The Marks of God’s Children by Jean Taffin

In The Marks of God’s Children Jean Taffin (1529-1602) provides the following great quote regarding the gospel:

“When [God] causes the gospel to be preached, it is certainly the case that he is not saying, ‘I have come to save Simon Peter or Cornelius the centurion or Mary Magdalene.’ He calls no one by the name given them by men at the time of their circumcision or baptism. Were that the case, we could certainly doubt our salvation, for then the thought would legitimately arise that not we but perhaps someone else with the same name was meant. But when you hear that Jesus Christ has come to save sinners, then you have the choice either of rejecting the title ‘sinner’ or of confessing that he means you because he has come to save you. Conclude boldly, then, that ‘Jesus Christ has come to save sinners, and I confess that that is also my name since I also am a sinner. Therefore, he has come to save me!'”

The gospel is often packaged such that God caters to each individual in redemption. He tailors the gospel to meet whatever need happens to afflict this or that person. “Come to Jesus just as you are,” we might say. However, when we make the gospel about coming to Jesus “just as you are” we must be clear. If “you are” self-righteous then you cannot come. If “you are” unrepentant you cannot come. If “you are” meeting God half-way you cannot come. Unless “just as you are” means “sinner” we will not meet Christ. Charlotte Elliot was right (despite the abuses of her work):

Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

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