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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Law and Grace # 19

The Standard of Life for Christians (continued)

5. This total "Word of God written" is given us to center our attention upon Christ, what He is, what He has done, and what He said. For the true believer, Christ must be the center and circumference of all things. "Thou, O Christ, art all I want; more than all in Thee I find."

a. The written Word fixes our attention on Christ Himself. There are other great figures in the Scriptures. Think of Moses and Elijah, probably the greatest in the halls of Old Testament fame. But even these fade from sight in the light of the glory of the eternal Son. If we read the will of God rightly, led of the Spirit, we shall see "no man, save Jesus only" (Matthew 17:8). Let all those who preach and teach the Word take solemn heed. If they speak of Moses and Elijah and the others, let them be careful so to speak that these "lesser lights" will direct they eyes of men to Him who is both their Lord and ours.

b. The written Word fixes our attention on the love of Christ. Even a lost world recognizes the value of love and its leaders talk much about love. But most of this talk concerns itself with love in the abstract. Sometimes it becomes a mere verbal idolatry. But in the Bible we meed something altogether different. Here we are told indeed that "God is love" (1 John 4:8), but we are not left to speculate as to the real nature of "love" in the unseen and ineffable deity. The same Word which tells us that "God is love" goes on to direct our eyes to something historically concrete: "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him" (1 John 4:9). Do we struggle intellectually to understand the real nature of divine love? Well, "herein in love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). And as we behold the love of God incarnate in the Son, our ears become more attentive to the exhortation which follows: "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another" (1 John 4:11).

c. The written Word of God also directs our eyes to the work of Christ. No matter where we open the Book, if we have eyes to see, we meet the blood of atonement. John the Baptist, last in the great succession of prophets of the Old Testament, sums up the testimony as his eyes look upon the incarnate Son. "Behold the Lamb of God," John cries, "which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). And these words upon the lips of John spoke of death, for a "lamb" cannot take away sin except by dying.

Thus, throughout the written Word, wherever we open its pages, "we see Jesus, who as made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Hebrews 2:9). And perceiving in Calvary "the love of God, because he laid down his life for us," we are brought to see that "we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16).

d. The written Word of God also opens our eyes to the words and commandments of Christ. Our Lord says, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me" (John 14:21), and again me says, "If a man love me, he will keep my words" (v. 23). Here again we must have the total Word of God in order to hear in its widest aspect the voice of our Lord. We must understand that the voice of the infinite God comes to men always through the Son, the eternal logos.

~Alva J. McClain~

(continued with # 20)

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