A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Evening, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *1/2/2012
For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his
bones. [Eph 5:30]
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1. I do not hesitate to say that this is one of the most wonderful texts in the whole compass of revelation. It presents the mystery of mysteries, the very pith and marrow of the loftiest divinity. It is fitted rather to be the theme for a hundred elaborate discourses than for one brief homily. Most assuredly it is a depth that knows no sounding, an abyss where thought plunges into never ending contemplations. He who handles it had better be, first of all, filled with all the fulness of God. Hence we feel incapable of dealing with it as it should be dealt with; it is all too great and vast for us, we can no more hope to encompass it than a child can hold an ocean in his hand. Beloved, it is a text that must not be looked upon with the eyes of cold, theological orthodoxy, which might make us content to say, “Yes, that is a great and important truth,” and leave it there. It is a text to be treated as the manna was that fell from heaven; namely, to be tasted, to be eaten, to be digested, and to be lived upon from day to day. It is a text for the solitude of your meditation, when you can sit still and think it over, and, like Mary, ponder it in your hearts. Long and loving should be your gaze upon the facets of this diamond of truth, this Koh-i-noor [a] of revelation. It is a golden sentence suitable for those choice hours when the King brings us into his banqueting house, and his banner over us is love; when the distance between earth and heaven has become less and less, until it scarcely exists — those halcyon times when around us all is rest, because he who is our rest enables us to lean upon his bosom and to feel his heart of love beating true to us.
2. I ask you, oh my brethren, therefore, as though you were quite alone in your own room, to pray for that frame of mind which is suitable for the subject, and to pray for me that I may be placed in that condition of heart which shall best enable me to speak about it. We need our thoughts to be focused before they can reveal to us the great sight before us. Get to the place where Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, and then this text will sound like music in your ears. Without any accompaniment of exposition from me, it will have all heaven’s music in it: “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Sevenfold will be the happiness of the spirit which knows how to sit down and to taste of the marrow and the fatness, to drink of the “wine on the less well refined,” which are to be found in this inspired declaration.
3. Before I preach upon it, there is one thing which it is necessary for us to do. They have a way in Scotland, before the communion, of “fencing the tables”; that is to say, warning all those who have no right to come to the table to avoid the sin of unlawful intrusion, and so of eating and drinking condemnation to themselves. They help the hearers to self-examination, lest they should come thoughtlessly and participate in what does not belong to them. Now, my text is like a table of communion richly loaded, and be far from you to whom it does not belong, unless you learn the sacred way of coming in by the door into this sheepfold, where the pasture is so rich and green. If you come by the way of Christ, come and welcome; if you rest in him, if his dear wounds are the fountains of your life, and if his atoning sacrifice is your soul’s only peace, come and welcome; for of you, and such as you, and all of us who are trusting in Jesus, it may be truly said, “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” But if not believers in him, this heavenly verse has nothing to do with you. It is “the children’s bread”; it belongs only to the children. It is Israel’s manna; it falls for Israel. It is the stream which leaps from Israel’s smitten rock, and flows neither for Edom, nor for Amalek, but for the chosen seed alone.
4. Look back, then, to the beginning of the epistle, and see of whom the apostle was speaking when he said “we.” This little word “we” is like the door of Noah’s ark, it shuts out and shuts in. Does it shut us out or in?
5. Now, the apostle wrote his epistle to those of whom he said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, so that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” Answer this question, you who would enjoy this text, “Have you made your calling and election sure?” Has that matter ever been decided in your spirit after honest search and enquiry into the reasons for your confidence? Have you been led to choose your God, for if so your God had chosen you long ago, and that matter is ascertained beyond all question, and out of it springs the undoubted assurance that you are one with him, since of all whom he has chosen it is true “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”
6. The apostolic description is before you, I ask you to read on: “Having predestinated us into the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” Do you know anything about adoption? Have you been taken out of the family of Satan and enrolled in the family of God? Do you have the Spirit of adoption in you? Does your soul cry “Abba, Father,” at the very thought of God? Are you an imitator of God as a dear child? Do you feel that your nature has been renewed, so that, whereas you were a child of wrath, even as others, you have now become a child of God? Judge, I urge you, and discern concerning these things, for your answer to this question depends on your condition before God, the union with Christ, or your separateness from him.
