"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." As our heavenly Father is perfect in his sphere, so also those for whom Christ died are to be perfect in their sphere. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We are to believe in salvation through Christ, and make manifest that faith in our life, not by our own strength, but by trusting in the strength and efficiency of Christ. "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began; but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
The Lord wills not the death of any sinner, but that all should come to repentance. His mercies are without number, and he will not leave those for whom he has given the ransom of his life to become the sport of Satan's temptations. All heaven is given to those who believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. No soul can more dishonor God than by professing to believe in Christ, and yet go in mourning and sorrow to present to the world the aspect of orphans. "The Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
The Lord does not leave his wounded and bruised sheep to the power of Satan to be torn to pieces. He is ever strengthening his own in their weakness. He delivers those who are tried and tempted from the power of Satan. The Lord never forsakes the soul that puts his trust in him. Those who claim to be the sons and daughters of God must trust always in Jesus. To do otherwise is to disown the fact that he loves us. When we go mourning and full of depression, covering ourselves with the garments of heaviness, we represent Christ to the world as a hard, tyrannical Master. But this is untrue. This is misrepresenting the One who gave his own life for us, that he might make it possible for us to believe in him, and trust in his interest and love for sinful man. "He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper." Speaking of his watchful care over us he says, "I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day."
What great injustice is done to the Saviour, who gave his life for us, when those who profess to believe in him walk in the shadow of darkness. Jesus has said, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." If you have been walking in darkness, you have been following another leader than Jesus, and it is time for you to turn about and follow Jesus, the Truth, the Life, the Way, and the Light of the world. Is the Lord pleased to have you tossed about as the restless waves of the sea?--No, no. I tell you he wants you to be strengthened, stablished, rooted and grounded in the truth, and built up in the most holy faith. You are not your own; you are bought with a price which cannot be estimated. You belong to God, the mighty God, bought with the price that was paid for you on Calvary's cross. Then when you keep yourself in a state of fluctuating fear and doubt, you grieve the heart of Christ, who has given you unmistakable evidence of his love, and of his desire to have you with him in his kingdom. He says, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
Do not lose sight of Jesus, and separate from his companionship, and keep company with the prince of darkness, entertaining his suggestions, and heeding his directions, and acting out his plans. Cling to him who has promised, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." That you should take up with Satan, the apostate and traitor, and do after his works, after you have a knowledge of Jesus Christ, is a mystery to the universe of heaven.
Let no Christian seek to excuse himself in sin on the ground that others who have claimed to follow Jesus have committed the same errors. Your sin is none the less heinous because others have been guilty, and your manifest duty is to confess your sin to Jesus Christ, your Intercessor. Take the weight of your woe to no human being. You have one Mediator, Jesus Christ, the righteous. In contrition of soul go to him and tell all your sins. The promise is sure, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." John says: "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." " That ye sin not "--here is where you bring yourself into condemnation when you continue to sin. But in the strength of Christ cease to sin. Every provision has been made that grace should abide with you, and that sin may appear to you the hateful thing it is. But if any man sin, he is not to give himself up to despair, and talk like a man who is lost to Christ. "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only; but also for the sins of the whole world."
The temptations of the enemy will come, but shall we give him the advantage to break down all the barriers, by yielding one iota from the strictest principles of integrity? If we yield in the least, he will follow one temptation with another, until we shall go directly contrary to the plainest statements of the word of God, and follow the mind and will of Satan. Satan and his confederacy of evil angels is ever on the alert to see by what means they may ensnare and ruin souls who have enlisted under the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel. You did run well for a season, you did taste and see that the Lord is good, but when you fell into sin you walked in darkness. When you yielded to temptation, you must have ceased to look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith. But, having confessed your sins, believe that the word of God cannot fail, but that he is faithful that hath promised. It is just as much your duty to believe that God will fulfill his word, and forgive your sins, as it is your duty to confess your sins. You must exercise faith in God as in one who will do exactly as he has promised to do in his word, and pardon all your transgressions.
How may we know that the Lord is indeed our sin-pardoning Redeemer, and prove what is the blessedness, the grace, the love there is in him for us? O, we must believe his word implicitly, with contrite and submissive spirit. There is no need to go mourning and ever repenting, and under a cloud of continual condemnation. Believe the word of God, keep looking unto Jesus, dwelling upon his virtues and mercies, and there will be created in the heart an utter abhorrence of that which is evil. You will be among those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. But the more closely we discern Jesus, the more clearly we shall see our own defects of character. As we see our failings, let us confess them to Jesus, and, with true contrition of soul, co-operate with the divine power of the Holy Spirit to overcome all evil. If we confess our sins, we must believe that they are pardoned, because the promise is positive: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Let us no more dishonor God by doubting his pardoning love.