Preaching Christ 10

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)

In the letter just above that Samuel Eyles Pierce wrote to a friend we really see something of what it means to preach Christ. As with preaching Christ, or at least what should be preaching Christ, it sets out Christ as the answer to every aspect of man’s desperate need. It deals with what the hearts of poor sinners long for and does not allow them to think that they can contribute anything at all. When the hearts of poor sinners cry out for relief, it is Christ alone who can deal with their sin and cleanse their conscience. It is the complete and full atonement of Christ that sinners need to hear about and be encouraged to flee to Christ. The evil one will indeed fire his darts of doubt at true believers, but the preacher of Christ should point sinners to Christ who alone has satisfied divine justice, but He also did this perfectly. There is nothing lacking in this sacrifice and there is nothing that a sinful man can to contribute to what Christ has done. However, since God is aiming at His own glory, this is not bar to the forgiveness of even the worst of sinners. How sinners should and must be encouraged to flee to Christ with their doubts, their weakness, their inability, and their sin.

Not only, however, is Christ the perfect sacrifice for sin, He also gives a perfect righteousness. In this we can see an aspect of God-centeredness in this great salvation. It is not just that man can feel better because of what Christ has done in his or her place, but it is how God beholds His children that is vital. Regardless of how men think or feel about themselves, it is how God sees them that is the most important. God beholds His children in Christ which Scripture pictures as being clothed in the white linen or righteousness of Christ. This is what each sinner must know and this is what each believer needs to hear. It is important that believers know that they are in Christ and Christ is in them. It is important for believers to know that they are viewed by God as being in Christ. It is important for believers to know that their lives are hidden in Christ. When God beholds His beloved children, He sees them as in Christ.

Sinners are not comforted and driven to Christ by stating the facts and then giving them more facts, they need Christ Himself. They must be instructed and urged to flee to Christ alone and ask Him to cleanse them and give Himself to them. How men need to hear that for those who are in Christ all of their sins were suffered for by Christ on the bloody cross. How men need to hear that God sees them as having all of their sins washed away and that they are cleansed perfectly by Christ. They can do nothing and should not try to make up for their sins or earn their own righteousness. God sent the Son to be the One that sinners can have a perfect standing before the Father.

This is where preaching Christ should be personal and direct. While this is a glorious message in and of itself, the preacher must take pains to preach to the hearts of sinners and get to their hearts with the application of Christ if He is pleased to do so. Preachers must have some experience of what it means to be seen of God in Christ in order to preach this in an experiential way. Preachers who only know the doctrinal facts will only be able to preach the doctrinal facts. This is why preachers should seek the Lord that they may know Him and know about what the practice of the teaching is. How can a person describe with feeling what it means to stand before God as a vile sinner and yet in Christ be perfect? Ah, only the preacher who knows this by experience can truly preach this. Preachers should seek Christ and know these things in order to preach them. This cannot be taught in any grad school or seminary. Only Christ can teach this in the inner man.

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