Christ All in All
by Thomas Watson
"Christ is all in all." Colossians 3:11
The philosopher says every science takes its dignity from
the object; the more noble the object—the more rare the
knowledge. Hence it is that Jesus Christ, being the most sublime and
glorious object, that knowledge which leads us to Christ must be most
excellent. It is called "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ,"
Philippians 3:8. So sweet is this knowledge, that Paul determined to know
nothing but Christ, 1 Corinthians 2:2. And, indeed, what more did he need to
know—for "Christ is all in all". In the text the apostle gives us a
negative, and something positively.
First, NEGATIVELY. Paul tells the Colossians what
will not avail them, "neither circumcision, nor uncircumcision
avails." Circumcision was a great privilege; it was a badge to distinguish
the people of God from those who were foreign. It was a wall between the
enclosed garden and the common field. The people of circumcision were a
people who were under God's eye and His wing. They were His
household family. Rather than they should lack, God would make the heavens a
granary, and rain down manna upon them. He would pierce the rock, and make
it a lively spring.
How glorious was the privilege of circumcision! Romans
9:4-5. What rich jewels hung upon Israel's crown! But, in matters of
salvation, all this was nothing, "neither circumcision nor uncircumcision."
From whence we may observe that external religious privileges commend no
man to God; whether wise, rich, or noble—none of this sets us off in
God's eye, 1 Corinthians 1:26. God does not see as man sees. We are taken
with beauty and abilities—but these things avail nothing with
God. God lays His left hand upon these—as Jacob did upon Manasseh,
Genesis 48:14. God often passes by those who cast a greater splendor and
luster in the world—and looks upon them as an inferior alloy. The reason is
"that no flesh should glory in His presence!" 1 Corinthians 1:29. If God
should graft His grace only upon wisdom and abilities, some
would be ready to say, "My wisdom, or my eloquence, or my nobility has saved
me." Therefore, "not many wise. . . not many noble are called." God will
have no pride or boasting in the creature.
USE 1. Do not rest in outward privileges or
excellencies—these are no stocks to graft the hopes of salvation upon!
Many of Christ's kindred went to hell. Paul is called "the
servant of the Lord," Romans 1:1. And James is called "the brother
of the Lord," Galatians 1:19. It is better to be the servant of
the Lord than the brother of the Lord. The virgin Mary was saved not
because she was the mother of Christ—but because she was the daughter of
faith. It is grace, not blood—which gives acceptance with God.
A heart which has Christ formed in it—is God's delight.
Second, the apostle sets down something POSITIVELY;
but "Christ is all in all." Note the sentence structure:
The subject—"Christ". His name is sweet—it is "as
ointment poured forth," Song of Solomon 1:3. It was Job's wish, "O that my
words were now written! that they were engraved with an iron pen and lead in
the rock forever!" Job 19:23-24. And it is my wish that this name, this
sweet name of Christ, were not written, that it were engraved with the pen
of the Holy Spirit in our hearts forever. "The name of Christ has in it,"
said Chrysostom, "a thousand treasuries of joy."
The predicate—"all in all". Christ is all fullness,
all sweetness. He is all that is imaginable, all that is desirable. He who
has Christ can have no more—for Christ is all. The proposition out of the
words is that Jesus Christ is the quintessence of all good things; He is
Sometimes faith is said to be all, Galatians 5:6.
Nothing avails but faith. Faith is all as it is the instrument to lay hold
on Christ, whereby we are saved—as a man is saved by catching hold on a
Sometimes the new creature is said to be all,
Galatians 6:15. Nothing avails but a new creature. The new creature is
all—as it qualifies and fits for glory. "Without holiness no man shall see
the Lord," Hebrews 12:14. It is a saying of Chrysostom that, at the day of
judgment, God will ask that question, as our Savior did, Matthew 22:20,
"Whose image and superscription is this?" So will God say, "Whose image is
this?" If you cannot show Him His image consisting in holiness, He will
reject you. Thus the new creature is all.
Here in the text Christ is said to be all—but in
what sense is Christ all?
Christ is all by way of eminency. All good things
are eminently to be found in Him—as the sun virtually contains in it the
light of the lesser stars.
Christ is all by way of derivation. All good
things are transmitted and conveyed to us through Christ. As our rich
commodities, such as jewels and spices—come to us by sea—so all heavenly
blessings sail to us through the red sea of Christ's blood! Romans 11:36,
"For everything comes from Him; everything exists by His power and is
intended for His glory. To Him be glory evermore! Amen." Christ is that
spiritual pipe through which the golden oil of mercy empties
itself into the soul!
Christ must be all, for "in Him dwells all the fullness
of the Godhead," Colossians 2:9. He has a partnership with God the Father.
