Song of Solomon iv. 2; John xv. 2, 4
Cleanliness and Fruitfulness
THE Bridegroom here compares the Bride to "a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which come up from the washing, whereof everyone bears twins, and none is barren among them." This surely has its application to believers, who "were as sheep going astray," but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. And we may well seek to profit by its lessons.
As to our standing before God, we appear there in all the perfection of the Person and work of His dear Son. For this we can always praise God, who declares, "ye are washed; ye are sanctified; ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. iv. 11). Therefore we are "Clean, every whit" (John xv. 2). "Washed from our sins in His own blood" (Rev. i. 5); and ever able to sing "Blessed salvation, once for all." But we need to remember that there must also be a cleansing by the Word. So we read "that He might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water in the Word" (Eph. v. 25); and again, "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth" (John xvii. 17).
It is only as we judge ourselves, and regulate our ways and words, according to the Scriptures, that we shall give joy to the Lord's heart, and be like "a flock of sheep," practically clean in our walk and ways, "adorning the doctrine of God, our Saviour, in all things." Then there must be fruitfulness. We shall be "FRUITFUL in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col. i. 10). And surely Rom. vii. 4, reminds us that His purpose in our salvation was, that we should "bring forth fruit unto God." All this is in accord with our Lord's word to his disciples, in John xv. 8: "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit: so shall ye be, my disciples." Let us then, as the Lord's redeemed ones "consider our ways," and judge whether we are practically, what we profess to be positionally. Only as we resemble the flock of sheep that came up "from the washing," shall we bear much fruit to God's praise, and be used in leading others to the Saviour. When this is neglected, then alas! the saint soon becomes "barren and unfruitful" (2 Peter i. 8), and forgets that he has been "purged from his old sins." E.H.B.