What Is The Gospel? Part Two

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In one sense, the whole Bible is the gospel. Reading it from Genesis to Revelation, we see the vast sweep of God’s wonderful message to mankind.

But many people read the whole Bible, and their understandings of the gospel differ widely, remain vague, or are just plain wrong. Some speak of the gospel in terms of God’s favor pouring out in financial prosperity. Others describe a political utopia in Christ’s name. Still others emphasize following Christ, bringing in His kingdom, or pursuing holiness. Some of these themes are biblical. But none of them is the gospel.

Fortunately, we can turn to passages that tell us, explicitly and clearly, what the gospel is. For example, the Apostle Paul explains what is “of first importance” within the biblical message:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Cor. 15:1-4)

Paul reminds the Corinthian believers of the gospel message and its comprehensive relevance to them. They received it, they stand in it, they are being saved by it. These sacred and powerful benefits flow into their experience as they hold fast to the gospel word that Paul gave them. The Corinthians do not deserve such blessing, but the gospel announces God’s grace in Christ for the undeserving. The Corinthians’ only catastrophic failure would be unbelief. With so much to commend about the gospel, no wonder Paul ranks it as “of first importance” in his priorities.

What, then, is the gospel?

The gospel is the good news from God, first, that “Christ died for our sins.” The Bible says that God created Adam without sin, fit to rule over a good creation (Gen. 1). Then Adam broke from God and brought our whole race down with him into guilt, misery, and eternal ruin (chap. 3). But God, in His great love for us rebels now thoroughly unfit for Him, sent a better Adam, who lived the perfect life we’ve never lived and died the guilty death we don’t want to die. “Christ died for our sins” in the sense that, on the cross, He atoned for the crimes we have committed against God our King. Jesus, dying as our substitute, absorbed into Himself all the wrath of God against the real moral guilt of His people. He left no debt unpaid. He Himself said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). And we will forever say, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!” (Rev. 5:12).

Second, the gospel says, “he was buried,” emphasizing that the sufferings and death of Jesus were utterly real, extreme, and final. The Bible says, “So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard” (Matt. 27:66). After killing Him, His enemies made sure everyone would know Jesus was stone dead. Not only was our Lord’s death as final as death can be, it was also humiliating: “And they made his grave with the wicked” (Isa. 53:9). In His astonishing love, Jesus identified with us sinners and sufferers fully, omitting nothing.

Third, the gospel says, “he was raised on the third day.” Years ago, I heard S. Lewis Johnson put it this way: the resurrection is God’s “Amen!” to Christ’s “It is finished.” Jesus “was raised because of our justification” (Rom. 4:25 NASB). His work on the cross succeeded in atoning for our sins, and obviously so. Moreover, by His resurrection, Christ was “declared to be the Son of God in power”—that is, our triumphant Messiah who will rule forever (Rom. 1:4). The risen Christ alone can and does say to us, “Fear not, for I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Rev. 1:17-18). The Living One conquered death and is now preparing a place for us—a new heavens and new earth, where all of His people will live joyously with Him forever.

This is the gospel of God’s massive grace toward us sinners. Whatever else might be said only tells us more of the mighty work of Jesus Christ. Let us hold fast to the Word preached to us. If we believe this gospel, we cannot believe in vain.

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What Is The Gospel? Part One

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By Burk Parsons

The great nineteenth-century Princeton theologian Charles Hodge said, “The gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.” The gospel is absolutely fundamental to everything we believe. It is at the very core of who we are as Christians.

However, many professing Christians struggle to answer the question: What is the gospel? When I teach, I am astounded by how many of my students are unable to provide a biblically accurate explanation of what the gospel is, and, what’s more, what the gospel is not. If we don’t know what the gospel is, we are of all people the most to be pitied—for we not only can’t proclaim the gospel in evangelism so that sinners might be saved, but we in fact may not be saved ourselves.

In our day, there are countless counterfeit gospels, both inside and outside the church. Much of what is on Christian television and on the shelves of Christian bookstores completely obscures the gospel, thereby making it another gospel, which is no gospel whatsoever. English pastor J.C.Ryle wrote, “Since Satan cannot destroy the gospel, he has too often neutralized its usefulness by addition, subtraction, or substitution.” It is vital we understand that just because a preacher talks about Jesus, the cross, and heaven, does not mean he is preaching the gospel. And just because there is a church on every corner does not mean the gospel is preached on every corner.

