Christ Is All in All
A Sermon by Hanserd Knollys
Suﬀolk, England, 1646
The Apostle Paul, who was a chosen vessel unto the Lord, to bear His name before the Gentiles (Acts 9:15), wrote this epistle to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ, which were at Colosse (Colossians 1:2). And as the ensign-bearer of His glorious name, displayed the magniﬁcence and transcendent excellencies of Christ, in the words of the text: “Christ is all, and in all.” And that he might lift up Christ’s all-suﬃciency, he nulliﬁes all other excellencies whatsoever (Colossians 3:11) where he gives the Colossians to understand, that the advantage of a Jew above a Gentile, the dignity of a Scythian above a barbarian, or the immunities of a freeman above a bondslave, however esteemed among men, are nothing without Christ Who is all, and in all. These words have their dependence upon the exhortation unto mortiﬁcation (Colossians 3:5) which exhortation the apostle presses upon the Colossians, by telling them (Colossians 3:9-10) they had put oﬀ the old man, with his deeds, and put on the new man. Where (that is) in which state of regeneration, there is neither Greek, nor Jew, but “Christ is all, and in all.” The lesson to be learned hence, is this: To wit,
DOCTRINE: CHRIST IS ALL AND IN ALL IN THE NEW MAN
Two things need some explanation in this doctrine; viz. First, who is here meant by the new man? and secondly, how Christ is all and in all in the new man. By the new man here we are to understand (as was intended by the apostle) a true believer, or a faithful brother in Christ, one sanctiﬁed in Christ Jesus, called a saint; who is redeemed in the spirit of his mind, and has put on the new man (Ephesians 4:23-24). Which is done, when by the mighty operation of the Holy Spirit, in the promises given unto us, we are made partakers of the Divine nature (II Peter 1:3-4; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6). Thus being by the Spirit and faith united with Christ, we are made a new creature, or creation (II Corinthians 5:17), have a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26-27) and walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). And such may be said to have put on the new man, the sum then is this: Christ is all and in all in every believer, in every justiﬁed sanctiﬁed person, who has a new heart, and walks in newness of life.
Touching the second particular, to wit, how Christ is all and in all in the new man. The Lord Jesus Christ [Who is all in Himself, for in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9)], which was the pleasure of God in all things He might have the preeminence (Colossians 1:18-19). Christ is the foundation of all (I Corinthians 3:11). Fundamentally, I mean can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ; I say Christ is the foundation of all that faith, repentance, love, and other graces, gifts, and fruits of the Spirit, which are in every believer. He is a living foundation full of grace, and from His fulness have we all received grace for grace (John 1:14, 16). Secondly, communicatively, I mean that Christ does communicate all unto the new man; to wit, life, light, grace, and glory. We have nothing but what we have received, and we have received all from His fulness (Ephesians 4:7; John 1:16). The titles given to Christ in the Scripture of truth, will make this appear more fully, viz. that Christ is all in the new man, or in every true believer. I shall instance some.
First, Christ is our life (Colossians 3:4). Christ is the life of a believer, even eternal life (I John 5:11-12). That is to say, the everlasting spiritual well-being of a believer, is by union and communion with Jesus Christ, in Whom he lives a life of grace here, and with Whom he shall live a life of glory hereafter. Yea, all those spiritual breathings of the hunger-thirsting soul, after the enjoyment of God in any of His holy ordinances are from Christ; and from Him are all those quickening, and all that life we have in prayer, preaching, conference, and other spiritual duties. In a word, the Spirit of Life Himself, Who so sweetly refreshes the weary soul, comforts the sorrowful heart, and quickens the sanctiﬁed aﬀections, is from Christ. And he is called the Spirit of the Son (Galatians 4:6) whom God sends forth into the hearts of His children.
Secondly, Christ is the true Light of every believer, or in the new man. That was the true Light (John 1:9) even Jesus Christ, Who enlightens the eyes of our understanding, that we may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe (Ephesians1:17-19). And though the hearts of men and women be very dark, yet God Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined into our hearts (who are believers) to give light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 4:6). And the apostle tells the sanctiﬁed Ephesians that they were sometimes darkness, but now ye are light in the Lord (Ephesians 5:8). And indeed, all that heavenly knowledge, and spiritual understanding, which believers have in the mystery of the gospel, they had it from Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3).
