And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14)
THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of
CONSIDER THIS: AN ALARM TO THE UNCONVERTED
"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."
The gospel is an historical and spiritual narrative of the humble birth, holy life, bitter sufferings, substitutionary and sacrificial death, victorious resurrection, and glorious ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the great mystery of love, even that Jesus, who was, and is, and forever shall be eternal God with the Father, suffered and died! Jesus died for sinners! He bore the wrath of God in the place of sinners, even for such who were His enemies! God could have immediately condemned and destroyed sinners who had so grievously sinned against Him. Yet He gave His dearly beloved Son unto a world of lost sinners. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). "God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:17). "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him" (I John 4:9).
Think back upon the hours of Christ's death. Behold the agonizing sufferings and bloody death of the Lamb of God. Do you see the Saviour nailed to the cross of Golgatha? God provides Himself the Lamb for the sacrifice. Blood flows freely from His pierced hands and feet. "Behold the Man!" What sorrow, what shame, what torment is heaped upon Him, and all this for sinners! He, the sovereign Creator, is plunged into the agonies of death and hell for the sins of His creature man. Is there any sorrow like unto His sorrow? His body trembles as the cold, blackness, and shadow of death surrounds Him. There He hangs! Despised, rejected, forsaken; made a curse by God, and there is none that pities. Blood drips from the open wounds on His back. Blood trickles from His thorn pierced brow. Blood stains the cross on which He hangs and covers the ground that is beneath Him. There He agonizes; there He bleeds; there He dies! (1 Corinthians 2:2; Ephesians 6:19; John 10:30; John 3:36; Romans 5:10; John 19:5; Proverbs 8:22-30; Lamentations 1:12; Galatians 3:13; Isaiah 53; Colossians 1:20).
"It is finished!" The eternal sacrifice has been made! The veil of the temple rends! The Father is well pleased in His Son! Soon in triumph, in victory He arises from the dead, and with great glory, He ascends up into heaven on behalf of His Church. He has conquered death and hell! He has made perfect reconciliation for the sins of His Church! He brought eternal salvation, which He has purchased and sealed with His own blood. What manner of love is this! "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end." He gave His best, His all, Himself, and why? That you, oh sinner, that you might be saved! He suffered, He died, that you "might be made the righteousness of God in Him" and live forever through Him! That you might be freely reconciled to God, and be restored into everlasting communion and enjoyment with Him. "Behold the Lamb of God" taking away the sins of the world. Look to Him for your salvation and life. Hide in His wounds. Wash in the fountain of His blood. And you will behold Him taking away your sins, bearing them "in His own body on the tree," and leaving you spotless, holy, undefiled, and altogether lovely through Him! ...Amazing grace! Amazing love! "Thou art worthy… for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation," (Revelation 5:9); (John 19:30; Hebrews 10:12; 2 Peter 1:17; 1 Peter 1:3; Hebrews 1:3; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Acts 20:28; John 13:1; 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 1:29; Zechariah 13:1; 1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 7:26).
"I urge you," wrote an eminent author (
Letter by Robert M. M'Cheyne, March 20, 1840: Looking out to Jesus
MY DEAR FRIEND, - I do not even know your name, but I think I know something of the state of your soul. Your friend has been with me, and told me a little of your mind; and I write a few lines just to bid you to look to
Dear friend, whoever you may be, this letter is for you, and I hope it finds you safe and well.....and if not, please listen to what I have to say, like I said, this letter is for everyone. Some of you may know me and some of you may not, but that does not matter, that's not the point. You see this is for everyone no matter how poor, no matter how rich, no matter how young, no matter how old. (read more)
Devotional by a Christian Teenager: Looking unto Jesus
It is ever the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan's work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus." All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing but that "Christ is All in All". (read more)
Today, as in every other day, a mixture of law and gospel is preached to the lost, to the confusion of many poor souls, leaving them with the impression that they have something to do in order to be justified before God. More often than not, when the question is posed: "What shall we do that we might work the works of God?" the reply is found to be a mixture of faith and works, self and Saviour, law and grace; rather than the 'pure gospel' answer that Christ gave: "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:28,29). Conditions and qualifications are thrown in the sinner's way, and presented as necessary prerequisites to saving faith. Thus, coming sinners feel obliged to bring something with them, a coin of acceptance in their hand - whether this be in the form of prayers, tears, reformations, remorse, etc. They are struggling to get up something of their own to offer, instead of standing before
Bible Doctrine for Teens and Young Adults (
God's willingness to call sinners to repentance and salvation is an indescribable wonder. Fallen sinners do not call or seek after God, but God yet calls and seeks sinners. No sinner deserves this; God's call is a purely gracious call. The wonderful, electing, gracious love of the Triune God shines forth in His willingness to call sinners to repentance and salvation. This plan was the eternal, electing thought of God the Father; it was bought in time by the redemptive work of God the Son; and it is wrought (worked or applied) by God the Holy Spirit. (read more)
A Personal Letter: Behold the Lamb of God
Dear friend, whosoever and whatsoever you are or have been, in
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, (John 1:29b). Jesus fully satisfied for sin! As the Lamb of God, He carried away the sins of the world, (Leviticus 16:21-22). He opened up the blessed and only way of reconciliation between God and sinners. He conquered sin, and death, and hell. And now, to you, He offers this complete and full salvation. He offers to you His perfect and finished salvation. Friend, do you believe this? Do you value this?
