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A Good Hope cannot be Confounded

Johann Gerhard

(Translated by Rev. C. W. Heisler, A.M.)

WHY art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou still doubting the mercy of God? Remember thy Creator. Who hath created thee without any concurrence of thine own will? Who was He that formed thy body in secret, when thy substance was curiously wrought in the lower parts of the earth (Ps. cxxxix. 15)? Will not He who cared for thee before thou hadst any being care for thee now, after He hath formed thee in His own image? I am a creature of God; to my Creator then do I betake myself. What if my nature is corrupted by the devil; and pierced and wounded by my sins, as by murderous robbers (Luke x. 30), yet my Creator still lives. He who could create me at first can now restore me. He who created me without sin, can now remove from me all the sin which has entered into me and has permeated my whole being, either through the temptation of the devil, through Adam's fault, or through my own actual transgression. My Creator can restore my soul, if only He is willing so to do; and certainly He is willing, for who can hate the work of his own hands? Are we not before Him as clay in the hands of the potter (Jer. xviii. 6)? But if He had hated me, certainly he would not have created me from nothing. He is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe (I Tim. iv. 10). It is wonderful that He created me, and still more wonderful that He redeemed me. Never did our Lord give a clearer proof of His great love for us than in His bitter passion and bleeding wounds on Calvary in our behalf. Truly are we loved, since for us and our salvation the only begotten Son is sent from the bosom of the Father. And if Thou didst not desire to save me, O Lord Jesus, why didst Thou descend from heaven? But Thou didst descend to the earth and didst become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil. ii. 8). To redeem a servant, God spared not His own Son (Rom. viii. 32). Truly hath God loved the world with an unspeakable love, since for its redemption He delivered up His own Son to be smitten, to be crucified, to be put to death.

Inexpressibly great was the price of our redemption (1 Peter i. 18); great and marvelous, then, is the mercy of God in our redemption. It would almost seem to one as if God loves His elect children as dearly as He loves His only-begotten Son; for what we obtain by purchase we certainly esteem of greater value than that which we give in exchange for it. And that He might have adopted sons, God did not spare His own co-essential Son. What marvel then, that He should have prepared mansions (John xiv. 2) in His heavenly home for us, since He has given His own Son, in whom is all the fullness of the Godhead (Col. ii. 9). Certainly where the fullness of the Godhead is, there is likewise the fullness of eternal life and glory. And if in Christ He hath given the fullness of eternal life, how will He deny us a little particle of it? Truly God has greatly loved us, His adopted sons, since for us He gave His only-begotten Son. Truly the Son has greatly loved us, since for us He gave Himself. To make us rich, He took upon Himself the direst poverty; for He had not where to lay His head (Matt. viii. 20). That He might make us the sons of god, He became a man; and the work of redemption being finished, He does not now neglect us, but sitting at the right hand of the Divine Majesty, He there maketh intercession for us (Rom. viii. 34). What that is necessary to my salvation will He not accomplish for me, since He hath devoted Himself to the work of my eternal salvation? What will the Father deny the Son, who became obedient to Him unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil. ii. 8)? What will the Father deny the Son, since He hath already accepted the ransom offered by the Son?

What if my sins accuse me; in this Intercessor do I trust; greater is He who is for me than my sins that are against me. What if my very weakness terrifies me; in His strength do I glory. What if Satan accuses me, if only this Mediator shall pardon me. What if the heavens and the earth accuse me, and mine iniquities declare my guilt; yet it is enough for me that the Creator of the heavens and of the earth and He who is righteousness itself pleads my cause for me. It suffices for me to acknowledge His merit, because mine will not suffice; and it is enough for me to have Him propitious to me, against whom alone I have sinned; whatever He shall not impute to me shall be as though it had never been. Nor does the fact that my sins are so grievous and so varied and so oft-repeated move me in this trust; for if I had not been burdened with sin, I should not so ardently desire His righteousness; if I were not sick, I would not call in the aid of the physician. He Himself is my Physician (Matt ix. 12), He Himself is my Saviour (Matt. i. 21), He Himself is my Righteousness (1 Cor. i. 30); He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. ii. 13). I am spiritually sick, I am condemned, I am a sinner, I cannot deny myself. Have mercy upon me, O Thou my blessed Physician, my Saviour, my Righteousness. Amen!

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