Thirdly, Christ is the Bread of Life to believers (John 6:35, 48, 51). He is the spiritual meat and drink of our souls, who believe in Him, they that eat Him shall live by Him (John 6:55, 57). All that spiritual nourishment, and soul refreshment, which believers in promises, duties, ordinances, etc. is from Christ, whose ﬂesh is meat indeed, and His blood is drink indeed, communicated by His Holy Spirit unto His people in those duties, promises, ordinances, etc. Christ is milk and wine, to be had without money (Isaiah 55:1). That will quench the thirst of the new-born babes in Christ, which so much desired the sincere milk of the Word, that they may grow thereby (I Peter 2:2-3) and that will make the mournful spirit of a doubting or backsliding believer to have a cheerful countenance, when his broken heart is cheered and warmed, yea melted and comforted with the blood of Christ his Redeemer. Christ is the Water of Life, a pure river of living water clear as crystal, ﬂows from this Fountain in the hearts of believers (Revelation 22:1, 17; John 7:37-38; 4:10, 12, 14). This will satisfy the thirsty soul as Christ promised (Matthew 5:7-11). He cried: “If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink.”
Christ is the Tree of Life, which bears twelve manner of fruits, and yields her fruit every month, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:2). Christ is said to make a feast of wine and fat things, full of marrow (Isaiah 25:6), and He speaks to believers: “Eat, O friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved” (Canticles 5:1).
I might be exceeding large in particularizing many other of His titles; as namely, Christ is a believer’s justiﬁcation, sanctiﬁcation, and redemption (I Corinthians 1:30). He is also our peace (Ephesians 2:14), our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6), our Advocate with the Father (I John 2:1-2), our King, High Priest, and Prophet; our Father, Husband, Brother, our all.
Thus it may appear that Christ is all in the new man. But how is Christ all in all in the new man? I conceive, it is spoken by way of preeminence, as it is expressed (Colossians 1:18-19). That is, in all which is in the new man, or in a believer, Christ ought to have the preeminence. First, as He is the Author thereof: For instance, that precious faith of God’s elect, which is in the new man, is an excellent grace, but yet Christ must have the preeminence above that faith because He is the Author of it (Hebrews 12:2), and so above all other graces, gifts, and fruits of the Spirit.
Secondly, as He is the preserver of all in the new man, every believer is called and sanctiﬁed by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ (Jude 1). And the believer is not only preserved in the state of grace by Christ, but the grace of God wrought in him, to wit, faith, etc. is by Christ preserved also; namely, by the intercession of Christ. “I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.”
Thirdly, as He is the Finisher, Who strengthens, stablishes, and perfects all in the new man. Christ is not only the Author, but the Finisher of faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, of all those graces, gifts, and fruits of the Spirit, which are in the new man (Revelation 1:8), thus Christ is all and in all in the new man. He is the Author, Preserver, and Finisher of all; He purchased all, He is the Donor of all, He is the Beauty of all, the Sum of all, the Perfection of all in the new man.
This was the good pleasure of the Father’s will, that all fulness, all suﬃciency, all spiritualness, should dwell in Christ, and should by Christ be communicated to His people, that in all things Christ might have the preeminence (Colossians 1:18-19). And thus God will have it done to the man Christ Jesus, Whom He delighted to honor, for the service Christ did unto His Father in the redemption of His people. Therefore He gave Him a name above every name, Christ is all and in all. Which honor and dignity, Christ will at the last day prostrate at the feet of His Father, that God may be all in all (I Corinthians 15:28). Moreover, this being the design of God, that Christ should communicate all grace, gifts, etc. unto His people. It was requisite, that all fulness should be in Christ, and so we read (John 1:14-16). Yea, the great necessity of the Lord’s redeemed ones, to have a constant supply of grace, and spiritual gifts, also a continual growth of the fruits of the Spirit, requires this all suﬃciency to be in Christ.