7. Notice, still, the apostle’s words as you read on, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he has made us accepted in the Beloved.” Dear hearer, do you know the meaning of those last words, “Accepted in the Beloved?” You can never be accepted by yourself, you are sinful, and undone, and unworthy; but have you come and cast yourself upon the work, the blood, and the righteousness of Jesus, and are you therefore accepted, “Accepted in the Beloved?” Have you ever enjoyed a sense of acceptance, so that you could draw near to God, as no longer a servant beneath the curse, but a son beneath the blessing? If so, come and welcome to the text; it is all your own.
8. But notice the next verse: “In whom we have redemption through his blood.” Oh, dear hearers, do you know the blood? I do not care what else you know if you do not know the blood; nor do I care much what else you do not know. You may differ very widely in doctrine from some of the truths which I think I have learned from the word of God, but do you know the blood? Were you ever washed in it? Have you seen it sprinkled overhead and on the side posts of the house where you live, so that the destroying angel passes you by? Is the blood of Christ the lifeblood of your hope? May God save me from preaching, and you from believing in a bloodless theology. It is a dead theology. Take Christ away, take the atonement by a substitutionary sacrifice away, and what is there left? But, oh, if we in very deed have redemption through his blood, then we are “members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”
The apostle adds, “The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches
of his grace.” And here, again, I press home the question upon the
consciences of the members of this church, and upon the members of
every professing church of Christ — “Have you tasted forgiveness? Have
you felt the burden of sin? Have you gone with that burden to the
foot of the cross? Has the Heavenly Father ever said to you, ‘Your
sins are forgiven you?’ Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins,
and that in reference to yourselves?” Oh, do not be satisfied unless
you do. Do not be put off with a mere hope that perhaps your sin is
forgiven you, but struggle after that blessed full assurance which is
able to say —
Oh, how sweet to view the flowing
Of my Saviour’s precious blood,
With divine assurance knowing
He has made my peace with God!
And if you do know, possess, and enjoy the forgiveness of sins, then you are “members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”
10. Oh, how this last sentence concerning pardon and rich grace seems to cheer my soul! If no one might come except those who never sinned, my guilty soul could never venture near the Lord. If no one might come except those who have committed little sins, then I must be debarred. But it is “the forgiveness of sins” on a grand scale. Let me read the words: “The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” So it is great forgiveness, the forgiveness of great sin, because of great love. Oh beloved hearer, great sinner as you have been, yet if you are “accepted in the Beloved,” and have “redemption through his blood,” then all that is in the text belongs to you; so I will keep you waiting in the vestibule no longer, but open the door wide, saying, “Come in, you blessed of the Lord. Why do you stand outside?” I pray the Holy Spirit to help you to come in to this high festival, give you a sacred appetite, and enable you now to appreciate the extraordinary sweetness of the words before us.
11. First, I shall try and expound — and it must be very feebly what the text means, and, secondly, what the text secures.
12. I. First, WHAT DOES THE TEXT MEAN? “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Read it in the light of the second chapter of the book of Genesis, for it is evident that there is a distinct allusion to the creation of Eve. The very words of Adam are quoted, and we are mentally conducted to that scene in the garden of Eden when the first man gazed upon the first woman, created to be his dear companion and helpmeet. What did Adam mean when he used these words? for the Great Husband of our souls must mean the same, only in a more spiritual and emphatic sense.
