— Romans 8:18
"The preaching of the cross of Christ is
to them tliat perish foolishness, hut unto
us ivhich are saved it is the poii:er of
God." This truth is vividly illustrated in
the Scripture which comes before us in this
lesson. Jesus had just finished speaking
of the power of the Cross. Some believed
not, because their eyes were blinded.
Others believed, but failed to confess Jesus
openly for fear of men. In all outward
appearance there was no difference be-
tween the unbelievers and the believers,
but there was in reality an infinite gulf
between them. The unbelievers were lost,
but the believers in spite of their coward-
ice, were saved. To the unbelievers the
message Jesus had just given proved a
stumbling block, but to those who believed,
though their faith was weak, this message
proved to be God's power in saving them.
These facts may be clearly seen in five
things set forth in the passage under con-
I. A BTiIND UNBEIilEF
Neither the miracles nor the message of
Jesus ivere able to convince many people
in the croiud. They deliberately closed
their eyes to the truth and refused to ac-
cept Him as their Saviour. What a great
pity! But this unbelieving crowd are not
alone in their blindness. Many men of all
times permit the love of money, the lusts
of the flesh, their selfish pleasures and al-
most anything to blind them to the glori-
ous truths of God's grace. Men are strange-
ly unwilling to come to Him and let Him
save them. They may hear clear, ringing
gospel messages and see the marvelous
manifestation of God's power in the lives
of His children, but they will not believe.
Such an attitude can incur nothing but the
wrath of God. H Cor. 4:4; I Jno. 5:10
Tlie Gospel of our blessed Lord aliuays
divides. Every clear cut gospel sermon
places a gulf as wide as eternity between
those who hear it. Those who believe
find salvation through Jesus' death on the
Cross, but those who will not believe are
condemned, without God, and without
hope, in the world. Jno. 3:18; Jno. 3:36.
These unbelievers fulfilled the pro-
phecies luliich God qave through Isaiah
concerning the unbelief of Israel. The
prophecies seem to say that God was re-
sponsible for their unbelief, but they do not
really teach that. What they teach is that
if men deliberately close their hearts, rheir
eves and their ears against the truth, Ciod
shuts them up in their unbejief, until He
finds willinjTness in them. God does not
make it impossible for men to believe, but
when men will not believe, God will not
give them any further knowledge of the
truth which they have rejected. Of course.
Memory Verse, Rom. 8:18
if they should repent of their unwillingness
He would open their eyes, and they might
believe. Isa. 6:1; 9-10; H Cor. 3:13-16.
II. cowaiidtjY disciples
Hov.'evcr, many did believe in Jesus but
ivere afraid to confess Him. What a sad
mistake they made. Not in believing, but
in failing openly to confess Him before
men. Some may wonder if they really
could believe when they did not Lvjiifess
Him. That is what the Scripture says
they did. And the same mistake is made
by many others. They, like those fearful
believers, fear the opinions of their fel-
lows. They love the praises of men more
than the praise of God. They are afraid
of what their friends may think. They
are content to be secret believers in Jesus
and are ashamed to confess Him openly.
Jno. 6:37; Rom. 10:9-10.
This sin is more common than perhaps
we realize. Some may join the church,
after believing in Jesus, but fail to live for
Him. In this they are failing to confess
Him. Believers should live clean, holy,
separated lives, and they should tell others
about their Saviour. When they live cold,
formal, sinful, worldly lives, or fail to
testify of what Jesus has done for them,
they are refusing to confess Him. And
sad to say this is the condition of the
greater majority of Christians today.
Rom. 12:1-3; I Cor. 3:1-3; Jas. 4:4.
Such believers suffer loss. They are
saved, as we shall see later, but they lose
the joy of close fellowship with the Lord.
Those Jews were ashamed to be seen in the
fellowship of Jesus. What joy they missed!
Such Christians also lose the joy of testi-
mony to others. They cannot be truly
happy in their sinfulness, for God's Spirit
keeps reminding them of their sin. And
they cannot be a blessing to their com-
panions while living so. Then, too, they
lose their reward. God wants to reward
His children for faithful service but He
cannot reward them if they are ashamed
to confess Him. Phil. 3:10; Matt. 4:19;
Dan. 12:3; I Cor. 3:i.i-i5.
