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“Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.” John 1:35-37

We may not count it important to just point people to Jesus, but that is what John the Baptist did. He was standing with two of his disciples when Jesus walked by, and he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

The Lamb of God is that one foreshadowed by the ram caught by its horns in a thicket that was the substitute God provided to be offered up to the LORD in the place of Abraham’s son Isaac (cf. Gen. 22:1-19). The Lamb of God is that one foreshadowed by the paschal lamb whose blood was put upon the two door posts and the lintel of each Israelite home that the angel of death might pass over and not kill the firstborn of the Israelites when God carried out His judgment upon the Egyptians (Ex. 12:1-28). The Lamb of God was foreshadowed by the many unblemished lambs offered for generations to make atonement for the sins of the people (cf. Lev. 1).

Jesus is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (v. 29). He is sinless and unblemished, having fulfilled all the righteous demands of God’s law in our place (cf. Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). And Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. The LORD God laid our sin and iniquity upon Jesus, punishing Him in our stead (cf. Isa. 53:6; 1 John 2:2). Therefore, when we look in faith to Jesus, the crucified and risen Lamb of God, we sinners have forgiveness and life — He paid in full for the sins of the whole world!

So also today, we who know Jesus can direct others to Him, telling them to look to Jesus, that Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Look to Jesus! He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world! He paid in full for mankind’s sins when He suffered and died on the cross. He rose from the dead and lives, and all who look to Him in faith for forgiveness and life eternal are graciously pardoned and received into God’s everlasting family.

Through John’s witness, the two disciples of John followed Jesus to learn more about Him. Through the Gospel witness of believers in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit works to bring others to Jesus so that they too might know Him and trust in Him as their sacrifice for sin, their Redeemer and Savior!

As the two disciples of John heard John’s witness concerning Jesus and followed Him to learn more, so also today, people directed to Jesus by your witness and mine may be called by God’s Spirit to come to Jesus, learn of Him, and believe in His name. We may not be able to preach like John the Baptist; but we can still tell people to look to Jesus, for He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

In Jesus the Messiah, God offers forgiveness and life everlasting to all. Look to Jesus, for in Him you will find mercy and forgiveness. In Him, you will find eternal life!

O dearest Jesus, thank You for going to the cross and bearing the guilt and punishment for all my sins. Grant that I also might point others to You so that they too might follow You, learn of You, and receive forgiveness and life everlasting through faith in Your name. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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Those calling themselves Christian but who endorse or practice homosexual relationships, same-sex marriages, transgenderism, cross-dressing and sexual relationships outside of marriage between a man and a woman haven’t read and accepted the clear teaching of the Bible.

Look up what God says in His Word and see for yourself: Genesis 1:26-27; 2:18-25; 18:16 — 19:29; Leviticus 18:1-30; 20:1-23; Deuteronomy 22:5; Matthew 5:27-32; 19:3-9; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-5; Jude 5-7; Revelation 21:8.

Rather than pretending to be Christian, those who endorse practicing what God calls sin should be honest and simply acknowledge that they do not accept the Bible and the teaching of Christ and His apostles. To do otherwise is hypocrisy and self-deception.

The Bible warns against these and other sins that we all might examine ourselves, repent of our sins and look to Christ Jesus and His cross for pardon and forgiveness and then seek to amend our evil ways and live for our God and Savior in accord with His holy Word (cf. Luke 24:46-47; Acts 3:19; 2 Peter 3:9; Psalm 32; Psalm 139:23-24; Isaiah 55:6-7). To do otherwise is the opposite of being Christian.

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“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 (read John 1:29-34)

Who is Jesus? What did John the Baptist testify concerning Him? John called Him “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

He said, “This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:30-34).

John’s testimony — revealed to him by the Holy Spirit — was that Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God, come into the world a true man to redeem all mankind from sin and its consequences.

Like the Passover lamb of the Old Testament whose blood was shed and placed upon the lintel and door posts of the houses in which God’s people dwelt so that the LORD would pass over them when He came in judgment against the Egyptians, so the blood of Christ, the sinless Son of God — the blood of a Lamb without blemish and without spot shed upon the cross to take away the guilt and punishment for the sins of all the world — when it is placed upon us by faith, cleanses us from all sins, delivers us from God’s judgment and guarantees us eternal life in heaven (cf. Exo. 12; Isa. 53:6; 1 Cor. 5:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-21; 1 John 1:7 — 2:2; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Eph. 1:6-7; Rev. 1:5; 7:13-17)!

