The Savior's Will
James Smith, 1855
"For a will is in force only after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives." Hebrews 9:17
People who have property and riches, in the prospect of death, have long been in the habit of making a will, and bequeathing their riches, according to their pleasure, among their relations and friends. The will of the dead is considered sacred, and the executors are expected to perform their duty with fidelity and care.
The Lord Jesus Christ being in possession of unsearchable riches, and intending to bestow them upon a variety of classes of character; before he left this world to go unto the Father — made a will, and has left behind him a will containing legacies of incalculable value! These legacies are payable upon application at the proper court, to each and every person entitled to them. The characters entitled are described, and the blessings to which they are entitled are stated with great clearness and perspicuity. The will is now put into our hands that we may . . .
make out our claim,
apply for the blessings, and
enjoy the blessings-to the praise of him who has blessed us in his will.
1.The first class of beneficiaries, are those who have been guilty of crimes against the law, government, and majesty of God — who deserve to die, who are under sentence of death, and exposed to eternal wrath! All such characters discovering this to be their true condition, feeling alarm at their danger, and being willing frankly to confess their crimes — are promised a free, full, and everlasting PARDON!
Jesus purchased a right to pardon, and in his will expresses his determination to give the pardons which he procured — to the vilest of the vile! If any man reflecting upon his conduct, surveying his thoughts, and examining his heart — finds that he has been a traitor from the beginning, and that even now his heart is the dwelling place of every abomination — yet even to such, a free pardon is promised upon confession! Through the infinite grace of the testator unto all such, is proclaimed "forgiveness of sins, and by Him, all who believe are justified from all things!" He says, "I will pardon all their iniquities whereby they have sinned against me! He who confesses and forsakes his sin — shall find mercy!"
He is Faithful and Just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness! He has willed the pardon, and it shall be enjoyed upon application — not on account of anything felt, feared, or done by the applicant — but solely out of his great love, rich mercy, and sovereign favor!
Are you then, my reader — a poor, sinful, wretched, condemned sinner? Are you filled with fears of Hell, and trembling at the wrath of God? Are you desirous of escaping the curse, and enjoying the favor of Jehovah? Are you willing, heartily to confess your guilt, and his justice in your condemnation? If so, then you are one of the people named in the will of Jesus, there is a certain pardon for you!
But do not give way to fear or doubt, nothing can be plainer than that you are warranted to expect to be forgiven all trespasses for Jesus' sake! The Father honors the will of Jesus — when he pardons such as you; and the Spirit glorifies the Savior when he delivers that pardon to the praying soul!
2.Another class of beneficiaries, are those who are stripped of self, and find themselves wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. To them — Jesus wills the gift of his perfect RIGHTEOUSNESS! He labored to fulfill the precept of the law, and died to pay its penalty; that he might produce a righteousness which would justify God in justifying an ungodly sinner. This righteousness is infinitely glorious, and answers all the claims of law and justice! It honors the divine government, and exalts the possessor to glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life! It is all that the law can demand, and just what a sinner needs.
This righteousness was Jesus' own working, and was therefore his own personal property — and he wills to every ungodly sinner who believes on his name. His Father is well-pleased with it, and has agreed that it shall be imputed to all, and be worn by all who have believe, without any difference.
This garment which is ever new, always available, and the perfection of beauty — is freely bestowed upon all who renounce their own good works — and are willing to venture entirely, and without reserve, upon Jesus' word and work, for life and salvation. But it is only willed to the naked, the poor, and the destitute; and it is willed to all such. If you therefore feel that you are destitute of a righteousness; discover the absolute necessity of one for justification before God; and hunger and thirst for this blessing, as the hungry man for food — then for you it is intended, and to you it will certainly be given! You shall receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, that you may reign in life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Only believe — and this legacy is yours!
3.If any are troubled in mind on account of sin, or distressed with the perplexing circumstances of this earthly life, and make application in his name at the throne of grace — unto them Jesus has left the legacy of PEACE. "Peace I leave with you — My peace I give unto you." Tranquility of mind, flows from . . .
He invites us to commit all unto him by faith, in prayer — and to leave all with him — as with a wise, kind, and faithful friend. And so acting, he assures us that peace passing all understanding shall keep our hearts and minds. He does not wish that any who believe in him — should be anxious, distrustful, or troubled with cares. He therefore provided for all their needs beforehand — and appointed every day's portion according to the day; and requires them to live and walk by faith; believing that he can and will supply all of their needs.
He bids them not to worry about food, clothing, or life; nor to look forward to tomorrow with alarm, or fear; but to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, with the assurance that every necessary good shall be added unto them. To set their hearts at rest — He has willed them a sufficiency for every day and all their days! This enables them to rejoice in God, and in all things to aim primarily at his glory.
