WHICH THERE IS NO
BETWEEN: hopou ouk eni
117:2; Isa 19:23, 24, 25; 49:6; 52:10; 66:18, 19, 20, 21, 22; Jer 16:19; Hos
2:23; Amos 9:12; Micah 4:2; Zec 2:11; 8:20, 21, 22, 23; Mal 1:11; Mt 12:18,
19, 20, 21; Acts 10:34,35; 13:46, 47, 48; 15:17; 26:17,18; Ro 3:29; 4:10,11;
9:24-26; Ro 9:30,31; 10:12; 15:9, 10, 11, 12, 13; 1Cor 12:13; Gal 3:28; Eph
(hópou compound relative adverb from poú =
where) when used of place it means where, in
which or what place. The "place" described is the
renewed state of the "new man" in Christ, i.e., in Christ there
are no class distinctions. People are not born equal in terms of mental
capacity, physical capacity, etc, and so there is no such thing as true
equality in this life. Christianity changes that because regeneration brings
true equality to people.
There is (éni is the contraction of énesti = there is, third person singular present active indicative).
The verb as used here signifies not only the fact but the impossibility. The
thrust of the Greek is "in which state there continually cannot be".
Paul declared to the Galatians
is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there
is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal
All those who
are one with Jesus Christ are one with each other. All believers
share the same privilege and position. Within the body of Christ all
have the same relationship to God. All are of equal value.
is the Greek word ou signifying absolute
negation. In other words "There absolutely does not exist..."
is the force of this statement.
Spurgeon writes that...
In the new life there is no distinction
of race and nationality. We are born into one family; we become members of
Christ’s body; and this is the one thing we have got to keep up—separation
from all the world beside: no separations in the church, no disunion,
nothing that would cause it, for we are one in Christ, and Christ is all.
Now, as we have to put off these things, that is the negative side: that is
the law’s side, for the law says, “Thou shalt not”—“Thou shalt not.” But
now look at the positive side.
Whenever you hear certain very wise
brethren say, “Such-and-such a promise in the Bible is for Israel, not for
the Gentiles,” do not you be misled in the least by their assertion; but
just quote this text to them: “There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision
nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all,
and in all.” These distinctions all vanish when once we come to Christ; we
are one in him, and every promise to believers is good to all who are in
Christ Jesus, for “Christ is all, and in all.”
does the distinction not exist, but it cannot exist. It is a mundane
distinction, and therefore has disappeared.”
brings true equality. People are not equal physically, mentally or
economically in this life. Only the gospel can place people on equal
footing with God and others.
The Christian church should have no barriers
for Christ breaks down all barriers and accepts all
people who come to Him. Christians should be building bridges, not walls.
In Christ all distinctions are
transcended; at the foot of the cross the ground is level.
JEW CIRCUMCISED OR UNCIRCUMCISED BARBARIAN SCYTHIAN: Hellen kai Ioudaios
peritoms kai akrobustia, barbaros skuthe: (Circumcision
1 Corinthians 7:19; Galatians 5:6; 6:15) (Barbarian Acts 28:2,4;
Romans 1:14; 1 Corinthians 14:11)
The Greek (Héllēn) when he is converted,
becomes a new being, with a new citizenship, a new allegiance. Now he
is not so much a Greek but is in fact a Christian. The same reasoning
holds for each of
the categories Paul lists. The result is a unity in one body with One Head,
The Greek and
Jew (Ioudaíos), the latter circumcised
(peritomé from perí = around, about +
témnō = to cut off) and the former, uncircumcised,
(akrobustía from ákron = the extreme +
búō = to cover) were separated by seemingly insurmountable
racial and religious barriers. o label someone as uncircumcised means
to designate somebody as not being a Jew and, therefore, outside of
The Jew and the Greek had
nothing to do with each other. The world of the New Testament, as our
day, was full of divisions between people. The Greek looked down on
slaves and barbarians and Scythian. The Greek was the aristocrat of
the Roman world and lauded it over anyone who was not Greek in his
The Jew looked down on the Gentile. Jews refused to enter a Gentile house, would not eat a meal
cooked by Gentiles and would not buy meat prepared by Gentile butchers. When
Jews returned to Israel, they showed their disdain for Gentiles by
shaking off the dust from their clothes and sandals. Even the
apostles were reluctant to accept Gentiles as equal partners in the
The Pharisee would pray each morning,
thank Thee, God, that I am a Jew, not a Gentile; a man, not a woman;
and a freeman, and not a slave.”
Yet all these
distinctions are removed in Christ.
note) (see also
in Christ Jesus) The gospel broke down
so that Jew and Gentile became one in Christ.
Paul described that supernatural
transaction Ephesians writing that
now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought
near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made
both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of
commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make
the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile
them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to
death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were far
away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have
our access in one Spirit to the Father." (Eph 2:13, 14,1 5, 16,
(barbaros) strictly means stammering, stuttering or
uttering unintelligible sounds and so was used to describe strange
speech or foreign language. The Greeks used the word of any foreigner
ignorant of the Greek language and the Greek culture, whether mental
or moral, with the added notion after the Persian war, of rudeness and
When someone spoke in another language, it sounded to the Greeks like
“bar-bar-bar,” or unintelligible chatter.
Paul’s point is that God is no
respecter of persons—the gospel must reach both the world’s elite and
meant one whose speech is rude, or harsh; the word is onomatopoeic, indicating in the sound the uncouth
character represented by the repeated syllable bar–bar and
hence, in the mouth of a Greek it meant anything that was not Greek,
language, people or customs. With the spread of Greek language and
culture, it came to be used generally for all that was non-Greek.
time it acquired the additional meaning of rude or uncivilized. Used
demeaned those lacking Hellenistic culture as crude, coarse, boorish,
savage, or bestial "
And so as you can imagine a fellowship composed of all the people
groups mentioned in this verse was unthinkable in the ancient world. Yet that is precisely
what happened in the church. Christ demolished the cultural barriers
Vincent writes that Scythians
barbarous than the barbarians” (Bengel). Hippocrates describes them as
widely different from the rest of mankind, and like to nothing but
themselves, and gives an absurd description of their physical
peculiarities. Herodotus describes them as living in wagons, offering
human sacrifices, scalping and sometimes flaying slain enemies,
drinking their blood, and using their skulls for drinking-cups. When a
king dies, one of his concubines is strangled and buried with him,
and, at the close of a year, fifty of his attendants are strangled,
disemboweled, mounted on dead horses, and left in a circle round his
tomb." (Vincent, M. R. Word studies
in the New Testament. Vol. 3, Page 1-504).
Robertson adds that
Scythian was simply the climax of barbarity (Word Pictures in
the New Testament)
FREEMAN: doulos eleutheros: (1Cor 7:21,22; Eph 6:8)
[word study] from deo =
to bind giving a great picture of the sense of the noun doulos) a person
held in servitude as the chattel of another and under their master's
total control. A social barrier existed between the slave and the
Aristotle referred to a
doulos as “a
Both slaves and freemen were saved and became
brothers in Christ because they
“were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free” (1Cor
told Philemon to view Onesimus, his runaway slave,
“no longer as a
slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother” (Philemon
- verb form =
eleutheroo) refers primarily to freedom to go wherever
one likes and described a person in
the Grecian culture who was capable of movement and so called "the free one".
They were free socially and politically allowing for
The unity of slave and freeman was dramatically
demonstrated in the arena of Carthage in AD 202. Perpetua, a young
woman from a noble family and Felicitas, a slave girl, faced martyrdom
for Christ. As they faced the wild beasts, they joined hands. Slave
and free woman died together for the love of the same Lord.
Grant Richison comments that
of the level of culture or civilization, each ethnic group seems to be
able to point to some other group regarded as uncivilized. We cannot
excuse racism on the basis of class or background. Jesus sets aside
all our education, background, nationality and experience. Jesus
breaks down social barriers. Jesus sets aside national, religious,
cultural and social distinctions. God's Word says that there is one
place where everyone is equal and that is at the foot of the cross.
