The Gospel Ambassador 1842:
By Isaac Charles Johnson, J. P.
Is God for me? I fear not, though all against me rise; When I call on Christ, my Saviour, the host of evil flies. My Friend—the Lord Almighty, and He who loves me—God. What enemy shall harm me, though coming as a flood?”
“When I cry unto Thee, then shall mine enemies be turned back: this I know; for God is for me.”—Ps 56:9
Happy, thrice happy is the man who has the eternal God for his Refuge; under whom “the everlasting arms” are eternally placed; and who with heaven-inspired confidence can say, “God is for me.”
There never was a period, in duration’s endless round, in which this language did not stand true, concerning the Church collectively, and every individual member of Christ’s mystical body, who shall hereafter surround the throne of glory to celebrate the undying praises of Immanuel.
“Before the mountains were brought forth,” or ever Jehovah had formed the earth and the world; before “the morning stars sang together,” or “all the sons of God shouted for joy,” this truth was emblazoned on the portals of time in letters gilded with the rays of divine faithfulness, and shining with a splendour exceeding the brightness of the meridian sun.
When time, with all its ponderous wheels, and the machinery of nature, were put in motion; when the mighty orbs that move with undeviating precision through infinite space, were ushered into existence, and bid to travel in their respective spheres, then was this sweet truth the same—“God is for me.”
When the mighty angel descends from heaven, clothed with a cloud, and stands with his right foot upon the sea and his left foot upon the earth, and lift up his hand to heaven, and swears by Him that liveth for ever and ever, that time shall be no longer; when the devastation, produced by the wreck of worlds, shall be beheld, with unspeakable terror and dismay, by all those who are not found complete in Christ—who have despised the sovereignty of Jehovah, in all His bestowments of mercy, rejected His truth, persecuted His saints, and one by one died in their sins; then this truth in greater grandeur will appear, and will be by Jehovah’s own elect enjoyed—“God is for me.”
He is for me in all the bonds of covenant relationship, and in all the perfections of His glorious nature. “Before He had spread the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking-glass,” He had spread out His thoughts of love and mercy in providing a canopy to cover my defenceless soul for ever and ever—“God is for me.”
Ere the barbed arrow from the devil’s hellish bow had pierced the vitals of the human race, and poisoned all their blood; before the tongue had learned to lie, or hand to steal; before sin, like a mighty deluge, had inundated the whole world, His omniscient eye beheld at one glance all the souls that should people this Universe of matter; and viewing them in their unfallen state, He went forth in all the grandeur of His sovereign will, unshackled by circumstances, present or to come; loved whom He would, and determined to be their God, through all ages of time and throughout all eternity; therefore, having a good hope through grace, of an interest in those great transactions, I would rejoice in this truth with joy unspeakable, and full of glory—“God is for me.”
In His love—which is that ocean that sendeth forth its streams of mercy to the east, the west, the north, and south, gathering in its bosom the chosen objects of Jehovah’s care; nor shall these rivers that make glad the city of our God cease to flow until all the saints are safely landed on glory’s happy shore, and the redeemed be brought, each for himself to know, that “God is for me.”
As “the Father of all mercies, and God of all comfort,” He is for me. He provides for all my wants, supplies all my needs, removes all that is objectionable, and brings in all that is worth possessing.
The Lord Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, is for me, putting away all my many sins “by the sacrifice of Himself.” According to the wise arrangements of the gracious covenant He condescended to take my nature into unalterable union with His glorious and divine nature, in order that He might be the suitable and qualified Saviour of His elect. Thus was He the great and mighty Redeemer, who came to earth, competent, and willing too, to stoop to hell and to lift me up to bliss. Thus Emmanuel proved that He was “God for me.”
The Holy Spirit, equal with the Father and the Son in might, wisdom, goodness, and love, is “for me,” in His quickening, renewing, comforting, teaching, reproving, preserving, and other endearing characters, so that under every circumstance “God is for me.”
When my infant lungs first breathed the atmosphere of earth; when, from the womb, I went astray speaking lies; when, in Satan’s chains, led captive at his will, an enemy to God by wicked works, seeking destruction in the error of my way—even then, “God was for me.” In all the dangers to which I have been exposed through life’s deceitful road, both visible and hidden from my view, “God has been for me”; and when the set time to favour Zion came, then it was made manifest that “God was for me,” by granting life to my dead soul, light to my dark mind, and liberty from the galling yoke of Satan’s servitude.
Amid all my unbelief, hard-heartedness, foolishness, pride, and sin of every shape, the cares of the world, the temptations of the devil, and all the abominable workings of corrupt inclinations, “God has been for me,” in enabling me from time to time to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When langour and disease have attacked the mortal frame, and the spirit has languished by protracted affliction; when the effects of sin in the mortal members have been felt, and groaned under, then “God has been for me,” in supporting and giving a measure of strength of mind and body according to my necessity.
When the grim monster, death, appears with his terrible frown, commissioned to perform the act that separates the soul from its mortal clay; when the flesh trembles to go down into Jordan’s chilling stream, “God will be for me,” in the promise of His Word, that “when thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.”
At the Resurrection morn, when the trumpet shall sound, when the dead in Christ shall rise in glory, and others shall rise to shame and everlasting contempt, “God will be for me.”
When the Judgment is set and the books are opened, and the Judge shall pronounce, “Go, ye cursed,” on all those whose names are not found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life; and “Corne, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world,” to those on the right hand, then shall every poor child of mercy be enabled to say, without a trembling emotion, or the shadow of a doubt—“God is for me.”
When Eternity, with its ten thousand times ten thousand years, shall roll on, ever presenting new beauties in Christ to the astonished view; developing the matchless glories of the King of kings, and Lord of lords; unfolding the counsels of His will, and His love in those counsels; then will this truth remain unaltered in its nature, and unabated in its blessedness—“God is for me.”
Therefore, dear children of God, “if God be for us, who can be against us,” with success? Foes—infernal, internal, and external—may assail us; the world, the flesh, and the devil may annoy us; we may be the subjects of dread surprises, and may fear the malice of Satan, and the wrath of hell; but being complete in Christ, washed in His most precious blood, arrayed in His righteousness (which is proof against all that can be brought to bear against it) and accepted in His Person, we shall, through the rich mercy of the Lord our God, be brought safe home to glory, to cast our souls at His dear feet, and “crown Him Lord of All.”
Isaac Charles Johnson (1811-1911) was a Strict and Particular Baptist deacon and preacher. He served the office of deacon for many years with the church meeting at Zoar Chapel, Gravesend, Kent. In 1842, he joined the company of J. Wells, W. Tant, W. Allen and W. Garrard in the publication of “The Gospel Ambassador”. In business, having completed studies in Chemistry, and employed at a manufacturing company which produced Roman cement, he invented a harder and higher quality substance which became known at Portland cement. He served as Mayor and Justice of Peace of Gateshead, sat on the board for a number of commissions and was elected president of the Gravesend Liberal Association and the Gravesend Total Abstinence Society.