by James Smith, 1861
"Unto you therefore who believe — He is precious!" 1 Peter 2:7
FAITH in Christ is all important. It is both the gift of God's grace — and yet the exercise of man's heart. It is going to Christ, trusting in Christ, committing the soul to Christ, and relying alone on Christ. Wherever there is faith, there is also unbelief, and these two opposite principles will so contend in the believer's bosom, that he is at times unable to conclude whether he believes or not. At such times, we should repair to God's word, and seeking the teaching of the Holy Spirit, search out the proofs of faith therein contained. Many such proofs are scattered through the word, and they are simple and satisfactory; but I want to confine your attention to one, and a very sweet one, "Unto you therefore who believe — He is precious!"
Consider the FACT:Jesus is precious to all believers. He is prized by them, they set a very high value upon him. He is enjoyed by them, yes, there is nothing they enjoy so much. He is an honor to them, and believing on him is an honor to them.
Every believer VALUES Christ. Let others think of him as they may, all who are taught of God, think highly of him. They can never honor him as they wish, or enjoy him to their full satisfaction.
Every believer feels their NEED of him. No weary traveler ever felt his need of rest, no hungry laborer ever felt his need of food, no drowning mariner ever felt his need of a life-boat — as the believer has felt his need of Christ.
They need to be saved — and only Christ can save them.
They need to be happy — and only Jesus can make them happy.
They need his blood to cleanse them from sin, and procure their pardon.
They need his righteousness to clothe their souls, and justify them before God.
They need his Spirit to sanctify their nature, and make them fit for Heaven.
They need his intercession to secure them from evil, and procure for them good things.
They need his fullness of grace to supply all their needs from earth to Heaven.
Every believer discovers the exact SUITABILITY of Christ to them. He is just what they need — He has all that they need.
They are foolish — He has wisdom.
They are unrighteous — and He has righteousness.
They are unholy — and He has holiness.
They are weak — and He has strength.
They are in bondage — and He has redemption.
They are lost — and He has salvation.
In a word, they are led to see that God has stored up everything in Jesus, and that possessing Him — they have all things!
Every Christian believes on Him to the saving of the soul. They trust Him to procure their pardon, peace with God, and everlasting life.
Their heart goes out to Him,
they repose confidence in Him,
they commit their souls to Him,
they build on Him — as God's foundation;
they hide in Him — as the sinner's refuge; and
they trust themselves with Him — as the almighty Savior.
This is faith, and to all who have this faith — Jesus is precious. But He is only precious to believers. Others do not feel their need of him, do not see his adaptation to them, and do not depend on him for pardon, peace with God, and everlasting life.
The apostle gives certain reasons WHY Christ is precious to believers; let us look at:
The REASONS why Christ is precious.God has laid him for a FOUNDATION. He is the one foundation of the church, on which the whole building rests, and from which it derives safety. He is the only foundation of a sinner's hope. On him we must build for eternity — and on him alone. He is the foundation of every believer's hope. Only by building on Jesus — will hope spring up in the soul, cheering and comforting the heart.
He is the CHOSEN of God. Chosen to be the Savior. Chosen to be the center of attraction, the source of supply, and the author of eternal salvation — unto all those who obey him. He was chosen to be the storehouse of blessings, out of which all who believe in his name shall be supplied. "For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fullness dwell."
He is the CORNERSTONE. That which unites all believers together as one living temple, and keeps them together to be a habitation of God through the Spirit. The union, the strength, and the beauty of God's church, arises from Christ being the cornerstone. He unites all the parts together, and the whole church to God. He preserves all who believe on him from apostasy, shame, and danger. "He who believes on him shall not be confounded." Every believer shall be bold in the judgment, confident in God, and safe — let whatever will come on the earth. Now, as God's foundation of our hope; as God's elect, or chosen one; as the glorious uniting cornerstone of the whole church; and as the Savior from confusion, shame, and danger — He is precious to every believer.
These are some SEASONS in which Christ is especially precious:
Christ is especially precious when the soul is first converted. When it emerges from darkness to light. When it sees Jesus as the only and all-sufficient Savior. When venturing on him — it enjoys peace, liberty, and joy in the Holy Spirit. It sees that all flows from Jesus, and deeply feels its obligation to Jesus. But for Jesus, all it could look for would be condemnation, death, and Hell! Through Jesus it enjoys justification, eternal life, and a good hope of Heaven. O how precious does this render the Savior!
Christ is especially precious to believers — when the emptiness of the world is discovered. The soul having tried the world, has found it . . .
false and fickle,
an empty cistern,
a dry well,
a cloud without water,
only vanity and vexation of spirit!
