I want to talk to you from 1 Peter 2:24, “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins should live unto righteousness, by whose stripes ye were healed.” In another place in the Scripture it says, “He became sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
If that isn’t a clear statement of substituted life then I don’t know a clear statement when I see one. He absolutely takes my sins and in His own body deals with them on Calvary.
I want to talk to you tonight about some of the things that are deluding the men and women of today.
Hundreds of thousands of people today call themselves Christians who have no right to do so.
They do not believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for the cross and all that it stands for is left out, and the tendency of modern Christianity is that way, the trend is that way, the tide is that way; and it behooves you and me in the day in which we live to find out what particular way the tide drives and to stand against the tide for God’s sake and the people’s sake and to warn them and flash out the danger signal.
The “Fatherhood of God.”
The first statement in this creed is, “I believe in the Fatherhood of God.” Well, everybody believes that. Certainly they believe in the Fatherhood of God; but that doesn’t mean anything. Every man believes in the Fatherhood of God. There isn’t a Christian of the most unorthodox kind of faith that doesn’t believe this; but the Christian believes in God as a Father in a way that other men do not. He believes that he has been regenerated, that the Spirit of God has been put within him, and that the Spirit itself cries out, “Abba Father,” and that man can look up and call God “Father” in a sense that no other man in the world can do it.
We believe in the Fatherhood of God, that God made everybody, certainly,—believe in God as creator, the father of all mankind; but “no man can call Jesus Lord except by the Holy Ghost,” and no man comes to the Father but by Jesus Christ. There is only one way to find access to God and that is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. A holy God cannot be approached and communed with, and you cannot get into His presence through anything else but through the death of His Son Jesus Christ. All the prayers that all humanity can pray outside of the first prayer that they ought to pray (and that is the acknowledgment of the fact that they are sinners pleading for the blood of Jesus Christ to wash away their sin) are not heard. My Bible tells me that God does not hear sinners. They may talk on forever if they please. He does not hear them. The only time He hears them is when they call out, “I am a rebel and a sinner,” and run up a white flag, and all the angels of God’s house are on the job immediately, and God will wash them and save them, and wash them in the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and put a robe on them and a ring on their finger, and then they will know Him as Father and their spirit will cry out, “Abba Father.” Every man that has been born through the power of Jesus Christ and washed in His blood, to Him God is Father and to nobody else.
False Theories of Fatherhood
The terrible theory of our times that makes God a Father of all mankind wipes out the blood of Jesus Christ and says there isn’t a place in the future life where God puts sinners away from Himself; but says He is the Father of all,—we have just made a few mistakes, and are coming out all right anyhow. Why do I call it so vicious? Because it is a blindfold, it is a dupe, a dope, and gets you to think something that isn’t true, and you go on and don’t go according to the danger that is ahead of you. A man may be a reeling drunkard in the street, and yet when he gets home at night, feeling conscience-stricken the next morning will cry to God and say, “I am a sinner,” and he repents and is taken into the Kingdom of Heaven; but the class of men who produce this kind of doctrine never bring anybody to the consciousness of their sin, and therefore can never bring them to salvation. They put a blindfold over man’s eyes and exalt his intellect and steal his conscience, and he goes on thinking and bluffing himself that he is all right and God is his Father, and he falls into Hell and into outer darkness, and he leads other people as he goes, “the blind leading the blind.”
It is our business to hold out to men the fact that they are lost and that they have dropped away from God as their Father, and they are in open rebellion toward Him. I will tell you how He is the Father of every man—like this. Some man might come up here and get this watch of mine and go down the street and have it in his own pocket and say, “That is Rader’s watch.” He believes the fact that I own that watch all right. Mighty fine attitude he has towards me! He believes I own that watch, but he goes ahead with it. There are men all about us that say they believe in the Fatherhood of God, and never in all their lives have treated God like a Father. They would not take His Book. They (young upstarts) must tell God how to talk to them. They must make God’s theology and make God’s words, and be the philosophers and open up the way and show God how to treat humanity, and unless God comes across like they want Him to, they throw the whole business aside. They are running their lives to suit themselves; and not for a minute have they believed in the Fatherhood of God.
