Christ’s person is a revelation of God. Christ’s work is a revelation of God, Christ’s words are a revelation of God. He is in the Father, and the Father in him. His words and works are the words and works of the Father. In the manger he showed us God. In the synagogue of Nazareth he showed us God. At Jacob’s well he showed us God. At the tomb of Lazarus he showed us God. On Olivet, as he wept over Jerusalem, he showed us God. On the cross he showed us God. In the tomb he showed us God. In his resurrection he showed us God. If we say with Philip, “Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us;” he answers, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” This God whom Christ reveals as the God of righteous grace and gracious righteousness, is the God with whom we have to do.
To know his character as thus interpreted to us by Jesus and his cross, is to have peace. It is into this knowledge of the Father that the Holy Spirit leads the soul whom he is conducting, by his almighty power, from darkness to light. For everything that we know of God we owe to this divine Teacher, this Interpreter, this “One among a thousand.” But never let the sinner imagine that he is more willing to learn than the Spirit is to teach. Never let him say to himself, “I would fain know God, but I cannot of myself, and the Spirit will not teach me.” It is not enough for us to say to some dispirited one, “It is your unbelief that is keeping you wretched; only believe, and all is well.” This is true; but it is only general truth; which, in many cases, is of no use, because it does not show him how it applies to him. On this point he is often at fault; thinking that faith is some great work to be done, which he is to labor at with all his might, praying all the while to God to help him in doing this great work; and that unbelief is some evil principle, requiring to be uprooted before the gospel will be of any use to him. But what is the real meaning of this faith and this unbelief?
In all unbelief there are these two things, – a good opinion of one’s self, and a bad opinion of God. So long as these two things exist, it is impossible for an inquirer to find rest. His good opinion of himself makes him think it quite impossible to win God’s favor by his own religious performances; and his bad opinion of God makes him unwilling and afraid to put his case wholly into his hands. The object of the Holy Spirit’s work, in convincing of sin, is to alter the sinner’s opinion of himself, and so to reduce his estimate of his own character, that he shall think of himself as God does, and so cease to suppose it possible that he can be justified by any excellency of his own. Having altered the sinner’s good opinion of himself, the Spirit then alters his evil opinion of God, so as to make him see that the God with whom he has to do is really the God of all grace.