Christ, The Only Refuge

And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. Isaiah 32:2

And the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. Isaiah 28:17

The Believer’s Refuge

Christ is our secure and lasting refuge to whom we have “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” (Hebrews 6:18) We can flee to him for protection in the time of danger and trouble. As overwhelming as our trials may be, we can find solace in knowing our souls are safe in Christ. “In life, in death, in trouble, and in joy, the true believer finds a sure, a strong, a near refuge in Jesus Christ.” –Thomas Reade

Praying BoyWhat shall we do when trials come, when one trouble comes after another, and affliction seems to pursue us wherever we go? When life presses in upon us and trouble comes, then we can know that we have a place to run to. In Christ, we have a never-failing support and consolation in our greatest trials. “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” (Nahum 1:7) If Jesus is with us, the most terrific tempest cannot harm us. Without him, even the profoundest calm is infinitely perilous. Live, then, near your Savior and rejoice in him all the day long.

[God] sent His Son into the world, as an Almighty Savior; and all who put themselves under his protection, and build their hopes upon him, shall be so safe, that all the calamities of life shall not do them a lasting injury; and the vengeance of the eternal world shall never fall upon them.- Samuel Davies

A Refuge for Sinners

Jesus Christ is the Refuge appointed by God for sinners. The guiltiest soul that flies to Christ is inviolably secure. The Apostle Paul wrote, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15) In Christ, the sinner obtains spiritual security and joy forever. God bids all seek and find refuge in Christ. There is room and welcome for all who will come. “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37).

The Storm- Claude-Joseph Vernet

“Christ became a full ‘covert from the storm’ of divine justice, and a full ‘refuge from the wind’ of God’s consuming wrath! The tempest which was due to us — was poured in its fury on him, and we are spared its blast, because our surety has borne its brunt, and now offers to all who will believe in him, the sheltering refuge of his atoning grace.” (William Bacon Stevens) How thankful ought we to be to Almighty God, for His infinite goodness and mercy in raising up for us a Refuge and Hiding-place that protects us from every storm by which we can be overtaken or threatened.

‘Tis He, the Lamb, to whom we fly,
While the dread tempest passes by;
God sees His well-Beloved’s face,
And spares us in our hiding place.
– Henry Kirke White

The Only Refuge

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Alas, though Jesus Christ is the only true hiding place, most people trust their eternal souls to something or someone else, to a refuge of lies. They intend to obtain eternal life on their own terms or merits. They think themselves secure but, God’s wrath will soon “beat upon a guilty world like a storm of hail.” At that time all other refuges and hiding places will be laid in ruins. “And the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.” (Isaiah 28:17)

Cross_by_inz_feelgoodFlee from false refuges. Flee to Jesus only, for he only is “able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.” Jesus now calls us to him, invites us to his throne of grace, and promises to give to every one who accepts his invitation, safety, peace and rest. There is no shelter from “the wrath to come,” but in Jesus, our crucified Savior. “Woe to the hapless sinner who rejects this refuge! Woe to the hapless sinner who lives and dies in ignorance of this refuge! Woe to the hardened sinner who despises this refuge!” -Joseph Irons

Our necessities should drive us to Christ. How great they are! We are perishing; the storm is approaching; and how shall we escape if we do not flee to the Savior? Those who take refuge in Jesus shall never be destroyed. No storm of wrath shall fall on them; they shall never perish. “No refuge but that sought in the arms of Christ will be found strong enough against the storm and tempest. Give all diligence to be found in Him.” -Peter Grant (D.D.)

christ a city of refuge

A refuge for sinners the gospel makes known;
‘Tis found in the merits of Jesus alone;
The weary, the tempted, and burdened by sin,
Were never exempted from entering therein.

This refuge for sinners his love did ordain,
In Jesus the Lamb, from eternity slain;
And if God the spirit reveal this to you,
Take refuge in Jesus, though hell should pursue.

The soul that shall enter in safety shall dwell;
There’s no peradventure of sinking to hell;
The oath of Jehovah secures him from fear,
Nor shall the avenger of blood enter there.

Here’s refuge for sinners, whose guilt shall appear
As black as the confines of endless despair;
Who, stripped of all merit whereon to rely,
Are taught by the Spirit to Jesus to fly.

