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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)

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 13

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 13

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 13

Advantages to the Man that is Come to Christ

A man that is come to Christ hath the advantage of him that is but coming to him; and that in seven things.

1.  He that is come to Christ is nearer to him than he that is but coming to him; for he that is but coming to him is yet, in some sense, at a distance from him; as it is said of the coming prodigal, “And while he was yet a great way off” (Luke 15:20).  Now he that is nearer to him hath the best sight of him; and so is able to make the best judgment of his wonderful grace and beauty, as God saith, “Let them come near, then let them speak” (Isa 41:1).  And as the apostle John saith, “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14).  He that is not yet come, though he is coming, is not fit, not being indeed capable to make that judgment of the worth and glory of the grace of Christ, as he is that is come to him, and hath seen and beheld it. Therefore, sinner, suspend thy judgment till thou art come nearer.

2.  He that is come to Christ has the advantage of him that is but coming, in that he is eased of his burden; for he that is but coming is not eased of his burden (Matt 11:28).  He that is come has cast his burden upon the Lord.  By faith he hath seen himself released thereof; but he that is but coming hath it yet, as to sense and feeling, upon his own shoulders.  “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,” implies, that their burden, though they are coming, is yet upon them, and so will be till indeed they are come to him.

3.  He that is come to Christ has the advantage of him that is but coming in this also, namely, he hath drank of the sweet and soul refreshing water of life; but he that is but coming hath not.  “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink” (John 7:37).

Mark, He must come to him before he drinks: according to that of the prophet, “Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.”  He drinketh not as he cometh, but when he is come to the waters (Isa 55:1).

4.  He that is come to Christ hath the advantage of him that as yet is but coming in this also, to wit, he is not so terrified with the noise, and, as I may call it, hue and cry, which the avenger of blood makes at the heels of him that yet is but coming to him.  When the slayer was on his flight to the city of his refuge, he had the noise or fear of the avenger of blood at his heels; but when he was come to the city, and was entered thereinto, that noise ceased.  Even so it is with him that is but coming to Jesus Christ, he heareth many a dreadful sound in is ear; sounds of death and damnation, which he that is come is at present freed from.  Therefore he saith, “Come, and I will give you rest.” And so he saith again, “We that have believed, do enter into rest,” as he said, &c. (Heb 4).

5.  He, therefore, that is come to Christ, is not so subject to those dejections, and castings down, by reason of the rage and assaults of the evil one, as is the man that is but coming to Jesus Christ, though he has temptations too.  “And as he was yet a-coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him” (Luke 9:42).  For he has, though Satan still roareth upon him, those experimental comforts and refreshments, to wit, in his treasury, to present himself with, in times of temptation and conflict; which he that is but coming has not.

6.  He that is come to Christ has the advantage of him that is but coming to him, in this also, to wit, he hath upon him the wedding garment, &c., but he that is coming has not.  The prodigal, when coming home to his father, was clothed with nothing but rags, and was tormented with an empty belly; but when he was come, the best robe is brought out, also the gold ring, and the shoes, yea, they are put upon him, to his great rejoicing.  The fatted calf was killed for him; the music was struck up to make him merry; and thus also the Father himself sang of him, “This my son was dead, and is alive again; was lost and is found” (Luke 15:18, 19).

7.  In a word, he that is come to Christ, his groans and tears, his doubts and fears, are turned into songs and praises; for that he hath now received the atonement, and the earnest of his inheritance; but he that is but yet a-coming, hath not those praises nor songs of deliverance with him; nor has he as yet received the atonement and earnest of his inheritance, which is, the sealing testimony of the Holy Ghost, through the sprinkling of the blood of Christ upon his conscience, for he is not come (Rom 5:11; Eph 1:13; Heb 12:22–24).

Import of the word COMETH

“And him that COMETH.” There is further to be gathered from this word cometh, these following particulars:—

1.  That Jesus Christ hath his eye upon, and takes notice of, the first moving of the heart of a sinner after himself. Coming sinner, thou canst not move with desires after Christ, but he sees the working of those desires in thy heart.  “All my desire,” said David, “is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee” (Psa 38:9).  This he spake, as he was coming, after he had backslidden, to the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is said of the prodigal, that while he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, had his eye upon him, and upon the going out of his heart after him (Luke 15:20).

When Nathanael was come to Jesus Christ, the Lord said to them that stood before him, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” But Nathanael answered him, “Whence knowest thou me?” Jesus answered, “Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.” There, I suppose, Nathanael was pouring out of his soul to God for mercy, or that he would give him good understanding about the Messias to come; and Jesus saw all the workings of his honest heart at that time (John 1:47, 48).

Zaccheus also had some secret movings of heart, such as they were, towards Jesus Christ, when he ran before, and climbed up the tree to see him; and the Lord Jesus Christ had his eye upon him: therefore, when he was come to the place, he looked up to him, bids him come down, “For today,” said he, “I must abide at thy house;” to wit, in order to the further completing the work of grace in his soul (Luke 19:1–9).  Remember this, coming sinner.

