Archive for the ‘Riches of Christ’ Category

Riches of Christ 6

May 31, 2016

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

It is rather amazing in one sense to see people in full pursuit of the world and yet the claim to be lovers of Christ. On the other hand, the heart is indeed very deceptive and so it is not as surprising that God will turn people over to the desires of their hearts in order to teach them the greatness of the riches of Christ. It is amazing to read books and listen to sermons when the riches of Christ appear to be an afterthought at best. When Christ is not thought valuable and the things of religion move in and take over His place, Christ is more of an afterthought in the things of religion rather than the absolute center of it all.

While indeed Colossians was written by Paul and he had some amazing experiences, yet he should be followed as he followed Christ and taught about Christ. Paul preached the word of God, but he did not think of that as a boring or a commentary type of approach to simply studying words and so one. He thought of the riches of Christ as something that should be preached from the Old Testament, from the New Testament, and of the Christ who lived in His people. This was not just a Christ of words or of doctrine, but a living Christ. This was not just a Christ who lived in the past, but a Christ who lived in the present. This was not just a Christ who lived in the present, but this was a Christ who lived in His people and was in fact the very life of His people.

The riches of Christ have nothing to do with material things as such, nor do they have to do with the things that Christ brings people. The riches of Christ to Paul was that Christ lived in His people and that He was their very hope of glory. The riches of Christ to Paul was that Christ was the mystery hidden from then people in the past and now He was manifested to His saints. The riches of Christ is that Christ Himself is the very life of His people and in that the people of Christ are married to Christ and they have Him as their all. The very thing that the Old Testament pointed to was Christ in His people and that He Himself is their very hope of glory.

This Christ was the One that Paul treasured and said was better than life. Christ Himself is the richest of all riches and the life of all life. How can He be so ignored in the pulpits of our day? How can He hardly be mentioned as preachers drone on and on with their orthodox statements and their moralisms? What is orthodoxy and morality apart from Christ? Paul did not think that he had fully carried out the preaching of the word of God unless he had made known the riches of Christ. Paul thought he should proclaim Christ to men rather than all the things that men are so caught up with in our day. Men are so caught up with “growing a church” or starting “churches” that they preach those things rather than the riches of Christ.

The labors of Paul was to keep in mind that God willed to make known the riches of the glory of His great mystery which was Christ in His people. That was what Paul proclaimed when he proclaimed Christ. That was what Paul did when he admonished men and taught men with all wisdom. He taught them the riches of Christ so that men would be complete in Christ. But again, how are men to be complete in Christ if Christ is not taught? How are men to love Christ above the world if the riches of Christ are not preached and set out in beauty and glory? The simple answer is that men will not be complete in Christ if the riches of Christ are not preached. This drives us to the simple point that one reason men are so spiritually weak (at best) is because Christ and His riches are not their spiritual food. They are given diets of works and moralism (yes, under different names) and are excited to give money and do things for God (they are told). Meanwhile they are not being fed with Christ and as such famine conditions are widespread across the land. Oh that men would learn something of the riches of Christ and then preach them!

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Riches of Christ 5

May 28, 2016

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

The riches of Christ have to do with Christ Himself and not what He has, though that must be kept in mind as well. The true riches of Christ are the riches sinners have in having Christ Himself. All sinners are needy, though they may not recognize that about themselves. All sinners are completely and totally dependent upon the living God, though again they do not recognize that. Good meets the true needs (not just what people want) of His children and He does so in accordance with His riches in glory. It is not just that He does this out of His riches of glory, but in accordance with His riches in glory. Those riches of His glory are located in Christ Jesus and only in Christ Jesus.

On the one hand we must recognize that if we are seeking riches of any kind in another place, we are looking in the wrong place or places. We must seek true riches in Christ Jesus as that is the only place where they are. In another sense the very things we absolutely need are only found in Christ Jesus as well. It is God alone who supplies those, but He supplies them in Christ. There are no true riches in the world or anywhere else that are not found in Christ. That is a foundational truth that we must grab a hold of and not let go. But again, Christ Himself and all that He is cannot be anything less than our truest and greatest riches. He is not just the grand dispenser of riches, He is the greatest riches of all and the more we have of Christ the more riches we have. We do not just seek Christ to obtain the riches He has that He can give apart from Himself, but we seek Christ for more of Himself.