There is no ultimate answer to race problems because of the degeneracy
of the human being. We can legislate rights but we cannot legislate
the heart. Slavery was rampant in Paul's day. In the Devil's world
there is no solution to the inequalities of life. There never will be
an ultimate solution to the social and racial problems except the
gospel....It comes as a shock to religious people that all they need
to be acceptable to God is the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no need for
catechism, baptism or joining a church. Christ is all we need for
salvation. Moreover, Christ is all we need for the Christian life. We
do not get more of him than we have. He is a person and we do not
receive a person on the installment plan (Jn 1:16). Since we
received new life in Christ we received Christ fully. All we need to
do is learn to appropriate him personally to our experience
(2Co4:10; Phil 1:20,21)." (Today's
IS ALL AND IN ALL: alla (ta) panta kai en pasin Christos: (Col
2:10; 1Co 1:29,30; 3:21, 22, 23; Gal 3:29; 6:14; Php 3:7, 8, 9; 1Jn
5:11,12; 2Jn 1:9) (Jn 6:56,57; 14:23; 15:5; 17:23; Ro 8:10,11; Gal
2:20; Eph 1:23; 3:17; 1Jn 5:20)
All is the
plural panta which is more inclusive than the singular pan would have been.
paraphrases this verse as follows...
Christ is all things and in all things. Christ has dispossessed and
obliterated all distinctions of religious prerogative and intellectual
preeminence and social caste; Christ has substituted Himself for all
these; Christ occupies the whole sphere of human life and permeates
all its developments.
Christ has obliterated the words barbarian,
master, slave, all of them and has substituted the word adelphos
Henry explains all in all this way...
There is now no difference arising from
different country or different condition and circumstance of life: it is as
much the duty of the one as of the other to be holy, and as much the
privilege of the one as of the other to receive from God the grace to be so.
Christ came to take down all partition-walls, that all might stand on the
same level before God, both in duty and privilege. And for this reason,
because Christ is all in all.
Christ is a Christian's all, his
only Lord and Saviour, and all his hope and happiness. And to those
who are sanctified, one as well as another and whatever they are in
other respects, he is all in all, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning
and the end: he is all in all things to them.
MacDonald writes that
For the Christian these worldly distinctions are no longer of
importance. It is Christ who really counts. He is everything to the
believer and in everything. He represents the center and circumference
of the Christian’s life. (Believer's Bible Commentary : Old
and New Testaments. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
KJV Study Bible says...
redeemed Christ is all; that is, He is everything, and He is what
matters most to them. And Christ is … in all; that is, He dwells in
all believers." (KJV
Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Wuest writes that...
One heart now beats in all. The pulsating
life of the Lord Jesus is the motive power. One mind guides all, the mind of
Christ. One life is lived by all, the life of the Lord Jesus produced by the
Holy Spirit in the various circumstances and relations of each individual
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the
Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Johnson writes in Bibliotheca Sacra (Jan, 64)
"The new man lives in a new
environment where all racial, national, religious, cultural and social
distinctions are no more. Rather, Christ is now all that matters and
in all who believe. The statement is one of the most inclusive in the
New Testament and is amply supported by the pre-eminence of Christ in
New Testament theology. It is a particularly appropriate statement for
the Colossians and affords an excellent summary statement of the
teaching of the letter. There are three realms, relevant to the
Colossians, in which He is all. He is everything in SALVATION; hence
there is no place for angelic mediation in God's redemptive work (cf.
Col 1:18, 19, 20, 21, 22; 2:18 ). He is everything in SANCTIFICATION; hence legality
and asceticism are out of place in the Christian life (cf. Col 2:16-23).
He is our life (Col 3:3, 4). Finally, He is everything necessary for
human SATISFACTION; hence there is no need for philosophy, or the deeds of
the old man (Col 1:26, 27, 28 ; 2:3, 9, 10). He fills the whole life, and
all else is hindering and harmful." (Bibliotheca
Sacra: Theological Journal Library)
Hendriksen sums this section up
Christ, as the all-sufficient Lord and
Savior, is all that matters. His Spirit-mediated indwelling in all
believers, of whatever racial-religious, cultural, or social background they
be, guarantees the creation and gradual perfection in each and in all of
“the new man, who is being renewed for full knowledge according to the image
of him who created him.” Thus, most appropriately, the very theme of the
entire letter, namely, “Christ, the Pre-eminent One, the Only and
All-Sufficient Savior,” climaxes this passage. (Hendriksen,
W., & Kistemaker, S. J. New Testament Commentary Set, 12 Volumes. Grand
Rapids: Baker Book House)
Octavius Winslow devotionals on Col
JANUARY 15. "Christ is all, and
in all." Colossians 3:11. -- Anything, even if it be the blessed
production of the Eternal Spirit of God, which takes the place of Christ,
which shuts out Christ from the soul, is dangerous. In the great work of
salvation, Christ must be everything or nothing; from Him solely, from Him
entirely, from Him exclusively, must pardon and justification be drawn.
Whatever, then, rises between the soul and Christ- whatever would tend to
satisfy the soul in His absence- whatever would take His place in the
affections, must be surrendered. Is it as the plucking out of a right eye?
It must be yielded. Is it as the cutting off of a right hand? Let it go.
Christ in his Godhead, Christ in his humanity, Christ in his great and
finished work, Christ in his mediatorial fullness, must be all in all to the
believer. (Octavius Winslow. Daily Walking with God)
CHRIST IS ALL, AND IN ALL - "The
Lord is my portion, says my soul." "Christ is all, and in all."--Col. 3:11
We close these devout meditations with a magnificent Doxology--Christ all,
and Christ in all! It is an epitome, the substance, the consummation and
crown of the whole. Each theme has been a wider opening of the Divine jewel
box, presenting another and a closer glimpse of the precious, priceless gem
it contained. We now uplift and remove the lid, and, lo! it stands before us
in all its grandeur, luster, and completeness--CHRIST, ALL AND IN ALL.
Language is exhausted, imagery supplies its last symbol, imagination drops
her wing, for inspiration can bear it no higher--Christ is all, and in all!
"Blessed Jesus! You are all in all, in creation and redemption, in pardon,
grace, and glory. You are all in all in Your Church, and in the hearts of
Your people--in all their joys, all their happiness, all their exercises,
all their privileges. You are all in all in Your word, ordinances, means of
grace, the sum and substance of the whole Bible. Do we speak of promises?
You are the first promise in the sacred word, and the whole of every promise
that follows; for all in You are 'Yes and Amen'. Do we speak of the law? You
are the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes. Do we
speak of sacrifices? By Your one sacrifice You have for ever perfected those
who are sanctified. Do we speak of the prophecies? To You give all the
prophets witness, that whoever believes in You shall receive the remission
of sins. Yes! blessed, blessed Jesus, You are all in all. May You be to me,
Lord, the all in all I need in time, and then, surely, You will be my all in
all to all eternity!"
My soul! all that Jesus has is yours! Every perfection of His nature, every
throb of His heart, every thought of His mind, every drop of His blood,
every shred of His righteousness, every atom of His merit, is yours! How
rich and vast the inventory! How precious and boundless the wealth! Draw
largely upon His opulence--He will honor every draft--sink deeply into His
fullness--He will supply every need--"for all is yours."
But, my soul, Jesus is not only all to you, but He is in all that concerns
you. He is in every event of your history, and He is in every circumstance
of your life. He is in every affliction--sanctifying it; He is in every
sorrow--sweetening it; He is in every cloud, brightening it--He is in every
burden--sustaining it; He rides upon every storm and walks upon every
billow, saying to the winds and the waves, "Peace! be still." Oh, never meet
an event or a circumstance in your daily life, be it sad or joyous, but let
your faith exclaim, "Jesus is in this! He sent it, He comes with it, He will
control it, and I shall prove the all-sufficiency of His grace, and He shall
have every ascription of my praise!" And if the Lord has seen fit to remove
from you the one you loved--the blessing you prized--the supplies you
needed--the prop upon which you leaned, it is only that He Himself should be
your all in all. Jesus can fill every blank, replace every loss, and be
infinitely more to you than the fondest and most essential treasures He ever
gave or took away!
Christ will be all in all when eternity is nearing, and the eye is closing,
and the heart is chilling, and the pulse is sinking, and the countenance is
changing, and earth is disappearing, and heaven is opening, and friends are
weeping--oh then, then, JESUS will be ALL AND IN ALL! Down the shaded
valley--across the swelling flood--up the celestial hills--onward to the
throne high and lifted up--glory bathing it, saints and angels circling it,
anthems floating around it--Jesus will then appear as never before--THE ALL
AND THE IN ALL of His Church. "My flesh and my heart fails; but God is the
strength of my heart, and my portion forever." (Octavius Winslow.
