Who Killed Jesus?

by Oliver B. Greene

Some may not like the word killed but we use it for a reason. Jesus Christ was brutally put to death by wicked men, but there is deeper meaning to His death than the nailing to a cross. In his sermon on the day of Pentecost, Peter said:

"Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it" (Acts 2:22-24).

It is true that wicked hands arrested Jesus. Wicked hands led Him away to the house of Caiaphas, to the hall of Pilate. Wicked hands compelled Him to carry the cross until He fell beneath its weight. Wicked hands pushed the thorns on His brow. Wicked hands drove the spikes into His flesh. But His death goes deeper than wicked hands. God, in the eternity of the past, held a conference at which God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost discussed the redemption of man. At this conference, the Godhead agreed that Jesus should be delivered into the hands of wicked men.

Therefore, the death of Jesus was according to "the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God." That is, He was delivered into the hands of wicked men according to the purpose and settled plan and foreknowledge of God. The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, written centuries before the crucifixion, clearly portrays the death of Jesus, the Lamb of God. The chapter begins with a question: "Who hath believed our report?" Then it goes on to tell about this One. He would be as "a tender plant," growing up before God, "as a root out of a dry ground," not spectacular, not attracting attention. He is described as having "no form nor comeliness" and it is said that when "we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." In other words, it was prophesied that when Jesus came, He would be insignificant and cast aside. Isaiah declares that men would despise Him and reject Him. He would be a man of sorrows; He would know grief. And men would hide their faces from Him. He would be despised and not esteemed.

Isaiah states that the purpose of His coming into the world would be to bear our griefs and to carry our sorrows, that this One of whom he wrote would be "smitten of God, and afflicted." Think of this: He who would come in this lowly way, as a tender plant, despised and rejected of men, would be smitten of God, and afflicted. Weigh it, analyze it, think it through before you refuse to accept it: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would never have died; His life could never have been taken, had He not been "smitten of God, and afflicted."

As we have done previously in this series, we refer again to John 10:18 to remind you that Jesus said, "No man taketh my life from me. I have the power to lay it down, I have the power to take it again. This commandment I received from my Father." "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself" (II Cor. 5:19).

Various passages have bearing on the subject, "Who Killed Jesus?" The chapter in Isaiah tells us that He was "wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, and with his stripes we are healed." "All we like sheep have gone astray," and "the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." Under oppression and judgment He was taken away. "Who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living," cut off "for the transgression of my people," and "for the transgression of my people was he stricken." Isaiah tells us "he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death" and then he says "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief." Note these words carefully: "it pleased the Lord to bruise him." God "hath put him to grief"; God hath made His soul "an offering for sin."

Jesus knew what His mission in the world was. After He fed the five thousand, the people tried by force to make Him a king. Jesus refused because He had come into the world to suffer and to die for the sin of man. It pleased Him to be bruised, for He knew He had come to be bruised and that God was putting Him to grief, offering His soul as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus took the sinner's place during His earthly sojourn. In doing so, He suffered all the pain, all the sorrow, all the agony, all the misery, all the woe, of an everlasting hell.

In the last analysis, the death of Jesus Christ was not ac­cording to nature, nor was it by the hand of man. His death was from above, by the hand of Almighty God. Many Scriptures in the prophetic passage refer to the coming of Christ and to the sacrifice He was to make. In the twenty-second Psalm, already referred to, appear the words, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" and there follows a vivid portrayal of the Lord's sufferings. In the fifteenth verse, we find the statement, "Thou hast brought me into the dust of death," referring to what God had seen fit to put upon His only begotten Son that man might go free from the penalty of sin and death.

In Psalm 38:2 we find the cry, "For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore." Here the writer is prophesying of the pains that our Lord suffered and of the heavy hand of God upon Him for man the creature's sin. In Psalm 42:7 the psalmist cries, "all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me." "Thy waves" and "thy billows" refer to the waves and billows of judgment that swept over our Lord that He might take our place, pay our debt of sin, and bear the penalty we should have borne. Again the psalmist says "Thy wrath lieth hard upon me" (Ps. 88:7). All the wrath of Almighty God against all the sin of the ages lay heavy upon the shoulders of our Lord when He went to the cross in our stead. And much of His suffering took place before He was hung on the cross.

