The light of the Gospel displays all that has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ. It takes its rise from the glory of the Father, from the consummation of the Savior’s work—not from the beginning of His work, but from the climax of it. The light from thence, sent of the Father into the soul, illuminates the Lord Jesus’ whole course and comprises His entire work, from His descent from the glory to His ascension back into the glory.

The light now is the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ; now, for the first time, light can come to us from the glory. It declares the Father; but as it is received it assures my heart in the disclosures it makes of His grace, both the way of it, and my title to it. If I have not this light, it is evident that I cannot understand His relation to me or my relation to Him. The light is from the Father, and unfolds Him.

The Father’s heart and purpose of love to the prodigal are disclosed. This is the object and purpose of the light, and doubtless it fixes and assures the heart in every step of the blessing; but its object is to declare the Father. It shines into the heart of the prodigal, but it does not flow from there. It radiates from the Father (2Co 4:6), and it is of all importance to remember this. It springs from the Father to declare Himself in His grace to the sinner, showing him he is elevated to the highest position, but occupying his heart with the source of the light, rather than the effects of it on himself.

If he be occupied with the effects on himself, the main object of the light is lost sight of. Now I am necessarily taken up with its effects on me if I regard the light as merely a gift, like a lamp, confined to myself, rather than to declare Him from whom it emanates. The mistake, and the consequent loss to souls at the present time is not that they do not believe in the Lord Jesus, but that they do not enjoy the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of the Father. Nor is it duly proclaimed!

I suppose no student of Scripture would deny that our blessed Lord was offered to Israel, to bring in the sure mercies of David, after His ascension to glory; that He was rejected as seen in the person of Stephen, and that instead of His returning to earth in glory, His servant and witness Stephen was murdered here, and taken to be with Him in glory. Up to this point the Gospel did not go beyond the fact that Christ had risen, and would return to earth in glory (Act 1:11). He had not been as yet finally rejected, nor as yet had He taken His place in heaven consequent on His rejection. He could not offer Himself to Israel, and at the same time be seated infinitely at the Father’s right hand.

But on His final rejection by Israel, He takes Stephen to be with Him in glory; and after this Saul is called out, and the light displays to him Christ in glory. His first acquaintance with the Lord Jesus is in the glory. He sees Him there, not offering Himself to Israel, but identifying Himself with the Church (“why persecutest thou Me” – via the Church - Act 9:4—NC)! From henceforth it is the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ. The action of it in the soul is, as Paul expresses it, “to reveal His Son in me.” The Father now sends a light from His own glory into the soul, declaring that His Son has perfected everything according to His own mind, and that from the very brightness of His presence He can disclose to a poor prodigal the depths of His heart.

The light tells, not what He will do or what He is doing, but that which is done—the finish, the consummation. From the climax, it issues at the command of the same mighty One who has said, “Let there be light: and there was light.” It streams from the center of glory into the soul, disclosing the wondrous fact through the Spirit by the Word, of the establishment of righteousness; that the righteousness is the warrant for its issue; that the Father’s own Son has met in judgment all that His purity and holiness required; that on the Cross He had endured the wrath of God and has converted the ministry of reconciliation of Mount Sinai into the ministry of righteousness from the glory that “remaineth” (2Co 3:11—NC).

In the one, the glory was fatal to him that approached near the mount. But in the other, because the Lord Jesus has borne the judgement on the Cross, and is now raised from among the dead by the glory of the Father and ascended to His right hand, the Father can by His own mighty creative power cause light to shine into the soul, and disclose to it that the glory is not only the place of our Savior, but that in Him “who is our life” (Col 3:4) there is the beginning, the birthplace of our new position before the Father. There the blessed Father is in the zenith of His grace toward born-again man. He never was so till then; and from thence it is that He sends the light into the soul.

Glory either exacts from me (law), or it imparts to me (grace). It exacts, if I have no link with it; for then I must think of myself in relation to it, and this is legality; but if I have a living link with it, it imparts to me, and I am of it, separate from all that is not of it. The smallest ray that ever penetrated the dark heart of man since the conversion of Saul of Tarsus had sprung by the command of the Almighty from His own presence, where righteousness in all its strength is presented and maintained by Jesus Christ the Son, who cleanses us from all sin, and who is charged with tidings of the deep purposes of the Father’s love to us.

The soul, in any little measure understanding this light, follows it to its source, and finds itself with the Lord Jesus in glory. The beginning of its acquaintance with Him is there, and from this point it learns deeply and fully all His work and sufferings, and how He opened the way for us into such a sense of light and perfection. If we look at His work from the consummation of it, I must see, in its truest and fullest light, the whole course which led up to the completion.

Therefore it necessarily follows that the glory must not only comprise the Cross, but that thence alone can I view and estimate that Cross in its full magnitude. The light of this Gospel, the Gospel of the glory of Christ, speaks to a soul of Him where He has finished everything; and where He is thus received, the soul finds that its first acquaintance with Him is in the glory. It is where all is finished that there is sure rest for it, and abiding strength, because it looks upon Him, and sees by faith whence its acquaintance with Him comes, and that it is established in what the Father is in Himself, in relation to a man in Christ, and not merely in the effects of His grace on him, great as they are.

What can establish and cheer my heart so as the assurance of my Father’s mind and relation to me (1Co 2:16—NC)? I draw nigh to Him in proportion as I know His mind and feelings towards me; and no message from His presence could effect so deep an assurance and joy in the heart as the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God; for from henceforth “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2Co 4:6) is my portion and privilege. This imparts such a tone and character touching everything, that not only do our light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, but we are so transformed by association with the Lord Jesus in glory that all present things are superseded and supplanted in the heart (2Co 3:18).

Everything is judged in relation to that glory which displaces and consumes all that is not of it, and allows only that which has been formed in it, and is consequently for it. If souls have not the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, they cannot really adorn that Gospel; but if they have all that is of man proportionately eclipsed, the Lord Jesus is testified of and manifested in the life, while our portion in the Father is the unfailing joy of the heart.

—J B Stoney (1814-1897)

MJS devotional excerpt for 10-25


The Father tolerates our side of things until we learn to value His side of things.

“Make your Father’s side of things your interest and concern, and your side will be fully ensured; but turn your eye to your own side, and, with much apparent effort and work, you will look for much and bring in little. This explains the small progress in many souls in this day, notwithstanding the amount of truth and light they have received. May the Lord Jesus in His Word be more simply the Object of our hearts in this evil day.” -J.B.S.

“Love really does not think of anyone but its Object until it is quite sure of its place with Him, and then when at rest about itself it studies the mind and heart of the Object. I find that the Lord Jesus loved me and gave Himself for me when I was in a most unattractive state; but He makes me suitable to Himself, and I am so assured of the permanency of His love and of my association with Him that my heart is free to study Him. The more I am in His company, the more I grow in the characteristics which answer to His mind and nature.” -J.B.S.

The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.’” -MJS