Don't imagine, however, that the judgement of God
falls a whit more leniently on the believer's sin than
on the unbeliever's. He has not two ways of dealing
judicially with sin, and He could no more pass by the
believer's sin without judging it, than He could pass
by the sins of a rejecter of His precious Son. But there
is this great difference between the two, namely, that
the believer's sins were all known to God, and all laid
upon His own provided Lamb when He hung upon the cross
at Calvary, and that there and then, once and for ever,
the great "criminal question" of his guilt
was raised and settled, judgment falling upon the blessed
Substitute in the believer's stead, "who His own
self bare our sins in His own body on the tree"
(1 Peter 2:24).
The Christ-rejecter must bear his own sins in his own
person in the lake of fire for ever. But, when a genuine
believer fails, the "criminal question" of
sin cannot be raised against him, the Judge Himself
having settled that once for all on the cross; but the
communion question is raised within him by the Holy
Ghost as often as he grieves the Spirit.
Allow me, in conclusion, to give you another illustration.
It is a beautiful moonlight night. The moon is at full,
and shining in more than ordinary silver brightness.
A man is gazing intently down a deep, still well, where
he sees the moon reflected, and thus remarks to a friendly
bystander, "How beautifully fair and round she
is tonight! How quietly and majestically she rides along!"
He has just finished speaking when suddenly his friend
drops a small pebble into the well, and he now exclaims,
"Why, the moon is all broken to pieces, and the
fragments are shaken together in the greatest disorder!"
"What gross absurdity!" is the astonished
rejoinder of his companion. "Look up, man! The
moon hasn't changed one jot or tittle. It is the condition
of the well that reflects the moon that has changed."
Apply the simple figure yourself. Your heart is the
well. When there is no allowance of evil the blessed
Spirit of God takes of the glories and preciousness
of Christ, and reveals them to you for your comfort
and joy. But the moment a wrong motive is cherished
in the heart, or an idle word escapes the lips unjudged,
the Holy Ghost begins to disturb the well, your happy
experiences are smashed to pieces, and you are all restless
and disturbed within, until in brokenness of spirit
before God you confess your sin (the disturbing thing)
and thus get restored once more to the calm, sweet joy
But when your heart is thus all unrest, need I ask,
Has Christ's work changed? No, no. Then your salvation
is not altered. Has God's Word changed? Surely not.
Then the certainty of your salvation has received no
shock. Then, what has changed? Why, the action of the
Holy Ghost in you has changed, and instead of taking
of the glories of Christ, and filling your heart with
the sense of His worthiness, He is grieved at having
to turn aside from this delightful office to fill you
with the sense of your sin and unworthiness. He takes
from you your present comfort and joy until you judge
and resist the evil thing that He judges and resists.
When this is done communion with God is again restored.
The Lord make us to be increasingly jealous over ourselves
lest we grieve "the Holy Spirit of God, whereby
ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Ephesians
4:30). However weak your faith may