CHRIST IS ALL
MEN are ever ready to value themselves
upon their natural endowments, their civil distinctions, or their religious
privileges; and to imagine that a preeminence in these things gives them
some kind of claim to honour and respect, even from God himself. But nothing
which a natural man can possess, will give him any such advantage over
others as shall entitle him to boast, as though his salvation were in any
measure of, or from, himself: the most learned “Greek” must be indebted to
divine teaching as much as the unlettered “Scythian;” and the Jew that has
been admitted into covenant with God by “circumcision,” be as much saved by
the blood and righteousness of Christ as an “uncircumcised” or idolatrous
“barbarian:” the “free-man” has no superiority above the “slave;” all stand
upon the same footing with respect to salvation; all without exception are
dependent upon Christ for all their mercies: in all cases, relating to all
persons, and to all the circumstances of each, the creature is nothing, and
Christ is all; “he is all in all.” We shall,
I. Illustrate this truth—
If we consult the Scriptures, or our own experience, Christ will be found
all in procuring, imparting, maintaining, and completing our
1. In procuring it—
[Who amongst the sons of men first suggested to our Lord the plan of saving
our ruined race through the sacrifice of himself? Who assisted him in
performing the mighty work which he had undertaken? “Did he not tread the
winepress of God’s wrath alone?” When he “finished transgression, made an
end of sin, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in an everlasting
righteousness,” “there was none with him;” “he looked and there was no man;
therefore his own arm brought salvation.” Who can add to the work Which he
has accomplished? Who can bring forth any works of supererogation or
perfection that shall eke out his righteousness, or give weight and efficacy
to his sacrifice? Surely Christ alone must be acknowledged as “the author of
2. In imparting it—
[The state of mankind may be fitly compared to the dry bones in Ezekiel’s
vision: they are altogether incapable of exerting themselves in the way of
godliness, or of performing the functions of the spiritual life. He who
commanded Lazarus to come forth from the grave, and who calls himself “the
resurrection and the life,” must quicken them, or they will remain to all
eternity “dead in trespasses and sins.” If “we choose him, and love him, it
is because he has first chosen us, and loved us.” There is not a saint on
earth that must not say, “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” “It is not
of blood, or of the will of the flush, or of the will of man, that we are
born, but of God.” Through the pride of our hearts indeed, we are too apt
to boast: but “who amongst us has any thing which he has not received?”
Who must not trace up to God both his “disposition to will, and his ability
to do” what is right and good? Nothing but the most consummate pride can
hinder us from confessing, that “salvation is, not of him that willeth, or
of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy:” and that, “if we have
been saved and called with an holy calling, it has not been according to our
works, but according to God’s eternal purpose and grace.”]
3. In maintaining it—
[Nothing is more evident than our inability to maintain our natural life:
however careful we be in the use of means, we cannot secure our bodies
against the effects of disease or accident. The preservation of our
spiritual life is yet further beyond the reach of our foresight or our
skill. If left by God for one moment, we shall fall. If Adam, even in
Paradise, yielded to temptation, notwithstanding he was a perfect man, how
much more shall we, who are full of evil? St. Paul acknowledges that,
notwithstanding all the grace he had received, he “had not in himself a
sufficiency even to think a good thought.” As water ceases to flow when
its communication with the fountain is cut off, or as light is instantly
extinguished as soon as the rays of the sun are intercepted, so all
spiritual life would cease in us for ever, if “Christ, who is our life,”
should for one instant withhold his quickening influence. From hence it is
that we are necessitated to “live entirely by faith in the Son of God,” and
to “receive continually out of his fulness.”]
4. In completing it—
[While we continue in the body, we shall be as dependent upon Christ for
every thing, as we have been at any period of our existence. He who has been
“the author, must also be the finisher of our faith:” the same “Zerubbabel
who laid the foundation of this spiritual work, must finish it with his own
hands, in order that, when the head-stone shall be brought forth with
shoutings, we may cry, Grace, grace unto it for ever.” Indeed, it is not
only to the end of life that Christ will carry on his work, but long after
we have mouldered in the grave; “he will raise us up again at the last
day,” appoint us our proper portion, exalt us to his throne of glory, and
be the continued source of our happiness through all eternity.]
This being a truth of infinite importance, we shall endeavour to,
II. Improve it—
It is not a mere assent to this doctrine that will profit our souls, but the
application of it to our hearts and consciences. Let us then apply it—
1. For reproof—
In how strong a light does the guilt of worldly men appear when viewed
through the medium of this truth! God assures us that no distinctions of
whatever kind will effectually make us happy; and that the happiness of all
must be altogether in, and through Christ. The worldling, on the contrary,
declares, by his practice at least, that the world, and not Christ, is the
true source of rational enjoyment. What is this but to “make God a liar?”
and shall this be deemed a light offence in the day of judgment? — — — But
this subject more particularly condems the self-righteous. These, instead of
looking to Christ for the free, unmerited, and continued exercise of his
grace, are ready to boast that they are not as other men, and to go forth in
a dependence on their own strength and goodness: instead of regarding him as
their entire “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,” they
transfer much of his glory to themselves; instead of making him their all,
they make him almost nothing. Do such persons honour Christ? or can they
expect to be honoured by him before the assembled universe? — — — Even true
believers will see much cause to be ashamed, when they reflect how low their
thoughts of Christ have been, and how cold their devoutest affections
towards him — — — Above all, the ministers of the Gospel, even the most
faithful amongst them, have reason to be ashamed. They know that they, who
neglect Christ, neglect their all; and that the consequences of that neglect
will be inexpressibly dreadful: should not then their “eyes run down with
tears day and night for the pride” and ignorance of their people? Should
they not “beseech them,” yea, and entreat God for them, with floods of
tears, if that by any means they might prevail on some to embrace the
Saviour? Have they not reason to tremble lest the blood of multitudes who
perish should be required at their hands? Surely they, who are ready to
condemn their zeal, should rather pity them, and pray for them, and
encourage their activity to the utmost.]
2. For direction—
[They who are inquiring, what shall we do to be saved? have here the
shortest and plainest direction that can be given them: if they remember
that “Christ is all,” and heartily endeavour to make him their all, they can
never perish. Their danger arises not less from their aversion to exalt the
Saviour, than it does from the love of worldly and carnal lusts; yea, it is
far easier to mortify any vicious habit whatever, than to bring the soul to
an unfeigned acquiescence in Christ as our all: we are always wanting to
retain some ground of self-preference, and self-complacency: but, if ever we
be saved by him, we must lie in his hands as new-born infants, and be
contented to be “washed, justified, and sanctified by him” alone — — — The
drooping and doubting Christian may also find in these words the very
direction which he most of all stands in need of. Doubts and fears arise,
either from a defective view of Christ’ all-sufficiency, or from an
apprehension of our own want of meetness to participate his benefits: we
wish to see ourselves purified in some measure, in order that we may be
warranted to lay hold on the promises: whereas the Scripture teaches us,
first to lay hold on the promises as sinners, that “by them we may” become
saints, and “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness both of flesh and
spirit.” We mean not to encourage sin of any kind; God forbid: but we must
go to Christ as having nothing in ourselves, that in him we may have all.]
3. For comfort—
[Doubtless, to those who determine to abide in sin, no consolation whatever
can be administered, for “the wrath of God does, and ever will, abide upon
them:” but to those who would forsake sin, though they be now the very chief
of sinners, our text affords unspeakable comfort. They are not to heal
themselves in part, and then to apply to the Physician, but to go to Christ
just as they are, and to cast themselves entirely upon him. O that some
might be encouraged to flee to him for refuge! for as he must be all in the
very best of men, so he is willing to be all to the vilest of the human
race: “him that goeth unto him he will in no wise cast out” — — — As for the
true believer, the subject before us is the one ground of all his comfort:
if Christ were not to be his all, he would absolutely despair; because he
knows that “without Christ he can do nothing:” but. knowing also the
all-sufficiency and faithfulness of Christ, he commits himself cheerfully
into his hands, “confident that he who hath begun the good work in him, will
perform it to the end,” and “preserve him blameless to his heavenly
Bishop J. C. Ryle
(1816-1900) has the following excellent message...
CHRIST IS ALL
THE words of the text which heads this
page are few, short, and soon spoken; but they contain great things. Like
those golden sayings (see passages below) they are singularly rich and
To me to live is
Christ (Php 1:21-note)
I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me
These three words (Christ is all) are the essence and substance of Christianity. If our
hearts can really go along with them, it is well with our souls; if not, we
may be sure we have yet much to learn.
