The minister of Christ for today is a believing man. He is "stablished in the faith" (Col. 2:7). He believes God. He believes God as He speaks through ' (holy men of old. '' He receives the inspired witness that in this way was given of the coming of the Messiah. He believes Christ as He speaks personally in the Gospels, and by inspiration through His apostles. He receives the Bible, the whole Bible, not under taking to prescribe what God ought to have said, but endeavoring to under stand what He has said, and then to believe it.
The great central truth of revelation--Christ crucified--he believes with full heart. Upon this he looks and rejoices, while he wonders and triumphs. All else follows this as a matter of course; for this great truth, like the sun of the universe, illuminates all else that God has spoken. In the splendor of its rays it is easy to see and believe the doctrine of the eternal Godhead; of the fall and inherent depravity of man; of the atonement; of the incarnation, virgin birth, and deity of our Lord; of His expiatory death, His glorious resurrection, His ascension into heaven, and His mediatory priesthood; of repentance, pardon by faith, regeneration, the new birth, and the baptism of the Spirit; of a coming judgment; of the certainty of the Second Advent, followed by eternal life and glory for the believer, and the final and irretrievable ruin and death of those who neglect so great salvation.
Such is the sublime system of truth believed firmly by the minister of Christ for today. And it is not merely pictured in vivid colors upon his mind; it is written as with the point of a diamond upon his heart, for it is with the heart that "man believeth unto righteous ness." His faith makes the things believed to be great and divine realities. It is the "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." It strongly influences his whole character, spirit, and conduct. He believes, and therefore speaks and acts.
It is his thorough persuasion that Christ "loved me, and gave himself for me"; and so believing, he rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Also he is persuaded that He "gave himself a ransom for all," and he hastens to bring sinners to the feet of Jesus for remission, and sanctification, and salvation.
He not only reads, hears of, and believes in a judgment to come, but he sees it. The trump of God, the mighty angels, the great white throne, the Son of man in His glory, the far-reaching multitudes, the strange separation, the destiny, fixing sentences of welcome and rejection--these are not merely figures of speech; they rise on his vision, not as poetry or dreams, but as gravest realities.
The sinner's doom is to him no fiction. The devil and his angels, the fires of the last day, the utter despair, the bottomless pit--these he contemplates, and knowing the terrors of the Lord, he persuades men, warning them to flee from the wrath to come.
And the new earth, with its mansions of rest and peace, its river of life, its tree of immortality, its robes of white, its forms of beauty, its crowns of honor, its songs of glory, its angelic society, and its sinless, tearless, endless happiness these, all these, though now unseen, are yet "substance" to this minister of Christ for today. He lives as in eternity, looking, "not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18).