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Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 5

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 5

The Son's Reception of the Gift

“All that the Father giveth me SHALL COME.”  In these last words there is closely inserted an answer unto the Father’s end in giving of his elect to Jesus Christ.  The Father’s end was, that they might come to him, and be saved by him; and that, says the Son, shall be done; neither sin nor Satan, neither flesh nor world, neither wisdom nor folly, shall hinder their coming to me.  “They shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Here, therefore, the Lord Jesus positively determineth to put forth such a sufficiency of all grace as shall effectually perform this promise.  “They shall come;” that is, he will cause them to come, by infusing of an effectual blessing into all the means that shall be used to that end. As was said to the evil spirit that was sent to persuade Ahab to go and fall at Ramoth-Gilead; Go:  “Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so” (1 Kings 22:22).  So will Jesus Christ say to the means that shall be used for the bringing of those to him that the Father hath given him . I say, he will bless it effectually to this very end; it shall persuade them, and shall prevail also; else, as I said, the Father’s end would be frustrate; for the Father’s will is, that “of all which he hath given him, he should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day,” (John 6:39); in order next unto himself, Christ the first fruits, afterwards those that are his at his coming (1 Cor 15).  But this cannot be done if there should fail to be a work of grace effectually wrought, though but in any one of them.  But this shall not fail to be wrought in them, even in all the Father hath given him to save.  “All that the Father hath given me shall come unto me,” &c.

But to speak more distinctly to the words, THEY “SHALL COME,” two things I would show you from these words—FIRST, What it is to come to Christ. SECOND, What force there is in this promise, to make them come to him.

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 246–247).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

 

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Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 4

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 4

The Father's Intent in Giving

The Father, therefore, in giving of them to him to save them, must needs declare unto us these following things:—

 First, That he is able to answer this design of God, to wit, to save them to the uttermost sin, the uttermost temptation, &c. (Heb 7:25). Hence he is said to lay “help upon one that is mighty,” “mighty to save” (Psa 89:19; Isa 63:1) and hence it is again, that God did even of old promise to send his people “a Saviour, a great one” (Isa 19:20). To save is a great work, and calls for almightiness in the undertaker: hence he is called the “Mighty God, the wonderful Counsellor,” &c. Sin is strong, Satan is also strong, death and the grave are strong, and so is the curse of the law; therefore it follows, that this Jesus must needs be, by God the Father, accounted almighty, in that he hath given his elect to him to save them, and deliver them from these, and that in despite of all their force and power.

And he gave us testimony of this his might, when he was employed in that part of our deliverance that called for a declaration of it.  He abolished death; he destroyed him that had the power of death; he was the destruction of the grave; he hath finished sin, and made an end of it, as to its damning effects upon the persons that the Father hath given him; he hath vanquished the curse of the law, nailed it to his cross, triumphed over them upon his cross, and made a show of these things openly (2 Tim 1:10; Heb 2:14, 15; Hosea 13:14; Dan 9:24; Gal 3:13; Col 2:14, 15).  Yea, and even now, as a sign of his triumph and conquest, he is alive from the dead, and hath the keys of hell and death in his own keeping (Rev 1:18).

Second, The Father’s giving of them to him to save them, declares unto us that he is and will be faithful in his office of Mediator, and that therefore they shall be secured from the fruit and wages of their sins, which is eternal damnation, by his faithful execution of it.  And, indeed, it is said, even by the Holy Ghost himself, That he “was faithful to him that appointed him,” that is, to this work of saving those that the Father hath given him for that purpose; as “Moses was faithful in all his house.”  Yea, and more faithful too, for Moses was faithful in God’s house but as a servant; “but Christ as a Son over his own house” (Heb 3).  And therefore this man is counted worthy of more glory than Moses, even upon this account, because more faithful than he, as well as because of the dignity of his person.  Therefore in him, and in his truth and faithfulness, God resteth well pleased, and hath put all the government of this people upon his shoulders.  Knowing that nothing shall be wanting in him, that may any way perfect this design.  And of this he, to wit, the Son, hath already given a proof.  For when the time was come, that his blood was, by Divine justice, required for their redemption, washing, and cleansing, he as freely poured it out of his heart, as if it had been water out of a vessel; not sticking to part with his own life, that the life which was laid up for his people in heaven might not fail to be bestowed upon them.  And upon this account, as well as upon any other, it is that God calleth him “my righteous servant” (Isa 53:11).  For his righteousness could never have been complete, if he had not been to the uttermost faithful to the work he undertook; it is also, because he is faithful and true, that in righteousness he doth judge and make work for his people’s deliverance. He will faithfully perform this trust reposed in him.  The Father knows this, and hath therefore given his elect unto him.

Third, The Father’s giving of them to him, to save them, declares that he is, and will be gentle, and patient towards them, under all their provocations and miscarriages.  It is not to be imagined, the trials and provocations that the Son of God hath all along had with these people that have been given to him that saves them: indeed he is said to be “a tried stone;” for he has been tried, not only by the devil, guilt of sin, death, and the curse of the law, but also by his people’s ignorance, unruliness, falls into sin, and declining to errors in life and doctrine. Were we but capable of seeing how this Lord Jesus has been tried even by his people, ever since there was one of them in the world, we should be amazed at his patience and gentle carriages to them. It is said, indeed, “The Lord is very pitiful, slow to anger, and of great mercy.”  And, indeed, if he had not been so, he could never have endured their manners as he has done from Adam hitherto.  Therefore is his pity and bowels towards his church preferred above the pity and bowels of a mother towards her child.  “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?  Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee,” saith the Lord (Isa 49:15).

God did once give Moses, as Christ’s servant, an handful of his people, to carry them in his bosom, but no further than from Egypt to Canaan; and this Moses, as is said of him by the Holy Ghost, was the meekest man that was then to be found in the earth; yea, and he loved the people at a very great rate; yet neither would his meekness nor love hold out in this work; he failed and grew passionate, even to the provoking his God to anger under this work.  “And Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant?”  But what was the affliction? Why, the Lord had said unto him, “Carry this people in thy bosom as a nursing father beareth the suckling child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers.” And how then?  Not I, says Moses, “I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. If thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, and let me not see my wretchedness” (Num 11:11–15).

God gave them to Moses, that he might carry them in his bosom, that he might show gentleness and patience towards them, under all the provocations wherewith they would provoke him from that time till he had brought them to their land; but he failed in the work; he could not exercise it, because he had not that sufficiency of patience towards them.  But now it is said of the person speaking in the text, “That he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isa 40:11). Intimating, that this was one of the qualifications that God looked for, and knew was in him, when he gave his elect to him to save them.

Fourth, The Father giving of him to save them, declares that he hath a sufficiency of wisdom to wage with all those difficulties that would attend him in his bringing of his sons and daughters unto glory. He made him to us to be wisdom; yea, he is called wisdom itself (1 Cor 1:30).  And God saith, moreover, That “he shall deal prudently” (Isa 52:13).  And, indeed, he that shall take upon him to be the Saviour of the people, had need be wise, because their adversaries are subtle above any. Here they are to encounter with the serpent, who for his subtilty outwitted our father and mother, when their wisdom was at highest (Gen 3).  But if we talk of wisdom, our Jesus is wise, wiser than Solomon, wiser than all men, wiser than all angels; he is even the wisdom of God. “Christ is the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24).  And hence it is that he turneth sin, temptations, persecutions, falls, and all things, for good unto his people (Rom 8:28).

