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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 63 - 1 Corinthians 1:8 - Eternal Blamelessness Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius


There are several words used to declare what a Christian man should be. He is to be "blameless" (1 Thessalonians 3:13), "unrebukeable" (Philippians 2:r5), "without spot" (1 Peter 1:19), "faultless" (Jude 24), "undefiled" (Song of Solomon 5:2). All these words are to be more or less realized in every Christian,—in measure here, in all fullness hereafter.

They are chiefly negative; in the Greek, remarkably so; describing a Christian not so much by what he is, as by what he is not. But this is striking and full of meaning; inasmuch as it reminds him of the sin out of which he was taken, and from which he is called to be separate. It reminds him of that evil world from which he has been delivered, and from which he is to keep himself unspotted. He was a sinner once, nothing but a sinner. From sin, wrath, pollution, ungodliness he is taken, and from them must keep aloof.

These characteristics may be divided into three kinds judicial, priestly, personal.

I. Judicial. The word used in our text is the judicial one. It means one that cannot be challenged, or accused, or impeached in law. It is another form of the same word as is used in Romans 8:33, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" A Christian is one against whom there is not only no condemnation, but no accusation. He is a sinner yet no man, nor angel, nor devil, may accuse him, or mention his guilt to God. This is the footing on which we stand,—unaccusable! Blessed footing to one who feels that he is the chief of sinners. The chief of sinners, yet beyond the reach of all accusation! How is this? Because there was one who was accused in his stead; who owned the accusation as if it were His own; who allowed sentence to pass against Himself; and was condemned for another's guilt,—the Just for the unjust.

II. Priestly. I might call it sacrificial. The word used in such places as Ephesians 1:4 is the same as that in 1 Peter 1:19, "the Lamb without blemish, and without spot." This unblemishedness has special reference to our fitness for worship and service. And this we derive from the unblemished Lamb himself, and specially from His blood. It is His blood that cleanses and fits us for entering Jehovah's courts, and ministering as His priests at His altar; for "we have an altar." I speak of the priesthood of believers, the priesthood which a sinner enters on when he believes on the Son of God. Let ns make constant use of the Lamb and His blood to keep ourselves unblemished for sacrifice or service; for we are to present even our bodies as living sacrifices unto God (Romans 12:1).

III. Personal (Philippians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:13), We are forgiven and delivered from wrath that we may be personally holy; holy in heart and life; saved from sin, conformed to Christ. We are delivered from wrath, from Satan, from self; from the world, from sin, from vanity, from ignorance, from the lust of the flesh and eye. We are made like "the second man" (1 Corinthians 15:47), "the last Adam" (1 Corinthians 15:45), in God's image. We delight in the law of God; we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our life is spiritual, our character, our conversation, our joys, our pursuits. Everything is spiritualized in character, aim, and tone. All true religion is personal, not a thing of proxy; a real inward thing, not a form, or a creed, or a shadow, or a rite. It penetrates the entire being, pervading the whole life, and influencing everything about the man, great or small. Holiness is to be everywhere in and about the man.

If, then, you call yourself a Christian, consider how much is expected from you; how much God expects from you; how much Christ, how much the angels, how much the church, how much the world. All eyes are on you, and great expectations are formed of you. Consider,

(1.) Your names. They are "saint," "Christian," "redeemed from among men," "follower of the Lamb." Do not these call you to holiness, to blamelessness!

(2.) Your designations. You are the lights of the world, the salt of the earth; pilgrims, strangers, virgins, cross bearers, kings and priests; a temple, a habitation of God.

(3.) Your calling. You are called with a holy calling. Everything connected with your calling is holy,—its past eternity, its present working, its everlasting prospects. You are called to glory, honour, and immortality.

(4.) Your hopes. They are sure and bright,—a holy kingdom, an undefiled inheritance, a pure and splendid city, into which nothing that defileth shall enter.

(5.) Your companionships. They are all heavenly and pure. Your ties have been broken with this present evil world. Old friendships are severed, and new ones formed. Of your new companions the chief are God, and Christ, and tile Holy Spirit, and the saints that are on the earth. Holy companions should make a man holy, for as evil communications corrupt good manners, so do good communications elevate and purify evil ones.

If you are Christians then, be consistent. Be Christians out and out; Christians every hour, in every part, and in every matter. Beware of half-hearted discipleship, of compromise with evil, of conformity to the world, of trying to serve two masters,—to walk in two ways, the narrow and the broad, at once. It will not do. Half-hearted Christianity will only dishonour God, while it makes you miserable.

There is abundance of Christianity, so-called, in our day. Who does not call himself a Christian? But who cultivates the holiness, the blamelessness, the devotedness, the calm consistency of a follower of Christ? Who hates sin as it ought to be hated? Who separates from the world as he ought? Who follows Christ as He ought to be followed? Who walks in the footsteps of the holy Son of God?

The day of Christ here spoken of, is coming. How soon we know not. Year after year is bringing it round. It is the day of decision. It ends the finite and begins the infinite; it ends the temporal, and begins the eternal. It is the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is Satan's day, man's day, the world's day; that is the day of Christ. And it is to that day we look, for it we prepare.