Fundamentally, the gospel is news. It’s good news—the good news about what our triune God has accomplished for His people: the Father’s sending His Son, the incarnate Jesus Christ, to live perfectly, fulfill the law, and die sacrificially, satisfying God’s wrath against us that we might not face hell, thereby atoning for our sins; and raising Him from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the victorious announcement that God saves sinners. And even though the call of Jesus to “take up your cross and follow me,” “repent and believe,” “deny yourself,” and “keep my commandments” are necessary commands that directly follow the proclamation of the gospel, they are not in themselves the good news of what Jesus has accomplished.

The gospel is not a summons to work harder to reach God; it’s the grand message of how God worked all things together for good to reach us. The gospel is good news, not good advice or good instructions, just as J. Gresham Machen wrote: “What I need first of all is not exhortation, but a gospel, not directions for saving myself but knowledge of how God has saved me. Have you any good news? That is the question that I ask of you.”

©TableTalk Magazine, January 1st, 2015.

The Bishop Of Our Souls

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by R.C. Sproul

The titles that the New Testament writers use for Jesus make for a fascinating and enlightening study. One of the most obscure and perplexing of these titles is found in 1 Peter 2:25, where the Apostle writes, “For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” In the classical language of the King James Version, this title is rendered as “Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” Many evangelicals react negatively to the idea of Jesus as our Bishop. What did Peter have in mind when he spoke of Jesus in this way?

Although Peter’s letter is the only place in the New Testament where Christ is called our Bishop, the concept is deeply rooted in Scripture. We even find a hint of it in the song of Zechariah, father of John the Baptist. Zechariah said, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people” (Luke 1:68). In the Old Testament, the promises of redemption that God made to His people included a promise of a day of divine visitation. The Jews were taught to expect a visit from God. Zechariah, however, said God had visited and redeemed His people. He spoke this way because he understood that the appearance of the Messiah was at hand, and He would be heralded by Zechariah’s own son.

What does this have to do with the title of “bishop”? The Greek word translated as “visited” in Luke 1:68 is episkeptomai, which is a verb form of the noun episkopos, the Greek word that is translated as “bishop” or “overseer” in 1 Peter 2:25. That word, episkopos, is reflected in the name of the Episcopalian Church, which is governed by bishops.

The word episkopos is composed of a prefix and a root. The prefix is epi-, which serves to intensify the word with which it is combined. The root is skopos, which gives us the English word “scope.” We find this root in such words as telescope, periscope, and microscope, all of which are instruments that help us to see things. If we were to add the prefix epi- to the wordscope, we would have an instrument for intensive observation. That is precisely what an episkopos was in ancient Greece, except that it was a person, not an instrument. The episkopos was a high-ranking military officer who inspected the troops to be sure they were ready for battle. With that background, we can see that a bishop is one who is given oversight in the church, with the responsibility to look closely into all matters under his supervision.

Jesus, then, is our Bishop, our Episkopos, who has oversight of us as our Lord. He is vested with the power to look into our lives, to gauge our readiness for combat with the forces of darkness.

The sad fact, however, is that we do not usually like to undergo His inspection. Do you remember how Adam and Eve reacted when God visited the garden of Eden after they had eaten from the forbidden tree? They hid themselves. They understood themselves to be naked in His presence, unable to conceal their sin from His close scrutiny (Gen. 3:8–10). Adam and Eve wanted nothing to do with an episkopos. It was much the same when Jesus came in His incarnation. The Scriptures tell us that “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:11). Like Adam and Eve, the Jews wanted nothing to do with this heavenly Visitor. Indeed, all fallen human beings are terrified of exposure to God’s scrutiny.

The Jews in Old Testament times looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. But the prophets warned them that the day of His appearing might not be the wonderful experience they expected. They hoped to see God judge their enemies, but the prophets said that the Episkopos would judge His own people if they were not ready to receive Him, if they were faithless and disobedient.

But Zechariah sang his song from the perspective of a child of God, one who was glad to see the coming of the heavenly Visitor and who welcomed His scrutiny. For all who are ready, a visit from theEpiskopos is a welcome thing, for they understand that His scrutiny is directed toward the care of the souls under His supervision.

The Bishop of our souls knows us better than we know ourselves. Although ministers and bishops are called to follow our Lord’s example, we will never have a pastor or elder who cares for our souls anywhere near the degree to which Christ, our Bishop, does.

