WE NEED BOTH GRACE AND PEACE (Ephesians 1:2) Grace to help in our times of need; Peace to keep our heart and mind. The one as the blue vault of Heaven above us, with its smile of sun, and breath of air, and reviving rain; the other as the blue depths of the ocean, tranquil and calm. But neither of these blessed gifts can be ours till we have come to recognise God as our Father. Be doubtful about that, and you will not dare to exercise the child's privilege of claiming what you want from the Father's stores; and you will miss the unspeakable rest which breathes through the heart of the child, as it nestles to the father's side. Open your heart to the Spirit of Adoption that He may flutter, dove-like, into its depths; and, in the cry Abba, bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God, and if a child, then a participator in his Grace and Peace.
IT WAS THUS THAT JESUS LIVED (Ephesians 1:3) There was no lack of either Grace or Peace in his human life, because He dwelt ever in the bosom of the Father. He spake no word, and wrought no deed of mercy, that was not derived from his Father. He refused to make one stone into bread, because so sure that his Father could not forget Him, but knew just what was needed for the body which He had provided for Him. The often upturned eye witnessed to the attitude of his spirit. There was never a film of separation or cloud of misunderstanding, for the Father never left Him alone for a single instant; not even when He cried, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me." How could He, when Jesus did always those things which pleased Him? "Even so, Father," was the whisper with which He met all the incidents of his life, whether cloud or sun.
Let us learn to live thus towards the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. There must always be an impassable gulf between his relationship to the Father and ours. But, withal, there are points of contact. He waits to reveal to us the Father, according to his own words (Mat_11:27). He longs to reproduce in us, by the Holy Ghost, his own spirit of Sonship, and to bring us to know his Father as our Father, his God as ours. There is no joy, which more satisfies his soul for its travail, than that his own should come so to know the name and character of his Father, and so to abide in it, as that the love with which the Father loved Him, may be in them as a warm and blessed experience. When this purpose is accomplished in us, our Marahs will be turned to Elims; and we shall be full of peace, since our Father has mixed our cups, appointed our paths, set our life-tasks, and whispers to our secret hearts that He is well pleased with us in Jesus.
OUR FATHER IS THE FATHER OF GLORY (Ephesians 1:17) Do we enough consider the glory of our relationship? Are we not apt to become so familiar with the thought of God as not sufficiently to consider the majesty of His nature, or the wonderful advantages that must accrue to those who know Him as their Father? All that He was to Jesus, He is willing to be to us; and all that He has He is willing to place at the disposal of our faith. Think, O tried and straightened soul, that God loves thee and watches thee, as no father ever loved or watched the helpless babe given him from the dying hand of his young and passionately-loved wife. Remember, too, His wealth as the Father of Glory. All beings in all worlds, all worlds in all spheres, all spheres in all ages, wait his word! be still and trust! Men and things could have no power against thee, except it were given them from above; their power is controlled by the Father's care; there is a thus-far beyond which they cannot go: and it is through them that the Father is bringing you, as one of his many sons, to glory. May He give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, and open the eyes of your heart that you may know Him!
ACCESS TO THE FATHER (Ephesians 2:18) Prayer assumes a new complexion so soon as we properly appreciate God's Fatherliness. Granted that it must always be through Jesus, and by the Holy Spirit, yet, ultimately, it is access to the Father. The first thought of a little child in any need is Mother, Father. There is instant movement of eyes, and feet, and voice, towards the one dear source of help and comfort. And so, when we have learnt to know the Father, as revealed in Jesus, our heart will be constantly going out towards Him. The Father's heart has twelve gates, that one of them may be contiguous to every conceivable position in which his children may be placed. Of course there will be times when we shall deliberately bow our knees unto the Father; but there will be many more when we shall have access to Him in a swift-winged thought, a tear hastily brushed away, a yearning, an ejaculation, a loving, restful glance of mutual understanding. Strange that we make so little of these wonderful opportunities of access to the Father!
ALL THE FATHERHOODS OF EARTH DERIVE THEIR MEANING AND VALUE FROM THE GREAT FATHERHOOD (Ephesians 3:14-15) As the Tabernacle, with its sashes, cords, and curtains, was an embodiment of things in the heavens; so the homes of men are intended to represent aspects and conceptions of that love, which can be set forth by no one phase of human affection, but combines in itself, mother, father, brother, sister, lover, loved. The tenderest, noblest home-life is, at the best, but "broken light"; and yet it is a type, an emblem, an embodiment of God's love to us, its prototype and ideal. Were you the nursling of a blessed home, receding far away in the vista of the past? Transfer its memories to the present, and know that they live still as facts in your relationship to God. And you, who never knew a home-life that you care to recall, be sure that the tenderest that man ever knew is not to be compared with that in which you are living, if only you knew it.
THE ONE FATHERHOOD MAKES THE ONE BROTHERHOOD AND SISTERHOOD (Ephesians 4:5-6) To have been born of the same parents constitutes a bond of union between those of the most diverse temperaments and tastes. The variety becomes a true unity, and gives a flavour of keen interest to the life of the household. Nothing in this world is more beautiful than the play of life in the home where the babe and the young student, the merry boy and the thoughtful, earnest maiden blend. This also is a pattern of things in the heavens. Because there is one God and Father of all who are in Christ, over them to cover their heads in the day of battle; through them, as the breath of the wind murmuring through the many pipes of nature's organ; and in them as the source of their life--they are all one in Him.
LET US THEN GIVE THANKS ALWAYS FOR ALL THINGS TO THE FATHER (Ephesians 5:20) I have a beloved friend, who has made it the habit of her life to obey this injunction literally. When her husband's factory was in flames, when her children were pronounced to be seriously ill, and when other apparent disasters befel her, she went alone into her chamber, and knelt down to thank God for all, because she knew that He was a Father still; that He loved her too well to give her anything but the best; and that He must love her very much to be willing to bless her at the cost of so much pain. We may not always feel like thanking God for all things; but let us always will and dare to do it. Let us not look at the providence, but at the Father behind it. Let us not examine the crate, but let us search within for the gift of love. Though at first sight we may be disappointed and sad, whatever the Father sends must be the very best. Dare to believe it, and you will come to find it so.
AND THUS WE SHALL LEARN TO RECEIVE AND KNOW THE FATHER'S PEACE (Ephesians 6:23) The very peace that fills his own glorious nature--the peace which, in the experience of human hearts, is so closely allied with love and faith, the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ, will settle down upon the troubled, restless heart, as the evening, with its cool air and majestic beauty, settles on the fevered landscape.