Can Jesus Christ Be Trusted?
by Irwin A. Moon
WE CAN TRUST JESUS CHRIST BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS.
Who is this Person who is represented to us as being a good and sufficient Savior? The announcement of whose birth was proclaimed by the heavenly messenger on that first Christmas morning as good tidings of great joy to all people?
Three great events stand out in the Christian life of this writer. The first of these was when unmistakably, and from the Word of God, he came to know that surpassing truth that salvation is wholly and solely by grace. That was a wonderful day. The peace of God flooded his soul, and song was started then that has never stopped singing.
The second great occasion was when he came to know from the same Word of God that Jesus Christ existed before He became a babe in Bethlehem, that He was none other than God manifest in the flesh. Yes, He was the greatest man who ever lived, but He was also God and existed from all eternity. What a wonderful and tremendous fact. For days, and most of the nights, the writer was lost to things around him in contemplation of this wonderful truth. He has since that time heard others express themselves in much the same way upon coming into the knowledge of this glorious fact of our Lord's preexistence.
The third great occasion was when he came into possession of the Scriptural truth concerning Christ's return. But more of this later. The truth concerning the deity of Christ is so little understood by the great mass of professing Christians and is of such great importance in connection with this matter before us, that it is suggested that we look carefully at some of the Scriptures concerning this important truth.
GOD MANIFEST IN THE FLESH.
I have no doubt but that to at least some who read this, it will be a surprise to know that the "Jehovah" of the Old Testament (mentioned more than 6,000 times) is none other than the Jesus Christ of the New Testament, that it was this same pre-incarnate Christ who appeared to Abraham on the plains of Mamre (Gen. 18), that it was He who wrestled all night with Jacob at the brook Jabbok (Gen. 32:2430), that it was He who appeared to Moses in "the burning bush" and commissioned him to be the deliverer of His people from bondage in Egypt (Ex. 3). He it was whom Joshua discovered after crossing the Jordan, standing with a drawn sword, ready to lead the hosts of Israel to victory (Josh. 5:13-15). He it was who led the children of Israel through the Red Sea and was with them in the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, which fact is fully attested by this statement in 1 Corinthians 10:14: Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
JESUS CHRIST THE "I AM".
When Jehovah commissioned Moses to be the deliverer of the people of Israel from their bondage (Ex. 3:13, 14), Moses asked to know whom he should say had sent him on such an important mission. And in reply he was told to say that I AM" (the self-existing One) had commissioned him and sent him. And when we come to Jesus Christ in the New Testament, we find Him applying this same name to Himself. I AM" the bread of life. I AM" the way. "I AM" the truth. "I AM" the life. I AM" the good shepherd. "I AM" the door, etc. At the mere mention of this name at the time of His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, those who came to arrest Him "went backward, and fell to the ground (Jn. 18:6). In John 8:24, salvation is made conditional upon the belief of this fact, for we read, For if ye believe not that I AM He, ye shall die in your sins."
In Matthew 1:23 we have a very positive and clear statement: Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel which being interpreted is, God with us. So that is who He is"God with us." And because He is God, we can trust Him with our salvation. He has the power to be a Savior and the wisdom to be a Savior.
CREATOR OF ALL THINGS.
We can trust Jesus Christ not only because He is presented to us as God, manifest in the flesh, but also because He is presented to us in Scripture as the Creator of all things. The fist words of the Bible are, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1). And in John 1:1-3, concerning Jesus Christ who is there called the "Word," we have this statement: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. Verse 10 says, He was in the world, and the world was made by Him and the world knew Him not. And in verse 14 we read, And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Here we have Him unmistakably identified as the Creator of all things. Wonder of all wonders, that the One who became a helpless babe in Bethlehem, who became very man of very man, who went about doing good, who hung on that Roman cross and gave up His life's blood for you and for me, is the omnipotent Creator.
In Colossians 1: 14-19 we read: In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell. What a wonderful statement concerning this wonderful Person. Surely we can trust Him.
THE PRINCE OF LIFE.
We can also trust Jesus Christ because He is the Prince of life. Man's greatest need is life. We live in a world of death. We are dead while we live, and we live while we are dead. These are strange words, but Scripture bears them out. In 1 Timothy 5:6 we have this statement: But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth spiritually dead in trespasses and sins.
And not only so, but men are twice dead. First of all, we are dead officially. God's decree has gone forth. Ezekiel 18:4 declares that the soul that sinneth, it shall die. Again, Romans 3:23 says all have sinned. And the nineteenth verse of this same chapter says, Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, It saith to them who are under the Law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. The verdict, then, is guilty for every soul in all the world. The sentence of death is passed upon us.