Now these things thus concluded on do show us also the great and wonderful love of the Father, in that he should choose out one every way so well prepared for the work of man’s salvation.

Herein, indeed, perceive we the love of God.  Huram gathered, that God loved Israel because he had given them such a king as Solomon (2 Chron 2:11).  But how much more may we behold the love that God hath bestowed upon us, in that he hath given us to his Son, and also given his Son for us?

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 245–246).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

 

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Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 3

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 3

The Person Giving, The Father

“All that the Father giveth.”  By this word “Father,” Christ describeth the person giving; by which we may learn several useful things.

First, That the Lord God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is concerned with the Son in the salvation of his people.  True, his acts, as to our salvation, are diverse from those of the Son; he was not capable of doing that, or those things for us, as did the Son; he died not, he spilt not blood for our redemption, as the Son; but yet he hath a hand, a great hand, in our salvation too.  As Christ saith, “The Father himself loveth you,” and his love is manifest in choosing of us, in giving of us to his Son; yea, and in giving his Son also to be a ransom for us. Hence he is called, “The Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.”  For here even the Father hath himself found out, and made way for his grace to come to us through the sides and the heart-blood of his well-beloved Son (Col 1:12–14).  The Father, therefore, is to be remembered and adored, as one having a chief hand in the salvation of sinners.  We ought to give “thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col 1:12).  For “the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world” (John 4:14). As also we see in the text, the “Father giveth” the sinner to Christ to save him.

Second, Christ Jesus the Lord, by this word “Father,” would familiarize this giver to us.  Naturally the name of God is dreadful to us, especially when he is discovered to us by those names that declare his justice, holiness, power, and glory; but now this word “Father” is a familiar word, it frighteth not the sinner, but rather inclineth his heart to love, and be pleased with the remembrance of him.  Hence Christ also, when he would have us to pray with godly boldness, puts this word “Father” into our mouths; saying, “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven;” concluding thereby, that by the familiarity that by such a word is intimated, the children of God may take more boldness to pray for, and ask great things.  I myself have often found, that when I can say but this word Father, it doth me more good than when I call him by any other Scripture name.  It is worth your noting, that to call God by his relative title was rare among the saints in Old Testament times.  Seldom do you find him called by this name; no, sometimes not in three or four books: but now in New Testament times, he is called by no name so often as this, both by the Lord Jesus himself, and by the apostles afterwards.  Indeed, the Lord Jesus was he that first made this name common among the saints, and that taught them, both in their discourses, their prayers, and in their writings, so much to use it; it being more pleasing to, and discovering more plainly our interest in, God, than any other expression; for by this one name we are made to understand that all our mercies are the offspring of God, and that we also that are called are his children by adoption.

[Import of the word GIVETH]—“All that the Father Giveth”

This word “giveth” is out of Christ’s ordinary dialect, and seemeth to intimate, at the first sound, as if the Father’s gift to the Son was not an act that is past, but one that is present and continuing; when, indeed, this gift was bestowed upon Christ when the covenant, the eternal covenant, was made between them before all worlds.  Wherefore, in those other places, when this gift is mentioned, it is still spoken of, as of an act that is past; as, “All that he hath give me; to as many as thou hast given me; thou gavest them me; and those which thou hast given me.”  Therefore, of necessity, this must be the first and chief sense of the text; I mean of this word “giveth,” otherwise the doctrine of election, and of the eternal covenant which was made between the Father and the Son, in which covenant this gift of the Father is most certainly comprised, will be shaken, or at leastwise questionable, by erroneous and wicked men: for they may say, That the Father gave not all those to Christ that shall be saved, before the world was made; for that this act of giving is an act of continuation.  But again, this word “giveth” is not to be rejected, for it hath its proper use, and may signify to us—

1.  That though the act of giving among men doth admit of the time past, or the time to come, and is to be spoken of with reference to such time; yet with God it is not so. Things past, or things to come, are always present with God, and with his Son Jesus Christ:  He “calleth those things which be not,” that is, to us, “as though they were” (Rom 4:17).  And again, “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”  All things to God are present, and so the gift of the Father to the Son, although to us, as is manifest by the word, it is an act that is past (Acts 15:16).

2.  Christ may express himself thus, to show, that the Father hath not only given him this portion in the lump, before the world was, but that those that he had so given, he will give him again; that is, will bring them to him at the time of their conversion; for the Father bringeth them to Christ (John 6:44).  As it is said, “She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needle-work;” that is, in the righteousness of Christ; for it is God that imputeth that to those that are saved (Psa 45:14; 1 Cor 1).  A man giveth his daughter to such a man, first in order to marriage, and this respects the time past, and he giveth her again at the day appointed in marriage.  And in this last sense, perhaps, the text may have a meaning; that is, that all that the Father hath, before the world was, given to Jesus Christ, he giveth them again to him in the day of their espousals.

Things that are given among men, are ofttimes best at first; to wit, when they are new; and the reason is, because all earthly things wax old; but with Christ it is not so.  This gift of the Father is not old and deformed, and unpleasant in his eyes; and therefore to him it is always new. When the Lord spake of giving the land of Canaan to the Israelites, he saith not, that he had given, or would give it to them, but thus:  “The Lord thy God giveth thee-this good land” (Deut 9:6).  Not but that he had given it to them, while they were in the loins of their fathers, hundreds of years before.  Yet he saith now he giveth it to them; as if they were now also in the very act of taking possession, when as yet they were on the other side Jordan. What then should be the meaning?  Why, I take it to be this.  That the land should be to them always as new; as new as if they were taking possession thereof but now.  And so is the gift of the Father, mentioned in the text, to the Son; it is always new, as if it were always new.

“All that the Father giveth me.”  In these words you find mention made of two persons, the Father and the Son; the Father giving, and the Son receiving or accepting of this gift.  This, then, in the first place, clearly demonstrateth, that the Father and the Son, though they, with the Holy Ghost, are one and the same eternal God; yet, as to their personality, are distinct.  The Father is one, the Son is one, the Holy Spirit is one.  But because there is in this text mention made but of two of the three, therefore a word about these two.  The giver and receiver cannot be the same person in a proper sense, in the same act of giving and receiving.  He that giveth, giveth not to himself, but to another; the Father giveth not to the Father, to wit, to himself, but to the Son:  the Son receiveth not of the Son, to wit, of himself, but of the Father: so when the Father giveth commandment, he giveth it not to himself, but to another; as Christ saith, “He gave me a commandment” (John 12:49).  So again, “I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me” (John 8:18).

Further, here is something implied that is not expressed, to wit, that the Father hath not given all men to Christ; that is, in that sense as it is intended in this text, though in a larger, as was said before, he hath given him every one of them; for then all should be saved:  he hath, therefore, disposed of some another way. He gives some up to idolatry; he gives some up to uncleanness, to vile affections, and to a reprobate mind.  Now these he disposeth of in his anger, for their destruction, that they may reap the fruit of their doings, and be filled with the reward of their own ways (Acts 7:42; Rom 1:24, 26, 28).  But neither hath he thus disposed of all men; he hath even of mercy reserved some from these judgments, and those are they that he will pardon, as he saith, “For I will pardon them whom I reserve” (Jer 50:20).  Now these he hath given to Jesus Christ, by will, as a legacy and portion. Hence the Lord Jesus says, “This is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39).

