Pillar Journal

Christ’s Gift

He gave gifts for converting elect sinners and making them saints.

Let us consider what Christ did when He came to heaven and was exalted there. He abundantly made good all that He had promised in His last sermon! He instantly poured out His Spirit, and that “richly” (as the apostle speaks to Titus). “Being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which you now see and hear,” says the apostle in his first sermon after (Acts 2:33). He received the Spirit and visibly poured Him out. So Paul tells us that Christ ascended up on high, giving gifts unto men for the work of the ministry and for the jointing in of the saints to the increase of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:8, 12, 16). That is, He gave gifts for converting elect sinners and making them saints. Some of the gifts there mentioned remain to this day, including “pastors and teachers,” etc. And this Spirit is still in our preaching and in your hearts, in hearing, in praying, etc., and persuades you of Christ’s love to this very day. In all these things He is the pledge of the continuance of Christ’s love to sinners.

All our sermons and your prayers are evidences to you that Christ’s heart is still the same toward sinners as ever, for the Spirit that assists in all these works comes in His name and in His stead, and works all by commission from Him. Do none of you feel your hearts moved in the preaching of these things, at this and other times? Who is it that moves you? It is the Spirit, who speaks in Christ’s name from heaven, even as He Himself is said to “speak from heaven” (Heb. 12:25). When you pray, it is the Spirit who incites your prayers and makes intercession for you in your own hearts (Rom. 8:26)— intercession that is the evidence and echo of Christ’s intercession in heaven. The Spirit prays in you because Christ prays for you. He is an intercessor on earth because Christ is an intercessor in heaven. Just as the Spirit took and used Christ’s words that He had uttered before when He spoke in and to the disciples the words of life, so He takes Christ’s prayers also when He prays in us; He takes the words, as it were, out of Christ’s mouth, or rather His heart, and directs our hearts to offer them up to God. He also follows us to the sacrament, and in that mirror shows us Christ’s face smiling on us, and through His face, His heart. Having thus received a sight of Him, we go away rejoicing that we saw our Savior that day.

*From The Heart of Christ in Heaven Towards Sinners on Earth; Works 4:107.

Excerpt from
A Habitual Sight of Him
by Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones