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Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 18

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 18

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 18

Second, The Text Treated by Way of Observation

Thus have I in brief passed through this text by way of explications.  My next work is to speak to it by way of observation.  But I shall be also as brief in that as the nature of the thing will admit.  “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).

And now I come to some observations, and a little briefly to speak to them, and then conclude the whole.  The words thus explained afford us many, some of which are these.  1.  That God the Father, and Christ his Son, are two distinct persons in the Godhead.  2.  That by them, not excluding the Holy Ghost, is contrived and determined the salvation of fallen mankind.  3.  That this contrivance resolved itself into a covenant between these persons in the Godhead, which standeth in giving on the Father’s part, and receiving on the Son’s.  “All that the Father giveth me,” &c.  4.  That every one that the Father hath given to Christ, according to the mind of God in the text, shall certainly come to him.  5.  That coming to Jesus Christ is therefore not by the will, wisdom, or power of man; but by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come.” 6.  That Jesus Christ will be careful to receive, and will not in any wise reject those that come, or are coming to him.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” There are, besides these, some other truths implied in the words.  As, 7.  They that are coming to Jesus Christ are ofttimes heartily afraid that he will not receive them.  8.  Jesus Christ would not have them that in truth are coming to him once think that he will cast them out.

These observations lie all of them in the words, and are plentifully confirmed by the Scriptures of truth; but I shall not at this time speak to them all, but shall pass by the first, second, third, fourth, and sixth, partly because I design brevity, and partly because they are touched upon in the explicatory part of the text.  I shall therefore begin with the fifth observation, and so make that the first in order, in the following discourse.

COMING TO CHRIST NOT BY THE POWER OF MAN, BUT BY THE DRAWING OF THE FATHER

OBSERVATION FIRST.  First, then, coming to Christ is not by the will, wisdom, or power of man, but by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father.  This observation standeth of two parts.  First, The coming to Christ is not by the will, wisdom, or power of man; Second, But by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father.

That the text carrieth this truth in its bosom, you will find if you look into the explication of the first part thereof before.  I shall, therefore, here follow the method propounded, viz: show,

First, That coming to Christ is not by the will, wisdom, or power of man.  This is true, because the Word doth positively say it is not.

1.  It denieth it wholly to be by the will of man.  “Not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man” (John 1:13).  And again, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth” (Rom 9:16).

2.  It denieth it to be of the wisdom of man, as is manifest from these considerations:

(1.) In the wisdom of God it pleased him, that the world by wisdom should not know him.  Now, if by their wisdom they cannot know him, it follows, by that wisdom, they cannot come unto him; for coming to him is not before, but after some knowledge of him (1 Cor 1:21; Acts 13:27; Psa 9:10).

(2.) The wisdom of man, in God’s account, as to the knowledge of Christ, is reckoned foolishness.  “Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Cor 1:20).  And again, The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (2:14).  If God hath made foolish the wisdom of this world; and again, if the wisdom of this world is foolishness with him, then verily it is not likely, that by that a sinner should become so prudent as to come to Jesus Christ, especially if you consider,

(3.) That the doctrine of a crucified Christ, and so of salvation by him, is the very thing that is counted foolishness to the wisdom of the world.  Now, if the very doctrine of a crucified Christ be counted foolishness by the wisdom of this world, it cannot be that, by that wisdom, a man should be drawn out in his soul to come to him (1 Cor 3:19; 1:18, 23).

(4.) God counted the wisdom of this world one of his greatest enemies; therefore, by that wisdom no man can come to Jesus Christ.  For it is not likely that one of God’s greatest enemies should draw a man to that which best of all pleaseth God, as coming to Christ doth.  Now, that God counteth the wisdom of this world one of his greatest enemies, is evident, (a.) For that it casteth the greatest contempt upon his Son’s undertakings, as afore is proved, in that it counts his crucifixion foolishness; though that be one of the highest demonstrations of Divine wisdom (Eph 1:7, 8).  (b.) Because God hath threatened to destroy it, and bring it to nought, and cause it to perish; which surely he would not do, was it not an enemy, would it direct men to, and cause them to close with Jesus Christ (Isa 29:14; 1 Cor 1:19).  (c.) He hath rejected it from helping in the ministry of his Word, as a fruitless business, and a thing that comes to nought (1 Cor 2:4, 6, 12, 13).  (d.) Because it causeth to perish, those that seek it, and pursue it (1 Cor 1:18, 19).  (e.) And God has proclaimed, that if any man will be wise in this world, he must be a fool in the wisdom of this world, and that is the way to be wise in the wisdom of God.  “If any man seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Cor 3:18–20).

3.  Coming to Christ is not by the power of man.  This is evident partly,

(1.) From that which goeth before.  For man’s power in the putting forth of it, in this matter, is either stirred up by love, or sense of necessity; but the wisdom of this world neither gives man love to, or sense of a need of, Jesus Christ; therefore, his power lieth still, as from that.

(2.) What power has he that is dead, as every natural man spiritually is, even dead in trespasses and sins? Dead, even as dead to God’s New Testament things as he that is in his grave is dead to the things of this world.  What power hath he, then, whereby to come to Jesus Christ? (John 5:25; Eph 2:1; Col 2:13).

(3.) God forbids the mighty man’s glorying in his strength; and says positively, “By strength shall no man prevail;” and again, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord” (Jer 9:23, 24; 1 Sam 2:9; Zech 4:6; 1 Cor 1:27–31).

(4.) Paul acknowledgeth that man, nay, converted man, of himself, hath not a sufficiency of power in himself to think a good thought; if not to do that which is least, for to think is less than to come; then no man, by his own power, can come to Jesus Christ (2 Cor 2:5).

(5.) Hence we are said to be made willing to come, by the power of God; to be raised from a state of sin to a state of grace, by the power of God; and to believe, that is to come, through the exceeding working of his mighty power (Psa 110:3; Col 2:12; Eph 1:18, 20; Job 23:14).  But this needed not, if either man had power or will to come; or so much as graciously to think of being willing to come, of themselves, to Jesus Christ.

Second, I should now come to the proof of the second part of the observation [namely, the coming to Christ is by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father], but that is occasionally done already, in the explicatory part of the text, to which I refer the reader; for I shall here only give thee a text or two more to the same purpose, and so come to the use and application.

1.  It is expressly said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44).  By this text, there is not only insinuated that in man is want of power, but also of will, to come to Jesus Christ: they must be drawn; they come not if they be not drawn.  And observe, it is not man, no, nor all the angels in heaven, that can draw one sinner to Jesus Christ.  No man cometh to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.

2.  Again, “No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” (John 6:65).  It is an heavenly gift that maketh man come to Jesus Christ.

3.  Again, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.  Every man, therefore, that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:45).

I shall not enlarge, but shall make some use and application, and so come to the next observation.

Use and Application of Observation First

Use First.  Is it so? Is coming to Jesus Christ not by the will, wisdom, or power of man, but by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father? Then they are to blame that cry up the will, wisdom, and power of man, as things sufficient to bring men to Christ.

There are some men who think they may not be contradicted, when they plead for the will, wisdom, and power of man in reference to the things that are of the kingdom of Christ; but I will say to such a man, he never yet came to understand, that himself is what the Scripture teacheth concerning him; neither did he ever know what coming to Christ is, by the teaching, gift, and drawing of the Father.  He is such a one that hath set up God’s enemy in opposition to him, and that continueth in such acts of defiance; and what his end, without a new birth, will be, the Scripture teacheth also; but we will pass this.

Use Second.  Is it so? Is coming to Jesus Christ by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father? Then let saints here learn to ascribe their coming to Christ to the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father.  Christian man, bless God, who hath given thee to Jesus Christ by promise; and again, bless God for that he hath drawn thee to him.  And why is it thee? Why not another? O that the glory of electing love should rest upon thy head, and that the glory of the exceeding grace of God should take hold of thy heart, and bring thee to Jesus Christ!

Use Third.  Is it so, that coming to Jesus Christ is by the Father, as aforesaid? Then this should teach us to set a high esteem upon them that indeed are coming to Jesus Christ; I say, an high esteem on them, for the sake of him by virtue of whose grace they are made to come to Jesus Christ.

We see that when men, by the help of human abilities, do arrive at the knowledge of, and bring to pass that which, when done, is a wonder to the world, how he that did it, is esteemed and commended; yea, how are his wits, parts, industry, and unweariedness in all admired, and yet the man, as to this, is but of the world, and his work the effect of natural ability; the things also attained by him end in vanity and vexation of spirit.  Further, perhaps in the pursuit of these his achievements, he sins against God, wastes his time vainly, and at long-run loses his soul by neglecting of better things; yet he is admired! But I say, if this man’s parts, labor, diligence, and the like, will bring him to such applause and esteem in the world, what esteem should we have of such an one that is by the gift, promise, and power of God, coming to Jesus Christ?

1.  This is a man with whom God is, in whom God works and walks; a man whose motion is governed and steered by the mighty hand of God, and the effectual working of his power.  Here is a man!

2.  This man, by the power of God’s might, which worketh in him, is able to cast a whole world behind him, with all the lusts and pleasures of it, and to charge through all the difficulties that men and devils can set against him.  Here is a man.

3.  This man is travelling to Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God, and to an innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, to God the Judge of all, and to Jesus.  Here is a man!

4.  This man can look upon death with comfort, can laugh at destruction when it cometh, and longs to hear the sound of the last trump, and to see his Judge coming in the clouds of heaven.  Here is a man indeed!

