Bulletin Edition July 2023

God will never use means that are proud enough to think themselves necessary or capable. He will throw away the vessel that begins to boast in itself or allows others to boast in it. Whatever is our strength in the flesh is sure to become our weakness in the spirit.                        

~Scott Richardson (1923-2010)



Our great, sin-atoning Substitute laid down his life and died for the children of God. According to the prophecy of Caiaphas, Christ was to die, not for the nation of the Jews only, but to “gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” throughout the Gentile world. Redemption and adoption belong to the same people. Those who are predestinated to adoption by Christ are said to have redemption in him through his blood (Eph 1:5,7). This blessing of adoption, in the full enjoyment of it, in the resurrection, is called “the redemption of the body”. The resurrection is called the redemption of our bodies because redemption, in so far as the application of it is concerned, will not be complete until our very bodies are redeemed from all the consequences of Adam’s fall (Ro 8:23; Eph. 1:14; 4:30).

Our all glorious Redeemer died for every sinner in this world who believes on him as Saviour and Lord. The fruit of redemption is the evidence of redemption; and faith in Christ is both the fruit and evidence of redemption. The children of God are a particular number of men, who were given by God to his Son to redeem. They are the seed promised to him in covenant of grace that he should see and enjoy, and with whom he shall be satisfied forever. These are the people to whom he stands in the relation of the everlasting Father. They are the people for whom and on whose account he became incarnate, took part of the same flesh and blood. Thy are the many sons he shall bring to glory (Heb 2:10, 13, 14). They, and only they, are the children of God who are openly and manifestly the children of God by faith, who believe in Christ. This faith in Christ is owing to and the result of special grace and distinguishing love. It is a work, operation, and blessing of grace conferred upon none but they who are the objects of God’s election and Christ’s redemption., and is a favour that is only conferred on some (Rom. 9:8; Gal. 3:26; John 1:12; 1John 3:1). Do you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? God help you to believe! If you do trust the Son of God, he died for you. Your faith in him is the fruit and evidence of the fact that he redeemed you with his precious blood.

Our great and glorious Saviour died, made atonement for, and redeemed with his precious blood his church which is his bride and spouse. The objects of redemption are those people who are the church and spouse of Christ. It is the church which he loved and for which he gave himself as a sacrifice and ransom price to redeem. It is the church he has purchased with his blood, even the general assembly, the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. That church is all the elect of God, whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Eph, 5:25; Acts 20:28). Of that church of which Christ is the head and husband, he is the Redeemer. “Thy Maker is thine husband; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel!” (Isa. 54:5). This cannot be said of any denomination, or of all bodies of men professing to be the church of Christ. The great whore of Babylon is not the spouse of Christ. Those who are drunk with the intoxicating wine of Babylon (Arminian, free-will, works religion) do not belong to and have no part with this church which is the bride of Christ. That church coming from Babel our Redeemer calls a whore. The church which is his bride, he calls a chaste virgin! Though there may be “threescore queens, and fourscore concubines” of Babylon’s sort; yet, says Christ, “my dove, my undefiled, is but one” (Song 6:9). This is his Bride. This is his spouse.

Don Fortner

John Newton’s Letters

Union with Christ

Dear Sir,
The union of a believer with Christ is so intimate, so unalterable, so rich in privilege, so powerful in influence, that it cannot be fully represented by any description or similitude taken from earthly things. The mind, like the sight, is incapable of apprehending a great object, without viewing it on different sides. To help our weakness, the nature of this union is illustrated, in the Scripture, by four comparisons, each throwing additional light on the subject, yet all falling short of the thing signified.

In our natural state, we are driven and tossed about, by the changing winds of opinion, and the waves of trouble, which hourly disturb and threaten us upon the uncertain sea of human life. But faith, uniting us to Christ, fixes us upon a sure foundation, the Rock of Ages, where we stand immovable, though storms and floods unite their force against us.

By nature we are separated from the divine life, as branches broken off, withered and fruitless. But grace, through faith, unites us to Christ the living Vine, from whom, as the root of all fullness, a constant supply of sap and influence is derived into each of his mystical branches, enabling them to bring forth fruit unto God, and to persevere and abound therein.

By nature we are hateful and abominable in the sight of a holy God, and full of enmity and hatred towards each other. By faith, uniting us to Christ, we have fellowship with the Father and the Son, and joint communion among ourselves; even as the members of the same body have each of them union, communion, and sympathy, with the head, and with their fellow-members.

In our natural estate, we were cast out naked and destitute, without pity, and without help, Ezek. 16:1-63; but faith, uniting us to Christ, interests us in his righteousness, his riches, and his honours. Our Redeemer is our husband; our debts are paid, our settlements secured, and our names changed.

Thus the Lord Jesus, in declaring himself the foundation, root, head, and husband, of his people, takes in all the ideas we can frame of an intimate, vital, and inseparable union. Yet all these fall short of truth; and he has given us one further similitude, of which we can by no means form a just conception until we shall be brought to see him as he is in his kingdom. John 27:21: “That they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you; that they also may be one in us.”

