Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 11, 1964
NUMBER 6, PAGE 1,11b-13

The Savior's Invitation

A. Hugh Clark

The deepest, darkest tragedy of human history is the story of man's rebellion against his Maker. When brought into full perspective, in the light of all that it involves, it has deluged the worlds, heaven and earth, in tears. Nor have all the evils wrought as a consequence of sin been repaired, and they will not be as long as eternity lasts. For, as long as one soul suffers the consequences of his sins in hell, which will be for all eternity, the reparation will not be complete.

The Nature Of Sin

Sin, which is the sum of man's rebellion against his Maker, is the greatest evil in the universe. John describes sin as "lawlessness" (I John 3:4), saying that all lawlessness is sin. Sin therefore, is a failure to recognize the right of God to the absolute control of his creatures, and a lack of conformity to God's law in character and conduct on the part of man, God's rational creation.

The History Of Sin

Introduced into the realm at the very beginning of the human race, sin was the one foreign element which, as the grain of sand which finds its way into the physical mechanism of the pearl oyster and occasions a constant irritant, set up such an irritant in the Divine Economy as has been the occasion of all the havoc, destruction, suffering, death and devastation in the physical world, as well as the anguish, sorrow, woe and unhappiness, in the world of sense, or spirit, for time and for eternity.

Sin not only pilfers the soul of man of its choicest virtues and leaves instead a perverted being filled with the vices and gnawing anxieties of hell, destroying the very possibility of his greatest usefulness in this life, it then runs on ahead to wait with ever increasing malignity, to accuse and condemn the guilty soul at the bar of final judgment. How can any one yield himself willingly to such a fiendish destroyer!

Whether man is disposed to accept it or not, this is the nature and these are the consequences of sin, as they are depicted upon the pages of Divine Revelation.

Jesus Appears

Beginning with the creation, four thousand years were unrolled from the skein of time, during which man wandered through the world lost in the labyrinth of estrangement from the visible presence of the Deity from which he sprang, and suffering the unremedied consequences of the evil to which he had fallen victim.

Not that man's Maker had forgotten or forsaken him, and was doing nothing to recover him from his evil plight; such was not true. God was, through all this time, nurturing and disciplining man and his posterity and preparing him for the coming of one who was to be the central figure in a remedial system which had been hidden away in the mind of God from the beginning (I Cor. 2:6-7; Eph. 3:1-9), and which would completely undo the work of sin, reconciling man to his God and restoring him to his intended place in the divine association (2 Cor. 5:17-21).

So, "When the fulness of time came," meaning when the time had come when, in the unquestionable wisdom of God everything was in readiness, "God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Gal. 4:4-5).

The Deity And The Humanity Of Jesus

Jesus was the unique character of all the ages. The Old Testament scriptures from the beginning, had thrilled with the not yet seen but soon to he revealed Son of God, who should be the redeemer of the world from sin (Matt. 1:21).

The angel Gabriel, when he announced the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary, said he should be begotten by the Holy Spirit. He should have an earthly mother, but no human father. (Luke 1:26-35), And of him John said in his prologue, that unlike merely human beings, his existence would not begin with his birth. He had existed from the beginning. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1).

Thus it is seen that Jesus was the God - man; he was Deity and he was human. He was equally akin to God and man (Phil. 2:5-8). He was, being divine and having existed from the beginning, acquainted with all the circumstances of man's sins and their consequences as viewed by the eyes of Deity. He understood both sides of the equation perfectly. Since he was human, he understood perfectly the weaknesses of man, and since he was Deity, he also understood perfectly the evil of sin in the divine economy. He was therefore, the one being in all the universe who was peculiarly qualified to do the work which divine wisdom conceived necessary to make it possible for God, in the exercise of his love for the human family despite their oft repeated rebellion against him, to extend to them all, hands of mercy and clemency; and as a good, kind, heavenly Father who was also the ultimate judge of all to forgive and justify all of those who, in their subjection and obedience to him, gave evidence of a sincere desire to serve him faithfully. This, it is repeated, he was able to do only because of the death of Jesus as a sufficient atonement for sin (Rom. 3:19-28).

