Christ is the Saviour of Sinners

Christ is the Saviour of sinners,
Christ is the Saviour for me;
Long I was chained in sin’s darkness,
Now by His grace I am free.
Saviour of sinners,
Saviour of sinners like me,
Giving Himself as a ransom –
This is the Saviour for me.

children-singing

Christ is the Saviour of sinners,
Christ is the Saviour for me;
Long I was chained in sin’s darkness,
Now by His grace I am free.
 
     Chorus.

     Saviour of sinners,
     Saviour of sinners like me,
     Giving Himself as a ransom –
     This is the Saviour for me.
 
Now I can say I am pardoned,
Happy and justified, free,
Saved by my blessed Redeemer –
This is the Saviour for me.
 
Just as I was He received me,
Seeking from judgment to flee;
Now there is no condemnation –
This is the Saviour for me.
 
Loved with a love that’s unchanging,
Blessed with all blessings so free,
How shall I tell out His praises!
This is the Saviour for me.
 
Soon shall the glory be dawning,
Then, when His face I shall see,
Sing, O my soul, in thy gladness,
This is the Saviour for me!
 

Dr Heyman Wreford (1850-1934)

 

Little Flock Hymn Book (1951(102), 1962(122), 1973(122)).

 

 

Defence of the Glad Tidings – Do our Children really know the Gospel?

A couple of Lord’s Days ago, my wife and I were at the house of Christian friends.  Their grandchildren were there, and we sang a few children’s hymns.  Of course, one was that perennial favourite, ‘Jesus loves me, this I know’.  When they sang those words: ‘If I love Him when I die, He will take me home on high’, I thought ‘Wow! Are we teaching our children THAT?

Of course I would not be so narrow minded to stop children singing that hymn.  If at a tender age, our young children can speak of Jesus’ love – that’s good.  If they believe it from their hearts – that’s better.  Nor do I expect them to be judicious as to the words.  It’s taken me many years to think about them.  Indeed, the thoughts knowing the Lord’s love, of believing the Bible, and trusting Him for everything, are good.

I note the verse containing these words was not in the original poem by Anna Warner.  I am not sure whether they were in hymn lyrics by William Bradbury, there appears to be many versions.  So it is clear that many have been concerned as to the implied doctrine in this and other children’s favourites, and have sought to modify the words.

Of course we know that our salvation is not conditional on our loving Him at the moment of death.  The Lord’s work is a completed work: by accepting the Lord Jesus as my Saviour – He having died for my sins, I am saved for both time and eternity.

But I look back to my childhood in the 1950’s, and think: ‘Did I see Christianity – and more specifically the Christian meetings I attended, as a sphere of love and grace, or as a religion where I outwardly tried to keep to a level of conduct, making me believe that I was a better Christian than others?  At the same time did I have a knowledge of the Lord Jesus as my Saviour?  Was I saved?’  The answers to these were clear to me now.  I thought myself better; I did not know if I was saved or not (and I was worried about that), and I saw Christianity as a series of rules protecting me from a world which was going to be judged.  My attitude was not one of repentance. I could talk about having a personal link with the Lord, but I don’t think I really had one.  No doubt I had attended many good preachings, but the message did not sink in.  Of course God was gracious.  But I am sure I was well into my 20’s before I really had peace, the assurance of salvation and of the indwelling Spirit of God. I don’t think my experience was untypical.

Here is a challenge for Christian parents, and those with influence in local gatherings.  Do we really ensure that our young people understand the gospel of God’s grace.  Of course a young person has to learn things by experience.  But what are they getting from what they hear – and sing?

Some hymns do convey the true gospel message, for example, one that is a favourite amongst children in the company we meet with is:children-singing

Christ is the Saviour of sinners,
Christ is the Saviour for me;
Long I was chained in sin’s darkness,
Now by His grace I am free.
 
     Chorus.

     Saviour of sinners,
     Saviour of sinners like me,
     Giving Himself as a ransom –
     This is the Saviour for me.
 
