Horatius Bonar on Peace with God

How may I, a sinner, draw near to Him in whom there is no sin, and look upon His face in peace?

This is the great question which, at some time or other, every one of us has asked. This is one of the awful problems which man in all ages has been attempting to solve. There is no evading it: he must face it.

That man’s answers to this question should have been altogether wide of the mark, is only what might have been expected; for he does not really understand the import of the question which he, with much earnestness perhaps, is putting, nor discern the malignant character of that evil which he yet feels to be a barrier between him and God.

That man’s many elaborate solutions of the problem which has perplexed the race since evil entered should have been unsatisfactory, is not wonderful, seeing his ideas of human guilt are so superficial; his thoughts of himself so high; his views of God so low.

But that, when God has interposed, as an interpreter, to answer the question and to solve the problem, man should be so slow to accept the divine solution as given in the word of God, betrays an amount of unteachableness and self-will which is difficult to comprehend. The preference which man has always shown for his own theories upon this point is unaccountable, save upon the supposition that he has but a poor discernment of the evil forces with which he professes to battle; a faint knowledge of the spiritual havoc which has been wrought in himself; a very vague perception of what law and righteousness are; a sorrowful ignorance of that Divine Being with whom, as lawgiver and judge, he knows that he has to do; and a low appreciation of eternal holiness and truth.

Man has always treated sin as a misfortune, not a crime; as disease, not guilt; as a case for the physician, not for the judge. Herein lies the essential faultiness of all mere human religions or theologies. They fail to acknowledge the judicial aspect of the question, as that on which the real answer must hinge; and to recognize the guilt or criminality of the evil-doer as that which must first be dealt with before any real answer, or approximation to an answer, can be given.

God is a Father; but He is no less a Judge. Shall the Judge give way to the Father, or the Father give way to the Judge?

God loves the sinner; but He hates the sin. Shall He sink His love to the sinner in His hatred of the sin, or His hatred of the sin in His love to the sinner?

God has sworn that He has no pleasure in the death of a sinner (Ezekiel 33:11); yet He has also sworn that the soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezekiel 18:4). Which of the two oaths shall be kept? Shall the one give way to the other? Can both be kept inviolate? Can a contradiction, apparently so direct, be reconciled? Which is the more unchangeable and irreversible, the vow of pity or the oath of justice?

Law and love must be reconciled, else the great question as to a sinner’s intercourse with the Holy One must remain unanswered. The one cannot give way to the other. Both must stand, else the pillars of the universe will be shaken.

—Horatius Bonar
The Everlasting Righteousness

Imputed Righteousness Must Come First

Imputed righteousness must come first. You cannot have the righteousness within until you have the righteousness without; and to make your own righteousness the price which you give to God for that of His Son is to dishonour Christ and to deny His cross.

The Spirit’s work is not to make us holy, in order that we may be pardoned; but to show us the cross, where the pardon is to be found by the unholy; so that having found the pardon there, we may begin the life of holiness to which we are called.

—Horatius Bonar
How Shall I Go to God?

Via: Of First Importance

Come, Lord, and Tarry Not

Come, Lord, and tarry not;
Bring the long looked for day;
O why these years of waiting here,
These ages of decay?

Come, for Thy saints still wait;
Daily ascends their sigh;
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come”;
Does Thou not hear the cry?

O come and make all things new!
Come and make all things new!
Build up this ruined earth
Come and make all things new.

Come, for creation groans,
Impatient of Thy stay,
Worn out with these long years of ill,
These ages of delay.

Come, for love waxes cold,
Its steps are faint and slow;
Faith now is lost in unbelief,
Hope’s lamp burns dim and low.

Come and make all things new;
Build up this ruined earth;
Restore our faded Paradise,
Creation’s second birth.

Come, and begin Thy reign
Of everlasting peace;
Come, take the kingdom to Thyself,
Great King of Righteousness.

—Horatius Bonar

Via: Trevin Wax

God’s Way of Peace

It is not by incarnation but by blood shedding that we are saved. The Christ of God is no mere expounder of wisdom; no mere deliverer or gracious benefactor; and they who think they have told the whole gospel, when they have spoken of Jesus revealing the love of God, do greatly err. If Christ be not the Substitute, he is nothing to the sinner. If he did not die as the Sin-bearer, he has died in vain. Let us not be deceived on this point, nor misled by those who, when they announce Christ as the Deliverer, think they have preached the gospel. If I throw a rope to a drowning man, I am a deliverer. But is Christ no more than that? If I cast myself into the sea, and risk my life to save another, I am a deliverer. But is Christ no more? Did he but risk his life? The very essence of Christ’s deliverance is the substitution of Himself for us, his life for ours. He did not come to risk his life; he came to die! He did not redeem us by a little loss, a little sacrifice, a little labour, a little suffering, “He redeemed us to God by his blood;” “the precious blood of Christ.” He gave all he had, even his life, for us. This is the kind of deliverance that awakens the happy song, “To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”

The tendency of the world’s religion just now is, to reject the blood; and to glory in a gospel which needs no sacrifice, no “Lamb slain.” Thus, they go “in the way of Cain.” Cain refused the blood, and came to God without it. He would not own himself a sinner, condemned to die, and needing the death of another to save him. This was man’s open rejection of God’s own way of life.

