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Lords Day 26, 2009

I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord.

Kept by God

Jehovah God,


Thou Creator, Upholder, Proprietor of all
I cannot escape from thy presence or control,
   nor do I desire to do so.
My privilege is to be under the agency of
   omnipotence, righteousness, wisdom,
   patience, mercy, grace.
Thou art love with more than parental affection;
I admire thy heart, adore thy wisdom,
   stand in awe of thy power, abase myself before
      thy purity.
It is the discovery of thy goodness alone that can
   banish my fear,
   allure me into thy presence,
   help me to bewail and confess my sins.
When I review my past guilt
   and am conscious of my present unworthiness
      I tremble to come to thee,
      I whose foundation is in the dust,
      I who have condemned thy goodness,
         defied thy power,
         trampled upon thy love,
         rendered myself worthy of eternal death.
But my recovery cannot spring from any cause
   in me,
   I can destroy but cannot save myself.
Yet thou hast laid help on One that is mighty,
   for there is mercy with thee,
   and exceeding riches in thy kindness
      through Jesus.
May I always feel my need of him.
Let thy restored joy be my strength;
May it keep me from lusting after the world,
   bear up heart and mind in loss of comforts,
   enliven me in the valley of death,
   work in me the image of the heavenly,
   and give me to enjoy the first fruits of spirituality,
      such as angels and departed saints know.

from The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002).

imgJohn 1:1518
15 John testified about Him and cried out, saying, This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me. 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

imgThe passage before us contains three great declarations about our Lord Jesus Christ. Each of the three is among the foundation principles of Christianity.
   We are taught, firstly, that it is Christ alone who supplies all the spiritual wants of all believers. It is written that of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace.
   There is an infinite fulness in Jesus Christ. As St. Paul says, It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Coloss. i. 19; ii. 8.) There is laid up in Him, as in a treasury, a boundless supply of all that any sinner can need, either in time or eternity. The Spirit of Life is His special gift to the Church, and conveys from Him, as from a great root, sap and vigour to all the believing branches. He is rich in mercy, grace, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Out of Christs fulness, all believers in every age of the world, have been supplied. They did not clearly understand the fountain from which their supplies flowed, in Old Testament times. The Old Testament saints only saw Christ afar off, and not face to face. But from Abel downwards, all saved souls have received all they have had from Jesus Christ alone. Every saint in glory will at last acknowledge that he is Christs debtor for all he is. Jesus will prove to have been all in all.
   We are taught, secondly, the vast superiority of Christ to Moses, and of the Gospel to the Law. It is written that the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
   Moses was employed by God as a servant, to convey to Israel the moral and ceremonial law. (Heb. iii. 5.) As a servant, he was faithful to Him who appointed him, but he was only a servant. The moral law, which he brought down from Mount Sinai, was holy, and just, and good. But it could not justify. It had no healing power. It could wound, but it could not bind up. It worked wrath. (Rom. iv. 15.) It pronounced a curse against any imperfect obedience.The ceremonial law, which he was commanded to impose on Israel, was full of deep meaning and typical instruction. Its ordinances and ceremonies made it an excellent schoolmaster to guide men toward Christ. (Gal. iii. 24.) But the ceremonial law was only a schoolmaster. It could not make him that kept it perfect, as pertaining to the conscience. (Heb. ix. 9.) It laid a grievous yoke on mens hearts, which they were not able to bear. It wag a ministration of death and condemnation. (2 Cor. iii 79.) The light which men got from Moses and the law was at best only starlight compared to noon-day.
   Christ, on the other hand, came into the world as a Son, with the keys of Gods treasury of grace and truth entirely in His hands. (Heb. iii. 6.) Grace came by Him, when He made fully known Gods gracious plan of salvation, by faith in His own blood, and opened the fountain of mercy to all the world.Truth came by Him, when He fulfilled in His own Person the types of the Old Testament, and revealed Himself as the true Sacrifice, the true mercy-seat, and the true Priest. No doubt there was much of grace and truth under the law of Moses. But the whole of Gods grace, and the whole truth about redemption, were never known until Jesus came into the world, and died for sinners.
   We are taught, thirdly, that it is Christ alone who has revealed God the father to man. It is written that no man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
   The eye of mortal man has never beheld God the Father. No man could bear the right. Even to Moses it was said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. (Exod. xxxiii. 20.) Yet all that mortal man is capable of knowing about God the Father is fully revealed to us by God the Son. He, who was in the bosom of the Father from all eternity, has been pleased to take our nature upon Him, and to exhibit to us in the form of man, all that our minds can comprehend of the Fathers perfections. In Christs words, and deeds, and life, and death, we learn as much concerning God the Father as our feeble minds can at present bear. His perfect wisdom,His almighty power,His unspeakable love to sinners,His incomparable holiness, His hatred of sin, could never be represented to our eyes more clearly than we see them in Christs life and death. In truth, God was manifest in the flesh, when the Word took on Him a body. He was the brightness of the Fathers glory, and the express image of His person. He says Himself, I and my Father are one. He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Coloss. ii. 9.) These are deep and mysterious things. But they are true. (1 Tim. iii. 16; Heb. i. 3; John x. 30; xiv. 9.)
   And now, after reading this passage, can we ever give too much honour to Christ? Can we ever think too highly of Him? Let us banish the unworthy thought from our minds for ever. Let us learn to exalt Him more in our hearts, and to rest more confidingly the whole weight of our souls in His hands. Men may easily fall into error about the three Persons in the holy Trinity if they do not carefully adhere to the teaching of Scripture. But no man ever errs on the side of giving too much honour to God the Son. Christ is the meeting-point between the Trinity and the sinners soul. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which sent Him. (John v. 23.)

J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)], 3:3437

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Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Mark Dever
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M Way
RC Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Posted 2009·06·28 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Expository Thoughts on the Gospels · J C Ryle · Lord’s Day · The Valley of Vision
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