MICHAEL’S MONDAY MEDITATIONS, MON., NOV. 23RD, 2015
MORE ON SINCERITY AND GRACE
FROM THE CHRISTIAN IN COMPLETE ARMOUR, VOL. II BY WILLIAM GURNALL
“If our conscience condemn us not,” John said, “then we have confidence toward God” (1 John 3:21). It is not the presence of sin in us, as the covenant now stands, which conscience can condemn us for. Paul’s conscience cleared him — and even afforded cause for holy glorying — while he found sin stirring within himself.
Conscience is set by God to judge for Him in the private court of our own hearts. It is bound up by the same law by which Christ Himself will acquit or condemn at the last day. When we go on trial for our lives, before Christ’s bar, the great question will be whether or not we have been sincere. And as He will not condemn the sincere soul, though a thousand sins be brought against it, neither can our hearts condemn us.
But how can God accept such imperfect obedience when He was so strict with Adam that He pronounced one failure as unpardonable? In the covenant God made with mankind in Adam there was no surety to guarantee and stand responsible for man’s performance of his part of the covenant, which was absolute obedience. Thus God, to recover His glory and pay Himself for the wrong which man’s default would do to Him, stood strictly with Adam.
Yet in the gospel covenant there is a surety — Jesus Christ the righteous — who stands responsible to God for all the sins of a Christian’s lifetime. And the Lord Christ cancels not only the vast sums of those sins which Christians are charged with before conversion, but also all the dribbling debts which they contract afterward through weakness and carelessness. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:1-2). So then, without impeaching His justice, God can cross out His saints’ debts for which He is paid by Christ. It is mercy to saints but justice to Christ that God should do this. What a precious oneness when mercy and justice kiss each other!
Also, God required complete obedience in the first covenant because man was in a perfect state, full of power and ability to perform it; so God expected to reap no more than what He had planted. But in the gospel covenant God does not infuse the believer with full grace but true grace; and accordingly, He expects not flawless but sincere obedience.
Now, my words. Are we not the most blessed creatures in the universe to have a Heavenly Father who not only provided a means for relationship with Him after that bond was broken, but then, through His mercy and the mighty work Jesus did at Calvary, bestows this grace and mercy on our pathetic broken souls that are prone to wander, prone to fail, and counts it all as righteousness through His Son? This is not license, this is incredible love that should make all of us quiver in gratefulness and in turn, should convince each one of us to serve this great lover of our souls with utmost eagerness and earnestness, not to gain special favor, but in sincere gratitude and appreciation for what He has done on our behalf. God bless you all this fine day, friends, and may you look for ways today that you can be of service to God and man?