Isaac Watts was blessed by the LORD to pen the glorious words of this hymn which we sometimes sing:
" When I can read my title clear, To mansions in the skies,
I bid farewell to every fear, And wipe my weeping eyes.
Should earth against my soul engage, And hellish darts be hurled,
Then I can smile at Satan's rage, And face a frowning world."
I believe this is the same grand subject which Isaiah was also able to write about, even though he could only see through a glass even more darkly than the new testament saints. (see Heb.11:13) He said, "I will trust and not be afraid.". This is indeed first class travel as Spurgeon once pointed out, to trust and NOT be afraid. But the sons of GOD are not always privileged to travel such a high road but sometimes find themselves in the valley of Baca where there is little light and comfort seems fleeting. Yet even then the saints are also given great promises that are an anchor for the soul when doubts and fears come as they often do and obscure our line of sight to our clear title. For David was moved by the same SPIRIT (that moved Isaiah) to say "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." (Psa 56:3)
We often wish to draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation, but alas the rope holding the bucket is far too long or the bucket cannot be found. We are often hindered by the besetting sin of our flesh and the dregs of unbelief which sometimes plague even the strongest of believers. The trials of our faith which are ordained by GOD are also designed to hide that joy for a season that we may rejoice in it the more when we enjoy HIS smile.
Now the proud religionists of our day scoff at such an idea and tell us that we can be strong and believe by just deciding to do so. They tell us to just think positively and we can overcome any obstacle. Yet those who are acquainted with the blackness of sin which yet remains in their flesh and the weakness which they have by nature are also well acquainted with the fact that the clear revelation of GOD's mercies can only be laid hold upon as HE sees fit to give it according to HIS sovereign will.
Were we simply left to wallow in the blackness of our own soul without any hope we should likely be destroyed, but HE has left us great and precious promises that are a help to us even when the clouds have obscured the sun and the chilly north winds howl upon us as we traverse a dry and thirsty land where no water is. We cannot always discern our own clear title to mansions in the skies. Sometimes fears and doubts get the best of us and we are even convinced that we could not possibly be numbered among the elect. It is in such times as these that the only comfort that we find is in knowing that our title is not dependent in any way upon us but that the LION of the tribe of Judah has prevailed over sin and death, and has given us a hope in HIM, though we feel it not. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." (Psa 56:3) "Flee as a bird to your mountain." (Psa 11:1)
Some will say what possible purpose could such trials be to the sons of GOD? Paul was well acquainted with the answer to that question as he wrote to the Corinthians "For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead." (2 Cor 1:8-9)
Nothing that has to do with the hope and security of the sons of GOD is in any way dependent on them. Most assuredly not in the eternal sense and most definitely not in our enjoyment of that which HE has secured for us in this world. HE alone is our HOPE and SALVATION. As Job said, "though HE slay me yet will I trust HIM" or as Peter testified, "to whom shall we go, thou hast the words of eternal life."
A clear title is a legal deed which has no encumbrances upon it. It is held in strict ownership by the purchaser and those he may convey that title too. It cannot be revoked nor taken away in a court of law. CHRIST JESUS our LORD and REDEEMER has purchased for HIS elect a clear title to those mansions HE has gone to prepare for them.
This title was HIS and then theirs according to HIS decree to bestow it upon them as those whom HE chose to receive it from before the foundation of the world. The certainty of the salvation of CHRIST's people has never been in doubt because it has pleased HIM to appoint them unto this salvation. "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,." (1Thess. 5:9)
Their ability to benefit from this clear title was lost by them as HE designed their fall in Adam, to demonstrate HIS grace in procuring it for them. "But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin" (Gal 3:22) "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Rom 3:23) In order for a son to inherit the possessions which are decreed to be his in a written will, the one writing the will must die. "For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth." (Heb 9:16-17) Therefore it behooved HIM to suffer in our stead to satisfy the claims of the law which we were made subject to and to die in order that we might be inheritors of the blessings which HE declared that should be ours. "For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God---By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament." (Heb 7:19,22)
The ability of the saints to enjoy this clear title is dependent on HIS sovereign purpose in showing it to them. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13)
As they are given eyes to see this clear title clearly, they are strengthened in the way."Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God." (Psa 84:4-7)mam