• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • April 2023
    M T W T F S S
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None but Christ

It has pleased the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost that in Christ should all fullness dwell. Into his hands all things would be given. Ralph Erskine writes:

“The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” (John 3:35)

All things are given to him [Christ] with the solemnity of a promise; such as, Psalm 72:8-11, “His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” To the same purpose, Psalm 89:24, 25, “But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him; and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers.” Yea, all things are given into his hand with the solemnity of an oath, Psalm 89:34, 357 94 MY covenant will I not break, nor alter the word that hath gone out of my mouth; once have I sworn by my holiness, I will not lie unto David.” Psalm 110:4-7, “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, thou art a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek, &c.; not only so, but a King, for ever, upon a throne, ruling over all things; “The Lord, at thy right hand, shall strike through kings in his wrath; he shall judge among the heathen; he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the head over many countries.” This vast treasure, then, is well secured. . . .

He [Christ] is the centrical [center] place, not only the middle person of the glorious Trinity, but also the Mediator between God and man, that all things between God and man, they might have all things common between them, for his own glory and their good. Read concerning this, Eph. 1. 10, “That he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are in earth, even in him.” All things good and bad may be said to be given into his hand; all evil things, such as, the devil, the world, and sin, and death, that they may be ruled and overruled; and all good things, that they may be managed and secured. All our enemies are put in his hand, that they may be destroyed; and all our blessings put in his hand, that they may be preserved. None but Christ was capable of such a trust; no mere creature, among men or angels, was capable to bear this glory; “It is he that builds the temple of the Lord, and bears the glory,” Zech. 6:13. None but he was capable to be the disposer of all needs and dispenser of all blessings: therefore he is made the general receiver of all things. (“Heaven’s Grand Repository”)

The Giver of All Things

Ralph Erskine explains below how it is that all things given by God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit still belong to God:

“The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” (John 3:35)

[God] is the giver of all things, and the possessor of all things; insomuch that, when he gives all things, he cannot lose thereby the possession of any thing he gives; for, the Father’s giving all things into Christ’s hand doth not imply that he alienates his own right. It is true, when we give a thing to another, we lose a right to it; but it is not so with God; for when he gives all things to Christ, and when he gives Christ, and all things in him to us, he still keeps his right to all that he gives; “All things are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s,” 1 Cor. 3:22, 23. Thus, what the Father gives into Christ’s hand, remains still in the Father’s hand; “And I give unto them eternal life, and none shall pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one,” John 10:28. . . .

This donative (gifting) right that he hath, as Mediator, as it is well adapted to him, who, as God, hath the same essential right and title to all things with the Father and the Holy Ghost. For, as to his eternal Godhead, he is the everlasting Father, Isaiah 9:6, whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting, Micah 5:2. “By whom are all things, and we by him,” 1 Cor. 8:6. And, as Mediator, his donative right is attended with an acquisitive right, by his purchase, by which he hath merited and obtained a name above every name, and a being head over all things to the church, Phil. 2:97 Eph. 5:23. A bellical [martial] right, by conquest, making the people to fall under him, Psalm 110:4; making them willing in a day of his power, Psalm 110:3; and overcoming those that make war with him, Rev. 17:14. He is able to subdue all things to himself,” Heb. 2:8. An hereditary right, being the heir of all things, Heb. 1:2, and being the first-born, higher than the kings of the earth, Psalm 89:27; the first born from the dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence, Col. 1:18. (Heaven’s Grand Repository)

Christ Can Satisfy All Desires

Jesus Christ gives power to the faint. If you have no might, He will give you strength. He is the Author of our faith. According to Ralph Erskine:

“The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” (John 3:35)

If Christ can satisfy all the desires, suit all the conditions, and answer all the objections of sinners, then he must have all things; but so it is, he can satisfy all desires of sinners; for he is the Desire of all nations, and everything desirable is in him; ‘He is altogether lovely’ (or all desires, as the word imports), Song 5:16, made up of desirable things.” Is worth desirable? He is the treasure hid in the field. Is wisdom desirable? In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom hath builded her house, Prov. 9:1; it is in the plural number, wisdoms. Christ is a compound of wisdom. He can suit all conditions of poor sinners; there is no condition you can be in, but he hath a promise suited to it; so that there is in Christ what suits all cases; for the promises are nothing else but the veins where the blood and fullness of Christ doth run.

