Finally, the friendship of Christ is all-sufficient. He can do for us all we need, and no other friend can. The loving parent often yearns in vain toward his suffering child. The fond father would rescue his penitent son from the hands of civil justice, and the judge would fain spare the relenting criminal, but justice forbids.
And not unlike these are the feelings of God himself, when He is called, as the righteous Guardian of the universe, to execute justice upon the wicked. "How shall I give thee up?" He exclaims; "My repentings are kindled together" (Hos. 11:8).
It is, then, no irreverence and no limitation of divine power to say that, irrespective of Christ, God cannot in justice pardon and save the repenting sinner. But Christ, by His sufferings and death for us, has removed all obstacles to our forgiveness. The law is not in His way; justice is satisfied and even smiles upon Him, when He lifts the repenting sinner from the depths of his guilt, clothes him with His own righteousness, and puts the song of salvation on his joyful lips.
No other being in the universe can do this. Hence the Scriptures declare, "There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
And thus does Jesus Christ stand preeminently forth, among all on Earth and all in heaven, as the Friend we all need. To have the witness of the Spirit that Christ loves us and that we love Him, to realize the blessedness of the life that is hid with Christ in God, by the conscious "peace of God, which passeth all understanding" (Phil. 4:7) is the very richest of heaven's boons.
We make progress in the hidden life to the degree that we learn to live upon the friendship of Christ. We are encouraged to bring all our wants to Him and to expect sympathy and full supply from the fact that He has himself personally felt them.
Are we bereaved? So was He. Are we poor? So was He. Are our efforts to do good thwarted by the unbelief and opposition of men? So were His. Are we spoken against? So was He. Are we tempted by the adversary? So was He. Are we sometimes grieved by the unfaithfulness of professing Christians? So was He. His deepest wounds were inflicted in the house of His friends.
There is no trial to which He is a stranger, no sorrow He has not felt. We should then feel the assurance of His sympathy, succor and support at all times. To trust Him in prosperity requires only a little faith; it is walking mostly by sight.
But to rest finally in His friendship—to feel that He is all our salvation and all our desire, when all things seem to be against us—this is the faith that carried the martyrs to glory.
I would then earnestly invoke the reader to make it his first object to secure and to cultivate the friendship of Christ. Part with all for this, like the merchant "when he had found one pearl of great price" (Matt. 13:46).
Let there be no delay; do it now. What Christ demands of you as the terms of His friendship is that you trust in Him alone for salvation, renouncing every sin, and henceforth prize His friendship above everything else. This is reasonable and right, and it must be done, or you will perish in your sins.
If you will not accept Christ as the Friend you need to save and bless you, if you will not love and trust Him, I know not to whom you can go. Though an angel from heaven preach any other, let him be accursed.
There is no other; you need no other. Then concentrate at once on Him all your desires and expectations, all your faith and hope; and, from this time, let it be your highest aim to enjoy His friendship and promote His glory.
Hubbard Winslow, D.D.(1799-1864) was a Congregational minister and the author of several books. He served as pastor of the Bowdoin Street Church in Boston, Mass., from 1832-1844.
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