Blessed In Him

February 7, 1886

"Men shall be blessed in him."—Psalm 72:17

I wish that I could speak at my very best concerning the glorious HIM who is mentioned in the text; but I have hardly got into full working order after my season of rest. One's voice becomes rusty, like an unused key, and one does not at first feel quite at ease in speaking after a time of comparative quietude. Do not, however, think that my subject is a poor one; if there are defects in my discourse, remember that it will only be the speaker who is poverty-stricken, not the great King and Lord of whom he is speaking. "Men shall be blessed in him." O sirs, if one had the tongues of men and of angels, and if one could only for once use that speech which it is not lawful for a man to utter,—those words which Paul tells us that he heard when he was caught up to the third heaven,—if we could even speak as never man yet spake, we could not fully set forth all the glories of him of whom this text speaks.

David's thoughts, doubtless, rested in part upon Solomon when he said, "Men shall be blessed in him;" and our Lord himself spoke of Solomon in all his glory; but what poor stuff is human glory at the very highest! The "Him" mentioned in the text, the higher and the greater Solomon who is truly meant in these words, has a real glory,—not of earthly pomp and fading tinsel, nor of gold and pearls and precious stones, but the more excellent glory of character and the true beauty of holiness. In him all divine excellences are blended. I cannot hope to set him forth as he deserves, I cannot tell you all his virtues and his glories; but, oh! he is very dear to many of us. His name is engraven on the fleshy tablets of our hearts, and when we lie upon our last bed, and all things else shall be forgotten in the decay of nature, we shall still remember that dear name which is above every name, the contemplation of our Savior's blessed person shall then absorb every faculty of our being. "Men shall be blessed in him," the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Son of man, the Savior, the Redeemer, the God over all blessed for ever, who is also bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.

As I should fail altogether to speak of him as he deserves, I will not attempt the impossible task; but will try to speak of men being blessed in him. That is a note a little lower; if we cannot reach the highest octave, we may attain to a lower one; yet, while we speak of the blessing that comes from him, let us still think of him from whom the blessing comes, and let us remember that, as all blessings come from him, it is because all blessings are laid up in him; because every conceivable good is stored up in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, "and of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace."

I. My first remark concerning the text is, that it makes mention of A SINGULAR CONDITION: "Men shall be blessed in him."

It is a singular condition to be blessed, for, by nature, men are not blessed. We are born under a curse. Our first father turned aside the blessing when he disobeyed God's command, and in the early dawn of the day of our race, he darkened our sky once for all. The curve still abides upon man, that in the sweat of his face he shall eat bread, and upon woman, that in sorrow she shall bring forth children. How much woe lies in the curse that falls upon us in consequence of our own personal sin!" Who slew all these"—these comforts and joys of life? Oftentimes, they have been slain by a man's own hands, through his own sin, or through the sins of those who surround him. The trail of the old serpent is everywhere. You cannot open your eyes without discovering that man is not blessed, but oftentimes abides under the curse. Put that truth down before you, and then read the text, "Men shall be blessed in him." Apart from him, they are accursed; they wring their hands, and wish they had never been born, and some sigh and sorrow almost without ceasing. Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward, and it is a singular thing that any man should be blessed, so singular, that no man ever is blessed until he comes to be connected with the Lord Jesus Christ: "Men shall be blessed in him."

Many people, who forget all about the curse, nevertheless acknowledge that they are unhappy. Go up and down amongst the whole race of men, and how few you will find really happy! I believe that none are truly happy until they are in Christ; but even if they were happy, that is not the word that is used in our text. It does not say, "Men shall be happy in him." It gives us a fuller, deeper, richer word than that: "Men shall be blessed in him." To be more happy, may be a thing of time and of this world only; I do not mean that the happiness may not be true and real, but still, compared with all that the word "blessed" implies, the word "happy" has no eternity, no depth, no fullness, no force in it. So that, even if men were happy, they would not come up to the fullness of the promise in our text. But, alas! the mass of men are unhappy—sighing for this, and mourning for that, never blessed, but only hoping to be so. The text, therefore, comes in with its sweet silvery ring, telling that men shall cease to be unhappy, and that they shall rise even above merely being happy, and they shall come to be "blessed in him."

