Christ: The Life of the Believer

Mark what the apostle saith, “Our life is hid with Christ in God.” It is true, there is a natural life, that may be destroyed as well as the life of a wicked man; but yet the soul of a believer is not destroyed; it is cannon proof, all the devils in hell cannot destroy it; “Christ himself is our life; now, when he shall appear, then shall we appear with him in glory.” So that Christ himself must be killed, before our lives shall be destroyed by the enemies. You that are believers have this advantage of your enemies, the unbelievers; you may take away their lives, but they cannot take away yours; they have but one life, a natural life but they that are believers, have a life in Christ; nay he is their life.

Beloved, the Lord intends only your good in all your changes, and that which is best, he provides for you; though your life be taken away from you, where is the hurt or loss? Consider it well, beloved, death is but the opening of the prison doors to let you out; it is but the arrival of a vessel into the haven of rest. What doth the sword do when it enters into a believer? It makes but a change of immortality for mortality, of life for death, of strength for weakness, of glory for shame, of holiness for sin; it doth but pull down a rotten house of clay, to give possession of mansions of glory; it doth but take persons from a cottage at will, to enter into a lordship of inheritance; for it gives full possession of an eternal one. The sword that enters into the breast of a believer, doth but put him into the chamber of the bridegroom, and consummates the marriage of the Lamb to him; it is the fulfilling of the great cry of the saints, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly;” and, “I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ.” It takes the bride into communion with her long looked-for beloved, and gives her possession of those things she longed for.

Mistake me not, I speak not all this while against holiness and righteousness, that becomes a people to whom Christ is a way; for holy and righteous they shall be; Christ will make them holy, and put his spirit into them, to change their hearts and to work upon their spirits; but this is not the condition required to partake of Christ. Christ himself gives himself, and then he bestows these things when he is given. I say, Christ is given to men first, before they do anything in the world; and all they do, they do by Christ present in them; “I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life that I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God.” We do not so much live, but by the life of Christ, which is life in us. All the actions of life proceed from the soul, now present; how then comes the actions of the soul to be a condition to partake of the soul, that gives life, and, by its presence, works such actions? Christ is the soul of every believer, that animates, and acts the believer in all things whatsoever. Must not this life, Christ, be put into a believer, before he can actuate life, which is a stream springs from that life? How then can this be a condition to receive, to have Christ.

When Christ is first come, by whom these things, that are called conditions, are afterwards wrought, he himself being present to work them? So, say I, God bestows Christ upon men to be a way to bring them to the Father; he is an absolute and free gift. There is no other motive that Christ should be any one’s saviour, than merely the good pleasure of the Father, the bowels of God himself; “Not for thy sake, but for my own sake; not for thy sake, thou art a rebellious and stubborn people, but for my own sake.” Here is the freeness of Christ, to a person coming to him, when he comes merely for God’s sake; and God merely upon his good pleasure will do it, because he will; “He hath mercy upon whom he will have mercy, and whom he will, he hardeneth; it is not in him that willeth, (saith Paul, Romans 9.) nor in him that runneth, but in God that sheweth mercy.” So that Christ becomes a way unto them, not out of their will, not out of their disposition, not out of their holy walkings, but out of that mercy that proceeds out of the mere will of God; his own good pleasure is the only fountain and spring of it. (Tobias Crisp, Christ Alone Exalted)

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