ON WALKING WITH GOD
How lamentable the fact, that so few are to be found who are engaged in this high Christian privilege. We read that Enoch and Noah walked with God. It must be allowed that many do walk with God professionally; some from conviction that it is right and reasonable; they believe there is a God, that His word should be obeyed, but they know Him not in Christ; they are not united to Him; they have no access to HimÂ—have no desire to have fellowship with Him. Some from education and parental persuasion walk with God in His ordinances, appear outwardly amiable in temper and deportment, but are not created anew in Christ. Many out of form, and from a self-righteous spirit, hope to attain heaven and happiness after death, by their diligent observance of religious duties.
But the children of God do walk with God in reality. We connect the idea of walking with life; and we cannot walk with God unless we have life, spiritual life from Him, a union to Him: and but few pages of the sacred scripture can be turned over, but some form or figure is to be met with, that sets forth the connection between Christ and His Church. He a fulnessÂ—they empty vessels to receive Him; He a great High PriestÂ—His children always in circumstances that need His sympathy and help; He the Lord our righteousnessÂ— and they are naked; He the great and good PhysicianÂ—they the wounded; He the faithful FriendÂ—they the friendless; He the supplying head of lifeÂ—and they the dependent members; He the fountain of lightÂ—they dark chaos; He the all-sufficient GodÂ—and they the poor and needy.
To walk with God, there must be a knowledge of Christ in covenant. Mankind has sunk into the very dregs of darkness and ignorance, and all the law of learning helps them not to the knowledge of God in a saving way; a power all-divine is required to rend the veil that covers the minds of men; and this is the great work of God which is commenced at regeneration, and carried on by Him that began it. Such are brought blessedly to know that God is their God; that he has loved, chosen, and given them to Christ; that He is a God that pardons iniquity, transgression and sin. They are favoured with a knowledge of Christ as God over all, for ever blessed, as their alone SaviourÂ—as their only salvationÂ—as their Advocate on highÂ—as their law-fulfilling righteousnessÂ—and as their Fountain open for sin and uncleanness; and they walk with Him by faith, and He makes known Himself to them as He does not to the world. God the Holy Spirit is revealed to them as the Quickener and Comforter. Saints feel much deadness, darkness, and distress; and He kindly revives, and invigorates, by dropping as the dew upon their parched soul. He glorifies Jesus in His wonderful Person and work. He mercifully assists the soul to seek an interest in the dear Saviour; to run to Jesus for refuge; to take shelter under
His atoning sacrifice; to plead His precious blood for pardon; and carries on the ordained work of grace in the believer; and lodges him at last in glory, long ago prepared, among those he loved and worshipped with here below, and now no more to part.
They who walk with God will meet with much opposition; for they will oppose the course of this world in its fashions and friendships. They will have to maintain a war perpetually against all the sinful solicitations of the flesh; they will be decidedly hostile to the Prince of the power of the air, their former master; and their opposition will bring a sea of sorrow upon them; and they will have to bear a continual testimony against the formality of nominal Christians. And all who walk with God dare not say a confederacy with those who deny the divinity of Christ; who set up man’s righteousness for justification before God; who contend that every creature has a power to save himself; who deny the fundamental truths of God; who can indulge in sin, bend the knee to Baal, or question the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s grace in effectual calling.
All who walk with God must be reconciled to Him; the enmity of their hearts subdued; and in mercy it is done. Every gospel sermon is a proclamation of peace. The great Apostle of the Gentiles, Paul, had a most extensive view of the doctrine of human depravity, and painfully felt the causes and consequences of it, but was brought through grace to believe in Him who had removed both, whereby peace was made. In his sublime epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, he writes elaborately upon the law-enmity on the part of God and the heart-enmity on the part of man; and sweetly sets forth the great Daysman who laid His hands upon both, and brought about an everlasting reconciliation for the elect of God; and none can be at peace with heaven but those who live by faith upon the gracious Peacemaker, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has levelled the high partition wall, and blotted out the handwriting that stood against us.
