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John Preston: An Informal Reference to John 3:16 and the True Sufficiency of Christ for all.

March 11, 2008

Again, this mus be marked that I say , you must take or receive him: you must not only believe that he is the Messiah, and that he is offered, but there is a taking and receiving that is necessary to make you partakers of that that. is offered, Those words, John 3 make it plain; God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, &c. Giving is but Relative, it implies that there is a receiving or taking required: for when Christ is given, unless he be taken by us, he doth us no good, he is not made ours. If a man be willing ling to give another any thing, unless he take it, it is not his. It is true indeed, there is a sufficiency in Christ to save all men, and he is that great Physician that heals the souls of men; there is righteousness enough in him to justify all the world; but, my Beloved; unless we take him, and apply him to ourselves, we can have no part in that righteousness: this is, plainly expressed in Mat. 22. where it is said the King sent forth his servants to bid men to the Marriage of his son. And so in Ephes. 5. the same similitude and comparison is used by the Apostle, where he setteth forth the union that is between Christ and the Church, by that union there is between the Husband and the Wife. Put the case, that an Husband should offer himself to a woman to marry her, and he should believe it; yet unless there a taking of him on her part, the match is not made; and for it is here and in this thing the essence of faith consists, when Christ offers himself unto you, you must believe that there is such a thing, and that God intendeth it really, but it is the taking that consummates the marriage; and when the Wife hath taken the Husband, then all that is his is hers, she hath an interest in all his goods: so also it is here; there must be a believing that Christ is offered, that he is the Messiah, and that there is a righteousness in him to save us; but that is not enough, we must also take him, and when that is done, we are justified, then we are at peace with God.

John Preston, The Breast-Plate of faith and Love, (London: Printed by George Purstow, and are to be sold in the Companie of the Stationers, 1651), 43-44.

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