Great Texts of the Bible
The Saving Name
And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved.—Acts 4:12.
These words were uttered by St. Peter, as representing the young Church of Christ, when, for the first time after her foundation, she stood fairly face to face with the hostile power of the world. On the Day of Pentecost she had encountered some playful or scornful mockery, which was silenced when St. Peter came forward and explained the true cause of the occurrences which excited it. But when the cripple was healed on the Mount of the Temple, the Jewish world roused itself in earnest. The miracle was performed in the most public place in Jerusalem; and immediately afterwards St. Peter had addressed a large multitude which gathered round him. He pointed out that Jesus, by the might of His Name, was the real worker of the miracle; that His exaltation and power were in accordance with prophecy; that it was a fact of the utmost moment to every one of his hearers. Hereupon three classes of persons became alarmed. The priests saw in the Apostles of Christ dangerous rivals to their own office and authority. The Sadducees—the unbelieving section of the literary class—were angered at the public discussion of a miracle, which, if true, condemned their own denial of a resurrection, and which they would gladly have buried beneath a contemptuous silence. The Captain of the Temple, as the guardian of public order—a sort of chief commissioner of police—was apprehensive that the excitement might lead to disturbances. These several personages and classes might well have taken the miracle to heart; they might at least have asked the question why it had so impressive a significance for an increasing section of the people. But questions of this kind are not often considered in moments of passion. The prejudices of the past, combined with fears and resentment, carried the day; and they cast the Apostles into prison.
This done, it became necessary that the Apostles should be examined in court—the Court of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was solemnly convoked; it had, according to the law of Deuteronomy, to decide the point whether the Apostles were to be regarded as true prophets or as seducers to idolatry. The Court knew that the cripple had been healed by the Apostles—not in the Name of Jehovah, but in the Name of Jesus. And this seemed to establish the charge of idolatry; since nothing could be plainer to the Jewish mind than the distinction between Jesus the Crucified Prophet and the Almighty Jehovah. The first question, therefore, which the Court asked the Apostles was, By what power or by what name have ye done this? The Court, you will observe, does not enter upon the general question of the Apostles’ teaching; it asks only who had been invoked to work the miracle. And St. Peter, standing before men who had his life in their hands, speaks directly to the point: “Ye rulers of the people and elders of Israel, if we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.” And then he adds, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”
The text contains two important topics—
The Saving Name.
What a great word that word “salvation” is! It includes the cleansing of our conscience from all past guilt, the delivery of our soul from all those propensities to evil which now so strongly predominate in us; it brings in, in fact, the undoing of all that Adam did. Salvation is the total restoration of man from his fallen estate; and yet it is something more than that, for God’s salvation fixes our standing more securely than it was before we fell. It finds us broken in pieces by the sin of our first parents, defiled, stained, accursed: it first heals our wounds, it removes our diseases, it takes away our curse, it puts our feet upon the rock Christ Jesus, and having thus done, at last it lifts our heads far above all principalities and powers, to be crowned for ever with Jesus Christ, the King of Heaven. Some people, when they use the word “salvation,” understand nothing more by it than deliverance from hell and admittance into heaven. Now, that is not salvation: those two things are the effects of salvation. We are redeemed from hell because we are saved, and we enter heaven because we have been saved beforehand. Our everlasting state is the effect of salvation in this life. Salvation, it is true, includes all that; but still it would be wrong for us to imagine that that is all the meaning of the word. Salvation begins with us as wandering sheep; it follows us through all our many wanderings; it puts us on the shoulders of the shepherd; it carries us into the fold; it calls together the friends and the neighbours; it rejoices over us; it preserves us in that fold through life; and then at last it brings us to the green pastures of heaven, beside the still waters of bliss, where we lie down for ever in the presence of the Chief Shepherd, never more to be disturbed.
