Preaching Christ 11

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 Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of God and the Gospel of the glory of God. The Gospel is also the Gospel of free-grace. However, what Christ has done should not lead us to forget or ignore what He is doing for sinners even now. The cross of Christ is an inestimably precious truth, but let us not forget that there also has to be a Mediator who presents that sacrifice for us before the Father as well even now. If the Gospel took away our sin in some way and yet we had no perfect and sinless Mediator to present it to the Father, we would still be lost.

Part of preaching the whole Gospel is to show people their utter inability to pay for sin, but also their utter inability to present the sacrifice of Christ in their place. Let us not think that Christ is offering up something other than Himself, but instead He is presenting Himself as our sacrifice in the place of His people. Christ presents Himself as the One that bore the curse of the Law, as opposed to presenting a work He did. This little piece of the letter of Pierce is manifestly glorious as it points out the nature of the true preaching of Christ.

The curse of the law stands against all who are without Christ in truth and reality. The curse of the law still stands against religious people (even very religious people) who do not have Christ. The curse of the law still stands against many who profess Christ in words and yet are still unregenerate and strangers to Christ. The God-man had to bear that curse in reality for that curse to be broken and taken away from sinners. It was Christ who was sent from above to take human flesh and bear the wrath for all those that the Father had given Him. But now that the curse is broken, do we still need Christ each moment or are we on our own now?

We must have Christ each moment or we have no hope. It is Christ who stands in our place and pleads His own merits and His own holiness. It is Christ who is constantly presenting Himself to the Father and we know that the Father is well-pleased with the Son and His sacrifice for sinners. Let us not forget that we must have Christ each moment and for all things. We only exist by the hand of God and we only have the mercy and grace of God because of the sacrifice of Christ and His continual intercession for His people. How can those who have been awakened to their own sins even think for a moment that they can represent themselves before the Father? Perish the thought that we can present Christ to the Father or present ourselves! We need Christ to do this in our place.

Here is where the preacher who has “felt” these truths will seek to press these home to the people. The people need to be utterly stripped of all hope in themselves and all ability in the spiritual realm too. The people need to see themselves as utterly bankrupt apart from Christ and in utter need of Him each moment. The people must be brought to this by preaching of Christ and Him crucified, yes, but also of the risen Christ who stands in the Holy of Holies for His people. It is Christ who is constantly presenting Himself as the perfect sacrifice for His people and of His perfect righteousness in their place. The preaching of Christ includes this and it must be pressed home to the people. If not, they will continue on trusting in themselves in some way.

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