Holy and Without Blame
“He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” (Eph. 1:4)
“You . . . hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.” (Col. 1:22)
These two Scriptures show at a glance the same thing presented to us in two aspects—one from the standpoint of eternal purpose; the other presenting the means by which it is effected.
No Christian gets far in the things of God till he gets a view of eternal purpose. There we are lifted out of our own littleness, and have to view things, not from the standpoint of our individual need and blessing, but from the standpoint of God’s wondrous thoughts. As we contemplate these we see the vast plan, which shall fill a universe of bliss, rising up before our souls, and ourselves a part of that plan, yet all headed up in Christ.
God has chosen us in Christ. Can anything set that aside? “Chosen us in Christ,” that involves new creation—“if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [literally, there is a new creation]” (2 Cor 5:17). As that is brought about we are “holy and without blame before Him in love.” This could never be true of us as viewed in our responsible life down here, but it is true, now as viewed in Christ. By and by the scene will be new creation in its full and absolute display, and then God’s purpose will shine forth without a cloud.
Yet in carrying out this purpose God must meet our state of alienation and enmity and take account of our wicked works. He has met all this in the death of Christ—this is the means—the righteous means, by which this can be and was effected.
It is not sufficient that Christ should come “in the body of His flesh”—that is, become a Man down here. Only His death could effect God’s purpose. On the ground of this death God can bring man in reconciliation to Himself. He makes the believer in Christ suitable to Himself; and again viewed from that standpoint presents him “holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.” When God looks upon His handiwork all is entirely suitable to Himself.
But the apostle, having stated this, adds; “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel.” Thank God, the true Christian does continue. It is the mark of the true Christian that he goes on to the end.
Meanwhile, as the Christian pursues his path in activity how happy to think of the eternal purposes of love and wisdom that have chosen him in Christ, and then to remember how it has been in God’s wisdom brought about, even in the death of Christ, so that he is now, in God’s sight, “Holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.”
If Christians would only reflect that God will be satisfied with nothing short of perfection, they would be forced to drop thoughts of their own fitness or perfection, and find it alone “in Christ.” It is only possible in Him.
Everything is for the believer “in Christ.” The introduction of thoughts of our own fitness is only possible by lowering infinitely God’s thoughts, and adapting them to our littleness and blindness. May we be preserved from this.
God’s purpose is the source of our blessing. Christ’s death is the means of our blessing. How full, how secure, how perfect must it all be—according to God’s own thoughts and for His eternal glory.
With the poet it was a case of possessing what in point of fact was somebody else’s actual and legal possession. But with us it is our own real possessions that we may experimentally “possess” after such a manner that they again and again “flash upon that inward eye” and fill the heart with joy.
Who cannot discern the difference between this and the knowledge and realization that the “possessions” are indubitably our own? One may emphasize the “H-A-T-H” in Ephesians 1:3, and join in giving praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ because He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings; one may rejoice continually in the wonderful truth that they are all ours, and ours for ever. But this is merely what the owner of the land on which the daffodils grew might have done, after an earthly fashion. Without any beauty flashing on his “inward eye” (if he had one) he might have found great pleasure in the assurance that the land and the flowers were his very own. One can similarly rejoice in the assurance of spiritual blessings being our very own and yet utterly fail to find delight in those blessings, and to have them “flash upon that inward eye.”
To be assured that all spiritual blessings are ours in Christ, we need but to give credence to the statement of Scripture. But to truly possess this wealth we need to be “strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.” Only thus can the blessings themselves (as distinguished from our ownership of them) be comprehended by us in their breadth and length, their depth and height; only thus can we really know the love of Christ (a thought to be ever distinguished from the knowledge of the fact that He loves us).
If it be a great thing to be the “possessors” of heavenly wealth, it is a greater thing (as far as present joy is concerned) to possess that of which we are possessors. Wordsworth’s enjoyment of the “wealth” that the sight of the daffodils brought to him was greater, and of a different kind, than that of their “possessor.” With us, the two individuals are joined in one. We are the rightful “possessors,” or owners, of what God’s free grace has made ours in Christ. We may also “possess “these things, as Wordsworth did the daffodils.
Let us seek to do this, and not rest content with knowing, and thanking God, that we are indeed blessed with all these blessings.