Let us group the uses of the word “salvation” under these three classes—(i.) Salvation from physical infirmity; (ii) National Salvation; (iii.) Salvation from Sin.
i. Salvation from Physical Suffering
The healing of the cripple was on the face of it a physical salvation. Bodily pain and discomfort, continued through many years, unless it be transfigured by patience and resignation into a consummate blessing, may crush out its very heart and hope from a human life. And anyhow, pain is a disorder and anomaly in nature. When it is inevitable, we may be sure that God has some high and merciful purpose in inflicting it. When it is not inevitable, our business is, if we can do so, to cure it. Our Lord worked then by the agency of the Apostles what He works now by the generous hearts, and kind hands, and cultivated understandings of those whom He guides, in hospitals and elsewhere, to the relief and cure of bodily pain. His precepts, His charity, His unseen but energetic Spirit, are the source of the best and noblest inspirations of our modern philanthropy, even where the cause is unrecognized or unsuspected. And as the result is, in its degree, a salvation, so the inspiring force is the grace and charity of the Saviour.
Europe was thrilled by the story of the steamer Berlin which fought its way from Harwich across the North Sea to the Hook of Holland in the teeth of a terrible gale. At half-past five in the morning (February 20, 1907) it was dashed on the North Pier and broken up. The fore part of the steamer went under and carried the greater part of the passengers and crew to death. On the following day eleven survivors were rescued. Three women remained behind, exposed to the biting cold and the terrific lash of the breakers. It seemed impossible that they should survive the long and exhausting exposure, and hope of their being saved almost died out. But Captain Sperling, as noble a hero as ever faced the perils of the deep, determined to make an effort on their behalf. We are told he could not sleep for thinking of the awful plight of these women, alone there on the wreck for two days and a night. And so he matured his plans, and when the moment for action arrived dared everything, swam through seething billows to the wreck, and passed the women one by one along the rope to safety. And next day the world rang with the news that the three women were saved by the heroic deed of this noble man. Saved! Yes, it was a real salvation. There was no doubt about the meaning of the word and the significance of the transaction. They were saved from hunger, saved from cold, saved from death by exhaustion or by drowning. We can all appreciate the nature of this salvation—the saving of human lives from the angry sea.1 [Note: A. R. Henderson.]
ii. National Salvation
When St. Peter talked of “the salvation” in the Court of the Sanhedrin, he would have meant and he would have been understood to mean something much greater in itself, and much wider in its range of application, than any bodily cure; something of which a bodily cure was a mere figure and presentment.
1. Salvation was already a consecrated word in the language of Israel. It had been so for centuries. It meant very generally the deliverance of Israel from outward and inward enemies; it meant the deliverance of Israel as a whole; it meant especially a national salvation. That was the point of St. Peter’s reference to Psalms 118., which was composed for the first observance of the Feast of Tabernacles in the newly rebuilt Temple, after the return from the Babylonish captivity. St. Peter quotes the famous lines in which Israel, lately restored to the land of her ancestors, is spoken of as a “stone which the builders rejected, and which had been made the head of the corner.” The new Temple would have naturally suggested the figure. Israel, rejected and downtrodden by the proud nations who aspired to build up the future of the Eastern world, had been lifted by God into a place of honour: Israel was to be in some way the corner-stone of that temple of souls which God would build for the future of humanity.
2. The deeper Jewish commentators saw that the words must really apply, not to Israel as a whole, since the nation had morally fallen too low for such high distinction, but to the expected Messiah, its ripe product and its splendid Representative. And accordingly our Lord Jesus Christ, just after His public entry into Jerusalem, when the people had saluted Him in other words of this Psalm, applied to Himself what was said about the corner-stone; He was Himself the corner-stone; and Israel, in rejecting Him, was repeating the crime of the Gentiles in rejecting Israel.
3. When, therefore, St. Peter, standing before the Court of the Sanhedrin, said that Jesus was “the stone set at nought by you builders,” he was following His blessed Master’s guidance. It had been Christ’s own way of saying as vividly as He could to His countrymen, that although rejected and crucified, He was the true Hope and Deliverer of Israel. And thus the salvation of which St. Peter speaks was the salvation which Messiah was to bring. It was the salvation to which Israel was looking forward. It was the salvation of which the healing of the cripple had been a figure. Israel was the real cripple after all, and her rulers knew it.
