Have You Simeon's Faith?

Luke 2:25‑30  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 5
There was no expectation from earth in the word of the thief on the cross when he said, "Lord remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." But you will say he was leaving this world, and therefore it was nothing in his eyes. But here we see that Simeon-Jew as he was, had obtained such a view of Christ that everything in the world went before it even in life. "Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." As though he said "now everything in this world is as nothing to me; I've got a superlative thing, and in its light everything else has gone out." In a similar view, but a more exalted one, Paul could say, "I long to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better." Stephen too, could look up to the opened heavens, indifferent to the cry and rage of the multitude.
Simeon had true ideas as to what this salvation was-He calls it God's salvation—" Thy salvation." Man's idea of this salvation is that it is according to human want-God's idea of it is,- His own excellency. To effect it, He sends His Son to be the missionary of His heart-its exponent. The blessed God descends, touches the weakest point in nature, becomes a babe. Let us give God credit for His character-let us have a good opinion of God. Do not let us limit His salvation, although some of us may not enjoy it. He met the penalty for sin, which is death and judgment. If I were to have met it, I should have sunk. If a creature merely human had gone to that cross, there would have been an end of them. They would never have risen out of it again. He connected Himself with us-with flesh and blood-died under the penalty, and rose again out of the judgment.
Now faith sees things which are invisible. Faith believes that God is; and that He is a rewarder of them that seek Him out. (Heb. 11:66But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6).) The word "diligently" is not a correct expression here. The true idea conveyed, is that of singling out: for instance, searching among coins for one of special value. He is the rewarder of the one who makes Him their object. Faith, then, has a good opinion of God-faith seeks Him out, and He rewards the one who does so. You never hear of a worldly person rewarding importunity. The nearest simile to the thought of rewarding importunity, is that of a mother detained by her child, rewarding by caresses the love that cannot part with her. Now faith is simply a good opinion of God. Do you consider God's love to be as great as Himself? If so, then trust His love-rejoice in His love. For love will do its utmost for its object. Believe His love then to its fullest extent. Love and obstruction cannot exist together. The necessity of love is that it will allow of no obstructions. God's love which is perfect, allowed of none. Love is stronger than death. Do you believe this! If so, is He then your supreme object? Is He far better than the joys of earth? Do you see an excellency in Christ which puts out the lights of earth? God has moved everything out of the way for you except Christ; and do you want this scene, now that you have got His salvation?
Here I come to deal with the obduracy of the heart-my heart, and your heart. Is it to you (saved people) nothing to depart, and to be with Christ? Is all here not counted loss to you, to win Him-to be found in Him? You say, "But am I to have no natural affections? Yes, you are, but they are put upon quite another ground. You have been taken out of this world by the death of Christ, and sent into it to live Christ. Do you indeed realize what you are saved from, and do you really wish to connect yourself with it? It is true that Simeon had no desire to leave this scene until it all at once paled before him on the superior light of a revealed Christ! With the Christ of God in his arms he could say, " Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, fur mine eyes have seen thy salvation." We hear of such things at a death-bed-a longing earnest craving to depart for that which is at length beheld. Is it then, only when every link on earth is broken, that I can say, "Now I can go to you'?" Is this all that is known of the excellency of Christ
I have seen some people on death-beds. One I remember specially when the only anxiety was the fear of one moment's interruption of what was going on between the soul and Christ. Is it possible that God has to reduce my system-to take away everything from me until I can say, "And now that all is gone, I can go to you?"
Paul was not on his death-bed when he had a desire to depart and to be with the One with whom he held such unutterable communion. Do not mistake me; I am not preaching that people should long to be out of this world: but-I am preaching the superlative excellency of the glorious One for whom Paul could count all else but dross and dung.
Is it the case with you, that you are so invested with the dross, that until God removes it all, and leaves you like a dismantled tree-flowers gone-leaves gone-divested of everything; that at last you perceive the excellency of my blessed God?
As did Hezekiah, do you drive him to this? "Hezekiah" said the Lord (so to speak) "you must die and come to me." "I cannot die," said Hezekiah. Then God made everything (lie to Hezekiah, as you will observe. Now, do you drive him to do this also? I would rather the to everything than have everything die to me. I would rather be Paul. Are the joys of death higher, and more real than the joys of life? Do you think that the Prodigal wished to return to the husks? The thief on the cross to the world? Noah out of the Ark? No, never; although the raven might. The Prodigal knew the Father. I'll go to Him, he said; Ill say " Father "-I know Him now. Do you think that the Israelites saved by blood feasting on the lamb wished to go outside? And the Lamb, is He not enough for you? Suppose you were dying, then Christ would be everything to you: and why should He not be so now? You say, "But if I gave up all like that, then He would take all my Isaacs from me." Then I see you have not a-good opinion of Him-of that heart which loves in all the might of its strength. You think possibly, that it is dangerous even to desire such things-you think God will do something terrible to you-you fear to trust Him, you don't know what it would come to. Oh! this is stopping the way for you. Surely the saint ought to live in his own native air!