Justification and Glory
“Whom he justified, them he also glorified.”— Rom. 8:30
WELL said the apostle in another place, “All things are of God;” for here in this passage all works of grace are evidently so. The pronoun “he” is repeated yet again and again, as if to set the Lord always before us. “Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.” “Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” It is of God all the way through. There is not an inch of ground left to be covered by the creature’s foot. The eternal Creator worketh all things in the covenant of grace, according to the counsel of his own will. Haldane has an admirable note on this passage, which we will quote in full. “In looking back on this passage, we should observe, that in all that is stated, man acts no part, but is passive, and all is done by God. He is elected, and predestinated, and called, and justified, and glorified by God. The apostle was here concluding all that he had said before, in enumerating topics of consolation to believers; and is now going on to show that God is “for us,” or on the part of his people. Could anything, then, be more consolatory to those who love God, than to be in this manner assured that the great concern of their salvation is not left in their own keeping? God, even their covenant God, hath taken the whole upon himself. He hath undertaken for them. There is no room, then, for chance or change, he will perfect that which concerneth them.” Does not this account for the majestic manner in which these covenant mercies follow one another as in a triumphal procession. Foreknowledge leads the van with eyes beaming with love, then come predestination, calling, justification, glorification, all in their proper order. Not one of these gigantic mercies limps along the road, but marching with stately tread, adorned in robes of glory, each one keeping its place, they make up a magnificent procession to the praise of the glory of his grace, who has set them all in order, and written his own name upon them all. Observe, there is no “if,” no “but,” no “may be,” no “peradventure” here. He foreknows, he predestinates. No creature lifts up its puny voice to object to the predestinating decree. Having predestinated, he calls, and it is such an effectual calling, that we hear of no resistance. Having called, he justifies, and “who is he that condemneth?” Having justified without let or hindrance, he achieves his eternal purpose without impediment, and brings forth the top-stone of the temple of his grace with shoutings, as it is written, “Whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Let our souls be glad, as we clearly see the mighty presence of our God in every work of grace, and let us understand whence the force, the certainty, the immutability, the majesty of the whole matter comes; namely, from the fact that “he ordered all things according to the counsel of his own will;” and “who shall stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou?”
This morning, God the Holy Ghost, I trust, will make it to your profit to weigh these two precious gems of lovingkindness, to count over these priceless treasures of mercy, to swim in these two seas of love, justification and glorification; and then we shall need time carefully to search after the connection between them both, for they are rivetted together by rivets of diamond; they are fastened together so fast and firmly, that neither death nor hell can separate them. “Whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
I. Let us begin, then, by considering WHAT IT IS TO BE JUSTIFIED.
If you wish for an answer in a few words, ask your children who have learned our catechism, and you have it: * “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepted us as righteous in his sight only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.” Perhaps, however, I had better unfold the truth in detail. You will perceive by reading the connection and by a moment’s reflection, that the justification here meant is an act of God passed upon a person needing it, consequently passed upon a person who could not justify himself; a person naturally guilty of sin, being in a state of condemnation naturally, and needing to be lifted out of it by an act of justification of a divine order. It is not possible that God should have devised a plan of justification for those who were already justified by their own actions. We do not talk with any wonder, or speak with any astonishment of a justification which a man achieves for himself. The guiltless need no justification; they have it already. If any man hath kept the law of God and made it honourable he is in himself just, and needs not to be made just— he is so already. Justification is an act of grace passed upon a sinner, upon one who has transgressed the law and cannot be justified by it, and who, therefore, needs to be made just in another way, a way out of his own reach, above his own doings, and coming, as in the text, from God himself; for it says, “He justifies.” This, though it is a very common-place observation, is a very sweet truth to begin with. Oh, sinner! however black thy sins may have been, thou mayest yet be justified. Though thy sins be as scarlet, they may yet be as wool; and though thou be red like crimson thou mayest be white as snow. It is written that “he justifieth the ungodly,” yes, the ungodly, such as thou hast been. Christ came not into the world as a physician for those who are whole, but for those who are sick. Justification is an act of grace which looks out for a sinner upon whom to exercise itself. May the eyes of grace find thee out this morning, poor transgressor, and make thee just.