1. And, first, there was meant here similarity of nature.
Adam looked at Eve, and he did not regard her as a stranger, as some
creature of a different genus and nature; but he said, “She is bone
of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” He meant that she was of the
same race, a participant in the same nature; he recognised her as a
being of the same order as himself. Now, that is a low meaning of the
text, but it is one meaning. Brethren, beloved, think of this truth
for a moment. Jesus, the Son of God, did not consider it robbery to
be equal with God. “Without him nothing was made that was made.” He
is “very God of very God.” Yet he condescended for love of us to take
upon himself our nature, and he did it completely, so that he assumed
the entire human nature, apart from its sin; and in that respect we
may say of ourselves — that we are “bone of his bone, and flesh of his
flesh.” The very nature which we wear on earth Christ Jesus once
carried around among us, and at last carried aloft to heaven. You
believe in his Godhead, take heed never to blend his Godhead and his
humanity. Remember, Christ was not a deified man, neither was he a
humanized God. He was perfectly God, and at the same time perfectly
man, made like his brethren in all things. Dwell for a moment upon
this truth, for the text states it. Born of a human mother, and
swaddled like another child, he was from his birth as perfectly human
even as you are. In nothing did he differ from you except in this,
that he never wandered from God and broke his commands, and he was
not defiled with that hereditary taint of original sin which dwells
in you by nature. He knew the similar depressions which sadden your
spirit; the temptations of your nature assailed him; men and demons
both sought to influence him. He was amenable to all the external
physical arrangements of the globe. On him the shower pelted down,
and soaked his clothes; and on him the burning sun poured out its
undiminished heat. Upon his sacred person on the lone mountainside,
the dews descended until his head was wet with them, and his locks
with the drops of the night. For him there were poverty, and hunger,
and thirst, reproach, slanders and treachery. For him the sea tossed
the barque as it will for you; and for him the land yielded thorn and
thistle, as it does for you. He suffered, he ate, he toiled, he
rested, he wept, and he rejoiced, even as you do, except for sin. He
was a real kinsman, not in fiction, but in substantial reality. Are
you man? Jesus was a man. Do not doubt it. Do not look at your Lord
as standing up there on a pinnacle of superior nature, where you
cannot come near him, but view him as your own flesh and blood, “a
brother born for adversity.” For he is so. He comes to you and says,
“Handle me and see. A spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see
me have.” He invites your faith to look at the prints of the nails,
and the scar of the spear thrust. Did he not, after he had risen from
the dead, prove his true humanity by eating a piece of a broiled fish
and of a honeycomb? And that same humanity has gone to heaven. The
clouds received it out of our sight, but it is there.
A man there was, a real man,
Who once on Calvary died;
And streams of blood and water ran
Down from his wounded side.
That same blest man sits exalted high on his Father’s throne. Believe this, and you will see how he is bone of your bone, and flesh of your flesh.
And then remember that, just as his nature is like yours, so, in
another sense, he has made your nature like his; for you are born
again, and gifted with a higher life. You were carnal; he has now
made you spiritual. You could not drink from his cup, or be baptized
with his baptism, until his Spirit had come upon you. But now you are
made “partakers of the divine nature,” — strong words, but scriptural:
“partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that
is in the world through lust.” “For as you have borne the image of
the earthy Adam, you shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” Now
you, as spiritual men, cry out to God in prayer, and so did he when
he was here. Now you are in an agony as you strive with God, and so
was he, but the bloody sweat is a part of his substitutionary work,
in which he trod the winepress alone. His food and drink was to do
the will of him who sent him, and it is yours, I trust; at any rate,
it should be if you are your Lord’s. He lived for God; he lived and
died for love of men; and that same love for God and man, though in a
feebler measure, burns within your heart. You are, therefore, now
made by his grace to participate in his moral and spiritual nature,
and you will never be satisfied until you awaken in his likeness. But
you will awaken in his likeness, so that when he sees you and you see
him, then it shall be abundantly revealed to you that you are a
member “of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones”: —
Such was thy grace, that for our sake
Thou didst from heaven come down,
Thou didst of flesh and blood partake,
In all our sorrows ONE.
Ascended now, in glory bright,
Still ONE with us thou art;
Nor life, nor death, nor depth, nor height.
Thy saints and thee can part.
Oh, teach us, Lord, to know and own
This wondrous mystery,
That thou with us art truly ONE,
And we are ONE with thee!
Soon, soon shall come that glorious day,
When, seated on thy throne,
Thou shalt to wondering worlds display,
That thou with us art ONE!
Similarity of nature, then, is the first meaning of the text.