The True Theory.
The crowd who put that into that creed does not believe in the Fatherhood of God because they do not believe in the sonship of the Son; and the man who doesn’t believe in the sonship of the Son cannot believe in the Fatherhood of God, the revealed God of this Bible, and the only God the Christian knows about, and the conception of God that has come by direct revelation and not through any kind of evolved ideas of men. The God of the Bible is nothing less than the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, three in one and one in three. Nothing less than this is the Christian’s God, the God of the Trinity taught in this Book. One in substance, but three in personality,—three in one and one in three, all with one substance of the godhead, the one power of the great Spirit God; the Father loving the Son, and the Son loving the Father; and the Holy Ghost manifesting the Son, and the Son manifesting the Father. That is the God of the Bible, and the man that doesn’t believe in the Sonship and the deity of Jesus Christ cannot believe in the Fatherhood of God. He doesn’t know the God he is talking about. He has no consciousness of the God of the Bible. He says his God is the God of nature.
The “God of Nature.”
I want to say that I couldn’t for a minute worship the God of nature or bow down to Him. I could not worship the God of nature unless I had this Bible, and this is the only book that explains how in the world you could begin to love the God that made nature. You could not get it into your heart to love the God of nature unless you believed in the God of the Trinity and believed in the Son and that the Son had come into the world to save men, and that man in his fall was responsible for the chaotic condition of the earth, the death and squalor and vice and aches and pains. I would not worship God Almighty at all, a God that would create pain and suffering and Himself put the thing here and have it just as it is and man climbing his way over it. If He could not do any better than that I would not worship Him; but the God of this Bible never created that kind of a condition. He had to put it on because of humanity.
The citizens of the United States never made jails to live in, never made the guillotine for good people. It is not there, the great electric chair and the hangman’s noose, because the government loves to put it there; it is there because men and women refuse to obey the law: and sin, with its awful curse, has come in—not because God has been the author of sin, but man has been the author of his own sin and refused to obey God.
Nature Cursed by Sin.
You cannot worship the God of nature for a minute unless you accept the Bible story of the curse in the world because of men’s sin. When I visit the hospitals and see those old faces, and the little crippled bodies, and that little thing brought into the world with awful sin marks on it, its eyes bleared, blind forever, its deaf ears, pinched back and deformed feet and all the awful dealing of hospitals with these diseases, if I thought God was the author of that—don’t ask me to worship such a God. God hasn’t made that thing. Man made it with his sin and it is the result of his sin, and God had to curse the rocks and hills and valleys and flowers; and everything under man has fallen and shows the mark of the curse of sin and the punishment that is on it. God wasn’t the author of it, and you cannot worship the God of nature without the Bible story of sin.
Here comes some perfumed poet and says, “I worship the God of nature.” The only time he worships the God of nature is when the sun goes down pretty or we have a pretty little storm; but when she gets to whirling and takes houses up and slaps them together and throws them down on top of people and mixes brains and babies and houses and nails all up, you don’t hear them talking much about the God of nature and saying, isn’t it salubrious, lovely, affectionate? Let your loved ones get into the earthquake in San Francisco and see the great bowels of the earth open up and vomit out something and shake great crevices open, and gas pipes thrown up and water works thrown up and buildings dropping in and thousands of people thrown out of home, and fire devastating whole districts, and folks getting into the bread line. If this is the best that a God can create we would just as well stop. You cannot worship the God of nature. You forget about that.
