Responding to the Good News

MEMORY SELECTION: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” —Acts 16:31


THOSE who have responded to the Gospel’s call have heeded a very special invitation. Jesus, in the 6th chapter of John, verses 44, 45, states: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” In other places Jesus indicated that those who heard were especially blessed; for example, Matthew 13:16,17: “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

It was never God’s objective to convert the world during this age. The message was to go forth only as a witness to attract those whom the Heavenly Father would call. (Matt. 24:14) The time for the general call and conversion of the world is in the next age. Then the blindness will be removed and the deaf ears unstopped. One of the many wonderful prophecies foretelling of this time is found in Revelation 22:17: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

The reason that the Gospel call is meant for a comparatively small number during the Gospel Age is that those who respond are accepting great responsibilities along with the privileges and blessings promised. The Heavenly Father, in his love and mercy, has designed that only those who are of a proper heart attitude and who have the capacity for faith and endurance to survive the trials and testings of the Christian life are called. (Matt. 13:15) In Luke 13:23,24 Jesus responded to a question: “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

The disciples James and John came to the Master requesting a special favor for the time when the kingdom would be established. One wanted to be on the right hand of Jesus and the other on the left. They did not yet understand that their response to the Gospel call was provisional as far as acceptance by God was concerned. Acceptance depends upon a full knowledge of the conditions and a heart willingness to be obedient to those terms. Jesus responded to this request as follows: “Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Mark 10:38) They responded that they could. Then Jesus continued: “Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: but to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.”—vss. 39,40

The cup was a symbol, picturing the suffering, trials, and testings the Heavenly Father permitted Jesus to endure in order to prove him and qualify him for the divine nature. The Apostle Paul, in Hebrews 5:8,9, states: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the Author [or means] of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” God’s will for Jesus was that he should suffer and die. His real baptism was to be totally immersed into that will.

Jesus set an example for those who would respond to the Gospel’s call showing that they must be totally immersed into the Heavenly Father’s will, even unto death. (Rom. 6:3-5) The Apostle Peter expresses the matter thus: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.”—I Pet. 2:21

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