15. 2. I ask you to notice brethren, with much solemn attention, a higher rung of the ladder. It indicates intimate relationship, for I hardly think that Adam would have said quite so strongly, “She is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh,” if he had thought that the woman would disappear, or would become the wife of another. It was because she was to be his helpmeet, and they were to be joined together in bonds of the most intimate communion, that therefore he said, “Not only is she of the same bone and flesh as I am, but she is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She is related to me.” What a near and dear and loving relationship marriage has bestowed upon us! It is a blessing for which good men living with affectionate wives praise God every day they live. Marriage and the Sabbath are the two choice blessings of primeval love that have come down to us from Paradise, the one to bless our outer and the other our inner life. Oh, the joy, the true, pure, elevated peace and joy which many of us have received through that divinely ordained relationship! We can only bless God every time we repeat the dear names of those who are now parts of ourselves. Marriage creates a relationship which ends only when death parts us. It may be dissolved. Alas, sin enters even here! A dark immorality may be committed, but, with the exception of that, it is for life — for better, for worse; only the mortal stroke can part. Now think of it. As is your relationship, oh woman, to your husband, and as is your relationship, oh man, to your wife, such is the relationship which exists between you, as a believer in Jesus, and Christ Jesus your Lord. It is the nearest, dearest, closest, most intense, and most enduring relationship that can be imagined. I love and bless God for ever declaring that his relationship to us may be compared to that of a father or a mother to a child. Did you ever hear those words without tears — (I think I never did) — “Can a woman forget her nursing child, so that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget; yet I will not forget you.” And yet there is a closer intimacy, somehow, in the relationship which is declared in the text, because there is a kind of equality between the married ones, tempered by that headship of which the apostle speaks, and which we delight to recognise in our beloved Lord towards ourselves. The child cannot, while he is still a babe, at any rate, enter into his mother’s feelings, he is far below the mother; but the wife communes with her husband, she is lifted up to his level; she is made a partaker of his cares and sorrows, of his joys and his successes, and the intimacy arising out of their conjugal union is of the closest kind. Now — again I say it, and I cannot open it up further than to say it — such is the relationship between the believer’s soul and the Lord Jesus. Well did the spouse break out with the rapturous language, which forms the first word of the song — “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for his love is better than wine,” as if she did not need to describe her relationship, but longed to enjoy the sweets of it. My brother, I pray you may so enjoy it; that now, if you are poor in this world, if you are an orphan, if you are almost a lone one in this great city, you may feel, “No longer am I an orphan, no longer am I alone. My Maker is my husband. The Lord of Hosts is his name, and my redeemer the Mighty One of Israel; and from this day on I will rejoice that I am bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh.” Similarity of nature, and closeness of relationship, are evidently in the text.
16. 3. But I clearly see another and deeper meaning. It meant, from Adam’s lips, mysterious extraction. I will not be bold enough to say that he knew what had occurred to him in his sleep. He might not have known all, but he seems to have had a mystical enlightenment which made him guess what had occurred — at least the words seem to me to have that ring in them. “She is bone of my bones” — for a bone had been taken from him, “and flesh of my flesh,” for she had been taken out of him. He seems to have known that somehow or other she sprang from him. Whether he knew it or not, Christ knows very well the origin of his spouse. He knew where his church came from. There is the mark still in his side: there is the memorial in the palms of his hands and on his feet. Where did this new Eve come from, this new mother of all living? Where did this spouse of the second Adam come from? She came from the second Adam. She was taken from his side, very near to his heart. Have you never read, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit?” If Jesus had never died, he would have been made to abide alone concerning any who could be helpmeets for him, and could enter into fellowship with him; but, inasmuch as he has died, he has produced much fruit, and his church has sprung from him, and in that sense she is bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh. What do I mean by the church? one asks. I mean by the church all the people of God, all the redeemed, all believers, as I explained at the beginning. Do you think I mean by the church the prostitute of the seven hills? May God forbid that Christ should have fellowship with her! How can he so much as look upon her except with horror? Does he mean by the church the politically supported corporation that men call a church nowadays? No, but the spiritual, the quickened, the living, the believing, the holy people, wherever they may be, or by whatever name they may be called. These are those who sprang from Christ, even as Levi from the loins of Abraham. They live because they receive life from him, and at this day they are dead in themselves, and their life is hidden with Christ in God. So the text leads us to a deep meditation concerning this mysterious extraction.
4. But I find the time goes too swiftly for me, and I must
observe next that I am sure that in the text there is more than this.
