Seven Successive Steps

May I ask you to read a sermonette on seven words, each of which begins with the letter “B”?

And, first, let us take one which speaks of the commencement of life. I mean the word


Now, what an amount of interest attaches to each little babe that makes its appearance in the family circle, and how quickly the report of its arrival is published amongst friends and kinsfolk!

But, in order to live, birth is necessary, for that event lies at the very threshold of life.

So, too, in order to live spiritually the “new birth” is necessary. No one is a child of God who has not been “born again.”

A person may be old, as was Nicodemus (John 3), or he may be young, when “born of God”; but whatever age, unless that mighty and God-wrought change take place, no one can enter the kingdom of God. May I ask you, dear reader, if you have thus been “born of God”?

If not, do not expect that you shall reach that holy and blessed kingdom, nor give yourself any rest until, through God’s grace, you know that you share in this first mark of divine and eternal life.

For, besides having a nature which, alas! hates God, and which could not enjoy His presence, we are guilty of sins as well; and He who knows the total depravity of our fallen nature, knows also the multitude of our sins. We may have forgotten them—not so He!

And hence we read, in Job 14:16-17, “For now thou numberest my steps; dost thou not watch over my sin.” Certainly He does! God knows all! And, hence in the following sentence, we reach our second word—


My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity.”

Yes, there it lies in a bag, or bundle—a great, heavy bundle, too—as poor Christian proved, while yet in “the city of Destruction.”

The smallest bundle of sins is intolerable when once it is really felt. Sin’s load, is leaden! A guilty conscience is a bag of vile abominations. It is sealed up, sewed up; you cannot open the bag’s mouth, and shake out the evil contents No, they are tightly enclosed, and your agonized conscience has to carry them. No one is so wretched as he who carries the load of unpardoned sins!

Say, dear reader, are your sins pardoned? how sad your case, if they are not!

Pardoned? No! How, oh, how can sins be pardoned?

Ah! that is an important question, indeed, but one which, thank God, can be readily answered.

Our third word tells us about the ground of forgiveness. It is the word


Let me quote one verse—“The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

What a grand, sweeping, divine statement! May I ask you to analyse this verse, and take it bit by bit—
  1. “The Blood” (and nothing else).
  2. “Of Jesus Christ” (the only perfect Man).
  3. “His Son” (the Creator, the Beloved, the Eternal).
  4. “Cleanses” (removes from God’s eye).
  5. “Us” (poor, guilty sinners who believe).
  6. “From all sin” (leaving none unremoved).

How complete! how perfect! But could anything satisfy justice if that blood could not? Nothing! But God Himself declares the all-cleansing efficacy thereof, and, on its glorious basis, He invites the faith of the poor awakened soul to rest. Hearken to that which was said by a deeply-troubled saint of Old Testament days—a wonderful saying, and one that leads us to our fourth word—


Hezekiah said, in Isaiah 38:17, “Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back.”

Hitherto that bundle had been on the back of Hezekiah; now God casts it away behind His own, He would remember it no more. Hezekiah was relieved of the awful load, and so, too, is every soul, whether king or pauper, who turns, in like manner, to our sin-pardoning God.

Have you, dear reader, turned to God? If not, turn now. As some one has said, “You must either turn, or burn!” If we turn to God, we receive all His favour, as our fifth word declares; it is the word—


Ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9). What an inheritance! It is quite true that the Christian is already “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”; but, along with this infinite favour, he has many a sorrow and many a trial by the way, for he has not yet reached his home; but, nevertheless, he is called to participate eternally in an inheritance of perfect and unalloyed blessing.

Ah! we can thank our God for the present, and we can rejoice in view of the future. We are blessed now, and are to inherit blessing then! It is grace today, and glory tomorrow. What a portion!

But then, what about our sorrows and cares? Well, they are short-lived, at longest. And what does our sixth word say? It speaks of a


Once the disciples had a difficulty, for which they desired an explanation from their Lord. (See John 13:23.) John was appealed to. He, in turn, asked his Lord; and, as he did so, he lay on the Master’s bosom. He learned the explanation there.

Lay your weary head down on the bosom of divine love; and, as sure as you do so, you will experience—not, indeed, the removal of the cause of trouble, but the peace of God that passeth all understanding. He has cast all your sins behind His back; now He asks you to lay all your sorrows on His bosom!

What sweet familiarity! So it is; and He loves us to cultivate affection and confidence. We cannot be too much at home with Him.

That is communion! Read what our last word tells us. It is the word


And a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His Name” (Mal. 3:16). We love to think of the names we esteem; we treasure their memories; we cherish their sayings; all about them is dear and precious to us.

And we love to think of the name of Jesus—our blessed Saviour, Lord, and Friend.

In turn He loves and values our poor meagre recollections of Him and of His Name—a book is written before Him for such. His remembrances are thus continually present to Him. Our sins are behind His back, our sorrows on His bosom, and ourselves before His loving and unwearied eye!

It may seem but a small thing that we should think upon His Name. Yes; but it is the secret of all devotedness. No mighty works can make up for the lack of it. As the deep-hidden love-springs are kept at work, as His sacred and precious Name is cherished within, so will our outward witness be becoming. The lovely sap will silently and effectively produce its own proper fruit, and the Christ cultivated in the heart will be the Christ spoken by the lips and illustrated in the life.