I regret to say that there is a third class of people who, when they rise above the curse, and are not absolutely unhappy, yet nevertheless are in a state of doubt and hesitation. We could not positively say that they are cursed, for we hope that some part of the blessing has fallen upon them; we may not call them unhappy, yet we know that they are not eminently happy. They hope that they are saved, or they trust that they shall be safe at the last; but they are not sure that the blessings of salvation are theirs already. Our text does not say that, in Christ, this condition of luminous haze, if I may so call it,—this condition of doubt and uncertainty is all that is to be attained. No, but it says, "Men shall be blessed in him;" and no man can call himself truly blessed till he knows that he is blessed, till he is sure of it, till he has passed the period of dubious questioning, till he has come out of the miry and boggy country of hesitation and doubt, and stands upon the firm ground of full assurance, so that he can say, "I am God's child; the Father's love is fixed upon me; I have a part and portion in the covenant of grace; I am saved."

Now it is to that blessed condition that the text directs our thoughts; it promises that men shall be delivered from the curse, that they shall be uplifted from their natural unhappiness, that they shall be rescued from their doubtful or their hopeful questioning, and shall even come to be blessed. God shall pronounce them blessed. He shall set upon them the broad seal of divine approbation, and call them blessed; and with that seal there shall come streaming into their hearts the sweetness of intense delight, which shall give them experimentally a blessing to their own conscious enjoyment.

Let me tell you what Christ does for a man who is really in him, and then you will see how he is blessed.

The man who comes to Christ by faith, and truly trusts Christ, has all the past rectified. All his sins, whatever they may have been, are pardoned in a moment as soon as he believes in Jesus Christ the Son of God. His iniquities are blotted out, and are as if they had never been committed. As the cloud passes away, and is no more to be seen, so the thick clouds of our sins are dispersed by Christ as soon as we believe in him. Nor will they ever return to darken our sky. The forgiveness which God gives is not temporary, but eternal. Once pardoned, you are pardoned for ever; the act of divine amnesty and oblivion stands fast for ever and ever. Is not that man truly blessed, then, who is made free from sin? David says, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." This is the blessedness which Christ gives to those who are in him, that, as for the past, in its entirety, with all its blackness, with all its aggravated sin, he has taken it upon himself, and borne the penalty due on account of it, and he makes a clean sweep of it, and says of the man who trusts in him, "Thy sins, which are many, are all forgiven thee; go in peace." That is one part of the blessedness of those who are in Christ, the past is all forgiven.

At the same time, the man who is in Christ receives present favor. As soon as we truly believe in Jesus, there steals over our heart a delicious sense of rest, according to his gracious invitation and promise, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." And as we go on to serve the Lord, and take his yoke upon us, and learn of him, we find rest unto our souls, for his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. I believe that, oftentimes, a child of God, when he realizes his union to Christ, feels so blessed that he does not know of anything that could make him more blessed than he is. He says, "I am perfectly content with my Lord, and with what I am in him. With myself, I am always dissatisfied, and always groaning because I cannot entirely conquer sin; but with my Savior. I am always satisfied, I am triumphant in him, and rejoicing in him, indeed, blessed in him." Some of you know what a blessed thing it is to be a child of God, and an heir of heaven, how blessed it is to have the throne of grace where you can take your troubles, and to have a Helper who is strong enough to deliver you. I spoke, the other day, with a Christian friend, and I said to him, "My life sometimes seems to be like that of a man walking upon a tight rope. The walk of faith is very mysterious; one false step, or one slip and where should we be?" My friend replied, "Yes, it is so, no doubt; but then, underneath are the everlasting arms." Ah! that is a blessed addition to the figure; there is no slipping off the rope on which God calls us to walk; but if there were, underneath are the everlasting arms, and all is well; and the Christian, when he knows that, and lives as one should live who is in Christ, is even now a truly blessed man.

But that is not all, for he who believes in Christ has his future guaranteed. He does not know how long he shall live, and he does not want to know, for his Father knows. God knows all that you and I may wish to know; and as he knows it, it is better than our knowing it. Whether our life is long or short, he will be with us unto the end, and as our days our strength shall be. He will sanctify to us every trial we meet, and nothing shall by any means harm us. He will bring us safely to our journey's end, and we shall go through the cold death-stream without a fear; we shall rise triumphant on the shore of the hill-country on the other side, and we shall behold our Savior's face without a veil between for ever and for ever. All this is an absolute certainty if we are the children of God, for it is not possible that one of the divine family should perish, that one bought with the blood of Christ should ever be cast away. He will keep his own, and preserve them even to the end. Are they not blessed, then, and is not the text full of sweetness as to this singular condition, "Men shall be blessed in him"?

