Taken and adapted from, “True Christianity” Book II, Chapter I.
Written by John Arndt (1555-1621)
“With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”
As our disease of sin is exceedingly great, mortal, damnable, and out of the power of any creature to remove…
…therefore it is needful that we should have a remedy proportioned to the disease; a high, a divine, an everlasting, remedy and help, entirely derived from the pure mercy of God. As our original disease was caused by the wrath, hatred, and envy of the devil (Genesis 3:1), so God, in tender compassion, was moved to heal the mortal wound of our sin by his infinite mercy. And as Satan had used his utmost endeavors and subtlety, in order to infect, slay, and condemn us, God was pleased, in his infinite wisdom, to give us his beloved Son, in order to restore us to that life, happiness, and salvation, which we had lost. Hence he has made the precious blood of Christ to be the grand restorative of our nature, and the cleanser from all the contagion of sin. He hath given us his quickening flesh, to be our bread of life; his holy wounds, as a sovereign balsam to heal our wounded condition; and his precious death, to be an abolition of our death, both temporal and eternal (1 John 1:7; Act 20:28; John 6:32 ff; Isaiah 53:5; 25:8).
But so disabled, so weak, and undone, is fallen man, that he cannot so much as apply this precious medicine even when it is freely offered: so little health, so much weakness is there in him. Nay, we even, by nature, strive against our cure, and reject the remedy which should help us.—Wherefore, O Lord, unless thou shouldst draw me after thee (Song of Solomon 1:4), and, as a faithful physician, administer to me what thou hast ordered, the best prescriptions will avail me nothing. Take me, therefore, entirely into thine own hands, and trust me not to myself. If I be left to myself, the eternal ruin of my soul will be my lot. Therefore “turn thou me, and I shall be turned: heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; for thou art my praise” (Jer. 31:18; 17:14). As long as thou keepest back thy mercy, and hidest thy face from my sorrow, I shall remain in a diseased condition (Psalms 30:3). Whilst thou forbearest to quicken me, I am tied down by the chains of death. Therefore I cry with David, “I am poor and needy; make haste unto me, O God. Thou art my help, and my deliverer; O Lord, make no tarrying” (Psalms 70:5).
O blessed Lord! Shall not thy mercy be strong enough to raise a sick soul from her languishing illness? –a soul that is not able to raise herself? Wilt thou not condescend to come to me, since it is not possible that I should come to thee? Didst thou not love me, even before I had so much as a thought of loving thee again? Thy mercy is so prevailing and so strong, that it has even overcome thyself. Was it not mercy that nailed thee to the cross, and gave thee up to death? What is so strong as to encounter and conquer thee, if it be not the strength of thy own mercy? What has might sufficient to apprehend thee, and to bind and conduct thee to death, but thy love only, wherewith thou hast loved and quickened us, when we were dead in trespasses and sins? (Eph. 2:1). For thou wouldst thyself undergo the pangs of death, rather than suffer us to be forever bound over to death and eternal damnation!
Thy mercy, O Lord, has made thee all our own, and put a title to all thy merits into our hands. When thou becamest a tender infant, it was wholly for our sakes, unto whom thou art “born a child” (Isaiah 9:6). When thou wast made an offering for our sins, and when thou wast slain as an innocent lamb on the cross, it was to give up thyself unto us, and freely to impart unto us all things beside. O excellent gift of God! A good wholly appropriated to us, even our own peculiar good and treasure!
Behold! Beloved Christian, the wisdom of God! God has by means of this everlasting good made himself our own property, that he might thereby in return make us his own. For having purchased us “with a price,” we are no longer our own, but his who hath bought us (1 Cor. 6:19-20). For whosoever receives so excellent a gift, receives also the Giver himself, from whom it proceeds. And again, whosoever possesses any good as his own, he makes it his own to all intents and purposes, and to the best advantage he can. Thus, likewise, is Christ become thy own and proper good. Thou canst apply him in such manner, as to obtain by him everlasting life and salvation.
Christ is become the true medicine of thy soul, to restore thee—thy meat and thy drink, to refresh thee—thy fountain of life, to quench thy thirst—thy light, in darkness—thy joy, in sadness—thine advocate, against thine accusers—wisdom, against thy folly—righteousness, against thy sin—sanctification, against thy unworthiness—redemption, against thy bondage—the mercy-seat, against the judgment-seat—the throne of grace, against thy condemnation—thy absolution, against thy fearful sentence—thy peace and rest, against an evil conscience—thy victory, against all thine enemies—thy champion, against all thy persecutors—the bridegroom of thy soul, against all rivals—thy mediator, against the wrath of God—thy propitiation, against all thy trespasses—thy strength, against thy weakness—thy way, against thy wandering—thy truth, against lying and vanity—thy life, against death. He is thy counsel, when thou hast none to advise thee—thy power, in the midst of thine infirmities—thy Everlasting Father, when thou art forsaken and fatherless—thy Prince of Peace, against the adversary—thy ransom, against thy debt—thy crown of glory, against thy reproach—thy teacher, against thine ignorance—thy Judge, against thine oppressor—thy King, to destroy the kingdom of Satan—thine everlasting High Priest, to intercede for thee.
