September 13, 2008

Knowing Christ By a Personal Revelation

I thought these questions I transcribed from a gospel tract were good for some healthy self-examination:

He said to them, "But who do you say I am?" And Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah: for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Matt 16:15-17).

The most important question we can be asked is this: Do we in reality know the living Christ? It is not: Are we religious? Are we members of local churches? Do we read the Bible? We might be very religious, yet not know Christ in the heart. We may be very loyal to our local church, we may study the Bible, we may "say our prayers," or even love to read religious books and study doctrine. But these soul searching questions still remain - Have we ever seen ourselves as lost, vile sinners before a Holy God? Have we ever been stripped of our self-righteousness and laid low in the dust of humility? Have we ever by faith perceived the glorious person of the Lord Jesus Christ, all because of a direct and personal revelation to us by God the Holy Spirit?

When Christ is made known by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, he is made known as the very well-spring of blessing to the soul. If we know Jesus no more than the world does, or than those who are intellectuals among men, then we do not have the real blessing. If we only know the Lord of glory by what we have found out by reading or talking to others, without the help of the Father's drawing power, then it is not the blessing of true salvation. If we do not know more of Christ than what flesh and blood can reveal, we are nothing more than Pharisees or Sadducees - religious, but lost without God - separatists or rationalists, but not recipients of revelation and regeneration. May the eternal Jehovah reveal to us our true and undone condition before Him!

Among the vast religious throngs of this earth there are to be found true people of God. Those chosen of the Father are also redeemed by the Son, and made alive by the Spirit. The elect of God know by deep acknowledgment of their sin that they are blind and ignorant by nature. The true children of God have been made humble; they confess their total dependence on the grace and mercy of Christ, and place their entire confidence and faith in his credible righteousness and shed blood. In the Lord Jesus Christ alone do "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph 1:7).

It is only when the Lord himself deals with us, taking us in his powerful hand, that we are truly taught who Christ is. We may have heard about Jesus, but we only know him as "the Son of the living God" when illuminated and made alive by God the Spirit. Jesus came forth from God, and the power to know Christ comes forth from God also. If we have Christ, we have eternal life! If we do not have Christ, we have nothing but dead, lifeless, counterfeit religion. Our blessed Master said, "No man can come to me, unless the Father who sent me draw him" (John 6:44). May divine power draw you this day! May we see Christ in all his beauty! May we come to worship and serve only him. Christ is to be seen, but in the light which he himself supplies. May that light shine on you even now, and to our glorious God be all the glory!

(Adapted from "Do You Know Christ By Personal Revelation" by W. F. Bell. Available from Chapel Library.)

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