As Christ can satisfy all desires and suit all conditions, so he can answer all objections. If any of you say, “Alas! I am a poor lost sinner, then Christ says, “I came to seek and to save that which is lost,” Luke 19:10. “Oh!” says another, I am unrighteous, and I am a great sinner.” Well, Christ says, I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,” Math. 9:13. Oh,” says a third, “but I cannot repent.” Well, it is answered, Him hath God exalted to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins, Acts 5:31, “Alas!” cries another, “but I cannot turn from sin.” It is answered, Christ is sent to bless you, in turning every one of you from your iniquities, Acts 3:26. It is his work to turn away transgression from Jacob; to turn you from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. (“Heaven’s Grand Repository”)

All That Is Good Is But a Shadow of Christ

As a child in Sunday School, our class would often be led in the song; “He Has The Whole World In His Hands”. Little did I realize at that time how true those words were. Ralph Erskine reminds us of this great truth below:

“The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” (John 3:35)

“Vanity of vanity, says the preacher, all is vanity,” Eccl. 1:2. All the riches, pleasures, profits, and preferments of the world are but emptiness; your wisdom, your parts, your children, your lands, your revenues, without Christ, can amount to nothing; they are but like zeros without a number. It is said of believers, 2 Cor. 6:10. Having nothing, they possess all things; because, though they had nothing in the world, yet, having Christ, they have all things; and on the other hand, it may be truly said of the wicked and unbelieving, that, having all things, they possess nothing; because, though they had all things in the world at their will, yet, being without Christ, they have nothing; all they have is but emptiness; yea, all they have is a curse, because they have not Christ. And thus all things, without him, are not only nothing, but worse than nothing.

Demonstration of this truth is, “If all things in the world be but a shadow of what is in Christ, then all things are in Christ’s hand substantially; but so it is, all good things in the world are but shadows of what is in Christ.” Outward riches are but a shadow of the unsearchable riches of Christ; outward life is but a shadow of him who is the way, the truth, and the life; outward liberty is but a shadow of that freedom that is to be had in Christ; If the Son make you free, then are you free indeed,” John 8:36 importing that no freedom is freedom indeed, and in truth, but this; outward rest is but a shadow of the rest that is to be had in him; “Come to me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The sun in the firmament is but a shadow of the Sun of righteousness, and of his glory; roses and lilies are but shadows of his beauty, who is the rose of Sharon, and lily of the valley; rivers and fountains are but shadows of his fullness, who is the fountain of living waters; not a fountain closed, but a fountain opened to us: plants and trees are but a shadow of the verdure of him who is the plant of renown, the tree of life. All things that have any excellency in them are but shadows of him in whom all excellencies do concentre [focus]. All the stars of creature-excellencies are but shadows of him who is the bright and morning Star. (“Heaven’s Grand Repository”)

All Things are in the Hands of Christ

The Christian has been given an advantage in Christ; this connection to Christ gives the Christian an interest in God; by which the love of Christ is made manifest. Ralph Erskine gives us food for thought:

The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. (John 3:35 ESV)

Nothing in the world, will sweeten the remembrance of Christ’s love to us, so much as the believing remembrance of the Father’s love to him; even as nothing can provoke us more to put honor upon Christ, than to see how much honor the Father puts upon him; and for this end, “That all men might honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.” Why, what honor has the Father put upon him? It is even the greatest honor; and that wherein our greatest happiness lies He hath given all things into his hand.”

Since faith comes by hearing of the object of faith, by hearing what Christ, the object of faith is, and what he hath, let your eye be towards him, and your ear be open to hear what is said of him; that, in hearing, you may believe, without seeking to draw faith out of your own heart and bowels, whence you will never find it. If there be any subject in the world, the hearing whereof tends, through grace, to work saving faith, it is this, that faith, and all grace, all good, all fullness, all things, are in Christ’s hand. . . .

All things are in the hand of Christ, we mean not only generally, all things in the kingdom of providence; because his kingdom rules over all; and, “He is the Head of all things unto the church,” Eph. 1:22, but also, particularly, all things in the kingdom of grace, of which he says, “My kingdom is not of this world,” John 18:46. But blessed be God, he hath not said, his spiritual kingdom is not in this world; but it is not of this world: he hath his spiritual invisible kingdom in the hearts of his people in this world; who, though they are in it, yet they are not of it, but chosen out of the world; yet, sometimes this kingdom of his is visible, in the remarkable tokens of his spiritual presence in his ordinances. And, O for many such tokens this day!

