“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matt 16:15-17).
The most important question you could ever be asked is simply this: Do you in reality know the living Christ? The question is not, Are you religious? — Are you a church member? — Do you read the Bible? You may be very religious, yet not know Christ in the heart. You may be a loyal church member, a regular reader of God's Word, a person who “says” their prayers, or one who loves to study religious books and doctrine. But, these soul-searching questions still remain — Have you ever seen yourself a lost, vile sinner before a holy God? Have you ever been stripped of your self-righteousness and laid low in the dust of humility? Have you ever viewed by faith the glorious person of the Lord Jesus Christ, all because of a direct and personal revelation to you of God the Holy Ghost?
Sinner friend, I plead with you to not be deceived. Do not rest in your religious creeds, your attendance of religious worship, your so-called righteous acts. Rest only in Christ! Look only to him! Be not content with any religion if Christ is not the center and substance of it! Do not be deceived by man-made religion! Seek that which comes by divine revelation, as that which Simon Peter had in the opening Scripture. Simon was blessed to know who Christ was by a personal revelation to him of God the Father! This must also be true of us.
If Christ Jesus is not known to you by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, he is not known as the very wellspring of blessedness to the soul. If you only know Jesus by no more than the world knows, than the learned among men know, you have not the real blessing. If you only know the Lord of glory by what you have found out yourself, in reading or in talking to others, unaided by the Father's drawing power, you are not blessed with true salvation. If you know no more of Christ than what flesh and blood has revealed to you, you are nothing more than a Pharisee or Sadducee — religious, but lost without God — a separatist or a rationalist, but not a recipient of revelation and regeneration. May the eternal Jehovah reveal to you your true and undone condition before him!
Among the vast religious throngs of this earth there is to be found the true people of God. These chosen of the Father are also redeemed by the Son, and quickened by the Spirit. The elect of God know by deep acknowledgement of their sin that they are blind and ignorant by nature. The true children of God have been made humble; they confess their total dependence upon the grace and mercy of Christ, and place their entire confidence and faith in his meritorious righteousness and shed blood. In the Lord Jesus Christ alone do “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
Reader, what do you know of this once-crucified, yet now living Christ? Does his name bring gladness to your heart? Do you love the fragrance of his person? Is he more than just a religious leader to you? Beware of misty and cloudy views of King Jesus! Beware that you only have a head knowledge of him! Make sure that Christ is your Surety, your Substitute, your Sacrifice, your Savior. Beware of any religion which belittles him, or that does not exalt him as the only way to God.
Do you believe in Jesus by an inward discernment of him? Do you clearly see him as the Son of man and the Son of God? Is he definitely your Lord and Savior, your propitiation (satisfaction) before God? If you know him thus you have not learned this by the instruction of men. You have had a direct and personal revelation made to you and in you by the Father concerning who Jesus Christ really is (Galatians 1:16).
It is only when the Lord himself deals with you, taking you in his powerful hand that you are truly taught who Christ is. You may have heard about Jesus, but you only know him as “the Son of the living God” when illuminated and quickened by God the Spirit. Jesus came forth from God, and the power to know Christ comes forth from God also. If you have Christ, you have the new birth! If you have Christ, you have eternal life! If you have not Christ, you have nothing but dead, lifeless, counterfeit religion! Said our blessed Master: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). May divine power draw you this day, poor sinner! May you see Christ in all his beauty! May you come to worship and serve only him! Christ is to be seen, but in the light which he himself supplies. May that light shine unto you even now, and to our glorious God be all the glory!