To every human being in the world, no matter how sinful or degraded, is to be brought the glad tidings of salvation, the message of reconciliation. This message is to be conveyed through men and women who have themselves experienced the joy of reconciliation and have been saved by the grace of God.
"As His representatives among men, God does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took humanity that He might reach humanity. A divine-human Saviour was needed to bring salvation to the world. And to men and women has been committed the sacred trust of making known ' the unsearchable riches of Christ.' "—"The Acts of the Apostles," p. 134.
Every one who is appointed to serve in the ministry of reconciliation becomes the official spokesman of the King of heaven. He does not stand before the people as a man who is at liberty to deliver a message to his fellow men which has originated in his own heart or mind, but he stands as the mouthpiece for God, the visible representative of the kingdom of heaven; and his message is to be direct from the God of heaven, conveyed to him through the ministration of the Holy Spirit operating through the designated channels of communication,—the written word of God, prayer, meditation, and fellowship with Jesus Christ. The message from such a source, unmarred by human devising, will prove to be a message of salvation to the soul.
The ministry of reconciliation involves not alone speaking for God, but also living for Him. The messenger must live his message. When a man accepts at the hands of the church the rite of ordination to the work of the gospel ministry, by that acceptance he forfeits his right to think and act as he himself may choose. By accepting this sacred calling, he surrenders himself as a bond servant to Jesus Christ, and consequently yields himself so completely to the control of the Spirit of God that he ceases to be his own master. Henceforth he is to follow the dictates of the Spirit of God, constantly bearing a message of eternal life to lost man.
This sacred work of reconciliation has never ceased, and never will cease until the story of redemption has been heard and accepted or rejected by every member of the human family. The divine assurance of this fact is stated as follows:
" In every period of this earth's history, God has had His men of opportunity, to whom He has said, Ye are My witnesses.' In every age there have been devout men, who gathered up the rays of light as they flashed upon their pathway, and who spoke to the people the words of God. Enoch, Noah, Moses, Daniel, and the long roll of patriarchs and prophets,— these were ministers of righteousness. They were not infallible; they were weak, erring men; but the Lord wrought through them as they gave themselves to His service.
"Since His ascension, Christ, the great Head of the church, has carried forward His work in the world by chosen ambassadors, through whom He speaks to the children of men, and ministers to their needs. The position of those who have been called of God to labor in word and doctrine for the upbuilding of His church, is one of grave responsibility. In Christ's stead they are to beseech men and women to be reconciled to God; and they can fulfill their mission only as they receive wisdom and power from above." —" Gospel Workers," p. 13.
As ministers of the present day, we stand as successors in the long roll of patriarchs and prophets who have been ministers of righteousness, standing between God and the sinner as the agent through which the Holy Spirit may show forth the unsearchable riches of Christ. What a glorious privilege granted to the redeemed sinner at any time, but aboVe all times, in this day and generation, when we stand upon the borders of the eternal world!
Shall we not more earnestly endeavor to be as faithful as Noah, Moses, Daniel, and all the devout men who have been God's spokesmen through the ages, that with the apostle Paul we may say, " Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God "? Acts 20:24.
Claremont, South Africa.