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"THE work of Jesus in the world is two-fold. It is a work accomplished for us, destined to effect reconcilia tion between God and man; it is a work accomplished in us, with the object of effecting our sanctification. By the one, a right relation is established between God and us; by the other is the fruit of the re-established order. By the former the condemned sinner is received into the state of grace: by the latter the pardoned sinner is associated with the life of God. How many ex
press themselves as if when forgiveness, with the peace which it procures has been once obtained, all is finished, and the work of salvation complete. They seem to have no suspicion that salvation consists in the health of the soul, and that the health of the soul consists in holiness. Forgiveness is not the re-establishment of health, it is but the crisis of convalescence. If God thinks fit to declare the sinner righteous, it is in order that He may by that means restore him to holiness.”Godet.
LIFE AND LIFE MORE ABUNDANT.
T is an unhappy circumstance that so many
Christians look upon the salvation of the soul as the goal rather than as the starting point of faith. We do not forget indeed that the Scripture uses the expression "receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." But the connection clearly shows that it is the further end, not the nearer end which is here referred to, the perfecting and glorifying of the soul at the revelation of Jesus Christ, not its justification when it believes on Christ. "He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life" - has it in germ and principle. But Christ says, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Christ for us, appropriated by faith is the source of life; Christ within us
✦ John 10: 10.
through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the source of more abundant life; the one fact secures our salvation the other enables us to glorify God in the salvation of others. How distinctly these two stages of spiritual life are set forth in our Lord's discourse about the water of life! The first effect upon the believer of drinking this water is, "he shall never thirst: but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."* That is, the soul receives salvation, and the perennial joy and peace which accompany salvation. But the second stage is this: "He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive."† Here is the divine life going out in service and testimony and blessing through the Holy Ghost.
It is the last stage, the fullness and consequent outgiving of the influences of the Spirit, which needs to be especially sought in these days by Christians. There are so many instances of arrested development in the church; believers who have settled into a condition of confirmed infancy,
and whose testimony always begins back with conversion, and hovers around that event, like the talk of children who are perpetually telling how old they are. Now even our conversion, blessed event as it is, may be one of those things that are behind, which we are to forget in the pursuit of higher things. Is there not a deep significance in that expression of two-fold union which our Lord so often uses, "Ye in me and I in you"? The branch that is in the vine has its position; but enly as the vine is in it, constantly penetrating it with its sap and substance, does it have power for fruitfulness. "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature," he is regenerated, he is justified. But what, let us inquire, can the apostle's words mean when in referring to such regenerated ones he says, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you"?* This later travail- these second birth-pangs for those who had already been born of the Spirit - what can they signify? Is it metaphor or is it a hint of some deeper work of divine renewing for those who having begun in the Spirit are in danger of seeking to be made perfect in the flesh?
* Gal. 4: 19.