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earnestly, as the repetition of the word, Lord, Lord, denotes. And they hope through Christ, and for His sake, to enter into the kingdom of heaWe all of us make this profession of being Christians. As such we profess that we believe our Lord Jesus Christ to be Emmanuel, God with us, God manifest in the flesh;75 "who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven," and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, that He might be qualified to effect the work of our redemption. We pray to Him, "Christ, have mercy upon us. O God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy upon us, miserable sinners. Spare us, good Lord. Good Lord, deliver us. We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord." We confess that in consequence of our sinful nature, and our sinful lives, we have forfeited the favour of God, and eternal blessedness; but we hope, notwithstanding, that, for the sake of the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, because of His obedience unto death, whereby He fulfilled all righteousness, and suffered the penalty due to our transgressions, we shall be admitted into the kingdom of heaven, and not be excluded from it. We all of us have a hope that we shall go to heaven when we die; whether this hope rest upon a right foundation or not. It is, however, of the
74 Matthew i. 23.
751 Timothy iii. 16.
utmost importance to every one of us, to ascertain that this hope be not a delusive one; as it is to be feared it will prove, alas, to many. For, if we enter not into the kingdom of heaven hereafter, good were it for us that we had never been born.76 Our Saviour teaches us that there will be persons who have made a Christian profession, who have called Him, Lord, Lord, who, nevertheless, will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. In the verse following the text, He adds, Many will say unto Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name have cast out devils, and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." Here we may observe the length to which these persons may have gone in their profession of attachment to Him. They may prophesy in His name, or preach to others of Him as the Saviour of sinners. They may be the means of the conversion of some from the error of their way,78 by the truth of the doctrine which they deliver. They may excite admiration by their apparent zeal and fervour in His cause. But after all, they have enjoyed no intercourse with Him, they have had no communion and fellowship with Him; they have not earnestly sought, nor been partakers of the
76 Mark xiv. 21. 77 Matthew vii. 22, 23. 78 James v. 20.
communications of His grace: all their profession, however flaming, is but an outward show. They have lived in sin, openly or secretly; they are workers of iniquity; and He, therefore, will not own them as His servants, nor admit them into the kingdom of heaven; but will banish them for ever from His blissful presence. The character of those who alone will be admitted into the mansions of bliss, is described in the text,
Secondly: He that calling Christ, Lord, Lord, also doeth the will of His Father, which is in heaven, is the person of whom our Lord Jesus Christ speaks, as alone obtaining an entrance into the abode of the blessed. We have a common saying, that actions speak louder than words; and this is peculiarly the case with regard to a profession of Christianity. There is nothing more easy, or less injurious to a man's character, at least in our free and happy country at the present day, than a wordy profession of religion. man may make as much noise as he pleases about his religion, at a very small sacrifice either of his feelings, of his reputation, or of his worldly advancement. But if a man really act up to his principles as a Christian, he is then sure to be exposed to reproach. For by his conduct he puts to shame the ungodly; and proves to their own consciences, that they have reason to dread the termination of the course which they are pursuing. The person
who is really in the way to heaven, looks up to the Lord God as his reconciled Father in Christ Jesus. It is only by faith in Christ Jesus that any of the children of men become the children of God. 79 We must receive Christ Jesus as the Saviour of sinners; must believe in His name; must put our trust in His atonement and His righteousness, for our pardon and acceptance with God, and our hope of eternal salvation, in order to partake of the blessings which He came into the world to bestow upon the sinful children of men. thus being accepted in the Beloved,80 we must walk humbly with our God, in communion and fellowship with Him, as children with our Father; setting our affection on things above, and not on things on the earth,81 using the means that are in our power in order to become acquainted with the will of God, which is revealed to us in His holy word; and praying for Divine grace, that the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit may be vouchsafed to us, in order that we may be enabled to do the will of our Father which is in heaven; that we may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God, living in obedience to His commandments, and avoiding every thing which He has forbidden, So the Psalmist prayed, Teach me to do Thy will, for Thou art my God. Thy Spirit is good: lead me
79 Galatians iii. 26. 80 Ephes. i. 6. 81 Colos. iii. 2. 82 Colos. iv. 12.
in the way of uprightness. Let us adopt his prayer, that we may obtain the blessing; and walking in the way of uprightness, the King's highway of holiness, may at length, when we are called out of this world, enter into the kingdom of heaven, and partake of the joy of our Lord.
It is the high privilege of those who call Christ, Lord, Lord, who pray to Him earnestly, and who live in subjection to His authority, and in obedience to His holy laws, who love Him and endeavour to keep His sayings, to look forward in hope to heavenly blessedness; yea, to rejoice in hope of the glory of God. It is no presumption for such persons to indulge this hope, or even to be assured that it will be realised; that when Christ, who is their life shall appear, then shall they also appear with Him in glory.85 Let us learn to anticipate this blessedness, not for our deserving, but for the worthiness of our most adorable Redeemer; unto whom His people will ascribe the whole glory of their salvation throughout eternity. And in hope of the glory to be revealed, let us press forward in the narrow way to the kingdom of heaven, worshipping God in the spirit, rejoicing in Christ Jesus, putting no confidence in the flesh, and walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.86
83 Psalm clxiii. 10. 84 Isaiah xxxv. 8. 85 Colos. iii. 4. 86 Luke i. 6.