2.  As Jesus Christ hath his eye upon, so he hath his heart open to receive, the coming sinner. This is verified by the text: “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  This is also discovered by his preparing of the way, in his making of it easy (as may be) to the coming sinner; which preparation is manifest by those blessed words, “I will in no wise cast out;” of which more when we come to the place.  And while “he was yet a great way off, his Father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).  All these expressions do strongly prove that the heart of Christ is open to receive the coming sinner.

3.  As Jesus Christ has his eye upon, and his heart open to receive, so he hath resolved already that nothing shall alienate his heart from receiving the coming sinner. No sins of the coming sinner, nor the length of the time that he hath abode in them, shall by any means prevail with Jesus Christ to reject him. Coming sinner, thou art coming to a loving Lord Jesus!

4.  These words therefore are dropped from his blessed mouth, on purpose that the coming sinner might take encouragement to continue on his journey, until he be come indeed to Jesus Christ. It was doubtless a great encouragement to blind Bartimeus, that Jesus Christ stood still and called him, when he was crying, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me;” therefore, it is said, he cast away his garment, “rose, and came to Jesus” (Mark 10:46).  Now, if a call to come hath such encouragement in it, what is a promise of receiving such, but an encouragement much more?  And observe it, though he had a call to come, yet not having a promise, his faith was forced to work upon a mere consequence, saying, He calls me; and surely since he calls me, he will grant me my desire.  Ah! but coming sinner, thou hast no need to go so far about as to draw (in this matter) consequences, because thou hast plain promises: “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  Here is full, plain, yea, what encouragement one can desire; for, suppose thou wast admitted to make a promise thyself, and Christ should attest that he would fulfil it upon the sinner that cometh to him, Couldst thou make a better promise? Couldst thou invent a more full, free, or larger promise? a promise that looks at the first moving of the heart after Jesus Christ?  A promise that declares, yea, that engageth Christ Jesus to open his heart to receive the coming sinner? yea, further, a promise that demonstrateth that the Lord Jesus is resolved freely to receive, and will in no wise cast out, nor means to reject, the soul of the coming sinner!  For all this lieth fully in this promise, and doth naturally flow therefrom. Here thou needest not make use of far-fetched consequences, nor strain thy wits, to force encouraging arguments from the text. Coming sinner, the words are plain:  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 264–266).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

The God-Man, Christ Jesus

The God-Man, Christ Jesus

The God-Man, Christ Jesus

IT was a new and startling doctrine, when first preached to heathen sages, that God would take humanity into so intimate a connection with Himself as really and truly to be man and God in the same person; but it is a doctrine which must be received by you, or else you cannot receive Christ.

My Master will not be satisfied with the acknowledgment that His character is lovely, His doctrine pure, and His moral teaching super-excellent. He will not be content with your admission that He is a Prophet greater than any prophet who ever came before or after Him. He will not rest satisfied with your admission that He is a Teacher sent from Heaven, and a being who, on account of His virtues, is now peculiarly exalted in Heaven.

All this is true, but it is not the whole truth; you must also believe that He who, as man, was born of the Virgin, and was dandled upon her lap at Bethlehem, was, as God, none other than the everlasting Lord, without beginning of days or end of years. You do not receive Christ in very deed and truth unless you believe in His real humanity and actual Godhead.

Indeed, what is there for you to receive if you do not receive this truth? A savior who is not Divine can be no Savior for us. How can a mere man, however eminent, deliver his fellows from sins such as yours and mine? How can he bear the burden of our guilt any more than we can ourselves bear it, if there be nothing more in him than in any other singularly virtuous man? An angel would stagger beneath the load of human criminality, and much more would this be the case with even a perfect man, if such an one could be found. It needed those mighty shoulders—

      “Which bear the earth’s huge pillars up,”—

to sustain the weight of human sin, and carry it into the wilderness of forgetfulness. So, in order to be saved by Him, you must receive Christ as being God as well as man.

John calls Him “The Word,” or the speech of God. God in nature has revealed Himself, as it were, inarticulately and indistinctly; but, in His Son, He has revealed Himself as a man declares his inmost thoughts, by distinct and intelligible speech. Jesus is to the Father what speech is to us; He is the unfolding of the Father’s thoughts, the revelation of the Father’s heart. He that hath seen Christ hath seen the Father. “Wouldst thou have me see thee?” said Socrates, “then speak;” for speech reveals the man. Wouldst thou see God? Listen to Christ, for He is God’s Word, revealing the very heart of Deity.

Lest, however, we should imagine Jesus to be a mere utterance, simply a word spoken, and then forgotten, John is specially careful that we should know that Jesus is a real and true Person, and therefore he tells us that the Divine Word, of whose fullness we have received, is most assuredly God.

No language can be more distinct and explicit than that which John uses concerning Jesus. He ascribes to Him the eternity which belongs alone to God: “In the beginning was the Word.” He peremptorily claims Divinity for Him: “The Word was God.” He ascribes to Him creative power: “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” He ascribes to Him self-existence, which is the essential characteristic of God: “In Him was life.” He claims for Him a nature peculiar to God: “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all;” and he says that the Word is “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” No writer could be more definite in the expressions he uses; and beyond all question he sets forth the true and proper Deity of that Blessed One whom we all must receive if we would obtain eternal salvation.