If they that inherit Christ, inherit all things; then all things are in his hand; but so it is, they that inherit him, inherit all things, 1 Cor. 3:21-23. For all things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present or things to come: all are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. This golden chain, together with all things present, and all things to come, is linked to the believer, because he is united unto Christ. (“Heaven’s Grand Repository”)

Loving Christ

Ralph Erskine

Quoting Ralph Erskine:

See here the right rule of our love to Christ, namely to love him as the Father loves him. Wherein should our love to Christ resemble the Father’s love? Why, the Father’s love to the Son was evidenced in choosing him to be our Savior and Surety: so should our love to Christ be manifested in making choice of him to be our Savior and Surety; insomuch, that as God hath laid all our help upon him, so we should lay all our help where God hath laid it. Again, the Father’s love to the Son was evidenced in giving all things into his hand: thus should our love to Christ be evidenced in putting all things in his hand as the Father doth; and particularly, you may put your hearts in his hand, that he may keep them; put your souls in his hand, that he may save them; put your plagues in his hand, that he may heal them; put your corruptions in his hand, that he may weaken and subdue them. Put your wants in his hand, that he may supply them; put your work in his hand, that he may work all your works in you, and for you; put your burdens in his hand, that he may bear them: put all things in his hand, and thus evidence your love to him, by putting honor upon him as a Prophet, to teach you; as a Priest, to pardon; and as a King, to conquer you by his grace, and crown you with his glory.

Yes! The Sinner Should Plead with God

Ralph Erskine

Ralph Erskine advises us in this article why and for what purpose sinners should plead with God:

Plead His promise, Ezek 36:26, 27. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” It is a free, gracious promise: cry to Him to make good that word to you. . . .

Plead your own feebleness and inability to help yourselves; this was the impotent man’s plea at the pool of Bethesda, John 5:6,7 “When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ ‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.'” So say you, Lord, I have lain many years with this dead plagued heart, beside the open fountain of your blood; I am unable to move to it of myself; I have none to put me in: ordinances cannot do it; ministers cannot do it; You must put to your helping hand, or else the work will remain unperformed.

Plead His power, in a sense of your own weakness. Do you feel the power and multitude of your corruptions within you? Say with Jehoshaphat, “Lord I have no might against this great company; neither know I what to do: but mine eyes are upon you.” With You all things are possible. Though I may despair of help in myself and others. . . . therefore say, let there be faith, and it will immediately take place; for faith is Your work and Your gift: it is “the work of God that we believe: by grace we are saved, through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Plead your necessity, your extreme need of Christ and of faith in Him. O man, there is not a starving man that needs food so much as you need Christ: there is not a wounded man that needs a physician; a shipwrecked man that needs a plank; a dying man, with the death rattle in his throat, that needs breath so much, as you need Christ. O then, cry, “Give me Christ, or else I die.” I may live without friends, without wealth, and honor, and pleasure; but I cannot live without Christ, and without faith. Plead His power; how easy it is for Him to help, saying, as Psalm 80:1 “you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth!” It will cost You no more pain to work faith in me, than it does the sun to shine forth. . . .

Plead His mercy, and the freedom and extension of it. Plead the freedom of His mercy that needs no motive, and expects no worth: it runs freely, so that the mountains cannot stop the current of it, no more than the rocks can stop the ebbing and flowing of the sea. . . .

Plead Christ’s commission, Isa. 61:1, that He came “to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” Cry, Lord, here is a poor prisoner, [one] locked and bound up heart; here is employment for You. O loose and knock off my fetters, and bring my soul out of prison. . . .

Thus I have laid before you some directions, in order to the receiving of Christ. O cry for grace to follow them, and put them in practice, so you may indeed close the bargain with Him. O shall all these directions be lost, and Christ is still slighted and rejected! O friends, you cannot please God better, than by coming to Christ and embracing the offer of Him; and you cannot please the devil better than by refusing the offer of Christ; and putting Him off with delays, till you perish in your unbelief.

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