Gospel in a Nutshell
By Laval Picard
you know that there were multitudes perishing in their sins at the very time
Jesus was contemplating going to Jerusalem to be given into the hands of the
Jewish leaders? Did you know that Satan presented himself to Him at that time
in an attempt to convince Him that it would be foolish to go to Jerusalem to
be offered as a sacrifice when the multitudes were still perishing in their sins. Satan also told Jesus that it would be foolish to
leave the disciples who needed Him so much.
"And Satan was at hand to press his temptations upon the Son of man. Why
should he now go to Jerusalem, to certain death? All around Him were
suffering ones waiting for His word of healing. The work to be wrought by the
gospel of His grace was but just begun. And He was full of the vigor of
manhood's prime. Why not go forward to the vast fields of the world with the
words of His grace, the touch of His healing power? Why not take to Himself the joy of giving light
and gladness to those darkened and sorrowing millions? Why leave the harvest
gathering to His disciples, so weak in faith, so dull of understanding, so
slow to act? Why face death now, and leave the work in its infancy? The foe
who in the wilderness had confronted Christ assailed Him now with fierce and
subtle temptations. Had Jesus yielded for a moment, had He changed His course
in the least particular to save Himself, Satan's agencies wold have triumphed, and the world would have been
lost. But Jesus had 'steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.'"
Now, what lesson can we learn from this? There are multitudes in the church
and in the world today who need to hear the words of His grace. Jesus spent
most of His years in "silence" before He began His ministry. After
being anointed with the Holy Spirit in the Jordan river,
you would think that He was ready to begin His ministry and yet God took Him
into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights to be tempted of the devil! The
problem with some of us is that we think we are qualified, that we are ready
to go to work for the Lord when in reality we do not even understand the ABC
of the Gospel message. "We don't understand the matter of salvation. It
is just as simple as ABC. But we don't understand it." Faith and Works, p.64.
First we must make sure that we understand the ABC of the Gospel and we can
only learn this in the school of Christ. "The merits of Christ's
sacrifice are sufficient to present to the Father in our behalf." Steps to Christ, p.36.
This, brothers and sisters, is the Gospel in a nutshell. It is my belief that
not one in one hundred understands this precious truth for himself. May believe about Christ but it is only a
nominal faith in Him. "Many have a nominal faith in Christ, but they
know nothing of that vital dependence upon Him, which appropriates the merits
of a crucified and risen Saviour." 1 S.M.389.
Do you see why in the Desire of Ages, we read these most solemn words:
"The only faith that will benefit us is that which embraces Him as a
personal Saviour: which appropriates His merits to ourselves." D.A.347.
A couple of line further down the page, Mrs. White calls this faith
"Genuine faith" or "living faith." "Genuine faith is
life. A living faith means an increase of vigor, a confiding trust, by which
the soul becomes a conquering power." D.A.347.
"Living faith is essential for our salvation, that we should lay hold
upon the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour." Faith
and Works, p.64.
I was raised in a church that taught me that salvation was gained through
merits, the merits of the creature, the
merits of good works. It was the right idea but the wrong merits. Instead I
should have been taught to hold in abomination all other merits save those of
Jesus. See G.C.221.
For "When we seek to gain Heaven through the merits of Christ, the soul makes
progress, from strength to strength, from victory to victory."
Faith and Works, p.94.
So, then, brothers and sisters, what must we do in order to receive the
blessings of the Covenant of grace? "Present your case before God
pleading the merits of the blood
that was shed for you upon Calvary's cross." F.W.106.
So, before we can seek for the lost sheep of Israel,
and before we can turn to the millions in the world who are perishing in
their sins, we need to receive this truth, believe it, and act upon it,
because the acceptance of this truth brings us into harmony with God. This is
the faith that works by love to purify the soul. Only those who exercise this
faith can become members of the family of Heaven.
"We may be active, we may do much work,
but without love, such love as dwelt in the heart of Christ, we can never be
numbered with the family in Heaven."
Therefore, "God will accept everyone that comes to Him trusting
wholly in the merits of a crucified
and risen Saviour. LOVE SPRINGS UP IN THE HEART.
There may me no ecstasy of feeling but there is an abiding, peaceful
trust." 1 S.M.354.
This is the most precious message that the Lord sent to His people in 1888!
This is the message, if accepted, will bring the descent of the Holy Spirit
in latter rain power! Then every valley will be exalted and every mountain
and hill will be made low. "God resists the proud (mountains and
hills) but gives grace to the Humble (valley)." 1 Peter 5:5. Then
every crooked teaching will be made plain. This message of the merits of
Christ, along with the message of "nature and nature's God," we
learn at the feet of Jesus. There are other stupendous truths that we need to
learn in the school of Christ. We need to learn what it means to eat His flesh and blood, both as it pertains to
our physical nature and to our spiritual nature. We need to
understand also that "God does not stand
toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression."
G.C.36. This truth is so little understood, if at all, and yet it is one of the principles of His dealing
with sin and sinners. And God never changes. We also need to realize that
"There can be no more conclusive evidence
that we possess the spirit of Satan than the disposition to hurt or destroy
those who do not appreciate our work, or who act contrary to our ideas." D.A.487. This
is something we would all do well to remember!
We also need to understand the two seals, the two marriages, the two
justifications, things that are called by the same name and yet are
Thank God that the Holy Spirit is the Teacher of His people. "Every revelation of God to the soul increases the
capacity to know and to love. The continual cry of the heart is, 'More of Thee,'
and ever the Spirit's answer is, 'Much
more.'" Mount of Blessing, p.20.
So, before the last message of mercy is proclaimed, there is much we need to
learn and also much we need to unlearn. And we are told that what some of us
will have taken years to learn, others will learn it in a few months, during
the latter rain and loud cry!