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Union with Christ

(11 posts)

Lord’s Day 26, 2008

Sunday··2008·06·29
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Petitionary Hymns Poem VII. In Sickness Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Jesus, since I with thee am one,Confirm my soul in thee,And still continue to tread downThe man of sin in me. Let not the subtle foe prevail In this my feeble hour, Frustrate all the hopes of hell Redeem from Satan’s pow’r. Arm me, O Lord, from head to foot, With righteousness divine; My soul in Jesus firmly root, And seal the Saviour mine. Proportion’d to my pains below, O let my joys increase, And mercy to my spirit flow In healing streams of peace. In life and death be thou my God, And I am more than safe: Chastis’d by thy paternal rod, Support me with thy staff. Lay on me, Saviour, what thou wilt, But give me strength to bear: Thy gracious hand this cross hath dealt, Which cannot be severe. As gold refin’d may I come out, In sorrow’s furnace try’d; Preserved from faithfulness and doubt, And fully purify’d. When, overwhelm’d with sore distress, Out of the pit I cry, On Jesus suffering in my place Help me to fix mine eye. When marr’d with tears, and blood, and sweat, The glorious sufferer lay, And in my stead sustain’d the heat And burden of the day. The pangs which my weak nature knows Are swallow’d up in thine: How numberless thy pondrous woes! How few, how light are mine! O might I learn of thee to bear Temptation, pain and loss! Give me a heart inur’d to prayer, And fitted to the cross. Make me, O Lord, thy patient son; Thy language mine shall be: “Father, thy gracious will be done, I take the cup from thee.” While thus my soul is fixt on him Once fasten’d to the wood, Safe shall I pass through Jordan’s stream, And reach the realms of God. And when my soul mounts up to keep With thee the marriage feast, I shall not die, but fall asleep On my Redeemer’s breast. —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Psalme 95 (Geneva Bible) 1 Come, let vs reioyce vnto the Lord: let vs sing aloude vnto the rocke of our saluation. 2 Let vs come before his face with praise: let vs sing loude vnto him with Psalmes. 3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King aboue all gods. 4 In whose hande are the deepe places of the earth, and the heightes of the mountaines are his: 5 To whome the Sea belongeth: for hee made it, and his handes formed the dry land. 6 Come, let vs worship and fall downe, and kneele before the Lord our maker. 7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheepe of his hande: to day, if ye will heare his voyce, 8 Harden not your heart, as in Meribah, and as in the day of Massah in the wildernesse. 9 Where your fathers tempted me, proued me, though they had seene my worke. 10 Fourtie yeeres haue I contended with this generation, and said, They are a people that erre in heart, for they haue not knowen my wayes. 11 Wherefore I sware in my wrath, saying, Surely they shall not enter into my rest. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Baptism in 1 Peter 3

