FELLOW CITIZENS WITH THE SAINTS
"Fellow citizens with the saints." Ephes. 2:19
My present condition is a state of wilderness wanderings. All my fellow Christians here are in a similar state. Mutual sympathy and relief are here constantly demanded. But I have a future as well as a present. I have also present relationships to this glorious future. All the church of God are not on earth. Part of the host have crossed the flood. They are at rest. They have received their glorious crown. But they are still parts of the same body. Their sympathies and their memories are doubtless still with us. I have a very intimate connection with them. It is a most exalting and blessed relationship. The whole union of the saints of God is as a glorious residence. A city of God. A building of God. The new Jerusalem, which is above, the mother of us all. All the children of God dwell together in this city of grace; but in different parts of it. The saints who have finished their course, have been permitted to enter into its glory. I am yet in a more distant part; but not less secure; not less protected and loved. A fellow citizen with the saints! It is a glorious title. Am I one?
1. Then I ought highly to estimate the privilege of a Christian life. Whatever may be my present earthly state, how exalted are my privileges! How important the honor which is thus bestowed upon me! God took me from a very low estate; and he has been pleased to exalt me with great mercy. I should never think of my religious state and opportunities but with this feeling. Certainly "a Christian is the highest style of man." How glorious is the privilege of having been called of God, to be one of his heavenly and redeemed family! Could I see all those with whom I am connected, how exalted and honorable would appear the relationships in which I stand! John was ready to worship one of the heavenly beings; so glorious did he seem! Yet he was only a fellow servant with the apostle. The poorest child of grace is not less truly connected in Christ with the highest angel in heaven. Let me never undervalue my privilege as a member of this glorious company. My conversion is my coronation. If God is mine, everything is mine!
2. Then I ought to be unceasingly grateful for this divine gift. It is all a gift. A blessing from a pardoning God. It came not of myself, or of any works of righteousness which I had done. It is the gift of grace alone. Of all the blessings which I have received, surely the most inestimable is the gift of Divine redemption. I have been purchased by the death of Christ. I was a poor, lost creature, sold under sin, when he opened my prison-doors, and let me go free. What a mercy was then granted to me! When I look at the sorrow and darkness which I have escaped--at the misery from which I have been delivered--at the glories which are laid up for me--at the love which has accomplished all, how thankful ought I to be! I have a home and an inheritance above. There the holiest of creatures wait to receive me, and to welcome me. There the Highest of all will rejoice over me forever. Angels may well desire to look into this and understand it. It is a mystery of grace. My heart ought always to bless God for the boundless consolation. If the world neglects me or reviles me, it is of little consequence. God my Savior loves me. Angels watch over me. Redeemed saints wait for me, and will give thanks for my entrance among them. Oh let me never neglect to praise God for a privilege so great.
3. Then I should walk worthy of my high vocation. There ought to be a consistency, an accordance, between my relationships and my conduct. A child of a king must conform to the proprieties of his high standing. I am the child of the Eternal King. My brethren are all of a family of kings, a royal priesthood. I must strive to maintain a spiritual mind, and to lead a holy life. How pure and holy are my fellow citizens, the saints of God! What ardent love have they for Christ! What grateful homage do they pay him! How perfectly obedient are they to his will! What unspeakable delight they have in fulfilling his commands! Thus should I endeavor to walk continually. How blameless ought I to be in the sight of God! Above the miserable haunts and ways of sensuality, and giddiness, and wasteful mirth. Away from the temptations and power of a mere earthly, selfish temper. Keeping under my body, and bringing it into subjection, that I may walk before God in newness of spirit. I know that it will require constant watchfulness and effort. But I know, also, that it will give me constant confidence and peace.
4. Then I ought to press onward to the glory which is set before me. How many have triumphed, who were once as weak as I! What glory have they now received! They are perfect, and perfectly happy forever. Well, the heavenly kingdom is equally open to me, equally secured to me, equally prepared for me. Oh let me press on to gain it. I have not long to strive, nor much to bear. Soon I shall see the multitude who have gone before. I would enter into their rest. Nothing must be allowed to turn me aside. Everything must yield to this, and work for this. I must leave the things which are behind, and reach after those which are before. I shall never gain them without constant and determined efforts. They are worth all my efforts--I have a glorious hope--a glorious home--a glorious society--a glorious eternity before me. Oh let me not come short of them. Let me not fall through unbelief. Let me not be entangled in my course. Let me count everything else but loss, that I may win them.
5. These are most important duties for me, as one of the Savior's flock. I would earnestly engage in them. As a fellow citizen with the saints, I would value my high privilege. I would be ever grateful for the mercy thus bestowed. I would walk before the Lord unto all pleasing. I would keep constant hold of the hope which is set before me. Thus am I happy in my daily course. Thus do I fulfill the great purpose of my heavenly calling. Thus am I ready for the appearance of my Lord.
Oh glorious hour! oh blest abode!
I shall be near and like my God;
And flesh and sin no more control
The sacred pleasures of my soul.