Second, we are not only legally dead, but we are actually dead. In Romans 5:12 we have these words: 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-not the sentence of death passed upon all men, but death passed upon all men, death itself. So we find that all men are now actually in a state of death. Let us remind ourselves that there are no degrees of death. If a person is dead, then that person is dead.
Here is a case: A man comes down in an airplane crash from an altitude of 10,000 feet, crushed beyond recognition. The plane catches on fire, and only a few charred bones remain. He is dead. Another case: A man in apparent health and vigor suddenly passes in a heart attack. He is dead. Still another case: A beautiful young lady, tired of a life of sin, turns on the gas. Her heart stops beating. She is dead. They are all equally dead. One may be embalmed a little more nicely than the others. The work of the mortician may make one a little more pleasant to look upon, but the fact remains that each is just as dead as the others.
Every soul born into this world is dead, stillborn, spiritually dead. Some turn out to be harlots, some drunkards or thieves or murderers. Some become "honorable members of society." Some become religious and "join the church." But all are equally deaddead in trespasses and sins. All will remain dead until they have received life by receiving the Prince of Life. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life (1 Jn. 5:11-12). Man's greatest need, therefore, is life. His constant desire, his every effort, his consuming zeal is for life. And life he must have or forever remain in his state of death.
Now, into this realm where death reigns, Jesus Christ has come. And we hear Him saying in John 10:10, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. It is evident that in this text He is not speaking to us of physical life; that life we have naturally upon coming into this world. We also have a never-ending existence. Such life we know to be created lifelife that is subject to death. But He is speaking to us here of another kind of lifeuncreated life (called also "eternal life"), life that is not subject to death. Now we know there is but one eternal, uncreated life, and that is the very life of God Himself, life which has always existed. And it is this life which our lord has come into the world to bring to usHis own life.
In John 1:12-13, we have this statement: But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of (lit. "out of") Godnot because of God's influence or power, but literally out of God. That which is born (out) of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born (out) of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6). So there is offered to the one receiving Jesus Christ, His own life, and they shall never perish. It is thus we become the actual children of God, having His life, His nature, His characteristics.
So, into this realm of death, Jesus Christ came and hath brought life and immortality ("deathlessness," 2 Tim. 1:10). What a welcome Visitor! Could anything bring greater rejoicing to all mankind? No wonder the announcement to the shepherds said, Good tidings. We may now expect every heart to rejoice and leap for joy, every tongue to be loosed to gladly and speedily proclaim the Good News to every creature in all the world. Surely the message will swiftly be carried into every dark corner in all the earth, and all will have life.
But hold! We are not taking into our reckoning the character and awful nature of this thing we have identified as sin and its influence upon human hearts. For the sad story is read in Acts 3:15 that they killed the Prince of Life. What another tragedy! Man, in the midst of his dire need of life and in the blindness of his sin, destroys his only hope and source of life. Once more man has sealed his own doom. He has cut off his only way of escape and slammed shut the door in his own face.
If man is ever to live, he must have life from the Source of all life, from Him who is the Prince of Life. For in Him was life; and the life was the light of men (Jn. 1:4). But man's only hope now lies dead and buried.
Once again it is evident that if God is to make any overtures toward man or do anything whatsoever toward his salvation, it must be solely upon the basis of pure grace. For man has again, through the choice of his own free will, put himself in the position where he has no claim upon God's bounty or upon God's mercy. And God is not bound by any law of justice to extend any consideration or favor to man. God can righteously leave man eternally locked in the pains of death, so far as any claims upon Him are concerned.
But we read that God so loved the world (Jn. 3:16). And although men "killed" the One who alone could give to them the supply for their greatest need, nevertheless God, in a fresh manifestation of His infinite grace, raised Him from the dead. Today He lives, offering eternal life to all who believe, for it is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world (Jn. 6:33). And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish (Jn. 10:28). Surely we can trust Him because today He lives and holds out to us, in infinite love, His own eternal, uncreated, everlasting, deathless life on the one condition of believing.
PRINCE OF PEACE.
Again, we can trust Jesus Christ because He is the Prince of Peace. Many contrasting principles exist in the world. We have light and darkness, right and wrong, truth and falsehood, righteousness and sin, belief and unbelief, life and death, etc. But one of the greatest contrasts is that between peace and war.
When sin entered God's perfect universe, war began; and it has continued ever since. Prior to the entrance of sin, war was unknown, just as death was unknown prior to the advent of sin. But when sin entered, along with it came darkness and wrong and the lie and disobedience and death and all the rest of the foul breed and war. With the entrance of war, peace took its flight. Wherever sin has entered, war has followed, and peace has departed.
