GOSPEL ST. PAUL PREACHED
I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power
of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew
first, and also to the Greek."--Rom. 1:16.
ARE MANY religions, and it is a mistake that we have perhaps said
in the past that there is no religion but one. A religion would
properly be considered "Any system of worship by which any
people recognize the Almighty and seek to do Him honor."
We are, therefore, to recognize the various great religions that
are in the world in the sense that we could not properly ignore
them. We have, for instance, the Confucian teaching, the Brahmin
teaching, the Buddhist teaching, the Mohammedan teaching, the
Jewish teaching and the Christian teaching. These all present
themselves to us as religious teachings. They all believe themselves
more or less rational; they all believe themselves more or less
reasonable. Every man tries to think that his own theory on any
matter is a reasonable theory; and he is proper in so doing.
harmony with our text, we propose to compare the religion of Jesus
with all other religions. In the beginning, we state with the
Apostle, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ."
Whatever may be said of other gospels, we believe, as Christians,
that in the Christian religion we have that of which no man need
be ashamed. There may perhaps be certain features and forms of
certain creeds of which we might be ashamed--that do not come
up to our highest ideals. But the Christian religion, as presented
in the Word of God, should be the Standard of Christendom; and
of that we are not ashamed. It will compare with all other religions
in the world, and come off victorious, in every sense of the word.
All of these various religions seem to recognize that man is in
an imperfect, unsatisfactory, sinful condition; therefore, each
of these religions seeks to present certain tenets, or teachings,
that will help man up out of his imperfect condition, back into
harmony with his God.
COMPARISON OF RELIGIONS
we consider the teachings of the Mohammedans, we find that they
have certain qualities which are very advantageous, and other
qualities which we could not so highly commend. Their endeavor
is not to do injury, but to make man better. Their theory is that
mankind is fallen and need lifting up out of their fallen condition.
The same may be said of the teachings of the Brahmin, the Confucianist
and the Buddhist. They are all more or less presentations of what
are supposed to be cures for man's fallen condition, cures for
his unsatisfactory attitude.
of these religions pronounce one kind of a penalty for those who
will not accept them, and others declare other kinds. Some offer
one kind of reward for those who accept and follow their teachings,
while others offer other kinds of rewards. But all agree that
man needs to be elevated and lifted up out of his fallen condition,
which is sinful and unsatisfactory. There seems to be in every
man, naturally, without any education on the subject, something
which tells him that he is not perfect; that he is not in full
accord with his own conscience, not in accord with his own highest
ideals of the Divine mind.
religions, therefore, recognize this principle of sin and propose
remedies therefore. We see the evidence of this as manifested
in their disciples everywhere. Many seek to crucify the flesh
in one form or another—some by flagellations, some by restraints
upon the various liberties of life, some by holding their hands
in the air for days, seeking to become holy and thus appease their
none of these things, in the light of the Gospel of Christ, seem
to be the highest and noblest ideals. Doubtless all have done
some good and uplifted some men out of the degradation in which
they were. Mankind might have been worse off if it had not been
for these religions.
now, if we compare these with the religion of Jesus Christ, we
believe everything is to be said in favor of the religion of Christ.
In the first place, all these religions more or less resemble
the Jewish religion, which is of God, and hence all these religions
are more or less in harmony with God's proposition.
proposition to the Jews was, "Do these things and ye shall
live," have everlasting life. That was the Covenant made
by God with them at Mount Sinai, at the hands of Moses. They thought
at first that they would surely be lifted up out of sin, because
God had given them a Law, and by keeping it they would be perfect
and be brought into harmony with God. In this they were mistaken,
for, as they found out, as the centuries passed, none of them
were able to keep the Law, because it is the measure of a perfect
man's ability; and none of them could measure up to the perfect
found, therefore, as the Apostle states it, that "by the
deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified in God's sight."
