“The Poor Among Men”
“The poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel”
It is Christ alone that is the Christian’s rejoicing. Paul speaks of it thus: “We are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and refoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
This is the way God circumcises the hearts of his people with the circumcision of Christ, made without hands, which cuts them off from all hope of saving themselves; and by the circumcising knife of his law, he stops their mouth from all boastings and brings them in guilty and condemned. The Holy Ghost leads them away from self to a precious Jesus. He leads to a discovery of Christ in all his covenant characters, and shows how he took their case into his hands before all worlds.
He opens up to them the glories of Christ in his incarnation; he shows them that, “it is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” So that this is the ground of their rejoicing, that Jesus Christ is an able, willing, glorious and an all-sufficient Saviour.
“The poor among men,” rejoice in a finished salvation, all of grace; not a salvation partly accomplished by Christ and the rest made up by the sinner. A gospel of this kind will not save, “the poor among men.”
I tried for months at saving myself in this way, and when I missed it here and missed it there, I tried it again, for I was determined to hit it. I could see no way of salvation only by being good; therefore I resolved to be good. But with all my trying and tugging, I felt myself to be getting weaker and weaker and further and further off from God, till I was afraid at last that I should surely sink under the terrors of God in a broken law in the waves of damnation, if there were no other way of salvation than my own.
I wanted now something more than my good doings. O, my friends, it is dreadful work thus to sink in “the horrible pit and the miry clay.” But however painful, it is profitable. The more sick we are made of ourselves, the more we are brought to feel our own weakness and inability, the more well be our joy and rejoicing in Christ Jesus, “the Holy One of Israel.”
“The poor among men,” then, rejoice that salvation is finished, that sin is for ever put away by the sacrifice of Jesus, that law and justice are satisfied, that everlasting righteousness is wrought out and brought in, that the world is overcome, that death and hell are conquered.
By John Kershaw – April 10th, 1845