Christ is the mainspring both of doctrinal and practical Christianity. A
right knowledge of Christ is essential to a right knowledge of
sanctification as well as justification. He that follows after holiness will
make no progress unless he gives to Christ His rightful place.
Let me try to set before my readers in what sense "Christ is all;" and let
me ask them, as they read, to judge themselves honestly, that they may not
make shipwreck in the judgment of the last day.
I. First of all let us understand that Christ is all, in all the counsels of
God concerning man.
(a) There was a time when this earth had no being.
Solid as the mountains
look, boundless as the sea appears, high as the stars in heaven look,-they
once did not exist. And man, with all the high thoughts he now has of
himself, was a creature unknown.
And where was Christ then?
Even then Christ was "with God, was God, and was equal with God." (Jn
1:1; Php 2:6-note) Even then He was the beloved Son of the Father: "Thou lovedst
Me," He says, "before the foundation of the world."-"I had glory with Thee
before the world began."-"I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning,
or ever the earth was." (Jn 17:5, 24; Pr 8:23.) Even
then He was the Saviour "for ordained before the foundation of the world" (1Pe
1:20-note), and believers were "chosen in Him." (Ep
(b) There came a time when this earth was created in its present order.
moon, and stars,-sea, land, and all their inhabitants, were called into
being, and made out of chaos and confusion. And, last of all, man was formed
out of the dust of the ground.
And where was Christ then?
Hear what the Scripture says: "All things were made by Him, and without Him
was not any thing made that was made." (Jn 1:3.) "By Him were all things
created, that are in heaven and that are in earth." (Col 1:16-note) "And
Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the
heavens are the works of Thine hands." (He 1:10-note) "When He prepared the
heavens, I was there: when He set a compass upon the face of the depth: when
He established the clouds above: when He strengthened the foundations of the
deep: when He gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass
His commandment: when He appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was
by Him, as one brought up with Him." (Pr 8:27, 28, 29, 30.) Can we wonder that
the Lord Jesus, in His preaching, should continually draw lessons from the
book of nature? When He spoke of the sheep, the fish, the ravens, the corn,
the lilies, the fig-tree, the vine,-He spoke of things which He Himself had
(c) There came a day when sin entered the world.
Adam and Eve ate the
forbidden fruit, and fell. They lost that holy nature in which they were
first formed. They forfeited the friendship and favour of God, and became
guilty, corrupt, helpless, hopeless sinners. Sin came as a barrier between
themselves and their holy Father in heaven. Had He dealt with them according
to their deserts, there had been nothing before them but death, hell, and
And where was Christ then?
In that very day He was revealed to our trembling parents, as the only hope
of salvation. The very day they fell, they were told that "the seed of the
woman should yet bruise the serpent's head,"-that a Saviour born of a woman
should overcome the devil, and win for sinful man an entrance to eternal
life. (Ge 3:15.) Christ was held up as the true light of the world, in
the very day of the fall; and never has any name been made known from that
day by which souls could be saved, excepting His. By Him all saved souls
have entered heaven, from Adam downward; and without Him none have ever
(d) There came a time when the world seemed sunk and buried in ignorance of
After 4,000 years the nations of the earth appeared to have clean
forgotten the God that made them. Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, and
Roman empires, had done nothing but spread superstition and idolatry. Poets,
historians, philosophers, had proved that, with all their intellectual
powers, they had no right knowledge of God; and that man, left to himself,
was utterly corrupt. "The world, by wisdom, knew not God." (1Co 1:21.)
Excepting a few despised Jews in a corner of the earth, the whole world was
dead in ignorance and sin.
And what did Christ do then?
He left the glory He had had from all eternity wits the Father, and came
down into the world to provide a salvation. He took our nature upon Him, and
was born as a man. As a man He did the will of God perfectly, which we all
had left undone: as a man He suffered on the cross the wrath of God which we
ought to have suffered. He brought in everlasting righteousness for us. He
redeemed us from the curse of a broken law. He opened a fountain for all sin
and uncleanness. He died for our sins. He rose again for our justification.
He ascended to God's right hand, and there sat down, waiting till His
enemies should be made His footstool. And there He sits now, offering
salvation to all who will come to Him, interceding for all who believe in
Him, and managing by God's appointment all that concerns the salvation of
(e) There is a time coming when sin shall be cast out from this
Wickedness shall not always flourish unpunished,-Satan shall not
always reign,-creation shall not always groan, being burdened. There shall
be a time of restitution of all things. There shall be a new heaven and a
new earth, wherein dwells righteousness, and the earth shall be full of
the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Ro 8:22-note; Acts
3:21; 2Pe 3:13-note; Is
And where shall Christ be then? And what shall He do?
Christ Himself shall be King. He shall return to this earth, and make all
things new. He shall come in the clouds of heaven with power and great
glory, and the kingdoms of the world shall become His. The heathen shall be
given to Him for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for
His possession. To Him every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess
that He is Lord. His dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, which shall
not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Mt 24:30; Re
2:8; Php 2:10, 11-note; Da
(f) There is a day coming when all men shall be judged.
The sea shall give
up the dead which are in it, and death and hell shall deliver up the dead
which are in them. All that sleep in the grave shall awake and come forth,
and all shall be judged according to their works. (Re 20:13-note; Da
And where will Christ be then?
Christ Himself will be the Judge. "The Father hath committed all judgment
unto the Son."-"When the Son of man shall come in His glory, then shall He
sit upon the throne of His glory:-and before Him shall be gathered all
nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides
the sheep from the goats."-"We must all appear before the judgment seat of
Christ: that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to
that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (Jn 5:22. Mt 25:32; 2Co
Now if any reader of this paper thinks little of Christ, let him know this
day that he is very unlike God! You are of one mind, and God is of another.
You are of one judgment, and God is of another. You think it enough to give
Christ a little honour,-a little reverence,-a little respect. But in all the
eternal counsels of God the Father, in creation, redemption, restitution,
and judgment,-in all these, Christ is "all."
Surely we shall do well to consider these things. Surely it is not written
in vain, "He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath
sent Him." (Jn 5:23)
II. In the second place, let us understand that "Christ is all" in the
inspired books which make up the Bible.
In every part of both Testaments Christ is to be found,-dimly and
indistinctly at the beginning,-more clearly and plainly in the middle,-fully
and completely at the end,-but really and substantially everywhere.
Christ's sacrifice and death for sinners, and Christ's kingdom and future
glory, are the light we must bring to bear on any book of Scripture we read.
Christ's cross and Christ's crown are the clue we must hold fast, if we
would find our way through Scripture difficulties. Christ is the only key
that will unlock many of the dark places of the Word. Some people complain
that they do not understand the Bible. And the reason is very simple. They
do not use the key. To them the Bible is like the hieroglyphics in Egypt. It
is a mystery, just because they do not use the key.
It was Christ crucified who was set forth in every Old Testament sacrifice.
Every animal slain and offered on an altar, was a practical confession that
a Saviour was looked for who would die for sinners,-a Saviour who should
take away man's sin, by suffering, as his Substitute and Sin-bearer, in his
stead. (1Pe 3:18-note) It is absurd to suppose that an unmeaning
slaughter of innocent beasts, without a distinct object in view, could
please the eternal God!
It was Christ to whom Abel looked when he offered a better sacrifice than
Cain. Not only was the heart of Abel better than that of his brother, but he
showed his knowledge of vicarious sacrifice and his faith in an atonement.
He offered the firstlings of his flock, with the blood thereof, and in so
doing declared his belief that without shedding of blood there is no
remission. (He 11:4-note)
It was Christ of whom Enoch prophesied in the days of abounding wickedness
before the flood.-"Behold," he said, "the Lord cometh with ten thousand of
His saints, to execute judgment upon all." (Jude 1:15)
It was Christ to whom Abraham looked when he dwelt in tents in the land of
promise. He believed that in his Seed, in one born of his family, all the
nations of the earth should be blessed. By faith he saw Christ's day, and
was glad. (Jn 8:56)
It was Christ of whom Jacob spoke to his sons, as he lay dying. He marked
out the tribe out of which He would be born, and foretold that "gathering
together" unto Him which is yet to be accomplished. "The sceptre shall not
depart from Judah, nor the law-giver from between his feet, until Shiloh
come, and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be." (Ge 49:10.)
