More and more, I am made to feel that Christ does not have His proper place among the children of God. He is not the object. It is either a doctrine, a dogma, a party, or our experience—something besides Christ. We seem possessed with very much the same spirit that actuated Peter on the mount, when he said: "Let us make here three tabernacles." The Father solemnly rebukes this, "While he yet spake, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold a voice out of the cloud which said: 'This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.' And when the disciples heard it they fell on their faces, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them and said, 'Arise, and be not afraid.' And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man save Jesus only." (Matt. 17:1-8.)
Have you ever been in the "cloud," dear brother? Have you ever heard the "voice"? Have you been on your "face"? Have you felt the "touch"? Then have you heard another voice, "Arise"? Do your eyes see "no man save Jesus only"? Many, perhaps, have reached the top of the mount; but few, very few, have been in the "cloud," have heard the "voice," have been on their "faces," have risen to see "Jesus only."
"Christ is all." (Col. 3:11). Do we make Him this? Is it a question of my salvation? "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." (Acts 16:31). Is it a question of relationship with God? "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:26). Is it a question of experience? "For to me to live is Christ." (Phil. 1:21). Is it a question of service? "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Phil. 4:13). Is it a question of my path? "I am the way." (John 14:6). Is it a question of heaven or the place to which my path leads? He would define it as "where I am." (John 14:3). "O, let us know more of that rich blessedness which comes of making Christ all," of seeing "Jesus only." Our cry should be—"O, to know Him!" (Phil. 3:10). In our selfishness we cry and beg for blessings. It is the Blesser we need, HIMSELF. HE is the joy of the Father's heart. Let us taste with Him the delight He takes in His Son. Christ is infinitely higher than doctrine or experience. Experience we shall have, but only with Him can our hearts be ravished and raptured.
Why is it we are not changed more from "glory to glory"? The veil has been rent; the blood has been sprinkled; the Spirit has been given. The reason is we are occupied with ourselves and the work of the Spirit in us; rather than with Christ alone. This is the weakness in the wide-spread holiness movement, so much of which is superficial. Let us look more in that unveiled face, from which streams the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. (2 Cor. 3 and 4 chapters). All else will pale and fade if we will but linger there.
Let me say here—the Spirit never occupies me with His work in me. And if I am thus occupied, I am experimentally out of the Spirit. The word is, "He shall glorify ME." (John 16:5-15). To go further, the work of Christ, wonderfully blessed as it is, can never be the object of my heart. It gives my conscience peace, sweet peace, but only His PERSON can satisfy my heart. And O, how His person does. Ten thousand hallelujahs to Him!
The Father directs our attention to Him. (Matt. 17:5). The Holy Ghost would occupy us with Him. (Acts 7:55, 56). The word of God testifies of Him. (John 5:39). He is the object of faith; He is the object of love; He is the object of hope; and the faith, or love, or hope, that does not make Him the object is spurious and unreal. He is all for my path; He is all for my service; He is all for my worship; blessed, blessed, be His Name. He is not on the Cross, He is not in the grave; He is on the throne. Wondrous fact, a Man in the glory of God, and that One my Saviour; my Priest; my Advocate; the One who died for me; the One who lives for me; the One who is coming for me; the Bridegroom of His Church. It is not surprising that Peter should say, "Unto you therefore which believe He is precious." The ungodly world as well as the religious world are equally bent upon shutting Him out. The former is "reserved unto fire" the latter He will vomit out of His mouth. (2 Peter 3 and Rev. 3). Therefore keep clear from the both, if not clear, let us "Go forth unto Him." (Heb. 13:13). He is enough, and it pleases His heart for us to make everything of Him.
May it be with us. Christ, Christ, CHRIST. You cannot get a better portion or place than He gives. Your portion here will be "food and raiment," your place "outside." Your portion there is "all spiritual blessings" your place "in Him."
And now, dear brother, let every affection, every desire, every thought, and every aim, be gathered to, and centered in Him. —F. C. B.
+From an old leaflet.
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