There is, in the fourth place, loving possession. He said, “She
is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh”; he felt she was his own,
and belonged solely to him. Of anything there might be in the garden,
Adam was only the owner in the second degree; but when he saw her, he
felt she was all his own. By undisputable bonds and ties, she was his
bone and his flesh. Now, beloved, at this moment let this thought
dance through your soul: you belong to Jesus, altogether you belong
to Jesus. Do not waste your love on earthly things, so soiled and
dim; but spend it all on him to whom you belong; indeed, spend it all
on him. “Do not set your affection upon things on the earth,” but set
it all upon things above, for you belong entirely to your Lord. All
that there is of your spirit, soul, and body, the treble kingdom of
your nature, Christ has purchased by his blood. It would be a dark
thought to cross a man’s mind, that his spouse belonged in part to
someone else. It could not be. And will you provoke your Lord to
jealousy? Will you allow it to seem so by your actions or your words?
No, rather say tonight anew,
’Tis, done, the great transaction’s done:
I am my Lord’s, and he is mine.
He drew me, and I followed on,
Charmed to confess the voice divine.
High heaven, that heard the solemn vow,
That vow renewed shall daily hear,
Till in life’s latest hour I bow,
And bless in death a bond so dear.
“For you are not your own, you are bought with a price.” “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” We belong entirely to him.
18. 5. And to close this exposition — this skimming of the surface, rather — there is one more matter, and this is the very essence of the meaning. A vital union exists between us and Christ. When the apostle was showing that we were one with Christ, as the wife is with the husband, he felt that the metaphor, though it illustrated much, did not illustrate everything. He would have us know that we are more closely knit to Jesus than a woman is to her husband; for they are, after all, separate individuals, and they may act, and too often do so, far too distinctly for themselves. But here he expresses it, “We are members of his body.” Now, here is a vital union, the closest imaginable. It is not unity; it is identity. It is more than being joined to; it is being made a part of, and an essential part of the whole. Do you think I strain the text, and go beyond the fact? Listen to this word. The apostle, in speaking of the church, said, concerning Christ, that the church was his body, “the fulness of him who fills all in all.” And notice the majesty of that speech — that the church should be the fulness of Christ. Now, Christ, without his fulness, is evidently not full: he must have his people; they are essential to him. The idea of a Saviour is lost, apart from the saved. He is a head without a body if there are no members. What is Jesus if without his people Jesus except a king without subjects, and a shepherd without a flock? It is essential to any true thought of Christ, that you think of his people. They must come in. They are one with him in every true view of Jesus Christ our Lord.
How we are one with him! Ah, brethren, much might be said, but I fear
little would be explained by words. I want you to feel it, and to be
comforted by the fact of the vital union of Jesus and his saints.
Have you never heard him say to you —
“I feel at my heart all thy sighs and thy groans,
For thou art most near me, my flesh and my bones.
In all thy distresses, thy head feels the pain,
They all are most needful, not one is in vain?”
Oh, do get to know this, you tried and tempted ones, you poor poverty stricken people of God, you who could not help coming here tonight; wet as it was, because you must have spiritual food, you were so hungry after your Lord. Oh, do get this morsel now, and feed on it. You are one with him. You were “buried in him in baptism to death,” by which also you have risen with him. You were crucified with him upon the cross; you have gone up into heaven with him, for he has raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. And surely you shall be actually in your very person with him where he is, so that you may behold his glory. You are one with him.
20. Now, tie up these five truths like five choice flowers in a bouquet. Blend them like sweet spices, and let them be a bundle of camphire and a cluster of myrrh, to lie all night upon your bosom, to give you rest and to sweeten your repose. There is between you and your Lord a similarity of nature, and an intimate relationship; you have a mysterious extraction from him, and he has a loving possession of you, and a vital union with you.
21. II. Come, now, we must only have a few minutes to catch some of the juice that will flow out of these clusters of Eshcol while we tread them for a moment, just to show what the wines of the kingdom are like. WHAT DOES THE TEXT SECURE?
First, it seems to me, that the text secures the eternal safety of
everyone who is one with Christ. You know the illustration we often
use, that when a man’s head is above water you cannot drown his feet;
and as long as my Head is in glory, though I am only the sole of his
foot, and only worthy to be trodden in the mire, how can you drown
me? Is it not written, “Because I live you shall live also” — all of
you who are one with him? The idea of Christ losing members of his
body is to me grotesque, and at the same time ghastly. Does, he
change his members like some aquatic creatures which shed their limbs
and get fresh joints? I think it is not so with Christ, the second
Adam. Will he lose his members? Can he lose one member? Then can
he lose all?