The Ministry Of Jesus

When we speak of the ministry of Jesus, we should think not only of that part of his life on earth following his baptism at the hands of John the Baptist, which included almost three and a half years and which culminated with his death on the cross, his resurrection, and the forty days he spent with his disciples after he was raised from the dead. We should think also of what he is doing for us now, in heaven. For he ascended to heaven with the same tender heart of compassion which characterized him always while he was here upon the earth. And he ascended, having accomplished that part of his mediatorial work which God had given him to do on the earth (John 17:4), that he might continue as the great high priest and advocate of man, in the very throne room of God. (Heb. 4:14-16; 1 John 2:1-2).

Thus it is evident that the ministry of Jesus is not yet completed, and it will not be until all who will be saved from their sins, have been gathered safely home in heaven.

An Incident In His Life On Earth

There were many disappointments in the life of Jesus during his ministry on the earth. After all, the spiritual, moral and ethical standards which were the essence of his teaching, were so far above the standards of the teachers among the people of his day, that many rejected him as visionary and impractical, just as many still do. And some, especially among the leaders of the principal religious sects of the Jews, so hated and despised him that they were not satisfied with merely rejecting his teaching, they persecuted him personally and sought his destruction.

One day, after his public ministry was almost half over, tired and weary himself because of the duties and tasks of the day, and greatly disappointed and distressed at the unreliability and volatility of the people in general (Matt. 11:16-19), he began to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works had been done as more culpably wicked than Tyre and Sidon, the wicked cities of the Phoenician coast, or even the cities of the land of Sodom. Then, thinking of the stupidity and human arrogance which had led the people almost universally to reject him, he was reduced to prayer. (Matt. 11:25-27) He thanked God that even though the conceited and arrogant who considered themselves "wise and understanding" would not and could not receive him and his teaching, yet there were some who, humbly realizing their great need, as "Babes" (children) were teachable. And looking upon these with a heart full of pity and compassion, seeing they were confused and heavy hearted, really not knowing which way to turn for comfort and relief, he uttered these pent up and meaningful words. "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:28, 29)

Many Share The Same Needs Today

The proffered blessings of this Great Invitation of the Savior are still as true and possible for mankind today, as they were when Jesus spoke the words so many years ago. And they are just as needed. Moreover, the subjective conditions upon which they may be received are the same. But only the humble minded, who are weary and tired of the disappointing labors of a misdirected and misspent life, who are conscious of having missed the real meaning of life, and who are borne down with burdens too heavy to be carried alone, are here invited. Others, having no sense of need, though actually, they are in great need, would not come anyway; they are too conceited, too self-sufficient as they are. And, having no sense of need, they would not come, even if the Savior invited them.

How many there are who are like that in the world today, only the Lord knows! And mind you, they are not like that because they have no need, nor yet because the Lord would not receive them if they came to him, but because they are so absorbed in themselves, in the here and now., the material things of this world and this life, "The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life," that the call of the Lord has no appeal to them. They have not learned that, "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." (1 John 2:16; Luke 12:15)

Jesus said of this same class of individuals in another place and on another occasion, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not." (Matt. 23:37)

Since the subjective conditions of man's acceptance with God are the same today as ever, and man's needs are the same as they have ever been, let us look at this Great Invitation of the Savior in a more detached and general sort of way, keeping man's present spiritual needs in view.

The First Appeal Of Jesus

The first appeal of Jesus to those addressed is to "Come." This appeal sets out the one grand need of all men. Alike, they all need to "Come to the Savior," with all that statement means in the light of the teaching of the New Testament. If they do not, they will remain forever away from him, and therefore, lost in sin, for they are all sinners. (Rom. 3:23)

This is the only way back to God. Jesus affirms, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) He who rejects Jesus therefore, or fails to come to him, shall never see the face of God in peace. He is, by the testimony of the Savior himself, already banished eternally from the presence of God.


This places the responsibility for his own destiny squarely upon the shoulders of the sinner himself. He must do the "Coming," whatever that involves. God has provided his salvation from sin through Jesus, the Savior, and now the sinner is invited to "Come." It follows therefore, that the sinner can come to Jesus; that he possesses the power to come, else the Savior would not have invited him.

