Grace and Righteousness

 •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 4
IT is a thing we have to remember and pay more attention to than we often do, that we live by faith, and are saved by faith. A great many do not draw their judgments from faith but from reason. Experience is not faith. Here are thousands trying to get justified by experience-seeking to get some peace by it. They may talk of Christ, but it is not faith, though they would not in terms deny being justified by Him. Many false systems own His work, but the falseness is in the way they apply its power. It is just as false as seeking justification by experience as by works. Experience never gives peace. It may give joy for a time, but not settled peace. Faith is, thinking God's thoughts because He has revealed them. Does God say, "Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more!”-then, I say, "they are remembered no more." Does He say, " By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified?"-then, I say, "I am perfected forever."' Does He say, "The blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth from all sin?"-then, I say, " I am cleansed from all sin." 'Does He say, " We have redemption through His b:god I"-then, I say, "I have redemption. ' I don't want to hurry a person to say he has, when he hasn't; but if he has not, then he does not believe what God has said. It is nut, "Do I live up to it?" but " Do I believe?"
His word takes, post, present, and future in, just as surely as if I saw it, and more so. My eyes may deceive me, but God can't. I believe His word. I just as much believe I am entirely lost, as that I am entirely saved. I look back at the past, and I see the cross of Christ; then I get the certainty of sin put away. I look at the present -no man hath seen God at any time, but I know He loves me perfectly. (1 John 4:1717Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17).) I look forward, and I see Christ coming again to receive me to Himself-when He comes I shall be like Him. Now what does all this depend upon? If you begin to look at yourself and your experience. I say, that is not faith. You have not faith in what God has said. Faith takes up the test of God with regard to conscience, and says, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth front all sin." The things that God sets before me as true I am bound to believe, or make God a liar.
In the chapter before us we read of things that are yet to come; but when God reveals them it makes them as true as if they were present. If God hss revealed what is to come, it is surely that I should believe it and feel its power in my soul. Now here there are two things that blessedly bring out the place of the Christian, inasmuch as we realize by faith what God has sad.- If glory is promised it is mine, though I have not got it yet. This is the very way that we are called practically to live in heaven. Of course, if you do not know whether you belong to heaven or nut, you cannot live there. The groundwork must be stun.
We do not get the highest relationships in this book at all. The character of the book is prophetic; therefore it is not the Father receiving his children, but God on the throne. It is extremely useful for us all to look judgment in the face, and say, Where am I when it conies? Wien we speak of Christ coining into the world. there may be happy affections to see Him meeting the vilest in glace. Nothing is so ordered of God to fix the affections. But this does not give me the knowledge of justification. It is done to win the confidence of the heart; but it does not follow, that when I look at the Day of Judgment, I see my sins gone—,—it is not the knowledge of righteousness. When I look at the Judgment seat, I say, " Have I righteousness?' because, if I have not mercy will then be over. Then righteousness reigns, now grace. If I look at mercy, I say it is sweet; it delights my heart and knits me to Him, but it does not purge my conscience. For this I must look at judgment. Then I say, “There's my righteousness on the throne of judgment-sitting on that throne in virtue of having done the work for me; He is my righteousness." Herein is love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment-not hopes. I cannot hope to move the heart of the Judge-that would be corruption. But as He is, so am I; and mark; in this world. I have it now. If you don't know you have it when you look at judgment, you don't know what it is to be justified.
When the throne of judgment is set in heaven, where do we see the saints? As kings and priests (as we read of them in chap. 1.) sitting on thrones (not on seats) round the great throne of judgment; and when the question of-judgment is raised, they all sit quiet. It has nothing to do with them—but the moment the glory of God is celebrated, and the beasts cry, " Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty," they all leave their thrones directly, and they are priests, not kinds. There's where I see the Christian. When he thinks of judgment, as quiet as the elders on their thrones; but all adoration before the glory of God. Of course, it is by faith as yet, and, consequently, we need daily grace-grace for what? To act up to your position, you must know you are a Christian. You must be a child of God before you can act as one. Then, supposing you are a Christian, I must see you live as such.