It was Christ who was the substance of the ceremonial law which God gave to
Israel by the hand of Moses (See
Typology-Study of Biblical types). The morning and evening sacrifice,-the
continual shedding of blood,-the altar,-the mercy seat,-the high priest,-the
Passover,-the day of atonement,-the scapegoat:-all these were so many
pictures, types, and emblems of Christ and His work. (See
Moral, ceremonial, and judicial law - a
brief study or
What happens to the Law in the NT? How does it relate to believers?) God had compassion upon
the weakness of His people. He taught them "Christ" line upon line, and, as
we teach little children, by similitudes. It was in this sense especially
that "the law was a schoolmaster to lead" the Jews "unto Christ." (Gal 3:24.)
It was Christ to whom God directed the attention of Israel by all the daily
miracles which were done before their eyes in the wilderness. The pillar of
cloud and fire which guided them,-the manna from heaven which every morning
fed them,-the water from the smitten rock which followed them,-all and each
were figures of Christ. The brazen serpent, on that memorable occasion when
the plague of fiery serpents was sent upon them, was an emblem of Christ. (1Co
10:4; Jn 3:14.)
It was Christ of whom all the Judges were types. Joshua, and David, and
Gideon, and Jephthah, and Samson, and all the rest whom God raised up to
deliver Israel from captivity,-all were emblems of Christ. Weak and unstable
and faulty as some of them were, they were set for examples of better things
in the distant future. All were meant to remind the tribes of that far
higher Deliverer who was yet to come.
It was Christ of whom David the king was a type. Anointed and chosen when
few gave him honour,-despised and rejected by Saul and all the tribes of
Israel,-persecuted and obliged to flee for his life,-a man of sorrow all his
life, and yet at length a conqueror;-in all these things David represented
It was Christ of whom all the prophets from Isaiah to Malachi spoke. They
saw through a glass darkly. They sometimes dwelt on His sufferings, and some
times on His glory that should follow. (1Pe 1:11-note) They did not always
mark out for us the distinction between Christ's first coming and Christ's
second coming. Like two candles in a straight line, one behind the other,
they sometimes saw both the advents at the same time, and spoke of them in
one breath. They were sometimes moved by the Holy Ghost to write of the
times of Christ crucified, and sometimes of Christ's kingdom in the latter
days. But Jesus dying or Jesus reigning, was the thought you will ever find
uppermost in their minds.
It is Christ, I need hardly say, of whom the whole New Testament is full.
The Gospels are "Christ" living, speaking, and moving among men. The
are "Christ" preached, published, and proclaimed. The Epistles are "Christ"
written of, explained, and exalted. But all through, from first to last,
there is but one Name above every other, and that is Christ.
I charge every reader of this paper to ask himself frequently what the Bible
is to him. Is it a Bible in which you have found nothing more than good
moral precepts and sound advice? Or is it a Bible in which you have found
Christ? Is it a Bible in which "Christ is all" If not, I tell you plainly,
you have hitherto used your Bible to very little purpose. You are like a man
who studies the solar system, and leaves out in his studies the sun, which
is the centre of all. It is no wonder if you find your Bible a dull book!
III. In the third place, let us understand that "Christ is all" in the
religion of all true Christians on earth.
In saying this, I wish to guard myself against being misunderstood. I hold
the absolute necessity of the election of God the Father, and the
sanctification of God the Spirit, in order to effect the salvation of every
one that is saved. I hold that there is a perfect harmony and unison in the
action of the three Persons of the Trinity, in bringing any man to glory,
and that all three co-operate and work a joint work in his deliverance from
sin and hell. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy
Ghost. The Father is merciful, the Son is merciful, the Holy Ghost is
merciful. The same Three who said at the beginning, "Let us create," said
also, "Let us redeem and save." I hold that every one who reaches heaven
will ascribe all the glory of his salvation to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
three Persons in one God.
But, at the same time, I see clear proof in Scripture, that it is the mind
of the blessed Trinity that Christ should be prominently and distinctly
exalted, in the matter of saving souls. Christ is set forth as the "Word,"
through whom God's love to sinners is made known. Christ's incarnation and
atoning death on the cross, are the great corner-stone on which the whole
plan of salvation rests. Christ is the way and door, by which alone
approaches to God are to be made. Christ is the root into which all elect
sinners must be grafted. Christ is the only meeting-place between God and
man, between heaven and earth, between the Holy Trinity and the poor sinful
child of Adam. It is Christ whom God the Father has "sealed" and appointed
to convey life to a dead. world. (John 6:27.) It is Christ to whom the
Father has given a people to be brought to glory. It is Christ of whom the
Spirit testifies, and to whom He always leads a soul for pardon and peace.
In short, it has "pleased the Father that in Christ all fulness should
dwell." (Col 1:19-note) What the sun is in the firmament of heaven, that
Christ is in true Christianity.
I say these things by way of explanation. I want my readers clearly to
understand, that in saying "Christ is all," I do not mean to shut out the
work of the Father and of the Spirit. Now let me show what I do mean.
(a) Christ is all in a sinner's justification before God.
Through Him alone we can have peace with a Holy. God. By Him alone we can
have admission into the presence of the Most High, and stand there without
fear. "We have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him." In
Him alone can God be just, and justify the ungodly. (Ep 3:12-note; Ro
(See study on
= through Christ)
Wherewith can any mortal man come before God? What can we bring as a plea
for acquittal before that Glorious Being, in whose eyes the very heavens are
Shall we say that we have done our duty to God? Shall we say that we have
done our duty to our neighbour? Shall we bring forward our prayers?-our
regularity?-our morality?-our amendments?-our church going? Shall we ask to
be accepted because of any of these?
Which of these things will stand the searching inspection of God's eye?
Which of them will actually justify us? Which of them will carry us clear
through judgment, and land us safe in glory?
None, none, none! Take any commandment of the ten, and let us examine
ourselves by it. We have broken it repeatedly. We cannot answer God one of a
thousand.-Take any of us, and look narrowly into our ways,-and we are
nothing but sinners. There is but one verdict: we are all guilty,-all
deserve hell,-all ought to die. Wherewith can we come before God?
We must come in the name of Jesus,-standing on no other ground,-pleading no
other plea than this, "Christ died on the cross for the ungodly, and I trust
in Him. Christ died for me, and I believe on Him."
The garment of our Elder Brother,-the righteousness of Christ,-this is the
only robe which can cover us, and enable us to stand in the light of heaven
The name of Jesus is the only name by which we shall obtain an entrance
through the gate of eternal glory. If we come to that gate in our own names,
we are lost, we shall not be admitted, we shall knock in vain. If we come in
the name of Jesus, it is a passport and Shibboleth, and we shall enter and
The mark of the blood of Christ is the only mark that can save us from
destruction. When the angels are separating the children of Adam in the last
day, if we are not found marked with that atoning blood, we had better never
have been born.
Oh, let us never forget that Christ must be "all" to that soul who would be
justified!-We must be content to go to heaven as beggars,-saved by free
grace, simply as believers in Jesus,-or we shall never be saved at all.
Is there a thoughtless, worldly soul among the readers of this book? Is
there one who thinks to reach heaven by saying hastily at the last, "Lord
have mercy on me," without Christ? Friend, you are sowing misery for
yourself, and unless you alter, you will awake to endless woe.
Is there a proud, formal soul among the readers of this book? Is there any
one thinking to make him self fit for heaven, and good enough to pass muster
by his own doings?-Brother, you are building a Babel, and you will never
reach heaven in your present state.
But is there a laboring, heavy-laden one among the readers of this book? Is
there one who wants to be saved, and feels a vile sinner? I say to such an
one, "Come to Christ, and He shall save you. Come to Christ, and cast the
burden of your soul on Him. Fear not: only believe."
Do you fear wrath? Christ can deliver you from the wrath to come.-Do you
fear the curse of a broken law? Christ can redeem you from the curse of the
law.-Do you feel far away? Christ has suffered, to bring you nigh to God.-Do
you feel unclean? Christ's blood can cleanse all sin away!-Do you feel
imperfect? You shall be complete in Christ.-Do you feel as if you were
nothing? Christ shall be "all in all" to your soul.-Never did saint reach
heaven with any tale but this, "I was washed and made white in the blood of
the Lamb." (Re 7:14-note)
(b) But again, Christ is not only all in the justification of a true
Christian, but He is also all in his sanctification.
I would not have any one misunderstand me. I do not mean for a moment to
undervalue the work of the Spirit. But this I say, that no man is ever holy
till he comes to Christ and is united to Him. Till then his works are dead
works, and he has no holiness at all.-First you must be joined to Christ,
and then you shall be holy. "Without Him,-separate from Him,-you can do
nothing." (John 15:5)
And no man can grow in holiness except he abides in Christ. Christ is the
great root from which every believer must draw his strength to go forward.