Where are you, ye blessed men and women? Where are you? Come and enjoy your blessedness; do not be ashamed to be happy. I do believe that some Christians are a little frightened at themselves when they find that they are full of joy; and if, perchance, they should ever break through the rules of decorum, and express their joy, then they turn crimson. It was not thus with the saints of old, for sometimes they spoke and sang so loudly of the joy of their hearts that even their adversaries said, "The Lord hath done great things for them," and they replied, "The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad," and again they lifted up their hallelujahs. Then were their mouths filled with laughter, and their tongues with singing. So let it be with you, for you are indeed a blessed people if you are in Christ.

II. Having thus dwelt upon this singular condition, I now give you another key-word. The text says, "Men shall be blessed in him." This is A WIDE STATEMENT.

Oftentimes, the greatest truths lie in the shortest sentences. There is a great mass of truth within the compass of these few words: "Men shall be blessed in him." There are only six words here, but to make the wide statement true requires breadth of number. You could not well say, "Men shall be blessed in him," if those to be blessed were a very few. It is not possible that the election of grace should consist of a few scores of persons making up a specially favored denomination; else the psalmist would not speak after this wide fashion, "Men shall be blessed in him." The Holy Ghost is not given to exaggeration, and he would have put it, "A few men will be blessed in him." But here there is nothing of the kind; it is "Men shall be blessed in him," meaning the great mass of the human race, vast multitudes of the sons of Adam. I do believe that, when this dispensation comes to an end, notwithstanding all the dreary centuries that have passed, Christ shall have the pre-eminence as to numbers as well as in every other respect, and that the multitudes who shall be saved by him shall far transcend those who have rejected his mercy. The text says, "Men shall be blessed in him," that is to say, the most of men, innumerable myriads of men shall get the blessing that Jesus purchased by his death on the cross.

But when the text says, "Men shall be blessed in him," it implies great width of variety. "Men"—not merely kings or noblemen, but "Men shall be blessed in him." Men,—not working men, or thinking men, or fighting men, or this sort of men, or the other sort of men, but men of all sorts,—"Men shall be blessed in him." It is a delightful thought that Christ is as much fitted to one rank and one class of persons as to another.

"While grace is offered to the prince,
The poor may take their share;
No mortal has a just pretense,
To perish in despair."

Christ is the Christ of the multitude. His Father says of him, "I have exalted One chosen out of the people;" but he is equally the Christ of the most refined and eclectic. He comes with equal grace to those who stand in the highest or the lowest earthly position. "Men shall be blessed in him." Of course, the word "men" includes women and children, it means the human race. "Men shall be blessed in him." Do not, therefore, let anyone say, "I am a strange, odd person;" for the text puts in this little-big word, "men," which takes you in, whoever you may be. If you come to Christ, you are included in this promise, "Men shall be blessed in him." So that there is a width of variety implied here.

Our text also indicates length of period: "Men shall be blessed in him." Men have been blessed in him; these many centuries, Christ has shone with all the radiance of omnipotent love upon this poor fallen world, but his light is as full as ever; and, however long this dispensation shall last, "Men shall be blessed in him." Though some of those men are, perhaps, grey with years and decrepit through age, yet still the promise stands, "Men shall be blessed in him;" and while that verse has the word "shall" in it, why should not the greyest head receive the divine blessing? Why should not a man who is on the borders of the grave yet lay hold of this blessed text, and say, "I will trust him in whom men shall be blessed"?

Further, the text suggests fullness of sufficiency concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a wonderful depth of meaning in this passage when it says, "Men shall be blessed in him." "Oh!" says one, "Men shall he blessed by philosophy, or by Christ and philosophy "Not at all; it is, "Men shall be blessed in him." "But they shall be blessed in him through trade and commerce and the like." Not so; "Men shall be blessed in him." Have not we, who are half a century old, heard a great number of theories about how the millennium is to be brought about? I remember that, at one time, free trade was to bring it, but it did not; and nothing will ever make men blessed unless they get into Christ: "Men shall be blessed in him." The quacks are crying up this remedy and that, nostrums old and new; but there is only one true Physician of souls. It is the Christ of God who alone has the balm that will cure the disease of sin. When he is received, the world shall be blessed; but as long as he is rejected, the curse will still remain upon the sons of men. "Men shall be blessed in him." Oh, that our fellow-men would receive him! Oh, that they would bow down before the Crucified, and own him as their Lord and Savior Oh, that all would look up to his wounds, still visible in his glory, and put their trust in him! Then should come that glorious time when wars shall cease to the ends of the earth, and every evil shall be put away. His unsuffering kingdom must yet come. Oh, that it might come speedily! But it can only come through himself, not by any other means. "Men shall be blessed in him," and anything short of trusting in him will end in eternal failure.