A man is standing in his field plowing, and all of a sudden—bang, comes the lightning and he goes out. Anger and wrath and fierceness and all sorts of things abound about us all the time, and men in fear, and the death sentence over their heads ready to drop any moment; and then you say you worship the God of nature! The men and women who talk about that kind of stuff don’t know what they are talking about! Sure they worship the little primroses, the little flowers that creep up in the valley, and those little birds among the branches: but how about the typhoid germs and infantile paralysis germs; how about the diphtheria that gets into the throat of the little child and chokes its life out? Do they worship the God of nature there? There in the hour of agonizing death, and in the presence of that hellish thing the cancer, as it eats and eats until it takes away all that you love and all that is dearest, can you say you love the God of nature? I want to say it is pretty near time this poor old world commenced to wake up from the awful dope and dupe of the highbrows. There is no other explanation of life but the explanation given in that Book, and you could not worship Him for a minute, unless you realized that God never sent these things of His own volition; but mankind lived in a place where there was no death, where he ate all the time of the tree of life, and everything was beautiful and glorious, and God there in the garden walked and talked with him. Of his own volition man left it, and God said to woman, “You will bring forth your children in pain and suffering,” and death’s awful anguish came upon mankind, and Eve for the first time looked down into the dead face of her child at Abel’s funeral. Sin—sin—sin. Man has thrown the Fatherhood of God back into His face and said, “Take it, and the divinity of your Son along with it. We are divine gods every one of us and have a spark of divinity. We are not lost,—we are kings,”—going on reeking with their sin and anarchy and objections to God, and falling away from God, in that same horrible rebellion that many of you have exhibited night after night. When Almighty God wanted to close in on you and wash you in Jesus’ blood and restore you to the fellowship of His Son by filling you with the Holy Ghost and power so you could be a child of God and cry out “Abba Father,” you have sat there in your sin and pride and turned your back on God’s offer, and yet you go out and say, “My theology is the Fatherhood of God.” You don’t believe in the Fatherhood of God.
A lot of professors and college people believe in that sort of a creed. So stuck on a sheepskin that they wouldn’t for one moment bow the knee to Jesus Christ nor believe in His miracles, nor trust the mighty power of His books, but they will thrust their theology upon wicked, sinful men of their times; they will take their theories because of the degrees they have in their schools of learning. They don’t believe in the Fatherhood of God. They believe in the deity of men, and if God wants to trail in behind they will call Him Father because they say, “I believe He is the author of us all.” How do they know anything about the Father if they know nothing about the Son? If they don’t believe in the virgin birth and the deity of Christ and the Son of God hanging on the cross, how are they going to put sin out?
The Curse on Sin.
I tell you, my friend, the curse is on sin, and death is here to pay for it, and the man is a fool who doesn’t solve the sin question first and see that it is the first question God Almighty wants solved; and the blood of Jesus Christ is the only thing that will ever solve it and pay its debt and put it away. Any man in this audience ought to see that the curse place on the earth has come because of sin. Ask any physician the most horrible diseases of our times and He will put His finger on them and say, “The most horrible have sin at the root.” What! Man having his own way brings forth all these horrible things? I thought you said man had this spark of divinity and was coming out all right, and yet when he throws himself loose to have the desires of his own heart, the most hellish, horrible, terrific, shocking and maddening results come, insanity, ill-begotten children, all sorts of horrible things called human beings, when man reaps his sin that he loves to indulge in; and yet you say he has divinity in him; and this is the result God puts on it. This is the outcome of the thing man wants to do when he is turned loose! You had better wake up to the fact that sin has its reward right here and God is putting His finger on it. You may try to lift it and find a specific for every disease and an antidote for every poison, but you will find out as long as men sin there is going to be disease and anguish and death. God is rewarding sin and it has its reward here. Men talking about the Fatherhood of God and yet refusing the blood of His own precious Son, and saying, “Give us Barabbas!” “Give us the world!” “God didn’t need pacifying!” No, God always loved His children, but sin needs cleansing away, and there is no other way but with the blood of Jesus. You don’t have to reconcile God, no, but you have to reconcile us and change our hearts so we will love God and not try to dictate to Him and try to sit on His throne ourselves. Something has to come to a man’s mind to take his pride and rebellion out, or he is going to have most horrible conditions forever and ever.