4. To the nation, then, St. Peter preaches that the present is a time of repentance, during which God gives to Israel opportunity to return to Him, and the Apostle consequently renews the call to repentance given by Jesus Himself, promising to those who repent and are baptized the advent of the great Messianic salvation. But the repentance required is no longer only the general repentance taught by Jesus. It is the specific wickedness of the Jewish nation, misguided by their rulers, in crucifying Jesus, that requires to be repented of; and the positive side of this repentance is faith in Jesus as the Messiah. He is proclaimed as the only Saviour in the approaching day when those who reject Him will be cut off.
iii. Salvation from Sin
There is one theological word which has found its way lately into nearly all the newer and finer literature of our country. It is not only one of the words of the literary world at present, it is perhaps the word. For it represents something, the reality of which, its certain influence, its universality, have at last been recognized; and in spite of its being a theological word it has been forced into a place which nothing but its felt relation to the wider theology of human life could ever have earned for a religious word. That word, it need scarcely be said, is Sin. Even in the lighter literature of our country, and this is altogether remarkable, the ruling word just now is Sin. Years ago it was the gay term Chivalry which held the foreground in poem and ballad and song. Later still, the word which held court, in novel and romance, was Love. But now a deeper word heads the chapters and begins the cantos. A more exciting thing than chivalry is descried in the arena, and love itself fades in interest before this small word, which has wandered out of theology, and changed the face of literature, and made many a new book preach.
Professor Henry Drummond says that there are three deadly facts about sin—its guilt, its stain, and its power; and there are three facts of salvation—forgiveness, healing, redemption. These facts are stated in Psalm 103:3-4 : “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction.”
1. The first deadly fact of sin is its guilt—that is, the blameworthiness that follows the doing of it. When we say that the sinner is guilty, we mean that he is to blame for his sin. The responsibility for it abides on him. The wickedness of it is his. And this guilt, this blameworthiness, is all the more terrible from the fact that we are responsible to God. This is the most tragic thing about sin. It is not merely a violation of our own nature or a breaking of an abstract law. Sin is against something—it is a pushing of the will against something. Yes, against some one. “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,” cries the Psalmist, and all who have read deepest into the human heart agree with him. Sin is against God. It is a violation, a setting aside of the will of the living God, that will in which alone we can have eternal life. God is absolutely holy and good. And sin is an offence against Him, a disobedience to Him, a separation from Him, a breaking up of the harmony that ought to be between man and God.
Now the question which we must ask in order to meet this first fact of sin is, Where can I get pardon? This is a question asked by conscience, and the questions which conscience sends up to us are always the deepest questions. The man who has never sent up the question, “Where can I get pardon?” has never been into his conscience to find out the deepest want he has. It is not enough for him to look lifeward; he must also look Godward. And it is not enough to discover the stain of his past, and cry out, “I have sinned.” He must see the guilt of his life and cry, “I have sinned against God.” Now the punishment of sin is death. “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Therefore death is the punishment which must be in one of the facts of salvation. It will not meet the case if the sinner professes his penitence and promises humbly never to do the like again. Death, and nothing less than death, must be in the fact of salvation from the guilt of sin, if such salvation is to be. This fact, this most solemn necessity, understood and felt, the rest is plain. We all know who deserved to die. We all know who did die. We know we were not wounded for our transgressions, we were not bruised for our iniquities. But we know who was. The Lord hath not dealt with us according to our iniquities; but we know with whom He has. We know who bare our sins in His own body on the tree—One who had no sins of His own. We know who was lifted up like the serpent in the wilderness—He who died, the just for the unjust. If we know this, we know the great fact of Salvation, for it is here.
2. The second fact about sin is its stain. The soul is defiled by it. All sin is a defilement. Your most respectable sin leaves a mark on the soul. The soul is tainted by it as a glass of pure water is tainted by a drop of ink. The virgin beauty of the soul is lost. And sometimes the stain becomes so foul that we are shocked by the uncleanness of the sinner’s speech and taste and actions. And the stain of sin, like the spot of blood on Lady Macbeth’s hand, is something that we cannot wash out.
