And Jesus said to him, This day is salvation come to this house, as much as he also is a son of Abraham.
Our Lord's words refer in the first instance to -
I. THE LOSS AND RECOVERY BY ZACCHAEUS of his place in the commonwealth of Israel.
1. He had forfeited this. It was by no means inalienable. Only they were the true children of Abraham who did the deeds, who lived the life, who were possessed with the spirit, of Abraham. So our Lord taught himself (see John 8:39). This was Paul's doctrine also (Romans 2:28, 29; Romans 9:7; Galatians 3:7). The true child of Abraham was he who walked by faith, who was the servant and the friend of God (Isaiah 41:8). But Zacchaeus had lost this true, this real and effectual sonship, For he had been living the life of sense, and not of faith; he had departed from the service of God, and engaged in the practice of extortion and corruption. He had ceased to be the friend of God, and made friendship with an evil world.
2. But now he was in the path of restoration. He was penitent; he was a seeker after heavenly wisdom in Jesus Christ; and this meant renewal of heart and life; it meant rising into a new and elevated region, breathing the pure air of devotion, of service, of righteousness; it meant the recovery of the forfeited birthright. Salvation had come to himself and his household; once more he was "a son of Abraham." We are thus led to look at -
II. THE SAD POSSIBILITIES OF FORFEITURE open to all the children of men. God made us to be heirs of all that is good and blessed - of liberty, of truth, of honour and of love, of himself and of his kingdom. But sin comes in and spoils our heritage; under its evil ban we lose our good estate; our inheritance is forfeited; instead of being the "sons of God" and the "children of wisdom," we become rather the "children of wrath." We may forfeit:
1. Our liberty. We may become, how many do become, enslaved by some evil habit which holds them fast in its strong coils - some bodily or mental habit!
2. Our hold upon the truth. We may lose our faith in, and our appreciation of, the leading and vital doctrines which bring us into close and conscious fellowship with God.
3. Our very manhood. For there are many who suffer themselves to sink so low in the moral scale that they forfeit all claim to be accounted men; their lives are simply brutal.
4. Our rightful place in the estimate of our fellow-men. We may lose all the esteem, the confidence, and (consequently) the affection of our neighbours.
5. The friendship of Jesus Christ. Too often those who once walked with him and worked for him stand aside, and "walk no more" by his side; they leave his service, they lose his loving favour, they cannot be any longer counted among his friends. And with all this there must be the sad and grievous forfeiture of:
6. The hope of eternal life. For when fidelity is lost, hope is lost also.
III. THE BLESSED OPENING FOR RESTORATION provided by the Saviour of souls. There is no "house," however fallen, to which "salvation ' may not come; no human being, however sunk in sin and wrong, who may not be restored in the mercy of God by the power of Jesus Christ the Saviour. It is when he is admitted to the home and to the heart that recovery is attained. In him, for all earnest seekers, is escape from bondage and from error and unbelief; in his service is found the gradual but effectual return of the trust and the love of man; he offers the renewal of his friendship, and opens again the closed door of hope to the penitent and the believing spirit. The slave of sin becomes the son of God; the companion of the evil-doer becomes the friend and co-worker of Christ; the candidate for condemnation becomes the heir of heaven. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.