I. The one and only thing in human life that God desires to end is Sin. There is not a pure joy or a sweet human relationship or a selfless ambition or a divine hope which He does not desire to continue and to be crowned and transfigured beyond all ambition and all hope. On the contrary, He desires only to end that one single thing which ruins relationships and spoils joy and poisons aspirations. For up to the present there is not one page of history which has not this blot upon it.
God has had to tolerate, for lack of better, such miserable specimens of humanity! Jacob have I loved! ... David a man after my heart; the one a poor, mean, calculating man, who had, however, that single glimmer of the supernatural which Esau, for all his genial sturdiness, was without; the other an adulterous murderer, who yet had grace enough for real contrition. Hitherto He has been content with so little. He has accepted vinegar for want of wine.
Next, God has had to tolerate, and indeed to sanction—such an unworthy worship of Himself—all the blood of the temple and the spilled entrails and the nameless horrors. And yet this was all to which men could rise; for without it, they never could have learned the more nameless horror of sin.
Last, for His worshippers He has had to content Himself with but one People instead of all peoples and nations and languages. And what a People,—whom even Moses could not bear for their treachery and instability! And all this wretched record ends in the Crime of Calvary, at which the very earth revolts and the sun grows dark with shame. Is it any wonder that Christ cried, Thank God that is all done with at last!
II. Instead of this miserable past, then, what is to come? What is that New Wine He would drink with us in His Father’s Kingdom? First; real and complete saints of God are to take the place of the fragmentary saints of the Old Dispensation, saints with heads of gold and feet of clay. Souls are to be born again in Baptism, not merely sealed by circumcision, and to be purified before they can contract any actual guilt of their own. And, of these, many shall keep their baptismal innocence and shall go, wearing that white robe, before God Who gave it them. Others again shall lose it, but regain it once more, and, through the power of the Precious Blood, shall rise to heights of which Jacob and David never even dreamed. To awake in His likeness was the highest ambition of the man after God’s Heart; but to be not merely like Christ, but one with Him, is the hope of the Christian. I live, the new saints shall say with truth, yet now not I, but Christ liveth in me.
Next, instead of the old worship of blood and pain there shall be an Unbloody Sacrifice and a Pure Offering in which shall be all the power and propitiation of Calvary without its pain, all the glory without the degradation. And last, in place of the old enclosed Race of Israel shall be a Church of all nations and tongues, one vast Society, with all walls thrown down and all divisions done away, one Jerusalem from above, that shall be the Mother of us all.