Peter describes Christ's sufferings in these touching words: "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls" (I Peter 2:23-25).

To repeat what we have already said, Jesus took the sinner's place. The sinner's place is in hell, the lowest hell, because God decreed, "The soul that sinneth it shall surely die." And God has not changed His mind in the least. The penalty was just, and it had to be paid. The one and only reason for which God can be just and yet justify the ungodly is that Jesus took the place of the ungodly and bore what was their due. God now forgives our sins, not for our sakes, but for Christ's sake (Eph. 4:32).

Zechariah enlightens us concerning who killed Jesus Christ. "And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thy hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones" (Zech. 13:6, 7). Five centuries before the crucifixion, Zechariah prophesied that Jesus the Shepherd would be smitten and the sheep would be scattered. After the death of Jesus, the disciples were scattered; at first they hid in the upper room and then a little later, before the resurrection, they went back to their former activities, the trades they had followed prior to the call of Jesus to be with Him always.

In Lamentations there is a direct prophecy of the terrible sufferings and the vicarious death of the Lord Jesus Christ: "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there is any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger. From above hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath made me desolate and faint all the day. The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, and come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up" (Lam. 1:12-14). In these verses Jeremiah is speaking of his own broken heart and crushed spirit; and yet in them there is a prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus Christ who was to come to be broken and crushed for men—not just for Israel, the chosen people, but for sinners—for all men everywhere.

Mortal man will never fully comprehend the death of the Lord. During the last few months of His earthly ministry, Jesus went "all out," as it were, in an attempt to teach His disciples at least a little concerning the sufferings and the death He faced. He definitely set forth to them in terms that should have prepared them for its coming the awful suffering and the terrible abuse He was to receive at the hands of wicked men. He spoke of "a baptism" He was to experience (Luke 12:50). He referred to a "lifting up" He would undergo (John 3:14) . He spoke of being obliged to get to Jerusalem before He was to die (Luke 13:33). He spoke plainly of His "being delivered into the hands of sinful men" and of His crucifixion (Luke 24:7) . He alluded to "this hour" to which He had been appointed and from which He sought in prayer that the Father might save Him (John 12:27). He talked of laying down His life for the sheep that He might "take it again" (John 10:17, 18). He talked with disciples about the fulfilling of Scripture that it was His to make (Luke 24:44) . He referred to "the cup" that His Father had given Him to drink (John 18:11).

He taught of "my blood, which is shed for you," the blood He poured out for the remission of sins (Luke 22:20). He told them of the love God was manifesting in giving Him to be the Saviour of the world (John 3:16). He spoke clearly of the death He would die—yea, must die (John 12:24, 25). He instructed them concerning the ransom He and only He could pay for "many" (Matt. 20:28). He taught them that He was accomplishing a work that He alone could perform (John 19:30). He assured them of the victory He would gain (John 12:31, 32). He told them clearly of a forgiveness available through Him (Luke 24:46, 47). Last but not least, He mentioned the purpose for which He had come into the world—to do the work God sent Him to do and to glorify the Father (John 17:4) . These are a few from the many passages in which Christ taught of His sufferings, His agony, His death, and His victory.

In Matthew 20:28 is given Jesus' summary of the purpose of His coming into the world: "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." No one took His life, no one put Jesus to death. He came to lay His life down; He gave His life freely, as a ransom for many sinners. He said, "the bread I will give is my flesh" (John 6:51). In both the Gospels and the Epistles, the Holy Spirit is very careful to stress the fact that Jesus "gave himself" for us—for us poor, helpless, lost, and ruined sinners.

At the beginning of this sermon, we noted Isaiah 53 and the clear setting forth there of the sufferings of Christ. In verse five of that chapter we have the words: "wounded for our transgressions." In John 19:37 are the words: "him whom they pierced." Both of these passages refer to the Lamb of God who was slain for the remission of sin. The Greek word for wounded means "to bore, to torment, to slay." Isaiah's statement could read "he was pierced for our transgressions." The Greek word appears various times in the Psalms.

