“The Best of All…” – Thoughts on the Final Words of John Wesley

One of the most comforting truths for the Christian is the ever-present reality that God is with us.  God’s presence is one of the greatest gifts God gives his people.  God is personally near.

No doubt, this is not always felt, even if it is known.  However, even when not felt, for those that trust Jesus, it is absolutely true.

I was moved recently in reading Besty Ritchie’s account of watching John Wesley’s final days and hours.  She states,

“…some of those who were most used to hear our dear Father’s dying voice would be able to interpret his meaning; but though he strove to speak we were still unsuccessful: finding we could not understand what he said, he paused a little, and then with all the remaining strength he had, cried out, ‘The best of all is, God is with us”; and then, as if to assert the faithfulness of our promise-keeping Jehovah and comfort the hearts of his weeping friends, lifting up his dying arm in token of victory and raising his feeble voice with a holy triumph not to be xpressed, again repeated the heart-reviving words, “The best of all is, God is with us!” The Journal of John Wesley, ed., Percy Livingstone Parker, (Chicago, IL: Moody Press), 419

The best of all, indeed, is that God is with us.  What will your final words be?  These were John Wesley’s.  The reality of God’s presence was what he held onto in his final moments.

Maybe this is too far away from you.  What about now?  What is your best of all?  What are you holding onto to get you through today?  I commend to you Wesley’s words that God-with-us is the best news of everyday not just one’s final day, and that in Jesus God has come to us to live with us and in us.

God is best, and he has promised to be with you even in the worst moments of life.  God’s presence is not the guarantee that worse will not come, but that God’s best for you will never leave–namely, himself.

GOD is with you.  No matter what.

The Most Terrible Sin & Jesus’ Greater Grace

Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes,

“The Pharisee had never seen the need of forgiveness and there is no more terrible sin than that.  I know of nothing worse than the person who says: ‘You know I have never really felt that I am a sinner’.  That is the height of sin because it means that you have never realized the truth about God and the truth about yourself.”  Spiritual Depression, 31.

Sinning is one thing.  Not recognizing that you are a sinner is quite another.

Jesus came to save sinners not the righteous whom assume they’ve never sinned, yet whom have no trouble pointing out the sins of others.

The truth is you’re a great sinner, and that Jesus is a greater Savior.  Believe it.  The terrible weight of your sin is nowhere near the liberating power of God’s forgiveness in the person of Jesus Christ.  Jesus’ greater grace saves great sinners.

The Heartfelt Result of Gospel Thinking

The mind is meant for Jesus, and the mind is made to inflame the heart with passion for Jesus.  Henry Scougal explains:

Let us represent [Jesus] unto our minds as we find him described in the gospel; and there we shall behold the perfections of the divine nature, though covered with the veil of human infirmities; and when we have framed unto ourselves the clearest notion that we can of a being, infinite in power, in wisdom, and goodness, the author and fountain of all perfection, let us fix the eyes of our soul upon it (Lamentations 3:58), that our eyes may affect our heart; and, while we are musing, the fire will burn (Psalm 39:3).

Especially, if hereunto we add the consideration of God’s favour and goodwill toward us.  Nothing is more powerful to engage our affection to find that we are beloved. Expressions of kindness are always pleasing and acceptable unto us, though the person should be otherwise mean and contemptible: but, to have the love of one who is altogether lovely, to know that the glorious Majesty of heaven hath any regard unto us, how must it astonish and delight us, how must it overcome our spirits, and melt our hearts, and put our whole soul into a flame!” The Life of God in the Soul of Man, 120-121.

Musing upon the gospel is made to set your heart aglow with the gospel.  Thinking about God’s love for you, proven in Jesus, is meant to win your heart.  Deep thoughts about God’s gospel is not meant to make you smarter but to make your heart burn hotter for Jesus.

This kind of knowledge will not puff up but will create the kind heart that loves because it is deeply beloved.