THE NEED FOR CHRIST BY RODNEY L. SMOKES
Let me introduce to you Rodney, a co-worker, father, husband, coach and (most importantly) man of God, who I will always remember as saying "I know what I am and I know whose I am" with 100% confidence in his countenance. While having group breakfast at work a few weeks ago the topic came up about right vs wrong and children being taught vs predisposition of certain behaviors. He shared with me what he wrote the below, and I asked if he would be kind enough to let me post it on the blog, he was and welcomes any comments and feedback!
THE NEED FOR CHRIST
BY RODNEY L. SMOKES
If you have ever had the privilege of raising a child, or being close by while one was being raised, then the question of our nature has been answered for you. You don’t have to teach a child to do wrong; you have to train them to do right. We come in the world selfish and desiring to please only ourselves. Try this: instruct a small child not to eat any of the cookies left on the kitchen counter, and then walk out of the room. When you return to see the little child’s teeth marks left in one of the cookies, ask him if he was the one who ate of the cookie. Any parent knows the answer that is going to come forth out of the child’s mouth; “no” (if not this situation, you have one like it).
Why is this? Why do we have to train our children to be honest and to obey instruction? The reason is simple; we are born in sin and shapen in iniquity. After the flood Noah offered burnt offerings unto the Lord. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done (Genesis 8 ).
We have witnessed the truth in this saying, yet we deceive ourselves into thinking we are born innocent, and then made corrupt. We are corrupt from our beginning. What man has entered into the world without sin (save Jesus Christ)? For if our fathers, since Adam, are sinners, how then can their seeds be without sin (which is in their sinful bodies)? Why do we have traits of our fathers? A man can have a child and then desert him, and that child will still be like his father. Why is this? A man’s seed is from him, and of him. A misconception has been passed along among the peoples. God only created two people. All other souls are born of man (save Jesus Christ). This is the predicament of man: God hates sin. How then can man fellowship with God? How can we know Him? For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3).
This is the need for Christ: that we may be forgiven for that which we are guilty of. The question then becomes, how. How might we be saved through this man called Jesus? By what means is Jesus able to cleanse us of our sins? If man is born in sin and Jesus was born a man, where is his saving power? Jesus was born of a virgin for this very reason; that he may be the perfect sacrifice. Before Jesus, the people would give sacrifices to atone for their sins. These sacrifices were not unto salvation but for atonement and a sign of what was to come. Because of sin there was no perfect sacrifice in the earth. This is the need for Christ and him crucified. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many (Romans 5).
So, who is this Jesus? Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man commeth unto the Father, but by me. There is no salvation apart from Jesus. If we are to be forgiven of our sins, we must believe in Him. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: But he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3).
So, for those who believe in Jesus Christ, they are forgiven their sins; for Christ stood in our place and died for us. Does this mean that we, believers, are no longer guilty of our sins? How could that be? We committed the sins. Forgiveness is the covering of sins. You do not cover that which is not there in the first place. Yes, the penalty is paid and our record will be made clean. But the difference between the saved and the damned is belief in Christ, not sin. When Jesus comes back, we shall be made like him, but let us not forget the sacrifice he made on our behalf. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, Holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12). Because Christ died for our sins, it is a reasonable service indeed.
No serious scholar, of any sort, says that Jesus didn’t exist. Christians believe he is the Son of God; he was born of a virgin, died on the cross, rose from the dead in three days and now sits on the right hand of God in heaven. Muslims believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, but that he was not the Son of God, but a prophet. Jews believe he was blasphemous, and are still waiting on Christ to show up for the first time. So, the separation between the world’s three largest religions centers on who Jesus is.
What do you believe?