RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
EVERY child of Adam is of necessity placed in the relation
of a creature to the Creator. All owe their being to Him (Acts xvii. 25-28). In
this sense He is the Father of all (Ephes. iii. 14-15 ; iv. 6), and so Adam is
called God's son (Luke iii. 38).
As creatures, dependent on God daily and hourly, confidence in Him as the Creator should always have characterised each one of us. For as Creator He takes thought, and has a personal care even for animals, even for all to whom He has given life (Jonah iv. 11 ; Matt. vi. 26 ; Luke xii. 6); and how much more does He care for those who must have an everlasting existence. Worship, then, and service should unhesitatingly have been rendered to Him by all the human race (Rom. i. 25). But in this, as Daniel boldly told the heathen monarch, Belshazzar, he had grievously failed: "The God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified" (Dan. v. 23). So that king, convicted by the prophet of his impiety, and of his failure as a creature, as he sat enthroned amid all the splendour of oriental sovereignty, passed away that night from earth to await, as far as we know, his doom, when he shall be summoned before the great white throne.
Responsibility as a creature he could not shake off, though his failure in reference to it was enhanced by the opportunity God had offered him of profiting by the well-known history and example of his grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar.
As creatures, all of us have failed, all have sinned ; so to nothing but misery and everlasting perdition could we have justly looked forward, had not God acted, in the sovereignty of His grace, to quicken some, and to bring them into new relations to Himself as saints, as servants, and as of His household, etc.
Of what grace does this speak? Grace naturally foreign to the heart of man, and which has its origin only in the heart of God. For who of men would naturally entrust their interests on earth, and the carrying out of their purposes, to those who had sinned against them, and had evinced a life-long disregard of their wishes, if not a bitter enmity to their person ? But it is out of such that God sets some apart as vessels devoted by Him to a holy use. i.e., saints, sanctified in Christ Jesus (i Cor. i. 2), chosen by Him " to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2 Thes. ii. 13; 1 Pet. i. 2).
His servants, too, such are (i Pet. ii. 16 ; Rom. vi. 22), and He has none others on earth ; all His work in this world, which is done by creature instrumentality for the advancement of His kingdom and the glory of His Son, being carried out through them. Of His household, likewise, they are reckoned (Ephes. ii. 19), for He would not keep them at a distance, though they only deserved everlasting banishment from His presence. In these relations to Him we, who believe on His Son, shall be found for ever. The character and sphere of service may, and assuredly will change. We shall not be always on earth, and in a scene where God's authority is disowned. For on high, when for ever freed from all toil and trouble, enjoying the Sabbath rest which awaits us, His name, with that of the Lamb, will be on our foreheads, the token to all to Whom we belong ; and the privilege will still be ours of being engaged in His service: for "His servants shall serve Him" (Rev. xxii. 3). And in a special relation to God will Christians then be displayed, peculiar to those who are now His habitation on earth by the Spirit, for they will be His holy temple, in which He will dwell for ever (Ephes. ii. 21). What delight must He take in those of His creatures who are redeemed by the blood of Christ!
Saints, servants, of His household, His people, His dwelling-place, His temple, His elect, and His called-ones, what relations are these to God, we may well say, of which we can make our boast. Now all these are connected with the revelation of Himself as God. Favours, privileges, they surely are, in which none of us, and, we add, no creature, would ever have thought we should be called to have a part; yet they do not exhaust the list of our privileges, for in another character God has been pleased to reveal Himself. He is our God, for we are His redeemed ones. He is our Father, too, as born of Him, which is relationship to God in the closest and best sense. We are His children by birth, born of water and of the Spirit (John iii. 5). We are also His sons by faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. iii. 26).
Go To Chapter Two
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