John 16:15, "All things that the Father has, are Mine." So there is enough
in Him to scatter all our fears, to remove all our burdens, to supply all
our needs. There can be no defect in that which is infinite.
USE 2. Information. It shows us the glorious fullness of
Jesus Christ. He is all in all. Christ is a treasury and
storehouse of all spiritual riches. You may go with the bee from flower to
flower, and suck here and there a little sweetness—but you will never have
enough until you come to Christ, for He is all in all. Now, in particular,
Christ is all in six respects:
1. Christ is all—in regard of RIGHTEOUSNESS. 1
Corinthians 1:30, "He is made to us, righteousness." The robe of our
innocence, like the veil of the Temple, is rent asunder. Ours is a ragged
righteousness. Isaiah 64:6, "Our righteousness is as filthy rags."
As under rags, the naked body is seen—so under the rags of our righteousness
the body of death is seen. We can defile our duties—but they cannot
justify us; but Christ is all in regard of righteousness. Romans
10:4, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, to everyone who
believes." That is, through Christ, we are as righteous as if we had fully
satisfied the law in our own persons. Jacob got the blessing in the
garment of his elder brother. So, in the garment of Christ, our older
brother, we obtain the blessing. Christ's righteousness is a coat woven
without seam. "We are made the righteousness of God in Him," 2 Corinthians
2. Christ is all—in regard of SANCTIFICATION.
1 Corinthians 1:30, "He is made to us, sanctification."
Sanctification is the spiritual enamel and embroidery of the soul; it is
nothing else but God's putting upon us the jewels of holiness. The
angels glory in it. We are made as the king's daughter, "all glorious
within," Psalm 45:13. This tunes and prepares the soul for heaven. It turns
iron into gold; it makes the heart, which was Satan's
picture—into Christ's living epistle. The virgins in Esther 2:12 had their
"days of purification." They were first to he perfumed and anointed—and then
they were to stand before the king. So we must have the anointing of God, 1
John 2:27, and be perfumed with the graces of the Spirit, those sweet
fragrances—and then we shall stand before the King of heaven! There must be
first our days of purification, before our days of glorification.
What a blessed work is this!
A soul beautified and adorned with grace is like the sky,
bespangled with glittering stars. Oh, what a metamorphosis is there! I may
allude to that passage in Song of Solomon 3:6. "Who is this that comes out
of the wilderness of sin, perfumed with all the graces of the
Spirit?" Holiness is the signature and engraving of God upon the soul.
But where does this come from? From Christ—who is all in all. He is made to
us sanctification. It is He who sends His Spirit into our hearts to be a
refiner's fire, to burn up our dross and make our graces sparkle like gold
in the furnace! Christ arises upon the soul "with healing in His wings,"
Malachi 4:2. He heals the understanding and says, "Let there be light." He
heals the heart—by dissolving the stone in His blood. He heals the
will—by filing off its rebellion. Thus He is all in regard of
3. Christ is all—in regard of ACCEPTANCE with God.
Ephesians 1:6. "He has made us favorites," as some render it. Through
Christ, God is propitious to us and takes all we do in good part. A wicked
man, being out of Christ, is out of God's favor. Even his plowing is
sin, Proverbs 21:4. God will not come near him; his breath is infectious.
God will hear his sins—and not his prayers. But now, in
Christ, God accepts us. As Joseph presented his brethren before
Pharaoh and brought them into favor with the king, Genesis 47:2; so the Lord
Jesus carries the names of the saints upon His breast and presents
them before His Father, thus bringing them into repute and honor. Through
Christ, God will treat and parley with us. Through the red glass—everything
appears a red color; through the blood of Christ—we look of a sanguine
complexion, ruddy and beautiful in God's eyes.
4. Christ is all—in regard of divine ASSISTANCE.
A Christian's strength lies in Christ, "I can do everything through Him who
gives me strength."Philippians 4:13. How is a Christian able to do duty, to
resist temptation—but through Christ's strengthening? How is it that a
spark of grace lives in a sea of corruption, the storms of persecution
blowing—but that Christ holds this spark in the hollow of His hand? How is
it that the roaring lion of hell has not devoured the saints? Because the
Lion of the tribe of Judah has defended them! Christ not only gives us our
crown—but our shield. He not only gives us our garland when we
overcome—but our strength whereby we overcome. Revelation 12:11, "They
overcame him—that is, the accuser of the brethren—by the blood of the Lamb."
Christ keeps the royal fort of grace—so that it is not blown up.
Peter's shield was bruised—but Christ ensured that it was not
broken. "I have prayed for you—that your faith fail not," Luke 22:32,
that it be not a total falling away. The crown of all the saints' victories
must he set upon the head of Christ!
