Man's Ways and God's

Table of Contents

1. Man's Way and God's

Man's Way and God's

There are four groups of words in the closing chapters of the gospel of John which, taken together in the order in which they come, give us God's order in the blessing of souls.
In chapter 19: 30 we have the three precious words, "It is finished." Not `I have finished,' as though He had done part of the redeeming work, and left the other part for us, but "It is finished." All the work was done.
A poor old woman, in her eightieth year, came one evening to a cottage meeting in a small hamlet in South Lincolnshire. She was among that vast number of honest though mistaken souls who are `doing their best' for salvation. She had taught herself to read when more than fifty years of age, so that she might, among other good things, read the Bible for herself. After this she made it her practice for many years to stay up every Saturday night, an hour later than the rest of the family, to read and pray, in order to fit herself, as she thought, to spend a holy day on the Sunday, considering that this would `go a long way toward her salvation.'
However, the night she attended the cottage meeting she heard of the `finished work of Christ.' This completely changed the whole aspect of things in her soul, and, with tears chasing each other down her deeply furrowed face, she exclaimed at the close of the meeting, 'To think I have been doing so much to get salvation, all these years, and now to find the work was finished on the cross by Jesus!'
Yes, reader, "It is finished," and your part, if you would find salvation, is to trust that precious finished work.
Then come those three gracious words from the lips of the risen Savior to the trembling hearts of His poor followers, "Peace unto you" (chapter 20: 19).
It is knowing that the Savior's precious blood and finished work have fully met all that God had righteously against us that gives the guilty conscience peace. The chastisement to effect our peace was laid upon Him, and "with his stripes we are healed."
Then comes the Savior's challenge to Peter, "Lovest thou me?" (chapter 21: 15).
It is when we see that He has laid down His life in meeting that which disturbed our peace the judgment of God which our many sins deserve that the affections of our hearts are drawn out to Him, and "we love him, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
Like Jonathan, who, when he saw David with the giant's head in his hand, was knit in heart to the worthy victor, so are we drawn to love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity; and, when love is in activity, the response to the last three words before us, viz., "Follow thou me" (chapter 21: 22), comes in as a natural consequence.
It is not hard to follow one we love, nor hard to love One who has laid down His life for us, and whose love will never end.
Thus we have seen that God's order is: "It is finished." "Peace unto you." "Lovest thou me?" "Follow thou me."
While man's is the very reverse; he: `Tries to follow Christ,' `Tries to love Him,' and `Hopes to get peace `When all is finished.'
Which has my reader been adopting? Remember that "there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 14:12). If you would have God's salvation, you must bow to God's way of getting it.
How marvelous the love of God! How hard the heart of man! Only the suffering and death of the Son of God could adequately express the one; only the gracious Spirit of God, even after such proof as Calvary affords, could give man's heart to believe it. It is only the Holy Spirit who can effectually commend God's love in Christ to any human heart, and there shed abroad its cheering rays.
How has God's love affected you? Are you still listening to the lie of the enemy and shutting God out of your thoughts? or has the light of His love entered, casting out all your fear, removing all your cold suspicions?
Do not say that His holiness and righteousness stand in the way of your believing the record of His love. He has expressed His righteousness in respect of your sin by the very act that proves His love.
Death has been the penalty of sin from the beginning, and in receiving that penalty Christ has perfectly expressed God's love.
If His righteousness necessitates that man as a sinner should be driven out, the very One who drove man out, by the way of death, came down to where man was to bear his suffering, and bring him back by a new and living way through His own death. He opened out "the way of peace" by His own acceptance of the storm of judgment, and having passed through it He stands in risen power beyond it a willing Savior, mighty to save.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).
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