What must I do to be saved from the stain of sin? Gather up your influence, and see how much has been for Christ. Then undo all that has been against Him. It will never be healed till then. This is the darkest stain upon your life. The stain of sin concerns your own soul, but that is a smaller matter. That can be undone—in part. There are open sores enough in our past life to make even heaven terrible. But God is healing them. He is blotting them from His own memory and from ours. If the stains that were there had lingered, life would have been a long sigh of agony. But salvation has come to us. God is now helping us to use the means for repairing a broken life. He restoreth thy soul, He healeth all thy diseases. But thy brother’s soul, and thy brother’s diseases? The worst of our stains have spread far and wide beyond ourselves; and God will only heal them, perhaps, by giving us grace to deal with them. We must retrace our steps over that unburied past, and undo what we have done.
A young man once lay upon his death-bed. He was a Christian, but for many days a black cloud had gathered upon his brow. Just before his last breath, he beckoned to the friends around his bed. “Take my influence,” he said, “and bury it with me.”1 [Note: Henry Drummond.]
The lost days of my life until to-day,
What were they, could I see them on the street
Lie as they fell? Would they be ears of wheat
Sown once for food but trodden into clay?
Or golden coins squander’d and still to pay?
Or drops of blood dabbling the guilty feet?
Or such spilt water as in dreams must cheat
The undying throats of Hell, athirst alway?
I do not see them here; but after death
God knows I know the faces I shall see,
Each one a murder’d self, with low last breath.
“I am thyself,—what hast thou done to me?”
“And I—and I—thyself” (lo! each one saith),
“And thou thyself to all eternity!”1 [Note: D. G. Rossetti.]
3. The third deadly fact about sin is its power. The sinner soon finds that he is in bondage to a habit. Sin has an enslaving power. The tragedies that have arisen from this deadly fact of sin! The tyranny of evil that began with a single sinful act! All human experience testifies to the fact that one sin makes another sin easier. Each sin weaves another thread in the rope that binds us, the liberty is lost, and sin’s tyranny is complete, and the sinner seems to have ceased to be master in his house of life.
The third fact of salvation which is to be brought to bear upon this third great fact of sin is not our own efforts, our own religiousness, our own doctrine, the Atonement, or the death of Christ, but the power of the life of Christ. “He redeemeth my life from destruction.” How? By His life. This is the fact of salvation. It takes life to redeem life—power to resist power. Sin is a ceaseless, undying power in our life. A ceaseless, undying power must come against it. And there is only one such power in the universe—only one, which has a chance against Sin: the power of the living Christ. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” “Power to become the sons of God”—the great fact of salvation. Receive the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.
The Saving Name
The words of St. Peter are emphatic. The clause blends together two statements: (1) There is no other name in which men can be saved, and (2) This is the name given in which men must be saved.
1. Had St. Peter lived among us now, would he have put the matter in this way? Would he not have avoided any appearance of comparison or rivalry between the Gospel and other religious systems? Would he not have said: “It is enough for me to proclaim that there is salvation in Christ; I do not know, I am not concerned to determine whether other prophets, other doctrines, other agencies can save. I do not wish to claim for Him any monopoly of saving power; I have no inclination to dispute the pretensions of Jewish rites or of Greek philosophies. No doubt there is much to be said for every religion in the world, and the professors of a religion have only to be sure that they are consistent; that they are careful to fashion their lives according to its law and the light of nature. It is enough for me to say that the religion of Christ will save you if you choose: I am not so illiberal as to maintain that you cannot be sure of salvation without it”? Why did not St. Peter say this? Why did he state the very converse of it—“Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”? It was because he had in his heart and on his lips, not a human speculation or theory, but, as he held, the Truth—the One, Final, Absolute Truth. The proof of that to his mind, the overwhelming proof, was the life and teaching of his Master, crowned, attested, by the miracle—the recent, the certain, the unassailable miracle—of the Resurrection.