Yet John does not fail to set forth that our Lord was also man. He saith, “the Word was made flesh,”—not merely assumed manhood, but was made flesh; made not merely man, as to His nobler part, His soul, but man as to His flesh, His lower element. Our Lord was not a phantom, but one who, as John declares in his first Epistle, could be seen, and heard, and touched, and handled.

“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” He tabernacled with the sons of men,—a carpenter’s shed His lowly refuge, and the caves and mountains of the earth His midnight resort in His after life. He dwelt among sinners and sufferers, among mourners and mortals, Himself completing His citizenship among us by becoming obedient unto death, “even the death of the cross.” Thus, while He is so august a person that Heaven and earth tremble at the majesty of His presence, yet is He so humble a person that He is not ashamed to call us “brethren.”

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 63–66). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 12

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 12

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 12

Import of the Work Him

“And him.”  This word him; by it Christ looketh back to the gift of the Father; not only in the lump and whole of the gift, but to the every him of that lump.  As who should say, I do not only accept of the gift of my Father in the general, but have a special regard to every of them in particular; and will secure not only some, or the greatest part, but every him, every dust. Not a hoof of all shall be lost or left behind. And, indeed, in this he consenteth to his Father’s will, which is that of all that he hath given him, he should lose nothing (John 6:39).

“And him.”  Christ Jesus, also, by his thus dividing the gift of his Father into hims, and by his speaking of them in the singular number, shows what a particular work shall be wrought in each one, at the time appointed of the Father.  “And it shall come to pass in that day,” saith the prophet, “that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.”  Here are the hims, one by one, to be gathered to him by the Father (Isa 27:12).

He shows also hereby that no lineage, kindred, or relation, can at all be profited by any outward or carnal union with the person that the Father hath given to Christ.  It is only him, the given HIM, the coming him, that he intends absolutely to secure. Men make a great ado with the children of believers; and oh the children of believers!  But if the child of the believer is not the him concerned in this absolute promise, it is not these men’s great cry, nor yet what the parent or child can do, that can interest him in this promise of the Lord Christ, this absolute promise.

AND HIM.  There are divers sorts of persons that the Father hath given to Jesus Christ; they are not all of one rank, of one quality; some are high, some are low; some are wise, some fools; some are more civil, and complying with the law; some more profane, and averse to him and his gospel. Now, since those that are given to him are, in some sense, so diverse; and again, since he yet saith, “And him that cometh,” &c., he, by that, doth give us to understand that he is not, as men, for picking and choosing, to take a best and leave a worst, but he is for him that the Father hath given him, and that cometh to him. “He shall not alter it, nor change it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good,” (Lev 27:10); but will take him as he is, and will save his soul.

There is many a sad wretch given by the Father to Jesus Christ; but not one of them all is despised or slighted by him. It is said of those that the Father hath given to Christ that they have done worse than the heathen; that they were murderers, thieves, drunkards, unclean persons, and what not; but he has received them, washed them, and saved them.  A fit emblem of this sort is that wretched instance mentioned in the 16th of Ezekiel, that was cast out in a stinking condition, to the loathing of its person, in the days that it was born; a creature in such a wretched condition, that no eye pitied, to do any of the things there mentioned unto it, or to have compassion upon it; no eye but his that speaketh in the text.

AND HIM.  Let him be as red as blood, let him be as red as crimson. Some men are blood-red sinners, crimson-sinners, sinners of a double die; dipped and dipped again, before they come to Jesus Christ. Art thou that readest these lines such an one?  Speak out, man!  Art thou such an one? and art thou now coming to Jesus Christ for the mercy of justification, that thou mightest be made white in his blood, and be covered with his righteousness?  Fear not; forasmuch as this thy coming betokeneth that thou art of the number of them that the Father hath given to Christ; for he will in no wise cast thee out. “Come now,” saith Christ, “and let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa 1:18).

AND HIM.  There was many a strange HIM came to Jesus Christ, in the days of his flesh; but he received them all, without turning any away; speaking unto them “of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing” (Luke 9:11; 4:40).  These words, AND HIM, are therefore words to be wondered at. That not one of them who, by virtue of the Father’s gift, and drawing, are coming to Jesus Christ, I say, that not one of them, whatever they have been, whatever they have done, should be rejected or set by, but admitted to a share in his saving grace.  It is said in Luke, that the people “wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth” (4:22).  Now this is one of his gracious words; these words are like drops of honey, as it is said, “Pleasant words are as an honey-comb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones” (Prov 16:24).  These are gracious words indeed, even as full as a faithful and merciful High-priest could speak them. Luther saith, “When Christ speaketh, he hath a mouth as wide as heaven and earth.” That is, to speak fully to the encouragement of every sinful him that is coming to Jesus Christ. And that his word is certain, hear how himself confirms it:  “Heaven and earth,” saith he, “shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away” (Isa 51:6; Matt 24:35).