If ever it should come to pass
That sheep of Christ could fall away,
My fickle, feeble soul, alas,
Would fall a thousand times a day.
But herein lies our safety; “I give to my sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone pluck them out of my hand.” I know that some have perverted this blessed truth into the wicked lie that the Christian man may live as he likes, and yet be safe. No such doctrine is to be found between the covers of that book; the doctrine of the safety of the saints is far other than that. It is that the renewed man shall live as God likes, shall persevere in holiness and hold on his way, until he arrives at the blessed perfection of his Lord, changing from glory to glory into that image which he shall reach and possess for ever. I see — I pity those who do not see it, but I will not blame them — I see, I think, strong reason for believing in the security of every soul which is one with Christ.
23. But, next, I see here a very sweet thought. If I am one with Christ, then I certainly enjoy, above all things, his love. Last Saturday night I was trying to think over this text to preach to you from it in the morning, but I was wrung with bitter pains which made me feel that I should not preach, and kept me wearily waiting through the night watches. But do you know what comforted me very much about the text? It was that sentence in the preceding verse: “No man ever yet hated his own flesh.” I seized upon that, and my sad heart cried out, “Surely the Man Christ Jesus never yet hated his own flesh.” If we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones, he may chasten, he may correct, and lay on heavy strokes, and give sharp twinges, and make us cry out; he may even thrust us in the fire, and heat the furnace seven times hotter; but he never can neglect and abhor his own flesh. There is still love in his heart. I hate no part of my body, not even when it aches. I do not hate it, but still love it; it is a part of myself; and so Jesus loves his people. And you, poor sinners, who feel that you are not worthy to be called his people, nevertheless his love goes out to you, despite your imperfections. Having loved his own, who were in the world, he loved them to the end, and he has left it upon record, “Just as my Father has loved me, even so I have loved you. Continue in my love.”
24. Another most enchanting thought also arises from our subject. The apostle goes on to say, “No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church.” Oh, those two words, “nourishes it.” Are you living in a district where you do not get the gospel? Well, then, go to the gospel’s Lord and say to him, “Lord, do not hate your own flesh, but nourish me.” Have you been for awhile without visits from Christ? Have you lost the light of his countenance? Do not be satisfied with nourishing: go further and plead for cherishing. Ask for those love tokens, for those gentle words, for those secret blandishments, known to saints, and to no one else except saints, for “the secret of the Lord is with those who fear him, and he will show them his covenant.” Go and ask for both these forms of love, and you shall be nourished and cherished. The good husband does not merely bring so much food and meat into the house and fling it down, saying, “There, that will nourish you.” Oh, not so, but there are tender words and kindly acts, by which he cherishes as well as nourishes. And your Lord will not only give you bread to eat which the world does not know about, but he will give it to you according to his lovingkindness and the multitude of his tender mercies: for he makes us to lie down in green pastures, he leads us beside the still waters, gently guiding as a shepherd conducts his flock. Rejoice, then, that your nourishing and your cherishing are secure.
I will not keep you longer when I have said this much. If we are
members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones, then he will one
day present us to himself, “without spot, or wrinkle, or any such
thing,” for the whole body must be so presented. Alas, our spots are
many, and sadly mar our beauty! Brethren, I do not love to think
little of my spots. I wish I did not even have a speck. Alas, our
wrinkles! Let us not talk lightly about them. It is most sad that on
the Beloved’s darling there should be a solitary blot. It is the
worst wrinkle of all when a man does not see his own wrinkles, and
when he does not mourn over them. But there are spots and wrinkles. I
hope we do not say, “Yes, they are there,” and then add, “And they
must be there.” No, beloved, they ought not to be there: there ought
to be no sin in us. If there is a sin which ought to be upon us, why
it is clear it is not sin. A thing that ought to be is not a sin. If
we served our Master as he deserves to be served, we should never
sin, but our lives would be perfect; and therefore it is our daily
burden that the spots and wrinkles will still show; and this is our
consolation, that he will one day present us to himself, holy and
without blemish, “not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.”
Oh, glorious hour, oh, blest abode;
I shall be near, and like my God.
Nor spot nor wrinkle shall remain,
His perfect image to profane.
