« PoprzedniaDalej »
confident that the sense in which the disciples of our Lord used the terms of the confession we are considering, was the true sense; and that those who affirm the contrary, are in serious error.
IV. Regarding the Apostles' Creed, we have yet another thing to notice-Damely, that it is the creed appointed by God for the whole world, Jew and Gentile alike. That is a strong assertion, and requires to be well substantiated, and the proof we have to offer is such as this : “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born (or begotten) of God.” (1 John v. 1.) The same writer referring to his narrative of the works and words of the Lord Jesus, declares, “These things were written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.” (John xx. 31.)
Yet, strange to say, the creeds of the day give this one no distinct utterance ! Instead of the formula : “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,” we have simply :—“I believe in Jesus Christ.”
L But is not such a confession sufficient? Yes, if the person using these terms, means thereby to declare that he believes in Jesus, as the Christ of God-His King anointed to reign on Mount Zion, the hill of His holiness. But the formula, “ I believe in Jesus Christ,” does not distinctly express that belief; and we know that many use it with the idea that, Jesus Christ is the name, and surname of the Redeemer, without any reference to His kingly office; so that their confession is not really a confession of the creed, that Jesus is the Christ.
But, it may be objected, does not the Apostle Paul in Romans x. 9 assure us : " If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus; and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved ?". Most assuredly; but that is not contrary to John's testimony ; that, by believing that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, we have life through His name ; for that is the belief concerning the Lord Jesus, that we are to confess with the mouth. All who, in apostolic times confessed with the mouth the Lord Jesus, confessed that He was the Christ. As an illustration of this truth, we point to the statement in John ix. 22, that if any man did “ confess that He [Jesus] was the Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.” The confessing of that about Jesus, which led to expulsion from the synagogue, is exactly the truth by believing which the Apostle John tells us we perishing sinners may have life through the name of the Lord Jesus.
Here we fancy some will exclaim : But is that all a sinner is to believe about Jesus in order to be saved? Is His death for our sins to be made no account of ? By no means. As a necessary consequence, all who believe that Jesus is the Christ, must believe the whole apostolic testimony regarding Him. Try to fancy it otherwise! But believing all that is written of Him, this must be believed and confessed, “ JESUS IS THE CHRIST THE SON OF THE Living God.” In illustration of this, consider the remarkable case of the three thousand who were added to the church in one day. (Acts ii. 22-41.) These terror-stricken ones believed that Jesus was the Christ; and because they so believed they, at first, were alarmed, and cried out: “Men and brethren, what shall we do ?” They had not then obtained peace in believing : they needed to know more about Jesus- to know that there was remission of sins in His name ; and that by Him all that believe are justified. The apostle Peter know more about Jesus that day than when at Cæsarea Philippi he declared his belief that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God; yet his confession was as genuine then as it was when he bore witness for the same truth on the day of Pentecost. But here, at Jerusalem, he believed in his heart, and confessed with his mouth, that God had made that same Jesus both Lord and Christ, having raised Him from the dead to sit on the throne of David, a Prince and a Saviour, to give “ repentance to Israel, and the remission of sins."
Such was the testimony the apostles gave of Jesus wherever they went; such was the creed of the first Christians. Brief ; yet comprehensive of all that the prophets and apostles have spoken of God's beloved Son.
All who would have a sure ground of hope of life eternal, require to make this “ good confession.” To do so, as the confession of their own faith, they must know who Jesus is, and what He has done for their salvation, and what the Christ is, and what He is to do, in order to confess, intelligently, that they believe Jesus to be the Christ the Son of the living God. The faith in Jesus that comes short of that, comes so far short of the creed confessed by the apostles and their converts.
The question, Will God accept or save none who believe less than this ? may probably be started here : but to it we have no authorised reply to offer. The matter of saving sinners belongs to God; and His mercy is infinite. In that mercy we hope. The Saviour is very pitiful and of tender mercy; and, whatever others may feel at liberty to affirm, the writer of this paper is not prepared to say how little faith in God's Son, or belief about Him, may render a sinner accepted for His name's
but of this we are confident, that what we have described is the only creed to be believed and confessed in order to salvation, according to the teaching of the apostles. "These things are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; and that believing ye might have life through His name." « Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God." “ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” And so we find it recorded that, at Thessalonica the Apostle Paul, as his manner was, went into a synagogue of the Jews, and for three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures; opening and alleging that the Christ must needs have suffered, and risen from the dead, and [saying] that this Jesus whom I preach unto you is the Christ.” The translators of the authorised version made a most important omission when they left out the article before the word Christ, here. The Greek is not Christ simply, but the Christ. So also in 1 Cor. iii. 11, “ Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus the Christ.”