Friday··2010·09·10
Following my post earlier this week on the Lutheran doctrine of baptismal regeneration, I thought it would be good to address some of the texts they use to justify it. Offhand, two come to mind: Titus 3:5–7 and 1 Peter 3:18–22. Since I honestly don’t know why anyone would think Titus 3 is about baptism, I’ll go straight to 1 Peter. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. Peter has spent the first part of the chapter admonishing his readers to live righteously, not in order to gain any merit for themselves—“by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (Romans 3:20)—but for the sake of the gospel. They are to be prepared, so that when they are persecuted for righteousness, the will be able to give a defense, not of themselves, but of the gospel, “the hope that is in you,” the cause for which they are being persecuted. That hope, that gospel, is that “Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which he also went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.” This is a rather curious passage. It’s hard to say exactly what Christ said or where he went to say it. But that is hardly the point. We are reminded here of the wickedness of man in the time of Noah (see Genesis 6:1–7) and the catastrophic judgment that came upon them for their wickedness. And we are reminded that a chosen few were “brought safely through the water.” Now Peter gets to our point: “Corresponding to that,”—or better, “The like figure” (KJV) —“baptism now saves you.” We need to pause now to consider what the word baptize means. It is a word that, unfortunately, translators have chosen not to translate, so we tend to think of it almost exclusively as water baptism. (This is where Lutheran hermeneutics fail: the presupposition that “baptism” always refers to water, and conversely, as in the Titus 3 passage mentioned above, water always means baptism.) To baptize means to submerge. A sunken ship is baptized. It can mean to cleanse or wash by immersion. It is not always associated with water. Christ, speaking of his crucifixion and burial, said, “I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50, cf. Mark 10:38–39) This is exactly the baptism spoken of by Peter. So, to summarize in the briefest possible way: The physical salvation of Noah and his family through the flood is an antetype (αντιτυπον, translated “the like figure” in the KJV) of our spiritual salvation through the death of Christ. The flood is the judgment of God. The ark is Christ. Jesus said, “I have a baptism to undergo.” If we “have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20), and “raised us up with him” (Ephesians 2:5–6; Colossians 3:1), we have gone through that baptism (flood) with him, in him; he is our ark. Therefore, “a few . . . were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you . . . through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” It’s not about water baptism at all. It’s about the cross, and union with Christ, of which water baptism is a symbol.
God isn’t good to us for our own sake. We, in ourselves, are just not that important. Contrary to modern feel-good evangelical-speak, if God had a refrigerator, our pictures would not be on it. The picture on God’s refrigerator would be that of his only begotten son, Jesus. It is only as we are united with Christ through his death on the cross that the Father’s love for the Son is lavished upon us. And then we become the recipients, through Christ, of “the exceeding riches of his grace.” Then, everything that is Christ’s becomes ours. “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through (or in) Christ Jesus.” —Ephesians 2:7 Why this phrase “in Christ Jesus,” which Paul has used so often before, added again and again? It is added not just because he would have us never to leave Jesus Christ out. I do not know who can begin without Christ or continue without Christ. I am sure the apostle never leaves him out; no, not in election and adoption, nor in anything, and not now, when he comes to heaven; whatever he speaks of, Christ comes in. But this is not all; his meaning is that all the glory that saints shall have from those exceeding riches of His grace in heaven shall all be in Christ. He had told them that God had blessed them with all heavenly blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3–4). If we have heavenly blessings in Christ while upon earth, it will be much more so then; the more heavenly they are, the more they are in Christ. Indeed, outside of Christ God could not love any creature, nor would love any creature, much less would permit any creature to be near Him, but He has blessed them and will continue to be kind to them in Christ. In the second place, this phrase is added for a greater, more emphatic purpose, and no greater purpose can me mentioned—to show that all God will bestow on us in heaven shall be out of the same kindness He bears toward Jesus Christ Himself. He will treat you kindly when you come there. Think how kindly He treated His Son, how welcome He made Him when He came to heaven, when He said, “Sit thou here, till I make thine enemies thy footstool;” (Ps. 110:1). Why, the same kindness he bears to Christ He bears to us, and out of that kindness He Bears to Christ he will entertain us there forevermore, and heartily and freely spend His utmost riches upon us, for He will glorify the Head and the members with the same glory. Therefore, the apostle showed in the first chapter that He set up Jesus Christ as the Head, and the same power that worked in Him, raised Him up, and set Him in heaven also works in us and shall accomplish it all in us. Here he shows that with the same kindness with which He embraced Jesus Christ as the Head, He embraces the whole body, and out of that kindness He will entertain them everlastingly, as He has done for Jesus Christ. As we and Christ make one body, so God’s love to Christ and us is one love. There is one Father, one Spirit, and one love, and indeed one Christ; for both body and Head make on Christ. Id need not prove this further, for we see in John 17:23: “Thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” Likewise, verse 22: “The glory which thou gave me I have given them.” What more could be said to show us how great the glory of the riches of His grace in heaven will be? Not only is Jesus Christ a pattern and example of it, but it proceeds out of the same kindness that God has toward Jesus Christ Himself. —Thomas Goodwin, A Habitual Sight of Him: The Christ-Centered Piety of Thomas Goodwin, (Reformation Heritage Books, 2009), 121–123.