The history of the human race ever since the great tragedy in Eden is one continuous story of conflict and warfare: conflict within the individual breast and between individuals; conflict within the individual group and between individual groups; conflict within the individual nation and between individual nations-war, in every tribe and tongue and nation. Sin has taken peace from the earth.
During all this time of conflict, man has continuously and vainly endeavored to bring about peace, and all his efforts have been without avail. Man, by his own unaided efforts, can no more bring peace into his heart and into the world thin he can bring life to himself or to the world. He is just as helpless in the one as in the other. Peace, like life, must come from the One who has peace. It must come from the One who is the source of peace: the Prince of Peace.
Through the ages, every device and ingenuity of man has been used to bring about the continuously longed for peace, but the beautiful white-winged bird cannot be coaxed to come near. These sad results are due to the fact that man does not recognize his helplessness in the task of establishing peace. One of the characteristics of sin is to make us feel self-contained and independent. And so we call great national peace conferences to establish peace. At such conferences, we not only neglect to consult the plan and principles for establishing peace as laid down by the Prince of Peace, but we do not even mention His name in connection therewith.
Oh, that the nations would invite Him to be present and preside at all such conferences, ask for His guidance and His wisdom, adopt His program for peace and trust Him and rely upon His power. But no! For just as men rejected the Prince of life, so men reject the Prince of Peace.
Sin in the human heart says, "We can do it alone. We do not need His plans. We can get along without Him. We are self-contained." And the world staggers on to its own final destruction, heedless of its impending and certain doom, vainly, and oft times frantically, striving for peace. But there is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked (Isa. 48:22).
The alarming increase in the number of suicides these days reveals something of the turmoil and conflict within the individualno peace within. The crowded condition of our divorce courts speaks of the orifice in the home. Our homes are not homes where peace dwells because the Prince of Peace is not invited to dwell in them. There can be no peace where He is not, whether it be heart or home or nation. Just as there can be no life apart from Him, likewise there can be no peace apart from Him and His wonderful presence.
History reveals the fact that during the past 150 years there has not been a single day when there was not war, either within a nation or between nations, somewhere upon this earth. And during all this time, man has been endeavoring to bring about peace. Man can no more quiet the strife and turmoil of this world than he can quiet the restless waves of the sea. But He who spake calm to the angry waves of Galilee alone can speak peace to this troubled world. That is His businessto bring peace!
Satan is the arch conspirator of the universe. The Word informs us that with him sin first started. The Word of God does not elaborate upon this. The simple statement in Ezekiel 28:15 is this: Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. Now iniquity is lawlessness, rebellion, sin. And with this rebellion came war.
Jesus Christ has undertaken the job of putting down the rebellion, of putting sin out of the universe, of bringing in universal and everlasting peace. First Corinthians 15 :24-28 gives us a suggestion of the finish of this undertaking:
Then cometh the end when He (Christ) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father: when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet... And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. We have here a very plain and simple statement of a time, in the ages to come, when Jesus Christ will have completed His great undertaking, when sin everywhere shall be put away and when everything that rears itself against a holy God shalt be put down and underfoot. Then, the Kingdom established by Christ in order to carry out this purpose, will be turned back to the Father, that God (the Trinity) may be all in all.
Briefly, this great program of Histhis program of bringing in everlasting peaceinvolves three things. First of all, peace with God must be established (Rom. 5:1). This was brought about by His death on the cross, where He met every demand of righteousness and justice and paid the full price required. In consequence of this act, all those who believe are "justified" (acquitted), and peace with God is established. God is perfectly satisfied with the price paid. Justice has been met 100 percent. The sinner can be released under proper orders of the Court. Therefore being justified (acquitted) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:14-17 says, For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off and to them that were nigh. Christ made peace through the blood of His cross (Col. 1:20).
Second, as a very important part of this wonderful peace program, He has provided for, and now freely offers to every individual, the peace of God. If man is ever to enjoy either the condition or Person of peace, he must have the turmoil quieted within his own breast. This quietness is called the "peace of God." It is not enough to have peace established with God. To have the conflict cease that was raging between us and God before the atonement was made was of prime importance, was of first necessity. But this is not all. Man must have peace within himself. Outward quietness is of little avail so long as the upheavals of his own unregenerate heart are surging within.