5. Christ is all—in regard of PEACE with God.
When conscience is in agony, and burns as hell in the sense of God's
wrath—now Christ is all. He pours the balm of His blood into these wounds,
He makes the storm calm. Christ not only makes peace in the court of
heaven—but in the court of conscience. He not only makes peace
above us but within us, John 16. Said Cyprian, "All our golden streams of
peace flow from this fountain!" John 15:27, "Peace I leave with you, my
peace I give unto you." Jesus Christ not only purchased peace for
us—but speaks peace to us. He is called the Prince of peace, Isaiah
9:6. Thus Christ is all in regard of peace. He makes peace for us and in us;
this honey and oil flow out of the rock—Christ.
6. Christ is all—in regard of REMUNERATION. It
is He who crowns us after all our labors and sufferings. He died to advance
us. His lying in the wine-press, was to bring us into the banqueting house!
He is gone before to take possession of heaven in the name of all believers.
Hebrews 6:20, "Where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus." Christ
has gone to prepare a place for the saints, John 14:2. He makes heaven
ready for them—and makes them ready for heaven. Thus Christ is
all in regard of remuneration. Revelation 22:12, "Behold, I come quickly—and
My reward is with Me."
USE 3. If Christ is all, it shows what a vast
disproportion there is between Christ and the creature. There is
as much difference as between something and nothing. Christ is
all in all—and the creature is nothing at all. Proverbs 23:5,
"Will you set your eyes on that which is not?" The creature is a nonentity.
Though it has a physical existence, yet, considered theologically, it is
nothing. It is but a gilded shadow, a pleasant dream. When Solomon had
sifted up the finest flour and distilled the spirit of all created
excellency, here is the result, "All was vanity," Ecclesiastes 2:11. We read
that the earth in creation was void, Genesis 1:2. So are all earthly
comforts void. They are void of that which we think is in them. They are
void of satisfaction; therefore, they are compared to wind, Hosea 12:1. A
man can no more fill his heart with the world than he can fill his belly
with the air he draws in. Now the creature is said to be nothing, in a
1. It is nothing to a man in trouble of spirit. If
the spirit is wounded, outward things will no more give ease—than a crown of
gold will cure the headache.
2. The creature is nothing to a man who has heaven
in his eye. When Paul had seen that light shining from heaven, surpassing
the glory of the sun, Acts 26:13, though his eyes were open, "he saw no
man," Acts 9:8. So he who has the glory of heaven in his eye, is blind to
the world. He sees nothing in it to allure him or make him willing to stay
3. The creature is nothing to one who is dying. A
man at the hour of death is most serious, and is able to give the truest
verdict of things. Now at such a time the world is nothing. It is in an
eclipse. The sorrow of the world is real—but the joy of the
world imaginary. Oh, then, what a vast difference is there between Christ
and the creature! Christ is all in all, and the creature nothing at all; yet
how many damn their souls for nothing?
USE 4. It shows where the soul is to go in the lack of
all. Go to Christ who is all in all. Do you lack grace? Go to
Christ. Colossians 2:3, "In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge." Christ is the great Lord treasurer; go then to Christ. Say,
"Lord, I am indigent of grace—but in You are all my fresh springs.
Fill my cistern from Your spring. Lord, I am blind, You have
eye-salve to anoint me. I am defiled, You have water to cleanse me.
My heart is hard, You have blood to soften me. I am empty of
grace, bring Your fullness to my emptiness." In all our spiritual needs, we
should resort to Christ—as Jacob's sons did to their brother Joseph. "He
opened all the storehouses," Genesis 42:25. Thus, the Lord has made Christ
our Joseph. Colossians 2:3, "In whom are hidden all treasures." Oh, then,
sinners, make out to Christ! He is all in all; and, to encourage you to go
to Him, remember there is in Him not only fullness, but freeness.
"Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters!" Christ is not only full as
the honeycomb—but He drops as the honeycomb.
USE 5. If Christ is all, see here the Christian's
richness. How rich is he, who has Christ! He has all that may
make him completely happy. The wife of Phocion, being asked where her jewels
were, answered, "My husband and his triumphs are my jewels!" So, if a
Christian is asked where his riches are, he will say, "Christ is my riches!"
A true saint cannot be poor. If you look into his house, perhaps he has
scarcely a bed to lie on. 1 Corinthians 4:11, "Even to this present hour, we
both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and have no certain dwelling-place."
Come to many a child of God and bid him make his will, and he will say as
Peter, Acts 3:6, "Silver and gold have I none." Yet he can at the same time
make his triumph with the apostle, 2 Corinthians 6:10, "As having nothing—yet
possessing all." He has Christ, who is in all. When a believer can
call nothing his, he can say all is his.
The Tabernacle was covered with badgers' skins, Exodus
25:5, yet most of it was of gold; so a saint may have a poor covering, such
as ragged clothes—but he is inlaid with gold. Christ is formed in his
heart—and so he is all glorious within.