Lord’s Day 44, 2010

Sunday··2010·10·31
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” The Beloved Son.Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” —Matt. iii. 17. It is the Father's voice that cries ’Mid the deep silence of the skies, “This, this is my beloved Son, In Him I joy, in Him alone.” In Him my equal see revealed, In Him all righteousness fulfilled; In Him, the Lamb, the victim see, Bound, bleeding, dying on the tree. And can you fail to love again? Far fairer he than sons of men! His very name is fragrance poured, Inmianuel, Jesus, Saviour, Lord! He died, and in his dying, proved How much, how faithfully he loved; At my right hand, his glories shine: Is my beloved, sinner, thine? O full of glory, full of grace, Redeemer of a ruined race, Beloved of the Father, come, Make in these sinful hearts a home! Beloved of the Father, Thou, To whom the saints and angels bow; Lnmanuel, Jesus, Saviour, come, Make in these sinful hearts thy home! —Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). John 14:27–31 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28 You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. 30 I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; 31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.” We ought not to leave the closing portion of this wonderful chapter without noticing one striking feature in it. That feature is the singular frequency with which our Lord uses the expression, “My Father,” and “the Father.” In the last five verses we find it four times. In the whole chapter it occurs no less than twenty-two times. In this respect the chapter stands alone in the Bible. The reason of this frequent use of the expression, is a deep subject. Perhaps the less we speculate and dogmatize about it the better. Our Lord was one who never spoke a word without a meaning, and we need not doubt there was a meaning here. Yet may we not reverently suppose that He desired to leave on the minds of His disciples a strong impression of his entire unity with the Father? Seldom does our Lord lay claim to such high dignity, and such power of giving and supplying comfort to His Church, as in this discourse. Was there not, then, a fitness in His continually reminding His disciples that in all His giving He was one with the Father, and did nothing without the Father? This, at any rate, seems a fair conjecture. Let it be taken for what it is worth. We should observe, for one thing, in this passage, Christ’s last legacy to His people. We find Him saying, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” Peace is Christ’s distinctive gift: not money, not worldly ease, not temporal prosperity. These are at best very questionable possessions. They often do more harm than good to the soul. They act as clogs and weights to our spiritual life. Inward peace of conscience, arising from a sense of pardoned sin and reconciliation with God, is a far greater blessing. This peace is the property of all believers, whether high or low, rich or poor. The peace which Christ gives He calls “my peace.” It is specially His own to give, because He bought it by His own blood, purchased it by His own substitution, and is appointed by the Father to dispense it to a perishing world. Just as Joseph was sealed and commissioned to give corn to the starving Egyptians, so is Christ specially commissioned, in the counsels of the Eternal Trinity, to give peace to mankind. The peace that Christ gives is not given as the world gives. What He gives the world cannot give at all, and what He gives is given neither unwillingly, nor sparingly, nor for a little time. Christ is far more willing to give than the world is to receive. What He gives He gives to all eternity, and never takes away. He is ready to give abundantly above all that we can ask or think. “Open thy mouth wide,” He says, “and I will fill it.” (Psalm lxxxi. 10.) Who can wonder that a legacy like this should be backed by the renewed emphatic charge, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid?” There is nothing lacking on Christ’s part for our comfort, if we will only come to Him, believe, and receive. The chief of sinners has no cause to be afraid. If we will only look to the one true Saviour, there is medicine for every trouble of heart. Half our doubts and fears arise from dim perceptions of the real nature of Christ’s Gospel. We should observe, for another thing, in this passage, Christ’s perfect holiness. We find Him saying, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” The meaning of these remarkable words admits of only one interpretation. Our Lord would have his disciples know that Satan, “the prince of this world,” was about to make his last and most violent attack on Him. He was mustering all his strength for one more tremendous onset. He was coming up with his utmost malice to try the second Adam in the garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross of Calvary. But our blessed Master declares, “He hath nothing in Me.”—“There is nothing he can lay hold on. There is no weak and defective point in Me. I have kept my Father’s commandment, and finished the work He gave me to do. Satan, therefore, cannot overthrow Me. He can lay nothing to my charge. He cannot condemn Me. I shall come forth from the trial more than conqueror.” Let us mark the difference between Christ and all others who have been born of woman. He is the only one in whom Satan has found “nothing.” He came to Adam and Eve, and found weakness. He came to Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and all the saints, and found imperfection. He came to Christ, and found “nothing” at all. He was a Lamb “without blemish and without spot,” a suitable Sacrifice for a world of sinners, a suitable Head for a redeemed race. Let us thank God that we have such a perfect, sinless Saviour; that His righteousness is a perfect righteousness, and His life a blameless life. In ourselves and our doings we shall find everything imperfect; and if we had no other hope than our own goodness, we might well despair. But in Christ we have a perfect, sinless, Representative and Substitute. Well may we say, with the triumphant Apostle, “Who shall lay anything to our charge?” (Rom. vii. 33.) Christ hath died for us, and suffered in our stead. In Him Satan can find nothing. We are hidden in Him. The Father sees us in Him, unworthy as we are, and for His sake is well pleased. —J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)]. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Hymns of My Youth: The Church’s One Foundation

