Friday Meditation (J.C. Ryle)

Read: Matthew 20:1-16

In the calling of the nations to the professed knowledge of himself God exercises free, sovereign and unconditional grace. He calls the families of the earth into the visible church at his own time and in his own way. We see this truth in the history of God’s dealings with the world. We see the children of Israel called and chosen to be God’s people in the very beginning of the day. We see some of the Gentiles called at a later period by the preaching of the apostles. We see others being called in the present age by the labors of missionaries. We still see others uncalled, ‘unhired’ (v. 7). Why is this? We cannot tell. We only know that God loves to hide pride from the churches. He will never allow the older branches of the church to look contemptuously at the younger. The gospel holds out the same pardon and peace through Christ as in Bible times.

In the saving of individuals, as well as in the calling of nations, God acts as a Sovereign and gives no account in these matters (Romans 9:15). This is a truth we see illustrated on every side in the church of Christ. We see a young man like Timothy laboring for the rest of his life for the Lord. We see an old man at the end of his life plucked like a brand from the burning on the edge of eternity. And yet the whole tenor of the gospel leads us to believe that both of these men are equally saved. Both are equally forgiven before God. Both are equally washed in Christ’s blood and clothed in Christ’s righteousness. Both are equally justified, accepted and will be found at Christ’s right hand on the last day.

There can be no doubt that this doctrine sounds strange to the ignorant and inexperienced Christian. It confounds the pride of human nature. It leaves the self-righteous man no room to boast. It is a leveling, humbling doctrine and gives occasion to many a murmur. It is impossible to reject it unless we reject the whole Bible. True faith in Christ, though it be a day old, like that of the dying thief, justifies a man before God as completely as the faith of a lifelong servant of God like Timothy.

Daily Readings – From All Four Gospels

J.C. Ryle

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