I have much people in this city. — Acts 18:10
This should be a great encouragement to evangelize—since God has among the vilest of the vile, the most reprobate, the most debauched and drunken—an elect people who must be saved. When you take the Word to them, you do so because God has ordained you to be the messenger of life to their souls, and they must receive it—for so the decree of predestination runs. They are as much redeemed by Christ’s blood—as the saints before the eternal throne! They are Christ’s property—yet perhaps they are at present, lovers of the ale-house, and haters of holiness. But if Jesus Christ has purchased them—He will have them.
God is not unfaithful to forget the price which His Son has paid. He will not allow His substitutionary sacrifice to be in any case—an ineffectual, dead thing. Tens of thousands of redeemed ones are not regenerated yet but regenerated they must be! This is our comfort when we go forth to them with the quickening Word of God.
Nay, more, these ungodly ones are prayed for by Christ before the throne. “My prayer is not for them alone,” says the great Intercessor, “I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message.” Poor, ignorant souls—they do not pray for themselves but Jesus prays for them. Their names are on His breastplate, and before long they must bow their stubborn knee, breathing the penitential sigh before the throne of grace.
“The time for figs is not yet.” The predestined moment has not struck! But when it comes—they shall obey—for God will have His own redeemed people! They must obey—for the Spirit is not to be withstood when He comes forth with fullness of His saving power. They must become the willing servants of the living God. “My people shall be willing in the day of My power.” “He shall justify many.” “He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied.”
Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. — Rom 8:23
This groaning is universal among the saints and to a greater or lesser extent, we all feel it. It is not the groan of murmuring or complaint—it is rather the note of desire than of distress. Having received the firstfruits of the Spirit, we desire the whole of our portion. We are sighing that our entire manhood, in its trinity of spirit, soul, and body, may be set free from the last vestige of the fall. We long to put off corruption, weakness, and dishonor and to wrap ourselves in incorruption, in immortality, in glory, in the spiritual body which the Lord Jesus will bestow upon His people. We long for the manifestation of our adoption as the children of God.
“We groan,” but it is “inwardly.” It is not the hypocrite’s groan, by which he would make men believe that he is a saint because he is wretched. Our sighs are sacred things—too hallowed for us to tell abroad. We keep our groanings to our Lord alone.
Then the apostle says we are “waiting,” by which we learn that we are not to be petulant, like Jonah or Elijah, when they said, “Let me die”; nor are we to whimper and sigh for the end of life because we are tired of work, nor wish to escape from our present sufferings. We are to groan for glorification but we are to wait patiently for it, knowing that what the Lord appoints is best. Waiting implies being ready. We are to stand at the door expecting the Beloved to open it and take us away to Himself.
This “groaning” is a test. You may judge of a man by what he groans after. Some men groan after wealth—they worship Mammon. Some groan continually under the troubles of life—they are merely impatient. But the man who sighs after God, who is uneasy until he is made like Christ—that is the blessed man. May God help us to groan for the coming of the Lord, and the resurrection which He will bring to us
Morning and Evening - December 4
Public domain content taken from Morning and Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon.