Can Jesus Christ Be Trusted?
by Irwin A. Moon
WHY DID HE DO IT?
In the previous chapter, we have noted some of the things that the Lord Jesus Christ has already done in our behalf. First, He took upon Himself our sins. Second, He took our standingbecame Himself the guilty one, standing in our stead before a holy God and His righteous law. Third, He Himself bore the punishment that should righteously come to us. Fourth, He paid the debt of sin, which we owed and which had been placed to our account: death. Fifth, He paid the necessary price to redeem us, which was the shedding of His own blood, for without shedding of blood is no remission (Heb. 9:22).
Now all these things, rendered in our behalf, each costing an infinite price, are of infinite value to us. The question, therefore, arises: Why did He do these things? What were His motives? What were the mighty impelling influences?
In our every day world of affairs, we have come to know that nothing is ever done for another, either for or against, without a motive of some kind. What that motive is determines largely our reaction toward the one who did it. If we find the motive to be a dislike toward us, we have one kind of reaction. If the deed was prompted by a selfish desire for praise and applause, we have another kind of reaction. And, if we discover that the governing motive was love for us, then we have still a different reaction. Our hearts' full response awaits a knowledge of the real motive behind the accomplished deed.
So, in the matter before us, what was it that caused the Son of God to voluntarily take upon Himself the combined guilt of all the world and pay the full price of redemption? We venture to suggest a few things.
HE ALONE COULD
n our effort to ascertain the motives prompting this infinite service in our behalf, we find first of all that He alone could. We have already noted the fact that our entire race has been sold to Satan and is in his control. We have also noted man's utter helplessness to do anything to extricate himself from this sad dilemma in which he finds himself. If, therefore, man is ever to be rescued from this pit of destruction into which he has willfully plunged himself, help must come from the outside. Our whole race is bankrupt and helpless. Not one of us can do any effectual thing about it. The question then arises, from what source shall the needed help come? Who is He who can and will fill this universal need.
We are again reminded in Galatians 3:13 that Christ hath redeemed us. Redemption has already been accomplished. Redemption always presupposes something lost. It may be a lost possession. It may be a lost position. It may be a lost enjoyment. Or, it may be all three of these together, and this is true in the case before us.
As redemption is a law of the recovery of values that have been lost, this word is rightly used in Scripture to interpret the method by which Jehovah undertakes to restore to us all our racial losses. To be sure, if we have lost nothing, then we do not need a Redeemer. But tremendous are the losses we have sustained. Let us consider some of the things we have lost.
First, we have lost our natural communion with God. Before sin entered, man had free and unrestrained communion with his Maker. He was in every way at ease in His presence. There was no embarrassment. There was perfect fellowship and unmixed enjoyment. But when sin came in between, this perfect communion, which was both natural and easy, was lost. Man could no longer come into God's holy presence. In his sinful condition he was not permitted to do so. And had such permission been granted, he would only have been miserable in most extreme measure, for no sinful soul could be at ease in the presence of a holy God. Therefore, the once priceless communion, which one time man enjoyed with his Creator, is lost.
Second, we lost our natural sinlessness and holiness. Just how great is this loss we shall never know until we have been released from our sinful bodies and are permitted to stand again in His wonderful presence, complete in Him, like Him, without sin and holy. But we sometimes get a faint hint of it as we long for the time when even the "smell of the devil" will be burned out of us.
Third, we lost, in the truest and highest sense, our natural immortality. Man was immortal until sin came. Death was unknown. There was no such thing as fear, no "Safety First" signs anywhere, no need to be cautious, no desire on the part of anything or anybody to take life and no power to take life, no need to look both ways before crossing the street. Man was in perfect harmony with the will of God, and in His will there are no accidents. Just as the billions of heavenly bodies today obey His will with infinite precision, so man was immune from disorder and death.