Now I can say I am pardoned,
Happy and justified, free,
Saved by my blessed Redeemer –
This is the Saviour for me.
 
Just as I was He received me,
Seeking from judgment to flee;
Now there is no condemnation –
This is the Saviour for me.
 
Loved with a love that’s unchanging,
Blessed with all blessings so free,
How shall I tell out His praises!
This is the Saviour for me.
 
Soon shall the glory be dawning,
Then, when His face I shall see,
Sing, O my soul, in thy gladness,
This is the Saviour for me!
 

Dr Heyman Wreford (1850-1934)

 

Little Flock Hymn Book (1951(102), 1962(122), 1973(122)).

 

 

The True Grace of God wherein we stand.

We have thought quite long enough about ourselves. Let us now think about Him who thought about us with thoughts of good, not evil, long before we even existed, and had any thoughts of own at all. May we see what God’s thoughts of grace about us are, and echo the words of faith in Romans 8:31, ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ I am entitled to forget myself; I am entitled to forget my sins; I am NOT entitled to forget Jesus.
True humility does not so much consist in thinking badly of myself, as in not thinking of myself at all. I am too bad to be worth thinking about.

JohnNelsonDarbyBy Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. (1 Peter 5:12)

God is the ‘God of all Grace’ (1 Peter 5:10), but how hard it is for us to believe that the Lord is gracious. Our natural feelings may be expressed by the servants’ statement ‘I know that thou art an austere [or hard] man’ (Luke 19:21). We need to understand the Grace of God.

Some think that grace implies God’s passing over sin. That is completely wrong – God cannot tolerate sin. If I could, after sinning, patch up my ways and mend myself in order to stand before God, there would be no need of grace. The Lord is gracious because I am a sinner: my state is utterly ruined and hopeless, and nothing but free grace can meet my need.

The moment I understand that I am a sinful man or woman, and that the Lord knew the full extent and how hateful my sin was to Him, and that He came to me, I understand what grace is. Faith makes me see that God is greater than my sin, not that my sin is greater than God. The Lord, who laid down His life for me, is the same Lord I have to do with every day of my life. His dealings with me are on the principle of grace. How strengthening it is to know, at this very moment, that Jesus is feeling and exercising the same love towards me as He had when on the cross.

For instance, I have a bad temper that I cannot control. I bring it to Jesus as my Friend: virtue goes out of Him and meets my need. My own effort will never be sufficient. Real strength is in the sense of the Lord’s being gracious. The natural man in us will never believe that Christ is the only source of strength and blessing. If my soul is out of communion, I think, ‘I must correct the cause of this before I can come to Christ’. But He is gracious: the way is to return to Him at once, just as I am, and then humble myself before Him. Humbleness in His presence is the only real humbleness. If I own myself to be just what I am, I shall find that He shows me nothing but grace. True humility does not so much consist in thinking badly of myself, as in not thinking of myself at all. I am too bad to be worth thinking about.

Faith never thinks about what is in me myself: it looks to Jesus to give rest to my soul. Faith receives, loves and apprehends what God has revealed, and what God’s thoughts are about Jesus. As I am occupied with Him,I will be prevented from being taken up with the vanity and sin around. This will be my strength against the sin and corruption of my own heart too. As I am alone in communion with God, I am able to measure everything according to His grace. Nothing, not even the state of the Church, will shake me. I am entitled to forget myself; I am entitled to forget my sins; I am NOT entitled to forget Jesus.

The moment I get away from the presence of God, I rest on my own thoughts, which can never reach up to those of God about me. If I attempt to know God’s grace outside of His presence, I shall only turn grace into licentiousness.

What God is towards us is LOVE. Our joy and peace are not dependent on what we are to God, but on what He is to us: this is grace. All the sin and evil that is in us has been put away through Jesus. A single sin is more horrible to God than all the sins in the world are to us. Yet, despite what we are, God is pleased to be towards us in LOVE.

