"Know Nothing but Jesus Christ & Him Crucified"
“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” – 1 Corinthians 2:2
My reader, I am not determined after this determination of Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:2, for there is more to be known! Paul called it “wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:6) - wisdom which is, in our day, lying undiscovered beyond the “first principles” of the faith (Heb. 5:12, 6:1). God be praised for all the efforts of God’s people! Indeed we have, in this generation, set forth to prove the narrow entrance of “the strait Gate” (Matt. 7:13-14) with considerable success, but my burden is to prove and make clear the light of God’s wisdom for the pathway beyond. Verily, “strait is the gate”, but Christ also said, “narrow is the way” (Matt. 7:14). There is much left unsaid concerning this holy “Way” (John 14:6), and we, in regenerate circles, are too often coveting the high chair of spiritual infancy! Can life be sustained on nothing more than milk? Many push away the plate of maturity with unfounded confidence, saying, “I don’t want to know anything else.” Is this admirable? We live in a generation of spiritual babies who have lost their appetite for meat! There are more nightmares to be told of all those who choked on the bones…and most remain overwhelmed. Shall we fear the meat because many have choked on it? Shall we never eat it because others have not had the grace to consume it? Dear reader, bone-chokers have gone “whereunto also they were appointed” (1 Pet. 2:8), but whither is your appointment? The 66 books of the Bible have become like a 66-mile high Mountain, and when men cower at its height long enough, they become satisfied at its foundation.
David exclaimed, “Who will bring me into the strong city” (Ps. 61:9)? We would do well to answer with him in his reverential song – “Wilt not Thou, O God, which hadst cast us off?” (Ps. 61:10) – and wilt not Thou, O God, Who has left us without guidance, without courage, blubbering at the foot of Thy holy Mountain?
If we would mount up on wisdom’s-wings
We would soar to heights the Spirit brings
Being compelled thereto, to sing - to sing – Great is our God!
The chapters henceforth written, though vast and exhausting, are meant to guide and direct the regenerate man into the pathway of life, which is, without variableness, up this 66-mile high Mountain of glory. This is not a message to the unconverted public. This is written to God’s true people, to the end that truth might be established, unity might be perfected, faith might be purified, and the Bride might be beautified.
“Leaving the first principles” does not mean we are, God forbid, going on to “other truths” which have viable significance outside of Jesus Christ and Him crucified (Heb. 6:1). We are not leaving Christ, for then we would be as a cell without a Nucleus or a master builder without a Foundation. We are not leaving these first principles so as to study other things which are irrelevant to them, but rather we are building upon them. Let my reader understand: every truth finds its relevance in the Person and work of Christ, and every step along “the narrow way” is done in the Person who is “The Way” (John 14:6).
In this writing I do repeat myself many times, but mind you, I do not think it to be redundant. Given the unfamiliarity of the content of which I have set forth to prove with the general difficulty of understanding it, that it is complex when standing alone, and how that it is of greater complexity when in connection with spiritual parallels all throughout the scripture, I find that, without repetition, these doctrines are impossible to understand. Repetition is a methodology used in the inspired scripture of the Bible, thus one should never despise the use of repetition, for then one would have to despise the Bible. Consider the four gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – they are repetitions one of another in many ways, but each are approaching Christ from different spiritual angles, with different majoring themes, ending in different spiritual truths as the final communication to the spiritually capable reader, and though this book is incomparable to inspired writings which are God-breathed, I do hope that it is led by the Spirit enough that such technique and methodology to communicate spiritual truth can be used for your spiritual edification.
Also, it is absolutely necessary that you read the chapters in order to understand what I am saying and meaning with the words or phraseology that I am using, lest you misunderstand, misinterpret, misbalance, or misapply what I am teaching through the scripture. When I have once established a biblical principle or a biblical phrase in its exact meaning, then I will continue to use that phrase without reference to its exact meaning in later chapters. The chapters, principles, doctrines, and ideas build upon one another. Some chapters can be read outside of the context of the former chapters, and behold, much truth can still be gleaned, but I assure you that you will not understand what I am saying or meaning in full. Beware lest you wrest my words to your own destruction, lest you are found a slanderous criminal in the sight of God. I say this, especially, to those who refuse to study the whole context of each chapter, who do not take the time to study the entire book. May the Lord have mercy, in Jesus’ Name.
