Behold the Glory of Christ!

(Communion meditation by Bill Pritchett)

“Oh to behold the Glory of Christ! Here in would I live, Here in would I die, here on would I dwell in my thoughts and my affections until all things here below become as dead and deformed things, and in no longer, any way, calling out for my affections” ~ John Owen

I think that many of us can at times fall into one of two categories…in one we acknowledge that we are sinners in a very general sense, but overall we think we are not too bad…or, the second one…we have sinned and we can’t seem to let it go and we allow this sin to become our identity.

In both instances we are dealing with our own pride. We focus on ourselves and those around us or on the news and we can think that since we are not that bad we only have a generic need for Jesus. Or, we can think that we are so bad so sinful so wretched that Jesus’ blood could not possibly be sufficient to cover our sin. In both cases, we have made the object of our own affection something other than Jesus.

As this quote from John Owen reminds us, if we could fully grasp and fathom the Glory of Christ we would not want to let it go. “Here in would I live, Here in would I die, Here on would I dwell in my thoughts and my affections until all things here below become as dead and deformed things, and in no longer, any way, calling out for my affections.

In Galatians chapter 2 versus 20-21 it says: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, Christ died for no purpose.”

When we stop fixing our eyes on Christ and instead fix them on ourselves, we stop being in awe of the realities of the cross and just how great our debt is and how overwhelming it is that our debt is paid. If we are nothing more than morally neutral then we rob grace of all that it is…the better we think we are, the less we think we need it, the less amazing grace becomes. When we see grace as not sufficient enough to deal with our sin then we have decided that grace must meet us and meet our standards.

Randy Alcorn says: “Grace isn’t about God lowering His standards. It’s about God fulfilling those standards through the substitutionary suffering of the standard-setter. Christ went to the cross because He would not ignore the truths of His holiness and our sin. Grace never ignores or violates truth. Grace gave what truth demanded: the ultimate sacrifice of our sins.”

If you’re not sure you are really that bad, if you acknowledge that you are a sinner, but really only in a general and generic ways…

Romans 3:23 famously says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”

As John Piper says “Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God”

If you struggle to believe that God loves you just as you are even though you are a sinner…

Zephaniah 3:17 says “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

We desperately need to behold the Glory of Christ. We need to see ourselves as the sinful wretch that we are…and then not stay there, not leave it there, but let that direct our affections to Christ, that we might be in even more awe over the Cross, even more humbled over the Cross…that as we see the Glory of Christ as we see the sin in our hearts, as we see that this is the same Christ that died on the cross, that we see Jesus as sufficient and all that we need. That the things that once robbed our affections for Christ are now becoming dead and deformed things no longer calling out for our affections.

Father God,

We confess our tendency to be too ‘routine focused’ and not in awe enough of the realities of communion or of our relationship with You in general. I pray that our affections toward You continue to be increased. Help us to put off sin and to put on the things that are of You. Help us to be less concerned about our own comforts and more concerned with honoring You with our words and our deeds. We recognize that we are sinners in need of a savior and we thank You that in Your grace You have provided that savior. We don’t deserve Your love or Your grace and You give it freely.  It is in Jesus’ holy name that we pray, AMEN