Tuesday, June 8, 2010


by William Reid

Our matured conviction is that the great thing needed at present is not so much revival sermons, or revival prayer meetings, as REVIVAL TRUTH; and as the very essence of that truth is “the gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord,” (Rom 1:1,2),—or, in other words, the testimony of the Holy Spirit (externally in the preaching of the Word, and internally in its spiritual application) to the all-sufficiency and infallible efficacy of “THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST,” (1 Pet 1:19),—that which is pre-eminently required in order to the general revival of religion is a full, clear, intelligent, and earnest utterance of the grand leading doctrines of “the gospel of the grace of God,” (Acts 20:24). True revival is not obtainable by merely preaching about revival, but by the constant proclamation of that all important truth which is employed by the Holy Spirit to produce it,—that “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet 3:18). He will prove the most effective preacher in bringing about a holy, deep, spiritual revival, who gives the greatest prominence to these three great facts,—“That CHRIST DIED for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He WAS BURIED; and that HE AROSE AGAIN the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Cor 15:3,4).

And I am convinced that the reason why so many ministers exhaust nearly all their converting power (I mean instrumentally) during the first few years of their ministry, while some continue to possess it, and finish their course with joy, is greatly owing to the former leaving the simplicity that is in Christ and betaking themselves to sermon-writing about secondary matters, while the latter make CHRIST CRUCIFIED their “Alpha and Omega.” Oh, that all the ministers of Jesus Christ would return, for a few months at least every year, to all the common texts from which they preached discourses which seemed to be so much blessed to awaken and save souls in the early days of their ministry! Were they to take a series of such texts as Matthew 11:28: John 3:16: Romans 1:16: 1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; 1 John 1:7; and, after restudying them, and bringing all the light of their reading, spiritual insight, and experience to bear upon the exposition and enforcement of them, to preach from them with the Holy Ghost, and with a lively faith, that, by the grace of the Holy Spirit accompanying their preaching, the unconverted among their people would be immediately converted, there might be a great and general awakening, and tens of thousands might be added to the Lord.

It is also of vast importance to present “the truth of the gospel” as the Holy Spirit Himself has presented it to us in “the word of Christ,” (Col 3:16). It has been well said: “The derangement of God’s order of truth is quite as dangerous and far more subtle than the denial of the truth itself. In fact, to reverse the order is to deny the truth. We are not merely to maintain both Christ’s work and the Spirit’s work in their individual integrity, but in their exact scriptural order.” We believe that the refreshing truth, that “the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin,” (1 John 1:7), is the great central sun which sheds a flood of light on the whole system of divine revelation. Atonement by the blood-shedding of Christ is the substratum of Christianity; for the sole ground of a sinner’s peace with God is “THE BLOOD OF JESUS.” We who were at one time “far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ; for He is our peace,” (Eph 2:13,14), “in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins,” (Eph 1:7); and so, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood,” (Rom 3:24,25), “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God,” (Rom 5:1,2).

In the Westminster Assembly’s “Shorter Catechism,” which is considered by all orthodox people to be an excellent summary of Christian doctrine, you will find the very same truth stated which we have advanced and confirmed by the above quotations, and which we have been writing for publication almost daily for the last ten years.

The answer to the question in that Catechism, “What doth God require of us that we may escape His wrath and curse due to us for sin?” commences with, “God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life,” &c. Now, this shews that the framers of that symbol of sound doctrine were accurate in their conceptions, and precise in their statement of the order and position of this great scriptural truth. They suppose an anxious inquirer desirous of knowing how he is to escape the wrath and curse of God due to him for sin; and do they say that the first thing he is to do is to pray for the Holy Spirit, and get his mind changed, and his unholy heart sanctified, previously to his believing in Jesus? No. The very first thing they teach the awakened sinner to do is, to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. Now this is all the more remarkable, considering that, when laying down the system of divine truth theologically, they had placed effectual calling by the Divine Spirit before justification by faith. There they speak to the intellect of the converted man and instructed Christian; but here the matter is reversed when an anxious sinner is to be guided as to what he is to do to be saved, and we have faith in Jesus Christ placed before repentance unto life; shewing us that they held, that while we must ever acknowledge the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s work in order to the creation, and exercise of saving faith, we should never direct an anxious sinner to look to the Spirit as his Saviour, but to Christ alone; never direct an inquirer to seek first an inward change, but an outward one—a justified state in order to enjoying a sanctified heart—the former being the necessary precursor of the latter.

Repentance is, properly speaking, a change of mind, or a new mind about God; regeneration is a change of heart, or a new heart towards God; conversion is a change of life, or a new life for God; adoption is a change of family, or a new relationship to God; sanctification is a change of employment, or a consecration of all to God; glorification is a change of place, or a new condition with God, but justification, which is a change of state, or a new standing before God, must be presented to the anxious inquirer as going before all, for being “accepted in the Beloved” is the foundation and cause of all, or more properly speaking, the “precious seed” from which all the rest spring, blossom, and bear fruit: and, consequently, the first and great duty of those who have to deal with awakened souls is to make this very clear, and to keep them incessantly in contact with the blessed evangelical truth: “A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ,” (Gal 2:16).

From all this you will observe, dear reader, that I am not settling the position which a doctrine in theology ought to hold, but simply dealing with the practical necessities of an anxious inquirer. Were I called upon to state my views theoretically, I would say, they are described by what another has termed Jehovahism, “for of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things; to whom be glory for ever,” (Rom 11:36); but I am not contemplating the sinner as standing before the throne of glory, but before the throne of grace, and I am not endeavouring to settle a subtle question in theology, but to give the practical solution of an urgent question of salvation. I am not attempting to lay down a system of divinity, but to discover the kind and order of truth divinely appointed and fitted to bring immediate peace to awakened and inquiring souls. And hoping to accomplish this most important end, I present “JESUS ONLY,” “for He is our peace,” who “having made peace through the blood of His cross,” (Col 1:20), has come “and preached peace,” (Eph 2:17), by His “everlasting gospel,” to them “who were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”

The first practical step towards realising and acknowledging the sovereignty of God, is to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts,” (Col 3:15). You may hold a sound creed with a proud, unbroken heart, and be more deeply damned on that very account. But if you wish to know God in all the glory of His being and attributes, you must grasp the manifestation of that glory as it is embodied and manifested in the person of Jesus Christ. You can know the glory of God as a Sovereign only by realising His grace as a Saviour. For “God was manifest in the flesh,” (1 Tim 3:16). “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth,” (John 1:14). “Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him,” (Matt 11:27).

“A mind at ‘perfect peace‘ with God; Oh, what a word is this!
A sinner reconciled through blood; This, this, indeed, is peace!

“By nature and by practice far—How very far!—from God;
Yet now by grace brought nigh to Him, through faith in Jesus’ blood.

“So nigh, so very nigh to God, I cannot nearer be;
For in the Person of His Son, I am as near as He.

“So dear, so very dear to God, More dear I cannot be;
The love wherewith He loves the Son, Such is His love to me.

“Why should I ever careful be, Since such a God is mine?
He watches o’er me night and day, And tells me, ‘Mine is thine.’”

Taken from the booklet “The Blood of Jesus”

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