Isaiah goes on to say that He was not only wounded but that He was "bruised" for our iniquities. It pleased God to bruise Him, the spotless Lamb. Christ was offered and Christ "hath once suffered for sins" (I Peter 3:18). The word bruise in Isaiah does not fully convey the thought of the bruising Jesus received. The Greek word could be rendered "crush" as in Lamentations 3:34. It really means to "tramp upon" or "stomped upon and trampled under foot." It is rendered "beat in pieces" (Isa. 3:15). It means "crushed" as when something is completely ground into powder. Jesus Christ, to save us from the consequences of sin, was ground in the mills of God's terrible wrath until God's justice was completely satisfied. The sufferings of Jesus were anything but imaginary; they were terrible, awful realities. He bore bruising and pain that we might experience fulness of joy and pleasures forever more.

According to the teaching of Jesus, His death was no mere happening; it was the sole aim of His coming into the world. The laying down of His life was not an accident in His existence; He came into the world for the purpose of laying it down. Jesus sought to convey to His disciples the fact that He was here below to suffer and to die (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:32).

Certain Scriptures stress God's purpose and God's part in Christ's death. One of these is Romans 3:25: "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood." Notice this: God set forth Jesus Christ to be the propitiation "through his blood," in order that God "might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26). The Greek word translated "set forth" signifies "to set before oneself, that is, an inward purpose." The same word is used at two other places in Paul's writings. He uses it when writing to the saints at Rome: "I purposed to come to you" (Rom. 1:13). He uses the word again when referring to God's loving purpose and will in the declaration: "[He] made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself" (Eph. 1:9). The death of the Son of God was the unfolding of the secret purpose of Almighty God, hidden from man from the beginning and made known to the apostle Paul as it had never before been revealed.

The death of Jesus fulfilled the long-laid plan of the Creator to bring redemption in order that He might save hell-deserving sinners and yet remain just. The only begotten Son of the heavenly Father took upon Himself a body of flesh and in that body did what the blessed law, yea, the holy law, could not do. He who gave the law also gave Christ. He "set him forth." The heavenly Father has provided in Jesus Christ, His Son, grace whereby we can obtain mercy and help that could not have been found in any other than God's Christ.

It was God who commended His love toward us, and the God who commended demonstrated that love in the death of His only begotten Son: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (I Cor. 15:1-4).

The gospel is the glorious fact about a glorious act—God's demonstrated love in the death, burial, and resurrection of His only begotten Son. The act of Christ's death proves the fact of God's love for poor, totally depraved, hell-deserving sinners like you and me. Christ's cross is the expression of divine love. The arms that were stretched out on the cross are stretched out to you, dear sinner, inviting you to accept the finished work of Calvary. In this day of liberalism and modernism, some want a cross without the blood. A gospel without blood is ritualism. Others want a Christ without a cross; this is Unitarianism. We who are true believers have Christ with a cross; that is redemption from iniquity and sin, because in Christ we have God Himself who was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. It was God who commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, God ordained Christ to lay down His life for us.

Remember this: the omnipotent, omniscient God, knowing all that would happen to Jesus Christ, His Son, sent Him into the world for the express purpose of laying down His life. "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). Note that it was God who sent Jesus into the world to do in flesh what the law never had done and never could do. But Jesus, in the body of man, fulfilled every jot and tittle of the law and prophets (Matt. 5:17). In Him we are without condemnation, for "there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).

God is holy and He demands holiness of man. God is pure and cannot tolerate impurity. God's nature is holy, righteous, untouched by sin. God cannot acquit the wicked, He cannot pass over sin, He cannot excuse sin in any form whatsoever. God must condemn sin or cease to be holy. He condemned sin in a specific way; He laid it on His Son, judging and condemning it in Him for our sake.

To those of us who believe, Christ is our redemption (I Cor. 1:30). Not only is He our redemption, but in giving Himself as an offering for sin, He identified Himself with our sin, so we are identified with Him, our atonement. John says, "My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:1, 2).

These words are addressed to the "little children"—believers—not to sinners. Jesus stands in our stead before the Father to intercede for us, to plead our case. He does not want His children to sin, but if in human weakness they do sin, He intercedes for them, and He is the atoning sacrifice for their sins and not for theirs only but also for the sins of the entire world. All are invited to come to Him, saint and sinner, for the forgiveness of sin that damns the soul. Through Him, the sinner becomes a believer, a little child. After we become children of God, He is our Advocate with the Father, to intercede for us when we sin, whether our sins be those of commission or of omission.

