James Smith, 1860
Paul never seems to be so much in his element, as when he is exalting the Lord Jesus Christ. He seems, as if he felt, that he could never speak highly enough of him, or ascribe too much to him. He does indeed set him on high, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world — but also in that which is to come. He speaks of him as God, and as the image of God; as the author and end of creation; but he delights to dwell on his character as the Savior — the Redeemer, the great Peacemaker. He never tells man to make peace with God — but speaks of it as made by the Lord Jesus Christ. I want for a few moments, to refresh my soul, by thinking over those precious words, "Having made peace through the blood of his cross." Colossians 1:20.
What a Glorious Work.He has made peace. This supposes disagreement. Man has fallen out with God. He has turned his back on God. He is become the enemy of God. He will not agree with his law — but refuses to yield to its requirements. He will not agree with his gospel — but rejects its provisions. He has a thorough dislike to God, and everything Godlike. He carries his enmity to God, into everything, and shows it in every possible way. And yet, wonderful to tell, God in his own infinite mind, of his own mere grace — formed the purpose, of reconciling his enemies to himself. All the engagements were made in the covenant of grace — and in the fullness of time, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, in order to make peace.
The Son of God came, and became the Son of man; he entered upon his work of deep humiliation, nor did he rest until it was accomplished. He laid a firm, and honorable foundation, for an everlasting friendship between God and man. He did all that God as the Creator, Lawgiver, and Governor, of the world — could require. He did all that could be demanded of man, in order that God may receive him in mercy, and reconcile him to himself. He procured all that was necessary for the accomplishing of the glorious purpose — the righteousness necessary to justify our souls, and the Spirit needed to sanctify our persons. He confers all that he procured, in order that we may have peace with God, and walk with him in love. Not only so, he maintains the friendship when it is once begun, so that the Apostle argues, "If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son — much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
What Wondrous Means He Employs to Make Our Peace.The blood of his cross. The blood of his person; blood that was human — but the blood of one, who while he was human, was also divine. Blood, the virtue of which passes knowledge, so that we cannot fully represent it, we cannot adequately conceive of it! Blood, the value of which is infinite! For while one soul exceeds the value of a world, this blood was sufficient to purchase souls, more numerous than the stars of Heaven, the sands on the sea shore, or the drops of the morning dew! Blood, the glory of which dazzles angelic minds, lights up all Heaven, and throws a bright and beautiful halo around the eternal throne! Precious blood of Jesus, which first stained the soil of Gethsemane — but which flowed out in a full stream on gloomy Calvary! How should we think of this blood, daily, hourly! How should we rest on this blood, without doubt or fear! How should we plead this blood, with confidence and courage! How should we point Satan to it, when he comes with his temptations; and with it answer all his objections — to our present comfort, or final salvation! How should we bathe the conscience with it, when wounded with guilt, or pierced with the arrows, shot from the bow of a broken law! How should we fix the eye, and rest the heart upon it, when we come into the last conflict! O may I fix my eye on the blood of the cross, when death fixes its eye on me! O to trust the blood, and the blood alone in life, in death, and forever more!
Sinners may enjoy peace with God. Jesus died in order
that they may. Any sinner may be reconciled to God, and come into a
state of friendship with God. God asks us to do so, yes begs us to do
so — and promises that he will not impute our trespasses unto us. All
that is necessary to our reconciliation — Jesus has done, Jesus has
suffered; and looking to him, and resting on what he has done — we may be on
terms of peace with a righteous and holy God, at any moment. But peace
can only be obtained at the cross. There the ransom price
was paid. There the demands of Justice were fully met. There mercy
and peace met together, righteousness and truth
embraced each other. There God can be just — and yet justify
the sinner. There God can maintain his authority — and yet receive as his
bosom friend, his bitterest foe. Cross of Jesus! You are . . .
the foundation of my hope,
the ground of my confidence,
the source of my comfort,
and my daily boast.
God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ; and in that, may I glory more and more; in that, may I glory, both in life and in death!
To maintain peace, we must keep our eye fixed on the blood of the cross.
Nothing will calm a troubled conscience,
nothing will silence an accusing devil,
nothing will allay the fears of the heart,
nothing will smooth the dying pillow
— but the blood of the cross.
May I therefore . . .
daily apply to the blood,
daily recommend the blood,
daily plead the blood,
daily rejoice in the blood.
Precious, precious blood of Jesus, which . . .
cleanses us from all sin,
fills us with holy peace, and
maintains our friendship with a righteous God!