Fourth, we lost our cosmic sovereignty in natural law. At the time of his creation, man was given power over the forces of nature. All animal and creature kind were put in subjection to him. Man lost this sovereignty through sin. And down through the ages, man has unceasingly endeavored to regain this control but with discouraging results. He builds up the wall at this place, and it falls down over there. He builds it up again over there, and it falls down somewhere else. He builds a harness to control some force in nature, and the machine blows up and kills him. A holocaust of fire destroys him. A flood of water overwhelms him. The hurricane blows him to pieces and destroys his work of a lifetime. And try as he may, he cannot regain control.
Fifth, we lost our power to be eternally happy. Unhappiness was unknown before the entrance of sin. Life was one continual state of happiness and bliss, nothing sordid, no disappointments. Life did not become stale and tasteless. All these are a result of sin.
Sixth, the Garden of Eden has been exchanged for a world of thorns. We had been under the Creator's blessing. We came under His curse. In the sweat of our face must we eat bread, until we return to the ground.
Seventh, the image of God in us has been supplanted by demoniacal characteristics. Though created in the image of God, we shall never know to what awful depths we have fallen until we awake in His likeness again.
Eighth, we lost our knowledge. Satan played a mean trick on us. He promised us the ability to know-that we should be as gods. But acting upon his suggestion brought us just the opposite. Why is it that I have to "knit my brow" and "scratch my head" and say, "I don't know. I can't think"? Something has happened to me. What was it? In the realm of creatures, we find that all animals and birds and creature kind upon coming into the world know intuitively, without having to be taught, all they need to know for their life's existence. It is only we humans who have to be taught everything that we know.
Some years ago we had a small pet monkey in our home. We acquired it when it was only three months of age and were sure it had never in its life seen a hawk. We soon came to know many of its characteristics and to recognize many of its different noises and sounds, particularly that of fear.
One day, it was fastened by a chain along a path in our backyard. Presently we heard it giving the sound of fear, and upon looking in its direction, we saw it looking apprehensively up into the sky. Upon looking up we saw a hawk hovering over. The hawk was causing its fear. It was a small Java monkey and could have been easily carried off by the hawk. Further facts are these: Other birds of numerous variety, and some even larger in size, were commonly flying above the monkey day after day, even airplanes. But it expressed no fear until the hawk appeared, and then it knew by natural intuition, without having to be taught, that this particular bird was an enemy. These same natural characteristics have been noted times without number in all animal and creature kind.
Our intuitive knowledge is small indeed. We spend literally billions of dollars every year on our public and private schools, on our lecture platforms, our books and daily press, for instruction covering every activity of our lives. Why is all this necessary? Our evolutionary friends tell us that man is the highest product of evolution. If this is so, why the necessity of spending billions of dollars and time and effort to acquire knowledge? And why is it that all creatures of the so called lower forms of life are required to spend no time or effort at all to know all that they need to know? If the process of evolution has made such superior creatures as we, why are we in respect to knowledge still inferior to even the lowest animals? What happened? The evolutionist has never ventured an explanation of this unfortunate handicap in human nature, and he will never have the temerity to do so.
SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE OF ADAM
The knowledge possessed by our first parents before they sinned has never been equaled or even approached by any person since. The full extent of Adam's superior knowledge and mental ability we do not know, but a hint is given to us in Genesis 2:19,20 where Adam gives names to all the animals and all creature kind. This might appear at first thought, in the minds of some, to be trivial. But to give the names as Adam gave them required a knowledge of the nature, habits, characteristics and purpose of every creature brought before him. And we find that so accurate and suited were the names given by Adam at that time that no change has ever been found desirable or necessary in even one single case.
But what became of that knowledge? Why do we not have it today? Simply because when sin entered, the mind became darkened. The light went out. We lost our knowledge.
Ninth, we lost our clothes. Referring again to the realm of the creature, we find that in every case the creature grows its own clothes. No effort. No anxiety. No concern. But every suit is perfect, appropriate and beautiful. But what is our situation and condition?