In the next place, justification is the result of sovereign grace, and of sovereign grace alone. We are told that “by the works of the law shall no flesh living be justified.” And yet again, “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” I cannot earn justification. Nothing which I can ever do can merit justification at the hands of God. have so offended that all which is due to me is God’s wrath and that for ever. If I shall ever be accounted just it must be because God wills to make me just; it must be, because out of his divine compassion, and for no other reason whatever, he looks upon me in my sin and misery, lifts me up from the dunghill of my rain, and determines to wrap me about with the royal apparel of a righteousness which he has prepared. There is no justification then, as an act of merit; the day for that was past when Adam fell, and when we fell in him. Justification now comes as a priceless boon from the liberal hand of God’s grace.
Justification has for its matter and means the righteousness of Jesus Christ, set forth in his vicarious obedience, both in life and death. Certain modem heretics, who ought to have known better, have denied this, and there were some in older times who, by reason of ignorance, said that there was no such thing as the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. He who denies this, perhaps unconsciously, cuts at the root of the gospel system. I believe that this doctrine is involved in the whole system of substitution and satisfaction; and we all know that substitution and a vicarious sacrifice are the very marrow of the gospel of Christ. The law, like the God from whom it came, is absolutely immutable, and can be satisfied by nothing else than a complete and perfect righteousness, at once suffering the penalty for guilt incurred already, and working out obedience to the precept which still binds those upon whom penalty has passed. This was rendered by the Lord Jesus as the representative of his chosen, and is the sole legal ground for the justification of the elect. As for me, I can never doubt that Christ’s righteousness is mine, when I find that Christ himself and all that he has belongs to me; if I find that he gives me everything, surely he gives me his righteousness among the rest. And what am I to do with that if not to wear it? Am I to lay it by in a wardrobe and not put it on? Well, sirs, let others wear what they will; my soul rejoices in the royal apparel. For me, the term “the Lord our righteousness” is significant and has a weight of meaning. Jesus Christ shall be my righteousness so long as I read the language of the apostle, “he is made of God unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” My dear brethren, do not doubt the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, whatever cavillers may say. Remember that you must have a righteousness. It is this which the law requires. I do not read that the law made with our first parents required suffering; it did demand it as a penalty after its breach; but the righteousness of the law required not suffering, but obedience. Suffering would not release us from the duty of obeying. Lost souls in hell are still under the law, and their woes and pangs if completely endured would never justify them. Obedience, and obedience alone, can justify, and where can we have it but in Jesus our Substitute? Christ comes to magnify the law: how does he do it but by obedience? If I am to enter into life by the keeping of the commandments, as the Lord tells me in the nineteenth chapter of Matthew, and the seventeenth verse, how can I except by Christ having kept them? and how can he have kept the law except by obedience to its commands? The promises in the Word of God are not made to suffering; they are made to obedience: consequently Christ’s sufferings, though they may remove the penalty, do not alone make me the inheritor of the promise. “If thou wilt enter into life,” said Christ, “keep the commandments.” It is only Christ’s keeping the commandments that entitles me to enter life. “The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” I do not enter into life by virtue of his sufferings— those deliver me from death, those purge me from filthiness, but, entering the enjoyments of the life eternal must be the result of obedience; and as it cannot be the result of mine, it is the result of his which is imputed to me. We find the apostle Paul putting Christ’s obedience in contrast to the disobedience of Adam: “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Now this is not Christ’s death merely, but Christ’s active obedience, which is here meant, and it is by this that we are made righteous. Beloved, you need not sing with stammering tongues that blessed verse of our hymn,
“Jesus, thy perfect righteousness,
My beauty is, my glorious dress.”
For despite all the outcry of modern times against that doctrine, it is written in heaven and is a sure and precious truth to be received by all the faithful, that we are justified by faith through the righteousness of Christ Jesus imputed to us. See what Christ has done in his living and in his dying, his acts becoming our acts and his righteousness being imputed to us, so that we are rewarded as if we were righteous, while he was punished as though he had been guilty.
