Reason for Our Hope

O. C. Birdwell
Columbia, Tennessee

The second part of our study in the Reason for Our Hope deals with The Wok of Christ and the influence his actions have had on our hope. Jesus affirmed that the work he came to do had been given unto him by the Father to be accomplished (Jno. 5:36; 9:4). In this article w shall call attention to three of those accomplishments and the purpose of each.

The Death of Christ

God, because of His love for lost humanity, gave Hi Son that man through his faith in Christ might be saved (Jno. 3:16). His blood was shed as a sacrifice for sin. The Old Testament required sacrifices for the people that had to continually be offered, and which sacrifices prefigured the one Christ made (Isa. 53). The death of Christ was once for all men. The benefits are for eternity.

The death of Christ was for mans conciliation with God. Paul states that Jews and Gentiles are reconciled "both in one body unto God through the cross" (Eph. 2:16). Also, in Romans 5:11 Paul shows that mans reconciliation to God is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Other related passages are Col. 1:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-19, and Heb. 8:22.

Christ, by his suffering and death, left us an example. Peter said, "For thereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again: when he suffered, threaten not (I Pet. 2:21, 22). The example was that we should suffer persecution for his names sake, and patiently endure reviling and threatening.

Christ bare our sins on the cross (I Pet. 2:24). In Galatians 3:13, Paul said, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." The Old Law said, "For he that is hanged is accursed of God" (Deut. 21:23). Christ became a curse for man by going to the cross with the sins of man. Salvation, then, is by the death of Christ. "If righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for naught" (Gal. 2:21). Man has an obligation which we must not overlook and will not notice in detail in a later lesson, but anything man does would be to no avail without the work of Christ.

Christs Work in Sending the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, being sent from the Father to guide the apostles, was a vital part of Christs work. The importance may be seen in the following work the Holy Spirit did.

  1. He came as the Comforter (Jno. 14:16; 15:26). He comforted the apostles and other inspired men directly, and others since that time through the word.
  2. The Holy Spirit was sent to bear witness of Jesus (Jno. 15:26).
  3. He came to convict the world of sin (Jno. 16:18). On Pentecost he did this through the word (the preaching of Peter). He continues to convict today through the word (the New Testament record).
  4. He came to guide the apostles into all truth (Jno. 16:13). This he did, and all who believe, do so through their word (Jno. 17:20). He converts the sinner and directs the Christian through the word.

The Church Jesus Built

After the fall of man, God's plan was to redeem a people. Promise was made to Abraham that through his seed all nations would be blessed. According to Paid, that seed was Christ (Gal. 3:16-19). All people may today receive God's blessings in Christ. Inspired men spoke of a kingdom where men of every nation, kindred, and tongue would beat their swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks (Isa. 2:14). Since there never has been such a physical relationship among nations, this must have reference to the spiritual relationship of all peoples in Christ. Such is indicated by the extent of the kingdom of Christ as authorized by him. He said, "Go ... make disciples of all nations baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . ." (Matt. 28:18, 19). The gospel, then, is not limited to the few. Every race, nationality, and tongue has a right to hear and be baptized. Those who are baptized make up the church. They are added to the church by the Lord (Acts 2:47). They have been born of water and the Spirit (Jno. 3:5). They have been begotten by the Spirit through the word (I Pet. 1: 22, 23), and have been raised from the water of baptism new creatures in Christ (Rom. 6:3-5; 2 Cor. 5:17).

The death of Christ, the sending of the Holy Spirit to guide into all truth, and the establishment of the church were - vital acts for man's salvation. This work of Christ is a reason for our hope, for which work men should be eternally grateful.

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 30, pp. 7-8
June 3, 1971