Can Jesus Christ Be Trusted?
[Editor Andy Neckar] Please read this on-line booklet. It is much more than saying YES, Christ CAN be trusted. We say ALL Christians know this. But this booklet is so much more. This booklet is one of the best I have ever read. It tells the WHY, the WHO and the HOW of SIN and SALVATION.
This booklet will change you by giving you the best understanding of the fall of man and his restoration to God's will. Again--this is one of the BEST booklets I have ever read.
As one of the seven founders of the Fundamental Evangelistic Association, I. A. Moon wrote this book with a desire to accomplish a twofold purpose: to point unbelievers to Christ and to ground believers in their faith.
Can Jesus Christ Be Trusted?
by Irwin A. Moon
The human heart is naturally distrustful. It is not easy for us to "take anything for granted." We do not implicitly trust anyone or anything. Some of us have learned, through sad experience, that we cannot even trust ourselves. We live in a world of distrust. Individual distrusts individual. Group distrusts group. Nation distrusts nation. This situation is more than tragic, since peace of mind can come only when an absence of distrust actually exists. When confidence possesses the human heart, tranquility reigns. Joy and happiness begin.
In the world today, we hear much about "lack of confidence" and what will happen when "confidence is restored." What means this universally inherent condition of the human heart? Is the present manifestation simply an aggravated condition of that which has always existed in a greater or lesser degree in every human breast? All past history would seem to indicate that this is so.
Mere human speculation here only serves to add greater confusion. Unaided, mankind has never been able to arrive at a correct understanding of the "downward tendency" in human life. Always confident of success, however, man continues to speculate. After nearly six thousand years, man's unaided efforts have solved nothing, and his continued refusal of information from a Higher Source is but a further and striking manifestation of this "downward tendency" In his nature-a strong characteristic of the very thing he is seeking to understand and correct.
Since no two persons in all the world think exactly alike on all subjects, or even on one subject, it is only logical to conclude that if we would know the truth of any matter, we must go outside of humankind altogether. And in seeking to understand the source of this universal distrust, which, with increasing dismay we behold in every human breast, we are forced to look beyond all merely human knowledge and speculation. In our quest, therefore, only one other source of information is open to us, and that is revelation. Here, evolution and all other theories and speculations, whether they be labeled science or not, must stand aside.
THE START OF THE TROUBLE. The traveler who unexpectedly came upon the Mississippi River at its mouth and daily watched its enormous disgorge of billions of gallons per minute was seized with a great desire to know the source of all this great flood. Arduously following the long trek to its source, he finally arrived at lake Itaska in the far north. One exclamation fell from his lips as he contemplated the long and tortuous streams which he had followed: "The Father of Waters!"
Before us day after day is the great stream of humanity with its constant disgorge, day and night, of sin and misery and heartache and sorrow and disappointment and death. What is the source of all this? There must be a reason for it. There must be a cause somewhere. Revelation furnishes us the only true and satisfying explanation. And as we make our quest back to our first parents and take our stand in the Garden of Eden, let us contemplate what happened there and the dire consequences that followed: We find we have discovered, not "The Father of waters," but "The father of lies" who, by his artful cunning, succeeded in taking from our first parents their unquestioning trust and confidence in their Creator and sowed in their very beings the seeds of distrust.
SINS NATURE AND RESULT. God's will is the law of this universe. Whatever God wills is law. Anything, therefore, not in accordance with the will of God is lawlessness. And lawlessness is sin.
There is no trouble on the earth or in the universe that is not, directly or indirectly, the result of sin. Death, both physical and spiritual, is the result of sin. If there were no sin, there would be no death. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Rom. 5:12).
There are approximately 750,000 words in the English language, and the worst word in our language, and all other languages, is the word sin. Sin is a terrible thing. It is that abominable thing which God hates. Sin is so bad that, if let alone, it would wreck the entire universe. We human beings are so familiar with sin we think but little about it. God alone knows how bad sin is. It is so bad that God was compelled to do something about it, and He has done something about it. One of the characteristics of sin is that it makes us who are afflicted by it oblivious to its awful nature and results. Not only we human beings but also all animal and creature kind suffer because of sin.
The Bible uses the word sin 702 times. God's Word also uses other words to indicate sin in several hundred places. The Bible tells us the source of sin in the universe. It tells us how and when sin started in the human race. It tells what sin has done, and will yet do, for the race and for each individual member of it. It tells what God has done about it and of what He is yet to do. It tells us how to get rid of it and tells us of the consequences if we do not get rid of it. The subject of the Bible is sin. if sin did not exist, the Bible would not exist.