The inspired scripture does present the heart of God in its entirety, in perfect balance. This is a Divine wonder! Furthermore, this Book, the very letters of inerrancy, is committed to preachers to steward. Woe to the most of us, I say to “the preachers”, for we are called to represent God, and who is able to preach and expound such mysterious and holy Words? Through preaching, can we make visible The Invisible? From our tongues, can we utter an oration fit for the Only Wise? Left speechless before the brightness of His Image, can we speak for Him? “Who is sufficient for these things” (2 Cor. 2:16)? To the humiliation of every God-called preacher, or every God-ordained ready writer, we are put to this task which conquers our pride. Whatever we are ingratiated to say or pen, there is some ugly smudge of self and sin which lurks about the uninspired text. We cannot tell where it is, otherwise, by God’s grace, we would remove it with all speed. It is therefore impossible, except by God’s own exhale of grace, that a writing could be so clear a depiction of God’s entire heart on a certain matter. When one would endeavor to make sinners heavy in godly sorrow, how often do they go away too light hearted? When one would endeavor to make known the mysteries of God’s grace by promise, expecting that, at last, their tongue will surely let loose the age old “AMEN” of the saints, and then say, “Bold I approach the eternal Throne, to claim the crown through Christ my own”, and yet, alas, in whatever we preached or wrote – “they saw Him, they worshipped Him: but some doubted” (Matt. 28:17). May God have mercy upon our foul breath, our finite fingers; for we endeavor to write letters and words which shall never pass away. We are of all men most needy for grace! The commandment of God does lay heavy upon us: “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11). May God have mercy upon us!
Take the book of Hebrews as an example: By approximation, the 1st chapter, ¾ of the 2nd chapter, ¼ of the 4th chapter, ¼ of the 5th chapter, a 3rd of the 6th chapter, the 7th, 8th, and 9th chapters, ½ of the 10thchapter, the 11th chapter, and ¼ of the 12th chapter all focus on the glory of God’s grace. When a man is reading these portions of Hebrews under the illumination of the Spirit, it is as if God is bidding you to open your eyes, like Abraham, and “look now toward heaven, and tell the stars” (Gen. 15:5). Praise God! As the stars of heaven bend you back and widen your eyes in wonder, you would be overwhelmed at the sight of God’s love if He gave you eyes to see. There are so many promises, elaborated and made alive like a colorful galaxy burns in otherworldly flames, promises which are eternal in saving power like the undying stars stand fast and abide. Then, according to God’s Fatherly wisdom, the reader is intermittently led to look upon a different scenery – namely, the terrifying warnings written in the other portions of Hebrews (¼ of chapter 2, chapter 3, ¾ of chapter 4, ¾ of chapter 5, 2/3 of chapter 6, ½ of chapter 10, and ¾ of chapter 12) - but you see, the reader has been made able to endure them in their proper application. The wrathful warnings of God, understood and applied alone, without love, or the love of God standing alone, without God’s wrathful warnings, is as the elements of table salt. Standing alone, sodium and chlorine are poisonous, but when they are compounded together they created the life-preserving, life-giving substance called salt. We too must be balanced, like this compound, for we “are the salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13). He that eateth a little honey falling from the trees (1 Sam. 14:25-29) will have energy enough to survive the war. A man caught up in heaven (Eph. 2:6), looking down, would not fear the flames of hell in any unrighteous regard (1 John 4:17-18).
My reader, I do state all of this because most chapters in this book (“The Condescension of God”) were not meant to guide you “to the top of Pisgah” that you might see the Promised Land (Deut. 34:1). These chapters do not have the balance and perfect application of inspired scripture, that you might be intermittently solaced with God’s gracious love. Nay, this book was to prove what is left unproven, to a generation who has unfounded confidence while in a spiritual position of woe and wrath. This book, according to my burden, is a guide to lead you to Mount Sinai, that you might learn to fear. If need be, my reader, resort to the last chapter for the comforts of Pisgah. The balm of Gilead does yet remain in Zion (Jer. 8:22), and even in this book (see the last chapter); though for the most part I am seeking to wound you with an injury, given by a true friend (Prov. 27:6).