111. THE SA\ ING POWER OF
Vs. 44-45, 49-50
Hut, although secret believers cannot in
in the truest sense he happy their faith
saves them. God does not require a great
amount of faith before He will save men.
All He requires is that they believe in
Jesus. How happy it is for us that this
is true. Some of us would be lost, for
though we do truly believe in Him, we
have never been able to muster up courage
enou'^h boldly to confess Him. And how
clearly this fact reveals the woiulciful
grace and love of God! He has made the
matter of salvation so simple that the
weakest and most timid believer is as
truly saved as is the one who has the
courage of a lion. Acts 16:31; I Jno.
5:ii-i2; Rom. 6:23.
That salvation is given by simple faith
is indicated in tivo facts in this passage,
Jesus said, "He that believeth on Me
believeth not on Me, but on Him that
sent Me." A little before this He had
said "He that heareth My words and
believeth on Him that sent Me hath ever-
lasting life, and shall not come into con-
demnation but is passed from death unto
life." Again He said, "I know that His
commandment is life everlasting." This
commandment is defined for us in I John
3:23: "This is His commandment, that we
should believe on the name of His Son,
Jesus Christ." In neither of these state-
ments does Jesus teach that anything in
addition to faith is necessary for salvation.
Men are saved simply through accepting
Jesus by faith. Jno. 5:24; Jno. 3:16.
IV. A BLESSED ILLIMINATION
The man who believes in Jesus passes
out of darkness into tight. It is true that
his perception of that light may be very
dim, yet none the less there is a light upon
the pathway of the believer, which does
not shine upon that of the unbeliever. And
the day is coming when the poor weak
eyes shall open in the blaze of His
presence. God's children shall share the
light eternally. Perhaps at present the
way may seem dim and dark, but the day
is coming when all believers shall see as
they are seen and know as they are known.
I Cor. 13:12; II Cor. 4:6; Eph. 5:8.
Because this is true surely it is only
reasonable that all believers should now
walk as children of the light. God desires
that we shall so clearly reflect His light in
this world that we may awaken others.
He desires that others, seeing our light,
may be led to accept Jesus and to receive
light for themselves. He wishes us to be
instrumental in winning lost souls to
Christ, and in instructing them in His
truth. Phil. 2:15; Eph. 5:8; Matt. 5:14-16.
V. A ORACIOUS FORBEARANCE
/// order that all men may have an op
porlunity to believe and to be saved, He
is now withholding jud/iment. This is
\vhat Jesus meant when He said, "If any
man hear my words and believe not, I
judge hiin not, for I came not to judge
the world, but to save the world." God
is not willing that they should perish.
Jesus' first coming was the manifestation
of His love and willingness to save the
sinner. At that time He did not punisli
unbelievers, for He had come to die for
them and to save them. He has main-
tained the same attitude throughout the
last nineteen hundred years, in order that
man may have a full opportunity to bene-
fit by the power of the Cross. H Peter
3:9; II Cor. 5:19.
VI. AN IMPENDING JUDGMENT
But alas, the day is coming 'when those
ivho reject His gracious offer must bear
their punishment. "He that rejecteth Me,
and receiveth not my words, hath one that
judgeth him." God wants to save men,
but He cannot if they will not accept His
gift. He has withheld judgment, but His
longsuffering must end some day. At that
time all who have rejected Jesus must
suffer for their sins. Jno. 3:18, Jno. 3:36,
II Thes. I 17-10.
TIten all believers shall he judged by the
Word 'which they ha've rejected. How sad
"Grace and Truth".
it will be. Their sin was placed on Jesus.
He died for them. In His death He pro-'
vided eternal life for all. But they have
refused to believe and they must perish!
Men are not lost because they are great
sinners. Else all must be lost. Men are
lost simply because they will not believe,
in the One Who came to save them from
their sins. Then let us all be faithful in:
telling about His love and seeking to win
precious souls to Him. Jno. 3:18; Heb. 2:9.