In Romans 7 we find a person, though quickened, whose reasoning centres in himself. It is all “I,” “I,” “I.”  He stops short of grace, the simple fact that GOD IS LOVE. I have got away from grace if I have the slightest doubt or hesitation about God’s love. I say, ‘I am unhappy because I am not like what I want to be’. Instead I should be thinking of what God is, rather than what I am. All this looking at myself is really pride, not admitting that I am good for nothing. Till I see this I will never look away from myself to God.

Faith looks towards God, who has revealed Himself in grace. Grace relates to what GOD is, not to what I am, except that the greatness of my sins magnifies grace of God. At the same time, grace brings my soul into communion with God, knowing God and loving Him. Knowledge of grace is the true source of sanctification.

We have thought quite long enough about ourselves. Let us now think about Him who thought about us with thoughts of good, not evil, long before we even existed, and had any thoughts of own at all. May we see what God’s thoughts of grace about us are, and echo the words of faith in Romans 8:31, ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?

 

Adapted by Sosthenes from J N Darby’s tract of the same name. Similar to, perhaps extracted from, ‘Why do I groan?‘ Collected Writings volume 12 – Evangelical 1, page 186.

If we Fail

f anyone sin, we have an advocate

John writes in his epistle, ‘If anyone sin, we have an advocate’ (1 John 2:1), not ‘If anyone repents and goes to Him’. Jesus washed the His disciples’ feet, they did not ask Him to do it.

The righteousGods graceness of God has placed us before Him in the light. We should now walk in the light, even though we are weak, are tempted and too often stumble. We should maintain communion with God, glorifying Him. Once we were in darkness; now with the Lord we are in the light.

As High Priest, He bears our judgment in our favour according to God’s light and perfections. As the objects of the Father’s love, we are accepted in Christ, because of the Father’s affection for Jesus, and of Jesus’ rights over the Father’s heart.

The Lord obtained the Holy Spirit for us, for us to enjoy the place where we He has placed us. If we fail our relationships with the Lord and the Holy Spirit are disturbed – but they are unchanged. The Holy Spirit is grieved, but the God’s grace towards us, and our righteousness before Him are unaltered. Can the Father overlook sin, and bless us as if nothing had happened? No, that would be impossible. Our failures and weaknesses bring out the grace that purifies us and establishes us. We get to know ourselves more deeply as we become more divested of self. We become calmer, humbler and with more holiness, knowing God better. His grace is sufficient for us.

That is how the Priesthood of Christ operates.


The above is based on part of a letter written by JND.  Click here for the original French version and the translation by our brother Brian Surtees

 

 

Darby Simplified – The First Man and the Second

The moment I, as a poor sinner, look by faith to Jesus as my divine sin-bearer, all my sins are gone – they are put out of God’s sight for ever. Christ is in heaven – He could not take my sin there. I am pardoned through His blood, peace having been made through the blood of the cross. And the glorified Man is in heaven, appearing in the presence of God for us – of His Father and our Father, of His God and our God.

A preaching on Genesis 3 by John Nelson Darby

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

After covering the basics of the gospel, Darby said that sin must be put away perfectly. The sinner brought back to God must be spotless. Christ did not enter heaven again until He had settled the whole question of our sins and of sin itself. The moment I, as a poor sinner, look by faith to Jesus as my divine sin-bearer, all my sins are gone – they are put out of God’s sight for ever.   I am pardoned through His blood, peace having been made through the blood of the cross. And the glorified Man is in heaven, appearing in the presence of God for us – of His Father and our Father, of His God and our God. No sin there

Man has a Conscience

Man is by nature a ruined sinner, shut out by sin from the presence of God with no way back in his present state. The last Adam brings us back, not to an earthly paradise, but into the very presence of God in heaven. God does not bring a sinner back to innocence, but to the “righteousness of God”.   The believer is “made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

Man has a conscience – he knows good and evil. Even if a godless man steals, his consciences tells him that he has done wrong.

Now look at Satan’s temptation. He wanted to make God’s creatures think that God had been keeping something that would be for their good back from them – that He was jealous of their becoming as Himself. Satan’s great lie was, “Ye shall not surely die.” (v.4) It is his constant aim to make men believe that the consequence of sin will not be all that God has said it would be.