Let Christians, then, esteem each other as such.  I know you do it; but do it more and more.  And that you may, consider these two or three things.  (1.) These are the Objections of Christ’s esteem (Matt 12:48, 49; 15:22–28; Luke 7:9).  (2.) These are the Objections of the esteem of angels (Dan 9:12; 11:21, 22; 12:3, 4; Heb 2:14).  (3.) These have been the Objections of the esteem of heathens, when but convinced about them (Dan 5:10, 11; Acts 5:15; 1 Cor 14:24, 25).  “Let each [of you, then,] esteem [each] other better than themselves” (Phil 2:2).

Use Fourth.  Again, Is it so, that no man comes to Jesus Christ by the will, wisdom, and power of man, but by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father? Then this shows us how horribly ignorant of this such are, who make the man that is coming to Christ the Objection of their contempt and rage.  These are also unreasonable and wicked men; men in whom is no faith (2 Thess 3:2).  Sinners, did you but know what a blessed thing it is to come to Jesus Christ, and that by the help and drawing of the Father, they do indeed come to him; you would hang and burn in hell a thousand years, before you would turn your spirits as you do, against him that God is drawing to Jesus Christ, and also against the God that draws him.

But, faithless sinner, let us a little expostulate the matter.  What hath this man done against thee, that is coming to Jesus Christ? Why dost thou make him the Objection of thy scorn? doth his coming to Jesus Christ offend thee? doth his pursuing of his own salvation offend thee? doth his forsaking of his sins and pleasures offend thee?

Poor coming man! “Shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?” (Exo 8:26).

But, I say, why offended at this? Is he ever the worse for coming to Jesus Christ, or for his loving and serving of Jesus Christ? Or is he ever the more a fool, for flying from that which will drown thee in hell-fire, and for seeking eternal life? Besides, pray, Sirs, consider it; this he doth, not of himself, but by the drawing of the Father.  Come, let me tell thee in thine ear, thou that wilt not come to him thyself, and him that would, thou hinderest—

1.  Thou shalt be judged for one that hath hated, maligned, and reproached Jesus Christ, to whom this poor sinner is coming.

2.  Thou shalt be judged, too, for one that hath hated the Father, by whose powerful drawing this sinner doth come.

3.  Thou shalt be taken and judged for one that has done despite to the Spirit of grace in him that is, by its help, coming to Jesus Christ.  What sayest thou now? Wilt thou stand by thy doings? Wilt thou continue to contemn and reproach the living God?  Thinkest thou that thou shalt weather it out well enough at the day of judgment? “Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee,” saith the Lord? (Eze 22:14, John 15:18–25; Jude 15; 1 Thess 4:8).

Use Fifth.  Is it so, that no man comes to Jesus Christ by the will, wisdom, and power of man, but by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father? Then this showeth us how it comes to pass, that weak means are so powerful as to bring men out of their sins to a hearty pursuit after Jesus Christ.  When God bid Moses speak to the people, he said, “I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee” (Exo 18:19).  When God speaks, when God works, who can let it?  None, none; then the work goes on! Elias threw his mantle upon the shoulders of Elisha; and what a wonderful work followed! When Jesus fell in with the crowing of a cock, what work was there!  O when God is in the means, then shall that means—be it never so weak and contemptible in itself—work wonders (1 Kings 19:19; Matt 26:74, 75; Mark 14:71, 72; Luke 22:60–62).  The world understood not, nor believed, that the walls of Jericho should fall at the sound of rams’ horns; but when God will work, the means must be effectual.  A word weakly spoken, spoken with difficulty, in temptation, and in the midst of great contempt and scorn, works wonders, if the Lord thy God will say so too.

Use Sixth.  Is it so? Doth no man come to Jesus Christ by the will, wisdom, and power of man, but by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father?  Then here is room for Christians to stand and wonder at the effectual working of God’s providences, that he hath made use of, as means to bring them to Jesus Christ.

For although men are drawn to Christ by the power of the Father, yet that power putteth forth itself in the use of means: and these means are divers, sometimes this, sometimes that; for God is at liberty to work by which, and when, and how he will; but let the means be what they will, and as contemptible as may be, yet God that commanded the light to shine out of darkness, and that out of weakness can make strong, can, nay, doth oftentimes make use of very unlikely means to bring about the conversion and salvation of his people.  Therefore, you that are come to Christ—and that by unlikely means—stay yourselves, and wonder, and, wondering, magnify almighty power, by the work of which the means hath been made effectual to bring you to Jesus Christ.

What was the providence that God made use of as a means, either more remote or more near, to bring thee to Jesus Christ? Was it the removing of thy habitation, the change of thy condition, the loss of relations, estate, or the like? Was it thy casting of thine eye upon some good book, thy hearing of thy neighbours talk of heavenly things, the beholding of God’s judgments as executed upon others, or thine own deliverance from them, or thy being strangely cast under the ministry of some godly man? O take notice of such providence or providences! They were sent and managed by mighty power to do thee good.  God himself, I say, hath joined himself unto this chariot: yea, and so blessed it, that it failed not to accomplish the thing for which he sent it.

God blesseth not to every one his providences in this manner.  How many thousands are there in this world, that pass every day under the same providences! but God is not in them, to do that work by them as he hath done for thy poor soul, by his effectually working with them.  O that Jesus Christ should meet thee in this providence, that dispensation, or the other ordinance! This is grace indeed! At this, therefore, it will be thy wisdom to admire, and for this to bless God.

Give me leave to give you a taste of some of those providences that have been effectual, through the management of God, to bring salvation to the souls of his people.

(1.) The first shall be that of the woman of Samaria.  It must happen, that she must needs go out of the city to draw water, not before nor after, but just when Jesus Christ her Savior was come from far, and set to rest him, being weary, upon the well.  What a blessed providence was this! Even a providence managed by the almighty wisdom, and almighty power, to the conversion and salvation of this poor creature.  For by this providence was this poor creature and her Savior brought together, that that blessed work might be fulfilled upon the woman, according to the purpose before determined by the Father (John 4).

(2.) What providence was it that there should be a tree in the way for Zaccheus to climb, thereby to give Jesus opportunity to call that chief of the publicans home to himself, even before he came down therefrom (Luke 19).

(3.) Was it not also wonderful that the thief, which you read of in the gospel, should, by the providence of God, be cast into prison, to be condemned even at that session that Christ himself was to die; nay, and that it should happen, too, that they must be hanged together, that the thief might be in hearing and observing of Jesus in his last words, that he might be converted by him before his death! (Luke 23).

(4.) What a strange providence was it, and as strangely managed by God, that Onesimus, when he was run away from his master, should be taken, and, as I think, cast into that very prison where Paul lay bound for the Word of the gospel; that he might there be by him converted, and then sent home again to his master Philemon!  Behold “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).

Nay, I have myself known some that have been made to go to hear the Word preached against their wills; others have gone not to hear, but to see and to be seen; nay, to jeer and flout others, as also to catch and carp at things.  Some also to feed their adulterous eyes with the sight of beautiful Objections; and yet God hath made use even of these things, and even of the wicked and sinful proposals of sinners, to bring them under the grace that might save their souls.

Use Seventh.  Doth no man come to Jesus Christ but by the drawing, &c., of the Father? Then let me here caution those poor sinners, that are spectators of the change that God hath wrought in them that are coming to Jesus Christ, not to attribute this work and change to other things and causes.

There are some poor sinners in the world that plainly see a change, a mighty change, in their neighbours and relations that are coming to Jesus Christ.  But, as I said, they being ignorant, and not knowing whence it comes and whither it goes, for “so is every one that is born of the Spirit,” (John 3:8), therefore they attribute this change to others causes: as melancholy; to sitting alone; to overmuch reading; to their going to too many sermons; to too much studying and musing on what they hear.

Also they conclude, on the other side, that it is for want of merry company; for want of physic; and therefore they advise them to leave off reading, going to sermons, the company of sober people; and to be merry, to go a gossiping, to busy themselves in the things of this world, not to sit musing alone, &c.  But come, poor ignorant sinner, let me deal with thee.  It seems thou art turned counsellor for Satan: I tell thee thou knowest not what thou dost.  Take heed of spending thy judgment after this manner; thou judgest foolishly, and sayest in this, to every one that passeth by, thou art a fool.  What! count convictions for sin, mornings for sin, and repentance for sin, melancholy? This is like those that on the other side said, “These men are [drunk with] full of new wine,” &c.  Or as he that said Paul was mad (Acts 2:13, 26:24).  Poor ignorant sinner! canst thou judge no better? What! is sitting alone, pensive under God’s hand, reading the Scriptures, and hearing of sermons, &c., the way to be undone? The Lord open thine eyes, and make thee to see thine error! Thou hast set thyself against God, thou hast despised the operation of his hands, thou attemptest to murder souls.  What! canst thou give no better counsel touching those whom God hath wounded, than to send them to the ordinances of hell for help? Thou biddest them be merry and lightsome; but dost thou not know that “the heart of fools is in the house of mirth?” (Eccl 7:4).

Thou biddest them shun the hearing of thundering preachers; but is it not “better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools?” (Eccl 7:5).  Thou biddest them busy themselves in the things of this world; but dost thou not know that the Lord bids, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness?” (Matt 6:33).  Poor ignorant sinner! hear the counsel of God to such, and learn thyself to be wiser.  “Is any afflicted? let him pray.  Is any merry? let him sing psalms” (James 5:13).  “Blessed is the man that heareth me” (Prov 8:32).  And hear for time to come, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40).  “Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39).  “Give attendance to reading” (1 Tim 4:13).  “It is better to go to the house of mourning” (Eccl 7:2, 3).