Saturday··2010·11·06
Today’s hymn is from the “Church” section of the Concordia. 80 The Church’s One Foundation The Church’s one foundation Is Jesus Christ her Lord; She is His new creation By water and the Word: From heaven He came and sought her To be His holy bride; With His own blood He bought her, And for her life He died. Elect from every nation, Yet one o’er all the earth; Her charter of salvation, One Lord, one faith, one birth; One holy Name she blesses, Partakes one holy food; And to one hope she presses, With ev’ry grace endued. ’Mid toil and tribulation, And tumult of her war, She waits the consummation Of peace forevermore; Till, with the vision glorious Her longing eyes are blest, And the great Church victorious, Shall be the Church at rest. Yet she on earth hath union With God the Three in One, And mystic sweet communion With those whose rest is won: Oh, happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we, Like them, the meek and lowly, On high may dwell with Thee. —The Concordia Hymnal (Augsburg Publishing House, 1960). The traditional tune for this hymn, Aurelia, was written by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810–1876), grandson of Charles Wesley.

Lord’s Day 46, 2013

Sunday··2013·11·17
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. —Galatians 2:20 Crucifixion and Resurrection O Lord, I marvel that thou shouldst become incarnate, be crucified, dead, and buried. The sepulchre calls forth my adoring wonder, for it is empty and thou art risen; the four-fold gospel attests it, the living witnesses prove it, my heart’s experience knows it. Give me to die with thee that I may rise to new life, for I wish to be as dead and buried to sin, to selfishness, to the world; that I might not hear the voice of the charmer, and might be delivered from his lusts. O Lord, there is much ill about me—crucify it, much flesh within me—mortify it. Purge me from selfishness, the fear of man, the love of approbation, the shame of being thought old-fashioned, the desire to be cultivated or modern. Let me reckon my old life dead because of crucifixion, and never feed it as a living thing. Grant me to stand with my dying Saviour, to be content to be rejected, to be willing to take up unpopular truths, and to hold fast despised teachings until death. Help me to be resolute and Christ-contained. Never let me wander from the path of obedience to thy will. Strengthen me for the battles ahead. Give me courage for all the trials, and grace for all the joys. Help me to be a holy, happy person, free from every wrong desire, from everything contrary to thy mind. Grant me more and more of the resurrection life: may it rule me, may I walk in its power, and be strengthened through its influence. —The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lord’s Day 17, 2014

Sunday··2014·04·27
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. —Galatians 2:20 Hymn LVI. It is good to be here. John Newton (1725–1806) Let me dwell on Golgotha, Weep and love my life away! While I see him on the tree Weep and bleed, and die for me! That dear blood, for sinners spilt, Shows my sin in all its guilt: Ah, my soul, he bore thy load, Thou hast slain the Lamb of God. Hark! his dying words: “Forgive, Father, let the sinner live; Sinner, wipe thy tears away, I thy ransom freely pay.” While I hear this grace reveal’d, And obtain a pardon seal’d; All my lost affections move, Waken’d by the force of love. Farewel world, thy gold is dross, Now I see the bleeding cross; Jesus dy’d to set me free From the law, and sin, and thee! He has dearly bought my soul Lord, accept, and claim the whole! To thy will I all resign, Now, no more my own, but thine. —Olney Hymns. Book II: On Occasional Subjects. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

