Last week, we began talking about how obedience to God is a must. We looked at two Old Testament examples of this idea: the Israelites and the brazen serpent (Numbers 21) and the account of Naaman (2 Kings 5).
Living in the Christian age today, man must realize that God offers the blessing of salvation. But man also must meet God’s conditions — not what man would like to do, or what man thinks, but simply obey what God has told man to do and the blessing can be had.
Sin, a terrible “disease” that man has, entered into the world in the Garden of Eden, where woman and man gave in to temptations presented by Satan. Man’s innocence was taken away, and from that point on, sin has plagued each individual.
The sin is not inherited by the generations, but rather, it is the individual who makes the decision to sin. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezekiel 18:20). In the New Testament, Paul wrote, “For 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 10:5). Paul also wrote that all men have sinned (Romans 3:23).
In order to be cured of sin, God’s conditions must be met. Jesus told his disciples, “And said unto them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem’” (Luke 24:46-47).
This was the message Peter preached on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2. Peter explained to those gathered that Christ was the Messiah and that they had put to death the one for whom they had been waiting. They were guilty of taking the Son of God’s life. The people stopped Peter’s sermon and asked what they could do.
His answer was the one that Christ had prophesied would be given. “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). On that day, about 3,000 souls obeyed the command of God and had their sins forgiven. They desired a blessing, God had conditions to be met, they obeyed and then received the blessing.
God’s conditions must continue to be obeyed by each individual. It is called living a faithful life. As John wrote the Revelation letter, he addressed saints who were suffering harsh persecution and might have been contemplating giving up Christianity: “… be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
God loves, and always has loved, mankind. He has provided all the physical blessing man needs to live on Earth and all the spiritual blessing man needs to live in eternity. The choice is left to man, but obedience to God is a must.