The Christian has experienced that . . .
the world's pleasures — end in pain,
its honors — end in disgrace,
and its wealth — ends in absolute poverty.
Now turning from the world, to Jesus — it finds . . .
It obtains . . .
a deep and lasting peace which passes all understanding,
unsearchable riches in Christ, and
honors which will never pass away.
O how precious is Jesus, when this world appears to be a valley of tears! Almost everything earthly is at times calculated to . . .
fill us with sadness,
and draw forth tears.
Losses, crosses, disappointments, and bereavements — all conspire to make us sad. Earth is to us a Valley of Achor — the place of trouble and sorrow.
Now turning to Jesus, we find a friend who loves at all times, and a brother born for adversity.
He makes up for every loss,
He sanctifies every disappointment,
and He fills for us every relation.
His presence is . . .
like a flowing spring — in a dreary desert,
like a cheering fire — on a piercing winter's night,
and like a happy home — to the exhausted traveler.
O how precious is Jesus now!
Christ is especially precious at the throne of grace. What could we do without Jesus there? What could we plead? Realizing this, and perceiving the infinite worth and worthiness of Jesus, and his glorious sacrifice, and believing that he stands between us and his Father's justice, how precious Jesus is! We dare not go to the throne without him, nor expect the least blessing but through him, and for his sake; but with him, and through him, we may expect the greatest, the richest, the best blessings, which God can bestow!
Christ is especially precious in seasons of sickness. When shut out from the world, and obliged to be much alone. When exercised with strong pain, or extreme weakness. Then, to lie on the sick pillow and meditate on . . .
what he is,
what he has done,
what he is doing, and
what he has promised to do
— is indeed sweet.
One promise dropped by him into the heart, will raise us above pain and fear, and fill us with patience, fortitude, and courage.
Christ is especially precious when Satan comes to harass us, and reflections on the sins and infirmities of our past lives, are calculated to deject and cast us down.
Christ is especially precious in the hour of death. However much we may need Christ in life — we shall need him more in death. He is the only antidote of death. He alone can give us victory over it. He alone can make us triumph in it.
How precious have multitudes found Jesus to be in the dying hour! They have been able to defy its power, smile at its pains, and court its final stroke! Through him they have cried, and cried in tones of triumph, "O death, where is your sting! O grave, where is your victory!" Yes, when earth appears to be receding, and eternity drawing very near to us. When every earthly prop gives way. When clear light shows us that our very best works are but splendid sins. O how precious is Jesus then!
His blood and obedience, his word and his grace, his faithfulness and sympathy, are unutterably precious!
Beloved, do you have this faith, which, renders Christ so precious? If so, admire the sovereign and distinguishing grace of God, which has conferred so great a blessing upon you — for not all are given saving faith.
Honor the Holy Spirit, by whose operation this faith was produced in you.
Realize the importance of this faith, which renders Christ so precious.
It is the eye — which sees the beauty of Christ.
It is the foot — which travels to Christ.
It is the hand — which lays hold of Christ.
It is the mouth — which tastes the sweetness of Christ.
It is the inward principle — which clings and cleaves to Christ.
Avoid therefore whatever weakens faith, or interrupts its exercise; and prize whatever strengthens it, and makes it vigorous!
If you do not have this faith, or if you doubt whether you have or not — cry mightily to God, to send the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of faith to produce, or increase it, in you.
If you do not have high and honorable thoughts of Christ,
if you do not prize him as the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely,
if you do not depend entirely on his precious blood and finished work, for your salvation
— whatever 'faith' you may have — is not that faith which distinguishes God's elect, which is of the operation of God, and to which the promise of salvation is made. Look well to it, therefore, that you have this faith, that you believe on the Son of God, that you believe that Jesus is the Christ, and trust in him, and love him accordingly, for, "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God."
Jesus is precious, says the Word,
What comfort does this truth afford!
And those who in his name believe,
With joy this precious truth receive.
To them he is more precious far,
Than life and all its comforts are;
More precious than their daily food,
More precious than their vital blood.
Not health, nor wealth, nor sounding fame,
Nor earth's deceitful empty name,
With all its pomp, and all its glare,
Can with a precious Christ compare!
He's precious, in his precious blood.
That pardoning and soul-cleansing flood!
He's precious, in his righteousness,
That everlasting heavenly dress!
In every office he sustains,
In every victory he gains,
In every council of his will,
He's precious to his people still.
As they draw near their journey's end,
How precious is their heavenly friend!
And, when in death they bow their head,
He's precious on a dying bed.