Again we suggest that if man is the product of evolution and the highest in the scale of all creatures, why is it he does not have as much sense as the lowest creature to grow his own beautiful clothes? Why does he spend again other billions of dollars and time and concern and worry to provide himself with clothing? Perhaps no other one concern of man, with the exception of that of food, calls for as much effort and expense as the simple matter of clothing. And there is no let up. The obligation is constant, day after day, year in and year out.
Now a perfectly natural question is this: If man is so wise and intelligent and so far advanced in the scale of life, why does he not use a little of that intelligence and wisdom and grow his own clothes, out of his own body, as do all the animals of every class. Again, our evolutionary friend will venture no reply or even suggestion.
The Word of God furnishes us the only satisfactory information. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself (Gen. 3:6-7, 9-10).
And in this, another way, sin does its devilish work. They became "naked," and they made themselves aprons. And this is what mankind has been doing ever sincemaking themselves aprons to cover up the nakedness caused by sin.
In the twenty-first verse of this same chapter we find that God, in His mercy and grace, did... make coats of skins, and clothed them. We also find in this circumstance that something had to be sacrificed in order to clothe them, thus typifying and foreshadowing the sacrifice of Christ, whose death made it possible for us to be clothed with His righteousness.
Thus far we have mentioned but a few of the many things that became lost to us with the advent of sin. And to the thoughtful, it will be readily apparent that any one of the things mentioned is a tremendous loss. However, of the full realization of that loss, we can have but little understanding. For it is also apparent that unless we have had, previous to their loss, the full experience of their possession, we will not be able to fully comprehend their value. Adam and Eve alone had this experience. We have never had it. True, we have had the experience of the distress and sorrow and heartache that have come from being without these infinite blessings, but we have never had the joy of their possession.
CAN THEY BE REGAINED?
The question before us, therefore, is this: Can we ever come into possession again of these infinitely valuable things which were at one time ours? Are they recoverable? We venture an emphatic Yes! provided, however, there is:
(a) A Probator; who can prove our legal claim.
(b) A Redeemer, who can pay the price, and
(c) A Claimant; who is poor enough to cry "Avenge me of mine adversary."
Before indicating the further requirements and qualifications necessary for this restoration of lost values, it is to be noted that man is not the only loser.
GOD SUFFERS LOSS.
God has also lost tremendously by the fall of man from his created position. First, God is humiliated as He views the wreckage of His perfect work. Man, the highest of all created intelligences, created in the Creator's own image, given the place of highest responsibility on the earth has, by the exercise of his own self-will, made choice against his Creator and, through continued disobedience, fallen to the lowest place.
Again, God has lost the honor and the worship that the whole human race owes Him at every mile of its age-long journey. And not only so, but man has transferred that honor and worship to God's great enemy and the ~things" set up by that enemy.
Once more, God has lost man's fellowship and has positive antagonism in its place. We have not only lost God's fellowship with us, but He has lost our fellowship with Him. We were created that He might enjoy us and that we might enjoy Him.
These are tremendous losses. And although God is omnipotent, He cannot restore these by a direct and sovereign act because His infinite righteousness and justice stand in the way. He must act lawfully and in conformity to strict justice. He must, therefore, establish His claim and find a Redeemer who is both able and willing to pay the price for redemption. Is there such an One to be found? Yes, praise God!
THE LAW OF REDEMPTION The law of the right of redemption in the Old Testament is always entrusted to and vest in one who is of blood relationship, to one who is next of kin. One of the best illustrations of the operation of this law is to be found in the fourth chapter of the book of Ruth: Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelechs: And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it besides thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. Then said Boaz, what day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.
Before us in this simple narrative we have set forth one of the most profound truths in all the Word of God. The kinsman," who was first of kin, the one who had the first right and the first obligation to redeem, says, I cannot redeem it for myself lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself for I cannot redeem it. Here we have a direct reference to Adam, our first of kin," who cannot redeem." Adam, the first federal head of the race, is not only unable to redeem our losses, but he cannot redeem his own. He is equally helpless with all the rest of us.