How a Christian should sit down satisfied with Christ!
"Christ is all." What? Though he lacks other things—is not Christ
enough? If a man has sunshine, he does not complain that he lacks the light
of a candle. Has he not enough, who has "the unsearchable riches of Christ?"
I have read of a godly man who, being blind, was asked by his friend if he
was not troubled for the lack of his sight. He confessed he was. "Why," said
his friend, "are you troubled because you lack that which flies have—when
you have that which angels have?" So I say to a Christian, "Why are you
troubled for lacking that which a reprobate has—when you have that which the
glorified saints have? You have Christ with all His benefit and royalties!"
Suppose a father should deny his son furniture for his
house—but should will all his land to him. Has he any cause to
complain? If God denies you a little furniture in the world—but in the
meantime wills His land to you; if He gives you the field wherein the pearl
of price is hidden, have you any cause to repine? A Christian who lacks
necessities, yet has Christ, has the one thing needful. Colossians 2:10,
"You are complete in Him." What! complete in Christ and not
content with Christ? Luther said, "The sea of God's mercy should swallow
up our particular afflictions." Surely this sea of God's love in giving us
Christ, should drown all our complaints and grievances. Let the Christian
take the harp and the violin and bless God.
USE 6. If Christ is all, see the deplorable condition of
a Christless person. He is poor; he is worth nothing. Revelation
3:17, "You are wretched, miserable and poor." The sadness of a man who lacks
Christ, will appear in these seven particulars:
1. He who lacks Christ, lacks justification.
What a glorious thing it is, when a poor sinner is absolved from guilt and
is declared to be acquitted of all charges of sin! But this privilege flows
from Christ; all pardons are sealed in His blood. Acts 13:39, "By Him all
who believe are justified;" so that he who is out of Christ is unjustified.
The guilt of sin cleaves to him. He must be responsible to justice in his
own person, and the curse stands in full force against the sinner.
2. He who lacks Christ, lacks the beauty of holiness.
Jesus Christ is a living spring of grace. John 1:14, "Full of grace and
truth." Now a Christless person, is a graceless person; he does not have one
shred of holiness. The sapling must first be engrafted into the stock before
it can receive sap and influence from the root. We must first be engrafted
into Christ before we can of His fullness receive grace for grace, John
1:16. A man out of Christ, is red with guilt and black with filth.
He is an unhallowed person and, dying in that condition, is rendered
incapable of seeing God, Hebrews 12:14.
3. He who lacks Christ, has no true nobility.
It is through Christ that we are akin to God—and of the royal blood of
heaven. It is through Christ that "God is not ashamed to be called our God,"
Hebrews 11:16. But out of Christ, we are looked upon as ignoble people. The
traitors' blood runs in our veins. A man out of Christ is base born. Whoever
is his natural father—the devil is his spiritual father, John
4. He who lacks Christ, lacks his freedom.
John 8:36, "If the Son sets you free—you shall be free indeed." A man out of
Christ is a slave, even when he sins most freely.
5. He who lacks Christ, has no ability for service.
When Samson's locks were cut, his strength was gone from him. He lacks a
vital principle; he cannot walk with God. He is like a dead member in the
body, which has neither strength nor motion. John 15:5, "Without Me you can
do nothing." The flute will make no sound, unless you blow in it. So, unless
Christ by His Spirit breathes in the soul—it cannot make any harmony or put
forth strength to any holy action.
6. He who lacks Christ, has no consolation.
Christ is called "the consolation of Israel," Luke 2:25. A Christless soul
is a comfortless soul. How can such a one have comfort, when he comes to
die? He is in debt—and has no surety. His wounds bleed—and he has no
physician. He sees the fire of God's wrath approaching—and has no screen to
keep it off. He is like a ship in a tempest. Sickness begins to make a
tempest in his body, sin begins to make a tempest in his conscience—and he
has nowhere to put in for harbor. Oh, the terror and anguish of such a man
at the hour of death! Isaiah 13:8, "Their face shall he as flames" is an
appropriate expression. The meaning is, such fear and horror shall seize
upon sinners in the evil day, that their countenances shall change and be as
pale as a flame.
What are all the comforts of the world to a dying sinner?
He looks upon his friends—but they cannot comfort him. Bring him bags of
gold and silver—and they are as smoke to sore eyes. It grieves him to part
with them. Bring him music? What comfort is the harp and violin to a
condemned man? There are in Spain tarantulas, venomous spiders; and those
who are stung with them are almost dead—but are cured with music. But those
who die without Christ, who is the consolation of Israel, are in such
hellish pangs and agonies—that no music is able to cure them!