We are able without confusion to associate faith in the “All-Father” with much of the picturesque and poetic beliefs of the ancient world. They, too, through the flimsy veil of grotesque mythology, looked into the heavens, and believed God to reign there, with power over human destiny, the Arbiter of fate and the Rewarder of the righteous. They, too, felt beneath the outspread beauty of the earth a living presence of God. “God is in everything you see, the world is only the shrine of His presence and the veil of His glory.” So with many of the great systems of nature-worship with which we are brought into contact to-day in the march of our civilization: beneath them there is the sense of an overshadowing majesty which can be used and elevated and stripped of its superstitious adjuncts and purged from its materialism. But “I believe in Jesus Christ, God of God, Light of light, very God of very God, … being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things are made,” is at once to bring in a different element altogether. This sad, attenuated figure, with arms outstretched upon the Cross, seems at once to drive away the nymphs from the fountains, the dryads from the groves, and to pass like a cloud across the sun, “a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” crowned with thorns, not with roses; outcast, despised, rejected, crucified; at one time enwrapped in the miraculous, at another apparently overwhelmed with humanity and its capacities for suffering. At once we introduce with this Divine figure a history which is challenged at every step, a history which cannot be dissolved into poetry, or relegated into a mythology dear to the souls of those who think they can believe and disbelieve at the same time.1 [Note: W. C. E. Newbolt.]
2. If we believe in Christ only as our Teacher, although we spoke of Him as the greatest of all Teachers the world has ever had, we should stop short of the conclusion at which St. Peter arrived. If we believe this, and observe all that this belief in His teaching involves in our life and actions, it is much, but it is not enough. We must believe in Jesus not only as our Teacher and Master, but as our Saviour. May we not think that this is the very ground reason which led St. Peter to put his proposition in this form which has been called narrow and exclusive? “Neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved.” We must be careful, while we call Christ Jesus the Teacher, not to forget that He is also our Saviour. That postulates a great truth which we cannot push aside with the Athanasian Creed. We listen to Him, it may be, as One who has said some very beautiful things and has given us some very useful advice. Jesus Christ is placed, as we may see, in a beautiful building near London, as one of the great teachers of the world, with Socrates and Confucius and Buddha and Muhammad. But it is not what Christ has taught us, but what Christ has done for us, that the Church and our Bible put before us as the object of our belief: “I believe in Jesus Christ our Saviour”—nothing short of this.
The boldness of Peter and John in making this assertion appears no less amazing to us, after these centuries have passed, than it did to the men of their time. We can explain it only by the statement in Acts 4:8, that they were “filled with the Holy Ghost.” To venture on the morrow of a criminal’s execution, in the city where he was executed, and before the persons who had condemned him, not only to vindicate his memory, and to assert his innocence, but to set him forward as the headstone of the corner “the one man under heaven whereby we must be saved,” argues an inspiration from God. If there had been no truth in the bold attribution, it would have been the raving of hallucination, and the world would have heard no more of it. But, as the claim has been in these nineteen centuries substantiated by many and various evidences, we may be sure that a power and knowledge more than human instructed the minds of the Apostles.1 [Note: R. F. Horton.]
