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Thy Word is Truth. John 17:17

Christ For The Saint And Christ For The Sinner


'And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst, come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely' (Rev. 22:17).

There is a great deal more in this verse than most are apt to find, even though they may be dear, and even intelligent, children of God. Yet it is also remarkable that, although the depth is uncommon in presenting the brightest hope of the church, as well as encouraging the simplest individual believer, there is likewise the most ample expression of sovereign grace to the neediest of sinners, in whatever state he may be found. What can be more open than saying, 'He that will, let him take the water of life freely?' There is no more unrestricted invitation to perishing souls in any part of the Bible. Yet what grace shone when the Lord spoke to the woman of Samaria and announced - what man's hard heart is so slow to believe - the Father's love in seeking worshippers to worship Him. And the Son was there to manifest that He did not disdain, but even sought, that poor woman without a character. Some may have thought she avoided going at the hour when other women went to the well. If she had obvious reason for shunning them, they had not a kind word to say about her. But Christ made God known in love, even to one so wretched through sin. Yet He who thus loves is holy, whereas those who despised her were not.

Those who set up and cultivate sanctimonious expression of speech and ways have rarely any real sense of sin in themselves, any more than of grace in God. They make a fair show in the flesh, and have never learnt their own ruin as sinners. They desire to feel and appear holy, and fear to find out and own what they really are in God's sight. But is it not always the greatest weakness to wish to appear anything? The believer has no reason to hide when he is assured of the grace that forgives all his sins. If God justifies him, who is he that condemns? He can afford to appear what he really is. 'The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from every sin.' 'But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God,' says the apostle Paul to the Corinthians, who had been amongst the most dissolute of mankind. Greece as a country was full of immorality; and there was no city in all that land so proverbially bad as Corinth. Yet the Lord, to encourage His servant in the face of opposing and blaspheming Jews, said, 'Be not afraid but speak, and hold not thy peace ... for I have much people in this city.' It required a word by a vision at night from the Lord to the apostle to keep up his courage in continuing in a place so full of corruption as Corinth.

Ever bear in mind that in the gospel it is what the Lord brings to us, and not what we offer to Him, when received in faith, which is the turning point and the substance of the soul's salvation. God has, and freely, given a perfect Saviour in Christ for the lost. Does any one of you doubt that His heart is so ready to forgive, even you, notwithstanding your sins which are many and great? You do Him a heinous wrong in doubting His word and His love. Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, not only can He afford to save you on believing, but He gives all with the freeness and fullness that becomes the God of all --race. 'He that spared not his own Son but delivered him up for us all: how shall he not kith him also freely give us all things?'

The figure employed, in the Revelation, is 'the water of life', as the Lord spoke of giving 'the living water' in John 4:10. The two books, the Gospel and the Revelation, are as different in character as can be, but who does not see how thoroughly the words tally, and how one Spirit reigns throughout scripture? The book of Revelation is as full of judgment, as the Gospel of John teems with grace; but it is the same Lord Jesus Christ, whatever the distinctness of design may require in each case. The prophetic visions vindicate His rights over all the universe, and therefore over all nations as well as Israel. Before they begin in chapter 6 we are given to see the bright result of grace in the glorified saints gathered on high around the throne, under the symbol of the twenty-four crowned and enthroned elders in chapters 4 and 5. But the book could not close without the words read in the text, which put the church and the believer in their present place of hope, and which continue to invite the sinner, whatever his state, to receive His grace as freely as ever. First of all, we hear 'the Spirit and the bride' saying to Christ, 'Come.' For He loved the church and gave Himself for her; and she knows from His own lips that He is coming to receive her to Himself. Therefore we can understand how proper are the words, 'And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.' To whom does the Spirit animate the bride thus to speak? To the Bridegroom. It is indeed much to be noticed, and full of instruction.

Earlier in the book (Rev. 3:11) the Lord says, 'I come quickly'; but the Spirit and the bride do not add 'quickly' now - they join in crying to Christ, 'Come.' Those who compose the bride had already each submitted to the righteousness of God; they knew for their own souls that they were saved by grace through faith; and they were waiting in assured hope of Him to bring them into the Father's house, where He Himself now is, and whence He had promised to come and fetch them there. Remark then how important and how suited are the words, 'And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.' Men, and even saints, are all liable to mistakes. Who, that knows himself or others, could rest his hope on the creature in its best estate? As we need Christ's work for saving us, so we cannot do without God's word for any appearance of solid worth, whether for faith or hope, for walk or worship. Therefore does the Spirit - that is, the Holy Ghost - prompt the word. He and the bride are represented as saying, 'Come.' Can anything be more comely or in character?