When we meditate upon this, we can see that this truth can show us the idolatry of our hearts. In seeking Christ for things and even for spiritual things, that is not the same thing as seeking Christ for Himself. Our hearts may be used to seeking Him to obtain spiritual things or things we can excuse as a spiritual need, but we are to seek Christ Himself above all things and He is to be the main reason we are to seek for anything. As Augustine said so beautifully, “He loves Thee too little who does not love all things for Thy sake.” Our hearts are not to be set on worldly riches and they are not to be set on spiritual riches. Our hearts are to be set on Christ and Him alone.

This may sound odd to many folks at first read, but when we realize that God made us in His own image for His own purposes, this should grab our attention and make us think that we have been made for a real purpose. All human beings are made through Christ and for Christ. We are commanded to love God with all of our being and our first petition in prayer is to be for His name to be hallowed and glorified. Unless we love Him and His glory above all things, our prayers will hit low ceilings made of brass (so to speak). We must have Christ to pray and it is His name alone that we are to seek the Father with and for. The Father does not give us secondary things as best, He gives His best which is Himself in His Son.

Once again we should stand in amazement at the patience and grace of God as we think of the depths of our sins in loving things rather than Him and only seeking Him for other things. If God did not love His own glory, we would be destroyed forever simply because we have not sought Him as our greatest love. We may have sought some good things, yet we did not seek Christ as our chief love and we did not seek Him as our greatest good. We must have our hearts turned and changed so that we can see that Christ is our greatest good and that all we have from Him comes by grace and grace alone. We should seek Him and in Him we have the sweetest and greatest riches by having Him and sharing in His life. All else is man-made religion.

Riches of Christ 4

May 19, 2016

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

In pondering over these verses it is possible to see something of the riches of having Christ Jesus. However, we must be careful and know that there is a distinction between seeing in some way that these things are factually true and then the ability to taste and know that these are true. There is the intellectual knowledge that something is true, but that is not the same thing as seeing the true beauty of Christ in these and being caught up in His beauty with them. There is also a selfish and self-centered way of thinking that I have riches in Christ, yet we must be caught up with Christ Himself to taste and see that these riches are real riches.

It is one thing to know that there is a doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone. Any person, believer or unbeliever, can see the propositions set out in the doctrine and in one sense know that doctrine. There is another sense in which a person can acknowledge and know that the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone is true as stated. However, that is still not the same thing as being justified by grace alone. In other words, or to put the matter plainly, it is not enough to know that there are riches untold in Christ just as it does my bank account no good to know that another person has millions or billions in his or her account. The intellectual knowledge of riches is not riches to me. The knowledge that there are riches in Christ does me or anyone else any good until Christ is the life of the soul.

The riches of His grace are not of saving benefit to those who do not have Christ. The riches of that grace for those who are redeemed and forgiven by Christ are not for those who are not redeemed and forgiven by Christ. It is Christ Himself who has the riches and is the riches. Sinners must be put in Christ and Christ must be in them in order for them to have Christ and His riches. This is to say once again, the riches of Christ have no saving or sanctifying benefit to sinners who do not have Christ. It will do them no good in eternity to know all about the riches of Christ and His grace when they are under the eternal wrath of God and are outside of Christ.

In order to make the point even plainer, the devil himself knows more theology than any saint on earth in terms of the intellectual part of it. The devil has no benefit to knowing about the riches of Christ since he can never partake of those riches of Christ. In John 8:44 Jesus, speaking of the Pharisees and others with them, told them that “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.” These were the religious elite of the day, the theologians of the day, and those who thought of themselves as holy. They knew a lot about the Bible and yet they missed the fact that the central message of the Bible is Christ. These men, while they were so esteemed as religious and holy, were at enmity with Christ.

“The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” is only found in the saints. The surpassing riches of His grace in Christ is only found in Christ. It is so deceptively easy for men and women to go about their daily lives living in an outwardly moral sense and perhaps in a very religious sense and that without knowing Christ. It is so easy for men and women to be caught up with the thought of having the riches of Christ and be total strangers to Christ. Yes, thinking upon the riches of Christ is wonderful, but having Christ in reality is something each person should seek the Lord for. We don’t have the riches of Christ because we are good people or religious people, we will only have the riches of Christ if God gives them to us by His grace alone. That grace is of greater worth than millions of worlds. Let us seek those riches asking God to glorify His grace in and through us.