Did you ever notice the intolerance of God’s religion? In olden times the heathen, who had different gods, all of them respected the gods of their neighbours. For instance, the king of Egypt would confess that the gods of Nineveh were true and real gods, and the prince of Babylon would acknowledge that the gods of the Philistines were true and real gods; but Jehovah, the God of Israel, put this as one of His first commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”; and He would not allow them to pay the slightest possible respect to the gods of any other nation: “Thou shalt hew them in pieces, thou shalt break down their temples, and cut down their groves.” All other nations were tolerant the one of the other, but the Jew could not be so. One part of his religion was, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one”: and as the consequence of his belief that there was but one God, and that that one God was Jehovah, he felt it his bounden duty to treat all other gods with contempt. Now the Christian religion, you observe, is just as intolerant as this. If you apply to a Brahmin to know the way of salvation, he will very likely tell you at once that all persons who follow out their sincere religious convictions will undoubtedly be saved. “Here,” says he, “are the Muhammadans; if they obey Muhammad, and sincerely believe what he has taught, without doubt, Allah will glorify them at last.” And the Brahmin turns round upon the Christian missionary, and says, “What is the use of your bringing your Christianity here to disturb us? I tell you our religion is quite capable of carrying us to heaven, if we are faithful to it.” Now hear the text: how intolerant is the Christian religion! “Neither is there salvation in any other.” The Brahmin may admit that there is salvation in fifty religions besides his own: but we admit no such thing. There is no true salvation out of Jesus Christ. The gods of the heathen may approach us with their mock charity, and tell us that every man may follow out his own conscientious conviction and be saved. We reply—No such thing: there is no salvation in any other; “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”1 [Note: C. H. Spurgeon.]
Swami Vivekananda, the hero of the Chicago parliament of religions, preaches to his fellow-countrymen the sinlessness of man: “The worst lie that you ever told yourself was that you were a sinner or a wicked man.… It is the greatest of all lies that we are men; we are the god of the universe.” Meanwhile Krishna, the favourite god of India, is the incarnation of abandoned immorality. When some Hindus were remonstrated with for worshipping a being guilty of these shameless vices, they replied, “These are but his sports, you English have your sports, you have the railway and the steamboat and the telegraph, and no one blames you. Why should you blame Krishna for sporting in his way?”2 [Note: R. F. Horton.]
3. Why does St. Peter say, “There is no other name”? Christ Himself suggests to us the reason. When He said in His last prayer, “I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me,” He did not mean that He had made known simply what we call the name of God. Men already knew that. He meant rather that He had revealed the fatherly character of God, the eternal principles which the name of God represents. In modern speech a name is merely a sort of tag or label. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” In the Scriptures a name connotes something characteristic of the thing or person named. Thus Jesus helps us to the clue that leads out of all misunderstanding of the Apostle’s teaching. The name of Christ is the saving name because it stands for the saving thing.
The victory has been enshrined in a Name. All the power of the Nazareth victory, and of the Wilderness victory, all the power of the great climax victory of Calvary, and of the Resurrection morning—all is packed into one word, a Name, the Name of Jesus. There is far more, infinitely more, practical help and power in that Name than we have dreamed of; certainly far more than we have ever used. The Name of Jesus is the most valuable asset of the Christian life.3 [Note: S. D. Gordon, Quiet Talks about the Tempter, 202.]
I remember a young man coming up to me at the close of a service in London. He told me how sorely he had been tempted, how he seemed to make no headway against the struggle in his Christian life, until the suggestion came to him of the practical value of that Name above every name. Instantly he began using it, reverently, prayerfully, eagerly, and relief and victory came. And the look of eye and face revealed how real was the victory and peace that had come to him.1 [Note: S. D. Gordon, Quiet Talks about the Tempter, 203.]
In One Name I have round the all in all.
It is enough, and It will never fail.
Here on the height, or there within the vale,
In this my strength I shall not greatly fall.
If on the dark hills here thy fears appal,
O thou mine Enemy! or there assail
My fainting heart, yet shall they not prevail,
For on the Name thou dreadest I will call.
Oh then rejoice not! for I shall arise,
And heavenly light shall stream across the gloom,
And heavenly music drown the voice of doom,
And a most blissful prospect cheer mine eyes:
All from that Name belovèd and adored,
Thy sweet great Name, O Jesus Christ, my Lord.2 [Note: S. J. Stone, Poems and Hymns, 202.]
