Christ: The Son of God - Man's Last Chance

Toward the close of Christ's ministry, Jesus pointed out, "I came not to judge the world, but to save the world" (John 12:47). The most casual reader of the Bible is familiar with John 3:16-17, where it is stated that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." The thrust of the coming of Christ, and that of John the Baptist, was to turn the children of Israel back to God before they were destroyed and the Gospel was extended to the Gentiles (Romans 1:16-18ff).

 Daniel prophesied that in the days of the fourth kingdom, which is usually understood as being the Roman empire, "the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever" (Daniel 2:44). Isaiah spoke of the last days, "many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3). On the day of Pentecost, when the church or spiritual kingdom of God was established, Peter and the apostles proclaimed, "let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).

 When the Gentiles began obeying the gospel (Acts 10-11) and the Jewish Christians questioned their right to become children of God, Peter explained how it was God's will. Their reaction was wonderful. As Luke records it, "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life" (Acts 11:18). The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch of Syria (Acts 11:26) where Jew and Gentile converts worshiped God in the church there with Barnabas and Saul (or the apostle Paul) teaching them. Christ and Christianity then is man's last chance to escape the wrath of God in the last judgment day AND there WILL be a final judgment day.

 Although Christ, as we have seen (John 12:47), came to save man and not judge him, but rather to declare the father's will (John 12:49-50). However, in the final judgment day the Scriptures are clear, "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10). Not only is this true, the resurrection of Christ is God's proof that this is the way it will be. Paul pointed out the necessity for men to repent, "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:31).

 Dale I. Royal, Elk City, OK