With respect to the whole article concerning the descent into hell, we should bear in mind the advice of the great reformer, and our confessions generally, to the effect that we should not give way to idle curiosity, or be led into vain speculation. This article cannot be comprehended by the reason and the five senses. “In such mysteries of faith we have only to believe and adhere to the Word.
We must not fail to hold fast to the truth that Christ’s death was a real death. It was not merely the semblance of death, from which He afterwards revived; much less was it a feigned death. The faith of the Church, based on the unmistakable teaching of God’s Word, is that Christ really died for our sins. All four of the evangelists say, “He gave up the ghost,” that is, His spirit, or life, departed from His body.
Jesus Christ was, in the fullest sense of the word, the spotless Lamb of God. He never did any sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. It was love which brought Him down from heaven for the very purpose of becoming our substitute.
On This Page 20. The Price Of Our Redemption (Part 2) The Price of Our Redemption I. The Curse II.
The prophets of old were preachers of righteousness, especially in times of indifference. They held up the demands of God’s Law. They denounced sin. They pictured in fiery eloquence God’s wrath against it, and pressed home in telling terms the consequences of sin unrepented of, and unpardoned. And then they came with God’s offer of forgiveness for all the truly penitent. They told of His desire for reconciliation, of the loving favor with which He would receive every one who came with penitence, confession, and faith.
For a man to be able to say that Jesus Christ is his Lord means not only that He is recognized to be truly the Son of God as well as the Son of man; but it means also the unreserved acceptance, in true faith, of Jesus Christ as his deliverer from sin and death and devil. In the sense of this article Jesus Christ is not the Lord of any person who is trusting for salvation in anything save Christ alone.
In our day these clauses, “conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,” are seriously called into question. There are those who not only want them left out of the creed, but declare that it is a grievous wrong to retain them and insist on their acceptance as an article of faith. This controversy is known in the Church as the one concerning the Virgin Birth of Jesus.
Man is subject to the law, but cannot fulfill it. He can suffer the penalties of outraged law, but it would never suffice to pay his own debt, much less the moral debts of all men. God is the law-giver, and cannot be subject to it. He has the worth to pay man’s debt of sin, but as God alone He cannot suffer and die, which was the price of payment.
The humanity of Jesus is the best possible lesson on what true human nature is. By contrasting ourselves with Him we may learn how poor and frail we are. By studying His life we may learn what we may become. It is good that we have such an inspiring ideal at which to look.
On This Page 15. Jesus Christ The Son Of Man I Believe That Jesus Christ Is the Son of Man I.
As we rejoice in the pardon we have for the guilt of sin; as we hope to be more and more liberated from the power of sin in our lives; as we value the peace of heart which comes from assured fellowship with God in and through Christ; as we rejoice in the continually brightening hope of a richer, fuller, finally perfect life in the fellowship of the saints around the throne of glory, let us not be robbed of our confidence in the truth that Jesus is the very Son of God.
I believe in Jesus Christ. If we can truthfully, reverently say these words, into what a glorious fellowship they bring us. They bring us into the company of the sainted prophets whose eyes were anointed to see afar off the rising of the Day-star out of Jacob, and the coming of the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings. They make us brothers of the fearless Baptist, who bore witness that “this is the Son of God.
God is not only infinitely wise and great, He is also infinitely good. He is boundless in His mercy and patience toward the children of men. In His loving kindness God watches over us, and cares for us with a solicitude which never grows wearied or impatient. Assuredly we owe Him something for all this. We can make Him no adequate, no material, return. We can never pay God the debt we owe Him.
The root of the secret of God’s care for us is found in one word of the First Article of the Creed, — the word Father. We here confess that God is not only a creator, not only a governor; He is not only a being before whose wisdom and power we are called to prostrate ourselves: God is a father, our Father, in the full, rich, sweet meaning of the word.
In answer to man’s cry of need, God gives abundant assurance of His fatherly love and care for each one of us. He assures us that He is not a God far removed from our perplexities and struggles. He is a God at hand. He thoroughly understands our needs. His name is Father. This is the pledge of His love and His help. Come, let us draw near the Father’s knee and devoutly listen to His words of cheer, and take them to heart.
The origin of evil is a problem all men have pondered. The heathen nations, from earliest times, were forced to recognize the presence of a destructive power, and tried to account for its origin, and continued activity. Their efforts, naturally, were not satisfactory. The theory most plausible to them was that of dualism, the doctrine that there are two rival powers, a good and an evil, in perpetual struggle for the control of the world.
One of the truths we all need to learn more fully, more realistically, is that this is God’s world. In theory all Christians hold this to be true, but it is not as living a faith as it ought to be. It does not affect our lives, our conduct, as vitally as it should. In fact, we associate God with this world and its affairs but little more, probably in many instances not as much, as we do the architect and the house for which, ten or twenty years ago, he drew the plans, and supervised the construction.
The Word of God teaches us very clearly that the angels are real beings, having, each of them, a separate personal existence. This is shown by the names given to them, and by the works performed by them. But in thinking of the angels we must get away from all material modes of thinking. The angels, as our text tells us, are spiritual personalities. They have no material bodies at all, though they have often assumed a bodily form for the purpose of better impressing mankind, or to facilitate interaction with them.
At the period which marks the beginning of time, God created, brought forth from the absolutely non-existent, the heavens and the earth. None of these things had any previous existence, save in the thought of God. He spoke, and the things spoken took on form and substance as facts of material existence. The fiat words were spoken, and there stretched out the wide spreading plains, and the great deeps, with their finny tribes, and grazing cattle; the mountains reared their heads heavenward, and the streams murmured their way down from the highlands; the superterrestrial beings winged their unfettered way amid the celestial glories, and man walked as the Divinely appointed sovereign of the earth.
How can thinking people say otherwise than, I believe in God. Not to hold this faith throws everything into confusion worse confounded. Without belief in God human life, all life, becomes an insoluble riddle. And the nice adjustments, marvelous and invariable movements and functions of the universe add to the enigma.
On This Page 5. The Ultimate Ground Of Faith I Believe in God What I Believe About God Publication Information 5.
It is by faith alone that man is able to appropriate the salvation which God has prepared for him in Christ Jesus. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Right after this splendid, comforting passage, the Divine record proceeds thus: “He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
What do we mean when we say “I”? Who, what, is this human creature which utters, so freely, and most of the time so thoughtlessly, this word of a single letter? Next to the thought of God… these thoughts are most worthy of our serious, prayerful consideration. These are the thoughts which, rightly pursued, bring the largest dividends for the enrichment of the mind, and the strengthening of the spirit.