Three Precious Gifts

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 7
" I give unto my sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish." John 10
" The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord" Rom. 6
" He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8
" Christ shall give thee light." Eph. 5
" Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free."
The scriptures quoted above—and they are but a few of the many that might be adduced—teach us, very distinctly, that there are three things bestowed upon every soul that, through grace, simply and truly and heartily believes in Jesus, and these are "Life"—"Light"—and '* Liberty"—three most precious gifts, surely—gifts in comparison with which all earthly riches, pleasures and distinctions are but as the small dust of the balance.
But there are very many who ought to be in the full and settled enjoyment of these immense privileges who actually do not know that they possess them at all, and consider it the height of presumption for any soul to think of possessing them. There are many sincere and earnest souls—truly converted persons—children of God who, through bad teaching, self-occupation or legality, are thoroughly in the dark as to the very elements of Christianity—the simplest truths of the gospel. The dark atmosphere which enwraps the whole of Christendom, so obscures the light of divine truth that they really do not know where they are or what they have got. In place of life, light and liberty, they are practically in the shadow of death, in darkness and bondage. They are robbed of those three precious gifts which God, in the fullness and riches of His grace, liberally bestows upon all who believe on the name of His only-begotten Son.
Now, it is for the special purpose of helping that large and interesting class of persons who are thus robbed and spoiled, that we have penned the few inspired sentences at the head of this paper; and we affectionately entreat of such to give earnest heed to them. We are not, now, going to expound them; nor yet to enter upon a full statement of the doctrines indicated in them. Our object is rather to exhort than to expound. We want—yea, we long to see all the dear children of God in the full enjoyment of the things which are freely given to them of God in Christ.
Let all such, then, hear what our Lord Christ saith, "I give unto my sheep eternal life." "Ah! yes," some exercised soul may say; " I quite see that all Christ's sheep have eternal life; but my great, my sore—my soul-crushing difficulty is to know that I am a sheep of Christ. If I only knew that, I should count myself happy indeed."
Now this, though no doubt the language of hundreds, is a mistake. It is beginning at the wrong end. It is putting self and its feelings before Christ and His word; and, most surely, as long as any one is doing this, he must be in doubt and darkness. It is utterly impossible it can be otherwise. If it is something about myself I am called to feel or believe, in order to be saved, then, assuredly, I never can have the settled knowledge or assurance of salvation. I must have something entirely outside and independent of myself—something divinely solid—something eternally stable—some settled and absolute truth—something true in itself, apart from all my thoughts and feelings respecting it—in short I must have God's own revelation to rest upon, or I never can know what abiding peace really is. It is the eternal truth of God, and that alone, which forms the real basis of the soul's peace—a basis which not all the powers of earth and hell, men and devils can ever disturb. It is by believing in Christ, and not by feeling or believing something about myself, that I get eternal life. He that believeth on the Son of God hath eternal life.
Anxious reader, do ponder this. It is of the very deepest moment. It concerns the peace and rest of your soul. We would call your earnest attention to the weighty fact that what you are called upon to believe is not something about yourself, but something about Christ. " Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." (John 6:4747Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (John 6:47).) Do you simply and heartily believe in Jesus? Do you confide in Him? Are you thoroughly satisfied with Him? If so you have eternal life, and you should, from this moment, know it and rejoice in it. Our Lord does not say, "He that feeleth he is one of my sheep shall have eternal life." Nothing of the kind—nothing like it—nothing approaching to it. " He that believeth on me." So also, in that well-known passage in John 5 " Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life."
Can aught be plainer than this? Every one who hears the word of Jesus, and believes in the One who sent Him, is the happy possessor of eternal life, and shall never come into judgment. Hence it follows that if we have not got eternal life, we do not believe on the Son of God, we have not heard His word, do not believe in God at all. Thus it stands if we are to be governed by the veritable teaching and authority of our Lord Christ. Every true believer in Jesus hath eternal life; and every one who has not eternal life is an unbeliever. So speaks the word of the living God.
But the believer should know what he possesses. Of what use or value could it be for any one to be left a large fortune in Canada, if he did not know anything about it? God would have us to know what He has freely given to us in Christ. The life is in Christ, so he that hath Christ hath the life, and he who hath not life hath not Christ. " God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." Precious, all important word!
Nor is it otherwise with respect to the second of our " three precious gifts." As we get " life" so we get " light"—in Christ. " He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." God would not give us life and leave us in the dark. This would not be like Him. He has given us His Son; and, believing in Him, we get life; and, following Him, we get light—the light of life. Beauteous words! Words full of divine power! Enfranchising words for the soul that has been groping in darkness and the shadow of death I "The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth;" and the proper sphere for the life which we now possess is the light in which we are called and privileged to walk. The darkness is past, the shadows are gone; the clouds are rolled away; the dim twilight has given place to the full orbed light of life streaming down into our souls, and upon our path, and enabling us to judge ourselves and our surroundings—to judge everything according to the true light that now shineth within, upon, and around us—shineth from the Father—shineth in the Son—shineth in the power of the Holy Ghost—shineth on the page of inspiration.
Finally, it follows, of blessed necessity, that as we get " life" and " light," so we get" liberty." It is all in Christ. He quickens; He enlightens; He emancipates; yea, more, He is our life, our light, our liberty. Blessed, throughout all ages, be His peerless name! " If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." Surely, it must be so. He would not give us life and leave us in the dark. He would not give us life and leave us in bondage or slavery. No, no; such is not His way. He sets us divinely and eternally free—free from guilt and condemnation—free from the dread of wrath and judgment to come—free from the fear of death—-free from the present power of sin—quite as free as from its future consequences.
May the reader lay hold of these things in simple, childlike faith, and join us in a note of fervent praise to the Giver of these " Three precious gifts."