Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 12, 1951
NUMBER 48, PAGE 4,11c

High-Lights Of History


There are certain events in human history which impress themselves so vividly and so dramatically on the hearts of men that the passing centuries serve only to heighten their significance and strengthen their appeal. Nations may come and go, whole civilizations may arise, have their day, and perish from the earth, but the unforgettable picture of Moses receiving the law from God on the top of smoking, quavering Sinai has entered so deeply into the heart of humanity that neither time nor distance, neither wars, nor famines, nor pestilence can ever efface it. For one breathless moment in eternity, time stood still. The voice of God thundered forth, and the earth trembled at his presence. The destinies not of a single tribe or nation, nor even of a single generation were tied up in that moment, but the destiny of the whole human race.

Or again can the children of men ever forget that still and holy night when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea? The curtain was going up that night on earth's highest glory and most bitter tragedy:

"0, little town of Bethlehem; How still we see thee lie, Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, The silent stars go by.

Yet in thy dark street shineth, The everlasting light; The hopes and fears of all the years, Are met in thee tonight."

Thirty-Three Years Later We See That Same Jesus Hanging Suspended On A Cross Between Heaven And Earth, Blood Dripping From The Torn And Lacerated Flesh Of His Hands And Feet, And Falling Slowly Into The Dust Beneath Him, His Body Writhing In Agony, His Face Tortured In The Final Throes Of A Ghastly And Horrible Death. Here Is Summed Up In One Awful Moment All The Tragedy And Sin, All The Depravity And Degradation, Of A Ruined And Recreant Race.

Peter On Pentecost

There is another of these dramatic high-lights of history which took place just fifty days after that Passover festival at which Christ was crucified. Simon Peter, a fisherman of Galilee, preached the first gospel sermon in the name of a risen Redeemer. The angels of heaven had desired to know about the things of which he spoke. The prophets of God for more than a thousand years had prophesied of this day, and had longed to know more about it. But it was given to Peter to unlock the eternal mysteries of God, and to announce to a waiting world the terms of pardon.

Humanity will never forget that scene. It was a Sunday morning in April in the year 30 A.D. Set amidst the green hills of Judea and under the blue vault of a Palestinian sky, Jerusalem was that day, as she had often been before, the most important site on the face of the earth. For at long last Peter was destined to be one to announce God's answer to the long, long quest of all the race—the search for forgiveness. Man's hunger and fear and uncertainty could now come to an end. The burden of guilt was to be no longer necessary. A risen Redeemer was now crowned KING, and was about to announce the terms of pardon to all who would acknowledge him. The birth of Christ, and the death of Christ, and even his resurrection, would have been of no avail had they not been followed by Pentecost. For it was on Pentecost that Peter made known exactly how the sinner should receive the benefits of Christ's great sacrifice.

"Repent, And Be Baptized"

The terms of pardon were so simple as to be easily comprehensible even to the illiterate and untaught. Every man who had sinned was guilty; every man who had sinned needed forgiveness. And the terms of pardon were suitable to the understanding, and the obedience, of king and commoner alike. The most learned philosopher and the naive, illiterate heathen were here made equal. The same requirement was laid upon each; the same simple action was required from each. The gospel was adapted to meet the understanding, and the needs, of every man on the earth who had sinned.

Well may we today wonder at the perversity and blindness which causes men of our generation to seek to deny and set aside the simple terms of that gospel. So great has man become by his own wisdom, so filled with a sense of his own invincibility that he has presumed to pass judgment on God. He has declared certain of God's commandments to be "essential;" the other to be "non-essential." Baptism, for example, has been classified under the second category. It has been belittled and minimized almost to the point of obliteration. Indeed, a great number of the "churches" of today are dispensing with it altogether. Men have decided that it is unnecessary and unimportant.

But the honest heart—the humble heart—will not be deceived by the pronouncements of men. He recognizes that God's will and God's way may often differ from the will and the ways of men. And he is willing to commit his life and his eternal destiny into the hands of God. The word of Peter on Pentecost, the simple terms of pardon there made, will not be set aside or lightly regarded. The repentance and the baptism which Peter enjoined will be honored and accepted as the will of God.

In an age of doubt, skepticism, and both public and private degradation in moral and spiritual life, the man who wants to serve God need not be confused. The way is open and clear. It simply resolves itself into the degree of desire in one's heart. If a man is willing to make a total commitment of his life, he will be neither confused or misled by the false teachings of men.

— F. Y. T.