Seeing that Christ is all and in all in the new man, let us hence be instructed. First, to prize Christ highly, to set a high esteem upon Christ, to let Him have the preeminence, Who is all in all. It is that which the prophet complained of (Isaiah 53:3). He, to wit Christ, was despised and rejected of men, and we esteemed Him not. We are apt to slight Christ and to disesteem Him because we discern not that beauty, excellency, riches, and glory, which is in Himself. We are ignorant of the worth of Christ, and know not our need of Him, and therefore we do not so prize Him as we ought.
First, Christ His worth, which I may hint unto you in all three particulars, to wit, 1. The unvaluable preciousness of His blood, which has in it a cleansing virtue (I John 1:7-9). “. . .and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Thereof, we are said to be justified by His blood (Romans 5:9). Let me ask you, who now believe, how did you esteem of this precious blood of Christ? When you were fighting out your mournful requests to God in secret corners, for one drop of Christ’s blood, one dram of the grace of God, and faith of God His elect, one word of promise, one smile of a reconciled Father, or one beam of light of God’s countenance, did you not prize the blood of Christ above all corruptible things, as silver, gold, honor, riches, pleasure? Did you not esteem the least drop of it more precious than all creature-comforts whatsoever, as friends, liberties, and life. Again the precious blood of Christ has a purging quality (Hebrews 9:14). The blood of Christ shall purge your consciences from dead works, to serve the living God. Sin does both contract guiltiness and pollution, and therefore the blood of Christ does both cleanse and purge, pardon and purify, therefore we are also said to be sanctified by the blood of Christ (Hebrews 13:12). “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” Oh, beloved, what can be esteemed so precious to a gracious heart, as this blood of Christ which washes away all those defilements and uncleannesses which through our corruption cleaves unto us, even in our best actions and holy duties. Such of you, (as have many times groaned in prayer to God under the feeling sense and fight of any corruption) know by experience what high esteem you have had of the blood of Christ to save you from your uncleanness.
Secondly, the unsearchable riches of His grace. “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). Christ’s riches are of such a height, depth, length, and breadth, that passes knowledge, yea thus much is spoken of the love of Christ (Ephesians. 3:18-19). Also faith in Christ is called precious faith. “To them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:1); yea, all the graces of Christ are the riches of the poor saints. “Hath not God chosen the poor of this world” (James. 2:5), rich in grace, etc. Tell me, beloved, how did you esteem of the riches of Christ, when you being poor in spirit, mourned for Christ and His grace, when you discerned faith, love, humility, etc. in others of the children of God, did you prize it highly in them? Did you not account them happy, rich, and blessed, whom Christ enriched with those jewels and adorned with such graces? Ah, how much more should you now prize Christ in Whom is all fullness of these unsearchable riches, and especially considering, that from His fullness you have received grace for grace (John 1:14,16).
Thirdly, the glorious liberties of His Spirit. “. . .where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (II Corinthians 3:17). Not any carnal liberty to sin and so fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:13), but spiritual liberty and freedom from sin. I mean not a perfect and total freedom from all sin, as if the people of God could never sin after conversion. For “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8). But I mean a freedom: First, from the guilt of sin (Romans 8:33). And the apostle says that He has “forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13). Secondly, from the pollution or filth of sin (Zechariah 13:1). A fountain is opened to believers for sin and for uncleanness. And Ezekiel 36:25-29, God promised they shall be clean, and that He will save them from all their uncleannesses. Thirdly, from the reigning power of sin “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Fourthly, from the punishment due for sin, which the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13) or condemnation (Romans 8:1) or any other satisfactory punishment.