The Woman’s Sin

The woman listened to Satan; she lusted. Her heart was away from God, so she followed her own way – just like men do now, trying to make themselves comfortable away from God. Would you to meet God just as you are? God would say ‘Come and be judged’. So you would hide from God, as Adam and Eve did. Not only did they hide themselves from God, they hid themselves from themselves and from one another: the covering of the fig-leaves was just to hide the shame of their nakedness. And when they were hiding away from God, they were away from the only source of blessing. The light had come in and they wanted to get as far from it as possible.

Let us look at the character of their sin. They believed that the devil had told the truth, and that God did not. Satan wanted them to think that God was keeping from them the very best thing they could possibly have. And men are still believing the devil’s lie – hoping to get into heaven their own way, when God has said that nothing defiled shall enter in. Men are looking to Satan for happiness, instead of believing God. They cannot believe that God wants to make him happy.

Now I may say, ‘I have done very little wrong.’ But I am still making God a liar. All Adam did was to eat an apple. What harm was there in eating an apple? Alas! Adam and Eve cast off God, and that was the harm. Whether it was eating an apple, or killing a man, as Cain did later, the principle was the same. It was casting aside God’s authority, and making Him a liar.

Adam hides himself from God. He wanted to get out of His presence?  But the God of love brings the knowledge of the harm into man’s conscience. He does that in love, for if He were dealing with men in judgment He would have left them under it.

God called to Adam. When God speaks, it awakes the conscience; but this is not conversion. God speaks to show man to himself, and bring him back to blessing. His conscience is awakened and that brings him back to the presence of God. You would not hide from a policeman if you have done nothing wrong. But you try to hide yourself from God, because you have done what you know He hates, and that separates you from Him. Man cannot bear to meet God. Innocence, once gone, can never be restored.

The Effect of Sin

Sin has made man get away from God, and it has forced God to drive him from His presence. Man is out of paradise: toil, suffering, sorrow, sickness and death tell us that. And there is only one way back to God, and that is through the Second Man. Christ comes in by the door into the sheepfold, so there is no getting in some other way. He is the door, and whoever enters must come by Him. The flaming sword shut every other avenue to the tree of life. There was no possibility of creeping up to it by some unguarded path.

We also try to excuse ourselves. Adam laid the blame on the woman. “The woman whom thou gavest me, etc.” (v.12) It was as much as saying, ‘Why did you give me this woman? It was your gift caused the sin’. But Adam is condemned by the very excuse. “Because thou hast hearkened etc.” (v.17). Our excuses become our condemnation.

God does not comfort Adam or his wife. He shows man his sin to convict his conscience, not to make him happy. If my child has been naughty, do I wish him to be happy about it? No, I want to forgive him, but he must first feel his sin. God must have us see that we have sinned against Him. We justify God in condemning us. To see sin as God sees it is repentance. It is “truth in the inward parts.” It is holiness and truth in the heart.

God’s Way

God did not leave these poor condemned sinners without comfort. He said to the serpent, “The seed of the woman shall bruise thy head.” It was a new thing that God was bringing in – a new person and a new way. Christ was ‘the seed’. Blessing would come by the Seed of the woman through whom the curse had entered. This was perfection of grace. If sin had come in, sin had to be put away entirely. He who shut man out from heaven has fully provided that which shall shut him in again. We brought back to God through the precious blood of Christ. Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. That is God’s grace.

God commends his love to us, in that, we being still sinners, Christ has died for us.” (Rom. 5:8 Darby) We do not want a good Adam, – but a great God and Saviour. In the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, see all the wrath of God for sin was laid upon Jesus.

Sin must be put away perfectly. The sinner brought back to God must be spotless. Christ did not enter heaven again until He had accomplished this. “When he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down,” (Heb 1:3). When all was finished, He took the throne of righteousness. Adam was cast out of the earthly paradise; Christ, as the last Adam, is in the heavenly paradise.

