Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The heart of a Christian is the home and temple of Christ.

We're still in the fifth of Richard Sibbes' infelicitously titled sermon series Bowels Opened (1687) on The Song of Songs, here considering Christ's knocking on the door of the church.

Christ has two homes - the heavens, and "the heart of a humble broken-hearted sinner".

But, How can Christ come into the soul? 
Answer: By the Spirit, saying:
"Open your ears that you may hear my word; 
your love, that you may love me more; 
your joy, that you may delight in me more; 
open your whole soul that I may dwell in it."

The Christian and the church is his home:
"So with Christ. A man will repair his house, 
so Christ will repair our souls, 
and make them better, and make them more holy, 
and spiritual, and every way fit for such a guest as he is."

How shall we know whether Christ dwells in our hearts, or not?
"If Christ is in the soul, there comes out of the house good words... When we hear men full of gracious sweet speeches, it is a sign Christ dwells there... Christ would move the whole man to do that which might edify and comfort."

And there is uproar
"When Christ was born, all Jerusalem was in an uproar; so, when Christ is born in the soul, there is an uproar. Corruption arms itself against grace. There is a combat between flesh and spirit. But Christ subdues the flesh little by little... God's image is stamped upon the soul where Christ is; and if we have opened unto the Lord of glory, he will make us glorious."

He will do it:
"Christ has never enough of us, 
nor we have never enough of him till we are in heaven; 
and, therefore, we pray, ‘Your kingdom come.' 
And till Christ comes in his kingdom, 
he desires his kingdom should come to us."

He cries out
"Open... It is a stupendous condescendence, when he that has heaven to hold him, angels to attend him, those glorious creatures; he that has the command of every creature, that do yield presently homage when he commands, the frogs, and lice, and all the host of heaven are ready to do his will! for him to condescend and to entreat us to be good to our own souls, and to beseech us to be reconciled to him, as if he had offended us, who have done the wrong and not he, or as if that we had power and riches to do him good; 
here greatness beseeches meanness, 
riches poverty, all-sufficiency want, 
and life itself comes to dead, drowsy souls. 
What a wondrous condescending is this!"

Christ comes down to us, to make "the heart of a sinful, sleepy man his house"


  1. and what a great joy it is :) Thanks for this post!

  2. Absolutely. His presence makes us distinct.
    And Sibbes is great at articulating it - more of him to come in the coming days.