The Value of Christ

1 Pet. 2:7.---' For you therefore which believe is the preciousness.'

Let us look at some of the gifts which, according to the testimony of Scripture and of human experience, Christ brings to the hearts of those who receive Him, some of the blessings that come to those who build upon Christ as a foundation-stone.

Christ reveals the Father. When we grope and stumble at the mystery of God, when we feel that 'the gods of the heathen are no gods,' and that scientific atheism leaves the greatest problems of the universe unsolved, the deepest yearnings of the spiritual soul unsatisfied, half our nature unaccounted for; when we cannot by any searching of our own find our God; when a thousand possibilities of ignorance and superstition torment us with vague and nameless fears; what a marvelous revelation of light and power of assurance it is when Jesus Christ puts before us His great teaching of God. With the strong confidence, and in the quiet ways of perfect knowledge, He tells us of the Father. 'No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him,' and His great revelation of Him is of Divine and tender Fatherhood.

'I am----!' 'I am'----what? For centuries and centuries that question stood unanswered, that sentence remains incomplete. It was a magnificent fragment. It stood like a monument that the sculptor had never lived to finish; like a poem, dying with his music in him, had left with its closing stanzas unsung. But the sculptor of THAT fragment was not dead; the singer of THAT song had not perished! For, behold, He liveth for evermore! And, in the fullness of time, He reappeared and filled in the gap that had so long stood blank.

'I am----!' 'I am'----what? 'I am---the Bread of Life!' 'I am---the Light of the World!' 'I am---the Door!' 'I am---the True Vine!' 'I am---the Good Shepherd!' 'I am---the Way, the Truth, and the Life!' 'I am---the Resurrection and the Life!'

Christ releases men from the burden of their own guilt and shameful past. 'Who shall deliver me from this dead body?' cried St. Paul. And he answered his own question; 'Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.' 'There is now no condemnation,' he says in another place, 'to them that are in Christ Jesus.' And Paul's experience is the experience of innumerable multitudes since his day. They come to Jesus haunted and tortured by guilt and shame, and He heals all their diseases, He forgives all their iniquities. He says to them as to those he healed and blessed when here on earth, 'Son, daughter, thy sins are forgiven thee.' These are the people who know the 'value.' They have themselves been lifted up out of the horrible pit and miry clay and have had their feet set upon a rock and their goings established, and ever after their faces shine at the bare thought of Christ, and when they think of Him they say with adoring hearts: 'He is a great Forgiver.' Do we know the 'value' of the pardon and peace faith brings? Have we experienced it? We never shall know it until we come ourselves to Jesus to be forgiven. 'To you that believe is the value.'

Here lies the knot and center of Gospel forgiveness. It flows from the cross, and springs out of the grave of Christ . . . .

Pardon comes not to the soul alone; or rather, Christ comes not to the soul with pardon only. It is that which he opens the door and enters by, but he comes with a spirit of life and power.

Christ gives men strength in view of the temptations and difficulties of the present. 'I can do all things,' says St. Paul, 'through Christ which stregthens me.' He had fearful difficulties to face, fierce temptations to meet, seas of sorrow to bear, but he trusted Christ, put all his faith in Christ, and this is his testimony---he overcame through Christ. St. Paul knew the 'value' of Christ. He had tried Him in the shocks and conflicts of life. And multitudes endorse his testimony. They have found the comfort of Christ in sorrow; they have received the run of relief of Christ in times of difficulty; they have experienced the strength of Christ in the hour of temptation. They know what Christ has done, they know His 'value.' Do we know the 'value' of Christ in temptation and sorrow and difficulty? Have we experienced His sufficient help, His enabling grace? 'The Lord is able to deliver the godly out of temptation.' Yes, the Lord is able, but we shall never know His saving power until we ask Him to deliver and keep us. Then, as the Lord reveals to us the wealth of His redeeming and comforting grace, we shall begin to appreciate His worth. 'To you that believe is the value.'

We speak of the steadiness of veterans, of men being accustomed to accept something undesirable, of the MORALE of an army; and what we mean is that success after success in the past, and victory upon victory, give confidence in the issues of today and the days to come. Still further, a great general who has carried his army successfully through campaigns gives them assurance in a contest against any foe. Now, in the Christian life, experience of what Christ has done in the past gives them assurance of what He will do in the future. A Christian's assurance is not in himself so much as in the Spirit which is within him. There is such a thing as the assurance of the craftsman who, through many years of careful work, has built up a skill in hand and eye and brain on which he can now count when a new piece of work is placed before him. It is not self-conceit which leads him to say: "I can do it." He KNOWS he can. So does the practiced Christian know that his strength came in earlier days from the presence of Christ within him, and that He will not fail him now.

Christ fills men with radiant hope even in face of death. 'To die is gain,' says the Apostle. 'He which raised up the Lord Jesus,' he says in another place, 'shall raise up us also with Jesus.' 'Henceforth there is laid up for me,' he says in yet another place, 'a crown of righteousness.' St. Paul knew the value of Christ. Christ filled him with such a glorious and blessed hope that he was able to mock at death and triumph over the grave. And thousands upon ten thousands have been able to do what St. Paul did. They have been able to greet the unseen with a cheer. They have tested the worth of Christ in the face of man's last foe.

In Christ, timothy. maranatha