‘Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.’ Psalm 45:7–8
Suggested Further Reading: Zephaniah 3:11–17
As he sees us day by day more conformed to his image, he rejoices in us. Just as you see the sculptor with his chisel fetching out the statue which lies hidden in the block of marble, taking off a corner here, and a chip there, and a piece here—see how he smiles when he brings out the features of the form divine—so our Saviour, as he proceeds with his graving tool, working through the operation of the Spirit, and making us like unto himself, finds much delight in us. The painter makes rough drafts at first, and lays on the colours roughly; some do not understand what he is doing, and for three or four sittings the portrait is much unlike the man it aims at representing; but the painter can discern the features in the canvas; he sees it looming through that mist and haze of colour; he knows that beauty will yet beam forth from yonder daubs and blotches. So Jesus, though we are yet but mere outlines of his image, can discover his own perfection in us where no eye but his own, as the Mighty Artist, can perceive it. Dear friends, it is for this reason, because we are the work of his hands, that he takes delight in us. We are his brethren—and brothers should delight in brothers. We are his spouse—and where should the husband find his comfort but in his bride? We are his body—shall not the head be content with the members? We are one with him, vitally, personally, everlastingly one; and it is little marvel, therefore, if we have a mutual joy in each other, so that his garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces of his church, wherein he has been made glad.
For meditation: As yet we do not see The Lord Jesus Christ or what we will be as the finished product of his work for us and in us (1 John 3:2), but that fact should not lessen our joy (1 Peter 1:8). Our Saviour is totally satisfied with the fruit of his work for sinners (Isaiah 53:11).
Sermon no. 498
8 March (1863)