The Spirit is His special gift, His purchased gift for His people. A
believer must not only "receive Christ Jesus the Lord," but "walk in Him,
and be rooted and built up in Him." (Col 2:6, 7-note)
Would you be holy? Then Christ is the manna you must daily eat, like Israel
in the wilderness of old. Would you be holy? Then Christ must be the rock
from which you must daily drink the living water. Would you be holy? Then
you must be ever looking unto Jesus,-looking at His cross, and learning
fresh motives for a closer walk with God,-looking at His example, and taking
Him for your pattern. Looking at Him, you would become like Him. Looking at
Him, your face would shine without your knowing it. Look less at yourself
and more at Christ, and you will find besetting sins dropping off and
leaving you, and your eyes enlightened more and more every day. (He 12:2-note; 2Co
The true secret of coming up out of the wilderness, is to come up "leaning
on the Beloved." (Song 8:5) The true way to be strong is to realize
our weakness, and to feel that Christ must be all. The true way to grow in
grace, is to make use of Christ as a fountain for every minute's
necessities. We ought to employ Him as the prophet's wife employed the
oil,-not only to pay our debts, but to live on also. We should strive to be
able to say, "The life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of
the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (2Ki 4:7; Gal 2:20-note)
I pity those who try to be holy without Christ! Your labour is all in vain.
You are putting money in a bag with holes. You are pouring water into a
sieve. You are rolling a huge round stone uphill. You are building up a wall
with untempered mortar. Believe me, you are beginning at the wrong end. You
must come to Christ first, and He shall give you His sanctifying Spirit. You
must learn to say with Paul, "I can do all things through Christ which
strengtheneth me." (Php 4:13-note)
(c) But again, Christ is not only all in the sanctification of a true
Christian, but all in his comfort in time present.
A saved soul has many sorrows. He has a body like other men,-weak and frail.
He has a heart like other men,-and often a more sensitive one too. He has
trials and losses to bear like others,-and often more. He has his share of
bereavements, deaths, disappointments, crosses. He has the world to
oppose,-a place in life to fill blamelessly,-unconverted relatives to bear
with patiently,-persecutions to endure,-and a death to die.
And who is sufficient for these things? What shall enable a believer to bear
all this? Nothing but "the consolation there is in Christ." (Php
Jesus is indeed the brother born for adversity. He is the friend that
sticketh closer than a brother, and He alone can comfort His people. He can
be touched with the feeling of their infirmities, for He suffered Himself.
(He 4:15-note) He knows what sorrow is, for He was a man of sorrows. He
knows what an aching body is, for His body was racked with pain. He cried,
"All my bones are out of joint." (Ps 22:14-note) He knows what poverty and
weariness are, for He was often wearied and had not where to lay His head.
He knows what family unkindness is, for even His brethren did not believe
Him. He had no honour in His own house.
And Jesus knows exactly how to comfort His afflicted people. He knows how to
pour in oil and wine into the wounds of the spirit,-how to fill up gaps in
empty hearts,-how to speak a word in season to the weary,-how to heal the
broken heart,-how to make all our bed in sickness,-how to draw nigh when we
are faint, and say, "Fear not: I am thy salvation." (Lam 3:57)
We talk of sympathy being pleasant. There is no sympathy like that of
Christ. In all our afflictions He is afflicted. He knows our sorrows. In all
our pain He is pained, and like the good Physician, He will not measure out
to us one drop of sorrow too much. David once said, "In the multitude of my
thoughts within me, Thy comforts delight my soul." (Ps 94:19.) Many a
believer, I am sure, could say as much. "If the Lord himself had not stood
by me, the deep waters would have gone over my soul" (Ps 124:5-note)
How a believer gets through all his troubles appears wonderful. How he is
carried through the fire and water he passes through seems past
comprehension. But the true account of it is just this,-that Christ is not
only justification and sanctification, but consolation also.
Oh, you who want unfailing comfort, I commend you to Christ! In Him alone
there is no failure. Rich men are disappointed in their treasures. Learned
men are disappointed in their books. Husbands are disappointed in their
wives. Wives are disappointed in their husbands. Parents are disappointed in
their children. Statesmen are disappointed when, after many a struggle, they
attain place and power. They find out, to their cost, that it is more pain
than pleasure,-that it is disappointment, annoyance, incessant trouble,
worry, vanity, and vexation of spirit. But no man was ever disappointed in
(d) But as Christ is all in the comforts of a true Christian in time
present, so Christ is all in his hopes for time to come.
Few men and women, I suppose, are to be found who do not indulge in hopes of
some kind about their souls. But the hopes of the vast majority are nothing
but vain fancies. They are built on no solid foundation. No living man but
the real child of God,-the sincere, thorough-going Christian,-can give a
reasonable account of the hope that is in him. No hope is reasonable which
is not Scriptural.
A true Christian has a good hope when he looks forward: the worldly man has
none. A true Christian sees light in the distance: the worldly man sees
nothing but darkness. And what is the hope of a true Christian? It is just
this,-that Jesus Christ is coming again, coming without sin,-coming with all
His people,-coming to wipe away every tear,-coming to raise His sleeping
saints from the grave,-coming to gather together all His family, that they
may be for ever with Him.
Why is a believer patient? Because he looks for the coming of the Lord. He
can bear hard things without murmuring. He knows the time is short. He waits
quietly for the King.
Why is he moderate in all things? Because he expects his Lord soon to
return. His treasure is in heaven: his good things are yet to come. The
world is not his rest, but an inn; and an inn is not home. He knows that He
that shall come will soon come, and will not tarry. Christ is coming, and
that is enough.
This is indeed a "blessed hope!" (Titus 2:13-note) Now is the
school-time,-then the eternal holiday. Now is the tossing on the waves of a
troublesome world,-then the quiet harbor. Now is the scattering,-then the
gathering. Now is the time of sowing,-then the harvest. Now is the working
season,-then the wages. Now is the cross,-then the crown.
People talk of their "expectations" and hopes from this world. None have
such solid expectations as a saved soul. He can say, "My soul, wait thou
only upon God; my expectation is from Him." (Ps 62:5-note)
In all true saving religion Christ is all: all in justification,-all in
sanctification,-all in comfort,-all in hope. Blessed is that mother's child
that knows it, and far more blessed is he that feels it too. Oh, that men
would prove themselves, and see what they know of it for their own souls!
IV. One thing more I will add, and then I have done. Let us understand that
Christ will be all in heaven.
I cannot dwell long on this point. I have not power, if I had space and
room. I can ill describe things unseen and a world unknown. But this I know,
that all men and women who reach heaven will find that even there also
"Christ is all."
Like the altar in Solomon's temple, Christ crucified will be the grand
object in heaven. That altar struck the eye of every one who entered the
temple gates. It was a great brazen altar, twenty cubits broad,-as broad as
the front of the temple itself. (2Chr 3:4; 4:1.) So in like manner
will Jesus fill the eyes of all who enter glory. In the midst of the throne,
and surrounded by adoring angels and saints, there will be "the Lamb that
was slain." And "the Lamb shall be the light" of the place. (Re
The praise of the Lord Jesus will be the eternal song of all the inhabitants
of heaven. They will say with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was
slain. Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be to Him that sitteth on
the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever." (Re 5:12-note,
The service of the Lord Jesus will be one eternal occupation of all the
inhabitants of heaven. We shall "serve Him day and night in His temple."
(Re 7:13-note) Blessed is the thought that we shall at length attend on Him
without distraction, and work for Him without weariness.
The presence of Christ Himself shall be one ever lasting enjoyment of the
inhabitants of heaven. We shall "see His face," and hear His voice, and
speak with Him as friend with friend. (Re 22:4-note) Sweet is the thought
that whosoever may be wanting at the marriage supper, the Master Himself
will be there. His presence will satisfy all our wants. (Ps 17:15-note)
What a sweet and glorious home heaven will be to those who have loved the
Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity! Here we live by faith in Him, and find
peace, though we see Him not. There we shall see Him face to face, and find
He is altogether lovely. "Better" indeed will be the "sight of the eyes than
the wandering of the desire!" (Eccl 6:9)
But alas, how little fit for heaven are many who talk of "going to heaven"
when they die, while they manifestly have no saving faith, and no real
acquaintance with Christ. You give Christ no honour here. You have no
communion with Him. You do not love Him. Alas! what could you do in heaven?
