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THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
“Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine. And He smote His enemies in the hinder parts: He put them to a perpetual reproach.” Psalm 78:65-66
What a great benefit when God arises and reveals His eternal power in the heart of a dead sinner, who cannot do otherwise, but sink still deeper into sin. From man's side, it is impossible to return to God, but God draws them with the cords of eternal love. Then they learn to cry after God by day and by night. They learn to know the enormity of their guilt and sin, and the Spirit convinces them of their original and actual guilt. God’s wrath is heavy upon them, so that they are bowed down, and the law curses them. They see that all hope from their side is cut off, and feel the separation between God and their soul. Sin becomes a burden too heavy to bear.
What an eternal wonder it becomes for such a soul, that there is still a way of escape, and to be received in grace. It is an unforgettable moment when Christ is revealed to them, and they may look to Him by faith. He is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand, (Songs of Solomon (5:10). He is altogether lovely, and what a blessed time it is, when they may follow him. Then they are aware of the fact, that grace is poured out upon His lips. Their heart goes out to Him by days and by nights, they are encouraged, but their guilt is not removed, and their soul has not been saved. And then when Christ conceals Himself behind the Father, Who appears as the Vindicator of Divine Justice, then their soul is fearful.
They are made aware of the fact, that they cannot appear before God, with all that has happened in their lives. Satan directs his sharp arrows in their soul, and it becomes a time of silence for them, and the mockers within say:—”Where is your God?” The despair becomes so great, that everything becomes a question, and the days between GOOD FRIDAY AND EASTER CAN BE SO-LONG AND SO—DARK. Thus it was with the disciples, for they did not know what to think or do. BUT THEN THE LORD ARISES. IN THAT DARK NIGHT OF SORROW AND DOUBT, THE LORD AWAKED AS ONE OUT OF SLEEP.
The women had burdened themselves with all the sweet spices they could carry—, to anoint the body of their Beloved Christ, but He had no need of their spices and balm. He was the Great Physician, Who giveth the Balm of Gilead, and these women had need for this Balm.
What a great surprise the resurrection of Christ was for the disciples, and for the women, but this is also the case with all those in whom Christ arises as the Victor over death. Then it is:—”Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification”, Romans 4:25. Then God’s Justice is glorified, Mercy and Truth are then met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. To arise with Christ out of the grave of sin and curse. Oh, what an eternal wonder—who shall declare it?
It is obvious, that the Old Testament Church was acquainted with the counsel of God, pertaining to the restoration of the elect to the favor and fellowship with God, and the exaltation of His virtues. Immediately after the fall, God revealed the Redeemer, and the redemption through His blood. His humiliation, and His exaltation was made known very clearly. We even read of Abraham, that he longed to see His day, and did see it, and was glad. Jacob upon his deathbed, exclaimed: “I have waited for Thy Salvation, O Lord.”
And that which was revealed, and believed by the Holy men of old, has become an indisputable fact in the fulness of time. Christ was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification, Romans 4:25.
We with our children may still live under that glorious gospel, of which we might hear a small portion, in this day. Oh, that we might give heed to the RISEN CHRIST, who awaked as one out of sleep, and tiumphed over all His enemies.
Nothing is more important, between our cradle and our grave, than that Christ raise us from our state of death, in which we all lie by nature. It makes no difference whether we live openly in the world, or whether we are religious outwardly—the same wonder must take place in us. I do not make this statement as if to imply that it makes no difference how we live—oh no, for this would be drawing the wrong conclusion. Consider it a great privilege that God restrains you and that you may live under the gospel truth. Each and every one of us must answer for his deeds. In making this statement, I wish to convey the fact that no matter how devout our life may be, still a new birth is essential.
We lie in an abyss of sin and guilt from which we cannot deliver ourselves, yea under the curse and wrath of a Holy and Righteous God, Who cannot permit sin to go unpunished. And alas—if God’s Spirit does not enlighten us, then we do not know or realize our deplorable condition.