Walking with God is a distinguishing mark of sonshipÂ—a seal of adoptionÂ—a proof of Jehovah’s favour; for none but those Christ shed His blood for will be indulged with this privilege. Such were Abraham and Hezekiah; they walked before the Lord, and with Him here, and are now with Him, and will be for ever. Children walk and dwell with their parents, have special claims upon them, and friend with friend; so with all related to God. There are special privileges enjoyed, peculiar honours conferred, distinguishing blessings bestowed, and they have food to eat the world knows not of: they wear robes and ornaments far more costly than gold can purchase, and have a merit in them, that they admit the wearer into the court of heaven above, to sit with the King upon His throne, and join in all the pure worship of that better world.
None but those who love God supremely can walk with Him, and because they are first loved by Him as the cause, they love Him as the effect. We love the company of those who esteem us, but saints love God for His rich mercy. His infinite wisdom. His boundless power and faithfulness. His goodness prepared for the poor; for the
invaluable blessings of the ancient covenant, secured by oath and promise; for a ransom price for the liberation of captives; for a meetness to enjoy all given grace; for the ministration of angels; for electing, undeserved love; for the many unexpected visits of mercy;
for the faithful footsteps of providence in leading to hear the glorious gospel, opening the heart to receive it, while many are left to oppose, to revile, and to reject it, to persecute its heralds, to slander those who love it, and to vent their enmity against the Author and object of it.
To walk with God in friendship we shall need the continual influence of the Holy Spirit to quicken, incline, and strengthen us in the way. We are like a garden, which often wants watering; and like little children, we shall require food continually. We are often shut up, and shall need enlargement. We are prone to wander like sheep, to wither like grass, and none but the Divine Comforter can restore and invigorate. He must unseal the book of God, and explain the heavenly mysteries; give an open ear to hear the Shepherd’s voice, and an open heart to receive Him and His love. The abandoned and backslider He only can reclaim, and lead to the cleansing blood of Him who prays for murdering men, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He converts incorrigible sinners, and alarms those who thought themselves safe while dreaming in danger. He never quits the heart where He once takes up His abode, nor lets go the brand that He has snatched from the burning, but will place it before the throne of God, to burn and blaze in bliss for ever. But it will be found impossible to travel in heaven’s highway without this constant Companion; and we are exhorted not to grieve this Sealer unto the day of redemption.
Those who walk with God cannot be satisfied without friendship with God. We read in the history of Abraham that God talked with him. And it is one of the high and happy privileges of the saints to hear the voice of God. “He will speak to His people,” says David. Sometimes He speaks terror by His law, and the blood of sprinkling speaks pardon and purity. Jacob could not be content until a blessing was spoken to his heart,Â—”I will not let Thee go, except thou bless me,” and Christ’s sheep hear Christ’s voice. He passes by and says, “Live!” and millions once dead in sin have heard Him say, “Arise, and follow Me!” and drowsy, sleepy saints He addresses with, “Awake, thou sleeper, arise and call upon thy God.” National judgements have a voice to warn man to seek a city more solid than earth can afford, and friendship more firm than can be found below. Death is continually sounding an alarm, “Depart, this is not your rest.” Worldly prosperity, how uncertain, and how loud the voice, “Happiness is not in me!” but the substantial foodÂ—wine that cheers the heart of God and manÂ—joys unmingled, and pleasures without pain. Here the spiritual senses are sweetly regaled;
beggars are dressed in the robes of God, and forget the trials of this lower land; they soar and sing of Him who ever loved them, and made choice of them as jewels to set in His diadem. He came from heaven to this wicked vale to raise them to a throne. He
calls them, walks with them, and talks with them, and is gathering them home in succession to be where He is to behold His glory for evermore. “To Him that hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion, for ever and ever. Amen.”
John Angell James