The men and women who don’t want to take the blood of Jesus Christ are outside the pale of the Fatherhood of God, banished from His presence, out into a world cursed with sin round about them and growing worse as the days go by. Man is recognizably growing worse. He may clean up some of the outside things of his sin, but on the inside of his heart he grows more proud of himself, more stuck on the work he can do, more stiffness in his back, and he says, “I won’t submit to God.” He will take Jesus as a pattern, and say “I like the things He does,” but that gives man credit for being able to pattern after Jesus, and says that therefore he is not a lost man, but a man who by his own willpower is able to do these things. God says we are not, and that is why He sent Jesus and substituted Him for the life of men and women, that we might take Him by faith.
The “Brotherhood of Man.”
They say, “I believe in the brotherhood of man” next. They don’t! They lie! They absolutely confess themselves that they are out of touch with the common people. They don’t believe in the brotherhood of man. Bring a bum along and seat him in their churches and find out if they believe in him or not. The only man who believes that every man is his brother is the man who believes in the blood of Jesus Christ and he is the one who kisses father and mother good-bye and goes out to Africa and says good-bye to the college fellows and says, “I am going to China.” “What, down there…where smallpox abounds?” “Yes, the love of Jesus Christ constrains me. Those poor men ought to know of Jesus. I am off.” No man ever loved his brothers all alike until the blood of Jesus Christ had washed him from sin and the Father had said to him, “Go after the lost sheep and bring them back.”
They don’t believe in the brotherhood of man. They may believe in social service and reading clubs and social clubs, but as for the heathen—let them die! We might send them a little money for a university or for education, but as far as walking into a heathen forest and thinking you can bring light, no sir. They haven’t that dynamic; that is not in their creed; but the Christian goes out and does that for his neighbor.
No, the men who believe in the brotherhood of man are not the men that are trying to put down Jesus and deny the divinity of Jesus and the precious blood, but the men who love men of all races, the [people] in Africa, all mixed together and one in the shed blood of Jesus. These are the only men who love their brothers as themselves. They fulfill the law of Christ and are giving up their lives the world around to the cause of Jesus and His love. No, you need to have that old heart of yours changed tonight and let Jesus Christ put a love there that you never knew before.
The “Leadership of Jesus.”
The next thing in this creed is, “I believe in the leadership of Jesus.” This is a pretty nice statement and looks all right. “I believe in the leadership of Jesus,” unless you couple it with the next thing; and the next thing is this, “I believe in salvation by character.” This is just the thing we have been discussing. Men’s character to God is absolutely depraved, and alongside the nature of God, man’s fallen condition is horrible. The only way man gets an exalted idea of his character is by looking at the thing below him; but oh, if he turns back Heaven’s door for a minute and looks in, he realizes the fallenness of his character. Every man that has ever gotten a vision of God has dropped on his face before Him. Job fooled along all through the book saying he was right and wondering how to philosophize, and saying, “Tho He slay me yet will I trust Him,” but finally he gets to a vision of God and says, “Behold I am vile. I am filthy. In my flesh dwelleth no good thing,” and when a man gets a vision of God he will see his own sin and he will drop. Isaiah, in the year that King Uzziah died, saw the Lord in a vision, and immediately cried out, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” He had to be purged before God could use him.
Look at Paul, going to Damascus to persecute the Christians. And afterwards, forty times they beat him; they threw him out on the garbage heap at Lystra, and he rose up and went to preaching again. A man who stood by while men and women threw the rocks at Stephen, and heard him say, “Father, lay not this sin to their charge.” Where can you get character like this? Only where Jesus creates it and washes away sin in His own blood forever.
God threw law in man’s way, and has thrown every kind of inducement and promises to humanity for keeping His law, and they have absolutely ridden over all God’s law; and in the day of intellectuality and culture, the chief delight of the great, big intellectual giants of our day is to laugh at the blood of Jesus Christ and take theological schools and turn out preachers that don’t believe in the virgin birth and the blood of Jesus Christ.
Only His Blood Can Save.
