09 March 2017

Faith Makes Christ Precious

To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ. (Ephesians 3:8)
Faith is the effect of a principle of new life implanted in the soul, that was before dead in trespasses and sins; and it qualifies, not only for obeying the Savior's precepts, but chiefly and primarily for receiving from and rejoicing in his fullness, admiring his love, his work, his person, his glory, his advocacy. It makes Christ precious; enthrones him in the heart; presents him as the most delightful object to our meditations—as our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and strength; our root, head life, shepherd, husband...

A most valued friend of mine, a clergyman now living, had for many years given a rational assent to the gospel. He labored with much earnestness...was very exemplary in his whole conduct; preached almost incessantly (two or three times every day in the week for years)...He succeeded likewise with his people so far as to break them off from outward irregularities; and was mentioned, in a letter to the Society for Propagating the Gospel...as the most perfect example of a parish priest which this nation, or perhaps this age, has produced...

One day, reading Ephesians 3 in his Greek Testament, his thoughts were stopped...He was struck, and led to think with himself to this purpose: The apostle, when speaking of Christ, uses remarkable expressions; he speaks of heights, and depths, and lengths, and breadths, and unsearchable, where I seem to find everything plain, easy, and rational...

This led him to a close examination of all his epistles and, by the blessing of God, brought on a total change in his views and preaching. He no longer set his people to keep a law of faith; to trust in their sincerity and endeavors, upon some general hope that Christ would help them out where they came short; but he preached Christ himself, as the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. He felt himself, and labored to convince others, that there is no hope for a sinner but merely in the blood of Jesus; and no possibility of his doing an works acceptable to God, till he himself be first made accepted in the Beloved.

— John Newton, Jewels from John Newton: 07 March, Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2016.

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