7. He who lacks Christ, has no salvation.
Ephesians 5:23, "He is the Savior of the body." He saves none but those who
are members of His body mystical, a strong Scripture against the doctrine of
universal redemption. Christ leaped into the sea of His Father's wrath—only
to save His spouse from drowning! He is the Savior of the body, so
that those who die out of Christ, are cut off from all hopes of salvation.
USE 7. It reproves those who busy themselves about other
things—and neglect of Christ. Isaiah 55:2, "Why do you spend
money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfies
not?" If you get all the world, you are but golden beggars, without
Christ. The physician finds out deadly bodily diseases—but is ignorant of
soul diseases. While he gets remedies to cure others—he neglects the remedy
of Christ's blood, to cure himself. The lawyer, while he clears other men's
titles to their land, he himself lacks a title to Christ. The tradesman is
busied in buying and selling—but neglects to trade for the pearl of great
price. He is like Israel, who went up and down to gather straw, or
like the loadstone who draws iron to it but refuses gold. Those who
mind the world so as to neglect Christ—their work is but spider-webs. "They
work so hard—but all in vain!" Habakkuk 2:13
1. If Christ is all, then set a high valuation upon Jesus
Christ. 1 Peter 2:7, "To you who believe, He is precious." If
there were a jewel which contained in it the worth of all jewels, would you
not prize that? Such a jewel is Christ. So precious is Christ, that Paul
counted all things dung that he might win Christ, Philippians 3:8. Oh, that
I could raise your appreciation of Jesus Christ! Prize Christ above your
estates, and above your relations. That man does not deserve Christ at all,
who does not prize Christ above all. Jesus Christ is an incomprehensible
blessing. Whatever God can require for satisfaction, or can desire for
salvation—is to be found in Christ. Oh, then, let Him be the highest in our
esteem! "No writing shall please me," said Bernard, "if I do not read the
name of Christ there." The name of Christ is the only music to a Christian's
ear—and the blood of Christ is the only cordial to a Christian's heart!
2. If Jesus Christ is all, then make sure of Christ;
never leave trading in ordinances until you have gotten this pearl of great
price. In Christ there is the aggregation of all good things. Oh, then, let
not your souls be quiet until this bundle of myrrh lies between your
breasts! Song of Solomon 1:13. In other things we strive for property: "this
house is mine, these jewels are mine." Why not, "this Christ mine!" There
are only two words which will satisfy the soul: Deity and property.
What, was it better for the old world, if they had an ark—as long as they
did not get into the ark?
"The unsearchable riches of Christ." Ephesians 3:8. That
I may persuade all to get Christ—let me show you
what an enriching blessing Christ is:
1. Christ is the most SUPREME good. Put what
you will in the balance with Christ—He infinitely outweighs it. Is life
sweet? Christ is better. He is the life of the soul, Colossians 3:4. "His
loving-kindness is better than life," Psalm 63:3. Are relations sweet?
Christ is better. He is the friend who "sticks closer than a
2. Christ is the most sufficient good. He who
has Christ needs no more. He who has the ocean—needs not the
cistern. If one had a manuscript which contained all knowledge in it,
having all the arts and sciences—he need look in no other book. So he who
has Christ needs look no further. Christ gives both grace and
glory, Psalm 84:11; grace to cleanse us—and glory to crown
us. As Jacob said, "It is enough, Joseph my son is yet alive," Genesis
14:28. So he who has Christ may say, "It is enough, Jesus is yet alive!"
3. Christ is the most SUITABLE good. In Him
dwells all fullness, Colossians 1:19. Christ is whatever the soul can
desire. Christ is beauty to adorn, gold to enrich, balm to
heal, bread to strengthen, wine to comfort, and salvation
to crown. If we are in danger, Christ is a shield; if we are
disconsolate, He is a sun. He has enough in His wardrobe, to abundantly
furnish the soul.
4. Christ is the most SANCTIFYING good. He
makes every condition happy to us; He sweetens all our comforts—and
sanctifies all our crosses.
Christ sweetens all our comforts. He turns them
into blessings. Health is blessed; estate is blessed; relations are blessed.
Christ's love is like pouring sweet water on flowers, which makes them give
a more fragrant perfume. A wicked man cannot have that comfort in outward
things which a godly man has. He may possess more—but he enjoys less. He who
has Christ may say, "This mercy is given to me by the hand of my Savior;
this is a love-token from Him, a pledge of glory!"
Christ sanctifies all our crosses. They shall be
medicinal to the soul; they shall work sin out—and work grace in. God's
stretching the strings of His violin—is to tune it and make the music
better. Christ sees to it that His people lose nothing in the furnace, but
their drossy impurities.
