“And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shall call his name Jesus; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21 ASV). Jesus existed with God before the world was. He is the Eternal Word and all things were made through Him. He came to earth and dwelt among us in the likeness of sinful flesh. He emptied Himself of the beauty, glory and peace of His Father’s home, and came to this sin-blighted earth on a specific mission. He had a great work to do—a great mission to fulfill. His mission was to seek and save that which was lost—to redeem fallen humanity from the guilt, power, and punishment of sin.
The divine record vividly describes the deplorable condition of Jew and Gentile before Jesus came to earth. The Messianic prophet said, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6 ASV).
The Gentile was “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12 ASV). Man in his stubbornness and rebellion had transgressed God’s law. He had offended divine justice, and had brought the wrath of God upon himself. All had sinned and come short of the glory of God. The penalty for this transgression was death—eternal death. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).
In His infinite mercy and love for fallen humanity, God sent His only begotten Son into the world to make the atoning sacrifice for sin. God was willing to give His Son, the rarest Jewel of heaven, that we through Him might have abundant life. And the Son of God was willing to come to the earth, rejected and despised of men, to die on the cross that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and “purify unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14 ASV).
The wrath of God, so justly kindled against man for his sins, could not be appeased by animal blood and sacrifices that were offered under the law of Moses. “For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins” (Heb. 10:4 ASV). It follows that without the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ there is no remission. “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7 ASV).
The coming of Christ revealed the love of God for man. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ASV). “God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8 ASV). The righteous died for the unrighteous. The Son of God died that He might bring us to God. Are we truly grateful to our Heavenly Father for the unspeakable gift of His love?
Our love should respond to the love of God. How can we manifest our love toward Him? Jesus said, “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15 ASV). There is no other way for us to prove to God that we love Him. Some say that His commandments are hard and that we cannot keep them. “For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3). What has God taught us to do that is impossible? We must desire to do the Father’s will and not our own. If we want to go to heaven, we must follow the Way, the Truth and the Life—the only Way to God. We must deny ourselves and take up our crosses and follow the Christ daily.
The alien sinner is commanded to do certain things in order that his sins may be forgiven. He must believe with all the heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 16:30-31). Without faith it is impossible for one to please God (Heb. 11:6). This belief is produced by hearing the word of the Lord (Rom. 10:17). After reading of His miracles and wonderful works, we would be compelled to say with Nicodemus, “For no one can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:2 ASV).
After developing this simple, trusting faith in the Lord from His word, the sinner is commanded to repent of all sin. “The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent” (Acts 17:30 ASV). If men love Him, they will obey Him and will therefore turn away from all sin in godly sorrow. The Master said, “I tell you nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).
The sinner is taught to confess with the mouth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. “Everyone therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32-33 ASV).
Then, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, such a one is baptized into Christ Jesus and into His death. God’s promise to those who comply with these conditions from the heart is the remission of sins (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38).
The young Christian then must “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” (2 Pet. 3:18) and add the Christian graces (2 Pet. 1:5-7).
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).