Thousands and millions, (also many living under the gospel) sleep on in that sleep of death. Again and again, they hear of the death and resurrection of Christ, but this does not touch them. It makes no impression upon their heart or life. How terrible it shall be, if we travel onward to eternity in this manner. This Christ, Who arose from Joseph’s tomb, shall one day gird Himself for the battle. He is coming to judge the quick and the dead. This Valiant One, Who rejoiceth as of the wine, shall appear as Judge, upon the clouds of heaven, with His many thousands of angels, and shall crush all those who refused to acknowledge Him.
The watch at Christ’s tomb were permitted to flee, but in that final judgment day, escape shall be impossible. Now there is still an opportunity to flee as a hell-worthy sinner to Christ. I beseech you, both old and young—”Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.”
Although you have made God angry with your sins, nailed Christ to the cross, and polluted your hands with innocent blood, still Christ is willing to purify and sanctify you from all your unrighteousness, and reconcile you with God, by His blood. That many in our midst might be awakened to flee to this glorious Mediator, through faith. In Him there is infinite capacity for such as are bowed down with grief and guilt, and those who cannot help or save themselves.
Deeply to be pitied are all such who think that all is well without Christ. Some can speak of a change in their life, have had a time that they were fearful, and have laid hold upon certain texts, but alas, it never came any farther. They do not have any solicitude to know Christ, and knowledge of God’s justice is unknown to them. Neither is there anything to be found of that internal need or distress. What a sad end that shall be, for all ground outside of Christ shall fall away in the hour of death.
Surely, God is free in the distribution of His Grace, and it is not for us to set limits or boundaries, but do consider that there are three things necessary for us to know, shall we live comfortably and die happy. The Father draws the elect sinner to Christ, the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ, and He is the object of faith and the hope of glory. Let us not deceive our souls for eternity. Shun all persons that seek to set you at ease upon some experiences you may have had, but join yourselves to such as point you to the personal knowledge and union with Christ. The unadulterated truth is hard for flesh and blood, but beloved, do not harden yourselves against it, but bow before it, to your eternal welfare.
It is true, there are some people in whom the Holy Spirit has begun His work, but for whom Christ is so concealed. On the one side it is an indisputable fact, that no man can accept anything unless it be granted from above, but on the other hand, it is also true that the knowledge of God’s justice is so slight, and the discovering work of the Spirit lacking, so that we have so little need for Christ.
This is an unfruitful and unprofitable life, and a life from which God receives little honor. In our present age there is not only a surpassing with our intellect of the way and place to which God has brought us, but also a deadly rest upon that which has happened, which should be for us a bed that is too short and a covering that is too small.
That God’s Spirit might work powerfully in the hearts of His people, so that they as lost creatures in themselves, might learn to know Christ as the resurrection and the life. To be cut off from everything, and enter into death with Christ so that we might arise with Him to the glory of the Father and newness of life.
And are there still souls in our midst who are perplexed, passing through the world with grief and sorrow, who at times may believe that Christ died for them, but lack the acquittal by the Father?—oh, that the Sun of Righteousness might arise for you. For whom the oppressions of the enemy are many, and are so fearful, that they sink away in them-selves-and then a SILENT GOD, and a Christ Who has died. This causes them to cry out by times and seasons:—”Doth God know, and is there knowledge in the Most High?” Then it appears as though everything is lost and that the enemies shall rejoice for ever.
Oh souls, that the day may soon dawn for you, that all the shadows shall flee away, and you may be justified in the court of conscience, to find peace with God.
People of the Lord—that moment, when God arose, after you did sink away, and merely waited upon the Lord, to see what He would do with you; then He raised you up and made an eternal covenant with you.
Oh, that moment, when Christ, by the power of His resurrection, revealed Himself to your soul and said unto you: PEACE BE UNTO YOU. What a change and what adoration then filled your soul. Worthy of eternal death and now receiving eternal life. Now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus; the law silent, sin silent, the devil silent, AND THE LORD JESUS SPEAKING UNTO YOU:—”My peace I give you. My peace I leave with you.”
Now it is a new heaven and a new earth; the doors of heaven are opened. Oh, that it may also become Pentecost, and then as a poor sinner to be served out of Christ-THE PRINCE OF LIFE, Amen.
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Bekijk de hele uitgave van donderdag 1 mei 1980
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Bekijk de hele uitgave van donderdag 1 mei 1980
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