The Blessings The Gospel Brings To Us Now
I want to talk to you about the wonderful blessings that the gospel brings to everybody who receives it now. Some people have the idea that gospel preachers ask people to throw overboard everything that they like, all the vice, all the sin, all the having a good time in this world, for what has been described as 'some pie in the sky'. Have you ever felt that? To be offered a lovely thing far away, rather insubstantial. They can have a jolly good time some time in the future if they throw everything overboard now. They say, 'No. I am going in for a jolly time now. I do not care. I will have my things in this world. I do not believe all the talk about having a good time one of these days, up in the sky'.
I was once taken to a gospel meeting where they sang a hymn whose chorus was:
"......in the sweet by and by,
We shall meet in the home of our Lord."
People say to me, 'You preachers, you want to get us away from having a jolly time in this world by dangling before our eyes the idea that if we drop it we shall have a sweet by and by'. My, friends, I am going to talk to you about 'a sweet now and now'. I am a Christian. At the beginning of last May I passed the seventieth anniversary of the day when I turned in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ. I believed God and His word. I saw how the mighty Son of God had swooped into this sinful world, and He Himself offered the great sacrifice for sin, which is the way of the putting away of the sin of all those who believe in Him, and there entered into my heart the knowledge that now I was justified, "being now justified by his blood" (Rom.5:8). And through the Lord Jesus all Christians, however long they have been converted, are justified. Seventy years ago my poor soul, troubled about my sins, entered into the knowledge of peace with God because I was cleared, I was justified in His holy presence. But not only that, now we who believe, receive the reconciliation (5:11). Then, says Paul to the Roman Christians, you were once the slaves of sin, but now, not when we get to heaven (although it will also be true when we do get there), but now we are set free, emancipated, we are passed from under the domination of our old master, sin, to become servants to God (6:22). This is wonderful. It has been on my heart to give a talk here about 'the sweet now and now', the wonderful things that the gospel brings to those who believe it now.
"[Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Rom.4:20-25, 5:1-2)
First of all, I would say to those of you who have not thought much about these things, do you realise you need to be set right in the presence of God, you need to be justified? Some of you might say, 'Well, I do not go to church very much. It is one of those terms you religious folk use. What does it mean?' To be justified means to be put in right relations with God, cleared from every accusation that might lie against you in God's holy presence. When I was a young man I remember a man standing in the open air saying to people, 'You have a God to meet, you have sins to account for, you have an eternity to spend'. Anybody who knows the truth of those three statements instantly says, 'I ought to be put right with God'. We are living in a day when the criminals are getting the best of it.
I was in a house only last night when somebody said, 'Crime does not pay', personally I contradict that flatly. It does pay. It provides excitement and adventure. You can blow up a safe and get