Gospel Words: the Birds of the Sky

Matthew 6:26‑27  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
How beyond measure sad is the state which our Lord here describes! How solemn the contrast with the eye being single, and the whole body full of light!
“But if thine eye be wicked, thy whole body will be dark. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great the darkness!”
We perceive that the Lord, as throughout all His words on the Mount, is not here occupied in any way with redemption, but with the need of a new nature and its proper internal effect on the one hand, or on the other with the moral evil, where one is not born of God. There is no possible apprehension of God's mind or will; where there is only the natural man. Such a one does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But the spiritual one discerns all things, and he is discerned by no one. Mental capacity and learning avail nothing save to conceal the awful void from oneself or from others who are carnal.
The “eye” is the index of the nature, not outwardly alone but inwardly. “But if thine eye be wicked, thy whole body will be dark,” This is man's condition unless renewed by grace. In this all-important respect the Jew, judged by the light in our Lord Jesus, was no better off than the Gentile. They loved not the disciples whom they saw, still less the God whom they saw not. Had they really loved Him that begot, they had also loved him that was begotten by Him. The Lord made this certain and manifest; for in Him was no sin, yet they reviled Him. Grace and truth came through Him, yet they east Him out as an eater and wine-bibber, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners, instead of recognizing the Son of man come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Hence said He to His disciples when nearing the end of His earthly course, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hath hated me before you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, and I chose you out of the world, on this account the world hath hated you. Remember the word that I said to you, A bondman is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that hateth me, hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no other did, they had not had sin; but now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father. But that the word written in their law might be glorified. They hated me without a cause” (John 15:18-2518If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. 23He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. (John 15:18‑25)).
What comment could be more direct and simple on the wicked eye, and the whole body dark! It is the awful and unremoved evil of the natural man; the mind of the flesh, which is not only death morally, but enmity against God, whose grace is unintelligible to it, no less than His righteousness by virtue of Christ's atoning death to justify the ungodly, if he believe on Him. The natural man's faith, if faith it is to be called, is to believe in himself, utterly blind to his iniquity and lawlessness and his total ruin before God.
The very fact that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not reckoning to them their offenses, adds, as the words of the Lord Himself prove, immeasurably to man's guilt.
Who so pitiful to failure, who so ready to forgive sins, if they be felt and confessed to Him? But the demonstration of the world's irremediable evil lies in the undeniable truth that, when God was in Christ reconciling it, it refused all reconciliation; when God rose above all offenses, it scorned the boon, buffeted the one who proffered and pressed it on their acceptance, spit in His face and crucified Him.
It was no use to make overtures to man. Who could conceive any so great as God had made in Christ. Man was irretrievably ruined. If the Jew boasted that he only was a light of those in darkness, could he deny that he was leader of the blind against the true light, and did his utmost to extinguish what condemned himself no less than the despised Gentile? If therefore the light that was in Israel was thus proved to be darkness, “how great the darkness”!
The only hope for lost man lay in the rejected and crucified Christ; and such was the unfailing grace of God, that His best came out when man did his worst. For Him who knew no sin He made sin for us (who believe), that we might become God's righteousness in Him. It is solely a question of the second man, the last Adam, who once for all—it was enough—suffered for sins, just for unjust, that He might bring us to God, cleansed from every sin by the blood of Jesus Christ His Son. It is God that justifies the believer, as He made Christ sin for us, that we might become His righteousness. What grace! what a salvation!