And wilt thou judge him that doth thus? Art thou almost like Elymas the sorcerer, that sought to turn the deputy from the faith? Thou seekest to pervert the right ways of the Lord.  Take heed lest some heavy judgment overtake thee (Acts 13:8–13).  What! teach men to quench convictions; take men off from a serious consideration of the evil of sin, of the terrors of the world to come, and how they shall escape the same? What! teach men to put God and his Word out of their minds, by running to merry company, by running to the world, by gossiping? &c.  This is as much as to bid them to say to God, “Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways;” or, “What is the Almighty that we should serve him? or what profit have we if we keep his ways?” Here is a devil in grain! What! bid man walk “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2:2).

Two Objections Answered

Objection.  1.  But we do not know that such are coming to Jesus Christ; truly we wonder at them, and think they are fools.

Answer.  Do you not know that they are coming to Jesus Christ? then they may be coming to him, for aught you know; and why will ye be worse than the brute, to speak evil of the things you know not? What! are ye made to be taken and destroyed? must ye utterly perish in your own corruptions? (2 Peter 2:12).  Do you not know them? Let them alone then.  If you cannot speak good of them, speak not bad.  “Refrain from these men, and let them alone; for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought; but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God” (Acts 5:38, 39).  But why do you wonder at a work of conviction and conversion? Know you not that this is the judgment of God upon you, “ye despisers, to behold, and wonder, and perish?” (Acts 13:40, 41).  But why wonder, and think they are fools? Is the way of the just an abomination to you? See that passage, and be ashamed, “He that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked” (Prov 29:27).  Your wondering at them argues that you are strangers to yourselves, to conviction for sin, and to hearty desires to be saved; as also to coming to Jesus Christ.

Objection.  2.  But how shall we know that such men are coming to Jesus Christ?

Answer.  Who can make them see that Christ has made blind? (John 2:8, 9).  Nevertheless, because I endeavor thy conviction, conversion, and salvation, consider: Do they cry out of sin, being burthened with it, as of an exceeding bitter thing? Do they fly from it, as from the face of a deadly serpent? Do they cry out of the insufficiency of their own righteousness, as to justification in the sight of God? Do they cry out after the Lord Jesus, to save them? Do they see more worth and merit in one drop of Christ’s blood to save them, than in all the sins of the world to damn them? Are they tender of sinning against Jesus Christ? Is his name, person, and undertakings, more precious to them, than is the glory of the world? Is this word more dear unto them? Is faith in Christ (of which they are convinced by God’s Spirit of the want of, and that without it they can never close with Christ) precious to them? Do they savour Christ in his Word, and do they leave all the world for his sake? And are they willing, God helping them, to run hazards for his name, for the love they bear to him? Are his saints precious to them? If these things be so, whether thou seest them or no, these men are coming to Jesus Christ (Rom 7:9–14; Psa 38:3–8; Heb 6:18–20; Isa 64:6; Phil 3:7, 8; Psa 54:1; 109:26; Acts 16:30; Psa 51:7, 8; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Rom 7:24; 2 Cor 5:2; Acts 5:41; James 2:7; Song 5:10–16; Psa 119; John 13:35; 1 John 4:7; 3:14; John 16:9; Rom 14:23; Heb 11:6; Psa 19:10, 11; Jer 15:16; Heb 11:24–27; Acts 20:22–24; 21:13; Titus 3:15; 2 John 1; Eph 4:16; Phile 7; 1 Cor 16:24).

Bunyan, J.  (2006).   Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol.  1, pp.  271–273).   Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.   (Public Domain)

 

Christ Incarnate, The Pledge of Deliverance

Christ Incarnate, The Pledge of Deliverance

Christ Incarnate, The Pledge of Deliverance

WHEN God takes manhood into union with Himself in this matchless way, it must mean blessing to man. God cannot intend to destroy that race which He thus weds unto Himself. Such a marriage as this, between mankind and God, must foretell peace; war and destruction are never thus predicted. God incarnate in Bethlehem, to be adored by shepherds, augurs nothing but—

      “Peace on earth, and mercy mild;

         God and sinners reconciled.”

O ye sinners, who tremble at the thought of the Divine wrath, as well you may, lift up your heads with joyful hope of pardon and favour, for God must be full of grace and mercy to that race which He so distinguishes above all others by taking it into union with Himself! Be of good cheer, O men of women born, and expect untold blessings, for “unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.”

If you look at rivers, you can often tell, by their color, whence they have come, and the soil over which they have flowed; those which flow from melting glaciers can be recognized at once. There is a text, concerning a heavenly river, which you will understand if you look at it in this light. John, in the Revelation, says concerning the angel, “He shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Where the throne is jointly occupied by God and the appointed Mediator, the incarnate God, the once-bleeding Lamb, then the river that flows from it must be a river, not of the molten lava of devouring wrath, but of the water of life.

The consequences of Christ’s Incarnation must be pleasant, profitable, saving, and ennobling to the sons of men. They include, among many other blessings, a pledge of our deliverance. We are a fallen race, we are sunken in the mire, we are sold under sin, in bondage and in slavery to Satan; but if God comes to our race, and espouses our nature, why, then, it must be because He has resolved to retrieve our fall. It cannot be possible for the gates of hell to enclose those who have God with them. Slaves under sin, and bondsmen beneath the law, hearken to the trump of jubilee, for One has come among you, born of a woman, made under the law, who is also “the mighty God,” pledged to set you free.

He is a Savior, and a great one; He is able to save, for He is almighty; and He is pledged to do it, for He has entered the lists on our behalf, and put on the harness for the battle. The Champion of His people is One who will not fail, nor be discouraged; the victory over all their foes shall be fully won. Jesus coming down from Heaven is the pledge that He will take His people up to Heaven; His taking our nature is the seal of our being lifted up to stand before His throne.

Were it an angel who had interposed on our behalf, we might have some fears as to the result of the conflict. Were it a mere man who had espoused our cause, we might go beyond fear, and sit down in despair; but as God has actually taken manhood into union with Himself, let us “ring the bells of Heaven,” and be full of glad thanksgiving. There must be brighter and happier days in store for us, there must be salvation for man, there must be glory to God, now that we have “God with us.” Let us bask in the beams of the Sun of righteousness, who now has risen upon us, a Light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of His people Israel.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 83–85). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 17

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 17

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 17

The Power of Christ to Save, Or to Cast Out

SECOND.  And now we come to the second thing that is to be inquired into, namely, How it appears that Christ hath power to save, or to cast out.  For by these words, “I will in no wise cast out,” he declareth that he hath power to do both.  Now this inquiry admits us to search into the things:  First, How it appears that he hath power to save; Second, How it appears that he hath power to cast out.

First, That he hath power to save, appears by that which follows:—

1.  To speak only of him as he is mediator:  he was authorized to this blessed work by his Father, before the world began.  Hence the apostle saith, “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4).  With all those things that effectually will produce our salvation.  Read the same chapter, with 2 Timothy 1:9.

2.  He was promised to our first parents, that he should, in the fullness of time, bruise the serpent’s head; and, as Paul expounds it, redeem them that were under the law.  Hence, since that time, he hath been reckoned as slain for our sins.  By which means all the fathers under the first testament were secured from the wrath to come; hence he is called, “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8; Gen 3:15; Gal 4:4, 5).

3.  Moses gave testimony of him by the types and shadows, and bloody sacrifices, that he commanded from the mouth of God to be in use for the support of his people’s faith, until the time of reformation; which was the time of this Jesus his death (Heb 9, 10).

4.  At the time of his birth it was testified of him by the angel, “That he should save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:21).

5. It is testified of him in the days of his flesh, that he had power on earth to forgive sins (Mark 2:5–12).

6.  It is testified also of him by the apostle Peter, that “God hath exalted him with his own right hand, to be a prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31).

7.  In a word, this is everywhere testified of him, both in the Old Testament and the New. And good reason that he should be acknowledged and trusted in, as a Savior.

(1.)  He came down from heaven to be a Savior (John 6:38–40).

(2.)  He was anointed when on earth to be a Savior (Luke 3:22).

(3.)  He did the works of a Savior.  As, (a.)  He fulfilled the law, and became the end of it for righteousness, for them that believe in him (Rom 10:3, 4).  (b.)  He laid down his life as a Savior; he gave his life as “a ransom for many” (Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Tim 2:6).  (c.)  He hath abolished death, destroyed the devil, put away sin, got the keys of hell and death, is ascended into heaven; is there accepted of God, and bid sit at the right hand as a Savior; and that because his sacrifice for sins pleased God (2 Tim 1:10; Heb 2:14, 15; 10:12, 13; Eph 4:7, 8; John 16:10, 11; Acts 5:30, 31).

(4.)  God hath sent out and proclaimed him as a Savior, and tells the world that we have redemption through his blood, that he will justify us, if we believe in his blood, and that he can faithfully and justly do it.  Yea, God doth beseech us to be reconciled to him by his Son; which could not be, if he were not anointed by him to this very end, and also if his works and undertakings were not accepted of him considered as a Savior (Rom 3:24, 25; 2 Cor 5:18–21).

(5.)  God hath received already millions of souls into his paradise, because they have received this Jesus for a Savior; and is resolved to cut them off, and to cast them out of his presence, that will not take him for a Savior (Heb 12:22–26).

I intend brevity here; therefore a word to the second, and so conclude.

