____________________ We know that salvation is a gift from God that we do not earn. But it is a gift that must be received. And it can only be received with empty hands, but there is a transaction by which what he gives actually becomes yours. And that's the point....
[Editorial Note: Throughout the month of April, we’ll replace our normal Key Connections with one Key Connection from the Puritan era. Today, we have an excerpt from Isaac Ambrose’s Looking unto Jesus. This is an edited and condensed excerpt, and you can find the original here.]
The most excellent subject to [talk about] or write of, is Jesus Christ.
Augustin having read Cicero’s works, commended them for their eloquence, but he passed this sentence upon them: “They are not sweet, because the name of Jesus is not in them.” Indeed all we say is but unsavory, if it be not seasoned with this salt.
My meaning is not to insist on [one] name, in contradiction to [or, as more important than] any other names of Christ, [but I want to focus on how] Jesus signifies Savior… “for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
I shall make this my design to look at Jesus more especially, as carrying on the great work of our salvation from first to last. This indeed is the glad tidings, the gospel, the gospel privilege, and our gospel duty—looking unto Christ.
Jesus Signifies Savior
[Jesus] is a Hebrew name; the Greeks borrowed it from the Hebrews, the Latins from the Greeks, and all other languages from the Latins. It comes from the Hebrew word Jehoshua, or Joshua, which in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah… is Jeshua.
This name, Jesus, was given to Christ the Son of God, by his Father, and brought from heaven by an angel; first to Mary, and then to Joseph.
[The name Jesus means he] is the alone savior of man: “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
And he is a perfect and absolute savior: “He is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him; seeing that he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
Looking unto Jesus Our Savior
[There are two parts to looking unto Jesus—the act and the object.]
“Looking unto” is the act; but such as includes all these acts: knowing, considering, desiring, hoping, believing, loving, joying, enjoying of Jesus, and conforming to Jesus.
It is such a look as stirs up affections in the heart, and the effects thereof in our life. It is such a look as leaves a quickening upon the spirit. [And,] it is such a look as works us into a warm affection, raised resolution, an holy and upright conversation.
Jesus is the object; and Jesus, as Jesus, as he is our savior. Let us desire Jesus, carrying on the great work of our salvation in his death. Indeed nothing doth so cool and refresh a parched and thirsty soul as the blood of Jesus.
Christ’s death and blood is superabundant to our sins: “The grace of our Lord overflowed for me.” (1 Timothy 1:14) It was over full, and more than enough.
Whereas all your sins to Christ are but as a little cloud to the glorious sun; yea, all the sins of all the men in the world are but, to Christ’s merits, as a drop to the ocean.
A Holy Soul Cannot Tire Itself in Viewing Jesus
In things below Jesus, some have this excellency, and some have that, but none have all. Oh! What variety is in Jesus!
Variety of time, he is Alpha and Omega; Variety of quality, he is a lion and lamb, a servant and a son; Variety of excellency, he is man and God. Oh! Where shall we begin in this view of Jesus?
Who shall declare his generation? All the Evangelists exhibit unto us the savior, but every one of them in his particular method:
Mark describes not all the genealogy of Jesus, but begins his history at his baptism. Matthew searcheth out his original from Abraham. Luke follows it backward as far as Adam. John passeth further upwards, even to the eternal generation of this Word that was made flesh.
If Christ Be Yours…
…then God is yours, the Father is yours, the Spirit is yours, all the promises are yours. For in Christ they are all made, and for him they shall be performed.
Come let the proud man boast in his honor, and the mighty man in his valor, and the rich man in his wealth. But let the Christian pronounce himself happy, only happy, truly happy, fully happy, in beholding Christ, enjoying Christ, having Christ—in looking unto Jesus.
Come, say on, are you willing to have Christ? Will you have your name enrolled in the covenant of grace? Shall God be your God, and Christ your Christ?
Stay then. You must take Christ on these terms, you must believe on him, and you must take him as your Savior and Lord. You must take him, and forsake all others for him. This is the true faith, the condition of the covenant.
Oh! Believe in Jesus, and the covenant is established, and all doubts removed.