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 243–245).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

 

 

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Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 2

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 2

First, The Text Treated by Way of Explication

The Extent of the Gift

“All that the Father giveth me.”  This word all, is often used in Scripture, and is to be taken more largely, or more strictly, even as the truth or argument, for the sake of which it is made use of, will bear. Wherefore, that we may the better understand the mind of Christ in the use of it here, we must consider, that it is limited and restrained only to those that shall be saved, to wit, to those that shall come to Christ; even to those whom he will “in no wise cast out.”  Thus, also, the words all Israel, is sometimes to be taken, although sometimes it is taken for the whole family of Jacob. “And so all Israel shall be saved” (Rom 11:26).  By all Israel here, he intendeth not all of Israel, in the largest sense; “for they are not all Israel which are of Israel;”  “neither because they are of the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.  That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (Rom 9:6–8).

This word ALL, therefore, must be limited and enlarged, as the truth and argument, for the sake of which it is used, will bear; else we shall abuse Scripture, and readers, and ourselves, and all.  “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,” said Christ, “will draw ALL men unto me” (John 12:32).  Can any man imagine, that by ALL, in this place, he should mean all and every individual man in the world, and not rather that all that is consonant to the scope of the place?  And if, by being “lifted up from the earth,” he means, as he should seem, his being taken up into heaven; and if, by “drawing ALL men after him,” he meant a drawing them unto that place of glory; then must he mean by ALL men, those, and only those, that shall in truth be eternally saved from the wrath to come.  “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Rom 11:32).  Here again you have all and all, two alls; but yet a greater disparity between the all made mention of in the first place, and that all made mention of the second. Those intended in this text are the Jews, even all of them, by the first all that you find in the words. The second all doth also intend the same people; but yet only so many of them as God will have mercy upon. “He hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.”  The all also in the text, is likewise to be limited and restrained to the saved, and to them only.  But again;—

The word “giveth,” or “hath given,” must be restrained, after the same manner, to the same limited number. “All that the Father giveth me.”  Not all that are given, if you take the gift of the Father to the Son in the largest sense; for in that sense there are many given to him that shall never come unto him; yea, many are given unto him that he will “cast out.”  I shall, therefore, first show you the truth of this; and then in what sense the gift in the text must be taken.

First, [ALL cannot be intended in its largest sense.]  That ALL that are given to Christ, if you take the gift of the Father to him in the largest sense, cannot be intended in the text, is evident-

1.  Because, then, all the men, yea, all the things in the world, must be saved. “All things,” saith he, “are delivered unto me of my Father” (Matt 11:27).  This, I think, no rational man in the world will conclude. Therefore, the gift intended in the text must be restrained to some, to a gift that is given by way of speciality by the Father to the Son.

2.  It must not be taken for ALL, that in any sense are given by the Father to him, because the Father hath given some, yea, many to him, to be dashed in pieces by him.  “Ask of me,” said the Father to him, “and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” But what must be done with them? must he save them all?  No.  “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psa 2).  This method he useth not with them that he saveth by his grace, but with those that himself and saints shall rule over in justice and severity (Rev 2:26, 27). Yet, as you see, “they are given to him.”  Therefore, the gift intended in the text must be restrained to some, to a gift that is given by way of speciality by the Father to the Son.

In Psalm 18 he saith plainly, that some are given to him that he might destroy them.  “Thou hast given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me” (verse 40).  These, therefore, cannot be of the number of those that are said to be given in the text; for those, even ALL of them, shall come to him, “and he will in no wise cast them out.”

3.  Some are given to Christ, that he by them might bring about some of his high and deep designs in the world.  Thus Judas was given to Christ, to wit, that by him, even as was determined before, he might bring about his death, and so the salvation of his elect by his blood.  Yea, and Judas must so manage this business, as that he must lose himself for ever in bringing it to pass.  Therefore the Lord Jesus, even in his losing of Judas, applies himself to the judgment of his Father, if he had not in that thing done that which was right, even in suffering of Judas so to bring about his Master’s death, as that he might, by so doing, bring about his own eternal damnation also.

“Those,” said he, “that thou gavest me, I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12).  Let us, then, grant that Judas was given to Christ, but not as others are given to him, not as those made mention of in the text; for then he should have failed to have been so received by Christ, and kept to eternal life.  Indeed, he was given to Christ; but he was given to him to lose him, in the way that I have mentioned before; he was given to Christ, that he by him might bring about his own death, as was before determined; and that in the overthrow of him that did it.  Yea, he must bring about his own death, as was before determined, and that in the overthrow of him that did it.  Yea, he must bring about his dying for us in the loss of the instrument that betrayed him, that he might even fulfil the Scripture in his destruction, as well as in the salvation of the rest.  “And none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”

[Second, Those intended as the gift.]—The gift, therefore, in the text, must not be taken in the largest sense, but even as the words will bear, to wit, for such a gift as he accepteth, and promiseth to be an effectual means of eternal salvation to.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  Mark!  they shall come that are in special given to me; and they shall by no means be rejected.  For this is the substance of the text.

Those, therefore, intended as the gift in the text, are those that are given by covenant to the Son; those that in other places are called “the elect,” “the chosen,” “the sheep,” and “the children of the promise,” &c. These be they that the Father hath given to Christ to keep them; those that Christ hath promised eternal life unto; those to whom he hath given his word, and that he will have with him in his kingdom to behold his glory.

“This is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39).  “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28).  “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. Thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy word; I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.”  “Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”  “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:1, 6, 9, 10, 24).

All these sentences are of the same import with the text; and the alls and manies, those, they, &c., in these several sayings of Christ, are the same with all the given in the text.  “All that the Father giveth.”

So that, as I said before, the word ALL, as also other words, must not be taken in such sort as our foolish fancies or groundless opinions will prompt us to, but do admit of an enlargement or a restriction, according to the true meaning and intent of the text.  We must therefore diligently consult the meaning of the text, by comparing it with other the sayings of God; so shall we be better able to find out the mind of the Lord, in the word which he has given us to know it by.

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 242–243).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

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Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 1

Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ

“ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVETH ME SHALL COME TO ME; AND HIM THAT COMETH TO ME I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT.”—JOHN 6:37.

A little before, in this chapter, you may read that the Lord Jesus walked on the sea to go to Capernaum, having sent his disciples before in a ship, but the wind was contrary; by which means the ship was hindered in her passage. Now, about the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came walking upon the sea, and overtook them; at the sight of whom they were afraid. Note, When providences are black and terrible to God’s people, the Lord Jesus shows himself to them in wonderful manner; the which sometimes they can as little bear, as they can the things that were before terrible to them. They were afraid of the wind and the water; they were also afraid of their Lord and Savior, when he appeared to them in that state.

But he said, “Be not afraid, it is I.”

Note, That the end of the appearing of the Lord Jesus unto his people, though the manner of his appearing be never so terrible, is to allay their fears and perplexities.

Then they received him into the ship, and immediately the ship was at land whither it went.

Note, When Christ is absent from his people, they go on but slowly, and with great difficulty; but when he joineth himself unto them, oh! how fast they steer their course! how soon are they at their journey’s end!

The people now among whom he last preached, when they saw that both Jesus was gone and his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him, they wonderingly asked him, “Rabbi, when camest thou hither?” but the Lord Jesus, slighting their compliment, answered, “Verily, verily, ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.”

