Different Vantage Points…
One Primary Focus
By Curt Wildy
Three Vantage Points
We know that all fruit, all blessings, and all other aspects of salvation can be viewed from the point of view of (1) eternity, as stemming from the sovereign will and purpose of the Father; (2) the cross, as stemming from Christ and His finished work of atonement; and from (3) our own (quickened) lives as the Holy Ghost makes these vital benefits and doctrines experimentally realised in us (as He causes us to grow in the grace, knowledge, and understanding of Christ). However, we have to ask a fundamental question: Which vantage point is to be our primary one? Are we to focus mainly on the foreordaining act of the Father; are we to focus chiefly on the work of Christ in us, through the effectual working of the Holy Spirit; or are we to have as our principal focus the cross (i.e. the redemptive and propitiatory work of Christ)?
One Primary Focus
I cannot speak for any one else, but my prayer is to have Christ and Him crucified as my chief focal point. It is through His redemptive act that the Father’s purposes for the elect are accomplished and through which the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is made possible. I trust that the Father and Holy Ghost are most honoured when we first honour the Christ in whom They dwell. Christ, the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and the express image of God’s person, is the means by which the work of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit is most clearly placed in context, explained, and glorified. If, at the expense of Christ and the cross, we over-focus on absolute sovereignty (and what men call absolute predestination), then we actually dishonour the Father’s sovereignty and eternal purpose. Likewise, if at the expense of Christ and the cross, we over-focus on the work of Christ in us (through the Holy Ghost) we dishonour the Spirit and risk making ourselves (i.e. what is being done in us and by us) of greater importance than the atoning blood and finished work of Christ.
It was the Father who declared “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Our focus should be on His Beloved, the Well-pleasing One; when we hear Him, we hear the Father and the Holy Spirit. When we set our eyes upon Him and His victorious accomplishments, our sight will never be out of focus. Our living godly is a necessity; I do not doubt that for a second. Godly living always follows godly indwelling to one degree or another. However, taking the primary focus off of Christ and His cross and deflecting it towards what the Spirit of Christ works in us makes us the chief focal point — this ought not to be. Our trials, good deeds, godly abstentions, etc. become of greater weight than Christ’s trial, His blessed deed, and His abstention from all spot or blemish when we so misdirect our focus. Take some time to ponder the cross, and all that Christ suffered, all that He endured. Ponder it carefully, meditate upon it, and then consider whether His cross should ever take a back seat to our daily cross. I say these things as a needful and timely warning to those who need to hear it; I trust they know who they are.
Just so that there is no misunderstanding, I am not saying that we should not address our need for trials and tribulations, persecution, growth in grace, and so on; these are all important things and they need to be regularly expounded upon. What I am saying however, is that all of these things need to be proclaimed from within the context of our Lord and His finished work. Failure to provide context can lead to the promotion of our own filthy rags as the robes with which Christ robes us. This is miserable; we ought to be promoting the righteousness of Christ — those are the only robes worth wearing. We must remember that the good works that we perform are good because God works them out in us. However, those same good works (from our vantage point) are filthy because we know that with everything good that God works in us, our pride, anger, and other sinful manifestations are right there with them. This is why we do not glory in the good works that God causes us to manifest — we glory in the good work that Christ has already manifested unto our complete sanctification and perfection.
May Christ be glorified in your hearts to the utmost!