Riches of Christ 3

May 16, 2016

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

True children of God are blessed beyond what they could possibly hope for and beyond what they can imagine. While the spiritual senses cannot even apprehend this very well at first, with meditation and prayer the Lord can and will show these things to His children. On the one hand it is comforting to believers to know that their sins are forgiven in accordance with the riches of His grace, this should also teach us more and more about the glory of God and His grace. We are also to know something of what it means to be partakers of the riches of His glory and inheritance, but again a vital part of that is to know that we will know God and be in His presence in eternity.

One of the main points of knowing the truth about spiritual riches is to know that all the gifts God gives are to point back to Himself as the greatest gift. While we are to meditate upon the wonders and glories of His grace, we are to know that He is the greatest grace. Our meditations upon His grace is to move us to meditate upon Him. He is our greatest treasure and He is our greatest riches. We do not have the riches of His grace apart from the riches of His presence. We do not have the riches of forgiveness apart from the riches of His presence. Christ Himself is our greatest treasure and the greatest riches we can have, and we can know this because all spiritual blessings are found in Christ. We can also know this because the fruit of the Spirit (and the Spirit was purchased by Christ for His people on the cross) is love, yet we also know that true love is a love for God from our whole being first and foremost. There is no true love that does not come from God as the origin and source of that love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (I John 4:7-8)

In this passage from I John we see that believers are to love each other BECAUSE love is from God. John did not command us to love from our own righteousness and our own strength, but he tells believers to love each other because love is from God. This is a profound thought. Only true believers are even capable of true love because in order to love one must be born of God and know God. The Great Command to love God with all of our being, then, teaches us to go to God for that true love as there is no other place we have to obtain that love. While human beings have a form of love (we call it that anyway) it is only moved by self-love rather than the grace of God in sharing His love for Himself with His children.

The riches of the child of God should be clear at this point. A life without love is a life of misery, yet the child of God alone is enabled to share in the love of God for Himself. Notice the profound teaching in verse 8 just above. Those who do not love do not know God. How do we know that? It is because God (as triune) is love. Only those who are born of God and know God have true love and truly love others. This is great riches for all who have eyes to see. This is God sharing Himself with His people and sharing His love for Himself (as triune) with His people. The ability to share in His love and love Him and His people is truly great riches. Doing this for all eternity is riches beyond anything we can think or imagine. The child of God should praise the Father that He has shared His love with them and consider him or herself and rich beyond measure when s/he can see even a small amount of true love come through him or her. Riches, riches, and more riches is the lot of those who have true love.

Riches of Christ 2

May 16, 2016

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

The Lord Jesus told us that the poor in spirit are blessed. We are told that it is the humble and the contrite who are blessed. Let us consider what it means, however, for the poorest of people (poor in spirit) are the richest of people. Since God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble, those who are humble have the infinite riches of His grace. While we may have little or nothing on this earth, we are told that we can have treasure in heaven and that it can be stored up for us. While this could make our hearts proud, if we think of this only coming to us by grace, it should humble us more and more as we think and meditate on this. God, in His great mercy and grace, has bestowed riches upon His children in this life (spiritual riches) and then allows them to treasure more riches in heaven for all eternity.

Paul prayed for the people in Ephesus that they would know the hope of His calling and “what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” This passage has been disputed to some degree on the exact meaning, but what we can know is that this speaks wonderful things to the people of God. Whether it is the glory of His inheritance in obtaining the saints or whether it is the inheritance He gives to the saints, what it boils down to is that the glory of God is involved in the inheritance that the saints will obtain.

God has a provision of grace in Christ that we are to pursue here and seek His face for here and now, but in eternity there are riches of glory in His inheritance. We must not think of this glory in a selfish way, for these riches in glory are really all about God and His glory. God gives freely His grace to sinners and He has freely given Christ to satisfy His wrath and to give them a perfect righteousness, but we must never lose sight of the real issue is God and His glory. The salvation of sinners is never the chief and primary object in the mind of God, but rather His own glory is His chief and primary object. When God forgives sinners in and through Christ, what He is really doing is giving them Himself and that is what they should want more than anything. This is a vital point that modern Evangelicalism has left far behind.

