the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
"To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; to guide our feet into the way of peace."Luke 1:79 What was it that moved the divine Father to send his own Son into the world? Was it not the free mercy of God flowing forth from his bosom to his family? Then, what merit, what claim can his family ever have? Their misery is their claim. Their worthlessness, their sunken state, the depth of their fall -- these things call forth God’s compassion. It is not what I have done for the glory of God; not what I am doing, or trying to do; not my wisdom, my strength, my resolutions, my piety, my holiness. No! my misery, my helplessness, my worthlessness, my deeply sunken state, my fallen condition; which I feel only because of a saving interest in the blood and love of the Lamb -- this it is that makes me need God’s mercy; and this it is that qualifies me to go to God through Jesus to receive mercy -- for"he is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by him." Are you sitting in darkness and the shadow of death -- far from the way of peace, troubled, perplexed, exercised, confused? You are the very characters for whom Jesus came. Are not unutterable mercies locked up in the bosom of God for you? What is to exclude you? Your sins? No! God has pardoned them. Your worthlessness? No! there is a robe of righteousness prepared for you. Your demerits? No! the merits of Jesus are upon your side. Your unholiness? No!"He is made to you sanctification."Your ignorance? No!"He is made to you wisdom."These are no barriers. I will tell you what is a barrier -- self-righteousness, self-esteem, self-exaltation, pride, hypocrisy, presumption; a name to live, a form of godliness, being settled upon your lees, and at ease in Zion -- these are barriers. But helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, misery -- these are not barriers; they are qualifications; they show, when felt, that your name is in the book of life, that the Lord of life and glory appeared in this world for you; and sooner or later, you will have the sweet enjoyment of it in your heart; and then be enabled to adore him for his grace, and admire and bless his name for glorifying his love and mercy in your free and full salvation.