It would be no place for you. Its joys would be no joys for you. Its
happiness would be a happiness into which you could not enter. Its
employments would be a weariness and a burden to your heart. Oh, repent and
change before it be too late!
I trust I have now shown how deep are the foundations of that little
expression, "Christ is all."
I might easily add to the things I have said, if space permitted. The
subject is not exhausted, I have barely walked over the surface of it There
are mines of precious truth connected with it, which I have left unopened.
I might show how Christ ought to be all in a visible Church. Splendid
religious buildings, numerous religious services, gorgeous ceremonies,
troops of ordained men, all, all are nothing in the sight of God, if the
Lord Jesus Himself in all His offices is not honoured, magnified, and
exalted. That Church is but a dead carcass, in which Christ is not "all."
I might show how Christ ought to be all in a ministry. The great work which
ordained men are intended to do, is to lift up Christ. We are to be like the
pole on which the brazen serpent was hung. We are useful so long as we exalt
the great object of faith, but useful no further. We are to be ambassadors
to carry tidings to a rebellious world about the King's Son, and if we teach
men to think more about us and our office than about Him, we are not fit for
our place. The Spirit will never honour that minister who does not testify
of Christ,-who does not make Christ "all."
I might show how language seems exhausted in the Bible, in describing
Christ's various offices. I might describe how figures seem endless, which
are employed in unfolding Christ's fulness. The High Priest, the Mediator,
the Redeemer, the Saviour, the Advocate, the Shepherd, the Physician, the
Bridegroom, the Head, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Way,
the Door, the Vine, the Rock, the Fountain, the Sun of Righteousness, the
Forerunner, the Surety, the Captain, the Prince of Life, the Amen, the
Almighty, the Author and Finisher of Faith, the Lamb of God, the King of
Saints, the Wonderful, the Mighty God, the Counselor, the Bishop of
Souls,-all these, and many more, are names given to Christ in Scripture.
Each is a fountain of instruction and comfort for every one who is willing
to drink of it. Each supplies matter for useful meditation.
But I trust I have said enough to throw light on the point I want to impress
on the minds of all who read this paper. I trust I have said enough to show
the immense importance of the practical conclusions with which I now desire
to finish the subject.
(1) Is Christ all?
Then let us LEARN THE UTTER USELESSNESS OF A CHRISTLESS
There are only too many baptized men and women who practically know nothing
at all about Christ. Their religion consists in a few vague notions and
empty expressions. "They trust they are no worse than others. They keep to
their church. They try to do their duty. They do nobody any harm. They hope
God will be merciful to them. They trust the Almighty will pardon their
sins, and take them to heaven when they die." This is about the whole of
But what do these people know practically about Christ? Nothing: nothing at
all! What experimental acquaintance have they with His offices and work, His
blood, His righteousness, His mediation, His priesthood, His intercession?
None: none at all! Ask them about a saving faith,-ask them about being born
again of the Spirit,-ask them about being sanctified in Christ Jesus. What
answer will you get? You are a barbarian to them. You have asked them simple
Bible questions. But they know no more about them experimentally, than a
Buddhist or a Turk. And yet this is the religion of hundreds and thousands
of people who are called Christians, all over the world!
If any reader of this paper is a man of this kind, I warn him plainly that
such Christianity will never take him to heaven. It may do very well in the
eye of man. It may pass muster very decently at the vestry-meeting, in the
place of business, in the House of Commons, or in the streets. But it will
never comfort you. It will never Satisfy your conscience. It will never save
I warn you plainly, that all notions and theories about God being merciful
without Christ, and excepting through Christ, are baseless delusions and
empty fancies. Such theories are as purely an idol of man's invention as the
idol of Juggernaut they are all of the earth, earthy. They never came down
from heaven. The God of heaven has sealed and appointed Christ as the one
only Saviour and way of life, and all who would be saved must be content to
be saved by Him, or they will never be saved at all.
Let every reader take notice. I give you fair warning this day. A religion
without Christ will never save your soul.
(2) Let me say another thing. Is Christ all?
Then LEARN THE ENORMOUS FOLLY
OF JOINING ANYTHING WITH CHRIST IN THE MATTER OF SALVATION.
There are multitudes of baptized men and women who profess to honour Christ,
but in reality do Him great dishonour. They give Christ a certain place in
their system of religion, but not the place which God intended Him to fill.
Christ alone is not "all in all" to their souls.-No! it is either Christ and
the Church,-or Christ and the sacraments,-or Christ and His ordained
ministers,-or Christ and their own repentance,-or Christ and their own
goodness,-or Christ and their own prayers,-or Christ and their own sincerity
and charity, on which they practically rest their souls.
If any reader of this paper is a Christian of this kind, I warn him also
plainly, that his religion is an offence to God. You are changing God's plan
of salvation into a plan of your own devising. You are in effect deposing
Christ from His throne, by giving the glory due to Him to another.
I care not who it is that teaches such religion, and on whose word you
build. Whether he be Pope or Cardinal, Archbishop or Bishop, Dean or
Archdeacon, Presbyter or Deacon, Episcopalian or Presbyterian, Baptist or
Independent, Wesleyan or Plymouth Brother, whosoever adds anything to
Christ, teaches you wrong.
I care not what it is that you add to Christ. Whether it be the necessity of
joining the Church of Rome, or of being an Episcopalian, or of becoming a
Free Churchman, or of giving up the liturgy, or of being dipped,-whatever
you may practically add to Christ in the matter of salvation, you do Christ
Take heed what you are doing. Beware of giving to Christ's servants the
honour due to none but Christ. Beware of giving the Lord's ordinances the
honour due unto the Lord. Beware of resting the burden of your soul on
anything but Christ, and Christ alone.
(3) Let me say another thing. Is Christ all?
LET ALL WHO WANT TO BE SAVED, APPLY DIRECT TO CHRIST.
There are many who hear of Christ with the ear, and believe all they are
told about Him. They allow that there is no salvation excepting in Christ.
They acknowledge that Jesus alone can deliver them from hell, and present
them faultless before God. But they seem never to get beyond this general
acknowledgement. They never fairly lay hold on Christ for their own souls.
They stick fast in a state of wishing, and wanting, and feeling, and
intending' and never get any further. They see what we mean: they know it is
all true. They hope one day to get the full benefit of it: but at present
they get no benefit whatever. The world is their "all." Politics are their
"all." Pleasure is their "all." Business is their "all." But Christ is not
If any reader of this paper is a man of this kind, I warn him also plainly,
he is in a bad state of soul. You are as truly in the way to hell in your
present condition, as Judas Iscariot, or Ahab, or Cain. Believe me, there
must be actual faith in Christ, or else Christ died in vain, so far as you
are concerned. It is not looking at the bread that feeds the hungry man, but
the actual eating of it. It is not gazing on the lifeboat that saves the
shipwrecked sailor, but actual getting into it. It is not knowing and
believing that Christ is a Saviour that can save your soul, unless there are
actual transactions between you and Christ. You must be able to say, "Christ
is my Saviour, because I have come to Him by faith, and taken Him for my
own."-"Much of religion, said Luther, turns on being able to use possessive
pronouns. Take from me the word 'my,' and you take from me God!"
Hear the advice I give you this day, and act upon it at once. Stand still no
longer, waiting for some imaginary frames and feelings which will never
come. Hesitate no longer, under the idea that you must first of all obtain
the Spirit, and then come to Christ. Arise and come to Christ just as you
are. He waits for you, and is as willing to save as He is mighty. He is the
appointed Physician for sin-sick souls. Deal with Him as you would with your
doctor about the cure of a disease of your body. Make a direct application
to Him, and tell Him all your wants. Take with you words this day, and cry
mightily to the Lord Jesus for pardon and peace, as the thief did on the
cross. Do as that man did: cry, "Lord, remember me." (Luke 23:42) Tell
Him you have heard that He receives sinners, and that you are such. Tell
Him, you want to be saved, and ask Him to save you. Rest not till you have
actually tasted for yourself that the Lord is gracious. Do this, and you
shall find, sooner or later, if you are really in earnest, that "Christ is
(4) One more thing let me add. Is Christ all?
Then LET ALL HIS CONVERTED PEOPLE DEAL WITH HIM AS IF THEY REALLY BELIEVED
IT. LET THEM LEAN ON HIM AND TRUST HIM FAR MORE THAN THEY HAVE EVER DONE
Alas, there are many of the Lord's people who live far below their
privileges! There are many truly Christian souls who rob themselves of their
own peace and forsake their own mercies. There are many who insensibly join
their own faith, or the work of the Spirit in their own hearts, to Christ,
and so miss the fulness of Gospel peace. There are many who make little
progress in their pursuit of holiness, and shine with a very dim light. And
why is all this? Simply because in nineteen cases out of twenty men do not
make Christ all in all.
