Friday, September 12, 2014

How Shall I Go to God?

It is with our sins that we go to God, for we have nothing else to go with that we can call our own. This is one of the lessons that we are so slow to learn; yet without learning this we cannot take one right step in that which we call a Christian life.
To look up some good thing in our past life, or to get some good thing now, if we find that our past does not contain any such thing is our first thought when we begin to inquire after God, that we may get the great question settled between Him and us, as to the forgiveness of our sins.
In His favor is life; and to be without this favor is to be unhappy here, and to be shut out from joy hereafter. There is no life worthy of the name of life except that which flows from His assured friendship. Without that friendship, our life here is a burden and a weariness; but with that friendship we fear no evil, and all sorrow is turned into joy.
How shall I be happy? was the question of a weary soul who had tried a hundred different ways of happiness, and had always failed. Secure the favor of God," was the prompt answer, by one who had himself tasted that the "Lord is gracious.
Is there no other way of being happy?  None, none, was the quick and decided reply.  Man has been trying other ways for six thousand years, and has utterly failed and are you likely to succeed?  No, not likely; and I don't want to go on trying. But this favor of God seems such a shadowy thing, and God Himself so far off that I know not which way to turn.
God's favor is no shadow; it is real beyond all other realities; and He Himself is the nearest of all near beings, as accessible as He is gracious.  That favor of which you speak has always seemed to me a sort of mist, of which I can make nothing.  Say rather it is sunshine which a mist is hiding from you.
Yes, yes, I believe you; but how shall I get through the mist into the sunshine beyond? It seems so difficult and to require such a length of time! You make that distant and difficult which God has made simple and near and easy.
Are there no difficulties, do you mean to say?  In one sense, a thousand; in another sense, none. How is that?  Did the Son of God put difficulties in the sinner's way, when He said to the multitude, 'Come unto Me and I will give you rest'?  Certainly not! He meant them to go at once to Him, as He stood there and as they stood there, and He would give them rest.
Had you then been upon the spot, what difficulties should you have found? None, certainly to speak of difficulties when I was standing by the side of the Son of God would have been folly, or worse.
Did the Son of God suggest difficulty to the sinner, when He sat on Jacob's well, by the side of the Samaritan woman? Was not all difficulty anticipated or put away by these wondrous words of Christ, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water'? Yes, no doubt the asking and the giving was all. The whole transaction is finished on the spot. Time and space, distance and difficulty, have nothing to do with the matter; the giving was to follow the asking as a matter of course. So far all is plain. But I would ask: Is there no barrier here?  None whatever, if the Son of God really came to save the lost; if He came for those who were only partly lost, or who could partly save themselves, the barrier is infinite. This I admit; nay, insist upon!
Is the being lost, then no barrier to our being saved?  Foolish question, which may be met by a foolish answer. Is your being thirsty a hindrance to your receiving water; or is being poor a hindrance to your receiving riches as a gift from a friend?  True, it is my thirst that fits me for the water; and my poverty that fits me for the gold.  Ah, yes, the Son of Man did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. If you are not wholly a sinner there is a barrier; but if you are wholly a sinner there is no barrier!
Wholly a sinner! Is that really my character?  No doubt of that. If you doubt it, go and search your Bible. God's testimony is that you are wholly a sinner, and must deal with Him as such; for the healthy do not need a physician but only those who are sick.
Wholly a sinner, well! but must I not get rid of some of my sins—before I can expect blessing from Him?  No, indeed! He alone can deliver you from so much as even one sin; and you must go at once to Him with all your sins, however many that may be! If you be not wholly a sinner you do not wholly need Christ; for He is a complete Savior of none but complete sinners! He does not help you to save yourself, nor do you help Him to save you. He does all the saving or nothing at all.
[Horatius Bonar]
1 Peter 2:24 ... Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Romans 5:6-8 ... For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
John 4:10 ... Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
Matthew 11:28 ... Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.