Robert Murray M’Cheyne (sometimes ‘McCheyne’, pron. ‘McShane’) was a young minister in the Church of Scotland who lived between 1813 and 1843. He died shortly before his 30th birthday.
Nonetheless, during his brief life, he left us with a proven Bible study schedule, which is still much used today. His good friend and contemporary Andrew Bonar, also a Presbyterian minister in Scotland, wrote a biography about him called The Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne. This volume also includes some of M’Cheyne’s manuscripts.
“Think how He was manifested—God manifest in the flesh—to be a Surety for sinners … Oh, if I could declare Him unto you, you might have fellowship with apostles, and with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things will we write unto you, that your joy may be full.
Other joys do not fill the heart. But to know the Lord Jesus as our Surety satisfies the soul; it brings the soul unto rest under the eye of our pardoning God. I met the other day with a thought which has filled my heart often since. It is intended to explain that wonderful verse, John 14:18, ‘I will not leave you orphans—I will come to you.’” Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne (Edinburgh; London: Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, 1894), 245-247.
It is vital that we believe in a personal Jesus Christ who knows the hearts of each one of us, even of those who do not believe in Him. Ours is not a vindictive, distant, arbitrary Saviour but One who is looking after us and anticipating our being with Him for eternity.
No other world faith can bring us the Surety of which M’Cheyne speaks. Inanimate, faraway, angry gods are not part of Christianity. God sent His only begotten Son to us for our redemption. He lived among sinful humanity, teaching and healing. He died on the Cross for our many sins and extends the gift of eternal life to us.
As M’Cheyne wrote, no other joy can fill the heart or satisfy the soul the way He can. Lent is an ideal time to read the Gospels and meditate on Christ’s message instead of continuing in making Him into an abstraction as many postmodernists do.