CHRIST IS PRECIOUS ~ Part 4 Octavius Winslow

In circumstances of spiritual relapse, how precious does Christ become as the Restorer of His saints, as the Shepherd that goeth in quest of His stray sheep and bringeth it back to the fold with rejoicing. How unspeakably dear is the Savior to the wandering yet restored heart! Our backslidings are perpetual and aggravated, our affections fickle and truant,* our faith fluctuating, our love waning, our zeal flagging, our walk often feeble and unsteady; but Jesus withdraws not His eye from His own work in the soul, and never for a moment loses sight of His stray-going sheep…

How precious is Christ in the season of fiery temptation! When the arch-foe comes, robed as an angel of light, with gentle tread, and oily tongue, and soft persuasiveness, seeking to ensnare and beguile the unsuspicious and unwary—leveling his darts at the very foundations of our faith—insinuating his doubts of the truth of the Bible, of the being of God, of the sufficiency of the Savior, of the reality of a future world—thus seeking to shake the confidence, obscure the hope, and destroy the comfort of the Lord’s people—oh, how precious then is Christ as the Conqueror and Spoiler of Satan; as He Who enables the trembling believer to quench the fiery dart in His own blood, and to take refuge beneath His outspread, all-sheltering wing!…He Who, alone and unaided, battled with Satan those forty days and nights in the solitary wilderness—is He Who was “in all points tempted like as we are” (Heb. 4:15) and “knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2Pe. 2:9) and will shortly bruise Satan, crushed and conquered, under your feet (Rom. 16:20).

In the hour of adversity, of trial, of sorrow, oh, how precious is Christ in the experience of the believer! It would seem, beloved, as though we had never really known Him until then. Certainly, we never knew from experience that there was so much that was human, tender, and compassionate in His heart until sorrow touched our own. We had no conception what a fount of sympathy was there. A new bend in your path, a new epoch in your history, or a new stage in your journey, has frosted with the snowflake and swept with the storm-blast of winter the entire landscape of life: fortune gone—friends removed—health failing—poverty threatening—want pressing, oh, how dreary and lonely seems the path you tread. But pause—it is not all winter! Jesus approaches! He unveils a bosom once pierced, shows a heart once sad, and drawing you within its blest pavilion, hides you from the wind and covers you from the tempest. You never thought Jesus had a heart of such exquisite tenderness until now…The creature has left a blank, but Christ has come and filled it. Reverse has made you poor, but the treasures of divine love have enriched you. In the Lord Jesus, you have more than found the loved one you have lost; and if in the world you have encountered tribulation, in Him you have found peace. O sweet sorrow! O sacred grief that enthrones and enshrines my Savior more preeminently and deeply in my soul!

There is a supremacy in the feeling of Christ’s preciousness to the believer, which is worthy of a remark. Christ has the preeminence in the affection of the regenerate. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Psa. 73:25). Listen to His own words, asserting His claim to a single and supreme affection: “He that loveth father or mother”—brother or sister, wife, or children—“more than me is not worthy of me” (Mat. 10:37). There are natural ties of affection—the parental, the conjugal, the filial; there are ties, too, of human love and friendship, linking heart to heart; but not one word does He Who inspired those affections, Who formed those ties, breathe, denying their existence or forbidding their exercise. Nay, the religion He came to inculcate distinctly recognizes these human relations, and seeks to strengthen and intensify by purifying, elevating, and immortalizing them. But mark the emphatic word employed by Christ: “more than me”!…In a word, Christ should become more supreme and precious to our hearts by all the sweet, sacred relations and affections of life…

Receive as precious everything that flows from the government of Jesus. A precious Christ can give you nothing but what is precious. Welcome the rebuke—it may be humiliating; welcome the trial—it may be painful; welcome the lesson—it may be difficult; welcome the cup—it may be bitter; welcome everything that comes from Christ in your individual history. Everything is costly, salutary, and precious that Jesus sends…The most severe disciplinary dispensations in the government of Christ are as much the fruit of His eternal, redeeming love as was the tenderest and most touching expression of that love uttered from the cross. All is precious, wise, and salutary in the dealings of Christ. His teachings, His woundings, His withholdings, His withdrawings, His slayings, His changed countenance, His altered tones—when, in a word, His uplifted hand lights heavily upon us, smiting us seven times, even then, oh, how precious should Christ be to the believing soul! Then it is we learn by experience what a balsam exudes from His pierced heart for the very wound His own hand inflicted!…Oh, precious Christ! so divine, so all-sufficient, so indescribably precious, may we not welcome with thankfulness and receive with submission all that Thou dost send…