Second, How it appears that he hath power to cast out.  This appears also by what follows:—

1.  The Father, for the service that he hath done him as Savior, hath made him Lord of all, even Lord of quick and dead.  “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living” (Rom 14:9).

2.  The Father hath left it with him to quicken whom he will, to wit, with saving grace, and to cast out whom he will, for their rebellion against him (John 5:21).

3.  The Father hath made him judge of quick and dead, hath committed all judgment unto the Son, and appointed that all should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father (John 5:22, 23).

4.  God will judge the world by this man: the day is appointed for judgment, and he is appointed for judge.  “He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man” (Acts 17:31).  Therefore we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive for the things done in the body, according to what they have done.  If they have closed with him, heaven and salvation; if they have not, hell and damnation!  And for these reasons he must be judge:—

(1.)  Because of his humiliation, because of his Father’s word he humbled himself, and he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  This hath respect to his being judge, and his sitting in judgment upon angels and men (Phil 2:7–11; Rom 14:10, 11).

(2.)  That all men might honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.  “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father” (John 5:22, 23).

(3.)  Because of his righteous judgment, this work is fit for no creature; it is only fit for the Son of God.  For he will reward every man according to his ways (Rev 22:12).

(4.)  Because he is the Son of man.  He “hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man” (John 5:27).

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 271–273).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

Christ Incarnate, The Sinner's Only Hope

Christ Incarnate, The Sinner's Only Hope

Christ Incarnate, The Sinner's Only Hope

THERE was no hope for any sinner unless the Son of God Himself should save him. But the apostle Paul, writing to his son Timothy, says, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” You may measure the depth of our danger by the glory of the person of Him who undertook to deliver us from it. It is the Son of God, whom angels worship, who has come “to save sinners.” It must be a deep destruction from which only God Himself could rescue man.

When Christ “came into the world,” observe how He had to be equipped for His service, and from His equipment learn the sternness of His task. He must be Jesus,—a Savior; and then He must also be Christ,—anointed for the work; He must come with authority Divine, and the Spirit of God must rest upon Him to qualify Him for the great undertaking. For Paul saith not simply that Jesus came into the world, but Christ Jesus, the anointed Savior, came that He might save. If this Divine equipment was needed, then surely the state of man was a grievous one.

Note also that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. The Fall of man was so terrible that, if he was to be delivered from its effects, Christ Jesus must come right down into the place of our ruin; He must come to the dunghill that He might lift us out of it. God in Heaven said, “Let there be light,” and the darkness fled before Him; but Christ Jesus must needs come into the world to save sinners; down into this polluted creation the eternal Creator must Himself descend. He cannot save us sinners, so great is our ruin, unless He becomes incarnate, and takes upon Himself our nature.

And being here, think how dreadful must be our ruin when we see that Christ cannot return to Heaven, saying, “It is finished,” until first of all He dies. That sacred head must be crowned with thorns, those eyes must be closed in the darkness of death, that body must be pierced even to its heart, and then must lie in the grave, a chill, cold corpse, ere man can be redeemed; and all that shame, and suffering, and death were but the outer shell of what the Savior suffered, for He endured the fierceness of His Father’s wrath against sin, and bare such a load as would have crushed the whole race of men eternally had they been left to bear it.

O sinner, you are awfully lost, you are infinitely lost, since it needs an infinite Savior to present the atonement of His own body in order to save sinners from the penalty, and power, and consequences of their sin! This is the truth which is conveyed to us by this faithful saying, which is “worthy of all acceptation.” May the Holy Ghost write it on our hearts!

There is one thing which should be sure to hold, as though spellbound, the attention of every trembling sinner; it is this,—the Christ of God, who in the end of the world has appeared, did not come to deny the fact of human sin, or to propagate a philosophy which might make sin seem harmless, or to define it as a mere mistake, or perhaps as a calamity, but by no means as a hell-deserving crime. I am sure that every sensitive conscience would loathe such teaching; it could yield no comfort whatever to a soul which had felt sin to be exceeding sinful.

Jesus Christ did not come into the world to help you to forget your sin. He has not come to furnish you with a cloak with which to cover it. He has not appeared that He may so strengthen your minds (as some men would have you believe,) that you may learn to laugh at your iniquities, and defy the consequences thereof. For no such reason has the Son of God descended from Heaven to earth. He has come, not to lull you into a false peace, not to whisper consolation which would turn out to be delusive in the end, but to give you a real deliverance from sin by putting it away, and so to bring you a true peace in which you may safely rejoice.

For, if sin be put away, then peace is lawful; then rest of spirit becomes not only a blessing which we may enjoy, but which we must enjoy, and which, the more we shall enjoy it, the better shall we please our God. O sinner, the good tidings that we bring to you, in the Gospel, are not the mere glitter of a hope that will delude you at the last, not a present palliative for the woe you feel, but a real cure for all your ills, a sure and certain deliverance from all the danger that now hangs over you!

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 79–82). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 16

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 16

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 16

What It Is To Cast Out

FIRST. For the first of these, What it is to cast out. To this I will speak, First, Generally. Second, More particularly.

First, Generally

1.  To cast out, is to slight and despise, and contemn; as it is said of Saul’s shield, “it was vilely cast away,” (2 Sam 1:21), that is, slighted and contemned.  Thus it is with the sinners that come not to Jesus Christ. He slights, despises, and contemns them; that is, “casts them away.”

2.  Things cast away are reputed as menstruous cloths, and as the dirt of the street (Isa 3:24; Psa 18:42; Matt 5:13; 15:17).  And thus it shall be with the men that come not to Jesus Christ, they shall be counted as menstruous, and as the dirt in the streets.

3.  To be cast out, or off, it is to be abhorred, not to be pitied; but to be put to perpetual shame (Psa 44:9; 89:38; Amos 1:11). But,

Second, More particularly, to come to the text. The casting out here mentioned is not limited to this or the other evil: therefore it must be extended to the most extreme and utmost misery.  Or thus: He that cometh to Christ shall not want anything that may make him gospelly-happy in this world, or that which is to come; nor shall he want anything that cometh not, that may make him spiritually and eternally miserable.  But further, As it is to be generally taken [as respecteth the things that are now], so it respecteth things that shall be hereafter.

I.  For the things that are now, they are either, 1. More general: Or, 2. More particular.

1.  More general, thus:

(1.)  It is “to be cast out” of the presence and favor of God. Thus was Cain cast out: “Thou has driven,” or cast “me out this day; from thy face,” that is, from thy favor “shall I be hid.”  A dreadful complaint! But the effect of a more dreadful judgment! (Gen 4:14; Jer 23:39; 1 Chron 28:9).

(2.)  “To be cast out,” is to be cast out of God’s sight.  God will look after them no more, care for them no more; nor will he watch over them any more for good (2 Kings 17:20; Jer 7:15).  Now they that are so, are left like blind men, to wander and fall into the pit of hell.  This, therefore, is also a sad judgment! therefore here is the mercy of him that cometh to Christ.  He shall not be left to wander at uncertainties. The Lord Jesus Christ will keep him, as a shepherd doth his sheep (Psa 23).  “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

(3.)  “To be cast out,” is to be denied a place in God’s house, and to be left as fugitives and vagabonds, to pass a little time away in this miserable life, and after that to go down to the dead (Gal 4:30; Gen 4:13, 14; 21:10).  Therefore here is the benefit of him that cometh to Christ, he shall not be denied a place in God’s house.  They shall not be left like vagabonds in the world.  “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  See Proverbs 14:26, Isaiah 56:3–5, Ephesians 1:19–22, 1 Corinthians 3:21–23.

(4.)  In a word, “To be cast out,” is to be rejected as are the fallen angels.  For their eternal damnation began at their being cast down from heaven to hell.  So then, not to be cast out, is to have a place, a house, and habitation there; and to have a share in the privileges of elect angels.

These words, therefore, “I will not cast out,” will prove great words one day to them that come to Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:4; John 20:31; Luke 20:35).

2.  Second, and more particularly,

(1.)  Christ hath everlasting life for him that cometh to him, and he shall never perish; “For he will in no wise cast him out;” but for the rest, they are rejected, “cast out,” and must be damned (John 10:27, 28).

(2.)  Christ hath everlasting righteousness to clothe them with that come to him, and they shall be covered with it as with a garment, but the rest shall be found in the filthy rags of their own stinking pollutions, and shall be wrapt up in them, as in a winding-sheet, and so bear their shame before the Lord, and also before the angels (Dan 9:27; Isa 57:20; Rev 3:4–18, 15, 16).

(3.)  Christ hath precious blood, that, like an open fountain, stands free for him to wash in, that comes to him for life; “And he will in no wise cast him out;” but they that come not to him are rejected from a share therein, and are left to ireful vengeance for their sins (Zech 13:1; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; John 13:8; 3:16).

(4.)  Christ hath precious promises, and they shall have a share in them that come to him for life; for “he will in no wise cast them out.”  But they that come not can have no share in them, because they are true only in him; for in him, and only in him, all the promises are yea and amen.  Wherefore they that come not to him, are no whit the better for them (Psa 50:16; 2 Cor 1:20, 21).

(5.)  Christ hath also fullness of grace in himself for them that come to him for life: “And he will in no wise cast them out.”  But those that come not unto him are left in their graceless state; and as Christ leaves them, death, hell, and judgment finds them.  “Whoso findeth me,” saith Christ, “findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord.  But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death” (Prov 8:35, 36).

