EVERYTHING IS IN JESUS CHRIST
[9 March 1856]
In recalling with you, my dear friends, the convictions which my experience of life and of the gospel ministry and my study of the Word of God have strengthened, I said last Sunday: “Everything is by the Holy Spirit.” Today let us go on to say this, “Everything is in Jesus Christ.” We are inclined sometimes to imagine Jesus Christ as having only opened the door of Heaven to us, and then, so to speak, as having abandoned us to walk through it by ourselves. But that is indeed a narrow view of what the Lord has done and of what He is for us; and surely St. Paul had higher thoughts when he wrote: “I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified.” For him, God was summed up entirely in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ was summed up entirely in His cross. And he wrote in another place: “He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption,” by which we see that Jesus Christ has not been given to us only to wipe out our sins by His blood shed once and for all, but
that He has been given to us, once we are reconciled to God by this precious blood, to lead us, to sanctify us, to fill us with wisdom, and to accomplish all in all. And again he wrote: “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”; it is in the flesh, under a visible form, that God dwells in Christ, but He dwells there fully with all His glory and all His eternal perfections. And yet again in another profound passage, the same apostle wrote: “All things are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s”, where we see God, through an admirable and marvellous hierarchy, at the head of the whole system of eternal truth, sending forth His Son and leading Him; and His Son, in turn, calling us and adopting us to Him, in order that, in the name of His Son, we should rule over all things, and that we should possess the entire universe as the right of members of Him to whom the whole universe is subject. “All things are yours”, is the first degree; “and ye are Christ’s”, the second degree; “and Christ is God’s”, the third, or rather the first and supreme degree, to which all the rest are connected, and on which all the rest depend.
How far we are now in our thinking from those who represent Jesus Christ as having accomplished only one act, the principal act of our salvation! Jesus Christ is the God to man, as Pascal has so well put it in a passage where he develops, in a profoundly Christian manner, the place which Jesus Christ occupies between God and us; He is the God who gave Himself to us; He gave Himself entirely; and when we possess Jesus Christ by true faith, we possess nothing less than God Himself, and, in Him, eternal life; “He that hath the Son hath life . . . God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
Therefore, whatever need we are concerned with satisfying in our souls and in our entire existence, earthly or eternal, we find satisfaction in Jesus Christ. Is it first of all a matter of having our sins blotted out? He has blotted them out with His blood. There is only one thing in the world which can blot out sins: it is not our penances, or our repentance; it is not our alms or our good works; it is not even our prayers; it is the blood of Jesus Christ: “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.” Every sin covered by the blood of Jesus Christ is forever annihilated before God. God Himself sees them no more: I could employ even stronger expressions without wandering away from Scripture. “God himself will seek them,” says a prophet, “and will no longer find them … he hath cast our sins behind his back,” so as not to think of them any more. “He hath cast them into the depth of the sea”; and looking at us in Christ, He sees us without sin, as Christ Himself, who “was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Do we need to be comforted in our sufferings? We go to Jesus Christ;
He suffered like us, more than us, infinitely more than we can suffer, infinitely more than we can conceive of anyone suffering; all our sufferings are only like a little stream flowing from the flood of His infinite suffering; just as from His cross flows all mercy and all consolation. Therefore it is to the Man of Sorrows that we go, to find consolation and peace, knowing that He knows what weakness is, knowing that in drawing near to Him we shall not only find relief from our pains, but we shall see in them a true blessing, and that our bitterest afflictions will in the end prove to be His most signal blessings.
Do we need light and wisdom, strength to resist sin? Whatever we need, whether in this life or the next, everything is in Christ: having Christ we have all things, but without Him we have absolutely nothing. That is why the apostle Paul says, in this marvellous passage which I was just quoting to you: “All things are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s”. All things are yours, if you are Christ’s, who is God’s. No-one will challenge the relationship which God has to Christ; no-one will be able to challenge that which Christ has to us, if we are true Christians. So then, what may we conclude from this?- that all things are ours.
Am I poor? All the fortunes in this world are mine; for they are Christ’s, who is God’s, and He could easily give me, with Him and through Him, all the fortunes of this world, if it were for my good. If instead of riches He gives me poverty, then it is because that is best for me, and what God has chosen. The whole world, with all its glories and all its power, belongs to me, for they belong to my Father, who will give me them tomorrow and who could give me them today if it was for my good; for He disposes of them as He pleases.
Am I ill? Health is mine, strength is mine, well-being is mine, and the full enjoyment of all the good things of life is mine. For all these are Christ’s, who is God’s and who disposes of them as He pleases. To whom would He vouchsafe them, if not to me. His child? If, then, He refuses them to me today, for a fleeting moment which passes like a weaver’s shuttle, He has His reasons for doing so; it is because, in this suffering and bitterness, He has hidden blessings which are worth more to me than health, which is so precious, and well-being, which is so sweet. He never deprives me of any good thing, except to grant me something better: that is my consolation, all in His love.
Do I need wisdom and enlightenment? Well, though I were ignorant all my life, through not having the opportunity of cultivating my faculties in the world, I would still be a wise man in Christ. Knowing Christ, I am more enlightened and more illuminated by the things of God than the man of the world who spends a whole life-time poring over his books; for I know that light, uncreated and eternal, which he does not know: the light which God Himself rejoices in, and by which I am being led unerringly through all the darkness and obscurity of life. 1 challenge you to find anything of which I cannot say: “This belongs to my Father and therefore to me; if He denies it me today, He will give it me tomorrow; I trust in His love”. All is mine if I am Christ’s.
Notice also that St. Paul says in the chapter which we read at the beginning: “I determined not to know any thing among you save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”. O my friends, let us not be so ungrateful as to forget that it is under the cross and by the cross that Jesus Christ has obtained and merited for us this immense happiness which I am trying to describe, though I realise that I am not succeeding even in catching a glimpse, or conceiving anything of it. It is by the shedding of His blood, by His unimaginable sufferings that He has accomplished everything for us. His love is the source of our deliverance and of our complete redemption: what a Saviour!
This is where we began, and this is where we must end. We come to His cross and we sit down beneath it. We want nothing in the world to tear us away from this place; we want to live there and to die there. Dear friends, soon all the scenes of this world will have passed away. We have tribulation in the world, but be of good courage: Jesus Christ has overcome the world. The strong man has been bound by a stronger than he; and here we are now in the presence of Christ, who has redeemed us with His blood, and who waits to crown us with glory and felicity.
Do you not want His glory? do you not want His love? Know Him as He is. Embrace Him wholly by a sincere faith, so that you may realise these admirable words of the apostle, upon which we have meditated for a short time. May you be happy in life, and happier still in death; and may this life, which is so sad for the men of the world, be for you an existence in which light and peace always increase, until the day of Christ, to whom be given praise, honour and glory, and, above all, the homage of our hearts, and if it be possible, a love answering His!