Ephesians 2:12

That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise…

The greatest event by far in the history of our world was the visit of Christ. From that moment, everything upon this earth measures itself by its relation to the Cross. Could it be otherwise? For he was "the Son of God." What must that man be to God the Father, who treats that death of His dear Son as he would treat a mere matter of business? We may say of the man who is "without Christ," that that man stands before God just as he is in himself, and nothing else. There is nothing to better him; there is nothing to excuse him. There is nothing to palliate or extenuate a fault. There is nothing to add any righteousness to amend. There can be no heaven for him except there be fitness; and there can be no pardon except there be a claim. Now, how would the best of us like to be dealt with on that principle? To stand before God in your own real individual character! No Intercessor to plead for you! No refuge to fly to! And consider this. A man "without Christ" has no motive, no motive sufficient to rule his life. The motive, the only secure and effective motive of life, is love. But you cannot love God unless you believe that God has pardoned you. You cannot love an angry God. But there is no pardon out of Christ. But, out of Christ, there can be no love because there is no forgiveness. So Christ makes the motive of life; and a man "without Christ" must be motiveless. Let me add another thing. All nature looks out for sympathy. Sympathy, in a degree, God has given to every man; but perfect sympathy belongs to Christ. It is His unapproachable prerogative. Therefore, if you do not know Christ, really know Him, as a believer knows Him, you do not yet know what sympathy can mean; for the rest is all very well, but it will stand you in very little stead in some dark hour. But that sympathy is perfect. You cannot find anyone else who has been, and who can be, "touched with the feeling of your infirmity": always tender; always capable; always wise; true to every fibre of your being; matching all its cravings. That is not given to any creature upon earth. That is Jesus. And if you are without Jesus, you are without sympathy. And when that lonely passage comes, which is to take you out into the unknown, we must all die alone. What, if there be no arm — no companionship — no sweet voice to say, "I am with you!" No finished work! No Jesus in the valley! What will it be to die "without Christ?" An awful thing! And the more awful, the less you feel it!
(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

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