(6.)  Christ is an Intercessor, and ever liveth to make intercession for them that come to God by him: “But their sorrows shall be multiplied, that hasten after another,” or other gods, their sins and lusts. “Their drink-offerings will I not offer, nor take up their names into his lips” (Psa 16:4; Heb 7:25).

(7.)  Christ hath wonderful love, bowels, and compassions, for those that come to him; for “he will in no wise cast them out.”  But the rest will find him a lion rampant; he will one day tear them all to pieces.  “Now consider this,” saith he, “ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver” (Psa 50:22).

(8.)  Christ is one by and for whose sake those that come to him have their persons and performances accepted of the Father:  “And he will in no wise cast them out;” but the rest must fly to the rocks and mountains for shelter, but all in vain, to hide them from his face and wrath (Rev 6:15–17).

II.  But again, These words, CAST OUT, have a special look to what will be hereafter, even at the day of judgment.  For then, and not till then, will be the great anathema and casting out made manifest, even manifest by execution.  Therefore here to speak to this, and that under these two heads. As, First, Of the casting out itself. Second,  Of the place into which they shall be cast, that shall then be cast out.

First, The casting out itself standeth in two things.  1. In a preparatory work.  2.  In the manner of executing the act.

1.  The preparatory work standeth in these three things.

(1.)  It standeth in their separation that have not come to him, from them that have, at that day. Or thus: At the day of the great casting out, those that have not NOW come to him, shall be separated from them that have; for them that have “he will not cast out.”  “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” (Matt 25:31, 32).  This dreadful separation, therefore, shall then be made betwixt them that NOW come to Christ, and them that come not.  And good reason; for since they would not with us come to him now they have time, why should they stand with us when judgment is come?

(2.)  They shall be placed before him according to their condition: they that have come to him, in great dignity, even at his right hand; “For he will in no wise cast them out”: but the rest shall be set at his left hand, the place of disgrace and shame; for they did not come to him for life.  Distinguished also shall they be by fit terms: these that come to him he calleth the sheep, but the rest are frowish goats, “and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats;” and the sheep will be set on the right hand—next heaven gate, for they came to him—but the goats on his left, to go from him into hell, because they are not of his sheep.

(3.)  Then will Christ proceed to conviction of those that came not to him, and will say, “I was a stranger, and ye took me not in,” or did not come unto me.  Their excuse of themselves he will slight as dirt, and proceed to their final judgment.

2.  Now when these wretched rejecters of Christ shall thus be set before him in their sins, and convicted, this is the preparatory work upon which follows the manner of executing the act which will be done.

(1.)  In the presence of all the holy angels.

(2.)  In the presence of all them that in their lifetime came to him, by saying unto them, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”: with the reason annexed to it. For you were cruel to me and mine, particularly discovered in these words, “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not” (Matt 25:41–43).

Second, Now it remains that we speak of the place into which these shall be cast, which, in the general, you have heard already, to wit, the first prepared for the devil and his angels. But, in particular, it is thus described:—

1.  It is called Tophet: “For Tophet is ordained of old, yea, for the king,” the Lucifer, “it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large; the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it” (Isa 30:32).

2.  It is called hell. “It is better for thee to enter halt” or lame “into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell” (Mark 9:45).

3.  It is called the wine-press of the wrath of God.  “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth,” that is, them that did not come to Christ, “and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God” (Rev 14:19).

4.  It is called a lake of fire.  “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:15).

5.  It is called a pit.  “Thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isa 14:13–15).

6.  It is called a bottomless pit, out of which the smoke and the locust came, and into which the great dragon was cast; and it is called bottomless, to show the endlessness of the fall that they will have into it, that come not, in the acceptable time, to Jesus Christ (Rev 9:1, 2; 20:3).

7.  It is called outer darkness.  “Bind him hand and foot—and cast him into outer darkness,” “and cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness,” “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 22:13; 25:30).

8.  It is called a furnace of fire.  “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”  And again, “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 13:40–51).

9.  Lastly, It may not be amiss, if, in the conclusion of this, I show in few words to what the things that torment them in this state are compared. Indeed, some of them have been occasionally mentioned already; as that they are compared,

(1.)  To wood that burneth.

(2.)  To fire.

(3.)  To fire and brimstone: But,

(4.)  It is compared to a worm, a gnawing worm, a never-dying gnawing worm; They are cast into hell, “where their worm dieth not” (Mark 9:44).

(5.)  It is called unquenchable fire; “He will gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matt 3:12; Luke 3:17).

(6.)  It is called everlasting destruction; “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thess 1:7–9).

(7.)  It is called wrath without mixture, and is given them in the cup of his indignation.  “If any man worship the beast, and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture, into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” (Rev 14:9, 10).

(8.)  It is called the second death.  “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power” (Rev 20:6, 14).

(9.)  It is called eternal damnation.  “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.”  Oh! these three words! Everlasting punishment! Eternal damnation!  And For ever and ever!  How will they gnaw and eat up all the expectation of the end of the misery of the cast-away sinners.  “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night,” &c., (Rev 14:11).

Their behavior in hell is set forth by four things as I know of;—(a.)  By calling for help and relief in vain; (b.)  By weeping; (c.)  By wailing; (d.)  By gnashing of teeth.

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 271–273).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

Christ Incarnate, His Knowledge of Sin

Christ Incarnate, His Knowledge of Sin

Christ Incarnate, His Knowledge of Sin

HE who came to save men is no other than God; therefore, He is capable of viewing sin from God’s standpoint, and of understanding what was due to God because of man’s sin. By bracing His Godhead to His manhood, He was capable, in His twofold nature, of sustaining pangs which humanity could not have endured apart from Godhead, and of receiving into His infinite mind a sight of sin, and a horror concerning it, such as no finite mind ever could have endured.

You think, perhaps, that you comprehend sin; but you cannot do anything of the kind. It is an evil too monstrous for the human mind fully to know its heights and depths, its lengths and breadths; but Christ, who is God incarnate, fully knew what sin meant. He had plumbed it to the very bottom, and knew how deep it was. He had gazed upon it, and felt all the horror of its unrighteousness, ingratitude, and turpitude. Its sinfulness struck His sinless mind with all its awful force, and overwhelmed His holy soul with a horror which none but He could bear. He was, in all respects, perfect; and, therefore, had no need to die on His own account. It behooved Him to suffer, not because He was the Son of God, or the Son of man; but because He was the Redeemer, the Sponsor, the Surety, the Substitute of men.

When I have felt the burden of my sin, I confess that I have at times felt as if it were too great to be taken away by any conceivable power; but, on the other hand, when I have seen the excellence of my Master’s person, the perfection of His manhood, the glory of His Godhead, the wondrous intensity of His anguish, the solid value of His obedience, I have felt as if my sin were too little a thing to need so vast a sacrifice. I have felt like John Hyatt who, when dying, said that he could not only trust Christ with his one soul, but that he could trust Him with a million souls if he had them. Were my sins greater than they are, and God forbid they should be!—were my sense of them ten thousand times more vivid than it is,—and I could wish I had a more clear and humbling consciousness of my own iniquity; yet, even then, I know that my Lord and Master is a greater Savior than I am a sinner.

From the constitution of His person as God and man, I am certain that, if I had heaped up my iniquities till they reached the skies, though, like the giants in the ancient mythology, I had piled Pelion upon Ossa, mountain of sin upon mountain of rebellion, and had thought to scale the very throne of God in my impious rebellion, yet, even then, the precious blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, could cleanse me from all sin.

Writing to the Hebrews, concerning Christ’s Incarnation, the apostle Paul says, “Once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” It was He, against whom the sin had been committed, it was He, who will be the Judge of the quick and the dead, who “appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Is there not great comfort in this fact? It is the Son of God who has undertaken this more than Herculean labor. He appeared, sinner, to save you; God appeared, “to put away sin.” Lost one, to find you, the great Shepherd has appeared; your case is not hopeless, for He has appeared. Had anybody else than God undertaken the task of putting away sin, it could never have been accomplished; but it can be accomplished now, for HE who appeared is the One with whom nothing is impossible.

Christ did not come as an amateur Savior, trying an experiment on His own account; He came as the chosen Mediator, ordained of God for this tremendous task. He is no unauthorized individual who, of his own accord alone, stepped into the gap without orders from Heaven. No; but He appeared whom the Father had, from eternity, chosen for the great task, and whom He had commissioned and sent to perform it. His very Name, Christ, tells of His anointing for this service.

He could not sit in Heaven, and accomplish this great work of our salvation. With all reverence to the blessed Son of God, we can truly say that He could not have saved us if He had kept His throne, and not left the courts of glory; so He “appeared” on earth in human form. He “made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 75–78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 15

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 15

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 15

Import of the Words In No Wise

“And him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.”  IN NO WISE: by these words there is [First,] Something expressed; and [Second,] Something implied.

First, That which is expressed is Christ Jesus, his unchangeable resolution to save the coming sinner; I will in no wise reject him, or deny him the benefit of my death and righteousness.  This word, therefore, is like that which he speaks of the everlasting damnation of the sinner in hell-fire; “He shall by no means depart thence;” that is, never, never come out again, no, not to all eternity (Matt 5:26; 25:46).  So that as he that is condemned into hell-fire hath no ground of hope for his deliverance thence; so him that cometh to Christ, hath no ground to fear he shall ever be cast in thither.