Consider now, O Christian, what an excellent gift the Lord Jesus Christ is. Let it be thy daily prayer and supplication to make a true saving use of all those heavenly benefits, and to improve all the offices of Christ to the end for which they are designed. If he be thy Medicine (Matt. 9:12), fear not but thou shalt be healed: since he is thy Bread (John 6:51), thy soul shall be filled. Is he to thee a Fountain of Life (Isaiah 12:3), then truly thou shalt thirst no more. Is he to thee a Light (John 8:12), then thou shalt remain no longer in darkness. Is he thy Joy (Luke 2:10), what then shall afflict thee? Is he the Advocate (1 John 2:1) that pleads thy cause, what adversary shall cast thee? Is he thy Truth, who shall deceive thee? Is he thy Way? who shall make thee to err? Is he thy Life (John 14:6), who shall slay thee? Is he thy Wisdom, who shall seduce thee? Is he thy Righteousness, who shall condemn thee? Is he thy Sanctification, who shall reject thee? Is he thy Redemption, who shall imprison thee? (1 Cor. 1:30). Is he thy Peace (Eph. 2:14), who can disturb thee? Is he thy Mercy-Seat (Rom 3:25), who can arraign thee? Is he thy Throne of Grace (Heb. 4:16), who can give sentence against thee? Is he thy Discharge and Absolution (Col. 2:14), who then dares impeach thee? Is he the Champion and the Captain of thy salvation (Heb. 2:10), who shall be able to stand against thee? Is he thy Bridegroom (John 3:29), who then shall snatch thee from him? Is he thy Ransom (1 Tim 2:6), who will arrest thee? Is he thy Crown of Glory (Heb. 2:7), who then shall reproach thee? Is he thy Master (John 13:13), and Teacher, who then shall correct thee? If he be thy Judge (2 Thes. 1:9), who shall oppress thee? If he be thy Propitiation (1 John 2:2), who shall accuse thee? If he be thy Mediator (1Tim. 2:5), who shall set God against thee? If he be thy Advocate (1 John 2:1), who shall prosecute thee? Is he thy Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14), who shall be against thee? Is he thy King (John 12:15), who shall expel thee out of his kingdom? Is he thy High Priest (Heb. 7:25), who can refuse his intercession and sacrifice? Is he thy Saviour (Matt. 1:21), who shall destroy thee?
How canst thou have a more excellent, a more valuable present? It is a present of greater worth than thou thyself, than all mankind, and all the world besides. It is a present that infinitely surpasses all the sins, miseries, and calamities of the whole world. Christ hereby is all our own, both as to his divine and his human nature. It was by sin we had forfeited the richest of all treasures, the sovereign good, even God himself: and it is by Christ, that all is made up again, and God himself given to us as our property. And for this reason, Christ is called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14), (which being interpreted is, God with us), that in him we might have both God and a brother.
Consider now, O Christian! what an immense, what an infinite good thou hast in Christ thy Redeemer, and to what spiritual benefits thou art entitled by him. If people were but better acquainted with the sources of this heavenly comfort, then no cross, no affliction, would seem any longer insupportable to them; because Christ would be all in all, and by his presence alleviate the miseries of this life. Christ himself is ours not only as a crucified Christ, but also as he is glorified, together with all the majesty that resides in him. “All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor 3:21-23).
Alas! Poor, miserable, accursed, and condemned sinners, that we by nature all are! How came we to be favored and honored with so high and inestimable a gift? For thou, O Lord Jesus, art to us—Jehovah our Righteousness—a Mediator between God and man—our everlasting Priest—the Christ of God—a Lamb without spot—our propitiatory oblation—the fulfillment of the law—the Desire of the patriarchs—the Inspirer of the prophets—the Master of the apostles—the teacher of the evangelists—the light of the confessors—the crown of the martyrs—the Praise of all the saints—the resurrection of the dead—the firstborn from the dead—the glory of the blessed—the consolation of the mourners—the righteousness of sinners—the hope of the afflicted—the refuge of the miserable—the entertainer of strangers—the fellow-traveler of pilgrims—the way of them that were mistaken—the help to them who were forsaken—the strength of the weak—the health of the sick—the protector of the simple—the reward of the just—the flaming fire of charity—the Author of faith—the anchor of hope—the flower of humility—the rose of meekness—the root of all the virtues—the exemplar of patience—the enkindler of devotion—the increase of prayer—the tree of health—the fountain of blessedness—the bread of life—the Head of the church—the bridegroom of the soul—the precious pearl—the rock of salvation—the living stone—the heir of all things—the redemption of the world—the triumphant Conqueror of Hell—the Prince of Peace—the mighty lion of Judah—the father of the world to come—the guide to our heavenly country—the sun of righteousness—the morning star—the inextinguishable light of the celestial Jerusalem—the brightness of the everlasting glory—the unspotted mirror—the splendor of the divine majesty—the image of the paternal goodness—the treasure of wisdom—the abyss of eternity—the beginning without beginning—the Word upholding all things—the life quickening all things—the light enlightening all things—the truth judging all things—the counsel moderating all things—the rule directing all things—the love sustaining all things—the whole comprehension of all that is good.
This is the great and infinite gift, which God has so freely bestowed upon mortal men.
Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Jonathan Arndt (1555-1621): Lutheran pastor; stressed repentance, sanctification, the work of Christ in the heart, and intimate fellowship and union with God; born in Anhalt, Germany.