Do you want God to know you? Do you pray as David did: “Search me, O God, and know my heart!” (Ps. 139:23a)? Those are the words of a person who knows the forgiving grace of God. Once we experience God’s grace and tender mercy, we want more. The Christian delights in being known by the Bishop of his soul.

© TableTalk Magazine, July 1st 2012.

 

Legalism

effort2Legalism could be definied as any attempt to rely on self-effort (even partly) to either attain or maintain our just standing before God. In Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians he warned them sternly about such false understandings of the gospel when he asked the offenders: “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Gal.3:3). Legalism always seems to have one thing in common: it’s theology denies that Christ is completely sufficient for salvation. That some additional element of self-effort, merit or faithfulness on our part is necessary to maintain a just standing before God.

As an example, those who erroneously teach that a Christian can lose his or her salvation are, in essence, denying the sufficiency of Christ to save to the utmost. They believe their sin to be greater than Christ’s grace. But we affirm that Christ’s righteousness, which he counts toward us, is not only necessary for our salvation, but sufficient. His once for all sacrifice put away sin for all time in those He has united to Himself. His salvation also means that he not only saves at the beginning but preserves us to the end, sealing us in His perfect righteousness whose blood “reminds the covenant God” not to treat us as our sins deserve.

Any attempt to add our covenant faithfulness as part of the price of redemption after regeneration is an “attempt to attain our goal by human effort” and thus a complete misapprehension of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must, therefore, reject any and all attempts to maintain a judicial standing before God by any act on our part. Salvation is of the Lord.

~John Hendryx , Monergism.com

Anticipating Heaven

Do I as a living, breathing, conscious person have a concrete hope for my future? What do I have to look forward to? At times, when I discover that my own spirit is sagging and a sense of heaviness intrudes on me, I sometimes wonder why the gloomy cloud is perched above my head.

Biblical eschatology gives us solid reasons for expecting a personal continuity of life. Eternal life for the individual is not an empty human aspiration built on myth, but an assurance promised us by Christ Himself. His own triumph over the grave is the church’s hope for our participation in His life.

We have heard so much ridicule and mocking about pie-in-the-sky theology that I’m afraid we’ve lost our appetite for it. What the Scriptures promise for our future involves a lot more than a perpetual visit to Mother Butler’s. Jesus Christ and Simple Simon have very little in common.

The promise of heaven is indeed glorious—a promise that not only anchors the soul but fires the soul with hope. Life is not an outrageous horror, though we witness outrages daily. The outrage is not the bottom line. The sting of death has been overcome.

The victory of Christ is not established by platitudes or conjured-up positive mental attitudes. Jesus is not the Good Humor Man. His call to joy is rooted in reality: “Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Therein resides our future hope—that Christ has overcome the world. He stared directly into the face of death and death blinked.

Coram Deo

Reflect on this truth as you face your problems today: Jesus overcame the world and has given you the power to do likewise.

Passages for Further Study

Revelation 21:1–3

© 2016 Ligonier Ministries

Responding To God’s Call

We live in daily submission to a host of authorities who circumscribe our freedom: from parents to traffic police officers to dog catchers. All authorities are to be respected and, as the Bible declares, honored. But only one authority has the intrinsic right to bind the conscience. God alone imposes absolute obligation, and He does it by the power of His holy voice.

He calls the world into existence by divine imperative, by holy fiat. He calls the dead and rotting Lazarus to life again. He calls people who were no people “My people.” He calls us out of darkness and into light. He effectually calls us to redemption. He calls us to service.

Our vocation is so named because of its Latin root vocatio, “a calling.” The term vocational choice is a contradiction in terms to the Christian. To be sure, we do choose it and can, in fact, choose to disobey it. But prior to the choice and hovering with absolute power over it is the divine summons, the imposition to duty from which we dare not flee.

It was vocation that drove Jonah on his flight to Tarshish and caused his terrified shipmates to dump him in the sea to still the vengeful tempest. It was vocation that elicited the anguished cry from Paul, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16). It was vocation that put a heinous cup of bitterness in the hands of Jesus.

The call of God is not always to a glamorous vocation, and its fruit in this world is often bittersweet. Yet God calls us according to our gifts and talents, and directs us to paths of the most useful service to His kingdom. How impoverished we would be if Jonah had made it to Tarshish, if Paul had refused to preach, if Jeremiah really had turned in his prophet’s card, or if Jesus had politely declined the cup.
CORAM DEO

Think about it … what will be the tab of spiritual losses if you do not respond to God’s call?

