Cactus on Yellow Wall

God's Salvation

To a world that is continually perishing in sin, God offers salvation in all its simplicity. "LOOK UNTO
ME, and be ye SAVED" (Isa. 45:22), says God the Saviour. Can anything be more simple than looking at
a person? Even a child knows to look. No one needs special maturity or education to look. Why did God
make salvation so simple?

The obvious immediate answer is that God loves you and me. The Bible says that "God is love" (1 John
4:8). The God of love looks upon the suffering humanity with compassion. He has simplified salvation to
the extent of making it understandable and available to all. The God of the Bible wants every human
being to understand three fundamental truths.

Firstly, the LOSTNESS of mankind. Every human being is born in a lost condition. The Lord Jesus spoke
three parables in Luke 15 to emphasise the lostness of man. In the first story, a man had hundred sheep
and he lost one of them in the wilderness. In the second, a woman lost a silver coin. In the third, a father
lost his son. All the three stories have something to teach us. Like the sheep we are owned by God. Like
the coin we are precious to Him. Like the son we are related to God. Disobedience, rebellion marred our
lives. By choosing the dangerous path of independence, we shut out God to open the door for all evils.
Had not the shepherd gone in search of the sheep, the sheep would have been lost in the wilderness. Had
not the woman sought the coin, the precious silver coin would have lost its value. Had not the father
received the son, the wayward boy would have been lost in poverty and hunger. Every sinner has lost his
way. He is groping in darkness. Spiritual blindness is the direct result of sin. A blind man walking in a
dark slippery road, heads towards destruction. Salvation and restoration must come from outside himself.
God must rescue us from our lost condition. The good news is that Jesus Christ has come seeking for
every lost person. "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

Secondly, the LAW of God. All of us are born into a world created and governed by God. His material
and moral laws are intended for the safety and well being of a" those who live on this planet earth. God
has explicitly stated His laws. By choosing to break the Law, we do not break the Law but our own lives.
This is exactly what has happened to the whole mankind. The laws of God reveal the character of God. In
the Bible, Exodus 20 gives us the basic Ten Commandments. Based on these, many laws had been added.
Someone came out with this count, that there are 2713 commandments in the Old, and 1050 in the New
Testament. These commandments condemn every man and every woman of every age. No man has ever
lived up to the standards set by God. God gave us His laws not because we could keep them. With a
fallen, sinful nature God knew our inability. Yet the laws were made and published to show the utter
lostness of man. Had it not been for the Law, we would never know our lostness. The Scripture says that
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight for by the law is the
knowledge of sin" (Rom.3: 20). Thus the primary work of the Law is revelation, not recovery. Law
diagnoses our case without delivering us. Law shows our condition but not the cure. Yet it fulfils the
important function of making us aware of what we are in the sight of God. Law not only shows our
condition but also the awaiting condemnation. God's righteous aoger1s reserved for every rebel. God
being just and righteous cannot overlook or condone sin. Law could not offer life to the dead sinner. It
could not lift him from his fallen condition. Law could not love or pity the sinner. God's law is intended
to awaken us to our danger. At the end of life's road, beyond the grave every man and woman must stand
before God to be judged. The Bible says, "... it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the
judgment" (Heb.9: 27). The Bible also says that "God shall bring every work into judgment, with every
secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecc.12: 14).

Thirdly, the LOVE of God. Against the backdrop of man's lostness and God's Law, is revealed the
wonderful love of God. God loves mankind and sent Jesus Christ to show it. God asks, "Have I any
pleasure at all that the wicked should die?", and answers it Himself, "For I have no pleasure in the death
of him that dieth" (Ezek. 18:23,32) .God sent Jesus to be our Substitute and our Sin bearer. This is the
story of Good Friday. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made
the righteousness of God in him" (2 Cor.5: 21). "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for
the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit"
(1Pet.3: 18). The story of Christ and the cross is the most moving love story in the world. Christ suffered
the most cruel death on the cross for each one of us. It was an act of supreme love. Through the cross
God offers forgiveness of sins, freedom from fear and every bondage, and fellowship with Himself. All
these offers come to us not because we asked for them. The Bible says that God "commendeth his love
toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom.5:8).

Deliverance comes by simply looking at the Saviour and believing in our hearts what He accomplished
for us. We-are not required to contribute anything for our salvation. Christ has done it all. We are invited
to accept the offer. "Come un to me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" says
the Lord Jesus (Matt. 11: 28). "...him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37), is God's
great assurance. God's salvation is simple and free. It cost Jesus His very blood, life and reputation. He
laid down His life willingly for us all. He offers a life of peace, victory and fullness; "come, buy wine and
milk without money and without price" (lsa.55: 1).

YE ARE MY WITNESSES—7
BAKHT SINGH

Many lives were transformed and they became the witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ through that one
meeting held in the prison at Philippi. Within a short time the Gospel was preached in many parts of
Europe and Asia. Those who have not gone through real persecution remain barren spiritually like a dry
well. If water is not drawn from it, it gives a stinking smell but if the water is drawn regularly, it remains
fresh. We see how in a wonderful way the Holy Spirit began to take the believers from place to place
through persecution. If God has kept you in a lonely place believe that you are there as a witness of the
Lord Jesus and do not try to get a transfer to any better place of comfort. If you believe God has kept you
there as His witness according to His plan be content.

"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one
accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did"
(Acts 8:5,6). The Samaritans were despised and hated by the Jews as we see in John 4:9. The Jews would
not even take water from their hands. Now the very same Samaritans had received the very same Gospel
with great joy, and with one accord. That is how the Lord began to break the pride of the Jews. As a
nation they were very proud. That is why they remained blind spiritually. Those who are proud of their
country, position, family, community and wealth are very dry spiritually. That is the main cause of strife
in many places.

It was for a purpose that God sent Philip to Samaria. He wanted to break the pride of the Jews and to
show the spiritual oneness of all who believe. We shall see later on that when the Gospel was taken to
these people, they began to grow spiritually. "Now they, which were scattered abroad upon the
persecution that arose about Stephen, travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the
word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when
they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord
was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord"(Acts11: 19-21). When Philip
went to Samaria some unknown believers also went there at the same time. Before that they were giving
the Gospel to the Jews only. They were still proud of their nationality. But some believers from Cyrene
came to Antioch and spoke to the Grecians about the Lord Jesus Christ. From that time the center was
shifted from Jerusalem to Antioch. That is how the believers in Jerusalem lost their privilege. From
Antioch the Gospel began to go to many parts of the world. God in His own sovereign way brought this
about.

Everyone is equally precious in God's sight. The believers in Samaria ought to have received the Holy
Spirit when they believed. But in this case the Lord withheld the Holy Spirit from them even though a
very large number believed and were baptized. The news had reached Jerusalem and the Apostles at
Jerusalem were surprised that even the Samaritans whom they hated received the Gospel. So they sent
Peter and John to verify it. They went over there and were filled with joy to see that the Samaritans had
received the Gospel. When apostles Peter and John laid hands on them they received the Holy Spirit (v
.17). Thus they saw for themselves that the very same gift that the Lord had given to the Jews on the day
of Pentecost was also given to the Samaritans. First of all they had to acknowledge their spiritual equality
and oneness by the laying on of hands. Throughout the ages, they were taking pride in their Jewish
nation. Today also we find in India and other countries believers taking pride in their position, education,
community and wealth. But in the sight of God all are equal. We find that there are many names among Christians.

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.   Matthew 24: 42