Identification of the Godly
by Arthur Pink
"That every one who sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life" (John 6:40).
There is a seeing of the Son which is necessary for a saving faith in Him. That sight of Him is far more than an intellectual perception, being an experiential revelation of Him in the soul. The majority of professing Christians have nothing better than a natural notion and image of Christ in their brains; but those who behold Him to their everlasting well-being, are granted a spiritual and supernatural sight of Him.
That raises the vitally important question, How may I be certain that the latter is my case? By the effects produced. The sinner is brought to realize his desperate and dire need of Christ, and made sensible that He alone can meet his desperate case. Christ can only be effectually seen in His own light (Psalm 36:9; 2 Corinthians 4:6). As the sun cannot be seen except by its own light, neither can the Son of righteousness be beheld, unless He arises upon us with healing in His wings. He whose eyes were formerly blinded by sin is now given a spiritual and inward sight of Him who is fairer than the children of men. By that sight, Christ is beheld as an all-sufficient Savior for the vilest of sinners; and the heart is drawn out irresistibly to Him. He is now seen as a perfectly suited . . .
Physician to heal,
Prophet to instruct,
Priest to cleanse, and
King to subdue His enemies.
1. A spiritual sight of the Son begets FAITH in Him.It cannot be otherwise, for such a view of Christ compels confidence in Him. When the Lord Jesus performed His first miracle at Cana and "manifested forth his glory," we read that His disciples "believed on him" (John 2:11). A revelation of Christ puts unbelief quite out of countenance. While unbelief prevails, it says, "Unless I shall see in his hands the print of the nails I will not believe" (John 20:25); but when Christ appears, faith exclaims, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). When a man's eyes are opened to see the King in His beauty his heart at once closes with Him. "Those who know your name will put their trust in you" (Psalm 9:10).
2. A spiritual sight of the Son works REPENTANCE and sorrow for sin.It is written, "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son" (Zechariah 12:10), which is fulfilled in the experience of every one whose eyes have been opened by divine grace. "Was it possible for you, O believer, to look upon this glorious Son of righteousness without a watering eye and a mourning penitential heart? Did not the heart, that was harder than a flint, become softer than wax, melting beneath the warm fire of the love of God manifested in Christ?" Ralph Erskine (1685-1752). When Job saw the LORD, he abhorred himself and repented in dust and ashes (Job 42:5-6).
3. A spiritual sight of the Son inspires HOPE.The unregenerate, even the hypocrite, has a "hope" (Job 8:13), but when a person is supernaturally illumined by the Spirit, he perceives that his hope rests on a rotten foundation, and he is obliged to forsake his refuge of lies. Now he is horrified over his enmity against God and terrified at the imminent prospect of suffering His wrath forever. His awful sins stare him in the face, and his expectation of escaping the just punishment of them expires. But a revelation of Christ to the soul changes his despair into a lively hope, and his fervent longing now is "to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better" (Phi 1:23).
4. A spiritual sight of the Son engenders LOVE to Him, not only for His bounty, but chiefly for His beauty. This it is, and this alone which breaks the power of natural enmity against God. Nothing but a revelation of Christ will win the heart to Him. "Whom having not seen [by sense], you love" (1 Peter 1:8). Was it not so with Saul of Tarsus? Filled with prejudice and hatred against Christ and His followers, a sight of Jesus made him immediately drop the weapons of his rebellion and cry, "Lord, what will you have me to do?" (Act 9:6). It is impossible to have a discovery of Christ made to the soul and yet not love Him, His people, and His precepts. I may indeed mourn the feebleness and fickleness of my love yet I certainly would not do so if I still hated Him!
