Freely He forgives you all your past sins, for the sake of that precious blood which was shed on the cross for the sins of the whole world. Freely He takes you back, as His child, to your Father’s house. Freely, He gives you His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Goodness, the Spirit of Life, to put into your mind good desires, and enable you to bring those desires to good effect, that you may live the eternal life of grace and goodness for ever, whether in earth or heaven.
Yes, it is the Gift of God, which raises you from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; and if you have that gift, you will not murmur, surely, though you have to bear, more or less, the just and natural consequences of your former sins; though you be, through your own guilt, a sadder man to your dying day. Be content. You are forgiven. You are cleansed from your sin; is not that mercy enough? Why are you to demand of God, that He should over and above cleanse you from the consequences of your sin? He may leave them there to trouble and sadden you, just because He loves you, and desires to chasten you, and keep you in mind of what you were, and what you would be again, at any moment, if His Spirit left you to yourself. You may have to enter into life halt and maimed: yet, be content; you have a thousand times more than you deserve, for at least you enter into Life.
Romans xiii. 12.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Certain commentators would tell us, that St. Paul wrote these words in the expectation that the end of the world, and the second coming of Christ, were very near. The night was far spent, and the day of the Lord at hand. Salvation—deliverance from the destruction impending on the world, was nearer than when his converts first believed. Shortly the Lord would appear in glory, and St. Paul and his converts would be caught up to meet Him in the air.
No doubt St. Paul’s words will bear this meaning. No doubt there are many passages in his writings which seem to imply that he thought the end of the world was near; and that Christ would reappear in glory, while he, Paul, was yet alive on the earth. And there are passages; too, which seem to imply that he afterwards altered that opinion, and, no longer expecting to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, desired to depart himself, and be with Christ, in the consciousness that ’He was ready to be offered up, and the time of his departure was at hand.’