Should conscience accuse us, as oft-times it may,
Here’s blood that can take its defilement away.
In Jesus the Saviour, the sinner shall view
A city of refuge and righteousness too.”
-John Kent

Photo Credits:  Adi ALGhaneminz-feelgood

The Lord our Righteousness

And this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Jeremiah 23:6

Because of the fall of Adam, man suffered the unspeakable loss of a righteous nature and the loss of legal righteousness in the sight of God. We have no righteousness of our own. In ourselves we are unrighteous. With Scripture we must confess: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.Romans 3:10-12

The righteousness of God is infinite righteousness, for righteousness means perfection, rightness; it is true, just, pure, holy, infinite, separate from everything that is false, and defiling, and wrong. That is righteousness, and anything short of that is not righteousness. If we but saw this, we should at once give up all self-righteousness. When a man seeks after self-righteousness, he does not grasp what righteousness is. Everything short of infinite holiness, truth, purity, and love is not righteousness; so we need not pause to prove to you that we are not righteous. Marcus Rainsford

There is only one kind of righteousness that God accepts — and that is perfect righteousness! Yet the Scripture is true which says men persist in trusting in their own righteous deeds: “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:3, 4 Self-righteous people are ignorant of the insufficiency of their own righteousness and the all-sufficiency of Christ’s righteousness; in fact, they despise and reject the righteousness of God. They prefer to seek righteousness by their own good works.

Not the labour of my hands
Can fulfil Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Those who leave this world, relying upon their own righteousness as the means for entrance into the heavenly kingdom, shall be greatly disappointed. We must have perfect righteousness or we will not be saved. The law of God requires a perfect obedience from first to last, in thought and word and deed, without one single failure. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10 The Law is good, pure, right, and holy, but it is impossible for sinful people to keep. “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” Romans3:20

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the purpose and object of the law. The law is meant to lead us to faith in Christ, by showing us our utter helplessness to save ourselves. Christ, and Christ alone has fulfilled the demands of the law, and therefore it is vain for anyone to seek to obtain life by personal obedience to it. “The law drives us to accept of Christ as the one only person who can cleanse us, and make us fit to stand within the veil in the presence of the Most High…The law kills, the gospel makes alive; the law strips, and then Jesus Christ comes in and robes the soul in beauty and glory. All the commandments, and all the types direct us to Christ, if we will but heed their evident intent. They wean us from self, they put us off from the false basis of self- righteousness, and bring us to know that only in Christ can our help be found.” Charles Spurgeon

Without Christ, man is a sinner doomed to death. In the blood and righteousness of Christ, pardon, peace, and increasing blessedness are found. Christ’s blood is precious and fully sufficient for our redemption. Christ, the Holy One, took the place of guilty sinners, and in his innocent sufferings and death gave his holy blood for our redemption. He is strong to save and glad to redeem. Precious blood of Christ! Nothing can be more precious. It is the blood of God’s own Son, the blood of the everlasting God! There can be no doubt that this precious blood is an all-sufficient price for our redemption. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.Ephesians 1:7

The work of the Redeemer is a perfect work; nothing can be added to it, and nothing must be taken from it; it is everlasting in its duration and efficacy. Upon this the eye of faith should be invariably fixed, and from hence comfort and support in every state are to be drawn. Christ’s blood is a constant propitiation, his righteousness is a perfect covering. To these, reader, have daily recourse for cleansing and recommendation before God; by these you may silence all the accusations of Satan, all the clamours of conscience, all the threatenings of the law; for in Christ the believer is complete, and here he may safely rest, in his dullest and heaviest moments. Carl Heinrich von Bogatzky

Before we trust in Christ, the weight and burden of our sin is exceeding heavy and we find no rest for our weary soul. Once we  come to Christ, we find rest– rest from legal fruitless labour, rest from the weight and burden of sin, and rest from an accusing gnawing conscience. Are you bowed down in spirit by a mingled burden of care and sin and sorrow? Matthew 11:28-30 is a free invitation to every weary and heavy-laden sinner, made by Him who alone is able to take away your load and guilt of sin. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The gospel invites us to come to Christ, as sinners destitute of all good, helpless and ready to perish. It invites the vilest, in the most desperate case, to look to Jesus Christ for salvation. It declares Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, —he came to seek and to save that which was lost. In the plainest language he cries, “Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth,”–“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,”–“Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” These free and gracious invitations are from him who suffered, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. Jesus died for the ungodly. Jesus and his righteousness are our only hope and plea.

Lord Jesus Christ! Thy precious blood
Is to my soul the highest good:
Of all my sins a perfect cure,
It quickens me and makes me pure.

Thy blood, my spotless, glorious dress–
Thy innocence my righteousness:
Before my God I pardoned stand
And enter, crowned, the heavenly land.

Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Son of God!
My Throne of Grace, my Staff and Rod!
Thy precious blood, Thy quick’ning power
My spirit strengthen every hour.

And should I draw my dying breath
In fear of Satan, hell, and death–
O Christ! let this my comfort be:
Thy blood from sin hath made me free!
–Selected.