Every Sunday school and every church exist due to sin. Every school house and every school teacher exist due to sin because sin caused us to lose our knowledge. Every tailor shop and every clothing store speaks to us of sin because sin caused us to lose our clothing. Every drug store and every doctor's sign speaks to us of sin because sickness is a result of sin. Every cemetery and every undertaker speaks to us of sin because death is the result of sin. Every jail and prison in the world exist as a result of sin. Every padlock speaks of sin. Every court room and every lawyer remind us of sin. Every drop of sweat on a human brow speaks of sin. Every noxious weed and every thorn and thistle exist as a result of sin. Every piece of decayed or blighted fruit or vegetable and every broken or gnarled tree speak of sin. Every hungry mouth and every infant's cry remind us of sin. Even every rainbow reminds us of the reality of sin.
Apart from sin there would be no sorrow and heartache and trouble and sighing and bitterness and strife and want and neglect and moaning and groaning and hatred and murder and divorce and suicide and cursing and envy and pride and all the rest of the long, long list, and no departure from the will of God. If there were no sin, there would be no distrust and unbelief, and God would be believed one hundred percent. God hates sin with an infinite hatred.
THE TROUBLE ANALYZED. Having identified the trouble, its nature and results, let us now seek to analyze it to ascertain, if we can, the real heart of the matter. One hundred and fifteen times in the New Testament alone, the word believe is used to show the way of salvation from this awful mess of sin into which the whole world has been plunged. In addition, other words are used as synonyms of the word believe 35 times, making it 150 times in the New Testament alone that salvation is promised on the sole condition of believing on Jesus Christ. And not once is salvation promised on any other basis. How many times is God required to say a thing before it is true? Manifestly, only once. But here, 150 times God offers salvation on the one condition of believing on Jesus Christ.
Now the question arises: Why does God place salvation upon this basis and not upon some thing that man might be required to do? If He desired to make it simple and easy for us, why did He specify "believe" rather thin some other way, as for instance, "He who watches the sun rise shall be saved" or "He who turns his thumb down shall be saved" or "He who pays a penny shall be saved"? Well, some people are blind and cannot witness a sunrise. Some do not have a thumb to turn down, and some are so poor they do not have a penny. But all can believe. And though it is true that all can believe, yet this is by no means the reason why God places salvation upon this one condition of believing.
Let us go back now into the Garden of Eden where, so far as the human race is concerned, the trouble started. And, in contemplation of what happened there with such dire consequences to all our race, let us see if we can determine why we must believe in order to be saved. Man, created in the image of God, given a sovereign will and the power to exercise that will according to his own choosing, is placed in a perfect environment. His Creator imposes only one prohibition, but this prohibition involves the exercise of his power of choice.
In the following Scriptures to which our attention is now called, we have presented to us the tragedy of all tragedies and the tragedy of all ages. Let us notice carefully and thoughtfully what is said and what transpired. In Genesis 2:16-17 we read the following: And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Here is stated not only the prohibition but the reason for such prohibition: death. Notice also that God Himself, the Creator of all things, the omniscient One, gave this command. The One who knew what the consequences would be, He who "cannot lie" (Titus 1:2), gave the reason for this prohibition.
For the next step in this terrible tragedy we turn to Genesis 3: 1-6, where Satan, the "father of lies," comes on the scene in the form of a serpent, and we read: Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?".
QUESTION RAISED. The finest way in the world to create a doubt and insert an opening wedge in a trusting mind is to ask a question, and this method was used by Satan. Whether or not this was the first question the woman had ever been called upon to answer, we do not know, but we have her reply in verses two and three: And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. Now notice the reply of Satan: And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.
Here we have before us the great triangle. And that which is so often spoken of in society today as "the eternal triangle" no doubt has its incipiency right here. Let us get the picture of this triangle and feel the force of it: GOD, SATAN, EVE. On one side is the pronouncement of the God of the universe, the Creator: In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen. 2:17). On the other side is the declaration of Satan: Ye shall not surely die. And here stands the woman, with her power of choice, compelled to make a decision. Upon her decision hangs the fate of the whole human race. What a fateful moment. We can imagine every creature in all the universe of God standing in breathless silence, awaiting the outcome.
On the one hand is God, with His infinite love, not offering to interfere with Eve's power of choice lest that created right be taken from her. On the other hand is the father of lies, exercising all his cunning and diabolical hate. Eve must make a choice to believe the one or the other. They are as opposite as the poles. Both cannot be right. Either she must doubt the One and believe the other, or she must believe the One and doubt the other.
DECISION MADE How long it took Eve to make her choice we do not know. But choose she did, and in the sixth verse we read: And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
THE TRAGEDY The choice is made. The curse has fallen. Death is inevitable. Now what has happened? She has chosen to disbelieve God and to believe Satan, to doubt the only wholly trustworthy being in all the universe and to put faith in the one who is least trustworthy.