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world," (John 1:29). Behold this Saviour! Do you not see any beauty in Him? Does His dying, redeeming love not draw your heart to desire Him for your Saviour? Do you not see a perfect suitableness in His righteousness, His blood, to cover the mountains of your sins? Friend, consider His sacrifice that He gave so that you might be saved. Outside of Christ there is no hope or salvation. You need a Refuge for your soul! You need to be washed in the blood of the Lamb! Cling then to Jesus for your salvation. Cast the entire weight of your soul upon Him. Wash away all your sins in the fountain of His blood. Outside of Him there is no life, no peace, no joy, and no hope. It is so sweet to rest one's sin-weary soul upon Him. Surrender to Him all your heart, vile and sinful as it is, for He will not cast you away, (John 6:37). "This man receiveth sinners," (Luke 15:2b). Jesus is now exalted most gloriously at the right hand of His Father, and one day He will come again in judgment to this world. Do you love His appearing? Do you long for His coming? Seek to know this Saviour. Seek to be found in Him, not having your own righteousness, (Philippians 3:9). Look now to the risen Saviour! Look to the exalted King! "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him," (Psalm 2:12).
The Lamb of God has given
The above letter was adapted from the following article: When will you look to Christ?
COME, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889: God's Way of Peace
"A Book for the Anxious"
THERE seem to be many, in our day, who are seeking God. Yet they appear to be but "feeling after Him in order to find Him," as if He were either a distant or an "unknown God." They forget that "He is NOT FAR from every one of us," (Acts 17:27); for "in Him we live, and move, and have our being."
To know that He is not far; that He has come down; that He has come nigh; this is the "beginning of the gospel." It gives direct denial to the vain thoughts of those who think that they must bring Him nigh them by their prayers and devout performances. He has shewn Himself to us, that we may know Him, and in knowing Him find the life of our souls.
With some, who name the name of Christ, religion is a very unfinished thing. It is by no means satisfactory either to the man himself, or to the onlookers. There is much awanting. The man is anxious and earnest, but if he has not "peace with God," he has not what God calls "religion."
Acceptance with God lies at the foundation of all religion; for there must be an accepted worshipper, before there can be acceptable worship. Religion is with many merely the means of averting God's displeasure, and securing His favor. It is often irksome, but they do not feel easy in neglecting it; and they hope that by it they will obtain forgiveness before they die.
This, however, is the inversion of God's order, and is in reality the worship of an unknown God. It terminates in forgiveness; whereas as God's religion begins with it. All false religions, though outwardly differing very widely, are made up of earnest efforts to secure for the religionist the divine favour now, and eternal life at last. The one true religion is seen in the holy life of those who, having found for themselves forgiveness and favour, in believing the the record which God has given of His Son, are walking with Him from day to day, in the calm but sure consciousness of being entirely accepted, and working for Him with the happy earnestness of those whose reward is His constant smile of love; who having been much forgiven, love much, and shew forth, by daily sacrifice and service, how much they feel themselves debtors to a redeeming God, debtors to His Church, and debtors to the world in which they live. (Rom. i. 14.)
But if this be true religion, how much is there of the false?
It is not good that men should be all their life seeking God, and never finding Him; that they should be ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. It is not good to be always doubting; and, when challenged, to make the untrue excuse that they are only doubting themselves, not God; that they are only dissatisfied with their own faith, but not with its glorious object. It is not good to believe in our own faith, still less in our own doubts, which some seem to do, making the best doubter to be the best believer; as if it were the gold of the cup, not the living water which it contains, that was to quench our thirst; and as if it were unlawful to take that precious water from a poor earthen vessel, such as our imperfect faith must ever be. Ah, in this momentous thing, surely it is with the water and not with the vessel that the thirsty soul has to do? What matters it though the vessel be one of skin, or earthenware,--nay, though it be but "a sherd to take up water from the pit," (Isaiah 30:14). It is not the quality of the vessel, but the quality of the water, that the thirsty soul thinks of; and he, whose pride will not allow him to drink out of a soiled and broken pitcher, must die of thirst. So he who puts away the sure reconciliation of the cross, because of an imperfect faith, must die the death. He who says, "I believe the right thing, but I don't believe it in the right way, and therefore I can't have peace;" is the man whose pride is such, that he is determined not to quench his thirst save out of a cup of gold.
Some have tried to give directions to sinners "how to get converted," multiplying words without wisdom, leading the sinner away from the cross by setting him upon doing, not upon believing. Our business is not to give any such directions, but, as the apostles did, to preach Christ crucified, a present Saviour and a present salvation. Then it is that sinners are converted, as the Lord himself said, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me," (John 12:32).
KELSO, December 1861.
The above selection is from the preface of the book God's Way of Peace.
"Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you."