This justification then comes to sinners as an act of pure grace, the foundation of it being Christ’s righteousness. The practical way of its application is by faith. The sinner believeth God, and believeth that Christ is sent of God, and takes Christ Jesus to be his only confidence and trust, and by that act he becomes a justified soul. It is not by repenting that we are justified, but by believing; it is not by deep experience of the guilt of sin; it is not by bitter pangs and throes under the temptations of Satan; it is not by mortification of the body, nor by the renunciation of self; all these are good, but the act which justifieth is a look at Christ. We, having nothing, being nothing, boasting of nothing, but being utterly emptied, do look to him whose wounds stream with the life-giving blood, and as we look to him, we live and are justified by his life. There is life in a look at the crucified One, and life in the sense of justification. He who a minute before was in himself a condemned criminal fit only to be taken to the place from whence he came, and to suffer divine wrath, is at once, by an act of faith made an heir of God, joint heir with Jesus Christ, taken from the place of condemnation and put into the place of acceptance, so that now he dreads no more the. wrath of God; the curse of God cannot touch him, for Christ was made a curse for him, as it is written, “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
Now concerning this great mercy of justification let us say that it is instantaneous. Sanctification needs a whole life, justification is the work of a second, perhaps it needs no appreciable time. The sinner looks to Christ, it is all done, his sin is gone in a moment. The righteousness of Christ is, as in an instant, imputed to the believing sinner. Sanctification, moreover, progresses or declines; it is a thing of changes; the work of the Holy Spirit sometimes ripens swiftly, and at other times, by reason of temptation or trial within, it is but slow in its advance; but justification is complete in a moment. The dying thief was as clean one moment after he had trusted in Christ as he was when he was with Christ in Paradise. Justification in heaven is not more complete than it is on earth. Nay, listen to me, child of God. When thy soul seems to be a very pandemonium through the blasphemies of Satan, when thy doubts and fears leap upon thee like so many lions, when thy sins prevail against thee so that thou canst not look up, yet, if thou be a believer thou art even then, in thy worst moments, as completely and perfectly justified as in those happy days when on Tabor’s summit thou wert apt to say, “Let us build three tabernacles, and here abide.” Justification never alters in a child of God. God pronounces him guiltless, and guiltless he is. Jehovah justifies him, and neither his holiness can improve his righteousness, nor his sins diminish it. He stands in Christ Jesus, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, as accepted one moment as at another moment, as sure of eternal life at one instant as at another. Oh, how blessed is this truth: justified in a moment, and justified completely!
And observe, my dear brethren, that he who is thus justified is justified infallibly. There is no mistake concerning the transaction. “It is God that justifieth;” where, then, can there be a mistake? If I justify myself, I am a fool, and I make God a liar; but if God justifies me, who is he that condemneth? I, a poor sinner, black as night, fly to the shelter of the great shield stained with blood which God holds over my head, and there I stand at all times; and though I know that every lightning of justice might well dart its force upon me, as I am in myself, yet as I see my shield, the Lord’s Anointed, I am not afraid; but, standing under that shield, I defy heaven, and earth, and hell; crying in the language of Paul, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?” There is a prisoner at the bar, and the jury have just brought in a verdict of “Not guilty.” The judge bids him go free. There are people in the court who gnash their teeth at him; there are persons in the street who hate him; what cares he? “I have been pronounced ‘not guilty;’ by the proper tribunal; the Judge himself tells me that I am acquitted; not a law-officer can touch me; not the fiercest enemy in the world can drag me into court again; I have been tried, and found ‘not guilty;’ and who is he that condemneth?” It is just so with the Christian. Christ’s righteousness is put upon him, Christ takes his sins, and when he stands before God’s bar, the eternal voice seems to say, “I see no sin in that man.” How can he? All that man’s sins Christ took away. The eternal voice sounds forth again, “I can see righteousness there;” and well it may see it, for Christ’s righteousness is there, and therefore the man is infallibly, upon grounds of justice which are not disputable; infallibly, upon grounds which he himself may realize as being certain, justified through Christ Jesus.