He that saw these things, saw that "out of the throne (not now a throne of grace, or I should be coming to it as a poor, feeble creature) proceeded lightnings, and thunderings, and voices"-the signs of judgment. When the thunders come, there sit the four and twenty elders-the judgments do not affect theta at all. As in a criminal court, I may see a man going to be judged, but it is nothing to me. If this will be true there, it is true now. God has not revealed it to me that I should believe it there-I shall be sitting there I believe it now. But the moment the glory of God is spoken of, it does affect them. They have glory themselves, but they cast themselves down at His feet and say, "It is all due to you." This is worship. That, I say, is the Christian. If I am ungodly before the judgment, I cannot worship, but, -like Adam, must hide myself from God.
Now, beloved friends, can you all sit quiet before judgment? When I speak of it, does it bring the certainty of peace, or a cloud of uneasiness? If the latter, I say you do not know what it is to be justified. You may be converted; but if you know that you are justified, you have no fear before judgment. Take the case of the Prodigal Son. The first two parables in the same chapter speaks of simple, unbounded grace that takes the lost sheep on the shoulder-and very blessed to think it does. Still, God will have a work in the conscience. The young man hail run into every excess of riot; and when he comes to himself at last, he says, "Well, every one is happy in my father's house." So he sets out on his journey, but he does not know how he will_ be received; nay, he "takes with him words," as Hosea says, and he has a great bit of legality too. He would ask his father to make him a servant. What business had be to say that? Was the father going to have his son a servant-a standing witness of degradation in his house? Men call this humility; I call it pride. What business had he to make terms with his father? If you don't know that you can't patch up your rags, you are outside the door, and God is inside. When he gets to his father, then, there is not a word about it. Ile did say the first two things, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am" no more worthy to be called thy son;" but there was nothing about the servant. It was too late, and too soon. The father was on his neck, but up to that time lie was doubting and hoping. All reasonings, but not faith, mark him. If you are in that state, you have not met God yet-you may be on the way. The reason I refer to this is, that it is the effect of experience to bring you into the Father's presence in rags. There, in the best robe, you get what fits you for His presence-a robe that Adam never had. He did not want it. The sinner stands outside the house not fit to cuter, except in Christ. The moment I see that the blessed Savior has come down to give Himself for my sins, I say, that's another thing-then I shall not be judged for them. Is He going to judge me for what He bore Himself? God has entered into judgment with Christ, that He should not enter into judgment with me; the question is settled. Pm not surprised to see myself sitting upon the throne while God is judging. I am the fruit of the travail of Christ's soul, 'and He is satisfied. Therefore, He says, "I will come again and receive you unto myself." Now I Ask you,-Is Christ your hope? Is that the way you expect to go up before the judgment seat? I say it is a wonderfully happy way. Do you believe it! Or do you think that Christ meant to give you a false confidence? I expect He will do what He said. But don't you still find yourself a poor, weak creature? To be sure you do: But if measured in that way, I would have no hope at all. I would not stand a single day if God entered into judgment with me. But if He has washed me, the question is not how much filth there was, but has He washed me well? Then I'm clean every whit-whiter than snow. Of course my feet need washing every day, but if I believe, I'm whiter than snow. Do you believe it? If not, what did He tell me for? But people think, "Oh, take care." " Of what'" " I'll take care to believe God's word." "Oh, but presumption." "Yes, to be sure, there is presumption enough in our hearts; but if I bring you spotless into the presence of God, there will be no fear of presumption then." When Paul was in the third heaven, there was no fear of presumption; it was when he came out he might have said, " Ah, Paul, you have been in the third heaven-no one ever was there but yourself."
It is the work of Christ for me, simply having been born again through grace. I find that, having a poor, wretched heart, Christ has done a work for me that leaves me without spot or stain. If you have not the best robe upon you, you won’t get into the house. If you believe, you have got it. No soul ever got cloudless peace till it bad the settled consciousness that without this rube it would be impossible to stand in the judgment at all.