Well may we say, What has God wrought! How inviolable is the security, how inestimable the privilege, how inexpressible the happiness, of a believer! How greatly is he indebted to grace! He was once afar off, but he is brought near to God by the blood of Christ: he was once a child of wrath, but is now an heir of everlasting life. How strong then are his obligations to walk worthy of God, who has called him to his kingdom and glory!

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” John 15:4

Octavious Winslow

The union of the believer with Jesus, and the consequent fruitfulness, is a glorious truth: the Holy Spirit, in His word, has laid great stress upon it. It is spoken of as a being in Christ—”Every branch in me.” “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” “So we, being many, are one body in Christ.” “Those who are fallen asleep in Christ.” But in what sense are we to understand this being “in Christ”? To be in Christ truly, spiritually, vitally, is to be in that eternal covenant of grace made with Christ, as the Surety and Mediator of His people; one of the number spoken of as the Lord’s “peculiar treasure;”—”For the Lord has chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for His peculiar treasure;” and concerning whom the Holy Spirit declares that they are elected in Christ—”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things in Christ: according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” To be in Christ truly, is to stand accepted in His righteousness, to be justified by Him freely from all things; it is to be brought to the knowledge of our own vileness, insufficiency, and guilt; to be made to cast aside all self-dependence, that is, all works of human merit, and to come as the thief on the cross came, without any allowed confidence in anything of self, but as a poor, helpless, ruined, condemned sinner, all whose hope of pardon and acceptance is through the free mercy of God in Christ Jesus. To be in Christ is to be the subject of a living, holy, influential principle of faith; it is to be brought into the blessed state thus described by the apostle as his own—”I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” To be in Christ is to be one with Him; it is to be a member of His mystical body, of which He is the spiritual Head: and the Head and members are one. It is to have Christ dwelling in the heart—”Christ in you the hope of glory.” Yes, it is to dwell in the heart of Christ; it is to rest there in the very pavilion of His love, to abide there every moment, to be sheltered there from all evil, and to be soothed there under all sorrow. Oh blessed state of being in Christ! Who would not experience it? Who would not enjoy it? “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

These are the living branches, united to the true vine, which bear fruit. From their union to the living vine their fruit comes—”From me is your fruit found.” “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can you, except you abide in me.” And oh, what precious fruit does such a living branch bear! The broken heart—the contrite spirit—the mourning over sin—the low, abasing, humbling views of self—the venturing by faith on a full, mighty, willing Savior—the going out of self, and resting in His all-atoning work and all-satisfying righteousness. This is followed by a progressive advance in all holiness and godliness, the fruits of faith which are by Jesus Christ abounding in the life, and proving the reality of the wondrous change—the close walk with God—the submission of the will in all things to His—the conformity of the life to the example of Jesus—the “power of His resurrection” felt—the “fellowship of His sufferings,” known—and “conformity to His death,” marking the entire man.

These are some of the fruits of a truly regenerate soul. The Holy Spirit testifies, that the “fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth;” and still more minutely, as consisting of “love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”

John 17:23

I in them, and thou in me that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me.” — All the fulness of God dwelling in Christ and heaped upon chosen, redeemed sinners in Christ is designed for three great purposes which he shall accomplish as our God-man Mediator.

Our Perfection

Jehovah’s object is our perfection, our completion, our wholeness, our total salvation in Christ. Because God was in Christ, all his people were made perfect in justification when that man who is God died as our Substitute at Calvary. Because this Christ, in whom all the fulness of God dwells, dwells in us, we are made perfect in sanctification. He has made us holy and righteous, “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”

      Because Christ is both in the Father and in us, because he is in glory, because he is within the veil, because his blood speaks there for us, we shall soon drop this robe of flesh and be made perfect in glory! Then we shall be perfect in knowledge, in holiness, in peace, joy, and love.

      Because this great, glorious, gracious, omnipotent Christ is in us, and all God’s elect are in him, the number of the saved in glory shall be perfect, complete. Not one shall be missing. And we shall be perfectly one. Still, there is more. — We are one as the Church of God, one Body, one Bride, one Family. Yet our perfection in one is much greater than any of those metaphors can represent. — We who are God’s are one with Christ himself. That is our perfection! That is our salvation!

That the World May Know

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me.” — Our Savior here asks a second thing as our great High Priest. He asks not only that all his elect be made perfect in him, but also that the entire world may know, by our salvation, our perfect salvation in union with him, that he is the Sent One of God.

      We sometimes sing…

“Everybody ought to know,

Everybody ought to know,

Everybody ought to know, who Jesus is!”

When our God has finished all that he has purposed to do, everybody will know who the Lord Jesus Christ is!

“Hast Loved Them”

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me.” And here is the third thing our Savior asks of God in John 17:23 — “And hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” — Imagine that! What an astounding word this is from God and Savior! — “Thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” And when God gets done, every creature in heaven, earth, and hell shall know that God loves us, even as he loves his darling Son, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Don Fortner

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