You have noted, dear friends, these two things, the singular condition, and the wide statement.

III. Now I want to dwell for a minute or two, for the exaltation of our Lord, upon THE FULL ASSURANCE which is expressed in this text: "Men shall be blessed in him."

The prophet speaks here, my brethren, in a very positive manner; there is no quiver in his voice, there is no hesitancy about his speech. I am afraid that, at the present moment, there are some even of godly men who tremble for the ark of the Lord; and the hand of Uzzah is visible here and there. But the ark of the covenant of the Lord needs no steadying hand from you or from me; the cause of God is always safe in his own keeping. The cause of truth is always secure, for God preserveth it. Let us not be afraid, neither let us be discouraged. It is a grand thing to get a sentence like this with a "shall" in it: "Men shall be blessed in him. "It is not," "perhaps they may be," but "Men shall be blessed in him." Not, "perchance they may be blessed under certain conditions;" but, "Men shall be blessed in him."

This means, in the first place, they shall not try him and fail. There never was a man, who came to Christ, who failed to get a blessing from him. There never was one who believed in Jesus, and yielded himself up to the gracious sway of the Prince of Love, who did not get a blessing from him. I have never met with a Christian yet who, in life or in death, has said, "I have been disappointed in Christ. He has deceived me. I sought and hoped for blessedness, but I have missed it." Never can this be said truly. "Men shall be blessed in him." If they do really come to him, they shall not miss this blessedness.

Nay, I go further, and say that they shall not desire him, and be denied. There was never a soul that desired to be blessed in Christ, and was willing to yield itself up to Christ, that Christ did ever reject. There is no one in hell who can truthfully say, "I came to Jesus, and he spurned me;" and there never shall be one such, for it is written, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." The foot that was nailed to the cross never spurned a sinner yet. The hand that was pierced never pushed away a penitent. Christ is all invitation, there is no rejection about him, he constantly bids sinners come unto him, and this text is true for you, whoever you may be, "Men shall be blessed in him."

I am glad to go as far as that, and to say that none who ever came to Christ failed to get a blessing from him, and that none who desire to come to him have ever been denied by him; but I am going still further. "Men shall be blessed in him," that is to say, they shall come to Christ, and get the blessing. Some, alas! will not come to him; but, O sirs, if any of you refuse to come, do not make any mistake about the matter! You think that, by refusing his invitation, you will thwart Christ, and defeat the purposes of God; by no manner of means. The King's wedding feast shall be furnished with guests; and if you who are bidden will not come, there are others who will; he will send his servants out into the highways and hedges, to compel others to come in, that his house may be filled. Do not imagine that the result of the death of Christ depends upon you, and that it is in your power to prevent the accomplishment of the almighty purposes of the Savior's love. Nay, nay; "He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied." If ye believe not, I must say to you what Christ said to the Jews, "Ye believe not, because ye are not of his sheep." His sheep hear his voice, and he knows them, and they follow him, and he gives unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish. "All that the Father giveth me," saith he, "shall come to me." Not one of those whom God has given to his Son shall be left to perish; they shall all come to him, and so the text shall be fulfilled, "Men shall be blessed in him." Do not imagine that when Jesus hung there on yonder bloody tree, and groaned away his life for men, he was dying at a peradventure. There was at the back of him the eternal purpose and the covenant that cannot be changed, and the invincible One who, without violating the will of men, can yet achieve the will of God, making men willing in the day of his power, turning them from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and Satan unto God.