Now I call on every reader of this paper who is a believer, I beseech him
for his own sake, to make sure that Christ is really and thoroughly his all
in all. Beware of allowing yourself to mingle anything of your own with
Have you faith? It is a priceless blessing. Happy indeed are they who are
willing and ready to trust Jesus. But take heed you do not make a Christ of
your faith. Rest not on your own faith, but on Christ.
Is the work of the Spirit in your soul? Thank God for it. It is a work that
shall never over thrown. But oh, beware, lest, unawares to yourself, you
make a Christ of the work of the Spirit! Rest not on the work of the Spirit,
but on Christ.
Have you any inward feelings of religion, and experience of grace? Thank God
for it. Thousands have no more religious feeling than a cat or log. But oh,
beware lest you make a Christ of your feelings and sensations! They are
poor, uncertain things, and sadly dependent on our bodies and outward
circumstances. Rest not a grain of weight on your feelings. Rest only on
Learn, I entreat you, to look more and more at the great object of faith,
Jesus Christ, and to keep your mind dwelling on Him. So doing you would find
faith, and all the other graces grow, though the growth at the time might be
imperceptible to yourself. He that would prove a skilful archer, must look
not at the arrow, but at the mark.
Alas, I fear there is a great piece of pride and unbelief still sticking in
the hearts of many believers. Few seem to realize how much they need a
Saviour. Few seem to understand how thoroughly they are indebted to Him. Few
seem to comprehend how much they need Him every day. Few seem to feel how
simply and like a child they ought to hang their souls on Him. Few seem to
be aware how full of love He is to His poor, weak people, and how ready to
help them! And few therefore seem to know the peace, and joy, and strength,
and power to live a godly life, which is to be had in Christ.
Change your plan, reader, if your conscience tells you you are guilty:
change your plan, and learn to trust Christ more. Physicians love to see
patients coming to consult them: it is their office to receive the sickly,
and if possible to effect cures. The advocate loves to be employed: it is
his calling. The husband loves his wife to trust him and lean upon him: it
is his delight to cherish her, and promote her comfort. And Christ loves His
people to lean on Him, to rest in Him, to call on Him, to abide in Him.
Let us all learn and strive to do so more and more. Let us live on Christ.
Let us live in Christ. Let us live with Christ. Let us live to Christ. So
doing we shall prove that we fully realize that "Christ is all." So doing,
we shall feel great peace, and attain more of that "holiness without which
no man shall see the Lord." (He 12:14-note)
(This chapter is excerpted from his book on holiness which I highly
C H Spurgeon's...
"Where there is neither Greek nor Jew,
circumcision nor uncir cumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but
Christ is all, and in all."—Col. 3:11
There are two worlds, the old and the
These are peopled by two sorts of manhood, the old man, and the new man,
concerning whom, see Col 3:9, 10.
In the first are many things which are not in the second.
In the second are many things which are not in the first.
Our text tells us what there is not, and what there is, in the new man.
Let us begin by asking whether he knows where he is; for the text turns on
that word "where."
I. What there is
not in the new.
When we come to be renewed after the image of him that created us, we
find an obliteration of—
1. National distinctions: "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew."
Jesus is a man. In the broadest sense he is neither Jew nor Gentile. We see
in him no restrictive nationality: and our own peculiar nationality sinks
before union with him.
Jesus is now our nationality, our charter, and our fatherland.
Jesus is our hero, legislator, ancestor, leader, etc.
Jesus gives us laws, customs, history, genealogy, prestige, privilege,
reliance, power, heritage, conquest, etc.
Jesus furnishes us with a new patriotism, loyalty, and clanship, which we
may safely indulge to the utmost.
2. Ceremonial distinctions: "There is
neither circumcision nor uncircumcision." The typical separation is removed.
The separating rite is abolished, and the peculiar privilege of a nation
born after the flesh is gone with it.
Those who were reckoned far off are brought nigh.
Both Jew and Gentile are united in one body by the cross.
3. Social distinctions: "There is neither bond nor free."
We are enabled through divine grace to see that—
These distinctions are transient.
These distinctions are superficial.
These distinctions are of small value.
These distinctions are non-existent in the spiritual realm.
What a blessed blending of all men in one body is brought about by our Lord
Jesus! Let us all work in the direction of unity.
II. What there
is in the new.
"Christ is all and in all"; and that in many senses.
1. Christ is all our culture.
In him we emulate and excel the "Greek."
2. Christ is all our revelation.
We glory in him even as the "Jew" gloried
in receiving the oracles of God.
3. Christ is all our ritual.
We have no "circumcision," neither have we
seven sacraments, nor a heap of carnal ordinances: he is far more than
these. All Scriptural ordinances are of him.
4. Christ is all our simplicity.
We place no confidence in the bare
Puritanism which may be called "uncircumcision."
5. Christ is all our natural traditions.
He is more to us than the freshest
ideas which cross the mind of the "Barbarian."
6. Christ is all our unconquerableness and liberty.
The "Scythian" had not
such boundless independence as we find in him.
7. Christ is all as our Master, if we be "bond."
Happy servitude of which he
is the head!
8. Christ is our Magna Charta: yea, our liberty itself if we be "free."
In closing we will use the words "Christ
is all and in all" as our text for application to ourselves. It furnishes a
test question for us.
Is Christ so great with us that he is our all?
Is Christ so broadly and fully with us that he is all in our all?
Is he, then, all in our trust, our hope, our assurance, our joy, our aim,
our strength, our wisdom—in a word, "all in all"?
If so, are we living in all for him?
Are we doing all for him, because he is all to us?
What a rich inheritance have all those who are truly interested in Jesus
Christ! Christus meus et omnia. They possess him that is all in all, and in
possessing him they possess all. "I have all things, my brother," saith
Jacob to Esau: Gen. 33:11 (Margin). He that hath him that is all in all
cannot want anything. "All things are yours," saith the apostle, "whether
things present or things to come, and ye are Christ's": 1 Cor. 3:22, 23. A
true believer, let him be never so poor outwardly, is in truth the richest
man in all the world; he hath all in all, and what can be added to
Christ is not valued at all unless he be valued above all. —Augustine.
He is a path, if any be misled;
He is a robe, if any naked be;
If any chance to hunger, he is bread;
If any be a bondman, he is free;
If any be but weak, how strong is he!
To dead men life he is, to sick men
To blind men sight, and to the needy wealth;
A pleasure without loss, a treasure without stealth.
All, then, let him be in all our desires and wishes. Who is that wise
merchant that hath heart large enough to conceive and believe as to this?
Let him go sell all his nothings, that he may compass this pearl, barter his
bugles for this diamond. Verily, all the haberdash stuff the whole pack of
the world hath, is not worthy to be valued with this jewel.
I cannot but reverence the memory of that reverend divine (Mr. Welsh) who,
being in a deep muse after some discourse that had passed of Christ, and
tears trickling abundantly from his eyes before he was aware, being urged
for the cause thereof, he honestly confessed that he wept because he could
not draw his dull heart to prize Christ aright. I fear this is a rare mind
in Christians, for many think a very little to be quite enough for Jesus,
and even too much for him!—Samuel Ward.
"At length, one evening, while engaged in a prayer-meeting, the great
deliverance came. I received the full witness of the Spirit that the blood
of Jesus had cleansed me from all sin. I felt I was nothing, and Christ was
all in all. Him I now cheerfully received in all his offices: my Prophet, to
teach me; my Priest, to atone for me; my King, to reign over me. Oh what
boundless, boundless happiness there is in Christ, and all for such a poor
sinner as I am! This happy change took place in my soul March 13th,
Dannecker, the German sculptor, spent eight years in producing a face of
Christ; and at last wrought out one in which the emotions of love and sorrow
were so perfectly blended that beholders wept as they looked upon it.
Subsequently, being solicited to employ his great talent on a statue of
Venus, he replied, "After gazing so long into the face of Christ, think you
that I can now turn my attention to a heathen goddess?" Here is the true
secret of weanedness from worldly-idols, "the expulsive power of a new
I have heard the voice of Jesus,
Tell me not of aught beside;
I have seen the face of Jesus,
All my soul is satisfied.
—Dr. A. J. Gordon.