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The Wednesday Word: The Unspeakable Christ

“And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;). How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Corinthians 12: 3-4).

I am going to attempt to do the impossible. I will in these next few lines endeavour to speak about the unspeakable One, the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul had been transported to paradise and there he heard unspeakable words. He was overwhelmed with the reality of the invisible God made visible in the Lord Jesus. I have some friends who think that the pinnacle of spirituality is to speak in tongues, but when Paul was confronted with the exalted Christ in His majestic splendour, he couldn’t speak at all.

And yet there are some thrilling things which we can yet say about our Saviour for he has left his imprint and record in the scriptures. May we yet become speechless as we take time to meditate on the glory of God in the person of Christ. May we yet rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8). Let’s then, for a few moments, consider God’s unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9: 15).

The Lord Jesus came that we who were dead in trespasses and sins might have life. He is the beginning of life. He is the source of life. He is the giver of life. He is the bread of life. He is the water of life. He is the light of life, the resurrection and the life and the way, the truth, the life. He that believeth on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. This leaves me speechless! What about you?

Jesus is the promised seed. He is the seed who bruised the serpent’s head. He is Abraham’s seed in whom all the nations are blessed. He is David’s seed, the Righteous Branch who reigns wisely. He is the true Israel and the elect of God. He is the new covenant and the salvation of his people. He is the rock of our salvation. This leaves me speechless. What about you?

He is the Second Man, the eternal word made flesh, the Last Adam, the Faithful and True Witness, the Almighty who was and is and is to come. This leaves me speechless! What about you?

He gives healing to the sick, sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf and life to the dead. He is the deliverer of those in bondage, the healer of the broken heart and the one who gives rest to the weary. This leaves me speechless! What about you?

He is the general who never lost a battle, the lawyer who never lost a case and the shepherd who never lost a sheep. He is the author and finisher of our faith. This leaves me speechless! What about you?

He is the true Temple, the altar, the offerer and the offered.

He is the slain lamb, the lamb without blemish and without spot. He is the one who, by himself, purged our sins, destroyed the devil, conquered death, rose from the grave and ascended into glory. He is our surety, our ransom, our apostle and High Priest. He is the God/Man, the exegesis of the Father, the brightness of the Father’s glory, the one whom angels worship. He is the crown of glory, the king of kings, the Lord of Lords, God manifest in the flesh and the fullness of the godhead bodily.

It is no wonder that the hymn writer wrote;

 

“I stand amazed in the presence

Of Jesus the Nazarene,

And wonder how he could love me,

A sinner, condemned, unclean.”

 

May we yet become more and more astonished and amazed by the Lord Jesus. May we yet become speechless in His presence.

And that is the Gospel Truth.

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

The Grace Centre

6 Quay Street, New Ross,

County Wexford, Ireland.

www.milesmckee.com 

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Confession statement 52

November 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

LII. THERE shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust, and everyone shall give an account of himself to God, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Acts 24:15; 1 Cor.5:10: Rom.14:12.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46 

Confession statement 24

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XXIV FAITH is ordinarily begotten by the preaching of the gospel, or word of Christ, without respect to any power or agency in the creature; but it being wholly passive, and dead in trespasses and sins, doth believe and is converted by no less power than that which raised Christ from the dead.

Rom.10:17; 1 Cor.1:28; Rom.9:16; Ezek.16:16; Rom. 3:12,1:16; Eph.1:19; Col.1.2:12.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46

You must be born again

Every man feels that he is a sinner

God, however, has a witness in every man’s conscience. Every man, whatever he may pretend, feels himself to be a sinner, and to need forgiveness. Ignorant and idolatrous as the Philippian jailer had been all his life, yet, when death stared him in the face, he trembled and cried for mercy. And if it was thus with the heathen, much more is it likely to be thus with those who have been educated under the light of revelation. The most careless and thoughtless cannot stand the approach of death. The courage of the most harnessed infidel commonly fails him at that solemn period.

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered

The Difference between the Righteous and the Wicked

The spirit which is discerned in the disdainful carriage of individuals of this sort when reminded of their faults, is a striking comment on the just maxims of the wise man. He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Such is the difference which marks the demeanor of the righteous and the wicked when reminded of their faults.

Asahel Nettleton-The Destruction of Hardened Sinners

All of Grace—Alas! I can do Nothing! Pt 1

Chapter Ten

Alas! I can do Nothing!