1. The great need you have of Christ may move you to prize Him and set a high esteem of Him. Christ is the only thing necessary, and therefore the titles given Him in the Scripture are such that declare His necessity to believers, for He is our Life; our Light, our Bread, Water, Milk, Wine, His ﬂesh our meat indeed, His blood our drink indeed. He is our Father, our Husband, our Brother, our Friend, our King, Priest, and Prophet. He is our Justiﬁcation, Sanctiﬁcation, and Redemption. He is our Peace, our all. We have no acceptance with God without His mediation, no acceptance with God without His intercession (Revelation 8:3-4). We cannot resist the next temptation, neither can we overcome the next corruption, nor shall we be able to suﬀer with patience the next persecution, or endure any tribulation, unless we have renewed strength from Christ. Believers cannot have increase of grace by Christ (John 15:1-2). Lord, increase our faith said the disciples, neither can they persevere in grace unless they be preserved in Christ (Jude 1). To conclude, we are nothing, have nothing, can do nothing without Christ. “. . . for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5); that is to say, you cannot in your own strength nor in the strength of any grace received, do any thing to please God or to glorify God, without Me; unless you abide in me, and have renewed ability and strength, you can do nothing that God my Father will own or crown with acceptance or reward. But yet we, who are believers, have all and abound (Philippians 4:18), can do all things through Christ that strengthens us (Philippians 4:13), can suﬀer the loss of all (Philippians 3:7-9), yea and conquer all, nay be more than conquerors through Christ (Romans 8:35-39). Oh, consider your need of Christ and learn to prize Him, let Him be exalted highest in your hearts, as the pearl of great worth, as the one thing necessary which you most of all need, let Him be all in all in your communication and conversation.
2. Use. Seeing Christ is all and in all in the new man, let every one examine whether Christ be in him (II Corinthians 13:5). Examine yourselves, know you not that Christ is in you, etc. This clearly concerns you, beloved, for if you have Christ, you have all. Christ is all but if you lose Him you lose all; you will lose your hopes, comforts, and all your duties, yea you will lose God, Heaven, and soul, and all. It matters not what you have if you want Christ, no gifts, duties, reformations, qualiﬁcations, or other things whatsoever, will make you happy without Christ; and if you enjoy Christ it is not material what ever you want, for my God (says the apostle) “shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Therefore make sure that Christ’s riches are yours.
Some would ask this question, How shall I so examine that I may know assuredly that I have Christ? I answer, you must bring your hearts to the touch of the Word of God, and cast them into the balance of the sanctuary and weigh them there. And to this purpose, I shall propound one Scripture of truth for your examination and trail, to wit, II Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” That is to say, he is new born, born again, or born of God (John 3:3, 5, 7-8). “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” “he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Now every one who is a new creature in Christ, all things are become new in him, or all things are made new. . . To wit; ﬁrst he is made a new man (Ephesians 4:21-24; Colossians 3:10-11) and has put on the new man where Christ is all in all. Secondly, he has a new heart: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you” (Ezekiel 36:26). That is a new will and a new aﬀection, yea and a new spirit will I put within you. That is (Ephesians 4:23) to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, to wit, a new judgment or spiritual understanding in the knowledge of God’s will (Colossians 1:9). Thirdly, he walks in newness of life (Romans 6:4). That is, the conversation of a new creature should be such as becomes the gospel (Philippians 1:27). To wit, humble, harmless and holy (I Peter 1:15-16). And thus God has promised in the everlasting covenant of grace that all and every one of His people shall walk: “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:27). Examine your selves. Are you a new creature? Such of you as have not put oﬀ the old man, but still have your old hearts, and your old sins, and walk in your old ways, and fulﬁll the old lusts of your sinful natures, you are not a new creature, you are not in Christ, nor Christ in you.
But some may thus say within themselves, I hope my soul is in a better condition. I am not so wicked and carnal as some others are, neither am I so vile a sinner as I have been formerly; but I am somewhat reformed, and have forsaken my sinful courses, and have begun to delight to hear sermons, and I pray with my family. To this I would answer, although your condition be not so desperate as others, who have lived long under the ordinary means of grace, and yet are not at all wrought upon, I must tell you, professors may (through strong convictions, horror of conscience, and fears of Hell) leave the acts of some sins, and may customarily perform some religious duties, yet be not regenerated. Professors may have leaves like the unfruitful ﬁg tree and lamps like the ﬁve foolish virgins, they may seem to be religious, and have a form of godliness; and not be a new creature, or creation. I might instance many such in Scriptures. Herod: he heard John gladly, and did many things (Mark 6:20). Saul was turned into another man, and had another heart, yet unconverted (I Samuel 10:6-9). So you may be another man, and not a new man, may have another heart, but not a new heart.
