Devotedness to Christ is, at once, the first duty and the highest privilege of the Christian—yours, my dear fellow-believer, and mine. It is our duty when we think of our indebtedness to Him, and our privilege in view of the honour which such devotion entails. There is none like it. Christ and the Christian—the pardoned, the justified, the reconciled to God, the son and heir, the member of the body, part of the bride of the Lamb—all this wealth of blessing, this divinely-given freedom from the claims of law, the power of sin and Satan, and the dread fear of death and judgment—all this is, through boundless grace, ours now and for ever, at the cost, however, of that which He underwent for us on the cross of Calvary.
That cost was absolute, the ransom complete, the redemption meritorious; so that, on our part, no addition can be made thereto. We are liberated!
Hence, if we speak of duty, it is not that of the slave, nor of the hired servant, nor of one who seeks, by its fulfilment, a place in divine favour or relationship. All that is settled. Grace is our perfect standing-ground before God; sonship is our privilege and joy.
The blessed Lord gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purity unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).
Mark these words. Consider the gift in its immensity, not only of all that He had, but of that which He was—Himself—with the marvellous end in view—our redemption from all iniquity, together with the present effect of our purification unto Himself a peculiar people (whom He could claim on that ground as “His own”) and who should be “zealous of good works.”
“His own”—peculiarly and absolutely and for ever His own, over whom there should be no rival claim, redemption having set Him over them as His precious and inalienable possession.
They are His, and He is theirs.
But who is He that paid such a price for this possession?
He is the Son of God in the glory of deity, and Son of Man in the truth of perfect and sinless manhood. It is He who presented Himself in patient grace for the acceptance of men, only, alas, to be set at nought and crucified; but to be “raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,” and, in actual manhood, to take His place on high as Lord and Christ, the once dead but now living glorious Lord and Head—full of grace and power as also of sympathy and unchanging love. He is theirs—He is ours, but we too are His. To Him, and to no other, do we belong. He is as truly our Lord as He is our Saviour. Having saved us He claims us peculiarly—that is, as “His own.” Let us, oh! let us realize this—we are His own.
It is seldom, I think, that His claim upon us as Lord is apprehended at the moment of conversion. The soul, at that glad instant, is rather in the happy experience of the kiss, the robe, and ring, and sandals, and the unexpected welcome to a full forgiveness and the Father’s house. He exclaims, “My Beloved is mine!” His joy flows from that which he has consciously received. He sings of the “happy day”; but presently, and gradually, he learns that his own personal joy and blessing are not everything. He has been saved indeed, but saved that he “should not henceforth live unto himself, but unto Him who died for him and rose again.” The risen Saviour has become his Lord and Master. His “henceforth” is therefore to be marked not only by the joy of salvation but by the obedience of discipleship. He is to devote himself to the Christ who died for him, and who lives on high in all the authority of Lord. “I am my Beloved’s” is the further frank acknowledgment and confession.
What a mark is left on the life that owns Christ’s lordship! How vastly that lordship, when humbly accepted and retained (when recovered too, if lost) affects and influences, divinely, those who prove it. I would urge all who read these pages to learn in practical power, ever more fully, the supreme authority of our Lord Jesus Christ. It lies at the bottom of the Christian life. Its practical value, in all true testimony, whether individual, personal, collective or corporate, whether in the assembly or in private life, whether in view of Satan or of man, anywhere, everywhere, the first, deepest, truest breathing of the Christian’s bosom should be the name of the Lord Jesus. Every tongue shall yet confess that “He is Lord to the glory of God the Fattier.” Thrice happy they who, today, when that name is refused and derided, seek faithfully to confess it before God and man and devil.
Oh, for souls consecrated to Christ, devoting themselves and their all to Him—the rejected but soon-coming Lord—instead of wasting their time and strength and golden opportunities in self-interest and the ten thousand follies of this “Vanity Fair,” only to discover, at the close, that the one chance they had to “live unto Him” was flung selfishly away—never to be recovered again. The loss shall be theirs indeed, but it must be His as well.
Remember that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body according to that he has done whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).
May each of us carry this solemn and searching word into the presence of God and get under its mighty and most salutary influence.