And they found also that the Law, instead of perfecting, justifying
them, and giving them eternal life, brought to them a greater
realization of sin than they ever had before. And this was the
real blessing of the Law Covenant--it showed them their sinful
condition and their inability to lift themselves out of it. But
the Jews do not recognize that great fact today, for if they did
they would be crying to God for mercy instead of hoping to keep
the Law and thus justify themselves.
same thing might be said to be true of all the heathen religions.
All offer help by which mankind may make themselves perfect, but
none are able to make themselves perfect, and they all realize
that they are sinners and imperfect to the last degree. There
is, therefore, nothing that is logical in any of these religions,
because they all start out to claim that a man ought to be perfect,
ought to be holy, and are agreed that he is not. As before called
attention to this agrees with the words of God with respect to
Israel, "By the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified
in His sight." God's Word agrees with all of these--that
man is a sinner, that he cannot do the things that he would, that
his ideals are to be and are higher than his capacity and ability.
And so St. Paul declares, "We cannot do the things which
THE RACE SOLD UNDER SIN
answers that the reason is that we are fallen creatures, sold
under sin. Who sold us, when and where? The Bible answers that
"By one man's disobedience sin entered into the world, and
death by sin; and so death passed upon all men." Death has
passed upon the entire race and thus impoverished it mentally,
morally and physically, so that now, because of the fall, we cannot
do the things which we would like to do.
Bible tells us that originally Adam was not in our condition,
but was perfect and could keep the Divine Law perfectly, but that
"we are sold under sin." And so the Prophet David expresses
the same thought, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and
in sin did my mother conceive me." So we behold that we are
a race of sinners, imperfect mentally, morally and physically,
and therefore unable to keep the Divine standard or Law. What,
then, does Christianity offer us that no other religion offers
us? Christianity offers us a Savior, and no other religion offers
recognizes that the condition came about by the disobedience of
one man, Adam, and it sets forth Jesus as the One who redeems
man from that death sentence that came upon our first parents:
"As by a man came death, by a man comes also the resurrection
of the dead"; "For as all in Adam die, even so all in
Christ shall be made alive," writes St. Paul--"every
man in his own order." Here, then, Christianity has a logical
superiority, in that it provides for a satisfaction of Divine
religions say that it is Divine Justice that is opposed to sin,
but Christianity offers a satisfaction for Divine Justice. "Christ
died for our sins"; "He gave Himself a Ransom for all";
"He is the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins, and
not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world,"
writes the Apostle. So, then, Christianity is not only more logical,
but is more just--it recognizes Divine Justice.
must recognize that if God condemned the world understandingly
and truly, as the Great Judge of mankind, there must be some satisfaction
of Justice ere the Chief Justice of the Universe could set aside
the penalty and release the culprit. Man has sinned and the great
Chief Justice has passed the sentence, and there is no way to
revoke that sentence, except by meeting it. And so Christianity
sets forth that our Lord Jesus came into the world to meet the
penalty, and that He, "by the grace of God, tasted death
for every man."--Heb. 2:9.
has another superiority over all other religions, and it is this:
it recognizes a love and compassion upon the part of God that
no other religion recognizes. All these religions do recognize
a God, and we claim it makes very little difference whether they
call Him Allah, or Jehovah, or some other name. They recognize,
we believe, the same, one God, but they do not recognize His real
traits of character. They perceive His Justice, and their own
transgressions of Divine Justice, but they do not see the merciful
provision that God has made. Their God is represented by the Chinese
idol, which pictures to them the character of God.
remember a Chinese banner we once saw. The figure on this banner
represented a very demon-like character, and lightning was represented
as flashing from his closed fist. He was a god to be feared, one
who would take vengeance upon them.
