James Smith, 1860
We must be complete, to be happy. But in ourselves, and by nature — we are anything hut complete. Every power, every faculty, every purpose, and every action — bears the stamp of imperfection. Nor can we render ourselves complete by anything we can do or suffer. And, just in proportion as the light of divine truth shines in our hearts, or we get near to God, who is light — do we discover our incompleteness and imperfection. So that if it were possible for us to be transported to Heaven in our present state — we would he overwhelmed with a sense of our imperfection, and be inconceivably wretched, because of our lack of completeness.
It becomes, then, an interesting question, How can a sinner be made complete? How can he acquire perfection? Nor are we at a loss for an answer, for the New Testament speaks of the Lord's people as "perfect in Christ Jesus;" and tells them for their comfort in so many words, "You are complete in Him." Colossians 2:10
In order to be complete therefore — we must be in Christ.
Not merely in the kingdom over which he reigns; nor in the church, which he
represents; but in the body, of which he is the head. That is to say, we
must he vitally united to his person; and have our persons and
interests identified with his. He must be to us . . .
what the way is to the traveler — conducting us to the Father;
what the foundation is to the building — supporting and giving it strength;
what the soil is to the plant — supplying it with nourishment;
what the root is to the tree — communicating to it life and vigor;
what the head is to the body — thinking, caring, and providing for all its needs.
Being in Christ — we are complete, made so
. . .
by the obedience he rendered to the Law — which is our perfect righteousness;
by the sacrifice he offered to divine justice — which is an atonement for all our sins;
by the character which he sustains — as our representative before God, which is a pledge that we shall appear there exactly like him;
by the fullness he possesses for us, and the supplies he imparts to us, of wisdom, and strength, and holiness;
and by the certain accomplishment of his purpose, and the design of his death, which is thus expressed, "Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish."
Here is completeness, and as Jesus had the will, the love, to give himself for his Church, that she may he thus complete and glorious — so he has the power to carry out his design to perfection. And as he is in one mind, without variableness or shadow of turning, there can be no doubt that he will do so. Hence we praise him, and say, "Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; to the only wise God our Savior — be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen."
There is then no completeness in self, or in the church — but only in Christ. We cannot be made perfect, or obtain perfection by God's law, or our own works, or our sufferings. But in Christ there is all that is necessary to make us complete; and by virtue of union to him we become interested in, and entitled to, all that is in him. Let us beware then, lest we be led away from Christ, either by philosophy, tradition, or any carnal ordinances; but let us look to Christ for all, and rejoice that we are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Reader, in Christ is all you need as a creature, as a sinner, as a believer; all that you need now, all that you will need in life, and in death; all that you need or can enjoy, forever! Have you come to Christ for life? Are you living upon Christ as the bread of life? Are you realizing your completeness in Christ? Are you rejoicing in Christ? If not, come to Christ at once, at this very moment, and just as you are; and you will find all that you need, all your immortal soul is craving, in him.
If you are in Christ, then abide in him, walk closely with him, and live only for him. Think much, and think often, of his sweet words, "If you abide in me, and my my words abide in you — you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you." Here is completeness!