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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.
J.A.

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