It is also confirmed by the testimony of the four evangelists, who gave faithful relation of his loving reception of all sorts of coming sinners, whether they were publicans, harlots, thieves, possessed of devils, bedlams, and what not (Luke 19:1–10; Matt 21:31; Luke 15; 23:43; Mark 16:9; 5:1–9).

This, then, shows us, 1.  “The greatness of the merits of Christ.”  2.  The willingness of his heart to impute them for life to the great, if coming, sinners.

1.   This shows us the greatness of the merits of Christ; for it must not be supposed, that his words are bigger than his worthiness. He is strong to execute his word.  He can do, as well as speak. He can do exceeding abundantly more than we ask or think, even to the uttermost, and outside of his word (Eph 3:20).  Now, then, since he concludeth any coming HIM; it must be concluded, that he can save to the uttermost sin, any coming HIM.

Do you think, I say, that the Lord Jesus did not think before he spake?  He speaks all in righteousness, and therefore by his word we are to judge how mighty he is to save (Isa 63:1).  He speaketh in righteousness, in very faithfulness, when he began to build this blessed gospel-fabric, the text; it was for that he had first sat down, and counted the cost; and for that, he knew he was able to finish it!  What, Lord, any him? any him that cometh to thee?  This is a Christ worth looking after, this is a Christ worth coming to!

This, then, should learn us diligently to consider the natural force of every word of God; and to judge of Christ’s ability to save, not by our sins, or by our shallow apprehensions of his grace; but by his word, which is the true measure of grace.  And if we do not judge thus, we shall dishonor his grace, lose the benefit of his word, and needlessly fright ourselves into many discouragements though coming to Jesus Christ.  Him, any him that cometh, hath sufficient from this word of Christ, to feed himself with hopes of salvation.  As thou art therefore coming, O thou coming sinner, judge thou, whether Christ can save thee by the true sense of his words: judge, coming sinner, of the efficacy of his blood, of the perfection of his righteousness, and of the prevalency of his intercession, by his word.  “And him,” saith he, “that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  “In no wise,” that is, for no sin. Judge therefore by his word, how able he is to save thee.  It is said of God’s sayings to the children of Israel, “There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass” (Josh 21:45).  And again, “Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you, all are come to pass unto you; and not one thing hath failed thereof” (Josh 23:14).

Coming sinner, what promise thou findest in the word of Christ, strain it whither thou canst, so thou dost not corrupt it, and his blood and merits will answer all; what the word saith, or any true consequence that is drawn therefrom, that we may boldly venture upon.  As here in the text he saith, “And him that cometh,” indefinitely, without the least intimation of the rejection of any, though never so great, if he be a coming sinner.  Take it then for granted, that thou, whoever thou art, if coming, art intended in these words; neither shall it injure Christ at all, if, as Benhadad’s servants served Ahab, thou shalt catch him at his word.  “Now,” saith the text, “the man did diligently observe whether anything would come from him,” to wit, any word of grace; “and did hastily catch it.” And it happened that Ahab had called Benhadad his brother.  The man replied, therefore, “Thy brother Benhadad!” (1 Kings 20:33), catching him at his word.  Sinner, coming sinner, serve Jesus Christ thus, and he will take it kindly at thy hands. When he in his argument called the Canaanitish woman dog, she catched him at it, and saith, “Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.”  I say, she catched him thus in his words, and he took it kindly, saying, “O woman great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matt 15:28).  Catch him, coming sinner, catch him in his words, surely he will take it kindly, and will not be offended at thee.

2.  The other thing that I told you is showed from these words, is this:  The willingness of Christ’s heart to impute his merits for life to the great, if coming sinner.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

The awakened coming sinner doth not so easily question the power of Christ, as his willingness to save him. Lord, “if thou wilt, thou canst,” said one (Mark 1:40).  He did not put the if upon his power, but upon his will.  He concluded he could, but he was not as fully of persuasion that he would.  But we have the same ground to believe he will, as we have to believe he can; and, indeed, ground for both is the Word of God.  If he was not willing, why did he promise?  Why did he say he would receive the coming sinner?  Coming sinner, take notice of this; we use to plead practices with men, and why not with God likewise?  I am sure we have no more ground for the one than the other; for we have to plead the promise of a faithful God.  Jacob took him there:  “Thou saidst,” said he, “I will surely do thee good” (Gen 32:12).  For, from this promise he concluded, that it followed in reason, “He must be willing.”

The text also gives some ground for us to draw the same conclusion.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  Here is his willingness asserted, as well as his power suggested.  It is worth your observation, that Abraham’s faith considered rather God’s power than his willingness; that is, he drew his conclusion, “I shall have a child,” from the power that was in God to fulfil the promise to him.  For he concluded he was willing to give him one, else he would not have promised one.  “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what he had promised he was able also to perform” (Rev 4:10, 11).  But was not his faith exercised, or tried, about his willingness too?  No, there was no show of reason for that, because he had promised it. Indeed, had he not promised it, he might lawfully have doubted it; but since he had promised it, there was left no ground at all for doubting, because his willingness to give a son was demonstrated in his promising him a son.  These words, therefore, are sufficient ground to encourage any coming sinner that Christ is willing to his power to receive him; and since he hath power also to do what he will, there is no ground at all left to the coming sinner any more to doubt; but to come in full hope of acceptance, and of being received unto grace and mercy.  “And him that cometh.”  He saith not, and him that is come; but, and him that cometh; that is, and him whose heart begins to move after me, who is leaving all for my sake; him who is looking out, who is on his journey to me.  We must, therefore, distinguish betwixt coming, and being come to Jesus Christ.  He that is come to him has attained of him more sensibly what he felt before that he wanted, than he has that but yet is coming to him.

