Man is constantly asking questions. One of the most hopeful and encouraging signs in the mental development of a boy or girl is the habit of asking questions. The person who really succeeds in this world in material things is the one who is constantly, inquisitively, and persistently asking questions. The one who takes everything for granted and receives it just as it comes will generally move along in that type of life all his days, but the person who wants to know the why and wherefore of everything is the one who makes the most of the circumstances which surround him in life.
So our subject is one which concerns every man; and I do feel that the topic, as I have noted it, is one that is particularly applicable to the man who has not yet satisfied himself regarding the great facts of the spiritual life and the spiritual experience.
To each of the questions which I want to bring to you, there is a simple form of answer, all of which are absolutely definite, simple, and easy to understand. They are not obscure questions of the hour, but are entirely practical for you and me and altogether important, because they have to do with a man‘s eternal destiny and a man’s experience in all the ages yet to be. The first is one which every man who believes that there is a God, infinite, eternal, and unchanging, must necessarily stop and ask:
Am I Accountable to God?
Must I answer to Him? Is there a day coming—and I insist that we keep the question practical—when you and I in a very real manner shall stand before God and give an accounting? This is a fundamental question; this is an important question, and one well worth considering and thinking over: Am I accountable to God? We like to boast of our independence, and we like to say we are not answerable to any one; but are we definitely, personally accountable to God? Listen to the answer from Romans 14:12: “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Your question and my question is a definite one: Shall we give an account to God? God answers is just as definitely: “Every one of us shall give account of Himself to God.” That settles the matter! It is a statement on the authority of God Himself. And it is just as foolish to try to escape the dawning of a day as it is to escape giving an account to God. The second question:
Does God Know All About Me?
This one, too, is important. Aye, on the basis of the first, it is tremendously important! Now that I have to give an accounting to Him, does God know all about me? Those I associate with see merely the outside. They hear what I say; they see my actions, but the inner man they know not. My thoughts are veiled and hidden from the knowledge of my friends. Does God know all about me? God gives answer to this question in Hebrews 4:13: “All things are naked and laid open before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Notice the third question:
Does God Charge Me With Sin?
This becomes more and more important upon the basis of the preceding two questions and their answers. I shall give an account to God, and God knows all about me. (Let us keep it simple and practical). Does God, to whom I am to give an accounting and who knows all about me, charge me with sin? Is it all recorded against me? It does not matter how well I can excuse myself to some other person. It does not matter how other people regard me. Here is the important question: Does God charge me with sin? Let me merely read the answer from Galatians 3:22: “But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin.” And again, from Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned.” This is God‘s charge: “All have sinned.” It is an utter impossibility for any man or woman to escape the all-inclusiveness of that little word of three letters, A-L-L. From the prince in the palace to the waif in the street, from the highest to the lowest, from the east to the west—“all have sinned.” And it does seem as if it would be wise for any man, if these answers are true and correct, to sit down and face them as he would face any question of his daily life or of his business life. The fourth question:
Will God Punish Sin?
Now God’s answer to the question just preceding this is that you and I are charged with sin. Therefore, will God punish sin? I realize that there are those who say that God is too good to punish sin. But, notice, this statement originated with man and not with God. There is no place in all the revealed Word of God where it says He will not punish sin. All the way through God says that He will punish sin. The answer to that question is found in Ezekiel 18:4: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Notice, also, Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death.” It is not mere physical death, the death of the body; it is eternal death, the second death.
A few days ago I read a part of a letter from Dan Crawford, over in Africa. In that letter, he tells about one of the phrases of the Book which is influencing the wonderful revival of the people of Africa—“the second death.” Dan Crawford tells how even there, as it is here, there is that idea which some men voice and so many seem to believe, that man dies but once—in the flesh; but God says there is a second death. The fifth question, following naturally after this, is:
Need I Perish?
Is there no way I can escape the punishment and judgment for my sins? I am accountable to God. He knows all about me. He does charge me with sin. He will punish sin. But need I perish for my sins? Let me read God‘s answer in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The sixth:
How Can I Escape?