4. How shall we prove the truth of Christ’s claim? We shall prove it in our life. As the Cross is the price of salvation, so, too, a cross will mark the life of the Christian. The words of Jesus are: “Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Salvation from sin means power over sin, and this salvation Christ gives in His name. But the distinguishing marks of Christianity are sacrifice and struggle. A Christian will be known from a non-Christian as one who, having taken a right view of life, knows that it means a long struggle and perpetual sacrifice. Do not make the mistake of thinking that Christianity means the pale face and the lacerated body and the constant thwarting of desires. If you cannot escape into life without these sacrifices, it does so mean, but not otherwise. It means death to the lower that we may live in the higher. It means a sacrifice of much which the world values, because the Church has found something higher. It means that the soul loves to be with God better than eating the forbidden fruit. It means that the soul would rather be an outcast with Christ than be popular without Him. A Christian is one who is able to say with all his heart: “Thou art worthy … for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.”
Christ’s Heart was wrung for me, if mine is sore;
And if my feet are weary, His have bled;
He had no place wherein to lay His Head;
If I am burdened, He was burdened more.
The cup I drink He drank of long before;
He felt the unuttered anguish which I dread;
He hungered who the hungry thousands fed,
And thirsted who the world’s refreshment bore.
If grief be such a looking-glass as shows
Christ’s Face and man’s in some sort made alike,
Then grief is pleasure with a subtle taste:
Wherefore should any fret or faint or haste?
Grief is not grievous to a soul that knows
Christ comes,—and listens for that hour to strike.1 [Note: Christina G. Rossetti.]
5. And so the final thought is that this life of sacrifice is maintained by looking unto Jesus. “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Php 2:5). It is “the mind that was in Christ Jesus,” when “for us men and for our salvation He came down from heaven, and was made Man, and suffered for us.” Here was at once model and motive for the Philippian saints; for Euodia, and Syntyche, and every individual and every group. Nothing short of the “mind” of the Head must be the “mind” of the member; and then the glory of the Head (so it is implied) shall be shed hereafter upon the member too: “I will grant to him to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
Oh, reason of reasons, argument of arguments—the Lord Jesus Christ! Nothing in Christianity lies really outside Him. His Person and His Work embody all its dogmatic teaching. His Example, “His Love which passeth knowledge,” is the sum and life of all its morality. Well has it been said that the whole Gospel message is conveyed to us sinners in those three words, “Looking unto Jesus.” Is it pardon we need, is it acceptance, free as the love of God, holy as His law? We find it, we possess it, “looking unto Jesus” crucified. Is it power we need, victory and triumph over sin, capacity and willingness to witness and to suffer in a world which loves Him not at all? We find it, we possess it, it possesses us, as we “look unto Jesus” risen and reigning, for us on the Throne, with us in the soul. Is it rule and model that we want, not written on the stones of Horeb only, but “on the fleshy tables of the heart”? We find it, we receive it, we yield ourselves up to it, as we “look unto Jesus” in His path of love, from the Throne to the Cross, from the Cross to the Throne, till the Spirit inscribes that law upon our inmost wills.1 [Note: H. C. G. Moule, Philippian Studies, 102.]
O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me,
And all things else recede;
My heart be daily nearer Thee,
From sin be daily freed.
More of Thy glory let me see,
Thou Holy, Wise, and True;
I would Thy living image be
In joy and sorrow too.2 [Note: From the German of J. C. Lavater.]
The Saving Name
Bamford (J. M.), The Burning Heart, 115.
Book (W. H.), Columbus Tabernacle Sermons, 200.
Franks (R. S.), Man, Sin, and Salvation, 78.
Henderson (A. R.), God and Man in the Light of To-day, 157.
Herford (B.), Anchors of the Soul, 210.
Horton (R. F.), The Trinity, 191.
Jeffrey (R. T.), The Salvation of the Gospel, 104, 125.
Liddon (H. P.), Sermons on Special Occasions, 267.
Martin (S.), Rain upon the Mown Grass, 225.
Newbolt (W. C. E.), The Gospel Message, 136.
Spurgeon (C. H.), New Park Street Pulpit, iv. No. 209.
Williams (T. L.), Thy Kingdom Come, 67.
Christian World Pulpit, xlii. 162 (Whiton); lxx. 184 (Meyer); lxxvii. 392 (Guttery).