5. Christ is the most RARE blessing; there are
but few who have Him. The best things, when they grow common, begin to he
slighted. When silver was as common in Jerusalem as stone, 1 Kings 10:27, it
was apt to be trod upon. Christ is a jewel that few are enriched with, which
may both raise our esteem of Him and quicken our pursuit after Him. Those to
whom God has given both the Indies, He has not given them Christ. They have
the fat of the earth—but not the dew of heaven. And, among us Protestants,
many hear of Christ but few have Him. Read Luke 4:25. There
are many in this city who have Christ sounded in their ears—but few who have
Christ formed in their hearts. Oh, how should we labor to be of this few!
They who are Christians should be restless.
6. Christ is the most choice good. God shows
more love in giving us Christ—than in giving us crowns and kingdoms. God may
give a man many worldly things—and hate him; but in giving Christ to a man
He gives him the blessings of the throne. What if others have a crutch to
lean on—if you have a Christ to lean on? Abraham sent away the sons of the
concubines with gifts but "he gave all he had to Isaac," Genesis 25. God may
send away others with a little gold and silver—but if He gives you Christ,
He gives you all that ever He had, for "Christ is all, and in all."
7. Without Christ, nothing else is good.
Without Christ, health is not good; it is fuel for lust. Riches are not
good; they are golden snares. Ordinances are not good; though they are good
in themselves, yet not good to us. They do not profit. They are as breasts
without milk, as bottles without wine. Nay, they are not only a dead
letter—but a savor of death. Without Christ, they will damn us. For lack of
Christ, millions go loaded to hell with ordinances.
8. Christ is the most ENDURING good. Other
things are like the lamp which, while it shines, it spends itself. The
heavens "shall wax old like a garment," Psalm 102:26. But Jesus Christ is a
permanent good; with Him are durable riches, Proverbs 8:18. They last as
long as eternity itself lasts.
9. Christ is a DIFFUSIVE, communicative good.
He is full not only as a vessel—but as a spring. He is willing
to give Himself to us. Now, then, if there is all this excellency in Jesus
Christ, it may make us ambitiously desirous of an interest in Him.
Question 1. But how shall I get a part in
Answer 1. See your need of Christ. Know that
you are undone without Him. How obnoxious are you to God's eye! How odious
to His pure and holy nature! How obnoxious to His justice! Oh, sinner, how
near is the sergeant to arrest you! The furnace of hell is being heated for
you—and what will you do without Christ? It is only the Lord Jesus—who can
stand as a screen to keep the fire of God's wrath from burning you! Tell me,
then, is there no need of Christ?
Answer 2. Be importunate after Christ. "Lord,
give me Christ—or I die!" As Achsah said to her father Caleb, Joshua 15:19,
"You have given me a south land—give me also springs of water"; so should a
poor soul say, "Lord, You have given me an estate in the world—but this
south land will now quench my thirst. Give me also springs of water; give me
those living springs which run in the Savior's blood! You have said,
'Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free
gift of the water of life!' Lord, I thirst after Jesus Christ; nothing
but Christ will satisfy me. I am dead. I am damned without Him. Oh, give me
this water of life!"
Answer 3. Be content to have Christ, as Christ
is offered—as both a Prince and a Savior, Acts 5:31. Be sure
you do not barter with Christ. Some would have Christ—and their
sins too. Is Christ all, and will you not part with something for this
all? Christ would have you part with nothing, but what will damn you—namely,
your sins. There are some who bid fair for Christ; they will part with
some sins but keep a secret reserve of darling sins. Does that
man think he shall have Christ's love—who feeds sin in secret? Oh, part with
all—for Him who is all! Part with your lusts, nay, your life—if Christ calls
you to that! This exhorts us not only to get Christ, but to labor to know
that we have Christ. 1 John 2:3, "This is how we are sure that we have
come to know Him."
Now, concerning this knowledge that Christ is ours, which
is the same as assurance, I shall lay down these corollaries or conclusions:
First, realize that this knowledge is attainable—it
may be gotten. 1 John 5:13, "I have written these things to you who believe
in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have
eternal life." Why else does God bid us make our calling and election sure,
2 Peter 1:10, if assurance may not be had? And why does God bid us make to
prove ourselves, whether we are in the faith, 2 Corinthians 13:5, if we
cannot come to this knowledge that Christ is ours?
What are all the signs which the Scripture gives
of a man in Christ—but so many ciphers—if the knowledge of this interest may
not be had? 1 John 3:14 and 1 John 4:13.
There are some duties enjoined in Scripture which are
utterly impossible to perform if the knowledge of an interest in Christ is
not attainable. We are bid to rejoice in God, Philippians 4:4, and to
rejoice in tribulation, 1 Peter 4:13. How can he rejoice in suffering—who
does not know whether Christ is his or not?
Why has Christ promised to send the Comforter, John
14:16, whose very work it is to bring the heart to this assurance, if
assurance that Christ is ours, may not be had?