God says humanity is down, and nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ is going to save you. You can go down and out or up and out, without the blood of Jesus. The devil played the “down and out” game a long while, and humanity didn’t like it, and now they are going up and out, refusing to let Jesus Christ be Lord and let Him be God. In spite of all men say, the old Bible says that the only power that can change your life is the power of Jesus Christ. There is only one way for that thing to be done, and that is for you to willingly open up your heart and let Him in. He cannot come in any other way. God has so constructed you that you have an emotion and an intellect and a will, and it takes those three things to make a human being, and you wouldn’t want to love anyone who did not have all three of them. Lose any one of the three and you are gone. God has made him in those three departments, and without any one of them he is gone. He may be emotional and intellectual, but let his will power go and what have you? Or he may have will power and emotion, but if he has no intellect, what have you? Those three things must be kept together. God will not transgress any of the laws of your emotion or will power or intellect. God will not do violence to any one of the three departments. Jesus Christ has satisfied the most intellectual men that have every walked this globe. Don’t you think for a minute that the people who have been saved have been below the standard as far as intellectuality is concerned. Some of the mightiest men of God have had great intellect—Gladstone, for example. Look at Queen Victoria holding up her old Bible and saying the things she did to her people. England would not be where she is now if she had Victoria on the throne. God hasn’t done a thing that does away with man’s intellect. Anyone who comes to Jesus Christ has the freest course for his intellect. He says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things shall be added to you.” Don’t you dare throw back into my face that the man who accepts Jesus Christ is below intellectual par. No, you know the men of our times have the chance to cultivate their intellect because Christian men planted Christian colleges, and the schools of today are the outcome. The old Christian men said, “I want my children to have learning.” Christianity has always been the father of enlightenment and wanted to take off the bars and let men go through.
God put no bounds on the garden of Eden. They might go as far as they wanted, could talk and commune with God, could eat of the tree of life; but they were not to eat of that which was evil. He says, “Take Jesus Christ as your Savior and let Him cleanse you from sin and He will not hurt your intellect.” Since I came to Him I have not had the doubts I had when I was following the devil. My emotions men could tickle one way or the other; but I found out God loved that part of my nature, and had made my heart emotional so He could get in and baptize me with His Spirit and I could love Him. I would not give up one night of the joy I have had with Jesus for all the years I have had without Him! He is the fairest of ten thousand to my soul! When I am weary and tired and discouraged and “up against it,” I have turned my tear-stained face up to Him and said, “Jesus, you know I am up against it,” and then how His hand has lifted me. When I have had my little family and didn’t know how to take care of them and turned my face up to Him and said, “Jesus you know how it is,” and then I have seen Him put the help there. I love Him tonight with everything there is in me. He is real. He is vital. He is practical. He is everything good. Jesus, I love you. You are there. You are there every time. You are there ahead of time. He hears prayer and answers prayer and keeps your heart clean and opens the road to glory. Oh, what joy to look at His face and commune with God! There is His body up there tonight. It never was eaten by death. He took it out from death, holy, perfect and took it into the glory with Him. Tonight the angels look upon the face of a man. Oh He is Jesus, and I love Him. I shall look on His face, saved at last by His grace. I shall feel then the touch of His hand wounded for me on Calvary’s tree, over there in the beautiful land.
I believe it. I know it. Because He has brought the spirit that is up there and delivered it in my heart. He is up there where they have victory, and He has brought the source of it down here, and although temptation and fear and the devil are round about, thank God the old anchor holds!
Talk about your emotions! He will satisfy every longing of your breast! And now it is just a question of your will. Will you? He will never transgress it. He will never come and drive you into it. No man was ever driven. Every last one of you that came, came willingly. He knocked, and you came by your own consent. You came because He asked you. You felt persuaded, and His tenderness drove you on and you said, “Yes, Jesus, I will come.” Of all friends, He is the friend. “There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus.” He has taken sin and paid its debt on Calvary. He smiled at death and He is the victory and offers you a substituted life tonight. What you cannot do He has done. What you have not got He has. What you could not get you can get from Him. He has it—life. Will you come to Him that you might have life?