“Thus saith the Lord, If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel, for all that they have done, saith the Lord” (Jer 31:37).  “Thus saith the Lord, If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then will I cast away the seed of Jacob” (Jer 33:25, 26).  But heaven cannot be measured, nor the foundations of the earth searched out beneath; his covenant is also with day and night, and he hath appointed the ordinances of heaven; therefore he will not cast away the seed of Jacob, who are the coming ones, but will certainly save them from the dreadful wrath to come (Jer 50:4, 5).  By this, therefore, it is manifest, that it was not the greatness of sin, nor the long continuance in it, no, nor yet the backsliding, nor the pollution of thy nature, that can put a bar in against, or be an hindrance of, the salvation of the coming sinner.  For, if indeed this could be, then would this solemn and absolute determination of the Lord Jesus, of itself, fall to the ground, and be made of none effect.  But his “counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure;” that is, his pleasure in this; for his promise, as to this irreversible conclusion, ariseth of his pleasure; he will stand to it, and will fulfil it, because it is his pleasure (Isa 46:10, 11).

Suppose that one man had the sins, or as many sins as an hundred, and another should have an hundred times as many as he; yet, if they come, this word, “I will in no wise cast out,” secures them both alike.

Suppose a man hath a desire to be saved, and for that purpose is coming in truth to Jesus Christ; but he, by his debauched life, has damned many in hell; why, the door of hope is by these words set as open for him, as it is for him that hath not the thousandth part of his transgressions.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Suppose a man is coming to Christ to be saved, and hath nothing but sin, and an ill-spent life, to bring with him; why, let him come, and welcome to Jesus Christ, “And he will in no wise cast him out” (Luke 7:42).  Is not this love that passeth knowledge? Is not this love the wonderment of angels?  And is not this love worthy of all acceptation at the hands and hearts of all coming sinners?

[Hindrances in Coming to Christ]

Second, That which is implied in the words is, 1.  The coming souls have those that continually lie at Jesus Christ to cast them off.  2.  The coming souls are afraid that those will prevail with Christ to cast them off.  For these words are spoken to satisfy us, and to stay up our spirits against these two dangers: “I will in no wise cast out.”

1.  For the first, Coming souls have those that continually lie at Jesus Christ to cast them off . And there are three things that thus bend themselves against the coming sinner.

(1.)  There is the devil, that accuser of the brethren, that accuses them before God, day and night (Rev 12:10).  This prince of darkness is unwearied in this work; he doth it, as you see, day and night; that is, without ceasing. He continually puts in his caveats against thee, if so be he may prevail.  How did he ply it against that good man Job, if possibly he might have obtained his destruction in hell-fire?  He objected against him, that he served not God for nought, and tempted God to put forth his hand against him, urging, that if he did it, he would curse him to his face; and all this, as God witnesseth, “he did without a cause” (Job 1:9–11; 2:4, 5).  How did he ply it with Christ against Joshua the high-priest?  “And he showed me Joshua,” said the prophet, “the high-priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him” (Zech 3:1).

To resist him; that is, to prevail with the Lord Jesus Christ to resist him; objecting the uncleanness and unlawful marriage of his sons with the Gentiles; for that was the crime that Satan laid against them (Ezra 10:18).  Yea, and for aught I know, Joshua was also guilty of the fact; but if not of that, of crimes no whit inferior; for he was clothed with filthy garments, as he stood before the angel.  Neither had he one word to say in vindication of himself, against all that this wicked one had to say against him.  But notwithstanding that, he came off well; but he might for it thank a good Lord Jesus, because he did not resist him, but contrariwise, took up his cause, pleaded against the devil, excusing his infirmity, and put justifying robes upon him before his adversary’s face.

“And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan, even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee.  Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?  And he answered and spoke to those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him; and unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment” (Zech 3:2–4).

Again, how did Satan ply it against Peter, when he desired to have him, that he might sift him as wheat?  that is, if possible, sever all grace from his heart, and leave him nothing but flesh and filth, to the end that he might make the Lord Jesus loathe and abhor him.  “Simon, Simon,” said Christ, “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.”  But did he prevail against him?  No:  “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.”  As who should say, Simon, Satan hath desired me that I would give thee up to him, and not only thee, but all the rest of thy brethren—for that the word you imports—but I will not leave thee in his hand: I have prayed for thee, thy faith shall not fail; I will secure thee to the heavenly inheritance (Luke 22:30–32).

(2.)  As Satan, so every sin of the coming sinner, comes in with a voice against him, if perhaps they may prevail with Christ to cast off the soul.  When Israel was coming out of Egypt to Canaan, how many times had their sins thrown them out of the mercy of God, had not Moses, as a type of Christ, stood in the breach to turn away his wrath from them! (Psa 106:23).  Our iniquities testify against us, and would certainly prevail against us, to our utter rejection and damnation, had we not an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1, 2).

The sins of the old world cried them down to hell; the sins of Sodom fetched upon them fire from heaven, which devoured them; the sins of the Egyptians cried them down to hell, because they came not to Jesus Christ for life.  Coming sinner, thy sins are no whit less than any; nay, perhaps, they are as big as all theirs.  Why is it then, that thou livest when they are dead, and that thou hast a promise of pardon when they had not?  “Why, thou art coming to Jesus Christ;”  and therefore sin shall not be thy ruin.

(3.) As Satan and sin, so the law of Moses, as it is a perfect holy law, hath a voice against you before the face of God.  “There is one that accuseth you, even Moses,” his law (John 5:45).  Yea, it accuseth all men of transgression that have sinned against it; for as long as sin is sin, there will be a law to accuse for sin.  But this accusation shall not prevail against the coming sinner; because it is Christ that died, and that ever lives, to make intercession for them that “come to God by him” (Rom 8; Heb 7:25).

These things, I say, do accuse us before Christ Jesus; yea, and also to our own faces, if perhaps they might prevail against us.  But these words, “I will in no wise cast out,” secureth the coming sinner from them all.

The coming sinner is not saved, because there is none that comes in against him; but because the Lord Jesus will not hear their accusations, will not cast out the coming sinner.  When Shimei came down to meet king David, and to ask for pardon for his rebellion, up starts Abishai, and puts in his caveat, saying, Shall not Shimei die for this?  This is the case of him that comes to Christ.  He hath this Abishai, and that Abishai, that presently steps in against him, saying, Shall not this rebel’s sins destroy him in hell?  Read further.  But David answered, “What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me?  Shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel, for do not I know, that I am king this day over Israel?”  (2 Sam 19:16–22).  That is Christ’s answer by the text, to all that accuse the coming Shimeis.  What have I to do with you, that accuse the coming sinners to me? I count you adversaries, that are against my showing mercy to them.  Do not I know that I am exalted this day to be king of righteousness, and king of peace?  “I will in no wise cast them out.”

2. But again, these words do closely imply, that the coming souls are afraid that these accusers will prevail against them, as is evident, because the text is spoken for their relief and succor.  For that need not be, if they that are coming were not subject to fear and despond upon this account. Alas, there is guilt, and the curse lies upon the conscience of the coming sinner!

Besides, he is conscious to himself what a villain, what a wretch he hath been against God and Christ. Also he now knows, by woeful experience, how he hath been at Satan’s beck, and at the motion of every lust. He hath now also new thoughts of the holiness and justice of God.  Also he feels, that he cannot forbear sinning against him.  For the motions of sins, which are by the law, doth still work in his members, to bring forth fruit unto death (Rom 7:5).  But none of this needs be [a discouragement] since we have so good, so tender-hearted, and so faithful a Jesus to come to, who will rather overthrow heaven and earth, than suffer a tittle of this text to fail.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Import of the Words TO CAST OUT

Now, we have yet to inquire into two things that lie in the words, to which there hath yet been nothing said.  As, FIRST, What it is to cast out. SECOND, How it appears that Christ hath power to save or cast out?

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 269–271).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

All Fullness in the God-Man

All Fullness in the God-Man

All Fullness in the God-Man

IN Christ Jesus, there is all fullness, “for it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” In Him, there is everything that is essential to Deity, for “in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead.” There is also, in Him, the fullness of perfect manhood, for that Godhead was revealed in Him “bodily.” Partaker of flesh and blood, made in all things like unto His brethren, there was nothing lacking that was necessary to the perfection of humankind in Him. There is a fullness of atoning efficacy in His blood, for “the blood of Jesus Christ.… cleanseth us from all sin.” There is a fullness of justifying righteousness in His life, for “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” There is a fullness of Divine prevalence in His plea, for “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

There is a fullness of victory in His death, for “as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” There is a fullness of efficacy in His resurrection from the dead, for by it we are “begotten again unto a lively hope, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” There is a fullness of triumph in His ascension, for “when He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”

There is, in Christ Jesus, a fullness of blessings unspeakable, unknown; a fullness of grace to pardon, of grace to regenerate, of grace to sanctify, of grace to preserve, and of grace to perfect. There is in Him a fullness at all times; a fullness by day and a fullness by night; a fullness of comfort in affliction, a fullness of guidance in prosperity, a fullness of every Divine attribute, of wisdom, of power, of love; a fullness which it is impossible to survey or to explore. There is in Him everything summed up in a grand total, as Paul says, in writing to the Ephesians, “that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in One all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him.”

“It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” In vain we strive to recount the holy wonder; this is a theme which would exhaust an angel’s powers,—the fullness which resides in Jesus our Head, and ever abides to answer our need. We may realize a little what a fullness this must be, when we think of the multitude, which no man can number, all of whom have received of His fullness, grace upon grace. There is not one of them who has received only a little grace; they are all, as Rutherford has it, “drowned debtors to His mercy;” or, as we might put it, “over head and ears” in debt to Him. They are so indebted that they will never fully know how much they owe to their Lord, but they feel that an eternal song will not be too long for the expression of their grateful praise.

