Preaching Christ 8

He bore what? The sins of all His people. The curse and wrath of His divine Father due to their crimes, with which He was charged as their Surety. He bore up under all these weights, and by His sufferings, sacrifice and death, He made a full atonement for sin, obtained a complete victory over sin, Satan, death and hell. He satisfied divine justice perfectly, and bore away for ever out of the sight of God, the sins of all His church and people. And God beholds His children clothed in the immaculate righteousness of His beloved Son, and completely cleansed from all their sins through the inestimably precious sacrifice and blood-shedding of Jesus. The God-man bore the curse of the broken law to deliver us from it. He is now in glory making a presentation of Himself continually in the holiest of all, as the finished righteousness and atonement of His people. And “if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” of intercession. (Samuel Eyles Pierce, Letters)

The above quote from the Letters of Pierce gets at part of what Paul meant when he determined to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified. This is what sinners need to hear, that is, what sinners who know something of the depths of their sin need to hear. Those that the Spirit has opened their eyes and has shown them their sins and the guiltiness of those sins are not satisfied with what goes by the gospel in our day. These people feel the weight of being under the wrath of God and their conscience knows what being guilty in the presence of God really means. These people know that they are worthy of nothing but everlasting torment in hell and they want a real Savior and a real satisfaction for their sins or they will not sleep.

When Christ is truly preached to a people who know and feel their need for Christ, the desperate need for a Savior is satisfied. These are the people who see Christ as a full and eternal Savior and have no need of their own puny works to add. These are the people whose eyes are opened and they behold the glory of God in Christ in taking away their sins. People need to know that under the Law there is nothing the curse and wrath of God, but Christ took upon Himself that curse and that wrath in the place of His people. There is no more wrath for those who are in Christ, though indeed there is the training of the Father, but Christ took all the wrath and fully satisfied the demands of perfect justice in the place of sinners.

When Christ is preached, this should become personal so that sinners are instructed to look to Christ for their sins. Believers need to look to Christ and they should be encouraged to look to Christ as He is the perfect sacrifice for sins. However, their looking to Christ is not some worthy act of their own, but they are to look to Christ and His perfect work as the basis for their very faith itself. When God gives them faith, they can see that the whole of salvation is Christ and Christ alone. When men really see and feel their sin, they know down in their heart that they can do nothing to take away that sin. They must be taught and encouraged to flee to the only One who is the only Surety for sins. Only Christ can fully make that payment and only Christ can pay the least part as well. Here we behold the glory of the free-grace of God as well. There is nothing that sinners can do to make themselves the least bit worthy of having this Christ.

When Christ is preached, sinners should be exhorted to look to Christ alone as their Surety for all of their sin. Believers are subject to many sins and the attacks and darts of the evil one. They will only find comfort in Christ fully satisfying the wrath of the Father in their place. They will learn by the inward teaching of God that Christ bore all the weight of their sin. Here is where sinners learn freedom from sin and a true living and walking by grace. They do not become holy because they are grateful and so live a little better in their own strength, but they are declared holy by God on the basis of the work of Christ and it is also the work of Christ that they can share His holiness. When Christ is preached people will learn that all holiness is found in Christ and that they have no holiness of their own to work for. What sinners need is Christ Himself in all of His offices. There is no morality apart from Christ and there is no satisfaction for the sin of sinners apart from Christ. This should teach us that unbelieving sinners and believing sinners must hear more and more of Christ! They need to have more and more of Christ!

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