Jesus, My Great High Priest

But Christ having come a high priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:11, 12

 

Jesus, my great High Priest,
Offered his blood and died;
My guilty conscience seeks
No sacrifice beside.
His pow’rful blood did once atone,
And now it pleads before the Throne.

To this dear Surety’s hand
Will I commit my cause;
He answers and fulfills
His Father’s broken laws.
Behold my soul at freedom set;
My Surety paid the dreadful debt.

My Advocate appears
For my defense on high;
The Father bows his ears
And lays his thunder by.
Not all that hell or sin can say
Shall turn his heart, his love, away.

Should all the hosts of death
And pow’rs of hell unknown
Put their most dreadful forms
Of rage and mischief on,
I shall be safe, for Christ displays
His conqu’ring pow’r and guardian grace.

Isaac Watts 1709

Jesus the Joy of Heaven

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see,
And in Thy presence rest.

And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. Revelation 22:4

Jesus  is the Beloved One of his people. Above all the attractions of heaven, the Church longs to see the beauty of its Saviour. If there were no Jesus, there would be no heaven; Jesus is the “all in all” of heaven. Believers in every age of the world have summed up their hope and expectation in the one desire of seeing the Lord. David’s prayer in Psalm 27 tells of this longing, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.”

Christians are waiting for the Lord Jesus, who will return, according to his own promise, to receive us unto himself, that where he is we may be also. (John 14:3) This gives us hope even though in this world we see much sin and defilement in ourselves and others. We see the bitter fruit of this sin, which is sorrow, anguish,  troubles, and afflictions. We find our choicest earthly comforts are vain and meaningless. The world has no resting place for us. We are strangers and pilgrims in the world. Even now, our citizenship is in heaven. Philippians 3:20 says, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

To be in love with heaven  we must be weaned from earth; it is then that we long with intense eagerness to find a refuge in our eternal home.       H. Watts

If our way grows rough, it leads to an unspeakably joyful end. One moment with Christ will make up for it all. Whatever other joys are in store for us, and there are many others, fellowship with Christ will be the greatest of them all. Heaven will be light with the light of his presence, and its inhabitants will enjoy eternal fellowship with him.  “The light of heaven is the face of Jesus; the joy of heaven is the presence of Jesus; the melody of heaven is the name of Jesus. The harmony of heaven is the praise of Jesus. The theme of heaven is the work of Jesus. The employment of heaven is the service of Jesus. The duration of heaven is the eternity of Jesus. The fullness of heaven is Jesus Himself.” …Anonymous (note found in D.L. Moody’s Bible)

What great joy is laid up in store for us in the future, when we shall be permitted to see God’s face in righteousness. To be permitted to gaze upon the face of an eastern monarch was considered a high honour; so great an honour indeed that the penalty of death occasionally followed an unauthorized attempt to gaze upon it. In allusion to this beholding the face of God, it is said of the redeemed in the book of Revelation, “And they shall see his face, and his name shall be written in their foreheads.”

And how shall we see God’s face? We shall see him in the person of Christ. And what face is to be compared with His? –a face more brilliant than ten thousand stars; a face in which shines resplendent every virtue that can make glorified humanity attractive; a face beaming with loving-kindness, compassion, mercy, wisdom, and grace; a face more beautiful than that of the loveliest of created beings; a face of which Samuel Rutherford has nobly said, “Oh, sun, in thy shining beauty, put on a web of darkness, and cover thyself before thy brightest Master and Maker.” This is the face that we shall see; the face of the once “Man of sorrow,” the face now of the Man of heaven’s glory.  H. Watts

Christ has “died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.1 Thessalonians 5: 10 This is our hope, not only to go to heaven, but to “live together with Him.” It is also Christ’s great desire that all his people “live together with Him.” Just before his death, Christ fervently prayed for his loved ones, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.John 17:24 Christ is not going to be disappointed. He died upon The Cross of Calvary that we might “live together with him.”

He comes — for, oh; His yearning heart
No more can bear delay —
To scenes of full unmingled joy
To call His Bride away.

Our relationship with Christ is permanent. Many times he has told us, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Death severs our ties with dearest loved ones, but death has no power over our relationship with Christ. He is our God in life; our God in death; our God forever. The full realization of this relationship will be in heaven. Christ loves us now, and we rejoice in that love (see 1 Peter 1:8), but when we fellowship with him in heaven, we will know that love more clearly, fully, and blessedly. Heaven will be a home of perfect love and joy, and will continue forever. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:3,4

I will close this post with an excerpt from Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, The Throne of God and of the Lamb. “To loving hearts great is the bliss of heaven’s unbroken fellowship of saints: it will indeed be a great joy in heaven to see all who loved the Lord below. How happy we shall be when these blessed reunions take place. Still, I think that all of you will agree with me that the heaven of heaven is that we shall be “with Christ, which is far better” –that we shall behold his face and partake of his glory. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be the centre of our delights. To have reached home in the heavenly Father’s house, to have seen our Elder-brother, and to be sure that we shall abide with him and go no more out: oh, that is what we pant for! We long to hear his voice welcoming us to our new abode.”