Christ’s fullness is an abiding fullness. John says, “Of His fullness have all we received;” yet he calls it a “fullness” still, for it never becomes any less, however many may partake of it. It was a fullness before a single sinner came to it to receive pardon; it was a fullness before a solitary saint had learned to drink of that river, the streams whereof make glad the Church of the living God; and now, after myriads, and even millions, of blood-redeemed souls have partaken of this life-giving stream, it is just as overflowing as ever. We are accustomed to say that, if a child takes a cupful of water from the sea, it is just as full as it was before; but that is not literally true, there must be just so much the less of water in the ocean. But it is literally true of Christ that, when we have not only taken out cups full,—for our needs are too great to be satisfied with such small quantities,—when we have taken out oceans full of grace,—and we need as much as that to carry us to Heaven,—there is actually as much grace left in Him as there was before we came to Him. Although we have drawn upon the exchequer of His love to an extent so boundless that we cannot comprehend it, yet there is as much mercy and grace left in Christ as there was before we began to draw from it. It is a “fullness” still, after all the saints have received of it.

There is also an abiding fullness of truth in Christ; after you have heard it for fifty years, you see more of its fullness than you did at first. Other themes weary the ear, sooner or later. I will defy any man to hold together a large congregation, year after year, with any other subject but Christ Jesus. He might attract hearers for a time; he might charm them with the discoveries of science, or with the beauties of poetry, and his oratory might be of so high an order that he might, for a while, draw the multitudes who have itching ears; but they would, in time, turn away, and say, “This is no longer to be endured; we know all he has to tell us.” All music but that of Heaven becomes wearisome before long; but, oh! if the minstrel doth play upon this celestial harp, though he keepeth his fingers always among its golden strings, and be but poor and unskilled to handle an instrument so divine, yet the melody of Jesus’ Name, and the sweet harmony of all His acts and attributes, will hold his listeners by the ears, and thrill their hearts as nought beside can do. The theme of Jesus’ love is inexhaustible; though preachers have dwelt upon it century after century, its freshness and fullness still remain.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 71–74). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 14

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 14

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 14

Two Sorts of Sinners Coming to Christ

“And him that COMETH.”  There are two sorts of sinners that are coming to Jesus Christ.  First, Him that hath never, while of late, at all began to come.  Second, Him that came formerly, and after that went back; but hath since bethought himself, and is now coming again.  Both these sorts of sinners are intended by the HIM in the text, as is evident; because both are now the coming sinners. “And him that cometh.”

First.  [The newly-awakened comer.]—For the first of these: the sinner that hath never, while of late, began to come, his way is more easy; I do not say, more plain and open to come to Christ than is the other—those last not having the clog of a guilty conscience, for the sin of backsliding, hanging at their heels.  But all the encouragement of the gospel, with what invitations are therein contained to coming sinners, are as free and as open to the one as to the other; so that they may with the same freedom and liberty, as from the Word, both alike claim interest in the promise.  “All things are ready;” all things for the coming backsliders, as well as for the others:  “Come to the wedding.”  “And let him that is athirst come” (Matt 22:1–4; Rev 22:17).

Second.  [The returning backslider.]—But having spoke to the first of these already, I shall here pass it by; and shall speak a word or two to him that is coming, after backsliding, to Jesus Christ for life.  Thy way, O thou sinner of a double dye, thy way is open to come to Jesus Christ.  I mean thee, whose heart, after long backsliding, doth think of turning to him again.  Thy way, I say, is open to him, as is the way of the other sorts of comers; as appears by what follows:—

1.  Because the text makes no exception against thee. It doth not say, And any him but a backslider, any him but him.  The text doth not thus object, but indefinitely openeth wide its golden arms to every coming soul, without the least exception; therefore thou mayest come.  And take heed that thou shut not that door against thy soul by unbelief, which God has opened by his grace.

2.  Nay, the text is so far from excepting against thy coming, that it strongly suggesteth that thou art one of the souls intended, O thou coming backslider; else what need that clause have been so inserted, “I will in no wise cast out?”  As who should say, Though those that come now are such as have formerly backslidden, I will in “no wise” cast away the fornicator, the covetous, the railer, the drunkard, or other common sinners, nor yet the backslider neither.

3.  That the backslider is intended is evident,

(1.)  For that he is sent to by name, “Go, tell his disciples and Peter” (Mark 16:7).  But Peter was a godly man.  True, but he was also a backslider, yea, a desperate backslider:  he had denied his Master once, twice, thrice, cursing and swearing that he knew him not.  If this was not backsliding, if this was not an high and eminent backsliding, yea, a higher backsliding than thou art capable of, I have thought amiss.

Again, when David had backslidden, and had committed adultery and murder in his backsliding, he must be sent to by name:  “And,” saith the text, “the Lord sent Nathan unto David.”  And he sent him to tell him, after he had brought him to unfeigned acknowledgment, “The Lord hath also put away, or forgiven thy sin” (2 Sam 12:1, 13).

This man also was far gone: he took a man’s wife, and killed her husband, and endeavoured to cover all with wicked dissimulation.  He did this, I say, after God had exalted him, and showed him great favour; wherefore his transgression was greatened also by the prophet with mighty aggravations; yet he was accepted, and that with gladness, at the first step he took in his returning to Christ.  For the first step of the backslider’s return is to say, sensibly and unfeignedly, “I have sinned;” but he had no sooner said thus, but a pardon was produced, yea, thrust into his bosom:  “And Nathan said unto David, The Lord hath also put away thy sin.”

(2.)  As the person of the backslider is mentioned by name, so also is his sin, that, if possible, thy objections against thy returning to Christ may be taken out of thy way; I say, thy sin also is mentioned by name, and mixed, as mentioned, with words of grace and favour:  “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely” (Hosea 14:4).  What sayest thou now, backslider?

(3.)  Nay, further, thou art not only mentioned by name, and thy sin by the nature of it, but thou thyself, who art a returning backslider, put, (a) Amongst God’s Israel, “Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you; for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever” (Jer 3:12).  (b) Thou art put among his children; among his children to whom he is married. “Turn, O backsliding children, for I am married unto you” (verse 14).  (c) Yea, after all this, as if his heart was so full of grace for them, that he was pressed until he had uttered it before them, he adds, “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings” (verse 22).

(4.)  Nay, further, the Lord hath considered, that the shame of thy sin hath stopped thy mouth, and made thee almost a prayerless man; and therefore he saith unto thee, “Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously.”  See his grace, that himself should put words of encouragement into the heart of a backslider; as he saith in another place, “I taught Ephraim to go, taking him by the arms.”  This is teaching him to go indeed, to hold him up by the arms; by the chin, as we say (Hosea 14:2; 11:3).

From what has been said, I conclude, even as I said before, that the him in the text, and him that cometh, includeth both these sorts of sinners, and therefore both should freely come.

Question 1.  But where doth Jesus Christ, in all the word of the New Testament, expressly speak to a returning backslider with words of grace and peace?  For what you have urged as yet, from the New Testament, is nothing but consequences drawn from this text.  Indeed it is a full text for carnal ignorant sinners that come, but to me, who am a backslider, it yieldeth but little relief.

Answer.  How!  but little encouragement from the text, when it is said, “I will in now wise cast out”! What more could have been said?  What is here omitted that might have been inserted, to make the promise more full and free?  Nay, take all the promises in the Bible, all the freest promises, with all the variety of expressions of what nature or extent soever, and they can but amount to the expressions of this very promise, “I will in no wise cast out;” I will for nothing, by no means, upon no account, however they have sinned, however they have backslidden, however they have provoked, cast out the coming sinner.  But,

Question.  2.  Thou sayest, Where doth Jesus Christ, in all the words of the New Testament, speak to a returning backslider with words of grace and peace, that is under the name of a backslider?

Answer.  Where there is such plenty of examples in receiving backsliders, there is the less need for express words to that intent; one promise, as the text is, with those examples that are annexed, are instead of many promises.  And besides, I reckon that the act of receiving is of as much, if not of more encouragement, than is a bare promise to receive; for receiving is as the promise, and the fulfilling of it too; so that in the Old Testament thou hast the promise, and in the New, the fulfilling of it; and that in divers examples.

1.  In Peter.  Peter denied his master, once, twice, thrice, and that with open oath; yet Christ receives him again without any the least hesitation or stick.  Yea, he slips, stumbles, falls again, in downright dissimulation, and that to the hurt and fall of many others; but neither of this doth Christ make a bar to his salvation, but receives him again at his return, as if he knew nothing of the fault (Gal 2).

2.  The rest of the disciples, even all of them, did backslide and leave the Lord Jesus in his greatest straits. “Then all the disciples forsook him and fled,” (Matt 26:56), they returned, as he had foretold, every one to his own, and left him alone; but this also he passes over as a very light matter. Not that it was so indeed in itself, but the abundance of grace that was in him did lightly roll it away; for after his resurrection, when first he appeared unto them, he gives them not the least check for their perfidious dealings with him, but salutes them with words of grace, saying, “All hail! be not afraid, peace be to you; all power in heaven and earth is given unto me.”  True, he rebuked them for their unbelief, for the which also thou deservest the same.  For it is unbelief that alone puts Christ and his benefits from us (John 16:32; Matt 28:9–11; Luke 24:39; Mark 16:14).

