By Andrew Murray
'Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself up for it; that He might sanctify it; that He might present the Church to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle; but that it should be holy and without blemish.' -- Eph. 5:24-47
So great and wonderful was the work that Jesus had to do for the sinner, that nothing less was necessary than that He should give Himself to do that work. So great and wonderful was the love of Jesus towards us, that He actually gave Himself for us and to us. So great and wonderful is the surrender of Jesus, that all that same thing for which He gave Himself can actually and completely come to pass in us. For Jesus, the Holy, the Almighty, has taken it upon Himself to do it: He gave Himself for us. (Gal. 1:4; 2:20; Eph. 5:2,25; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 2:14) And now the one thing that is necessary is that we should rightly understand and firmly believe this His surrender for us.
To what end, then, was it that He gave Himself for the Church? Hear what God says. In order that He might sanctify it, in order that it might be without blemish. (Eph. 1:4; 5:27; Col. 1:22; 1 Thess. 2:10; 3:13; 5:23,24) This is the aim of Jesus. This His aim He will reach in the soul according as the soul falls in with it so as to make this also its highest portion, and then relies upon Jesus' surrender of Himself to do it.
Hear still a word of God: 'Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a people for His own possession, zealous of good works.' (Titus 2:14) Yes: it is to prepare for Himself a pure people, a people of His own, a zealous people, that Jesus gives Himself. When I receive Him, when I believe that He gave Himself to do this for me, I shall certainly experience it. I shall be purified through Him, shall be held fast as His possession, and be filled with zeal and joy to work for Him.
And mark, further, how the operation of this surrender of Himself will especially be that He shall then have us entirely for Himself: 'that He might present us to Himself.' 'that He might purify us to Himself, a people of His own.' The more I understand and contemplate Jesus' surrender of Himself for me, the more do I give myself again to Him. The surrender is a mutual one: the love comes from both sides. His giving of Himself makes such an impression on my heart, that my heart with the self-same love and joy becomes entirely His. Through giving Himself to me, He of Himself takes possession of me; He becomes mine and I His. I know that I have Jesus wholly for me, and that He has me wholly for Him. (Ex. 19:4,5; Deut. 26:17,18; Isa. 41:9,10; 1 Cor. 6:19,20; 1 Pet. 2:10)
And how come I then to the full enjoyment of this blessed life? 'I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.' (John 6:29,35; 7:38; 10:10,38; Gal. 2:20) Through faith I reflect upon and contemplate His surrender to me as sure and glorious. Through faith I appropriate it. Through faith I trust in Jesus to confirm this surrender, to communicate Himself to me and reveal Himself within me. Through faith I await with certainty the full experience of salvation which arises from having Jesus as mine, to do all, all for me. Through faith, I live in this Jesus who loved me and gave Himself for me. and I say, 'No longer do I live, but Christ liveth in me.' Christian, pray believe it with your whole heart: Jesus gives Himself for you: He is wholly yours: He will do all for you. (Matt. 8:10; 9:2,22; Mark 11:24; Luke 7:50; 8:48; 17:19; 18:42; Rom. 4:16,21; 5:2; 11:20; Gal. 3:25,26; Eph. 1:19; 3:17)
O my Lord Jesus, what wonderful grace is this, that Thou gavest Thyself for me. In Thee is eternal life. Thou Thyself art the life and Thou givest Thyself to be in my life all that I need. Thou purifiest me and sanctifiest me, and makest me zealous in good works. Thou takest me wholly for Thyself, and givest Thyself wholly for me. Yes, my Lord, in all thou art my life. O make me rightly understand this. Amen.
1. It was in His great love that the Father gave the Son. It was out of love that Jesus gave Himself. (Rom. 3:15; Eph. 5:26) The taking, the having of Jesus, is the entrance to a life in the love of God: this is the highest life. (John 14:21,23,; 17:23,26; Eph. 3:17,18) Through faith we must press into love, and dwell there. (1 John 4:16-18)
2. Do you think that you have now learned all the lesson, to begin every day with the childlike trust: I take Jesus this day to be my life, and to do all for me.
3. Understand that to take and to have Jesus, presupposes a personal dealing with Himself. To have pleasure in Him, to hold converse gladly with Him, to rejoice in Him as my friend and in His love -- to this leads the faith that truly takes Him.