Do remember, dear brethren, and I will not occupy you much longer over a theme where we might be tempted to stay, that this justification is irreversible. Once justified you shall never be condemned. Jehovah never plays fast and loose with men. He does not look upon a sinner and say, “I forgive thee,” and then afterwards say, “Depart ye cursed.” Arminians may think so, but the God of believers will not do so. The God of Christians says, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Having taken the prodigal into the house and put the ring on his finger and the shoes on his feet, he never turns that prodigal out of doors. Being married to his people he never sues out a divorce, for the Lord the God of Israel saith he hateth putting away. "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thine iniquities for my name’s sake, and will not remember them against thee any more for ever.” “I have cast thine iniquities into the depths of the sea.” Pardon and justification are irreversible, and consequently the blessings which justification brings to us, belong to us by an entail that can never be broken for ever and ever. If I am justified, then I have peace with God, and that peace shall be like a river, never dried up, because my righteousness is like the waves of the sea, never exhausted. If I am justified I can claim Jehovah’s protection; and I shall have it, for he will not suffer the just man to perish. If I am justified I may come before God and ask for heaven as my right, as a reward of righteousness imputed to me, and I shall have it, for he will never deny to a justified person the fulness of joy which is at his right hand for evermore. Oh, what a blessing to be justified!
Once more, before I leave this point, I must ask you to be kind enough to question yourselves as to whether you have been justified. “Well,” says one, “perhaps I have been, and do not know it.” My dear friend, I do not think so. The work of justification is generally attended with such a flood of joy, that I think you must know it. Bunyan’s pilgrim did not lose the burden off his back, and not know it; but as soon as it was gone, he gave three great leaps for joy, and went on his way singing. You may have doubts about whether you are justified; I hope you will not be easy under them, but will seek after an assured interest in Christ. My dear brother, if thou hast any doubt, go to Christ again. If thou art not justified, go to him to be justified; just as you are, with nothing but the plea of his blood in your mouth, go to him, for he casts out none that come unto God by him. Do still know that the act of faith justifies, and be not thou afraid to exercise that act of faith, notwithstanding all thy shortcomings and thy sins. “Hear me, Jesus! If I never was a saint, I am a sinner, and thou didst come to save sinners, and I cast myself on thee. Thy promise is, that thou wilt cast out none that come. Oh, cast me not out; even me do thou receive and accept for thy love's sake.”
II. Thus much upon justification. And now a little upon GLORY.
How that golden word has been debased in the coinage of human speech. It has come to mean the glitter of war’s helmet, and the noise of the crowd's hurrahs. Smollet called it “the fair child of peril.” Johnson wrote—
“Glory, the casual gift of thoughtless crowds,
Glory, the bride of avaricious virtue!”
It is a far other and higher glory of which we speak to-day. As high as the heaven is above the earth is God’s glory from all the poor stuff which mortals dignify with that fair name.
“Whom he justified, them he also glorified.” They follow close together you see. A little stream divides them, but the apostle says nothing about it, and you and I need not say much. It is a narrow stream called Death: there is no glory without passing through that, or through the great change when the Lord comes; but there is nothing said about it, and so we will not say anything. It is not worth thinking of, it is swallowed up in victory. It may be an enemy, but it is an enemy that is to be destroyed. Now, while speaking of glory, I think I must divide the glory which God gives to the justified into three parts. There is, first of all, the glory which disembodied spirits are enjoying even now; there is, secondly, the resurrection glory, which they will enjoy when the soul and body shall be re-united, and when, through the millennium, they shall be “for ever with the Lord;” and, then there is “ the eternal weight of glory,” which is to be revealed both in body and soul, in the never-ending state of bliss which God has prepared for his people.
