“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you”.
(1 Corinthians 16:23)
When is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ with us? When Christ is in us and we in Him. When we have come to the knowledge of our dreadful position as a result of sin, without trying to hide ourselves or to cover our iniquity. Psalm 32:3, Dutch rhymed version: “O Lord, I sincerely confess my sins before Thee.” To confess sincerely, that is to pour out one’s heart before God, concealing nothing; we are then alone with God. Then there is in the whole world nobody and nothing that has done us any harm.
When it has been revealed to a man what he is in himself, and he no longer has the illusion that he could make amends, and understands that the first principles and movements of his heart mean hatred toward God; when a man humbles himself, sorrows after God, justifies God and says: “In everything that has befallen me, Thou art righteous”; when a man feels and confesses, that he is unworthy to have bread and water or any token of mercy; when Jesus Christ has come to him and he, as a result of that, has taken refuge “to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:18), which is to embrace the Gospel; and through true faith he has converted himself to God, then the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is with him, and will stay with him, for the good work which God has apparently begun here, He will perform in him until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6), that is the day on which Jesus Christ will appear on the clouds of heaven as the Judge of heaven and earth. It is grace when a man may come to God through faith in Jesus Christ with a true heart, the conscience being sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ. It is grace when a man is made another person, a new creature, a new creature in Christ.
(From: Meditations, 4 January. Sermon on 1 Corinthians 16:23, 1 January 1956 in The Hague.)