16 November 2013

The Heart of Christ

Here are a handful of remarks from Thomas Goodwin's The Heart of Christ that struck me and helped me and calmed me down and (as Edwards would say) happified me as I read this little gem. Many of us have been walking with the Lord for years and have never latched on to who Christ actually is for sinners--how he feels about sinners who come to him. What his heart is.

There has been a remarkable recovery of the doctrines of grace in recent years, but, I think, not an accordant recovery of the Man of grace. We've recovered the formula but not the Person. The what, but not the Who.

Goodwin has a word in season for the evangelical church today.

On Christ's words in John 14:3:
It is as if he had said, The truth is, I cannot live without you, I shall never be quiet till I have you where I am, that we may never part again. . . . Heaven shall not hold me, nor my Father's company, if I have not you with me, my heart is so set upon you. (16)
On the Holy Spirit's coming after Christ's ascension:
He shall tell you, if you will listen to him, and not grieve him, nothing but stories of my love. . . . All his speech in your hearts will be to advance me, and to greaten my worth and love unto you, and it will be his delight to do it. . . . He will tell you, when I am in heaven, that there is as true a conjunction between me and you, and as true a dearness of affection in me towards you, as is between my Father and me, and that it is as impossible to break this knot, and to take off my heart from you, as my Father's from me. (19-20)
On the disciples' forsaking Christ at his arrest and crucifixion:
God often orders it, that when he is in hand with the greatest mercies for us, and bringing about our greatest good, then we are most of all sinning against him; which he doth, to magnify his love the more. (28)
On the risen Christ speaking to his fearful disciples, who had so miserably failed him:
Poor sinners, who are full of the thoughts of their own sins, know not how they shall be able at the latter day to look Christ in the face when they shall first meet with him. But they may relieve their spirits against their care and fear, by Christ's carriage now towards his disciples, who had so sinned against him. Be not afraid, your sins will he remember no more. (30)
On Hebrews 4:15:
I have chosen this text, as that which above any other speaks his heart most, and sets out the frame and workings of it towards sinners; and that so sensibly that it doth, as it were, take our hands, and lay them upon Christ's breast, and let us feel how his heart beats and his affections yearn toward us, even now he is in glory--the very scope of these words being manifestly to encourage believers against all that may discourage them, from the consideration of Christ's heart toward them now in heaven. (48)
On Christ's love for his people:
His love is not a forced love, which he strives only to bear toward us, because his Father hath commanded him to marry us; but it is his nature, his disposition. . . . This disposition is free and natural to him; he should not be God's Son else, nor take after his heavenly Father, unto whom it is natural to show mercy, but not so to punish, which is his strange work, but mercy pleaseth him; he is 'the Father of mercies,' he begets them naturally. (60)
On 1 John 4:8:
Christ is love covered over with flesh, yea, our flesh. And besides, it is certain that God hath fashioned the hearts of all men, and some of the sons of men unto more mercy and pity naturally than others, and then the Holy Spirit, coming on them to sanctify their natural dispositions, useth to work according to their tempers, even so it is certain that he tempered the heart of Christ, and made it of a softer mold and temper than the tenderness of all men's hearts put together into one, to soften it, would have been of. (61)
On Matthew 11:28-29:
Men are apt to have contrary conceits of Christ, but he tells them his disposition there, by preventing such hard thoughts of him, to allure them unto him the more. We are apt to think that he, being so holy, is therefore of a severe and sour disposition against sinners, and not able to bear them. No, says he; 'I am meek,' gentleness is my nature and temper. (63)
On Christ as heavenly mediator on our behalf:
This superadded glory and happiness of Christ is enlarged and increased still, as his members come to have the purchase of his death more and more laid forth upon them; so as when their sins are pardoned, their hearts more sanctified, and their spirits comforted, then comes he to see the fruit of his labor, and is comforted thereby, for he is the more glorified by it, yea, he is much more pleased and rejoiced in this than themselves can be. And this keeps up in his heart his care and love unto his children here below, to water and refresh them every moment. (111-12)
On Jeremiah 31:20:
We may have the strongest consolations and encouragements against our sins. . . . There is comfort, in that your very sins move him to pity more than to anger. . . . Christ takes part with you, and is far from being provoked against you, as all his anger is turned upon your sin to ruin it; yea, his pity is increased the more towards you, even as the heart of a father is to a child that hath some loathsome disease, or as one is to a member of his body that hath the leprosy, he hates not the member, for it is his flesh, but the disease, and that provokes him to pity the part affected the more. . . . The greater the misery is, the more is the pity when the party is beloved. Now of all miseries, sin is the greatest, and while you look at it as such, Christ will look upon it as such also. And he, loving your persons, and hating only the sin, his hatred shall all fall, and that only upon the sin, to free you of it by its ruin and destruction, but his affections shall be the more drawn out to you; and this as much when you lie under sin as under any other affliction. Therefore fear not. (155-56)
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1 comment:

Bentley said...


Thanks so much for this. Goodwin's work really is so helpful as it helps us really consider the very real love of Christ for us. I appreciate you highlighting this. I'll have to dig even deeper into reading him.