By Raymond E. Harris
As we read the first three chapters of the book of Romans, we find the apostle Paul declaring in no uncertain terms, the fact that Jew and Gentile alike, stood condemned before God.
In Romans 1, Paul indicts the Gentiles by saying “. . . when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (v. 21). Hence, he tells us that, “God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lust of their own hearts” (v. 24), “God gave them up unto vile affections” (v. 26), “God gave them over to a mind void of judgment” (v. 28). One might say God “washed His hands” of the Gentile world when they so utterly departed from His righteousness.
On the other hand, in Romans 2, we find the Jews possessed an unbelievable capacity to doubt, murmur and sin against Jehovah. This was true, despite all the special instruction and treatment they had received. In the Old Testament, God lamented the fact that even the cattle of the field knew their master, but Israel did not seem to be mindful of God (Isa. 1:3).
So when Jesus was born into the world, He arrived upon the scene to find the whole population lost in sin. What was to be done? How could mankind ever be saved? Prophets of old and even the angels of heaven had wondered throughout the centuries, how mankind – God’s prize creation – could ever be saved. Was it possible to restore peace? Was there any way for an honorable and just reconciliation to come about? What was man to do? Was there any way man could be forgiven? It seemed doubtful.
Not even the angels of heaven can fathom the mind of God! However, in 1 Peter 1:20, the apostle explains that God had foreordained, before the foundation of the world, that Jesus would come in these last times. He would come not only to reveal the Father, and give a new law; but, He would also give Himself upon the altar of the cross, as a lamb without spot or blemish. Yes, the Almighty Father allowed His Son to come and “stand in,” to die for you and me and everyone. God did not want His prize creation, the whole human race, to be lost eternally. Hence, He set in motion a grand scheme whereby men could be justified and forgiven.
That is what Christianity is all about! The gospel points to Jesus as man’s only hope. The gospel sets forth the terms of salvation. The church has been established. Now all responsibility rests with man. Man sinned against God! Man is not at liberty to legislate the terms of his own forgiveness! Man’s only hope for forgiveness and salvation is in compliance to God’s terms.
For the sake of your own eternal welfare, won’t you look to Jesus as your Savior? Won’t you repent of your past sins (Acts 2:38), confess that Jesus is the Christ (Rom. 10:10) and be baptized (Mark 16:16)? The Bible explains that when we do these things we are born into the family of God, we are Christians, members of the Lord’s body, the church. This is all possible in that through these acts of obedience all past sins are forgiven. What a glorious thought! Won’t you act now! Behold, today is the day of salvation!
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 9, p. 270
May 7, 1987