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deliveranoe of their hearts and lives from the bondage and misery of sin. And His mind concerning them is thus expressed : “ This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise."* God looks upon the souls whom He saves as His own property, bought with a price, and intended to do Him honour; and this is what Paul means by the expression, “ The riches of the glory of God's inheritance in the saints.”+ The chief of sin. ners possessing a right to salvation, is a glorious monument to the exceeding riches of God's grace. But in addition to this, the change in their hearts and principles, and their gradual and advancing sanctification - their actual entering into the tastes and occupations of God's people, and their practical seeking of the glory of God—this altered and blessed condition of their souls, which is the substance of salvation, is the glory of God reflected from His own workmanship.
2. God's good pleasure reminds us also of " the will of God.” God's directions, addressed to you regarding your salvation, are summed up in His law or rule of duty. * Isa, xliii. 21.
+ Eph. i. 18.
As to seeking and accepting Christ's merits as your right to salvation, this is not merely your own interest, to which it is your happiness to attend, but it is the will of God, which it is your duty to obey. In the Saviour's own words, " This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent."*
But I am now discoursing about salvation itself. Salvation itself is your doing the will of God. When God's commandments are being obeyed by you from the heart, your own salvation is being taken possession of by your own souls. Eternal life is life which is to endure throughout eternity; but it is life which begins on earth.
“He that doeth the will of God abideth for ever :" so writes the Apostle John, after having said, “The world passeth away, and the lust thereof.”+ Hence you learn that the continuance of present duty is the prospect which Scripture warrants us to picture to our. selves as that “ salvation which is nearer than when we believed ;" this is the blessedness of which faith beholds the prospect, beyond this passing world, and on the other side of the dark mountains. “ God's servants shall serve
* John, vi, 29.
+ 1 John, ii, 17.
Him "* in their glorified state, when in undis turbed security they shall see Him as He is. Now they must believe on Him as He is; let their faith realise God as clearly as it possibly can, and salvation itself is in some measure tasted by them in the very doing of the will of God.
Without reliance on the merits of Christ as the only right to salvation --- without faith in Christ's righteousness as the one claim claim which disappears on the very breathing of
any other claim intruded upon it, either as an addition, or as an accompaniment, or as a support.--I say, without this possession of the right to salvation, all works, though some may call them “good works,” are mere rubbish; and we dare not call them the working out of salvation. What guilty unbelief is chargeable upon a man who can live on without making the authorized and expected claim upon God for salvation, and who is living at rest with the curse of the broken law unremoved! With such unbelief, or, which is the same thing, without faith, it is impossible to please God.t Good works, which are good in God's sight, can proceed from no soul, except a soul which by faith takes hold and keeps hold of Christ's merits as the right to salvation. The obedient life of such a soul is eternal life begun. The God-honouring works of such a soul are the working out of that soul's own salvation. Such souls are blessed in their deeds now, and “their works shall follow them "* into a better field-into the perfect and eternal field for willing and doing God's pleasure.
* Rev. xxii. 3. + Heb. xi. 6.
II. God's PART IS “ TO WORK IN YOU BOTH TO WILL AND TO DO.'
The word “ work” in ver. 12, is in ver. 13 explained as meaning “both to will and to do ;” and yet your working is said to be God's working : " It is God which worketh in you.” The object to be attained is “God's good pleasure," the promotion of His glory, and the doing of His will; and that object is not only associated, but identified, with “your own salvation." Your salvation is called, in chap. i. ver. 6, a good work,” begun by God, and to be performed by God, day by day, until the day of Jesus Christ. It is only through God's working that His people have hold of the right
* Rev. xiv. 13.
to salvation. And then, unless God continues the good work, their will and their deeds will relapse into the course of this world, and be, as before, directed and controlled by the evil spirit who works in the children of disobedience.* But God undertakes faithfully to fulfil His part. His part is to work in you so that you may both will and do what is pleasing to Him.
It is the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God, to whom you must look for the performance of this covenant-engagement. The performance of God's work in you causes you to acknowledge God the Father bringing to pass His eternal purpose-the good pleasure of Jehovah prospering in the hands of God the Son, your Head and Surety; and God the Holy Ghost dwelling in your souls, subduing your sins, imbuing you with the heartfelt knowledge of the truth, and giving you everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. It is to the working of God the Holy Ghost that the Scriptures refer us for the daily performance of God's good pleasure, in our
* Eph. ii. 24