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Holding Christ Fast
by Robert Murray M'Cheyne
"It was a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me." Song of Solomon 3:4
HAVE YOU found Him whom your soul loves? Have you this day seen His beauty, heard His voice, believed the record concerning Him, sat under His shadow, found fellowship with Him? Then hold Him, and do not let Him go.
1. Because peace is to be found in Him.
Justified by faith, we have peace with God – not peace with ourselves, not peace with the world, with sin, with Satan, but peace with God. True divine peace is to be found only in believing, only in keeping fast hold of Christ. If you let Him go, you let go your righteousness; for this is His name.
You are then without righteousness, without a covering from the wrath of God, without a way to the Father. The law will again condemn you; God's frown will again overshadow you; you will again have terrors of conscience. Hold Him then, and do not let Him go. Whatever you let go, let not Christ go; for He is our peace, not in knowledge, not in feeling, but trust in Him alone.
2. Holiness flows from Him.
No true holiness in this world, but it springs from Him. A living Christ is the spring of holiness to all His members. As long as we hold Him, and do not let Him go, our holiness is secure. He is engaged to keep us from falling. He loves us too well to let us fall under the reigning power of sin. His word is engaged: "I will put my Spirit within you." His honor would be tarnished if any that cleave to Him were suffered to live in sin. If you let Him go, you will fall into sin. You have no strength, no store of grace, no power to resist a thousand enemies, no promises. If Christ be for you, who can be against you? But if you let go His arms, where are you?
3. Hope of glory is in Him.
We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. If you have found Jesus this day, you have found a way into glory. A few steps more, you can say, and I shall be forever with the Lord. I shall be free from pain and sorrow, free from sin and weakness, free from enemies. As long as you hold Christ, you can see your way to the judgment seat.
"Thou wilt guide me with thy counsel, and receive me to thy glory." This gives you such joy, such transporting desires after the heavenly world! But let Christ go, and this will be gone. Let Christ go, and how can you die? The grave is covered with clouds of threatening. Let Him go, and how can you go to the judgment-where can you appear?
1. Christ promises to keep you holding Him.
If you are really holding Christ this day, you are in a most blessed condition, for Christ engages to keep you cleaving to Him. "My soul followeth hard after thee, and thy right hand upholdeth me." He that is the Creator of the world is the upholder of it, so He that new creates the soul keeps it in being. This is never to be forgotten. Not only does the Church lean on her beloved, but He puts His left hand under her head, and His right hand cloth embrace her. "I taught Ephraim, how to go, taking them by their arms."
It is good for a child to hold fast by its mother's neck; but ah! that would be a feeble support, if the maternal arm did not enfold the child, and clasp it to her bosom. Faith is good; but ah! it is nothing without the grace that gave it. "I will put my fear in your heart."
2. Faith in Christ.
The only way to hold fast is to believe more and more. Get a larger acquaintance with Christ, with His person, work, and character. Every page of the gospel unfolds a new feature in His character, every line of the epistles discloses new depths of His work. Get more faith, and you will get a firmer hold. A plant that has a single root may be easily torn up by the hand, or crushed by the foot of the wild beast, or blown down by the wind; but a plant that has a thousand roots struck down into the ground can stand. Faith is like the root.
Many believe a little concerning Christ, one fact. Every new truth concerning Jesus is a new root struck downward. Believe more intensely. A root may be in a right direction, but, not striking deep, it is easily torn up. Pray for deep-rooted faith. Pray to be established, strengthened, settled. Take a long intense look at Jesus – often. If you wanted to know a man again, and he was going away, you would take an intense look at his face. Look then at Jesus, deeply, intensely, till every feature is graven on your heart. Thomas Scott overcame the fear of death by looking intensely at his dead child, who had died in the Lord.
Jacob at Bethel. "Take hold of my strength," (Isa. 27:5). You must begin and pray after another fashion than you have done. Let it be real intercourse with God, like Hezekiah, Jacob and Moses.
4. By not offending Him.
First, by sloth.
When the soul turns sleepy or careless, Christ goes away. Nothing is more offensive to Christ than sloth. Love is an ever-active thing, and when it is in the heart it will keep us waking. Many a night His love to us kept Him waking. Now, can you not watch with Him one hour?
Second, By idols.
You cannot hold two objects. If you are holding Christ today, and lay hold of another object to tomorrow, He cannot stay. He is a jealous God. You cannot keep worldly companions and Christ too. "A companion of fools shall be destroyed." When the ark came into the house of Dagon, it made the idol fall flat.
Third, By being unwilling to be sanctified.
When Christ chooses us and draws us to Himself, it is that He may sanctify us. Christ is often grieved by our desiring to reserve one sin.
Fourth, By an unholy house.
"I brought him into my mother's house." Remember to take Christ home with you, and let Him rule in your house. If you walk with Christ abroad, but never take Him home, you will soon part company forever.