Well may we ponder the force of the word condemn. God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemning sin in the flesh. Jesus was God in the flesh. The Greek word for condemned suggests three things: a crime committed, a verdict passed, a punishment meted out. Noah built an ark, and the ark saved his house. The faith he had in God, expressed in the building of the ark, was the source of his and his family's salvation. But it was also a means by which he condemned, or passed judgment and sentence on the world's unbelief. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith" (Heb. 11:7).

God's punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah was a condemnation of those cities. "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly" (II Peter 2:6). In the case of those of Noah's day as in God's dealing with these wicked cities, there is the sin which required the sentence of judgment that was expressed in the subsequent condemnation.

Wicked men condemned Jesus unjustly; He was charged with the crime of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death. "They all condemned him to be guilty of death" (Mark 14:64). God condemned the old world by the terrible deluge which was His judgment upon the whole creation. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were given a baptism of fire by God and burned to ashes and condemned them with an overthrow. And God condemned to death His only begotten Son; in Him God condemned the sin of mankind. He, the holy, righteous, sinless Son of God, by the grace of a loving God, bore the judgment, the condemnation, that we poor, lost, miserable sinners should have borne.

Picture to yourself an Old Testament scene which could often have been repeated: an Israelite stands near a fire that is consuming the sin offering placed there for him. As he stands watching the fire little by little consuming the sin offering until it is wholly gone, listen to him saying something like this: "There on that altar, I am dying for my sins, bearing the wrath of God in my substitute that is being consumed in my stead."

Beloved, let the fact of what our Lord suffered for you grip you, and you will never again be the same. Jesus took our place. Ours it was to be everlastingly consumed, yet never fully consumed—to die, yet never fully to die, to be tormented everlastingly without deliverance from torment. Dear friend, your place and mine is in a burning inferno; the Bible calls it a lake of fire that burns with brimstone. That is where we belong, but God put on Jesus our condemnation, and He suffered in our stead. O, God, help us to see it!

In the lofty words of the wonderful eighth chapter of Romans we read, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32). God did not spare His only begotten Son. When the Son prayed, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass; nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done," the Father did not take the cup away, but permitted the beloved Son to drink it to the last bitter dregs. He spared not His own Son.

Why did God not spare Jesus? This is the answer: If we were to be spared the torments of eternal punishment in hell, God could not spare His Son. God promised Abraham that He would spare Sodom and Gomorrah if Abraham could find even ten righteous persons. Abraham could not find them. Thank God, He found one righteous Person, and we are spared for the sake of that righteous One who was bruised by God and who suffered what we deserved to suffer. Because His stroke fell on Jesus, the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, we go free—no condemnation, no judgment, no eternal punishment. Read Isaiah 53:8-10, meditate upon it, and assimilate its truths into your very soul. Jehovah God spared not His precious Son, that you and I might be spared the torments of an everlasting hell.

God gave Christ up to death, "delivered him up for us all" (Rom. 8:32). Think what these words mean: God delivered Jesus into the hands of wicked men and then allowed them to nail Him to the cross. The original Greek for our words, "he delivered up" is very strong; it means literally to give over into the hands of another. The same meaning of the Greek appears in I Peter 2:23 where we are told that Jesus committed Himself to the Father, that is, He gave Himself over into the hands of the Father. Why did the mighty God deliver Jesus over into the hands of wicked sinners? Scripture answers, "He was delivered for our offenses" (Rom. 4:25).

One of the most heart-rending, soul-anguishing cries found in the Bible is the cry of David for Absalom: "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" (II Samuel 18:33). Surely God must have felt something as David felt except that God's feelings were infinitely stronger, when He turned His head and allowed this only Son to endure suffering greater than tongue can tell. Surely the great loving heart of God must have ached; surely He must have experienced terrible anguish when He saw that Son sweating great drops of blood in the garden and then, later on the cross, hearing His cry, "My God, My God! why hast thou forsaken me!"

But it had to be; God had to allow Him to suffer; God had to forsake His Son. That is, He had to if He were to accept you and me, if He were to let us go free from condemnation. We are accepted because God allowed His Son to suffer and because He forsook Him on the cross. God hears our cry for mercy because He did not answer the cry of His Son. Had God heard and answered the cry of His only begotten Son, your cry and mine could not be heard by God.