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 262–264).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

"God With Us," Under All Conditions

"God With Us," Under All Conditions

BEING “with us” in our nature, God is “with us” in all our life’s pilgrimage. Scarcely can we find a single halting-place, in the march of life, at which Jesus has not paused, or a weary league of the road which He has not traversed. From the gate of entrance, even to the door which closes life’s pilgrim way, the footprints of Jesus may be traced. Were you once in the cradle? He was there. Were you a child under parental authority? Christ also was a boy in the home at Nazareth. Have you entered upon life’s battle? Your Lord and Master did the same; and though He lived not literally a long life, yet, through incessant toil and suffering, He bore the marred visage which usually attends a battered old age. He was not much more than thirty when the Jews said to Him, “Thou art not yet fifty years old,” evidently implying that He looked much older than He actually was.

Are you alone? So was He, in the wilderness, and on the mountain’s side, and in the garden’s gloom. Do you mix in public society? So did He labor in the thickest press. Where can you find yourself, on the hill-top, or in the valley, on the land or on the sea, in the daylight or in darkness, without discovering that Jesus has been there before you? We might truly say of our Redeemer that He was—

      “A man so various that He seemed to be

      Not one, but all mankind’s epitome.”

One harmonious man He was, and yet all saintly lives seem to be condensed in His. Two believers may be very unlike each other, and yet both will find that Christ’s life has in it points of resemblance to their own. One may be rich and another poor, one actively laborious and another patiently suffering, yet each man, in studying the history of the Saviour, shall be able to say, “His pathway ran hard by my own.” He was in all points made like unto His brethren. How charming is the fact that our Lord is “God with us,” not merely here and there, and now and then, but everywhere, and evermore!

Especially do we realize the sweetness of His being “God with us” in our sorrows. There is no pang that rends the heart, I might almost say not one which disturbs the body, but Jesus Christ has endured it before us. Do you feel the pinching of poverty? He could say, “The Son of man hath not where to lay His head.” Do you know the grief of bereavement? “Jesus wept” at the tomb of Lazarus. Have you been slandered for righteousness’ sake, and has it vexed your spirit? He said, “Reproach hath broken Mine heart.” Have you been betrayed? Do not forget that He, too, had His familiar friend, who sold Him for the price of a slave. On what stormy seas have you been tossed which have not also roared around His boat? Never will you traverse any glen of adversity so dark, so dismal, apparently so pathless, but what, in stooping down, you may discover the footprints of the Crucified One. In the fires and in the rivers, in the cold night and under the burning sun, He cries, “I am with thee. Be not dismayed, for I am both thy Companion and thy God.”

Mysteriously true is it that, when you and I shall come to the last, the closing scene, we shall find that Emmanuel has been there also. He felt the pangs and throes of death, He endured the bloody sweat of agony, and the parching thirst of fever. He knew all about the separation of the tortured spirit from the poor fainting flesh, and cried, as we shall, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.”

Ay, and He knew the grave, too, for there He slept, and left the sepulchre perfumed and furnished for us as a couch of rest, and not as a charnel-house of corruption. That new tomb in the garden makes Him “God with us” till the resurrection shall call us from our beds of clay to find Him “God with us” in newness of life. We shall be raised up in His likeness, and the first sight our opening eyes shall see will be our incarnate God. Every true believer can say, with Job, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” Yes; I, in my flesh, shall see Him as the man, the God, the God-man, Christ Jesus.

And to all eternity He will maintain the most intimate association with us. As long as the eternal ages roll, He will still be “God with us.” Has He not said, “Because I live, ye shall live also”? Both His human and His Divine life will last for ever, and so shall our life endure. He shall dwell among us, and lead us to living fountains of waters, and so shall we be “for ever with the Lord.”

Ask yourselves whether you know what “God with us” means. Has it been God with you in your tribulations, by the Holy Ghost’s comforting influence? Has it been God with you in searching the Scriptures? Has the Holy Spirit shone upon the Word? Has it been God with you in conviction, bringing you to Sinai? Has it been God with you in comforting you, by bringing you to Calvary? Do you know the full meaning of that Name Emmanuel, “God with us”? No; he who knows it best knows but little of it; and, alas! he who knows it not at all is ignorant indeed; so ignorant that his ignorance is not bliss, but will be his damnation unless it is removed by the Holy Spirit’s effectual working. May He teach you the meaning of that Name!

My soul, try to ring out the music of these words, “God with us.” Put me in the desert, where vegetation grows not; I can still say, “God with us.” Put me on the wild ocean, and let my ship dance madly on the waves; I would still say, “God with us.” Mount me on the sunbeam, and let me fly beyond the Western sea; still I would say, “God with us.” Let my body dive down into the depths of the ocean, and let me hide in its caverns; still I could, as a child of God, say, “God with us.”

