Creation’s Witness and Man’s Guilt
Creation clearly testifies to the glory of God’s master craftsmanship (Rom. 1:20). Whether through the beauty of a flower, or the powerful force of a hurricane; God’s workings are gloriously displayed all around us. That is why Scripture is without error when it states that, ‘The fool has said in his heart, There is no God.’ (Ps.14:1). For this reason, man stands without excuse before the face of the Almighty; for what can be known of Him has been revealed throughout all of His creation, and the conscience bears witness to His law written on their hearts.
The Lord’s Remedy
Despite all of this, God, in His unfathomable grace, has offered a solution to our willful ignorance. A sacrifice, received by faith, that grants the fallen sons of Adam the ability to become the very sons of God. It is the perfect life, death, and resurrection of the God-man, Jesus Christ, which accomplishes this amazing act and restores man’s place in the creation order. The wrath of God, which rightly belongs to us, has been imputed to Christ, and we in turn are clothed in His righteousness.
None other than man could stand in the place of all mankind, and none other than God could atone for the wicked imaginations of evil within the hearts of men. Christ has done both. It was His blood, shed on our behalf, which paid the great debt that our sin procured, and granted us complete freedom from the rightful penalty of our iniquities.
Isaiah said that, ‘…he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.’
In taking the wages of our sin upon Himself, Christ had to receive the punishment that we deserved. He was wounded, bruised, and blown with stripes; not merely by the hand of the Romans, but by the very hand of His Father in heaven. If a Roman crucifixion was the crux of our Lord’s sufferings then it would not have been enough to satisfy the wrath of a righteous God. Christ not only suffered under the Romans, but suffered an infinitely greater sentence in taking the full wrath of God upon Himself. It was the wrath of God that we deserved and it was the wrath of God that Christ received.
This is the marvel of the crucifixion, that the God of the universe, perfect and without blame, would lay down His life for the very ones who pierced His hands; so that they may come unto Him and find mercy.
By Faith Alone
It is important to note that this gracious gift must be received by faith, apart from the works of the law. The law works wrath in us (Rom. 4:15), for it reveals the wickedness of our own doings. It is by the law that we obtain knowledge of sin (Rom 3:20), and come to know that we are in desperate need of forgiveness and reconciliation.
This is why salvation must come through faith! If it were by any other means then salvation would be something that we have rightfully earned, but this cannot be! It is the work of God alone that saves the souls on sinful men. He grants us the gift of faith so that we may rightfully see the error of our ways and turn to Him for a remedy. It cannot be accomplished through mere power of the will, if that were the case then there would be no need of a Savior.
We must confess our sin to God (Prov. 28:13), but confession alone is not enough. At the point that we have been granted assurance of our salvation we must continually seek God’s mercy to depart from the sins that so easily entangle us. Once we have caught a glimpse of His holiness, we can do no other thing. The mark of the true believer is his continual conformity to the image of Christ. This process is called ‘Sanctification’.
I will define sanctification here as the process by which God the Father conforms us to the image of God the Son (the express image of Himself Heb. 1:3), by the power of God the Holy Spirit (John 16:3).
This is accomplished in many ways, I will list ten:
- By replacing our heart of stone with a heart of flesh, able to be penetrated by the Word of God. (Ezek. 11:19; Heb. 4:12).
- By the continuous renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2), and the casting down of imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. ( 2 Cor. 10:5)
- Through the increased awareness of sin dwelling within our members (Rom. 7:23), and therefore an increased sensitivity and hatred towards sin itself. (Rom. 7:15; Jude 1:23)
- By granting us the spiritual weapons of warfare which are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4), and fitting us with armor suitable for battling spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph. 6:11-17).
- Through chastisement with which the Father lovingly corrects and teaches us in the ways of righteous living. (Prov. 3:11-12; Heb. 12:6-7)
- By stirring up godly emotions within us and directing us in the way of intercession through prayer and praise, by the power of the Spirit, in a manner acceptable to Him. (Rom. 8:26-27).
- By forsaking trust in the arm of the flesh and trusting solely in the sovereign will and power of Christ. (Prov. 3:5-6; Jer. 9:23-24; Jer. 17:5; John 6:47)
- Through diligent study of the Word of God, prayerfully seeking wisdom from Him who upbraideth not. (Ps. 119:11; Rom. 10:17; James 1:5)
- By selfless, sacrificial love being worked through the life of the believer toward his fellow man. (John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:10, 13:8; 1 Thess. 3:12; 1 Pet. 1:22)
- By the fear of the Lord. (Prov. 1:7, 9:10, 16:6)
A good tree will indeed bear good fruit (Matt. 7:18), and if Christ has saved a man, then He will continue to work in that man’s life until the end.
Conclusion of the Matter
This is the Gospel my friends; and it is the only hope for men who have suppressed the truth of God in unrighteousness. It is the only hope of our final redemption.
I will end with the words of Leonard Ravenhill,
‘We need preachers who preach that hell is still hot, that heaven is still real, that sin is still wrong, that the Bible is God’s word, and that Jesus is the only way of salvation.’