Some of the saints have arrived at this certainty of
knowledge; therefore, it may be had. Job knew that his Redeemer lived, Job
19:25. And Paul had this assurance, 2 Timothy 1:12 and Galatians 2:20. Yes,
some might say that Paul was an eminent believer, a Christian of the first
magnitude; so it is no wonder he had this jewel of assurance! Nay—but the
apostle speaks of it as a case incident to other believers, Romans 8:35,
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" Not me—but
us! So that by all it appears that a believer may come to spell out his
Caution 1. Not that saints have always the
same certainty, or that they have such an assurance as excludes all
doubtings and conflicts. There will be flowings and ebbings in their
comforts—as well as in their graces. Was it not so in David?
Sometimes we hear him say that God's loving-kindness was before his eyes,
Psalm 26:3. But at another time, "Where are Your former loving-kindnesses?"
Psalm 89:49. These doubtings and convulsions God allows in His
children, sometimes, that they may long the more for heaven where they shall
have a constant springtime of joy.
Caution 2. Not that all believers have the
same assurance. Assurance is rather the fruit of faith—than faith
itself. Now, as the root of the rose or tulip may be alive, where the flower
is not visible—so faith may live in the heart where the flower of
assurance does not appear.
Assurance is difficult to be obtained. It is a
rare jewel, hard to come by. Not many Christians have this jewel. God
sees it good, sometimes, to withdraw assurance from His people—that they may
walk humbly. Satan does what he can to waylay and obstruct our assurance; he
is called the red dragon, Revelation 12:3. If he cannot blot a
Christian's evidence, yet sometimes lie casts such a mist before his eyes,
that he cannot read his evidence. The devil envies that God should
have any glory—or the soul any comfort.
That we lack assurance is, for the most part, our own
fault. We walk carelessly, neglect our spiritual watch, let go our hold of
promises, and comply with temptations. No wonder, then, if we walk in
darkness, and are at such a loss that we cannot tell whether Christ is ours
or not. Assurance is very sweet; this wine of paradise cheers the
Assurance is very useful, it will put us upon
service for Christ. It will put us upon active obedience. Assurance will
not, as the Papists say, breed carnal security in the soul—but
agility. It will make us mount up with wings as eagles in holy duties.
Faith makes us living; assurance makes us lively. If we know that Christ is
ours—we shall never think we can love Him enough or serve Him enough. 2
Corinthians 5:14, "The love of Christ constrains us!" Assurance will put us
upon patient suffering for Christ. Romans 5:3-5, "We glory in tribulation,
because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts." Mr. Foxe, in his Book
of Martyrs, speaks of a woman in Queen Mary's days who, when the adversaries
threatened to take her husband from her, answered, "Christ is my
husband!" When they threatened to take away her children she
answered, "Christ is better to me than ten sons!" When they threatened to
take away all from her, said she, "Christ is mine, and you cannot
take Him away from me!" No wonder Paul was willing to be bound and die for
Christ, Acts 21:13, when he knew that Christ loved him and had given Himself
for him, Galatians 2:20. Though I will not say Paul was proud of his
chain, yet he was glad for it; he wore it as a chain of diamonds!
Question 2. But how shall I get this jewel
Answer 1. Seek Christ diligently. When the
spouse sought Christ diligently, she found Him joyfully, Song
of Solomon 3:4.
Answer 2. Preserve the virginity of
conscience. When the glass is full you will not pour wine into it, only when
it is empty. Just so, when the soul is cleansed from the love of every sin,
then God will pour in the sweet wine of assurance. Hebrews 10:22, "Let us
draw near in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an
Answer 3. Be much in the actings of faith. The
more active the child is in obedience, the sooner he has his father's smile.
If faith is ready to die, Revelation 3:2, if it is like armor hung up, or
like a sleepy habit in the soul, never think that you can have assurance in
such a state.
Answer 4. If Christ is all, then make Him so
Make Christ all—in your
understanding. Be ambitious to know nothing but Christ, 1
Corinthians 2:2. What is it to have knowledge in medicine? To be
able, with Galen, to discourse of the causes and symptoms of a disease and
what is proper to apply—and, in the meantime, to be ignorant of the healing
under Christ's wings? What is it to have knowledge in astronomy, to
discourse of the stars and planets—and to be ignorant of Christ, that bright
morning-star which leads to heaven? What is it to have skill in a shop—and
be ignorant of that commodity which both enriches and crowns? What is it to
he versed in music—and to be ignorant of Christ, whose blood makes
atonement in heaven, and music in the conscience? What is it to know all the
stratagems of war—and to be ignorant of "the Prince of Peace"?