AFTER THE ANXIOUS HEART has accepted the doctrine of atonement, and learned the great truth that salvation is by faith in the Lord Jesus, it is often sore troubled with a sense of inability toward that which is good. Many are groaning, “I can do nothing.” They are not making this into an excuse, but they feel it as a daily burden. They would if they could. They can each one honestly say, “To will is present with me, but how to perform that which I would I find not.”

This feeling seems to make all the gospel null and void; for what is the use of food to a hungry man if he cannot get at it? Of what avail is the river of the water of life if one cannot drink? We recall the story of the doctor and the poor woman’s child. The sage practitioner told the mother that her little one would soon be better under proper treatment, but it was absolutely needful that her boy should regularly drink the best wine, and that he should spend a season at one of the German spas. This, to a widow who could hardly get bread to eat! Now, it sometimes seems to the troubled heart that the simple gospel of “Believe and live,” is not, after all, so very simple; for it asks the poor sinner to do what he cannot do. To the really awakened, but half instructed, there appears to be a missing link; yonder is the salvation of Jesus, but how is it to be reached? The soul is without strength, and knows not what to do. It lies within sight of the city of refuge, and cannot enter its gate.

Is this want of strength provided for in the plan of salvation? It is. The work of the Lord is perfect. It begins where we are, and asks nothing of us in order to its completion. When the good Samaritan saw the traveler lying wounded and half dead, he did not bid him rise and come to him, and mount the ass and ride off to the inn. No, “he came where he was,” and ministered to him, and lifted him upon the beast and bore him to the inn. Thus doth the Lord Jesus deal with us in our low and wretched estate.

We have seen that God justifieth, that He justifieth the ungodly and that He justifies them through faith in the precious blood of Jesus; we have now to see the condition these ungodly ones are in when Jesus works out their salvation. Many awakened persons are not only troubled about their sin, but about their moral weakness. They have no strength with which to escape from the mire into which they have fallen, nor to keep out of it in after days. They not only lament over what they have done, but over what they cannot do. They feel themselves to be powerless, helpless, and spiritually lifeless. It may sound odd to say that they feel dead, and yet it is even so. They are, in their own esteem, to all good incapable. They cannot travel the road to Heaven, for their bones are broken. “None of the men of strength have found their hands;” in fact, they are “without strength.” Happily, it is written, as the commendation of God’s love to us:

 

When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6).

 

Here we see conscious helplessness succored — succored by the interposition of the Lord Jesus. Our helplessness is extreme. It is not written, “When we were comparatively weak Christ died for us”; or, “When we had only a little strength”; but the description is absolute and unrestricted; “When we were yet without strength.” We had no strength whatever which could aid in our salvation; our Lord’s words were emphatically true, “Without me ye can do nothing.” I may go further than the text, and remind you of the great love wherewith the Lord loved us, “even when we were dead in trespasses and sins.” To be dead is even more than to be without strength.

The one thing that the poor strengthless sinner has to fix his mind upon, and firmly retain, as his one ground of hope, is the divine assurance that “in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Believe this, and all inability will disappear. As it is fabled of Midas that he turned everything into gold by his touch, so it is true of faith that it turns everything it touches into good. Our very needs and weaknesses become blessings when faith deals with them.

Let us dwell upon certain forms of this want of strength. To begin with, one man will say, “Sir, I do not seem to have strength to collect my thoughts, and keep them fixed upon those solemn topics which concern my salvation; a short prayer is almost too much for me. It is so partly, perhaps, through natural weakness, partly because I have injured myself through dissipation, and partly also because I worry myself with worldly cares, so that I am not capable of those high thoughts which are necessary ere a soul can be saved.” This is a very common form of sinful weakness. Note this! You are without strength on this point; and there are many like you. They could not carry out a train of consecutive thought to save their lives. Many poor men and women are illiterate and untrained, and these would find deep thought to be very heavy work. Others are so light and trifling by nature, that they could no more follow out a long process of argument and reasoning, than they could fly. They could never attain to the knowledge of any profound mystery if they expended their whole life in the effort. You need not, therefore, despair: that which is necessary to salvation is not continuous thought, but a simple reliance upon Jesus. Hold you on to this one fact — “In due time Christ died for the ungodly.” This truth will not require from you any deep research or profound reasoning, or convincing argument. There it stands: “In due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Fix your mind on that, and rest there.