PASSAGES FOR FURTHER STUDY

2 Corinthians 10:15–16
Romans 15:20
Philippians 1:17

© 2016 Ligonier Ministries

The Divine Inspiration Of The Bible

By Arthur W. Pink

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Introduction

Christianity is the religion of a Book. Christianity is based upon the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture. The starting point of all doctrinal discussion must be the Bible. Upon the foundation of the Divine inspiration of the Bible stands or falls the entire edifice of Christian truth.—“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps. 11:3). Surrender the dogma of verbal inspiration and you are left like a rudderless ship on a stormy sea—at the mercy of every wind that blows. Deny that the Bible is, without any qualifications, the very Word of God, and you are left without any ultimate standard of measurement and without any supreme authority. It is useless to discuss any doctrine taught by the Bible until you are prepared to acknowledge, unreservedly, that the Bible is the final court of appeal. Grant that the Bible is a Divine revelation and communication of God’s own mind and will to men, and you have a fixed starting point from which advance can be made into the domain of truth. Grant that the Bible is (in its original manuscripts) inerrant and infallible and you reach the place where study of its contents is both practicable and profitable. It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of the doctrine of the Divine inspiration of Scripture.

This is the strategic center of Christian theology, and must be defended at all costs. It is the point at which our satanic enemy is constantly hurling his hellish battalions. Here it was he made his first attack. In Eden he asked, “Yea, hath God said?” and today he is pursuing the same tactics. Throughout the ages the Bible has been the central object of his assaults. Every available weapon in the devil’s arsenal has been employed in his determined and ceaseless efforts to destroy the temple of God’s truth. In the first days of the Christian era the attack of the enemy was made openly—the bonfire being the chief instrument of destruction—but, in these “last days” the assault is made in a more subtle manner and comes from a more unexpected quarter. The Divine origin of the Scriptures is now disputed in the name of “Scholarship” and “Science,” and that, too, by those who profess to be friends and champions of the Bible. Much of the learning and theological activity of the hour, are concentrated in the attempt to discredit and destroy the authenticity and authority of God’s Word, the result being that thousands of nominal Christians are plunged into a sea of doubt. Many of those who are paid to stand in our pulpits and defend the Truth of God are now the very ones who are engaged in sowing the seeds of unbelief and destroying the faith of those to whom they minister.

But these modern methods will prove no more successful in their efforts to destroy the Bible than did those employed in the opening centuries of the Christian era. As well might the birds attempt to demolish the granite rock of Gibraltar by pecking at it with their beaks—“For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven” (Ps. 119:89). Now the Bible does not fear investigation. Instead of fearing it, the Bible courts and challenges consideration and examination. The more widely it is known, the more closely Introduction 2 Introduction it is read, the more carefully it is studied, the more unreservedly will it be received as the Word of God. Christians are not a company of enthusiastic fanatics. They are not lovers of myths. They are not anxious to believe a delusion. They do not desire their lives to be molded by an empty superstition. They do not wish to mistake hallucination for inspiration. If they are wrong, they wish to be set right. If they are deceived, they want to be disillusioned. If they are mistaken, they desire to be corrected.

The first question which the thoughtful reader of the Bible has to answer is, What importance and value am I to attach to the contents of the Scriptures? Were the writers of the Bible so many fanatics moved by oracular frenzy? Were they merely poetically inspired and intellectually elevated? or, were they, as they claimed to be, and as the Scriptures affirm they were, moved by the Holy Spirit to act as the voice of God to a sinful world? Were the writers of the Bible inspired by God in a manner no other men were in any other age of the world? Were they invested and endowed with the power to disclose mysteries and point men upward and onward to that which otherwise would have been an impenetrable future? One can readily appreciate the fact that the answer to these questions is of supreme importance. If the Bible is not inspired in the strictest sense of the word then it is worthless, for it claims to be God’s Word, and if its claims are spurious then its statements are unreliable and its contents are untrustworthy. If, on the other hand, it can be shown to the satisfaction of every impartial inquirer that the Bible is the Word of God, inerrant and infallible, then we have a starting point from which we can advance to the conquest of all truth.

