Popham, Lostness, and Joy

Are you troubled by sin? Are you an empty creature, full of all manner of ill but empty of good? Are you without courage, even sometimes without courage to pray? Do you feel like a piece of hell? Do you feel wickedness rising and often prevailing? Do you feel that your own righteousnesses are as filthy rags? Do you feel it an awful solemn thing to have to do with God? Do you sometimes meditate upon what is before you, namely that you must stand before the judgment seat of Christ? Are you troubled about your own rags, about your failings and fallings into sin; and do you, realizing these things, feel sometimes full of distress, gloom, bondage, fear, feel tormented by the fear of death, fear coming short?…And now I will show this to you—this is God’s way of preparing you to have the joy of Christ fulfilled in you. This is God’s way, you cannot improve on His way. You cannot get better in yourselves, you cannot do better by yourselves. O but to be a poor, condemned, and as it were dead creature, ready to be swallowed up of hell! If you feel like that, well what is this but having a place in you for the joy of Christ? And how will it come? By the removal of your sins; by the sovereign power of the blood of Christ; by the sweet testimony of God the Holy Ghost. I do not set before you something for you to climb up to, but I speak of something that God the Holy Ghost can bring down to you. You cannot reach these things, He can bring them nigh. He can speak them home, He can make them your own. Yes, blessed by God! An empty vessel is the proper vessel for the fountain. A lost soul is a proper soul for a Savior, A sinner is suitable for a Savior. A guilty conscience is suitable for the blood of the everlasting covenant, and sovereign grace is suitable to one who feels as if sin must soon have the mastery. This is Christ’s joy, O what a joy it is to a sinner to believe and feel that he is redeemed. To believe that the work of grace is in him; to believe that he has a robe of righteousness imputed to him; to believe that God is his God, God and Father in Christ; and to that he has an interest in that message which Christ sent after His resurrection to his disciples, scattered for the moment; “Go, tell My disciples, I ascend unto My Father and your Father, to My God and your God”.

What a joy it was to Christ after His desertion by His Father, after the hours of darkness on the cross, to see once more that face that He had eternally looked on, to see that face in all its brightness, all its smiles, all its glory! And O my friends, this is just what awaits every new-born sinner! “God, who commanded the light to shine our to darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” There is no better heaven on earth than to see God’s well-pleased face. There is no sweeter heaven on earth than to know that that well-pleased God is your God and Father as He is the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.    J.K. Popham

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