This is one of the bells of Heaven, let us strike it yet again: “God with us.” It is a stray note from the sonnets of paradise: “God with us.” It is the melody of the seraphs’ song: “God with us.” It is one of the notes of Jehovah Himself, when He rejoices over His Church with singing: “God with us.”

Tell it out to all the nations that this is the Name of Him who was born in Bethlehem, “God with us,”—God with us, by His Incarnation, for the august Creator of the world did walk upon this globe; He, who made ten thousand orbs, each of them more mighty and more vast than this earth, became the inhabitant of this tiny atom. He, who was from everlasting to everlasting, came to this world of time, and stood upon the narrow neck of land betwixt the two unbounded seas.

His Name is, indeed, wonderful: “Emmanuel.” It is wisdom’s mystery: “God with us.” Sages think of it, and wonder; angels desire to look into it; the plumb-line of reason cannot reach half-way into its depths; the eagle-wing of science cannot fly so high, and the piercing eye of the vulture of research cannot see it. “God with us.” It is hell’s terror. Satan trembles at the sound of it; his legions fly apace, the black-winged dragon of the pit quails before it. Let him come to attack you, and do you but whisper that word “Emmanuel,” back he falls, confounded and confused. Satan trembles when he hears that Name, “Emmanuel.” It is the Christian laborer’s strength; how could he preach the Gospel, how could he bend his knees in prayer, how could the missionary go into foreign lands, how could the martyr stand at the stake, how could the confessor own his Master, how could men labor if that one word were taken away? “Emmanuel.” ’Tis the sufferer’s comfort, ’tis the balm for his woe, ’tis the alleviation of his misery, ’tis the sleep which God giveth to His beloved, ’tis their rest after exertion and toil. Ah! and more than that; ’tis eternity’s sonnet, ’tis Heaven’s hallelujah, ’tis the shout of the glorified, ’tis the song of the redeemed, ’tis the chorus of angels, ’tis the everlasting oratorio of the grand orchestra of the sky.

      “Hail, great Emmanuel, all Divine,

      In Thee Thy Father’s glories shine;

      Thou brightest, sweetest, fairest one,

      That eyes have seen, or angels known.”

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 57–62). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 11

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 11

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 11

The Promise to Those Coming to Christ

“AND HIM THAT COMETH TO ME I will in no wise cast out.”

By these words our Lord Jesus doth set forth yet more amply the great goodness of his nature towards the coming sinner.  Before, he said, They shall come; and here he declareth, That with heart and affections he will receive them.  But, by the way, let me speak one word or two to the seeming conditionality of this promise with which now I have to do.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  Where it is evident, may some say, that Christ’s receiving us to mercy depends upon our coming, and so our salvation by Christ is conditional. If we come, we shall be received; if not, we shall not; for that is fully intimated by the words. The promise of reception is only to him that cometh.  “And him that cometh.”  I answer, that the coming in these words mentioned, as a condition of being received to life, is that which is promised, yea, concluded to be effected in us by the promise going before. In those latter words, coming to Christ is implicitly required of us; and in the words before, that grace that can make us come is positively promised to us.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” thence.  We come to Christ, because it is said, We shall come; because it is given to us to come.  So that the condition which is expressed by Christ in these latter words is absolutely promised in the words before. And, indeed, the coming here intended is nothing else but the effect of “shall come to me.  They shall come, and I will not cast them out.”

“AND HIM THAT COMETH.”

He saith not, and him that is come, but him that cometh.  To speak to these words, First, In general. Second, More particularly.

[First.]  In general.  They suggest unto us these four things:—

1.  That Jesus Christ doth build upon it, that since the Father gave his people to him, they shall be enabled to come unto him.  “And him that cometh.”  As who should say, I know that since they are given to me, they shall be enabled to come unto me. He saith not, if they come, or I suppose they will come; but, “and him that cometh.”  By these words, therefore, he shows us that he addresseth himself to the receiving of them whom the Father gave to him to save them.  I say, he addresseth himself, or prepareth himself to receive them.  By which, as I said, he concludeth or buildeth upon it, that they shall indeed come to him.  He looketh that the Father should bring them into his bosom, and so stands ready to embrace them.

2.  Christ also suggesteth by these words, that he very well knoweth who are given to him; not by their coming to him, but by their being given to him.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh,” &c.  This him he knoweth to be one of them that the Father hath given him; and, therefore, he received him, even because the Father hath given him to him (John 10).  “I know my sheep,” saith he.  Not only those that already have knowledge of him, but those, too, that yet are ignorant of him.  “Other sheep I have,” said he, “which are not of this fold,” (John 10:16); not of the Jewish church, but those that lie in their sins, even the rude and barbarous Gentiles.  Therefore, when Paul was afraid to stay at Corinth, from a supposition that some mischief might befall him there; “Be not afraid,” said the Lord Jesus to him, “but speak, and hold not thy peace—for I have much people in this city” (Acts 18:9, 10).  The people that the Lord here speaks of were not at this time accounted his, by reason of a work of conversion that already had passed upon them, but by virtue of the gift of the Father; for he had given them unto him.  Therefore was Paul to stay here, to speak the word of the Lord to them, that, by his speaking, the Holy Ghost might effectually work over their souls, to the causing them to come to him, who was also ready, with heart and soul, to receive them.