It will be a blessed thing indeed to have attained to this, to wear the image of the heavenly, and be perfect even as our Bridegroom is perfect.
Then, remember, all the glory Christ has we shall share in. You
cannot honour a warrior who returns from the wars, and say to him,
“Great general, we honour your head.” Oh, no; he who fought his
country’s battles, and won the victory, when he was honoured was
altogether honoured as a man. And when the Master at the last shall
have finished all his work, and, the whole battle that he undertook
being finished, and the victory gained, he enters perfectly into his
joy, we shall enter into the joy of our Lord. Does he sit upon a
throne? He has said we shall sit upon his throne. Has he triumphed?
We shall bear the palm branch, too. Whatever he has we shall share.
Are we not heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ? My soul feels
ready to leap right out of this body at the thought of the glory that
shall be revealed in us — not in Paul and Peter only, but in us.
Poor things, poor things, who struggle hard each day with infirmities
and trials, you shall be with him where he is, and shall behold his
glory for ever. “So shall we ever be with the Lord. Therefore comfort
one another with these words.”
Since Christ and we are one,
Why should we doubt or fear?
If he in heaven hath fixed his throne,
He’ll fix his members there.
In this spirit come to the communion table, and find your Master
there. But oh, if you are not resting in him, if the blood was never
upon you, you are condemned already, because you have not believed on
the Son of God; and I pray that your bed may be cold and hard as a
stone for you tonight, and your eyes may forget to sleep, and your
heart may know no rest until you have said, “I will arise, and go to
my Father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned.’ ” Then take
with you Jesus as a mediator, and draw near to the throne of grace.
Go, plead his blood and merits, and you shall live; and then you,
too, shall be able to join with the saints who say, “We are members
of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Amen. Amen.
[Portions Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Ge 2:18 Eph 5:22-33]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Union to Christ — Union With Jesus” 761]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Union to Christ — One With Jesus” 762]
[a] Koh-i-noor: An Indian diamond, famous for its size and history, which became one of the British Crown jewels on the annexation of the Punjaub in 1849. OED.
I have revised this sermon at Cannes, to which place I have come
for health. I am happy to inform all friends that I am already much
better. The influences of a warm, sunny climate, and rest from great
labour, are being blessed by infinite mercy to my restoration. I
commend the work I am obliged to leave to the prayers of God’s
people; and I desire also to thank numerous friends for their
substantial help to the College and Orphanage, so that I am not
tempted to worry about funds for these objects, at a time when ease
of mind is especially desirable. With this I send most loving
greetings to all my readers. May the Lord send to our beloved land a
great revival of true religion. C. H. Spurgeon.
The Christian, Privileges, Union to Christ
761 — Union With Jesus
1 ‘Twixt Jesus and the chosen race
Subsists a bond of sovereign grace,
That hell, with its infernal train,
Shall ne’er dissolve nor rend in twain.
2 Hail! sacred union, firm and strong,
How great the grace, how sweet the song,
That worms of earth should ever be
One with Incarnate Deity!
3 One in the tomb, one when he rose,
One when he triumphed o’er his foes,
One when in heaven he took his seat,
While seraphs sang all hell’s defeat.
4 This sacred tie forbids their fears,
For all he is or has is theirs;
With him, their head, they stand or fall,
Their life, their surety, and their all.
John Kent, 1827, a.
The Christian, Privileges, Union to Christ
762 — One With Jesus
1 Lord, Jesus, are we ONE with thee?
Oh height! oh depth of love!
With thee we died upon the tree,
In thee we live above.
2 Such was thy grace, that for our sake
Thou didst from heaven come down,
Thou didst of flesh and blood partake,
In all our sorrows ONE.
3 Our sins, our guilt, in love divine,
Confess’d and borne by thee;
The gall, the curse, the wrath were thine,
To set thy members free.
4 Ascended now in glory bright,
Still ONE with us thou art,
Nor life, nor death, nor depth, nor height,
Thy saints and thee can part.
5 Oh teach us, Lord, to know and own
This wondrous mystery,
That thou with us art truly ONE,
And we are ONE with thee!
6 Soon, soon shall come that glorious day,
When, seated on thy throne,
Thou shalt to wondering worlds display,
That thou with us art ONE!
James George Deck, 1837.