—Horatius Bonar
God’s Way of Peace

I Lay My Sins on Jesus

I lay my sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God;
He bears them all, and frees us from the accursed load;
I bring my guilt to Jesus, to wash my crimson stains;
White in His blood most precious, till not a stain remains.

I lay my wants on Jesus; all fullness dwells in Him;
He heals all my diseases, He doth my soul redeem;
I lay my griefs on Jesus, my burdens and my cares;
He from them all releases, He all my sorrows shares.

I rest my soul on Jesus, this weary soul of mine;
His right hand me embraces, I on His breast recline.
I love the Name of Jesus, Immanuel, Christ, the Lord;
Like fragrance on the breezes, His Name abroad is poured.

I long to be like Jesus, strong, loving, lowly, mild;
I long to be like Jesus, the Father’s holy Child;
I long to be with Jesus, amid the heavenly throng,
To sing with saints His praises, to learn the angels’ song.

—Horatius Bonar

Via: Trevin Wax

Altogether Righteous

To be entitled to use another’s name, when my own name is worthless; to be allowed to wear another’s raiment, because my own is torn and filthy; to appear before God in another’s person – the person of the Beloved Son – this is the summit of all blessing.

The sin-bearer and I have exchanged names, robes, and persons! I am now represented by Him, my own personality having disappeared; He now appears in the presence of God for me. All that makes Him precious and dear to the Father has been transferred to me.

His excellency and glory are seen as if they were mine; and I receive the love, and the fellowship, and the glory, as if I had earned them all. So entirely one am I with the sin-bearer, that God treats me not merely as if I had not done the evil that I have done; but as if I had done all the good which I have not done, but which my substitute has done.

In one sense I am still the poor sinner, once under wrath; in another I am altogether righteous, and shall be so for ever, because of the Perfect One, in whose perfection I appear before God. Nor is this a false pretense or a hollow fiction, which carries no results or blessings with it.

It is an exchange which has been provided by the Judge, and sanctioned by law; an exchange of which any sinner upon earth may avail himself and be blest.

—Horatius Bonar
The Everlasting Righteousness

Via: Tolle Lege

I Hear the Words of Love

I hear the words of love,
I gaze upon the blood,
I see the mighty sacrifice,
And I have peace with God.

‘Tis everlasting peace,
Sure as Jehovah’s Name;
‘Tis stable as His steadfast throne,
For evermore the same.

The clouds may go and come,
And storms may sweep my sky;
This blood-sealed friendship changes not,
The cross is ever nigh.

I change — He changes not;
The Christ can never die;
His love, not mine, the resting-place;
His truth, not mine, the tie.

My love is oftimes low,
My joy still ebbs and flows;
But peace with Him remains the same,
No change Jehovah knows.

—Horatius Bonar

Via: A Puritan At Heart

Grace Infinite and Everlasting

We often feel as if grace had done its utmost when it has carried us safely through the desert, and set us down at the gate of the kingdom. We feel as if, when grace has landed us there, it has done all for us that we are to expect.

But God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. He does exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think. It is just when we reach the threshold of the prepared heavenly city, that grace meets us in new and more abundant measures, presenting us with the recompense of the reward.

The love that shall meet us then to bid us welcome to the many mansions, shall be love beyond what we were here able to comprehend; for then shall we fully realize, as if for the first time, the meaning of these words, ‘The love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord;’ and then shall we have that prayer of Christ fulfilled in us, ‘That the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.’

It was grace which on earth said to us, ‘Come unto Me, and I will give you rest;’ and it will be grace, in all its exceeding riches, that will hereafter say to us, ‘Come, you who are blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’

—Horatius Bonar
The God of Grace

Via: Of First Importance

Not Faith but Christ

Our justification is the direct result of our believing the gospel; our knowledge of our own justification comes from believing God’s promise of justification to every one who believes these glad tidings. For there is not only the divine testimony, but there is the promise annexed to it, assuring eternal life to every one who receives that testimony. There is first, then, a believed gospel, and then there is a believed promise. The latter is the “appropriation,” as it is called; which, after all, is nothing but the acceptance of the promise which is everywhere coupled with the gospel message. The believed gospel saves; but it is the believed promise that assures us of this salvation.

Faith is not Christ, nor the cross of Christ. Faith is not the blood, nor the sacrifice; it is not the altar, nor the laver, nor the mercy-seat, nor the incense. It does not work, but accepts a work done ages ago; it does not wash, but leads us to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. It does not create; it merely links us to that new thing which was created when the “everlasting righteousness” was brought in (Daniel 9:24).

Though faith is not “the righteousness,” it is the tie between it and us. It realizes our present standing before God in the excellency of His own Son; and it tells us that our eternal standing, in the ages to come, is in the same excellency, and depends on the perpetuity of that righteousness which can never change. For never shall we put off that Christ whom we put on when we believed (Romans 12:14; Galatians 3:27). This divine raiment is “to everlasting.” It waxes not old, it cannot be rent, and its beauty fadeth not away.

—Horatius Bonar
The Everlasting Righteousness, Chapter 7

The Everlasting Righteousness

If God is willing that Christ should represent us, who are we, that we should refuse to be represented by Him? If God is willing to deal with us on the footing of Christ’s obedience, and to reckon that obedience to us as if it had been our own, who are we, that we should reject such a method of blessing, and call it unjust and impossible?

—Horatius Bonar
The Everlasting Righteousness