The Hope We Have in Christ

May 4, 2007

The believer is authorized by God’s Own infallible Word to set forth the basis and the nature of his hope in Christ: –

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

“Having a good conscience;  that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation (i.e., manner of life) in Christ.” (I Pet. 3:15, 16.)

The basis of this hope lies in the efficacy of Christ’s atoning death and in the power of His resurrection.  His death, sufficient, as to common grace, to atone for the sins of the whole world, is, however, efficient only for those who are drawn to Him by God the Father through the Holy Spirit (Jn. 6:44; 12:32).  All who yield to the gracious working of the Spirit before their hearts are hardened are saved.  But God warns those who resist Him:  “My Spirit shall not always strive with man” (Gen. 6:3).

We who have been redeemed as well as those who, in the Providence of God, yet shall be, are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Pet. 1:18, 19).  This is the basis of our hope, attested by God the Father in the bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby He was “declared to be the Son of God with power” (Rom. 1:4), and His atoning work on Calvary’s cross was sealed with the Father’s full approval.

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (I Cor. 15:19).  But the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ has, in the abundant mercy of God, “begotten us again unto a lively hope” (i.e. caused to be born within our hearts a living hope, as we ourselves have been “born again”).  This hope is the hope of our own bodily resurrection.  For the Scriptures affirm that “our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory, according to the working whereby He is able to subject all things unto Himself” (Phil. 3:20, 21, A. S. V.).

The Petrine use of the word “salvation” embraces the translation of the believers (see also I Cor. 15:51, 52), as well as the raising of the bodies of those believers whose conscious spirits have already returned to God (I Thes. 4:13-18).  That all believers, who are members of the body of Christ, shall escape the wrath of God that is to be visited upon the Christ-rejecting world during the Tribulation, as well as that to be suffered by the ungodly in the Lake of Fire, is assured by the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ bore both the guilt and the punishment of our sins on Calvary’s cross.  “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1; also I Thes. 1:10; 5:9, 10).

Such is the nature of “that blessed hope” for which we look (Tit. 2:13, 14); and we are exhorted to “hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb. 3:6).  It was to confirm this hope in the disciples’ hearts that Christ spoke the words of John 14:1-3, as well as His further words both in the upper room and on the way to the garden, to the end “that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (Jn. 15:11).  We are likewise urged to “hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for He is faithful that promised” (Heb. 10:23 A. S. V.).  This blessed hope is a transforming hope (Rom. 12:2), and a purifying hope (I Jn. 3:3). Our whole manner of life or “conversation” is affected by it.  Our missionary interest is quickened by the imminence of the blessed hope, and our zeal for the salvation of the lost is simulated by it.

The blessed hope, based on Christ’s death and resurrection, and the eager expectation of the fulfillment of His promise to return again for His own, and to redeem their bodies from the power and even the presence of sin, uplifts our spirits in these days that try men’s souls.

Rev. Philip duB. Arcularius
The Independent Board Bulletin
May 1942


If Jesus Had Not Come

December 16, 2006

We prize our possessions the more sometimes by asking ourselves what would be our situation were they all taken away. Recently we were thinking of this in connection with our Saviour’s birth. Therefore as a Christmas message we ask, “What would now be our condition as a race and as individuals if Jesus had not come to earth?”

The resulting picture is not a happy one to contemplate. Indeed, it would be appalling! First among all results would have been the fact that all prior revelation from God would have been, in the minds of men, by now wholly discredited. Then, all confidence in that revelation having been lost, it woudl now seem to all who had knowledge of it, if any knowledge of it at all remained, to have been nothing but a monstrous and cruel lie. Thinking of that revelation as a lie, all men would have been utterly at a loss to find any meaning in human existence: life would seem to be inexplicable, purposeless, futile. More, the whole world would now be in the grasp of uncontradicted atheism or of crass heathenism, most of the “gods” worshipped being, like their creators and worshippers, self-centered, capricious, cruel, lustful, perfidious; a few perhaps like Mohammed’s Allah, or Gautama’s Buddha, or a system of ethics exalted to the place of religion sucha as characterized Confucianism. But, by now practically every man would have re-echoed Pilate’s careless question, “What is truth?” and would find no answer. All men would feel that from outside man himself, “no ray of light hath pierced this immemorial gloom.” There would be no Churches, no Missions, nothing approaching Christian civilization to give an answer. Jewry could not have maintained itself in the land or out of it and no Gentile would believe it if it had: man’s unaided reason could not have found God; creation’s testimony would have been ignored. Indeed the changes in human life would have been so vast that in all probability great numbers of earth’s present people would never have come to existence at all.