But I speak not this to add sorrow to the aﬄicted, nor to break the bruised, for though some may deceive themselves herein; Yet such of you as are born again or born of God, though but new-born babes, who have put on the new man, have a new heart and walk in newness of life, are in Christ and Christ in you.
Seeing Christ is all, and in all in the new man, let it serve for the consolation of every true believer, Christ is yours and all things are yours (I Corinthians 3:21-23). All are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. Christ is your life, your light, your food, your all, and by union with Christ, you are one in God (John 17:21). God is your God Father (John 20:17). All that is Christ’s is yours -- His wisdom, righteousness, sanctiﬁcation, faith, love, humility, etc. All in all fulness was in Him, and dwells in Him for His people, to communicate to them (Ephesians 4:7). Are you full of spiritual wants? You may have supply from the fulness of spirituals in Christ. Do you want wisdom, faith, love, etc.? Whatever you want, go to Christ for that grace. There is enough in Christ to satisfy the most hunger-thirsting souls in spiritual things (Ephesians 1:3). God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings, in heavenly things in Christ in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). Do you want power against corruption? Go to Christ for strength. His grace is suﬃcient for you (II Corinthians 12:8-9). There is an all suﬃciency in Christ. Christ is all says the text; therefore the apostle having Christ, said, I have all, I can do all through Christ (Phil. 4:13, 18). And know for your further consolation, that Christ is in all the new man, or in every believer.
He is in you: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Christ lives in me says the apostle (Galatians 2:20). Christ is and lives in a true believer by participation of His Divine nature (II Peter 1:3-4). By incohation of His Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:6) and by communication of His saving grace (Ephesians 3:17), Christ is in your hearts, in your graces, in your duties, in all, by Whom you ﬁnd acceptance of your persons and services with God your heavenly Father (Ephesians 1:6). Christ is with you and in you in all conditions, in all relations, and in all aﬄictions (Isaiah 63:8-9). And to conclude this use, know for your increase of joy that Christ Who is all, and in all in you will abide with you for ever. Nothing shall be able to separate Christ and your souls (Romans 8:35, 3839). Christ is the strength of your heart and your portion for ever (Psalm 73:26).
1. Seeing Christ is all, and in all in the new man, suﬀer a word of exhortation which will concern every one present to hearken to. Both such as are in Christ, and out of Christ, and I am sure every one of you are in one of these two estates, either you are in Christ, or without Christ. The ﬁrst branch of the exhortation shall be to you, who are believers and sanctiﬁed in Christ Jesus, called saints, seeing, “Christ is all,” in all, let Him be all in all in your justiﬁcation. Take heed you bring not any righteousness of your own, nor any grace or work of His in you, to join with Christ and His righteousness in point of justiﬁcation (Philippians 3:9). This glory Christ will not give another. He is our justiﬁcation, or righteousness (I Corinthians 1:30-31). Christ will not permit any coadjutor, concause, or cooperator whatsoever in the justiﬁcation of sinners.
Consider this you who will not believe, unless you could see yourselves so holy and so humble, except you can ﬁrst have such a sin subdued, you will not believe any of your sins are pardoned, until you ﬁnd and feel in yourselves a soft, a broken heart, a praying spirit, a mourning spirit, you cry out you are not justiﬁed. Oh, say you, if I could pray, mourn for sin, proﬁt by the means as such and such do, then I would believe. But, alas, I have a hard heart, a blind mind, a perverse will, carnal aﬀections, etc. I cannot, dare not, I will not believe that my sins are forgiven. Thus most professors would bring in (if not their own righteousness) some grace or work of God in them, to join with Christ in their justiﬁcation, not considering that God justiﬁes the ungodly (Romans 4:5) and that Christ is all, and in all in the justiﬁcation of sinners.
