If we only knew who we are and who God is and what He requires of us, it would leave us in total despair. But a knowledge of the truth will save us from despair. There is one thing that the truth of God will teach us, and that is that we cannot save ourselves. An ignorance of the truth will close the gate of mercy to us. But when God leads us into truth, we can see what the Prophet Isaiah says, "though my sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow."
That is when we learn something of the blessed doctrine of SUBSTITUTION; that Christ Jesus stood before the wrath of God in our place; that the sins of His people were laid on Him; and that God the Father avenged sin in the person of His Son. Now that God has done this, the Law having been satisfied, can now pronounce pardon on the sinner.
Now, when the soul comes to know that sin is put away by the atoning blood; when the heart discovers that it is not our life that saves us, but the life of God that comes to dwell in us; that we are not regenerated by our own actions, but are regenerated by the Holy Ghost who comes to us through the precious death of Jesus, then this despair leaves and the despairing soul cries, "there is hope." This is when we see that Christ does not want our goodness, but He wants our badness. He does not need my righteousness to save me, but my unrighteousness. That is when we see that He came to save the ungodly and to redeem His people from their sins.
A knowledge of the truth shows us our personal need of being saved. It is only through a knowledge of the truth that we know of this atonement by which we are saved. Then it is only by a knowledge of this truth that we know that it is by faith that the benefit of the atonement can be ours. Truth shows us that faith is the simple act of trusting, that it is not an act of which we can boast. Faith is not a work like coming to church. Faith is a self-denying grace which finds all its strength in the Christ upon whom it lives. Faith gives Him all the honor. Faith is not self in action but self forsaken, self abhorred, self put away so that the soul may trust in Christ, and trust in Christ alone. - Milton Howard
Milton Howard is pastor of Kitchens Creek Baptist Church in Ball, LA. The church is located on Hwy 165 at Kitchens Creek Road. You may contact him at P. O. Box...