But Boaz, the next of kin, (reputed to be the richest man in all the land at that time) represents the "Second Adam," our lord Jesus Christ who is our next of kin, the second federal head. Now listen to Boaz: If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee.
For the full application of this passage, we have only to look at our great Kinsman Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have already indicated how that the law of redemption in Scripture requires that it must be by one who is of blood relation to the loser. Since, therefore, both God and man are losers, is it possible to find in all the universe of God one who can fill the place of redeemer for both parties?
Let us look again at the requirements. First, He must be of blood relationship to both God and man. Second, He must be able to redeem. Third, He must be willing to redeem. And fourth, He must, as Probator, prove our legal claims. Thank God that while there is only one in earth or sky or sea, there is One.
We can now, more clearly than ever before, understand the absolute necessity of the virgin birth of Christ. If Jesus Christ had not been born of woman, He could not fill the requirements of a Redeemer for us. And if He had not been born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Ghost, and thereby having God for His Father, He could not fill the requirements of a Redeemer for God. It is to be observed also in this connection that had He not been born of the virgin and had had an earthly father as we, instead of God for His Father as He has, He not only could not have redeemed us, but would then Himself have been in need of redemption.
We have, therefore, before us the glorious fact that we have in Jesus Christ, and in Him alone, all the requirements necessary, including the specific one of blood relationship to both parties. He alone occupies this unique position. No mere human being could redeem us. Man could not redeem himself. No angel, or even archangel, could redeem us because an infinite sacrifice was required. God the Holy Spirit could not redeem us because He is not of blood relationship. Only God the Son has all the requirements necessary. He is able to redeem. He is willing to redeem. And thank God, He has redeemed. Galatians 3:13 says, Christ hath redeemed us. Titus 2:14 says, Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity. 1 Peter 1 :18-19 says, Redeemed... with the precious blood of Christ Galatians 4:45 says, But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Yes, Christ has redeemed us, and now what are some of the results?
Communion restored. We have mentioned the loss of our communion with God as one of the things to be recovered. In John 14:23 our great Redeemer mentions the way the individual Christian may have restored to him that lost communion: Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. This verse implies that the entire trinity of the Godhead comes to make His home with the Christian who complies with this verse. If one is a child of God, he has already the Holy Spirit. And in addition thereto, here are conditions that bring him in blessed abiding communion with the Father and the Son as well. It is quite true, however, that the full restoration of our communion will be when we have put off these sinful bodies of ours and shall awake in His likeness.
Sovereignty restored. Yes, we lost our control over the forces and the laws of nature, but listen to Paul in Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Holiness restored. Colossians 1:21-22: And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreproveable in His sight.
Immortality restored. John 10:28: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Happiness restored. Psalm 16:11: In Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Only the redeemed soul can be thus in His wonderful presence and enjoy the pleasures for evermore. This is the work of the Redeemer.
Eden to be restored. John 14:2: I go to prepare a place you. The Garden of Eden must have been a wonderful place, but what shall we say of the place that is in preparation for the redeemed? A hint is given to us in 1 Corinthians 2:9: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. Personally, the writer is getting anxious to look upon that wonderful place.
Image of God to be restored. 1 John 3:2: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. Can we understand this? No! But what a wonderful prospect to which to look forward. Like Him! How is such a thing possible? Only in the transforming power of God.
Knowledge to be restored. 1 Corinthians 13:12: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Clothes to be restored. We will be clothed in His righteousness. Daniel 12:3: And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament. Matthew 13:43: Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.
The full enjoyment of all these restored blessings, made possible by our Redeemer, is yet future. However, they are just as assuredly ours as if we were already in their full possession. And we now have the enjoyment of many of them to the full extent of our, at present, limited capacity. Yes, thank God, He has not only redeemed us but has provided for a full redemption of all we have lost. Surely we can trust Him.