Let us raise our thoughts a little while to the state of disembodied spirits. The moment that the soul leaves the body, the believing soul, the justified soul is in glory. We know that there is no preparatory process for it to pass through. Romanism holds that some of the best saints go to heaven when they die; but that the great mass of inferior saints are not qualified for heaven and must undergo a purgation for a series of years till they are prepared to enter glory; that the saints who died under the Old Testament, or at least the most of them, went to the limbus patrum, which some wicked Protestants call limbo, where they remained without the beatific vision until the Lord Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison, and led them up afterwards to heaven with him. As for the grossly wicked who have by mortal sin lost the grace of baptism, they go to hell at once; but the better sort of partially sanctified Christians must suffer more or less intensely till their sins are atoned for, and purged away. It was well said by Hugh Latimer, that the key of purgatory hangs in the pope’s larder, for, said he, it had helped to keep it pretty full, and I have no doubt it has. It has been a very profitable invention; more money has been paid, I suppose, for getting souls out of purgatory than people have been tempted to pay in order to keep them out of hell. However, we are not deceived in this matter, let the Council of Trent say what it may. The case of the dying thief is to the point. He was no eminent saint. He had not for many years performed works of supererogation by which he reached perfection, and could claim that the gates should be opened to him. He was a sinner up to the very last moment, and the only good deed that we ever read of his doing, was, when he claimed Christ as Lord, and rebuked his fellow-thief for slandering the Saviour. Yet, hear the words: — “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Nor is this the only instance. We find, when Lazarus died, according to the parable, that he was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom, a place of unspeakable rest and delight which the rich man greatly envied. Stephen expected the Lord Jesus to receive his spirit, and the apostle Paul was in a strait betwixt two, being willing “to depart and to be with Christ.” He evidently did not anticipate any delay between earth and heaven, for he says, “knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.” He puts the two as an alternative. We are not in trouble about them that sleep; we know that they sleep in Jesus, and that he will bring them with him. In Eph. iii. 15, the apostle mentions the whole family as being in heaven and earth, but he speaks of none of the Lord’s people being in limbo. Those whom we are bidden to follow, in Heb. vi.12, are now inheriting the promises. Let the voice of God decide the case for ever. Rev. xiv. 13. “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
Perhaps that word “Paradise” which Christ uses to describe the state of disembodied spirits may be a help to us in judging of the condition of the blessed. Paradise was a place of perfect peace, of sinlessness, of rest, of enjoyment, and freedom from evil. Eden! oh, how shall we talk of its glories long since faded? Let us, however, remember its winding walks among trees loaded with luscious fruits. Let us remember the glory of its rising and its setting sun; the immortality, the peace, the joy, the love, the brightness which our first parents enjoyed in their naked innocence.
That happy garden is a faint picture of the naked spirits, unclothed with bodies, who are now before the eternal throne; they have no pain, nor weariness, no evil, nor fear of death. They possess everything that can make them blessed, except the resurrection body.
“There fruits that never fade,
On trees immortal grow;
There, rocks, and hills, and floods, and vales,
With milk and honey flow.
Methinks, Dr. Watts was right when he said—
“There everlasting spring abides,
And never-withering flowers.”
They are in a blessed state of tranquillity and perfection; but the Saviour added, what was the beauty of all, “To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” The glory of paradise was, that God walked there in the cool of the evening with his creatures; and the glory of heaven is, that “they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light,” and the days of their mourning shall be ended. God wipes away all tears from their eyes, and the Lamb leads them to the living fountains of waters. God is with them to be their God, and they are with him to be his happy people at his right hand, where there are pleasures for evermore. This is the state of disembodied spirits now.
If I read the word aright, and it is honest to admit that there is much room for difference of opinion here, the day will come, when the Lord Jesus will descend from heaven with a shout, with the trump of the archangel and the voice of God. Some think that this descent of the Lord will be post-millennial— that is, after the thousand years of his reign. I cannot think so. I conceive that the advent will be pre-millennial; that he will come first; and then will come the millennium as the result of his personal reign upon earth. But whether or no, this much is the fact, that Christ will suddenly come, come to reign, and come to judge the earth in righteousness. Now, at that time those of us who are alive and remain, shall have no preference over them that sleep. It is true “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." Christ will bring with him those who sleep in him. They are now in that state which is called sleep; that is, a state of hallowed rest, tranquillity, and enjoyment: but they shall come with him. Lo, he comes with ten thousand times ten thousand of his saints. Then, from beds of dust and silent clay their bodies shall wake up; the very bodies that were put into the tomb shall rise instinct with life. I say the very bodies; and it is not necessary to that, that there should be the very same particles of matter. My body is the same body that it was ten years ago; yet I am told, and I believe it, that there is not a particle of matter in my body now that was in it ten years ago; and yet its identity is not disturbed thereby. Protect the germ, as God doubtless will, the life-germ of the seed corn which you sow in the earth— protect that, and you have protected identity; and though when we rise it will not be as flesh and blood, “ for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither can corruption inherit incorruption;” yet it shall be the same body, for all bodies are not the same bodies, for there are bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial; and the glory is not the same; for there is the glory of the sun, the glory of the moon, and of the stars. So I may have the same body, the same for identity, and yet as to its constituent elements, and especially as to its qualities of weakness, mortality and corruption, it may be as distinct and changed as light is distinct and changed from darkness.