These are some of the principal differences it would have made if Jesus had not come. They are staggering. But there would have been lesser ills also. There would probably have been no hospitals, almost no schools, and such as there were would be for the powerful and wealthy only. The present-day world system of banking and credit which is based on confidence and integrity could not be maintained. Slavery would still be world-wide. War would be many times more frequent and more cruel, whole populations being exterminated at the will of the victor, adn the whole utterly unrelieved by pity or care or chivalry. Tyranny and oppression would be everywhere. Can you imagine the hopelessness, the despair of existence in such a world?

But, friend, rejoice! For the angel’s announcement, “There is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord,” was true. Jesus did come, and came in the fullness of time. He did live that marvelous, sinless, perfect life. He did offer Himself a sacrifice. He did die on the cross. “He was made sin” for you and for me. He did rise from the dead. The Old Testament revelation concerning Him, concerning man and concerning the purpose of life has been confirmed; and surely, as it foretold, “He has sent borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” and “with his stripes we are healed.” He has sent forth the Holy Spirit into our lives to cry, in us and for us, “Abba, Father.” And this same Jesus will come again. He said so and His previous life on earth guarantees it.

Truly there are great contrasts between what the world would have been and what your life would have been if Jesus had not come, and what that life is now, imperfect as it may be. Let the realization of these contrasts fill your heart with love and joy as, at this time of year, you think especially of Christ’s birth. Let that realization also fill your heart with a pity akin to His for all who have never yet learned that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The Single Eye

December 16, 2006

A few years ago, the statement was made that there were three great American agencies which were exerting wide-spread influence in China. These were a well-known oil company, a large tobacco corporation, and the various foreign mission organizations. It was said that the motto of all three was: “Let there be light.” The oil company dispatched agents all over China in an endeavor to induce the Chinese to use kerosene lamps, while consequently, boosting company profits. The tobacco company had as its motto: “A cigarette in the mouth of every man, woman and child in China”! The missionary agencies sought to disseminate the light of the Gospel of Christ.

We wonder what would have happened if the oil company had discovered that some of its agents were inducing the Chinese to use candles and pointing out the disadvantages of kerosene lamps. We wonder what the tobacco company would have done if it had discovered some of its agencies were engaged in spreading information regarding the detrimental effects of tobacco upon the human body. In any such case, the corporation would undoubtedly have broken its connection with those agencies which were devoting part of their energies to working against its business and would have sent out others who would have devoted themselves with single eye to the purpose of the corporation.

We know what these secular organizations would do in such a situation. What is the situation as regards foreign missions today? Great mission boards are sending out some men who are preaching the word of God and at the same time sending out others who are attacking the Scriptures. They send fine godly workers into pioneer districts to preach Salvation through Christ. The leaders among those who are converted are then sent into the large cities to be trained for Christian leadership, and there they are often taught by men who deny the Word of God and endeavor to destroy faith in its teaching. These Boards pursue an inclusive policy.

Suppose a man is giving to a mission board and learns that the agency is supporting some who deny the teaching of the Bible? Suppose he learns that it is joining with other agencies in the support of educational institutions in which there are professors who are attacking the Word of God? Suppose that repeated complaints have been given about these activities and that the board has declined to make any change? What is the reasonable attitude for the contributor to take? Shall he continue to support the agency and piously hope that the good that is done will outweigh the evil that his money is supporting? Shall he designate his funds for individuals whose work he knows to be good, overlooking the fact that this designation merely releases other funds to be used for the spreading of Modernism? One who uses ordinary business common sense will certainly not follow either of these two policies. He will desire to give his money to an agency which will use every cent of it for the spread of the Gospel.

It is because of this situation that The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions was founded. Its purpose was to provide an agency to which Presbyterians could give, with full assurance, that not a cent of their contributions would be used to support Modernism.

The need which called the Independent Board into being is as great today as it ever was. It is not an agency of one denomination. It holds to the system of doctrine contained in the Westminster Confession and Catechisms and to the fundamental principles of the Presbyterian form of government. Its members and donors consist of people who believe this sort of Gospel is to be proclaimed. Christians can give to it, knowing that no part of their gift will support missionaries who do not believe in the Deity of Christ. No part of it will go to the support of union educational institutions in which some of the teachers deny that the Bible is God’s Word. No part of it will go for the publication of books denying the Gospel as found in the Scriptures. Every cent that is given to the Independent Board is devoted to that which directly works toward the preaching of the pure Gospel of Christ. To this Gospel its members and its missionaries are unreservedly committed.

The Independent Board Bulletin; July, 1937

Welcome to the IBPFM Mission Blog!

October 1, 2006

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