3. Christ, by these words, also suggesteth, that no more come unto him than, indeed, are given him of the Father.  For the him in this place is one of the all that by Christ was mentioned before.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;” and every him of that all, “I will in no wise cast out.”  This the apostle insinuateth, where he saith, “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:11–13).

Mark, as in the text, so here he speaketh of all.  “Until we all come.” We all! all who? Doubtless, “All that the Father giveth to Christ.”  This is further insinuated, because he called this ALL the body of Christ; the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.  By which he means the universal number given; to wit, the true elect church, which is said to be his body and fullness (Eph 1:22, 23).

4.  Christ Jesus, by these words, further suggesteth, that he is well content with this gift of the Father to him.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  I will heartily, willingly, and with great content of mind, receive him.

They show us, also, that Christ’s love in receiving is as large as his Father’s love in giving, and no larger. Hence, he thanks him for his gift, and also thanks him for hiding of him and his things from the rest of the wicked (Matt 11:25; Luke 10:21).  But,

Secondly, and more particularly, “And HIM that cometh.”

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 261–262).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

Hebrews 6:4-6, Can a Believer Fall Away and Be Lost?

Hebrews 6:4-6, Can a Believer Fall Away and Be Lost?

Does not Hebrews 6:4–6 teach that a believer can fall away and be lost?

First, we must remember that Hebrews was written to Jewish believers at a time while the temple was still standing (Heb. 10:11).  Many Jews had embraced Christianity as a sect of Judaism merely, like the Pharisees and Essenes, but without perceiving that it was an exclusive religion which set aside Judaism and the Judaic sacrifices absolutely, leaving only Christ in their place.  The whole body of Jewish Christians were therefore addressed as being on the ground of profession, hence the exhortations of which this passage is one.  It will be remembered that in the Gospel of Matthew, which is also Jewish in its outlook from the 13th chapter on, the same exhortations frequently occur.  The peculiar peril of the Jewish professor was that he might, having taken Christianity only superficially, give it up and go back to the sacrifices, which would be in effect “crucifying the Son of God afresh and putting him to an open shame.”

The case supposed in the sixth chapter is not that of a mere unbeliever, because a mere sinner may at any time believe and turn to the Lord.  The case is one of a person who has stood in the full blaze of gospel light; he has been made a “partaker” of the Holy Ghost” in His convicting power (John 16:8–10) and has therefore tasted of the word of God and of the powers of the age to come.  The case is fully described by our Lord in Matthew 13:20, 21.  The seed of the word has found lodgment in his emotional nature.  Intellectually he is convinced.  Now if such an one goes back instead of going on to believe and be born again, it is impossible to renew him again to repentance.  We can never judge in any individual case, but warning is to be sounded out in the ears of professors, surely never more necessarily than in this day when so many are joining church after an emotional revival, without any real transaction with Jesus Christ about their sins.  That this is not a true Christian who goes back and is lost is certain from the great passages which teach unqualifiedly that such a person cannot be lost, such as John 10:28, 29; Ephesians 4:30, etc.

As to falling from grace, that a good Christian may do, and that millions of Christians have done.  They have lost the sense of the grace of God and are living under law; but falling from grace is not falling from salvation.  It is losing the joy of assurance and going back under the cold shadow of the law. Also (2 Pet. 3:17), we all fall from our steadfastness.  Again and again doubts as to God’s providence and fatherly care overcome us—we fall into despair and unbelief in many ways, but we do not fall into hell nor out of the hand of God, who keeps us.  The truth as to this whole matter, however, let me repeat; is to be ascertained first by distinguishing the Scriptures which relate to professors from those which relate to believers, and secondly, by establishing ourselves in the great truth of assurance.

Scofield, C. I. (1917). Dr. C. I. Scofield’s Question Box. (E. E. Pohle, Ed.) (pp. 10–12). Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute. (Public Domain)

 

 

"God With Us," Bridging the Great Gulf

"God With Us," Bridging the Great Gulf

THE Eternal seems to be so far away from us. He is infinite, and we are such little creatures. There appears to be a great gulf fixed between man and God, even in the matter of our creatureship. But He, who is God, has also become man. We never heard that God took the nature of angels into union with Himself; we may therefore say that, between Godhead and angelhood, there must be an infinite distance still; but the Lord has actually taken manhood into union with Himself. There is, therefore, no longer a great gulf between Him and us. On the contrary, here is a marvelous union; Godhead has entered into marriage bonds with manhood.