Who killed Jesus? Who took His life? Who caused Him to die? The answer comes in these solemn words: "It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin" (Isa. 53:10). God made the soul of Jesus an offering for sin. Not only did He do this, but according to Paul, "[God] hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (II Cor. 5:21). God made Jesus to be sin for us; that is clear. We do not understand it, but we can appreciate it, we can rejoice in the fact that God loved us so much.

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. God so loved the world that He made the soul of His only begotten Son an offering for sin. God so loved the world that He made Jesus to be sin for us—Jesus who knew no sin—that we might be made the righteousness of God. God so loved the world! He sent His Son to do what the law was wholly and forever unable to do, and Jesus put away sin forever. "There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin" (Heb. 10:26). Jesus finished the work the Father sent Him to do—and the Father sent Him to make an atonement for the souls of men.

Through the writer to the Hebrews, the Holy Spirit makes clear the work Christ did: "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. ...So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many..." (Heb. 9:24-28).

We joy in God because He so loved us that He gave Jesus. But there is also Another who loved us; Paul exhorts thus: "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor" (Eph. 5:1, 2). Jesus so loved us that He gave Himself to God as an offering for us. The only sacrifice that could have satisfied God the Father was the sacrifice Jesus gave—Himself. This sacrifice ascended as a sweet savor like the burnt offerings of the Old Testament era. It brought satisfaction to God; the offering was a delight to God. Christ was the Father's delight here on earth. Everything He did, He did to glorify the Father. But the thing that most glorified the Father was Christ's giving Himself to die for us. This brought to God a pleasure such as He had not experienced since eternity began.

Because Jesus gave Himself to God as an offering, as a sacrifice, we are now a holy priesthood. We are admonished to offer up spiritual sacrifices (I Peter 2:5). Our sacrifice should be a humble and a broken heart. We should adore and praise God with all that is in us. We should place our bodies on His altar as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable, which is our reasonable service (Rom. 12:1).

On the cross Jesus literally poured out His soul in death. "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong: because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isa. 53:12). In the original the term poured out means “to demolish, to become destitute, to become completely empty, to be bare." That is exactly what Jesus did. He became destitute that we might have riches. He emptied Himself that others might be full. He became poor that we might have eternal wealth. He was lifted up between heaven and earth that we might become living stones in the temple of God. Jesus was poured out for you and me.

It sounds terrible to say that God smote Jesus, that the only begotten Son of God was smitten by the heavenly Father. We have reason to tremble when we realize that God so wrought upon His Son that we might be saved. Poor, wretched, miserable, ungodly, disobedient, depraved, hopeless, lost sinners that we are, God smote His Son that we might be saved for time and for eternity.

In closing we note one more marvelous truth of Scripture. Speaking to the elders at Ephesus, Paul said, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28) . The church is called "the church of God" and it was purchased with "his own blood" that is, the blood of Christ. This is a great mystery that we cannot understand, but it is a fact we accept because it is revealed clearly.

Paul testified, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). What Paul is saying is that God in His Son loved me and gave Himself for me. God the Father and God the Son are one. That is what makes the death of Jesus more than the death of an ordinary man; and because His death has infinite value, the shed blood covers all finite humans who will come to God through Jesus Christ. The death of Jesus was not man's doing; He was God's perfect sacrifice for man's sin.

And now, dear friend, since "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son," since God so loved us that He delivered this Son into the hands of wicked sinners, since God so loved us that He did not save Him from His hour of intense suffering, since God so loved us that He smote His Son, since God so loved us that He provided in the person of His own Son a perfect substitute—since He did all this, is God asking too much of us when He asks us to love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind? Should we not give to God, through Jesus Christ, our soul, spirit, body—all we have and are? Since we have been purchased at the tremendous price of the blood of Jesus, the sinless, holy, perfect Son of God, do you not agree that the least we can do is to give to Him our all? Have you done that? If you have not, surrender now to Jesus.

All anyone need do to drop into hell at the end of life's journey is to reject the gift of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. If you have rejected Him up to this moment, reject Him no longer. Receive Him now. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, which were born...of God" (John 1:12, 13). Whatever God demands, for that He makes provision!

From Evangelistic Messages by Oliver B. Greene. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Book House, ©1962.

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