The Gospel in a Nutshell

By Laval Picard

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Dear Reader,


Did 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.'" D.A.486.

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." C.O.L.158.

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 different.

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!