Note, A people may follow Christ far for base ends, as these went after him beyond sea for loaves. A man’s belly will carry him a great way in religion; yea, a man’s belly will make him venture far for Christ.

Note again, They are not feigning compliments, but gracious intentions, that crown the work in the eye of Christ; or thus, it is not the toil and business of professors, but their love to him, that makes him approve of them.

Note again, When men shall look for friendly entertainment at Christ’s hand, if their hearts be rotten, even then will they meet with a check and rebuke. “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.”

Yet observe again, He doth not refuse to give, even to these, good counsel: he bids them labor for the meat that endureth to eternal life. Oh! how willingly would Jesus Christ have even those professors that come to him with pretenses only, come to him sincerely, that they may be saved.

The text, you will find, is, after much more discourse with and about this people, and it is uttered by the Lord Jesus as the conclusion of the whole, and intimateth that, since they were professors in pretense only, and therefore such as his soul could not delight in, as such, that he would content himself with a remnant that his Father had bestowed upon him. As who should say, I am not like to be honored in your salvation; but the Father hath bestowed upon me a people, and they shall come to me in truth, and in them will I be satisfied. The text, therefore, may be called Christ’s repose; in the fulfilling whereof he resteth himself content, after much labor and many sermons spent, as it were, in vain. As he saith by the prophet, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain” (Isa 49:4).

But as there he saith, “My judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God;” so in the text he saith, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” By these words, therefore, the Lord Jesus comforteth himself under the consideration of the dissimulation of some of his followers. He also thus betook himself to rest under the consideration of the little effect that his ministry had in Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida: “I thank thee, O Father,” said he, “Lord of heaven and earth, because thou has hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Matt 11:25; Luke 10:21).

The text, in the general, standeth of TWO PARTS, and hath special respect to the Father and the Son; as also to their joint management of the salvation of the people: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” The first part of the text, as is evident, respecteth the Father and his gift; the other part the Son and his reception of that gift.

FIRST, For the gift of the Father there is this to be considered, to wit, the gift itself; and that is the gift of certain persons to the Son. The Father giveth, and that gift shall come: “And him that cometh.” The gift, then, is of persons; the Father giveth persons to Jesus Christ.

SECOND, Next you have the Son’s reception of this gift, and that showeth itself in these particulars:—1. In his hearty acknowledgement of it to be a gift: “The Father giveth me.” 2. In his taking notice, after a solemn manner, of all and every part of the gift: “All that the Father giveth me.” 3. In his resolution to bring them to himself: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” 4. And in his determining that not anything shall make him dislike them in their coming: “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

These things might be spoken to at large, as they are in this method presented to view: but I shall choose to speak to the words, FIRST, BY WAY OF EXPLICATION. SECOND, BY WAY OF OBSERVATION.

Bunyan, J. (2006). Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, p. 241). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

 

 

 

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Christ's Two Appearings

Christ's Two Appearings

THE two great links between earth and Heaven are the two advents of our Lord; or, rather, He is Himself, by His two appearings, the great bond of union between earth and Heaven. When the world had revolted against its Maker, and the Creator had been defied by His own creatures, a great gulf was opened between God and man. The first coming of Christ was like a bridge which crossed the chasm, and made a way of access from God to man, and then from man to God. Our Lord’s second advent will make that bridge far broader, until Heaven shall come down to earth; and, ultimately, earth shall go up to Heaven.

Here, too, is the place for us to build a grand suspension bridge, by which, through faith, we ourselves may cross from this side to the other of the stormy river of time. The cross, at whose foot we stand, is the massive column which supports the structure on this side; and as we look forward to the glory, the second advent of our Lord is the solid support on the other side of the deep gulf of time. By faith, we first look to Jesus, and then look for Jesus; and herein is the life of our spirits. Christ on the cross of shame, and Christ on the throne of glory: these are our Dan and Beersheba, and all between is holy ground. As for our Lord’s first coming, there lies our rest; the once-offered sacrifice hath put away our sin, and made our peace with God. As for His second coming, there lies our hope, our joy; for “we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” The glories of His royal priesthood shall be repeated in all the saints; for He hath “made us unto our God kings and priests:” and we shall reign with Him for ever and ever.

At His first advent, we adore Him with gratitude, rejoicing that He is “God with us,” making Himself to be our near Kinsman. We gather with grateful boldness around the Infant in the manger, and behold our God. But, in the anticipation of His second advent, we are struck with a solemn reverence, a trembling awe. We are not less grateful, but we are more prostrate, as we bow before the majesty of the triumphant Christ. Jesus in His glory is an overpowering vision for mortal man to behold. John, the beloved disciple, writes, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.” We could have kissed His blessed feet till He quitted us on Mount Olivet; but, at the sight of our returning Lord, when Heaven and earth shall flee away, we shall bow in lowliest adoration. His first appearing has given us eternal life, and that holy confidence with which we are looking forward to His glorious appearing, which is to be the crown of all His mediatorial work.

There are many contrasts between our Lord’s first and second appearings, but the great contrast is, that, when He comes again, it will be “without a sin-offering unto salvation.” The end and object of His first coming was “to put away sin.” The modern babblers say that He appeared to reveal to us the goodness and love of God. This is true; but it is only the fringe of the whole truth. The all-important fact is, that He revealed God’s love in the provision of the only sacrifice which could put away sin. Then, they say that He appeared to exhibit perfect manhood, and to let us see what our nature ought to be. Here also is a truth; but it is only part of the sacred design of Christ’s coming to earth. He appeared, say they, to manifest self-sacrifice, and to set us an example of love to others; by His self-denial, He trampled on the selfish passions of man. We deny none of these things; and yet we are indignant at the way in which the less is made to hide the greater. To put the secondary ends of our Lord’s first advent into the place of the grand object of His coming, is to turn the truth of God into a lie. It is easy to distort truth, by exaggerating one portion of it, and diminishing another; just as the drawing of the most beautiful face may soon be made a caricature rather than a portrait by neglect of the rule of proportion. You must observe proportion if you would take a truthful view of things; and in reference to the first appearing of our Lord, His chief purpose was “to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

The great object of our Lord’s coming here was not to live, but to die. He appeared, not so much to subdue sin by His teaching, or to manifest goodness, or to perfect an example for us to imitate, but “to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” That which the modern teachers of error would thrust into the background, our Lord placed in the forefront. He came to take away our sins, even as the scapegoat typically carried away the sin of Israel into the wilderness, that the people might be clean before the living God. Do not let us think of Jesus without remembering the design of His coming. I pray you, know not Christ without His cross, as some pretend to know Him.

We preach Christ; so do a great many more: but, “we preach Christ crucified;” so, alas! do not so many more. We preach, concerning our Lord, His cross, His blood, His death; and upon the blood of His cross we lay great stress, extolling much “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” by putting away their sin “by the sacrifice of Himself.” We will not deny, or conceal, or depreciate His master-purpose, lest we be found guilty of trampling upon His blood, and treating it as an unholy thing.

The putting away of sin was a Godlike purpose; and it is a wellspring of hope to us that, for this reason, Jesus appeared among men. If any of you are entertaining some so-called “larger hope”, I would say to you,—Hope what you please; but remember, that hope without truth at the bottom of it, is an anchor without a holdfast. A groundless hope is a mere delusion. Wish what you will; but wishes without promises from God to back them, are vain imaginings. Why should you imagine or wish for another method of salvation? Rest you assured that the Lord thinks so highly of His Son’s one sacrifice for sin that, for you to desire another, is a gross evil in His sight.