But there is approaching a period—ah, how it speeds!—which will be the most solemn and severe, yet the sweetest and truest test of the sustaining, soothing power of Christ’s preciousness in the experience of His saints: the last sickness and the closing scene of life. Imagine that moment to have arrived. All of earth’s attraction ceases, all of creature-succor fails. Everything is failing: heart and strength failing—mental power failing—medical skill failing—human affection and sympathy failing; the film of death is on the eye, and the invisible realities of the spirit-world are unveiling to the mental view. Bending over you, the loved one who has accompanied you to the margin of the cold river asks a sign. You are too weak to conceive a thought, too low to breathe a word, too absorbed to bestow a responsive glance. You cannot now [affirm] your faith in an elaborate creed, and you have no profound experience, ecstatic emotions, or heavenly visions to describe. One brief, but all-emphatic, all-expressive sentence embodies the amount of all that you now know, believe, and feel; it is the profession of your faith, the sum of your experience, the ground of your hope: “CHRIST IS PRECIOUS TO MY SOUL.” Enough! The dying Christian can give, and the inquiring friend can wish no more. Dearest Savior, be Thou close to me in that solemn moment! Tread the valley by my side, pillow my languid head upon Thy bosom, speak these words of heart-cheer to my struggling, panting, departing soul: “Fear not: for I am with thee” (Isa. 43:5). Then, it will be happiness for me to die—death will have no venom—the grave no gloom—eternity no dread; and, from the measured experience of Thy preciousness on earth, I shall pass in triumph through the shadowy portal into the full sunshine and perfect realization and eternal enjoyment of all that faith believed, love desired, and hope expected of Thy full-orbed glory and preciousness in heaven.

From “The Preciousness of Christ” in The Precious Things of God,
Soli Deo Gloria, a division of Reformation Heritage Books, www.heritagebooks.org.
“CHRIST IS PRECIOUS ~ Reprint from Free Grace Broadcaster, www.chapellibrary.org/

*fickle and truant – changeable and straying.

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Octavius Winslow (1808-1878): Nonconformist pastor; born in London, England, raised in New York, buried in Abbey Cemetery, Bath, England.

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CHRIST IS PRECIOUS ~ Part 2 ~ Octavius Winslow

But this personal representation of the Lord Jesus involves also the preciousness of His manhood. His personal alliance with our nature, His condescending stoop to our humanity, is not the least endearing feature to the heart of His believing saints. We have claimed for the Son of God absolute deity; we now claim for Him perfect humanity. Flesh, real and substantial, yet, “harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb 7:26) was He “made.” A humanity identical with His people in all but its original and actual sinfulness. “Who knew no sin” (2 Cor, 5:21). Yet, what a sin-bearer was He! All the transgressions of His elect met upon Him! But He could only bear sin as He Himself was essentially free from its taint. Had there been the remotest breath of pollution adhering to Him— had one drop of the moral virus circulated through His veins, it had rendered Him utterly and forever incapable of presenting to the justice of God an atonement for sin. He then had needed, like the high priest of old, to have offered first “for his own sins, and then for the people’s” (Heb. 7:27). How precious, then, beloved, is our Lord Jesus as “bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.” Think of His perfect humanity—a humanity free from sin, and therefore capable of dying for the ungodly—a humanity laden with sorrow, and therefore capable of sympathizing with the afflicted. Precious to our hearts as God—precious as Man—precious as both united in one—inconceivably and eternally precious is He, Whose name is “Wonderful” (Isa 9:6) to His believing saints. Tell, oh tell how precious is that humanity of the Son of God that partook by actual participation and still bears by the most perfect sympathy all the sinless weaknesses, infirmities, temptations, and sorrows of His people. Precious humanity! to which, when other human friendships are changed, other human love is chilled, and other human sympathy is exhausted, you may repair and find it an evergreen, a perennial stream, a gushing fountain of unchanged affection, tenderness, and sympathy, meeting and satisfying to their utmost capacity your hearts’ deep pantings. Precious humanity! that dries each tear, that bears each burden, that is touched with each infirmity, that soothes each sorrow, and that succors each temptation of His people. “In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Heb 2:17-18).