In these days of so-called " Advanced religious thought " and " Higher Criticism,” these representations of ours will appear foolishness to many; and some may impatiently and scornfully demand: “Why should the Father of all men suspend their salvation on their belief and confession of any particular thing regarding Jesus of Nazareth ? " are not sure that God has revealed His reason for tris; we simply call attention to the revealed fact. The purposes of God shall stand, cavil who will. If the reader will, however, look at Phil. ii. 5-11, he will see that the appointment of God that all men should believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of the living God; and that believing they might have life through His name, is in entire harmony with what is written there. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth : and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
God has set His heart on the Son of His love; and determined that He shall be acknowledged and obeyed by all in the heavens and in the earth. Such was the love of that Son to His Father, that in obedience to His will, He divested Himself of His Divine honour, left that glory which He had with the Father before the world was, and appeared in fasbion as a man, and became a servant of men, and obedient unto death. Therefore God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name above every other ; seated Him at His own right hand in the highest heaven, till His enemies be made His footstool, -when in the panoply of the Father's glory, and of His own glory, and the holy angels with Him, he rides forth in majesty King of kings and Lord of lords, to receive the homage and submission of all nations, peoples, and languages. And just as then, all who will share the blessedness of His righteous reign, must bow to Him, and confess that He is Lord-even so now, God wills to have His Son thus honoured and acknowledged by us sinners of the human race. And well we may, since God has so loved us, that He hath sent His only begotten Son into the world to be a propitiation for our sins. Herein, indeed, is love, not that we loved God, but that He so loved us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
Come, then, and adore Him: O bow at His feet,
And give Him the glory, the praise that is meet. He who loved us, and gave Himself for us is the Messiah -the King of Israel, the King of the World—for the kingdoms of this world shall indeed, one day, and for ever, be the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever. Amen. W. LAING.
Isaiah VIII. 21—IX. 7. to have they gone about therein, hard pressed and hungry ;
So has it come to pass, when they get hungry Then have they angered themselves, and uttered reproach by their
king and by their god;
And lo! tribulation and darkness,
And into thick darkness thrust forth.
At the former time he brought into reproach
the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; But afterwards he brought into honour
the way of the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. THE PEOPLE WHO WERE WALKING IN DARKNESS
have seen a great light;
a light has shined on them.
and the staff of his shoulder,
and the rod of his task-master, Hast thou broken in pieces—like the day of Midian. FOR EVERY SHOE OF WARRIOR SHOD WITH TUMULT, AND WAR-OLOAK
ROLLED IN BLOOD, -
Prince of prosperity.
DELIVERANCE FROM THE PENALTY FOR SIN BY THE
REDEEMER. HE penalty decreed by God against the sinner was, “ Thou shalt
surely die,” nothing being said as to its features or duration. The Apostle Paul affirms (Rom. v. 12), “ Sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." “ Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
It cannot be truthfully denied, that if God, our loving Father, had not determined to provide a Saviour for man, Adam would have died and the race would have been extinguished in the germ. But God, who
delighteth in mercy,” at once announced the coming of the world's Redeemer : and in due time “the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life,” i.e., God was justified in permitting our sinful race
to live. Jesus, the Vivifier, has thus redeemed our forfeited lives from destruction by the sacrifice of His own upon the cross. The fulfilment of the promise of God, and the entire completion of the work which the Father had given Him to do, was proclaimed by the Saviour with His dying breath, when “He said, It is finished, bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.” (John xix. 30.)
Thus to all men there has been given a state of probation for eternity. “ 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 iii. 16). But all men are not only permitted to live in virtue of the death of Jesus, but all are assured of a resurrection from the grave in virtue of the resurrection of our Redeemer. “ We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ," they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation (condemnation). This condemnation is not the penalty pronounced against the sinner in Eden, but is the penalty for rejecting the great salvation freely offered to all in the Gospel. (John iii. 18, 36.) From this, " the second death” (Rev. xx. 6, xxi. 8), there is no resurrection. The atonement of Christ extends not beyond the final judgment, so far as appears from the revelation given us by God. How comforting is the testimony of the Saviour to the believer, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hades and of death." (Rev. i. 18.) “ Because I live, ye shall live also.” (John xiv. 19.) Toronto.
ISRAEL IN BRITAIN.
be performed by the Witnesses of SIR, - If “ H. S.," as in your is- that time (Rev. xi.) are the antisue for April, wishes to identify types of those which Elijah once himself with “C. M.,” he must be performed for the same object that content to share the blame of neg. Malachi refers to (ch. iv. 6). Comlecting the observance of dispensa- pare 1 Kings xviii. 19 to end. tional division of the Word of There is strong presumptive eviTruth. I am quite aware that dence, therefore, that he is one of “ C. M.” quotes Isa. xliii. in writ- them. To strengthen which, Scriping of “ witnesses ;" but that chap- ture declares that “it is appointed ter refers to the period of Israel's unto men once to die" before being national restoration, when they will judged; now, neither Elijah nor indeed be employed as Jehovah's Enoch has yet died; but if the witnesses, as I have fully shown in above scripture is to be fulfilled, my paper published in April Rain. they must, and where or when, if BOW. The period of national testi- not in the plenary repetition of that mony is therein proved to be after testimony which they have once the opening of the great and ter- given forth ?" rible day of the Lord,” whereas “H. S.," in his zealous endeaMalachi speaks of Elijah being vours to favour the idea that Israel about to be sent "before" that day ; and Judah are to be the Witnesses of moreover, the miracles that are to the latter days, has quite omitted to