Come in, thou blessed, sit by me;
With my own blood I ransomed thee,
Enjoy my perfect favour;
Come in, thou ransomed spirit, come,
Thou now must dwell with me at home;
Ye blissful mansions, make him room,
For he must stay for ever.”
And then may our quick response be—
“I am coming! I am coming!
By the blood of Christ I’m coming!”
image credit: juliejigsaw

What Shall it Profit a Man

What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36, 37)

One moment spent in fellowship with Jesus Christ is worth much more than a million years spent in the pursuit and pleasures of this dying world. How much better to live for eternity! Jesus himself asked, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36, 37) Men and women everywhere need to soberly reflect upon this question.

How many of us have our whole focus centered on this life, all the while neglecting our souls? We assume we will live for many years, and do not habitually prepare for death. We may be rich outwardly, yet our souls are “poor, miserable, blind, and naked.” (Revelation 3:17) “If a man has Christ, he has all for eternity; and if he has not Christ, he is poor, and blind, and naked, and will be miserable for ever.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“There are two things that characterize the teachings of our Lord.  Number one is this: the worth, the infinite, heavenly, eternal worth of the soul.  And the second one: the transitory, temporal, ephemeral, ultimate worthlessness of everything else.” (Dr. W. A. Criswell) Christ knew perfectly well the value of the soul, and the value of the world; for he was the creator of both. The worth of the soul is evident from the price paid for its redemption. What was this price?

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18,19)

All the treasures of the universe were not sufficient to pay the ransom. Hebrews 9: 22 says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” However, the sacrifice of no created being, no matter how exalted, would answer the purpose. “Would you then learn the worth of the soul, see it in the humiliation, sufferings, and death of the Son of God. See the Eternal Father giving up His Son, and laying upon him the sins of the world. See the Saviour voluntarily assuming our nature, becoming a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and submitting to the ignominy and agonies of the cross;— and remember all this was necessary for the redemption of the soul. Surely if the soul had not been of infinite value, this sacrifice  never would have been made.” (Bennet Tyler)

You and I shall live forever. We shall be praising God and the Lamb in Heaven, or uttering the groans and blasphemies of hell. Let me ask again, “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” “One soul is precious. One soul is worth more than ten thousand worlds. One soul is worth all the wealth of the universe— and far more than that, but you trifle with God, and God shall require thy soul; it is an awful thing to fall into the hands of a sovereign and angry God, who shall consign men to Hell.”(Wayne Cox)

To close this, I will post an excerpt from a sermon by Dr. R. G. Lee (1886-1978). It is from his sermon, Paths of Disappointment, and based on Ecclesiastes 1:2. “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”

what shall it profit a man if…

What shall it profit a man if he be a great artist and know not Jesus, the one altogether lovely?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great architect and know not Jesus, the Chief Corner Stone?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great baker and know not Jesus, the Living Bread?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great banker and know not Jesus, the Priceless Possession?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great biologist and know not Jesus, the Life?

What shall it profit a man if he be a great builder and know not Jesus, the Sure Foundation?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great carpenter and know not Jesus, the Door?
What shall it profit a man if be be a great doctor and know not Jesus, the Great Physician?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great educator and know not Jesus, the Teacher?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great engineer and know not Jesus, the New and Living Way?

What shall it profit a man if he be a great farmer and know not Jesus, the Sower and Lord of Harvests?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great florist and know not Jesus, the Rose of Sharon?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great geologist and know not Jesus, the Rock of Ages?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great astronomer and know not Jesus, the Star of Bethlehem?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great horticulturist and know not Jesus, the True Vine?

What shall it profit a man if he be a great judge and know not Jesus, the Righteous judge?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great jurist and know not Jesus, the True Witness?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great jeweler and know not Jesus, the Pearl of Great Price?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great lawyer and know not Jesus, the Sinner’s Advocate?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great philanthropist and know not Jesus, the Unspeakable Gift?

What shall it profit a man if he be a great philosopher and know not Jesus, the Wisdom of God?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great sculptor and know not Jesus, the Living Stone?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great student and know not Jesus, the Incarnate Truth?
What shall it profit a man if he be a great sinner and know not Jesus, the Lamb of God?