As John directed his own followers to look to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, so we still preach and point people to Jesus, the Lamb of God, today. Why? Because He suffered and died for all sins and rose again (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3-4). He satisfied God’s just wrath against the sins of all. He suffered the full punishment for your sins and mine! He won forgiveness and life eternal for you, for me, and for all that we might look to Him in faith and take shelter under His blood, shed on the cross for the sins of the world! (Cf. 1 John 2:1-2.)

Because Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, took all our sins upon Himself and suffered and died to bear our punishment, we have the assurance that, on the Last Day, all who trust in Jesus and have their sins washed away in His blood will with their eyes behold the Lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world. We will see His face and dwell in His presence forevermore! (Cf. Psalm 17:15; Job 19:25-27.)

O LORD God, we thank You for providing a substitute for us, the holy and sinless Son of God, that He might take on our flesh, fulfill all righteousness for us and then suffer and die to pay for the sins of the world. Grant us faith in Him, that our sins may be washed away in His shed blood. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

How can the Gospel save sinful human beings like you and me?

Luther struggled with this passage of God’s Word and with this question because he viewed the righteousness of God, which the Gospel reveals (v. 17), to be the just anger and punishment of God upon sin! The more Luther read and studied the Scriptures, the more he saw his own sinfulness and inability to live up to the demands of a righteous and holy God.

This is what had before prompted him to enter the monastery and become a monk; he sought to somehow appease the wrath of a righteous and holy God. And now, through his study of the Scriptures, he realized more and more his failings. Before he understood the Gospel, Luther thought the Gospel condemned him and all other sinners to eternal suffering in hell.

Through the study of the Scriptures, the Holy Ghost revealed the true meaning of this passage to Luther; and it gave him great joy, for an unbearable burden was lifted from him. The Gospel was not the revelation of God’s anger and punishment upon sin. Rather, it reveals the righteousness of God which is imputed to sinners who look in faith to Christ Jesus’ holy life in our stead and His innocent sufferings and death on the cross to atone for the sins of the world.

“Therein [in the Gospel] is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith“ (v.17).

The Law reveals our sinfulness and the just wrath of God against our sins; the Gospel reveals Christ’s keeping of the Law in our stead, His innocent sufferings and death on the cross for our sins, and God’s pardon and forgiveness which He offers and gives to believers for Christ’s sake (cf. Rom. 3:19-26).

To Luther was revealed the glorious truth that, though he was a sinner condemned by God’s Law and without any true righteousness acceptable in God’s eyes; yet, through faith in Jesus Christ, God counted him holy, righteous, and acceptable in His sight. God had made him, a sinner, “accepted in the Beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:6,7).

This is a righteousness that is of faith rather than of works; and it is revealed to faith, which God the Holy Ghost creates in men’s hearts through the Gospel (v. 17). This is verified by the Old Testament Scriptures (Hab. 2:4); for those who are just in God’s eyes and are alive to God live by faith in God’s grace and mercy for Christ’s sake. They trust that God accepts them and forgives their sins for the sake of the Messiah and Savior, and so they are alive to God and live for Him.

It is not the proud and self-reliant one who lives to God; it is the one who humbly acknowledges his sins and trusts in God to forgive him for the sake of Christ’s bitter sufferings and death in his stead. This one lives in faith and receives God’s gracious gift of forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.

Today also, so many view the Gospel of Jesus Christ as another law, telling us how we should live and what will happen to us if we fail. People believe that they must do certain works or live a certain lifestyle in order to please God and receive life eternal in heaven.

We, too, tend to think this way! However, no matter how hard people try, they can never be certain they have done enough or lived well enough. And, if they study the Scriptures, they will see that they come far short and deserve only the righteous wrath and condemnation of God. Even their best works are “as filthy rags” in God’s sight (Isa. 64:6).

But when the Holy Ghost, through the hearing of His Word, reveals to us today the true meaning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we like Luther will have great joy — a tremendous weight and burden will be lifted from us — for we will then know that salvation is God’s free gift to us in His Son, Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:23). We will come to know that Jesus Christ has fulfilled all the righteous demands of God’s Law for us, and that He has suffered and died for us, bearing the just punishment for our sins, and that He has risen again in victory.

We will come to know and live through faith that, in Christ Jesus, we have forgiveness for all sins and the eternal joys of heaven!