Oh, love the Lord, then, all ye His saints; laud Him, all ye His people! In all your deep grief, your lonely sorrows, your sore trials, your fiery temptations, your pressing wants, your daily infirmities, repair to the succourings, and the sympathies, and the intercessions of His humanity, and learn how precious Jesus can be to the hearts of His suffering and sorrowing ones. Upon this rock of Christ’s complex person, God has built His Church; and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.

Precious is the Lord Jesus in His work…Look at the groundwork of our salvation. “Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation”(Isa. 28:16). Upon such a foundation, we look for a superstructure in all respects worthy of its costliness and capability. We find it in the work of Jesus. Oh, what a superstructure is it—nothing less than the salvation of His Church! Such a work was worthy of God, and of all the glory, wisdom, and power embarked in its accomplishment. Nowhere have we such a perfect view of the divine glory as through the medium of the cross. That magnificent sky that spreads above us, studded and glowing with countless myriads of worlds, pales before the subdued glory, the softened splendor of the cross of Christ.

Nowhere does Jehovah-Jesus appear to the spiritual, believing mind so exalted as when He stoops, so glorious as when in eclipse, so holy as when bearing sin, so loving as when enduring its punishment, so triumphant as when vanquished upon the cross! Oh, study not God in the jeweled heavens, in the sublimity of the mountain, in the beauty of the vale, in the grandeur of the ocean, in the murmurs of the stream, in the music of the winds. God made all this, but all this is not God. Study Him in the cross of Jesus! Look at Him through this wondrous telescope, and although, as through a glass darkly, you behold His glory—the Godhead in awful eclipse, the Sun of His deity setting in blood—yet that rude and crimsoned cross more fully reveals the mind of God, more harmoniously discloses the perfections of God, more perfectly unveils the heart of God, and more fully exhibits the glory of God, than the combined power of ten thousand worlds like this, even though sin had never marred, and the curse had never blighted it. Study God in Christ, and Christ on the cross. Oh, the marvels that meet in it—the glory that gathers round it—the streams of blessing that flow from it—the deep, refreshing shadow it casts in the happy experience of all who look to Jesus and live—who look to Jesus and love—who look to Jesus and obey—who look to Jesus and embrace that blessed “hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Ti. 1:2).

A worthy structure this of a foundation so divine! What could be more worthy of God, Whose essence is “love,” than the salvation of His people? In nothing could He appear more like Himself. Upon no platform could He so honorably and completely withdraw the veil from His perfections, and stand forth in His full-orbed majesty, “mighty to save” (Isa. 63:1) as this. Humble believer in Christ, you are saved! Happy saint of God, you shall be in heaven! Christ has paid your debt, opened your prison, broken your chains, and set you free from the Law’s curse, from sin’s condemnation, and from death’s penalty, and you will be forever with the Lord! Is not this enough to make your whole life, clouded and checkered* though it is, a sweet psalm of praise—thus learning the first notes of the song that will employ your tongue through eternity?

P *checkered – uneven or inconsistent and characterized by periods of trouble.

CHRIST IS PRECIOUS ~ Octavius Winslow (1808-1878)

(God’s grace and God’s glory are real in our lives according to the value we place on Christ.  To experience the extent of God’s grace is to know Jesus Christ.  To see God’s glory is to look diligently to Christ, His Son.  This article enabled me to see how precious Christ is to me.  I present it in four parts so as to give us time to meditate on these truths of the person of Christ, our Lord, our Life. In His Grace~ Fran)