Is his word true? Then it ought to be trusted!
Is he faithful? Then we ought not to doubt!
Was he ever proved false? Why then should we fear?
He will keep in perfect peace — all whose minds are stayed on him, because they trust in him.
Jesus is over all, possesses all, rules all, and directs all! And he bids us to cast all of our cares for body and soul, for time and eternity — on him; assuring us that he will care for us. He gave his life for us — and he will not withhold one good thing from us! He will give us his peace — and we receive the legacy and enjoy it, to the praise of his grace.
4.To those who feel weak, timid, and fearful; those who have . . .
— he has left this valuable legacy, "My GRACE is
sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness." His
grace, his strength — are to be employed for us, and to be used by us. The
same grace which made Paul what he was, and by which all the martyrs
triumphed — is left as a legacy to us! The legacy is payable Now, and the
proclamation from the high court of Heaven runs thus, "Come boldly to the
throne of grace — that you may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time
of need!" His grace enables you . . .
to conquer foes — sin, Satan, world and self;
to overcome difficulties — however numerous or peculiar;
to resist temptations — however powerful, well-timed, or deceitful;
to endure trials — with fortitude, courage and patience; and
to pass through troubles — without fear or distrust.
All things are possible to grace — and grace is willed to us! By grace, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. We can do nothing good, or acceptable to God — without grace! But we can do all things — through Christ strengthening us! Our strength lies in absolute dependence on the word, presence, power, and faithfulness of God! Our weakness and falls are from that spirit of independence which at first led man from God, and constantly prompts us to endeavor to do without him.
If we abide in Jesus, if we venture, trusting only to the power of a present God — we cannot fail! But though as strong as Samson, if we venture at anything alone — we shall fall as foully as Samson did. It is not by human might, that the Christian runs the race set before him — but it is by the Spirit of the Lord Almighty!
Grace is willed to us by Jesus, and Jehovah will give grace and glory; and no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly. He has willed to all of his family, "All things which pertain to life and godliness."
No man is required to live godly at his own expense; everything necessary is prepared, promised, and bestowed by Jesus. A godly life is a life of self-denial, and dedication to the Lord; his person is to be daily offered up as a sacrifice to God. His private interests are merged in the interests of his beloved Lord. It is for him to exhibit to the world — the Spirit and graces of his Savior, and thus live to his glory, who died for his sin. All spiritual blessings, and every temporal mercy which is necessary — is bequeathed to him! Seeking the Lord, he shall not lack any good thing. His Heavenly Father knew what he would need — and provided for him accordingly; and Jesus has assured him that applying to the Father in his name — he will bestow needed grace upon him.
We apply for what Jesus purchased, and receive by grace, all that God has promised. Our present portion of temporals may be scanty — but it is sufficient; and better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great revenues without it. The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.
Our Savior in his wisdom has apportioned to his people enough, enough for their real welfare — though perhaps not enough to gratify their pride, or please their carnal imagination. He teaches us both how to abound and how to suffer need. He either sanctifies our poverty — or gives us more. He gives more grace, he gives liberally and upbraids not.
We are traveling to the place which the Lord our God has promised us, and we only need our traveling expenses; and these we shall assuredly receive! And if our fare is coarse, our bed hard, our habitation uncomfortable, and our society unpleasant — it can be so but for a little while, for soon the command will come, "Arise and depart — for this is not your rest — for it is polluted!"
5.Finally, our Lord has willed us an INHERITANCE, which is incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading! It is laid up in Heaven for us. It is a house not made with hands, in a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. It is an eternal weight of glory. To introduce us to our inheritance — he will come himself! And to satisfy us with it — he will abide with us forever!
One branch of his will runs thus, "Father, I will that those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world."
In this inheritance, all will be purity, peace, activity, and glory! Jesus will be forever honored, and we shall be forever delighted and satisfied! Our sun will no more go down, neither will our moon withdraw itself — for the Lord shall be our everlasting light, and the days of our mourning shall be ended. The people shall be all righteous, and they shall inherit the land forever, that Jehovah may be glorified!
To this we are fast hastening, every moment brings us
nearer! So shall we allow ourselves to be much affected, by any of the
trials along the way? Shall we be much cast down, on account of the
difficulties of the road? Rather, let us lift up our heads rejoicing —
for our redemption draws near. We have willed to us an immeasurable and
eternal inheritance — and we are on the road to take possession of it! Let
us then be sober and vigilant, that we may be found of our Lord in peace,
without spot and blameless. Let us . . .
submit to his wisdom;
walk by his directions;
depend on his veracity; and
imitate those who through faith and patience, now inherit the promises.
In a very little while — Jesus will come back for us!
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is!" 1 John 3:1-2.