O my soul, thou dost not stand now, like a poor lone orphan, wailing across the deep sea after thy Father, who has gone far away, and cannot hear thee; thou dost not now sob and sigh, like an infant left naked and helpless, its Maker having gone too far away to supply its wants, or listen to its cries! No, thy Maker has become like thyself. Is that too strong a word to use? He, without whom was not anything made that was made, was made flesh; and He was made flesh in such a way that He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. O manhood, was there ever such good news as this for thee? Poor manhood, thou weak worm of the dust, far lower than the angels, lift up thy head, and be not afraid! Poor manhood, born in weakness, living in toil, covered with sweat, and dying at last to be eaten by the worms, be not thou abashed even in the presence of seraphs, for next to God is man, and not even an archangel can come in between; nay, not merely next to God, for Jesus, who is God, is man also; Jesus Christ, eternally God, was born, and lived, and died as we also do.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is, in some senses, more completely man than Adam ever was. Adam was not born; he was created as a man. Adam never had to struggle through the risks and weaknesses of infancy; he knew not the littlenesses of childhood,—he was full-grown at once. Father Adam could not sympathize with me as a babe and a child. But how manlike is Jesus! He does not begin with us in mid-life, as Adam did; but He is cradled with us, He accompanies us in the pains, and feebleness, and infirmities of infancy, and He continues with us even to the grave.

There is sweet comfort in the thought that He who is this day God, was once an infant; so that, if my cares are little, and even trivial and comparatively infantile, I may go to Him with them, for He was once a child. Though the great ones of the earth may sneer at the child of poverty, and say, “You are too mean for us to notice, and your trouble is too slight to evoke our pity;” I recollect, with humble joy, that the King of Heaven was wrapped in swaddling-bands, and carried in a woman’s arms; and therefore I may tell Him all my griefs. How wonderful that He should have been an infant, and yet should be God, blessed for ever! The Holy Child Jesus bridges the great gulf between me and God.

There was never a subject of sweeter song than this,—the stooping down of Godhead to the feebleness of manhood. When God manifested His power in the works of His hands, the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy; but when God manifests Himself, what music shall suffice for the grand psalm of adoring wonder? When wisdom and power are seen, these are but attributes of Deity; but in the Incarnation of Christ, it is the Divine Person Himself who is revealed, though He is, in a measure, hidden in our inferior clay. Well might Mary sing, when earth and Heaven even now are wondering at the condescending grace by which “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”

We can never think that God sits on high, indifferent to the wants and woes of men; for He has visited us in our low estate. No longer need we lament that we can never participate in the moral glory and purity of God, for if God in glory can come down to His sinful creature, it is certainly less difficult for Him to bear that creature, blood-washed and purified, up the starry way, that the redeemed one may sit down for ever with Him on His throne. Let us dream no longer, in sombre sadness, that we cannot draw near to God, so that He can really hear our prayers, and relieve our necessities, for Jesus has become bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, and, bowing His head to death for us, He has opened that new and living way, by which we may come with boldness, and have access to the throne of the heavenly grace.

Angels sang the story of Christ’s birth; yet, perhaps, they scarcely knew why they did so. Could they understand why God had become man? They must have known that herein was a great mystery of condescension; but all the loving consequences which the Incarnation involved, even their acute minds could hardly have guessed; but we see the whole, and comprehend the grand design most fully. The manger of Bethlehem was big with glory; in Christ’s Incarnation was wrapped up all the blessedness by which a soul, snatched from the depths of sin, is lifted up to the heights of glory. Shall not our clearer knowledge lead us to heights of song which angelic guesses could not reach? Shall the lips of cherubs move to flaming sonnets, and shall we, who are redeemed by the blood of the incarnate God, be treacherously and ungratefully silent?

      “Did archangels sing Thy coming?

         Did the shepherds learn their lays?
      Shame would cover me ungrateful,

         Should my tongue refuse to praise.”

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 53–56). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 

What Does Christmas Mean to You?

What Does Christmas Mean to You?

WHAT DOES CHRISTMAS MEAN TO YOU?

Christmas is a beautiful time of year, and known especially for its giving and receiving of gifts. It is also a special time for families to be together.  However, many people are without a family, and live alone. Unfortunately, there are dysfunctional families who do not relate to one another.  For our military community, there are frequent separations from loved ones who are overseas, helping to maintain the peace for our country.

Can we look forward with great anticipation for what Christmas truly is?  Christmas is about the birth of the Christ child, Son of God, Jesus Christ! Jesus was sent to earth as a baby to become the Savior of the world!

In Charles Wesley's beautiful Christmas hymn, "Hark The Herald Angels Sing," one of the verses expresses so well what Christmas truly is:

"Mild He lays His glory by,

Born that man no more may die,

Born to raise the sons of earth,

Born to give them second birth."

"As someone once said, "Christ shared in our humanity so we can share in His Divinity!"

In reflecting on the humanity of Jesus at Christmas time, are we able to fall on our knees and worship Him, Jesus Christ, the One, who came as a baby to sacrifice Himself on the cross for our sins?

As Jesus reminded Satan in Luke 4:8, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve."

II Corinthians 9:15, "Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift."

Hebrews 12:28, "Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and therefore let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe;"

Thought To Ponder:  Let us thank God for His sacrificial gift of love and life!


Christian Military Fellowship

An Indigenous Ministry • Discipleship • Prayer • Community • Support
Encouraging Men and Women in the United States Armed Forces, and their families, to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

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