There is another statement of Jesus, made upon a different occasion, but which may he consulted with great propriety upon this point. The unbelieving Jews were caviling and disputing with Jesus because he said, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (John 6:35) Jesus answered and said unto them, "No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up the last day. It is written in the prophets: And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me." (Jno. 6:44, 45)

If no man can come to Jesus, except the Father "draw" him, but all those who hear and learn from the Father, "Come to him"; it follows then, that hearing and learning constitute the means by which God draws men to Christ.

Moreover, this conclusion comports with every passage in the New Testament bearing upon the point under consideration. Jesus said, "If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32) The Great Commission of Jesus reads, "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matt. 28:19, 20) Every example of conversion recorded in the book of Acts of apostles was preceded by teaching, hearing, and learning. And Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Rom. 1:16)

The greatest need you have therefore, my sinner friend, is to be informed of your need of a Savior such as Jesus, of what he can do for you, and of how you may come to him and receive his blessing. He will relieve you of the burden of the guilt of all your sins when, as a penitent believer, you obey the command to be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) For, he himself has said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16)

The salvation here promised by Jesus, bear in mind, is retrospective; it points backward, and intends the forgiveness of the sins of which the one baptized has been guilty in his past life. Baptism becomes a simple condition of the forgiveness of sins like faith and repentance, which also precede salvation.

The Invitation Is Twofold

But, the invitation here given is twofold: it is not only to come to the Lord that we might find the rest of conscience and peace of mind which comes with the forgiveness of sins, but it is also an invitation to be "Yoked." "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me."

This is a figure of speech taken from the use of oxen which were yoked for service, and hence, the statement implies service to another. The statement means here, when robbed of its metaphor, that the sinner is to come to Christ by accepting his precepts, embracing his system of religion, and obeying him for all the future of his life.

And I emphasize, that a whole hearted commitment to both parts of this twofold invitation on the part of the sinner, is essential to receiving the promised blessing of "Rest." And only they who do what is here required may truly be said to have come to Jesus.

A Great Encouragement

"For I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." The word "for" as here used by Jesus is causal. It introduces the reason why the sinner should, with hope of success and joyful anticipation, come to the Savior.

Sin, which has hitherto been his taskmaster, has indeed been hard and demanding. And as a consequence, the poor unfortunate sinner is weary and heavy laden, borne down with a sense of guilt of his misdoings. But, here is the promise from one who will he his Master all right, and under whose yoke he will serve, but who will not be harsh, over-bearing and oppressive, but who will be always meek, mild, kind and gentle in his government. Moreover, his service will grow, "Sweeter as the years go drifting by." His yoke is easy, and his burden is light. Not because his servants will not be called upon to labor and to sacrifice, "to deny himself and bear his cross," but because to do so in the service of one so worthy, so gentle and so kind, can be nothing but the purest of increasing joy and satisfaction. And after a while, when life has been fully spent, and all of its exhausting labors and toils are over, then will come the full realization of the promised rest. For the rest that the Savior here promises includes not only time, but eternity as well. There is therefore, "A rest that remains for the people of God." (Heb. 4:9) And all are invited to make ready for its enjoyment.

Facing The Facts

Someone has said, "Facts are stubborn things," and indeed they are! And all of us know how we are prone to try to run away from what we think are the unpleasant facts of life. We do this even when we know that, sooner or later, we shall be caught in the deceitfulness of our own thinking. This is why God has said, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life." (Gal. 6:7-8)

Now, all of us know really, this is one of the inexorable laws of the universe, There is no way for any man to escape the harvest of his own sowing, and this is as inescapably true in the spiritual and moral world as in the world of nature, It is no use therefore, for us to turn a deaf ear to this stubborn fact, to live in a dream world of unreality and fool ourselves with the deceitfulness of Satan. (2 Cor. 11:14-15) We are responsible human beings. Our eternal destiny is in our own hands. And one day we shall stand in the presence of God, and give account unto him for what we are and for what we have done while we lived in the world. "For we must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Cor. 5:10)

What is the wise thing for us all to do, therefore? Why of course, in the realization of this solemn fact, let us answer the call of him who, with hands undefiled, and a sincere heart of compassion says to us all, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

— Route 1, Killeen Texas