The Three States
James Smith, 1860
There are three states through which we must pass, if we ever are to answer the highest end of our existence:
in the first we find ourselves as men,
into the second we must pass to be Christians, and
on the third we must enter to be perfectly happy.
I have been in the first,
I am now in the second, and
I live in hope of soon being in the third.
In the first, I was miserable enough;
in the second my experience varies;
in the third I shall have all my heart can wish.
I trace up my first state to sin,
the second to sovereign mercy, and
the third to free, and distinguishing grace.
These states are called . . .
1. In NATURE, we are without
Christ. We have no correct knowledge of
his person, no faith in his Word, nor any interest in his glorious work. We
are afar from him, strangers to him, and have no desire to possess him. Oh,
it is a miserable state to be without Christ!
In Christ, all the fullness of the godhead dwells.
In Christ, all the riches of grace are stored.
In Christ, all the promises of mercy are found.
In Christ, all the springs of true happiness are opened.
Out of Christ — all is darkness, doubt, condemnation, death and damnation!
To be without Christ, is to be under guilt —
and bound to answer for every sin we have committed in thought, word, or
deed. To be without Christ, is to be . . .
an enemy to God,
a stranger to hope, and
a criminal waiting for execution.
Without Christ, is to be in a worse condition than the antediluvians were without the ark. To be without Christ, is to be in a worse condition than the Israelites who perished in the wilderness. In a word, to be without Christ, is to be in the most fearful state imaginable! And yet, every unconverted sinner is without Christ.
I myself was without Christ once. Reader, how
is it with you? Are you without Christ now? you were once. If you have never
been convinced of your danger; if you have never fled for safety to the
cross; if you have never received Christ as God's unspeakable gift — then
you are without Christ now! You are in a state of nature, and know nothing
of the second state, which is a state of grace.
2. In a state of GRACE, we are, in Christ.That is, united to his person, savingly interested in all he has done, and entitled to all he has promised. We were chosen in Christ, by the Father in eternity; and were blessed with all spiritual blessings in him. Oh, what a favor, God gave us grace in Christ, before he laid the foundations of the earth! We were convinced of our need of Christ by the Spirit, and were led to seek a saving interest in him, and union to him. We came to him . . .
And being struck with his beauty, and affected with his generosity — our hearts went forth in fervent love to him; and then we could be satisfied with nothing less than union to him. He received us graciously, and pledged himself to be ours — and we pledged ourselves to be his. We became one. The uniting bond was the Holy Spirit; and while the Holy Spirit lives, and dwells in us — Christ and our souls will be one.
One with Christ! How glorious! In Christ! How safe — how secure — how well provided for — how happy we are!
United to Christ — we are one with his people!
United to Christ — we are one with the eternal Father!
United to Christ — Heaven is our home!
Being in Christ, let us . . .
receive all we need from Christ,
walk as Christ walked,
work as Christ worked,
and live as Christ lived.
To be in Christ, is to be in a state of grace;
but there is a third state, even a state of glory.
In a state of GLORY, we shall be, with Christ.
With Christ — in the same place.
With Christ — in the same state.
With Christ — in the same society.
"Father," said Jesus, "I will, that those also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me." O how blessed to be with Christ! To have Christ with us here, is unspeakably sweet — but what! O what will it be, to be with Christ, to see him as he is, and to enjoy his presence, his glory, and his love forever! Yet, this honor is awarded to all the saints. This happiness is sure to all who are in Christ!
Nothing can break the bond that unites us to him; nothing will ever be able to separate us from him.
In union with his person,
savingly interested in his love,
entitled to all his promises, and
daily receiving out of his fullness,
nothing shall ever sever us from him!
No, we shall be with him — with him in his Father's house — and be with him forever!
Nor will it be merely being with Christ,
for we shall be like him, and shall share . . .
in all his joys,
in all his honors, and
in his perfect happiness to all eternity!
In nature — O how wretched and miserable was our state!
In grace — O how favored, how privileged we are!
In glory — O how happy, now honored, how triumphant shall we be!
Reader, you were in nature — but are you in grace?
You were without Christ — but are you now in Christ?
Grace leads directly to glory.
Union to Christ, ensures our being with Christ. Make sure then of a saving interest in Christ. Let nothing satisfy you — but a solid, scriptural, unquestionable proof, of union to Christ. You must know that you are without Christ — before you will seek a saving interest in Christ. You must seek an interest in Christ — before you can be united to Christ. And you must be united to Christ on earth — or you will never be with Christ in Heaven, to behold and share in his glory!