If you reject the one sacrifice of the Son of God, there remains no hope for you; nor ought there to be. Our Lord’s plan of putting away sin is so just to God, so honoring to the law, and so safe for you that, if you reject it, your blood must be upon your own head. By once offering up Himself to God, our Lord has done what myriads of years of repentance and suffering could never have done for us. Blessed be the Name of the Lord, the sin of the world, which kept God from dealing with men at all, was put away by our Lord’s death! John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” God has been able to deal with the world of sinners in a way of grace, because Jesus died.

I thank our Lord, even more, because the actual sins of His own chosen—all those who believe on Him in every age—have been put away. These sins were laid on Jesus; and in Him God visited man for them. “He His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree,” and so put them away for ever. The putting away of my guilt as a believer was really, effectually, and eternally accomplished by the death of my great Substitute upon the bloody tree. This is the ground of our everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. Jesus did it, and did it alone, and did it completely; He did not only seem to do it, but He actually achieved the putting away of sin. He blotted out the handwriting that was against us. He finished transgression, and made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness, when once for all He died upon the cross.

I do not need, I hope, to linger here to warn you that it is of no use to expect that God will put away sin in any other way than that which, at so great a cost, He has provided. If sin could have been removed in any other way than by the death of His dear Son, Jesus would not have died. If there had been, within the range of supposition, any method of pardon except by the sacrifice of Himself, depend upon it Jesus would never have bowed His head to death. The great Father would never have inflicted the penalty of death upon the perfect One if it had been possible that the cup should pass from Him. He could never have imposed upon His well-beloved Son a superfluous pain. His death was needful; but, blessed be God, having been endured, it has once for all put away sin, and hence it will never be endured again.

Yet Christ Jesus will appear a second time; but not a second time for the same purpose as when He came before.

He will appear. The appearing will be of the most open character. He will not be visible simply in some quiet place where two or three are met together, in His Name, but He will appear as the lightning is seen in the heavens. At His first appearing, He was truly seen; wherever He went He could be looked at, and gazed upon, and touched, and handled. He will appear quite as plainly, by-and-by, among the sons of men. The observation of Him then will be far more general than at His first advent; for, as John says, “every eye shall see Him.” Every eye did not see Him when He came the first time; but when He comes the second time, all the nations of the world shall behold Him. They that are dead shall rise to see Him, both saints and sinners; and they that are alive and remain when He shall come shall be absorbed in this greatest of spectacles. Then Balaam shall find it true, “I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh.” Though the ungodly shall cry, “Hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne,” they shall cry in vain; for before His judgment-seat they must all appear.

His second appearing will be without sin. That is to say, He will bring no sin-offering with Him, for, having presented Himself as the one sacrifice for sin, there is no need of any other offering. When our Lord comes in His glory, there will remain no sin upon His people. He will present His bride unto Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. The day of His appearing will be the manifestation of a perfect body as well as a perfect Head. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun” when their Lord’s countenance is “as the sun shineth in his strength.” As He will be “without sin,” so will they be “without sin.” Oh, what a glorious appearing will this be;—a true appearing, yet the very opposite of the first!

If we are really expecting our Lord to come, we shall be concerned to have everything ready for His appearing. I sometimes see the great gates open in front of the larger houses in the suburbs; it usually means that the master is expected soon. Keep the great gates of your soul always open, ready for your Lord’s return. It is idle to talk about looking for His coming if we never set our house in order, and never put ourselves in readiness for His reception. Looking for Him, means that we stand in a waiting attitude, as a servant who expects his master to be at the door presently.

Do not say, “The Lord will not come yet, and therefore I shall make my plans for the next twenty or thirty years irrespective of Him.” You may not be here in the next twenty or thirty minutes; or, if you are, your Lord may be here also. He is already on the road; He started long ago, and He sent on a herald before Him to cry, “Behold, I come quickly.” He has been coming quickly over the mountains of division ever since; and He must be here soon. If you are truly looking for His appearing, you will be found in the attitude of one who waits and watches, that when his Lord cometh he may meet Him with joy. Are you thus expecting Him?

I am afraid I shall only be speaking the truth if I say that very few Christians are, in the highest sense, waiting for the appearing of their Lord and Saviour. As to watching, this is still more rare than waiting. The fact is, even the better sort of believers, who wait for His coming, as all the ten virgins did, nevertheless do not watch, as the whole ten waiters slumbered and slept. This is a mournful business. A man, who is asleep, cannot be said to look; yet it is “unto them that look for Him” that the Lord is to “appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” We must be wide-awake to look; we ought to go up to the watch-tower every morning, and look toward the sunrising, to see whether Christ is coming; and our last act at night should be to look out for His star, and ask, “Is He coming?” It ought to be a daily disappointment when our Lord does not come; instead of being, as I fear it is, a kind of foregone conclusion that He will not come just yet.

Many professing Christians appear to forget all about Christ’s second coming; others drop a smile when we speak about it, as though it was a subject that belonged only to fanatics and dreamers. But ye, beloved, I trust are not of that kind. As ye believe really in the first coming and the one great sacrifice, so believe really in the second coming without a sin-offering unto the climax of your salvation. Standing between Christ’s cross and His crown, between the cloud that received Him out of our sight, and the clouds with which He will come with ten thousands of His saints to judge the quick and the dead, let us live as men who are not of this world, strangers in this age which darkly lies between two bright appearings, happy beings saved by a mystery accomplished, and soon to be glorified by another mystery which is hastening on to its fulfillment. Let us, like that woman mentioned in the Revelation, have the moon under our feet, and keep all sublunary things in their proper place. May we even now be made to sit together in the heavenlies with Christ, that, when He appears, we may also appear with Him in glory! Amen.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 143–152). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 

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Room For Christ Jesus

Room For Christ Jesus

THE palace, the forum, and the inn, had no room for Christ; have you room for Him? “Well,” says one, “I have room for Him, but I am not worthy that He should come to me.” Ah! I did not ask about your worthiness; have you room for Him? “Oh!” says another, “I have an aching void the world can never fill.” Ah! I see that you have room for Christ. “Oh, but the room I have in my heart is so base!” So was the manger at Bethlehem. “But it is so despicable.” So was the manger a thing to be despised. “Ah! but my heart is so foul.” So, perhaps, the manger may have been. “Oh, but I feel it is a place not at all fit for Christ!” Nor was the manger a place fit for Him, and yet there was He laid. “Oh! but I have been such a great sinner; I feel as if my heart had been a den of evil beasts.” Well, the manger had been a place where beasts had fed.

I repeat the question,—Have you room for Christ in your heart? Never mind what your past life has been; He can forget and forgive. It mattereth not what even thy present state may be if thou sincerely mournest thy sinfulness. If thou hast but room for Christ, He will come, and be thy Guest. Do not say, I pray you, “I hope I shall have room for Him;” the Gospel message is, “To-day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation;” “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Make room for Jesus! Make room for Jesus now!

