The Emperor’s Decree

“Now, the chief Emperor (Christ), has issued a decree, which decree he has sealed with his blood, and in this decree it reads, that we must be born again, repent, deny ourselves, take upon ourselves the cross, believe on Jesus Christ, and on our faith be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and to obey his commandments.”
(Menno Simons)

Dying with Christ

This is how Charles Haddon Spurgeon explained what it means to die with Christ:

I suppose that, if you were to meet your old self, he would hardly know you, for you are so greatly altered.  I dare say he would say to you, “Come, old fellow, let us go to the theater, or turn into this beer-shop, or let us go home, and find out some way of amusing ourselves.”

You would reply, “No, sir; I cut your acquaintance a long time ago, and I do not mean to have anything further to do with you, so you may go about your business as soon as you like.  I am not what I was, for I have been crucified with Christ, and I am dead, and my life is hid with Christ in God.

A Message From Jesus

(This was written by Menno Simons.  He is writing as if Jesus is speaking.  Simons draws from a number of Scripture passages to summarize the message and mission of Jesus.)   

I am the Son of the almighty God, Luke 1:32, anointed with the Holy Ghost to preach the Gospel to the poor, and to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to give sight to the blind, to open the prison to them that are bound, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18.

Believe the gospel. I am the Lamb that was offered for you. I take away the sins of the world. My Father has made me unto you wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 1 Cor. 1:30. Whosoever believeth on me shall not be ashamed, yea all that believe that I am He, have eternal life. John 3:16.

Too Good To Be True?

This account was written by Horatius Bonar.  

Many years ago, I was walking with a friend along the pleasant banks of a Scottish river, in one of the early months of summer, when the trees had just begun to show their fresh verdure and to offer us a shade from the sun. A man in rags came up to us begging. We supplied his wants somewhat, and entered into talk with him. He could not write nor read: He knew nothing of his Bible, and seemed not to care about knowing it.

“You need to be saved, do you not?”

“Oh yes; I suppose I do,” he said.

“But do you know the way of being saved?” we asked.

“I dare say I do,” was the reply.

“How, then, do you expect this?”

“I have not been a very bad man; and am doing as many good works as I can.”

“But are your good works good enough to take you to heaven?”

“I think so; and I am doing my best.”

“Do you not know any good works better than your own?”

“I know about the good works of the saints; but how am I to get them?”

“Do you know of no good works better than those of the saints?”

“I don’t think there can be any better.”

“Are not the works of the Lord Jesus Christ better than the works of the saints?”

“Of course they are; but of what use are they to me?”

“They may be of great use to us, if we believe what God has told us about them.”

“How is that?”

“If God is willing to take these works of Christ instead of yours, would not that do?”

“Yes, that it would. But will He?”

“Yes, He will. For this is just what He has told us; He is willing to take all that Christ has done and suffered instead of what you could do or suffer; and to give you what Christ has deserved instead of what you have deserved.”

“Is that really the case? Is God willing to put Christ instead of me?”

“Yes, He certainly is.”

‘But have I no good works to do myself?”

“Plenty; but not to buy pardon with them. You are to take what Christ did as the price to be paid for your pardon; and then, having thus got a free pardon, you will work for Him who pardons you, out of love for His love to you.”

“But how can I get this?”

“By believing the gospel, or good news which tell you about the Lord Jesus Christ: how He lived; how He died; how He was buried; how He rose again—all for sinful men: as the Bible says, ‘Through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified from all things.’ ”

The beggar stood and wondered. The thought that another’s works would do instead of his own, and that he might get all that this other’s works deserved, seemed to strike him.

We never met again. But the Word seemed to tell upon him; he seemed to take it with him as something which he had never heard before—something which seemed almost too good news to be true.