Whilst we thank God for many spiritual songs, there is no doubt that the phraseology of some popular hymns has often been allowed to colour the presentation of God’s message to men. Gospel preachers would do well to compare their appeals with the method of the apostles.
In many hymn-books you will find an excellent song by Fanny Crosby, but the theme of the song is ruined by the chorus. The first verse speaks of a longing to rise into the presence of our Lord. The second speaks of looking up to Him. The third speaks of kneeling before His throne. The fourth speaks of the love and joy that we will find in His presence when we go to Him. The mind of the author was set on things above where our glorified Lord is seated at God’s right hand, but the chorus turns the eyes and mind away from the glorified Son of God to a wooden cross and a dead Christ. That chorus sets forth the most tragic crime of God’s people - their occupation with and proclamation of a dead Christ on a cross. Out of the great chapter on the resurrection of our Lord, five words have been torn from their context and heralded forth to the world in every conceivable way - “Christ died for our sins.” Thus Protestantism has joined hands with Rome in holding forth a crucifix instead of the glorified Man at God’s right hand - the Son of Man whom He has made strong for Himself. Psa. 80. 17.
All Christians will agree that there can be no effectual ministry to either sinners or saints apart from the leading and power of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord told His disciples to tarry at Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. Why did they have to tarry? Had not His sacrificial work been finished? Had He not risen in triumph over death and hell? Was He not about to ascend into the presence of God? Then why should they be kept waiting for the Holy Spirit? Why did not the Holy Spirit come down the day our Lord ascended? Was it not because He had come from God and must return to God (John 13. 3) to be glorified, as Man, with the glory which He had before the world was (John 17. 5)?
In John 7. 39 we read - “For the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified” Note the Name of “Jesus,” for that is the Name of the Son of God only as Man. The Holy Spirit could not come down until Jesus had been enthroned at God’s right hand, for His primary business here was to be a witness to the fact that that same Jesus whom the world had nailed to a tree, is now enthroned at God’s right hand. That was the Holy Spirit’s testimony, through Peter, when He came down on the day of Pentecost. Later on He testified through Peter again that “God hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up” (Acts 3. 13).
The central theme of God’s message to the world is not a dead Christ on a cross, but the living cross-wounded Christ on God’s throne. The Holy Spirit could not come down until He could bring that message, and when He did come down that was the message He brought - the message that sets forth the bed-rock foundation of Christianity, and the heart of God’s message to the world. God would have all men know that He has enthroned that very same Jesus whom the world cast out as unworthy to live, and nailed to a cross. Then He points repentant sinners to His glorified Son as the object of faith unto salvation. God never points sinners to any other object. Let me press that F-A-C-T home on the mind and heart of the reader, for many are pointing sinners to something or some truth as the object of faith unto salvation. The Holy Spirit always points to the Person of God’s crucified, risen, and glorified Son. Sinners cannot meet God or Christ “at the cross,” so there is no use in telling them to “kneel at the foot of the cross.” They must kneel at the foot of the throne, because that is where our Lord is today.
Read Acts 2. 22-36 carefully. In spite of this plain and pointed testimony of the Holy Spirit that the same Jesus who was crucified and slain was raised up by God and exalted at His right hand, there are many among professing Christians, and even among preachers who profess to be Christ’s ministers, who do not believe that record. They either have foggy ideas about our Lord’s resurrection body, or they deny that He has the same body of flesh and bones that was laid in the tomb.
In Acts 5. 30, 31 we read - “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him . , hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and Saviour.” .;
In Acts 7. 55 we read that Stephen “being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.”
In Acts 9. 5; 22. 8; and 26. 15 we have our Lord announcing Himself to Saul of Tarsus as “Jesus.” In 22. 8 it is “Jesus of Nazareth.”
In Rom. 8. 34; Eph. 1. 20; Col. 3. 1; Heb. 1. 3, 13; 8. 1; 10. 12; 12. 2, and 1 Peter 3. 22 we have the crucified Christ enthroned at God’s right hand, and in a way that no open mind can fail to see that the references are not to the spirit of Christ but to Christ Himself in His cross-wounded body of flesh and bones. That which was crucified and buried is that which was raised. That which was separated by death is that which was reunited in resurrection - or resurrection means nothing. All of the references are to the spirit, soul, and body of Christ Jesus of the Gospels. Otherwise the incarnate Son of God is not alive, and we do not see Jesus crowned with glory and honour.
Both to Joseph and to Mary the angel said that Mary would bring forth a son, and that that sons name was to be “Jesus.” Therefore, the Name of “Jesus” belongs to God’s Son only as ‘the flesh and bones’ man born of the Virgin Mary. . That Name did not belong to Him before He became incarnate; and it does not belong to Him today if He does not have that same material body of flesh and bones that was crucified and buried. I am; emphasizing this because many who are looked upon as Christians, sound in the faith, are poisoned with the unbelief of Modernism.
Is you “Jesus” the ghostly Jesus of Satan-deluded men, or is He the “Jesus” of God’s Word whom the Holy Spirit came down to witness to as being enthroned in heaven as Man? God’s one Mediator is “Himself Man.”
Yes, God has glorified His Son Jesus; He has crowned Him with glory and honour, so that now He is the Lord of glory. It was this Lord of glory who spoke to Saul of Tarsus and said - “I am Jesus.” The gospel that God would have preached; the gospel that the Holy Spirit came down from the throne of God in order to enable the disciples to preach; that gospel is “The gospel of the Glory of Christ.” 2 Cor. 4. 4, 5, R.V. Preach Him.