Oh, my brethren, let this be an assured truth to us that we do not put the body into the grave to lose it. Watts is right when he says,
“Corruption, earth and worms
Do but refine this flesh.”
We put the body there as the chemist puts gold into the furnace; it shall come out the same as to its gold, but the dross shall be left behind. All that was precious in the fabric shall remain; that which was corruptible, defiled, sinful, shall have passed away.
According to our belief the soul will then return to the body. There will be a joyful meeting. Soul and body often quarrel here; but they are always loath to part, which proves how true is the wedlock between them: but what a happy meeting it will be, when there will be no more jars between this husband and wife, when the soul and body shall be merged together in the perfection of union. Then, whatever may be the splendour of Christ will be the splendour of his people. Our bodies shall be like unto his glorious body, and we ourselves shall be like him.
“It doth not yet appear
How great we must be made;
But when we see our Saviour here.
We shall be like our Head.”
Will he reign? We shall reign with him. Will he judge the earth? “Know ye not that ye shall judge angels.” “The saints shall judge the world.” Will he be ruler over cities? He will make us ruler over many cities. All the splendour and triumph, and victory and shouting, we shall have a share in; and when the grand Hallel! shall go up from earth, and land, and sea, and from the depths that are under the earth, our tongue shall swell the tremendous chorus, and our ear shall be a partaker of the ever-blessed harmony. Let us not fear. “Whom he justified, them he also glorified;” both in the sense of giving their disembodied spirits joy, and giving the soul and body power to reign with him.
Well, and what then? Then cometh the end; when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when the mediatorial dispensation shall be finished, what then? Will the earth be renovated and fitted up anew as a new heaven and a new earth? Will that new Jerusalem that is to come down at the coming of Christ, be the future abode of saints? We do not know, and we do not care one whit. This much we know, that we shall be for ever with the Lord. With Christ shall be the heaven of believers for ever, according to the Lord’s own prayer, “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory.”
If I might very hastily divide this glory into its constituent elements, I think I should say it means perfect rest. “There remaineth, therefore, a rest for the people of God;” life in its fullest sense; life with emphasis; eternal life; nearness to God; closeness to the Divine heart; a sense of his love shed abroad in all its fulness; likeness to Christ; fulness of communion with him; abundance of the Spirit of God, being filled with all the fulness of God; an excess of joy; a perpetual influx of delight; perfection of holiness; no stain nor thought of sin; perfect submission to the divine will; a delight and acquiescence in, and conformity to that will; absorption as it were into God, the creature still the creature, but filled with the Creator to the brim; serenity caused by a sense of safety; continuance of heavenly service; an intense satisfaction in serving God day and night; bliss in the society of perfect spirits and glorified angels; delight in the retrospect of the past, delight in the enjoyment of the present, and in the prospect of the future; something ever new and evermore the same; a delightful variety of satisfaction, and a heavenly sameness of delight; clear knowledge; absence of all clouds; ripeness of understanding; excellence of judgment; and, above all, an intense vigour of heart, and the whole of that heart set upon Him whom our eye shall see to be altogether lovely!