If to express or imply a lack of trust and confidence in an earthly friend is the greatest offense to that friend, what a sin it must be to doubt God! Nothing could be worse than this. All other acts of sin of which the human race is guilty are as nothing compared to the sin of unbelief. Failure to believe God in anything is the greatest of all sins. It severs every tie that binds us to God.
You have a son. You love that boy, and through the growing years of his life you have enjoyed each other's love and confidence and fellowship. There comes a day when that boy comes to you and he says, "Dad, I don't believe you anymore. I have no confidence in you." And he follows this up by taking up with your worst enemy and by giving him the confidence and fellowship he had previously given you. Let me ask you, is there anything that boy could do that would hurt you as much as that? Is there anything that would bring to you as much sorrow of heart and cause as great separation between you as to have him withdraw confidence in you and give it to another whom you knew to be wholly untrustworthy? Surely not. And just so long as he felt that way toward you, no overtures on his part toward you in the way of favors or kindness could be accepted by you. There could be only one ground upon which to meet to restore the former fellowship, and that is the ground of perfect confidence. The only thing that can cure unbelief is belief. The only cure for doubt is faith. The day that your son came to you and from the very fullness of his heart said to you, "Dad, I believe you. I have confidence in you. I have been completely wrong all through the years in doubting you. I now believe you in everything," that would be a glad day for you and also for the boy, a day of great rejoicing.
When our first parents in the garden disbelieved God's word and believed the lie of Satan, they committed the gravest offense that could possibly be committed against the holy and righteous God.
DISOBEDIENCE FOLLOWS DOUBT. Disobedience quickly follows unbelief. It is always so. In exact proportion of unbelief comes disobedience. As we disbelieve, we disobey. And in the same proportion that we believe we will obey. The song-writer penned these appropriate words which accurately describe the proper order for all time:
"Trust and obey, for there's no other way.
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."
Having disbelieved the word of God and believed the word of Satan, Eve took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Immediately the seeds of death were implanted, and the separation was complete.
GRACE OF NECESSITY
It is a law of nature that "like begets like." We get crab apples from a crab apple tree. And every descendant now of this first pair has that same fallen nature and has within him the same seeds of death. Man has forfeited every right to life. He is under the inevitable sentence of death. He has absolutely nothing within him to commend him to God's mercy. He is justly condemned to death. God can now leave man eternally alone without any intervention in his behalf and still act in perfect justice toward him. Nothing in man can now have the slightest claim upon God's favor or mercy. Man has now no righteous claim upon God nor any just complaints to offer. All have been forfeited by his own deliberate choice.
Manifestly, therefore, if God shows any mercy toward us, it cannot be on the grounds of justice; for justice, in the circumstances, can make no such demands upon God. All overtures toward us on God's part, therefore, must be on the basis of pure grace"Favor to the undeserving."
No unsaved person understands the doctrine of the grace of God and the necessity for salvation by grace. If he did, he would not long remain in his unsaved state. It is also greatly feared that the vast majority of Christian people understand little or nothing of this foundation principle upon which our salvation rests. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
THE COMMAND IS BELIEVE Through faith." Now we understand why salvation is "through faith." We understand why the statement is: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. It is because the only thing that can possibly cure unbelief is belief. And so we are commanded to believe in order to be saved.
We are not asked to live a righteous life in order to be saved. We are commanded to believe. We are not asked to leave off this sin and that sin in order to be saved. We are commanded to believe. We are not asked to live the Golden Rule in order to be saved. We are commanded to believe. We are not asked to keep the commandments in order to be saved. We are commanded to believe. We are not asked to pray in order to be saved. We are commanded to believe. We are not asked to confess our sins in order to be saved. We are commanded to believe. We are not asked to join the church and be baptized or sing in the choir or pray and testify or give to the poor or give to the support of the church or treat our neighbors right or live a moral, upright life or all of these things put together to be saved. We are commanded to believe.
JESUS CHRIST THE OBJECT OF OUR FAITH. We are not asked to believe in a church. We are commanded to believe in a Person. We are not asked to believe in a creed, a system of ethics or a doctrine. We are commanded to believe in a Person. We are not asked to believe in each other or in humanity. We are commanded to believe in a Person. We are not asked to believe in "the divine spark" in the human life or the "inevitable triumph of man's inherent goodness." We are commanded to believe in a Person, who is outside of ourselves and who has promised to come inside.
To "believe on" is to depend upon. To "believe in" is to put confidence in, to trust in. And here we are commanded to depend upon and to put confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ and in no other person or thing. The matter is all-important. Since we are commanded to place our eternal welfare into the hands of a Person, by depending upon Him, by putting our trust and confidence in Him, we may well ask, who is this Person? What are His qualifications, His abilities, His purposes and His motives, that we are asked to put our trust in HIM? Is He trustworthy? Can He be trusted implicitly in such an important matter?
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