Consolation in the Redeemer
William Nicholson, 1862
"Consolation in Christ." Philippians 2:1
The Gospel is admirably adapted to the state of man . . .
as a guilty sinner,
as a believer in Christ, and
as a candidate for eternity.
Infinite wisdom contrived it — and Almighty love carried it into effect!
All the attempts of man to obtain consolation suitable to his state and character, have proved abortive.
hope of justification by the works of the law
— are all vain, Romans 8:3; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Philippians 3:7.
I. There Is Consolation In Christ.
Consolation implies that inward spiritual refreshing of the soul, produced by the love of God shed abroad in the heart, by means of the enlightening and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. John 16:7.
Christ is called 'the consolation of Israel," Luke 2:25. He is represented as the source of consolation, 2 Corinthians 1:5. He is the giver of consolation, 2 Thessalonians 2:16. Those who repose upon him for salvation, have strong consolation, Hebrews 6:18.
This consolation was provided by the infinite beneficence of the gracious God. This is the source of it all. He commiserated man in his fallen and ruined state. He devised and promulgated by his prophets, the plan of mercy to a ruined world. Christ is therefore styled, "the mercy promised to the fathers." This gladdened the Church in former ages, as they looked . . .
through the types — to the great Antitype,
through the shadows — to the substance,
through the sacrifices — to the great One Sacrifice.
It consoled Adam, Genesis 3:15.
It consoled Abel, Hebrews 11:4.
It consoled Abraham, John 8:56; Hebrews 11:17.
It consoled Moses, Hebrews 11:24-26.
It consoled all the prophets, 1 Peter 1:10-12.
And Christ will console until time shall be no more. "Lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world."
1. There is consolation, in his coming to this world as the Savior of sinners. The entrance of a conqueror into a city, after some decisive battle, causes joy. The visit of a monarch to some part of his domain creates particular sensation — and when Christ came to earth to die — it astonished Heaven, angels, men, and devils. He came not to curse, but to bless — not to destroy, but to save. He disrobed himself of his vestments of essential glory and omnipotence, and came on the wings of infinite mercy. How consolatory was this!
Therefore, "Rejoice greatly!" Zechariah 9:9; Isaiah 32:1, 2; 42:1-4. Hence the declaration of the angel, Luke 2:9-11, 13, 14.
2. There is consolation, in his pre-eminent qualifications for the office.
(1.) He is DIVINE. "He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!" Isaiah 9:6. He is God, John 1:1-3. He is equal with the Father, Philippians 2:6. Blessed truth! My Savior is Divine. A mere creature like myself could not have become my Savior.
(2.) He became MAN. John 1:14; Galatians 4:4. Blessed truth! My Savior became man. An angel could not have saved me. But he appeared in my nature that he might suffer and die for me — that he might feel for me, and console me.
(3.) He was perfectly HOLY and righteous. He conformed to the law — he obeyed all its precepts. "Such a high priest meets our need — one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens!" Hebrews 7:26.
3. There is consolation, in his atonement. He went to the cross and died to atone for man's guilt. There he appeared as the Savior — the Redeemer — the Ransomer — the Deliverer, etc. There is consolation in his Suretyship — in his substitution for me. "He bore my sins in his own body on the tree," that atonement was complete — it was accepted by God. To God it was a "sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savor." Ephesians 5:2.
4. There is consolation, in his resurrection. This confirmed the reality of his Messiahship, and the efficacy of his death, Romans 1:4. It was the pledge of my glorious resurrection, Romans 8:11.
5. There is consolation, in his intercession. He has taken my nature with him into Heaven. There he pleads for me. Hebrews 7:25.
6. There is consolation, in the influences of his Spirit. These enlighten, quicken, comfort, cheer, seal, and witness.
It is evident, then, that this consolation is rich and abundant, never-failing in its efficacy free and gratuitous and everlasting. O blessed consolation!
II. This Consolation is Necessary.
What would life in this world be without consolation and hope! Even that consolation which comes from human sources may for a time be valuable. But it will ultimately fail — money will flee away — health will decay — friends will die, etc. We need better consolation than earth can furnish. It is consolation for the deathless spirit — consolation that has an aspect on an invisible and eternal state.
1. Consolation is necessary in the time of conviction of spiritual destitution. When the soul feels the need of salvation — when sin appears dreadful — and the soul feels hell-deserving. Acts 2:37.
2. Consolation is necessary in the time of self-distrust:
when I am helpless. Luke 15:17,
when my righteousness is but as filthy rags,
when the law condemns me — when its curse alarms me.
3. Consolation is necessary in the time of conflict. With the flesh, the world, and Satan. There are "fiery trials." 2 Corinthians 12:9.
4. Consolation is necessary in the time of adversity and affliction.
5. Consolation is necessary in doubt and despondency.
6. Consolation is necessary in the prospect of death and eternity. Christ is the conqueror of death. He will be with his people in the last conflict, and make them more than conquerors.
III. This Consolation May Be Obtained.
By those who feel their need of it, and anxiously desire it.
Go where it is dispensed:
In the word of God.
In his ordinances.
At his throne of grace.
Pray, fervently petition for this consolation.
Believe. Consolation is obtained by faith.
Wait for it. Expect it. Rest not until you have obtained it.
It is the pleasure of Christ to give it. "I will not leave you comfortless!" John 14:18, 27.