For this need, the Prince of Peace has made abundant provision. John 14:27 says, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. How true is His statement, not as the world giveth. The peace that the world gives is a mere temporary cessation of hostilities, brought about usually because one or sometimes both belligerents are exhausted. It does not mean that the difficulty is removed. War has never really settled anything. When peace is declared, a temporary outward calm exists, but there is no inward permanent adjustment. And so soon as one or both sides regain sufficient strength, the trouble starts anew. This is as the world giveth. But the Lord from glory gives not as the world giveth. The world is concerned with things. But the Lord is concerned with matters of far greater moment. For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom 14:17). Therefore the command is, Let the peace of God (Christ) rule in your hearts (Col. 3:15). And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil 4:7).
Only one thing more needs to be said just here: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee (Isa.26:3). Yes, because he trusteth in Thee. And the one who does not trust Him does not have peace.
Finally, the program of this wonderful Person is not finished when peace is established with God nor also when the peace of God is distilled in the individual heart, but it must continue until peace is established throughout the whole disturbed universewherever sin has gone. In Isaiah 9:6-7, the Messiah is called "the Prince of peace. The government shall be upon His shoulder... Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end... to order it and to establish it for ever. This is the grand consummation toward which all things directed by Him are moving. And we read that He shall not fail nor be discouraged (Isa. 42:4). Surely we can trust Him since He is our only hope for peace, for heart, for home, for nation. He is our peace.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
Once again we can trust Jesus Christ because He is the Light of the World. Doubtless we shall never know the full damage sin has wrought. Were it revealed to us all at once, it would completely overwhelm us and crush us. God in His infinite mercy veils our eyes. But we have come to know this, that just as there was no death until there was sin, and no war until there was sin, so there was no darkness until there was sin. Darkness is a result of sin, just as sickness and death are results of sin.
Scripture contains abundant evidence indicating to us that man, before sin entered, was clothed in light. But with the entrance of sin, the "light went out," and man was found "naked." You behold an electric bulb when the switch is turned on, and all that can be seen within is light. Turn the "juice" off, and immediately the small filaments or wires can be seen. They are naked. Just so was the human body prior to the entrance of sin. But when sin entered, the light went out, and we were found naked. Genesis 3:9-11: And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself. And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? One proof of the knowledge of their nakedness was due to a "revealing" that came with sin.
A hint of what that glorious light was like, which emanated from the bodies of Adam and Eve prior to the fall, is suggested by the way the face of Moses shone when he came down from the mount. He was compelled to put a veil over his face before the children of Israel could look upon him. We have another such suggestion in the transfiguration of Christ. Matthew 17:2 says, And His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light This must have been as wonderful sight. In Daniel 12:3 we have a suggestion of the restoration to us of that light when the saved, having been washed from their sins and having also been released from their sinful bodies, have been "clothed upon" with that "house which is from above," for we read, And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
But sin is here as an awful fact, and with it is a world of darkness. We not only live in a world of darkness, but we are under the power of that darkness. And just as man is helpless to bring life and peace into a world of death and war, so he is equally helpless to bring light into this world of darkness. And the cry goes up for light! Light! Let us see! Let us know what lies ahead! Give us Light.
What is light? We do not know. What is life? We do not know. light is much like electricity. We know how it manifests itself. We know how it acts. We are able in a measure to handle it and control it and use it, but we know not what it is. John 1:4 says, In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. Life is light. And He is both. And the only life and the only light we shall ever know is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Just as previously noted that into this world of death He came to bring life and immortality to light (2 Tim. 1:10), so also He has come into this world of darkness to bring light. In John 12:46, Jesus Christ says, I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness. Again, John 8:12: Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Physical light? Yes! He is the creator of it. Spiritual light? Surely! He is that light. No light exists apart from Him.
All over this world the cry goes up, "We're groping in darkness. Where is the light? How can we get light?" Listen! By believing on Him who is the Light of the world. John 12:36 says, While ye have light believe in the light that ye may be the children of light.
Again the cry, "But we are in a peaceless world, war all around us, war within us, no peace anywhere. We want peace! How can we have peace?" listen again! By believing on Him who is the Prince of Peace. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee (Isa. 26:3).
Again the cry, "But we are perishing in a world of death. Why should we perish? We want life! How can we get life?" Listen again! By believing on Him who is the Prince of life. That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life (Jn. 3:16, 36).
In the Garden of Eden, One was disbelieved and disobeyed. Through that disbelief and disobedience, the whole world was plunged into darkness and war and death. Today we find, not some other person, but that same identical Person, who in the Garden was disbelieved and disobeyed, offering to us light and peace and life if we will believe Him and obey Him. He offers Himself to us, as Light and Peace and Life.
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