A book that claims to be a Divine revelation—a claim which, as we shall see, is substantiated by the most convincing credentials—cannot be rejected or even neglected without grave peril to the soul. True wisdom cannot refuse to examine it with care and impartiality. If the claims of the Bible be well founded then the prayerful and diligent study of the Scriptures becomes of paramount importance: they have a claim upon our notice and time which nothing else has, and beside them everything in this world loses its luster and sinks into utter insignificance. If the Bible be the Word of God then it infinitely transcends in value all the writings of men, and in exact ratio to its immeasurable superiority to human productions such is our responsibility and duty to give it the most reverent and serious consideration. As a Divine revelation the Bible ought to be studied, yet, this is the only subject on which human curiosity does not desire information. Into every other sphere man pushes his investigations, but the Book of books is neglected, and this, not only by the ignorant, and illiterate, but by the wise of this world as well. The cultured dilettante will boast of his acquaintance with the sages of Greece and Rome, yet, will know little or nothing of Moses and the prophets, Christ and His Apostles. But the general neglect of the Bible verifies the Scriptures and affords additional proof of their authenticity. The contempt with which the Bible is treated demonstrates that human nature is exactly what God’s Word represents it to 3 Introduction be—fallen and depraved—and is unmistakable evidence that the carnal mind is enmity against God.

If the Bible is the Word of God; if it stands on an infinitely exalted plane, all alone; if it immeasurably transcends all the greatest productions of human genius; then, we should naturally expect to find that it has unique credentials, that there are internal marks which prove it to be the handiwork of God, that there is conclusive evidence to show that its Author is superhuman, Divine. That these expectations are realized we shall now endeavor to show; that there is no reason whatever for any one to doubt the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures is the purpose of this book to demonstrate. As we examine the natural world we find innumerable proofs of the existence of a Personal Creator, and the same God who has manifested Himself thro’ His works has also revealed His wisdom and will thro’ His Word. The God of creation and the God of written revelation are One, and there are irrefutable arguments to show that the Almighty who made the heavens and the earth is also the Author of the Bible.

We shall now submit to the critical attention of the reader a few of the lines of demonstration which argue for the Divine inspiration of the Bible.

 

The Chief End Of Man

 

 Q: What is the chief end of man?

A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

~Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 1¹

Why did God create you? What is the purpose of your life? These are familiar questions humans ask themselves and regardless of who you are, at some point in your life, the question of your purpose in life will comBibleLightRays636363-42e up. The answer to these questions vary. Often you hear  “I am here to fulfil my mission”. “I am here to accomplish a purpose”. “I am here to impact my generation”. A more ambitious answer will read “I am here to change the world”.

As believers, the wisest thing to do is to answer the question of the purpose of our lives from the perspective of God. Indeed, God created us and He only knows the end to which He created us.

We can come up with a thousand reasons for our existence, but the Westminster Shorter Catechism quoted earlier tells us of our chief end —the very essence of our existence. The essence of our existence is to “Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever”.

1. Glorify God

A Charge to keep I have. A God to glorify ~Charles Wesley

God is the Creator of the universe and all that is within it. He created the universe and its inhabitants for His glory: “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”(Revelation 4:11).

God is Supreme and Sovereign over all things. He is worthy to receive glory, honour and power! God has certain attributes which sets Him apart from all of His creation. He is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness  and truth (WSCQ&A4).

To glorify God is to acknowledge Him and all of His power and attributes. Not only that, it must follow by necessary consequence that we submit to Him if we indeed acknowledge Him for who He is. Acknowledging who God is doesn’t necessarily imply glorifying God. The devil does that and he trembled, but doesn’t glorify God (James 2:19). To acknowledge God is submission and obedience to Him. It is trust and dependence. In Romans 1:18-37, the Bible tells of what happens to people who do not acknowledge God in their lives. They are left to themselves. The purpose of their existence becomes distorted because they reject God. And when people reject God, they are set loose to indulge their flesh and pleasures to their own shame and punishment. Not so with the believer. Our motivations, desires, drive and aspirations must align with God’s will.

Glorifying God also manifests in a life that pleases Him. All we do as believers must be geared towards this one great end–the glory of God; because that is what we were created for, to bring glory to God (Isaiah 60:21, Romans 11:36). We are not free to live a self-pleasing life. We are God’s. He is our Creator. He owns us. He redeemed us for Himself that we will bring glory to His Holy name: “for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1Corinthians 6:20). In Ecclesiastes 12:13, after Solomon had offered all his wise counsels, he makes a remarkable conclusion worth our meditation: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man”. Fear God, keep His commandments and you have found your purpose for existence.

This is a non-negotiable, our lives must be glorifying to God in all we do: “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”(1Corinthians 10:31).

