Archive for the ‘Christ Centeredness’ Category

Christ Centeredness 3

November 9, 2015

The first foundation of the delight a true saint has in God, is His own perfection; and the first foundation of the delight he has in Christ, is His own beauty; He appears in Himself the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely; the way of salvation by Christ is a delightful way to him, for the sweet and admirable manifestations of the divine perfections in it; the holy doctrines of the gospel, by which god is exalted and man abased, holiness honored and promoted, and sin greatly disgraced and discouraged, and free and sovereign love manifested; are glorious doctrines in his eyes, and sweet to his taste, prior to any conception of his interest in these things. Indeed the saints rejoice in their interest in God, and that Christ is theirs; and so they have great reason; but this is not the first spring of their joy; they first rejoice in God as glorious and excellent in Himself, and then secondarily rejoice in it, that so glorious a God is theirs; they first have their hearts filled with sweetness, from the view of Christ’s excellence, and the excellency of His grace, and the beauty of the way of salvation by Him; and then they have a secondary joy, in that so excellent a Savior, and such excellent grace is theirs.

But that which is the true saint’s superstructure, is the hypocrite’s foundation. When they hear of the wonderful things of the gospel, of God’s great love in sending His Son, of Christ’s dying love to sinners, and the great things Christ has purchased, and promised to the saints, and hear these things livelily and eloquently set forth; they may hear with a great deal of pleasure, and be lifted up with what they hear; but if their joy be examined, it will be found to have no other foundation than this, that they look upon these things as theirs, all this exalts them, they love to hear of the great love of Christ so vastly distinguishing some from others; for self-love, and even pride itself, makes ‘em affect great distinction from others; no wonder, in this confident opinion of their own good estate, that they feel well under such doctrine, and are pleased in the highest degree, in hearing how much God and Christ makes of them. So that their joy is really a joy in themselves, and not in God.

And because the joy of hypocrites is in themselves, hence it comes to pass, that in their rejoicings and elevations, they are wont to keep their eye upon themselves; having received what they call spiritual discoveries or experiences, their minds are taken up about them, admiring their own experiences; and what they are principally taken and elevated with, is not the glory of God, or the beauty of Christ, but the beauty of their experiences. They keep thinking with themselves, what a good experience is this! What a great discovery is this! What wonderful things have I met with! And so they put their experiences in the place of Christ, and His beauty and fullness; and instead of rejoicing in Christ Jesus, they rejoice in their admirable experiences. (Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections, pp. 250-251).

If Jonathan Edwards was right when he wrote those words, he is still right. But if he was and is right about the joy of true believers and then of hypocrites, the modern version of Christianity has been devastated with hypocrisy and as such a deceptive view of Christ. Modern “religion” has a focus upon the sinner as if God was focused on the sinner and made much of the sinner. Oh how it pleases the hypocrite to think upon how much God makes of him, but this is nothing more than sinners loving those who love them. Indeed, as Edwards points out, their joy is nothing more than a joy in themselves and they are delighted to hear how God loves them and makes much of them. Again, if the analysis of Edwards is correct, then the vast majority of preaching in America is doing nothing toward teaching men of true repentance toward God, but instead it deceives them about God and true conversion.

In the true Gospel and in true Christianity men are changed from the love of themselves to a love for God. In fact, men must be granted repentance of their love for self and their pride for there to be a true conversion. Until God has worked a true repentance in the hearts of men from their pride and self-love, they will never hear the true Gospel and they will never be turned from loving themselves to where they will love the true God in Christ. The true Gospel takes sinners and turns them from being slaves of pride and self-love to where they now love God as the core and center of their whole beings and lives. The hypocrite thinks of God and the Lord Jesus being all about himself, but the true Gospel and the true God is that God is all about Himself and sinners must be turned to love Him with all of their being for who He is and not just for what He has done. The hypocrite has nothing but delight in what he thinks has been done for him out of love for self, but the believer delights in the beauty and glory of God before he thinks of himself. The hypocrite may love to think upon Christ as long as self is the center, but the true believer is centered upon Christ first.