God justifies me when He says, ‘My Son has been given for your soul, and died for sin’. I am clothed with Christ; I am become the righteousness of God. What more could I have or want? I do not know Him fully, but He has redeemed me; and I am in Him that is the life. He is in me, and I in Him; and where He is, there I shall be in due time. I am still in the body, and bear about with me the bondage of corruption; but Satan’s power is crushed. The serpent’s head is bruised. He has been overcome: Christ went down under the full power of him that had the power of death; and He came up from it triumphant, for it was not possible He should be held by death.

He has overcome

We are told, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). We are not to overcome him (we could never do that), but when he meets Christ in me, he cannot stand that, he must flee.

The Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven in love, devoted Himself to God for our salvation. He drank the cup of wrath for sin; He tasted death, shut out from God’s presence that He might bring us back into the presence of God without judgment and without sin. This makes us happy and blessed for ever. He knew what the holiness of God was, and what His wrath was; and therefore He knew what He was delivering us from. How I shall hate sin, if I have seen Christ agonising for mine upon the cross! This changes my heart.

The moment I, as a poor sinner, look by faith to Jesus as my divine sin-bearer, all my sins are gone – they are put out of God’s sight for ever.  Christ is in heaven – He could not take my sin there. I am pardoned through His blood, peace having been made through the blood of the cross. And the glorified Man is in heaven, appearing in the presence of God for us – of His Father and our Father, of His God and our God.

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – Titus and Philemon

In the epistles to Timothy and Titus, God has specially the title and character of God the Saviour, with its importance to all men.

Outline of Bible coverTitus

Titus had been commissioned to set in order things which were wanting in the assembly, and ordain elders.. We get a full statement of what may be called the Christian scheme in chapter 2:11-14 – directions and sound doctrine.   Chapter 3 gives us exhortations as to patience with all, through the sense of grace bestowed on ourselves.

In the epistles to Timothy and Titus, God has specially the title and character of God the Saviour, with its importance to all men.

Philemon

Grace enters into the Christian’s conduct, and does not merely rest on doctrine. Leaving the recognised authorities of the world where they are, this letter leads the individual Christian to act in grace in the relationships into which he was found.

 

Originally by JND.   Lightly edited by Sosthenes,  September 2014

– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible  for the original

J N Darby – Dans ce Désert aride, et sans Chemin tracé,

Dans ce désert aride
Et sans chemin tracé,
Mon modèle et mon guide,
Mon Sauveur a passé.
Par lui je viens au Père ;
Il est tout mon bonheur ;
Aussi rien sur la terre
N’a d’attrait pour mon cœur.

oasisCantique française écrite par M John Nelson Darby (1800-81)
Version anglaise cliquez ici

Dans ce désert aride
Et sans chemin tracé,
Mon modèle et mon guide,
Mon Sauveur a passé.
Par lui je viens au Père ;
Il est tout mon bonheur ;
Aussi rien sur la terre
N’a d’attrait pour mon cœur.

Sur lui ma foi repose.
Puis-je le suivre en vain,
Ou perdre quelque chose,
Quand lui-même est mon gain ?
Si les biens de la vie
Prétendent m’arrêter,
Sa puissance infinie
Me les fait rejeter.

Heureux, l’âme affranchie,
Avançant vers le ciel,
Déjà je m’associe
Au cantique éternel.
Douleurs, fatigue ou peine,
N’ébranlent point ma foi.
L’épreuve est toute pleine
De fruits bénis pour moi.

Dans ce trajet d’une heure
Où je suis engagé,
Si je gémis et pleure,
Suis-je découragé ?
Non, ta grâce parfaite
Est mon constant recours ;
Ton bâton, ta houlette,
Me consolent toujours.

Ô Jésus, pain de vie
Que je goûte ici-bas,
Ta vertu fortifie
Mon âme à chaque pas.
Pour t’être enfin semblable,
Bientôt je te verrai
Dans ta gloire ineffable,
Et je t’adorerai !