One of the great problems with the Christian life is the many ideas related to the Christian life. Unbelievers put no confidence in the Spirit of Christ; therefore, their lives are nothing but idolatry. They are moved by dominating fears and pleasures. Demonic suggestions are entertained and sometimes embraced.
Christianity is Jesus Christ. There is no Jesus plus obedience to the Law, or Jesus plus charitable works. It is the devil’s work to produce distractions for both unbelievers and believers. The devil preaches, “Keep your eyes off of Jesus,” and “Seek first the kingdom of this world.”
The simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is found in the utter failure of everything we are and everything we do. There are no exceptions to the “bad news” of our existence apart from Christ (Jn 15:5; Eph 2:12). God has already assessed us (Jn 3:18), and what we do (Gen 6:5; Is 64:6). Some imagine there is some initiative by humanity to reach out to God, amidst our estrangement from Him (Rom 3:10–12), but the Bible disagrees.
The scandal of the Christian message, to the world, is that we are claiming the truth of man’s utter helplessness (Rom 5:6) and hopelessness (Eph 2:12). Humanity is without God in the world. We have set ourselves up to be at enmity with God (Rom 5:8), in our rebellion against Him. Man thinks he can fix what is perceived to be wrong in the world, but even the fix creates problems.
Generations come and go, but the problems that humanity attempts to solve, remain. God’s Word is settled in the heavens (Ps 119:91), and it remains, too. In fact, it will never pass away (Mt 24:35). All that God has revealed has come to pass, and because His Word is true (Ps 119:160), what He has planned and purposed will surely be (Eph 1:11). God is faithful in every generation (Ps 100:5).
With imperfections, men bear witness and testimony of what they see and believe. Compared with the Word of God, it can only be said that every man is a liar (Rom 3:4). Thus, the supremacy of preaching God’s Word is acknowledged by true Gospel assemblies. Others will forsake the sermon, from the man of God because they trust in themselves, not understanding the power and primacy of God’s Word proclaimed in the Spirit (1 Cor 2:2, 4).
Paul’s claim to the exclusivity of Jesus Christ, as the subject of our teaching and preaching, is fair warning to those who labor in self-help psychology and man-centered philosophical speculations. All the content of Holy Scripture must be employed, for the purpose of seeing Jesus…just Jesus.
By looking to and learning of our Lord and Savior, we are healed and helped. God has ordained that the salvation of His chosen people would be “in Christ” (Eph 1:4–5). We are positioned “in God” the Son, so that our status might be preferred over that of Adam in Paradise (Gen 2). His material blessing and abundance, in the world, is not to be compared with our union with Christ, in the Spirit (Eph 2:6).
We learn of Jesus Christ through Bible preaching, and God’s Spirit manifests conformity to Him. We are in a legal state of righteousness, and we are in a gracious state of becoming more like the perfect, sinless Son of God. He is far more excellent than Adam, even at Eden.
Christ Jesus is our all in all. He is everything we need for life. He supplies all we need (Phil 4:19), for every good work prepared for us (Eph 2:10). He is faithful to work His will in us, for us, through us (Phil 2:13). Here is the saint’s everlasting rest. Our trust is in Him, alone.
For this reason, the faithful preacher does not enslave the congregation to his preferred to do lists, nor to license. The true Gospel preacher looks to Jesus Christ, and he reports what he sees. By this, others see and believe, by God’s grace. This is why Christians must not be faithful to remain in a particular building or with a particular group of people. Rather, the believer must always be in search of the preacher, who raises Christ to the highest place in the wilderness of this world.
Jesus Christ must be exalted (Ps 118:16). He must be made known, so that all may know both the goodness and severity of God (Rom 11:22). Christ possesses all the attributes of God, but we see them in human form. This is not just for us to see the standard we can never reach, but so we might see Him, who reached the standard’s perfection in our stead.
The result of seeing the exalted Son of Man, and then, considering our depravity, the only logical conclusion is to revel in Him. He alone is the Man who secured right standing before God. He then calls His elect to come to Him (Mt 11:28), and every one of them does come (Jn 6:44), to have righteousness imputed to them. It is His Spirit who brings us this true knowledge of Him (Col 2:2; 3:10; 2 Pet 1:3; 8), who illumines our understanding of Him, who guides us on the way through this world, and who sees us unto glory (Rom 8:18, 30).
Christian, you are safe in the arms of Jesus. Everyone and everything else is a distraction. Your task may be simpler than you realize. Your salvation is to know God and be known by Him. He reveals Himself in Jesus Christ. To know Christ, then, is to know God. Everything works against this reality and pursuit. Therefore, your life must be ordered as such: first, Jesus; second, everyone and everything, as they relate to Jesus…just Jesus.
Spokane Valley, Washington
July 22, 2022