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Christ Centedness 2

November 6, 2015

Obedience of Christ unto Salvation

Compare these things together, as they stand in Romans 5:18, 19, you will perceive, that the obedience, the doing of the will of God, is one branch of righteousness requisite in Christ towards the discharge of persons from their sins; “As by the offence of one man, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, (saith the apostle) so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all to justification of life;” here is a comparison, or rather an opposition, set between Adam’s offence, and Christ’s righteousness; as the one brought judgment, so the other brings justification and life to men; yea, but what is that righteousness, that is there spoken of, you say? The apostle tells you plainly: “For, as by one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners, so, by the obedience of one, many are made righteous.” Observe it well, we are made righteous; how? by the obedience of one; that one is Christ. Well, but what is this obedience? It is an obedience set up in opposition to Adam’s disobedience. What was Adam’s disobedience? The breach of the law. What must Christ’s obedience be then, but the fulfilling of it? So it must be certainly true, it is directly against the gospel of Christ to exclude the active obedience of Christ, from power and share to plead out. The cause of those that believe; I say, the active obedience of Christ comes in to make the plea for this discharge; and, as the active, so likewise the passive obedience of Christ; the scripture is more full in this, than in the other, because it is the complement of all, the last thing Christ went through for the discharge of the sins of men; you shall see there is no fruit that illustrates the discharge of a person from sin; hence it is appropriated unto Christ’s sufferings. If you speak of reconciliation, which consists of God’s acceptance of persons, and his agreeing with them in the death of all controversy, between him and them; for that is reconciliation, when persons, that were at variance, are now made friends, and all things that were objected between them are answered, and no more for one to say against another; I say, if you speak of this reconciliation to God, it is appropriated to the blood of Christ; as Romans 5:10, “if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the death of his Son; how much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life?” So that reconciliation is attributed unto the death of Christ; that was the last act of the Son of God for man. Again, “You, who were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Here you see the same thing in substance, given unto the blood of Christ, though in other words: men that were afar off, that God, was at controversy with, who were at great distance from him, by the blood of Christ are made nigh again. So likewise, the satisfaction that God takes for the discharge of sin which he hath acknowledged is said to be the travail of the soul of Christ: “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied.” The apostle speaks in general, in his epistle to the Hebrews, without blood there is no remission of sins; “Christ entered with his blood once, into the holy of holies; and thereby he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Infinite it were to quote scripture for the illustration of this, that to the sufferings of Christ, (which are indeed all summed up in the shedding of his blood, because that was the last, and chief of all) all blessings are attributed, as reconciliation, adoption, etc.   (Tobias Crisp, obtained from Supralapsarian.com)

Christ Centeredness 1

November 5, 2015

Christ is 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. (Tobias Crisp, taken from Supralapsarian.com)

Jesus the Christ is preached as Savior in many places, though indeed it may not be the true Jesus or the true Savior. But Jesus the Christ is not only Savior, but He is the very life of His people. Those who are truly converted are turned from being fully self-centered to being Christ-centered but growing in that as well. Our life is indeed hid with Christ in God, but the life of Christ in us is not hidden in the same way. It is true that unbelievers may mock and even persecute believers without realizing that the life of Christ is what they hate, but He is seen in some way. This is at the heart of the Gospel that Christ is our life. This is at the heart of Sanctification as Christ is our life. For the truly converted Christ is their everything and their all.

It is also true that if Christ is our life and He is life Himself who has the very power of life, then when our life on earth is ended, our true life is not at an end and can never come to an end. What we must see is that all of life is to be centered upon Christ, though what we must also see is that a life centered upon Christ is given Christ by grace alone and continues to live by that grace. The Lord Jesus Himself is our life and since He is centered upon the glory of God shining through Himself we will focus on that as well. When Christ is the life of a person then that person can be said to be a believer in Christ as that belief in Christ flows from the life of Christ in the soul.

The true believer should view him or herself as one who now lives by Christ and for Christ because it is the very life of Christ that is his or her life. The believer can now grow in confidence that s/he was loved from eternity past and will be loved for eternity future. The believer is now enabled to turn from sin not because of self-righteousness or legalistic ways, but out of love for Christ who lives in the soul and is the very life of the soul. This confidence/faith can be seen in Paul when he did not know how to choose between life or death because dying and going to Christ was far better. This speaks of a man who knew Christ because Christ had revealed Himself to Paul in the depths of his soul and he knew the joy of the Lord.

How the professing Church has fallen so far from Christ-centeredness. It is focused on programs, music, and all sorts of things to get people in the door and not offend them so that they will come back. But who is preaching Christ in His glory in our day? Where is the whole Christ being preached? Where is Christ the Mediator who as Mediator is Prophet, Priest, and King being proclaimed and heralded in our day? We may find a few preaching orthodox doctrine, but where is Christ being preached as the center of it all? Instead of Christ being preached, we find man being preached as his own prophet, his own priest, and certainly his own king. The idolatry of the modern pulpit seems to know no bounds as it wants to entertain men rather than have them meet Christ. The horrid idolatry of the modern pulpit wants to set man out in his free-will as his own partial savior rather than preach Christ who saves sinners by grace alone. It appears that Christ-ianity has been replaced with man-centeredness.