The Riches of God in Christ Jesus
Rev. R. T. Ketcham
Broadcast March 3, 1944
From Christ and Him Crucified: Bible Messages Broadcast Over the Blue Network, February, March, and April 1944
To vast hosts of unsaved people in this world, and I fear to far too many Christians, God is someone to whom we must all the time be giving something. It is true that God does ask us for many things. He wants us to give Him our affections so that they center not at all upon anything of this world, but wholly upon Him. He wants us to give Him our talents so that they are used wholly for His glory. He wants us to give Him our money so that His gospel and His cause may be financed to the ends of the earth. He wants us to give Him our time so that not only on Sundays do we sing and teach and preach of His love and greatness, but that we do not forget to glorify Him equally the rest of the week. He wants us to give Him our wills, so that in no slightest degree does our will conflict with His will. He wants us to give Him our minds, so that there shall be nothing but the mind of Christ manifested in us. He wants us to give Him our intellects, so that at no point will our intellects refuse to bow and accept the supernatural. He wants us to give Him our ambitions so that the plan of our life will at all points conform to His plan. He wants us to give Him our bodies so that in no case shall we dishonor them by anything which would dishonor Him.
It is furthermore true that in responding to the requests of God we often find ourselves in a position where we must surrender things that are near and dear to us. It may be that we had set our fondest hopes upon the exercise of a certain talent in the world of art or commerce, only to discover that the will of Christ for us was to give that talent to Him to be used only in His service. We have realized that the surrender of this talent wholly to Him might mean that it would be used only in obscure and out of the way places, bringing little profit and glory to ourselves. It may be that we have set our affection upon some person and had hoped to enjoy blessed companionship with such an one through many years, only to discover one awful day that God had asked us to surrender even this affection, either by death or by the removal of the loved person from the sphere of our lives. It may be that we had made our plans to build at least a moderate fortune with full intention to use it for the cause of Christ, only to discover that God has asked us to give that up too, and we have found ourselves stripped of all earthly possessions.
Such experiences in the lives of Christians far too often result in an attitude of cynicism and a spirit of criticism. It is Satan’s great opportunity to whisper in the ear of the child of God, “See, your God is an utterly selfish God. He waits only to see what is in your life that you love and cherish and then He demands that you surrender it to Him. What kind of a God is it who seems to delight only in taking things away from His children?” In the moment of our deep sense of loss and privation such a suggestion from the enemy of God and men can find a ready foothold, unless we are prepared with the answer.
The answer, while involving many things, certainly involves two of which we wish to speak now. First, it is proven by the experience of every believer in Christ and is explicitly taught in Scripture that God will take nothing away from us except that which He in His omniscience sees and knows will harm us if we keep it. It is impossible for human reason to rise high enough to see this and accept it as a truth. Faith and faith alone in the fact that we have a Heavenly Father too good to be unkind and too wise to make mistakes can ever soar high enough to lay hold upon this blessed truth. The illustration of this principle is around us everywhere. The little two-year-old youngster has possessed himself of his mother’s shiny kitchen knife. He never did see anything quite so attractive and his little affections are set upon it with childish tenacity. But mother sees and knows that harm will come to the little one unless this plaything is removed from him. So she gently performs the operation of separating the child from his cherished possession. If the child lets reason alone operate, he will certainly set up a lusty protest, which in his child language declares that his mother is cruel and is all the time taking things away from him. If the child lets faith operate, even though he does not understand why the knife would hurt him, yet he is willing and content to believe that his mother does know and he rests contentedly in the better wisdom of his mother, and proceeds happily on his way to other and less harmful playthings. And so it is with the children of God. We need always to remember that God never takes anything away from His children except that which He sees would somehow bring harm and heartache to them if they retain it. I say again, this is not only experiential hut Scriptural, for we read in Psalm 84:11 that “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
There is another phase to this matter of surrendering things to God which should not be overlooked. Sometimes God asks us for the surrender of something in our lives in order that He might put His gracious touch upon it and hand it back to us. A rich man loaned his tomb to the Lord Jesus and it was given back to him three days later, perfumed by the precious ointment of the Deity of the One who used it. A little lad gave his lunch to the Lord Jesus and after He had fed the multitude with it. He gave it back to its original owner, touched and blessed and hallowed in the process of surrender.
In the second place, we need to remember that God is after all the Giver. What few paltry things we may be called upon to surrender are only to make room and increase our capacity for the reception of His infinite gifts. It is always God who gives and this will he easily agreed to when once we have a true conception of the riches we have in Christ. Of course, it is understood we are discussing now what the Christian has in Christ. For the unsaved there is nothing in Christ either in time or eternity, but for the poor sinner who has accepted His atoning and sacrificial death upon Calvary and has believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, immediately that soul has come into possession of such riches as to make the few things of earth which he has surrendered look like the refuse of this world.
And what do we have in the Lord Jesus Christ? We have—
A Life that can never he forfeited.
A Relation that can never he abrogated.
A Righteousness that can never he tarnished.
An Acceptance that can never he questioned.
A Judgment that can never he repeated.
A Title that can never he clouded.
A Position that can never be invalidated.
A Standing that can never he disputed.
A Justification that can never he reversed.
A Seal that can never he violated.
An Inheritance that can never he alienated.
A Wealth that can never be depleted.
A Resource that can never be diminished.
A Bank that can never be closed.
A Possession that can never be measured.
A Portion that can never be denied.
A Peace that can never be destroyed.
A Joy that can never be suppressed.
A Love that can never be abated.
A Grace that can never be arrested.
A Strength that can never be vitiated.
A Power that can never be exhausted.
A Salvation that can never be annulled.
A Forgiveness that can never be rescinded.
A Deliverance that can never be thwarted.
An Assurance that can never be disappointed.
A Nature that can never be changed.
An Access that can never be discontinued.
An Attraction that can never be superseded.
A Comfort that can never be lessened.
A Service that can never be unrewarded.
An Intercessor who can never be disqualified.
A Revelation that can never be destroyed.
A Victor who can never be vanquished.
A Resurrection that can never be hindered.
A Hope that can never be disappointed.
A Glory that can never be dimmed.
Christ is all in the Father’s vision.
Christ is all in the Holy Spirit’s message.
Christ is all in the Scripture’s pages.
Christ is all in Creation’s morning.
Christ is all in sin’s midnight.
Christ is all in redemption’s grace.
Christ is all in the coming glory.
And Christ is mine and I am His.