By Joshua Gurtler
“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth” (Ecel. 12:1).
The youth of this age is, for the most part, a group of young people striving to achieve individuality. We want to look a particular (and some-times peculiar) way. Many want to talk, act, dress, and think so as to stand out from the status quo and be re-cognized for who they are. But . . . who are we anyway? We hope to illustrate in this article that the only way we can truly be a “peculiar people” is by individually accepting Christ as our Savior and Guide (I Pet. 2:9), for youth need Christ too!
We Belong to God.
Before any young person comes to know Christ, he must first under-stand that he is not “self made.” We as human beings are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14). The created points to the necessity of a Creator, the God of Heaven. “And God said, `Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness’.. .
And God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:26-28). We are not our own. We belong to God!
It is such a wonderful thought to know that we have been made by one who loves us and wants to see us grow and prosper. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and to-morrow is thrown into the furnace, will he not much more do so for you. . . But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you (Matt. 6:30,33).
We Are Stained.
When God created us we were good, pure, and ready to be molded into what he would have us to be. “Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright” (Eccl. 7:29). But just as a youngster is not content to take the medicine for his betterment, Solomon continues to state, “but they have sought out many devices.”
This disobedience to God first happened in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3 when God told Adam and Eve, “From the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden…, you shall not eat from it or touch it lest you die” (v. 3). Unfortunately, Eve sought out a device or evil way in verse 6,
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise. She took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her and he ate.
“Therefore just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:8). Romans 3:23 furthers this thought, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Do not be mistaken to believe you were born with this sin for, “The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity . . . the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself ” (Ezek. 18:20).
Sin is not a stain we are born with, but is one we bring upon ourselves when we disobey God’s will, for each man is “carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (Jas. 1:14,15). Sin is not an inherited birth defect then, but “whoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law.” We are now by sin separated from the God who loves us and who has promised to punish every sinner, both young and old (Eccl. 12:13-14; Isa. 63:3-4; Rom. 2:6-11).
We Can Be Cleansed. What are we to do now that we in our youth are lost, hopeless, and without the God who would care for us? The Bible tells us that “without shed-ding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). Those under the Old Law offered the blood of animals but we see that “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” If we are to become clean, good, and pure once more, it will only happen by “being justified as a gift by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in his blood through faith” (Rom. 3:24,25).
The only blood that can cleanse us is of this “Lamb who takes away the sin of the world” On. 1:29). Jesus Christ has told us, “He that has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). When we believe and confess Christ (Rom. 10:9, 10), then we will want to change our lives for him, which is called repentance. “Repent therefore and return that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19). Finally, contrary to the majority of religious doctrines claiming to be Christianity, we must be baptized into Christ and become whole, “Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).
Why Do You Delay? Many young people have never heard this wonderful plan of God, and it is our responsibility to help them understand who God is and what it takes to please him. In doing so, you will do your friends the greatest favor imaginable. Others, however, know the above to be true but for whatever reason have delayed making themselves right with God. Ananias told Paul, “Why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). Then you can then spend the rest of your life “upright” in the eyes of God once more.
This individuality that you now have is far superior to all fashions, fads, and popular actions and attire of this day because now, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (1 Pet. 2:9). Young people need Christ as our Savior and Guide! Without him we are “dead in our sins,” but with him we may gladly proclaim, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 6 p. 1
March 16, 1995