“Oh!” saith one, “I have room for Him, but will He come to me?” Will He come? Do you but set the door of your heart open, do you but say, “Jesus Master, all unworthy and unclean, I look to Thee; I trust in Thee; come Thou, and dwell within my heart;” and He will come to thee, and He will cleanse the manger of thy heart; nay, more, He will transform it into a golden throne, and there He will sit and reign for ever and ever. I rejoice that I have such a free Christ, such a precious loving Jesus to make known; One who is willing to find a home in every humble heart that will receive Him. Oh! it will be a happy day for you when you shall be enabled to take Him in your arms, and receive Him as the Consolation of Israel. You may then look forward even to death with joy, and say, with good old Simeon, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.”

My Master wants room; and I, as His herald, cry aloud, “Room for the Savior! Room! Here is my royal Master, have you room for Him? Here is the Son of God made flesh, have you room for Him? Here is He who can forgive all sin, have you room for Him? Here is He who can take you up out of the horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, have you room for Him? Here is He who, when He cometh in to your soul, will never go out again; but will abide with you for ever, to make your heart a heaven of joy and bliss through His presence? Have you not room for Him?” That is all He asks, room. Your emptiness, your nothingness, your want of feeling, your want of goodness, your want of grace,—all these will be but room for Him.

John tells us that, “as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God;” and in the last great day, the Lord Jesus will say to those on His right hand, “I was a stranger, and ye took Me in.” Is it not a strange thing that “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him,” and yet He was a stranger in it? Yet it is not a whit more strange than true; for, when He was born, there was no room for Him in the inn. Inns had open doors for ordinary strangers, but not for Him; for He was a greater stranger than any of those who were around Him. It was Bethlehem of David, the seat of the ancient family to which He belonged; but, alas! He had become “a stranger unto His brethren, and an alien unto His mother’s children,” and no door was opened unto Him.

Soon, there was no safe room for Him in the village itself, for Herod the king sought the young Child’s life, and He must flee into Egypt, to be a stranger in a strange land, and worse than a stranger,—an exile and a fugitive from the land whereof by birthright He was King. On His return, and on His appearing in public, there was still no room for Him among the great mass of the people. He came to His own Israel, to whom prophets had revealed Him, and types had set Him forth; but they would not receive Him. “He was despised and rejected of men.” He was the Man “whom men abhorred;” whom they so much detested that they cried, “Away with Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Jew and Gentile conspired to prove how truly He was a stranger; the Jew said, “As for this fellow, we know not from whence He is;” and the Roman asked Him, “Whence art Thou?”

Perhaps the strangest thing of all, and the greatest wonder of all, is that this Heavenly Stranger should be willing to be received by us, and that He should deign to dwell in our hearts. Such an One as Jesus in such an one as I am! The King of glory in a sinner’s bosom! This is a miracle of grace; yet the manner of accomplishing it is simple enough. A humble, repenting faith opens the door, and Jesus enters the heart at once. Love shuts to the door with the hand of penitence, and holy watchfulness keeps out intruders. Thus is the promise made good, “If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Meditation, contemplation, prayer, praise, and daily obedience, keep the house in order for the Lord; and then follows the consecration of our entire nature to His use as a temple; the dedication of spirit, soul, and body, and all their powers, as holy vessels of the sanctuary; the writing of “Holiness unto the Lord” upon all that is about us, till our every-day garments become vestments, our meals sacraments, our life a ministry, and ourselves priests unto the Most High God. Oh, the supreme condescension of this indwelling of Christ! He never dwelt in angel, but He resides in a contrite spirit. There is a world of meaning in the Redeemer’s words concerning His disciples, “I in them.” May we know the meaning of them as Paul translates and applies them, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”!

The moment Christ is received into our hearts by faith, we are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of faith; for the Lord adopts us, and puts us among His children. It is a splendid act of Divine grace, that He should take us, who were heirs of wrath, and make us heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. Such honor have all the saints, even all that believe on Christ’s Name.

Then, when Christ is in us, we search out opportunities of bringing prodigals, strangers, and outcasts to the great Father’s house. Our love goes out to all mankind, and our hand is closed against none; if so be we are made like to God, as little children are like their father. Oh, sweet result of entertaining the Son of God by faith! He dwells in us, and we gaze upon Him in holy fellowship; so that “we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

“Love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” May we daily feel the power of Jesus within our hearts, transforming our whole character, and making us to be more and more manifestly the children of God! When our Lord asks concerning us, “What manner of men were they?” may even His enemies and ours be compelled to answer, “As Thou art, so were they: each one resembled the children of a King.” Then shall Jesus be admired in all them that believe, for men shall see in all the children of His great family the Divine Stranger’s gracious and glorious handiwork.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 137–142). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 

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Christ's Fullness Received by His People

Christ's Fullness Received by His People

NOT only does John say that our Lord Jesus Christ is “full of grace and truth,” but he adds, “and of His fullness have all we received.” It is not one saint alone who has derived grace from the Redeemer, but all have done so; and they have not merely derived a part of the blessings of grace from Jesus, but all that they ever had they received from Him.

It would be a wonderful vision if we could now behold passing before us the long procession of the chosen, the great and the small, the goodly fellowship of the apostles, the noble army of martyrs, the once weeping but now rejoicing band of penitents. There they go! Methinks I see them all in their white robes, bearing their palms of victory. But you shall not, if you stay the procession at any point, be able to discover one who will claim to have obtained grace from another source than Christ; nor shall one of them say, “I owed the first grace I gained to Christ, but I gained other grace elsewhere.” No, the unanimous testimony of the glorified is, “Of His fullness have all we received.” My inner eye beholds the countless throng as the wondrous procession passes, and I note how every one of the saints prostrates himself before the throne of the Lamb, and all together they cry, “ ‘Of His fullness have all we received.’ Whoever we may be, however faithfully we have served our Master, whatever of honor we have gained, all the glory is due unto our Lord, who has enabled us to finish our course, and to win the prize. ‘Non nobis, Domine!’ is our cry; ‘not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy Name be all the praise!’ ”

What a precious truth, then, we have before us, that all the saints in all ages have been just what we must be if we would be saved; that is, receivers! They did not any of them bring anything of merit to Christ, but they received everything from Him. If they, at this moment, cast their crowns at His feet, those crowns were first given to them by Him. Their white robes are wedding garments of His providing. The whole course of saintship is receptive. None of the saints above talk of what they gave to Jesus, none of them speak of what came of themselves; but, without a solitary exception, they all bear testimony that they were receivers from Jesus’ fullness.

This truth casts mire into the face of human self-sufficiency. What! is there not one saint who had a little grace of his own? Is there not one of all the favored throng who could supply himself with what he needed? No, not one. Did none of them look to the works of the law? No, they all went to Jesus and His grace, not to Moses and the law. Did none of them trust in priests of earthly anointing? Did none of them bow down before holy fathers and saintly confessors to obtain absolution? There is not a word said about any such gentry, nor even a syllable concerning appeals to saints and saintesses; but all the saved ones declare that they received grace and salvation direct from His fullness, who filleth all in all.

These receptive saints received very abundantly from Christ’s fullness. They drew from an abundance, and they drew largely from it, as the words seem to indicate. It is worth while to notice the marvelous simplicity of the one act by which salvation comes to all saints. It is merely by receiving. Now, receiving is a very easy thing. There are fifty things which you cannot do; but, my dear friend, you could undoubtedly receive a guinea, could you not, if it were offered to you? There is not a rational man, or woman, or child, so imperfect in power as to be unable to receive. Everybody seems capable of receiving to any amount; and, in salvation, you have to do nothing but merely receive what Christ gives.

