The Three Looks
On his journey from the city of destruction to the Celestial City, Bunyan’s Pilgrim in his progress was received and entertained in a place called “The Palace Beautiful.” There he rested in a large upper room whose window opened toward the sun-rising; the name of the chamber was “Peace.” At break of day Christian awoke from his peaceful rest and sang.
“Where am I now? Is this the love and care Of Jesus for the men who pilgrims are Thus to provide! That I should be forgiven And dwell already the next door to heaven?” We enter the fifth chapter of Romans and find that we like Bunyan’s Pilgrim are in a palace beautiful. With the justified we dwell within the light of heaven, in the chamber of peace, with hope’s window cheering our hearts with its sunbeams of glory.
You remember how we entered this beautiful place. Approaching the doorstep of faith, the blood we saw sprinkled there, told us that we were welcome. We entered, glad to escape the storm that threatened outside, but having crossed the threshold, we discovered that we had not only entered a refuge but a home. Everything delighted us as we viewed the place and sat down to enjoy the blessings vouchsafed to us there. You remember David said, “He hath brought me forth into a large place.” He could not say that before he was forgiven, for sin is bondage, but grace is freedom. It not only snaps sin’s chains and sets us free; it also brings us into the full enjoyment of all the rich and manifold blessings of God.
Crossing the threshold, let us not remain there, but let us view the place—looking backward, looking round and also forward.
1. The Look Behind, vs. 1
“Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The backward look is outside, it removes all fear for everything is behind us that once we feared and we have peace with God.
Outside were our sins, like a mighty army marching on to capture our souls. But not one of them can reach us here. Our Lord Jesus Christ has met and conquered them, destroying the host of them. We are saved from our sins.
Outside it was night, the sky was overcast, the clouds gathered, the storm lowered but we have escaped the storm. The perfect peace we enjoy is the calm after the storm has spent its fury. Our Lord Jesus Christ was the storm center, the tempest swept at Calvary and now it is calm.
The storm that bowed His blessed head
Is hushed forever now—
And rest divine is ours instead.
Whilst glory crowns His brow.
2. The Look Round, vs. 2
This is the look within. Within the blessed walls of salvation we look round and discover that our position is one of grace. We find ourselves in the bright sunshine of the love of God. His face beams upon us. We have access into His presence for He the Lord of the house holds out to us the golden sceptre of grace. How different our former condition! When we were in our sins we had no standing. Then we were under condemnation, but now we have “permanently taken up our position” for that is really the force of Paul’s words here. We stand before the Judge, not a word of condemnation does He utter, for we are in His favour.
3. The Look Ahead, vs. 2
“And rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
“The window opened toward the sunrising,” said John Bunyan and so does Paul. The window is hope and the sunrising the glory of God. We step to the window, how bright the prospect is. The glory flashes upon us and it makes us happy, we rejoice in it. Christ is coming soon to take us into it. This hope brightens with heavenly light the road that leads home. We shall travel the road together in our next lesson.
1. In what three directions do we look in our lesson?
2. Write the phrase from Rom. 5 referring to each.
3. Who in the O. T. prayed with his window open toward Jerusalem?
4. What did Bunyan call the place the believer has been brought to?
5. What did David call it?