A Summary of the Gospel

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities;
the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and by his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

For well over 1500 years our country has been recognized as a Christian country. Our whole culture is based on Christianity. However in recent years there has emerged on the one hand a bitter and almost irrational rage against God and Christianity led by a group of men and women who call themselves new – atheists. On the other hand there is been a widespread indifference and apathy amongst many towards the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 'What is that to do with us?' has been the not infrequent response of many.

Others however, more thoughtfully are coming to realize that without faith in Jesus Christ life just does not make sense, and the affluence and material prosperity that we have all come to expect and enjoy, does not ultimately bring us satisfaction, nor answer the deep longings and questionings of the heart. The old cry that Christianity is outmoded and man has come of age and is able to solve all his problems and look forward to a future of unlimited promise, just does not ring true anymore.

In the same way those who have a wider concern for the well-being of society, are realizing that a society without a coherent spiritual and moral foundation is in imminent danger of collapse. As one has put it we are as individuals and as a people in a spiritual and moral respect, 'running on empty.'

The experience of the 20th century writer H. G. Wells illustrates this in another way. Having rejected Christianity as a young man, and spent the rest of his life trying to work out his own philosophy of life he came at the end of his life to write down his findings, his book was significantly titled, Mind at the End of its Tether, and in it he confesses to be utterly baffled and bewildered.

Christianity and Understanding

The great Christian thinker John Calvin spoke of two great essentials in regard to knowledge, that is knowledge of God and knowledge of ourselves.

The Knowledge of God

  • The Bible teaches us that God is self existent no one made Him, He is fully content and sufficient within Himself. (The doctrine of the Trinity).
  • Out of his bounty and generosity God created all things. Therefore all things have significance and purpose.
  • God rules and governs all things. Therefore all things are ultimately under his control. Creation is not mass of confusion and disorder.
  • God is good, holy, wise, gracious, long-suffering, merciful, all- powerful, just, and is against all that is wrong and the source of all that is good.
  • God is Personal and therefore can be known.
  • God is the righteous judge of all mankind before whom we shall all at last give an account. This makes every moment of life significant and meaningful.
  •  God has made Himself known to be the God of truth and love, grace and justice through his only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

The Knowledge of Ourselves

  • Man is made in the image and likeness of God, made to know God and to live in fellowship with Him which is the highest happiness possible.
  •  It also means that man knows right from wrong and therefore is a being responsible for his actions.
  • Man has sinned and come short of the glorious purpose for which he was made.
  • Man has rebelled against all that is right and good, has broken God's holy and perfect law and therefore deserves God's wrath.
  • Man has incurred a debt of guilt which he cannot pay. Man by his own efforts cannot save himself or put himself right God.
  • The respected historian Arnold Toynbee has traced 21 civilizations in which man has attempted to make a success of living without submitting to the reign of God. Each one of these civilizations has failed. 'The story of civilization' says Toynbee, 'has turned to be a single illustration of the theme, that the wages of sin is death.'
  •  God sent his only begotten Son into the world to die in the place of sinners. In the death of Christ, God is just and merciful. He pays the debt of his people sin in the person of Christ, Himself. The hymn writer says 'Amazing love how can it be, that Thou my God should die for me?'

In a church in York there is a wall plaque commemorating the life of a certain Canon Faussett whose family owned land in Ireland. During the famous potato famine, some families on his estate were unable to pay their rents, and wrote to him begging to be excused payment. He replied that he could not possibly do this: not to pay was wrong, a bad precedent, and he could not possibly make an exception. They must pay their bills to the last penny. However, he enclosed with the letter a slip of paper. It was a check, for more than sufficient to cover all that they owed. This is just a faint picture of what God accomplished in Christ on the cross in order must that mercy could be given and justice satisfied

  • All who know that they are lost and spiritually bankrupt and call upon Christ to save them will assuredly be saved.

An unusual but unforgettable illustration is found in the burial all the Empress Zita, the last Hapsburg Empress.
Thousands fell in line behind the catafalque, formed by six black horses. The procession came to a stop at the Capuchin Church, and there, a long observed tradition was enacted. As a member of the funeral party knocked on the closed door of the church, a voice from within asked, 'who goes there?'
The titles were read aloud: 'Queen of Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Queen of Jerusalem, Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Krakow.'
'I do not know her,' came the response from within the church.
A second knock, and the question of 'who goes there?' brought the same response, 'Zita, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary.'
Again the reply, 'I do not know her.'
When the inevitable question was put the third time, the answer was simply, 'Zita, a sinning mortal.' 'Come in,' came the welcoming voice, as the doors were slowly opened.

Christ says 'Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.' We come to Christ all undeservedly and he gives us the salvation which he bought. The cost to God is unspeakable, the cost to us is nothing.

The Priceless Benefits Christianity has brought to our Society

Christianity was foremost in the establishing of schools to educate the poor. All this formed the basis of the free education we enjoy today.

Christians again were in the forefront of the building of hospitals to care for the sick, and even the great chain of Boots Chemists was originally founded out of Christian desire to provide medicines and medications that all could afford.

Christians such as Lord Shaftesbury championed safe and healthy conditions in the workplace, others such as William Wilberforce were at the forefront in the fight to abolish the slave trade. Others such as Francis Bacon have reminded us that Christianity provided the stimulus to scientific investigation, and Christians such as Sir Isaac Newton and Michael Faraday are worthy examples of Christians who in more modern times have made massive contributions to scientific discovery.

The Cruelties of Atheism

As a prisoner for his faith in atheistic communist Russia, Richard Wurmbrand left this testimony to the cruelties he suffered during his captivity.

'The cruelty of atheism is hard to believe when a man has no faith in the reward of God or the punishment of evil. There is no reason to be human. There is no restraint from the depths of evil which is in man. The Communist torturers often said, 'there is no God, no hereafter, no punishment for evil. We can do what we wish.' I have heard one torturer even say, 'I thank God, in whom I don't believe, that I have lived to this hour when I can express all the evil in my heart.' He expressed it in unbelievable brutality and torture inflicted on prisons.'

Atheism is totally powerless to change a single human life for the better – to improve or build character. No one has ever yet been reformed in moral character under the influence of any plan or theory proposed by atheism. It certainly cannot reconcile anyone to God nor bring a trusting soul to heaven. If we want to see its fruits all we have to do is look at the misery of many lives around us and the cruel and selfish society it has created.

The very opposite of atheism is what we all need today. It is time to repent and believe the Gospel, the door of God's mercy stands open, where sin abounds grace doth much more abound, come sinners to the Gospel feast, let every soul be Jesus' guest.