Grace Both Lifts and Lowers

We have reminded you many times that this is a table of thanksgiving, and not a table of introspection. We have come here to rejoice and be glad, not to mope in the presence of our heavenly Father.

This is not because there is no moral danger for us. Of course not. But the danger is away from the presence of the Lord. When we are with Him, as we are here, what does He do? In Psalm 36, God promises to feed us. “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures” (Ps. 36:8). Earlier in the psalm we are told that this occurs when we are under the shadow of His wings. We are protected here, as we trust Him. Later in the psalm, the prayer is that the foot of the proud be kept away. As we rejoice in God’s presence, under His protection, we can afford to be glad. We can afford to rejoice.

We do not taunt the proud adversary because we have anything over him in our own names. Certainly not. As Newton put it, “with salvation’s walls surrounded, thou mayst smile at all thy foes.” You may only smile at the proud and insolent who would besiege you if you know yourself to be standing on salvation’s walls, and you know for a fact that they are walls that you did not build.

Grace is the only thing that can exalt and humble a sinful man at the same time. Every carnal alternative will either grind you down or puff you up. But grace . . .! Grace humbles and exalts. And grace offers you bread and wine.