5. A spiritual sight of the Son causes a yearning for KNOWLEDGE.Not of profitless speculations on prophecy, nor for a better grasp of theology but for a deeper and fuller apprehension of Christ Himself: in His wondrous person, His glorious offices, His peerless perfections, and His perfect work; and that, not merely information of the same, but a personal acquaintance with them. When Christ has made Himself known to one, his longing is "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple" (Psalm 27:4). No matter to what extent he may grow in grace yet he will still desire and purpose with Paul, "that I may know him" (Phi 3:10), counting all else but loss, "for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord" (Phi 3:8), longing for the immediate vision of Him in glory.
6. A spiritual sight of the Son brings LIBERTY."Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Corinthians 3:17). The reference there, as the next verse goes on to show, is to the Comforter as a Spirit of revelation revealing to the believer the glory of the Lord, and conforming him thereto. Such is the actual experience of God's children. A supernatural beholding of the glory of God in the face of Christ . . .
looses our chains,
frees us from our legal bondage, and
delivers from fears of the wrath to come.
Liberty is then ours to freely unbosom ourselves to the Lord as we never did before, to tell out to Him the burden of our hearts, to pray and plead before Him in childlike reality. This it is, which liberates the captive and opens the doors of the prison to him who previously was bound (Isa 61:1). "I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears" (Psalm 34:4).
7. A spiritual sight of the Son instills JOY.Therein is the spiritual fulfillment and personal application of that promise, "The wilderness and the solitary place [the Christless soul] shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing." And what is it, dear reader, which occasions such a glorious transformation from desolation and barrenness into jubilation and fertility? This: "They shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God" (Isa 35:1-2). The experience of their father Abraham, is reproduced in all his believing children: "Abraham rejoiced to see my day" said Christ, "and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:56). Thus it was, too, with the apostles: "Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord" (John 20:20). A discovery of Christ unto the soul cannot but produce gladness.
8. A spiritual sight of the Son engenders LONGINGS.Longings to be delivered from . . .
the raging of indwelling sin,
the surgings of pride,
the risings of self-will,
the chilling blasts of unbelief
from everything which hinders his enjoyment of the Lord.
The experience of such a soul is expressed in those words, "As the deer pants after the water-brooks so pants my soul after you, O God" (Psalm 42:1). Pants . . .
for more of His grace, to triumph over trials and hindrances;
for more of His holiness, to be more fully conformed to His image;
for more of His strength, to overcome temptations;
for more of His spirit, to be brought into closer and more constant communion with Him. Yes, a discovery of Christ to the soul, creates longings to depart from this earthly scene and to be with Him forever.
9. A spiritual sight of the Son causes contempt of the WORLD.Once Christ is made a living reality to the heart, that person realizes that everything under the sun is "vanity and vexation of spirit" (Ecc 1:14; 2:17). He now finds that the most alluring wells of this world are "broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jer 2:13), and can minister no satisfaction unto him. He has been thoroughly spoiled for them. An internal revelation of Christ, completely eclipses the beauty and glory of those objects which charm the ungodly. His language now is, "What have I to do any more with idols?" (Hos 14:8). Moses esteemed the very "reproach of Christ, greater riches than the treasures in Egypt" (Heb 11:26). Even though he suffers a relapse, and his love for Christ so cools that for a time, and he returns to the dainties which the unregenerate feed on he finds them to be no better than "husks" which the swine eat.
10. A spiritual sight of the Son evokes ZEAL.There are indeed many who "have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge" (Rom 10:2), for it issues from the feverish energy of the flesh rather than being prompted by the Holy Spirit; and is directed by impulse, carnal reason, or tradition instead of by means of God's Word. But an inward revelation of Christ conveys such an experiential knowledge of Him, as regularizes our energies and leads the soul to do and suffer for Him. Love for Him constrains him to further His cause and help His followers. He has a true zeal for the honor and the glory of Christ as moves him to deny self, separate from the world, and run in the way of His commandments. Though he is ridiculed and persecuted, these things move him not, and he counts not his life dear unto himself. If such effects as the above have been produced in you, my readers, then it can be said, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see" (Mat 13:16).