O Holy Spirit, grant that we hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and learn of the righteousness You impute to sinners who repent of their sinful ways and look in faith to Christ Jesus and His cross for pardon, forgiveness, and life everlasting. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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What does the Bible teach? Sad to say, most people have not read the Bible in its entirety, and many have no idea what it really teaches. Though much more detail could be provided, what follows is a brief summary of the Bible’s teaching.

1) That the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — created all things good, including man, as described in Genesis 1-2, and that He still preserves all things. It is as the Bible says in Nehemiah 9:6: “Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.”

2) Though God created man to honor and respect God as his Maker, to love Him and to trust Him, the first man and woman fell into sin as described in Genesis 3 and, as a result, all of mankind is fallen and no longer loves, trusts and honors God above all things. Instead, people are born into this world turned in upon themselves and seeking their own will and ways, which are selfish and sinful. People do not and cannot keep all of God’s commandments as God requires.

It is as the Bible says in Genesis 8:21 and Jeremiah 17:9: “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth,” and “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Ecclesiastes 7:20 says: “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”

3) In order to redeem and save mankind from the just and eternal punishment we all deserve on account of our sinfulness and disobedience to God and to restore us to fellowship with Him, God sent His only-begotten Son into the world as a true man that He might fulfill all that God’s holy law requires of us and bear our sin and suffer our punishment by dying on the cross to atone for the sins of the world. This God did through the incarnation, birth, life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, true God and true man. The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed ahead to the promised Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15), who would make atonement for the sins of all and undo the work of the devil when he tempted Adam and Eve and brought sin and God’s curse upon God’s creation.

John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 says: “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures … he was buried … he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

Hebrews 2:14-17 says: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”

4) The forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God that Christ Jesus won for all when he suffered and died on the cross and then rose again on the third day becomes ours through faith in Jesus Christ and not by our own works or merits.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Romans 3:21-26 says: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

And, Romans 5:1-2 says: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

5) God desires all people to repent of their sinful and rebellious ways and trust in Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins and life everlasting. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). For that reason, He commands that His Word be preached to all people (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47), and His Holy Spirit works through the Word and Baptism to create saving faith in the hearts of hearers and to regenerate them, giving them new life in fellowship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

On the day of Pentecost, Peter told the people (Acts 2:38-39): “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. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

Titus 3:3-7 says: “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

6) As Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, we are saved by God’s grace alone and through faith alone in Jesus Christ, and even that faith is of the gracious working of God the Holy Spirit in us; but God also desires that we amend our ways and live for Him: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

2 Corinthians 5:15 says: “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

And, since the fruit of true faith in Christ is the desire to live for God and be pleasing to Him, those who refuse to amend their lives and willfully continue on in their sinful ways demonstrate their unbelief and lack of saving faith in Christ.

7) Christ Jesus will return to this world on the Last Day and carry out God’s just judgment upon all. Those who believe in Christ and are baptized into His name will be saved and those who do not believe will be damned (Mark 16:16). John 3:36 says: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

Yes, much more can be said. And, indeed, it is said in the Bible. The Bible reveals the sad results of man’s sinfulness and how God judges sin even now, in this world. It tells how God carried out His plan to send His Son to be our Savior, and it reveals how God continually calls us to repent of our sinful and erring ways and look to Christ Jesus in faith. It points out the terrible judgment of God that will come upon all who remain impenitent, and it offers a glimpse of the glories of heaven which await all who believe. The Bible warns the impenitent and unbelieving and gives comfort to those who acknowledge their sins and look in faith to Christ and His cross for pardon and forgiveness.

Some parts are difficult for our sin-darkened minds to understand, but other parts are so simple the smallest child can, by God’s grace, grasp its message. So, don’t be discouraged. Pick it up and read it.

The Bible is a book of books (66 books and letters) and doesn’t have to be read in chronological order from Genesis to Revelation. I usually recommend reading the first chapters of Genesis and reading from the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) before studying the detailed sections on Old Testament worship. It’s a book to study for a lifetime, and there is always more to learn and understand, so keep reading.

Writing to Timothy, a young minister, the apostle Paul said (2 Timothy 3:14-17): “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

The Bible was given us to teach us the way of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and to guide us in living for Him. As such, reading and studying its message is the most important reading a person can ever do — indeed, your eternal destiny depends upon heeding the Bible’s message! I hope and pray you’ll read it.

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