GOD GETS BACK ALL HIS OWN
This same wonderful Redeemer is able to restore all that God has lost as well. In 1 Corinthians 15:22-28 we have a hint of the time when He shall have made a full restoration and has turned everything back to God the Father. We read, Then cometh the end, when He (Christ) shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith, all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. Truly, we can trust Him.
LOST AND HELPLESS.
In our attempt to analyze that which prompted Jesus Christ to undertake the redemption of sinful man, we suggest as a further impelling motive that man in his sinful condition is not only lost, but helpless. No adequate understanding of the utter helplessness of fallen man in this condition can be had apart from a further consideration of the nature of sin.
To all of us, when the word sin is mentioned, there immediately comes to our mind the idea of an act. And this idea is correct. Sin is an act. But sin is far more than an act. Sin is a stateand such a state in which there is a complete absence of righteousness. Two states of existence come before us: The one in which God dwells is characterized by perfect righteousness; the other, in which the lost human soul dwells, is characterized by complete unrighteousness. In the natural, we "compare ourselves among ourselves" and are "not wise" (2 Cor. 10:12). We speak of one person being better or more noble or more honorable than another. In this we do not take God, and His righteousness, into our accounting. We are simply "comparing ourselves among ourselves" and do not consider God's estimate, which says, all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (1sa. 64:6). For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom.3:23). Yes, all are guilty of the act of sin, for all have sinned. But also, all have come short of the glory of God. Now, we find that Jesus Christ is the glory of God. Therefore, all have come short of the divine perfections of Jesus Christ. Not only is it true that all have come short of Jesus Christ, but all are short of Jesus Christ and have nothing to commend us to God. That is our state, and we in ourselves can do nothing to change it.
Again, sin is not only an act and a state, but sin is also a nature. And what a nature it is! It is a nature that is enmity against God. Romans 8:7 says, Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. This carnal or fleshly nature of ours is not simply at enmity toward God, but is enmity. It is itself enmity against God and cannot be brought into subjection to God, even by God Himself.
Fallen man has a threefold incapacity. He cannot understand God; he cannot please God; and he cannot obey Him. Man is, therefore, not just simply estranged from God through sin and lost in the sense of having strayed away from Him, but man is utterly helpless. Can this be at least one reason why Jesus Christ has undertaken our salvation? Nothing so appeals to the heart of love as the spectacle of hopeless helplessness. And as the great Kinsman Redeemer looked upon the lost and helpless condition of our race, we may well understand the impelling motive that sent Him to our relief in grace. Surely, we must trust Him, for certainly we cannot trust ourselves.
BECAUSE HE LOVED US
But there is a third reason, a reason more impelling than all others, why Jesus Christ came to the rescue of lost humanity. For God so loved the world, we read. Some one has said that the word so in John 3:16 is the most expressive word in my language. Of the truth of this statement we are not prepared to say. However, we do not hesitate to say that all other words in all languages together and including the word so are wholly insufficient to express the love of God exhibited to us in Jesus Christ. God's love for a lost soul is the most astonishing and amazing fact in all the Word of God. From the first mention of sin in the book of Genesis on through to the last chapter of Revelation, and side by side with God's infinite hatred of sin, is God's infinite love for the sinner.
The knowledge and the experience of the love of God grows on the child of God. Like the traveler climbing the mountain side, the higher he climbs, the broader the vision, the more there is to see. The more one knows and the more one experiences of the love of God, the more there is to know and experience.
The only language in which love can express itself is the language of sacrifice. Infinite love, therefore, can only express itself in infinite sacrifice. Jesus Christ, who is God manifest in the flesh, being an infinite Person, made, therefore, an infinite sacrifice and in doing so gave expression thereby to infinite love. This love and this sacrifice was, and is, on behalf of the sinner, the one who has no claim upon God and to whom God is not obligated by any claim arising out of His righteousness and justice. Surely, in the face of such love and such a sacrifice on our behalf, we can trust Him.
< Back | Top | Next >