Be of good courage, my brethren; the consequences of redemption are not left in jeopardy. Those results which God has purposed will, to the last jot and little, be fulfilled. "Men shall be blessed in him." It is not to me a question whether Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands to God; she shall do it, though I may not live to see it. It is not to me a question whether the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; they must become his. Let us work in this confidence, and believe every promise in this blessed look. If we get down-hearted and full of fear, we are unworthy of our Lord. If we served a temporal prince with limited power, we might talk with 'bated breath; but the banner that gleams on high, above our ranks, is the banner of the Lord God omnipotent, and the shout that shall be heard at the last, is this: "Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." I ask you,—Is it not very natural that he should reign? It he really be omnipotent, are not all the certainties as well as the probabilities, in favor of his universal dominion? Must he not reign? Yea, saith the Spirit, "He shall reign for ever and ever." "Men shall be blessed in him." There is the tone of full assurance about this blessed prophecy; wherefore, let us rejoice and praise the name of the Lord.

IV. Now, lastly, I want you with all your hearts to think of my text with A PERSONAL APPROPRIATION: "Men shall be blessed in him."

Dear hearers, are you blessed in Christ? Will you personally answer the question? Do not pass it round, and say to yourself, "No doubt there are many who think that they are blessed, and who are not." Never mind about them; for the present moment, ask this question of yourself, "Am I blessed in Christ?" Some people think that they have Christ as their Savior, but their religion brings them no blessedness. They go to church or to chapel very regularly; they are, apparently, a good sort of people; but a part of their religion consists in being on the whole as comfortably miserable as they can. As to anything like blessedness, that does not enter into their minds. Now, if my religion did not make me really happy, I should seriously question whether I was a possessor of the religion of the happy God, for "Men shall be blessed in him."

"Oh!" says one, "but we have so many trials and troubles." Ah, that we have! Do you know a man or woman who does not get any? I should like you to mark all the doors in London where people live who have not any trouble; it will not cost you much for chalk. There is nobody without trouble. If a man could be without trouble, he would be without a blessing, for in this world one of the rarest blessings, one of the richest, truest blessings that God ever sends to his children, is adversity. He sends more blessings upon the black horse than he ever sends upon the grey one; it is the messenger of sorrow who often brings the choicest jewels to our door. Ah! there is many a woman who has not left her bed these dozen years, or had a fair night a rest all that long time, who is truly blessed. There is many a man who is as poor as poverty can make him, shivering in the cold to-night, and scarcely knowing where to find another bit of coal to keep his little fire alight; yet he is blessed. If it were necessary, I could get some of you to stand up, and testify that, though you have very little of this world's joys, and very little of temporal good, yet you can say, "Yes, I am blessed, I am blessed indeed,—

"'I would not change my best estate,
For all that earth calls good or great;
And while my faith can keep her hold
I envy not the sinner's gold.'"

Well, you have that blessedness, then, enjoy it. What would you think of a man who went thirsty when he had a well in his back yard? What would you think of a person who always went about poverty-stricken, though he had millions in the bank? Think of Mr. Vanderbilt standing in the street, and asking passers-by for a half-penny. Yet I have seen children of God act like that in spiritual things. A little boy came up to me in an Italian town, and asked me to give him a soldo, he meant a half-penny. He was quite a moneyed man, for he had a farthing in his pocket! He took it out, and showed it me, and he seemed delighted with it; but then he said that it was the only one he had in the world. You might think, from the way some persons act, that they had about a farthing's worth of faith; but that is all they have. Is it not so? O you who have Christ and God, this world and worlds to come, and whom God has pronounced blessed,—what! are you going to live the starveling life of the unblest and the unsaved? I pray you, do not so. Gentlemen, live according to your quality! Peers of the upper house, for you are such if you are born again, I beseech you, act in accordance with your true nobility. Hath not Christ made you princes and kings, and hath he not said that you shall reign with him for ever and ever? Look up then; lift up your heads, and say, "Yes, he hath blessed me, and I am blessed indeed. "My poor spirit danceth for joy because of him."

"'My heart it doth leap at the sound of his name.'"

"But," says one, "I have never enjoyed that." My dear friend, if thou canst believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, thou mayest enjoy it. To believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, is to trust yourself with him just as you are, to cast your guilty soul on him. Oh, that you would do it! That one act will mark your passing from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. That one act will be the means of your coming into the glorious liberty of the children of God, and sour life shall be totally changed from this time forth so that you shall joy in God by Jesus Christ our Lord. "Men shall be blessed in him." Are you to be one of those men? God grant that you may be!

The Lord add his blessing, for Jesus' sake! Amen.

Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Spurgeon Collection" by:

Tony Capoccia
Bible Bulletin Board
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