The Shelf

The second of these passages

Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” contains a gracious invitation, made by the compassionate Savior to a particular class of sinners. The “all” is at once qualified, clearly and definitely, by the words which immediately follow it. The character of those to whom this loving word belongs is clearly defined: it is to those who “labor” and are “heavy laden.” Most clearly then it applies not to the vast majority of our light-headed, gay-hearted, pleasure-seeking fellows who have no regard for God’s glory and no concern about their eternal welfare. No, the word for such poor creatures is rather, “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment” (Eccl. 11:9). But to those who are “heavy-laden” with a felt sense of their utter inability to meet His requirements, and who long to be delivered from the power and pollution of sin, Christ says, “Come unto me, and I will give you rest.”   

The third passage

John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day,” at once tells us that “coming to Christ” is not the easy matter so many imagine it, nor so simple a thing as most preachers represent it to be. Instead it is do being, the incarnate Son of God positively declares that such an act is utterly impossible to a fallen and depraved creature unless and until Divine power is brought to bear upon him. A most pride-humbling, flesh-withering, man-abasing word is this. “Coming to Christ” is a far, far different thing from raising your hand to be prayed for by some Protestant “priest,” coming forward and taking some cheap-jack evangelist’s hand, singing some “decision” card, uniting with some “church,” or any other of the “many inventions” (Eccl. 7:29) of man. Before anyone can or will “come to Christ” the understanding must be supernaturally enlightened, the heart must be supernaturally changed, the stubborn will must be supernaturally broken.

The fourth passage

John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” is also one that is unpalatable to the carnal mind, yet is it a precious portion unto the Spirit-taught children of God. It sets forth the blessed truth of unconditional election, or the discriminating grace of God. It speaks of a favoured people whom the Father giveth to His Son. It declares that every one of that blessed company shall come to Christ: neither the effects of their fall in Adam, the power of indwelling sin, the hatred and untiring efforts of Satan, nor the deceptive delusions of blind preachers will be able to finally hinder them-when God’s appointed hour arrives, each of His elect is delivered from the power of darkness and is translated into the kingdom of his dear Son. It announces that each such one who comes to Christ, no matter how unworthy and vile he be in himself no matter how black and long the awful catalogue of his sins, He will by no means despise or fail to welcome  him, and under no circumstances will He ever cast him off.

The fifth passage

John 14:26, 27 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” is one that makes known the terms on which alone Christ is willing to receive sinners. Here the uncompromising claims of His holiness are set out. He must be crowned Lord of all, or He will not be Lord at all. There must be the complete heart-renunciation of all that stands in competition with Him. He will brook on rival. All that pertains to “the flesh,” whether found in a loved one or in self, has to be hated. The “cross” is the badge of Christian discipleship: not a golden one worn on the body, but the principle of self-denial and self-sacrifice ruling the heart. How evident is it, then, that a mighty, supernatural work of divine grace must be wrought in the human heart, if any man will even desire to meet such terms!  

The sixth passage

1 Peter 2:4 “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,”   tells us that the Christian is to continue as he began. We are to “come to Christ” not once and for all, but frequently, daily. He is the only One who can minister to our needs, and to Him we must constantly turn for the supply of them. In our self-emptiness, we must turn to Him for (John 1:16). In our ignorance our weakness, we must turn to Him for strength. In our ignorance we must seek afresh His cleansing. All that we need for time and eternity is stored up in Him: refreshment when we are weary (Isa. 40:31), healing of body when we are sick (Ex. 15:26), comfort when we are sad 1 Pet. 5:7), deliverance when we are tempted (Heb. 2:18). If we have wandered away from Him, left our first love, then the remedy is to “repent and do the first works” (Rev. 2:5),that is, cast ourselves upon Him anew, come just as we did the first time we came to Him-as unworthy, self-confessed sinners, seeking His mercy and forgiveness.

The seventh passage

Hebrews 7:25 “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them,” assures us of the eternal security of those who do come. Christ’s saves “unto the uttermost” or “for evermore” those who come unto God by Him. He is not of one mind to day and another tomorrow. No, He is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). “Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (John 13:1), and blessedly does He give proof of this, for “He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Inasmuch as His prayers are effectual, for He declares that the Father hearest Him “always” (John 11:42), none whose name is indelibly stamped on the heart of our great High Priest can ever perish, Hallelujah!

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” Titus 2:11
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