“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.”—1 Peter 2:7

A felt conviction of the preciousness of the Savior has ever been regarded by enlightened ministers of the gospel as constituting a scriptural and unmistakable evidence of the existence of divine life in the soul; and in moments when neither time nor circumstance would admit of the close scrutiny of a theological creed, or a nice analysis of spiritual feelings and emotions, the one and simple inquiry upon which the whole matter is made to hinge has been—“What is your experience of the worth of the Savior? Is Christ precious to your heart?” The answer to this question has been to the examiner the test and the measure of the soul’s spiritual and vital change. And how proper that it should be so! In proportion as the Holy Spirit imparts a real, intelligent sense of personal sinfulness, there will be the heart’s appreciation of the value, sufficiency, and preciousness of the Lord Jesus…

We commence with a consideration of Christ’s personal preciousnessHis preciousness in Himself. It is the conviction of Christ’s personal dignity and worth that gives to faith such a substantial realization of the greatness and preciousness of His work. We have need, beloved, to be cautioned against an error into which some have fallen— of exalting the work of Christ above the person of Christ—in other words, not tracing the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice to the essential dignity of Christ’s person.

[If] the Godhead of the Savior is admitted, His atoning death becomes a fact of easy belief. Once concede that He Who died upon the cross was “God manifest in the flesh,” and the mind will experience no difficulty in admitting that that death was sacrificial and expiatory. The sufferings and death of a Being so illustrious must be in harmony with an object and in connection with a result of equal dignity and momentousness; and where will there be found such an object and such a result as the salvation of man?…There had been no glory in His achievements, no significance in His work, no efficacy in His blood, had there been no divine dignity and worth in His person. And, had He not taken a single step in working out the salvation of man—had He repaired no breach, wept no tear, endured no agony, shed no blood in the redemption of His Church—had He, in a word, conferred not a solitary blessing upon our race—He still had been the eternal Son of God—divine, peerless, glorious—the object of supreme love, adoration, and worship by all celestial beings and through all eternal ages. While, then, His sacrificial work illustrates His marvelous grace and love to sinners, that work owes all its acceptance and efficacy to the value imparted to it by the essential deity of His person. Thus, it is the personal preciousness of Christ that imparts an official preciousness to His work.

Who, then, is the Lord Jesus Christ? In common parlance (speech), men term Him, “our Savior.” But do the great body pause and reflect who Christ really is? Do they regard Him as the Creator of this world—of all worlds? of their being—of all beings? Do they consider that “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3)? If so, would they not give Him divine homage, since that which creates must be antecedent to and above the thing created, and therefore must be pre-existent and divine?

What a grand and glorious truth is this to the believing soul—the absolute deity of the Savior—the essential Godhead of Christ! How it endears Him to the heart as the Rock of Ages upon which its hope is built! How precious must be every evidence of the divine strength, stability, and durability of that basis upon which the believing sinner reposes his whole salvation. Precious, then, is Christ as God. Precious in His deity—precious as a distinct person in the adorable Godhead —precious as God over all, blessed for evermore (Rom. 9:5). But pause, Christian reader, for a moment, in wonder and praise before this august truth. If there is a spot where we should put off the shoes from our feet, surely it is this. With what profound reverence, with what silent awe, yet with what adoring love should we contemplate the Godhead of our Redeemer! But for that Godhead, we had been forever lost! His obedience to the Law, His satisfaction to the justice of Jehovah, had been of no efficacy or avail, save only as it partook of the authority, dignity, and virtue of His higher nature. Do not question the existence of the fact because of the mystery of its mode. How Jehovah could become incarnate is a wonder we shall never, in this state of limited knowledge, fully understand; enough that it is so.

Let reason reverently adore, and faith implicitly trust…Hesitate not, then, to give full credence to all the glorious truths of the gospel, and to place the entire weight of your soul upon the atonement of Jesus, and to believe that, sinner though you are, be it the very chief, such is the divine worth and sovereign efficacy of His sacrifice, you will, you must, you shall be saved to the uttermost because your Creator is your Savior, and your Judge is your Justifier.

(CHRIST IS PRECIOUS is a reprint from Free Grace Broadcaster published by Chapel Library.  You can download the whole article from page 21,  http://www.chapellibrary.org/broadcaster/The Person of Christ.  May you be blessed as many others and I have been blessed with these publications.  They are free in print simply by subscribing.)