Friday, January 27, 2012

Of His Fullness

"And of His fulness have all we received."
-- John 1:16

These words tell us that there is a fulness in Christ. There is a fulness of essential Deity, for "in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead." There is a fulness of perfect manhood, for in Him, bodily, that Godhead was revealed. There is a fulness of atoning efficacy in His blood, for "the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." There is a fulness of justifying righteousness in His life, for "there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." There is a fulness of divine prevalence in His plea, for "He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him; seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." There is a fulness of victory in His death, for through death He destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil. There is a fulness of efficacy in His resurrection from the dead, for by it "we are begotten again unto a lively hope." There is a fulness of triumph in His ascension, for "when He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and received gifts for men." There is a fulness of blessings of every sort and shape; a fulness of grace to pardon, of grace to regenerate, of grace to sanctify, of grace to preserve, and of grace to perfect. There is a fulness at all times; a fulness of comfort in affliction; a fulness of guidance in prosperity. A fulness of every divine attribute, of wisdom, of power, of love; a fulness which it were impossible to survey, much less to explore. "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell." Oh, what a fulness must this be of which all receive! Fulness, indeed, must there be when the stream is always flowing, and yet the well springs up as free, as rich, as full as ever. Come, believer, and get all thy need supplied; ask largely, and thou shalt receive largely, for this "fulness" is inexhaustible, and is treasured up where all the needy may reach it, even in Jesus, Immanuel-God with us.

- Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Will Give You A New Heart

Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” The heart is the seat of the affections. It is the mind, the understanding. Man, in his sinful state has a heart, that is, a mind and understanding that is deceitful (or crooked, polluted) and is desperately wicked (or incurably sick). The problem is that in this state man cannot appear before God for it says in the Psalms, “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol…” (Psalms 24:3-4). Also Jesus said in Matthew 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” But apart from this pure heart we cannot. Thus with a wicked and depraved heart we cannot have fellowship with God.

But God promised to give His people a new heart. He says through Ezekiel, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezek 36:26-27) God gives us a new heart through the atoning work of Christ and concerning our salvation Paul wrote, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart…” (Romans 2:28-29) Our hearts have been cleansed, purified and made pure. “Therefore,” Paul writes, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor 5:17) In Christ we have been made new. The depraved, incurable heart that we had was crucified with Christ and it no longer lives, but Christ lives within us (Gal. 2:20).

However, lest we become confident in ourselves we must remember that although we are pure before God the old man is still lurking and still trying to influence us. Proverbs warns us that “He who trusts in his own heart (mind or understanding) is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.” (Prov. 28:26) We are to trust the Word of God above all and test everything against it, including our own reasoning and thoughts. But praise the Lord for the new heart He has given us, a heart that is soft towards Him, a heart of faith and love. It is not our heart, not our mind; "...we have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16).