Your Father has weighed all that sin is, all your thoughts and actions seen beforehand, all your indifference—miserable as all this proves us to be. And knowing beforehand all that we are and all our sins, He has given His Son for us, who has charged himself with all, and us such as we are, and has accomplished without us, all that was required by the justice and love of God. It is absolutely accomplished; you can add nothing by joy or sorrow to the perfect work of the Lord Jesus Christ. All these exercises of soul may be very useful to bring us to the point of acknowledging our own nothingness, so that Christ may have His first place in our minds by faith, but they can add nothing to Him. Your peace will come from a calm and holy conviction that you are nothing, and that He is all, and that He knew all that you were, and because you were all this, took your place in responsibility and suffered and died for you.
You may say, “But I have neglected the Lord Jesus after being awakened.” It is possible, and it is very sad, nay, more, this gives a handle to the enemy to torment us, but does not change the efficacy of the Blood and work of the Son in the Father’s eyes, and that is what gives peace. It is not what you think of Christ’s work, but what the Father thinks of it, that saves. Your knowledge of what He thinks of it, by faith, gives peace. God says to Israel in Egypt, not when you see the blood, I will pass over, but “when I see the blood.” He it is that has been offended. He it is that judges, and He it is that has accepted the ransom in justice as He gave it in love. He is faithful and just to forgive us.
As we may confound sometimes the acuteness of our feelings with the spiritual judgment of sin, almost always at the outset we confound the work of the Spirit and the work of the Son. Each has its place in the believer, but they must not be confounded. The Spirit of God may humble, convict us, reprove within and thus distress us, or give us joy, and often we set about to judge of all this in order to know our acceptance with the Father. But these things, though they have their place in the mind of the redeemed, are not the ground of his peace. The Lord Jesus Christ has made peace by the Blood of the Cross.
He has done all, and has left us nothing but thanksgiving and praise. If someone has paid my debts, my sorrow at the folly that contracted them, or my joy at their being discharged, adds nothing whatever to the payment of the debt, though both be natural and just. It is sometimes hard to esteem all our feelings as nothing, but it is only a remains of the old man; but only think what it cost the Son of God in undergoing the wrath of God, and we shall feel on one hand the perfect security of our justification, and the nothingness of all our feelings compared with what our sin really was in the sight of God. But He remembers it no more, as He has said. If Christ had not completely discharged and effected it, He could not be in heaven, for He could not sit at the right hand of the Father charged with our sins, though He was charged with them on the Cross.
If your heart demands, “But how do I know that I have part in all this?” I answer, with the Word of the Lord which abides forever, that whoso believeth in Him. That all might be grace, God has willed that it should be by faith, and though faith produces immense effects, it adds nothing to the thing that it believes. Christ and the efficacy of His work must be, and be before God, all that I am called to believe them to be, before I believe it. The feelings and distress through which we pass are very important, but only in order to bring us to this, and peace and joy are found in a humble and lowly sense of sin, and of the infinite work of the Son on the Cross.
- J N Darby