Monday, 2 May 2011

"The Centre Truth in the Whole Bible"

What stands at the centre of the whole of Scripture and why is it so important that we recognise this centre? This question is one that is vital for us to grasp.

In a booklet called 'The Cross' J. C. Ryle spells out clearly that it is the cross of Christ that is the centre of the Bible, and shows us why this is so important for us to recognise.

Working from Galatians 6:14, he shows that "Jesus Christ crucified was the joy and delight, the comfort and the peace, the hope and the confidence, the foundation and the resting-place, the ark and the refuge, the food and the medicine of [the apostle] Paul's soul." It was what he delighted in, what stood at the heart of his preaching, and what permeated all of his letters. Paul was centered on the cross of Christ. Ryle then goes on to press the implications home to us, the reader. He says:
And, reader, you may rest assured that Paul was right. Depend upon it, the cross of Christ,- the death of Christ in the cross to make atonement for sinners, - is the centre truth in the whole Bible. This is the truth we begin with when we open Genesis. The seed of the woman bruising the serpant's head is nothing else but a prophecy of Christ crucified. This is the truth that shines out, though veiled, all through the law of Moses, and the history of the Jews. The daily sacrifice, the passover lamb, the continual shedding of blood in the tabernacle and temple, - all these were emblems of Christ crucified. This is the truth we see honoured in the vision of heaven before we close the book of Revelation. "In the midst of the throne and of the four beasts," we are told, "and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain." (Rev. 5:6) Even in the midst of heavenly glory we get a view of Christ crucified. Take away the cross of Christ, and the Bible is a dark book. It is like the Egyptian hieroglyphics without the key that interprets their meaning, - curious and wonderful, but of no real use.
Reader, mark what I say. You may know a good deal about the Bible. You may know the outlines of the histories it contains, and the dates of the events described, just as a man knows the history of England. You may know the names of the men and women mentioned in it, just as a man knows Caesar, Alexander the Great, or Napoleon. You may know the several precepts of the Bible, and admire them, just as a man admires Plato, Aristotle, or Seneca. But if you have not yet found out that Christ crucified is the foundation of the whole volume, you have read your Bible hitherto to very little profit. Your religion is a heaven without a sun, an arch without a keystone, a compass without a needle, a clock without spring or weights, a lamp without oil. It will not comfort you. It will not deliver your soul from hell.