There is running through the midnight darkness of the coming judgment a ray of hope. God is not willing that I should perish. How then can I escape? How can I get away from the coming judgment on sin? That, too, is a practical question. The answer that God gives is just as plain and definite as the question. In Acts 16:30, we read: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” The Gospel is the most simple thing in all the world. There is first of all the great, stupendous, inescapable fact of sin, and that we are linked with it. Then there is the fact of Jesus Christ, and salvation through Jesus Christ. Is it not simple? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Notice the seventh question:
Is He Able to Save Me?
God says, in answer to the question as to how I can escape, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” The thing I am concerned about next is whether He is able to save me. Has He the power, has He the ability to rescue me from the punishment of sin and the judgment to come? You will find God’s answer in Hebrews 7:25: “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him.” Now that we know on God‘s own authority that He is able to save, the next question, the eighth, would be:
Is He Willing to Save Me?
Oh, so many of us are able to do things but we are not willing! We are face to face with the great facts of sin and of judgment. We have discovered on God’s authority, in answer to our questions, that He is not willing that we should perish; that He has provided a way of escape by believing on the work of the Lord Jesus Christ—His death and resurrection; and that Jesus Christ is able to save. Now is He willing to save? The answer is in 1 Timothy 1:15: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” When you think of the Babe in the manger of Bethlehem, of the dying form of the Son of God on the cross of Calvary, and of the empty tomb, dare you ask, “Is He willing?” He undertook the journey to earth from Glory, and went through all the anguish and suffering on Calvary‘s cross, the guilty to save. Then He is willing; He is willing! Let me take the ninth question. This is one in which so many people seem to become involved, and yet God‘s answer is very clear and very plain. It is a simple question, a practical question, and an important question:
Am I Saved by Merely Believing on Jesus?
God‘s answer is in John 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” There is no other condition of salvation but faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. May I use just one illustration? You remember when Jesus hung on Calvary‘s cross there were crucified with Him two thieves, one on the right hand, the other on the left. One thief joined with those around him in ridiculing Christ, but the other thief rebuked him for it, and said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, to the thief who was dying on the cross, “Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise.” He had no work to do so that he might gain salvation. He only had a criminal record. But on the cross, with his last breath, he believed! He was saved by merely believing on Jesus Christ. In following the natural line of questionings, the tenth would be:
Can I Be Saved Now?
It is God‘s answer I am concerned about, and it is God‘s answer which means everything to you. Listen, then, from 2 Corinthians 6:2: “Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.” Now is the time to decide. You know not about tomorrow, and yesterday is gone. “Believe (NOW) on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Let me take the next question:
Can I Be Saved Just As I Am?
Without preparation, without getting ready, without making myself better in character and appearance? Can I be saved just as I am? With all my sin, with all my stains, with all my filthiness? Let me read the answer from John 6:37: “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” No matter how filthy your garments, no matter how stained by sin, and bruised by many a fall—“Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” The twelfth question:
Shall I Not Fall Away?
If I do come, and if I am saved, what if I shall fall away again? In Jude 24, God answers: “Now unto Him (Jesus Christ) that is able to keep you from falling.” The thirteenth question briefly follows this:
If I Have Been Saved, How Should I Live?
If I have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, how should I live now? God’s answer is from 2 Corinthians 5:15: “They which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them.” And here is a question which has made strong men tremble and brave men weak. It is the question which has broken down the reserve of many a man as he has stood at the edge of an open grave:
What About Death and Eternity?
Let me give you the answer of Jesus Christ Himself: “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2-3. Is it not true that, as I have passed from one question to another, I have touched all the great questions that man has to ask? And is it not equally true that to every question of man‘s there is the definite, plain answer from God Himself?
Over against man‘s questions and God’s answers, I want to put the one great final question that God asks of you. And God waits, the angels wait, all Heaven waits for your answer! God has answered your questions. What will you do with God‘s question? How will you answer it? He has one single question to ask. And I challenge any man or woman who has not yet done so to face it, and give answer! This is God‘s question to you, my friend: “What will you do with Jesus, who is called Christ?” God has answered all the questions you can ask. How will you answer Him? What will you do with Jesus, who is called Christ?
— Written in 1925 by Dr. A. Gordon MacLennan, fundamentalist pastor of the Bethany Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA. Reproduced from Foundation magazine, Volume 25, Issue 2 (March-April 2004).