Posted by: stpowen | February 27, 2014

The Excellency of Christ

Colossians 1:28. ‘Him we preach.’

I am currently reading The Excellency of the Gospel above the Law by the Puritan, Richard Sibbes {1}. On the day when I attended the largest and most prestigious Free Church in my home city of Exeter and was hugely disappointed not to hear Christ preached, but instead was subjected to a sort of moral pep-talk, I came across this from Sibbes concerning 2 Cor. 3:17.

‘What is the scope of all the Scriptures but Christ- from the first promise of the blessed seed, ‘The seed of the woman shall break the serpents head’ (Gen. 3:15), to the end of the Bible? What are all the Scriptures without Christ? The law is a dead letter; and indeed, so is the gospel without Christ. He is ‘that Spirit’ which gives life to all the Scriptures. Moses without Christ is but a shadow without a body, or a body without a soul. Take away Christ, what was the brazen serpent? What was the ark? What were the sacrifices? What is all? Is not Christ ‘all in all’ in these? The kings and priests and prophets, they were types of Christ; all the promises were made and fulfilled in Christ. The ceremonial law aimed at Christ, and the moral law is to drive us to Christ. Christ is the Spirit of all. and the Scripture without Christ is a mere dead thing, a shell without a kernel, as it is to the Jews to this day.
He gives life to all people. He is a universal principle of spiritual life, infusing it into all His church and children. Christ has always been with His church from the beginning of the world, and will be to the end. It was no loss to the church that Christ in His bodily presence left it, for He left it ‘the Comforter,’ His Spirit, and greater works were wrought after His ascension than before. He is ‘anointed with the oil of gladness’ and grace ‘above His fellows'(Psalm 45:7), but all was for His fellows. All that He is or has, all is for His church and children. ‘For us’ He was born, ‘for us’ He was given. He is a King, a Priest, a Prophet for us. He died for us, He rose again for us.’

Speaking of the Old Testament Scriptures, the Lord Jesus said, ‘These are they that testify of Me.’ Anyone who preaches from the O.T. has the duty to find Christ in them (cf. also Luke 24:27). If he fails to do so, he reduces the Scripture to a dead letter, deprives his congregation of its necessary spiritual food and puts himself under the condemnation of God (eg. Ezek. 34:1-3).


{1} Published as Glorious Freedom by the Banner of Truth Trust (ISBN 0-851-51-7919). Highly recommended!


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