J. N. Darby.
Is there anything that marks the insensibility of souls more than the carelessness they evince about their state before God; or anything that shows how far they are from God, than the utter indifference they manifest to the things of heaven and Christ?
Adam gave up all that God was to him for the sake of eating a fruit: and this is what sinners are doing every day. They are giving up God for the things of the world continually. Any vanity or amusement has more power over them than all God's beseeching love - than all the grace of Christ! Like the young man with the great possessions, they go "away sorrowful" when they hear of the reality of their state; but still they go away. This brings out the utter ruin of your heart - that there is not one atom for God there!
The Holy Ghost is pleading with sinners, "Be ye reconciled to God," and sinners do not care. But when God is revealed to my soul, I discover that there is sin there, which must in itself shut me out from God for ever! But then I discover that sin is the very thing for which Jesus gave Himself - for which He bore the wrath and died, - thus accomplishing for me, and revealing to my heart, the unsought love of God! God has come in in mercy and dealt with the very sins and state which troubled me, in His own Son in righteousness, in order that He might be free to express His love - to deal with me in grace! He has dealt in holiness against my sin, and that before the day of judgment comes, so that I can say I "have peace with God"! Romans 5:1.
How dreadful, then, in the face of all this, to find a sinner going on with sin; with that for which Christ has been delivered - that which caused the death of the Son of God! Think of being the cause of Christ's death! and yet if I was, which is true, He died to put my sins away! Wonderful for a sinner to be able to say, "I believe that this blessed One did drink the cup of wrath and died; and that so surely as He drank it, He is at God's right hand, my Saviour!" This is what brings the heart back to confidence in God - the very thing that Adam lost. What He wants you, sinners, to believe is His love. Did He spare a poor apple from a tree for you? He spared not His Son! That Son gave Himself that you might be with Him for ever.
This perfect grace takes the guile out of the heart: there is no need for any concealment of your state - no need for guile. You can rest in Divine and perfect favour, and know God better than yourself; and the way you will know yourself best will be to look at God. Can you not then say, "I believe unfeignedly that He gave His Son for me; and I am at peace with God, and rejoicing in the hope of His glory"? Then you can boast in God - joy in Him through our Lord Jesus. This gives full Christian character!
Oh, what a God we have to do with! One who commends His own love to us as sinners - His unsought love - makes us feel we need that love, and that He desires we should enjoy it, and be at peace with God. One who sheds His love abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given to us. It is peaceful joy to the heart to think of what He is to us - poor, lost, self-ruined sinners - rising in the triumph of grace above our wretchedness. 'Tis thus the Holy Ghost ever reasons - downward from what God is in His goodness, to us who are in ourselves nothing but evil. Blessed for those who find in truth that the cross of Christ has answered every claim of God upon them, as it has also been answered to all His glory! Solemn the state of those who are satisfied to sit in darkness, and in the unbelief and insensibility of sin.
"We have known and believed the love that God hath to us" 1 John 4:16