There is a beggar’s hand, and if it be wanted to write a fair letter, it cannot do that, but it can receive alms. Try it, and the beggar will soon let you know that it can do so. Look at that next hand; see you not that it has the palsy? Behold how it quivers and shakes! Ah! but for all that, it can receive. Many a palsied hand has received a jewel. But the hand that I now see, in addition to being black, and palsied, is afflicted with a foul disease; the leprosy lies within it, and is not to be washed out by any mode of purification known to us; yet even that hand can receive; and the saints all came to be saints, and have remained saints, through doing exactly what that poor black, quivering, leprous hand can do. There was not in John any good thing but what he had received from his Master; there was not in the noble proto-martyr, Stephen, one grain of courage but what he had received from Christ; Paul, Apollos, Cephas,—all these had nothing but what they took from Him. If, then, they received everything from Christ, why should we hesitate to do the same?

All their grace came by receiving; so, dear reader, I put to you the question,—Have you received of the fullness of Christ? Have you come to Him all empty-handed, and taken Him to be your All-in-all? I know what you did at first; you were busy accumulating the shining heaps of your own merits, and esteeming them as if they were so much gold; but you found out that your labor profited not, so at last you came to Christ empty-handed, and said to Him, “My precious Savior, do but give me Thyself, and I will abandon all thought of my own merit. I renounce all my giving, and doing, and working, and I take Thee to be everything to me.” Then, friend, you are saved if that be true, for acceptance of Christ is the hall-mark of saints.

The fullness of God’s grace is placed where you can receive it, where you can receive it now, for it is placed in Him who is your Brother, bone of your bone, and flesh of your flesh; it dwells in Him who loves to give it, because, as our Head, He delights to communicate grace to all the members of His mystical body. The plenitude of grace dwells in Him who is Himself yours; and since He is yours, all that is in Him is yours. You need not pray as if you had no inheritance in the blessing which you seek. Christ is the Trustee of the fullness of God, and the ownership of it is vested in His people; you have only to ask of Him, and He will give you that which is your own already. Why do you hesitate? How can you linger? The Father has placed His grace in Christ because it gratifies His love to His Son. It pleases the heart of the great God to see Jesus adorned with the fullness of Deity, and every time Jesus gives out grace to believers, the heart of God is thereby gladdened. How can you hesitate about receiving it if it pleases God for you to partake of it? You may go with high expectation of comfort, since Jesus Himself is honored by your going to Him. He obtains glory by distributing of His fullness to empty sinners, who, when they receive grace, are sure to love Him; then, how can you think Him reluctant to bestow the gift which will increase His glory?

Thinking upon this subject brings to my mind right joyful memories of the hour when first these eyes looked to Christ, and were lightened; when I received pardon from His dying love, and knew myself forgiven. Have not many of my readers similar recollections? And since your conversion, is it not true that everything good you have ever had you have received from your Lord? What have you drunk out of your own cistern? What treasure have you found in your own fields? Nakedness, poverty, misery, death,—these are the only possessions of nature; but life, riches, fullness, joy,—these are gifts of grace through Jesus Christ. Are you accepted before God? Then, He has justified you. Have you been kept? Then, He has preserved you. Are you sanctified? Then, He has cleansed you by His blood. Do you know, by full assurance, your interest in the Father’s love? Then, He gave you that assurance. All you have, and all you ever will have, all that every saint who ever will be born shall have, that is worth the having,—all has been received, and will be received from Christ’s fullness.

Do you not know, too, that when you receive from Christ, you gain by that very act? I am so thankful that Christ has not put the fullness of grace in myself, for then I should not require to go to Him so often; or if I did go to Him, I should not have an errand to go upon of such importance as to justify me in seeking an audience; but now, every time I go to Christ’s door, I can plead necessity. We go to Him because we must go. When is there an hour when a believer does not need to receive from Jesus? Go, then, beloved, to Him often, since your going honours Christ, pleases God, and is the means of soul-enrichment for yourselves.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 131–136). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 

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Jesus Christ, "Full of Grace and Truth"

Jesus Christ, "Full of Grace and Truth"

IN describing the coming of Christ, John says, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” In Jesus Christ, all the attributes of God are seen; veiled, but yet verily there. You have only to read the Gospels, and to look with willing eyes, and you shall behold in Christ all that can possibly be seen of God. It is veiled in human flesh, as it must be; for the glory of God is not to be seen by us absolutely. It is toned down to these dim eyes of ours; but the Godhead is there, the perfect Godhead in union with the perfect manhood of Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory for ever and ever.

The two Divine things which are more clearly seen in Jesus than aught else are “grace and truth.” Christ did not simply come to tell us about grace, but actually to bring us grace. He is not merely full of the news of grace and truth, but of grace and truth themselves. Others had been messengers of gracious tidings, but He came to bring grace. Others teach us truth, but Jesus is the truth. He is that grace and truth whereof others spake. Jesus is not merely a Teacher, an Exhorter, a Worker of grace and truth; but these heavenly things are in Him, and He is full of them.

Christ has brought us grace in rivers and truth in streams; and the two rivers unite in the one fullness of grace and truth. That is to say, the grace is truthful grace; not grace in fiction, or in fancy, not grace to be hoped for or to be dreamed of, but grace every atom of which is fact; redemption which does redeem, pardon which does blot out sin, renewal which actually regenerates, salvation which completely saves. We have not in Christ the mere shadows of blessings, which charm the eye, yet cheat the soul; but real, substantial favors from God who cannot lie.

Christ has come to bring us grace and truth; that is to say, it is not the kind of truth which censures, condemns, and punishes; it is gracious truth, truth steeped in love, truth saturated with mercy. The truth which Jesus brings to His people comes from the mercy-seat. There is grace to God’s people in everything that falls from the lips of Jesus Christ. His lips are like lilies dropping sweet-smelling myrrh. Myrrh in itself is bitter, but such is the grace of our Lord Jesus that His lips impart sweetness to it. See how grace and truth thus blend, and qualify each other. The grace is all true, and the truth is all gracious. This is a wondrous compound made according to the art of the Divine Apothecary; where else is grace so true, or truth so gracious?

Furthermore, grace and truth are blessedly balanced in Christ. He is full of grace; but, then, He has not neglected that other quality which is somewhat sterner, namely, that of truth. I have known many people in this world who have been very loving and affectionate, but then they have not been faithful; on the other hand, I have known men who were sternly honest and truthful, but they have not been gentle and kind; but, in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no defect either way. He is full of grace which doth invite the publican and the sinner to Himself; but He is full of truth which doth repel the hypocrite and Pharisee. He does not hide from man a truth however terrible it may be, but He plainly declares the wrath of God against all unrighteousness. But when He has spoken terrible truth, He has uttered it in such a gracious and tender manner, with so many tears of compassion for the ignorant and those that are out of the way, that you are as much won by His grace as you are convinced by His truth. Our Lord’s ministry is not truth alone, nor grace alone; but it is a balanced, well-ordered system of grace and truth. The Lord Himself is both King of righteousness and King of peace. He does not even save unjustly, nor does He proclaim truth unlovingly. Grace and truth are equally conspicuous in Him.