I have looked at the crests of a few of the waves as I see them breaking over the sea of immortality. I have tried to give you the names of a few of the peaks of the long alpine range of glory. But, ah! where are my words, and where are my thoughts? “Eye hath not seen, nor hath ear heard the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Our only satisfaction in thinking of it is, that “he hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.” May his Spirit dwell in you, and give you foretastes of the rest which remaineth; antepasts of the eternal banquet, where Christ will drink the wine new with us in his heavenly Father’s kingdom.
III. Briefly on the last point— THE BOND OF INTIMATE CONNECTION
BETWEEN JUSTIFICATION AND GLORY.
“Whom he justified, them he glorified.” Let me show you why it must be: in the first place, a justified person has in him the bud of glory. What is glory? It is a state of perfect peace: “Therefore, being justified, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” What is glory? It is a state of rest: “We, which have believed, do enter into rest.” What is glory? It is a state of safety. When sin is pardoned I am secure. I am safe— safe now, through being justified. What is heaven? It is a place of nearness to God; but he hath made us nigh by the blood of his Son having justified us. What is heaven? It is communion with Christ: But, beloved, we have already boldness and access with boldness unto our Lord Jesus, seeing he hath made us accepted in himself. If you will but look carefully into justification you may see heaven hidden within it. They tell us that inside the acorn there is the whole oak, with all its branches and roots. And, certainly, within justification, there is heaven, with all its light, and life, and love, and joy, perpetual serenity and security. If you are justified, my dear brother, you are already in a sense glorified. You notice how the text puts it. It does not say, “Whom he justified, them he will glorify,” but “them he also glorified,” as if the thing came at the same time. Certainly it does in embryo, in the germ, in the essence of the thing. He that is justified, is in a certain sense glorified, for “he hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” Even this day, the life that we live is “not I that live, but Christ that liveth in me.” Heaven is begun, glory is begun below.
Note again, justification is a claim to glorification. I speak with great reverence here, and caution, I hope; but it does not strike me that it could be consistent with the justice of God, to deny eternal glory to a justified person. Certainly, justification has its rights. I am now speaking forensically, using forensic or legal terms. Justification is a legal term, signifying that the person is right in the eye of the law. Now, he that is right in the eye of the law, has a claim to the protection and smile of the law; and if I have a righteousness to Which a promise is appended, I have a right to the promise appended to the righteousness which I possess. The promise is, “He that doeth these things, shall live by them;” and I claim to live by them; I claim to live by virtue of what Christ has done for me. I come before God with his Son’s righteousness in my hands; and I claim as a matter of justice to his own dear Son, that he should give to me what his Son has merited, because the merits of his dear Son have been by him willed over in his dying breath to me. Oh, Christian, God cannot condemn thee, unless he should cease to be just. He will not, for he cannot cease to be gracious.
Justification would Toe but a very sorry gift of God, if it did not involve glory. Oh, to be justified, and then cast into hell! Brethren, can you suppose such a thing? If you can so pervert your imaginations, and make your judgments play the acrobat as to conceive a justified soul damned, then I ask you what greater curse could the infernal fiend himself confer upon a mortal than this so-called justification. A spirit pronounced just, and then sent down to hell, accursed of God, accursed by the same lips that justified it, — blasphemous thought! To lie in those flames, and to remember that I once had the righteousness of Christ, that I once was washed in his precious blood— oh, impossible! It shall not, must not, cannot be, while the Deity is immutable, and while the strong hand of God will not suffer the
righteousness of Christ thus to be covered with disgrace. He did not begin to build, and then fail to finish. “Whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Where a man has done the greater, he does not fail to do the less. Now, it is a greater thing to justify a man than it is to glorify him. I mean this— that justification cost the Saviour’s life, and the Saviour’s death; but to glorify a man who is already justified costs God nothing. The expense is already laid out in the justification of the soul; and to take a man to heaven is only to take him to a prepared place, for which he is himself prepared. Shall he do the greater, and then neglect the less. “He that spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things.”
The only question is, am I justified? I would say in closing, do not let that be a question, dear hearer. But look thou to him who freely justifies every believing soul, and trust thyself now in his hand. May the Spirit of God bring thee graciously to do it, and thou shalt find it true, “Whom he justified, them he also glorified.”