intractable, and the other bright and fertile and docile. They are both human, but they both differ radically. How fallacious it would be to reason from one to the other on the ground of both possessing a common human nature. They are both human truly, but human of very different qualities.
To say that Christ was a man partaking of our sinful nature does not mean to say that he was the same sort of man as other men. His parentage and education were both Divine; and as it was said, "Never man spake like this man",
so it has to be said that never man thought as this man, or loved as this man, or felt as this man. He was a special man altogether, though as to nature the same; just as a special vase, got up and gilt for a royal table, is a different article from a common mug, though made, it may be, of the same china clay.
It is impossible not to respect the spirit and intent of many who do not share these views. There are men with almost agonizing sincerity of purpose who cannot see through the fogs that envelop the truth in an age when there is no living voice of authoritative guidance, and when the power of correctly interpreting the written Word is the only rule of conviction. It is natural to wish to think that in such a situation of divine truth on the earth, the same consideration will at the last be shown towards those who earnestly do their best in the dimness, that was shown, on the intercession of Hezekiah, towards the multitude in Israel who "had not cleansed themselves, and yet did eat the Passover otherwise than it was written" (2 Chron. 30:18). God is not unrighteous or unreasonable. At the same time, in such a situation, when the truth can with difficulty be kept alive at all, it is not for those who know the truth to work by a may be. We must be governed by what is revealed, leaving the Lord to revoke the present rule of probation, or make His own allowances in its application.
It is important to understand these things, because they qualify us for acceptable approach to God, and they work out the right result in character and daily life. In dealing even with great men, you are unacceptable if you do not enter into the spirit and aim of their etiquette; how much more with God, who "taketh not pleasure in fools" and in men "that have no understanding". In our approaches to Him in prayer, we must understand that though He is kind and gracious, He makes no compromises of the greatness of His way, but will be "sanctified in them that approach unto Him". We must also understand that we can establish no claim; this passing by of our sins is the act of His forbearance; that no debt of ours has been paid or can be paid; that what the death of Christ has done has been to declare God's righteousness that we may, by taking part in it, receive God's free forgiveness through Him. Thus God in all
things is glorified. The orthodox theology of the day generates an offensive spirit of presumption.
So also do wrong views on this subject interfere with a proper development of character. The idea that Christ has borne our punishment and paid our debts; and that his righteousness is placed to our credit, and that all we have to do is to believe it, is demoralizing. It nullifies that other most important element of the Truth, that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, and that he only is righteous that doeth righteousness. It draws a veil over the truth that we have to "work out our salvation" by a "patient continuance in well-doing", and that he only that endureth to the end shall be saved. It undermines that most important testimony of the Gospel that Christ is the Judge of who is fit to be saved, and that he will impartially give to every man according to his works. These blighting results are to be witnessed in all communities where the doctrine of a substitutionary sacrifice and an imputed righteousness holds sway. Where there is any robust righteousness of character exhibited where any true holiness of life -- it is where the purifying truth is discerned, believed, and cherished in daily Bible reading and prayer. The Truth is a beautiful and perfect whole. The sacrifice of Christ, at first a mystery to the natural mind, becomes lucid and glorious as a sunbeam of life and light. Enveloped in the clouds of false thoughts and theories, it is hidden as entirely from view as if it had never been preached.
The final triumph will show us at the end a generation of Adam's race brought from the grave, belonging to different ages, having lived in different circumstances, but all related to the same hereditary evil, and who all in their several days overcame by the same power, the power of the truth testified to them, and the power of God's will declared to them and submitted to by them. They pleased God by their faith and submission, and Christ comes and gathers them all to himself. That is the final aim of the Gospel, and that all the children of God might be gathered together in one, and formed into one society, one family, all developed on one principle. No neutrals amongst them; all of
them men and women of love, shown by the obedience of faith, all of them tried men and women, humble and humbled; not only invited to come as little children, but helped to be such by tribulation and chastisement; all of them then perfected, for death is obliterated as entirely from their nature as it has been from Christ's, whom God did not allow to remain in death more than three days, and then took him away to Himself, where he has been basking in the sunshine of His glorious presence. When Moses came down from the mount, his face shone; when Christ comes forth from the Father's presence, he will come forth resplendent with the Father's glory. His people will be gathered together to him; in his presence they will forget their sorrows. Is any grieving at the wrongs of the spiritual situation as it now exists? Wait -- it cannot be otherwise at present. By and by we shall be introduced to a company, every one of whom will be a glowing ember of Divine fire, every one a perfected son or daughter, with immortal nature, which disease can never touch, which can never faint or fail. Oh, the joy of identification with them! On the question of how they come there, their minds fix with one accord upon the central figure, and they say, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by his blood: blessing and honour and glory, and power, be unto him that sits upon the throne and unto the Lamb for ever". It is beautiful to look forward to; soothing and inspiring and encouraging and purifying. "The redeemed of the Lord shall come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads"; the joy everlasting, because pure, and based upon divine righteousness, which God Himself has given to us; first through Moses, and then through Christ, who shall at last be pointed to as having taken away the sin of the world, and all its evil consequences.
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