But these qualities are also in our Lord to the full. He is “full of grace.” Who could be more so? In the person of Jesus Christ, the immeasurable grace of God is treasured up. God has done for us, by Christ Jesus, exceeding abundantly above all that we ask, or even think. It is not possible for our imagination to conceive of anyone more gracious than God in Christ Jesus; and there is an equal fullness of truth about our Lord. He Himself, as He comes to us as the revelation and manifestation of God, declares to us, not some truth, but all truth. All of God is in Christ; and all of God means all that is true, and all that is right, and all that is faithful, and all that is just, all that is according to righteousness and holiness. There is no truth hidden from us, that might have alarmed us, nor anything that might have shaken our confidence in Christ; nor, on the other hand, is any truth kept back which might have increased our steadfastness. He said to His disciples, concerning the glories of His Father’s house above, “If it were not so, I would have told you.” Ask not, with Pilate, “What is truth?” but behold it in God’s dear Son. All truth and all grace dwell in Christ in all their fullness beyond conception, and the two lie in each other’s bosoms for ever, to bless us with boundless, endless joy and glory.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is also full of grace and truth in this sense, that He truthfully deals with matters of fact relating to our salvation. I know the notion of the world is that the salvation of Christ is a pretty dream, a fine piece of sentiment; but there is nothing dreamy about it: it is no fiction; it is fact upon fact. The Lord Jesus Christ does not gloss over or conceal the condition of man in order to secure his salvation. He finds man condemned, and condemned in the very worst sense, condemned for a capital offence; and as man’s Substitute, He endures the capital penalty, and dies in the sinner’s stead. The Lord Jesus views the sinner as depraved, yea, as dead in trespasses and sins, and He quickens him by His own resurrection life. He does not wink at the result of the Fall, and at the guilt of actual sin; but He comes to the dead sinner, and gives him life; He touches the diseased heart, and heals it.

To me, the Gospel is a wonderful embodiment of omnipotent wisdom and truth. If the Gospel had said to men, “The law of God is certainly righteous, but it is too stern, too exacting, and therefore God will wink at many sins, and make provision for salvation by omitting to punish much of human guilt,” we should always have been in jeopardy. If God could be unjust to save us, He could also be changeable, and cast us away. If there was anything rotten in the God-made structure of our salvation, we should fear that it would fail us at last. But the building is secure, and the foundation is sure, for the Lord has excavated down to the solid rock. He has taken away all sentiment and sham, and His salvation is real and substantial throughout. It is a glorious salvation of grace and truth, in which God takes the sinner as he is, and deals with him as he is; yea, and deals with the sinner as God is, on the principles of true righteousness; and yet saves him, because the Lord deals with him in the way of grace, and that grace encourages a great many hopes, and those hopes are all realized, for they are based upon God’s truth.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 126–130). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 

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Jesus Christ, His Own Herald

Jesus Christ, His Own Herald

“LO, I come,” saith Christ; so He is His own herald. He does not wait for an eloquent preacher to act as master of the ceremonies to Him; He introduces Himself. You need not do anything to draw Christ’s attention to you; it is Christ who draws attention to Himself. Do you see this? You are the blind bat; and He is all eye towards you, and bids you look on Him. He bids you look on Him when you beseech Him to look on you.

To many men and women, Christ has come though they have not even desired Him. Yea, He has come even to those who have hated Him. Saul of Tarsus was on his way to worry the saints at Damascus, but Jesus said, “Lo, I come;” and when He looked out of Heaven, He turned Saul, the persecutor, into Paul, the apostle. Again and again has that gracious word been fulfilled, “I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me.” Herein is the glorious sovereignty of His love fully exercised, and grace reigns supreme. “Lo, I come,” is the announcement of majestic grace which waiteth not for man, neither tarrieth for the sons of men.

Before He came, He delighted in the thought of His Incarnation. The Supreme Wisdom saith, “My delights were with the sons of men.” Happy in His Father’s courts, He yet looked forward to an access of happiness in becoming man. “Can that be?” saith one. Could the Son of God be happier than He was in Heaven? As God, He was infinitely blessed; but He knew nothing by experience of the life of man, and into that sphere He desired to enter. To the Godhead, there can be no enlargement, for it is infinite; but, still, there can be an addition; our Lord was to add the nature of man to that of God. He would live as man, suffer as man, and triumph as man, and yet remain God; and to this He looked forward with a strange delight, inexplicable except upon the knowledge of the great love He bore to us. He had given His heart so entirely to His dear bride, whom He saw in the glass of predestination, that for her He would endure all things.

      “Yea, saith the Lord, for her I’ll go

         Through all the depths of care and woe,

      And on the cross will even dare

         The bitter pangs of death to bear.”

It was wondrous love. Our Lord’s love surpasses all language and even thought.

When He appears, it is as the personal Lord. Lay the stress upon the pronoun, “Lo, I come.” The infinite Ego appears, “Lo, I come.” No mere man could talk thus, and be sane. No servant or prophet of God would ever say, “Lo, I come.” Saintly men talk not so. God’s prophets and apostles have a modest sense of their true position; they never magnify themselves, though they magnify their office. It is for God alone to say, “Lo, I come.” He who says it takes the body prepared for Him, and comes in His own proper personality as the I AM. He comes forth from the ivory palaces to inhabit the tents of manhood, and He stands forth, in His matchless personality, ready to do the will of God.

“Lo, I come.” This is no dirge; I think I hear a silver trumpet ring out, “Lo, I come.” These words indicate a joyful alacrity and intense eagerness. The coming of the Savior was to Him a thing of exceeding willingness. “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame.” This is no clandestine union. He bids Heaven behold Him come into our nature, and calls upon all on earth to gaze upon the wondrous mystery.

Our Lord Jesus is the way to Himself. Did you ever notice that? He Himself comes to us, and so He is the way by which we meet Him. He says, “I am the way.” He is our rest, and the way to our rest. You say that you want to know how to get to Christ. You have not to get to Him, for He has come to you. It is well for you to come to Christ; but that is only possible because Christ has come to you. Jesus is near you; near you now. Backslider, He comes to you! Wandering soul, roving to the very brink of perdition, the good Shepherd cries, “Lo, I come.”

Remember, also, that He is the blessing which He brings. Jesus not only gives life and resurrection, but He says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Christ is salvation, and everything needful to salvation is in Him. If He comes, all good comes with Him, or rather in Him. An enquirer once said to a minister, “The next step for me is to get a deeper conviction of sin.” The minister replied, “No such thing, my friend; the next step is to trust in Jesus, for He says, Come unto Me.” To come to Jesus, or rather to receive Jesus who has come to us, is the one essential step into eternal salvation.

Though our Lord does say, “Come unto Me,” He has preceded it with this other word, “Lo, I come.” Poor cripple, if you cannot come to Jesus, ask Him to come to you; and He will. Here you lie, and you have been for years in this case; you have no man to put you into the pool, and it would do you no good if he did; but Jesus can make you whole, and He is here. You cannot stir hand or foot because of spiritual paralysis; but your case is not hopeless. Jesus says, “Lo, I come.” He has no paralysis. He can come, leaping over the mountains of division. I know that my Lord came to me, or I should never have come to Him; then, why should He not come to you? I came to Him because He came to me.

         “He drew me, and I followed on,

         Charmed to confess the voice Divine.”

Why should He not draw you also? Is He not doing so? Yield to the pressure of His love.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 122–125). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 


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