If You Abide

Monday··2014·11·10
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. —John 15:7 The Lord promises that he will do whatever we ask, and there is no “except for this or that” added. ”Whatever” really means whatever. This does not, however, mean that there is no limit to God will do. Of course there is. But the limiting factor is not found in the promise, but in the recipients of the promise. The promise is given to a particular kind of people, who will have a particular kind of desire, stemming from a particular source. If you abide in me. Believers often feel that they are starved, and are very far from that rich fatness which is necessary for yielding abundant fruit. For this reason it is expressly added, whatever those who are in Christ may need, there is a remedy provided for their poverty, as soon as they ask it from God. This is a very useful admonition; for the Lord often suffers us to hunger, in order to train us to earnestness in prayer. But if we fly to him, we shall never want what we ask, but, out of his inexhaustible abundance, he will supply us with every thing that we need, (1 Cor. i. 5.) If my words abide in you. He means that we take root in him by faith; for as soon as we have departed from the doctrine of the Gospel, we seek Christ separately from himself. When he promises that he will grant whatever we wish, he does not give us leave to form wishes according to our own fancy. God would do what was ill fitted to promote our welfare, if he were so indulgent and so ready to yield to us; for we know well that men often indulge in foolish and extravagant desires. But here he limits the wishes of his people to the rule of praying in a right manner, and that rule subjects, to the good pleasure of God, all our affections. This is confirmed by the connection in which the words stand; for he means that his people will or desire not riches, or honours, or any thing of that nature, which the flesh foolishly desires, but the vital sap of the Holy Spirit, Which enables them to bear fruit. —John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XVIII (Baker Books, 2009), Commentary on the Gospel according to John, 2:111.

Union with God through Christ

Monday··2014·12·08
In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. —John 16:26–27 From this passage some might conclude that God does not love his elect until they come to Christ in faith. The analogia scriptura prevents such an erroneous interpretation. Because you have loved me. These words remind us that the only bond of our union with God is, to be united to Christ; and we are united to him by a faith which is not reigned, but which springs from sincere affection, which he describes by the name of love; for no man believes purely in Christ who does not cordially embrace him, and, therefore, by this word he has well expressed the power and nature of faith. But if it is only when we have loved Christ that God begins to love us, it follows that the commencement of salvation is from ourselves, because we have anticipated the grace of God. Numerous passages of Scripture, on the other hand, are opposed to this statement. The promise of God is, I will cause them to love me; and John says, Not that we first loved Him, (1 John iv. 7.) It would be superfluous to collect many passages; for nothing is more certain than this doctrine, that the Lord calleth those things which are not, (Rom. iv. 17) raises the dead, (Luke vii. 22,) unites himself to those who were strangers to him, (Eph. ii. 12,) makes hearts of flesh out of hearts of stone, (Ezek. xxxvi. 26,) manifests himself to those who do not seek him, (Isa. lxv. 1; Rom. x. 20.) I reply, God loves men in a secret way, before they are called, if they are among the elect; for he loves his own before they are created; but, as they are not yet reconciled, they are justly accounted enemies of God, as Paul speaks, When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, (Rom. v. 10.) On this ground it is said that we are loved by God, when we love Christ; because we have the pledge of the fatherly love of Him from whom we formerly recoiled as our offended Judge. —John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XVIII (Baker Books, 2009), Commentary on the Gospel according to John, 2:158–159.

