True Riches and Honor
James Smith, 1860
"Bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come!" 1 Timothy 4:8
Riches and honor fascinate worldly men — they will therefore risk anything and everything in the pursuit of them. Tell a poor man how he may get a fortune, or a rich man how he may rise to honor — and they are all attention, and are prepared to do your bidding. To meet this disposition in man, Wisdom presents itself as the source of riches and honor, saying, "Riches and honor are with me; yes, enduring wealth and righteousness." Proverbs 8:18
Wisdom represents Christ, who says, "I love those who love me; and those that seek me early shall find me." To find Christ is real religion. To possess Christ, is to possess unsearchable riches. Let us look at,
THE WEALTH OF GODLINESS. "Riches are with me." That is, all things necessary for life and godliness. The godly man is a wealthy man, for godliness with contentment is a good fortune. A little of earth, with God's blessing, will go a long way. But the riches of godliness, are principally riches of grace — answering to that in nature, which procures food, clothing, medicine, residence, pleasure, and knowledge.
A godly man has bread to eat, which the world knows not of — even the bread of life, which came down from Heaven.
He is clothed with the best robe, even the Savior's righteousness; and wears the garments of salvation every day.
For his use, are the leaves of the tree of life, which heal the soul, and the famous balm of Gilead, which restores spiritual health, and preserves it.
To him, the Lord is a strong refuge, to which he may continually resort.
Of the divine rivers of pleasure he may drink. He has an unction from the Holy One, and knows all things necessary for him to know.
The riches of grace, prepare for the riches of glory . . .
a glorious mansion,
a crown of righteousness, and
an unfading and incorruptible inheritance.
These are desirable riches, they cannot be lost, or squandered — but they endure forever. Jesus has them. Jesus gives them. We need them. Let us then apply to Jesus for them, that we may be rich indeed!
THE DIGNITY OF GODLINESS. "Honor is with me." Not the honor of the world, which is like a fading flower — but "the honor which comes from God alone." As in an earthly kingdom, the sovereign is the source of all earthly honor; so Jesus, the King of Zion, is the source and giver of all spiritual honor. All his people are raised to dignity . . .
by being espoused to Jesus, as his bride and companion,
by being adopted into God's family through Jesus,
by being acknowledged by Jesus as his brethren,
by being joint heirs with Jesus,
by becoming the friends of God,
by walking with him in intimate communion,
by being constituted kings and priests unto God!
What honor can exceed this, to be . . .
the bride of the only begotten Son of God,
the children of the Most High God,
the brethren of the Lord of life and glory,
the joint heirs with him, who is heir of all things,
the friends of God, and
made kings and priests unto him.
O the dignity conferred on every believer in Jesus — the poorest, the weakest, the most despised of them!
Godliness is true WEALTH. It puts a man in possession of all he will need in life and in death — and all that he can enjoy throughout eternity! The godly man is always rich, though he may appear to be poor. He may not be allowed much at present, because he may not know how to employ it and improve it — but there is much laid up for him in Heaven! All the fullness of Christ is his, and out of that fullness he may receive and grace upon grace.
Godliness is true HONOR. A godly man is always honorable. He may be despised now — but he will be applauded by and by. His sun may be obscured by some cloud at present — but it will soon burst forth in splendor and glory. The world knows him not — but then it knew not Jesus. He is like Jesus in his humiliation now — but he will be like Jesus in his glorification before long.
The godly have not only riches — but righteousness. They have a righteousness imputed to them, which was wrought by Jesus for them, which . . .
secures them from all penal evil,
secures them from condemnation,
and entitles them to everlasting life!
They have a righteousness wrought within them, imperfect at present — but which will be perfected, preparing and qualifying them for the enjoyment of everlasting glory. They are . . .
right in state,
right in heart,
right in aim, and
partially right in conduct.
Once in Heaven, they will be right in the highest, fullest, and most glorious sense, and will be internally and externally right forever and ever. All this is the effect of seeking Jesus, finding Jesus, and becoming united to Jesus. All who are in Christ, are thus blessed.
Reader, if you have not come to the Savior, seek him at once, and for your encouragement hear him say, "Riches and honor are with me, yes, durable riches and righteousness."