Finally, glorifying God involves worship–adoration, praise and exaltation. In Psalm 86:9, we see this truth well illustrated. The Psalmist said “All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name” Clearly, the first and second points logically leads to worship and adoration. See how the text quoted points to this:

(i) All the nations you have made (ii) shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.

To acknowledge God as a Creator must produce an awe in us leading us to break forth in doxology.

2: Enjoy God Forever.

Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Thee ~St. Augustine

In Augustine’s statement, we find a profound truth. God created us for Himself, and it is only in Him we will find our true satisfaction. When you look around, it is obvious people are seeking for satisfaction in wrong places. Some have turned to alcohol and drugs to find satisfaction for the emptiness of their souls. While others sink their souls in illicit relationships and sex, materialism and worldliness. All these are temporal measures for an eternal problem.

One of my favourite text of Scripture, John 6:68 points to a life that is totally surrendered to Christ without alternatives: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. In these words, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Peter proclaims the Lordship of Christ and His exclusivity to eternal life. Beside Christ, there is no life in anyone else (Acts 4:12). Christ is life. He is the origin and ‘sustainer’ of every life; “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:3-4).

David declared words similair to Peter’s in Psalms 73:25 “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you”. This is total trust and dependence on God. In praise, after God answered her prayer and she bore Samuel, Hannah declared: “There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides [Him]; there is no rock like our God”(1Samuel 2:2).

In Psalm 16:5-11, the Psalmist reveals to us the profundity of who God is to him. In verse 5, he tells us the Lord is his portion. Under the Mosaic covenant God chose the Levites, setting them apart for sanctuary services. Unlike the other tribes, He gave them no inheritance. They didn’t own lands and property because God had told Aaron “You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel” (Numbers 18:20). This, though it will not apply to us directly today, the application remains that God is our “portion and inheritance”.

Indeed, you can gain the whole world and lose your soul. But if God is your portion, then you have found life and satisfaction in Him. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (v11).

Do you find satisfaction in living for the glory of God?

Notes:

1: The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the “subordinate standard” of doctrine in the Church of Scotland, and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.

Christ Is All

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Excerpt:

Let all who want to be saved apply directly to Christ. Let me say another thing. Is Christ all? Then let all who want to be saved, apply directly to Christ. There are many who hear of Christ with the ear and believe all they are told about Him. They allow that there is no salvation excepting in Christ.

They acknowledge that Jesus alone can deliver them from hell, and present them faultless before God. But they seem never to get beyond this general acknowledgment. They never fairly lay hold on Christ for their own souls. They stick fast in a state of wishing and wanting and feeling and intending, and never get any further. They see what we mean; they know it is all true. They hope one day to get the full benefit of it, but at present they get no benefit whatever.

The world is their all. Politics are their all. Pleasure is their all. Business is their all. But Christ is not their all. If any reader of this message is a man of this kind, I warn him also plainly: he is in a bad state of soul. You are as truly in the way to hell in your present condition, as Judas Iscariot or Ahab or Cain. Believe me, there must be actual faith in Christ, or else Christ died in vain, so far as you are concerned. It is not looking at the bread that feeds the hungry man, but the actual eating of it. It is not gazing on the lifeboat that saves the shipwrecked sailor, but the actual getting into it. It is not knowing and believing that Christ is a Saviour that can save your soul, unless there are actual transactions between you and Christ.

You must be able to say, “Christ is My Saviour, because I have come to Him by faith, and taken Him for my own.” “Much of religion,” said Luther, “turns on being able to use possessive pronouns. Take from me the word ‘my,’ and you take from me God!”

Hear the advice I give you this day, and act upon it at once. Stand still no longer, waiting for some imaginary frames and feelings, which will never come. Hesitate no longer under the idea that you must first of all obtain the Spirit, and then come to Christ. Arise and come to Christ just as you are. He waits for you, and is as willing to save as He is mighty. He is the appointed Physician for sin-sick souls. Deal with Him as you would with your doctor about the cure of a disease of your body. Make a direct application to Him and tell Him all your wants. Take with you words this day, and cry mightily to the Lord.

Jesus for pardon and peace, as the thief did on the cross. Do as that man did, cry “Lord, remember me” (Luk 23:42). Tell Him you have heard that He receives sinners, and that you are such. Tell Him you want to be saved, and ask Him to save you. Rest not till you have actually tasted for yourself that the Lord is gracious. Do this, and you shall find, sooner or later, if you are really in earnest, that Christ is all.