No Light Thing!
James Smith, 1859
A young lad, in the lower ranks of life, was on his sick and dying bed, disease had wasted his frame — but the power of religion had supported his soul. He found Jesus, and the knowledge of salvation sweet. No doubts harassed his mind. No fears agitated his spirit. The peace that passes all understanding kept his heart and mind. A kind friend visited him, and ministered to his needs, witnessed his joy in God, and rejoiced with him in his great salvation. When leaving him one day, not long before his departure, he said, "To be blessed of the Lord is no light thing." No, it is indeed no light thing. What an impressive thought for us!
To be blessed of God — what is it? To be blessed of the Lord who made Heaven and earth — what a glorious privilege! The blessing of God comprises the best and the greatest things in the universe. Let us look at a very few of them.
It comprises, LIFE. Speaking of Zion, the type of God's Church, the Psalmist says, "There the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." Spiritual life, or the life of God in the soul; and eternal life, or life with God forever. Life that distinguishes its possessor from all around, by its thirsting for God, aspiring to God, and panting to make its possessor like God. A life that can only be satisfied as it feeds on Jesus, walks with God, and anticipates glory. A life that will be perfected in the celestial world — where all is purity, peace, and joy. It is this life, which fits us for Heaven, qualifies us for holy service on earth, and proves that we are the children of God. It is indeed no light thing, to possess a life, superior to that which Adam lost; and superior to that which the angelic hosts enjoy. Quickened with Christ, blessed operation! One with Christ, glorious connection! But the blessing of God, comprises also,
KNOWLEDGE. "Blessed are you, Simon, Bar-jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you — but my Father who is in Heaven." The reference is to the knowledge of Christ in his person and official character. To know Christ, by the revelation of the Father, is indeed a privilege; for then we know God in Christ, God as revealed by Christ. Hence it is written, "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness — has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." When Christ is thus known — he is firmly trusted. When God is thus known — he is heartily loved. To know Jesus, so as to commit the soul to him, and realize that we are saved by him — is indeed a blessing. To know God, so as to enjoy him, confide in him, and glory in his holy name — is a high privilege. But this knowledge is only a part of God's blessing; well therefore may the dying youth say, "to be blessed of God is no light thing" for it comprises,
A PERFECT PARDON. We say perfect, because it is full, free, and irreversible. Therefore the Psalmist exclaims, "O the blessedness of the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! O the blessedness of the man unto whom the Lord imputes not iniquity!" What can express a perfect, an irreversible pardon, if these words do not? "Transgression is forgiven," or past by, as if God had gone beyond it, and left it in the distance behind him. "Sin is covered," as if it was hidden, that it may never come again into sight. Covered as in the depths of the sea, by the mighty waves, by the world of waters. "The Lord imputes not iniquity." Does not place it to the man's account. Will not charge the man with it, or ever call him to account for it.
The apostle, Paul, adds, "Unto whom God imputes righteousness without works." No sin placed to the man's account, though he has committed much: a perfect righteousness placed to the man's account, though he has not performed a work. How wonderful! How glorious! How godlike! What a blessed state to be in! All sin pardoned, because Jesus died for it, and so made a full atonement. A perfect righteousness imputed, or placed to the man's account, because Jesus lived for him, and so perfectly obeyed the law in his stead. Truly, "to be blessed of the Lord is no light thing," for it comprises also,
ACCESS to, and APPROVAL by God. "Blessed is the man whom you chose, and cause to approach unto you, that he may dwell in your courts; we shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, even of your holy temple." What a privilege to be chosen and approved of God. Chosen to approach to God. Chosen to dwell in the house of God. Chosen to be satisfied with the goodness of his house, even of his holy temple. Nearness to God is our highest happiness. Nearness to God is our greatest honor. Nearness to God is holiness. Nearness to God is Heaven.
The blessed of the Lord, have access to him with confidence, by faith in Jesus. They have access into his favor, and stand, or are established, in it. They are approved of him, and are therefore exhorted to draw near with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith. A guilty, unpardoned publican, may stand afar off; but they as beloved and accepted children, are encouraged to draw near; to come boldly to his throne; and to open the mouth wide — that he may fill it. They are accepted in the Beloved, are pleasant in the sight of God, and dear to the heart of God. "To be thus blessed of the Lord is no light thing," for it comprises,
CORRECTION. "Blessed is the man whom you chasten, O Lord, and teach out of your law." Chastened and taught. Chastened now — that he may rest by and bye. Those who are to be punished in eternity, may escape correction in time; and may be allowed to go on in their own way. But as all the Lord's people do wrong — all must be corrected; and correction is an instrument of sanctification; as it is written, "Our earthly fathers corrected us after their pleasure; but our Heavenly father corrects us for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness." O what a blessing to be made like God! To partake of his holiness!