Let this one great, gracious, glorious fact lie in your spirit till it perfumes all your thoughts, and makes you rejoice even though you are without strength, seeing the Lord Jesus has become your strength and your song, yea, He has become your salvation. According to the Scriptures it is a revealed fact, that in due time Christ died for the ungodly when they were yet without strength. You have heard these words hundreds of times, maybe, and yet you have never before perceived their meaning. There is a cheering savor about them, is there not? Jesus did not die for our righteousness, but He died for our sins. He did not come to save us because we were worth the saving, but because we were utterly worthless, ruined, and undone. He came not to earth out of any reason that was in us, but solely and only out of reasons which He fetched from the depths of His own divine love. In due time He died for those whom He describes, not as godly, but as ungodly, applying to them as hopeless an adjective as He could well have selected. If you have but little mind, yet fasten it to this truth, which is fitted to the smallest capacity, and is able to cheer the heaviest heart. Let this text lie under your tongue like a sweet morsel, till it dissolves into your heart and flavors all your thoughts; and then it will little matter though those thoughts should be as scattered as autumn leaves. Persons who have never shone in science, nor displayed the least originality of mind, have nevertheless been fully able to accept the doctrine of the cross, and have been saved thereby. Why should not you?

I hear another man cry, “Oh, sir my want of strength lies mainly in this, that I cannot repent sufficiently!” A curious idea men have of what repentance is! Many fancy that so many tears are to be shed, and so many groans are to be heaved, and so much despair is to be endured. Whence comes this unreasonable notion? Unbelief and despair are sins, and therefore I do not see how they can be constituent elements of acceptable repentance; yet there are many who regard them as necessary parts of true Christian experience. They are in great error. Still, I know what they mean, for in the days of my darkness I used to feel in the same way. I desired to repent, but I thought that I could not do it, and yet all the while I was repenting. Odd as it may sound, I felt that I could not feel. I used to get into a corner and weep, because I could not weep; and I fell into bitter sorrow because I could not sorrow for sin. What a jumble it all is when in our unbelieving state we begin to judge our own condition! It is like a blind man looking at his own eyes. My heart was melted within me for fear, because I thought that my heart was as hard as an adamant stone. My heart was broken to think that it would not break. Now I can see that I was exhibiting the very thing which I thought I did not possess; but then I knew not where I was.

Oh that I could help others into the light which I now enjoy! Fain would I say a word which might shorten the time of their bewilderment. I would say a few plain words, and pray “the Comforter” to apply them to the heart.

Remember that the man who truly repents is never satisfied with his own repentance. We can no more repent perfectly than we can live perfectly. However pure our tears, there will always be some dirt in them: there will be something to be repented of even in our best repentance. But listen! To repent is to change your mind about sin, and Christ, and all the great things of God. There is sorrow implied in this; but the main point is the turning of the heart from sin to Christ. If there be this turning, you have the essence of true repentance, even though no alarm and no despair should ever have cast their shadow upon your mind.

If you cannot repent as you would, it will greatly aid you to do so if you will firmly believe that “in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Think of this again and again. How can you continue to be hard-hearted when you know that out of supreme love “Christ died for the ungodly”? Let me persuade you to reason with yourself thus: Ungodly as I am, though this heart of steel will not relent, though I smite in vain upon my breast, yet He died for such as I am, since He died for the ungodly. Oh that I may believe this and feel the power of it upon my flinty heart!

Blot out every other reflection from your soul, and sit down by the hour together, and meditate deeply on this one resplendent display of unmerited, unexpected, unexampled love, “Christ died for the ungodly.” Read over carefully the narrative of the Lord’s death, as you find it in the four evangelists. If anything can melt your stubborn heart, it will be a sight of the sufferings of Jesus, and the consideration that he suffered all this for His enemies.

 

O Jesus! sweet the tears I shed,

While at Thy feet I kneel,

Gaze on Thy wounded, fainting head,

And all Thy sorrows feel.

My heart dissolves to see Thee bleed,

This heart so hard before;

I hear Thee for the guilty plead,

And grief o’erflows the more.

‘Twas for the sinful Thou didst die,

And I a sinner stand:

Convinc’d by Thine expiring eye,

Slain by Thy piercèd hand.

 

Surely the cross is that wonder-working rod which can bring water out of a rock. If you understand the full meaning of the divine sacrifice of Jesus, you must repent of ever having been opposed to One who is so full of love. It is written, “They shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” Repentance will not make you see Christ; but to see Christ will give you repentance. You may not make a Christ out of your repentance, but you must look for repentance to Christ. The Holy Ghost, by turning us to Christ, turns us from sin. Look away, then, from the effect to the cause, from your own repenting to the Lord Jesus, who is exalted on high to give repentance.

Charles H. Spurgeon—All of Grace

Follow along as we read this short but marvelous book. Download your copy here. Next chapter will go out Monday June 4 at 8:00 AM. Central Standard Time.