3.  The man that after a large profession lay with his father’s wife, committed a high transgression, even such a one that at that day was not heard of, no, not among the Gentiles.  Wherefore this was a desperate backsliding; yet, at his return, he was received, and accepted again to mercy (1 Cor 5:1, 2; 2 Cor 2:6–8).

4. The thief that stole was bid to steal no more; not at all doubting but that Christ was ready to forgive him this act of backsliding (Eph 4:28).

Now all these are examples, particular instances of Christ’s readiness to receive the backsliders to mercy; and, observe it, examples and proofs that he hath done so are, to our unbelieving hearts, stronger encouragements than bare promises that so he will do.

But again, the Lord Jesus hath added to these, for the encouragement of returning backsliders, to come to him.  (1.)  A call to come, and he will receive them (Rev 2:1–5; 14–16; 20–22; 3:1–3; 15–22).  Wherefore New Testament backsliders have encouragement to come.  (2.)  A declaration of readiness to receive them that come, as here in the text, and in many other places, is plain.  Therefore, “Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps,” of the golden grace of the gospel, “set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest.”  When thou didst backslide; “turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities” (Jer 31:21).

“And him that cometh.”  He saith not, and him that talketh, that professeth, that maketh a show, a noise, or the like; but, him that cometh.  Christ will take leave to judge, who, among the many that make a noise, they be that indeed are coming to him.  It is not him that saith he comes, nor him of whom others affirm that he comes; but him that Christ himself shall say doth come, that is concerned in this text. When the woman that had the bloody issue came to him for cure, there were others as well as she, that made a great bustle about him, that touched, yea, thronged him.  Ah, but Christ could distinguish this woman from them all; “And he looked round about” upon them all, “to see her that had done this thing” (Mark 5:25–32).  He was not concerned with the thronging, or touchings of the rest; for theirs were but accidental, or at best, void of that which made her touch acceptable.  Wherefore Christ must be judge who they be that in truth are coming to him; Every man’s ways are right in his own eyes, “but the Lord weigheth the spirits” (Prov 16:2).  It standeth therefore every one in hand to be certain of their coming to Jesus Christ; for as thy coming is, so shall thy salvation be.  If thou comest indeed, thy salvation shall be indeed; but if thou comest but in outward appearance, so shall thy salvation be; but of coming, see before, as also afterwards, in the use and application.

“And him that cometh TO ME.”  These words to me are also well to be heeded; for by them, as he secureth those that come to him, so also he shows himself unconcerned with those that in their coming rest short, to turn aside to others; for you must know, that every one that comes, comes not to Jesus Christ; some that come, come to Moses, and to his law, and there take up for life; with these Christ is not concerned; with these his promise hath not to do. “Christ is become of no effect unto you; whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace” (Gal 5:4).  Again, some that came, came no further than to gospel ordinances, and there stay; they came not through them to Christ; with these neither is he concerned; nor will their “Lord, Lord,” avail them anything in the great and dismal day. A man may come to, and also go from the place and ordinances of worship, and yet not be remembered by Christ.  “So I saw the wicked buried,” said Solomon, “who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done; this is also vanity” (Eccl 8:10).

“TO ME.”  These words, therefore, are by Jesus Christ very warily put in, and serve for caution and encouragement; for caution, lest we take up in our coming anywhere short of Christ; and for encouragement to those that shall in their coming, come past all; till they come to Jesus Christ. “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Reader, if thou lovest thy soul, take this caution kindly at the hands of Jesus Christ. Thou seest thy sickness, thy wound, thy necessity of salvation.  Well, go not to king Jareb, for he cannot heal thee, nor cure thee of thy wound (Hosea 5:13).  Take the caution, I say, lest Christ, instead of being a Savior unto thee, becomes a lion, a young lion, to tear thee, and go away (Hosea 5:14).

There is a coming, but not to the Most High; there is a coming, but not with the whole heart, but as it were feignedly; therefore take the caution kindly (Jer 3:10; Hosea 7:16).

“And him that cometh TO ME;” Christ as a Savior will stand alone, because his own arm alone hath brought salvation unto him. He will not be joined with Moses, nor suffer John Baptist to be tabernacled by him. I say they must vanish, for Christ will stand alone (Luke 9:28–36).  Yea, God the Father will have it so; therefore they must be parted from him, and a voice from heaven must come to bid the disciples hear only the beloved Son.  Christ will not suffer any law, ordinance, statute, or judgment, to be partners with him in the salvation of the sinner.  Nay, he saith not, and him that cometh to my WORD; but, and him that cometh to ME.  The words of Christ, even his most blessed and free promises, such as this in the text, are not the Savior of the world; for that is Christ himself, Christ himself only. The promises, therefore, are but to encourage the coming sinner to come to Jesus Christ, and not to rest in them, short of salvation by him.  “And him that cometh TO ME.”  The man, therefore, that comes aright, casts all things behind his back, and looketh at, nor hath his expectations from ought, but the Son of God alone; as David said, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.  He only is my rock, and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be moved” (Psa 62:5, 6).  His eye is to Christ, his heart is to Christ, and his expectation is from him, from him only.

Therefore the man that comes to Christ, is one that hath had deep considerations of his own sins, slighting thoughts of his own righteousness, and high thoughts of the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ; yea, he sees, as I have said, more virtue in the blood of Christ to save him, than there is in all his sins to damn him.  He therefore setteth Christ before his eyes; there is nothing in heaven or earth, he knows, that can save his soul and secure him from the wrath of God, but Christ; that is, nothing but his personal righteousness and blood.

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 266–269).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

The God-Man, A Miracle of Power and Love

The God-Man, A Miracle of Power and Love

The God-Man, A Miracle of Power and Love

HAVE you ever thought of the miracle of power displayed in the Lord’s fashioning a human body capable of union with Godhead? Our Lord Jesus Christ was incarnate in a body, which was truly a human body, but yet which was, in some wondrous way, specially prepared to sustain the indwelling of Deity. Contact with God is terrible: “He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: He toucheth the hills, and they smoke.” He puts His feet on Paran, and it melts; and Sinai dissolves in flames of fire at His presence. So strongly was this truth inwrought into the minds of the early saints, that they said, “No man can see God’s face, and live;” and yet here was a manhood which did not merely see the face of God, but which was inhabited by Deity. What a wonderful human frame was this which could abide the presence of Jehovah!

Paul represents our Savior, when He cometh into the world, as saying to His Father, “A body hast Thou prepared Me.” That was indeed a body which was miraculously wrought; “that holy thing” was the special product of the Holy Spirit’s supernatural power. It was a body like our own, with nerves as sensitive, and muscles as readily strained, with every organization as delicately fashioned as our own; yet God was in it. It was a frail barque to carry such a wondrous freight.

O man Christ Jesus, how couldst Thou bear the Deity within Thee? We know not how it was, but God knoweth. Let us adore this hiding of the Almighty in human weakness, this comprehending of the Incomprehensible, this revealing of the Invisible, this localization of the Omnipresent. Human language cannot adequately set forth this unutterable truth. Suffice it to say, that the Divine power was wonderfully seen in the continued existence of the materialism of Christ’s body, which else had been consumed by such a wondrous contact with Divinity as was manifested in Emmanuel, “God with us.”

Christ took upon Him our nature in the fullest sense possible. His body contained everything that makes up a human body,—flesh, blood, bone, mind, heart, soul, memory, imagination, judgment,—everything that naturally belongs to a rational man. Jesus of Nazareth was the Man of men, the model representative Man. Think not of Him as a deified man any more than you would dare to regard Him as a humanized God, or demigod. Do not confound the natures that were united in Him, nor divide the Person in whom they were so marvelously blended. He is but one Person, yet as truly man as He is “very God of very God.”

As you think of this truth, say, “He who sits on the throne is such as I am, sin alone excepted.”

      “Oh, joy! there sitteth in our flesh,

         Upon a throne of light,

      One of a human mother born,

         In perfect Godhead bright!”

Behold, what manner of love God hath bestowed upon us, that He should espouse our nature! For never had He so united Himself with any creature before. His tender mercy had ever been over all His works, but they were so distinct from Himself that an immeasurable distance separated the Creator from His creatures so far as existence and relationship are concerned. The Lord had made many noble intelligences, principalities and powers of whom we know but little; we do not even know what those four living creatures may be who are nearest the eternal presence; but He had never allied Himself with any of them by actual union with His person. But, lo, He has joined Himself to man, that creature who is made to suffer death by reason of his sin; God has come into union with man, and therefore we may feel sure that He loves him with amazing love, and that He has great thoughts of good towards him. If a king’s son doth marry a member of a rebel race, then we may be certain that there are prospects of reconciliation, pardon, and restoration for that race. There must be, in the great heart of the Divine One, wondrous thoughts of pity and condescending love for guilty sinners, or He would never have deigned to take human nature into union with Himself. Let us sound the loud cymbals of delight and thanksgiving, for the Incarnation bodes good to our race.

As God has taken manhood into union with Himself, then God will feel for man, He will have pity upon him, He will remember that he is dust, He will have compassion upon his infirmities and sicknesses. You know how truly and graciously it is so, for that same Jesus, who was born of a woman at Bethlehem, is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, having been in all points tempted like as we are. Such intimate practical sympathy would not have belonged to our great High Priest if He had not become man. Not even though He is Divine could He have been perfectly in sympathy with us if He had not also become bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. The Captain of our salvation could only be made “perfect through sufferings;” and to this end, it was needful that He should become a partaker of flesh and blood; and, now, the Son of God can fully sympathize with men because He is one with them in everything except sin.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 67–70). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 


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