GOD OF THE BIBLE IS THE GOD OF ALL GRACE
God of the Bible, however, while just, is not a vengeful God,
not unkind; but, on the contrary, He is the God of All Grace,
the Father of Mercies, from whom cometh every good and perfect
gift. And the great Gift that He gave is the greatest of all gifts,
the Gift of His Son, for man's sin, that thus He might offer a
satisfaction to His own Justice. Nor was this arbitrarily at the
expense of, or contrary to the will of the Redeemer; because the
Scriptures make clear that it was by virtue of the "prize"
set before our Lord; as we read, "For the joy that was set
before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame."--Heb.
love of God is not content with merely the provision of the Savior,
and the arrangement that if anybody shall hear and believe he
shall be blessed; but this love of God proposes to go still further,
namely, that He who thus redeems the race shall become the King
of earth; and His scepter, His rule, shall be "from sea to
sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth," until
"every knee shall bow and every tongue confess" to the
glory of God; and "the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the
whole earth as the waters cover the great deep." Thus every
creature shall come to know that there is a God, and that the
way He proposes to be just and merciful is through His Son, who
is to be the great Deliverer of the race.
what way will this great Deliverer come? This is a part of the
Gospel, a part of the "good tidings." It will be through
His great Kingdom, which He will set up in His own due time. His
Kingdom will not be merely for the rich or powerful, but for the
poor also: "He shall lift up the poor from the dunghill,"
is a part of the prophecy. His power and influence will be the
great moving principle that will level the whole world of mankind.
As the Scriptures declare, all men are on a common level before
God, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and
all are recipients of Divine mercy.
blessing of the Lord will be that all may come back; and when
thus brought back to all that was lost in Adam and redeemed by
Christ, they will be able to keep the Divine Law perfectly, and
will therefore to all eternity be in covenant-relationship with
God. For those who refuse to enjoy that blessing prepared for
them, the Scriptures clearly declare that God has provided the
Second Death--not a place of torment--"The soul that sinneth
it shall die"; "The wages of sin is death."
CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD"
someone may say, "what about the Church? You have been speaking
about the world and what Jesus will do for it; what about the
Church?" Those of us who have experienced this Salvation
know that as a power it has not lifted us physically to perfection,
but it has a power that has come into our hearts, into our minds,
through faith, transforming, renewing us—our minds, our
wills. The Lord's true people were once aliens, strangers and
foreigners to the Lord, but by a knowledge of the Savior have
become transformed in their lives, so that now they are seeking
to walk, not after the flesh, but after the spirit, the spirit
or mind of God, the Divine will.
we see the difference between the Jew under his Covenant of Law
and the Christian under the higher Covenant that the Lord has
made at the present time. The Apostle said that the Jew could
not do the things that he would; but he declares equally strongly
that "the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us, who
walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."--Rom. 8:1.
is this possible? Are we better than the Jews? Are we of less
fallen nature than the Jews, or made perfect? Nay, verily. The
Apostle explains that for the class called out during this Gospel
Age there is a special arrangement in operation, and God deals
with these according to their minds, their wills, their intentions,
so that under this Covenant of Grace we are counted as fully keeping
the Divine Law--the righteousness, the full meaning of the Law,
is fulfilled in us who are walking not after the flesh but after
the spirit--not up to the spirit, but after the spirit.
how could we be fully justified if not able to walk up to the
spirit? The answer is that the blood cleanses us and commutes
our sins; Christ imputes His perfection and righteousness to us,
so that our best endeavors are accepted in Jehovah's sight as
perfect, for we are justified, not according to the flesh, but
according to the spirit.
way in which the Gospel of Christ is superior to all others is
that this Gospel is world-wide. No other Gospel of which we have
knowledge is world-wide. The Gospel of the Son of God is that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every
man," rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, every nation and people
and kindred and tongue. "There's a wideness in God's mercy
like the wideness of the sea." We know of no other religion
that is so unbiased, that recognizes no national lines, that has
the thought that we are one race, which sprang from one man, condemned
through one man, and redeemed through the Man Christ Jesus, and
that all are to have a blessing--no other religion under the sun!
religion of Christ, of which we are not ashamed, is best in this,
that it is the most God-like religion, because of its breadth,
because of its justice, because of its impartiality, because of
its love, its goodness and merciful qualities. It shows forth,
as does no other religion, the Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power
of Jehovah, our God. To Him be glory and honor and dominion forever!