Let us then under all our pains and sufferings, under all our losses and crosses, under all our troubles and trials — remember that they flow from a father's love, and are the effects of a father's care. They are a part of God's blessing, and in sending them upon us, God deals with us as with sons. To be trained up for glory, honor, and immortality — by corrections and chastisements, is a great privilege; and as they flow from God's blessing, we may well say, "to be blessed of the Lord is no light thing," for it comprises,
WEALTH. The true riches — making us rich toward God; as it is written, "The blessing of the Lord, it makes rich; and he adds no sorrow with it." Earthly riches bring care, anxiety, and sometimes overwhelming responsibilities with them. They are often given — without wisdom to use them, or power to enjoy them. But the blessing of the Lord, gives us faith in Christ, a title to all the promises, and the present possession of all things necessary to life and godliness. It raises us above the frowns, and fortifies us against the fascinations of the world. It ennobles us, by conferring on us a divine nature, the loftiest titles, and the most glorious inheritance. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into a priceless inheritance — an inheritance that is kept in Heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay."
With Christ in the heart, the promise in the hand, providence for our friend, and Heaven in prospect — we cannot be but wealthy, though our pocket money may at times run short. To be possessed of the unsearchable riches of Christ, to be heirs to the wealth of God, and joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ; to be able to say, all things are ours, must be an unspeakable mercy! But that mercy is ours, and it flows from the blessing of God, well therefore, may the lad say, "To be blessed of God is no light thing." But it includes more yet, for it includes the
EARTH. "For such as are blessed by him — shall inherit the earth; and those who be cursed of him — shall be cut off." "Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth." "For all things are yours; whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours!" Abraham is the heir of the world, Romans 3:13; we are the children of Abraham by faith in Jesus, Galatians 3:29; and if children, then heirs.
We do not inherit the earth now — but are strangers and pilgrims in it, as all our fathers were. The earth is now given into the hands of the ungodly; but Jesus bought the field, which is the world, for the sake of the treasure that is in it, his church; and he will by and by claim it, and then with him, we shall inherit it. Even in Heaven this is anticipated, and therefore the ransomed sing, "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."
O blessed prospect! O sweet anticipation! We shall be honored — where we have been degraded. We shall rejoice — where we have mourned. We shall triumph — where we have been tried. We shall reign — where we have served. A kingdom, a crown, a scepter, these are not small things; but they are promised us, and they flow from God's blessing, well therefore may it be said, "To be blessed of God is no light thing." But time would not enumerate all, or half, or the thousandth part of what is contained in the blessing of the Lord, we may say therefore in one word, that it includes,
ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Heavenly places in Christ!" All spiritual blessings — what comprehensive words! All spiritual blessings — what a glorious grant! All spiritual blessings — how like a God, who is called, "The God of all grace!" All spiritual blessings — what more can we desire! I feel inclined to lay down my pen and muse over the wondrous words — and adore the Almighty author of such wondrous grace!
Blessed, forever blessed, be the Lord, for choosing us in Christ, blessing us in Christ, uniting us to Christ, and appointing us to inherit with Christ, and enjoy unutterable blessedness with Christ, forever and ever!
Reader, are you one of these blessed ones? Have you received the blessing of salvation from the Lord? Have you been quickened with Christ?
Have you been put in possession of a new, spiritual, and divine life? Have you been favored with the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord?
Have you as a convinced and condemned sinner, received from God the judge of all — a full, free, and everlasting pardon of all your sins?
Do you know what it is to have access to God, and to enjoy the approbation of God?
Have you been, are you, corrected for your faults, and instructed by a Divine teacher to know more of God, of yourself, and of the Lord's blessed word?
Do you find the blessing of God making you rich — or producing holy contentment, with your ordained lot in life? Having food and clothing, are you therewith content? This is being rich — wealthy.
Are you looking forward to the adoption, the redemption of the body, and anticipating the time, when the creation also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God?
Do you know your election of God, your predestination to adoption, and your title to all spiritual blessings?
If so, happy are you. But if you do not, set your heart upon these things. Seek them by faith in Jesus, by prayer to God, and by attending to all the means of grace — and you cannot fail of finding a saving interest in them. No, you cannot fail of obtaining a saving interest in them, for "every one that asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds." Ask then, and obtain; seek, and find; and you are blessed, blessed beyond the powers of language to describe, and blessed for evermore!