"Who gave Himself"

1911 239 These precious words occur six times in the New Testament, and we propose to look at them in the following order, viz.:

(1) In the Epistle to Timothy where God is so fully revealed as a Saviour God, we read, "God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who GAVE HIMSELF a ransom for all, to he testified in due time (1 Tim. 2:3-6). Could there be a finer declaration of mercy than is here given — Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God, shelving here their willing mind for salvation to every creature? He, the Word made flesh, "having found eternal redemption," said before His ascension to the right hand of the majesty on high, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). Man must be brought to the knowledge of the truth, and of his own utterly lost and ruined state. And God does indeed grant repentance unto life, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, the one Mediator, who needs no virgin Mary, no saint, nor angel to turn His heart toward men. He is the "one mediator . . . who gave himself a ransom for all." His one sacrifice needs no repetition; for "this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God." The testimony since that day has gone, and is going, forth. Are my brethren and sisters everywhere praying for it, and are we every one seeking to adorn in deportment and dress the doctrine of our. Saviour God in all things? Surely, it is not only that we know His willing mind to save us, but we can also say, "Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose (who can thwart it?) and grace (who can measure it?), which were given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."

(2) In Galatians — "Who GAVE HIMSELF for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father" (Gal. 1:4). Yes, not only for sins of worldly lusts, but for sins of religiousness, whatever would belittle Christ Jesus our Lord, and the infinite value of His grace in which we have been called. For if we are His, we have tasted that the Lord is gracious; and God forbid that we should allow anything that adds to the sufficiency of "Jesus Christ, who hath been evidently set forth crucified amongst" us. May we rejoice that what we were has been judged in His cross, and may we have constantly before our souls the grace of our Saviour God, so that we may say, as said the apostle indignantly, "I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Gal. 2:21)!

(3) But it is our privilege to live not as men in the flesh. How then? We are blessedly entitled, each one, to say, "I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and GAVE HIMSELF for me" (Gal. 2:20). Oh, what a satisfying object for our hearts, the loving Lord, who still loves us each so devotedly, having washed us from our sins in His own blood (Rev. 1:5)! It is quite true that He has loved us, but this verse, correctly read, brings before us His continuous love. "Unto him that loveth us, and has washed us." May we everywhere and in everything find our all in Him, and he strong in His grace!

(4) The Lord Jesus (Matt. 16:18) spoke of the church, to Peter, as "My church." We know it is also "the church of the living God" (1 Tim. 3:15); "the church of God which he has purchased with the blood of his own" (Acts 20:28). Of Christ, however, it is written in Ephesians, "Christ also loved us, and GAVE HIMSELF for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour" (Eph. 5:2). How affecting is this, "and gave himself"! How much it cost Him! Hence, the believer is accepted, or taken into favour, in the Beloved. What motives for a holy walk, and for all that the apostle enjoins upon us in the rest of that chapter!

(5) Again, we have (Eph. 5:25) "Christ also loved the church and GAVE HIMSELF for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." That He might present it to Himself, not to another! Does it not thrill us? It ought so to do. It should make us, in view of such love, very subject to Him now, and to His word; walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, who is rightly jealous of His glory. May we, too, be so, and value nought else!

(6) Lastly, in Paul's Epistle to Titus, how touching an appeal! We there read (Titus 1:1, 2) of "the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; in hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began." This hope of eternal life is quite consistent with the believer's possession of it now. It is God's gift to him. But there were those who, professing to know God, in works denied Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate" (ver. 16). We are looking, however, for "that blessed hope, and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who GAVE HIMSELF for us, that he might redeem from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works" (Titus 2:13, 14). The blessed Lord Jesus is no inferior person of the Godhead. Whilst, as the Saviour, He gave Himself for us, it was not to win us to good works only, but to Himself; and in making us zealous of good, it is "to Himself." May we then indeed, whilst thus engaged, see to it that we seek the honour that cometh, not from man but, from the only God, that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ our Lord! Aught else is valueless. When the work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ, are in the sight of our God and Father, all is well, and as it should be; man's praise is not sought for. May it he so with us for His name's sake, until He come! W.N.T.