When God forgives sinners according to the riches of His grace, sinners should behold the wonders of His grace and yet behold the wonders of God Himself. When God gives sinners grace, He is not giving them something apart from Himself, but He is giving them Himself. He gives them His beloved Son who becomes their life, yet the Son is always in perfect communion with the Father. When the Father communicates His love to the Son, the saints are sharing in the love the Father has for the Son. When the Son communicates His love to the Father, the saints are sharing in the love the Son has for the Father. In this way we see that by free-grace believers are loved beyond anything they can imagine and this is untold riches of grace.

True believers, which is to be united to Christ by the work of God, is to share in the very life of God. Christianity is not exclusively defined by certain doctrines, though doctrine is vitally important, but Christianity is defined by sharing in the life of God. What believers receive is eternal life and that is to share in the life of God. While it is true that eternal life never ends, it is also true that eternal life has a quality to it and not just a quantity. Jesus Christ Himself is our eternal life (I John 1:1-6; 5:18-20). Having this eternal life is riches beyond comprehension. Having Christ as our life and dwelling in us by His Spirit is infinitely more riches than owning the whole world and a million more worlds.

Riches of Christ 1

May 16, 2016

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

The world is spent in pursuit of riches, pleasure, and happiness. For the true believer, however, they have riches untold in Christ and it comes to them in grace and by grace. The believer has Christ as his or her riches and in Christ alone there is grace and that grace is called (In Ephesians 1:7 above) “the riches of His grace.” While the world goes about collecting riches for this world and those who obtain worldly riches soon die, the true believer that has Christ has spiritual riches that cannot be counted. The riches are spiritual and as such the eye cannot behold them, but the eye of faith knows something of these riches. Only spiritual people can understand spiritual wealth and spiritual riches, which means the world does not see them.

Now it is true that the fleshly mind can consider going to heaven rather than hell a great thing and so think it has a handle on spiritual riches. The fleshly mind can think that it has received grace (though does not truly understand it) and think it has riches of grace, for after all not going to hell is something to be thought highly of. The fleshly mind, however, opposes sovereign grace which is the only kind of grace that there is. The fleshly mind opposes free-grace (when rightly understood) and with enmity in the heart toward the true God will praise its own god for giving him or her grace to escape hell. The fleshly mind has no real concept of sin, though it will admit to some doing things that are somewhat wrong, which tells us that the fleshly mind has no true concept of forgiveness.

The true believer, however, beholds the riches of grace in Christ. The true believer has had the Spirit convince him or her of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. The true believer has felt the awful weight upon his conscience and knows what it is like to know that s/he is worthy of eternal judgment. The true believer has seen something of the thrice holy God and knows that all of his or her sin is against God. The true believer understands that there is no forgiveness but through the blood of Jesus Christ. “Oh how precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow.” The true believer sees and knows that there was and is nothing in him or her that could possibly move God to save him or her. The true believer knows that there is nothing in him or her that is worth saving for his or her own sake. The true believer sees his or her own heart as filthy and knows that s/he has nothing that comes from his own heart that is worth saving, but all good that comes from that heart is by grace.

The glory of grace toward the believer is that it began in eternity past and that God planned to show grace to such an awful sinner before the sinner had being to sin. The glory of this grace is that the forgiveness of sin is in accordance with the riches of grace. If a sinner thinks that forgiveness is in accordance with him or herself or anything to do with his or her own goodness or merit, then the only forgiveness that the sinner can claim is based on his or her own goodness or merit. But the true believer looks to grace alone for forgiveness and knows that his or her forgiveness is in accordance with the riches of His grace. This is to say that the believer can look into the infinite glory of God and know that his or her sins are swallowed up in grace. The true believer can behold the glory of God and the riches of His grace and know that his or her sins are forgiven and that in and by the blood of Christ there is no eternal reckoning required.

The person that has no sin on his or her account before God is truly rich and has the riches of grace which is beyond all that we can think or imagine. There is nothing more precious than having our sins washed away by the blood of Christ and to be escorted into the throne room of the living God on the basis of the Perfect Christ and His Work. What can be more precious than the riches of grace that saves sinners from the wrath of God and gives sinners the presence of God? What can be more precious and be considered as true riches other than Christ and His work on behalf of sinners which He did out of love for the Father? Sinner, behold the riches of grace and live for His glory. Sinner, behold the riches of grace in Christ and pursue holiness based on grace. Sinner, don’t look to your own merit or goodness, but look to Christ. It is yours as a free-gift of free-grace. It is riches untold and may our hearts find rest and peace in that!