Here is a familiar group–a father, a mother, and a company of admiring friends. They are gathered around a cradle. In that cradle is a baby. And these people are looking into the wide eyes of that baby with an interest so keen that you would think that he is the only baby that had ever been born. Of course none had ever been born just like him. And yet such a scene as this has been presented countless millions of times. But in spite of this fact the baby has lost none of its fascination. It is still the most wonderful something that our human eyes have ever seen. Other things may hold our attention for awhile. We may be interested in comets and shooting stars. We may be interested in towering mountains and in the seas booming out their thunder upon the rocks. But none of these are to be compared in genuine interest to a real live baby.
One has called attention to Thomas Carlyle, the sage of Scotland, as he is holding a baby in his arms. It is not his own baby. He never had any children of his own. That was his misfortune. He is holding his cousin’s baby. And as he holds it he looks into its face with wide-eyed wonder. He seems never to be able to get through marveling at it. “To think,” he says, “that Shakespeare was once like this.” His delightful interest does not surprise us. There is somehow a fascination about a baby that never grows old.
Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere, into the here.
Where did you get those eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.
What makes your cheeks like a warm white rose?
I saw something fairer than anyone knows.
Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
The angels gave me at once their kiss.
And how did you come to us, my dear?
God thought of you and so I am here.
Clovis Gillham Chappell (Home Folks)
“Take heed that no one deceive you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.
But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to the councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
Mark 13:5-13 (NKJV)
The doctrine of the Bible is that Christ saves His people from sin through faith; that Christ’s Spirit is received by faith to dwell in the heart. It is faith that works by love. Love is wrought and sustained by faith. By faith, Christians “overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil.” It is by faith that they “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” It is by faith that they “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and put off the old man, with his deeds.” It is by faith that we “stand,” by resolutions we fall. This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
It is by faith that the flesh is kept under and carnal desires subdued, and by faith that we receive the Spirit of Christ to work in us to will and to good, according to His good pleasure. He sheds abroad His own love in our hearts, and thereby enkindles ours….Nothing but the life and energy of the Spirit of Christ can save us from sin, and trust is the universal condition for the working of His saving energy within us….
…When we open the door by implicit trust, He enters in and takes up His abode with us and in us. By shedding abroad His love, He quickens our souls into sympathy with Himself, and in this way, and in this way alone, He purifies our hearts through faith. – Charles Finney
“Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greeting in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
Mark 12:38-40 (NKJV)
The Scriptures teach us that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Any minister who minimizes sin and treads lightly when he preaches on sin, will also minimize the atonement, and will fail to preach the blood atonement as the only escape from damnation. The minister who preaches that sin is “just a mistake” will also preach that one may be saved through strength of character and practice of good works.
But the Word of God teaches that it is only through shedding of blood that we find remission for sin, and “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). Jesus paid the penalty, He died the death. He suffered in our stead, He offered Himself for every sinner upon the face of the earth–and there is no other way for a sinner to be saved!
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
“How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? For David said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”‘ Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”
Mark 12:35-37 (NKJV)
“The first of all commandments is: ‘Here, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:29-31 (NKJV)
In every era God has had His faithful people–people who have done His will and enjoyed His favor. Noah was “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5) as he labored to build the ark, and he “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). Abraham heard the call of God and set out on a long journey, not even knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8); his faithful obedience brought blessing to all families of the earth (Genesis 12:1-3). Faithfully for over forty years Jeremiah gave God’s word to an unbelieving people, and he lived to see God’s word proved true. Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38); and she became the mother of God’s Son and our Savior.
God’s faithful people may feel lonely at times, for many unfaithful are choosing the wide road that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). Elijah once thought that he was the only faithful one in Israel, but the Lord knew that there were seven thousand more (1 Kings 19:18).
Yes, God has His faithful people in the world today–people who not only do His will but also share His Word and help others to do His will. In this world they may experience either prosperity or persecution, but in the world to come they will have joy forever.