Secondly, let Christ be all, in all in the gifts of the Spirit and graces of sanctiﬁcation for, as you heard, He is the Author, the Preserver, and the Finisher of them all. Therefore let Him have the preeminence above all set in high esteem of every gift and grace of God, account a little grace better than all the riches, honors, pleasures, and creature-comforts of this world. But you ought to prize Christ far above all His own gifts and graces in us, for He is the life of them all, the marrow and substance of them all. What is all knowledge, unless you know God in Christ (I Corinthians 13:2)? Nothing. What is all faith, except Christ be the object of it? (I Corinthians 13:2). Nothing. Patience, temperance, and all other virtues, what are they but either natural qualities, or moral habits unless Christ be the root of them. Natural education and acquired gifts of art may produce the like, yea the same, in heathens. But Christ is the luster and beauty of each spiritual gift and grace that believers receive from Christ and those rays that come from this Sun of Righteousness upon their graces, makes them shining saints, beautiful and all glorious within. Hear this you poor in spirit, you newborn babes in Christ, who have the persons of believers (especially preachers) in admiration and set them upon high in your hearts, and extroll them with your tongues: because you discern so much humility, love, patience, faith, and other gifts of the Spirit, and graces of sanctiﬁcation in them. Should you not rather admire Christ, exalt Christ, and extroll Him, Who is the Purchaser, the Owner, the Donor, and the Author of all these spiritual gifts and graces, for we have nothing but what we have received, by His grace we are what we are, and all the grace we have, from His fulness we received it (John 1:16). Therefore let him receive the glory of all, and let Him have the preeminence in all, for His is all in all.
Thirdly, let Christ be all, in all your aﬀections, words, and actions. Set your aﬀections on Christ. Oh, let the discoveries of that superlative excellency and glorious beauty of Christ, which are made out to your souls by the Spirit and Word of God, draw you to set your aﬀections on Him (Colossians 1:12). Love every one and every thing that God hath put the name of Christ upon, for His sake, but chieﬂy set your aﬀectionate love upon Himself. Love Christ in His saints, love Christ in His messengers, in His ordinances, and this will quicken your desires to enjoy more of Christ, more of Christ in His saints, ministers, ordinances, and in your own heart. Oh, let Christ be chiefest in your aﬀections. “He is altogether lovely” (Canticles 5:16). Let Him have your dearest love. He is the well beloved of His Father and yours (II Peter 1:17). Let Him be your well beloved. Christ bears you in His arms, everlasting arms of mercy, yea in His bosom (Isaiah 40:11; 63:9). Do you bear Him in your hearts, and let Christ be exalted higher there. Again, let the absence of Christ be the chief occasion of your sorrow and mourning (Matt. 9:15). Cry after Him, inquire for Him, give Him no rest until He return. This was the practice of the Spouse (Canticles 3:1-4; 5:4, 6, 8). Oh, how her aﬀections were set upon her Beloved! “Tell him I am sick of love” (Canticles 5:8). Though there be many other just occasions for mourning to the saints, yet this is the chief. If a loving wife cannot think of the departure of her dear husband without sorrow, how much more sorrowful will a gratious heart be in the absence of Christ? Like Mary who wept, and being asked the reason by the angel answered: “Because they have taken away my Lord (John 20:11, 13, 15-16). And as Christ should be all in your aﬀections, so let Him be in your words and actions. Speak for Him, do for Him, suﬀer for Him, let Him be the matter of your communications and conferences, that you may minister grace to the hearers. What ever you do in word or deed, let all be done to the honor of Christ, for He that honors the Son, honors the Father also.
The other branch of the exhortation, is to such as are in their natural condition, without Christ, seeing Christ is all and in all, be exhorted to seek Christ. Paul preaching on Mars’ hill to the Athenians, tells them, God made of one blood all nations of men, that they should seek Christ (Acts 17:22, 27-28) and there be many exhortations in holy Scripture to this purpose. “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD. . .” (Isaiah 55:6-7). The Apostle Paul in his speech to Simon Magus (Acts 8:20-23) told him his heart was not right in the sight of God, that he was “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” And he exhorted him to repent and pray to God (v. 22). Not that any man in his natural condition can of himself come to Christ, desire Him, or seek to enjoy Him, for none can come to Christ except the Father draw him (John 6:44). It is God that works in us to will and do according to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). So then, says the apostle, it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy, only know this, God requiring poor sinners to use the means He has appointed is pleased to make that means, eﬀectual for their conversion and salvation. For if God have purposed to show mercy, and confers His grace upon your souls, He will cause you to seek unto Him (Ezekiel 36:26-27, 37). A new heart will I give you, and I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes. “Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them” (v. 37). God’s gracious and free promises do not exclude the means He has appointed to attain the mercies therein promised. It pleases Him to tie His creatures to the use of means, when He aﬀords it them, though He will sometimes work without it. Now the ordinary means which God has in His inﬁnite wisdom appointed to convert sinners, and also to build them up in Christ, is the Word preached (Romans 10:8, 17). This Word of the gospel God would have preached to every creature in all parts of the world (Mark 16:15). None are exempted or prohibited from hearing the gospel preached, but every one that has an ear is required to hear (Revelation 2:7). And let such as neglect the hearing of the Word of God (preached by such as are called and sent of Christ) consider what the Lord says (Proverbs 1:20-32). But albeit some of you see it is that which you ought to do, and that you had need to do, to wit, to seek the Lord; assenting to what you heard in the ﬁrst use of the doctrine, that there is much worth, beauty, and excellency in Christ, and that poor, lost, undone sinners stand in need of Him. Notwithstanding now to obey Christ you know not as yet. Let me tell you, God oﬀers you Christ upon gospel terms, which are these three.
