The Demands of the Gospel in Conversion.
THE Gospel in the main tells what God has done for man but it
also makes great definite demands of man. It asks for a full
surrender and an unconditional pledge of obedience to Christ, To
hate sin and to live righteously is required of each person. It
recognises no half measures but insists that a man be out and out
one thing or another. He must yield body, soul, and spirit. He
must be born again and begin a new life.
These are decisive demands that God requires of us and they go
beyond what man in himself could satisfy, but along with God's
requirements the Gospel supplies the means whereby all creation
may meet what is required of them. The Gospel is the power of God
unto salvation. We cannot from man's reason learn the dreadful
consequences of sin and how we may avoid them. Neither man nor
nature can give us a knowledge of God, or His will toward man. In
ourselves we are unable to purify the heart, or make the life
righteous. Man cannot blot out his sin against God, nor can his
mind conceive as to the future life. These things call for the
power and the wisdom of God. In the Gospel of the Lord Jesus
Christ, God has supplied to the full all that is necessary.
The Gospel gives enlightenment to the mind. It can change and
purify the heart and draw our affections to God. It constrains
and enables us to surrender our will to that of God. It shows how
we may confess and come to Christ and receive remission of sins.
it instructs us how to live for Christ and remain faithful to our
confession. It tells of the resurrection, and of a blessed hope
in the hereafter - in short, it can beget in us a new life. If
the Word, which is the seed, is received into a good and honest
heart it begets life and brings forth fruit. The truth is the
means through which the Holy Spirit convicts, and converts, man.
The listening ear, the open mind, and the understanding heart,
are what is asked of man. To whom should he give heed if not to
his Creator, the God of love and mercy?
All that man may do is without merit and is insignificant when
compared with that God has done on his behalf in the scheme of
redemption, and humanity was entirely helpless until God, in the
Gospel, opened up a new way.
The four Gospels prove that Jesus is the Son of God, and faith in
Him opens our eyes to the revelation He has given of the Father.
We see God in His grace and truth. Our faith opens our eyes as to
our own state and our position toward God, and gives a view of
our real relationship to this world and our fellow-man. Faith in
the Lord Jesus Christ brings Him into our heart and if He is
enthroned sin will depart. Faith purifies the heart. Faith in the
heart urges us to seek Jesus and produces the surrender of our
will as in repentance. We resolve to act on our faith and perfect
it in action.
With the mind enlightened by the truth, our heart made true, and
our will in full submission, we feel that within we have, through
the Lord Jesus Christ, entirely turned toward God and we then
long to complete our conversion by changing our outward life. We
wish to declare our inward change and openly confess Christ. The
Lord asks that you do this by confessing Him as the Son of God
and as your Lord, and then being immersed into His name. From
your baptism you rise to walk in newness of life. The Ethiopian
eunuch openly confessed Jesus as the Son of God, and publicly
declared his faith, and made it acceptable to God by being
baptised into Jesus Christ. In the words of the Apostle Peter, we
say, 'he purified his soul in obeying the truth.'
As Christ died for the sin of the world, pardon and everlasting
life are now offered, through Him, to those who believe in God
and hear the words of His Son. The words of Jesus to the whole
creation, Jew and Gentile, are, 'he that believeth and is
baptised shall be saved.' If you do believe in Jesus, as the
people did at Pentecost, then, in the words of Peter, we say,
'repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus
Christ, for the remission of sins.' If you believe and have
repented, as had Saul of Tarsus, then, in the words of Ananias,
we say, 'arise, and be baptised and wash away thy sins calling on
[confessing] the name of the Lord.' 'Then they that gladly
received the word were baptised: and the same day there were
added unto them about three thousand souls.' 'And the Lord added
to the church daily such as should be saved.