Oh, make Christ all! Be willing to know nothing but
Christ. Though you may know other things in their due place—yet know Christ
in the first place. Let the knowledge of Jesus Christ have the
pre-eminence, as the sun among the lesser planets. This is the crowning
knowledge. Proverbs 14:18, "The prudent are crowned with knowledge." We
cannot know ourselves, unless we know Christ. It is He who takes us into our
hearts and shows us the spots of our souls, whereby we abhor
ourselves in dust and ashes. Christ shows us our own emptiness and poverty.
Until we see our own emptiness, we are not fit to be filled with the golden
oil of mercy. We cannot know God—but through Christ, 2 Corinthians 4:6.
Make Christ all—in your
affections. Desire nothing but Christ. He is the
aggregation of all good things. "You are complete in Him," Colossians 2:10.
Christ is the Christian's perfection. Why should the soul desire less? How
can it desire more? Love nothing but Christ. Love is the choicest affection;
it is the richest jewel the creature has to bestow. Oh, if Christ is all,
love Him better than all!
Consider, first, if you love other things, when they die
your love is lost; but Christ lives forever to requite your love.
Consider, second, you may love other things in excess—but
you cannot love Christ in excess.
Consider, third, when you love other things, you love
that which is worse than yourselves. If you love a fair house, a pleasant
garden, a skillfully drawn picture, these things are worse than yourselves.
If I would love anything more intensely and ardently, it should be something
which is better than myself, and that is Jesus Christ. He who is all, let
Him have all. Give Him your love—who desires it most, and deserves it best.
Make Christ all—in your
abilities; do all in His strength. Ephesians 6:10, "Be strong in
the Lord, and in the power of His might." When you are to resist a
temptation, or to mortify a corruption—do not go out in your own strength,
but in the strength of Christ. Be strong in the Lord. Some go out to duty in
the strength of their abilities, and go out against sin in the strength of
their resolutions—and they both come home foiled. Alas! What are our
resolutions but like the green cords which bound Samson! A sinful heart will
soon break these. Do as David when he was to go up against Goliath. He said,
"I come to you in the name of the Lord." So say to your Goliath lust, "I
come to you in the name of Christ." Then we conquer, when the Lion of the
tribe of Judah marches before us.
Make Christ all—in your aims;
do all to His glory, 1 Peter 4:11.
Make Christ all in your trust.
Trust none but Christ for salvation. The Papists make Christ something,
but not all. And is there not naturally a spice of popery in
our hearts? We would be grafting happiness upon the stock of our own
righteousness. "Every man," said Luther, "is born with a pope in his
heart!" Oh, make Christ all in regard of reliance! Let Him be your city of
refuge to flee to, your ark of salvation.
Make Christ all in your joy.
Galatians 6:14, "God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our
Lord Jesus Christ." Oh, Christian, have you seen the Lord Jesus? Has this
morning-star shone into your heart with its enlightening, quickening beams?
Then rejoice and be exceeding glad! Shall others rejoice in the world—and
will not you rejoice in Christ! How much better is He than all other
things! It reflects disparagement upon Christ—when His saints are sad and
drooping. Is not Christ yours? What more would you have!
Objection. But, says one, "I am low in the
world, and that takes off the chariot wheels of my joy, and makes me drive
Answer. But have you not Christ? And is Christ all? Psalm
Objection. If indeed I knew Christ were mine,
then I could rejoice; but how shall I know that?
Answer 1. Is your soul filled with pantings after Christ?
Do you desire water out of Christ's side to cleanse you—as well as
blood out of His side to save you? These sighs and groans are stirred
up by the
Spirit of God. By the beating of this pulse, judge of the
life of faith in you.
Answer 2. Have you given up yourself by an universal
subjection to Christ? This is a good sign that Christ is yours.
Answer 3. Be thankful for Christ. God has done more for
you in giving you Christ—than if He had set you with the princes of the
earth, Psalm 118:8, or had made you angels, or had given you the whole
world. In short, God cannot give a greater gift than Christ, for, in giving
Christ, He gives Himself to us, and all this calls aloud for thankfulness.
Here is a breast of comfort to every man who has Christ:
Christ is all. It is good lying at this fountainhead. When a Christian sees
a deficiency in himself, he may see an all-sufficiency in his Savior! "Happy
is that people whose God is the Lord!" Psalm 144:15. That servant has no
lack—who has his master's full purse at command. He who has Christ, has no
lack—for "Christ is all and in all." What if the fig-tree does not
flourish—if you have Christ, the Tree of Life, and all fruit growing there?
In the hour of death, a believer may rejoice; when he leaves all, he is
possessed of all. As Ambrose said to his friend, "I fear not death because I
have a good Lord", so may a godly man say, "I fear not death, because I have
a Christ to go to! Death will but carry me to that torrent of divine
pleasure which runs at His right hand forevermore."
I will end with 1 Thessalonians 4:18, "Comfort one
another with these words."