First, God in the dispensation of the gospel propounds Christ to lost sinners, as the only necessary and all-suﬃcient means of salvation (Acts 4:12). Neither is there salvation in any other, and Christ is the all-suﬃcient means of salvation, so that we need none but Him. He is able to save them to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).
Secondly, God does oﬀer Christ to lost sinners without respect to price or person. He invites them, that have no money, to come, and buy wine and milk (that is to say, Christ) without price (Isaiah 55:1). And any one, that will, are invited to take Christ freely (Revelation 22:17). “And whosoever will, let him take the water of life (that is, Christ) freely.”
Thirdly, God requires, that those, who do receive Him, shall depart from iniquity (II Timothy 2:19), live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-15). And that they shall sell all, lose all, and have all for the sake of Christ, and take up the cross and follow Him.
You will say to me, Alas, here is my misery, to wit, although God propound Christ upon good terms to poor sinners, to me among others, I have no power of my self to receive Christ, to believe in Him, and accept of Him. True, it is not (as said) in him that wills, nor in him that runs but in God, Who shows mercy (Romans 9:16). It is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward, who believe, which must be put forth in your hearts, to make you believe also, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised him from the dead (Ephesians 1:19-20). And you ought to wait on God in the diligent use of means until the day of His power come upon you, and then you shall be willing, a believing people (Psalm 110:3). I may exhort you to repent of your wickedness, profaneness as Peter did (Acts 8:22). But God must give repentance unto life (Acts 11:18). It is my duty to preach the gospel to you, and to exhort you to seek Christ (Acts 17:22-27), but it is the mere mercy and free grace of God to drive you to Christ, which nothing but His everlasting love can move Him to do (Jeremiah 31:3). You ought to seek, and wait, ask, and use all the means which God has appointed, and aﬀorded you, both secret, private, and public (Revelation 2:29). But God must make the means eﬀectual (Acts 16:14). And therefore I must say, it is not in me, I cannot draw you to Christ, that is the Father’s work (John 6:44). But I have exhorted you to seek Him in the use of means. There I must leave you to wait on God for the moving of His Holy Spirit where you must lie and continue like the poor impotent man at the pool of Bethesda for healing. As though as he did, so you may see many a lame, blind, deaf, dumb, naked-leprous soul, get healing and go away rejoicing and praising God, and you remain still so impotent, that you cannot get into the Fountain, set open for sin and for uncleanness, nor have any that can help you in, that you may be cured: yet be not disheartened, as Christ came suddenly and unexpectedly, and healed the impotent man after long waiting; so Christ will come according to His promise to your souls that seek Him. “The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come. . . saith the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 3:1).
[Milburn Cockrell, editor of TBBB, note: This article came from a little booklet entitled: “Christ Exalted: A Lost Sinner Sought and Saved by Christ,” pp. 1-14. This was a sermon preached by Hanserd Knollys in Suﬀolk. The book was printed by Jane Cob in London, England, in 1646. Study it carefully, for it was an “evangelistic” sermon as preached by Baptists in the 1600s; via The Berea Baptist Banner, July and August, 2006, pp. 361-363, 381-383. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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