Our Blessing as Christians
by Inglis Fleming
All Christian blessing is linked with our Lord Jesus Christ. This is its power. This is its sweetness. We have nothing that is not associated with Him who has died for us and risen again.
BLESSED THROUGH CHRIST.
It was God’s purpose to bless man. The good pleasure of His goodness was to bring the sons of fallen Adam into a nearness and relationship that even unfallen Adam never knew. Where sin abounded grace was to over-abound. Where sin had reigned unto death, grace was to reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. He was the channel through which God would reach man to bless him, and the channel through which man would reach God.
Thus, we read we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”; and again, we joy in God “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Those five words—“through our Lord Jesus Christ”—speak volumes. They tell the story of His love. They speak of His incarnation; of His pathway of grace culminating in His cross of shame, with all its unutterable anguish; of the cup of sorrow drained by Him when forsaken of God in judgment; of His glorious resurrection and ascension; and of His present place of authority at God’s right hand. And those five words will be the refrain of His own eternally. Gladly we own now that all we have and are flows to us through Him and through what He has wrought for us. With joyful hearts we sing:
“For ever be the glory given
To Thee, O Lamb of God;
Our every joy on earth, in heaven,
We owe it to Thy blood.”
And when we reach the Father’s house to enjoy all the fullness of blessing which was in the Father’s thought for us before the world began to be, we shall delight to own that it has all reached us “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The words will form, as it were a glad refrain for ever. A paean of praise shall be uttered unceasingly by joyful saints who ascribe the honour and glory to Him whose sorrows have won their joys, and whose woes at the cross of Golgotha secured their weal in the glory of God.
And as God our Father looks at us when before Him in love, and in the enjoyment of sonship with and like Christ—He will ever see in our blessing there a proof of the devoted love of His Son. His purposes have been brought to pass “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” God peoples the courts of bliss, and gratifies His own heart in the blessing lavished upon His own. But this was only possible “by Jesus Christ.” No other way for the sinner to God could be provided. Through our Lord Jesus Christ all the grace of God reaches us.” Through our Lord Jesus Christ we reach the God of all grace, and are able to joy—to boast—to glory in Him (Rom. 5:11).
BLESSED IN CHRIST.
But our blessing as Christians is not only through Christ, our blessing is “in Christ.” Indeed, that little preposition “in” is that which is used commonly to show the place that belongs to the believer today. Blessing might have reached us through Him in varying measures. In the grace of God this or that blessing might have been bestowed upon us through Christ, and yet we might have been relatively afar off. But as blessed in Christ, He Himself as Man, risen from the dead, is the expression of, and measure of, the blessing that is ours. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” speaks of our entire clearance from all condemnation. As “in Adam,” in our natural condition as part of the race of which Adam fallen was the head, condemnation attached to us because of sin. But in the death of Christ our link with Adam ruined is snapped. In Christ’s death we have died to all that we were. But Christ is risen. Beyond death and judgment—our death and judgment—He now “liveth unto God.” And His life in resurrection—beyond death and judgment—is our life. We live in Christ risen. In a life free of condemnation we live in Him. He who went into the distance for us is in nearness and acceptance now, and we are near and accepted in Him, the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). We are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Him (Eph. 1:3). We are complete in Him (Col. 2:10). In Him all is perfection. “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature” (or there is a new creation). There is no patching up of the old—there is no mere reformation—there is no modification of what we were. All is new and all is of God. There has been a complete clearance away of all that was obnoxious to God. And “in Christ” in His beauty and comeliness, in His acceptance and nearness and relationship we stand in the sunshine of God’s eternal favour. “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.” Therefore of what we are in Christ we can boast. We had no hand in the matter. The work was God’s alone. He has made the translation from the man of shame—Adam fallen—to the Man of glory—Christ risen.
We are blessed in Christ, and privileged to know and enjoy that blessing now.
BLESSED WITH CHRIST.
Blessed “through” Christ, and blessed “in” Christ speak of the present. Blessed with Christ speaks of the future.
Our Lord Jesus Christ died for us that whether we wake or sleep (whether we are watching for His return as still alive, or whether we have fallen asleep while waiting for Him), we should live together with Him. He went into death alone, to secure our companying with Him for ever. This was His thought for us. He would not be content to have us blessed through Him or in Him. It must be with Him, too. He might have blessed us at a distance from Himself. He would not be content with this. He would have us blessed as one with Himself for ever.
We give a sixpence to a beggar. We part with the sixpence. He is possessed of it now; the distance between us and him remains. That is not the way Christ blesses us.
The husband brings his wife to share in union with himself all he possesses in his own home. He delighting in having her there as she delights in being with him. This illustrates the way Christ has purposed to bless us. His heart will know no satisfaction until He has those for whom He died with Himself, and like Himself in the Father’s house, sharing with them all that He, the Creator, can share with a creature. And giving them to behold the glory He can never share that they may delight in the pre-eminence that necessarily is His eternally. And all this the outcome of God’s thoughts and plans for the glory of Christ and of those who are His.
O God with great delight
Thy wondrous thought we see,
Upon His throne in glory bright
The bride of Christ shall be.
Sealed with the Holy Ghost
We triumph in Thy love,
Thy wondrous thought has made our boast
Glory with Christ above.
That will be the consummation of blessing. Through a glad eternal day we shall be co-partners with him. The blessing ours.
The joy in our blessing and the glory His eternally.
Scattered Seed 1916, p. 13