‘I will accept you with your sweet savour.’ Ezekiel 20:41
Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 11:20–30
The Saviour’s character has all goodness in all perfection; he is full of grace and truth. Some men, nowadays, talk of him as if he were simply incarnate benevolence. It is not so. No lips ever spoke with such thundering indignation against sin as the lips of the Messiah. ‘He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap;’ his ‘fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor.’ While in tenderness he prays for his tempted disciple, that his faith may not fail, yet with awful sternness he winnows the heap, and drives away the chaff into unquenchable fire. We speak of Christ as being meek and lowly in spirit, and so he was, but his meekness was balanced by his courage, and by the boldness with which he denounced hypocrisy. ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! …Ye fools and blind; …ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?’ These are not the words of the milksop some authors represent Christ to have been. He is a man—a real man throughout—a God-like man—gentle as a woman, but yet stern as a warrior in the midst of the day of battle. The character is balanced; as much of one virtue as of another. As in Deity every attribute is full orbed; justice never eclipses mercy, nor mercy justice, nor justice faithfulness; so in the character of Christ you have all the excellent things, ‘whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report;’ you have them all; but not one of them casts a shadow on another; they shine each and all with undimmed splendour.
For meditation: Is this the Jesus you love and worship, or do you only believe in a ‘Gentle Jesus, meek and mild’? Failure to accept fully the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament, is to follow a ‘false Christ’ (Matthew 24:24) or ‘another Jesus’ (2 Corinthians 11:4), an idol of your own or somebody else’s imagination. That is no better than following Baal or some other false god!
Sermon no. 688
29 April (1866)