A City of Refuge

Monday··2017·10·23
I count all things to be loss . . . so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith —Philippians 3:8–9 In the previous verses, Paul writes of his willingness to lose everything for “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” In verse 9, he begins to describe the end goal of obtaining that knowledge: to “be found in him,” and enjoy the benefit of that union, namely, the imputation of his righteousness. When by virtue of his being in Christ a believer is secured from what he fears, and hath that procured for him which he most wants; when he hath in Christ acceptance to life, and by Christ is delivered from the curse and threatening of the law; when he obtains the blessings . . . and escapes vengeance, as the malefactor by being in the city of refuge; these were typical, and very significantly shew us what it is to be found in Christ. To be found in him is to be covered with his righteousness, held forth in the notion of a garment, Isa. lxi. 10, Rev. xix. 8. Every sinner is full of uncleanness and deformity, the pure eye of God cannot behold him without loathing, nor will he admit any unclean thing into his presence. If he seek a covering of his own righteousness, it helps not, it is but as a menstruous rag, it adds to his uncleanness rather than hides it. How then shall a wretched sinner stand in the sight of an holy God? Why, the Lord hath made provision; when the sinner returns as the prodigal, the Father bids bring out the best robe, he covers, he adorns him with this; he takes order with a returning sinner, as with Joshua, Zech. iii. 3, 4. A believer puts on Christ, Gal. iii. 27, Rom. xiii. 14, Rev. xii. 1. This is his robe, his garment, and when he is found in it, then he is found in Christ; his person, his services are accepted, the way to heaven is opened for him, the Father delights in him, and blesses him with spiritual, eternal blessings. So that to be found in Christ is to be found in his righteousness, and that the apostle explains himself, ‘Not having,’ &c. Then for security from evil: to be found in Christ is as the malefactor to be found in the city of refuge. The man that had slain his neighbour casually was to fly to the city of refuge; if the pursuer overtook him before he was in the city, he had liberty to slay him without mercy; if he found him in the city of refuge, he was not to touch him. Thus here, every sinner out of Christ is liable to the stroke of revenging justice, but when he is found in Christ he is secure, justice then will not touch him. To be found in Christ is to be found as in the city of refuge. —David Clarkson, Justification by the Righteousness of Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:274–275.

Out of Christ

Tuesday··2017·10·24
I count all things to be loss . . . so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith —Philippians 3:8–9 All the blessings that belong to Christ belong to all who are found in him. But what of those who are not? Except you be found in Christ you are lost; your persons, services, happiness, and hopes of it, all are lost, unless you be found in him. 1. Your persons: it is as impossible that any person in the world should escape the wrath of God, out of Christ, as it was impossible any man in the old world should escape drowning, when the flood came and found him not in the ark; some of those perishing creatures might scramble up into some mountain or tree and preserve themselves a little while the waters are low, but they were all swept away ere long who were not found in the ark. So here, there is a deluge of wrath coming upon the world of unbelievers and obstinate sinners, and though some may think to escape by flying to outward duties, and relying upon their privileges and enjoyments, yet those are but a refuge of lies, there is no escaping for any but those that are found in Christ, the deluge of wrath will sweep away every sinner sooner or later that is not found in Christ. 2. Your services too are all lost: whatever you do in a way of religion, or in a way of charity, except you be found in Christ doing of it, it is lost, it will never be accepted. Do what you will, it is impossible to please God if he find you not in Christ, in whom only his people are made acceptable: ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God,’ Heb. xi. 6. Why? Because it is faith that brings a man into Christ, that faith which purifies the heart and life, that faith which runs to Christ out of deep seas of sin and wrath, that faith that will take Christ upon his own terms. 3. Your happiness, and hopes of it, are lost too: ‘There is no name under heaven,’ &c. The Lord blesses his people with spiritual blessings in heavenly places; but how? In Christ only, Eph. i. There is no enjoyment of happiness, there is no hopes of it, but for those that are found in Christ: ‘Christ in you the hope of glory,’ Col. i. Without Christ, without hope in the world. Those who anchor not within the veil, will see their souls and hopes wrecked together. In what condition soever you be found, if found without Christ, you are miserable. Though you be found in health, in plenty, in prosperity; nay, though you be found in a throne, if you be not found in Christ, there is no hopes of happiness, they give no rest. —David Clarkson, Justification by the Righteousness of Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:275–276.

@TheThirstyTheo



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