Evening Reading for March 22

John 6:53-61
Suggested further reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

The true antidote to wrong views of baptism and the Lord's Supper is a right understanding of the third and sixth chapters of St John's Gospel and the whole of St John's First Epistle. While he altogether omits to describe the institution of the Lord's Supper, and says little or nothing about baptism in the Gospel, he dwells at the same time most strongly on these two mighty truths, which he foresaw were in danger of being forgotten — viz. the new birth and faith in the atonement. Surely it is possible to honour baptism and the Lord's Supper without thrusting them in everywhere in our interpretation of Scripture.

We are told that `many' who had followed our Lord for a season were offended when he spoke of `eating his flesh and drinking his blood'. They murmured and said, `This is an hard saying; who can hear it?' Murmurs and complaints of this kind are very common. It must never surprise us to hear them. They have been, they are, they will be as long as the world stands. To some Christ's sayings appear hard to understand. To others, as in the present case, they appear hard to believe and harder still to obey. It is just one of the many ways in which the natural corruption of man shows itself. So long as the heart is naturally proud, worldly, unbelieving and fond of self-indulgence, if not of sin, so long there will never be wanting people who will say of Christian doctrines and precepts, `These are hard sayings; who can hear them?'

Humility is the frame of mind which we should labour and pray for, if we would not be offended. If we find any of Christ's sayings hard to understand, we should humbly remember our present ignorance and believe that we shall know more by and by. If we find any of his sayings difficult to obey, we should humbly recollect that he will never require of us impossibilities and that, what he bids us do, he will give us grace to perform.

For meditation: Salvation by works is always popular because it exalts the efforts of men. Salvation through the blood of Christ is repugnant to many because it exalts the efforts of another in the light of the inadequacy of self.

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